“And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them,”
Revelation 20:7-9 ESV
Ultimately there are only two theories of how one might obtain eternal life. Either it is a gift enjoyed through unbroken communion with God, or it is a state achievable by men without divine help. The day is coming when a most pronounced demonstration of the essence of life will be displayed.
Outside of a trusting relationship with God, there is no way to appreciate the gift of heaven. Outside such a relationship eternity remains a prize to be won or a state to be achieved. When on that final day the wicked surround the New Jerusalem, they are intent on taking by force what they believe God has wrongfully withheld from them. Selfish hearts will only see the pearly gates and the streets of gold, but they are incapable of grasping the love that sustains the city and fills it with light and life.
When Jesus faces the violent multitude outside the city, he overcomes their offensive in a ironic and profound way. The same glory of God which illuminates the New Jerusalem and fills all creation with life begins shining upon the unrighteous. Jesus glorious presence halts their advance and in a moment of divine revelation even unrepentant hearts acknowledge the justice of God and the folly of their rebellion. Jesus final act is to unbridle the full extent of his righteous glory. Our God who is an all consuming fire destroys the wicked and continues on to cleanse the whole earth by his purifying presence.
During this final scene Satan's theory of innate immortality is tested. No longer does God artificially sustain the life of the wicked but instead the unrighteous are given the same privilege as the redeemed. They are exposed to the atmosphere of heaven, full communion with the divine presence. From the time sin entered the universe God has shielded the glory of his presence from utterly consuming sin and all who cling to it. This was necessary for the salvation of all who would accept by faith Jesus' sacrifice on their behalf. But now with redemption accomplished and God's character cleared, all that is left is the permanent eradication of evil. The same glorious presence which fills the New Jerusalem with life and joy is now unbridled upon the wicked. This is what causes fire to come down from heaven, this is what goes on to cleanse the entire earth in preparation for a new heaven and a new earth. In the end everyone, righteous and wicked alike, will come into contact with the perfect righteous love of God.
Discovering the joy of his presence and surrendering to the transformation of our hearts now is a preparation to stand covered by the robe of his righteousness for all eternity. Let us keep our eyes focuses upon the author and finisher of our faith, He is the prize, the glorious realms of light we will inhabit are just sugar on top!
Still Seeking His Face,