Many Christians believe there is a contest going on between God and Satan for souls. But if this were true, God is losing by a landslide. Unless there is future hope of salvation, then every Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim would be eternally lost—condemned simply because they never heard God’s Word! A similar fate would await those who were born before Jesus Christ.
God’s ultimate plan is to save all mankind (1 Timothy 2:3-4)—but there is a crucial time order. Scripture reveals that not everyone is called to salvation at the same time. The fullness of God’s plan of salvation will be realized during the fulfillment of the magnificent holy day known as the Last Great Day.
Leviticus 23:34 shows that the Feast of Tabernacles lasts seven days. This fall festival pictures the millennial reign of Jesus Christ over Earth. In verse 36, we read of an eighth day, the last of God’s annual sabbaths.
Jesus Christ spoke of this day: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). Christ was giving the fantastic meaning of the Last Great Day: It is a time when everyone who has ever lived will finally have their opportunity to live God’s abundant and peaceful way of life. The truth will be opened to everyone.
This period is often called the Great White Throne Judgment. The term comes from this passage in Revelation 20:11-12: “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Everyone will be condemned for his or her sins, because all have sinned (Romans 3:23). Yet at this judgment, people will be given the opportunity to repent—to change from their former ways and live with the knowledge of God’s ways that had previously been available to only the chosen few.
This shows the awesome plan and loving mercy of our great Creator God. This world has been cut off from Him for 6,000 years. All mankind has been deceived by Satan the devil, except for the select few God has called out. When Christ returns at the end of the 6,000 years, He will establish His government. With Satan put away, the world will finally know peace and joy. Christ will rule with the resurrected saints (Revelation 20:4), those few called out today. But these saints will only be a relatively small number among all of mankind’s history. Most will still have never had the opportunity to know God—until that wonderful moment.
Notice Revelation 20:5: “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” After the 1,000 years, two things will happen: First, Satan will be released from his prison for a short time (verse 7). Then, after he deceives the nations yet once again and is banished from Earth forever and ever, every other person who has ever lived throughout the 6,000 years of Satan’s reign over Earth will be resurrected.
This second resurrection is described in Ezekiel 37:1-14. Dry bones will rise up and be covered with flesh. In other words, this is a resurrection to mortal life. Individuals will have God’s truth revealed to them as many billions never did in their lifetimes. They will finally be able to become a part of God’s Kingdom.
In His mercy, God will resurrect all who never learned His truth. All the men and women in history will live again. Napoleon, Alexander the Great, Hannibal, and every other great military leader will awaken—as will every soldier those men led into battle. Every man, woman and child who died of starvation will live in a world where food is now abundant. The illiterate will be educated in the ways of God. The men who murdered Jesus will recognize what they did and why! God will also resurrect murderers, thieves and other criminals; they will receive their first chance to learn God’s way without the influence of Satan, who will be exiled. Everyone will finally understand God’s plan. Because of the marriage of Christ and the Church (Revelation 22:17), they will receive opportunity to be born as children in the God Family!
This spectacular event requires a phenomenal amount of preparation. In fact, God has already been preparing for 6,000 years. The next thousand years of preparation—the Millennium—will culminate in the Last Great Day, when God’s family plan comes to fruition.
Then, with God’s 7,000-year plan concluded, the development of the entire universe by the enlarged God Family can begin! In Mystery of the Ages, Herbert Armstrong wrote, “What are we going to do then? These scriptures indicate we shall impart life to billions and billions of dead planets, as life has been imparted to this Earth. We shall create, as God directs and instructs. We shall rule through all eternity! Revelation 21 and 22 show there will then be no pain, no suffering, no evil, because we shall have learned to choose God’s way of good. It will be an eternal life of accomplishment, constantly looking forward in super-joyous anticipation to new creative projects, and still looking back also on accomplishments with happiness and joy over what shall have been already accomplished.”
The Last Great Day makes this future possible! The preparation God is doing today will allow billions to be born into the Family of God. The meaning behind this day is the hope of all mankind! For more information read our reprint article “7,000 Years of Preparation.”