A desolate earth

The second coming of Jesus will be similar to the days of Noah. Most people didn’t see it coming, until the devasting flood was a fact.

There are no more people on Earth

After the great day of Jesus' coming, the world population counts zero. Jesus has taken His people to where He is (John 14:1-3 / I Thessalonians 4:17). There they will ‘reign as kings’ for a time. It means they are given time to understand and reconcile with God's judgments [God's people gain insight into world history]. Only after this period, which will last a thousand years, has the time come for God to make all things new. By that time the new heaven and earth come into view. Jesus will stand on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4), to introduce the 'heavenly Jerusalem'.  

The Bible is clear that none of those left behind will survive the great day. These people, who deliberately chose not to belong to God's community, come back on the scene during the 2nd resurrection [a new beginning]. Consider the following quotes from scripture (italics added).

“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37-39 / Luke 17:27 / Genesis 7:21-22).
“Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-30).
“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4).
“And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!” For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17).
“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold the Lord comes with ten thousands of his Saints, to execute judgment on all…”” (Jude 14).
“And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse”. (Revelation 19:21).
“I will utterly consume everything from the face of the land,” says the Lord;” “I will consume man and beast; I will consume the birds of the heavens, the fish of the say, and the stumbling blocks along with the wicked. I will cut off man from the face of the land,” says the LORD (Zephaniah 1:2-3 & 14).

Also, in the Old Testament 'the great day’ points forward to the consummation.

“And at that day the slain of the LORD shall be from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall become refuse on the ground”. (Jeremiah 25:33).

Intense language. It is as CS Lewis wrote about the lion Aslan. The lion is good and completely trustworthy, but he is not 'safe' for those who neglect Him. God is a refuge for those who seek Him. But if you consciously choose to live without God, you will also suffer the consequences. The earth will remain empty and desolate after the great day.

The Devil in Chains

In Revelation, a wicked trio is described: the beast, the false prophet, and the dragon. The engine behind the beast and the prophet (both of whom are identified in the timeline [the climax of an ancient conflict]) is the dragon, or in other words the devil. At the return of Jesus, the beast and the false prophet will be killed (Revelation 19:20). But the dragon is out of the picture here. He is not judged until ‘the thousand years' have been completed. So, where is the devil during that time?

“The I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:1-3).

The devil is chained. What should we make of this? Is he literally behind iron bars?

After [the great day] the earth will return to a state similar to the first beginning. It's God's great reset. Several prophets foresaw this.

“I will utterly consume everything from the face of the land,” says the Lord;” “I will consume man and beast; I will consume the birds of the heavens, the fish of the say, and the stumbling blocks along with the wicked. I will cut off man from the face of the land,” says the LORD (Zephaniah 1:2-3 & 14).

Note the language, which suggests that the "acts of creation" are reversed, so that the earth returns to its former state.

“I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, and all the hills moved back and forth. I beheld, and indeed there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled. I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all its cities were broken down at the presence of the LORD, by His fierce anger. For thus says the LORD: “The whole land shall be desolate; yet I will not make a full end” (Jeremiah 4:23-27).  

Note the terminology Jeremiah uses here (“desolate and empty”). That is an echo of Genesis 1:2: “(…) now the earth was without form and void.” And in the beginning the darkness lay over the 'abyssos'. Just like during [the catastrophe of the global flood], after the great day, God will radically reset everything before He creates a new beginning. This time not with water, but with fire. This is how Peter puts it:

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:10-13).

So, first everything is returned to an initial situation. Only then will God create a completely renewed earth.

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (Revelation 21:1).

Compare it to a potter who first kneads his clay back together and then molds it into a brand-new pot. A thousand-year elapses between the end of the world as we know it today and the beginning of this completely new earth.

The devil is not literally behind iron bars. The ‘abyss’ in which the devil is chained is the desolate earth of this thousand-year period. It will be for God's adversary as Psalm 68:6 describes it: "(...) but the rebellious dwell in a dry land." Revelation gives the main feature of this prison: "...that he should deceive the nations no more..." (Revelation 20:3). The devil has been chained to a condemned earth for a thousand years, where there is no man left to deceive. There he is, confronted with his failed project. His rebellious project has utterly failed.

Remarkably, however, this is not quite the end. For after the thousand years the devil is released once more from this isolated situation. Note that the release parallels with the nations being back on the scene again, ready to be deceived one last time.

“Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive that nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle…” (Revelation 20:7-8).

So, at this stage, there are people alive again to deceive. Where do they suddenly come from? Didn’t all people who were left behind die at the return of the King? Yes, that’s true. But they are back on the scene, as a result of the second resurrection. The first resurrection toke place at the return of Jesus and included all the people of world history who belong to His community [the great day]. Revelation 20:6 points out that you are blessed if you partake in this first resurrection. But after the period of thousand years has passed, a second resurrection takes place.

“But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:5).

This second resurrection makes one less happy. It is the preparation phase to the final judgment. The devil has his team back for a short time. He will mislead those masses of people one last time into one last-ditch revolt.

But this will be short-lived.

“The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are…” (Revelation 20:10).

They are completely destroyed. All people who are part of the second resurrection will receive the judgment they have chosen for themselves. They will have no part in the wonderful future with God. To put it in the words of Paul, they: “…fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and are lost forever. This is called 'the second death' in the Bible. Go to [a new beginning] to find out what that means.

Further investigation