Questions From Readers
After the final test at the end of the Millennium, will it be possible for humans to sin and die?
Two scriptures found in Revelation bear on this: “Death and Hades were hurled into the lake of fire. This means the second death, the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:14) “He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”—Revelation 21:4.
Note the timing involved here. The hurling of “death and Hades” into the lake of fire takes place after the Armageddon survivors, the resurrected dead, and any born after Armageddon have been judged out of the “things written in the scrolls,” or Jehovah’s detailed requirements for mankind during the thousand years. (Revelation 20:12, 13) The apostle John records another vision, found in Revelation chapter 21, which will be fulfilled during the Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus. The complete fulfillment of that vision, however, awaits the end of the thousand-year Judgment Day. Jehovah will then reside with mankind in the fullest sense without any intercessors, Jesus having handed the Kingdom over to his Father. Jehovah will reside spiritually with “his peoples” in a permanent and direct way. “Death will be no more” in the complete sense when mankind will have gained perfection as a result of having the merit of Christ’s ransom sacrifice applied to the full.—Revelation 21:3, 4.
Thus, the death mentioned in the scriptures quoted above is the Adamic death, which will be nullified by Christ’s ransom. (Romans 5:12-21) With death that mankind inherited from the first man canceled, humans will be just like Adam when he was created. Adam was perfect, but that did not mean that there was no possibility of his dying. Jehovah told Adam not to eat from “the tree of the knowledge of good and bad” and said: “In the day you eat from it you will positively die.” (Genesis 2:17) That was death from deliberate sin. After the final test at the end of the Thousand Year Reign, humans will still be free moral agents. (Revelation 20:7-10) They will still be able to choose of their own free will whether to continue serving Jehovah or not. It cannot be said that no human will ever turn his back on God, as Adam did.
What would happen to the one who chose to rebel after the final test when there is no death or Hades? At that time, Adamic death is no more. And Hades, the common grave of mankind with the hope of resurrection, is no more. Still, Jehovah can annihilate any rebel in the lake of fire, denying him any hope of a resurrection. That death would be like the death that Adam and Eve experienced, not the death that humans inherited from Adam.
However, we have no reason to expect any such outcome. Those who pass the final test will differ from Adam in one crucial sense. They will have been fully tested. We can be confident of the thoroughness of the final test because Jehovah knows how to examine people inside and out. We can rest assured that the final test will eliminate any who would misuse their freedom of choice. Thus, although it is possible for those who pass the final test to rebel against God and hence be destroyed, it is very unlikely that such a thing will occur.
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After the final test, in what sense will mankind be comparable to Adam?