This question is unanswerable by mankind, as only God Himself knows who will be saved, but there are certain Biblical accounts that give a slight glimpse to an answer. Salvation in this life’s temporal existence is dispensational and provisional. Meaning, we have to get through this physical aspect of our lives (dispensational), we must pass through death, shed our flesh and transition to Heaven. We must witness the Battle of Armageddon, live on Earth for a thousand years and avoid the final temptation and deception of Satan. If we do all that, in this broad stroke of a description, we will be saved (provisional).
Christians have been taught that salvation occurs at the moment we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. That is technically true, but accepting Christ on this side of life is a place holder, it has less to do with this life, than the ramifications of this life’s choice after the thousand year reign. Meaning, there will be many people who were in Heaven and reigned with Christ during the millennium that will burn in the lake of fire because they betrayed Christ in the end, much like Judas Iscariot. Religion would have you believe otherwise, but that is NOT Biblical.
“Satan shall be loosed out of his prison and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth” Revelation 20:7-9
The context of this portion of scripture, is that the battle of Armageddon has already taken place. Satan was bound up in a bottomless pit for a thousand years by an Angel. The thousand year reign of Christ has already taken place. To be more specific, there are no more people on the planet that are non-believers at the time of the thousand year reign. Everyone left on the planet are Christians. When Satan is released, he goes out to deceive “Christians”. Satan’s army, which number is described as the sands of the sea, is comprised of one-time followers of Christ. Crown wearing, Heaven experiencing, thousand year reigning Christians.
“And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” Revelation 20:8
With everything Heaven represents to the Christian, Heaven is not our home, despite all the religious songs that speak to the contrary. Man cannot be perfected in Heaven. It must take place in man’s natural habitat, where the fall of man began with Adam, not the Garden of Eden, but Earth.
Heaven, Hell, the Lake of Fire and Death, are all accommodations God made for man because of sin. Man was never intended to experience any of these places or death. “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” Matthew 25:41. It was man’s participation in sin that caused these accommodations by God. In order for man to be perfected, we must first survive the choice of salvation using faith. Then after death, man goes to Heaven to make a series of transitions.
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12:7
The first of which is to be without a physical body and exist for a time as Spirits in Heaven. This is another accommodation God made for man; the separation of man’s Spirit from his physical body was not part of the original plan.
Which is the reason for the “rapture “as it is referred to by Christians. (1 Thessalonians 4:15–17) The transition from faith to knowledge is huge for mankind. All that we have believed in this life was facilitated through faith. Once in Heaven, man transitions out of faith and now we know. We know and see all things manifested in front of us, everything we have believed in this life that existed spiritually. Man will see Christ in his glory in Heaven, we see Angels and the host that are in it.
Man is like the Angels, in that we no longer have faith, but “know “and “see” it all to be real, a transition from faith to fact, if you will. This is an important transition. It places man in a position of type and shadow. Judas walked and lived with Christ for 3 years and still betrayed Him. We must have that same experience, but in a more complete way. The people that joined Satan’s army after the thousand year reign are no less the spirit of Judas. The third of the Angels that Satan deceived and were cast out of Heaven with him, are no less than the same spirit of Judas.
In order for man to be perfected, to see God’s face, man must be like the Angels having no faith and complete knowledge. God is just in His judgment, in that all these people deceived by Satan, were fully aware of what they did. They can claim nothing was done in deception, as the Angels themselves who chose to side with Satan. It is true that Satan deceived both the Angels and man, but not in the traditional sense of being able to outright lie to achieve deception.
The Angels have full knowledge of God having been in His presence, man once in Heaven has the advantage of being in the presence of Christ. The choice by men is no different than that of the Angels at this point and man’s choice to betray Christ will be justly merited in the Lake of Fire. Physical death is not the end, when Jesus spoke of enduring to the end, He was speaking of the end “after” the final deception of Satan, which is “after” the thousand year reign. (Matthew 10:22, 24:13; Mark 13:13).
There is a subtle aspect we must be conscientious of when it comes to Satan. In this life, we teach Satan how to tempt us. Satan is the most patient, observant and not subject to forgetfulness, as man is. Demons do not suffer from memory problems, they remember everything they have seen and heard from before the foundations of the world were laid by God Himself. When they watch us, they only tempt us with what we are vulnerable to. You have never been tempted with anything you were not curious about or predisposed to in some way. That is why some people are into drugs while others could care less. Those that are into drugs can’t seem to get away from them, while those who have no interest in drugs, don’t find themselves in situations with people using drugs.
This is no coincidence. Once you are on the other side of this life, Satan will try a new tactic to deceive you. Chances are it will have something to do with pride and vanity, after all that is what got him, and most likely what caused the fall of the Angels with him. This places salvation in perspective. Salvation is in fact, being saved from God’s and Christ wrath in the tribulation and final judgment. What is ultimately the second death, as it is referred to. In the wrath, Christ gets vengeance on those that rejected Him and the Father. (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, Revelation 6:16) “the wrath of the Lamb” which is depicted in (Rev. 19:19-21). Jesus opens the seals that are in the book held by God to start the tribulation. All the judgments that ensue are God’s judgments, despite the fact that Jesus opens the book that begins the plagues (Rev. 5:3-7, 20:7-15).
The tribulation is a combination of both God’s judgments and the revenge of Jesus. But salvation is the escape of all that (Rev. 3:10). What we know more about is the expanse of people going to Hell and that more of mankind will end up there and ultimately the Lake of Fire, “Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.”Isaiah 5:14
What we don’t know are the actual numbers of people who will end up in Hell or in Heaven. When John states that the number of people deceived by Satan are as the sands of the sea, that’s substantial, given how much sand is on all the continents and that three quarters of the earth is covered with water. This is not to say, that there have ever been as many people to live as there is sand, this is not a literal point, but it is to offer perspective on the scope of things were dealing with in this matter, coupled with what Jesus said on the subject, one should take more seriously their faith and one’s position in the afterlife… “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”Matthew 7:14