“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: . . . and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Rev. 20:4.Whom does Paul say the saints are to judge?
“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? . . . Know you not that we shall judge angels?” 1 Cor. 6:1-3.
NOTE.-From these scriptures it is plain that the saints of all ages are to be engaged with Christ in a work of “judgment” during the millennium, or one thousand years.
What prophecy had Paul upon which to base his statement?
“I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High.” Dan. 7: 21,22.
How many resurrections are there to be?
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28,29.
• The millennium is the closing period of God’s great week of time-a great sabbath of rest to the earth and to the people of God.
• It follows the close of the gospel age, and precedes the setting up of the everlasting kingdom of God on earth.
• It comprehends what in the Scriptures is frequently spoken of as “the day of the Lord.”
• It is bounded at each end by a resurrection.
• Its beginning is marked by the pouring out of the seven last plagues, the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the righteous dead, the binding of Satan, and the translation of the saints to heaven; and its close, by the descent of the New Jerusalem, with Christ and the saints, from heaven, the resurrection of the wicked dead, the loosing of Satan, and the final destruction of the wicked.
• During the one thousand years the earth lies desolate; Satan and his angels are confined here; and the saints, with Christ, sit in judgment on the wicked, preparatory to their final punishment.
• The wicked dead are then raised; Satan is loosed for a little season, and he and the host of the wicked encompass the camp of the saints and the holy city, when fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them. The earth is cleansed by the same fire that destroys the wicked, and, renewed, becomes the eternal abode of the saints.
• The millennium is one of “the ages to come.” Its close will mark the beginning of the new earth state.
What class only have part in the first resurrection?
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power.” Rev. 20:6.
What will Christ do with the saints when He comes?
“I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14: 3.
NOTE.-In other words, Christ will take them to heaven, there to live and reign with Him during the one thousand years.
Where did John, in vision, see the saints?
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” Rev. 7:9.
NOTE.-This scripture shows plainly that the righteous are all taken to heaven immediately after the first resurrection. This accords with the words of Christ in John 14:1-3, where He says, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” Peter desired to accompany Christ to those mansions; but Jesus answered, “Thou canst not follow Me now; but thou shalt follow Me afterwards.” John 13:36. This makes it clear that when Christ returns to earth to receive His people, He takes them to the Father’s house in heaven.
What becomes of the living wicked when Christ comes?
“As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; . . . the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” Luke 17:26-30.
What does the Apostle Paul say concerning this?
“When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them. . . . and they shall not escape.” 1 Thess. 5:3.
NOTE.-When Christ comes, the righteous will be delivered and taken to heaven, and all the living wicked will be suddenly destroyed, as they were at the time of the flood. For further proof see 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 6:14-17; 19:11-21; Jer. 25:30-33. There will be no general resurrection of the wicked until the end of the one thousand years. This will leave the earth desolate and without human inhabitant during this period.
What description does the prophet Jeremiah give of the earth during this time?
“I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by His fierce anger.” Jer. 4:23-26.
NOTE.-At the coming of Christ the earth is reduced to a chaotic state-to a mass of ruins. The heavens depart as a scroll when it is rolled together; mountains are moved out of their places; and the earth is left a dark, dreary, desolate waste. See Isa. 24:1-3; Rev. 6:14-17.
How does Isaiah speak of the wicked at this time?
“It shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.” Isa. 24:21,22.
How long is Satan to be imprisoned on this earth?
“I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled.” Rev. 20:1-3.
NOTE.-The word rendered “bottomless pit” in this text is abusos, the Greek term employed by the Septuagint in Gen. 1: 2, as the equivalent of the Hebrew word rendered “deep” in our English versions A more literal translation would be “abyss.” It is a term applied to the earth in its desolate, waste, chaotic, dark, uninhabited condition. In this condition it will remain during the one thousand years. It will be the dreary prison-house of Satan during this period. Here, in the midst of the smoldering bones of wicked dead, slain at Christ’s second coming, the broken-down cities, and the wreck and ruin of all the pomp and power of this world, Satan will have opportunity to reflect upon the results of his rebellion against God. But the prophecy of Isaiah says, “After many days shall they be visited.”
The righteous dead are raised at Christ’s second coming. When will the rest of the dead, the wicked, be raised?
“The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” Rev. 20:5.
NOTES.-From this we see that the beginning and the close of the millennium, or one thousand years, are marked by the two resurrections.
The word millennium is from two Latin words, mille, meaning a thousand, and annus, year-a thousand years. It covers the time during which Satan is to be bound and wicked men and angels are to be judged. This period is bounded by distinct events. Its beginning is marked by the close of probation, the pouring out of the seven last plagues, the second coming of Christ, and the resurrection of the righteous dead. It closes with the resurrection of the wicked, and their final destruction in the lake of fire. See above diagram.
What change is made in Satan’s condition at the close of the one thousand years?
“After that he must be loosed a little season.” Rev. 20:3.
NOTE.-At the close of the one thousand years, Christ, accompanied by the saints, comes to the earth again, to execute judgment upon the wicked, and to prepare the earth, by a re-creation, for the eternal abode of the righteous. At this time, in answer to the summons of Christ, the wicked dead of all ages awake to life. This is the second resurrection, the resurrection unto damnation. The wicked come forth with the same rebellious spirit which possessed them in this life. Then Satan is loosed from his long period of captivity and inactivity.
As soon as the wicked are raised, what does Satan at once proceed to do?
“When the thousand years are expired, 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, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” Rev. 20:7,8.
Against whom do the wicked go to make war, and what is the outcome?
“They went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” Rev. 20:9.
NOTES.-This is the last act in the great controversy between Christ and Satan. The whole human race meet here for the first and last time. The eternal separation of the righteous from the wicked here takes place. At this time the judgment of God is executed upon the wicked in the lake of fire. This is the second death. This ends the great rebellion against God and His government. Now is heard the voice of God as He sits upon His throne, speaking to the saints, and saying, “Behold, I make all things new;” and out of the burning ruins of the old earth there springs forth before the admiring gaze of the millions of the redeemed, “a new heaven and a new earth,” in which they shall find an everlasting inheritance and dwelling-place.
The millennium is a great sabbath of rest, both for the earth and for God’s people. For six thousand years the earth and its inhabitants have been groaning under the curse of sin. The millennium, the seventh thousand, will be a sabbath of rest and release; for, says the prophet concerning the land, “as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath.” 2 Chron. 36:21. “There remaineth therefore a rest [margin, keeping of a sabbath] to the people of God.” Heb. 4:9. This precedes the new earth state.