Can peace on earth ever exist? Opening the Bible, Doug Batchelor explores the millennium.
When I was a child, I thought birthdays were too far apart. Now I wonder who arranged for them to come around so quickly. Methuselah doesn't seem quite so old anymore! But I have to agree that 1000 years is a very long time.
So it isn't surprising that a prophecy in Revelation talking about a 1000-year period gets a lot of attention.
The term millennium comes from two Latin words: milli , which means “one thousand,” and annum , which means “year.” A millennium is any period of 1000 years. The Bible's millennium is described in Revelation 20.
Q1: What event will mark the beginning of the millennium?
Revelation 20:1-3 says that an angel will bind Satan with a great chain and cast him into an “abyss” 1 for 1000 years.
This is obviously symbolic language.
The Greek Old Testament (called the Septuagint) uses the word abyss to describe the formless chaotic condition of the earth before God created it. 2
Q2: When will the second coming of Christ and the resurrection of the righteous occur in relation to the millennium?
Revelation 20:4 says that the righteous “came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” We know the resurrection of the righteous will happen in connection with Christ's second coming, so obviously the Second Coming will also happen at the beginning of the millennium.
Q3: What happens to the wicked at Christ's second coming?
Paul said that “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels” (that's Christ's second coming), the wicked “will be punished with everlasting destruction." 3 Revelation 19 describes the same event in symbolic language. An angel calls for the birds to “gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men ... and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great” (verses 17, 18).
The point is that the wicked who are alive at Christ's second coming will he destroyed by the intense light.4 Describing this event, the prophet Jeremiah said, “AIl that time those slain by the Lord will be eveywhere—from one end of the earth to the other. They will not be mourned or gathered up to be buried, but will be like refuse lying on the ground.”5 Why won't these people be buried? Because no-one will be alive to mourn them or to bury them!
Q4: What is the condition of the earth during the millennium?
We find a clue in the answer to question 1. The word abyss , where the devil will be cast during the 1000 years, is used in Genesis 1:2 to describe the earth in its uncreated, chaotic state. So what will cause the earth to be turned into this desolate condition?6 Revelation says the most powerful earthquake in human history will occur at Christ's second coming.
This earthquake will be global. and it will be so severe it will flatten the world's mountains and islands.7 Jeremiah also described the world in this condition: “I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty.”8 That's identical to the description in Genesis 1:2 of the earth before it was created, but Jeremiah was pointing to the future, not the past.
Q5: So if God's people aren't on the earth during the 1000 years, where are they?
Shortly before He left them, Jesus told His disciples that He was going away to His Father's house to prepare a place for them. “If I go and prepare a place for you,” He said, “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”9 We know that Jesus went to heaven when He left this earth, and He's still there today.10 And He said that He will come back and take us to be with Him, so that we may be where He is. In other words, He will take the righteous to live with Him in heaven—both those who are alive at His coming and those who are resurrected at that time.
Some people believe that the righteous and the wicked all live side-by-side in the world during the millennium. There are two reasons why this can't be true. First, is we already learned, the wicked will be destroyed at Christ's second coming.
They'll be dead. And, second, the Bible makes it clear that God will separate the righteous from the wicked at Christ's second coming. Jesus said that when He comes, He will “separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”11 There isn't a shred of biblical evidence to support the idea that the righteous and the wicked will live together after Christ's second coming.
Q6: What happens at the end of the millennium?
Revelation says Satan will “gather them [his wicked followers] for battle,” and “they marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city He loves [the New Jerusalem].”12 However, God will conduct one final judgment, in which the wicked will be condemned to eternal death.
Then fire will come down from heaven and destroy them.13
Q7: What is the ultimate destiny of the righteous after the millennium?
Revelation says that “the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”14 And Jesus said that “the meek will inherit the earth.”15 God's people will live eternally with Him on this earth after it has been recreated and made new.16 There's one more question that needs answering in respect to the millennium, and that's whether you and I will experience it. Fortunately, getting there is as simple as repeating this prayer in your heart: “God, Jesus died so that I could live. I accept His offer of eternal life.Come into my life right now. Forgive me of my sins and fill me the power to overcome them.”
The King James Bible calls this abyss a “bottomless pit.”
See Genesis 1:2.
2 Thessalonians 1:7, 9.
See 2 Thessalonians 2:8.
Genesis 1:2 says that “the earth was formless and empty.”
Revelation 6:14; 16:18, 20.
John 14:2, 3; also Acts 1:9-11; Hebrews 8:1, 2.
Matthew 25:32; also Matthew 13:40-43, 47-50.
Revelation 20:8, 9. Revelation 21:2 says that the New Jerusalem will come down from heaven to this earth. This obviously must happen prior to the battle described in chapter 20:9.
See Revelation 21:1; 2; Peter 3:13; Isaiah 65:17; 66:22.