Prophecy Study 12
The following subject has to do with another fascinating time period. Revelation’s 1,000 years of peace. Often this is referred to as the “millennium” in the religious world although that word is not found in the Scriptures. It comes from two Latin words: “Milli” meaning 1,000 and “Anum” meaning years. Often the millennium is referred to the 1000 years of peace.
Recently this subject has been popularized more than ever before, and that has some significance. Some say it will be a great time of peace on earth where all men will be as one, and all will have a second chance to accept Christ. Others say it’s a time of peace for the Jews with no war. Again, with all these different ideas, we need to let the Word of God speak. You will see how very simple this whole subject is, for God’s Word is always simple if you let it interpret itself.
As Jesus returned to heaven, He gave the wonderful promise that has been the hope of Christians ever since. John 14:1- 3, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. 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 ye may be also.”
Jesus is coming again!
When Jesus comes, there will be two classes of people on earth. The righteous and the wicked. In Isaiah 66:5 you can read of these two classes. “Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.“
He will come to the “joy” of some, and the “shame” of others. Let’s be a part of that group of “joy.”
Isaiah described this group of joy and their testimony in Isaiah 25:9, “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” The other group of shame is contrasted in Revelation 6:14-17,”And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens 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 that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” We won’t want to be part of that group!
It’s important that we understand that when Jesus comes, every person’s case is decided, there will be no second chance. The second chance is a false deception Satan has brought in to lull people into false security. Revelation 22:11-12 teaches before Jesus comes all will have made a choice, and every individual will either be saved or lost. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
As Jesus comes. He will usher in this 1,000 year period. The second coming marks the beginning of the millennium. Revelation 19 gives us a symbolic picture of His coming. This chapter precedes chapter 20 which tells of the millennium. So let’s turn to Revelation 19 for a moment and see. Revelation 19:11, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” Here is a symbolic picture of Jesus coming on a white horse. Verses 13-15 continue with all heaven coming with Him. “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” The sword proceeding from His mouth represents the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” and Hebrews 4:12, “17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”).
Then verses 17-18, “And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.” We see here the same wicked who cried for the rocks and mountains to fall on them as Jesus comes (Revelation 6:14-17). The fowls are filled with their flesh. Then in verses 19- 20 we see something interesting. “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” God singles out the Beast and the False Prophet from the rest of the wicked, and places them in “a lake of fire.” while the rest of the wicked are destroyed. Verse 21, “And the remnant were slain with he sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”
Let’s turn to Matthew 24 and read what Jesus Himself spoke in regard to this matter. Matthew 24:27- 28, “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” The second coming will bring death! Read on in verses 29- 31, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” All the tribes “mourn.” So it’s clear that before the millennium begins, Jesus will come in power and glory and all these events take place as follows:
- Second Coming
2. First Resurrection
3. The Rapture
4. Wicked Slain
5. First Death
6. Fowls Feast
7. A lake of fire for the Beast and False Prophet.
Let’s pick up immediately from that point then and go right into Revelation 20:1- 3, “And 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: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” Satan is bound for 1,000 years, and then after the 1,000 years is past, he is loosed a short season. Notice verse 3, “that he should deceive the nations no more.” That must mean, then, that he is deceiving them now ! But Praise the Lord, the devil’s work is going to come to an end! Sin will cease and the devil will be forced to stop his work! All will come to an end!
Then in Revelation 20:4 the picture changes to another group. “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” The righteous live and reign with Christ during the 1,000 years. What about the wicked who were destroyed we read about a few minutes ago! Revelation 20:5, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” They lived not again until the 1,000 years were over. This is the first resurrection. This is the one we want to be in! For Revelation 20:6 says we are “blessed” if we are in this one. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
Now let’s get the four keys that will make this subject so clear that any child could understand it. We studied in the beginning that there will be only two classes of people on earth–the wicked and the righteous. These come in two ways though, living and dead. So we actually have four classes:
- Righteous Living
2. Righteous Dead
3. Wicked Living
4. Wicked Dead
Today we have many classes which are man made. We separate by race, education, financial status, et cetera. But God doesn’t look at people that way, and we’re foolish if we do. He is no respecter of persons, and in His eyes there are only four classes. All man-made divisions will be as the dew before the sun. All people in the world will be in one of four classes, and Christ’s coming will settle each groups destination.
There will be two resurrections as we read in this chapter, the first and the second resurrection. To establish this further let’s hear Jesus’ own words regarding this. John 5:28-29, “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.” There is a resurrection of “life” before the 1,000 years, and a resurrection of “damnation” after the 1,000 years.
Let’s cover first then the resurrection of life for the righteous. First Thessalonians 4:16- 17, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” That’s why Jesus said in John 14:1- 3, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. 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 ye may be also.” At this time all the righteous from Adam to those living at the end of time will go to heaven–both the righteous living and righteous (resurrected) dead. So that takes care of the first two groups. They are in heaven during the 1,000 years.
Next we have the wicked living. We read earlier that they cried for the rocks and mountains to fall and hide them. Let’s see why. Second Thessalonians 2:8, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” They are destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming. A wicked man cannot see God and live. No sin can live in God’s presence. That’s why Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8.
Let’s see what Jesus also said in Luke 17:26- 30, “And 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; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But 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.” It “destroyed them all.” Note verses 36- 37, “Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.” “Where the eagles are gathered” just like Revelation said. One more verse to make this crystal clear. Isaiah 13:9, “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.”
And then we have the last group, the wicked dead. They just stay dead until after the 1,000 years. Revelation 20:5, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” Now let’s review. The righteous living are caught up to heaven, and the righteous dead are resurrected and also go to heaven. Then they live and reign with Christ. The wicked living are destroyed, the fowls eat their flesh, and the wicked dead stay dead.
So then, who is left alive on earth after the second coming and beginning of the millennium? Not one. The millennium is not an era of peace and progress, with no war on earth, but actually a time of total desolation. Several Bible prophets foresaw this earth during the millennium and described it. Notice Jeremiah 4:23- 28, “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. For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end. For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.” After Jesus comes, the power of His coming leaves the earth desolate. All the cities leveled and darkness covers the earth. Yet God says “He will not make a full end.” Why? Because the 1,000 years must pass and then comes the full end.
Isaiah 24 gives a similar picture. Verses 1, 3- 5, 19, 20, describe the earth in chaos. “Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.” Then verses 21- 22 says the wicked are gathered in the “pit.” “And 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.” Satan also is bound in the pit (Revelation 20:3). And after many days (1,000 years), they will be visited for their final destruction. You may wonder, “What is the pit?” The word in the Greek is “ABUSOS.” In the Septuagint Scriptures it is used in Genesis 1:2, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” This earth in a state of darkness and void is the “pit.”
Let’s establish that further in Isaiah 14:12- 14, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou rut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Here we see Satan has always had an obsession to be God. But notice what will happen to him. verse 15, “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” He will be brought down to the sides of the pit.“ Then verses 19- 20, “But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden underfeet. Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.” Again Satan joins the wicked in the pit, but does not join them in burial. And so the pieces fit together perfectly. Satan is bound to this earth in a state of darkness and ruin not with a literal chain, but with a chain of circumstances. What are the circumstances’! The devil is effective only when he has someone to tempt. He needs people. But now there is no one. AII the righteous are in heaven, and the wicked are all dead. At last sin will cease.
Satan then has 1,000 years to contemplate. What is he going to do? The earth is covered with darkness, dead bodies are everywhere, and all is absolute desolation. Satan is now forced to live with himself for 1,000 years with no one to deceive at all–just thinking, thinking, thinking.
I suppose, that he’ll think about the people he tempted while here on earth. Maybe he remembers a poor man who was addicted to alcohol. He remembers how that man struggled with the habit, and how he fell again and again into the gutter. Yet he got up, tried to clean himself up and came back to his family and asked them to forgive him and give him another chance. The poor fellow failed again and came back again. Until one day he met Jesus. A little flame of hope was sparked as he heard of God’s unconditional love and willingness to forgive. His heart was filled with peace and power as he stepped out in faith and accepted Jesus. His life was changed, day by day he grew, and overcame, until Jesus came and took him home. The old devil knows that that man is not here on the earth; he’s up in heaven during the thousand years. All because he dared to take his stand for Jesus.
Then suddenly perhaps the devil looks down, and maybe there`s just a small bit of light in that area and he looks upon the upturned face of another man. A man who was slain by the glory of God. He recognizes the man. It is someone he knew very well while he still lived here in this world. He was a good moral man. Everybody liked him. He was honest, and he paid his debts. There were times this man really wanted to make a decision to follow the Lord all the way, but the devil was right there to say, “No, No, No. Wait. Don’t do it now. Just give yourself a little bit more time. Things will look better. You’ll have a better chance later.” So that man did not make his decision, and now theres no hope at all for the man on the ground. He never had the courage to follow Jesus. He lost everything!
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!
You ask, “What will the saints do in heaven for 1,000 years?” Revelation 20:4, 12, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” We are going to be set on thrones and judgment will be given us. You see, there will be three surprises when you get to heaven:
- You’re there.
- A lot of folks will be missing you thought would make it for sure.
- A lot of folks you knew would never make it, did!
God will take all the saints, those who here were oppressed and looked down upon, those who were tempted and tried, all who were faithful to Jesus, and He will say. “You judge.” And for 1,000 years we will be able to see and know God’s justice. You see, Satan has accused God of not being fair, and to be sure, God will say,”Okay saints, you open the books and see.” Let’s say you know someone you thought should be in heaven and isn’t and you ask, “Why Lord?” God will say “check and see.” And as you do, you will see God is just and good! Turn to 1 Corinthians 6:2, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” The saints will judge the world. Verse 3, “Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” We will also judge angels, that’s the fallen angels. Second Peter 2:4, “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” Gods character of love and justice must be vindicated before the entire universe–for 1,000 years. God is in no hurry and we won’t be either. Malachi said it this way, Malachi 3:17-18, “And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” We will return and judge. What a day that will be, for 1,000 years enjoying heaven, forgetting heartaches. One thousand years without a sneeze, headache, eyeglasses, pills, crime, accidents, or pain! Basking in the sunlight of God’s love for 1,000 years! Time heals. During this time, God will wipe away all tears. Whatever holds you back from following Jesus on this earth now, let it go. What is it worth compared to all eternity?
Then after 1,000 years we are going to come back down to this earth. You see, God created this earth to be inhabited. The devil has seemingly held up that plan for a few years, but not ultimately. Jesus said in Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” The meek will inherit the earth. Today, the proud and the wealthy seem to have inherited it. But one day, Christ will come with His people, and they will inherit the earth.
Let’s go back to Revelation and see this, Revelation 21:1- 2, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Notice New Jerusalem comes down, the heavenly (Hebrews 12:22). This great city will come down after the millennium. It’s an awesome city over 350 miles high, wide, and long (Revelation 21:16). God’s people will be inside. The prophet Zechariah says it will land on the Mount of Olives. Then the final events of earth’s history take place.
As the New Jerusalem descends from heaven, the rest of the dead rise in the second resurrection and we enter the “short season” spoken of in Revelation 20:5, 7, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison.” Satan is loosed now because the wicked have been resurrected and he has people to work with. Revelation 20:8, “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.” The majority of people are here–all the wicked from all the ages. The devil deceives them now that God has raised them from the dead and convinces them they can take the holy city. With warfare, they go up against the city and try to capture it.
Imagine going up to this city. The walls are transparent. The saints are inside, but those who refused to do God’s will are on the outside. Each of us will be either in or out. In their rage, they try to take the holy city, and then our great King of Kings at last puts an end to sin. Revelation 20:9, 14- 15, “And 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. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” That’s hell-fire and it puts an end to sin. Praise the Lord! Then out of this sin-sick world, which God will purify with fire, He will create a new earth. Isaiah 65:17-19, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy, And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.” Revelation 21:1- 4 paints a beautiful picture of it. All is new. In our new home, we will live as it was in the beginning. We will each have a city mansion and a country estate, in the beauty of heaven, we will not remember this former earth. There will be no temptation or sin. May God give us the grace to count everything but loss, except to be ready for that day!