Understanding the millennium in Revelation
Last post we went through the pre-advent judgment, that it was for God’s people (1 Peter 4:17), that it would happen before Christ’s return, and that it had already started.
This post we’re going to look at the next phase of judgement, the 1000 years where the wicked are judged.
After the pre-advent judgment, Christ returns, and then starts the 1000 year judgement over the wicked. There’s a few more details in there, but we’ll get to them in later posts. And whose going to judge them? If you said God, you’re only partly right. Paul tells us that the righteous will judge the world, and even the angels (1 Corinthians 6:2-3). For a thousands years we live and judge with Christ over those who aren’t in heaven (Revelation 20:4).
This 1000 years starts after the first resurrection (Revelation 20:6). Now, this may come as a surprise to many, that there are more than one resurrection, but they’re clearly stated in Revelation and in the gospels. It’s not something that gets preached about very often. So, let’s take a quick look at them.
The first resurrection is the resurrection of the righteous. We know this, because all who are resurrected become priests of God and Christ (Revelation 20:6). It happens when Christ returns. He descends from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. This is a loud event, not a secret rapture as you may have heard. Then, the dead in Christ rise, the first resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:16). we meet our LORD in the air and stay with Him for eternity in the place He has prepared for us (John 14:1-3). So, if Christ returns and you are alive, you rise with Him, if you are dead, you are resurrected, then rise with Him. This is the resurrection of life (John 5:29-29). This is an awesome event for the righteous. For the wicked, it’s doesn’t go so well.
Christ’s return destroys those who are not protected by him by the shear brightness of His own light, and those of the entire assembly of angels (Matthew 25:31). The wicked who are alive when Christ returns all die (2 Thessalonians 2:8). The righteous go with Christ, and the wicked all die leaving no one to bury them (Jeremiah 25:33). They stay dead for 1000 years while the righteous judge them, and then they too are resurrected (Revelation 20:5), the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29).
During this thousand years, the righteous are judging, the wicked are dead, and Satan is bound having no one left to deceive (Revelation 20:1-3). The earth is a wasteland, desolate it’s fields turned to wilderness, it’s cities crumbled (Jeremiah 4:23-26).
The earth stays like this for 1000 years. Satan in His prison, the righteous judging the wicked, who are all dead. Then, the wicked are resurrected (Revelation 20:5), and Satan is loosed from his prison, and the New Jerusalem comes down to earth (Revelation 21:2) right on the mount of olives (Zechariah 14:4), and with it 10,000 of the righteous to complete their judgment (Jude 1:14-15).
Satan, being loosed, picks up where he left off and goes out to deceive the nations again. He manages to convince them that they can take this New Jerusalem (Revelation 20:8). The wicked see Christ sitting on a throne in the city and realize there is no place in the city for them (Revelation 20:11). The books are opened and the wicked are judged according to their deeds (Revelation 20:12, more on this in another post). Then, in mercy, God destroys them in fire (Revelation 20:9, 14-15). We’re going to look at this later as well, about what really happens to the wicked.
Now, I know, that’s a lot to take in if you haven’t heard it before. This teaching can bring to mind a lot of questions regarding what has been traditionally taught about heaven. Many Christians believe that when they die, they will go straight to heaven, that their deceased family members are there now. But, Revelation paints a different picture, one with two specific resurrections.
The next post we’re going to look more into what happens when you die, in particular we’re going to look into whether or not your soul is immortal.