Sunday: Events Inaugurating the Millennium
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If the millennium marks the beginning of God’s ‘utopia’ for His people, it is only natural for us to try to know when it will begin and what it will be like.

Image © Steve Creitz from GoodSalt.com

Image © Steve Creitz from GoodSalt.com

The millennium, as a concept, appears in Revelation 20, where it is mentioned six times between verses 2-7. In order to know the time of the millennium, the place of Revelation 20 in the overall flow of the book of Revelation needs to be determined. Although the book does not follow a straight time line, in this case it is not too difficult to determine when the millennium begins.

Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 and Revelation 20. How does the nature of the resurrection as mentioned in these two passages help to determine when the millennium begins? What connected events can you find in these passages?

Sometime before Jesus’ second advent, Revelation predicts that three powers (the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet) will gather the nations to oppose the work of Christ and His people (Rev. 16:13). At the time of Christ’s coming(Rev. 19:11), the nations will gather to make war against Christ, but in the process the beast and the false prophet will be destroyed (Rev. 19:19-20). Revelation 20, then, takes up the fate of the third power, the dragon. While the dead in Christ are being resurrected, here called the first resurrection (vs. 5), the dragon (Satan) will be captured and cast into the bottomless pit for 1,000 years (vss. 1-3).

Some of these amazing events are depicted also in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9. These passages together help to explain what happens before the millennium begins.

That beginning, of course, coincides with the second advent of Christ. The dead in Christ will be resurrected to join the faithful living, and both groups will be taken to heaven. The wicked living at the time of Christ’s advent will be slain by His “brightness” (2 Thess. 2:8). And the desolated earth will become the prison house of Satan, who will be ‘bound’ for 1,000 years by, as it were, a chain of circumstances. The reason given for Satan’s imprisonment is “so he might not deceive the nations any longer” (Rev. 20:3). Many see a symbolic link between ‘banishment’ of the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement(Lev. 16:22and the circumstances of Satan during the millennium.

Go back over the events revealed in these verses. They talk about supernatural happenings that reveal the greatness and power of God in contrast to the weakness and impotence of humankind. How can we always keep this important contrast before us? Why would that be a good remedy for pride and self-sufficiency?

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Sunday: Events Inaugurating the Millennium — 22 Comments

  1. If we stay focused on our objective, our destiny-eternal life as long as we trust and obey our lives become so much more meaningful. It's especially more amazing when we tell others about the promise of redemption. That's when we begin to experience peace on earth. We get just a glimpse of the new earth. Share the Hope !!

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  2. I'm fearful to admit it. But does it REALLY matter? Knowing the specific details of WHERE Christ is now (sanctuary), or what are the details of the the millenium in heaven... Sometimes, it only seems to cause confusion, and even a sense of superiority in regard to Bible knowledge/interpretation, rather than creating a deeper love, loyalty for Christ and longing for His soon return. As much as I've read Revelation, and studied in Prophecy Seminars, I still don't "get it", and I get weary trying to understand - enough to explain to someone else, when it may have no eternal value... Am I the ONLY SDA that feels this way???

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    • Ellee, I think a lot of people are wondering the same thing. To me what those things tell us has to do with how God relates to His people and lets us know that God hasn't abandoned us and that He is still working on the problem of sin and the issues raised in the controversy. For instance by knowing that Jesus is our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary we have faith that He is our advocate in Heaven in a similar way that the high priest was supposed to be to the ancient Israelites. He is our representative in the courts of Heaven especially during the judgment and to me that is really good news indeed.

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    • Ellee, I suppose your question could apply to any teaching of the Bible. Does it really matter, as long as I love Jesus?

      I suggest you think how you would reply to someone who understands very little of Bible truth and asks you, "Does it really matter that I know what the Bible says about which day to keep, as long as I love Jesus?"

      How much it matters probably depends on your station in life and how you spend your time. If you have time to read the newspaper, read books or magazines, watch TV or videos and than ask, "Does it really matter," it would seem that your priorities are not on heavenly things and it probably matters a great deal.

      However, if you were a single mother, working every waking moment just to keep the children fed and clothed, with no time for reading or watching TV or videos, I would hate to suggest that you absolutely must understand the details of the millennium. I'd say it would be more important to re-read the Gospels. :)

      However, the book of Revelation begins with a blessing: "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it, for the time is near." (Rev 1:3)

      Does it really matter whether you study to understand? That's for you to decide through counsel with the Holy Spirit whom Jesus gave to guide us into all truth.

      That said, there is so much fanciful stuff written about Revelation, that I recommend reading the actual book with the aid of marginal cross references, rather than reading what others have said about it. And I wouldn't recommend beginning Bible study with Revelation. The book is built on the truths revealed in the rest of the Bible, and it means little for those who are unfamiliar with previous history and revelation that gives meanings to the symbols. In other words, study the rest of the Bible first. :)

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    • Hello Ellee. You are not the only SDA who feels that you did not “get it.” I was one too; until I put everything I know about God under question and began to search for myself. Since then God makes more sense to me than ever before. Instead of God showing people videos with biographies to convince His faithful people for a 1000 year (is it a honeymoon with His new Bride?) that His decisions are right, I see the God who shows to the whole universe (angels and demons included) that the people whom He selected for heaven (resurrection and translation) will never fail and never resign from friendship with Him (including the criminal on the cross). Instead of God resurrecting the unsaved in order to punish them for a choice that they had the right to make, I see the God who shows to the whole universe (angels, demons, and all people who will have ever lived) that God did not make any mistake by leaving the unsaved on earth. These unsaved people will confirm God’s decision by organizing an attack on the Holy City. I hope that this kind of view on God does not only make sense, but removes all interpretations that do not make sense, and primarily creates deeper love and loyalty for Christ. I agree with you: interpretations that degrade God’s character, cannot create a deeper love and loyalty for God. Only interpretations that make sense can do it. See God as He really is, and discard all interpretations that degrade Him.

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  3. I came to this site seeking further study. I must commend you all on your candour, the Christian way in which you deal with divergent views and how knowledgeable you are. Continue the good work to God's honour and glory.

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  4. Hello. Plz, at the time of Christ's coming, the nations will gather to make war against Christ, but the beast and the false prophet will be destroyed in the process. That is, "These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone." The dragon will be bound for a thousand years and after this period he will be let loose. He will deceive and gather the nations to battle against the saints. They compass the camp of the saints. However, "fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil... was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are". I am confused: is hell already existing(the beast and the false prophet are there). Because later it says the devil is cast into this place where these two powers ARE. I know that hell(fire) is rained down from God after the millennium and there is no hell now.

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    • A question of questions; two lakes of fire. That question has been raised long ago. If I remember correctly Elder James White was once asked about the same thing which he basically left alone. Perhaps we should too but I think it can be reconciled if we remember that both the beast and false prophet are intangible social structures - not physical beings. The picture is then of total destruction of those earthy powers in the same way that Daniel saw, "in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever" (Dan. 2:44 NKJV). That prophesy had to do with the metal man image where the, "the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth" (Dan. 2:35 NKJV). These too are powers - not human beings. That is why they could be destroyed together at the same time.

      Besides, the beast of Rev 13 is a conglomeration of all those powers for, "the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion" (Rev. 13:2 NKJV) which are the symbols of government powers used in the vision that Daniel saw (Dan 7). So the question I leave with you is the lake of fire literal or is it symbolical.

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      • Hello Tyler Cluthe. The Stone (Dn2:35) did not fill the earth yet (have you seen it anywhere? not in Australia!). There is no need to squash the death of the Beast and the False Prophet before the Millennium. Since they are not physical beings (as you correctly emphasize) but anti-God systems of beliefs (you call it “intangible social structures”), they can exist only when people exist and accept false beliefs. All the unsaved people (with anti-God system of beliefs die before the Millennium, this is when the Beast and the False Prophet become dormant (but not annihilated). There is nothing strange with this concept, because many people who once lived and accepted the false belief system, are now dead; yet the Beast and the False Prophet keep existing without them. As soon as all the unsaved are resurrected, the Beast and the False Prophet are awake and active in people’s minds in the greatest number ever. These people (with anti-God belief systems) globally turn against God and His camp (“the beloved city” Rv20:9). Then, and only then, all the unsaved are annihilated (including their false belief systems). Only then the Stone kingdom can fill the earth (Dn2:35). How can the Beast and the False Prophet (anti-God belief systems) be destroyed before the Millennium?

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    • Hi, Michael. You ask a question that has been of interest to many over the years. The issue of the lake of fire is complicated by the appearance that Revelation 19:20 tells us that the beast and false prophet are thrown into it at the beginning of the millenium, while Revelation 20:10 tells us that the devil is thrown into the lake at the end of the millenium. Since it specifically says this is the same lake, one would suppose that the lake had been burning for the entire millenium.

      Further complicating the picture in chapter 20, verse 9 tells us that the wicked will be devoured by a fiery rain from heaven, while verse 15 says they will be cast into the lake of fire. Are they killed twice at the end of the millenium?

      The use in the Greek of chapter 20 of an article, as in "the" lake of fire, strongly suggests that this is the same lake of fire that apparently burned over the millenium. However, even though the Bible does not use the phrase "lake of fire" prior to chapter 19 the presence of the article in the passage in Revelation 19:20 could also imply an antecedent. If so, then where does this lake of fire exist prior to Revelation? Job 38:22-23 may provide some insight.

      Are there indeed places where God treasures up snow for battle? Or does this simply make reference to God's potential to produce overwhelming amounts of snow and hail? We know now that snow is produced by certain atmospheric conditions. When those conditions are right, snow will be produced and depending on those conditions, it can appear in abundance. Perhaps in the same way, once the conditions are in place fire may rain down from the sky as easily as snow or hail and even accumulate in large bodies or lakes. So where would the lake of fire exist then? Maybe in the elements that come together when the conditions are right.

      Of interest, also, is that while Revelation speaks of the devil, the beast and the false prophet being tormented forever, it does not say the same for the wicked. Too, we are told that death is cast into the lake of fire. Since death is a concept and not an entity, does this make the lake of fire figurative rather than literal? Perhaps it is symbolic and only the fiery rain is literal. In any event, Malachi 4:3 tells us that the wicked will be reduced to ashes at some point, so there may not be an eternal torment for them. I am of the opinion that it is better not to be in that party. However, rather than seeking God to avoid a future punishment, isn't it better to seek God because of present peace and joy that can last an eternity?

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    • Hello Michael. The Bible is clear — the Lake of Fire is the Second Death (Rv20:10). Since death was destroyed in it, it obviously takes place after the Millennium. It is very strange to me why some people insist that the Beast and False Prophet are destroyed before the Millennium? Does it make any sense that these 2 entities somehow stop existing, while the people who compose them (share the false belief systems) are still to be alive after the Millennium? There does not have to be a place called Hell; the Lake of Fire (hell if you like) is ONE event and takes place AFTER the Millennium where all false belief systems will be destroyed forever.

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      • Hi, Cezaryn. I am not sure I understand you correctly. Are you saying the events of Revelation 19 are post millennium, then the events of early Revelation 20 are at the beginning of the millennium, and then we jump back again to the end of the millennium at the end of Revelation 20? Perhaps you could clarify.

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        • Very well. Since that is clear, perhaps you can share why you feel it is appropriate to rearrange these passages in this way. I am trusting that it is not simply opinion but a solid biblical foundation you are able to present for this interpretation. I am eager to hear it.

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        • I am glad that you expect the Bible to be its own interpreter.

          1. The scene of the rider on the white horse takes place in heaven (Rv19:11)
          2. The rider and His armies are in heaven (Rv19:14)
          3. The armies are clothed in fine linen (Rv19:14)
          4. The fine linen means the righteous acts of the saints (Rv19:8)
          5. The Bride is clothed in fine linen (Rv19:8)
          6. Conclusion: The Bride is the same entity as the army
          7. Jesus comes with his army to the earth to strike the nations (Rv19:15)
          8. Conclusion: It will take place after the second resurrection.
          Conclusion1:
          Jesus will come to the earth with the saved people described as His Bride or His army, and this event will take place after the Millennium.

          9. The Beast and the False Prophet are thrown to the Lake of Fire (Rv19:20)
          10. The Lake of Fire means the second death (Rv20:14) and it takes place after the Millennium
          Conclusion2:
          The Beast and the False Prophet are destroyed after the Millennium.

          I hope you will consider my presentation to be built on “a solid biblical foundation.”

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      • Please consider that since the beast and the false prophet are not physical beings but organizations formed for a specific purpose, perhaps the "lake of fire" is not physical either. Fire destroys completely, so the fire would symbolize complete destruction. (Please keep in mind that most things in Revelation are symbolic.)

        It seems to me that the organizations symbolized by the beast and the false prophet actually fall just before the Second Coming, when the whole world descends into chaos.

        Since organizations cannot exist without people, it seems to me that the beast and the false prophet cannot exist on earth during the millennium when the earth is uninhabited by humans. And the resurrection of the wicked will bring up the wicked from all ages, not just the ones alive just before the Second Coming. Thus I cannot see that the same organizations which existed before the Second Coming could possibly exist after the millennium.

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        • I agree that the Beast, the False Prophet, and the Lake of Fire are symbolic expressions, but we need to remember that the concepts they represent are real (whether physical objects or abstract ideas). However, it seems to me that the Beast and the False Prophet are a little more than just organizations. They would be better described as a group of people who follow anti-God systems of beliefs (atheists, evolutionists, false religions etc.). This is why the Beast or the False Prophet can exist longer than one generation of people who are alive at Parousia. There were many people who belonged to the anti-God systems of beliefs in the past, and they are now dead. Yet the Beast and the False Prophet keep existing regardless of generations of people passing away. All people who have died in alliance with the anti-God systems of beliefs or who are still alive at Parousia, will be resurrected during the second resurrection and as soon as they are alive, they will demonstrate the same anti-God belief. After the Beast and the False Prophet have no followers for a 1000 year (only a temporary issue) they will exist again after the Millennium and it will be the biggest number of people who will have ever lived at one time. This will be the Beast and the False Prophet in full number (before the Millennium it would be just a fraction). Contrary to you I see that the only logical time for destruction of the Beast and the False Prophet is after the Millennium.

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  5. Hi.
    Thank you so much for sharing. Have been following this since the beginning of the year and am well pleased with what God is doing. God bless you all

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  6. I pray to God to bless us with knowledge, wisdom & understanding as we continue to study thy words.

    God bless.
    Happy new year.

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  7. The thoughts that grabbed my attention in this lesson are:
    1. There will be tears for God to wipe away. Revelation 21:4
    "Jesus has come!" should generate joy. "We are saved!" should
    generate joy, but there are tears. Why?
    2. The transparency of God!
    a. Jesus has been involved going through the records of lives.
    b. Those who He has determined fit to be saved will review all the
    records against His decision.
    c. I assume He waits for endorsement by the saved before totally
    before executing the cleansing process and eliminating those who
    chose war rather than to cooperate with the principles of His
    kingdom.
    Can you imagine the grief of the saved during the Millennium as they review the records? Though they have repented, included in the records are the results of lives lost due to their own neglect, or wrong doing. It is only God who will be able to wipe those bitter tears away.

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  8. The article reads: “The wicked living at the time of Christ’s advent will be slain by His “brightness”.” Could anyone please explain why it is thought that all the unsaved people will be destroyed “with the brightness of His coming”?
    As I see it, “the man of sin... the son of perdition” (2Th2:3) or “the lawless one” (2Th2:8) is the same entity as the one “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” (2Th2:4) Why is it implied that billions of those who worship the “lawless one” are to be destroyed, while the Bible clearly states that it will be “the lawless” himself (and not his worshipers) who will be destroyed?

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  9. The question I would like to explore here is whether or not the wicked die at the Second Advent. In order to answer that I will be using two primary texts that I believe are related. The first one is the seventh plague which Adventists believe precedes the millennium.

    Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!"
    18 And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.
    19 Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.
    20 Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
    21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great. (Rev. 16:17-21 NKJV)

    This of course doesn't show the wicked dying but it does show the extent of damage from the plague. First notice that there is to be a giant earthquake more powerful than anything the world has seen such that, "every island fled away, and the mountains were not found." That means that the surface of the earth will be radically altered and might even involve rapid continental movements on the order that was seen during Noah's flood.

    Second is that severe atmospheric phenomenon will also take place. "The largest hailstone in terms of diameter and weight ever recorded in the United States fell on July 23, 2010 in Vivian, South Dakota; it measured 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter and 18.62 inches (47.3 cm) in circumference, weighing in at 1.93 pounds (0.88 kg)" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail). By comparison during the last plague the hail is prophesied to weigh one talent (about 75 pounds). That is over 30 times the weight of the largest known to have fallen. In order for that to happen the upward wind velocity would have to be minimally that of a major tornado and probably a lot more in order to support that much weight in an updraft.

    Taken together there will be immensely destructive events going on by the time the plagues are over and from what we can see today we can only imagine the death toll.

    Now the second verse:

    I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light.
    24 I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, And all the hills moved back and forth.
    25 I beheld, and indeed there was no man, And all the birds of the heavens had fled.
    26 I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, And all its cities were broken down At the presence of the LORD, By His fierce anger.
    27 For thus says the LORD: "The whole land shall be desolate; Yet I will not make a full end.
    28 For this shall the earth mourn, And the heavens above be black, Because I have spoken. I have purposed and will not relent, Nor will I turn back from it. (Jer. 4:23-28 NKJV)

    Notice the view that Jeremiah saw. The time of this could not be after the Millennium because at that time the earth becomes a fireball as God re-creates the earth and makes it new. It can't be prior to the last plague because at the end of the plagues the earth is, "without form, and void" and "indeed there was no man, And all the birds of the heavens had fled" which is not the condition that now exists. Neither can this be a description of the Genesis creation because before it there were birds and "fruitful land" and cities that in his vision were all "broken down."

    There is only one other period left, the Millennium and the only reason why it becomes that way is the plagues that move mountains and sink islands. But the important thing is that, Jeremiah saw no man or birds.

    But that is not the only vision like that in the Bible. First within Jeremiah, even though he is mostly considering the immediate destruction of Jerusalem the wording is far more extensive than just that:

    I will take up a weeping and wailing for the mountains, And for the dwelling places of the wilderness a lamentation, Because they are burned up, So that no one can pass through; Nor can men hear the voice of the cattle. Both the birds of the heavens and the beasts have fled; They are gone. (Jer. 9:10 NKJV)

    Then in Isaiah:

    For the windows from on high are open, And the foundations of the earth are shaken.
    19 The earth is violently broken, The earth is split open, The earth is shaken exceedingly.
    20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, And shall totter like a hut; Its transgression shall be heavy upon it, And it will fall, and not rise again. (Isa. 24:18-20 NKJV)

    I will leave the conclusion of all of this up to the reader.

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