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.
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).
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. 16:22) and 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?