A lie can travel halfway around the
world, while truth puts on its shoes.
– Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Massive confusion exists within Christian
churches about the “Millennium,” a unique thousand-year period depicted
in the book of Revelation. Some teach that this period is entirely
symbolic, and not worth fretting over. Others say we’re in the
Millennium now, and that it began when Jesus Christ defeated Satan by
His death and resurrection. Most prophecy teachers contend that this
apocalyptic period is still future, that it will immediately follow the
Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and will be a time of universal peace on
earth as Jesus Christ governs all nations from Jerusalem.
What is the truth about the thousand
To discover the answer, we must carefully
examine the only authoritative source where it’s taught, the Bible,
especially the book of Revelation, chapter 20. Let’s see what Revelation
20 specifically says, and doesn’t say.
Here’s Revelation 20 in its entirety:
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the
bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. (2) He laid hold of the
dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him
for a thousand years; (3) And he cast him into the bottomless pit, and
shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the
nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these
things he must be released for a little while. (4) And I saw thrones,
and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the
souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for
the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had
not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they
lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (5) But the rest of
the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This
is the first resurrection. (6) Blessed and holy is he who has part in
the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but
they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a
thousand years. (7) Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will
be released from his prison (8) And will go out to deceive the nations
which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather
them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. (9)
They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the
saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven
and devoured them. (10) The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the
lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are.
And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (11) Then I
saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the
earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.
(12) And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books
were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And
the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were
written in the books. (13) The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and
Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were
judged, each one according to his works. (14) Then Death and Hades were
cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And anyone
not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Let’s look at a brief summary of each
vs. 1 – An angel descends from heaven
with a key and a chain.
vs. 2 – Satan is bound for 1000 years.
vs. 3 – During the 1000 years Satan can
no longer deceive the nations.
vs. 4 – Martyrs are resurrected to reign
with Jesus Christ for 1000 years.
vs. 5a – The rest of the dead will be
raised at the end of the 1000 years.
vs. 6 – Those in the first resurrection
will reign with Jesus for 1000 years.
vs. 7 – Satan will be released at the end
of the 1000 years.
vs. 8 – After the rest of the dead are
raised, Satan deceives them again. There will be billions of them, like
the sand of the sea. They are called Gog and Magog, and Satan gathers
them for a final battle.
vs. 9 – Satan and his host surround God's
City. Fire descends and devours them.
vs. 10 – Satan, the Beast, and the False
Prophet are cast into this lake of fire.
vs. 11 – Before this fire falls, a final
vs. 12 – All the resurrected lost are
vs. 13 – Another description of the
resurrected lost being judged.
vs. 14 – Death and Hell are cast into the
lake of fire, which is the second death.
vs. 15 – All the lost are cast into the
lake of fire.
Here is an even shorter summary of the
entire chapter: there is a good resurrection (called “the first
resurrection”) at the start of the 1000 years (vs. 4-6), whereas "the
rest of the dead" are resurrected at the end of the 1000 years (vs. 5a).
Satan is bound during the entire 1000-year period (vs. 3), but is loosed
“when the thousand years are expired” and "the rest of the dead" are
raised (compare verses 5a and 7). Satan gathers the lost for a final
battle against God's City (vs. 8). A final judgment occurs, and then the
lost are punished in the lake of fire (verses 9, 14, 15). Then the old
earth passes, and the new earth comes (21:1).
The above points are undeniable, for this
is exactly what Revelation 20 says.
Two significant facts should be noted:
doesn’t say there will be peace on earth during the Millennium.
doesn’t say Jesus Christ will rule during the Millennium from the
present city of Jerusalem.
these common doctrines (Points 1 and 2) are being taught worldwide, they
are absent from Revelation 20, the only place in God’s Book that
specifically mentions the 1000-year period. Now let’s go deeper.
Two defining bookends mark the beginning
and the end of the thousand years – the two resurrections (vs. 4-6).
Let’s take a closer look at them.
Jesus Christ declared, "Marvel not at
this, for the hour is coming, in 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" (John 5:29, KJV). Paul agreed when he wrote,
"[T]here will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the
unjust" (Acts 24:15). Thus both Jesus Christ and Paul taught two
resurrections, the first being “the resurrection of life” for the saved,
the second being “the resurrection of damnation” for the lost.
Revelation 20 revolves around these two
resurrections. As we’ve already seen, verses 4-6 reveal that one takes
place at the beginning of the 1000 years, the other at the end. The Word
says, "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection.
Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of
God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (vs. 6).
This is the good, or “first resurrection,” at the start of the 1000
years. Those in it need not fear the second death. "But the rest of the
dead did not live again until the thousand years where finished" (vs.
5a). This is the bad or second resurrection, at the conclusion of the
1000 years. Jesus Christ called it "the resurrection of damnation" (John
Thus it is plain that there
are two resurrections – one at the beginning of the Millennium,
in which true believers in Christ are
raised to eternal life; and one at the opposite end of the Millennium,
in which the “unjust” awake to something else entirely.
If the 1000-year period begins with the
resurrection of the saved, the question is, When does this good
resurrection take place? When we find the answer, we’ll understand what
initiates the thousand years.
Scripture teaches that the return of
Jesus Christ results in the resurrection of His saints. In 1 Corinthians
15:23, 51, 52, Paul tells us plainly that it is at "His coming," when
"the trumpet will sound," and when "the dead will be raised
incorruptible, and we shall be changed." Paul also wrote, “For the Lord
Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an
archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise
first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with
them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always
be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
According to Paul, "the dead in Christ
will rise first." This is "the first resurrection" depicted in
In summary, Revelation 20:4-6 begins the
1000 years with the resurrection of the saints. 1 Corinthians 15:51-55
and 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 teach that the resurrection of the saints,
who are called "the dead in Christ," occurs when Jesus Christ returns.
Thus, it is the return of Jesus Christ, when His saints are resurrected,
that marks the beginning of the Millennium.
Jesus returns, the righteous dead are
raised, and along with the righteous living, they are all "caught up" to
meet the Savior in the air. This is great news for true believers!
But what about those who are not "caught
up," those who are left behind? Popular teaching says they will have a
second chance during a seven-year Tribulation period, an idea heavily
promoted in the wildly popular Left Behind novels by Tim LaHaye and
Jerry B. Jenkins. Although those books have sold by the millions, the
important concern for us should be whether or not this theology is truly
Immediately after Paul describes the
righteous being "caught up," he declares, "[T]he day of the Lord so
comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’
then sudden destruction comes upon them ... And they shall not escape"
(1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3). Thus, according to Paul, those who are not
"caught up" will reap "sudden destruction" and "not escape."
Does this sound like the “second chance”
so graphically depicted in Left Behind novels and films? Hardly.
It gets worse. How widespread is this
“sudden destruction”? Jesus Himself explained it: "And as it was in the
days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They
ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until
the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them
all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank,
they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; But on the day that
Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and
destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is
revealed" (Luke 17:26-30, emphasis added).
In Noah’s day, all who refused to enter
the ark were left behind, destroyed in the deluge. In Lot’s day,
everyone except Lot and his family were consumed by falling fire. Jesus
Christ said, "Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is
Other texts make it clear that when Jesus
returns, those left behind will be destroyed, not given another chance
during some hypothetical “seven-year Tribulation” (which, by the way,
is nowhere specifically referred to in the Bible). Here are just a few
texts describing the global desolation that follows Christ’s return.
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 – When Jesus
returns in flaming fire, the lost will be destroyed.
Revelation 16:16-19 – At Armageddon,
cities crumble around the world.
Revelation 6:14; 16:20 – Every island
sinks, and all the mountains disappear.
Jeremiah 4:23-26 – Planet Earth is
totally devastated, with "no man" left alive.
Jeremiah 25:30-33 – Those slain by God
lie dead, unburied, all around the world.
Revelation 19:17, 18, 21 – Birds eat
the flesh of every lost human being worldwide.
These verses teach that those not "caught
up" when Christ returns will be destroyed, and the destruction will
encompass all the earth, as it did during Noah’s flood. Jesus Himself
taught this. "The flood came and took them all away, so also will the
coming of the Son of Man be" (Matthew 24:39).
Rest of the Dead
The last sentence in Revelation 19
describes birds feasting upon the flesh of all people (vs. 21, compare
with verse 18). Immediately following is Revelation 20, which depicts
the binding of Satan “so that he should deceive the nations no more”
during the 1000 years (20:1-3). Why not? The answer’s easy – there’s
nobody left alive on earth to deceive! Those in the first resurrection
were “caught up” to be with Jesus, and the rest, those left behind, were
This helps explain what follows (read
carefully): "that he [Satan] should deceive the nations no more till the
thousand years were finished" (20:3). Notice these three little words
"no more till." What do they tell us? They teach that those “nations”
are entirely Satan’s nations. Satan is deceiving them now, but can’t
continue deceiving them during the Millennium, “until” a certain time.
What time is that? When the 1000 years
are over, obviously. Now put two and two together. At the end of the
Millennium, "the rest of the dead" (those who missed “the first
resurrection”) are raised back to life. Then Satan deceives them once
more. Look again at God’s Word, and don’t let anyone convince you
Verse 5a - "But the rest of the dead did
not live again until the thousand years were finished."
Verse 7 - "When the thousand years have
expired, Satan will be released from his prison."
At the end of the 1000 years, “the rest
of the dead” are raised, and Satan is “released.” Therefore, the raising
of the "rest of the dead" is what "releases" the devil. Satan then
swoops into these resurrected nations (now alive in the four corners of
the earth), deceives them again, and then gathers them for the grand
finale (verses 8, 9).
What does all this mean? The answer will
come shortly after we examine a few more crucial points. What should be
clear so far, however, is that popular teachings about the Millennium
leave much to be desired. In fact, most are completely bogus.
Crucial to understanding the Millennium
are the first texts of Revelation 20, verses 1 and 2. According to these
verses, Satan is bound with "a great chain" and confined to "the
bottomless pit" for 1000 years. The expression, "a great chain,"
doesn’t mean a literal chain. Even today all of "the angels that sinned"
with Lucifer are described as being in "chains of darkness" (2 Peter
2:4). These words do not refer to actual clinking and clanging metal,
but to circumstances of darkness that these angels find themselves in
after having been booted out of heaven.
During the 1000 years, Satan is
represented as being bound with a chain because his new circumstances
prevent him from deceiving the nations during the Millennium (Revelation
20:2). Again, what are those circumstances? Everyone left on earth is
What is this “bottomless pit"?
In the Old Testament the word “pit” often
refers to a grave, a cemetery, or to the place of the dead.
Ps. 55:23 – Evil men will go "down to the
pit of destruction."
16:32, 33 – "the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up... into
Ezek. 32:23 – "Her graves are set in the
recesses of the Pit… all of them slain."
Ps. 28:1 – David prayed not to "become
like those who go down to the pit."
Ps. 69:15 – "Let not the pit shut its
mouth on me."
Isaiah 14 contains one of the Old
Testament’s clearest prophecies about Lucifer. He was kicked out of
heaven (vs. 12) for exalting himself (vs. 13) and will eventually be
brought down "to the lowest depths of the Pit" (vs. 15). Isaiah 14:18-20
parallels the prophecy in Revelation 20:1-3. "All the kings of the
nations, all of them, sleep in glory [kings are given an honorable
burial]. Everyone in his own house [the grave]; But you are cast out of
your grave like an abominable branch. Like the garment of those who are
slain, thrust through with a sword, who go down to the stones of the
pit, like a corpse trodden underfoot. You will not be joined with them
in burial [at the Second Coming]" (Isaiah 14:18-20).
These verses predict a time when the
kings of the earth lie silently in their graves, yet Satan “will not be
joined with them in burial.” Instead, the Prince of Darkness will be
left to wander among earth’s ruins. Notice carefully: "Fear, and the
pit, and the snare, are upon thee, thou inhabitant of the earth... 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 moved like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be
heavy upon it, and it shall fall and not rise again. 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 prison, and after many days shall they be
visited" (Isaiah 24:17–22, KJV, emphasis added).
This is a prediction of a destroyed and
devastated earth. Its inhabitants are gathered as prisoners in the pit
[the grave]. When Revelation 20:1-3 describes Satan as bound with a
chain for 1000 years, this means that a chain of circumstances will
prevent him from deceiving the nations. The major circumstance is the
return of Jesus Christ in "flaming fire" (2 Thess. 1:8), the "sudden
destruction" of sinners (1 Thessalonians 5:3), the largest earthquake in
history (Revelation 16:18), the crumbling of cities worldwide
(Revelation 16:19), the disappearing of mountains and islands
(Revelation 16:20), and the total depopulation of planet Earth just like
"it was in the days of Noah" (Matthew 24:37-39). This "day of the Lord"
will come "as destruction from the Almighty" (Joel 1:15). "And at that
day the slain of the Lord shall be from one end of the earth even to the
other end of the earth. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or
buried [those slain at the Second Coming]; they shall become refuse on
the ground" (Jeremiah 25:33).
will then be like one gigantic bottomless pit, a huge cemetery. Jeremiah
beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; and the
heavens, they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and indeed they
trembled, and all the hills moved back and forth. I beheld, and indeed
there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled. 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"
(Jeremiah 4:23-26, emphasis added). As Satan and his angels behold their
kingdom in ruins, they can only wander about, counsel together, and
contemplate with trembling the final events to occur at the end of the
it doesn’t end here. We mustn’t forget the last section of Isaiah
24:17-22, which predicts that those who lie dead in their graves will
“be visited" (Isaiah 24:22, KJV). What could that possibly mean other
than what we’ve seen in Revelation 20:5? “But the rest of the dead did
not live again until the thousand years were finished.” It’s what Jesus
was talking about when He warned about the “the resurrection of
damnation" (John 5:29). This occurs at the end of the Millennium.
Therefore, instead of being a time of
pristine earthly glory when Jesus reigns from the present city of
Jerusalem, the Millennium is a time when earth lays waste, in desolate
ruins, a prison house for Satan and his demons.
Saints in Heaven
If discovering earth’s true state during
the Millennium doesn’t sound inviting, it’s because it isn’t supposed to
be inviting. It’s a time of chaos, desolation, and ruin, when sin takes
another step toward its horrific end. The Millennium is not some idyllic
era of peace and goodness upon this old earth, with Jesus ruling from
Jerusalem, but a time of utter devastation and judgment.
What about God’s people? What about those
who participated in “the first resurrection,” who were “caught up” to
Jesus as opposed to being left behind? What happens to them during the
Near the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus told
His followers that He was going to heaven, where He would be preparing
mansions for His children (John 14:1,2). When He returns, He will take
us to Himself, "that where I am, there you may be also" (vs. 3). When
He comes, Jesus will take us to the place where He is now, the New
Jerusalem (see Revelation 3:12; 21:10). As we saw earlier, 1
Thessalonians 4:16, 17 tells us that at the Second Coming of Jesus
Christ we shall be "caught up." Thus we are going up to glory. In
perfect agreement with this is Revelation 19:1, 2, which teaches that
immediately after Mystery Babylon’s destruction (Revelation 18:8-24),
John beheld God’s saints in heaven. “After
these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in
heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power
belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments,
because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her
fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by
her’” (Revelation 19:1, 2).
According to Revelation 20:4, 6, the
saints will reign with Jesus for 1000 years. Contrary to popular
opinion, Revelation 20 does not say they will reign on earth during that
time. Why would Jesus and His people rule over a devastated world
anyway? The Bible says we will ascend when Christ returns (1
Thessalonians 4:17), that He will take us to the New Jerusalem (John
14:1-3), and that we will then be in heaven praising God (Revelation
Some might wonder how we can reign for
1000 years if we’re in heaven. Don’t we have to be on earth to reign
over others during this time? Not necessarily. The Bible also says the
saints will "reign forever and ever" (Revelation 22:5). This implies
that we will be in some position of authority, just as Adam originally
exercised dominion over the earth, that’s all.
Now, if planet Earth is depopulated, with
no survivors (except Satan and his angels), and the saints are in
heaven, then what is the purpose of the 1000 years?
A few possibilities exist:
(1) It gives the loyal universe an
opportunity to behold the terrible results of Satan’s rule; (2) It gives
the saints in heaven an opportunity to go through heaven’s records and
to have all their questions answered about why some of their loved ones
are there and some are not; (3) It provides a period of time when Jesus
and the saints together can make decisions about the just punishments to
be carried out upon the lost at the end of the 1000 years (see 1
Corinthians 6:2,3); (4) It also gives the saints a period of time to
prepare mentally for the events at the end of the Millennium, at which
time many of their loved ones will be resurrected, judged, and sentenced
to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:5a, 11-15).
Resurrection of Damnation
We’ve seen that at the Second Coming,
Jesus returns, the saved (both the resurrected dead and those alive at
His return) are taken to heaven where they reign for a thousand years,
the earth is destroyed, and Satan remains captive there for the allotted
thousand years. What then happens at the end of the Millennium?
Revelation 20 (as we’ve already seen) is
clear that two events occur:
1) The "rest of the dead" are resurrected
2) Satan is “released” (verses 3, 7).
Both events occur simultaneously. When
the lost are resurrected, Satan now has people once again to deceive;
thus he is, in effect, "released" from his chains. Satan then "will go
out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth,
Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the
sand of the sea" (vs. 8). The “sand of the sea” means myriads of
people (all the lost – from the days of Adam down to the last person who
experienced "sudden destruction" at Christ’s return). During the 1000
years, they remain in their graves; now, they are raised to life in a
hopelessly dismal "resurrection of damnation" (John 5:29).
Immediately after the lost are
resurrected, Satan gathers them “together to battle." What Hollywood
movie producer could even envision such a scene: billions of lost
people, including no doubt, great military commanders, gathered together
in one final burst of rebellion?
Who will this terrible army prepare to
fight? The Bible makes it plain: "They went up on the breadth of the
earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city..."
(vs. 9). This is the New Jerusalem, the home of the saved (Revelation
3:12; 21:10), which must have descended from heaven to the earth
(Revelation 3:12; 21:2) right before the second resurrection. Then Satan
and his macabre army surround the "camp of the saints" in a last-ditch
effort to conquer God's fortress.
Picture this scene: The entire world’s
lost and all the world’s saved are together for the first and last time
– the saved inside the city, the lost outside. The lost will then
behold the reward of the righteous, while the saved witness the doom of
This is Satan's last stand, his final
opportunity to conquer Jesus Christ, His New Jerusalem, and the redeemed
of all ages. But he can never defeat the King of the Universe. He failed
miserably when Jesus was a lowly carpenter in human flesh. What chance
does he have against Him now as King of the New Jerusalem? None
After Lucifer’s legions gather around
God’s holy city to make war against it, what happens next? The Bible
explains explicitly: “[Satan] will go out to deceive the [resurrected]
nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to
gather them together to battle: whose number is as the sand of the sea.
They went up on the breadth of the earth, and surrounded the camp of the
saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven
and devoured them” (Revelation 20:8, 9).
Notice, “fire came down from God out of
heaven and devoured them.” That’s the fate of the lost!
Before the fire falls, a vast cosmic
judgment scene unfolds. "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat
on it... And I saw the [resurrected] dead standing before God, and books
were opened. And another book was opened, which is the book of life. And
the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were
written in the books" (Revelation 20:11-12).
This judgment occurs while Satan’s army
is gathered around the city; it concerns only the lost, who are then
judged “according to their works.” As books are opened above them, they
are allowed to see the complete record of their lives. They are shown
why they are lost, why they are outside God’s City, why they have
forfeited eternal life with Jesus. As the Book of Life is opened, they
discover their names are missing. Then Jesus will undoubtedly show them
how much He loved them, how He tried hard to save them, and yet how by
their own persistent efforts they resisted His tender appeals. Yes, they
will see that Jesus Christ died for them, that on the cross He paid the
full penalty for all their sins, and that they could have been inside
the city with His saints; but now they are outside with another master,
the master of their own choosing. They will see that, though Jesus
willingly took upon Himself the punishment that was theirs, they spurned
Him, and now they are forced to stand before His Holy Majesty in the
shame of their spiritual nakedness, with every wrong thought, every
wrong word, and every wrong deed bearing down upon their consciences to
condemn them, and there is no longer any Mediator to represent them and
intercede for them.
After sentence is pronounced, the fire of
God brings final retribution upon the lost. By this time, all the
unsaved understand why they are lost. This destruction is an act of both
justice and mercy, not cruelty. It is just because the wicked receive
exactly what they deserve, and merciful, for by their own choices the
lost have formed evil characters which are unable to enjoy God’s
Presence. The book of Revelation is clear about God’s uprightness. "Just
and true are Your ways, O King of the saints" (15:3); "You are
righteous, O Lord ... Because You have judged these things" (16:5); and
"For true and righteous are His judgments" (19:2).
The judgment at the close of the
Millennium will be perfectly just, without any taint of imperfection
chargeable upon God. By rejecting His love and mercy, and by a life of
continued sinning, the lost have earned their just reward. "The wages of
sin is death" (Romans 6:23). The Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit,
holy angels, and the saints will all weep over the unsaved. But nothing
more can be done. Now it’s too late.
Revelation 20:8 says the lost will march
across “the four corners of the earth” right before the fire falls upon
them. Thus we conclude that God’s fire will descend all over planet
Earth. This unquenchable downpour will become a "lake of fire" (14, 15)
boiling everywhere. Malachi 4:1, 3 says that entire fateful day will
come "burning like an oven." 2 Peter 3:10 adds "...the elements will
melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will
be burned up." Thus God will totally purify and cleanse our sin-polluted
earth with flames. In fact, 2 Peter 3 parallels the destruction of the
world by water in Noah's day with the purification of the earth by fire
at the end of the 1000 years (2 Peter 3:5-7). In Noah's day, the whole
earth was under a global lake of water; at the end of the 1000 years,
this planet will be wrapped in "a lake of fire." In Noah's day, God's
people floated in the midst of the water but were protected inside the
ark; at the end of the Millennium, when a lake of fire envelops our
planet, God's "saints" will be right there, riding the storm safely
inside the New Jerusalem.
New Heaven and New Earth
Revelation 20 concludes with these solemn
words, "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into
the lake of fire" (20:15). Fortunately, that’s not the end of the story.
The next verse reads: "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the
first heaven and the first earth had passed away" (Revelation 21:1).
New heaven (sky), new earth! What
happened to the old ones? We just saw that the lake of fire consumed
them. When the Bible says, "...the first heaven and the first earth had
passed away," this must include the lake of fire! After God's fire
completely purifies this planet and its atmosphere, He will recreate the
earth and sky, so long under the contaminating effects of sin. God will
make "a new heaven and a new earth." Eventually the cleansing fire will
disappear, after purifying this earth from every trace of sin, sinners,
Satan, and demons, and in place of a smoggy heaven and polluted earth
the Lord will recreate a pure and perfect earth belted by a clear new
"Nevertheless we, according to His
promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness
dwells" (2 Peter 3:13).
Revelation 21 also adds, "And God will
wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor
sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things
have passed away. Then He that sat upon the throne said, 'Behold, I make
all things new.' And He said to me, 'Write, for these words are true and
faithful'" (21:4, 5).
"Write, for these words are true," says
God Almighty. When this finally happens, the lake of fire, death, sin,
sorrow, crying, and pain will have “passed away." There will be no more
terrorists, no more tears over the World Trade Center, nor crying over a
million other things like natural disasters, sickness, divorce, child
abuse, or graveside services. These will all have "passed away."
As Noah and his family finally walked out
of the ark onto a cleansed world, so will God's redeemed saints finally
step out of the New Jerusalem into a brand new world.
Contrary to popular opinion, the biblical Millennium is a time of
desolation and ruin, followed by more rebellion, then judgment, and
finally, re-creation – when the Lord who first spoke heaven and earth
into existence (Genesis 1) repeats His creativity, “His wonders to
The most important issue, however, isn’t
so much our knowledge of millennial details, but our knowledge of the
God who has revealed the truth about it. What this study shows us,
perhaps more than anything else, is that there is no second chance, no
middle ground, no neutrality in this Great War between Jesus Christ and
Satan. Remember, the devil deceives “nations” (Revelation 20:3) in many
areas, including this one. We will be on one side or the other. We will
either be inside the city, safe and secure with Jesus, looking down on
the hordes outside; or we will be outside, deceived by the Devil,
looking up at what might have been ours had we only repented and given
ourselves fully to Jesus Christ for faithful obedience.
Jesus died for you! He died so that you
could have a place with Him in that New Jerusalem and in the new heavens
and new earth that are coming. Your final destiny, inside or outside,
eternal life or eternal destruction, depends upon your choice. Will you
give yourself to the One who gave Himself for you, and thus have
eternity with Him, or will you continue resisting His pleadings?
The Millennium is coming; nothing you can
do will change this. All you can do is decide – for or against Jesus –
where you are going to spend it.
The Lord is pleading with you. Choose
Jesus Christ now, before it’s too late.
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MILLENNIUM, please click here.