Recently I read what another prophecy student had to say about the millennium. This person is a Seventh Day Adventist and has some different ideas about eschatology. Although Seventh Day Adventists differ on these matters, I will present what this person had to say, but keep in mind not all SDA’s may ascribe to this.
For one, this person believes that the Sabbath rest for the earth must occur with the thousand years mentioned in Revelation 20. This is not irreconcilable with scriptures, but this person’s definition of the Sabbath rest means that there can be absolutely nobody living here on the earth during that time. They purport that the destruction that occurs in the book of Revelation destroys everyone remaining on the earth with no one left to inhabit the millennial kingdom. Jesus does not actually return to earth before the millennium, but after, meaning that there are some post-millennial tendencies here. Further, the armies led by Gog at the end of the thousand years are believed to be the wicked resurrected from the dead. I wrote a response interacting with this position that some of you may find helpful. Here it is.
This is certainly a novel idea, well, novel to me. I hadn’t heard this
theory before. In a nutshell, the earth will lay desolate and void of human
life for the thousand year reign of Christ. At the close of the millennium,
Satan will be loosed from prison and will go forth to deceive the nations on
this desolate earth.
7 And when the thousand years are expired , Satan shall be loosed out of his
prison, 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. 9 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.
But who are these nations if the earth is completely desolate? The theory moves
ahead to the general resurrection which occurs at the great white throne
judgment and states that these who are resurrected are the ones which Satan
deceives. There are several issues with this theory.
First off, the description of the great white throne judgment seems to be the
final judgment which those who are present are brought back from the dead for
the sole purpose of standing to receive their sentences of condemnation. This
would agree with the scripture in Hebrews 9:27 which states "it is appointed
unto man to die once, and after that comes judgment." Here is the way the
passage is worded in Revelation 20.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and
brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day
and night for ever and ever. 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that 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, 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. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and
death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged
every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the
lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written
in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
If you notice, there is no room for these who are resurrected to run around on
earth. They are brought up from their graves for the sole purpose of standing
trial and receiving sentence. The order of events seems quite clear:
Satan is bound for 1000 years.
Satan is loosed after the 1000 years.
Satan deceives the nations for a little season.
Gog/Magog surround the Holy City.
Fire consumes the earthly armies.
Satan is cast into the lake of fire.
The Great White Throne appears.
The general resurrection for those who must stand trial at the GWTJ.
The actual trial(s).
Death and Hell are cast into the lake of fire.
Granted, sometimes prophetic events are not told in strict order. This is not
the case here. It is chronologically laid out with no break in the vision.
Something must be rearranged because in this view, the earth is desolate
during the 1000 years and there is actually no one for Satan to deceive. So
when Satan is loosed to deceive the nations, there is an obvious contradiction.
The theory "solves" this by moving the general resurrection backward from where it
rightfully is to bring back the dead so they can be deceived into attacking the
holy city. Only there is another problem. The theory doesn’t believe the holy city
is on earth at this time. So here is another "patch job". The holy city sort
of descends and the freshly resurrected dead try to attack this city as it is
floating in the sky. I hope everyone can read how ludicrous this is.
If we take Revelation at face value, we would see that Christ is coming from
heaven to earth to rule over the nations. Revelation 2:26-27 states, "26 And he
that overcometh , and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power
over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels
of a potter shall they be broken to shivers : even as I received of my Father."
(Parallel passage is Psalm 2.) Revelation 5:10 states that "you have made them
a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." So when
we read the following passage, our safe assumption should be that ALL who are
resurrected in the first resurrection are reigning with Christ upon the earth.
20:4 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. 5 But the rest of the
dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished . This is the first
resurrection. 6 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.
When it is stated that the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of
our God and of His Messiah, we can safely say that Christ is here on the earth
reigning over the nations with His people. (Parallel passage is Isaiah 9:6-7.)
Further, they are reigning from the New Jerusalem. Since the holy city is
stated to be here on earth when Satan is loosed, readers would be asking
themselves, what holy city is that? The angel shows John a new vision beginning
in Revelation 21:2, with the angel stating he will give the explanation for this
new vision in 21:9. This is the explanation for how the holy city will descend
to be here during the millennium.
The arrangement described is that there are nations here on the earth in need of
healing, 22:2. Many will walk in the light of the LORD during the millennial
reign, 21:24-26. In spite of the fact that there will still be people here on
the earth during the millennium, the holy city will not be able to be corrupted.
Nothing sinful will be allowed inside its walls, 21:27, 22:14-15. The city is
the bride of Christ, 21:2, 9-10. It is Israel and the church in one entity,
having the twelve tribes of Israel as the gates on its walls and the twelve
apostles as the foundations for its walls.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman
Please note that I believe that the millennium will be a Sabbath rest for God’s people. But God’s people will be here on earth enjoying that rest. The scriptures seem united on this point.