Happenings this week included several urgent prayers with miraculous outcomes. God is so good! There were also several happy occasions, birthdays, anniversaries, visits with friends. Robin and I took a Riverwalk walk and enjoyed it so much because we have not walked there in months. Then at the end of the week we experienced a sad loss.
A friend from Richwood died this week after an illness that put him in the nursing home. Charles Alfred “Mug” Hagy, was a wonderful, sweet person whom I have known for about 30 years, (since my son, Scott married his daughter, Carol). Mug’s wife, Sue, has been staying with Scott and Carol since Mug had to be in a nursing home. We are going to Richwood for the funeral on Tuesday. Loss of loved ones is never a happy occasion. Thanks for your prayers for Mug’s family.
This is the next-to-the-last Fundamental Belief of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, number 27:
The book of Revelation tells of a 1,000-year period that students of the Bible call “the millennium.” The word millennium is not found in the Bible. It comes from two Latin words, mille that means “one thousand” and annum that means “year.” Students of the Bible’s prophecies use the term millennium exclusively in reference to a 1,000-year period spoken of in Revelation 20.
Of all the prophetic time periods found in the Bible, the time for the beginning and end of the millennium are the easiest to establish, since it will include a resurrection.
The resurrection at the beginning of the millennium is called the “first resurrection,” and it will affect only the righteous dead. The Bible says, “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:6). The resurrection at the end of the millennium is called the “second resurrection,” and this will be exclusively for the wicked (those who were not raised in the resurrection of the righteous). These are the ones who “did not come to life until the thousand years were ended” (Revelation 20.5).
RESURRECTION OF THE RIGHTEOUS
These are the two resurrections that Jesus spoke about when He said that “a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28, 29).
Because the Bible affirms clearly that the resurrection of the righteous will occur at the time of the Second Coming, we know when the millennium will begin. The apostle Paul declared, “The Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
Thus, there’s no question that the millennium will begin with the second coming of Jesus, since that is the time when the righteous dead will be raised to life. Then they, along with righteous living, will be taken to heaven with Christ, just as He promised (John 14:1-3). John, the beloved disciple, said, “They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).
During the millennium the righteous will spend their time judging, for Revelation says that they were “given authority to judge” (Revelation 20:4). This suggests that during the millennium the redeemed will investigate the lives of the lost. This will be part of the divine plan to demonstrate to the entire universe that God is just and merciful.
Where will the wicked be during the time their cases are being examined? They will be dead on the earth. Only the righteous will be raised to life when Jesus comes. Thus, it’s obvious that the millions of people who are not saved, who died during ages past, will remain in their graves until the resurrection at the end of the millennium. And the wicked who are living at the time Jesus returns will be destroyed (Jeremiah 25:33; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 19:11-21). Thus, during the millennium, the countless millions of lost people will be dead.
This helps us to understand why the Bible says that Satan will be “bound” during the thousand years. Since the day he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he has spent his time deceiving human beings and causing them to sin. But with the righteous in heaven and the wicked in their graves, Satan won’t have anything to do. The Bible describes him as being tied with a great chain (Revelation 20:1, 2). This chain is symbolic, not literal, just as we sometimes say that we would like to go somewhere or do something, but we can’t because “our hands are tied.”
The Bible says that the place where Satan will be bound is “the abyss” (Revelation 20:1, 3). This “abyss” is our earth. When Jesus comes, the earth will be reduced to chaos as a result of earthquakes, storms, and human violence (Isaiah 6:11; 24:1; Jeremiah 4:23-27; Revelation 16:18-20). So devastating will be the destruction that the earth will resemble its condition prior to Creation week. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint, the word abyss used in Genesis 1:2 to describe the earth in its “formless and empty” state. Thus, during the thousand years Satan will be bound by the circumstances of a destroyed world. He will have 1,000 years to reflect on the ruin that he has caused in the lives of humans and in nature.
THE RESURRECTION OF THE WICKED
At the end of the millennium Satan will be “released from his prison” (Revelation 20:7). The wicked will be raised to life, giving him once again a chance to be active in human affairs. The Bible declares that “Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations …to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore” (Revelation 20:7, 8).
Why will Satan gather these people to battle? Because he intends to make one final effort to gain the victory in his rebellion against God. He will prepare to attack the Holy City, the home of the redeemed that has descended to the earth. The prophet John described the scene in these words: “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). The armies of the wicked will “[march] across the breadth of the earth and [surround] the camp of God’s people, the city he loves” (Revelation 20:9).
But their attack will fail. Fire from God will consume Satan and his vast host (Revelation 20:9). The entire globe will be engulfed in a lake of fire, which will destroy every last vestige of sin, cleansing the earth. The apostle Peter described it in these words: “The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare” (2 Peter 3:10).
CLEANSING THE EARTH
Thus, at the end of the millennium, Satan and all those who have followed him in rebellion will be destroyed. The universe will be free of sin. Then God will recreate the earth to be the home of the redeemed. Peter wrote, “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:5).
“The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love” (The Great Controversy, 678).
For further study: Zechariah 14:1-4; Malachi 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 19:17, 18; 20; 21.