The following is a reply to issues raised by a Watchtower article with regard to the doctrine “Millenium”. I have received permision to post this response without making any changes to his words (Author: Cyril G. Hartman).
The 1000 years of the Bible
This is a short study about what the Bible teaches about the 1000 years mentioned in Revelation 20, better known as “the millennium.” This is taken from “Bible Readings For The Home” which is freely available on the internet in pdf format at such sites as www.MaranathaMedia.com.au . Personal additions, some of which are very important to realize, will be inside square brackets.
88. THE MILLENNIUM
1. What text definitely brings the millennium to view?
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: . . . and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." Rev. 20: 4.
2. Whom does Paul say the saints are to judge?
“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world 2 Know you not that we shall judge angels?" 1 Cor.6:1-3. [And Revelation 20 tells that this judgment will be during the 1000 years while the wicked are in the sleeping state of the first death.]
NOTE - From these scriptures it is plain that the saints of all ages are to be engaged with Christ in a work of "judgment" during the millennium, or one thousand years.
3. What prophecy had Paul upon which to base his statement?
"I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High." Dan. 7: 21, 22.
4. How many resurrections are there to be?
"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the 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: 28, 29.
5. What class only have part in the first resurrection?
"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power.' Rev. 20: 6. [All that are not translated without seeing death, die the first death, but are resurrected either at the beginning of the 1000 years when Christ comes in glory for the righteous or at then end of the 1000 years in the case of the wicked.]
6. What will Christ do with the saints when He comes?
"I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." John 14: 3.
NOTE - In other words, Christ will take them to heaven, there to live and reign with Him during the one thousand years.
7. Where did John, in vision, see the saints?
"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands." Rev. 7: 9.
NOTE - This scripture shows plainly that the righteous are all taken to heaven immediately after the first resurrection. This accords with the words of Christ in John 14: 1-3, where He says, "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." Peter desired to accompany Christ to those mansions; but Jesus answered, "Thou cannot not follow Me now; but thou shall follow Me afterwards." John 13: 36. This makes it clear that when Christ returns to earth to receive His people, He takes them to the Father's house in heaven.
8. What becomes of the living wicked when Christ comes?
"As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the Flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; . . . the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed!' Luke 17: 26-30.
9. What does the Apostle Paul say concerning this?
"When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them. . . . and they shall not escape." 1 Thess. 5: 3.
NOTE - When Christ comes, the righteous will be delivered and taken to heaven, and all the living wicked will be suddenly destroyed, as they were at the time of the Flood. For further proof see [2 Thessalonians 2:8 . . . .the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:] 2 Thess. 1: 7-9; Rev. 6: 14-17; 19: 11-21; Jer. 25:30-33.. There will be no general resurrection of the wicked until the end of the one thousand years. This will leave the earth desolate and without human inhabitant during this period. [Revelation 20:5 “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” This, (“the rest of the dead”), is speaking of the wicked. The righteous have been resurrected in the 1st resurrection and are in Heaven as seen above.]
10. What description does the prophet Jeremiah give of the earth during this time?
“I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by His fierce anger!' Jer. 4:23-26.
The millennium is the closing period of God's great week of time. A great Sabbath of rest to the earth and to the people of God. It follows the close of the gospel age, and precedes the setting up of the everlasting kingdom of God on earth. It comprehends what in the Scriptures is frequently spoken of as "the day of the Lord." It is bounded at each end by a resurrection. Its beginning is marked by the pouring out of the seven last plagues, the second coming of Christ, [the first death of the wicked due to the “brightness”], the resurrection of the righteous dead, the binding of Satan, and the translation of the saints to heaven; and its close, by the descent of the New Jerusalem, with Christ and the saints, from heaven, the resurrection of the wicked dead, the loosing of Satan, and the final destruction of the wicked.
During the one thousand years the earth lies desolate; Satan and his angels are confined here; and the saints, with Christ in heaven, sit in judgment on the wicked, preparatory to their final punishment. At the close of this period, the wicked are raised; Satan is loosed for a little season, and he and the host of the wicked encompass the camp of the saints and the holy city, when fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them. [But, prior to the destruction of the wicked, they are arrained before the “Great White Throne.” And they have a chance to speak for themselves before Christ the Judge. They are shown their lives and all bow in acknowledgment that God has been entirely fair with them and they deserve their punishment and to be annihilated. Isaiah 45:23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. This is the time as seen in this parable of Matt. 25: Revelation 20:11 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.
Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
God will be justified by EVERYONE. He is in no hurry because His character is on the line and every living intelligent creature in the Universe needs to see that He is loving and just. Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. So, it is not just wicked men and Satan and his host of wicked angels that are judged. It's God too! Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.] The earth is cleansed by the same fire -that destroys the wicked, and, renewed, becomes the eternal abode of the saints. The millennium is one of "the ages to come." Its close will mark the beginning of the new earth state.
NOTE- At the coming of Christ the earth is reduced to a chaotic state--to a mass of ruins. The heavens depart as a scroll when it is rolled together; mountains are moved out of their places; and the earth is left a dark, dreary, desolate waste. See Isa. 24:1-3; Rev. 6:14-17.
11. How does Isaiah speak of the wicked at this time?
"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 the prison, and after many days shall they be visited." Isa. 24: 21, 22.
12. How long is Satan to be imprisoned on this earth?
"I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled." Rev. 20: 1-3.
NOTE - The word rendered "bottomless pit" in this text is abussos, the Greek term employed by the Septuagint in Gen. 1: 2, as the equivalent of the Hebrew word rendered "deep" in our English versions.
A more literal translation would be "abyss." It is a term applied to the earth in its desolate, waste, chaotic, dark, uninhabited condition. In this condition it will remain during the one thousand years. It will be the dreary prison-house of Satan during this period. Here, in the midst of the smoldering bones of wicked dead, slain at Christ's second coming, the broken-down cities, and the wreck and ruin of all the pomp and power of this world, Satan will have opportunity to reflect upon the results of his rebellion against God. But the prophecy of Isaiah says, "After many days shall they be visited."
13. The righteous dead are raised at Christ's second coming. When will the rest of the dead, thewicked, be raised?
"The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." Verse 5.
NOTES - From this we see that the beginning and the close of the millennium, or one thousand years, are marked by the two resurrections.
The word millennium is from two Latin words, mille, meaning a thousand, and annus, year-a thousand years. It covers the time during which Satan is to be bound and wicked men and angels are to be judged. This period is bounded by distinct events. Its beginning is marked by the close of probation, the pouring out of the seven last plagues, the second coming of Christ, and the resurrection of the righteous dead. It closes with the resurrection of the wicked, and their final destruction in the lake of fire. See diagram on page 50.
14. What change is made in Satan's condition at the close of the one thousand years?
"After that he must be loosed a little season." Verse 3.
NOTE - At the close of the one thousand years, Christ, accompanied by the saints, comes to the earth again, to execute judgment upon the wicked, and to prepare the earth, by a re-creation, for the eternal abode of the righteous. At this time, in answer to the summons of Christ, the wicked dead of all ages awake to life. This is the second resurrection, the resurrection unto damnation. The wicked come forth with the same rebellious spirit which possessed them in this life. Then Satan is loosed from his long period of captivity and inactivity.
15. As soon as the wicked are raised, what does Satan at once proceed to do?
"When the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 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." Verses 7, 8.
16. Against whom do the wicked go to make war, and what is the outcome?
"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." Verse 9. [See the above note in regard to gathering around the Great White Throne and the Matthew 25 parable of the sheep and the goats..]
NOTES - This is the last act in the great controversy between Christ and Satan. The whole human race meet here for the first and last time. The eternal separation of the righteous from the wicked here takes place. At this time the judgment of God is executed upon the wicked in the lake of fire. This is the second death. This ends the great rebellion against God and His government. Now is heard the voice of God as He sits upon His throne, speaking to the saints, and saying, "Behold, I make all things new"; and out of the burning ruins of the old earth there springs forth before the admiring gaze of the millions of the redeemed, "a new heaven and a new earth," in which they shall find an everlasting inheritance and dwelling-place.
The millennium is a great Sabbath of rest, both for the earth and for God's people. For six thousand years the earth and its inhabitants have been groaning under the curse of sin. The millennium, the seventh thousand, will be a Sabbath of rest and release; for, says the prophet concerning the land, "as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath." 2 Chron. 36: 21. This precedes the new earth state.
A Critique and answering questions raised in a Jehovah's Witnesses' article regarding millennium: ([My responses and comments will appear like this in brown font.])
A Desolated Earth for a Thousand Years?
'COME now, and let us reason together.' 'prove all things; hold fast that which is good.' (Isa. 1:18; 1 Thess. 5:21) In their search for the truth Christians will do well to always heed these Scriptural admonitions.'Acts 17:11. [Excellent verses.]
According to the belief of some, such as the Seventh-Day Adventists, [sic. Seventh-day Adventists], 'the present life is given to man as a probation. Death closes it.' [Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. . . Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.] An 'investigative judgment' determining the fate of each individual takes place before the return of Christ; and at his return the righteous will be rewarded with heavenly bliss, the wicked punished with destruction, and the entire earth will be desolated by a great earthquake.
[These statements in the previous sentence are not entirely accurate. The judgment scene is depicted three times in Daniel 7 in which the records are investigated from the books of record. Only then before the onlooking universe will it be seen that justice is being done and all will be satisfied with this. That this judgment has taken place before Christ comes is seen in His statement in Acts 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained. . . When Christ comes physically, audibly and in glory the second time, (Which the Jehovah's Witnesses prophet, Russell predicted would occur in 1914), He has the following with him: Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. The wicked are not punished at this time because they have not had their judgment which occurs during the 1000 years as stated in Revelation 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. But the wicked do die the first death. That is why the Bible mentions the second death, because they will suffer the executive judgment and death after they have been judged during the 1000 years. Rev. 20:13. . .and they were judged every man according to their works. Those that are alive of the wicked when Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven are destroyed by the brightness of his coming as stated in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. . .. Because the living wicked are destroyed at the Time of Christ's coming and the righteous are taken to heaven, that leaves only Satan and his evil angels alive on earth. So Satan is symbolically bound because the is no one to tempt to sin and be lost. Jeremiah 4:25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. 26 I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger.]
It is further held that this desolated earth will be the abyss into which Satan and his demons will be cast, they thus being bound by a 'chain of circumstances'. [They are not literally cast anywhere—they just don't have anywhere else to go. “chain of circumstances”--you got the idea.] At the end of a thousand years the saints will return to the earth and the wicked will be raised from the dead. [That return is in The New Jerusalem as described in Revelation 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.] Then the wicked, under the direction of Satan and his demons, will come up against the saints, and 'just as the final blow is to be struck by the attacking army, lo, fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them'. So the Adventists teach. [Not quite so fast. What is left out here is that when the wicked approach the New Jerusalem to attack it, that they are arrested in their advance, and each is given a panoramic view of the part they have played in rebellion against God. All of the wicked and all of the righteous are convinced that God has done all he can to save them. And even Satan admits his false movements and the justice of God. This is indicated in Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. God has been shielding His creatures from immediate destruction because of sin, to give them time to repent as it indicates in Exodus 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. When God removes this barrier and reveals Himself and the wicked have no source of life, they will die. This is seen in a couple of texts as follows. 1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. Ezekiel 28:18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. It is only the righteous that can stand the presence of God as seen in this text in Isaiah 33:14 . . .Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? [Answer:] 15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; 16 He shall dwell on high. . . Another text: Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire. The scene before the final destruction of the wicked is depicted in the parable of the sheep and goats in Matt. 25.. This is before the Great White Throne of Rev. 20:11.]
THE ABYSSING AND BINDING OF SATAN
Is a desolated earth the abyss into which Satan and his demons are cast? Those who so teach use as proof the fact that the Hebrew word rendered 'deep' at Genesis 1:2 may also be translated 'abyss'. 'And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep [abyss].' But the mere fact that that Hebrew term of Genesis 1:2 rendered 'deep' may also be translated 'abyss' cannot be used as proof that the abyss mentioned at Revelation 20:1-3 (NW) into which Satan is cast is the earth. Why not? Because there is no proof whatever that the earth and the deep of Genesis 1:2 refer to one and the same thing. [And there is no proof that they cannot refer to the same thing, so this possibility cannot be eliminated.]
Today the ocean is referred to as the deep. The ancients spoke of it as an abyss because it was a great deep whose depth was unfathomable or bottomless as far as they were concerned. The deep mentioned at Genesis 1:2 undoubtedly [I doubt this. And the evidence is lacking that it is water above the earth.] is the great expanse of water in suspension which covered the globe like a canopy and which was divided from the waters on the earth for the formation of the atmosphere or 'vault' of the heavens. (See Genesis 1:6, 7, 20, Mo.) Also note that when Christ was on the earth certain demons begged him not to send them 'out into the deep' or the abyss at that time. Since they already were on the earth it surely could not be the abyss they referred to.'Luke 8:31.
Then what is the abyss into which Satan and his demons are cast? The death state, just as Jesus in death was said to have gone to the abyss. (Rom. 10:7) [Since we are obviously speculating here, I think if I were doing it, I would put Satan in solitary confinement for 1000 years to meditate upon the evil and misery he has caused.] Certainly it would not require an angel to come from heaven with a chain to thus abyss and bind Satan if it were done by a chain of circumstances. (Rev. 20:1) Clearly the point is not that the people, but that the Devil, will be removed. [This is metaphorical and symbolic language that is used to describe Satan's confinement. (It does not say he is dead.) It is not clear and it does not say that Satan is removed. The Bible does say that the righteous are taken to heaven and the wicked perish at Christ's presence as shown in the texts above. Revelation 19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God. .. . John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.]
EARTH DESOLATED FOR A THOUSAND YEARS?
Is there any Scriptural proof for the claim that the earth will be desolated for a thousand years? True, Revelation 16:18, 19 speaks of a great earthquake, but must we necessarily conclude that this is a literal one, with so many obviously symbolic expressions in other parts of this prophecy? [Multiple verses speak of this earthquake.] Also note that after the earthquake a great hail fell (not literal hail) [Why say it is not literal??] and men blasphemed God because of this hail; thereby indicating that the earthquake had not destroyed all wicked human creatures. [Nobody claimed that the earthquake killed anybody.]
Endeavoring to find further support, advocates of the desolated-earth teaching cite the prophecies found at Isaiah 24:1-6 and Jeremiah 4:23-28 which speak of Jehovah desolating the earth and making it an empty waste without man. However, a careful study of these prophecies shows that they had a literal fulfillment in the desolation of the land of Judah from 607 B.C. to 537 B.C., which desolation is the theme of the entire book of Jeremiah. Telling of the restoration back there is the following: 'Thus saith Jehovah: Yet again there shall be heard in this place, . . . in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without beast, the voice of joy and the voice of gladness.'Jer. 33:10-14, AS. [There are dual applications of some prophecies as can be shown. Reading carefully, we find that it is at the coming of the Lord, that these cities are broken down in Jer. 4.]
That these prophecies do not teach a complete emptying of the entire earth of human creatures is apparent from the context. Note Isaiah 24:6, AS, 'Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, . . . and few men left.' [It cannot be safely concluded that this “few men left” is referring to the 1000 years when the wicked have died when Christ returns next. This has to be looked at closely and explained with, "the rest of the dead lived not again until the 1000 years were finished." Rev. 20:5] And Isaiah 24:12-14, AS, tells that in the city that is left desolated there will be 'gleanings' and that 'these shall lift up their voice, they shall shout; for the majesty of Jehovah'. And at Jeremiah 4:27, AS, we are told: 'The whole land [of Judah] shall be a desolation; yet will I not make a full end.' And verse 29 of the same chapter shows that men shall flee into the thickets and climb upon the rocks. The entire earth was not desolated in the miniature fulfillment in 607 B.C. to 537 B.C., neither will it be when these scriptures have the greater fulfillment at Armageddon.
Why desolate the earth for a thousand years? [Satan needs time to think over what he has done. The wicked need to have their cases thoroughly reviewed by the onlooking universe in the judicial judgment of Rev. 20.] What purpose would it serve? Since the earth was not created in vain, would it not have been created in vain at least as regards the thousand years if it were desolate that long? [No. This is the resolution of all things and putting everything right. And allowing the universe to see that God and the saints and angels are judging rightly. No problem.] (Isa. 45:18) To claim that the saints will judge wicked men and angels to determine the degree of their guilt and punishment and that this will take a thousand years merely shows the weakness of the position taken. [There is no weakness seen here and presenting such a claim here speaks for itself as to its rationality and credibility. This is a thorough investigation to satisfy all in the Universe of God's character of love and justice.] All the wicked will have been judged guilty to a degree meriting their destruction; a judgment passed and executed before the saints start the thousand-year reign with Christ. [No. Rev. 20 shows that it is after the 1000 years that the wicked live again and have the execution of their sentence. And I quote: 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. . . 7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, [HE IS NOT RESURRECTED FROM THE DEAD, as claimed.] 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.] Since Adventists are agreed that death, not purgatory or eternal torment, is the reward of the wicked, how can it be according to degrees? Death is death. [No, the Bible says there is a first death and a second death which is the final one.] The degree of guilt of those destroyed would be inconsequential.
God has appointed a day for Christ Jesus to judge the world, and the saints will be associate judges. This judgment day will be a thousand years long and the rule is that, when Jehovah's 'judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness'. (Isa. 26:9, AS; Acts 17:31; 1 Cor. 6:1-4; 2 Pet. 3:8) If desolate, who learn righteousness? [There is no learning of righteousness during this period of 1000 years. It is now when men are alive that they choose the right way. Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. . . Isaiah 38:18 For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. 19 The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth. 2 Corinthians 6:2 . . .behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. This is the great danger in the teaching that is proposed, that some will think that they have a second chance at salvation and don't need to be too serious now which is their only chance for salvation.]
Further, the Scriptures show that all the families of the earth will be blessed by the seed of Abraham which seed consists of both Christ and his body members, the saints. If this seed is to be taken to heaven and then return after a thousand years to enjoy the blessings of earth, who are all the families of the earth that the seed is to bless?'Gen. 22:17, 18; Gal. 3:16, 29. [This is a misunderstanding of whether all Israel will be saved. It won't. It is ONLY the spiritual Israel who have accepted and followed Christ that will be saved. All will have opportunity of the acceptance of salvation, but all will not do this. Romans 9:6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel. . . 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. Note that it is the Gentiles also who are Abraham's seed: Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ‘s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.]
And Revelation 20:5, 6 shows that the saints will be kings and priests for a thousand years. As kings ruling over whom for a thousand years, if the earth is to be desolate at that time? And whom can they serve as priests, if there are no men on earth at that time requiring the services of priests? [Christ as King and Priest rules the entire Universe. The prophetic priesthood as depicted in the Sanctuary service continued to the end of time when the scapegoat was taken away into the wilderness. That happens at the end of the 1000 years when He is destroyed. It is simple to understand if you know the prophetic Sanctuary model.]
Also note that the Bible does not state that those who join the Devil in his final effort are loosed or raised from the dead with him. [The absence of record argument doesn't hold up nor is it usually a valid argument. This verse clearly shows that they are dead and then alive after the 1000 years: 5 “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” It almost goes without saying that “until” means that they have been resurrected—that is a “no-brainer!”] Rather it clearly shows that when he is loosed he will go forth to deceive those on the earth, indicating that there are people on the earth before he is loosed and who are not deceived.'Rev. 20:7-10. [No, it doesn't mean that there were people living until they are resurrected.]
ROOT OF DIFFICULTY
Evidently the difficulty lies in not appreciating that at Christ's return, in addition to those Christians who will receive a heavenly reward, and those wicked ones who are destroyed, there will be another class of creatures upon the earth. [We have to go by what the record says and not create something that is not there.] The Scriptures are replete with proof showing that two separate and distinct classes will receive salvation, one to heavenly, and the other to earthly life. [We need to see the “replete” instead of such a statement.] Jesus indeed promised a heavenly reward to some of his followers: 'Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.' (Luke 12:32) See also John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:35-54; 2 Peter 1:4. However, he also spoke of 'other sheep . . . which are not of this fold', [Yes, simply those who had not yet been converted to the Christian church He established.] and he made it very clear that some sheeplike ones would not receive the heavenly reward. 'Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.' But surely God would not fail to reward such a faithful servant as John the Baptist. How will he be rewarded? By a resurrection to life on the earth.'Ps. 115:16; Matt. 11:11; John 10:16. [It is true that the righteous will inherit the earth, but the Bible tells when this will be—when the wicked are eliminated at the end of the 1000 years—Rev. 20 to 22.]
Jesus likened this world's end to the time of the Flood. (Matt. 24:37-39) The Flood cleansed the earth even as Armageddon will in the near future. [We keep seeing “Armageddon” mentioned and the word sounds very impressive, however, it occurs before the 1000 years and is not spelled out well in the Bible, just what it is. I don't remember seeing any references from the Bible on it in the write-up here yet. Armageddon is a term that is the final battle with Satan and terminates when fire comes down and devours the wicked. That is the end of the battle.]
A comparatively few righteous ones were spared then and a comparatively few righteous ones will likewise be spared now, those seeking meekness and righteousness. To the survivors of the Flood God gave the mandate to multiply originally given to Adam and Eve and he will again restate it to the ones surviving Armageddon. But whereas Satan soon corrupted the human race after the Flood, he will be bound after Armageddon so that he will not be able to do so then.'Gen. 1:28; 9:1; 10:8; 11:1-9; Zeph. 2:1-3. [The verses given do not support the claims. Check it out.]
Another difficulty in the teaching of the desolated earth is the failure to appreciate the great difference between spirit and human creatures. The Scriptures assure us that the heavenly creature is far superior to and cannot even be seen by a human creature. In fact man has no idea what a spirit creature looks like. (Acts 26:13, 14; Ex. 33:20; 1 Cor. 15:40-54) [That is an interesting claim, however, Christ saw Satan in Matt. 4 and many have seen evil spirits in this our day.] Christ divested himself of heavenly glory and became a human creature. He prayed that God might glorify him with the glory he had with his Father before the world was. Paul assures us that God did highly exalt him, even far above what he had before. Can we imagine Christ now in human form? [Absolutely YES! Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.] And if his followers are to be like him, will they not also be glorious spirit creatures? [This falls flat! After His resurrection Jesus said: Luke 24:39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.] And if such is the case, can we imagine that after a thousand years of existence as glorious spirit creatures in the heavenly realm they will be demoted or lowered to mere human conditions and bodies and be content to spend an eternity thus?'Rom. 2:7; John 17:5; Phil. 2:5-11; Hebrews 1 and 2. [This reasoning has already been shown to be FALSE. We will have flesh and bones as Christ said He had after His resurrection. Let's go by the Bible, Okay? “. . .for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” Luke 24:39]
But someone will ask, If the 1,000 years are to be used to judge the living and the dead, why does Revelation 20:5 state that the 'rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished'? [The 1000 years is not for judging the living, but only the wicked dead. The only humans living are the ones that are in heaven with Christ.] First of all note that modern translations all leave out the word 'again'. See Moffatt, Goodspeed, American Standard Version, Weymouth, New World, etc. [Taking out the word “again” doesn't help your position. Who said the modern translations have it correct? And, the mentioning of “The New World Translation” is sad to see because they have changed God's word in Genesis 1 from past tense verbs to present progressive tense and also added words to try to make Him what he isn't. God tells what will happen to people that do that in Rev. 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Note how the New World adds the word “other” to Col. 1:16, 17 FOUR TIMES: 6 because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. 17 Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist, Proverbs 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.]
Also note that it does not state that the rest of the dead were not resurrected until the thousand years were finished, [However, in your summary statement at the end of this article you indicate that this is so. So, why this statement here?], as if there were a thousand years between the first resurrection and the resurrection of mankind in general. It merely states that they did not 'live' until the thousand years were finished. [What is written is clear enough, I think.]
The purpose of the 1,000-year reign of Christ is to bring life to mankind. [Reference??] However, even though resurrected from the dead they will not really be alive in God's sight, perfected and having the ransom fully applied toward them and having the right to life, until they have proved their worthiness to everlasting life by withstanding the final test of integrity brought upon them by the loosing of the Devil and his demons. [Reference?] The Scriptures repeatedly refer to sinners as being dead though not actually so. 'Let the dead bury their dead.' 'and you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.'Matt. 8:22; Eph. 2:1.
HOPE FOR THE DEAD
If, as it is claimed, 'the present life is given to man as a probation and death closes it,' what will be the fate of all the heathen who never lived during a judgment period and never had the opportunity to hear of God, Christ and the Ten Commandments? [They have the Holy Spirit who has spoken to their hearts and as they have responded to this, they are accounted righteous even though they don't have the Bible to read. John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.] If it is argued that all such will be saved because of ignorance, why not keep all humankind in ignorance and then save all? But all these difficulties vanish when we understand the provisions of the 1,000-year reign of Christ for such ones who in times past did not live during a special period of divine judgment. [There is no need of two probations and all this is trying to build a doctrine when it is not supported by the Bible. Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.]
In summing up: According to the Scriptures Christ Jesus will destroy all the wicked, seen and unseen, at the battle of Armageddon, which Bible prophecy shows is not far away, and at which time Satan and his demons will be bound in the abyss of the death state or unconsciousness for a thousand years. [Satan dead for a period is creative and biblically unsupportable.] Those who survive that battle will be given the privilege of being fruitful, multiplying and filling the earth and subduing it. During this time the saints will rule with Christ in heavenly glory, having a part in judging the world in righteousness and in blessing all the families of the earth. During this time those unjust ones in God's memory, in the memorial tombs (but not the willfully wicked, whose names will rot), will be raised. Not having previously been involved in Jehovah's adverse judgments, they will then have the opportunity to learn righteousness.'John 5:28, 29, NW; Prov. 10:7.
By the end of the thousand years all in the tombs will have come forth and the earth will have been completely subdued, restored to a paradise state and filled with righteous creatures. (1 Cor. 15:24-28) Then Satan and his demons will be loosed for a little time to test all those on the earth. Those who fail in that test will be destroyed together with the Devil and his demons. Then, in the fullest sense of the word, being perfected and having the right to life, all survivors will live. Then there will be no more death due to inheriting Adamic sin, neither sorrow nor crying, nor any pain, for all former things will have passed away. (Rev. 21:4) Thus instead of the earth's having been desolated for a thousand years, it will have been crammed full of opportunities, activities and blessings.