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Builders of Faith Explorer I:  Exploring Bible Truth

Lesson 23—What Is the Millennium?

 

 

1.  What does the word millennium mean, and where is it found in Scripture?

 

Answer:  The word millennium is derived from two Latin words and literally means 1,000 years.  The actual word does not appear anywhere in the Bible, but Revelation 20 is the only chapter that refers to a specific period of 1,000 years.  This is recognized as the millennium chapter in the Bible.

 

 

2.  What are the major views that Christians have of the millennium?

 

A.  Premillennialism—This view teaches that the Second Coming of Jesus will occur before the millennium, and that it actually begins the millennium.

 

B.  Postmillennialism—This view teaches that the Second Coming of Jesus will occur after the millennium had ended since the Holy Spirit will work through Christian people to bring about a millennium of peace and prosperity on the earth first.

 

C.  Amillennialism—This view teaches that the Christian Era constitutes the millennium through which Jesus reigns with His people on earth.  It also teaches that the 1,000 years is symbolic, not literal, of an unspecified long period of time.

 

Special Note:  There are specific variations, especially among the premillennialists, but we will not examine those.  Instead, we shall simply allow the Bible to give us the essential details on this topic.

 

 

3.  Who is the rider on a white horse in Revelation 19, and what is He doing?

 

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse.  And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war….  …His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies in heaven…followed Him on white horses.  Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.  And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron.  He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”  Revelation 19:11-16.

 

Answer:  For three reasons, this rider is Jesus:  (1) He is called “Faithful and True”, which corresponds to “the Faithful and True Witness” of Revelation 3:14, who speaks to the churches—whom Revelation 1:13 calls “the Son of Man” (Jesus); (2) He is called “the Word of God”, which John identifies as Jesus in John 1:1, 14; and (3) The “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” cannot be anyone but Jesus.  In Revelation 19 above, Jesus is judging and making war against the nations.  Verse 15 says that He “will rule them [nations] with a rod of iron.”  This does not refer to ruling over them as a king, but uses language from Psalm 2:9 of a shepherd who uses the iron end of his rod to beat wild animals attacking his sheep.  Besides, the reference in Revelation 19:15 to Jesus ruling with a rod of iron is sandwiched between Jesus striking the nations and treading the winepress of God’s wrath.  Moreover, verse 11 tells us that He is making war.

 

 

4.  When will this war take place?  In other words, what is this event describing?

 

“…He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”  Revelation 19:15.  “And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.  Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.  These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.  And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse.  And all the birds were filled with their flesh.”  Revelation 19:19-21.

 

Answer:  The beast is a reference to the Antichrist pictured in Revelation 13:1, and the false prophet is the second beast in Revelation 13, who is pictured in verses 13-14 as using signs to deceive the world into receiving the mark of the first beast.  Therefore, this is definitely an end-time event.  Also, Revelation 19:15’s reference to treading a winepress of God’s wrath points back to Revelation 14:14-20, which refers to the Son of Man (Jesus) coming and reaping the harvest of the saved and the lost.  Thus, this war takes place at the Second Coming of Jesus, where He judges and slays all of the wicked, as all conservative scholars agree.

 

 

5.  Who are the armies of heaven who accompany Jesus at the Second Coming?

 

“And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.”  Revelation 19:14.  “And war broke out in heaven:  Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and his angels fought….”  Revelation 12:7.

 

Answer:  Many teach that the armies in heaven are the saints who accompany Jesus at His glorious return.  However, we learned in Lesson #22 that the saints are still on the earth—some are living when Jesus returns, while many others are “sleeping” in their graves until resurrected at the Second Coming.  Therefore, the armies in heaven cannot be the saints.  Rather, they must be holy angels that accompany Jesus at this time (see Matthew 16:27), as angels are portrayed as being involved in the original war in heaven as well.

 

 

6.  What is the relationship between the Second Coming and the millennium?

 

“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.”  Revelation 16:13.  “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet….”  Revelation 19:20.  “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.  He laid hold of the dragon…and bound him for a thousand years….”  Revelation 20:1-2.

 

Answer:  In the description of the Second Coming in Revelation 19:11-21, the beast (Antichrist) and the false prophet (Antichrist’s helper) are both captured.  But Revelation 16:13 speaks of the unholy trinity of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet.  Where is the dragon in this account?  The first two verses of Revelation 20 picture the capture and imprisonment of the dragon.  In this way, the millennium described in chapter 20 continues the story from the Second Coming of Jesus.  Therefore, we know that the millennium will begin at the Second Coming!  Premillennialism is thus taught by the Bible.

 

 

7.  Where are the saints reigning with Christ during the millennium?

 

“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.  But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished.  This is the first resurrection.  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.”  Revelation 20:4-6.

 

Answer:  Note that thrones are associated with this judgment and reigning.  The Greek word for throne or thrones occurs more than 40 times in the book of Revelation.  All but three of them are associated with God and are clearly located by the context in heaven.  Since the thrones here are also associated with God and His people, they must be in heaven.  Moreover, we learned in Lesson #22 that the saints are all taken to heaven at the Second Coming of Jesus.  Therefore, contrary to what most premillennialists teach, the Bible teaches that Jesus and His saints are in heaven during the millennium.

 

 

8.  How and where is Satan (dragon) bound by a great chain?

 

“He laid hold of…Satan, …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.”  Revelation 20:2-3.

 

A.  II Peter 2:4:  “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment….”—Literally, Revelation 12:9 says that Satan and his angels were cast from heaven to the earth.  The Greek word for “hell” in II Peter 2:4 refers to a dark place in Greek mythology.  Contrasted with heaven, the earth (especially after sin) would be a dark place indeed.  Then notice that the phrase “chains of darkness” is parallel to “hell”.  Therefore, chains are used here with evil angels as a metaphor, not as literal chains.  Notice that the reason for Satan being bound in a chain is “…so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished.”  But the wicked people are all dead—the wicked dead at the Second Coming remain dead, and the wicked living are destroyed by Jesus at that glorious event (see also Lesson #22).  Therefore, Satan is bound by a figurative chain of circumstances because he has no one to tempt.

 

B.  Genesis 1:2:  “The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep….”—The Greek word for “bottomless pit” in Revelation 20 is abussos, from which we derive the word abyss.  This is the same word translated by the Greek Septuagint in Genesis 1:2 as “deep”, describing the earth before God began to create things on and for the earth.  Therefore, the “bottomless pit” aptly describes the entire earth after the destruction of the planet at the Second Coming of Jesus.  Thus, the “bottomless pit” is not some cavernous prison in the heart of the earth, but the earth itself.  Satan is bound by a figurative chain of circumstances in that he has no one to tempt and is roaming over the earth in its state of abyss.

 

 

9.  Who are sitting in judgment in Revelation 19, and who are they judging?

 

“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, [and] who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands….”  Revelation 20:4.  “Now when the thousand years have expired, fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them [wicked].”  Revelation 20:7, 9.

 

A.  First, the Greek text includes the word for “and” in the verse above (see the bracketed word), so that two groups are referenced—martyrs through the ages and those righteous living through the final crisis.  But we were just reminded under Question #7 above that all of the saved are in heaven during the millennium.  Second, the binding of Satan must include all of his demonic angels with him even though they are not specifically mentioned.  Therefore, just as Satan represented all of the wicked angels, likewise the martyrs and the last generation of faithful Christians represent all of the saved.  Therefore, all of the saved are sitting in judgment in heaven during the millennium.

 

B.  First, the judgment here cannot be to determine who will be saved and who will be lost because that was already determined in the Pre-Advent Judgment—see Lesson #21.  Second, it cannot be the judgment of the final punishment of the wicked because that will take place after the millennium, as we see in Revelation 20:7, 9 above.  Although Scripture does not tell us exactly who is being judged, we are left with just one conclusion:  The saints are given 1,000 years to look at the records in heaven—“And the dead [wicked] were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Revelation 20:12).  They would naturally have questions about why certain people were in heaven, and why certain other people were not there.  Again, since “God is love” (I John 4:8), He does more than He has to, and opens the records for inspection by the saved.  In this way, there will be absolutely no question about the justice and fairness of God throughout eternity!

 

 

10.  What does the first resurrection and the second death tell us about the end-time?

 

“But the rest of the dead [wicked] did not live again until the thousand years were finished.  This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection.  Over such the second death has no power….”  Revelation 20:5-6.  “Then Death and Hades [grave] were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”  Revelation 20:14-15.

 

Answer:  Since “…the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished”, they must be the wicked.  Therefore, the first resurrection is the resurrection of the saved that occurs at the Second Coming of Jesus.  That means that the resurrection of the wicked dead at the end of the millennium is the second resurrection.  And if there will be a second death, there must have been a first death—which would be the normal death that all experience if they live long enough, unless they are among the righteous living at the Second Coming of Jesus.  The second death is thus the final death of the wicked, from which there will never be a resurrection.

 

 

11.  How is Satan released from his prison at the end of the millennium?

 

“Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 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.”  Revelation 20:7-8.

 

Answer:  Satan is released from his prison because all of the wicked dead are resurrected in the second resurrection.  As a result, Satan has people to deceive and tempt again.

 

 

12.  What do the wicked attempt to do at the end of the millennium, and what is the beloved city?

 

“They [wicked] went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city.”  Revelation 20:9.  “…I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God….”  Revelation 3:12.

 

Answer:  The wicked are led by Satan and his demonic angels to attempt to destroy the saints and God’s beloved city, and thus defeat Jesus.  This proves that the wicked will never change their minds about God.  There is only one city in the book of Revelation that is called “holy” or God’s city—and that is the New Jerusalem.  While most of the Christian world is looking toward old Jerusalem in the Middle East, God’s end-time city is currently in heaven and is called the New Jerusalem.  Evidently, the saved come back to the earth with God at the end of the millennium with, and probably inside, the New Jerusalem.

 

 

13.  For whom is the Great White Throne Judgment, and when does it take place?

 

“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.  And I saw the dead [previously dead wicked], 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.  The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades [grave] delivered up the dead who were in them.  And they were judged, each one according to his works.”  Revelation 20:11-13.  “…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Philippians 2:10-11.

 

Answer:  The Great White Throne Judgment is a judgment of the wicked.  Obviously, it interrupts the wicked in their attempt to attack the New Jerusalem and the saints.  The passages above indicate that the wicked will see their own records so that they will fulfill the prediction that eventually, every living being will bow before Jesus and admit that He has been correct all along.  This is not repentance, but only an acknowledgment that Jesus is right and, by implication, that they all deserve to die.  Everyone would include Satan and his angels as well.  What a sight that will be!  The whole universe, including the wicked forces of spiritual darkness, will agree that Jesus is righteous and just.

 

 

14.  What happens to the wicked after the Great White Throne Judgment?

 

“And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.”  Revelation 20:9.  “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”  Revelation 20:14-15.

 

Answer:  The wicked receive their final punishment, which Revelation calls the second death.

 

 

15.  Where will the righteous spend eternity?

 

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away….  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.  God Himself will be with them and be their God.”  Revelation 21:1-3.  “Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.”  Matthew 5:5.

 

Answer:  At the end of the millennium, God will completely re-create the earth and will make it the new capital of the universe.  And His faithful people will live on this New Earth with the Holy Trinity throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.  Amen!

 

 

16.  How many phases of God’s judgment are there?  Will you clarify this since it seems a bit confusing?

 

Answer:  We suppose it depends upon exactly how you count them.  But we count five, as outlined below:

 

A.  Pre-Advent Investigative Judgment—See Lesson #21.  This is the judgment in which only the names of those who claimed to belong to Jesus, or who claimed to try to follow the truth they understood without knowing Jesus, come up.  It takes place before the Second Advent.

 

B.  Executive Judgment of the Living Wicked—See Lesson #22.  The living wicked when Jesus returns in glory are destroyed.  Revelation 19:11 declares that at this glorious event, Jesus “…judges and makes war.”

 

C.  Millennial Investigative Judgment of the Wicked—The saved in heaven during the millennium examine the records to discover why certain people are not there in heaven, and why others are there.

 

D.  Great White Throne Judgment—The wicked look at the record of their own lives in order that they too will bow and admit that Jesus has been right, and that they deserve to die.

 

E.  Postmillennial Executive Judgment of the Wicked—This is the final punishment of the wicked, which puts an end to all judgments and to all sin in the universe.

 

 

17.  Here is a graphic chart showing the major events and/or conditions related to the millennium:

 

 

THE MILLENNIUM
1. Second Coming of Jesus 1. Earth is Desolate 1. All Heaven returns to Earth
2. Righteous Dead are Resurrected 2. Righteous Judge Wicked 2.  Wicked are Resurrected
3. All Righteous are Glorified   3. Wicked Attack the Saints
4. All Righteous go to Heaven   4. Great White Throne Judgment
5. Living Wicked are Slain   5. Wicked Destroyed in Fire
6. Satan & Demons Bound by Chain (no one to tempt) 6. New Earth created

 

 

Quiz for Lesson 23—What Is the Millennium?

 

1.  Which of the following statements about the millennium as a subject are true? (3)

  Amillennialism is the view that the Christian Era constitutes the millennium in which Jesus reigns through His people on earth.

  The word millennium literally refers to a period of 1,000 years.

  Revelation 19 is the great chapter on the millennium in the Bible.

  Premillennialism is the view that the Second Coming of Jesus will occur before the millennium.

Answer

Amillennialism is the view that the Christian Era constitutes the millennium in which Jesus reigns through His people on earth.
The word millennium literally refers to a period of 1,000 years.
Premillennialism is the view that the Second Coming of Jesus will occur before the millennium.

2.  Which of the following are titles given to Jesus in Revelation 19? (3)

  Faithful and True

  Word of God

  Faithful Judge

  King of Kings

  Son of God

Answer

Faithful and True
Word of God
King of Kings

3.  At what event does Jesus make war in Revelation 19? (1)

  After the millennium

  Second Coming of Jesus

  After the origin of sin in heaven

  During the millennium

Answer

Second Coming of Jesus

4.  Identify which of the following are part of the unholy trinity in Revelation. (3)

  Dragon

  False Christ

  Beast

  False prophet

  Lamb-like beast

Answer

Dragon
Beast
False prophet

5.  The Bible teaches a form of premillennialism. (1)

  True

  False

Answer

True

6.  Where are God’s saved people during the millennium? (1)

  Earth

  Heaven

  Jerusalem

  Zion

Answer

Heaven

7.  Which of the following terms are associated with Satan during the millennium? (3)

  Bottomless pit

  Hell

  Chain

  Old Jerusalem

Answer

Bottomless pit
Hell
Chain

8.  What are God’s people doing during the millennium? (2)

  They are watching Jesus judge the wicked.

  They are judging the wicked.

  They are reigning over the wicked on earth.

  They are occupying thrones.

Answer

They are judging the wicked.
They are occupying thrones.

9.  Who are raised in the second resurrection? (1)

  The righteous

  The wicked

  Satan and his demons

Answer

The wicked

10.  Which of the following are events that happen at the end of the millennium? (4)

  The wicked are resurrected from the dead.

  The wicked attack the saints, who come with Jesus from heaven.

  Satan is bound by a great chain.

  The Great White Throne Judgment happens.

  The very last phase of God’s judgment occurs.

Answer

The wicked are resurrected from the dead.
The wicked attack the saints, who come with Jesus from heaven.
The Great White Throne Judgment happens.
The very last phase of God’s judgment occurs.