he Millennium, the End of Evil, and the Beginning of the New Earth
Introduction: If the titles of our lessons get any longer, we can just study the title and forget the lesson! This week we enter an area that is among the most disputed in Christianity. Does Christ come before or after the millennium? Does He come before or after the tribulation? Where are the righteous during the millennium? When is evil destroyed? When does the new earth start? These are large issues for one lesson, so let's jump in and see what the Bible says!
- The Righteous and the Millennium
- Read Revelation 20:4-6. How many resurrections did we discuss last week (Two)
- In which resurrection did you decide you wanted to be? (The first because the second death (eternal death) has no power over those who rise in the first resurrection.)
- Does the resurrection of the righteous come before or after the 1,000 years (the millennium) according to these verses? (Before)
- Are these people who (v.4) "come to life and reign with Christ" for the millennium all or just some of the righteous? (Read 1 Corinthians 6:1-3. We are told "the saints" (not just some of them) will not only judge the world, they will judge angels.)
- Let's take stock. You say the righteous are raised before the millennium, and they spend the 1,000 years as judges. Who are the righteous judging during the millennium (other than angels)? Are they judging themselves?
- Isn't the idea of the righteous judging "the world" contrary to Acts 17:31 and John 5:22 where we are told that Jesus will judge us?
- Can both Jesus and the righteous be judges?
- What are the righteous judging? On what are they supposed to be passing judgment? (Revelation 20:12 and 15 tell us that there are two "destiny" books. In one, the book of life, are written the names of the righteous. Revelation 3:5 tells us the names of those written in the book of life are "acknowledged" by Jesus before the Father and the heavenly angels. The "other book" records the deeds of the lost. The righteous thus seem to be judging those whose names are written in the "other book," not the book of life.)
- Why are the righteous judging the lost? (In the American system of justice we have "appellate courts" who review the decisions of "trial judges." The appellate judges supposedly have limited review, but their job is to decide if the decision below was correct. Jesus wants the righteous to concur with His decision. I assume this is particularly important for the loved ones of the righteous whose names are not written in the book of life.)
- What kind of time will this be? Will the righteous be sad because they will think of something they could have done to "turn things around?" (This assumes unsound theology. Do you really think the eternal fate of someone else turns on your efforts? What if you are a lazy slob? Should my salvation depend on the extent of your laziness? Is that how salvation works - your fate is in the hands of others?)
- I know parents who refuse to acknowledge the faults and sins of their children. Everyone else on earth is responsible for their children's failures. What about those kinds of people? Will they come away from their judging angry? (This whole concept of review makes clear that we will see that everyone had multiple opportunities to choose life. We will see that God has been more than fair.)
- The Wicked and the Millennium.
- Where is Satan during the millennium? Let's look at Revelation 20:1-3, 7-9.
- Satan is "chained" in the locked and sealed "Abyss" or "prison" for the 1,000 years. What is this place?
- If you answer, "the destroyed earth," how can Satan's sealed prison be the same as (vv. 7-8) his place of release? (Satan's prison is a place where he cannot deceive people (v.3). Since verse 5 tells us the wicked dead (second resurrection people) did not come to life until AFTER the millennium, a reasonable reading of this is that Satan's "release" is really the restoration of the wicked. He gets returned to "population." Thus Satan and his angels ( Jude 1:6, 2 Peter 2:4) spend the millennium in a destroyed earth ( Revelation 6:14-17) where all the wicked are dead.)
- After the millennium, when Satan and his angels are released, and the wicked brought to life again, what do they do? Let's read again Revelation 20:7-10.
- What is the "city He loves?" (Compare Revelation 21:1-3 which pictures the New Jerusalem coming down to earth from heaven. This makes it appear Satan and his followers are attacking the New Jerusalem.)
- Why does God allow this attack?
- What is the final end of the wicked? (The second death is being devoured by fire.)
- I've told you this is a highly disputed area in Christianity. Does the sequence matter?
- Where do you want to be in all this? Does the sequence spur you to be part of the first resurrection?
- We sometimes get the picture of Heaven and the New Earth as a time when we are idly floating around on clouds - harp in hand. Put yourself in the New Jerusalem as Satan and the wicked are about to launch an all-out, final attack. Is this high adventure?
- When you see the armies of the wicked assault the New Jerusalem, when the destruction of the wicked comes, will you be morally certain God is right? (I think this is the reason for allowing the attack.)
- Read Revelation 19:1. Will this be your response?
- Second Chance?
- Some teach that the millennium is a time of second chances for the lost. Is this true?
- If the wicked are rallied to attack the New Jerusalem, isn't this the opportunity for some to repent?
- Will some say, "Hey I've read the book. This is not a good idea?"
- Does the sequence of Revelation 20:5-9 allow for second chances? (Notice v.8 says that Satan is still deceiving people. Somehow he will convince those who "have read the book" this is their only hope - which it is!)
- Read Revelation 22:11-12. What does this teach about the timing of second chances? When is the time for "our chance" to turn to God?
- Friend, I want to be inside the walls of the New Jerusalem. I want to be a citizen of the city that Jesus loves. If you want that too, ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, cover you with His robe of righteousness and guide you to walk in His way of life.
- NEXT WEEK: God Reveals His Righteousness