Continuing with the subject of,
The Millennium and the End of Sin
As it was explained by our Adventist friends, at the beginning of the millennium Satan is locked up in a pit, which they conjecture to be the earth completely devoid of life.
“All the righteous have already been taken up to Heaven to live with Christ (Revelation 20:4), and the wicked are still dead in their graves (Revelation 20:5). There is no one on earth for Satan to deceive. The entire planet is empty, left in ruins, without a single human being (Jeremiah 4:24-26).”
Rather than address this statement now it might prove more beneficial if we allow them to elaborate a bit more upon the millennium and how they see events unfolding as they go into a bit more detail on the statement above, at the conclusion of which we will examine each point.
Seventh Day Adventist say:
At Jesus’ Second Coming, the believers who are still alive will be joined by those who were raised from the dead, and everyone will be taken to heaven with Him. (1 Thess 4:17).
But that’s not the end of the story. Heaven is actually not our final destination.
We will stay in heaven with Jesus for 1000 years (the Millennium) while the rest of humanity goes through the judgment and Satan and his army of followers and angels are destroyed once and for all.
The earth will be burned completely with a purifying fire.
That sounds grim…but here’s where the final happily-ever-after begins.
In Isaiah 65:17 God says, “For I will create new heavens and a New Earth… (CSB)”
God will make a “new” earth out of the ashes of the “old” earth. The New Earth will be our eternal home, the way God intended it from the beginning.
The New Earth is made after we spend 1,000 Years in Heaven
According to Revelation 20:4, 5, we will spend 1,000 years there alongside Jesus Christ—a millennium. God is going to give the redeemed 1,000 years in heaven to learn about what’s behind His judgement of humanity.
As you can imagine, we will have many questions! Why did this happen? Why did this person choose this path? Why is this person in heaven and not that person?
This millennium is a privilege from God. He invites us to ask our questions and invites us to share in His knowledge of everything that happened on earth.
Before the earth was created, sin had its origins in the angel Lucifer’s heart. He became jealous of God’s sovereignty and he questioned God’s judgement. He even started a war in heaven (Revelation 12) when he indulged the thought that he could be better than God. Lucifer, now called Satan, started the Great Controversy—a spiritual war of good versus evil.
This makes the millennium particularly meaningful for those in heaven with Jesus, as they will be shown how God’s judgment was fair and just. Satan’s accusations will be ultimately disproved.
While this is happening in heaven, Satan is alone and bound to the broken earth for those 1,000 years (Revelation 20:2, 5). Satan gets a cosmic time-out from God, allowing him one last chance to repent and acknowledge God power and goodness.
In Revelation 20 we also learn that the wicked who had died throughout history and those who were killed at the Second Coming of Christ are resurrected at the end of the 1,000 years. At that time, Satan tries to mobilize them to war against God.
However, over the past millennium the saints have already seen that God’s judgement is right, so the attempt at war will be fruitless. God will then cleanse the earth with fire from heaven (Revelation 20:7-10).
Who will live on the New Earth?
The “saints” will live with God in the New Earth. In Isaiah 35:9-10 we are told, “But only the redeemed will walk there, and those who the Lord has rescued will return.”
Seventh Day Adventist believe that during the time that the saints are reigning in heaven the earth will be desolate for a thousand years.
The Earth Becomes Desolate. Since the righteous ascend to be with the Lord and the wicked are destroyed at His appearing, the earth stands for a time without human inhabitants. Scripture points to such a situation. Jeremiah said, "I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; and the heavens, they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, and all the hills moved back and forth. I beheld, and indeed there was no man" (Jer. 4:23-25). Jeremiah's use of the terminology found in Genesis 1:2, "without form, and void," indicates that the earth is to become as chaotic as it was at the beginning of Creation.
The Cleansing of the Earth. Describing the day of the Lord, when all traces of sin will be eliminated, Peter said, "The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up" (2 Peter 3:10).
The fire that destroys the wicked purifies the earth from the pollution of sin. Out of the ruins of this earth God will bring "a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away" (Rev. 21:1). From this cleansed, re-created earth—the eternal home of the redeemed—God will forever banish mourning, pain, and death (Rev. 21:4). Finally, the curse sin brought will have been lifted (Rev. 22:3).
The Resurrection of Condemnation. Now the moment has arrived that will complete the fulfillment of Christ's promise that "'all who are in the graves will hear His voice'" (John 5:28). At His second advent Christ brought the righteous dead from their graves in the first resurrection, "the resurrection of life." Now the other resurrection Jesus spoke of will take place, "'the resurrection of condemnation'" (John 5:29). Revelation also refers to this resurrection: "The rest of the dead [those who were not raised in the first resurrection] did not live again until the thousand years were finished" (Rev. 20:5).
God sets up His great white throne. As the entire human race meets around this throne—some secure inside the city, others outside, terrified in the presence of the Judge—God will carry out the last phase of judgment. This is the time Christ spoke of when He said, "'There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out'" (Luke 13:28).
To carry out this executive phase of the judgment, God's record books will be 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" (Rev. 20:12). Then God pronounces the sentence of doom.”
We will begin our response to this in our next post.
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