Lorraine Day, M.D.
A large segment of Christians believe that the answer to this question is: BOTH! They believe that the "Gentile" Christians will be taken to heaven in a Secret Rapture sometime either before or during the tribulation, but the "Jews" will reign on earth for a thousand years after, apparently suddenly and instantaneously, recognizing and accepting Jesus as their Messiah. (Please see the study on "The Secret Rapture".
In the study, "Who is Israel? Who is the Church?" I have explained that there are no such words as "Gentile" or "Jew" in the Bible, in the original Biblical languages. Instead, these two words actually refer to
a) those who BELIEVE in the God of heaven (they are called the Judeans) and,
b) those who DO NOT BELIEVE in the God of heaven (they are called the "Nations").
There will be ONLY these TWO groups at the end of this age (at the ONLY Second Coming of Christ),
a) those who DON'T take the Mark of the Beast (those who DO believe in Jesus) and
b) those who DO TAKE the Mark of the Beast (those who DON'T believe in Jesus).
Those who REFUSE to take the Mark of the Beast are referred to as "those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" in Revelation 14:12.
Since the above questions have been dealt with in the two studies mentioned, we will confine this discussion to the question in the title:
Will the Millennium be Spent in Heaven or on Earth?
Since the vast majority of Christians believe that there will be SOME human beings in heaven during the millennium, (some believe they will ONLY be "Gentile" Christians, and some believe they will be ALL the "saved"), we will narrow our discussion further to the following question:
Will there be any human beings living on the earth during the Millennium?
The word "Millennium," meaning a period of 1000 years, never appears in the Bible. However, the phrase "a thousand years" does appear several times, especially in Revelation 20:1-8:
"And 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; and after that he must be released a little while.
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 rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.) This is the first resurrection.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on 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.
And when the thousand years are complete, Satan shall be released out of his prison,
And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the earth.. . ."
Satan Will Be Bound for a Thousand Years
It is clear from this passage that Satan will be restrained in some way for a period of a thousand years. How he will be restrained is presented metaphorically because it is obviously impossible to "bind" a spirit being with literal chains!
The term "bottomless pit" in this passage is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew term "without form and void" found in Genesis 1:2,
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was (became) without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
The word translated "was" is actually the word "became." Every other time this Hebrew word hayah is found in the Old Testament, it is translated "became." (See Strong's Concordance.)
Also the phrase "without form and void" is mistranslated. The proper translation is as follows:
"And the earth BECAME chaos and vacant and darkness was on the surface of the submerged chaos."
This, of course, makes much more sense because God DOES NOT "create CHAOS" as the translators have fraudulently suggested!
The correct translation tells us that when God created the earth it was perfect. THEN Satan came along and turned it into "CHAOS." This Genesis 1:1,2 passage is referring to a creation of the world PRIOR to the creation of humanity.
God creates perfection. Satan "creates" CHAOS. Wherever CHAOS is found, it is the mark of Satan's presence.
God created the heavens and the earth. Satan had access to it and caused it to become "chaos and vacant." "Darkness was on the surface of the submerged chaos" so God RE-created the earth by His spirit moving on the surface of this "submerged chaos" and on the sixth day, God created humanity.
A whole eon occurred between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. (Please see the study "Does Forever Really Mean "Forever?"
The term "Bottomless Pit" (in Revelation 20:3) is exactly the same phrase used to describe what Satan did to the earth the first time he had access to it (before humanity was created). This tells us that right before Jesus returns, Satan will bring the earth to the same condition in which it was found in Genesis 1:2. There was NO humanity, there was NO vegetation, NOTHING existed of any value. It was CHAOS and VACANT!
THAT is where Satan will be "chained" by a chain of circumstances during the millennium. He and his evil angels will be "bound" to this earth, with no one to tempt, for a thousand years, a remedial chastening to allow them, in part, to reap what they have sown. They will have to live in their own "chaos," a constant reminder to Satan and his angels that Satan's ways DON'T work!
The apostle Peter explains this "chaining" process very well:
"For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Tartarus (the unseen), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;" 2 Peter 2:4
During the millennium the earth will be "chaos and vacant," an abyss. NO human life, animal life, nor vegetation will exist.
The prophet Jeremiah speaks of this period of time in Jeremiah 4:23-27:
I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form (the SAME word used in Genesis 1:2), and void; and the heavens, and they had no light
I beheld the mountains, and lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved back and forth.
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.
For thus hath the Lord said, The WHOLE LAND SHALL BE DESOLATE;"
And again in Jeremiah 25:33, the prophet declares:
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold disaster shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the farthest parts of the earth.
And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall NOT be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground."
The slain will be from one end of the earth to the other, they will not be gathered, nor buried, nor will anyone mourn for them, because EVERY human being on earth will be DEAD! And they will remain dead for a thousand years.
The resurrection of the wicked occurs AFTER the millennium:
"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." Revelation 20:5
Right before Satan brings the earth to TOTAL destruction, Jesus will come on a rescue mission and "snatch away" the righteous, and take them into the air to go to heaven with Him. If He waited a moment longer, they would all be killed in the conflagration taking place on earth! This is Jesus' Second Coming, a World-Wide event, when every eye will see Him, when there will be thunder and lightning, trumpets sounding and the resurrection of the righteous. This will NOT be a secret event!
Jesus will come to take the righteous to where He is NOW - in heaven!
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.
In My Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. 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." John 14:2
Jesus told His disciples (including His present-day disciples) that He was going away - to heaven - to prepare a place for the righteous. He would come again to take them THERE. Obviously, Jesus wasn't preparing a place for the righteous on this earth, at least not during the millennium.
So, the wicked will ALL be dead and the righteous will ALL be in heaven - - - the earth will be desolate! ONLY Satan and his evil angels will be "chained" to the earth by a "chain" of circumstances.
"Live and reign with Christ for a thousand years!" Rev 20:4
Most Christians believe that the concept of "reigning" means one has to have someone to "lord overl." But that is not necessarily true. God now reigns over the entire universe. We have no evidence that there is sin in any area of the universe, other than earth. Yet God reigns over it all. The Bible tells us that "ALL has its cohesion in Him." He holds everything together.
In addition, we are told that the saints "shall judge the world." 1 Corinthians 6:2 We now understand that "Judgment returns to righteousness" Psalm 94:15, meaning Judgment returns the wicked to right-doing. Therefore "Judging" the world means learning to help the "lost" turn back to right doing. That is a very different concept from "lording it over" others!
It is NOT necessary to "rule" on the earth in order to "live and reign with Christ."
God commanded that the earth be rested every seventh year!
The Israelites were told, in Leviticus 25:1-7, to REST the land every seventh year,
And the Lord spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the Lord,
Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;
But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed; for it is a year of rest for the land.
And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee.
And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat."
But neither the Israelites nor humanity in general have obeyed God's command. Because God says that "whatever we sow - we will reap," therefore the earth MUST REST for 1,000 years, to make up for absence of "resting" one year out of every seven. (By the end of the millennium, the earth will have been in existence (since the creation of humanity) 7,000 years. Therefore, it will have to rest 1/7th of that time - or 1,000 years.) The earth CANNOT "rest" if it is inhabited by humanity.
Therefore, the earth MUST be desolate, without human or animal life and without vegetation, for the millennium!
"My Kingdom is NOT of this world."
When Jesus was on earth the first time, He repeatedly reminded His disciples and the rest of His followers, all of whom were looking forward to an EARTHLY kingdom with Jesus as the Ruler, that His Kingdom was "NOT of this world." John 18:36
The disciples were constantly arguing and bickering about who would be the greatest in Christ's earthly kingdom. The apostles, James and John, were so shameless that they even had their mother ask Jesus for the highest positions in His "kingdom" for her sons. (Matthew 20:20)
Jesus refused to let the crowd set Him up as their King, after which they virtually all left Him. They wanted an earthly kingdom where Jesus: a) would reign, b) set the Jews as rulers over the whole earth, and c) destroy their oppressors.
That is precisely what the majority of Christians are looking forward to today: an earthly kingdom, ruled by the Jews, who will reign with Christ over the whole earth, and destroy their perceived oppressors.
Jesus said that's EXACTLY what WON'T happen!
All of these texts very explicitly state that the Millennium will be in heaven - - NOT on earth!
Seemingly Contradictory Texts:
Now let's look at the texts that some believe support the idea of an earthly Millennium.
"Behold the day of the Lord cometh, and thy plunder shall be divided in the midst of thee.
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses plundered and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle
And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall split in two in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal; yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah; and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with Him.
When is "the day of the Lord?"
In Zechariah 14:1 we are told the time this event will occur is at " the day of the Lord." This term always refers to the time of Jesus Second Coming. See 2 Peter 3:10, 1 Cor 5:5, 1 Cor 1:8, Isa 2:12, Isa 13:9.
"His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives. . .", the mount of Olives will split into four parts with a valley in the center, and "ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains."
If this is to be taken literally, that at the Second Coming, Jesus will literally and bodily come to earth on the Mount of Olives, we have two major problems:
1) ALL who live in Jerusalem are being asked to run into a hole in the earth created by Jesus standing on the Mount of Olives. Azal was a town very close to Jerusalem, so the hole, the valley, won't be very big. In addition, if this is to be interpreted literally, what would keep a literal enemy from firing a literal missile, or dropping a literal bomb into the literal hole (valley)?
If you say, "Well, Jesus will be there to protect them," then I ask, "Why do they have to run and hide in a hole? Can't Jesus protect them without making this "valley?"
2) Jesus Himself clearly commands us NOT to go to see any "Christ" who appears bodily on this earth at the time of His Second Coming! We are told in no uncertain terms that these individuals will be False "Christs."
In Matthew 24:23-26 Jesus declares:
"Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect (chosen)
Behold, I have told you before
Wherefore if they shall say unto you. Behold He is in the desert; go NOT forth; behold He is in the secret chambers, believe it NOT."
Obviously, Jesus is telling us that He will NOT come down to earth, instead the righteous will "be caught up to meet Him in the SKY!" 1 Thess. 4:16,17 Therefore, we are NOT to look for Christ on earth. When someone says, "He is here! He is there!" These will ALL be false "Christs."
Therefore, we must interpret this Zechariah 14:5 passage symbolically. Jesus is telling us that the mountains will be moved out of their places when He comes (See Rev 16:20), but we will be protected by Him "in the valley." (See Psalm 23:4)
The preceding chapter in Zechariah, Chapter 13, is also symbolic.
The last verse of the previous chapter, Zechariah 13:9 (and remember, the Bible was NOT written with chapter separations), is clearly symbolic:
"And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will test them as gold is tested; they shall call on My Name, and I will answer them: I will say, It is My people: and they shall say, the Lord is My God."
This is obviously symbolic. These people will NOT be set on fire with literal fire!
What about, "All the Saints coming WITH Him?"
". . .And the Lord my God shall come and all the saints with Him.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:"
Many Christians interpret this passage to mean that all the saints in heaven, who have already been secretly "raptured" before or during the tribulation, will accompany Christ when He comes in the clouds for His "Second Coming." Yet we have seen that there is NO Biblical basis for a "Secret Rapture!"
Let's look at the immediate context in which this passage ("all the saints with Him") appears? It is related to the "fleeing into the valley of the mountains," not necessarily the specific event of the Second Coming of Christ.
In addition, there is major disagreement on the translation of this phrase:
The King James Version reads:
". . . and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee." (in the margin, it says ". . . all the saints with him.")
And it shall come to pass in that day that there will be no light and the lights will diminish."
The Interlinear Bible reads;
". . . And Jehovah my God shall come, and all the saints (holy ones) with You.
And it will be in that day, there shall not be light, the glorious ones will shrink."
This is clearly a puzzling passage, and since it is so puzzling, it should NEVER be used as the basis of an entire doctrine.
Also we again must remember that the Bible was not written in chapters and verses, but continuous prose. Zechariah 13:1 says:
"In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and impurity. . ."
Obviously a literal fountain cannot cleanse sin and impurity, so this must be interpreted symbolically.
We are compelled to conclude that these prophecies in Zechariah must be interpreted symbolically and not literally.
What is the MAIN Purpose of this 6,000 years?
The main purpose of this 6,000 years of earth's history, since humanity was created, is to allow Satan to try EVERY kind of administration, EVERY kind of government, and EVERY type of deception, to try to run this world better than God can run it.
This is the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan: Can the world be run by LOVE - or must it be run by force?
If God had stopped Satan's evil ways thousands of years ago, Satan would have cried "Foul." God would have been in the position of trying to explain to the Universe, including humanity, that Satan is evil and we just "have to believe God is telling us correctly."
God doesn't operate like that. He lets events play out so we can see the conclusion for ourselves, so we can be convinced when we see it happening. We human beings only seem to learn by experiencing trouble first-hand. We, unfortunately, learn best by "reaping what we have sown."
If God stops Satan even ONE DAY before Satan has brought the earth to utter destruction, to complete desolation, Satan will cry "Foul." He will claim that he could have recovered everything if God hadn't prematurely intervened.
In fact, if God were to stop Satan before Satan brings the earth to utter desolation, then again God would be in the uncomfortable and unbelievable position of having to try to convince us, without absolute evidence, that God's ways are better than Satan's ways.
If He ends up having to do that, then why didn't He stop Satan thousands of years ago and prevent humanity from being a part of this mess?
Satan MUST bring the earth to TOTAL DESOLATION, to convince the following that his ways will NEVER work:
a) the Universe
c) Satan and his evil angels
This experience in sin is not only remedial for humanity, but it is remedial for Satan and his angels as well. Satan also must reap what he has sown, and seeing the earth in total desolation is part of his learning process. That's why he and his evil angels must live amid the total desolation for a thousand years, so they'll never forget where sin leads.
The Biblical evidence is compelling that the earth will be totally desolate during the millennium and will be inhabited ONLY by Satan and his evil angels.
The Millennium will take place ONLY in heaven (except for Satan and his evil angels) for the following reasons:
1) The earth will be in utter desolation ("chaos and vacant") during the millennium
2) Only Satan and his evil angels will be on earth during the millennium, "chained" by circumstances
3) Jesus will take the righteous to heaven during the millennium and ALL the wicked will be dead. The resurrection of the wicked occurs AFTER the millennium.
4) The earth MUST rest for 1,000 years because it hasn't rested every seventh year since Creation.
5) Jesus said repeatedly, "My kingdom is NOT of this world."
6) Jesus commanded us NOT to look for Him anywhere on this earth. Those would be false "Christs."
7) When Jesus comes, the righteous will be "caught up to meet Him in the air" then,
8) Jesus will take us to where He is NOW - - - heaven! For the Millennium!
© Lorraine Day, M.D. 2006. All Rights Reserved.
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