1) Since the millennium is Bible prophecy, how is it that the religionists of the day could be mistaken about it?
Answer: That indeed is a strange phenomenon. An important Bible prophecy was actually misinterpreted by many religionists. It proves that many people still need to study the Bible in a humble spirit, and not be influenced by preconceived opinions.
2) Since so many people were mistaken about the millennium, how can we be sure that we have the correct view? How do we know when the millennium is coming?
Answer: The millennium is coming very soon. We may be sure of that. We must study the Bible with an open mind, and not trust to guesswork on this important topic. The wrong view is called "post millennialism," as opposed to "pre-millennialism," which the Bible teaches. The "post" and "pre" refers to the second advent of Christ. The false view supposes that the millennium is brought about by human efforts to build a prosperous world. Before the first world war, many preachers chimed in with the newspaper editorials in saying that the millennium was beginning, as the achievements of modern technology promised a golden age of human advancement, after which Christ would come to crown it with God's blessings.
3) Didn't they have Bible basis for their beliefs?
Answer: Well, in their preaching they also used Scripture, but they made false applications of Scripture, causing people to cherish vain expectations which soon vanished.
4) Will you explain the Bible texts on the millennium. so that we can have a correct understanding of the topic?
Answer: Yes. But note that I don't claim to be wiser than others. All I am going to do is to present the plain words of Scripture so that you can see for youself that it presents the matter clearly. Will you please first read Rev. 20:1-9.
5) "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, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 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. 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 worhshiped 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. 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. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them."
Answer: First to solve the question of "post" and "pre". Does Christ come after or before the millennium? The text we just read does not mention the coming of Christ, but it mentions the resurrection. John 5:28,29 says, "the hour is comingin which all that are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." "Hear His voice" means that Christ will call the dead back to life when He comes the second time. He has said, "I am the resurrection and the life." John 11:25. These texts tell us that Christ comes before the millennium, as that is when the righteous are raised.
"The rest of the dead" must wait "until the thousand years are finished." Then Christ will come a third time and awaken them to the "resurrection of condemnation".This point all can see, because the Bible texts are quite plain. It is a pity that many educated theologians fail to see this simple truth, and place the second coming of Christ at the end of the millennium. It is purely a subjective conclusion, without Bible support.
6) Is the thousand years when the devil is confined to the bottomless pit the same time the saints reign with Christ?
Answer: Yes. The Greek for "bottomless pit" is abyssos, the same word used in the Greek translation of Gen. 1:2, where it speaks of the "the deep". After Christ's second coming, the earth will revert to the "without form and void" condition before creation. For the resurrected saints have met the Lord in the air and gone with Him to heaven, Christ has promised, "I will come again and receive you to Myself." John 14:3. Those who are not taken will flee from His presence. 2 Thess. 2:8 says, "Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming." Jer. 4:23 says, "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, and all the birds of the heaven had fled. I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all its cities were broken down at the presence of the Lord, by His fierce anger." This is the bottomless pit where the devil will spend a thousand years. He who had always deceived the nations will have nothing to do. The "chain" is symbolic of his hands being tied by circumstances.
7) How do you explain the "thrones" and those who sit on them being given the work of judgment?
Answer: It is a plural verb. In the Chinese it is translated "several thrones", which should be rendered "many thrones". Christ says, "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with me on My throne, as also I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." In the promise, Christ speaks of His one throne. In actuality there will be many thrones, because the number of saints will be many. The work the saints will be engaged in when they reign with Christ, is to judge the wicked, not to decide on their fate, but to mete out their punishment according to their deeds. 1 Cor. 6:2,3 says, "Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? . . . Do you not know that we shall judge angels?".
8) What does it mean to worship the beast and have his mark on the forehead and the right hand?
Answer: That will be a special topic for another study. We have no time to deal with it here. Judging from the words, to worship the beast and receive his mark must be a very serious offense. It apparently has to do with the message of the everlasting gospel. The angel flying in the midst of heaven warns all to "Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgments has come." After that comes another angel that warns people not to worship the beast. So the prime issue is whom you worship.
9) Is the freeing of Satan after the thousand years synchronous with the resurrection of the wicked?
Answer: Yes, verse 8 says, that Satan "will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, . . to gather them together to battle." Although many of them had seen Christ appear, yet their hearts are still hardened. Satan mobilizes them to attack the new Jerusalem.
10) Isn't the new Jerusalem in heaven? How can the wicked attack it?
Answer: We have just read that "the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished." John 5:29 says, "those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." The wicked also must hear the voice of Christ before they can live again. When He comes to raise the righteous, He remains aloft, waiting for the angels to gather the risen saints from four corners of the earth to meet Him in the air.
At the end of the thousand years, He will bring the new Jerusalem, with all its inhabitants, to this earth. The point of His landing will be on the Mount of Olives, which will split open to become a valley to receive the city. It is foretold in Zecharaiah 14:4."And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north, and half of it toward the south. . . Thus the Lord my God will come, and all the saints with You"
11) In that case, the resurrected wicked will live outside the city, and those in the city will not be able to go out.
Answer: For a period of time there will be segregation. The passage just quoted is followed by the prophecy that when the Mount of Olives parts asunder, the wicked will flee, saying, "Then you shall flee . . . as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah." Rev. 22:15 also says, "But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters and whoever loves and practices a lie." Rev. 21:27 says, "But there shall by no means enter if anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a life, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life."
12) What does "Gog and Magog" refer to?
Answer: That is the name of enemy forces that come against Israel as described in Ezek. 38 and 39.
13) It appears that after the wicked, who are as the sand of the sea for multitude, surround the city, there will not be actual military engagement. The Bible says that fire comes down from heaven and consumes them.
Answer: Not immediately. Before they are consumed, God conducts a public pronouncement of sentence of all the doomed. The cases of all the wicked have been reviewed by the righteous during the millennium. They have passed sentence on all the deeds of every guilty person according to the norm set by God, Luke 12:47,48 says, "That servant who knew the master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes, but he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required, and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." Rev. 20:11-15 speaks of the grand judgment scene as follows: "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, 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 delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 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."
14) This speaks of the resurrection. There seems to be no time for an assault on the city. The wicked are judged as soon as they rise from the grave.
Answer: No. This passage obviously refers to events after the wicked have surreounded the city and God conducts an open judgment, after which the wicked are thrown in the lake of fire. There is one point which must be noted: "Death" is an abstract term used with "Hades", both of which are thrown in the lake of fire. That means that after this, death will be no more. Note that "Hades" and the sea both give up their dead, proving that "Hades" only means graves on dry land, not a region where disembodied spirits of the dead are held. If it were such a region, then all who are drowned in the sea should also rise from Hades. The Greek term "Hades" used in the NT is the equivalent of the Hebrew "Sheol", which is used 65 times in the OT. Half that number is translated
"grave" and half "hell" in the OT of the KJV. This proves that the term "Hades" is a Greek term used in the NT merely to refer to nothing more than the grave.
15) Is there any other Bible text that applies to this critical period?
Answer: Yes. Phil. 2:5-11 says, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearnace as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that 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." The scene described here is the grand assembly of Rev. 20. At this time all the myriads of beings in heaven, earth
and under the earth are gathered to witness the closing scenes of the great controversy between Christ and Satan.
Then all that are gathered before the throne of God are either in the city or outside its gates. There will be no neutral ground. Then all will realize what the fruits of sin are--not freedom, but slavery and death. The wicked will see what they have lost as a result of rebellion. They recall the time when God offered to them eternal life, yet they arrogantly spurned it. Now it appears to them so precious! They will hate themselves and say, "All this I could have had, yet I put it out of sight, O what strange infatuation!" They will all see that their exclusion from Heaven is just and fair, because they had by their daily living declared, "We will not have this Jesus to be our King."
16) I see that Phil. 2:5-11 will surely be fulfilled. Are "those under the earth" Satan and his angels?
Answer: Yes. In the presence of God, Christ, the angels and the saints, they are forced to admit their own cause to be lost, and the overpowering glory constrains them to bow and confess the supremacy of Christ.
17) In that case do the devil and his angels have a chance to repent and be saved?
Answer: No. Not only the devil and his angels, but all the wicked human beings have spurned their last chance to be saved. The door of salvation has closed. Satan and all his followers clearly see that their life of rebellion against God has unfitted them for fellowship with holy beings. They have been habitual rebels against God, so the purity, peace and harmony of Heaven have become intolerably painful to them. Satan's misrepresentation of God's love and justice is proven false. The wrongs which he had tried to place on God now comes back on his own head. Satan must confess that his punishment is just and fair.
18) Now I can see how Eph. 3:9-11 will be fulfilled: the universe will see the "manifold wisdom of God."
Answer: Yes! Before all creation the infinite sacrifice made by the Father and the Son will be fully manifest. Now the time has come, when Christ will occupy His rightful position and receive honor and glory far above all principalities and powers. Because of the joy that was set before Him--the joy of leading many sons to glory, He despised the shame and endured the suffering of the cross. Though this suffering and shame was extreme beyond imagination, in the end His joy and glory exceeded it in comparison. He sees His own image restored in the characters of the redeemed, the perfect seal of God placed in the heart of every saint, and every countenance reflecting the dignity of their King. In them Christ sees the travail of His soul, and is satisfied. The multitude around the throne sings the praises of God, saying, "Worthy is
the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!"