1000 Years of Peace –
What hope is there for world peace? Is global peace and security just a dream?
How should the nations of the world try and achieve it? What is the solution to international terrorism and religious tension?
The centre stage for world conflict is the Middle East. Every United States president has tried to bring peace to the Middle East. This statement from President Obama is typical.
“And so my message to these two leaders is clear: despite all the obstacles, despite all the history, despite all the mistrust, we have to find a way forward” (meeting between leaders of the United States, Israel and Palestine in Washington 2009).
Notice this statement by former leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Yasser Arafat,
“Whoever does not accept the fact that Jerusalem will be the capital of a Palestinian State, and only that State, can go drink from the Dead Sea (die) and go to hell”(quoted in “Unholy War” p223).
This is a conflict of cultures. A conflict of religion. A conflict of civilisations.
According to many Christians, peace will never come to the Middle East until a special period called the “millennium”. During this 1,000 years Jesus will come down from heaven and rule the world from the city of Jerusalem. Only then will the problems of the world be over.
Not all Christians share this view. Although a 1,000 year period is mentioned in Bible prophecy, some Christians think the time period is totally symbolic and not worth investigating. Others think we are in the millennium right now. Others say it has come and gone.
What is this mysterious prediction of a “special” 1,000 years? Will this be a time of world peace?
Who will be living on the earth at that time? And what role does God play in the final events of the world?
This study guide reveals what the Bible says about the 1,000 years of peace. Please read the whole chapter of Revelation 20.
This prophecy is extremely important. It answers the big questions relating to how and why God ultimately destroys the curse of sin, and what impact this will have on world peace.
Q1 – WHO ALONE CAN BRING TRUE PEACE TO THIS WORLD?
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9.6
There are no human leaders or peace agencies that can bring about lasting world peace.
Throughout Bible prophecy, the final scenes of planet earth are images of upheaval and global stress.
Only Jesus, the “Prince of Peace”, can and will bring peace to this world.
Q2 – HOW LONG WILL THE SAVED REIGN IN PEACE WITH CHRIST?
And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Revelation 20.4
The word “millennium” is not found anywhere in the Bible.
It comes from two Latin words, “milli” which means 1,000 and “annus” which means a year. The word simply means 1,000 years.
Here we find God’s people, His church, living and ruling with Christ for 1,000 years.
The end of the millennium is not the end of living with Christ.
The prophet Daniel said the saints would rule “forever, even forever and ever” (Daniel 7:18).
The millennium can be likened to a 1,000 year honeymoon in heaven between Christ and His bride, the church!Him
Q3 -HOW MANY RESURRECTIONS DID JESUS SAY WOULD OCCUR?
......Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who 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 John 5,.28,29
Jesus said there are two resurrections. The resurrection of the good and the resurrection of the evil.
In this study guide you will see that the two resurrections are bookends separating the beginning and end of the 1,000 year millennium.
The resurrection of the good begins the 1,000 years. The resurrection of the evil ends the 1,000 years.
The Millennium Begins
Q4 – WHEN DO THE THOUSAND YEARS OF PEACE BEGIN?
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 20.6
The 1,000 years begins with the first resurrection. Clearly this is the resurrection of the righteous. Only those who are part of this resurrection will receive eternal life.
Q5 WHEN DOES THE FIRST RESURRECTION OCCUR?
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 1Thessalonians 4.16
The resurrection of the righteous occurs at the Second Coming of Jesus. Here we find the “dead in Christ” will be raised from their graves, and they will meet the living righteous up in the air with Jesus. There is certainly no hint of Jesus, His angels or the righteous, meeting in Jerusalem or anywhere else on this earth. Nor is there any hint of a secret rapture. The first resurrection takes place at the literal, physical return of Jesus and His angels.
Q6 -WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE UNRIGHTEOUS AT THE SECOND COMING?
And 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. 2 Thessalonians 2.8
When Jesus returns, those people who have chosen a life apart from God will be destroyed by the brightness and purity of His coming.
When just one angel came to earth at the resurrection of Jesus, the guards were struck down like dead men (Matthew 28:2,4).
Can you imagine the scene “when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him” (Matthew 25:31)?
The wicked will drop dead like they have been struck by lightning.
They will remain dead for the next 1,000 years. The Second Coming will devastate the whole earth.
There will be the greatest earthquake in history.
Islands will vanish. Mountains will be flattened and giant hailstones will drop to the ground (Revelation 16: 18- 21). These events will destroy the living wicked.
The unrighteous who are already dead will remain in their graves until the end of the 1,000 years (Revelation 20:5).
Q7 – HOW DOES THE PROPHET JEREMIAH DESCRIBE THE DESTRUCTION OF THE WICKED AT THE SECOND COMING?
And at that day the slain of the Lord shall be from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall become refuse on the ground. Jeremiah 25.33
The destruction on planet earth will be complete. Nobody will mourn over the dead and there will be no funerals.
The dead just rot on the surface of the earth. The world, which has reached well over 6 billion people, is now completely depopulated.
There will not be one human being alive on earth after the Second Coming.
One of the cleverest deceptions of the devil is the concept known as the “second chance theory”.
Many evangelical Christians believe in a “second chance” to repent after the “rapture”.
The Bible, however, is clear. When Jesus returns the wicked are destroyed and there will be no further opportunities to repent.
Every person has had the opportunity to accept the gift of salvation. Their case is closed prior to the Second Coming (Revelation 22:11,12).
There is no second chance. There is no middle ground. There is no neutrality.
Now is the time to get ready for Jesus to come!
The millennium begins with the first resurrection, which occurs at the Second Coming of Jesus.
The righteous dead will be raised from their graves.
They meet Jesus, along with the living righteous, in the air.
All the wicked are destroyed at this time and the earth becomes completely desolate.
Events during the Millennium
Q8 – AFTER THE SECOND COMING WHERE DOES CHRIST TAKE THE RIGHTEOUS FOR THE NEXT 1,000 YEARS?
2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14.2,3
The popular view of Jesus ruling this world during the millennium from Jerusalem is not found in Bible prophecy. The whole purpose of the Second Coming is to gather the righteous and take them all back to heaven to live with Jesus. Jesus promised His followers that He was preparing a home for them in heaven. Jesus said, “where I am, there you may be also.” That is why the righteous meet Jesus in the air, not on planet earth.
Q9 – WHAT WILL BE THE CONDITION OF PLANET EARTH DURING THE 1,000 YEARS?
I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form and void; and the heavens, they had no light ... I beheld, and indeed there was no man and all the birds of the heavens had fled (v23,25) Jeremiah 4:23-26
This world will be desolate during the millennium. It will not be a place of peace or prosperity. The earth will be “empty” (Isaiah 24:1). Jesus said it will be destroyed just like Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed (Luke 17:28- 30). Far from being a place of glory, the earth will be like it was prior to creation – without “form and void”. Planet earth becomes a wasteland.
Q10 – WHAT HAPPENS TO SATAN DURING THE 1,000 YEARS
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 (v1,2) Revelation 20:1-3
Satan is not destroyed at the Second Coming. He is chained and thrown into a “bottomless pit”.
Once again prophecy uses symbolic imagery here.
Let’s investigate what this means.
SATAN IN THE BOTTOMLESS PIT
The original Greek word for the bottomless pit is “abussos”. This means a dark wasteland, a state of chaos, a desolate region.
It doesn’t mean a giant chasm that literally has no bottom in it.
The condition of the world during the millennium is the same as it was prior to creation. “Abussos” – without form and void – a bottomless pit (Genesis 1:2).
SATAN BOUND BY A CHAIN
The devil will be bound to this earth without anyone to tempt or harass. He can no longer deceive anyone because the righteous are all in heaven and the wicked are all dead. The chain that binds Satan is not a literal chain. He is a spirit who could easily slither out of the strongest chain.
The devil will be bound by a chain of circumstances that stops him from doing what he does so well. Even today, if we have circumstances beyond our control we use the expression “my hands are tied”. God has given the devil 1,000 years to meditate on his actions and the horrendous results of his choice to sin.
Q11 – WHAT WILL THE RIGHTEOUS DO IN HEAVEN DURING THE 1,000 YEARS?
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgement was committed to them. Revelation 20.4
The righteous will not reign on earth. They will be in heaven with Jesus. During this time they will continue to become intimate friends with Jesus.
They will also be involved in the judgment of the wicked (see also 1 Corinthians 6:2,3). God will open up the record books of heaven and show His people the lives of the wicked and the choices they made.
During this time our many questions will be answered. Why is a serial murderer in heaven and yet my pastor or mother not there?
People will see evidence demonstrating just how much God tried to save every person and everyone will be satisfied that God is a true and right judge.
This is a time also for God’s people to make decisions with Jesus about the punishment of the wicked.
God involves His people in this process to ensure they understand the nature of His love and justice.
During the millennium the righteous will be in heaven. They will spend quality time with Jesus and be involved in reviewing the judgment and judging the wicked.
This is a time where questions will be answered. There will be eternal certainty that God is fair and just in His judgments.
Back on earth the only inhabitants will be the devil and his angels.
These demons will be “bound” by a chain of circumstances that ensures they can do nothing but contemplate God’s love and the horrific results of their choice to sin.
The End of the Millennium
Q12 – WHAT HAPPENS TO THE WICKED AT THE END OF THE 1,000 YEARS?
But the rest of the dead did not live live again until the thousand years were finished. Revelation 20.5
At the end of the 1,000 years all the wicked from the whole history of planet earth will be raised from their graves.
This event results in the devil being “released from his prison” (Revelation 20:7).
The devil is released because he now has something to do again.
He has billions of people to work his deceptive mischief on. He can now taunt and tempt people all over again.
Q13 – WHAT AND WHO COMES DOWN FROM HEAVEN AT THE END OF THE 1,000 YEARS?
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (v2)Revelation 21:2,10
At the end of the thousand years the Holy City descends from heaven inhabited by God’s people.
The golden city lands on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). Now is the time for Jesus to rule from Jerusalem. But it is not the old city in modern Israel. It is a new city created by God.
The Holy City is so majestic that it is described as looking like a “bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). The city has walls made from jasper and streets made of gold.
There are 12 gates made from solid pearls and the foundations are made from a variety of precious stones (see Revelation 21 for the details).
Q14 – WHAT WILL SATAN INFLUENCE THE WICKED TO DO WHEN THEY ARE RAISED FROM THE DEAD?
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, gather them together whose number is as the sand of the sea. Revelation 20.8,9
Even after 1,000 years the devil will not have changed. He will go out and deceive all the wicked to join him in a final battle against God.
One of the saddest statements in the Bible describes the wicked as the “sand of the sea”.
Here, literally billions of people, join the devil in a last ditch effort to gain control of the universe and the glorious Holy City of God.
This is Satan’s last stand – a stand that will result in his final doom.
Q15 – WHAT HAPPENS TO THE WICKED WHEN THEY ATTEMPT TO ATTACK THE CITY OF GOD?
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. Revelation 20.9
When the devil and his army surround the city, God will step in and bring a halt to the whole situation. The wicked are judged according to their works and hellfire will come down.
This is the “hell” of the Bible. The wicked – including the devil and his angels – are destroyed in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10-14).
The destruction of evil is an act of justice, not cruelty. This event is just as heartbreaking to God as seeing the death of His own Son on Calvary. Nevertheless He knows it must take place. God has done everything He could to save the ones who are now to be destroyed. He loved them and gave His life for them. But they persisted in their rejection of His love.
God cannot afford to let sinners into the new earth. To do so would perpetuate sin, suffering and misery.
After the millennium the Holy City comes down from heaven onto the earth accompanied by Jesus and the righteous.
The wicked are all raised from their graves in the second resurrection.
The devil influences them to unite in a last ditch attack on God and His city.
As they move to attack the city, God steps in and executes judgement through hellfire.
The devil is destroyed. The wicked are destroyed.
Sin and sinners are forever gone from the universe.
The New Earth
Q16 – WHAT WILL GOD DO TO THIS EARTH ONCE SIN HAS BEEN ERADICATED?
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away ...And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away former things have passed away Revelation 21:1,4
After witnessing the tragedy of hellfire, Jesus will wipe away the tears from every eye.
God will ensure that sad final scene will never be remembered again (Isaiah 65:17).
All traces of sin will be gone. God’s people will have an eternity of happiness in a brand new perfect earth.
Q17 – WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE TO LIVE IN THE NEW EARTH?
You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16.11
No-one will be bored in the new earth. There will be pleasures forevermore! This will be a place where we can create and build whatever we like (Isaiah 65:21,22).
Jesus will be living with us so we can spend quality time with Him (Revelation 21:3). We will have perfect health and never get tired (Isaiah 40:31).
The new earth will be a paradise for animal lovers – lions and lambs, bears and cows – all playing together and being led by young children (Isaiah 11:6,7).
God will especially design the new earth for us to enjoy life and spend each moment getting to know Him better.
Three points to remember:
•There are two resurrections – the resurrection of life and the resurrection of condemnation
••There will be 1,000 years between the two resurrections
••• The saved will be with Jesus in heaven during the 1,000 years
Neil was a young German man who decided to stop going to church and start experimenting with alcohol, girls and parties. Each time Neil came home late at night his mother was waiting to berate him for his actions.
While a family friend was staying in the home, the mother asked the friend to talk to her son.
When the family friend asked Neil what he believed God thought of him when he did the wrong thing, he was very blunt: “He hates me!” The visiting friend knew immediately he had discovered a key issue in the heart of Neil.
Neil did not want to live forever with God because he misunderstood God. Neil had been tricked by the devil into thinking that God loved him when he was good but hated him when he was bad.
The visiting friend showed Neil a text in Jeremiah: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3).
As tears poured down the face of young Neil he was asked if he would like to accept Jesus as his friend and Saviour. That night as Neil and his friend knelt down by the bedside, Neil made his decision to live forever with Jesus.
Have you made your decision for Jesus??
1. What would you say to someone who says they don’t want to go to heaven unless their whole family are there also?
2. Imagine your first conversation with Jesus. What would you like to say to Him?
3.What do you think you will love the most about living in the new earth?
Where will you be during the 1,000 years? When God has made everything new, would you like to be in the new Holy City of God and live with Jesus throughout eternity?