Following the marriage supper of the Lamb, the Lord descends from heaven leading an army of believers. With only a spoken word He annihilates the remainder of the Antichrists army. He strikes them with a plague which produces panic and confusion, once again turning the Antichrists forces against themselves (Zec 14:12, 13, 15). When its over an enormous number of dead bodies will be left decaying in the field providing a great flock of flesh-eating birds with a morbid banquet. Though the two human leaders survive who brought this tragedy upon so many, they are captured immediately and sent into eternal judgment, never to be heard from again.
With this flurry of events the human era as we have known it comes to an end, and a new interim season begins. Its often called the Millennium which is a title using the Latin words for the number 1,000, because in these verses we read today John is shown that God has planned a 1,000-year rule on the earth for His Son Jesus Christ before the new heavens and earth are created. Though not many details are given, what we are told is clear and specific, and if we simply believe what He says were left with no doubt that an amazing season awaits this earth and us before we enter our final home.
Though John may not describe the circumstances that take place on earth during this 1,000-year period, the Old Testament prophets do, and the picture that emerges should delight our hearts, encourage us to prepare for our role during those years and strengthen our faith as we realize how literally and completely God fulfills every promise He makes.
A. What does John see?
1. Satan bound (vs 1-3)
Will this be enough to cause all sin to cease? Will we find the devil is to blame for all the bad things people do?
2. First resurrection (vs 4, 5)
This actually took place earlier (19:7 or sooner) with the rapture (1Th 4:13-17)
Special attention is given to the tribulation martyrs to show that their prayers and patience is being rewarded as promised (Rev 6:9-11; 7:13-17; 8:3-5; 11:18; 14:12, 13; 16:5, 6; 17:6; 19:1, 2). But all believers are included.
Beheaded: cut with an axe
Unbelieving dead not resurrected though many unbelievers survived and remain alive on earth
3. Role of believers (v 6)
Resurrected, no judgment awaits
Priests of God and of Christ (spiritual ministers)
Reign with Him (deputies of His government)
4. Satan released from the abyss (v 7)
After 1,000 years are complete, Satan will be allowed to tempt the human population again
5. A worldwide uprising against Christ will occur (vs 8, 9)
People born during the Millennium are given a chance to rebel
They have been forced to obey Christ, but their hearts never loved Him (like people raised in church)
They attack the camp of the saints and the beloved city
A worldwide coup attempt
6. Fire came down form heaven (v 9)
No battle is fought. God kills those who attacked His people. Believers take no part in the violence.
Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, Lev 10:2; Korahs rebellion, Ne 16:35; Elijah and the Baal prophets, 1Ki 18:38; Sodom and Gomorrah, Ge 19:24
The ultimate issue revealed: people dont rebel against God because of ignorance but because deep choices have been made about submitting to and loving a holy God.
B. What do the prophets see?
Isa 2:1-4; 4:2-6; 11:1-16; 65:20-25; Jer 23:1-8; Eze 40:2-5; Zec 14:4-21
They saw: The Messiah as a righteous judge; all violence ceases, even in nature; Holy Spirit presence; restored Israel; a beautiful temple; Jerusalem as the capital; a worldwide government under the Messiah
C. What do we see?
Heres an overview of key elements of the millennium
Style: Monarch, rod of iron, controls rainfall
Deputies: resurrected believers (Da 7:27; Lk 19:12-19; Mt 19:27, 28; 1Co 6:1-4)
2. Spiritual environment
Time: between the first and second resurrection
Atmosphere: no devil, no human injustice (Isa 11:1-3), no deception about Jesus, no violence (Isa 11:6-9)
Sin: still present in unresurrected humans (death still at work, Isa 65:20)
Spirit: presence like waters cover the sea (Isa 11:9)
3. Natural environment
No early death (Isa 65:20)
No natural calamity (Ro 8:19-22)
No devastation of the earth (it heals)
Carnivores cease eating meat and violent assault stops (Isa 65:25; 11:6-9)
First resurrection believers
Stranded unbelievers not killed by judgments during the great tribulation (Zec 14:16)
Israel gathered back into the land (Isa 11:12; Eze 37:1-14)
D. Why does God do this?
1.God has promises to keep
To His Son (Ps 2; 110; Rev 5)
To Abraham (Ge 12:3; 15:5)
To David (2Sa 7:10-16)
To Israel (Isa 11:1-16, etc.)
To all Jesus disciples (Lk 19:12-19; Mt 19:27, 28)
E. What do we learn from the Millennium?
1. The wisdom and character we gain now will be used there (1Co 6:1-4)
2. The fruitfulness we show here will be rewarded with greater authority and opportunity for ministry there (Lk 19:11-26)
3. The sacrifice we make here will be more than rewarded there (Mt 19:27, 28)
4. Humans can sin even when the devil is not present
5. Humans who know all about Jesus can still choose to rebel against Him
6. Sooner or later God always fulfills the promises He makes (Mt 5:17, 18)
7. We have an amazing future ahead of us; we really will rule and minister with Jesus Christ on earth with real human beings (1Co 2:6-16)
F. Discussion Question
1. Pick one of the lessons from section E and tell us how it can apply in your own life.