Part 6: The 1000 Years and the Saints in Heavenby Steve Wohlberg
When Jesus Christ returns at the end of the seventh plague (Revelation 16:17), a gigantic earthquake occurs (Revelation 16:18), the cities of the nations fall (Revelation 16:19), every mountain sinks, all islands disappear (Revelation 16:20), and all the unsaved are destroyed (1 Thessalonians 5:2,3; 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9). Planet Earth will then be depopulated, just like it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-30; Jeremiah 4:23-26; 25:30-33).
What about the saved? Where will they be? The Bible has the answer. Jesus Christ is now in heaven preparing mansions for His children (John 14:1,2). When He returns, He will take us to Himself, "that where I am, there you shall be also" (vs. 3). Thus, when He comes, Jesus will take us to the place where He is now. Where is that? In heaven, in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 3:12; 21:10,24). Similarly, 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 tells us that when Jesus Christ returns at the end of the world that we shall be "caught up." Thus we are going UP to glory. In perfect agreement with this is Revelation 19:1,2, which tells us that immediately after the destruction of Babylon (Revelation 18:8-24), John saw all the saved IN HEAVEN with Jesus Christ.
Here‘s the proof: "After these things I heard the voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are His judgments: for he has judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants at her hand" (Revelation 19:1,2). Thus, after the final judgment of Babylon (which occurs during the 7th plague - Revelation 16:17-19; 18:8-24), John saw the saints IN HEAVEN praising God for His justice against a cruel organization which had formerly persecuted His people.
According to Revelation 20:4,6, the saints will "reign" with Jesus for 1000 years. Yet, contrary to popular opinion, Revelation 20 DOES NOT SAY the saints will rule on earth at that time. This wouldn’t make sense anyway, for why would Jesus and the saints rule over a devastated and ruined world covered with dead bodies? No. The Bible says that we are going UP when Jesus returns (1 Thessalonians 4:17), that Christ will take us to the NEW JERUSALEM (John 14:1-3), and that we will all be IN HEAVEN praising God after Babylon is destroyed (Revelation 19:1,2).
Some people ask, but how can we "reign" for 1000 years, if we are in heaven? Don’t we have to be on earth to "reign" over others during this time? No, it is not necessary that we reign over people on earth during the 1000 years. The Bible says plainly that the saints will "reign forever and ever" (Revelation 22:5). Will we reign over others throughout eternity? No. Thus to "reign" does not necessarily mean that we will rule over anyone.
If planet Earth is depopulated with no survivors (except Satan and his angels), and the saints are in heaven, then what is the purpose of the 1000 years? There are a number of possibilities: 1) It gives the universe (including the saved) an opportunity to see the final and terrible results of Satan’s rule; 2) It gives the saints in heaven an opportunity to go through heaven’s records and to have all their questions answered about why some of their loved ones are there and some are not; 3) It provides a period of time when Jesus and the saints together can make decisions about the just punishments to be carried out upon the lost at the end of the 1000 years (see 1 Corinthians 6:2,3); 4) It also gives the saints a period of time to prepare mentally for the events at the end of the 1000 years, at which time many of their loved ones will be resurrected, judged, and sentenced to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:5a, 11-15). Yes, God's people will need some time to prepare for this!
Thus during the 1000 years all the saved will be UP with Jesus Christ IN HEAVEN, will have all their questions answered, and will thus be prepared to understand and accept the mercy, goodness, and justice of God in His actions toward Satan and the lost at the end of the millennium.
More to come...