Eschatology

 

 

During the Millennium the saints will reign with Christ in heaven and will engage in the investigative judgement of unbelievers

 

 

 

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church teaches that after Christ has returned and after Satan has been bound (the binding of Satan, however, is not to be understood literally, according to Adventists, for they say that the binding of Satan means that Satan is consigned by divine command to the desolate earth where he will be confined for a thousand years so that he may ponder on the results of his rebellion against God), the general resurrection of believers will occur (it must be said, however, that it will not be strictly a resurrection, for according to Adventist teaching there are no souls of these believers which are still in existence, since when they died they were completely annihilated, therefore their restoration to life should be called a new creation rather than a resurrection). After this resurrection, all believers who are still alive will be transformed and glorified. Then both the resurrected believers and the transformed believers will be caught up in the clouds to meet Christ in the air; after this they are taken up by Him to heaven (cf. Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions On Doctrine, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C. 1957, pages 494-496). At this point, the Millennium will begin, during which the saints will reign with Christ in heaven for a thousand years: ‘A thousand-year reign of the saints with Christ is foretold in Revelation 20:2-7, but there is no statement in that chapter that the saints will reign with Christ on earth during this period” (Questions On Doctrine, page 489). During the millennium the saints will engage, together with Christ, in a work of judgement, a work which involves “a careful investigation of the records of evil men and a decision regarding the amount of punishment due each sinner for his part in the rebellion against God” (Ibid., page 497). This investigative judgement of unbelievers will be followed by the executive judgement of unbelievers which will take place after the millennium.

 

Confutation

 

The Holy Scriptures teach that when Christ returns, the dead in Christ will be raised from the dead, and the saints who will be found alive will be transformed. Both the resurrected saints and the transformed saints will be caught up in the clouds to meet Christ in the air (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). After this, Satan will be bound and cast into the bottomless pit where he will be confined for a thousand years (cf. Revelation 20:1-3). During the Millennium, therefore, Satan will not be on the earth.

After the binding of Satan the millennium will begin, which is a literal thousand-year reign which will be established on earth by Christ, and during which the saints (both the resurrected saints and the transformed saints) will reign with Christ on the earth. That the saints will reign with Christ on the earth, and not in heaven, is evident from the words of the following song written in the book of Revelation, which was sung to the Lamb by the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood your purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10 – NIV). But it is evident also from the following words written in the book of Revelation, which describe what will happen on the earth after Satan is released from his prison: “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, God 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. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:7-10 – NKJV). As you can see, the Scripture says that the nations will surround the camp of the saints, therefore the saints will be on the earth during the millennium and not in heaven.

As for the investigative judgement of unbelievers which will be carried on during the millennium, it is something which is foreign to the teaching of the Scripture; nowhere does the Scripture state that the saints will engage in a investigative judgement of unbelievers. therefore this so called investigative judgement is to be rejected. What the Scripture teaches about the judgement of unbelievers is this. At the end of the Millennium, the wicked will rise again, and they will appear before the throne of God, and they will be judged by God according to their works, and cast into the lake of fire (cf. Revelation 20:12-15). The saints will “execute on them the written judgement” (Psalm 149:9 – NKJV), for they have been called by God to judge the world (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:2). In particular, the twelve apostles will judge the twelve tribes of Israel, for Jesus said to them: “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28 – NKJV).

 

 

 

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