|And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit,….that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be fulfilled.|
|Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.|
|And I saw a great white throne, and
him that sat on it,….And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before
God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is
the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which
were written in the books, according to their works.…|
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
|—Revelation 20:11-12, 15|
A thousand years is a long time, but it is not forever. Like every preceding era of earth’s history, the thousand years will have an end.
The Bible describes a number of events which will happen at the end of the Millennium. For our information about these events we are indebted to John the Revelator.
To learn about events that shall occur when the thousand years are finished, let us go to Revelation 20. We cannot know exactly how God’s program of events will be carried out; we can only project the sequence of events according to our understanding of what is revealed in the Bible, and know that God will perform what He has planned. How accurate our understanding will prove to be, we cannot know now.
Revelation 20 starts at the beginning of the thousand years when “an angel” comes down from heaven, “having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand,” with which he binds “the Devil, and Satan…a thousand years…that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled” (vs. 1-3). This presents in symbolic language the unbreakable law which will keep “the Devil,” representative of all sin and sinners, completely restrained; no open disobedience will be tolerated.
Revelation 20:4 and 6 speak of the victorious overcomers of the first six thousand years of God’s plan on earth. Those who have part in the “first resurrection” are from this group, and are “blessed and holy”; they are also said to live and reign “with Christ a thousand years.” This first resurrection (exaltation) is “first” in “dignity, in importance,” not only in time (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon). Those who belong to this group are raised to immortality, rewarded with glory and honor, and given positions of authority with Christ.
The last part of verse 5 belongs with the thought of verse 4: “This is the first resurrection.”
The first part of verse 5, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished” seems to be an added explanation belonging to a later time. These words are set in parentheses in Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, in the Concordant Version, also in the New International Version. The thought of the words shows their meaning; it is an explanatory clause to inform us that the populace of the Kingdom who die during the Millennium are not resurrected, judged and rewarded until the close of the Millennium. If we omit this added clause, the passage reads: “And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.…This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection” (from verse 4, part of 5, and into 6).
From the bits and pieces of information given it seems that the first sign of the end of the Millennium will be the Resurrection. At the blast of the trumpet of the archangel, those who have lived and died during the Millennium and are amenable to Judgment will come forth. It is the second and last Resurrection.
They come forth to mortal life. Some of these were cut off in rebellion. Others refused to cooperate with the new government and died because of the enforcement of unbreakable law. Others are people who transformed their natures and made themselves worthy of the crown of life.