Chapter 5: Who Will Be There?
God has designed that two groups of people should inhabit His eternal kingdom, and that these two groups should be developed during two different periods of time. The first group, the co-rulers with His Son, would be selected during the first 6000 years of the plan’s operation; the second group, the populace would be developed during the next thousand-year period which we call the Millennium. The first 6000-year period began at the time of Adam and ends at Christ’s second advent; the second period, the Millennium begins at the time of Christ’s second advent and ends a thousand years later, when the plan is complete and the earth rolls forth from the hands of its Creator a finished product, with all its inhabitants immortal, a part of heaven itself.
This time frame is foreshadowed in the allegory of creation, in the first of Genesis, where God is represented as working six days and resting on the seventh day. The apostle Peter states that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years (2 Pet. 3:8); hence the creation narrative presents a plan of six thousand-year days, followed by a seventh thousand-year day (the Millennium) when God is said to rest (the work is turned over to Christ and the saints).
The first group, the co-rulers with Christ, would be relatively few in number (144,000—see Rev. 14:1); the populace of the Kingdom would be a very large number.
These two groups are pictured in Revelation 7, where the Revelator describes the first group as twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Israel (spiritual Israel). And then he says, “After this”—after the 144,000 co-rulers are chosen—the Revelator says, “I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands” (Rev. 7:9, 14). Here are the members of the second group, developed during the Millennium, who fill the earth with the glory of God.
In keeping with His Divine sense of justice, God has designed that the first group, because of the severity of their testing and the strenuous circumstances under which they are developed, should receive greater honor; the multitudes, developed during the ideal conditions of the Millennium, would receive lesser honor, their time of testing being far less exacting and demanding. But God requires of all the same standard of holiness, the same total devotion, and will reward all with the same immortality.