According to Ellen White, at the return of Christ, the wicked are slain and the righteous are wisked away to heaven:
"Angels gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers' arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the City of God ." (Great Controversy, p.645).
The wicked are annihilated and the earth is left empty and desolate for 1,000 years :
"At the coming of Christ the wicked are blotted from the face of the whole earth, consumed with the spirit of His mouth and destroyed by the brightness of His glory. Christ takes His people to the City of God , and the earth is emptied of its inhabitants." (Great Controversy, p.657).
Satan is left to wander the earth alone for 1,000 years :
"And as the scapegoat was sent away into a land not inhabited, so Satan will be banished to the desolate earth, an uninhabited and dreary wilderness." (Great Controversy, p.657).
At the close of the 1,000 years Christ again returns to the earth . (Great Controversy, p.662)
Is this the picture of the Millennium portrayed in the Bible? Are the saints actually in heaven during the Millennium? Is the earth entirely desolate during the Millennium, inhabited only by Satan? Let us examine the Biblical evidence regarding the Millennium to determine if this is accurate.
What does the Bible teach about the Millennium?
When Christ returns the saved dead are resurrected: " 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 ." (Revelation 20:6).
All the wicked will be slain at the end of the tribulation: " And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone . And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh." (Revelation 19:15,17-21).
Animals will live upon the earth during the Millennium: " But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD , as the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:4,6-9).
Satan is bound for 1,000 years in the bottomless pit: " 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 , and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled : and after that he must be loosed a little season." (Revelation 20:2-3).
Note : The Bottomless Pit is a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons. It is used nine times in the Bible and never refers to the inhabitable regions of the earth. Revelation 20:1-3 depicts the movement of Satan from his current abode, the earth, to a prison, within the lower regions of the earth, described as a "bottomless pit." From this region Satan is unable to tempt or harass for 1,000 years.
The righteous reign upon the earth for 1,000 years: " 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 ." (Revelation 20:6). "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth ." (Revelation 5:10).
The Millennium will be a period of peace upon the earth: " And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it ." (Micah 4:3,4).
Satan is released from the bottomless pit at the end of the Millennium and he goes out to deceive the wicked are who upon the earth: " And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison , And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them." (Revelation 20:7-9).
Satan and the wicked are cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death: " And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever . And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:9-10,14-15). Note that the beast and false prophet are still alive in the Lake of Fire .
Fire destroys the earth and the heavens: " But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." (2 Pet 3:10 ).
A new heaven and earth will be created: " And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." (Revelation 21:1). "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." (2 Peter 3:13).
Adventists rely upon one solitary verse in the Bible to prove that Jesus takes the righteous back to heaven during the Millennium:
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:3).
Obviously the righteous will visit heaven and will have access to heaven during the Millennium. The question is whether or not they will live in heaven or live on earth during the Millennium. The weight of Biblical evidence presented above shows:
Christ will set up His kingdom (mountain) upon earth.
Satan will be sealed up in the bottomless pit.
The saints will live and reign in peace upon the earth for 1,000 years.
The Adventist teaching of a Millennium in heaven places them in a very difficult position of having to try and explain away the dozens of obvious references to an earthly Millennium in the Bible.
By the way, there is something more important than the location of the saints during the Millennium. It is whether or not you will be among those saints!
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