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A Thousand Years in Heaven

Key References: Revelation 19:6-9; 20:1-6; The Great Controversy, chap. 41, pp. 653-661; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 10, pp. 196-200; Our Beliefs, nos. 27, 3, 10

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“And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with  re, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!’ ” (Revelation 15:2, 3).

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We will praise God forever for His justice and mercy.

Would you like to live in heaven with Jesus for 1,000 years? The millennium is the first 1,000 years we’ll spend in heaven with Jesus. Let’s explore the millennium and what will be happening during that time with the Bible as our guide.

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). The Bible provides some beautiful descriptions of God’s heavenly kingdom. In reality only when we get to heaven will we begin to understand and experience how glorious is the place that God is preparing for us. The most wonderful and fulfilling experience of all will be seeing Jesus face to face and being able to spend time in His presence throughout eternity: “They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads” (Revelation 22:4). The joy of the saved will be great as they will declare, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).

About the great multitude of those who will be saved, John wrote, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:14-17). On that day Jesus will “see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11). He will rejoice to see His redeemed children “faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).

Then God’s children will more fully understand the unfolding of human history and the great controversy between Christ and Satan. We will study the plan of salvation with great interest and learn more about the price that God paid to save us. We will recognize the work of the holy angels who influenced us to obey God and to resist Satan’s temptations. We will be grateful for the work of the Holy Spirit, who convicted us of sin and led us to Jesus. The consequences of each person’s choices will be revealed.

There will be people in heaven we didn’t expect to see, and people missing that we did expect to see. In His mercy God will allow us to participate in a judgment so that we might see why some individuals whom we expected to see in heaven are not there. Daniel wrote about the time that the Ancient of Days will come and judgment will be given to the “saints of the Most High” (Daniel 7:22). John also saw in vision the judgment scene that will take place in heaven during the millennium and wrote: “I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. . . . Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6).

Then Jesus and the saved will judge Satan and his evil angels: “Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?” (1 Corinthians 6:3). “And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6).

Everyone’s lives and actions will be evaluated according to the standard presented in God’s eternal law and the Holy Scriptures. The books of record will reveal the decisions and actions of those who lost their salvation because they rejected God’s gift of grace. Everyone will reap either the reward or the punishment according to their deeds. Then the whole universe will acknowledge the justice, fairness, mercy, and longsuffering patience of God. All created beings will recognize that God did everything in His power to save everyone who would believe in Him (see John 3:16).