Revelation 20:6 says, "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." This thousand years is referred to several times in the same chapter and insists that the faithful who are raised from the dead live and reign with Christ a thousand years. But first, the following question should be answered.
WHERE – IN HEAVEN OR ON EARTH?
The Bible gives the answer. Revelation 5:10 is clear. All those redeemed by the blood of Christ out of every kindred and people and tongue and nation, say "(Christ) has made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." This accords with the direct statement of Jesus our Lord "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth." (Matthew 5:5) The Lord was directly quoting Psalm 37:11 "The meek shall inherit the earth and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." The Psalmist continues in :29 stating, "The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell therein for ever." The Hebrew term translated 'ever' in :29 refers to unlimited time. So Jesus and the Psalmist are all referring to the same inheritance for the redeemed of Revelation 5:10; 20:6. The place is this earth, and the time..... for ever. So that should include the millennium.
However there are some who say that this endless time on earth starts after the thousand years are finished, and that the redeemed righteous are taken to heaven for the thousand years. They claim that during their absence the earth is desolate until their return, when only those redeemed will be on the earth. But how then can the redeemed reign on the earth if no one but the redeemed are there? Surely they will not reign over one another then if the Lord forbids them to do so now. See Luke 22:25-26 Consider also the following:-
THE EVERLASTING INHERITANCE OF THE RIGHTEOUS
Proverbs 10:30 "The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth."
Proverbs 11:31 "The righteous shall be recompensed in the earth : much more the wicked and the sinner."
Psalm 104:5 "Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever." (Hebrew for ever and ever).
So if the righteous are never to be removed from the earth - an earth that is to remain for ever and ever, they will not be taken to heaven for a thousand years and then returned. They will be here for ever, and the term "ever" must include the millennium.
JERUSALEM THE FUTURE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
The prophet Isaiah also clarifies the situation for us. He says, "It shall come to pass IN THE LAST DAYS that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it." (Isaiah 2:2) He adds that all nations will want to learn God's ways; that they will walk according to His laws, and that war will be a thing of the past. We also learn that "Out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (Isaiah 2:2-4) The last days of man's rule are described as perilous by Paul, (2 Timothy 3:1) and as harbouring scoffers who scorn the signs of Christ's coming. (2 Peter 3:3) It is clear that the 'last days', (Tanakh= the 'days to come') when God's house for worship is being built in Jerusalem, are after Christ's return. (Zechariah 6-12) Also, if only the redeemed are present during the millennium, and they will already know God's ways, why does Isaiah say, "He (God) will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths:" (Isaiah 2:3) These people obviously need God's instruction, and must therefore be the subjects of Christ and His glorified redeemed, during the millennium.
They will also have weapons of war at the beginning of this thousand years, for they will voluntarily "beat them into spears and ploughshares" as the prophecy of Isaiah demands. So this millennium cannot be in heaven, for the prophecy continues, "nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Isaiah 2:3)
ALL ENEMIES CONQUERED DURING THE MILLENNIUM
The pagan arch adversary, or leader of false Christianity (symbolically called the 'dragon' and 'the devil' and 'satan') will be bound for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:2) This false claimant to religious and political leadership that deceived and opposed the Truth of God will no longer deceive the nations. God's Truth will for the first time in history, be accepted by all people on earth, ending the great deception.
Revelation 20:6 speaks of a resurrection of the dead at the return of Christ. So does the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:22-26 "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." Paul then quickly brings his argument to its final conclusion by saying, " Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power." Grammarians tell us that the Greek word "eite" translated "then" is a term used significantly to mark a transition to a new point in the argument. Just how this transition is made is supplied by the following verse which says, "For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."
So the end only comes after He has conquered all enemies during His long reign on earth. He will then hand over the Kingdom to His Father that God may be all in all. (Verse 27) This earth will subsequently be inhabited only by the redeemed. It will then be "filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea." (Habukkak 2:14).
JESUS INVITES YOU TO PARTICIPATE
Revelation 3:21 "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." Two thrones are indicated here.
- The throne that has been promised Jesus on earth. This throne is David's in Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 7:12-16) and (Luke 1:30-33)
- Where Jesus now sits in Heaven by the right hand of God been promised Jesus on earth.
The promise of David's throne is quite clearly a promise of a throne in Jerusalem, for Jesus said "Swear not at all ........ neither by JERUSALEM for it is the CITY of the GREAT KING." (Matthew 5:34-35) He has promised those who overcome to share that throne in Jerusalem with Him. You can be there by believing this Gospel unto salvation and by being baptised in water in obedience to the command of Jesus. (Mark 16:15-16).