If you have read The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist, you understand that the wars and destruction that occur during the reign of the Antichrist will have a devastating effect on the Earth. There will have been nuclear war followed by the climactic Battle of Armageddon, and Jesus will then return to Earth to set up His Kingdom. Daniel chapter 2 tells us that “in the days of [ten] kings [that give their power and allegiance to the Antichrist] shall the God of Heaven set up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed … and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).
The first event that apparently takes place at the beginning of the Millennium is foretold in chapter 7 of the book of Daniel. This chapter describes a vision Daniel had in which he saw, in allegorical form, the rise and fall of the Antichrist. The allegorical nature of the vision then changes to the following view of God’s throne room.
I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days [God] was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. … I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a Kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His Kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed. … Then the Kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the Kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.
The saints that it is talking about here and in other passages that we will quote in this book are not just those canonized by various churches, such as the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, as “saints,” but rather all those who have received Jesus, the wonderful “Son of Man” as He is referred to several times in the Bible, Whose Kingdom is populated by all those who love Him. The saints that suffered under the Antichrist in the Tribulation seem to receive special mention, as is borne out in the following verse from the book of Revelation.
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Yet not only those who were persecuted and killed, but all of God’s saints will rule and reign with Him during the Millennium.
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne (Revelation 3:21). And [they said, “You] have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the Earth” (Revelation 5:10). And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has” (Luke 12:42–44). Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?
1 Corinthians 6:2–3
God will engage the services of His saints to help Him run the world during the Millennium. Many have already been with Him in Heaven and know a lot more about things than we do. They’ve lived years, centuries, many even millennia in Heaven, so they would have undoubtedly learned much by this time. The great patriarchs and prophets and heroes of the Bible and Christian history are going to be right up next to Jesus and His heavenly counselors. And the Lord is going to put His dedicated followers of today into positions of responsibility too.
Many people have the idea that after Jesus returns they are going to be way off somewhere in Heaven, perhaps floating peacefully on a cloud. But at least some of Heaven, part of the Kingdom of God, is going to be right here on Earth during the Millennium. And God’s people are going to be called upon to assist Jesus right here on Earth in His great task of ruling the world.
Wouldn’t it be ridiculous, if after living busy, fulfilling lives on Earth full of challenges and fulfilling tasks, we wound up in Heaven with nothing to do but sit on a cloud, wear a white robe, and play a harp while a golden halo hovers over our head—for eternity? That would be incredibly boring. This current life is schooling for what must be done when we start getting our postgraduate course to prepare us for perhaps even greater work to do thereafter.
However, not all the followers of Jesus will share equally in responsibilities and rewards. The Lord spoke a parable to His disciples about stewards being given various quantities of money to hold for their master, what they did with it, and how they were rewarded for how they used or invested it. The principle expressed in this parable undoubtedly applies to the blessings and responsibilities believers will receive in this new era. Those rewards will be commensurate with how they used their time, abilities, and resources toward furthering the Kingdom of God and obeying His law to love their fellow man while they were on Earth the first time.
For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, “Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.” His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” He also who had received two talents came and said, “Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.” His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Then he who had received the one talent came and said, “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.” But his lord answered and said to him, “You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
This parallels what a heavenly messenger told Daniel: “And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:1–3).
Those who did little or nothing with the resources and opportunities for service for God and others that the Lord had given them will not lose their gift of salvation, and they will still be accepted into Heaven. But they will receive little or no heavenly rewards for their earthly life, or as the case may be, no positions of responsibility and honor in God’s Kingdom to come.
Salvation—our entry pass to Heaven—is a gift from God that we cannot earn by our good works, but only through receiving Jesus as our Savior. However, the rewards we receive once we get to Heaven are earned through our works here on Earth. Those who were faithful to do good to others and obey God’s laws of “love the Lord your God with all your heart … [and] your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37,39) will “shine as the stars”—while those who do not manifest deeds of love on Earth will “awake to shame.”
The Lord is going to need and use those who were faithful on Earth before this time, who did what they could with the “talents” they had to further the Kingdom of God when it was still mostly a spiritual entity. God’s Kingdom will have been founded on the Earth but it will still be a big job to establish it from one end of the Earth to the other. Those faithful to God now and in the past are going to be the ones entrusted to do it, and that will be part of their reward. Scripture tells us there will be many other rewards, most likely both spiritual and material blessings, although we don’t know all the specifics. The apostle Paul wrote that the “sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). And Jesus promised a “crown of life” to those who are faithful to Him (Revelation 2:10).
The apostles Peter and Paul both wrote that those who are faithful to God in this life will receive crowns in the next. “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). “When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:4). Perhaps they will resemble halos depicted around the heads of the saints in Christian art. As yet, we don’t know exactly what those crowns are, but certainly we won’t be disappointed when we receive them!