Risen from the Dust
The scriptures are clear that on the Day of the Lord the earth will become desolate, and everything will return to the dust. It will also remain desolate throughout the millennium, and then only after Judgment Day will there be a new earth and heavens (Revelation 21). If we understand correctly that the earth will be a scorched wasteland, and every living soul will die in the flesh, then why does the bible describe peoples and nations serving the Lord during the millennium?
"And 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. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2.2-4 KJV bible). The peoples being described here are clearly not part of the first resurrection (see ch.19 Seventh Trumpet: Resurrection). However, it describes these people as going to Mt. Zion to learn, for the first time, the ways and knowledge of the Lord. It says that they will beat their spears into pruning hooks because there will be no more war, and that the law of righteousness will go forth to the entire world.
The scriptures also describe plants and animals inhabiting the wilderness during the millennium, "Thorns will come up in its fortified towers, Nettles and thistles in its fortified cities; It will also be a haunt of jackals and an abode of ostriches. The desert creatures will meet with the wolves, The hairy goat also will cry to its kind; Yes, the night monster will settle there and will find herself a resting place" (Isaiah 34.13-14 NASB bible), "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..." (Isaiah 11.6 KJV bible). The context of these passages is millennial, so then how could these details be accurate if the earth will be completely desolate at this time? Is it possible that God leaves behind a few survivors of different species to repopulate, or that he starts a mini-creation before the new heavens and earth? The answer is stranger than either of these possibilities, and requires going deeper into the Word.
In Psalm 49, King David speaks to us in a riddle, "Like sheep they are laid in the grave [Sheol]; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave [Sheol] from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave [Sheol]: for he shall receive me" (Psalm 49.14 KJV bible). We already know that the unredeemed go down to the underworld, where they are consumed in spiritual death, and they will remain there until the second resurrection. However, notice how it says that the upright, meaning God's elect or the redeemed ones, will have dominion over them in the morning. The morning is the Day of the Lord, because when Christ returns the spiritual sun will rise upon the world bringing the night to an end (Micah 4.2). So in the morning, which is the Day of the Lord, the redeemed ones from the first resurrection will have dominion over the dead. Therefore, the multitudes described in the millennium are not flesh and blood, but rather the disembodied souls of people who have lived before.
This is why when Jesus is being falsely accused by the high priest he says, "ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven" (Mark 14.62 KJV bible). The high priest would be long dead and dwelling in Hades before the second advent, so then why does Jesus say that he will see him return? Jesus again states in Revelation that those who pierced him will see his return, "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him" (Revelation 1.7 KJV bible). How is it possible that every eye will see Jesus when he returns, including the ones who crucified him two thousand years ago?
They will see him, because when he returns he will remove the curtain or barrier that separates the physical realm from the spiritual, and the souls of individuals that have lived before (both human and animal) will reinhabit the earth. In other words, when the physical world is ravaged at the second advent, the spiritual will spill over to take its place. Therefore, the multitudes of people from all prior generations will both see Christ return, and be subject to him throughout the millennium.
Psalm 72 makes reference to the dead in the millennium when it says, "They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him (Christ); and his enemies shall lick the dust" (Psalm 72.9 KJV bible). Those who are Christ's enemies in this age will be humiliated in the millennium, and his servants will have dominion over those who have afflicted them, "The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet" (Isaiah 60.14 KJV bible), (see also ch.26 Millennium Nations).
In the millennium the tables will be turned, and the people who have been humble and righteous in life will be honoured, while the people who have been arrogant and selfish will be disgraced. Therefore, there will be no "new people" in the millennium, but only the spirits of individuals that have lived before. Even though they remain captive to the dust of the earth until Judgment Day, they will still inhabit the world, and interact with God's elect throughout the millennium. So while the millennium is often portrayed using flesh and blood terms, it will be a purely spiritual time.
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