Lou: What are the redeemed, those who are saved, doing during this thousand-year period? That’s a long period of time.
Graham: I like to remember what Peter said: “With the Lord a thousand years is like a day” (2 Pet 3:8). You could translate that “a millennium is like a day, and a day is like a millennium.” I don’t think we need to worry about the time. I think that a thousand years with the Lord will seem like a day. But there are important things that have to happen during that time. The loyal angels will have had a chance before the Second Coming to meet as a heavenly family and consider candidates for the Kingdom. That way our future neighbors and friends can be satisfied that it’s safe to admit former rebels like us into eternity. But what about us? We’ve not seen the evidence that they examined. I think during the Millennium those who have been adjudged safe to save will have their opportunity to ask questions, to see the evidence, to find out why mother isn’t there. I would find her absence very sad. But God will be fair about it, He will show me the evidence so I can understand.
There’s something else that may need to happen during the Millennium. We will be preparing ourselves to face that awful scene when the wicked die in a fiery moment of destruction. We will have to see that someday. Are we ready to see it and not become afraid of God? Those of us who live to see Christ come, will have become so settled into the truth that we can see the seven last plagues and not become afraid of God. But think of all the babes in the truth who have been saved from the foot of Mount Sinai through the centuries. Think of the thief on the cross. Think of all the others who have not had time and evidence to become confirmed in this.
Everyone must be ready for that awesome day when God says to those inside the New Jerusalem, “Children, you know what’s coming next. Do you want to come out to the wall and watch? Or do you want to hide in the basement somewhere? I’m about to give My rebellious children up, and untold numbers of them are going to die. And you know why I’ve waited so long.” And so we stand, perhaps, and watch our God, as fire comes down from heaven and the glory of Him who is love consumes all that is out of harmony. And we will know that, as the wicked die, God will be crying: “Why will you die? How can I give you up? How can I let you go?” Hosea 11:8. He’s no more angry with them than He was with His Son when He gave Him up in Gethsemane and on Calvary.
When it’s all over, I can see God turning to us and saying, “How awful that was. But children, I have one last question to ask you all. Have I made you afraid? Because if I have, I’ve let it happen too soon, and I would have waited longer.” But hopefully we will all be so settled into the truth that we will be able to draw close and say to God, “It’s all right, there was no other way.” And from then on there will be peace forever, in spite of that awful end. Are we ready to see that and not be made afraid? Because if it makes us afraid, then we’ll serve Him from fear, and the obedience of fear produces the character of a rebel. If any of us serves God out of fear after that, God will still have the seeds of sin in His universe, and He will not have won the war. We would be back where it all began.
Lou: At the end of the book of Revelation there’s that beautiful statement, “God will wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Rev 21:4). It just struck me as you were talking that maybe we will need to wipe the tears even from God’s eyes.
Graham: Oh, I like that thought very much. As His children, wouldn’t that be appropriate? To get a little closer and say, “It’s all right, God. It’s all right.”