This article will examine Ellen White's teachings regarding the Millennium and compare them to what the Bible teaches on this subject.
1) According to Ellen White, at the Second Coming of Christ, the wicked are slain and the righteous are whisked away to heaven:
Angels "gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers' arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the City of God. (Great Controversy, p. 645)
2) The wicked are annihilated and the earth is left empty and desolate for a period of 1,000 years:
At the coming of Christ the wicked are blotted from the face of the whole earth--consumed with the spirit of His mouth and destroyed by the brightness of His glory. Christ takes His people to the City of God, and the earth is emptied of its inhabitants. ( Great Controversy, p. 657
3) Satan is left to wander the earth alone during the Millennium:
And as the scapegoat was sent away into a land not inhabited, so Satan will be banished to the desolate earth, an uninhabited and dreary wilderness. (Great Controversy, p. 657)
4) Mrs. White teaches that at the close of the 1,000 years "Christ again returns to the earth" (GC p. 662) in a Third Coming.
Is this the picture of the Millennium portrayed in the the Bible? Are the saints actually in heaven during the Millennium? Is the earth entirely desolate during the Millennium, inhabited only by Satan? Is there a Third Coming? Let us examine the Biblical evidence regarding the Millennium to determine if this is accurate.
The book of Revelation states that the resurrected righteous will rule with Jesus for 1,000 years:
"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." Rev. 20:6; also Isa. 26:9, Dan. 12:2, John 5:28,29, 1 Thes. 4:16,17.The question is, what are the righteous "reigning" over? What is their kingdom? Are they reigning over heaven? Or earth? The Bible clearly states that the righteous shall reign "upon the earth":
"And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." Rev. 5:10; also Isa. 32:1.Does it make any sense for the righteous to be ruling over some part of heaven? No, of course not! The Bible teaches that mankind was created to "have dominion" over "the earth" (Gen. 1:26-28), not heaven!
At the end of the thousand years, when Satan is released for a season, the Bible clearly states that the righteous are living upon the earth at that time. Notice carefully in the text below that the righteous are living in "the beloved city." Remember, this city could not possibly be the New Jerusalem because it does not descend to earth until after the first earth passes away (see Rev. 21:1,2).
"And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city." Rev. 20:7-9; also Ezek. 38,39.Could it be any plainer? The saints are occupying the earth, the old Jerusalem, when Satan is loosed at the end of the Millennium.
The prophet Daniel teaches that Christ's Millennial Kingdom is established upon the earth and is described by Daniel as a "mountain" upon the earth:
" and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." Dan. 2:35,44 (see also Micah 4:1, Isa. 11:9)Daniel states that God will destroy the kindoms of this earth and "in those days" will establish a kingdom that fills "the whole earth"--not heaven--and would "stand for ever." Daniel says nothing about God's kingdom being "in heaven" or being absent from the earth for 1,000 years. Daniel says the kingdom will be established in the earth and that kingdom will rule for ever.
Job's idea of the Second Coming of Christ contrasts sharply with Ellen White's. Instead of God meeting the saints in the air and them whisking them away somewhere into heaven without ever touching the earth, Job says that he will meet his redeemer upon the earth:
"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." Job 19:25,26 "
Jesus taught that the reward for the righteous was to inherit the earth, not heaven:
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Matt. 5:5Jesus taught that heaven is not the habitation of humans:
"No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven -- the Son of Man." John 3:13 (see also Acts 2:29)Jesus taught his disciples that they could not go where He was going:
"My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: where I am going, you cannot come." John 13:33So where did Jesus go after the resurrection that his disciples could not follow?
"I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." John 20:17Jesus went to heaven to sit at the right hand of God. But He explicitly stated that where He was going, we could not come! Instead, Jesus told us He was preparing mansions for us (John 14:3), and the Bible, in Revelation, describes a beautiful city, the New Jerusalem, that will descend upon the new earth. As the New Jerusalem descends upon the new earth, John hears a voice say:
"A high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens." Heb. 8:1
"Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." Rev. 21:3This verse announces a new era for mankind. God will be physically with them. They will live together in the same city. Think this through: This announcement, that God will now be dwelling with men, would not have made any sense if the righteous had already been dwelling with God in heaven for the past 1,000 years!
Ellen White saw the earth as an "uninhabited wilderness" during the Millennium. However, we have already seen that the righteous are occupying at least one city during the Millennium. Is the rest of the earth desolate?
Birds are found on earth during the Millennium:
"And I saw an angel saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God and all the fowls were filled with their flesh." Rev. 19:17,21Plants and animals will inhabit the destroyed cities of the wicked during the Millennium
"For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter But the cormorant and thebittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles andbrambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate." Isa. 34:2,11,13-15
Isaiah 24 is used by Adventists to describe the condition of the earth during the Millennium. The chapter clearly states that there are inhabitants on the earth during that time:
"Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof." Isa. 24:1This verse indicates that there are inhabitants of the earth and that they are "scattered abroad." Isaiah continues:
"Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left." Isa. 24:6Again, this verse indicates there are inhabitants on the earth during the Millennium.
Revelation teaches that Satan is bound for 1,000 years in the "bottomless pit":
"And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled." Rev. 20:2,3The phrase "bottomless pit" comes from the Greek word abussos which Strong's defines as "a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons." It is used nine times in the Bible and never refers to the inhabitable regions of the earth. Satan was cast down to this earth after he was expelled from heaven (Rev. 12:9). Revelation 20:1-3 depicts the movement of Satan from his current abode, the earth, to a prison, possibly within the lower regions of the earth, described as a "bottomless pit." From this region Satan is unable to tempt or harass those upon the earth for 1,000 years.
In Romans 10:6,7 Paul writes:
"But the righteous which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep [abussos]? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)"This verse tells us that Jesus went into the "bottomless pit" when He died. We are incapable of fully understanding this abyss, but it is evident that it is some place other than the inhabitable regions of the earth.