First, in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, we read that the saints will be raptured or caught up to meet the Lord in the air: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
For Jesus promised them, ” In my Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2, 3). Jesus will take the redeemed first to the mansions that are in Heaven. And the living wicked will be destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming (Luke 17:26-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:8). After the thousand years, the Lord will take the redeemed down to earth to inhabit it for ever.
Here is the sequence of events that happens when Jesus comes again as shown in Revelation 20:
1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 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: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 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.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 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.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
In Revelation 21:1-3, we read, “I saw the New Jerusalem come down from God.” But in Revelation 20, it says that the redeemed are living and reigning with Him. So, if the New Jerusalem are where our mansions are, and it had not come down to earth, where are the redeemed going to be during the thousand years? In heaven.
To summarize: During the thousand years, Satan gets bound (Revelation 20:2) because all the wicked are dead. He has no one to tempt. The redeemed will be in heaven with Christ, until the end of the thousand years (Revelation 20:4). During that time, the saints will be given a chance to look at the judgment of the wicked to see God’s justice just before He destroys the wicked (Revelation 20:4). Then, the redeemed will descend with Jesus and the New Jerusalem to earth. The wicked will be resurrected and will join the devil (Revelation 20:7) to surround and war against the New city. But God’s fire will come down from heaven and consume all (Revelation 20:9). After their destruction, God will recreate the earth anew and the saints will live there forever.
In His service,
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