The Deceived Multitude
at the End of the Thousand Years

by Glenn Conjurske

“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, and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” (Rev. 20:7-9).

This great multitude who are thus deceived by the devil are every one of them souls who have lived under all of the blessings of the personal reign of Christ upon the earth. Yet one thing is plain concerning all of them: they are ungodly. When the devil is loosed out of his pit for “a little season” (verse 3), he finds a ready following on the earth. He finds a great multitude whose hearts are open to his deceptions, and who readily gather to his banner, to make war with the King of kings, and the glorified saints who reign with him. Whence comes this ungodly multitude?

Observe, when the thousand years began, they began without a single ungodly person upon the earth. The ungodly are all destroyed at the coming of Christ, and only the godly enter the kingdom. This is plain from numerous scriptures:

“For behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” (Mal. 4:1-2).

“Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matt. 3:12).

“As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matt 13:40-43).

“So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire.” (Matt. 13:49-50).

“Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. … Then shall he say also unto them on his left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matt. 25:34 & 41).

It is clear in all of this that the godly only shall enter the kingdom of Christ at his coming, all the ungodly being then destroyed. We ask again, then, if only the godly people the earth at the beginning of Christ’s reign, whence comes this great multitude of ungodly people at the end of it? There is only one possible answer to this question. This ungodly multitude comes from among those who are born on the earth during the thousand years of Christ’s reign. They are the offspring of the godly who first inherit the kingdom at Christ’s coming, but with the passing of generations for a thousand years, many there will be who love not the truth, nor the God of their fathers, and who live ungodly under the very reign of Christ. They will be outwardly subject to the righteous rule of Christ, for they must be, since he will reign in righteousness, with a rod of iron. Nevertheless, sin will yet reign in their hearts, and the very restraint to which they have been required to submit under Christ’s reign will give them the more ready ear for the devil’s solicitations to “break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” This, I repeat, is the only possible explanation of the existence of this vast ungodly multitude at the close of Christ’s personal reign. Nor have I ever heard of a premillennialist in our day to teach anything else on the subject. But there are some important implications of these facts, which post-tribulational premillennialists seem to be altogether unaware of.

The first of those implications is this: that the saints who inherit the kingdom when Christ returns to establish it in the earth are not glorified nor resurrected saints, but mortal men in natural bodies, who live in natural bodies under Christ’s reign, marrying and begetting sons and daughters. Were this not so, that ungodly multitude could have no existence. It has been often pointed out by premillennialists that the judgement of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25 is the judgement of the living. There is no resurrection in the passage. It is a judgement of living men on the earth, as soon as the Son of man has come in his glory, and set the throne of his glory upon the earth. It issues in the wicked who then live being consigned to perdition, and the living righteous inheriting the kingdom. Does any premillennialist doubt this? Is any premillennialist willing to return to the days of prophetic darkness of two centuries ago, when premillennialists like John Gill (1697-1771) taught a millennial kingdom which consisted of the glorified saints reigning with Christ on the earth, but reigning over nobody? After insisting that the millennial reign takes place after the resurrection, and on the earth, Gill thus describes that reign:

“This supposes dominion over all their enemies; as Christ will now have all enemies put under his feet, being subdued by him; so all enemies will be put under the feet of the saints, and they will have dominion over them. Sin will now be no more troublesome to them. Their power over sin, in the present state, is expressed rather negatively, by sin not having dominion over them; than affirmatively, by their having dominion over sin; nay, they are sometimes so far from it, that they are brought into captivity by it; but now the struggle for dominion will be over, the warfare will be accomplished, and an entire victory obtained over sin, which will be no more. Satan, and his principalities and powers, though spoiled and bruised by Christ, and triumphed over by him, yet he greatly disturbs and distresses them; but now he will be bruised under their feet also; when he, and his angels, shall be shut up in the bottomless pit, where they will remain during the thousand years Christ and his saints shall reign together in the world, in which the saints have now so much tribulation; and the wicked men of it, from whom they meet with so much persecution, in one shape or another, shall be trodden down by them, and be ashes under the soles of their feet, their bodies being burnt up in the general conflagration; and their souls in no capacity to hurt or molest them, being shut up with Satan in the bottomless pit. The last enemy, death, will now be destroyed, being swallowed up in victory, by the resurrection of the dead; so that the risen saints, reigning with Christ, may say, O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? and, indeed of this, and every other enemy, they may say, Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ!”

Now it must plainly appear that such a reign is no real reign at all, but is entirely figurative. Upon this scheme we have “all chiefs, and no Indians.” We have all kings, and none for them to reign over. Upon this scheme, “Have thou authority over ten cities,” and “Be thou also over five cities,” (Luke 19:17 & 19) must be spiritualized into nothing. And that is exactly what Gill does with it: “have thou authority over ten cities: which is to be understood, not in a literal sense, as if the apostles should have the jurisdiction over so many cities, or churches in so many cities among the Gentiles, after the destruction of Jerusalem, which were planted by their means and ministry: for nothing of this kind appears in the word of God: and much less after the second coming of Christ, shall faithful ministers of the word have power over so many cities, literally taken; for both in the kingdom-state and in the ultimate glory, there will be but one beloved city, the holy city, the new Jerusalem: nor is any thing in particular, in a metaphorical sense, intended: only in general, that the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of it, will be given unto them; and they shall reign with Christ on earth a thousand years; and shall also have a crown of glory, life, and righteousness bestowed on them, and shall sit on the throne with Christ; and besides all this, the persons they have been instrumental to, will be their joy, and crown of rejoicing.”

On this scheme we must also spiritualize into nothing “Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. 19:28). Gill of course does spiritualize this, making “the regeneration” refer to the present gospel dispensation, and the twelve thrones “a metaphorical phrase, setting forth the honour, dignity, and authority of their office and ministry.” Will any premillennialist today return to such darkness?

But to come to our point, on this scheme the glorified saints reign over nobody. They reign over sin and death, but over no persons or cities or tribes. Their reign is entirely figurative. And on this scheme, since the only persons present during that reign are the glorified saints themselves, there is no way to account for the existence of that vast ungodly multitude who will follow the devil’s banner when he is loosed out of the pit at the close of Christ’s reign. But Gill must yet exercise his ingenuity over that multitude, with this result: “Some think that the wicked living in the distant parts of the world, in the corners of the earth, are meant, who, upon Christ’s coming, will flee thither, and remain in continual dread and terror to the end of the thousand years, when Satan will gather them together, and spirit them up against the saints; but this cannot be, becuase they’ll all be destroyed at the universal conflagration of the world; nor will there be any in the new earth but righteous persons: but these will be all the wicked dead, the rest of the dead, who lived not again until the thousand years are ended, when will be the second resurrection, the resurrection of all the wicked that have been from the beginning of the world; and these, with the posse of devils under Satan, will make up the Gog and Magog army.”

To such is Gill driven by his doctrine of a millennial earth peopled by glorified saints only. But this scheme contains nothing to recommend it. Who would dream, did his system not require it, that the devil going “out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth” could possibly mean his going out to raise the wicked dead, who have lived since the foundation of the world? Nay, there is no resurrection here, any more than at the judgement of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25. And we were just told, five verses before, that the devil was bound a thousand years, “that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled.” There his deceiving the nations can only mean deceiving living men upon the earth. How, in five verses, is this transmuted into raising the dead? And are we then to believe that fire comes down from heaven to devour these resurrected reprobates, only that they might immediately be again raised again, by God, at the great white throne judgement?

But all of this confusion is immediately dispelled by the recognition of the simple fact that those who enter the kingdom are not resurrected and glorified saints, but the saints who are alive in natural bodies at the coming of Christ. And the recognition of this fact is fatal to the post-tribulational system. If the saints who are alive at Christ’s coming to earth are raptured and glorified at that time, and enter the kingdom only in the resurrection state, while at the same time the wicked are burned up as chaff, leaving them neither root nor branch, then it is simply impossible to account for the existence of this ungodly multitude at the end of the thousand years. They cannot be begotten by resurrected and glorified saints. Of course we believe that the resurrected saints will enter the kingdom also. They have been previously raptured and glorified, and will come with Christ when he comes to reign, and will enter the kingdom along with the saints who enter it in their natural bodies. The latter are those saints who live to the close of the seventieth week of Daniel and the reign of antichrist, and are not raptured and glorified at the coming of Christ, but enter the kingdom alive in their natural state. These, and their offspring for a thousand years, will be the subjects of the kingdom, in which the resurrected saints will reign. This is all too clear to be gainsaid, and again I ask all post-tribulationists, if the saints who live through the reign of antichrist are raptured and glorified ere they enter the kingdom, whence comes that ungodly multitude who follow the devil’s banner at the close of the thousand years?

Glenn Conjurske