Hey everyone! So in past episodes, I’ve made a reference or two to what Latter-day Saints and many Christians call, the “Millennium.” And no, unfortunately, we’re not talking about the Backstreet Boys. But … I do want it that way. … … … TELL ME WHYEE!
OK, so we’re probably all pretty familiar with the prophesied Second Coming of Jesus Christ. There will be wars and earthquakes and all this terrible stuff going on — the wicked will be destroyed and Christ will begin His personal thousand-year reign on the earth.
Now, what will conditions be like for people living during this time? In short: it’s going to be awesome. Wickedness will be gone. Satan will have no power over the people. Children will be raised in righteousness unto salvation. There will be no sorrow or death. When you’re old, instead of dying you’ll just be transitioned from mortality to immortality instantly. Dangerous animals won’t try to eat you anymore. New scripture will come forth. And God will finally answer all those burning questions we have and more.
And to be clear: We do not believe the only people who will survive the calamities leading up to the Millennium will be Latter-day Saints. We fully expect good, righteous people of other religions to be around during the Millennium.
Also, Latter-day Saints believe everyone, whether you were wicked or not, will be resurrected. However, we do not believe everyone will be resurrected at the same time. The resurrection of the righteous who accepted Christ and his gospel will start first. Others will follow. But we believe that during this time there will be resurrected beings — immortal people with perfected physical bodies — mingling among mortals to some extent, which will be pretty cool.
The next question is, what is the purpose of the Millennium? What are people going to be doing for those thousand years? Bruce R. McConkie once said,
“The purpose of the Millennium is to save souls. There can be no doubt about this. It is the Lord’s work and his glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. This is axiomatic [or foundational] among us. All that he does during all the endless ages of his everlasting existence is designed to save souls. There is no aim or end or purpose in anything that comes from God, except to further the salvation of his children….”
OK, so how does that happen in the Millennium? Well, let’s take a step back for a bit. Most of Christianity agree that in order to be saved, you have to believe in Jesus Christ. Well, what happens if you were born in Siberia in the year 1300 and never got to learn about Christ? Does that person get sent to Hell at no fault of their own?
Latter-day Saints believe that after you die, your spirit goes to what we just call the Spirit World. While there, those spirits or resurrected beings who did receive the gospel will attempt to teach it to those who did not.
Now, Latter-day Saints take this even a step further. We believe in 3 degrees of Heaven. So while everyone in a degree of Heaven is technically “saved,” we believe that in order to inherit the highest level of Heaven and be exalted, one must make and live certain covenants with God. We make these covenants through ordinances like baptism. Paralleling our earlier example, there are many many people who die never having had the opportunity to be baptized.
One of the purposes of our temples around the world is to perform proxy ordinances for our deceased ancestors. The spirits of those ancestors in the Spirit World can choose whether or not to accept those proxy ordinances or not. But the thing is, there’s a lot of work we need to do. There are a looooooot of people to teach and do ordinance work for. “Billions and billions”
Furthermore–we get a lot of things wrong. Names and dates and such. We’ve got so much work to do and correct, that it’s going to take a thousand years to get it done.
Those ordinances still have to be performed in temples by the mortal people living on earth at that time. Resurrected beings will sort of bridge the gap between the mortal world and the spirit world. And, as Joseph Fielding Smith said, they will, “assist in furnishing information which is not otherwise available” to us mortals.
After that thousand years, after the Millennium, Satan will start to make a bit of a comeback. George Q. Cannon said, “This happy period will cover one thousand years. Then Satan will be loosed again. Why will he be loosed again? Because a generation will arise, some of which in the exercise of their agency will listen and yield to him. Thus he will have power over them. … In this way wickedness and all the evils under which the earth now groans will be introduced among men; for whenever men will listen to Satan and exercise their agency in that direction, wickedness flourishes and righteousness lessens” (Gospel Truth, 1:86).
This ultimately leads to a great “battle” between the forces of God and Satan. No idea if that’s a physical battle or just a war of words, I don’t know. But Satan will lose and he and his followers will be cast out forever.