After the Millennium-what? Mormon Apostle responds
I have always been interested in what we should expect to see happen right before the beginning of the Millennium, since it is the time we are living now. However, what is the purpose of the Millennium and what will happen after it? What about the “little season” after the Millennium? How long is that going to be?
Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie explains:
After the Millennium-what? Is this great day when there shall be peace on earth and goodwill in the hearts of men-is it an end in itself? Is this the day of rest and righteousness, when there is neither sorrow, disease, nor death-is it the summun bonum of all things? When Israel triumphs and wickedness ceases and the Lord Jehovah lives and reigns on earth-will we then reach the great end and goal toward which all things point? Or is the millennial era but a way and a means to prepare most of the spirit hosts of an Almighty Elohim for even greater heights of joy and peace, of glory and exaltation?
… The Millennium is simply a means to an end; it is that portion of the earth’s temporal continuance during which billions of our Father’s children will so live as to gain eternal life. Out of the millennial era will come, without question, more saved souls than will result from all the rest of the ages combined. And after the Millennium will come celestial rest and glory.
This earth is destined to be a celestial sphere. It is now in a telestial state and will return to its Edenic or terrestrial state during the Millennium. Its final destiny, in John’s language, is to be “a sea of glass like unto crystal” (Rev. 4:6), which our revelation identifies as “the earth, in its sanctified, immortal, and eternal state.” (D&C 77:1.) The inspired word also says: “The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth; but they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire. . . . The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim. This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon.” (D&C 130:6-9.)
During the Millennium, Satan is bound. Because of the righteousness of the people, he has no power over them. “And when the thousand years are expired,” John tells us, “Satan shall be loosed out of his prison.” (Rev. 20:7.) This means that once again men will begin to give heed to his enticements. Satan was bound among the Nephites during their golden era. None of the people were then subject to his wiles; all lived in righteousness, and all were saved. But in A.D. 201, “there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world. And from that time forth they did have their goods and their substance no more common among them. And they began to be divided into classes; and they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain, and began to deny the true church of Christ.” (4 Ne. 1:24-26.) Soon there were persecution, crime, murder, and evil of every sort. So shall it be at the end of the Millennium. Men will begin again, gradually, to partake of the things of this world; pride and carnality and crime will commence anew; true believers will be persecuted and false churches will arise. Satan will be loosed because he is no longer bound by the righteousness of the people.
“And when he [Satan] is loosed again he shall only reign for a little season, and then cometh the end of the earth.” This “little season” is presumed to be another thousand years. The reasoning is that Christ came in the meridian of time, which means both the high point in time and the middle of time. The millennial era will be the seventh period of one thousand years of this earth’s temporal continuance; thus an added thousand-year period is needed to place the meridian of time in the midpoint in history. But be that as it may, “he that liveth in righteousness”-at the time of the actual end of the earth-“shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and the earth shall pass away so as by fire.” This will be a second day of burning, the day when this earth becomes a celestial globe. “And the wicked shall go away into unquenchable fire, and their end no man knoweth on earth, nor ever shall know, until they come before me in judgment.” (D&C 43:31-33.)
“And again, verily, verily, I say unto you,” saith the Lord, “that when the thousand years are ended, and men again begin to deny their God, then will I spare the earth but for a little season.” The language here bears out the concept that apostasy and its consequent evil way of life will be the key that opens the prison in which Satan is bound. “And the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed and pass away, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth.” There was a new earth and new heavens when the Millennium commenced. This is a second new heaven and new earth; it is the celestial earth and its heaven. The language in each instance is similar, but the meaning is different. In one instance the new earth is the paradisiacal earth; in this case it is the celestial globe. “For all old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fulness thereof, both men and beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; and not one hair, neither mote, shall be lost, for it is the workmanship of mine hand.” (D&C 29:22-25.) All forms of life shall then be immortal; all shall come forth from death and live in a resurrected state forever; the resurrection applies to men and animals and fowls and fishes and creeping things-all shall rise in immortality and live forever in their destined orders and spheres of existence. (Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, p.693-696)