When studying the prophetic signs which point to Christ's return, how can we observe progression toward their fulfillment in our modern world?
These prophetic signs are not to be visualized as signs taking place in strict isolation or succession, but rather in staggered fashion, with all being witnessed prior to Christ's return. Therefore Jesus states, "when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the door" (Matthew 24:33).
The great eschatological events which shall follow these signs, i.e., Christ's actual coming in glory, the end of time and of this present world, the resurrection, the appearance of all before God, and the public judgment and its execution, are all pictured in Scripture as taking place simultaneously or in immediate succession. Christ's coming in glory and the end of the world are linked together in Matthew 24:3 and 29-44. The execution of God's judgment and the end of the world are joined in Matthew 13:39-42. The resurrection and Christ's coming in glory occur together according to I Corinthians 15:23-24. The end of time is linked to the general resurrection in John 6:39,40-44, and 54. Christ's coming in glory is coupled with the public judgment in Matthew 25:31-34. Christ's second advent is tied to the execution of God's judgment in II Thessalonians 1 :8-10. (These scriptural connections are more clearly presented in a chart in the amillenialism section, later in this chapter .)
While the close connection of these events is clearly presented in Scripture, there are other references which appear to separate some of the great eschatological events from others by considerable lengths of time. Different interpretations of these verses have led to differing views of eschatology -the doctrine of the last events. The foundational reference for those who separate in time some of the last events from others is Revelation 20. This chapter testifies of Satan being bound for "a thousand years"; of the souls of the saints "living and reigning with Christ for a thousand years"; of a "first and second resurrection" and "first and second death"; of Satan being "loosed from his prison for a season," and other references, which appear, when interpreted literally, to place a time span of a thousand years between various major eschatological events. The major different interpretations regarding the thousandyear rule of Christ and binding of Satan, and how this relates to the major events of the last days will be examined now, when studying the millennium.