Q. Please clarify your statement that ‘at the beginning of the Millennium the unbelievers would be removed from the earth’ – can you give the scripture for that? As I understand it, the believers, who have been raptured previous to those thousand years, will return at the beginning of them with Christ to rule and get rid of the evil. Where am I going wrong?
A. The removal of unbelievers from Earth just prior to the beginning of the Millennium is mentioned in five places. The First is Matt. 24:40-41 where it gives several examples of some being taken while others are left. This is a misleading translation because the Greek word for taken actually means received and the one for left means to put away. The Lord was explaining that when He returns there will be people living on Earth, having survived the Great Tribulation. Some will be believers and will be received into the Kingdom. Others will not be and will be put away, excluded from the Kingdom.
Then in the balance of Matt. 24 and all of Matt. 25, the Lord gave four examples of people who would either be sent to the outer darkness or to the eternal fires. In the parable of the servants, it’s false teachers. In the Parable of the 10 virgins, it’s believers who didn’t maintain their relationship with the Lord and fell away. In the Parable of the Talents it’s those who ignore his word, and in the Sheep and Goats it’s those who refused to help His brothers in their time of desperate need.
As for returning to Earth with the Lord to rid the world of evil, Scripture does not support that Idea. In fact, although the Millennium will begin with no unbelievers on Earth, things will get progressively more evil during the 1,000 years until by the end when Satan is released he will be able to recruit a giant army in one last attempt to defeat the Lord.
And while the Church will be involved somehow in ruling the Earth, we will live in the New Jerusalem, which will not be located on Earth.