Interesting question. I think it partly depends upon your interpretation of some events that are prophesied.
Even with Satan put away, there will still be human nature to contend with. Satan is just one of three enemies Christians today have to face. The other two are carnal nature and the world’s societies (or on a more personal level, peer pressure).
Will human beings still have to control their lusts? Their passions? Their anger? You bet!
There is an interesting prophecy in Ezekiel 38 – 39. There are various interpretations, and some fit better than others.
During the Tribulation
Some believe this is a prophecy for the time leading up to the return of Jesus Christ. Hal Lindsey certainly holds this interpretation. Since he believes that the “King of the North” is Russia, he has shoe-horned this prophecy into events that occur during the Tribulation.
There are some severe problems with this interpretation, though. The main problem is that Israel is not at peace today (cf v 14). In fact, it cannot even be said that Israel today is “unwalled” (v 11).
Another issue is the interpretation of the “King of the North”. This will be the same as the “Beast” of Revelation, which will be based out of Europe as part of another resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. However, much of Russia is actually Asian in character, ethnicity and alliance. Even today, they are outside of the European Union and often work against the interests of Europe (such as in oil and gas disputes).
While it is true that all the armies of the earth will gather at the Hill of Megiddo (which is what “Armageddon” means), there still is the sticking point of Israel being at peace. It is the end of not just the Tribulation but the Great Tribulation which envelopes the entire globe. Obviously, this cannot be the correct time setting.
End of Millennium
I used to hold this view, but there are some minor problems with it. I’m not convinced it is wrong, as the timing of prophecies can sometimes be tricky.
This view is based upon Rev 20.
7And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8And 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.
9And 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.
10And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:7-10, King James Version)
As you will note, in both accounts fire comes down from heaven.
The only problem seems to be that Ezekiel 39 speaks of events moving forward as though it were not coming to an end at that time. The dead are buried for seven months (v 12). People will continue to “pass through the land” and searching still continues after the seven months (v 15). Then the house of Israel will “know” (v 22) and the nations (“heathen” in KJV) will “know” (v 23) Who is God and why Israel went into captivity.
This does not sound like the end of the Millennium. However, Rev 20 is still vague enough that I find it difficult to say definitively it cannot be.
Beginning of Millennium
However, it seems to fit better at the beginning of the Millennium. After the initial shock of everything has worn off, it may be that old habits truly die hard.
Actually, a lot of what we are witnessing today going on in Russia can attest to that. A select few are once again emboldening themselves at the expense of the general population. Russians seem to desire strong leadership. It seems they will get it now and again in the future.
While I believe this fits better, even this is not without issue. The main issue is whether or not the same groups of people (“Gog and Magog” seems to imply being led by Gog but also may include others that dwell in or near there) will make the same mistake twice.
Well, it does seem far fetched does it not? Yet, as I just said above, “it may be that old habits truly die hard”, and that may mean even with an almost 1,000 year gap.
Another consideration is that after 1,000 years, Satan will be released and once again seek to influence whom he can. Human beings will have help in their rebellion, and it is likely that “Gog and Magog” in Revelation may be symbolic of all nations that are rebellious. It is the symbol of rebellion because earlier on was the rebellion by those very groups.
The third consideration is a weaker argument, but nonetheless Satan is thrown into the Lake of Fire immediately after God vanquishes his human foes. Then there appears to be no time gap left between that event and the Great White Throne Judgment. Perhaps time is compressed for brevity’s sake here, as is so often the case in prophecy. However, it doesn’t sound like over seven months will pass between those events, either.
I think it is most likely that the events of Eze 38 – 39 take place soon after Christ establishes His rule over the nations. It is a mistake to believe that human nature will be transformed overnight, as is evident in Zec 14:16-19. Notice that Egypt is given a choice whether or not to obey. If they disobey, then punishment will come upon them. Christ is not going to bind them up and transport them to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. If they obey, they will be blessed. If they disobey, they will be punished.
The second most likely meaning is after the Millennium. There is room for that to occur, but it is not without some problems in the timeline. However, I think we should honestly admit that prophecy often compresses time in such a way so that events that appear alongside each other are actually hundreds of years apart. Witness the prophecies about Jesus’ first and second coming as though they occupy the same timeframe.
That does not mean that Eze 38 – 39 cannot be dual, however. The duality of prophecy is not unknown to us.
The least likely interpretation is unfortunately the most popular amongst the worldly interpretations. That should be no surprise to us either.
For further reading, I recommend UCG’s Bible Commentary “Future invasion of Israel by Gog of Magog”.