The Millennium

By Brian Reynolds

“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection … they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” —Revelation 20:6 NKJV

It is a curious fact that there are many Christians who adamantly oppose the thought that there will be such a thing as a millennial reign of Christ over the earth. But the Holy Scriptures are unmistakably clear as to both the certainty and the character of the future kingdom of Christ.

The word “millennium” comes from the Latin and simply means “a thousand years.” Six times in Revelation 20 we find a period of time described as “a thousand years” (vv.2-7). This age follows the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ but precedes the “new heaven” and “new earth” (21:1-4). The “thousand years” is to be understood as a literal period of time. We have no divine warrant to spiritualize it into something other than an actual age of 1,000 years.

There are various terms that the Bible uses to describe the coming millennium. The Epistle of Hebrews calls it the “world to come” (Heb. 2:5). In several passages it is simply called “the kingdom” (Acts 1:6; Lk. 19:11). The Lord said the righteous will shine forth in “the kingdom of their Father” (Mt. 13:43) and called it “the regeneration” (19:28). Peter called it “the times of restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21). Paul described it as “the glorious liberty”1 (Rom. 8:21) and also as “the dispensation of the fullness of the times” (Eph. 1:10). In both Testaments it is called, “the day of the LORD” (Joel 2:1; compare with 1 Th. 5:2).

The millennium will be a blessed time in which believers “shall reign” with Christ (Rev. 20:6). The promise to believers is that we are to have “power over the nations” (2:26 KJV) and we will sit with Christ on His throne (3:21). Today is training time, but then it will be reigning time!

The Millennial Kingdom Will Not Happen Until After The Second Coming Of Christ
“Because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.” —Luke 19:11 NKJV

As the Lord Jesus neared Jerusalem, His disciples were in great anticipation. They sensed something “big” was about to take place: Was the Lord Jesus about to restore the kingdom to Israel and deliver them from the yoke of Gentile rule (24:21)? They were already arguing among themselves which of them should “be greatest” in the coming kingdom (22:24)! In response the Lord told them a parable of a man going into “a far country” to receive “a kingdom” (19:12), meaning that a visible millennial kingdom on earth would not happen any time soon.

Only a few days prior to this the Lord had told the Pharisees that the kingdom of God was not going to come “with observation” (17:20). It would come, rather, in a more “invisible” form because the King would be rejected on earth and return to heaven; thus the kingdom in Matthew is called the “kingdom of the heavens” (Mt. 13:11 JND). Christ’s kingdom will appear in visible display and power, but only in the “times or seasons” that the Father has determined (Acts 1:6-7 NKJV).

Although the millennial kingdom will not come with “observation” until a future time, this does not mean that the kingdom of God is irrelevant for us today. God has delivered us from Satan’s power and “conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col. 1:13). We were conveyed or translated into this kingdom when we were saved! The “kingdom of the Son of His love” continues during the period that the Son sits upon the Father’s throne (Rev. 3:21). Although not yet visible in display to the world, the “kingdom of God is … righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). It now is the believer’s privilege and challenge to walk in the good of these things by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Restoration Of All Things
“Jesus Christ … whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of His holy prophets since the world began.” —Acts 3:20-21

Heaven has received the Lord Jesus, and He is seated at God’s right hand until the time comes when His enemies are “made His footstool” (Heb. 10:12-13). Then, at His second coming2 He will introduce the “times of refreshing” which the prophets spoke of since time began (Acts 3:19). This is where Peter called this coming age “the times of restoration of all things” (3:21). It will be a restoration, literally meaning “to set in order again,” because it will be an age of healing and renewal for the earth.

Creation itself looks forward to that day of deliverance, for it presently “groans and labors with birth pangs” (Rom. 8:22). There will be remarkable changes in the physical creation when this world experiences deliverance from much of its suffering and is brought into “the glorious liberty” (v.21).

Our passage in Acts 3 teaches that all the prophets have spoken of the coming millennial age and its effects on men, the nations and the animal kingdom. But the books of Ezekiel and Isaiah give the most detailed portrait of that glorious day. Ezekiel tells of waters issuing forth from the millennial temple (Ezek. 47:1-11). These healing waters divide into two rivers, one eastward into the Dead Sea and the other westward into the Mediterranean, and ultimately to the world’s oceans (see Zech. 14:8-9). The waters will bring healing and recovery to the fish stocks of the salty, lifeless Dead Sea as well as to the oceans of the world decimated during the Tribulation (Rev. 8:9, 16:3). Isaiah declares, “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad … and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose” (Isa. 35:1-2). Healing, restoration and life will characterize the millennial earth. What a relief for this sad world!

Peace On The Earth
“They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” —Isaiah 2:4

In a park situated on the east side of the United Nations Headquarters in New York is a stone monument donated in 1959 by the former Soviet Union. Carved into the monument are the words, “Let us beat swords into plowshares.” This quotation is based on the great prophecy of Isaiah 2.

However, it will not be the United Nations or any other institution of man that will bring peace to our world. The prophecy makes it very clear that this will “come to pass in the latter days” (v.2), only after the glory and majesty of the Lord humbles “the lofty looks of man” in the “day of the Lord” (vv.10-12). The Prince of Peace will judge the nations at His coming in glory first, and then He will establish His glorious kingdom, resulting in the end of all war. Families will never again have to grieve the loss of their sons, nor will innocent civilians have to face the horrors and suffering of war in their lands.

Not only will there be a cessation of war, but the armaments of war will be changed for the production of food. The King, Jesus of Nazareth, will completely dismantle the world’s military industrial complex (see Ps. 46:9). The prophecy states that the nations will not “learn war anymore.” How much of man’s time, energy, wealth and science are spent on weapons research and production – not to mention the maintaining of armies and waging wars. The world spends US$1.6 trillion per year on military budgets. This money is more than enough to feed the world’s poor! The focus will be turned from war to agriculture in the millennium. The true Psalmist has announced that “there shall be abundance of grain in the earth” (72:16) A New Heaven And New Earth
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” —Revelation 21:1

The apostle John saw a “new heaven and a new earth” that will come at the end of the millennium. This eternal state is an entirely new creation, whereas the millennium is a renewal or restoration of the first creation. It is important to see this distinction because some deny that there is a millennial reign of Christ and confuse the prophecies that speak of it with the new heaven and new earth.

The millennium will be a time period in which righteousness “shall reign” (Isa. 32:1; Ps. 72:7). Sin and evil will still exist, but they will be greatly restrained and quickly judged (101:8). The righteous reign of Messiah will extend “from the river unto the ends of the earth” (72:8). But in the eternal state, or “the day of God,” righteousness will “dwell” because sin and evil will be entirely eradicated (2 Pet. 3:12-13). There will be no need for righteousness to “reign” because there will be no need for government as such. It will be God’s eternal Sabbath when sorrow, crying, pain and death will no longer exist (Rev. 21:3-4).

In the millennium death will occur, although it will be rare (Isa. 65:20). But at the end of the 1,000 years “the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and all the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10; consider Rev. 21:1), then will come the new creation, and God shall be “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28).

The millennium will be for the vindication of God’s character, which has been maligned in the present evil age. But the eternal state will be for the satisfaction of His nature in which the glorified saints of all the ages will dwell with Him, and He with them (Rev. 21:3). They shall “be His people” and He “their God” forever! ENDNOTES
1. Or “the liberty of the glory” (JND).
2. First comes the rapture of the church which will be followed by seven years of “great tribulation”; then will come Christ’s appearing in glory.

Under Christ’s reign there will be a righteous government, lacking for so long in this world (Isa. 11:3-5). Creation will be set free, not groaning anymore (Rom. 8:19-22). The wolf and the lamb will dwell together (Isa. 11:6-8). The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord (v.9). Satan will be bound in the abyss (Rev. 20:1-2), unable to seduce men. Finally, the Prince of Peace will reign (Isa. 9:6). His reign will be a literal one on this earth with Israel re-gathered, fulfilling prophecy (Jer. 31:10, 32:37; Isa. 11, 24:23). These promises are not fulfilled in a spiritual way in the Church (see Acts 3:19-21; Rom. 8:19-23; 1 Cor. 15:25; Eph. 1:10; Col. 1:20; Phil. 2:9-11). Written after Pentecost, these passages show that this future blessing is still to come.
During His reign:
• Christ will be honored and vindicated in the scene where He was rejected (Isa. 52:14-15; Phil. 2:8-11).
• God’s plan with this earth will be fulfilled, namely that a man should have dominion over creation (Gen. 1:28). Man failed and creation was plunged into the greatest misery, but the true Son of Man will fill that place (Ps. 8:6-8).
• God will keep His promises to His people Israel to bring them back into the land from where they had been driven out and scattered, and that Messiah would reign over them there.

Author: Sebastien

01000110 01101111 01110010 00100000 01100001 01101110 01111001 00100000 01110111 01101000 01101111 00100000 01110111 01101001 01110011 01101000 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01100011 01101111 01101110 01110001 01110101 01100101 01110010 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00101110 00101110 00101110