The second coming of Christ will usher in the messianic age on the earth. This is also called the millennial kingdom of Christ, or simply the Millennium. During these one thousand years, Christ will reign in peace and prosperity, fulfilling God’s original plan for creation. Believers who survive the Tribulation, both Jews and Gentiles, will enter the messianic kingdom in their natural human bodies and will have children and populate the kingdom. Those on earth when Christ returns who do not trust in Him will be cast into hell. Meanwhile, Satan and his minions will be bound in the abyss.
THE ONE-THOUSAND-YEAR REIGN
Immediately after Christ returns and destroys the Antichrist and his armies (Revelation 19:11-21), Satan is bound and Christ reigns for one thousand years (Revelation 20:1-6). The words a thousand years appear six times in Revelation 20:1-7.
While Revelation 20:1-6 is the only Bible passage that records the length of Christ’s reign on the earth, it is certainly not the only passage to refer to His messianic kingdom. The Old Testament has large passages on the messianic kingdom. More prophetic material is devoted to the subject of the Millennium than to any other topic relating to the future. These passages include Isaiah 2:1-5, Isaiah 11:1-16, Isaiah 32:1-20, Isaiah 35:1-10, Isaiah 60:1-22, Jeremiah 31:1-40, Jeremiah 33:1-26, Ezekiel 37:14-28, Amos 9:11-15, Zechariah 14:6-21 and many more.
In short, the 1000 year reign is also being referred to as:
- the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 3:2; 8:11)
- the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:15)
- the Kingdom (Matthew 16:28)
- the world to come (Hebrews 2:5)
- times of refreshing (Acts 3:19, NASB)
- the period of restoration of all things (Acts 3:21)
- a Kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28)
Jesus Christ will rule and reign over the earth from His earthly throne in Jerusalem. While Satan will be bound during those one thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3). The Curse will be reversed, and the Jewish people will be restored to their ancient land in fulfillment of the promises contained in the Abrahamic, Davidic and new covenants to Israel.
God unconditionally, unilaterally promised Abraham three things in Genesis 12:1-3 and 15:18:
- God would bless Abraham personally and the whole world would be blessed through him.
- God would give Abraham many descendants.
- God would give Abraham and his descendants a specific piece of land forever.
Clearly, God has literally fulfilled the first two aspects of His promise. God gave Abraham many descendants, and has blessed the world through Abraham via the Jewish Scripture and the Jewish Saviour. If the first two aspects of this covenant have been fulfilled literally, then it only seems logical to conclude that the land promise will also be literally fulfilled.
God made another promise that still awaits fulfillment. In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, God promised King David that one of his descendants would sit on his throne and reign over his kingdom forever. This promise was applied specifically to Jesus when He was born (Luke 1:32-33).
Acts 1:6-7 says, “When the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know.” Jesus had promised the disciples that in His kingdom they would sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). Just before His ascension back to heaven, Jesus confirmed to His disciples that the kingdom would be restored to Israel (Acts 1:6-7).
WHY THE MILLENNIUM?
To Reward the Faithful – He will do this by giving them authority to reign over the earth. We will even judge the angels. The Bible says that all believers from every age will reign with Christ for a thousand years. (Daniel 7:18, 22, 27, 1 Corinthians 6:2-3, Revelation 2:26-28, Revelation 20:4, 6)
To Redeem Creation – God can finally reverse His curse on creation and fulfill His original purpose for the earth. As an example, the wolf and lamb will lie down together in harmony, and a child will be able to play next to a poisonous snake (Isaiah 11:6-9). In addition, the entire earth will become amazingly productive and beautiful as even the deserts will blossom like a rose (Isaiah 35:1-7). The whole earth will be like a huge Garden of Eden.
To Realize the Biblical Covenants – The third reason we need the Millennium is to fulfill the biblical covenants as mentioned above. In these covenants, God made very specific promises to Israel. God is truthful and not a breaker of His promises.
WHAT WILL THE MILLENNIUM BE LIKE?
A s mentioned, earth will return to conditions similar to those in the Garden of Eden, while the Lord of heaven comes to live on the earth among His people.
All wars will cease as the world unites under the reign of the true King (Isaiah 2:4; 9:4-7; 11:6-9; Zechariah 9:10).
Full joy will come to the world (Isaiah 9:3-4; 12:3-6; 14:7-8; 25:8-9; 30:29; 42:1; Jeremiah 30:18-19; Zephaniah 3:14-17; Zechariah 8:19; 10:6-7).
The land, the city, the Temple and the subjects will all be holy unto the Lord (Isaiah 4:3-4; 29:19; 35:8; 52:1; Ezekiel 43:7-12; 45:1; Zechariah 8:3; 14:20-21).
The radiant glory of God will be fully manifest in Messiah’s kingdom (Isaiah 35:2; 40:5; 60:1-9; Ezekiel 43:1-5). His glory will fill the earth. (Isaiah 35:2; 40:5; 60:1-9; Ezekiel 43:1-5).
When the millennial kingdom begins, it will be inhabited only by believers. However, the believers who survived the tribulation (“Tribulation saints”) will still have human bodies with fallen natures capable of sinning. They will have children who are also still in their mortal flesh. The reigning Messiah will judge man’s sin with perfect justice (Isaiah 9:7; 11:5; 32:16; 42:1-4; 65:21-23). He will rule with “a rod of iron” restraining and judging sin so that the prevailing atmosphere in the kingdom will be righteousness (Isaiah 11:1-5; 60:21; Jeremiah 31:23; Ezekiel 37:23-24; Zephaniah 3:1, 13).
The teaching ministry of the Lord and the indwelling Spirit will bring the inhabitants of the kingdom into a full knowledge of the Lord’s ways (Isaiah 11:1-2, 9; 41:19-20; 54:13; Jeremiah 31:33-34; Habakkuk 2:14).
The King will heal all the diseases and deformities of His people (Isaiah 29:18; 33:24; 35:5-6; 61:1-2; Ezekiel 34:16). A person who dies at the age of one hundred will have died very prematurely (Isaiah 65:20).
All the inhabitants of the earth will join their hearts and voices in praise and worship to God and Christ (Isaiah 45:23; 52:1, 7-10; 66:17-23; Zephaniah 3:9; Zechariah 13:2; 14:16; Malachi 1:11; Revelation 5:9-14). This worship during the Millennium will be centered in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3; 60:13; Ezekiel 40–48; Joel 3:18; Haggai 2:7, 9). Ezekiel 40–48 describes the literal, millennial Temple in detail, including its dimensions, priesthood, worship, sacrifices, and ritual. This interpretation is in harmony with other Old Testament prophetic passages that prophesy the existence of a millennial Temple and sacrifices in that future Temple (Isaiah 2:3; 56:6-7; 60:13; Jeremiah 33:18; Joel 3:18; Haggai 2:7, 9; Zechariah 14:16-21). A very controversial aspect of the worship in the Millennium is that animal sacrifices will apparently be reinstituted in the massive millennial Temple (Isaiah 56:6-7; 60:7; Ezekiel 43:18-27; 45:17-23; Zechariah 14:16-21).
The millennial kingdom will have no need for rescue missions, welfare programs, food stamps, or relief agencies. The world will flourish under the hand of the King of heaven (Isaiah 35:1-2, 7; 30:23-25; 62:8-9; 65:21-23; Jeremiah 31:5,12; Ezekiel 34:26; 36:29-30; Joel 2:21-27; Amos 9:13-14; Micah 4:1, 4; Zechariah 8:11-12; 9:16-17).