The Millennial Reign of Christ
The Millennial Reign of Christ
The word millennium (or millennial) is Latin word meaning 1000 years. Although this word does not appear in the Bible, it must be remembered that Latin was not a language at the time of the writings of the Apostle John. He wrote in Greek, the language of that day. The explanation of the 1000 years of reign of Christ most certainly appears in Scripture and needs to be taken seriously. While some in the Old Testament refer to this era, its meaning becomes far clearer in the book of Revelation.
Rev 20:1-6 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. KJV
The four interpretations of the millennium
Over the course of time, four interpretations, or views, have been claimed within the scholarly realm - premillennialism, postmillennialism, amillennialism, and preterism. Before the details of the period of the millennium can be discussed, a positional view must be established. Each of these views will be discussed in this article, as well as the position of the online Bible school. As always, each interpretation will be examined in the light of Scripture, because in any biblical research, scripture must always support all other scripture.
Premillennialism: Premillennialism is the earliest interpretation of the millennial reign of Christ. They, meaning premillennialists, believes this period of time is yet to come. This belief upholds that after a seven-year period of tribulation upon the earth, Christ will literally return from heaven to earth to establish His Kingdom for a period of one thousand years. During this period of time, Satan and his angelic followers will be bound in the bottomless pit and unable to deceive mankind. After the millennial period, however, Satan will be set free for a brief unknown period of time, but it will be short because God will judge him and all those who would follow him and cast them into the Lake of Fire for all eternity.
Among premillenists, there are two sub-catagories – dispensational premillenialism and historic premillenialism. Dispensational premillennialism is the belief in a pre-tribultion rapture of the Chuch, followed by seven years of tribulation upon the earth. It will end with the reappearance of Christ, the Battle of Armagedon and the start of His 1000-year millennial reign. Historic premillenialism, on the other hand, places the rapture of the Church and the start of the millennium together as part of the same event – in other words, a post-tribulation rapture. This belief contends that believers must endure the seven-year tribulation prior to the glorious reappearance of Jesus Christ.
For the first two centuries, premillennialism was the accepted view of the church. The earliest church fathers Papias, companion of Polycarp, who was discipled by the Apostle John, the author of the book of Revelation shared this view. Papias believed in the literal earthly premillennial doctrine. Other second and third century scholars, such as Irenaus and Tertullian, also upheld this belief.
Amillennialism: The amillennialist holds that Christ will reign through the Church until His second coming, which will mark the beginning of eternity for believers, not the millennial reign. In other words, we are now in that age. Amillennialism is the spiritual representation of the present Church age. The amillenialist does not accept the literal interpretation of the scripture section in Revelation 20 - it is simply figurative, and should not be taken literally. This view holds that Satan was already bound at the first coming of Christ. The good in the world consists of the kingdom of Christ, meaning the Church, and the evil in the world is those in Satan’s kingdom.
This view was first proposed by the Latin church father Augustine of Hippo, Africa in the fourth century, and has been the favored position of the Roman Catholic church ever since. It is also a view that can be seen among some reform protestant denominations.
Postmillennialism: The postmillennialist also denies a literal interpretation of Revelation 20. In this view, Christ’s reign begins somewhere between His first and second coming, but it arrives in degrees. They believe the thousand-year reign of Christ is metaphorical or figurative, and represents a time when He reigns in the hearts of believers. His kingdom is brought in gradually through evangelism in which the world will continually improve as Christianity is spread. At that point of time, the world will have become “Christianized” and ready for the second coming of Christ. This view was not developed until the 16th century.
Preterism: Preterism often goes hand in hand with postmillennialism, and holds that the bulk of the prophecies in Revelation were already fulfilled with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. They do believe in a final judgment following a figurative millennial kingdom, but believes that all other prophecy has been fulfilled.
Let’s now dissect each position to see which one fits with what Scripture tells us:
Preterism: If the prophecies in Revelation were already fulfilled with the fall of Jerusalem, this view creates many problems. The problems lies in that most biblical scholars believe that John wrote the book of Revelation around 95 A.D. How can he then prophecy about something that already took place 25 years previously. It would no longer be a prophecy, but a historical error. Also, if the devastating events of the book of Revelation had already taken place, we would have historical record of its happenings. These questions cannot be answered with any intellectual honesty while adhering to the preterist view.
Postmillennialism: The postmillennial view has many flaws in its representation. If this view is metaphorical (figurative), representing the present time with Christ reigning only in the hearts of believers, and Christianity is continuously spreading and improving through time, it not only violates Scripture, but history as well. The book of Matthew, the epistles, and the book of Revelation is specific to state that times will get worse before the coming of Christ. There will be wars and rumors of wars. The postmillennialism view has become all but extinct because of the tragedies of two world wars, the Great Depression, and the continuous moral decay in the world.
Amillennialism: This spiritual figurative view also has many flaws. If the Christians are presently in the amillennial age and Satan was already bound at the first coming of Christ, history and the Scriptures show that to be inaccurate. The good in the world (the Church) and the evil in the world (Satan’s kingdom) reigns; however, the Scriptures tell us that Satan is still the god of this world until Christ comes for His second coming to defeat him and cast him away. He was there to try to deceive Christ in the desert after His baptism. This view is often referred to as allegorical.
Allegory: A method in which the literal meaning of the text is superceded by an interpretation in which each element is understood to signify another. It requires an allegorical interpretation to discern a true meaning, which then can be interpreted in many ways.
By using a figurative or allegorical view, the truths of Scripture have been stretched to where it could have many interpretations. Allegorical interpretation have never been a legitimate biblical hermeneutical tool for research. It began with Ambrose and Augustine in the 4th century A.D.
Augustine was a Greek philosopher before his conversion to Christ, often carrying those beliefs into Christianity.
In allegorical research, Scripture could have changed meanings to read whatever the researcher desires. That would mean all of the parables could be allegorical, along with studies on heaven, hell, Christ’s resurrection, or whatever the researcher would deem fit. Scripture must be taken literally as much as possible and must always support and interpret all other scripture. Ancient Greek philosophy has always used allegorical interpretation in the study of the ancient mythological gods. Their interpretations have been myth and legend from its foundation.
Premillenialism: Only the premillennialist view takes a literal interpretation of Revelation 20. While the Bible does speak allegorically in a few instances, it is pretty clear when it is doing so. If a passage can be taken literally, it should be. This allows truth to be told in its literal sense without personal interpretation. This is the view that the online Bible school supports.
Within the pemillenialists view, there are two sub-catagories - historic premillenialism and dispensational premillennialism. This is where the Church is divided. While the position of the online Bible school supports the dispensational premillennialism, it will not defend its position in this article. That will be reserved for the article on the tribulation.
The world in which we live in today is not the world as God created it. God created a world of paradise or heaven on earth, but man, through sin, brought it into rebellion. While the western mind thinks lineal, having a beginning and an end, the eastern mind thinks in a circular motion. The beauty of His creation will be repeated in its completion and finality. Throughout Scripture you will see signs of repetition. His works keeps revolving over and over until it is fulfilled to perfection. Even in fulfillment, things will continue to circulate.
All biblical writers wrote from an eastern mind, empowered by the Holy Spirit of God.
The period of the millennium is three-fold in nature: (1) A period of the redemption of Israel – for God has not forgotten nor forsaken His people. He made a covenant with them 4000 years ago, and desires to fulfill and complete every promise. (2) A period of restoration upon the earth with Jesus and His saints ruling and reigning over the natural people who survived the Battle of Armageddon. (3) A period of time to prepare the earth for God’s coming – the entrance of the new heaven and the new earth – eternity. For that to happen, all rebellion must be put down and all enemies under His feet. When it does happen, Christ’s purpose on earth will be near fulfillment. I Cor 15:24-25 Then comes to end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. This period of the millennium will last for 1000 years. It is a time when the earth will begin to be restored as it was before sin came with Adam and Eve.
At the Battle of Armageddon, Satan and his evil cohorts will be defeated and thrown into the bottomless pit for 1000 years. Evil will have been captured and Jesus Christ will be hailed as Lord over all the earth, with His resurrected saints by His side to rule and reign with Him. The natural people who survived the Battle of Armageddon (survivors left upon the earth) will be tested on their obedience to Christ through the governing of resurrected saints. There will be large numbers of “natural” people left to continue to populate the earth during this 1000-year period of the millennium. During that time, the natural people must conform to the will of God. For that to happen, all rebellion must be put into subjection upon the earth. Resurrected saints will become priests of God and Christ, exalted to their place and positions of rulership and authority over them to accomplish such a feat. All natural man must conform and be brought into submission to bring perfect conditions back on the earth as it existed before the fall of Adam and Eve. Rev 20:4 & 6 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them…Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. With Satan and his evil angelic cohorts held captive in the bottomless pit (see article on "hell”), unable to influence natural mankind with any evil deed, all powers of the enemy will be removed from the earth, and man will no longer be tempted by their influences of wickedness. Natural mankind, however, will have to overcome the temptations of his flesh.
As Jesus takes His reign from the city of Jerusalem, the natural people of Israel will be busily burying the dead and cleaning up their land with those slain in the Battle of Armageddon. There will be millions of people slain in battle, and Scriptures states it will take seven full months to bury and dispose of the bones after the birds and beasts have had their feast of devouring the flesh. Ezek 39:14-16 They will set apart men regularly employed, with the help of a search party, to pass through the land and bury those bodies remaining on the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search. The search party will pass through the land; and when anyone sees a man’s bone, he shall set up a market by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog…Thus they shall cleanse the land. KJV.
The temple of Christ ; A new temple will be erected in Jerusalem, similar to the one during the time of King Solomon and Zerubbabel (Ezek 40-46). Its beauty of gold and immense size will be the center of worship and sacrifice upon the earth. Christ will set up His “Theocratic” government, ruling with an iron rod under God. All immortal resurrected saints (those who came down with Christ from heaven at the Battle of Armageddon) will have part in ruling as kings and priest with Christ. The earth will become a “One-world kingdom” under the reign of Jesus Christ. Is 9:6 Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward even forever.
The Scriptures also tell us that King David (as a resurrected saint) will sit on the throne of Israel under Christ to rule over Israel. Jer 30:9…but they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king Whom I will raise up for them… Ez 34:23-24 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them – My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord have spoken. David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statues, and do them. All earthly Jews will again be allowed their ancient sacrifice of animals at the temple, setting up their earthly priesthood. The Levites will serve in the millennial temple – going back to their former sacrifices, feasts, and rituals of temple worship. This time, however, the sacrifices will not be for the atonement for sins because Jesus already paid that price. According to Ezek 40-46, this practice will be continued throughout the millennium and eternity as an eternal memorial of God’s promise to His people – the Jews.
All prophecies concerning the eternal reign of Messiah will be fulfilled. For the first time in its history, Israel will inherit all the land originally promised by God. Their long awaited land will become theirs, and it will be theirs forever.
Worship: Worshipping Jesus will be regular practice throughout the earth for natural Jews and the Church alike. Yearly visits to the temple of Christ, just as the Jewish people had done for centuries before its fall will also be a requirement. All nations will send representatives to Jerusalem to acknowledge Christ, and to celebrate the feasts.
Sustaining life : A new river emerging from underneath the sanctuary in Jerusalem will flow south through the city and then divide. Half will flow into the Mediterranean Sea, and the other half into the Dead Sea. It will continuously flow and create life from Christ wherever it goes. As it continues to flow and divide, it will surround the earth flowing into all bodies of water. The life of Jesus Christ will flow through these waters to give and sustain life to all natural man in the earth. Zec 14: 8-9 And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western in both summer and winter it shall occur. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth. All natural people will drink and bathe from the “rivers of life” and renew their bodies for healing and refreshing.
The Bible says that human life will be prolonged, so that men will live as long as “trees.” Life will continue on for the natural man. Babies will be born and grow up, with new babies born continuously. The population will multiply with little or no death. Is 65: 22…They shall build, another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat, for as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people.
Works of the flesh : Natural man, ruled by resurrected saints, will continue God’s original purpose, as if man had never sinned. Natural man will be free to live in perfected earth conditions in every respect as before the fall of Adam. The curse will have been removed, but man will still be tested. Human nature, with its tendencies and lusts, will still be a part of mortal man’s nature, but his opportunities for overcoming them will be greater because there will be no satanic powers or influences. Deeds of the flesh will be considered as rebellion against God and outlawed. It cannot have its way in the earth - there will be strict laws in place to put down all rebellion. Gal 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lawdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath selfish, ambition, dissensions, heresies, envy, murder, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Resurrected saints will be executing all the laws that Jesus will put into place. His laws will be the Word of God.
God’s greatest law has always been that of love – for God is love. All natural mankind will be taught by ruling immortal saints to serve one another in love. Love will flow throughout the whole earth. James 2:8 if you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scriptures, you shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well. The fruit of the spirit will be instituted for everyone on the earth. Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. God’s laws will be enforced upon every natural man upon the face of the earth.
All Scripture will be taught, and God’s law will be enforced upon every natural human being on the face of the earth. We the saints, fully immortal, will be executing all the laws that Jesus will put in place. God’s love and His righteousness will be the primary law, shown in the law of love . Is 2:3-4…he will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall rebuke many people… God’s greatest law is, and will be, love, for God is love. James 2:8 if you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scriptures, you shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well.
Civil laws established : They will also be civil laws in place. I Cor 15:24-25 Then comes to end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till has put all enemies under His feet. Is 9:6 ...Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end… to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward even forever. Not to submit to the authority of Jesus Christ will carry the death penalty, and discipline will be forceful and tough . It will be the responsibility of the resurrected saints to govern the world to make sure that true righteousness reigns. Is 11:3 …He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Is 2:4…He shall judge between the nations, and shall rebuke many people…
Everyday life for natural mankind : Natural man will continue to marry, have families, work, and find fulfillment in life through leisure and recreation. Progress will continue as it has in past generations, and will multiply faster because the powers of the enemy will be bound in the bottomless pit. War will be a thing of the past. Mic 4:3-4…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks.; nations shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more…
Financial prosperity : The world’s financial system will be prosperous and beneficial for all mankind. There will be no more taxation to burden the people with, but there will be the tithe, just as God taught His people under the Old Covenant. With every natural man giving a tenth of his first fruits, there will be more than enough to provide for the earth and natural man’s needs – with abundance left over.
The earth will be prosperous and live under universal peace. The body of Christ who will be resurrected saints ruling and reigning with Christ need to learn and know the principles of tithing now, and experience the blessings that come from being faithful to the tithe in our lives. This same principle will be taught in the millennium because it is the Word of God taught to His people.
Universal peace : There will be universal peace . Is 2:3-4 Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; he will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; 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.
Weather conditions : Weather conditions throughout the millennial period will be at its best. Fruitful seasons will be enjoyed for the most part without interruption. Flowers will bloom continuously throughout the entire season, and the leaves on the trees will not wither. Deserts will bloom, and all waste places of the earth will be restored to usefulness. Is 30:23-25 Then He will give the rain for your seed with which you sow the ground, and bread of the increase of the earth; it will be fat and plentiful. In that day your cattle will feed in large pastures. Likewise the oxen and the young donkeys that work the ground will eat cured fodder, which has been winnowed with the shovel and fan….
The animal kingdom : Flesh eating animals will become vegetarians just as they were before the fall of Adam. The sin of man and beast will be removed and there will be no need for animals to be flesh eaters any longer. Their desires will be toward grazing and not flesh. Is 11:6-9 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat. The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
The ministry of ruling and reigning resurrected saints : We, as immortal kings and priests, co-reigning with Christ, will have a mission of evangelizing Christ, and seeing that the laws of God are kept throughout the whole earth. The Word of God will be taught to all natural man. The whole earth will need to know the truths of God.
Each resurrected saint will have a different rulerships – depending on the call and faithfulness while serving in this life. What we do here for the Lord is only a taste of what is yet to come. If we are faithful in the little He gives us now, He will give us much during the millennium and throughout eternity. Matt 25:21 Well done, good and faithful servant, you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.
We, as glorified saints will not have our present earthly problems – jobs, or family situations to hinder our ministry for Christ. Our positions as kings and priests will be to serve the Lord while we rule and reign with Him.
The fall of Adam and Eve did not cancel God’s original purpose. It was only postponed it until the final restitution of all things during the millennium. Natural man, ruled by resurrected saints, will continue God’s original purpose, as if man had never sinned. The total plan of God in this period of the millennium will be to bring man back to the place where man was before the fall, purging out all sin from the earth – preparing the earth for God’s coming. The earth will have become a utopia. Sin will have been held in subjection so that all condition can be ready for God to bring heaven down to earth.
The rebellious : There will, however, be some who in body obeyed the laws of Jesus, but in heart stayed in rebellion. To flush these natural people out, God will bring on an opportunity for them to rebel. At the very end of the millennial period, Satan and his evil cohorts will be loosed from the bottomless pit for a brief period of time. This will be a time to give any natural man a final opportunity to rebel openly and try to overthrow God’s government. Satan will again, through his deceptive cunning ways, persuade multitudes of people to follow him to defeat and overthrow God in battle. There will have been new generations of people who will have been born, raised, and grown up during the1000-year millennial period. Many of them will not have witnessed or experienced the Battle Armageddon or will have forgotten about the wrath of God. Some of them will rebel with Satan against God and His righteousness. When Satan’s battle with God is set, every rebel will gather together with him to go against God. They will meet in Jerusalem, armed and ready to fight. Fire, however, will come quickly down from God and devour every rebel. Rev 20-7-9 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, God and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sands of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. Thus God will bring to an end the rebellion in His universal kingdom which began with Lucifer and his unfaithful angels long before Adam and Eve. Satan and his evil angelic cohorts will then be cast eternally into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone to be tormented night and day forever . Rev 20:10 And the devil, who deceived them, was cast into the Lake of Fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
The millennial period of time has been completed and God is now ready to bring heaven down to earth (Refer to the article of "heaven").