- 1. Introduction
- 2. Why the Millennium is not widely taught
- 3. Conclusion – Let Scripture have the last word
- 4. The Thread – traced in the Millennial Reign of Christ
Why the Millennium is not widely taught
Lack of knowledge and confidence
In our ‘Modern Day Church’, it is remarkable how little is known, taught or even casually discussed about the Millennial reign of Christ on earth.
There is an inordinate amount of written material relating to the Bible and to the last 2000 years of history since Christ’s first coming. Yet, in spite of this readily available material, the millennium is not widely known or understood.
Quote from Charles L Feinberg - Millennialism - The two major views
"The word 'millennium' is found nowhere in scripture.It is the Latin equivalent ("mille," a thousand, and "annus," a year) for the Greek chilia ete found in the twentieth chapter of the book of Revelation. Those holding the premillennial doctrine are interchangeably designated and referred to millennialists, premillenarians and chiliasts."
"Let it be noted here that the absence of the word millennium in the scriptures militates no more forcefully or conclusively against the premillennial doctrine than does the absence of the word trinity against those who hold that the Godhead consists in the three eternal persons forming one being."
In recent years I have made a point of asking other Christians what they think of the millennial reign of Christ. The response is disturbing to say the least. The reaction usually betrays a level of discomfort and uncertainty about the subject.
There is a general awareness of what the term ‘Millennium’ means; but many Christians have no real conviction or opinion relating to the significance of what it represents. The reaction of many people is almost blasé as if it hardly matters. I care to differ.
Now that we are approaching the end of our journey on this timeline; I want to highlight a dangerous notion which is prevalent in our modern day church.
In recent years, I have often heard Christians, even church leaders, say that the books of Genesis and Revelation are too difficult to understand and too controversial to form any conclusive opinions.
They go on to clarify that when they refer to Genesis and Revelation, what they actually mean in particular, are the subjects of the creation of the universe and of the end times. In other words, they mean the beginning and the end.
I would encourage you to think differently about these subjects; God describes himself as the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22 v 13.
If we fail to properly understand the beginning and the end, I suggest that we will risk getting ‘the bit in the middle’ completely wrong or at least it will be somewhat out of focus.
I’m sure you will agree that there is a significant level of ignorance about the Millennial Reign of Christ, and a reluctance to discuss it. I think the primary reasons are twofold;
First; Most Christians in the modern church do not read the entire bible in a systematic way and therefore they have not developed a ‘holistic view’ of the message of the bible. There seems to be no coherent understanding of God’s great strategy in human history.
Second; Many preachers and teachers have not developed a ‘holistic view’ or understanding of the bible and therefore do not possess the knowledge and confidence to teach this subject.
Many teachers want to teach ‘the bit in the middle’, but are decidedly uncomfortable with the idea of teaching - the beginning and the end.
The significance of the literal 1000 years when Christ will return to this earth and take his rightful place as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, is this; He will exercise his authority on earth, He will be recognised by all nations as the Son of God and the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Mankind will worship the one whom they crucified at Calvary. He will be exonerated and exalted to his rightful place. He will have no equal.
In contrast to earths ‘past ages’, there will be no Pharaoh, Caesar, Emperor or King who will not publicly bow and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords.
Mortal human beings, those who survive the tribulation, will still procreate and live normal lives. People will continue to be born in sin; human temptation will still exist, albeit without the added menace of Satan because he will be locked up in the abyss for the duration of the millennium.
Humanity will still be in its fallen state during the millennium; lust, greed, selfishness, hatred and pride will still be apparent in human behaviour, but the outward manifestation of these tendencies will be effectively suppressed under the universal rule of Christ and his saints.
This continued 'fallen' condition of mankind during the Millennium is clearly manifested when the armies of earth assemble at Jerusalem at the end of the 1000 years.
This happens when Satan is released from the Abyss and he goes out to deceive the nations of earth for the final time.
Doubtless, his deceptive tactic will be to appeal to the widespread undercurrents of human greed and selfishness. His appeal to mankind will be to 'throw off' the fetters of this universal reign of Christ. No more of this 'equality for all'.
It is ironic that the subject of 'equality for all' which is seemingly sought by many political leaders and legislators in our day, could well become the very point of rebellion during the final deception of Satan when he is released from the abyss at the end of the Millennial reign of Christ.
We have already outlined on the ‘Middle Ages’ page; mankind has systematically failed in every single period of time – ‘every age of human history’ - since creation.
At the end of the Millennium we will see mankind fail once more - for the very last time!
This is because of the original fall - man’s stubborn rebellion against God as consistently outlined on ‘The thread’.
However, during this Millennium Age, the fortunes of John 1 v 9-11 will be reversed and replaced with the prophetic words from Philippians 2 v 9-11.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Death and Devastation
During the tribulation, the population of the world – currently 7 billion – will be decimated; it will probably be reduced by over 50% to less than 3 billion as a result of the three successive stages of judgement – outlined in Revelation chapters 6-19. The world will be in a mess as a result of war and devastation.
Think of recent TV images of cities in Syria and Iraq that have been decimated by war, well, many of the cities across the earth will be in a similar or worse condition.
There will be decomposed human and animal corpses everywhere; towns and cities will have been razed to the ground, there will be all kinds of debris and relics of war. Roads, bridges and general infrastructure will be in tatters.
After the tribulation, there will be a massive job of work to be done under the rule of Christ; in fact, to any mere human leader this would be deemed as an insurmountable task, it would be hopelessly impossible.
The idea of Christ returning as King of kings and Lord of lords to a world that rejected him will seem like religious fantasy to some.
Revelation 16 v 17-20
17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake.
19 The great city split into three parts, AND THE CITIES OF THE NATIONS COLLAPSED. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.
Rebuilding a broken world...
We have suggested on the ‘Flood’ page that the topography of the continents and the seas was dramatically altered by universal seismic movements during the early stages of the flood. This happened because the earth had been corrupted by man’s wickedness.
It is possible that God will use the same catastrophic power - in the form of this gigantic earthquake - to reshape this broken and corrupted earth and make the earth’s topography acquiescent and suitable for the commencement of the millennial reign of Christ.
This mega earthquake would certainly offer an explanation for how God will clean up the mess caused by the destruction and devastation that the Tribulation will inflict on the earth. It would also effectively deal with environmental blemishes and scars – such as land fill sites and oil spills etc. - which the modern world has inflicted on the planet.
Praise God who will come and rebuild our broken world rather than abandon it in hopeless despair. Praise the one who will come to dwell on earth and associate with mankind in the aftermath of man’s darkest hour - when the Antichrist ruled in deceptive power.
Isaiah 61 v 4
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. 7 Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.
Amos 9 v 14
11 In that day “I will restore David’s fallen shelter—I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins— and will rebuild it as it used to be, 12 so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name, declares the Lord, who will do these things.
13 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills, 14 and I will bring my people Israel back from exile. “They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
15 I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God.
Psa 121 v 1-4
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
John 5 v 16-17
16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defence Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”
During the millennial reign of Christ I would suggest that both Christ and those who are called to reign with him on earth will not need to sleep. It is unimaginable that Christ will sleep when he is in charge of world government. Government on earth will require what we call 24-7 attention as earth continues on its evening and morning cycle for a further 1000 years.
Christ appeared after his resurrection in a glorified body, we too will have a new 'glorified body'. We will not grow tired or weary and we will not require the normal rest and replenishment that sleep offers us now.
We will have new, glorified, eternal, immortal and indestructible bodies. This is how we shall indeed assist in the government of this new Millennial age.
Knowing when to apply a literal interpretation...
We have already highlighted the important principle of interpretation as outlined by J Allen;
When LITERAL sense makes good sense, then seek no OTHER sense, lest you end up with NONSENSE.
Many of the Old Testament prophetic utterances relating to the future millennial reign of Christ on earth, make plain statements about the characteristics of this future period of time, which when taken literally, give us a clear picture of conditions on earth at that time, especially in relation to Jerusalem, Israel and how she interacts with the other nations.
One good example of this is quoted by the Old Testament prophet Zechariah in the latter part of the Exile in Babylon.
Zechariah 2 v 1-13
A Man with a Measuring Line
1 Then I looked up, and there before me was a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2 I asked, “Where are you going?” He answered me, “To measure Jerusalem, to find out how wide and how long it is.”
3 While the angel who was speaking to me was leaving, another angel came to meet him 4 and said to him: “Run, tell that young man, ‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it. 5 And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within.’
6 “Come! Come! Flee from the land of the north,” declares the Lord, “for I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven,” declares the Lord. 7 “Come, Zion! Escape, you who live in Daughter Babylon!” 8 For this is what the Lord Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye— 9 I will surely raise my hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me.
10 “Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. 11 “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. 12 The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem. 13 Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.”
Revelation 21 v 9-12
The New Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb
9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
When we compare Zechariah 2 v 4 with Revelation 21 v 12 & 14, it is clear that Zechariah is not writing about the New Jerusalem, he is referring to the current City of Jerusalem. We know from history that the conditions of which Zechariah speaks, have not yet been fulfilled.
These conditions will be fulfilled during the literal 1000 year Millennial reign of Christ on earth.
Read more: The Millennium - Cyber or simple.