By Dr. Roger Barrier, Crosswalk.com
I have so many questions about the “millennium” or “Thousand-Year Reign of Christ.” Can you help me understand what John was describing?
I would be delighted.
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The Thousand-Year Reign of Christ
War is a terrible thing. Sometimes it’s necessary. Even God goes to war.
In the Book of Revelation, we learn that the world will look bleak when all Hell breaks loose at the Battle of Armageddon. Armies will be destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. Gog, Magog, and Rosh from the North will march to destruction. The antichrist will be put in his place of eternal hell. An army of 200 million from the east will invade the Mediterranean world. Eyes will melt in their sockets. It will take seven years for crews to clean up the subsequent radiation (Revelation 16:12-16).
Revelation also describes seven seals that are the title deed of Earth. God has almost been an absentee landlord. But God had in mind all along for Christ to rule and reign upon this earth.
God uses the seven-year Great Tribulation and the battle of Armageddon to remove from the earth every last vestige of godless rebellion. With this fresh start, the 1000-year millennium begins (Revelation 20).
4 Ways to Interpret the Millennium
Christ will literally and bodily return to earth before (pre-) the thousand-year reign begins.
Jesus will set up His Kingdom and reign from the throne of David out of a rebuilt city of Jerusalem.
When Christ returns to earth, He will take all the believers out, condemn all the unbelievers, and eternity will begin right then.
All of God’s promises to Israel will be transferred to the church.
This interpretation also teaches that Israel forfeited all of God’s promises to her because of unbelief. The Church will inherit all the promises originally intended for Israel.
Post-millennialists believe that the world will get better and better through the spread of the Gospel, and this will be the millennial age. Then after the Millennium, Christ will take the believers to Heaven and condemn those who reject Him.
However, this teaching suffered a severe reversal in the past century, as two world wars made this position untenable. The world is obviously not getting better and better.
There will be no thousand-year reign of Christ on earth and no earthly Kingdom of God.
God will literally fulfill all His promises and covenants with Israel, regardless of. Israel’s past history of spiritual failures.
Pan-millennialism is that everything will “pan” out in the end. Don’t worry about it.
Whether or not there is a literal reign of Christ on Earth is of great significance.
I tend to follow the Pre-Millennial viewpoint for several reasons.
The one central theme of the prophets is that Israel must prepare and get ready because the Messiah was going to come and establish His Kingdom.
The heart of the Old Testament prophetic message is the coming of the Messiah to set up an earthly Kingdom over which Christ would rule from the throne of David.
God is restoring all things as they ought to be.
In vindicating righteousness, God will ultimately showcase what He had in mind from the beginning; one world unity under the control of Jesus Christ.
To a large degree, as the seven-year Great Tribulation is a preview of Hell on earth, so the 1000-year reign of Christ is a preview of Heaven.
The Millennium will also be the public honoring of the Son of God.
“Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 14:16).
For centuries, men have longed for a golden age of peace on earth. Philosophers have talked about it. Poets have written about it. Musicians have sung about it. Politicians have promised it. Kings have fought for it. Prophets have foretold it.
A misunderstanding that Christ would come twice and not once is the main reason that Israel rejected the Messiah and missed their Savior when He came to Jerusalem.
“Then I will pour out a spirit] of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died” (Zechariah 12:10-12 NIV).
The Old Testament is filled with truth that the coming of the Messiah is not one-fold but two-fold. He comes first during the Great Tribulation to receive all of his Christian saints into heaven. He comes secondly at the commencement of the thousand-year reign.
He would come to die before He came to reign. - Philippians 2:7-10
He came the first time to a cross but the second time to a crown. - Zechariah 12:10
The first time Jesus stood before Pilate. The next time Pilate will stand before Him. - Revelation 20:12
The glorious coming of Messiah is not yet. He came the first time to deal with sin, which is why we need a Savior, which is why we have no reign of peace on earth.
Now that He’s dealt with sin on the cross, He’ll come a second time to set up His earthly Kingdom, (the millennium) and that may be just around that corner.
The King comes to establish His reign on earth. He has one more problem to deal with after Armageddon. The devil himself needs judgment.
The False prophet, the Antichrist and unsaved men and women are awaiting judgment: The Great White Throne judgment where all will be judged guilty and cast into the Lake Of Fire (Revelation 20:11).
All have now perished except for Devil himself who is the source of all the trouble.
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years. The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while. The host of fallen angels, together with the demons and the world of men, during the preceding three and one half years, had bowed to Satan, now “an angel” fastens on Satan a great chain and chains him for 1000 years” (Revelation 20:1-3).
Just before the end of the millennium Satan is set free for little time to do his dastardly deeds to be sure that all evil has been eradicated as the millennium begins.
The demons greatly feared by the abyss most of all. In the story of the Gadarene demoniac, the request of the demons is that Jesus would not command them to leave the man and go into the abyss (Luke 8:31).
He acquiesced and sent them into a herd of swine.
Why does God finally put Satan under lock and key? So that Satan can’t go around deceiving the nations during the thousand-year Kingdom.
For thousands of years, he has deceived the nations of the world into thinking that they can build a better world without Christ. Sometimes he convinced the nations that the only way to solve their problems was by war. At other times he deceived them into thinking that education, environment, and religion could save the world. He sponsored any program that left Christ out.
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With Satan bound, God will show us the world as it ought to be.
Why wouldn’t everyone be saved if Jesus is the king?
Because Satan is still free to blind people from seeing the gospel and because people still have a sinful nature which precludes some from asking for forgiveness and surrendering their lives to Christ the Savior.
The reason that God allows Satan to be free for a thousand years and then allowed to be free for a short time at the end of the millennium is to ensure that evil has been completely eradicated as King Jesus begins His earthly reign.
The souls of those who become Christians during the millennium will enter heaven when they die. Those souls who have not received Christ will be waiting for the great white throne judgment, where they will be judged guilty for their sins and be cast into the lake of fire. Unfortunately, they had no Savior.
My biggest question is: Why did Jesus release Satan from the pit during the millennial reign?
I believe Martin Bradley gave the best answer:
“I believe the main reason God will let Satan loose for one more time is to prune out some of these bad people who won’t stay loyal and committed to serving Him.
These people will not be able to start any kind of trouble against God in the Millennium Kingdom because Satan is not around yet, people no longer war with one another, and we will have perfect law and order in this new environment since Jesus will now be in full control of everything.
I believe God will set these people up. He will allow Satan to roam free one more time so he can tempt these people into going against Him and His people. And right at the point where these rebellious ones are getting ready to encircle Jerusalem to attack it, God will literally destroy them right there on the spot.
What this tells us is that there will still be some people who will rebel and go against God – even in the most perfect God-environment imaginable!
These people will have all been born into and raised up in this Millennium Kingdom without any type of bad influence from Satan, his demons, and any other bad and unsaved people, since God had already thrown all of them into Hades for the entire length of the Millennium Kingdom.
These people will have also been raised up being taught who the real God is, along with being taught all of His awesome ways. There will be no other gods or false religions to confuse or seduce them.
And even in this most perfect scenario imaginable, there is obviously going to be a group of these people who will still choose to rebel against God and try to overthrow Him by attacking His holy city of Jerusalem once Satan is let loose to try and set all of this up.
Humans will still try to rebel against God.
When you first examine all of the above, you have to ask yourself, how could a group of humans be so stupid to think they can overthrow or go against God Almighty Himself, especially since they have probably been taught the entire history of our world during the Millennium Kingdom?
How could these people go against God when they have been raised up in the most perfect God-environment imaginable?
To answer this, all you have to do is look at what happened to Satan and all of the fallen angels. They were all initially living up in heaven with the Lord with no negative influences until Satan started to malfunction through pride and conceit.
They, too, were living in the most perfect God-environment imaginable, and possibly up to one-third of them decided with their own free wills to rebel against God Himself in this perfect heavenly environment.
So just as a certain of amount of the angels decided to rebel and go against God Himself in a perfect heavenly environment, so too are a certain number of human beings going to do the exact same thing at the end of the Millennium Kingdom. And once again, God will allow Satan to be the one to tempt and cause these rebellious ones to fall.
Bottom line – God knows there are going to be a certain number of people who will still try and come against Him, even in this perfect Millennium Kingdom. He is simply going to draw them out, expose them, and then prune them out by allowing Satan to deceive them like he did with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.”
Then once all of this has been accomplished, you will have nothing but the good apples left that will finally inherit God’s best for all of humanity – The New Heaven and the New Earth.
Why isn’t the Great Tribulation also 1000 years? Because Jesus said in Matthew 24:22: “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened” NIV.
“Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” ESV
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