End Times Series #7 – The Millennium
By Rod Nichols (Rod@RodNichols.com)
In the last installment, the seven year tribulation ended with the anti-christ and false prophet being thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20) and the dragon (Satan) bound and locked in the abyss for a 1000 years (Rev. 20:1-3). These events launch what is known as the millennium or thousand year rule of Christ.
Among theologians, there are three views on the millennium:
Amillennialism – There will be no literal thousand year reign of Christ, but rather this is a metaphor for the Church Age. This view entered the church around the time of Augustine and helped plunge the world into the “Dark Ages,” as people lost hope. The problem with this view is that the Bible clearly says that there will be a thousand year reign of Christ (Rev. 20) and that Satan (evil) will be bound during that time. Satan has clearly not been bound during the Church Age (the age we live in).
Postmillennialism – No literal thousand year reign, rather it is symbolic of a long period of spiritual prosperity during which Christianity overtakes the nations and the whole earth is evangelized. This view was popularized by Daniel Whitby, a seventeenth century Anglican. The problems with this view are that we could not possibly be living in this time, as evil seems to continually increase. More importantly, there is no scriptural support of universal acceptance of Christ.
Premillennialism – There will be a literal thousand year period, following the tribulation, during which Christ will reign and evil will be bound. This was the view of the apostles and the early church and is heavily supported by scripture (Rev. 20).
If we believe that the Bible is the literal Word of God, then we must conclude that there will be a literal thousand year reign of Christ, after the great tribulation. During these thousand years, Satan will be bound, so there will be no evil influence in the world.
This brings us to some questions about the millennium:
Who will be present during these thousand years?
There are three groups we can be assured will be there:
1. Church Age Saints – all who accepted Jesus, from the time of his life forward to the rapture. These saints will ride out of heaven with Jesus (Rev. 19:14) and reign with Him for the thousand years.
2. Old Testament Saints – these are the people who followed God during the times prior to Jesus. Daniel 12:1-2 shows that these people will be resurrected at the end of the tribulation. It appears that these saints will be present at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, as they are likely the “guests” referred to in Rev. 19:9. The bride is clearly the Church Age Saints and the bridegroom is Jesus, neither of which would be “invited” to the wedding supper. So, this would place the resurrection of the Old Testament Saints prior to the wedding supper, which is before the arrival of Christ after the tribulation.
3. Tribulation Saints – those who did not take the mark of the beast during the tribulation and were executed. They are clearly resurrected after Jesus arrives and ends the tribulation.
The Bible doesn’t address the possibility that there will be unredeemed people still living at the end of the tribulation. These would be people who neither accepted the Lord nor took the mark of the beast and entered the millennium alive. Very likely there will be millions of these people and they will begin to repopulate the earth. With no evil or disease to take lives, these people will have more children than normal and all will live longer. Since there is no evil influence and only the good of Jesus, it’s likely that most of these people will accept the Lord. However, we know that some will not, as Satan will gather another army upon his release at the end of the millennium (Rev. 20:7-9).
The interesting thing is that among these unredeemed people, who are still living in flesh bodies, will be the resurrected saints, who have already received their heavenly bodies (the same type of body Jesus had when He returned to earth after His resurrection.). Jesus was able to travel from one place to another quickly, if not instantly. He was also able to walk through walls. This should make for a very interesting time.
What will be doing during the millennium?
First, we know that we will be reigning with Christ. In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Jesus teaches us that if we are good stewards of what He gives us, then we will become rulers over much. Those of us, who have sought the Lord for our purpose and have fulfilled it, using the gifts He has given us, will receive the first part of our reward during the millennium. Clearly, there will still be a hierarchical system with Jesus as the head and we will be placed into ruler positions under Him.
Amos 9:14-15 gives us an overview of certain activities during the millennium. Since, the earth is devastated during the tribulation; it appears that we will be rebuilding the earth during the next thousand years. Amos prophecies that God will re-establish Israel (God’s people) and they will re-build the ruined cities and live in them, plant vineyards and drink the wine, plant gardens and eat the crops. The general belief is that Israel, at this point in history, is a representation of all the redeemed (Jew and Gentile).
Isaiah 65:17-25 also describes activities during the millennium. It appears that God will begin building the new heaven (in the spiritual realm) and new earth (in the physical realm) during these 1000 years (which is like a day to Him). During this time He is preparing the physical earth and His people for the intersection of the physical and spiritual realms, when He brings to the new heaven to earth. So, the prophet Isaiah tells us that during the millennium we will be building houses, planting vineyards, and living during the only truly peaceful time in the history of mankind.
I believe this will be a time when we are learning from Jesus and preparing for eternity with God. He will teach us all the lessons that had been warped by the devil, so finally the truth will set us free.
The millennium will be a time of proper morality. Although there will still be humans with the sin nature (the unredeemed men and women), Psalm 2:9 says that Jesus will rule with an iron scepter. Satan will not be around to influence the thoughts of men and Jesus will keep a tight reign on sin.
Where will the “dead in sin” be?
The resurrection of the righteous has already occurred prior to the beginning of the millennium; however the resurrection of the dead in sin will not occur until the end of the millennium (Rev. 20:5-6)
What events will mark the end of the millennium?
1. Satan released to tempt for a short time. (Rev. 20:7)
2. Satan gathers together an army for a final battle. (Rev. 20:8-9)
3. Satan’s army is destroyed by fire from heaven. (Rev. 20:9)
4. Satan cast into hell for eternity. (Rev. 20:10)
5. Great white throne judgment – unsaved people (those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life) who had died through the ages are judged against God’s law and because they are not covered by the blood of Jesus are found guilty and sentenced to eternal damnation in hell with Satan and his fallen angels. (Rev. 20:11-15, Matthew 25:31-46)
After these events, God will reveal His new heaven and bring it down to the earth. We will discuss this in the final installment of this series.
Rod Nichols is an Associate Pastor at Truth and Grace Foursquare Church in Tacoma, WA. He is also a published author and accomplished public speaker and teacher. Rod’s latest articles and books can be found at www.RodNichols.com. Rod is married with five children. He and his wife Karen live in beautiful Washington State. Rod is available as a freelance writer. If you'd like to hire him, e-mail Rod@RodNichols.com.