What is the millennial kingdom? Many Christians believe that after Jesus Christ’s second coming, there will be a 1000-year period of peace on earth while Christ rules the whole earth. This information is pretty cool to understand because it gives us a peek into the possibly near-distant future of earth and our own destiny during that very long period of time.
In the next several articles, I will be sharing scripture that supports the idea that during this thousand years, there will be a focus on the Messiah and three groups of people: Jesus Christ as He finally reigns on earth as King; resurrected believers from all ages of history; living Israelites who survived the great tribulation; and living gentiles (any non-Jew) who survived the great tribulation. We will also see what the general environment and living conditions will be like during this new period of global peace.
First of all, why do we have reason to believe that Jesus Christ will rule the earth for 1000 years?
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 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. 10 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. – Revelation 20:1-10, NKJV
The scenario above occurs at the end of God’s 6000 year plan for normal human history and the beginning of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. The great tribulation has just ended, Jesus Christ has returned to earth and resurrected all believers, the earth and sky have been changed, Christ has defeated the antichrist, all humanity who had received the mark of the beast have been punished, and Christ has defeated the armies at the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:1-21; 14:9-20; Rev. 6:12-17; Rev. 19:11-20). Lastly, Satan himself has been bound in the bottomless pit for 1000 years. The destiny of believers who had been persecuted during the great tribulation for refusing the mark of the beast has been declared, and Christ will rule the earth in the millennial kingdom. Global peace has arrived God’s way. There will be no more war until the thousand years have ended. Then Satan will be released for one last hurrah as he deceives the descendants of those who had survived the great tribulation centuries earlier.
But what happens during that long 1000 year age of true global peace?
Remember when Jesus was born of a virgin, lived the life of a carpenter, taught humanity how to be children of God, and died in our places so we could be reconciled to God? He was only here for about 33 years. Many Jewish people who believed He was their Messiah had begun to follow Him, but were confused and turned from Him when He died. They did not understand that was part of God’s plan. But now Christ has returned to dwell with humanity, in Jerusalem, for the next thousand years.
Thus says the Lord: ‘I will return to Zion, And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the Lord of hosts, The Holy Mountain.’ – Zechariah 8:3, NKJV
For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: “This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it. – Psalm 132:13,14, NKJV
10 “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the Lord. 11 Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. 12 And the Lord will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem. 13 Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!” – Zechariah 2:10-13, NKJV
15 The sun and moon will grow dark, And the stars will diminish their brightness. 16 The Lord also will roar from Zion, And utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the Lord will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel. 17 “So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, Dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, And no aliens shall ever pass through her again.” … 20 But Judah shall abide forever, And Jerusalem from generation to generation. 21 For I will acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed, whom I had not acquitted; For the Lord dwells in Zion. – Joel 3:15-17,20,21, NKJV
Jesus Christ, the Messiah prophesied millennia ago in the Old Testament (Deut. 18:15-19; Is. 9:5-7; 11:1-9; Ezek. 37:21-28), came the first time to die for our sins, be raised from the dead, and ascend into heaven again. But after the great tribulation, the “sun and moon will grow dark,” and He will come back the second time (Hebrews 9:28; Matt. 24:29-31). Then Jesus the Messiah will dwell with us and reign on earth.
As soon as Jesus Christ returns to earth, He will put an immediate end to the normal human authority structure because He Himself will be the supreme world ruler. That is the only way a true global peace could ever be accomplished.
20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. – I Corinthians 15:20-24, NKJV
At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts. – Jeremiah 3:17, NKJV
The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. 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. – Isaiah 2:1-4, NKJV
Finally – after the great tribulation, after God’s wrath is poured out on earth and the battle of Armageddon is fulfilled – everyone who is still alive when the millennial kingdom begins will recognize Jesus Christ as LORD. He will reign over every nation. There will be no more war, but a wonderful period of global peace and rest. All the tribes of Israel will migrate back to their country and the land will be divided once again. There will be a theocratic law, similar to that in the Old Testament, upon the whole earth.
You can view the next article in this series now: The millennial kingdom, I – Environment and living conditions