The most horrendous time of human history still lurks just over the prophetic horizon, as we have seen. That period will consummate with the triumphant return of Jesus Christ. There will be unprecedented bloodshed at Armageddon, where, as we’ve seen, the armies of the world will instantly be destroyed by the multiple millions.
This is foreboding to consider. But, as is said, it is darkest just before dawn. The final rays of sunlight will have been totally quenched. But, then, the world brightens and soon the glorious dawn brings spectacular scenes of the bursting forth of a brand-new day.
This is the time of Armageddon versus the dawning of Christ’s millennial reign.
The coming of the King of kings will move with brilliant light as the clouds of Apocalypse part like a scroll. The earth will soon experience the full glory of the Lord of lords as He brings His thousand-year era of the kingdom of God to a pristine earth as it was before the Fall in Eden’s garden.
So there is a magnificent future ahead that will erase all vestiges of a fallen planet. It is one we can look to with excitement. Doing so will brighten these days while the darkness is gathering for the windup of this troubled age.
Jesus will restore the earth to perfect glory. He will assume the throne that belongs to Him alone—the throne of David. David, apparently, will—in his supernatural state—also rule over the nation Israel during the millennial era.
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. (Matthew 25:30)
The terrain of Jerusalem and the whole world will supernaturally change in accordance with a masterful sweep of King Jesus’ majestic hand. We’re given a glimpse of those astonishing topographical and environmental changes prophesied to take place in that day (see Zechariah 14:4–9).
Jesus will make the earth like it was at the time of the Garden of Eden. It will be a crime-free world, for the most part; anyone who does commit a crime will be dealt with immediately, and from a righteous justice system that has perfect knowledge of all things involved. Many prophecy students believe Church Age saints will be officers of the Supreme’s Court of Justice in the administration of King Jesus. As supernatural officers of the Court, they will certainly be equipped to handle such a duty.
But, crime will be almost nonexistent compared to that in our present hour. Christ’s saints, both flesh and blood and supernatural, will doubtless have wonderfully creative things to do for all those years. Anticipating that time of glorious service should empower us for our service here on earth!
Jesus Christ will reign in His glorious kingdom following the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the Second Coming. It is fascinating to think on what the kingdom will be like. Let’s explore some of its basic characteristics.
The Duration of the Kingdom
We find a description of the kingdom in Revelation, following the account of Christ’s Second coming in chapter 19 and before the foretelling of the great white throne judgment in Revelation 20:11–15 and the eternal kingdom in chapters 21 and 22.
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.
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:1–10)
This passage states clearly several important things. Satan will be bound. He will be prohibited from influencing mankind in any way.
The first resurrection, the resurrection of the Old Testament saints (Daniel 12:2–3 and 12:13) and Tribulation saints, will take place at the establishment of the kingdom. This resurrection is not to be confused with the resurrection of the Christians at the Rapture, which, again, will happen seven years before the Tribulation.
Paul was the first to receive information about the mystery of the Rapture. That great event wasn’t presented in the Old Testament or by Jesus in His earthly ministry (except, in our view, in His reference to returning and receiving believers to Himself and taking them back to the Father’s house where He was preparing mansions for believers [John 14:1–3]).
As we’ve said, Christ’s kingdom will be in place for a thousand years. This passage makes it very clear by telling us not just once but six times that it will last that long. Satan will be released for a brief period after that time.
Some might be confused by this kingdom, as opposed to the eternal kingdom. Read Revelation chapters 21 and 22 for a description of the eternal kingdom that will follow this one.
Changed Animal World
The book of Isaiah is full of prophecies regarding the characteristics of the millennial kingdom. Isaiah 11:6–9 foretells the following:
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ 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.
We see that animals that are currently carnivorous will begin to feed only on vegetation. Therefore, they won’t fear one another, and won’t be dangerous to people.
Some who look at this prophecy spiritualize it (interpret it allegorically), but in doing so, they skirt the truth. The passage plainly states that all animals will literally be herbivores in the future kingdom. It also says that all animals once were herbivores, since neither man nor beast ate animal flesh prior to the Great Flood.
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
The Hebrew word oklah translated “meat” by the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible simply means “food” or “that which is devoured.” Notice that the beasts aren’t given for Adam’s food or one another’s food. Both Adam and the beasts are given herbs and fruits to eat. So man and beast were all vegetarian. However, God changed things after the Flood.
In Genesis 9:2–3 God says to Noah:
And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
The Fall in the Garden of Eden changed everything. Death came into the world. The animals began to fear man, because man was, following the Fall, allowed to eat the animals. Many animals became carnivorous at that time.
The world we live in today is filled with people who deny the deity of Jesus Christ, including many who even deny the existence of God. But that will not be the case in the kingdom. Isaiah 11:9, quoted above, states that “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”
Longer Life Spans
There is great news for the future of the world during the Millennium:
There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 65:20–25)
There is a tremendous promise in this prophecy. Great increase in life spans will mark this marvelous age. Like the Isaiah 11 passage we’ve looked at previously, some have taken what this passage says about increased life span and spiritualized it. They say it is only to be thought of as some nebulous reference to life on an ethereal plane. They say it’s not literal. Bible truth, however, says that life spans will greatly increase. It will be much like things were before the Flood of Noah’s day.
The genealogy from Adam to Noah, given in Genesis 5 and 9:29, shows there are extremely long life spans. When we exclude Enoch, who was taken by God (Genesis 5:24) at the age of 365 years, and Lamech, who died at the age of 777 years, we find that all of the other eight lived between 895 and 969 years. After the Great Flood, there was a rapid drop in length of life to a little over 400 years. Around the time of the tower of Babel, the number dropped to a little over 200 years. Then they began to slowly decrease to more modern life spans over a period of hundreds of years.
Like all skeptics of biblical truth, the naysayers inevitably say that to think people lived 900 years is ludicrous. Factors of profound influence, however, explain the great changes in man’s environment and/or lifestyle.
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Regardless whether these influences on life spans were positive or negative, some of them are: 1) Prior to the Flood, it didn’t rain on the earth; rather, the earth was watered by mist that came up from the ground (Genesis 2:5–6). 2) As previously mentioned, it was after the Great Flood that man began to eat meat for the first time (Genesis 9:3). 3) The removal of the vast layer of waters above the firmament (Genesis 1:7 and 7:11) may have affected the sun’s rays, the earth’s magnetic field, or the air pressure. 4) After the Flood, the human race was replenished through only eight people (Genesis 6:18), which required the marriage of some near relatives.
These and other factors might also have had profound influence and a tremendous effect on human life. Suffice it to say that we mortals are incapable of knowing what the Creator-God knows, thus we’re wise to simply believe His Word regarding the tremendous effects the Fall had and what the restored, immaculate, millennial earth will be like when Jesus reigns for that future thousand years.
God said man lived nine hundred years in that pre-Flood time. We will live a thousand years, we’re told in the descriptions of the Millennium. There is sometimes misconception that the Millennium will be akin to being in Heaven. Some think of people sitting on clouds, strumming harps, etc. This is a misconception of Heaven, and it’s definitely a misconception of the era that will be the millennial kingdom of Christ.
These descriptions give us pictures of normal activities such as building houses, living in them, planting vineyards, eating fruit, bearing children, and sometimes even dying. This prophecy also provides further evidence of carnivorous animals becoming herbivores, which we’ve previously seen.
One common misunderstanding is to think that only those who are resurrected or changed into immortal bodies will enter the kingdom. If that were the case, no one there could possibly sin or die. But Matthew 25:31–46 describes Jesus Christ dividing the sheep from the goats at the end of the Great Tribulation. This is the judgment of the Gentile nations (verse 32). All the people gathered on the Lord’s right hand are survivors of the Great Tribulation and will pass into the kingdom in their mortal bodies. They will bear children who are human as well. The same is true for the many Israelites who will survive the Great Tribulation and will bear children in the kingdom. Ezekiel 37:25–26 says:
And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. (Emphasis added)
All of these people and their descendants will be capable of both sin and death in the millennial kingdom, even though Satan will be in chains and unable to influence them.
No More War
The millennial reign of Jesus Christ will assure there is no more war on the planet. This will be true until the very end of the thousand years. At that time, Satan will be released from his holding cell in the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:7–9) for a short period at the end. In reference to Jesus Christ, Micah 4:3 says:
And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Isaiah 2:4 is similar. Not only will there no longer be any war, but the weapons will be dismantled and battle strategies will no longer be taught.
Israel will be at peace and dwell safely in the kingdom.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:5–6, emphasis added)
Today, this is far from the case. Israel is surrounded on all sides with enemies who are blood-vowed to wipe it off the map. The call by hate-filled Islamic leaders to destroy the Jewish state is certainly in contrast to the promise of millennial peace. There will be no threat to Israel when the Prince of Peace sits on the throne in Jerusalem!
Jesus Christ’s Judgment and the Restored Judges
The Micah and Jeremiah verses we just looked at also refer to Jesus Christ judging the nations of the earth. He’ll do so in all wisdom and perfect justice, with a rod of iron:
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. (Revelation 19:15, emphasis added)
He will reign as a literal king on a throne, dwelling in Jerusalem, and will also restore the judges to Israel:
And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. (Isaiah 1:26, emphasis added)
Who will the judges of the twelve tribes of Israel be? Jesus Christ told His disciples:
Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)
Israel: A Kingdom of Priests
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you. (Zechariah 8:20–23)
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:5–6, emphasis added).
The Feast of Tabernacles
One interesting prophecy in Zechariah 14:16–19 concerns the Gentile nations keeping the Feast of Tabernacles in the Millennial Kingdom:
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Here we see that in the Kingdom, the Gentiles must keep the Feast of Tabernacles which was formerly a feast just for Israel. To do so, they must travel to Jerusalem once each year in the autumn to “worship the King,” Jesus Christ. He will reign on His throne in Jerusalem like Ezekiel 43:7 says:
And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile.
What will believers of the Church Age do during this time? Jesus is on the throne and Bible prophecy promises that we will always be with Him.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17)
We’ve looked at what people who are flesh-and-blood survivors of the Tribulation will do in the millennial kingdom. But what will be the activities and duties of those who were raptured before the Tribulation and who will always be with their Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ?
Daymond Duck, one of today’s best-known prophecy writers and speakers, has presented an excellent outline of what believers in their supernatural bodies will do during the thousand-year reign of King Jesus.
A one-thousand year period of time is mentioned six times in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 20:1–7).
1) Satan will be bound for one thousand years.
2) The nations won’t be deceived for a thousand years.
3) Saints will reign with Jesus for a thousand years.
4) The lost won’t be raised until the thousand years end.
5) The saints will be priests of God and Jesus for a thousand years.
6) Satan will be loosed at the end of the thousand years.
Those who believe this will be a literal thousand years call it the “Millennium.” The word “Millennium” comes from two Latin words “milli” which means one thousand and “annum” which means years.
Many people know that Jesus will sit on the throne of David and rule the world (Jer. 23:5–6; Zech. 14:9; Luke 1:31–33), that the Temple will be rebuilt (Ezek. 40–48), that the Word of the Lord will go forth from Jerusalem (Isa. 2:3), that there will be peace and justice on earth (Isa. 9:6-7) and more. But some ask, “What will we do during the Millennium?”
Below are seven things that the saved will do:
1) Worship (Revelation 4:9–10).
2) Keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech. 14:16–19).
3) Visit Jerusalem to learn (Isa. 2:2-3; I Corinthians 13:11–12).
4) Fellowship (Revelation 19:9).
5) Serve Jesus (Ps. 72:11; Revelation 22:3).
6) Judge fallen angels (1 Corinthians 6:3).
7) Reign on the earth (Luke 19:11–27; Rev. 5:10; 2 Tim. 2:12).
These things will be more than enough to keep us busy.[i]
Destiny of Millennial Mankind
Saints of the Tribulation who make it through the seven years alive will, individually, go into the nations that have treated Israel kindly. However, it must be recognized that the children who will be born during the Millennium will have to make the same decision their parents made to accept or reject Christ for salvation. Millions won’t, and will be as rebellious as the rebels before this time of Christ’s glorious reign on earth for a thousand years. These unsaved will join Satan in the final rebellion when he is released for a brief time from the bottomless pit. All will be destroyed, and will spend eternity in Hell apart from God.
Millions of others who are the children of the saints who go into the Millennium will accept Christ, and will, ultimately, live eternally with God. These offspring of the Tribulation saints who go into the Millennium will continue to repopulate the earth for the thousand years. They will be saved for eternity.
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[i] Daymond Duck, What Will We Do During The Millennium?, Prophecy Plus Ministries]***