What Can We Expect During the Millennium, Part 2?
Last time, in our first article in this series, we introduced the concept of the Millennial Kingdom (or Millennium), in which Jesus will reign physically over this earth. We briefly introduced the three main Millennial views: Amillennialism, Postmillennialism, and Premillennialism. We stated that we believe the Bible reveals a Premillennial approach to the future, where there will be an actual period of 1,000 years following Jesus’ physical and triumphant return to this earth when He will set up His global Kingdom and the blessings of that period will unfold. We also noted that at least some of the covenantal promises and prophecies concerning Israel will find their ultimate fulfillment at that time. In fact, the entire earth will undergo a type of renewal and we’ll get to that.
We want to take a bit more time in this installment to go over what we believe are more biblical proofs – from the Bible itself – that the Premillennial view of the coming Millennial Kingdom of Jesus is the only real appropriate view to hold.
Biblical Texts that Prove a Coming Millennial Kingdom
Amos 9:15, Isaiah 43:5, Jeremiah 30:3, Ezekiel 37:21-22 and 38:8 all promise a permanent return of Israel to the Promised Land.
And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God. – Amos 9:15
Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; – Isaiah 43:5
For, lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. – Jeremiah 30:3
And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. – Ezekiel 37:21-22
After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. – Ezekiel 38:8
These verses point out the fact that God plans on restoring Israel to its original purpose and part of that purpose was to fully inherit the Land originally promised to the nation by God Himself. Notice the Ezekiel 37:21-22 passage, which promises to bring the nation back together and it will no longer be two separate nations as it was in the days of old when it split and became Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom). That was not God’s original intention for the nation. He created Israel to be one unified nation.
Notice also that “one king” shall be their king. This references Jesus in the coming Millennial Kingdom. We know this because Ezekiel 37:21-22 has not been fulfilled yet. Neither have the others listed because they all point to some point in the future, following the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (the coming Tribulation; Jeremiah 30:7), after Jesus physically returns to this earth. He will judge the nations based on how they treated the Jews and He will then set up His Millennial Kingdom, of which the Church will play an important role, however, Israel will be the center of the earth from which all blessings will radiate outwardly to all the earth (Micah 4:1-2; Zechariah 2:10-12 and 8:4-5).
There are plenty of other biblical passages which point to the coming Millennial Kingdom. Isaiah 60:18 speaks of the fact that violence will no longer exist. Daniel 9:27 and 12:11 as well as Ezekiel chapters 40 – 48 speak to the fact that Israel will rebuild its temple. Yes, there will be a Millennial Temple standing in Jerusalem, much larger than any other previous Jewish Temple.
We also need to remember that though the people who start out entering the Millennial Kingdom will all be saved, others will be born during the 1,000 years. Because more human beings will be born during those 1,000 years of peace, they will be born with sin natures and because of that, will need to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, who will be physically ruling over all the earth at that time. Because of this, Israel will finally fulfill its original purpose of being a light to all nations regarding the message of salvation. This is clear in passages such as Zechariah 1:11 and 8:23 as well as Malachi 3:12.
Israel will finally do its part to herald the fact that salvation is found only in Jesus and no other. All unsaved people living on the earth at that time will hear the gospel message and have opportunity to be saved.
A question might naturally arise as to how anyone living at that time could come to a point of rejecting the gospel message. After all, Jesus Himself will reign. People will see Him, His nail-scarred hands and feet, and learn what He accomplished on our behalf in order that people might receive salvation.
In essence though, it is similar to the situation in the Garden of Eden. Though both Adam and Eve conversed with God, walked with God, and enjoyed fellowship with Him, they ultimately rejected His way and this was before they even had a sin nature and it is the reason the sin nature developed. The same situation will exist during the Millennium with each unsaved person needing to make a decision for Jesus. Even though Satan will be imprisoned in the Pit, once he is released, he will turn many away from Christ and to himself. This will only happen to humans who have not died; those who will be born during the Millennium and will possess a sin nature and with it, the propensity to rebel against God.
The theme of the Millennial Kingdom in the Old Testament is carried over into the New Testament as well. We see it in Matthew 1:18 and 2:1-2. It is clear in Luke’s genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3:23-38 and the declaration of archangel Michael in Luke 1:30-33.
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. – Luke 1:33
Certainly, there is a spiritual aspect to God’s coming Kingdom and we are well aware of it. However, the fact that there is a spiritual aspect to it does not negate the coming physical aspect of God’s Kingdom with Jesus as Absolute Monarch. The two actually go hand in hand and fully complement one another.
We also know that during the coming Tribulation period, the final remnant of Jews whom God calls to Himself will be sealed and will preach the gospel and the coming King (Revelation 7:4-8).
Once Jesus returns to this earth in His Second Coming, Paul tells us that “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26). This means the Jews living at the time of the Tribulation will see the truth about Jesus and embrace salvation. These are the Jews who will make up the final remnant of Israel and go into the Millennial Kingdom as the nation Israel to receive and enjoy the final fulfillment of the covenants God promised ages ago. This is exactly why Peter says what he says about God and His willingness to wait.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:8-9
Peter is not saying that God thinks in terms of allegory or that time itself somehow does not matter to God. Peter is saying that God will wait as long as necessary to ensure that all those who will receive His salvation, will be able to do so. He is also saying that God exists in the eternal present, something we are not able to experience now or completely understand. In other words, God sees everything happening at the same time, but can certainly distinguish between events as they play out on our human timeline in this dimension, though of course, He is not bound by our dimensional boundaries. People take this verse out of context all the time and apply another meaning to it.
The Millennial Kingdom is of a surety, taught in Scripture. It is something that all Christians can look forward to experiencing and when it does happen, the Church will have already been raptured and taken to heaven to be with Christ forever. Upon our death or translation into heaven via the Rapture, each Christian will stand before Christ at the Bema Judgment Seat where our “works” will be judged (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). This will not determine whether we have salvation, which can never be taken from him/her. The purpose of the Bema Seat is to focus on the quality of our works and whether or not those works will have earned us any rewards at all beyond salvation. This is what Paul is referring to in the 1 Corinthians 3 passage. Notice verse 15 especially.
If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Paul tells us that our salvation is secure, something we cannot lose, though depending upon the quality of our works (wood, hay, stubble or gold, silver, or precious stones), we may gain rewards or lose them.
Once we stand before Christ, we will also have our sin natures excised from us and will be given glorified bodies. This will make us perfectly fit to serve Him during the Millennial Kingdom without ever failing. It stands to reason that those authentic Christians who were obedient and faithfully complied with God’s will in this life (and in His strength), will go into the Millennial Kingdom positioned to serve Him there and will do so perfectly, without ever sinning. Those Christians who may have even lost everything (except their salvation) at the Bema Seat will have very few (if any) responsibilities in the coming Millennial Kingdom.
We’ll be back next time answering a number of other extremely important questions about the Millennial Kingdom. We want to find out why there must be a Millennial Kingdom because it provides us the reasons why Jesus must reign and the ramifications for Israel as well. We’ll also discuss what it will be like during the Millennium. Will the curse God placed on Creation be lifted?
Find out next time.
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