The Bible and the Future- Part 3: The Millennium
After the seven year Tribulation period, the next thing that is prophesied in Scripture is the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ, referred to as the Millennium. Jesus Christ returns to earth. The Antichrist and the False Prophet are conquered and thrown into the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 19:20). Satan is bound and temporarily thrown into the bottomless pit where he can't cause any trouble for the duration of the Millennial reign (Revelation 20:1-3). Thus begins the Messianic Kingdom of righteousness. In this period all the promises made to the Jewish patriarchs will be fulfilled. There was a promise of land, a large group of descendants and a blessing upon the seed, (or descendants), of Abraham. There was also a promise that all nations would be blessed through Abraham. To David was the promise made that he would have a descendant that would sit on his throne forever. This will be totally fulfilled during this period.
I. The Government of the Millennial Kingdom
The government during the Millennium will be a theocracy. That means that it will be a government run by God Himself. Of course Jesus Christ is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, so He is God and will be in total charge. He will personally rule over the affairs of all mankind as a benevolent despot (Daniel 7:14 and Revelation 19:15). During this time there will be perfect and complete justice for all. It also means that sin will be punished immediately. There will not be anybody getting away with evil deeds like there are today (Isaiah 11:4 and 65:20).
Jerusalem will be the center of government in that day. (Isaiah 2:3) David will be a co-regent in Christ's Kingdom. There are several prophecies that state this including Jeremiah 30:9. Also, authority over the twelve tribes of Israel will be given to the twelve Apostles (Matthew 19:28). And there will be many others of lesser rank who will have various responsibilities. However, though many of the normal, every day operations of government will be carried out by subordinates, Jesus Christ will be King over all.
II. The Subjects of the Millennial Kingdom
The subjects of the Kingdom will, at first be all of the Jews and Gentiles who survived the Tribulation. At the beginning of the Millennium, all of the inhabitants will be redeemed, because all of the unredeemed have been judged at Christ's return. As the thousand years progresses, there will be babies born who will decide for themselves their own spiritual relationship with Christ. Although all will be subject to him outwardly, some will do it because they have to do so and not because they have given their hearts to the King. There will also be resurrected saints living during that time in their resurrection bodies.
III. The Characteristics of the Millennial Kingdom
There will be several characteristics of the Kingdom including the fact that it will be righteous. Our Lord will reign in righteousness (Isaiah 32:1). Righteousness is said to be the belt of His loins (11:5). Only the righteous shall enter the Kingdom at it's inauguration (Matthew 25:37). Jesus promised in His Sermon on the Mount that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled (Matthew 5:6).
The Kingdom will also be an era of peace. We search for world peace today, but will never fully realize it because it will come only with the coming of the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 2:4). Can you imagine what the United States and other countries could do if we could eliminate our defense budgets? Well, the world will find out during this time.
Unprecedented prosperity will take place during Christ's Millennial reign. The earth will become increasingly productive. The wilderness and desert places will become useful (Isaiah 35:1-7). The book of Amos indicates that one harvest will be followed by another (9:14). For the first time in history, since the fall of man, social needs will be eliminated because the curse will be partially reversed. (Psalm 72:12-13). I say partially, because there will still be death at this time, though those who die at a hundred will be considered cursed because they died young. Long life will be the order of the day.
Obviously, the Millennial reign of Christ will be a very religious time. The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord (Isaiah 2:2-3). There will be no need to tell someone about Jesus Christ. All will know who He is. The Scriptures seem to indicate that there will be a sacrificial system reestablished, but this is purely as a memorial of what Jesus did on the cross. The Temple will be built and in operation during this time. Also, religious holidays will be observed (Isaiah 46:1-15 and Zechariah 14:16).
The Millennium certainly will be a time on this earth like no one has ever known. It will be run by the one who created and who sustains the universe. But at the end of the thousand years Satan will be loosed for a little season and will seek to have a final battle with the Lord. That battle and the Eternal State will be the subject of the final installment of our look at the Bible and the future.