Please comment on life in the Millennium. I have heard bits and pieces but would like to know more. Is it similar to Heaven?
The Bible has so much to say about the Millennium (the Kingdom) that it is impossible to cover every aspect of this event in a column such as this. Much of the content of the prophetical books in the Old Testament directly concerns this thousand-year reign of Christ, as well as the references to it in the New Testament. Yet I point out that this event is denied by many in Christendom, just as other doctrines related to future events are denied, ignored, or misunderstood. Revelation 20:4 plainly states,
And I [John] 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.
There is no reason not to take this passage literally. Those who deny this passage of Scripture refer to Christ’s words in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world.” But we must look at the context here. When we do, we see that Jesus was saying that His kingdom was not of human origin. Jesus always resisted any man-made attempts to force Him to be king. His Kingdom will neither be of this world system nor brought about by human political machinery. Thus no conflict arises from this verse when God’s Word says over and over again that He will reign here on earth. It will be His doing in His own way and according to His divine will and glory, not anything of man.
Why, then, do many people oppose this doctrine? I think that for many it shatters their pet theological system. I am, of course, referring primarily to so-called covenant theology, which includes a belief that the church is an extension of Old Testament Israel and that Israel was cut off for good from God’s favor or blessings. But that just is not so, if God keeps His Word. God has not as yet fulfilled His promises to Israel, found in the Abrahamic (Gen. 12:2, etc.), the Davidic (2 Sam. 7:11, 13, 16), the Palestinic (Ezek. 20:33–37), and New (Jer. 31:31–40) covenants. These are yet to be fulfilled, and according to passage after passage in prophetic books of the Old Testament, they will be fulfilled during the Millennium, the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth, when He sits upon the throne of David in Jerusalem.
Someone has summarized the Millennium (Kingdom) in this way:
First, it was promised (see covenants just mentioned). Christ’s reigning forever is promised in the Davidic covenant (see 2 Sam. 7:8–17; Ps. 89:20–37). Then, as we have noted, it was prophesied over and over again. Especially refer to Isaiah’s prophecies (Isa. 2:1–5, 11, 12; chaps. 11; 35; 62; 65; 66). Then the Kingdom was presented when the King was presented and He presented Himself as King. He came the first time, but His people did not receive Him as King (see the Gospels, especially Matthew). Thus the Kingdom was postponed during this present age, the Church Age. To come is a proclamation by angelic (Rev. 10) and human (Moses and Elijah—Rev. 11:1–4) instruments. The Kingdom will also be plagiarized, when Satan tries to bring about his own counterfeit kingdom (Rev. 13:11–18). Finally, Christ will reign; the Kingdom will be present (Rev. 11:15–19).
Here, then, are some of the main characteristics of life in the Millennium and a few of the many passages for each:
1. Israel will be a restored nation of believers. Many today who deny millennial truth point their fingers at Israel and say how evil it is as a nation and people. Of course it is! If it were not, God would have no need to take Israel to the “woodshed” during the seven years prior to the Millennium known as the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21, 29), the 70th week of Daniel (Dan. 9:24–27), and the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jer. 30:7). The elect will be more than ready to accept their Messiah the second time around. Zechanab plainly states, “And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced” (12:10).
2. No ungodly person will be able to enter this Kingdom. Isaiah 1:18 and 19 outline the invitation to those who repent. Those who refuse will burn in the fire (vv. 28, 31). No ungodly people will be there at the beginning of the Kingdom. But those who have entered the Kingdom will bear children. These children, like every child since the Fall, will be lost. They will have to accept or reject Christ. One would think that with ideal conditions of the Millennium, everyone would accept Him. Satan is bound during that time. The apostle John wrote that when Satan is released at the end of the thousand years, he will deceive just as he has always done (Rev. 20:7, 8). No better example of man’s exchanging the truth of God for a lie exists.
3. The Millennium will be a time of universal peace, of prosperity (Amos 9:13, 14), and of knowledge (Hab. 2:14). The millennial reign will be theocratic. With Christ ruling, it will be a perfect rule. Unregenerate man will not have a say in things. It will be a rule by force. The psalmist noted this in Psalm 2, characterizing the rule as with a rod of iron. Isaiah 32:1 states, “Behold a king shall reign in righteousness.”
4. All manner of good will be evident, and social injustice will be unheard of. Truth will prevail. War will be gone, as we know in that familiar verse: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isa. 2:4). Isn’t it interesting how man has tried to bring about peace in his own power? Even one former U.S. president used this verse quite frequently, saying it was a favorite passage of his. But only the reign of Christ, the Prince of Peace, can bring about peace.
5. A radical change will take place in nature. The wolf will indeed dwell with the lamb, and a little child will lead the lion (Isa. 11:6–9). The original curse put upon the earth (Gen. 3:17–9) will be removed. There will be no sickness (Jer. 30:17) or death, except capital punishment to enforce the law (Isa. 29:17–20; Jer. 31:8). Plant life will flourish, and climatic conditions will be perfect (Isa. 35:1, 2, 7).
6. The presence of God will be felt in an unusual way (Ezek. 37:27; Rev. 21:3).
7. Language will be unified (Zeph. 3:9). In fact, we will see true internationalism, as opposed to the manmade, Christ-opposing kind we see attempted today.
8. An increase in light will be experienced. Perhaps this will be a main reason for the great productivity of this period (Isa. 60:19, 20; Zech. 2:5).
9. Holiness will permeate everything and everyone (Ezek. 36: 24–31).
You asked about the Millennium’s similarity to Heaven. It won’t be Heaven. Some during the Millennium will choose to sin. If they refuse to worship God, for example, He will withhold rain from them (Zech. 14:16–21). Also, as we have noted, Satan is going to be loosed at the end of the Millennium, and people are again going to follow him after all the blessings they’ve enjoyed. That won’t happen in Heaven. In the book of Revelation we have the chronology. The Millennium is in chapter 20. Heaven is in chapters 21 and 22.
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