A millennium is a period of 1,000 years. In the Bible, the word ‘millennium’ cannot be found, but a designated period of 1,000 years is mentioned in Rev 20:
“Then I saw and angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.” (Rev 20:1-3)
“Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison.” (Rev 20:6-7).
Therefore, this 1,000 years will be a pre-determined period of time that Satan will be chained and bound in the end time. At the same time, those in the first resurrection will reign with Christ for 1,000 years. This was predicted in Psm 72:11, Isa 9:7 and Lk 1:32-33.
The participants in the Millennium
In Rev 19:11-21, the Tribulation ends when Christ comes down from heaven in a white horse and clothed with a robe dipped in blood, to war with the beast and the assembled armies in Armageddon. Then Satan is bound in the abyss for 1,000 years (Rev 20:1-3) and the Millennium will begin. Christ will rule in the Millennium and the different groups of believers entering into this age are:
1. Resurrected Christians martyred in the Tribulation
4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him for a thousand years. (Rev 20:4-6),
Executed souls and those died from staying away from Satan in the Tribulation will be given back their bodies to enter into the Millennium.
2. OT saints coming out of their graves filled with God’s Spirit
12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘This is what the Lord God says: “Behold, I am going to open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. 14 And I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord.’” (Eze 37:12-14)
Before Christ became flesh (John 1:14), people in the Old Testament were saved through their faith (Rom4:3, 6-8, 23-24). By faith, they put aside what they had and looked for better things not yet seen, approved by God as righteous (Heb 11:4-40). These OT saints were promised resurrection and a place on their own land after a “time of distress” or Tribulation. (Dan 12:1-2).
3. Risen and raptured Christians before Tribulation,
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead, so also God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (1Thes 4:14-17)
When Jesus returns right after Tribulation, all Christians both risen from dead and alive will meet the Lord in the air and enter the Millennium after the Armageddon.
1 “For behold, in those days and at that time, When I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will gather all the nations And bring them down to the Valley Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; And they have divided up My land. 3 They have also cast lots for My people, Traded a boy for a prostitute, And sold a girl for wine so that they may drink. (Joel 3:1-3)
Throughout history, all these nations mistreated Israel and Christians. Judgment will surely be made upon them. The time of judgment shall be just before Millennium, not the birth of the Church on the Day of Pentecost as some commentators claimed. The reason is that: ”Judah will then be inhabited forever and Jerusalem for all generations” (Joel 3:20). However, people in these nations unreached by the Gospel could be saved by their faith, same as the OT saints, though their number will probably be small. Paul said gentiles outside the Law will be judged by their instinct in living out the requirements of the Law and the judgment will be through Christ Jesus (Rom 2:14-16). Therefore, in the second coming of Jesus, these people may rise from dead and if they’re still alive, they will be caught up in the cloud to meet Christ, before going into the Millennium.
4. The 144,000 remnants and the two witnesses (Rev 7:4; 14:1; 11:3)
In Rev 12:14, the 144,000 Jews will be hidden in Bozrah during the Tribulation. After the lonely battle in Bozrah to save the Remnants, Jesus ‘flies’ to Zion and then to Armageddon. In Rev 14:1-4, the 144,000 Jews sings a new song in Heaven before the throne with the four living creatures and the elders. In order for this to happen, there must be a second Rapture for these 144,000 together with the two witnesses to be part of the first resurrection (Rev 20:5-6). In fact, the time from the Remnants being saved by the opening of the earth to engulf the Antichrist army (Rev 12:15-16) to the beginning of the Millennium will probably be within a few days.
5. Believers still alive after the Tribulation
As stated in Matt 25:31-33, when Jesus returns, the world will be judged by their responses to His saints, many of them being the 144,000 Jews, during the Tribulation. His throne would have been set up after His return and all humanity surviving the Tribulation will be gathered under their nations and separated into sheep and goats. Sheep will enter Millennium whilst goats will be casted to the eternal fire.
Life in the Millennium:
In the Bible, there are descriptions on lives and environments in the Millennium. Isa 65:20-25 depicts the new orders on earth:
20 No longer will there be in it an infant who lives only a few days,
Or an old person who does not live out his days;
For the youth will die at the age of a hundred,
And the one who does not reach the age of a hundred Will be thought accursed.
21 They will build houses and inhabit them;
They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They will not build and another inhabit,
They will not plant and another eat;
For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people,
And My chosen ones will fully enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They will not labor in vain, Or give birth to children for disaster;
For they are the descendants of those blessed by the Lord, And their descendants with them.
24 It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer;
while they are still speaking, I will listen.
25 The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox;
and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will do no evil or harm on all My holy mountain,” says the Lord.
In the Millennium, Jerusalem will be raised above the adjacent hills and be transformed (Isa 2:1-2). The Holy City will be in an elevated plateau surrounded by plains (Zech 14:10). There will be no light and illuminating stars. Lights will appear as Christ is revealed (v6-7). Water will flow out from Jerusalem to both the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean (v8). Jesus will be king over all the earth (v9). The fertile plain Sharon between Samarian Hills and the Mediterranean Sea will provide pasture for flocks (v10). People dwell in Jerusalem in security (v11). But there will still be sea, which will disappear in eternity.
In Millennium, there will be a perfect king, Christ himself. Satan and its influence will be away. Men will be close to God and animals live in harmony. God’s creation will be given a second chance to achieve its beauty and wonder. In addition to God’s promises to Abraham in Gen 12:3 & 15:18 on land and people physically, Israel will become the leading nation of the world.
Human lives will go on. Basic structures and institutions of society will probably continue. Lifestyles and patterns, with individuals manifesting their distinct personalities, will remain. People have to work, but they will enjoy their own labour. People will eat, sleep, earn a living, marry, have children, enjoy longevity and finally die. There will be no fear, no disease, no pain and no worry. People will still give birth to babies, in whom the sin nature will reside, but they’ll see Christ day in and out. There will be cities, farms, schools, industries, and stores. Relationships among people and especially towards God will be proper and enjoyable. Righteousness will prevail, peace will be abundant and people will think and converse about God. There will be justice. Truth will be held in high regard. Lie and war will find no place. Mercy and tenderness will be carried out in the world. Holy Spirit will be outpoured (Joel 2:28-32).
Closing of the Millennium:
After the thousand years, Satan will be released and come out to deceive the nations (Rev 20:7). People living with Jesus face to face for such a long period of time, especially those born in the Millennium, can still be deceived, revealing the depths of man’s sinful and rebellious nature in a perfect environment, as David and Paul said in Psm 14:3 and Rom 3:10 “There is no one who does good, not even one.” The Millennium also displays Satan’s eternal depravity, who continues his deception after being released from the bottomless pit.
The special meaning of the Millennium to us as believers
God has created a perfect and beautiful world, but sin has kept it from manifesting its fullness. Earthly life is corrupted and its purpose distorted. People turn to temporal pleasures to satisfy their sinful desires. Paul urged us to look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2Cor 4:18).
As believers today, we have to be well aware of the destructiveness of sin and the deceitfulness of earthly life. In Millennium, Satan is encaged and the world will return to its original state and condition at the time when it was created. But Millennium is still not eternal as sin will still be there. The new heaven and the new earth will be eternal. There will be no sin. In our earthly life, we are in the world but not for the world as we are not of the world. God has set eternity in our hearts (Prov 3:11).
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