The Millenium

Christ Ruling on Earth

We need to look at the timing of the end of the Tribulation. The Bible tells us that there are two periods of 1260 days. There is also a verse stating an event on the 1290th day, and a word that says blessed are those that make it to the 1335th day.

Once again, the traditional belief for this period is 7 years.  There are some, however, that suggest the 3 1/2 year period spoken of is the same period both times.

Here is the “traditional” view of the Festival Dates and how they relate to this prophecy.

 

The Last Festivals are Fulfilled

If the Tribulation began on Tishri 1… the Tribulation would likely end on Tishri 10, seven years later. This will be the EXACT day of the ‘Day of Atonement’. A coincidence again? Certainly not! The 1290 days described in the Bible brings us to the ‘Sheep and Goat judgment’. This is the time Christ sets up judgment of those that made it through the horrible 7 year tribulation.

Some gave their hearts to the Lord during that time (known as the sheep), but others refused to follow the Lord (the goats). The sheep are allowed to enter into the millenium with Christ, but the goats are not. This clarifies the verse “blessed are those who make it to the 1335th day”. In other words, blessed are those who gave their lives to the Lord during the Tribulation and survived the judgment and were allowed to live in the new millenium.

Is it another coincidence that the 1335th day falls EXACTLY on the Festival of Hannakah? Nothing God has designed in His word is by accident. Hannakah is the Festival of Lights (and Dedication). It is the day that Christ will fulfill this last festival. As we have seen throughout this study… every Festival was fulfilled, and will continue to be fulfilled on the EXACT days that God has told us.

The 20th chapter of Revelation sketches a brief outline of God’s plan for human beings. It briefly answers the question people have asked through the centuries, “What happens to the dead who lived and died through the coming 1000 year millennia?”

Righteous Dead Reign With Christ

Revelation 20 portrays “the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus” (verse 4). This is symbolic of the “saints.” These are the virtuous individuals willing to obey God at any cost. They often suffer extreme persecution and sometimes death for their beliefs.

Revelation 20:1-6 pictures the reward of the saints. They are seen ruling with the Messiah for 1,000 years or a millennium of time. John sees thrones for the saints “and judgment was committed to them” (Rev. 20:4). They are said to be “blessed and holy.” The saints are now immortal-“over such the second death has no power.” The Apocalypse tells us they will be “priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6). To be a priest, one must be a priest to someone. To “reign” presupposes one must have subjects over which to rule or teach. To “have judgment” means these individuals must make decisions about situations that affect others. Where and over whom do the saints carry out these functions?

We have seen that Christ is coming to earth to govern the nations and kingdoms of the world (Zechariah 14:9). The saints made immortal will rule with him (Daniel 7:22, 27). The Hebrew prophets speak of this as the time when the Messiah rules the inhabitants of earth with justice, mercy and truth. (See Isaiah 2:2-4; 9:6-7; 11:1-10; 35:1-10 for details.)

The conclusion is that the immortal saints will reign on earth for 1,000 years. They will govern and guide humans to whom salvation is universally made available.

A Satanic Interlude

God’s government will rule this earth for 1,000 years. The sorrows of this world today will soon seem like a dead and distant past. Then God will allow Satan to be loosed. Once again, the devil will be permitted to delude humans into rejecting God. Remember that only believers actually survive and enter into the millenium. However, during that 1000 years children will continue to be born. These millenial birthed humans have the potential not to follow Christ. It will no doubt be rare, because of Christ actually reigning in Jerusalem, but it will no doubt be the case with some people.

The devil “will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle whose number is as the sand of the sea” (Rev. 20:8). The expression, “four corners of the earth,” points out the universal nature of this deception (Isaiah 11:12; Ezekiel 7:2; Rev. 7:1).

It would take a little time for Satan to do his evil work of persuasion. Revelation does not explain either how he accomplishes his nefarious task or the exact circumstances of this worldwide rebellion. We will probably hear more about this from Christ Himself when He returns to earth for this millenial reign. Revelation does tell us that Satan will collect a vast army called “Gog and Magog.” They symbolize the population centers of the world that unite for an assault on God’s government. They eventually sweep across the earth and surround “the camp of the saints and the beloved city” (Rev. 20:9). This would refer to Jerusalem and God’s people living at peace in the Holy Land.

Satan fails again. His human soldiers who refuse to accept God’s salvation, are destroyed. The Apocalypse tells us, “Fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them” (Rev. 20:9). The devil’s gathering of “Gog and Magog” is an eerie replay-1,000 years later-of the final battles at Christ’s return.

The original war during the Messiah’s coming is described in Zechariah 14. Christ then exterminated the vast army besieging Jerusalem. Satan’s human army is likewise destroyed at the end of the Millennium. Immediately after God annihilates this enormous horde, “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone” (Rev. 20:10). From this point on, Satan and his demons are forever isolated from God and the resurrected saints.

The Dead Come to Life

Satan’s last rebellion also sets the stage for one of the great dramatic events of the ages “The Great White Throne Judgment.” God’s ultimate aim and design for the majority of the human race is about to be fulfilled. John writes: “I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it …. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Rev. 20:11-12). What could this strange vision mean?

John here sees a symbolic picture that tells us what happens to the billions who have died throughout the ages without having a knowledge of salvation. Revelation here introduces us to the rest of the dead who lived throughout human history-those who died without ever having been a part of God’s spiritual people.

One view is that these individuals are to live again and be judged by their works. Things written in “the books” are the basis of judging the spiritual works of this great standing host. Their final judgment is based on the way of life revealed in “the books” of the Bible. If these individuals must yet be judged, they cannot be immortal beings nor can they be “lost” spiritually. They must be those resurrected to physical life and living through a period or time of judgment or judging. That is, they now have-for the first time-the opportunity to demonstrate through another lifetime that they, indeed, will trust and follow their God. The passages here are a bit difficult.

They, too, can have their names written in that other book-the book of life. It is a register of all the names of the righteous (Rev. 3:5; Hebrews 12:23). Once all those who ever lived have had their opportunity for salvation, God’s present phase of his plan is over.

There will have been some individuals who refused to obey God. The spirit of God had enlightened their minds but they sinned willfully, nonetheless (Hebrews 6:4-6). Their choice was to follow Satan’s way. They cannot be given life everlasting.

The last two verses of Revelation 20 summarize their fate. John sees in vision all the dead in the sea, in death and hades (the grave) coming forth to life. “And they were judged, each one according to his works” (Rev. 20:13). Their end is both sad and horrifying: “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (verses 14-15).

Such antagonistic humans are burnt up and cease to exist (Malachi 4:3). Jesus said: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). This “hell” is the fire of Revelation 20:15-the soul-destroying lake of fire. God’s purpose with man is now complete. The apostle Peter wrote, “The heavens and the earth which now exist are kept in store by the same word, reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (II Peter 3:7). Peter tells us that this fiery destruction will purge the earth of man’s works: “The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (verse 10).

But that isn’t the end of the story of Revelation.

New Heavens and New Earth 

Perhaps among the most enigmatic parts of Revelation are the book’s last two chapters. These describe “the new heavens and new earth,” “the new Jerusalem” and “the tree of life.” When do the “new heavens and new earth” appear? In Revelation, they appear in time order after the Millennium and Great White Throne Judgment decribed in Chapter 20.

The term “new heavens and new earth” is found, as we saw, in II Peter. Speaking of spirit-begotten Christians-those who will be part of the Bride of Christ-Peter says, “We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (II Peter 3:13). The present earth and heavens are said to be “reserved for fire until the day of judgment” (verse 7).

In II Peter, the new heavens and earth appear after “the elements melt with fervent heat” (verse 10). It is a time after “both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (verse 10). In time order, then, the “new heavens and the new earth” would appear after the 1,000 year-period and the final judgment.

The term “new heavens and new earth” is found in only two other places in the Bible, in Isaiah 65:17-18 and 66:22. In the 66th chapter, the term is used as an example of that which endures forever, without reference to time. ‘For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me,’ says the Lord, `So shall your descendants and your name remain’ (Isaiah 66:22). If anything, this passage would indicate the new heavens and new earth come after the Millennium, the latter being then in progress as described in verses 12 through 24.

In Isaiah 65:17 we again read of this time. God is pictured as saying: “I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy.” The new heavens and new earth are again used as a model of permanency.

The New Jerusalem

There is also the “new Jerusalem” to consider. Interpreters have held differing opinions as to what it is. Some say this new Jerusalem is a real city. Others claim it is only an allegory of the perfected and eternal Church. The Bible, no doubt, contains elements of both.

For example, we read, “Then I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2). Similarly, John hears an angel speak of the new Jerusalem in these terms: “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Rev. 21:9). The Bride of Christ represents the saints made perfect. She is so called in Revelation 19:7-9. Here the new Jerusalem does appear as a type of the perfected Church.

The Church is called the Jerusalem “above [that] is free” (Galatians 4:26). True Christians are told, “You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:22). The “builder and maker” of this city is God (Hebrews 11:10).

The new Jerusalem as an analogy of the immortal saints would stand in stark contrast to that of the deceived people in the world’s system, Babylon the great. Babylon is the wicked harlot and the new Jerusalem is the holy city of God. Babylon is full of evil (Rev. 18:2); the new Jerusalem is pure (Rev. 21:27). Commentator G.R. Beasley-Murray has written that Revelation “may be characterized as A Tale of Two Cities, with the subtitle, The Harlot and the Bride.”

As an allegory, the new Jerusalem is utopia personified. It represents God’s kingdom and rule, one in which happiness and abundance exist. During this era of perfection the pain of this present life is ended. Revelation tells us: “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). It is a time and place in which God’s way is supreme. “There shall by no means enter it [the holy city] anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie” (Rev. 21:27). God’s laws permeate all creation. The new Jerusalem represents an ideal new world order under God’s direction.

A Literal City?

However, the Bible presents the vision of new Jerusalem as though it is a literal city. New Jerusalem as an actual city would be an incredible place, indeed. The measurement of the city, as given in the vision, would make new Jerusalem about 1,400 miles (2,100 kilometers) long in each direction (Rev. 21:16)! The exterior wall is 144 cubits or about 200 to 300 feet high (verse 17). It is a city, not a building, and its dimensions are equal or proportional.

Here are some of its characteristics, given in Revelation, chapter 21:

  • The new Jerusalem comes to a new earth, for the old one has passed away (21:1-2).
  • The city has a great and high wall with 12 gates. These contain the names of the 12 tribes of Israel (21:12).
  • The city has 12 foundations with the names of the 12 apostles (21:14).
  • Precious stones such as sapphires, topaz and emeralds adorn the city (21:18-20).
  • Each city gate is formed from an incredibly huge pearl (21:21).
  • The city streets are made of pure gold, giving them a transparent appearance (21:21).
  • There is no temple in the city, because God and the Lamb are its temple (21:22).
  • There is no night in the city. The city needs no sun or moon. God and the Lamb illuminate it (21:23, 25; see also 22:5).
  • Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life can enter the city (21:27).

Some have wondered when the new Jerusalem itself appears on earth, since it is also revealed to be an actual city. The Apocalypse tells us it arrives after the first heaven and earth have passed away (Rev. 21:1-2). Notice that God himself is present in this city (Rev. 21:3). John hears God say, “I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). The new Jerusalem, therefore, represents God’s headquarters for whatever great work he has prepared for his resurrected saints.

The River and Tree of Life

The first five verses of Revelation 22 emphasize a special part of the new Jerusalem. John is shown a “pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1).

Along the river, John sees the “tree of life” whose leaves are “for the healing of the nations” (verse 2). In the final chapter, Jesus tells his servants, “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).

There are similarities between the healing water of life that John saw and the millennial vision the prophet Ezekiel experienced. Ezekiel wrote: “In the visions of God He took me into the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain; on it toward the south was something like the structure of a city. . .” (Ezekiel 40:2).

In his vision, Ezekiel saw water flowing from under the threshold of the temple. Along the river, which healed everything it touched, were many trees “of life” similar to John’s vision (see Ezekiel 47:1-12).

Genesis to Revelation

The “tree of life” symbol is first introduced in the early chapters of Genesis. In chapter three, verse 24, mankind was barred from access to the tree of life-a symbol of God’s Holy Spirit and the gift of eternal life. Adam had sinned, disobeyed his maker and had spiritually disqualified himself. Humans have continued to sin and remain barred from access to the “tree of life.”

In Revelation, we see salvation offered to all those willing to keep God’s commandments. The way to the “tree of life” is no longer blocked. Repentant humans from all nations are able to enter into a relationship of love and obedience with God. That is the clear teaching of Revelation 22. Thus, Revelation comes full circle and heals the breach between man and God which started with Adam shortly after creation. Revelation, the last book of the Bible, reverses humanity’s walk toward death, begun in Genesis.

Life in the New Millenium

Jesus Christ will create a world of peace and blessings beyond what most have ever imagined. But these blessings won’t happen in all nations all at once. This new society won’t be built in a day, with so many wrong ideas to unlearn and overcome. Nations will need to learn the biblical way to lasting happiness and radiant health. Christ and the resurrected saints will set about to teach the world the way to peace.

Two great commandments will be the foundation for peace and happiness: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39). The prophet Isaiah describes this new kind of education: “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He [the Lord Jesus Christ] shall judge between the nations, and shall rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:3-4). Depicting this verse, outside the United Nations building in New York City is a striking bronze statue-a man beating a sword into a plow blade. That statue, a gift from the government of the Soviet Union to the United Nations, pictures, however, an elusive ideal in the hands of humans.

Happy Family Life

Today, peace and happiness are missing even from homes and families. Parents generally have not learned right childrearing principles. The outcome is family discord and often emotionally unstable children. In the coming Millennium this will be corrected, as parents learn how to rear children to honor and obey them as God commands (Exodus 20:12). Right education, which begins in the home, produces happy family life-and much more. We get a glimpse of happy family life in the world tomorrow from a few scriptures that look to the future-the time when God’s government is set up.

Jeremiah wrote that God’s way will restore “the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: ‘Praise the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for His mercy endures forever’ (Jeremiah 33:11). Throughout time the joy of countless brides and bridegrooms has turned to sorrow. Sickness, poverty, divorce and war epitomize large segments of human history. But in that world to come, the joy of the wedding will live on and on as husbands and wives grow together in love.

Glimpse of the Future

They will have healthy, happy and obedient children: “They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for trouble” (Isaiah 65:23). Notice what Zechariah saw as God revealed the future to him: “The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets” (Zechariah 8:5). Without fear of serious accident, kidnapping, gang violence, sexual abuse, drug pushers and the host of other modern atrocities that plague our societies, children will play openly-free from harm by man or beast. Verse four tells us that the elderly will sit in the streets of Jerusalem (as an example of God’s ways to spread throughout the earth), “each one with his staff in his hand because of great age.” The elderly will not fear mugging by the young. The traditional age barriers will crumble. The generation gap will go. They will share the streets together. A wonderful time!

God’s Government Worldwide

From the home, to the community, to the entire world, Jesus Christ said the kingdom, or government, of God would spread like leaven or yeast in a lump of dough (Matthew 13:33). To permeate the whole earth so, eventually, ‘It shall come to pass that… all flesh shall come to worship before Me,’ says the Lord (Isaiah 66:23). The earth will become “full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). God’s law will underpin all education, all statutes, all business dealings and all actions. Concern for the welfare of others will displace greed. With one worldwide standard of right and wrong, nations will have a basis for cooperation. Without conflicting ideologies and prejudice, people will resolve their problems peacefully.

A World Without Fear

The prophet Micah wrote: “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid’ (Micah 4:1-2, 4). A world without fear seems unthinkable to people so used to living with fear. Yet as hard to believe as it is, such a peaceful, harmonious society will be established. Humans will not only be at peace with one another, but with nature itself.

Notice it in Isaiah 11:6-9: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. “The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain.” Sound farfetched? It shouldn’t. It’s the promise of Almighty God recorded in the Bible.

How God will change Human Nature

Such a world is not possible under human government. But with God all things are possible. And he will work an even greater miracle than changing animal nature: With a willing humanity he purposes to change human nature! Yes, God, by his Spirit, will change human nature from its normally selfcentered, defiant attitude. The power of God’s Holy Spirit working within the converted human mind will promote giving, serving, sharing, respect and concern for others.

Jeremiah illustrates this in symbolic form: “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33). No more will men and women live in ignorance of God. In Ezekiel 36:27, we read: “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” God’s way of life will be made known to everyone.

As God is going to give the lion a peaceful nature, so he will make a truly marvelous and miraculous change in man’s hostile mind. This change in the human mind will be brought about by repentance and receiving God’s Holy Spirit. By a miracle, God will place his own nature of outgoing love within mankind (Romans 5:5). True love then being manifested in human beings through God’s Spirit, people will then love their fellowmen and strive to make them happy and productive.

The millennial world will be filled with happy, fulfilled people guided, helped, protected and ruled by Christ and the saints. And all human beings will be called by God to inherit everlasting life in supreme happiness and accomplishment and thrilling joy.

Let’s not get hung up on 7 years, or 3 1/2 years… let’s concentrate on our relationship with the Lord and being willing to be led by the Holy Spirit who will guide us during this time.  Believers are not “children of the dark”, so you will know when this season is close… “even at the door“.

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