The Millennium

The Millennium relates to the Kingdom of God (Dan. 7:27). It is important in becoming a Christian (John 3:3). It was expected by the Jews of Jesus’ day (Luke 23:42). It is therefore fitting to give some treatment to this subject.

The Kingdom of God is mentioned throughout the Bible and refers to God’s reign or rule. It is central to the whole message of the Bible and specifically in the teachings of Jesus.

The God of the Bible is the ruler of the Kingdom and he is revealed in Jesus Christ (I Tim. 1:17). He is the object of faith for believers. In the Kingdom, the Father’s purposes are fulfilled in the Son, Jesus Christ. Adam lost his rule through sin but Jesus, the last Adam restored it through his obedience to the point of death. Jesus will return and rule over the Earth! He will set up his physical millennial reign over all people.

It should be remembered that the Kingdom is not a promise of heaven nor should it be equated with the Church age or the rule of God in the Christian’s heart, or indeed social welfare. It is a real, future, earthly Kingdom.

So what does the Bible teach and how do we define the Kingdom of God? It has a divine king and subjects. The king is God and so in a sense the Kingdom is eternal (Psalm. 10:16; Psalm 145:13). But it is also future (Daniel 2:44). It is universal (Psalm. 103:19; I Chron. 29:12) and yet locally it will be on Earth (Isaiah. 24:23). The ruler is God (Psalm. 59:13) but he rules through a man (Psalm. 2:4-6) who is also divine (Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2). Though present now (Psalm 29:10) it is realised in the future (Zechariah. 14:9). God’s future rule on Earth will be absolute (Daniel 4:34-35) and at the same time based upon a covenant made with mankind (Psalm 89:27-29). The millennial Kingdom will, at the end of this cosmos be merged with eternity (Revelation 22:3).

God’s ruler was from the start promised to be human and yet divine, a mediator. Job cried out for a go between to represent God and man (Job 9:33) and this was realised in Jesus Christ (I Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 9:15). As mediator, Jesus is prophet, priest and king.

From creation humans were to rule the Earth (Genesis 1:26-28) but were usurped by Satan and fell into sin (Romans 5:12, 19). Later, God made a covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) whose descendants would be rulers to mediate for God (Genesis 17:6; Exodus 4:16; cf. Numbers 16:1-32; Joshua 1:5; Judges 2:16; I Samuel 3:19—4:1).

Moses was a mediator between God and Israel (Acts 7:35; Exodus 7:1; Deuteronomy 9:24-29; 18:15). Saul, David and Solomon were foreshadows of the Millennial King (Deuteronomy 17:14-17; I Samuel 10:1, 17-24, 16:12-13; 1 Chronicles 28:5-7). After Solomon things quickly deteriorated leading to judgement and exile. The glory of God (shekinah) had been with Israel from the days of Moses (Nehemiah 9:19; Exodus 40:34; 2 Chronicles 7:1) as a sign of his rule among them but because of continual disobedience it was gradually taken away (Ezekiel 8:4; 9:3; 10:4, 18; 11:23; cf. 8:7-17) and God left his people (Isaiah 13:17—14:5) but he also gave promises for Israel who would be scattered among nations (Ezekiel 11:16; 39:21-29; 43:1-7; Zechariah 14:1-4)

The holy nation had failed to be holy and the covenant people had broken the promises but God would do something new (Ezekiel 11:17-20), resulting in willing service to the King (Psalm. 110:1-3). A king unlike the kings of Israel and Judah who failed (Isaiah 42:1-4). The nation Israel will be restored to the Promised Land (Hosea 3:4-5; Acts 1:6)

There are number of prophecies in the Old Testament pointing to the King. He will be a descendant of Eve – human (Genesis 3:15; Daniel 7:13-14) and also God (Genesis 9:27; Isaiah 9:6). A descendant of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-4). A Star out of Jacob/Israel (Numbers 24:17). A descendant of Judah (Genesis 49:10). A prophet and leader like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15). A descendant of David (II Sam. 7:12-16; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14; Isaiah 11:1-3, 5; Luke 1:31-33).

The Kingdom will be centred in the promised land, the land of Israel and the King will rule from its capital, Jerusalem (Obadiah 12-21; Isaiah 2:3, 24:23, 33:17-21). The whole world will see the Saviour (Isaiah 52:10). All other empires and kingdoms will be destroyed (Daniel 2:31-45) and David’s kingdom will be raised up and ruled by David’s greater Son, Jesus Christ (Amos 9:11; Acts 15:16-18; Micah 4:7-8; Jeremiah 33:15–22; Psalm 89:3–4, 34–37). He will be just and fair (Isaiah 32:1-2). He is the crucified one (Daniel 9:26; Isaiah 52:13—53:12) who was a mystery to the Old Testament prophets (1 Peter 1:10–12).

The establishment of the Kingdom is future, in the ‘last days’ (Isaiah 2:2). Israel will have waited a long, long time for its realisation (Hosea 3:4-5). Before it is established there will be terrible catastrophes on Earth – Great Tribulation (Isaiah 24; Joel 3:9-15). Then God will appear on Earth (Isaiah 35:4, 40:5, 9-10) and judge the nations (Joel 3:1-2; Matthew 25:31–46). He will rule Earth strictly but with kindness (Psalm 2:7-12; Isaiah 40:11). Final authority for all things will rest with him (Isaiah 33:17-24) because he is Yahweh, the God of Israel (Zechariah 14:9). He will rule through believers, all those resurrected to eternal life (1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:6). Israel will be the prime nation over all the others (Isaiah 41:8–16; Isaiah 49:15–16) who will submit to the Lord (Micah 4:2; Isaiah 2:3, 19:23-25; Amos 9:12).
During the Millennium human society will be transformed. It will be a kingdom governed by the moving of the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness and righteousness will be universal and God will be known by all (Jeremiah 23:5–6, 31:34). The people will be renewed and cleansed (Ezekiel 36:24–26, 36:26–28).

Right conduct will be the norm and evil will be seen for what it is (Isaiah 32:5). There will be no war or poverty (Isaiah 2:4, 9:7, 65:21–22 Zechariah 9:10). All will be physically healthy (Isaiah 33:24, 35:5–6). Lifespan will be much longer, like it was in the prediluvian world (Isaiah 65:20, 22). Danger will be gone (Isaiah 65:23; Ezekiel 34:23–31). The world itself will be changed (Zechariah 14:3–4; Isaiah 11:6-9, 32:15-16, 35:1-2, 7, 65:25; Amos 9:13).

Politics and justice will change (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3). Israel and the Jewish people will finally live in peace (Isaiah 32:18; Ezekiel 37; Amos 9:14–15) and be the pre-eminent nation (Isaiah 60:10–14). Jesus Christ will not just rule as King but also as priest (Psalm 110). The dwelling place of God will be in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 37:27–28) and his glory will be seen in the Millennial temple (Ezekiel 43:1–7). Israel will serve as ministers to God and priests for the nations who will worship Yahweh and make pilgrimage to Jerusalem (Isaiah 61:6, 66:23; Zechariah 14:16–19).

The Kingdom of God will be worldwide (Zechariah 14:9; Psalm 72:8–11) and begins with an initial thousand year period (Revelation 20:4–6). After the final rebellion and Great White Throne judgement of God the Kingdom merges into eternity (Micah 4:7; Psalm 45:6; Daniel 7:13–14; Revelation 22:1–5).

The Kingdom of God was initiated in Jesus (Micah 5:2; Luke 1:30–33, 10:9, 11:20, 17:21; Matthew 2:1–2, 3:1–2, 4:17, 22, 10:5–7; Mark 1:15) and it is the same Kingdom prophesied in the Old Testament (Matthew 5:17–18).

Entry into God’s Kingdom requires spiritual new birth (John 3:3-5; Matthew 19:28) and cleansing (Matthew 13:41–43) and commitment (Luke 6:20–21). There will be a separation when Jesus returns (Matthew 25:31-32). Jesus miracles are an anticipation of Kingdom life (Matthew 9:35, 10:5–8)

The Kingdom was first proclaimed to Israel but rejected by most of the people (Matthew 12:14; Luke 4:28–29; John 5:18). The future Kingdom is a mystery (Mark 4:26-30; Matthew 13:3–9, 24-30, 33, 44-46) and includes the building of his church (Matthew 16:18). The rejection by Israel will culminate in Jesus’ death but he assures his disciples that it is necessary (Matthew 16:21, 17:22–23, 20:17-19) and that ultimately, in the future the Kingdom will be established on Earth and centred in Jerusalem (Matthew 16:27, 26:64; Luke 19:11–27, 21:5–31). The disciples remained expectant after Jesus’ death and resurrection (Acts 1:6) and proclaimed Jesus’ as Lord and King to the Jewish leaders and people (Acts 2:33). Jesus will return (Acts 3:19-20). With rejection the emphasis of the message changed to that of building the church but always with the cries of ‘… your Kingdom come’ and ‘Maranatha!’ Paul continued to proclaim the Kingdom of God (Acts 20:25) and the church as part of that Kingdom (Colossians 1:13). The Kingdom exists now as a mystery (Matthew 13:11, 44-50; Mark 4:26–29) but it has subjects (Matthew 13:38) made up of the Old Testament believers, the church (Revelation 3:21–22), the believers during the tribulation (Revelation 20:4). God’s purposes for the Kingdom will be achieved (Acts 15:14–18) and Jesus words will be shown to be true (Matthew 28:18; Revelation 11:15–17, 12:10). Antichrist and False Prophet will be destroyed, Satan locked up and this present age ended (Revelation 19:11–21). Satan will be released once more at the close of the Millennium (Revelation 20:7-10) and Earth will rebel against Christ, proving that even in a perfect environment with Christ present, sin and wickedness dominate the human heart which has not been spiritually renewed. Only judgement can end it (Revelation 20:11-15).

Finally, the Kingdom will merge into eternity, death having been defeated (1 Corinthians 15:25–26). The King of the Millennium is now King of eternity, sharing the throne of his Father (Revelation 22:3–5)