Question 9. Is the Millennium really a future 1,000 years of peace and justice?

Millions of Christians believe that Jesus will not return until the end of the world, by which time that world will have become worse and worse. Millions of others think that in the meantime the world will get better and better. Millions more vacillate between these two extremes, trying to pick out the bits which they prefer of two quite incompatible beliefs. No wonder there is confusion! Much of this is due to woolly thinking about the Millennium – the thousand year righteous rule of the Lord Jesus Christ on earth following His Coming in Power but before the end of the world.

The duration of the Millennium is declared at the end of the Bible with great precision and clarity. But for sixteen or seventeen hundred years people have being doing their best to obscure, blur and generally dismiss this precision; and they are still doing it, although not all in the same way or necessarily for the same reasons. It is high time we take God’s word at face value when the plain sense makes sense.

Just read the opening verses of Revelation 20, the final book of the Bible and the only one personally introduced by the risen Lord Jesus Christ Himself: “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him for A THOUSAND YEARS, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till THE THOUSAND YEARS should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I 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. But the rest of the dead lived not again until THE THOUSAND YEARS were finished. This is the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:1-5). In verse 11 we read of the end of this old world and its atmospheric or starry surroundings: “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them” (Revelation 20:11).

Quoting II Peter 3:8 - “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” is a feeble excuse indeed, because when specific lengths of time are clearly stated elsewhere in Scripture, they always mean exactly what they say.

Having established that this really is a thousand year period before the end of the world, let us look briefly at what is to happen BEFORE these thousand years start. In Revelation we read of the Return in power and great glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. The passage is too long to quote in full, but note this statement. “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Revelation 19:15). This accords with a promise made around 3,000 ago. It is the Father’s will that His Son has to reign on the earth where once He was rejected: “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel” (Psalm 2:6-9). That has never happened yet, but it most certainly will happen when He returns.

The timing of this future intervention in judgment is the start of the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:14-16 & 19:19-21). The chapter division between Revelation 19 and 20 is arbitrary and unfortunate. Only after rebellion has been put down and the coming Great Tribulation has ended will a whole host of lovely prophecies, mainly from the Old Testament, be fulfilled literally. These prophecies are sometimes claimed to be ‘pictures of Heaven’, but even a cursory glance shows that they are no such thing.

The assumption that Jesus Christ will not come back until the end of the earth is not what the Bible teaches. When Jesus ascended to Heaven forty days after His resurrection, two angels informed the little group of spectating disciples: “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet” (or Mount of Olives) (Acts 1:11-12). Describing the same event, Zechariah prophesies: “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east…. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth” (Zechariah 14:4 & 9). The intermediate verses give topographical details.

The following is a list of passages, including some whole chapters, which mainly or exclusively concern the Millennium: Psalm 72; Isaiah 11; Isaiah 35; Isaiah 65:18-25; Jeremiah 31:23-37; Ezekiel chapters 40-48; Micah 4:1-8, Zechariah 8 and 14:14-21; Revelation 21:9 to 22:5. Jesus occasionally told His disciples about other things which can only happen in the Millennium.

Jesus personally foretold the world on the very brink of destruction: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22). John had a visionary preview and recorded: “And there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great….. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found” (Revelation 16:18,20). Other passages describe the restoration which is specifically said to FOLLOW Christ’s return: “Whom the heaven must receive UNTIL the times of restitution (‘restoration’ in most versions) of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21).

A restored ecology will be one of the features: “In the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes” (Isaiah 35:6-7). “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them” (Amos 9:13-14). Isaiah 41:18-19 tells us more of this future fertility. Present despair for the short term future of our planet is fully justified; but our Creator has promised long term blessing.

Peace will characterise the Millennial earth at all levels: ”He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire” (Psalm 46:9). “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and 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” (Isaiah 2:4). “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain” (Isaiah 11:6-9).

Some claim that Satan is currently bound in fulfilment of Revelation 20. What rubbish! Satan’s ultra-secure imprisonment for the duration of the Millennium is described in our above quote of Revelation 20:1-3 How, if Satan is imprisoned in the Abyss or Bottomless Pit throughout the Millennium, which some naively assume is the present age, can he be so active, being described as “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Eph 2:2)? Or why we are warned: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet 5:8)? Or why we are reminded: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12)?

The answer to our initial question is a resounding ‘YES!’ Earth’s ultimate 1,000 year golden age is assured.