The Millennium




Dr. John Hoole – August 18, 2013




Imagine what this world would be like if there were no more wars and if rebellion, injustice, and unrighteousness were removed.  The Bible says such a time is coming.  Today we are going to look at this time which we call the Millennium, or the 1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth.


Nearly 300 years ago, Isaac Watts (in 1719) wrote a song that most of you know from memory.  We sing it at Christmastime.  And yet, its words do not relate the Christmas story.  When Isaac Watts wrote it, he did not have Christ’s first coming in mind.  However, its word are a beautiful depiction of His second coming, and the reign of Christ that follows.




As I give you the words to this song, see if they talk about the future reign of Christ or His birth in Bethlehem.


         “Joy to the world! The Lord is Come!

             Let earth receiver her King.”


If those were the only words, they could apply to either his birth or his return.


         “No more let sins and sorrows grow,

             Nor thorns infest the ground;

          He comes to make his blessings flow,

             Far as the curse is found.”


There should be no doubt that these words are a description of Christ’s millennial reign.  It is only then that the curse proclaimed by God in the Garden of Eden will end.


         “He rules the world with truth and grace,

             And makes the nations prove,

          The glories of His righteousness,

             And wonders of His love.”


Christ did not promise that peace would follow his first coming.  Rather, it will come after his Second Coming.


“Joy to the World” is a song of the Millennium.  Its words tell of a time when full peace and joy will finally come to this world.  It is only after Christ comes as the Prince of Peace that the curse will be replaced with blessing.  Only then will thorns cease to create a nuisance.  Only then will the nations extol the glories of his righteousness.


Our generation, and all who have lived before us, have dreamed of a perfect world.  A place where everyone will live together in peace and harmony.  Each generation has worked to that end, only to see it slip further from their grasp.


When the United Nations was established by charter on October 24, 1945, the leaders of the world hoped it would help to end wars like World War II.


They were so hopeful that they had the following words from the Old Testament prophets inscribed on their building in New York.


         “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nations shall not lift up sword against nations, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4;  Micah 4:3)


Despite 68 years of effort, the UN has not been able to teach the nations to beat their swords into plowshares nor their spears into pruning hooks.  Nations have lifted up sword against nations, and they continue to eagerly learn war.


There is nothing wrong with their message.  The problem is that neither the United Nations nor any other merely human organization will be able to bring in the peace envisioned by Isaiah and Micah.  The thinking has usually been that this utopian era would be brought about by the improved knowledge or technology of man himself.


There is indeed a day coming in which the world will experience universal peace.  It will be a utopian era where people will live together in harmony.  But it will not come through merely human efforts.  Neither will it come through the efforts of the Church.  Peace only comes when the Prince of Peace returns to this world.  God will intervene personally.


No one will doubt that the world desperately needs peace and happiness.  For six thousand years, man has tried to govern himself and has failed miserably.  Every style of government has been tried, not to mention the countless human laws that have been formulated in the process.  All have  proved incapable of bringing peace to the human race.


Man’s problems are increasingly becoming out of control.  We know what many of our problems are, but no leader, or group of leaders, or government is able to cure them.  Anarchy now faces many nations.  Scores of political systems and thousands of laws have come and gone.  The apocalyptic nature of world events will continue through the end of a period known as the 7-year Tribulation.


But all this will change when the millennial reign of Christ begins.  For the first time in human history, the world will see a successful world government.


The various eschatological views diverge first on one’s view, not of the Rapture, but the Millennium.  Their differences generally center on the nature of such a period of time.  Although some will disagree, I believe the fact of a future millennium is very clearly taught in Revelation 20:1-6.  But what kind of millennium it will be has been, and continues to be, strongly debated.


The chart I am about to show you, I used in an earlier lesson.  I used it to help in answering a question from a person in this class.  I said at that time that I would use it again, and now is that time.


There are 3 major views concerning the Millennium.


                   •  A- millennial

                   •  Post- millennial

                   •  Pre- millennial




         There are actually two distinctions.


                   1.      Whether there will be an actual, literal 1000 years, called the Millennium.


                   2.      The timing of Christ returns with regard to this period of time.


The difference between each of these views has to do with how each views the relationship between Christ’s Second Coming and the Millennium.  Each also differs as to what happens during that period of time.


It is very obvious that the early Christians expected the speedy return of Christ to establish an actual kingdom on this earth, over which He would reign for 1000 years.  When Christ did not return quickly – that is within 300 years following the apostles, the church’s concept of the millennium changed to a predominantly non-literal one.


Hence:  A-millennialism.


A-millennial means “no millennium.”  This branch of prophetic theology does not believe in a literal tribulation or a literal 1000-year reign of Christ – or a literal antichrist.


They believe the biblical phrase, “one-thousand-years” is just suggesting a long time.  For the A-millennialist, it represents all the time from the first century until Christ returns.  This was the predominant view of the church for over 1,000 years during the dark ages.  Those holding this view do not adhere to a literal interpretation of Scripture.


The only way one can arrive at this view is by using an allegorical or symbolic way of interpreting the Bible.  That means that one assigns to the words of Scripture a meaning other than that which is normally understood and accepted at the time of the writing.  They admit that all Scripture has a literal meaning, but only to the immediate people to whom the letter or prophecy was written, and to that generation only.


They hold that all Scripture has at least a dual meaning.  One, more literal, is for those to whom the letter was written but to all others, there was a somewhat hidden meaning, which always represented a spiritual truth.  It is only this second meaning – the underlying truth – that is relevant for the church today.  In other words, all Scripture is spiritualized.


Many a-millennialists concede that if prophecy is interpreted literally (normally), grammatically and historically, it will produce a pre-millennial view




The Post-Millennial adherents partially subscribe to an allegorical method for interpreting of prophecy.  In a way, they sort of “pick and choose” which parts are allegorical or symbolic, and which are to be taken literally.


They believe in a literal 1,000 years and a literal 2nd Coming of Christ, but believe Christ will be reigning from heaven.  The kingdom, therefore, is mostly a spiritual thing.  They hold the position that Christ will come following the 1000 years.  Hence, Post-millennial.


This view hold that the millennium would be established, not by Christ, but by the Church, through successful Christianizing of the world by believers.  Like the A-millennialist, they also do not believe in a literal Tribulation of 7-years.


The Postmillennial view teaches that the Church will gradually expand its influence throughout the globe until the population of the entire earth will someday worship Christ.  After the church completes its mission, then Christ will return.


This view flourished during the 18th and 19th centuries.  Because of the hundreds of missionary groups which were established during this time, this was a period of optimism about the Church’s ability to Christianize the world.


But World War I seriously shook this view and World War II all but wiped it out.  The world is not getting better.  But, just as the Scriptures foretold, “evil is waxing worse and worse.”


Today we are going to look more fully at the beliefs of those who call themselves Pre-millennial.   I happen to be included in that group of people.  This view holds that Christ will literally return to earth to set up His kingdom for 1,000 years.  As seen on our chart, this view is the only one that accepts a more literal interpretation of Bible Prophecy.  As you have heard me say before, I believe the Scriptures should be interpreted literally, unless the context dictates otherwise.


Nearly all Christians who take the Bible literally expect to be raptured before Christ comes in power to set up His reign on earth.  Yet there are hundreds of books written on this subject from at least five perspectives, all of which I have mentioned briefly in earlier lessons.




                   1.      Pre-Tribulation Rapture

                   2.      Mid-Tribulation Rapture

                   3.      Post-Tribulation Rapture

                   4.      Partial-Rapture

                   5.      Pre-Wrath Rapture


All five of these views teach that Christ will return physically to earth to begin His 1,000 year reign.  All five groups believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, the only means of salvation.  Their differences have to do with when the Rapture occurs relative to the Tribulation.


So, where in the Bible do we find information concerning this period of 1,000 years?


Isaiah 9:6-7  (NKJV) predicts both the 1st and 2nd coming of Christ.


6       For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given [that’s the first coming]; and the government will be upon His shoulder [that’s the second coming & millennium]. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7       Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.


Verse 7 speaks about a future government where justice will prevail.  The first fact we need to know about the millennium is that it is a “reign.”  And a “reign” involves a King, territory, peoples, laws, judges, administrators and officials of all kinds.


The subject of the coming millennium involves Jesus, its King, as well as those to whom He will delegate authority.


From a divine point of view, Christ is the creator of all things, and, therefore, deserves to be the King of kings and Lord of lords.  From an human point of view, Christ is a descendant of David, and thus is a rightful heir to David’s throne.


Let’s look quickly at a few more Scriptures that speak of the millennial reign of Christ.


Jeremiah 23:5 NIV


5       "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.


Luke 1:31-33 (NIV) adds credence to the fact that this is speaking of Christ.


31     You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.

32     He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,

33     and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."




Revelation 20:1-7  (NIV) gives us the length of Christ’s reign.  Each verse following the first mentions the length to be 1,000 years.


1       And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.

2       He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.

3       He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

4       I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

5       (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.

6       Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

7      When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison


Although this is the only passage of Scripture which tells us the length, the manner this phrase is used makes it unmistakably a literal 1,000 years.


The length of this period is mentioned six times, and each time it is with reference to a distinct feature of this period.


         In verse 2:       It refers to the length of time Satan will be bound.


         In verse 3:       It refers to the time nations will not be deceived by Satan.


         In verse 4:       It refers to the length of time martyred saints will reign with Christ.


         In verse 5:       It refers to the time during which the “rest of the dead” (i.e., the wicked dead) will wait until their resurrection.


         In verse 6:       It refers to the time when those who rise in the first resurrection will reign with Christ.


         In verse 7:       Reference is made to the time which will elapse before Satan will again be loosed from his confinement in the bottomless pit (abyss).


It is here that I take great exception with most amillennialists and postmillennialists.  Both deny that this Passage speaks of a literal 1,000 years.  They hold that the reference to 1,000 years is understood symbolically to refer to an indefinite period of time.


And yet,….these same scholars believe that other elements from this passage in Revelation 20 are to be taken literally.  In other words, references to things like:  the resurrection, Satan, heaven, the angels, binding of Satan are taken literally.


Like the words “rapture,” and “trinity,” the word Millennium is not found in the Bible.  And yet, the concept and events to which they refer certainly can be found repeatedly in the Bible.


A little boy once asked his father, “What is the Millennium?’  His father replied, “Don’t you know what a millennium is?  It’s just like a centennial, only it’s got more legs.”  I’m sure that really helped his son.




The word “millennium” is derived from to Latin words.


                   Mille                 - which means 1,000.


                   Annum             - which means year.


         Thus, the word “millennium” means 1,000 years.


In the past 6,000 years, man has not, for the most part, given to God the recognition that is due him.  For this reason, the great potential blessings of God available to mankind have never been fully realized.


During the millennium, we will see, in part, what might have been if Adam and Eve had never sinned.  The physical conditions they enjoyed were clearly to their advantage.  Most of all, there was a close fellowship with God.


But sin did its terrible damage and a breach occurred between God and mankind.  Disharmony and strife became the norm, rather than peace and tranquility.  Under the personal reign of Christ, who will be the perfect King, what might have been in the beginning, will actually become a reality.


There are literally hundreds of passages in both the Old and New Testaments, which relate different aspects of Christ’s coming kingdom.  Let’s look at just a few.


During our study of “The Antichrist and his kingdom”, we looked closely at a couple passages in the Book of Daniel.


In Daniel 2, we looked at the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed.  In Daniel 7, we look at a vision God gave to Daniel.




In Daniel’s 2, Nebuchadnezzar’s dream involved a colossal image. 


                   •  This image had a head of gold,


                   •  a chest and arms of silver,


                   •  a belly and thigh of brass,


                   •  legs made of iron,


                   •  and toes of part iron and part baked clay.


Daniel gives Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation of the dream.  It is a dream about successive world kingdoms, beginning with Babylon which was represented by the head of gold.


Now let me take you to Daniel 2:31-34  (NIV)  once again, and listen to what Daniel tells the king.


31     "You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue-an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.

32     The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,

33     its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.

34     While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.


                   In verses 36 to 43, you can read Daniel interpretation of the dream.


Before leaving this passage, notice verses 34.  During our lesson on the Antichrist, we did not mention much about this stone that strikes the image at its feet.  Now is the appropriate time to discuss this verse and its interpretation and add verse 35 as we read it again.


Daniel 2:34-35 NIV


34     While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.

35     Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.




In a moment we will look at verses 44 & 45, in which Daniels gives the interpretation of what  this stone represents.  A moment ago, I mentioned that Daniel’s interpretation shows that the parts of Nebuchadnezzar’s colossal image  represent successive world kingdoms, starting with Babylon.  If we are to be consistent, this boulder that destroys and replaces all earthly kingdoms must also be a kingdom.  And, indeed, it is.


Now, let’s look at Daniel’s interpretation concerning this stone.


Daniel 2:44-45 NIV


44     "In the time of those kings, [the kings represented by the 10 toes] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.

45     This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands - a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.


First, notice that the kingdom represented by the stone takes over the entire earth as it grows into a huge mountain.  That tells us that this final kingdom will be worldwide.


The imagery here of a mountain is in keeping with Micah 4:1-2  (NIV).


1       In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it.

2       Many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.


                   This is echoed in Isaiah 2:2-3, which is word-for-word the same as Micah 4:1-2.


Now, let’s review the vision God gives to Daniel that is recorded in chapter 7.  Unlike the colossal image dreamed by Nebuchadnezzar, this vision depicts the same sequence of successive earthly kingdom and depicts each as a different beast.


Daniel 7:24-27 NIV


24     The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings.

25     He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. 


From our studies, we know this ruler that speaks against the Most High is the Antichrist.  He will reign for the last 3½ years of the Tribulation leading to the Battle of Armageddon.


26     "`But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.

27     Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.'


Once again, like we saw in Daniel 2, the kingdoms of this earth will be replaced by a righteous kingdom.  In Daniel 7, three times we are told that the kingdom will be given to the saints of the Most High-- in verses 18, 22 & here in verse 27.


All of what we see here in the book of Daniel is in keeping with what we have already studied in Revelation 19 about the Second Coming of Christ.


To close our lesson today, let me take you back to the inscription from Isaiah 2 found at the United Nations.  The Bible passage engraved at the United Nations doesn’t reflect the entire context of the verse.  It is only the last half of the verse in Isaiah 2.  Here is the entire verse.


Isaiah 2:2-3 NIV


2       In the last days the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.

3       Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.


This is a passage speaking of the of the “last days,” specifically about the 1,000 year reign of Christ.  Let’s continue and read verse 4.


Isaiah 2:4 KJV


4       And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and 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 any more.


It should be plainly obvious that the conditions given in these verses will happen only when the Prince of Peace arrives to reign over the entire globe.