The Millennial Reign of Christ - Part 1
We will look at millennial conditions and its people in detail later. Before we go there, have you ever wondered about the coming "1,000 years."
o Have you ever wondered what you are going to look like?
WHERE IN THE BIBLE ARE WE TOLD THE LENGTH OF CHRIST'S REIGN WILL BE 1,000 YEARS?
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.
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.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 word "rapture", the word Millennium is not found in the Bible. And yet, the concept and events to which they refer certainly can be found 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 go more legs." I'm sure that really helped his son.
SO WHERE DOES THE WORD "MILLENNIUM" COME FROM?
The word "millennium" is derived from to Latin words.Mille - which means 1,000.
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.
WHO CAN TELL ME THE SUBSTANTIVE PARTS OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S DREAM IN DANIEL 2?
In Daniel's 2, Nebuchadnezzar's dream involved a colossal image. This image had:
a head of gold,
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.
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.
WHAT IS THIS ROCK THAT SMITES THE FEET OF THE IMAGE AND GROWS TO FILL THE ENTIRE 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 all earthly kingdoms must also be a kingdom. And, indeed, it is. Now, let's look at Daniel's interpretation about 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.
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.
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.
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. The Antichrist and the False Prophet will be put out of business, and will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20)
THE LENGTH OF CHRIST'S REIGN
Already this morning, we have looked at a number of passages that indicate the reign of Christ is without end.
In Daniel 2:44, we are told that the "kingdom will last forever."
HOW CAN THE MILLENNIUM BE ONLY 1,000 YEARS IF GOD'S KINGDOM IS ETERNAL?
HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER THAT QUESTION?
The best way to reconcile this apparent conflict is to recognize that both of these statements are true. Christ will rule over His kingdom on earth for 1,000 years .and He will reign forever.
The future kingdom has two parts or phases.
Phase One: is the reign of Christ on earth. (Revelation 20:1-6)
As I once heard it described, the Millennium is the front porch of eternity. The earthly aspect of the kingdom, with Christ ruling from Jerusalem, will last only the limited time of 1,000 years. But the Kingdom of God will continue forever. The millennium is a physical, earthly demonstration of the kingdom of God.
CHRIST WILL DELEGATE HIS AUTHORITY
In two of the passages we have read already, we learned that Christ will delegate his rulership to others. We read in Daniel 7, that "the kingdom will be given to the saints of the Most High." We saw something very similar when we read Revelation 20:6.
There are a number of passages that tell us that when Christ reigns, He does not rule alone. He alone is the Supreme King of Kings. But He has chosen to delegate the rule of the people of this world to others.
WHO SPECIFICALLY WILL RULE WITH CHRIST?
There are a number of Scriptures which specifically spell out who will be given delegated authority to rule with Christ. In other cases, the rule of some is implied. We will talk about these in just a few minutes. First, let's begin with those specifically mentioned as ruling with Christ.
1. Tribulation Saints
Revelation 20:4 NIV4 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.
2. The Apostles
Matthew 19:27-28 NIV27 Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?"
3. Judges, as in the Old Testament
Isaiah 1:26-27 NIV26 I will restore your judges as in days of old, your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City."
4. The Church
Luke 19:17 NIV17 "Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. `Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities."
Thus far, we are told, specifically, who is going to reign with Christ.
o Tribulation Saints
ARE THERE ANY OTHERS MENTIONED WHO WILL REIGN WITH CHRIST?
WHO HAS BEEN LEFT OUT?
A number of passages imply that the saints of all ages will reign with Christ.
Revelation 5:9-10 NIV
9 And they sang a new song: "You [Christ] are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
This indicates that all who have been redeemed by the blood will reign with Christ.
A couple of passages from the Old Testament imply the saints of that era will reign.
Daniel 7:27 NIV
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.
Psalms 47:2-3 NIV
2 How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!
Earlier we read Revelation 20:4, (NIV) which told us that the Tribulation saints will reign with Christ.
4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. Then 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.
Let's take a closer look at this verse. Two groups of people are mentioned. The first group is represented by the first sentence: "I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge." This group is not identified as to who they are, at least, not here. The rest of the verse addresses another group. And the rest of the verse is speaking about the Tribulation martyrs.
Two verses later, we find this thought of others reigning with Christ reiterated, but two new phrases are added, which provide additional information.
Revelation 20:6 NIV
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.
The first additional thought that I want you to notice here in verse 6 is an expansion of what was stated in verse 4. In verse 4, John speaks of those who had been beheaded for their testimony. In verse 6, it is expanded to all who have a part in the first resurrection.
WHAT IS THE FIRST RESURRECTION?
The first thing to note from this verse, is that the second death has no power over those who are part of the 1st resurrection. He is speaking of all those who have been raised to immortality. Most evangelical Bible scholars believe the first resurrection includes all the resurrections occurring prior to the beginning of the millennium. This would include:
o Christ, who, according to 1 Corinthians 15:20, is "the firstfruit of those who have died."
If we accept that all of these are part of the first resurrection, then Revelation 20:6 tells us they all will reign with Christ for 1,000 years. This is corroborated in Revelation 22:5, where we are told all saints will reign with Christ forever. Two verses earlier (22:3), these saints are referred to as the all the servants of the Lam.
From the above, it appears that all resurrected and/or raptured saints will reign with Christ.
|Questions, comments & suggestions to John Hoole||
Last Updated: Thursday September 08 2011