The Incredible Kingdom of Christ on Earth
The Thousand-year Reign of Christ as King on Earth
You have all heard it time and time again—campaign promises. Increasingly we hear them with a heart of cynicism, but when you really pay attention, you will notice something remarkable. The list will often include some sort of promise of justice in the courts, peace and safety in the streets, solid education, better health care, and a prospering economy. No matter how high or low the promises are, no politician can pull it off. Why? Because the human race can never pull it off. The problems of society are unsolvable—because the foundation is sin.
Yet why are we so drawn to what they say? Why are those qualities so desirable? Simply, because it is what we were made for and what God alone can provide–not only internally, but also externally in our society and world. The Lord Jesus Christ, in His coming Kingdom, will accomplish everything in our world we have longed for all our lives. Christ alone can bring perfect peace, perfect justice and perfect joy here on Earth. Christ will make it happen in His Kingdom, in the coming thousand-year Millennium.
A little boy 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.” The word millennium is made up of two Latin words–mille (one thousand) and annum (years). Millennium means one thousand years. And yes, there are differing views of Christ’s coming Millenium–His Kingdom. The views are dependent upon your hermeneutic–how you interpret the Scripture.
The amillennial view means no Millennium, based upon using a different hermeneutic for prophetic passages than you do for the rest of the Bible–you spiritualize the future events. That’s the only way with the Scripture you could believe there is no coming Kingdom. The post-millennial view means Christ returns after the thousand-year Kingdom that Christians usher in by making society better for a thousand years by living under the law of God. This view calls Christians to transform society so that we create the Kingdom Christ returns to. And again, this requires the interpreter to spiritualize prophetic passages.
The pre-millennial view means Christ returns before, or pre- the thousand-year Kingdom. If you interpret the Bible literally, seeking to determine the author’s intended meaning, you must embrace the pre-millennial view–Christ will return and establish a literal, physical, world-changing thousand-year Kingdom. And friends, a Kingdom is coming pre-. In the Old Testament, God repeatedly promised that Israel would enjoy a coming Kingdom. Zechariah 14:9, “And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.”
The New Testament also tells of a coming Kingdom, calling it 1) the Kingdom of Heaven, 2) the Kingdom of God, 3) the Kingdom, 4) a kingdom which cannot be shaken, 5) the world to come, 6) times of refreshing, 7) the period of restoration of all things. One of the clearest descriptions in the entire Bible of Christ’s coming Kingdom is Revelation 20, where the apostle John tells us six total times in this passage that the Kingdom will be one thousand years long.
Read Revelation 20:1 through 5, “I saw an angel … 2And he laid hold of … the devil …, and bound him for a thousand years; 3and he threw him into the abyss …, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. 4Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded … and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed.”
John states the reign of Christ on Earth after His glorious return will be one thousand years. However, in several other places in Scripture it’s stated that Christ’s Kingdom will last forever (Daniel 7:14, 27; Revelation 11:15). This has led many to conclude the one thousand years in Revelation 20 must not be literal. 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 this present earth for one thousand years, and He will reign forever.
The future Kingdom of God has two parts or two phases–phase one is the millennial reign of Christ on this earth, and phase two is the eternal state. In reality, the millennial kingdom is the front porch of eternity. This will be an incredible time, like the Garden of Eden–a time on this earth when Christ will literally, physically, and gloriously rule all the nations on Earth, reigning in Jerusalem and over the world through glorified saints all around the world.
This morning, you need to know what God is seeking to establish. You need to know what to look forward to. You need to understand what your heart is craving for. You need to embrace the privileged place you hold as one of Christ’s children. So this AM, I want you to visit the Kingdom, get a taste for what is to come, and understand the incredible plan of God by asking three crucial questions.
#1 WHY must there be a Millennium?
There are several reasons why Christ will establish a thousand-year Kingdom after His return to Earth in glory. Why?
First To Realize the promises of God
God made many great, unconditional, unilateral, and eternal promises to Israel that will only find their fulfillment in the millennial kingdom. God promises He will rule this world. Notice Ezekiel 36:24 to 26, “For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. 25Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
Not only does this new covenant include the indwelling Holy Spirit, and a new, washed, clean heart. But along with those promises, God says He will bring them into the land–Israel is restored to the land with Christ as their King.
Second To Redeem Creation
P.T. Barnum, the famous circus showman, loved to show visiting preachers his exhibit called, “The Happy Family,” in which lions, tigers and panthers squatted around a lamb without any aggression. When Bamum was asked by the visiting preachers if the group ever had any trouble, he would say, “Apart from replenishing the lamb now and then, they get along very well together.” This world is not what it is supposed to be, but the Bible declares that someday all wars will cease and the world will be unified under Christ’s reign.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God pronounced a series of five curses. In Genesis 3:14 to 19, these fives curses were pronounced against the serpent, Satan, the woman, the man, and nature. From that time until today, the earth has been cursed, as evidenced by thorns, thistles and hard work that is required to scratch out a living. That new crop of crabgrass in your lawn right now is a small, vivid reminder of the curse. The curse on nature is poignantly described in Romans 8:19. “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.” And then in Romans 8:22 we are told that all of creation groans.
A crucial function of the Millennium is to reverse God’s curse on creation. During the Kingdom, all the animals will revert back to being plant-eaters as they were originally. The lion and lamb will lie down together in harmony, and a child will be able to play next to a poisonous snake without fear of harm. Isaiah 11:6 to 8, “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. 7Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.”
The earth will become amazingly productive and beautiful. Deserts will blossom. The whole earth will become like a huge, perfect garden. Why else will there be a Millennium?
Third To Reward the Faithful
During the millennial kingdom, the saints will be awarded positions of authority based on their degree of faithfulness in this life. Luke 19:16 and 17, “‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’” We will reign with Christ and for Christ on the basis of our faithfulness to how God made us and gifted us in the Spirit and for His glory. But . . .
#2 WHAT will the Millennium be Like?
During the millennial reign of Christ, the earth will experience a return to conditions like the Garden of Eden. It will literally be Heaven on Earth, as the Lord of Heaven comes to Earth to live among His people. The Bible has a lot more to say about the Millennium than most people realize. Walk with me through the Millennium in Murrieta, Temecula, Wildomar–even Hemet. What are the prominent conditions which will prevail on Earth during the reign of Christ?
The Millennium will be characterized by endless joy. Zephaniah 3:14, “Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!” The Millennium is stamped with full joy.
When Isaac Watts wrote “Joy to the World,” he did not write it as a Christmas carol. Rather, he penned it to announce the glorious Second Coming of Christ to rule and to reign on this earth. Remember the words? “Joy to the world! The Lord is come: Let earth receive her king. No more let sins and sorrows grow. He rules the world with truth and grace.” This is a song of the Millennium, when full joy will finally come to the world. And as you live during the Kingdom, there will be . . .
*Holiness and Glory
Holy means to be set apart uniquely for God’s purposes–the rule of Christ will be a holy Kingdom. Speaking of the Kingdom, Isaiah 35:8 says, “A high way will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it.” The land, the city, the Temple and the subjects of the Kingdom will all be holy unto the Lord. Along with holiness, the luminous glory of God will be fully unleashed in, and manifested everywhere, as Isaiah 40:5 says, “Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” With glory comes . . .
*Justice and Righteousness
When the millennial kingdom begins, it will be inhabited only by believers. However, those believers will still have human babies with a fallen nature capable of sinning, rebelling and rejecting. Regular human people will still sin, but that sin will be judged in perfect justice at the hands of the Messiah.
Isaiah 9:7, “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace. On the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness. From then on and forevermore.” Christ will rule with “a rod of iron,” restraining and judging sin–so the prevailing atmosphere of the Kingdom will be righteousness. Along with that . . .
Isaiah 62:8,9, and 21 “The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm, ‘I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies; nor will foreigners drink your new wine for which you have labored.’ 9But those who garner it will eat it and praise the Lord; and those who gather it will drink it in the courts of My sanctuary. 21They will build houses and inhabit them; they will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.”
There won’t be any need for welfare programs, like Social Security, food stamps, or relief agencies in the Millennium. The world will flourish under the hand of the King of kings. There will be an abundance and plenty for all the inhabitants of the world. And what is truly awesome is, in the Kingdom there will be . . .
*No Sickness nor Deformity
Our politicians are constantly working on plans to provide better healthcare for the citizens of our nation. But in the Lord’s government, the health plan will be fantastic. Everyone will get the best health care you can imagine. Obamacare will be obsolete. Isaiah 33:24, “And no resident will say, ‘I am sick’; the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.” Then in Isaiah 35:5 and 6, “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. 6Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.”
The King of kings will be a healer. He will cure all the diseases and deformities of His people. As a result, people will live extended life spans, just like people did before the Flood. Isaiah 65:20, “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred. And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed.” A person who dies at the age of 100 will be considered as someone who died prematurely–regular human beings will live a very long time. And all will enjoy . . .
*Universal Worship of God
All the inhabitants of the earth will enthusiastically offer themselves to Christ in worship as we begin the Millennium. Isaiah 52:8 and 9, “Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, they shout joyfully together; for they will see with their own eyes when the Lord restores Zion. 9 Break forth, shout joyfully together.” Worship during the Millennium will be focused on Christ and centered around the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem.
One unique aspect of worship in the Millennium is that animal sacrifices will be reinstituted in the millennial temple. Ezekiel 43:18, “Son of man, thus says the Lord God, ‘These are the statutes for the altar on the day it is built, to offer burnt offerings on it and to sprinkle blood on it.’” These sacrifices are not pointing to a hopeful atonement in the future, but they’ll serve as a powerful memory recall to point back to the past, to the only acceptable sacrifice for sin, the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. They’ll serve, like the Lord’s Supper today, as a vivid reminder of the holiness of God, the awfulness of sin, and the death of the Savior who died in our place. But the best part of the Millennium is . . .
*The Presence of God
Christ Himself will be present on Earth–and the Lord’s people will experience a sweet kind of fellowship with the Lord, unlike anything they’ve ever known. Ezekiel 48 says the city of Jerusalem will be called Jehovah Shammah, “the Lord is there.”
#3 HOW will everyday life be different in the Millennium?
Every day will be different in the Millennium also because of who is there in the Kingdom. The Millennium will eventually be inhabited by four types.
TYPE 1 HUMAN BELIEVERS
Those who have survived the 7-year Tribulation on Earth. These born again Christians will enter the 1000-year Kingdom in their natural, physical bodies like ours. They will live in houses, do work, marry, have children, and some will even die–just as people have done since the beginning (Isaiah 65:17 to 25). As regular humans, they will still possess a sinful nature–therefore they will sin during the Millennium, despite the fact that the devil is not there to tempt them.
And remember, type 1 folks will live for a very long time. Since sin and death will still be present during the Millennium, disease will also be present, too. But the Lord will heal all who come to Him, much like He did during His earthly ministry. Christ will be the Great Physician for the world.
It is possible that those who survive the Tribulation and submit to Christ in salvation might live the entire 1,000 years, then receive their glorified body at the end of the Millennium so that they can enter Heaven for eternity. You can’t live eternally with a flesh and blood body–you need an eternal body, a new glorified body to live eternally.
TYPE 2 GLORIFIED BELIEVERS
These are those who either died, or were raptured before the Tribulation. If you are a Christian here today, this is you. You will have already received your new, glorified bodies. You will not have a sinful nature–therefore you will not sin nor be able to sin. This type will reign and rule with Christ during the Millennium. Revelation 20:4, “They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
Believers in glorified bodies may be able to go back and forth between Heaven and Earth during this thousand-year period. We don’t know for certain, but the fact that both type 1 human believers and 2 glorified saints will exist side-by-side on the earth is enough to make the Millennium a totally unprecedented experience.
TYPE 3 UNSAVED OFFSPRING
This means not everyone born during the Millennium turns to Christ for salvation and becomes a true disciple. There are some who are born during the Millennium who do not submit to Christ in their hearts. Those who outwardly rebel during the Millennium will be judged quickly by the Lord (Isaiah 11:4), “With righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.”
No war, no insurrection, no antichrist, no persecution will be tolerated by the King. Those who have disagreements or grievances will bring them to the Lord, who will act as final arbiter and mediator of all disputes, both nationally and personally.
TYPE 4 THE LORD OF GLORY
What makes the Millennium so special is that Jesus Christ will be present on Earth in person. Jesus will be personally present on Earth ruling as King. He will rule the world from the city of Jerusalem.
All the leaders, nations and peoples will flood to the city to pay homage to the King and to honor His chosen people, the Jews. Zephaniah 3:15, “The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst.” Isaiah 60:3 and 4, “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. 4Lift up your eyes round about and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms.”
Our King, Jesus Christ, will sit on His throne receiving homage, dispensing justice, healing the sick, meting out judgment, and administering all the details of His Kingdom. Everything will revolve around the King, Jesus. The last Adam will do perfectly and completely what the first Adam was totally unable to do–He will take dominion over creation and completely fulfill God’s original purpose for man. There are some powerful truths that surround the millennial Kingdom.
A REAFFIRM the Total Depravity of Man
The literal 1,000-year millennial Kingdom is to once and for all prove to the universe the true nature of man. God’s Word clearly teaches mankind is sinful, both by nature and by practice. Christ’s coming Kingdom will be the final, conclusive proof of this fact. Why is that?
Christ is physically present in all His glory, reigning and ruling on a restored earth. Satan the tempter is removed and bound for one thousand years. Perfect, glorified saints, representing Christ and ruling for Christ are everywhere around the planet. The people living on Earth enjoy a perfect environment, harmless animals, massive food production, perfect health.
Yet the Bible teaches that in spite of these perfect conditions, there is a host of people who will be born, then raised during this season (offspring) who will reject the Lord in their hearts. They will outwardly conform to avoid the Lord’s swift judgment, but inwardly they will harbor a rebellious heart against the King of kings. They will not be saved. They will not be born again. They will not submit to Christ. Then when Satan is released at the end of the Millennium, he will be able to gather just a few? No, so many–Revelation 20:8 says, “the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.” And they will surround God’s followers and try to destroy Christ, His city, and His people.
The fact that Satan is able to so quickly gather a group of rebels implies that at the end of the thousand years, many regular offspring of the original human Christians during the Millennium will refuse to submit to Christ as Lord and Savior. The Millennium will prove beyond any doubt that regardless of a person’s heredity, circumstances, or environment, they are incorrigibly sinful apart from God’s saving grace.
Henry Morris, author of The Revelation Record, adds this in his commentary on Revelation 20:7 to 10, “One of the most amazing commentaries on the fallen human nature to be found in all the Word of God is right here in this. After one thousand years of a perfect environment, with an abundance of material possessions and spiritual instruction for everyone, no crime, no war, no external temptation to sin, with the personal presence of all the resurrected saints and even Christ Himself, and with Satan and all his demons bound in the abyss, there are still a multitude of unsaved men and women on earth who are ready to rebel against the Lord the first time they get a chance.”
The Millennium is proof positive that man’s heart is black with sin. It verifies for all time that Christ’s death on the cross was absolutely necessary for man’s salvation. The thousand-year reign of Christ provides overwhelming evidence that you and I must have a righteousness outside ourselves to come into relationship with a holy God. The righteousness we need is the very righteousness of Jesus Christ. God credits that righteousness to all who receive His Son by faith.
B REIGN and rule
When Jesus Christ returns to Earth at the Second Coming, He will bring all His saints with Him–you come back! Jude 14b, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones.” Revelation 19:14, “The armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.” After Christ defeats the armies of the antichrist at Armageddon and judges the nations, He will establish His Kingdom on Earth. And His saints will rule with Him.
While you will certainly worship Jesus and serve Him during the Millennium, the function Scripture emphasizes is ruling and reigning with Christ. The Bible says all believers from every age, will reign with Christ for these thousand years. Daniel 7:27, “Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.”
First Corinthians 6:2 and 3, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?… 3…Do you not know that we will judge angels?” Revelation 2:26 and 27, “He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; 27and he shall rule them with a rod of iron.” Revelation 20:4 and 6, “Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded … and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 6Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”
Can you imagine, you ruling Murrieta—you, Temecula—you, Maui–and you, Hemet? You will rule the nations with Christ for one thousand years on Earth. You will even judge the angels. During your lifetime, you are being evaluated by your Lord to determine your future position of authority and responsibility in His coming, literal Kingdom. According to Luke 19:11 through 26, you will be given rulership in the Kingdom based on what you did with the treasures, talents, gifts, money and service God entrusted to you in this life.
Some will be governors over ten cities. Some will be rulers of five cities. Each genuine Christian will rule, but the extent and responsibility of that reign is being determined right now by your service and sacrifices. One preacher said, “This is training time for reigning time.”
Some of you here have been fooled. You accepted Jesus in a prayer, but you still live for yourself. You don’t have a new heart–you have not been born again. But Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:3, “’Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” Born again means you have been regenerated–Christ has changed your inner nature. You look the same on the outside, but you are not the same, meaning this . . .
When you are born again, you want to OBEY God’s Word . . . you want to INTERCONNECT to a local church family . . . you want to GIVE, you want to SERVE . . . you want to GATHER FAITHFULLY for worship. And it’s not because you have to, but because you want to. Some of you don’t want to follow Christ, submit to Christ, or please Christ by following Him. If that’s you, it doesn’t matter how long you have called yourself a Christian or attended church, you are not a Christian. All genuine Christians follow Christ and obey His Word. He is your Lord.
Today, wake up and cry out to Christ to regenerate you, to cause you to be internally born again. Only God can do it, just as Peter said in 1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again.” Let’s pray.