"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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." (Luke 1:32-33) The humble, suffering servant of God and man, hated and humiliated by sinful man on a cursed earth, will at last be honored and exalted in the very world that so hated Him. God will honor His Son and give Him the Kingdom He promised Him: "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil. 2:5-11)
The Millennial Kingdom (intermediate kingdom) begins with the binding of Satan and ends with the release of Satan (vv.3, 7). (It actually merges with the eternal kingdom – the new heaven and new earth). At this point the Tribulation has ended, all Israel has been saved, millions of Gentiles have come to Christ, the Antichrist and the False Prophet have been defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire, Babylon the religious/political/economic system that stands in opposition to God and is manifested in the rebuilt city has been destroyed, Christ has defeated all of His enemies at Armageddon and has come again to the earth to rule and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.
In my last message I noted the difference between premillennialism and postmillennialism, but there is a third view call amillennialism that believes that there will be no literal reign of Christ on earth for 1,000 years but that the period of time between Christ's 1st and 2nd coming is the Millennial Kingdom, i.e., that we are in the millennium right now. They believe that all the promises to Israel about the land, seed, and throne are thus completely fulfilled now in a spiritual sense in the church because Israel did not meet the condition of obedience (as if the church has), and that Satan is presently bound. I believe in premillennialism and this is the view seen here as I explain what will occur in the Millennium.
The main points regarding the millennium are: Satan is bound for a 1000 years and cannot deceive the nations (vv.1-3); Jesus the King will rule the earth from the throne of David and His saints (saved people) will reign with Him for a 1000 years of peace, prosperity and almost perfect conditions (vv.4-6). The remainder of chapter 20 shows that, after the Millennium, Satan will be released and go about the earth to gather an army of people (millions) who have rejected Christ in their hearts and God will destroy them all and cast Satan into the Lake of Fire forever (vv.7-10). God will then create a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:10) the eternal state as seen in Revelation 21-22 (v.11); Then He will judge unrepentant man of all ages whose names are not found in the Book of Life and cast them all into the Lake of Fire (vv.12-15).
This week I will focus on the Millennium – the reign of Christ with a rod of iron through His people for 1000 years on a renewed earth. God's plan from the beginning of creation was to rule as King over His creation through man (to take dominion over the earth and subdue it – Gen. 1:26-28: Psalm 8:4-8; Heb 2:6-10) and He will not allow Satan the usurper to thwart His rule. Immediately after the Fall, God promised a Deliverer Who would defeat Satan (Gen. 3:15) redeem fallen man, and once again rule the earth. God has worked through human government, the patriarchs, the nation of Israel, judges, kings, the prophets and then His Son the God-Man, The Prophet, Priest and King, the Lord Jesus Christ to restore His Kingdom. The Old Testament prophets spoke of the Kingdom of God that was to come and yet when Jesus came in His first advent as a humble suffering servant most of the Jews rejected Him. Then John the Baptist preached about the promised Kingdom as did Jesus but Israel rejected their King. So here at the end of the Tribulation and the end of the church age God turns back to Israel as His instrument of salvation and blessing to the whole world (Gen. 12; Rom. 9-11) and in the Millennium fulfills every promise He made to them regarding the promised land (its boundaries, its bounty and its beauty), the seed of David (a Jewish Messiah/King – Jesus as the Son of Man) and the throne of David (Jesus as the King of kings ruling from the throne of David in Jerusalem). "The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever." (2 Sam. 7:12-13) If there is no literal Millennial Kingdom on the earth then God's Word and promises would not be fulfilled.
"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. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) 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." (Rev. 20:4-6) During the kingdom, the saints will reign with the Lord Jesus (20:4-6, Rom. 8:17), the apostles over Israel (Matt. 19:28), believers over angels (1 Cor. 6:2), believers over the nations (Rev. 2:26), and perhaps glorified saints over natural born persons in the millennium. All those saved are in the first resurrection. (These resurrections of saved people occur at different times beginning with the resurrection of Christ so the term "first resurrection" means the resurrection of all saved people in all ages.) Though the term "second resurrection" isn't used, it is described later in 20:11-15 at the end of the 1000 years and includes all the unsaved who are resurrected (a physical body) and judged for their works (there are degrees of hell) and then cast into the Lake of Fire. (Daniel 12:2) We will be blessed and holy (glorified and sinless) because the second death (Lake of Fire) has no power over us and because we are priests of God (to serve Him and glorify Him) and we will reign with Him for a 1000 years.
A description of the Millennial Kingdom is seen in many of the Old Testament passages (Is. 11:1-11; Jer. 31:31-34; Joel 3:17-21; Amos 9:11-15; Micah 4:1-5) but a brief summary of the nature of the kingdom and the reign of Christ is summarized by Dr. Daniel Akin: Worldwide reign of Christ with Jerusalem the capital of the world; A theocracy (Dan. 7:14; Rev. 19:15), Just, Spiritual, long-life (death is limited to sinners), Prosperous, Righteous, Ethical, Religiously pure, Socially beneficial (animal and social conditions are transformed), Peaceful.
"When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth-Gog and Magog-to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever." After the Millennial Kingdom ends, sinners deceived by Satan will rebel and demonstrate that even in a near perfect environment with no Satanic temptation, man is capable of rebellion against God. (Rom. 8:7)
Next week we will look at the reality of Hell – a place of eternal torment. Rev. 20:11-15.
QUESTIONS FOR APPLICATION AND DISCUSSION
1) What is your main take away from today's message and table discussion and how can you apply it to your life this week?
2) What do you look forward to the most about Christ's return and the Millennial Kingdom?
3) Does it surprise you that millions of people reject Christ even in a perfect world? Why or why not?