The word, Millennium, is not found in the Bible. It is from the Latin word, mille-thousand and annus- year. We Christadelphians believe in the Millennium or the 1,000 year reign of Christ on this earth. The God of Heaven will set up the Kingdom of God (Daniel 2:44) and Christ whom God raised from the dead (Acts 17:31) will rule the world in righteousness. He will be king over all the earth (Zechariah 14:9). The resurrected saints, who put on immortality at the judgment, will reign with Christ until all enemies are put under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (I Corinthians 15:25-26). After the resurrection and the faithful have received immortality the saints hear this glad news: "Thou hast made us unto our God Kings and Priests and we shall reign on the earth." (Revelation5:10), and in Revelation 20:4, "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them". This, my friends, projects you out beyond the resurrection for no one will ever rule on a throne in the age to come who has not successfully passed the judgment, "And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
Do we have a reliable guide regarding the future of this planet, with its teeming millions of human beings subject to sin, disease and death? "A thus saith the Lord" is made with an exactness which appeals to all Bible students. Regarding the earth, we read in Eccl. 1:4 "One generation passeth away and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever." In Is. 45:18 we read, "God himself that formed the earth and made it, he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited." In Ps. 37:9-11 "For evil doers shall be cut off; but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." Radio friends, can you visualize what life on this earth will be when all evil doers are cut off, and when there will be no wicked people? We read further in verses 22, 28, 29, "For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off - The Lord loveth judgment ad forsaketh not his saints; They are preserved forever; but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The Righteous shall inherit the land and dwell therein forver." In verses 34-36 "Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off thou shalt see it. I have seen the wicked in great power and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away - an lo, he was not; yea, I sought him but he could not be found." In Matt. 5:5 Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." The eternal home of the righteous is to be this earth in its glorified state. This statement is made on the authority of the Bible and that to us is final. God's unfolding purpose is seen both in the Old Testament and in the New. The plan provides for the ultimate good of all who will accept it. Those who reject God's overture of love an mercy will perish.
A faint purpose of God is seen in this promise! "The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent." (Gen. 3:15). In Genesis 13:14-15, God's purpose begins to take definite shape when God told Abraham to look to the "east, west, north and south, for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever." The fulfillment of this promise necessitates the resurrection of Abraham from the death state. In Acts 7:5, Stephen's testimony given about 2,000 years after Abraham's death says, "And He (God gave him (Abraham) none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on; yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him when as yet he had no child." My friends, do you believe the Bible? If you do, you are bound to say that God will yet give Abraham the land of Palestine. Who is the seed? The promise was not only made to Abraham but also to his seed...let Paul tell us who the seed is. In Galatians 3:16 we read, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not and to seed of many; but as one and to thy seed which is Christ." This same promise was made to Isaac in Genesis 26 and to Jacob in Genesis 28. Now turn with me to Hebrews 11:8-9. There we read "By Faith, Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; by faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him to same promise." In Hebrews 11:13 we read, "These all did in faith not having received the promises (The Greek says not having received the "promised blessing") but having seen them afar off and were persuaded of them, and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims in the earth." In the Millennium, these promises will all be fulfilled - believe it or not.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are called the Fathers, Acts 3:13. When Paul stood before King Agrippa as recorded in Acts 26:6, he said, "and now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God to the fathers." Note the question in verse 8, "Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you (King Agrippa) that God should raise the dead?" What has raising the dead got to do with this subject? Where are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob now? They are dead and if they are never raised from the dead - they can never inherit the land promised to them, and if they are not made immortal they can never live in the land forever.
God made a covenant with King David (II Sam. 7:10-17). This covenant was all David's salvation and all his desire (II Sam. 23-5) although its fulfillment pointed to "a great while to come".(II Sam. 7:19). The covenant provides for one of David's lineal descendants to establish his house and kingdom forever, before David, i.e. in David's presence. To do that, David must be raised from the dead. But who is the seed in this covenant? Of this one, God states, "I will be his father and he shall be my son." So you see, Jesus, God's son, is the seed. In Acts 13:23 we read, "of this man's (David) seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus." The angel told Mary that her son would sit on David's throne and reign over the house of Jacob forever. What is meant by the house of Jacob? The 12 tribes of Israel. Zekediah was the last king to sit on David's throne. He was a very wicked ruler. In Ezekiel 21:25-27 we read, "And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end. Thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem (priestly head gear) and take off the crown (kings wear crowns) this shall not be the same; exalt low (i.e. Gentile governments) and abase high (i.e. Israel) I will overturn it (the kingdom), and it shall be no more until he (Christ) comes whose right it is; and I will give it him." Who is the He? bible students know that it is Christ.
Christ claimed to be king when he was first on earth. Pilate wrote over the cross, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews". Those responsible for his crucifixion, said to Pilate, "write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews". Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written." Friends, has Christ ever been King of the Jews? No. Will he ever by? Yes. Why do we say so? Because the Bible teaches it God raised Christ from the dead to sit on David's throne (Acts 2:30). Christ is now at the right hand of the Father. How long will He be there? God has appointed a day for Christ to rule the world in righteousness, see Acts 17:31 and in Acts 3:20, "He (God) shall send Jesus Christ - whom the heaven must receive until the time of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." When the God of heaven sets up the Kingdom (see Daniel 2:44) Christ is to be King of that Kingdom. The Lord shall be King over all the earth. In Matthew 19:27 Peter asked a very human question of Christ. "We have forsaken all and followed thee, what shall we have therefore?" Christ's answer was "Ye which have followed me in the regeneration (i.e. in the period of restitution spoken of by all the holy prophets) when the son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging (i.e. ruling) the twelve tribes of Israel (verse 28)." This is all in the future. The present gathering of the Jews to Palestine is the outstanding sign in the political heaven that Christ's coming is near. Distress of nations, men's hearts failing them for fear are further signs. Some day before long Christ will be back in the earth and the Millennium will begin. The Lord's house or Kingdom will be established in Jerusalem, the city of the Great King, Christ and the co-rulers, the immortal kings and priests will rule the world in righteousness. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; "and all nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord to Jerusalem; Neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil hear." (Jeremiah 3:17). "In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land (Palestine) that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers," (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob).
The chief end of man is to glorify God. This can only be done by believing His word and obeying it. Today, darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people regarding God's plan to fill the earth with His glory. The messenger of the Glad Tidings of the Kingdom is to come soon, "and rule the world in righteousness." "He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth for the Lord hath spoken it." (Isaiah 25:7,8).
"The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice - Righteousness and judgment are the habitations of His throne." (Ps. 97:1,2). This is to continue until "there shall be no more curse." (Revelation 22:3). The millennial reign of Christ will bring God's plan and purpose into full fruition and the whole earth shall be filled with his glory. "Swift to its close, ebbs out life's little day. Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away."
But beyond this age is the millennium - a kingdom of peace and righteousness, and there are places for those who walk worthy of God, and those places are eternal. "Life is brief- a little stay. But Life in Christ is endless day."
In the face of all these positive statements, someone once said to me, "The Bible says that the earth is to be burned up." So it does, but the Bible does not contradict itself; it must harmonize, otherwise we could not depend upon its teachings.
Turn to II Peter chapter 3 and consider the facts there recorded. Peter asked the beloved to be mindful, i.e. to have their minds full of of the words spoken before by the holy prophets and by the apostles. In verse 3-4 we read, "There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying where is the promise of His coming?" "For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." Now note verse 5, "For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water; whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water perished." Here we have a world made up of heaven and of earth. What happened to both? Peter says they perished. Does that mean that the earth on which we now live and the heavens, God's holy habitation, perished? Read Isaiah 1:2, "Hear, O heavens, and give ear O earth; for the Lord hath spoken. I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me." It is easy for people who think, to see that the heavens and the earth spoken of in II Peter 3 refer to "rebellious children." The people in Noah's day were warned of the flood. they did not heed the warning. The world, (made up of the heavens, the ruling class) and the earth, (the ruled) perished which means that all the wicked were destroyed. When God say that the earth was corrupt and filled with violence he said, "I will destroy them (those who had forgotten God) with the earth." (Genesis 6:13).
In the same way the heavens and the earth (people) which are now, (II Peter 3:7, (the world we are living in) is to be destroyed by fire. The Lord is long suffering, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But will the people repent and will earth's population heed God's warning? "Let favor be shewed to the wicked, yet, will he not learn righteousness." (Isaiah 26:10). In verse 9 of this chapter we read, "When God's judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." Now read verse 10 of II Peter 3rd chapter, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up." The flood destroyed the world, made up of the heavens and the earth (people) that were of old, and fire is to destroy the one we are living in now. The flood came gradually upon the earth to destroy all that had corrupted God's way. So in the destruction by fire of this order of things, it may take a longer time because the population is spread over so much more of the earth than it was at the time of the flood. Zechariah's vision closes with a world subdued, disciplined and obedient. We see the world reduced in numbers. In Zechariah 14:16 we read, "And it shall come to pass that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts and to keep the feasts of tabernacles."
Just what did Paul mean in II Thessalonians 1:7-10 when he wrote, "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, when he comes to be glorified in all his saints? Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness." (What a solemn warning to God's people.) "Looking for and hastening unto the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved and the elements shall melt with fervent heat."
"Nevertheless we according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." (II Peter 3:11-13). What a glorious promise! Read and study II Peter 3rd chapter and it will project you beyond this troubled world to the Millennium where we will have "new heavens and a new earth," a new order of things, a righteous ruler with immortal saints, kings and priests to reign on the earth, (Revelation 5:10) and we are told that they will live and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4).
Is it possible for God's people to get a mental picture of conditions as they will be during the 1,000 years reign of Christ on earth? To the law and to the testimony; "if they speak not according to this word (god's word) it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20). In I Corinthians 2:9 we read, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." May I ask here whose eye and whose ear and whose mind is the prophet talking about?
The context shows that it refers to the men of the world, who are ignorant of what God has prepared for them that love him, for verse 10 reads, "But God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit." Who is the "Us"? The Christ body, the church of the living God, those who believe the glad tidings of the kingdom of God and look forward to the coming of Christ, who is to rule the world in righteousness. Listen to the testimony of Jeremiah 23:5-6, "Behold the days come saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous branch and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called The Lord Our Righteousness." This Righteous Branch, this king, is Lord Jesus Christ, the seed of the Woman, Genesis 3:15, the seed of Abraham, Genesis 13:15, the Seed that shall possess the gate of his enemies, Genesis 22:17, the seed of David, II Samuel 7:12, who is to sit on David's throne restored and reign over the House of Jacob forever. (Luke 1:32-33).
Listen to the prophet in Isaiah chapter 35 as he pictures to us some of the beauties of the millennium reign of Christ on earth. "The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose - Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped - Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, and thirsty lands springs of water. A highway shall be there and a way, and it shall be called The way of Holiness - and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; thy shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighting shall flee away." The curse, brought upon the earth by the disobedience of Adam, is removed, "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree." (Isaiah 55:13). It is at this time that the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before his ancients gloriously. (Isaiah 24:23).
A prominent newspaperman recently wrote, "if there is a better world we want to be assured of it quickly. We are like passengers on a torpedoed ship, sinking beneath our feet." The prophets have directed the minds of those who believe God's word to a better world, a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. Turn to Isaiah 65:17-25, "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing and her people a joy, and I will rejoice in Jerusalem and joy in my people; and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying." How different are things today in Jerusalem. There we see war, blood shed, poverty and distress. Not only in Jerusalem, but in all countries of the world we see distress of nations with perplexity, men's hearts are failing them for fear, but these are only signs that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
In the Millennium age, "There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days; for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed; and they shall build houses and inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build and another inhabit, they shall not plant and another eat - They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble." (Isaiah 65:20-23). O the trouble in the world today! We've seen so much of it but in the age to come we read, "Behold a King shall reign in righteousness and Princess shall rule in judgment." (Isaiah 32:1). In verse 17, "and the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever."
With one universal kingdom, ruled over by a righteous King, and a royal household, made up of Kings and Priests to reign with Christ on earth, it will be only a matter of time until there will be "glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and good will to men." "Thy Kingdom come" is our prayer.
The Resurrection, Old Testament