Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Millenium and Beyond

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.    Revelation 20:4-6  NKJV

Who has ever read about the Garden of Eden and not thought a bit about just what it would be like to live in a situation like that?  While not exactly the same, there is coming a period of time which the Bible tells us will last one thousand years where this world will be a very different place than it is now.  It is most often referred to as the Millenium, which comes from the Latin words Mille and Annum (1000/year).  This word, however, is never used in the Bible but rather the word “Kingdom” which Jesus referred to when He instructed us to pray “Thy Kingdom come”.  

It is at this point in time that Jesus receives the promise given to Him by the Father which is to receive the world as His inheritance.

“Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.    Psalm 2:6-8  NKJV

The prophet Daniel also saw this time in a vision and he describes it this way;

Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.  Daniel 7:14  NKJV

How different will this earth be during the Kingdom Age?  As I read how the Bible describes it I can’t help but think back to the way things were in the Garden and what it was like when all of creation lived in harmony.  In fact, many scholars believe one of the purposes of the Kingdom is to demonstrate what life would have been like if man had not chosen to sin in the Garden of Eden.

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, And joy in My people; The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, Nor the voice of crying. “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; For the child shall die one hundred years old, But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat; For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, Nor bring forth children for trouble; For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the LORD, And their offspring with them. “It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, The lion shall eat straw like the ox, And dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” Says the LORD.    Isaiah 65:17-25  NKJV

What the Bible describes here is almost beyond belief, yet it is also a perfect way for God to demonstrate His power by establishing an environment so completely different than any this world has ever seen.  One thousand years of peace and harmony combined with perfect justice as Jesus rules from His throne in Jerusalem along with His saints.  Yet as hard as it seems to believe, in spite of living in the presence of all this,  there is still in man a sin nature which Satan can exploit if allowed to do so.  This is, unfortunately, exactly what will happen at the end of the Kingdom Age when God releases Satan in order to weed out the last of the unfaithful living on the earth.

Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.    Revelation 20:7-10  NKJV

Even though the world has seen one thousand years of Christ’s perfect rule, and experienced how good life can be when God is in charge, there are still going to be so many who rebel that they are described “as the sand of the sea”.  There is, however, one bright spot in all of this and that is the fact that we have finally arrived at eternity.

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.            Revelation 20:11-15  NKJV

Now that all have been judged and sin is no more, creation is ready to be what God has intended from the very beginning.  John is the first to see the very thing we are all hoping and praying and waiting for.

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”            Revelation 21:1-5  NKJV

Just how close are we to seeing all that we have talked about these past six weeks?  I think it’s safe to say, especially if you have been keeping up with the events in the Middle East the past few weeks, it would appear that we are a lot closer than many people think.  In fact, although just my opinion, I would have to say to you that I hope your bags are packed.  Next week; “When Will These Things Be?”

Keep watching.

If you are interested in a little update on the current  situation in the Middle East, feel free to go to this website and read a few of their recent posts.