Behold, a day is coming for the Lord when the spoils taken from you will be divided among you. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be taken, the houses plundered, the women ravaged, and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be eliminated from the city. Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west forming a very large valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. And you will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him! – Zechariah 14:1-5
Typically, for one kingdom to rise up and be established, the former kingdom must fall. What we are beginning to see here in Zechariah is the establishment of The Millennial kingdom of God. Here, we begin with a picture of Armageddon. As you know, from reading my latest end times posts and by a plain and simple reading of scripture, Christians have long been out of the picture at the time this prophecy is to take place. We endure the Great Persecution and are then “caught up” to be with the Lord forevermore. But there remains a remnant of 144,000 Jews sealed by God who will still be on earth during the pouring out of God’s wrath upon the earth. They remain untouched by His plagues while the world is rightly punished. At the grand finale of God’s Wrath, the mystery, Babylon the Great will be destroyed by supernatural disasters in just one day. The great pride of the world will be struck down like it was nothing. Yet, their blind hatred and malice towards God grow larger still. The antichrist is not done. In blasphemous arrogance, still claiming to be God, he and all the armies of the world line up to face Jesus Christ. They trample Jerusalem to the ground for it to become their own stronghold. Jesus then appears in the sky, dressed in white and riding upon a white horse. He is followed by all those who took part in the first resurrection of Christ. All believers from all time line the sky behind him with their own white horses and white clothes. The greatest war between good and evil is about to commence. But unlike what fictional books or stories may have you believe, good and evil are not on the same playing field. There is no struggle for Christ.
Now this will be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth. And it will come about on that day that a great panic from the Lord will fall on them; and they will seize one another’s hand, and the hand of one will be raised against the hand of another. Judah also will fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered, gold, silver, and garments in great abundance. And just like this plague, there will be a plague on the horse, the mule, the camel, the donkey, and all the cattle that will be in those camps. – Zechariah 14:12-15
Revelation 19 and 20 parallels this prophesy and continue the narrative. We are told that the antichrist and his false prophet are cast into the lake of fire to be tormented for all of eternity. But Satan himself still has use. He is bound in the bottomless pit for 1000 years so he is unable to deceive the nations. But afterward, he will be released for a short period of time. (Rev 20:1-3) That is the introduction to what we know as The Millennial Kingdom of Christ. Revelation 20:4-6 says,
“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 because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed 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.“
That leads us to these three questions:
- What on earth is the Millennium?
- Who on earth is in the Millennium?
- Why on earth is there a Millennium?
We observe three distinct groups of people that will be in the Millennial Kingdom:
- The Immortal Saints of God – Given glorified bodies, ruling over the nations.
- 144,000 Sealed Jews – Still wearing their perishable flesh, inhabiting Jerusalem.
- “Those who are left” – People of the world not killed during the wrath of God, also still wearing their perishable flesh.
Immediately following the passages we already read in Zechariah, chapter 14:16-17 say this:
“Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of armies, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of armies, there will be no rain on them.”
The first blank we can fill in regarding what happens during the Millennium is that year after year, everyone will be required to attend the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem. The punishment for failing to do so is drought. This is not a world that is quite as tolerant of disobedience as the age of Grace we are living in now is. The Lord is ruling with an iron rod. Sin will be held at a minimum. Secondly, we hear that this applies to “those who are left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem”. I have heard many people say that only new believers will enter into the Millennial kingdom, (people who “got saved” after the rapture during God’s wrath) and that all the wicked will die during the wrath of God. Scripturally, that is actually not accurate. Zechariah 14 is very clear about that. First off, remember, at the battle of Armageddon it is all the armies of the world that are lined up for battle. That does not include all the people of the world. Just the armies are swallowed up completely and utterly destroyed, as seen in Revelation 19:20-21. So there are people left that managed to survive the wrath of God. Secondly, notice that it’s those who “came against” Jerusalem that will enter into the Millennial Kingdom. Again, this is very clear that non-Jewish, worldly people from all the nations against Jerusalem consist of this group. Now, granted, we don’t know the spiritual condition of those people as some people may try to suggest, but we do know that at least from the surface, they were the opposition. These people, who were fortunate enough by the grace of God to survive His wrath are now “those who are left” and will be subjected to Christ’s rule during the Millennium.
No longer will there be an infant from there live 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.” – Isaiah 65:17-25
With sin kept to a minimum, people during this time will have a similar lifespan to those that we heard of early in the Old Testament. At 100 years old, people will still be fresh and youthful. In fact, if someone dies at 100 years old, people will know that they were accursed and had hidden sin in their lives. It will disgrace them.
When I was a camp counselor, there were many times where I had to correct a young camper for bad behavior. Kids are always full of energy and often either forget or just disregard the rules given to them. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and say they just forget a lot, but we all know that’s most the time not the case. I remember so many times where I would correct a camper on his behavior, they respond apologetically, I turn my back and immediately they return to doing whatever misdeed they were doing before. It’s easy to live in sin, thinking that God is too far away to do anything about it right now anyway. Right now, in this age of grace, it often feels like that. We don’t feel the scorching burn of God’s fierce anger towards sin right now. We often don’t feel just how wrong and corrupting sin is to us right now. We are living in a time of grace. Now imagine this: (or maybe, like me, you don’t have to because you’ve seen it) imagine those same kids that we said in secret continue in their wrong behavior, now don’t even wait for you to turn your back. While you are still present they blatantly begin misbehaving. Maybe they are hitting each other, maybe they are screaming in the house or just plain disobeying you. How long is it going to take you to interfere and get more stern with them? Are you going to let those kids walk all over you? Are you going to let those kids take over your house? Or are you going to get a little tougher with them and make sure they understand who’s boss? If it was me, they will learn real fast not to disrespect me, especially right to my face. Micah 4:1-7 tells us that The Lord will teach us about his ways. He will judge and render decisions for mighty distant nations. Jesus Christ will be ruling ON EARTH during the Millennium. This is his house now. You will not be dishonoring the Lord to his face in his house. That is why discipline will be immediate and severe during this time. Jesus himself will be teaching people his ways while he judges in person here on earth.
That also goes for foreign affairs as well. Though the nations of the world at this time will not exactly be considered foreign, because Jesus is King over it all; to the ends of the Earth there will be no more war, as stated in Isaiah 2:2-4. In fact, there will be little to no conflict at all. It will be a world more unified than ever before. And here we thought the internet was going to do that. We were so wrong! Instead, Isaiah 19:23-25 says that there will be a great highway connecting once hostile nations. Egypt, Assyria, and Israel will all worship together and be a blessing to the entire world. There will be healing and comfort for the righteous during this time. There will be gladness and Joy. (Isaiah 35)
As strict as this time will be, it’s also important to note that it is the lies of the serpent in our ear that have always caused us to despise authority. That mindset is rooted in our sinful and rebellious nature that drives us to disobey God. The lie is that disobeying God and living according to your own will makes you “become like God”. But with Satan unable to deceive people during these 1000 years, many people will come to realize that God’s way isn’t all that bad. It actually brings joy and gladness. Unfortunately, not everyone will come to that realization. Many will most likely find themselves merely going through the motions, waiting for the perfect time to rebel. That time will come at the end of the 1000 years. Revelation 20:8-9 says,
He, (Satan), will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
Before the wrath of God was poured out upon the earth, the Bible recognizes 2 distinct groups of people. We saw a great multitude of people from all nations appearing in Heaven. (Rev 7:9-17) We recognize these people as believers in Christ who were preserved by God; saved via the rapture, who then returned in their glorified bodies to rule and reign with Christ for 1000 years. We also see a group of 144,000 Jews who were sealed. (Rev 7:4-8) But they are not necessarily mentioned appearing in Heaven alongside this clearly distinct group. Most scholars believe that they are mentioned distinctly and literally because they have a specific purpose. God seals them because they will dwell in the promised land and finally possess it fully in the Millennial kingdom. In Deut. 30:1-10 God makes a covenant with Israel called the Land Covenant. This covenant promised, unconditionally, that God will one day return the people of Israel to their land and dwell in it. Not a single Canaanite will be in Jerusalem. 144,000 Jews are sealed and protected during the wrath of God to remain on this earth as mortal beings to fulfill a promise God made with them. Alongside that, we are told that these Jews will be faithful in their witness of Christ. We can only assume then, that through their witness many will come to know the Lord genuinely during the Millennial reign of Christ.
The descendants of the 144,000 are those who live in the “Beloved City” that will be attacked by Satan and those who rebel. They will be attacked by satan and all those who he has deceived: all the filthy rotten people who dare to challenge Christ’s divine authority and refuse to acknowledge the countless smiles His rule has caused to grow on the faces of his people. They’d rather oppose for the sake of opposing; so ignorant to the blessing Christ is. But once again, we are reminded that good and evil are not on the same playing field. As quickly as the rebellion has started, it will be crushed even swifter.
As perfect a broken world can be, it will be because of Christ. Yet, sin and death will still be a reminder that it is not as perfect as it could be. The Millennial Kingdom here on Earth is not our final destination. Why couldn’t God just move on right to the New Heaven and New Earth immediately following Armageddon? Why this 1000 year intermission?
Why on Earth is there a Millennial Kingdom of Christ?
To fulfill the Prophesies of the Old and New Testament:
The prophets of the Old and New Testament prophesied that Christ’s Kingdom would reign on earth as it does in Heaven. “Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it Is in Heaven.” David prophesied of the Kingdom in Psalm 72:11, Isaiah does in his book, (9:7) among many other mentions. Zechariah, Micah, and Ezekiel, to name a few more. Not to leave out Jesus, himself, in Luke 1:32-33 and Matthew 6:8-13. God cannot lie. He cannot merely do away with this world before he holds true to the promise he gave. One day, when Jesus returns, his Kingdom will come, and his will shall be done on this earth.
For believers in Christ to be rewarded:
During the Millennial Kingdom, we are promised the reward of being able to reign and rule with Christ. All throughout scripture, this was clear; that not merely a select few “tribulation saints” were to rule, but all believers of all time will rule with Christ. It is then where believers will be rewarded for their faithful service on this earth. (Matthew 16:27, 25:34, 1 Peter 2:9, Colossians 3:23-24, 1 Corinthians 6:2, Revelation 20:6, 22:12).
Revelation 20:4-6 makes it very clear that all those who take part in the first resurrection of Christ are blessed because they will be “priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him for a thousand years”. The first resurrection is all those who were raptured unto Christ. “…The dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…” – 1 Thes. 4:16b-17a
To expose mankind’s sin nature and highlight the need for Christ’s death:
During the Millennium, those who “are left of the nations that went against Jerusalem”, alongside the 144,000 sealed Jews, will live on. They will not have glorified bodies as those in the 1st resurrection. They will live, bear children, and die because they still have the fallen human nature inside them. Though, death will not come as fast as it does today because sin will be under tight grips and judged immediately. For some, this may develop a genuine love for the Lord. For others, they are like a rebellious child, who only do what they are told because you are in the room with them. As soon as they are given the freedom to sin, they jump on the opportunity. It is merely external obedience out of obligation or force, not out of love for God. Satan will be released at the end of the 1000 years to deceive the nations once again. (Revelation 20:1-3, 7-8). As unbelievable as it sounds, though Christ is literally reigning on earth during the Millennium, some will be deceived and rebel.
The Millennium answers this question: Who or what was the real problem?
Have you ever heard someone say, “If God would just show himself to me, I would believe”? This is probably the most common excuse non-believers use. “God is the reason I don’t believe. How could he be real when all these problems exist in the world? If he would make his existence more obvious, then I would believe!” Someday, that excuse will no longer be able to be used.
Is God the problem? Or is humanity the problem?
At the end of the 1000 years, God allows Satan to be released for a short time to show that man is inherently sinful. It wasn’t God’s lack of intentionality that caused all the evil in the world. Satan exposes man’s sinful nature by deceiving them even while the Lord and his people reign directly and supremely. Man wants to be like God. When given the opportunity to, they will rebel. That is why God releases Satan one final time before sending him into the lake of fire for all eternity. Faith was enough to bring upon salvation. “Sight” is not enough. And lack thereof is no excuse because our sinful nature bends us to our own will, instead of God’s. We need Christ. That fact will become more concrete than ever in the hearts of Christ’s followers. We will not enter into the new Heaven and new Earth questioning, “what if God just made it more obvious to them?” There is nothing more obvious of God’s goodness, grace, patience, power, and love, than for him to reign on earth with His people, teach his people, and protect his people. There is no opportunity for excuse and no room for questions to stir. They have been answered completely.
When Christ sits on His throne and judges all, there will be no objections, there will be no concerns or questions. We will be confident in the Lord’s judgments. We have seen the hardened hearts of the wicked and we have seen the goodness of the justified through Christ. The Millennial Kingdom wraps up the Redemptive story of this fallen creation. It’s the icing on the cake; the home stretch of a race. It’s the final chapter of an eventful book. But the sequel will be even better. The sequel will be eternal life, eternal joy, eternal peace, and everlasting love. The final destination for believers is beyond this broken book. Our home is the New Heaven and New Earth which is to come.