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CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MILLENNIUM

Several of the more obvious and prominent characteristics of the Millennium will be discussed:

Satan will be bound. The “ruler of this world” will be removed, removed so that he will no longer be deceiving and betraying individuals. Three times this designation is used by Jesus in John’s Gospel (12:31; 14:30; 16:11).

To be ruler is to rule; the Greek is archon, a word associated with the idea of “beginning” or “cause,” and from these concepts there developed the ideas of “rule” and “authority.” Satan is both the ruler (archon) of demons (Matt. 12:24; Mk. 3:22; Lu. 11:15) and the ruler (archon) of the world. Not only is the word used of spiritual powers, but it is also used of the rulers of nations (Matt. 20:25; Acts 4:26), rulers of the synagogue and nation of Israel (Matt. 9:18, 23; Lu. 23:13, 35; Acts 3:17), and rulers of cities (Acts 16:19).

Similar descriptions f Satan are used in other references: “the god of this age” (II Cor. 4:4; “the god of this world” in the ESV); “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2); and “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (I Jo. 5:19). In Scripture Satan is uniquely related to this world as the ruler or prince of it; in other words, the world and all that is in it is under his influence and power (see: Ruler of this World).

Of course, his rule is at all times contingent upon the rule of God. Satan is not absolute nor autonomous. Ultimately, he is dependent upon God, dependent because his position and power are derived. They have been given to him, and they can be taken away.

This position of Satan is in conflict with the One who is returning on the white horse, returning to rule the earth with a rod of iron. Two rulers are not acceptable; the weaker must be removed. And he will be bound by the angel that comes “down from heaven”; the angel  comes from God, he represents God, he is doing the bidding of God, and he has the power of God. Succinctly the Scripture states that the angel “seized,” “bound,” and “threw”; so effortlessly does God control Satan. So easily he is bound and put away for a defined period. He will be exposed for what he is, a limited ruler who has no power before the One who is Sovereign (see: God is Sovereign and Binding of Satan).

Christ will rule. Perhaps this is the most definitive characteristic of the Millennium—it will be the rule of Christ. For all of earth’s history the visible rule on the earth has been the rule of men. Nations have been controlled by men, men who were sometimes good leaders, good according to human estimation, and sometimes evil leaders, leaders who gave expression to base drives and desires. But all the various types of rulers have been human, and the rule that they have exercised has been humanistic. In contrast to all of them, the rule of the Millennium will be the rule of Christ.

Christ’s rule is the rule of Deity; that is, the rule of the Millennium will be the rule of God. Therefore, the Kingdom that will be established will be Theistic. It will be Theistic in its initiation, throughout its implementation, obvious in its character and morality, and definitive in its justice. Thus the political order, social order, and religious order will be unlike any that has ever been seen or experienced on earth.

Isaiah described this unimaginable time in world history:

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us His ways and that we may walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore (Isa. 2:1-4).

The rule of Christ will be the rule of David—in this sense there is continuity and discontinuity between the two Testaments, and between old Israel and spiritual Israel. To Mary the angel said: “The Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign . . . and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Lu.1:32-33). Mary understood the implication because she knew the teaching of the Old Testament:

There shall come forth a Shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a Branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him . . .  righteousness shall be the belt of His waist, and faithfulness the belt of His loins . . . in that day the Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of Him shall the nations inquire, and His resting place shall be glorious (Isa. 11:1, 5, 10);   My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in My rules and be careful to obey My statutes. They shall dwell in the land . . . and David my servant shall be their prince forever . . . My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Ezek. 37:24-28; see: Old Testament Anticipation).

The rule of Christ will be on this earth. Before the sun, moon, and stars were created, the earth was created, a Biblical fact which is contrary to the speculation of an evolutionary worldview (see: Work of Creation). The earth is the center of the universe, at least from the perspective of Creation. Its prominence is not defined by its supposed location in the cosmos, but by its intended use by God. Earth was especially created and designed for man, for man who is made in the image of God (see: Image of God). The earth is the place for fellowship between God and man. And it is upon the earth that the Lord will reign, reign over man, and reign with man.

For the rule of Christ to be on this earth means that His rule will be a part of history. Teaching in the Scriptures informs us of an earthly Kingdom, a Kingdom that is part of the historical process. The rule of Christ does not transcend history, nor is it contrary to history—to  understand it properly is to realize that it is within history. The hope of historical man will be realized in the history of man.

The rule of Christ will be supernatural—it will be the rule created by God not by man. It will be imposed from above, and will not be an evolution from beneath of the political process that is under the control of man. The rule by God will be established by God.

The rule of Christ is future. To affirm this aspect does not deny nor invalidate the fact that God’s rule is continuous, without interruption, and is eternal (see: God is Sovereign). The future aspect of the rule speaks of that rule which will become visible, historical, and earthly during the Millennium. Christ’s rule on earth will be established through His return to the earth (see: Purpose of the Second Coming) and the binding of Satan (see: Binding of Satan); this Millennial rule is still future. Christ’s rule is both fulfillment and also anticipatory.

Christ’s rule will confirm the prophecy of the Old and New Testaments, which are united in their prediction of a Theocratic Kingdom in the future: OT – Ps. 72; Isa. 2; 11-12; 9; 11; 30; 35; 45; 65-66; Jer. 3:17; 30-33; Dan. 2; 7:9, 22; 9; 11-12; Ezek. 36-37; 38-39; 40-48; Joel 2-3; Zech. 14; (see: Old Testament Anticipation); NT – Matt. 5:5; 19:28; Acts 3:19-21; I Cor. 15:23-28; II Tim. 2:12; Rev. 2:26-27; 12:5-6; 19:15; 20.

His Millennial rule is also anticipatory in that the temporal reign will merge into the eternal reign, with the present earth being replaced by the new earth. And on the new earth “no longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it” (Rev. 22:3).

Christ will be worshiped. Zachariah delivers the classic passage regarding worship in the future:

Behold, a day is coming for the Lord . . . on that day His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives . . . and the Lord will be king over all the earth . . . then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts (14:1, 4, 9, 16).

Admittedly the texts from Zechariah are not easily understood; there are pressing questions, and answers are not obvious. But it cannot be denied that the prophet envisioned a day when the Lord would rule on this earth, and in that capacity He would be worshiped. We cannot lightly set aside such an affirmation by the ancient prophet.

Earlier the prophet predicts that the favor of the Lord will be sought: “The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts’” (Zech. 8:21).

In connection with the worship will be the law and the word of the Lord that will be in Jerusalem and go forth from Jerusalem:

It shall come to pass in the latter days . . . many peoples shall come, and say “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us His ways and that we may walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isa. 2:2-3).

In some manner the statement by John that believers on the earth will be “priests of God” (Rev. 20:6) during the Millennium must relate to worship. Through the Old Testament prophet, God says: “My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Ezek. 37:28). To be God’s people and to be God’s priests surely must equate to worship.

As with the rule so with the worship—the worship of the thousand years will merge into the worship of eternity. In the last chapter of the Bible it simply says: “and His servants will worship Him” (Rev. 22:3).

All of creation will exist in harmony.

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the oz. the nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isa. 11:6-9).


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