The second coming of Christ brings an end of the great tribulation and marks the beginning of what the Bible calls the Millennium. The Millennium is a literal thousand year reign of Christ here on the earth.
Significant Events before the Millennium
Before we give some details about the millennium there are a few significant events that happen at the end of the great tribulation that sets the stage for the millennium. We are going to take a look at the-
- Imprisonment of Satan for 1000 years
- Resurrection of the tribulation saints
- Judgment of sheep and goats
Satan Locked Up for a Thousand-years
As we shared last month when Christ returns to the earth He will be accompanied by the Church and angels. They will immediately destroy the armies of the world at the battle of Armageddon. The Antichrist and the false prophet, the world leader at this time, will be cast alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. (Revelation 19:20) It is at this time that Satan will be locked up for a 1000 years. (Revelation 20:1-3) At the end of that 1000 years, the millennium, He will be loosed for a specific purpose. (To read about this and other end time events – CLICK HERE “End Time Events“).
Resurrection of the Tribulation Saints
It is also at this time that the Christians who died during the great tribulation will be resurrected. They along with the church age saints rule and reign with Christ during the millennium. John very clearly writes about this: “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.)” (Revelation 20:4-6).
More than One Resurrection
It is important to realize there are several resurrections taught in the Bible, this is just one of them. Also, remember the resurrection is about receiving glorified bodies. It is not about coming back to life, or going to heaven and being with Jesus. The moment a believer dies their spirit and soul go to be with Jesus. “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord”. (2Corinthians 5:8)
When the church is “raptured”, before the great tribulation, the believers who are alive on the earth will go to be with the Lord (1Thessalonnians 4:17) and in a twinkling of an eye they are changed (receive glorified resurrected) bodies. (1Corinthians 15:52) Believers who die during the great tribulation go to be with the Lord the moment they die and at the end of the tribulation they receive their resurrected bodies. The resurrection of the wicked dead will happen at the end of the millennium. They are being kept in Hades until that time. We will talk about that next month.
Judgment of Sheep and Goats (the nations)
The Bible also tells about the judgment of the nations. Jesus refers to this as the “separating of sheep and goats” in Matthews 25:31-33, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.”
This judgment happens at the end of the great tribulation and return of Christ. There will be tens of thousands who survive the great tribulation and final battle of Armageddon. Those who are still alive and not believers will be judged by Jesus. The purpose of the judgment is to determine which of these are eligible to enter the millennial kingdom. Those counted worthy are described as sheep, and those who are counted unworthy, are designated as goats. They will be sent to Hades and be subject to the final judgment at the end of the millennium. (This is covered in more detail in other posts. You read all of them by CLICKING HERE – “End Time Events“)
Who Occupies the Earth during the Millennium
All of these events are significant because they determine who occupies the earth during the millennium. First, there will be Jesus who reigns as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Second, there will be the saints including those who died during the great tribulation who will rule and reign with Christ. They will be immortal eternal beings. Third, there will be those who became believers during the tribulation that didn’t die and then those who are not believers that are judged as “sheep” by Jesus at the end of the tribulation. This third group of people will be mortals who occupy, multiply, and live on the earth.
Characteristics of the Millennial Kingdom
The earth will be different during the millennium. First, Satan is locked up. Second, the curse on the earth which began with Adam’s fall and continued until this moment (Romans 8:18-23) will be removed. As a result the earth will flourish, people, nations and creation will be in a state of peace. Animals will be friendly to man and one another. The wolf will lie down with the lamb, and the leopard with the baby goats. Little children will be able to play near serpents without fear (Isaiah 11:6-8). Wolves and lambs will feed together, and even the Lions will eat straw like the bullock (Isaiah 65:25). Sickness will not be a problem because “The sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in its wings” (Malachi 4:2). Mortal beings will live throughout the 1000 years. A person one hundred years old will be considered a child. (Isaiah 65:20-23).
Jesus Christ will rule the nations with a rod of iron. (Revelation 12:5; 19:15) He will rule from Jerusalem which will serve as the capital of the World, and all nations will come there every year to worship Him. (Isaiah 2:2-4) Without war, disease, famine and death the earth will be populated with millions of people by the end of the 1,000 years. Every mortal person during the millennium must receive Christ as Savior just as people did before the rapture.
4 Purposes of the Millennium
The purpose of the millennium is;
- for God to reward his people, the saints with positions of authority during the millennial kingdom,
- for God to keep His promises and Word to Israel,
- it allows God to prove and demonstrate His righteousness providing all of mankind every need naturally and spiritually, and
- to give more people an opportunity for eternity. People who live during the millennium will have and opportunity to accept Christ or reject Him at the end of the millennium.
As incredible as the millennium will be it is not the end. It is not the final destination of those who follow Christ. The millennium is an important and glorious part of God’s plan. It is part of the journey and process to the ultimate finale.