Time or Eternity? ™

The Millennium

In The Millennium on February 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm

The word millennium is derived from the Latin words mille, a thousand, and annus, a year. It is a modern term used to represent the thousand years referred to in the following texts:—“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.And I saw thrones, and they [the holy martyrs and all the righteous who have part in the first resurrection; see last clause of verses 4, 6,] sat upon them,and judgment [the power to sit as judges] was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for. the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God [the redeemed martyrs], and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city; and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” “This is the second death.” (Rev. 20:1-9, 14) As the millennium is so closely connected with our earth’s history, and represents a definite period of time, it will be well to consider it under three heads: First, When will it begin, and what are the events which lead up to it? Secondly, What takes place during this period? Thirdly, What marks its close?

When Will the Millennium Begin?

The millennium begins with “the first resurrection,” when Jesus comes. This is made plain by the beloved John, who says, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20 :6)  Paul gives the details of this “first resurrection,” which is to mark the beginning of the millennium, in the following words: “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel [Jesus Christ], and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4: 16, 17)  Where will the saints go at this resurrection? Jesus said, “In My Father’s house [His heavenly home] are many mansions. … I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2,3)  This home of mansions is the New Jerusalem, which will come down to earth at the end of the thousand years to be the capital city of the new earth. See Rev. 21:2.  When Jesus comes, all the righteous will be “caught up … in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” (1 Thess. 4:17) And while destruction and desolation as a pall are spreading over the earth, the saints are borne upon the cloud to their New Jerusalem home, where “judgment is given unto them” over wicked men and fallen angels. Paul says, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? . . . Know ye not that we shall judge angels?”(1Cor. 6:2, 3) In this work they will be “priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” This is the millennium of the people of God.  But what will be the condition of the earth just prior to the millennium? A consideration of the prophecies regarding the times immediately preceding the second advent of Christ, will make this very clear.

Will It Be a Millennium of Righteousness on Earth?

It is the popular belief that the gospel of Jesus Christ will go forth with increasing power until all men will be converted; that war will cease, and the “peace on earth, good will toward men” proclaimed by the angels to the shepherds of Bethlehem will rule the world during this millennium; that during this period Christ will reign on earth, either spiritually or in person; in fact, that Satan’s rule will cease, and that Christ will reign supreme in the hearts of men and in the government of the world.  But does God’s word support such a theory of the millennium? Our Saviour, speaking of the days immediately preceding His coming says, “As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”( Matt.24:37)  Of thecondition of the world in the days of Noah we read, “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5.) That there will be a similar condition in the last days Paul testifies: “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Tim. 3: 13.) Of the deceptive power of Satan and his agents in the last days Paul testifies. “And then shall that Wicked be revealed whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power’and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them [permit to come upon them] strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thess. 2 :8-12.)

Condition of Professed Christians.

As to the standing of professed Christians when Christ comes to usher in the millennium, Paul says, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”(2 Tim. 3:1-5)  These things will be in the churches where Christ is professed, among those who have “a form of godliness.” Satan will deceive many as to their Christian experience. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 7 : 21-23)  And as we see the churches honeycombed with the soul destroying errors of Spiritualism, Christian Science, New Thought, Pantheism, Higher Criticism,etc., we can see how the denunciations of our Saviour can well apply to many professed Christians “in the last days.” Many such have “a form of godliness” but their “power” comes from the very source of all evil.  Old time religion is dying out of the popular churches. True faith in God is being lost in the smoke of modern philosophy and the higher criticism of churchmen. The plain, cutting truths of God’s word are being spiritualized and made of none effect. This condition of unfaith was foreseen by our Saviour when He put the question to the disciples, “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) When He comes, the millennium begins. But the true condition of popular church-members at that time is illustrated by the parable of the Pharisee, who “prayed with himself” in the following self-righteous words:— “God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.” Vss. n, 12. In God’s judgment day He will say to such prayermakers, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”

A World Wide Conversion.

The popular theory of the millennium is based upon the conversion of the world. But such a desirable condition is not possible in the light of our Lord’s parable of the wheat and the tares. He says:— “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matt. 13 : 24-30)  In His interpretation of the parable Jesus said, “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the world and the reapers are the angels.” Vss. 38, 39.  This parable can only teach that both the wicked and the righteous remain in the world until the end when Christ comes; then the wicked are destroyed and the saints are gathered into the garner of their Lord, to enter upon the enjoyment of the millennium in the city of God on high.

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