The word "millennium" might not appear in the bible, but this thousand year period is a very important part of biblical prophecy. In order to understand the millennium, we have to look at how the world will change when Christ returns. When Christ returns, he will overthrow the kingdoms of the world, and replace them with his eternal Kingdom.
The word "millennium" doesn't appear anywhere in the bible. However, much of our understanding of God's plan for humanity depends on how we interpret this thousand year period of time. Despite the lack of an exposition on the millennium in the bible, it becomes clear that there is a lot of prophecy that can only be understood through the doctrine of a millennium.
There are many biblical passages that cannot be fit into any dispensation of time, except for a millennium gap. A future millennium period, occurring between Christ's return and Judgment Day, provides the proper context for understanding these future events. Therefore, a millennium reign is necessary for a comprehensive and consistent understanding of scriptures.
There are many scriptures relating to the millennium, but the actual concept of a thousand year millennium comes from Revelation 20. Revelation 20 explicity describes a thousand year gap, or millennium, between Christ's return and the second resurrection of the dead, "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment 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...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" (Revelation 20.4-5 KJV bible).
Aside from these two verses, chapter 20 gives no further details about the purpose, meaning, or nature of the millennium. All it tells us is that the millennium will be a period of time separating Christ's return from the second resurrection, and that during this time God's elect will reign with Christ (see also Resurrection at Christ's Return).
Based on the overall context of Revelation 19 and 20, we understand that the millennium will begin at the return of Christ. Because Christ's return is the critical event that leads us into the millennium, his return is important for understanding what the world will be like during the millennium. In order to analyze the millennium, we have to look closely at some of the changes that will occur when Christ and his Kingdom appear to the world.
According to Revelation, Christ's return will be a time of supernatural upheaval. Both he and his Kingdom will be revealed, and rallied against the powers of the world, "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war...And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" (Revelation 19.11,15 KJV bible).
At the seventh trumpet, the Kingdom of Heaven will manifest, and then overthrow all of the enemies strongholds, "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11.15 KJV bible), "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed...it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever" (Daniel 2.44 KJV bible). This future overthrow of worldly powers and kingdoms gives us important context for understanding the nature of the millennium.
The idea of Christ conquering the "kingdoms" of the world may sound somewhat archaic and strange to us. We don't see literal kings, queens, and princes too often anymore (unless you read the British tabloids). However, almost everywhere we look we do find modern equivalents to these ancient kingdoms. In fact, it would seem that more than ever we are subject to worldly powers and organizations that stand in opposition to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
All over America there are classrooms and college campuses where lies and distortions are presented as fact, and the Word of God is mocked. We have a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry that is almost unanimous in seeking to undermine God's will, and instill doctrines of sin in people. We find ungodly dominions in board rooms, government institutions, businesses, court rooms, street corners, country clubs, and even churches
"Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12.42-43 KJV bible). All of these, which exalt themselves against the Word of God, will be torn down when Christ returns at the start of the millennium.
So in Christ's return we will see not only the deconstruction of governments, but a complete upheaval of the current world order, all the way from the top to the bottom. At the second advent, there will be an overthrow of the current ungodly dominions that rule peoples lives, and this will open the way for a millennium of righteousness and truth.
To understand these changes that will lead us into the millennium, we need to consider our current times of worldly darkness. As Christians, we dwell spiritually on the Rock of Christ, and in the light of his Kingdom. However, the world does not share our vantage point, and often we find ourselves surrounded by lies, ignorance, and evil works. So in this present age, if we truly follow Christ, we are like points of light and sojourners in a world of darkness
"That ye may be blameless and harmless...in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2.10 KJV bible), "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you" (John 15.19 KJV bible). However, these current times of darkness will be ended quickly, when Christ returns to reign at the start of the millennium.
Then in the millennium, the world will be turned inside-out spiritually. It will no longer be a place of spiritual confusion, darkness, and desolation, but the truth will fill the earth, "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11.9 KJV bible).
On account of this change, God's elect will become at home in the world, and the children of darkness will become the estranged ones. As Christ's Kingdom expands to conquer the world, the wicked will be driven away to seek sanctuary in the darkness. At the manifesting of God's Kingdom, the world will be filled with light, and the children of darkness will pine away as enemies of righteousness.
"And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains" (Revelation 6.15 KJV bible).
The millennium can therefore be perceived as a transitional time, when the truth is revealed, and everything that stands in opposition to it is exposed, "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts..." (1st Corinthians 5.4 KJV bible).
When the devil is imprisoned in the Abyss (Revelation 20.2-3), his power and influence over the world will cease. Then Christ will reign throughout the millennium, until all of his enemies are beneath his feet, "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1st Corinthians 15.24-26 KJV bible).
The millennium will be a transitional time, when Christ's enemies are powerless, and humanity is taught the truth before Judgment Day. The millennium will therefore transition the world from the current times of darkness, to an eternity that is free from all those who practice wickedness and deceit (Revelation 21.8).
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