cup of wrath

Millennium Passages and Christ's Return

The bible contains many passages and prophecies that depict a millennium world. They describe a world that is clearly after Christ's return, but also before Judgment Day. Even though these passages don't use the word "millennium", they can only be interpreted as part of the thousand year period.

None of the passages we've looked at so far contain the word "millennium" in them. Yet, they all necessitate the existence of a millennium period, or gap, between Christ's return and Judgment Day. They describe a world that is unlike our current times, but also cannot be understood as the eternity. They describe a transitional time that separates our current times of ungodly exaltation, with an eternity that is free from all those who practice evil and deceit. Thus, the only possible explanation for these passages is a millennium gap that comes after Christ's return, but before the eternity.

If we try to move the fulfillment of these scriptures closer to the present, we run into a number of issues. They depict a world in which Christ is revealed, not just as a Spirit dwelling within us, but as a triumphant King, bringing justice and order to the world. Christ actively and conspicuously rewards the pious, while rejecting multitudes. This can only be accounted for by a millennium period that takes place after Christ's return at the second advent.

In one of these "millennium passages", Jesus says, "Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out" (Luke 13.26-28 KJV bible).

In these verses, Christ says that he will reject the false Christians who don't really know him. It describes them as being grief stricken, even weeping and gnashing their teeth as they are pushed out. Nothing like this scenario could have happened or will happen until Christ's defacto presence is in the world. Only after his return, can these so-called Christians be stopped from using his name to practice their iniquity and deceit.

In our present times, we see the working of salvation in the world. In each generation there are people who find the narrow gate of life through God's Word. However, the "millennium passages" describe something different, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are" (Luke 13.24-25 KJV bible).

At the time of the fulfillment of this scripture, the doorway of salvation through faith will be shut. When Christ returns, he will receive his elect as his eternal bride, and shut the door on all others, thus locking in his unique and exclusive relationship with them (see also Matthew 25.1-13). How could the door to him be sealed, if multitudes of people are still finding him through repentance and faith? So this and other passages must refer to a future millennium period, and not some event that has happened or is happening right now.

The millennium passages cannot be properly interpreted as being part of Judgment Day.

On the other hand, we can't push these same scriptures further into the future, and interpret them as being part of the White Throne Judgment. While it is true they depict a period of judgment and tribulation for humanity, they also describe the creation of a world order that is clearly different from the eternity. Unlike the eternity, this millennium order will include apostates and nonbelievers living in the world, and interacting with God's elect.

In the White Throne Judgment, the wicked are described as being separated out from the righteous, and cast into the Lake of Fire. From this point onward, they play no future role, and have no active place in the world, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation 21.8 KJV bible).

In the White Throne Judgment, only those who names are written in the book of life will be allowed to continue on, and live forever. Everyone else will be cast into the Lake of Fire, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20.15 KJV bible).

In contrast, the millennium passages describe a different scenario. They describe the elect being gathered to Christ, and then reigning over the nations. In these passages, the heathen are not depicted in a state of eternal damnation, but one of servitude and subjection to God's people, "And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth..." (Isaiah 49.23 KJV bible).

At this time, those who did evil will be abased and humiliated, however, they will not be in the Lake of Fire, "...and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 60.14 KJV bible).

During the millennium, nonbelievers will not be eternally condemned, but instead they will receive instruction, "And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths" (Micah 4.2 KJV bible). Such a scenario can only be fulfilled through a millennium period, occuring after the return of Christ, but before the White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20.

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