Risen from the Dust
There are various opinions and theories about the nature of the millennium, and many controversies in scripture revolve around these differing interpretations. Some feel that the millennium refers to a literal earthly dispensation of time, and others feel that it refers to a heavenly one. Still others feel that the millennium is purely figurative in nature. Given its importance in relation to the two resurrections and Judgment Day, an in-depth study is worthwhile.
In the millennium, the world will be very different from the way it is now. It is necessary to understand these physical and spiritual changes in order to fully discern millennial passages.
One key difference is that the Kingdom of God (or Heaven) will be made manifest. The Kingdom of God (or Heaven) is the spiritual domain of the Lord, and therefore a realm of truth, light, and understanding. In the millennium, this eternal Kingdom will be made known to the entire world, even to those who are not followers of Christ.
It's important to recognize that the Kingdom of God is already here, but at this time it is only visible to those with eyes that see, and ears that hear, "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4.17 KJV bible), "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3.3 KJV bible). Those who have been born of the Spirit are able to perceive this Kingdom, but the rest of the world is not aware of its existence, "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight" (John 18.36 KJV bible). The eternal Kingdom of God is greater than all others, but it still remains hidden from direct view.
The Kingdom of God is here, but not yet manifest to the world. Jesus tells us, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17.20-21 KJV bible). In this verse, Jesus is saying in the general sense that the Kingdom of God dwells within those that believe upon him. However, there is a time coming when it will be unveiled and made visible to the entire world, not just to those who are of his flock, "So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand" (Luke 21.31 KJV bible). At the end of this age, the Kingdom of God will be nigh at hand, because it will manifest through the presence of Christ, on the Day of the Lord.
The full arrival of the Kingdom of God in the millennium will bring many changes to the world, both material and spiritual. The Earth will no longer be a planet of deserts and jungles, forests and oceans, tropics and tundra, but rather it will be a world divided between two opposing realms. There will be the realm of light, which is to say the Kingdom of God, and there will also be its polar opposite, the realm of darkness, "For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee" (Isaiah 60.2 KJV bible). There is a spiritual separation that exists now between those who share in God's Kingdom, and those who don't. This separation between light and darkness will become fully manifest during the millennium. The realm of light will be the camp of the saints, where God's servants reside, and the outer darkness will be the dwelling place of the unbelieving multitudes.
There will also be physical changes that take place in the millennium. The surface of the Earth being altered so that the land of Israel is raised up, "In the visions of God He brought me into the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, and on it to the south there was a structure like a city" (Ezekiel 40.2 NASB bible). The geographic location of Jerusalem will once again be established as God's holy city, and Mt. Zion, the dwelling place of the saints, "And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations" (Isaiah 61.4 KJV bible). The city will sit on its perch at the center of the world, and be a beacon of light that shines outward to the ends of the earth, "For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth" (Isaiah 62.1 KJV bible). Millennial Jerusalem will serve as the camp of the saints, and also be the spiritual gateway to the Kingdom of God. The multitudes will turn to the light and peace of millennial Jerusalem as a bastion of hope in the darkness.
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