A. THE MILLENNIUM
(Informative Scripture: Isa 2:1-5; 11:1-16; 32:1-20; 35:1-10; 60:1-22; Je 31:1-40; 33:1-26; Eze 37:14-28; Am 9:11-15)
1. Purpose of the Millennium?
The main reason will be for God to fulfill His original purpose for this present earth before setting up the new heavens and earth.
If not, He would have to admit that His project of creating man as company for Himself and a habitat for man to live in, was not only interrupted, but was permanently thwarted by satan. So, the devil would emerge as the winner and God would have to devise and build a new heaven and earth and what guarantee would there then be that, that project would not also miscarry?
To explain this principle, let us use the following example. Say I construct a railway line of 100 km and build a luxury train to run on it at a breathtaking speed of 200km an hour to transport passengers between two cities within 30 minutes. Someone sabotages the tracks, causing the train to derail, crash and some passengers get killed. Instead of repairing the tracks and the train and get the system going again but with an adequate security system to prevent a recurrence of the accident, I discard the whole project, losing millions of rand and set up an aerial system of transport by aircraft. What would the conclusion be? Certainly, that I had made a mistake with the rail system and should never have built it at all.
Now, if Christ would totally discard the idea of the Garden of Eden with man controlling it as He originally designed it, we may conclude that it had never been “good” as He had repeatedly pronounced it to be. We may agree with Eve and the devil that God was not as perfect as He pretended to be. Just like Eve we could perhaps conclude that we could indeed do better for ourselves.
That means that God must prove the excellency of His original design of both man and his environment, by now having it run properly.
Life on earth during the millennium therefor will have to largely duplicate that of the Garden of Eden before the fall.
Adam and Eve were actually doing very well, initially, not touching the forbidden fruit. It was only when satan appeared on the scene that “the railway line” got sabotaged and God’s whole plan for mankind was disrupted.
During the millennium, the saboteur will be safely under lock and key, unable to fiddle with the tracks of life that God had laid for man’s safe and joyous daily ride. Man will be left to live according to the dictation of his own conscience and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
All the other reasons for the millennium fit into this one; reasons such as the fulfilling of His promises and covenants with Abraham, David and mankind, etc.
Let us just look at a few other similarities between life in the Garden and life during the Millennium.
2 .Life during the Millennium
- The Lord Jesus will still be with mankind and converse with them as He did with Adam and Eve.
- Adam and Eve were to cultivate the Garden and keep watch over it (protect it). Likewise the Lord Jesus promised that man would be appointed to rule over “cities” during the millennium, based on how wisely they had handled the talents He entrusted to them before the Millennium (Matt 25:14-23). They will also sit to judge perpetrators for there will be many amongst the children born during the millennium (Matt 19:28; 1Cor 6:2).
- Will it not be a comedown for the exalted saints to return from Paradise and once more mix and interact with sinful man? No, they will not be on the same level as the rest of mankind that will be ordinary human beings as we now are. They will be like the angels that minister on earth but are not touched or tainted by life down below. They will be like the Lord Jesus after His resurrection. His was still engaged in ministry but suffered no more and could appear and disappear at will.
- Plant and animal life.
For the creation waits with eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but because of him who subjected it, in hope
that the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of decay into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. (Rom 8:19-22).
Ever since the fall of man, creation has suffered in so many ways: thorns and thistles, droughts, diseases attacking plants and animals, nature’s catastrophes such as earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. and perhaps most of all, man’s disregard for preserving the fauna and flora.
The curse that applied to earth will probably be lifted, at least to an extent, and it will yield bountifully, sufficient for all its inhabitants. Even the deserts will be turned into fruitful gardens.
Animal life will be restored to normal, which means that there will be no carnivores. Animal and man will live peaceably together (Isa 11:6-9).
- Righteousness will prevail, resulting in universal peace. Although an increasing number of the inhabitants of the earth will not be born again, they will be under God’s perfect and almighty government and will have to toe the line or suffer severe but righteous punishment.
3. Why for 1000 years?
This number is mentioned six times in Rev 20:1-6. Does it say something noteworthy to us? Let us take a look.
The number 1000=10x10x10. Therefor, first consider the number 10. It appears 232 in Scripture (WEB). Its most significant appearance is in connection with the Ten commandments. God chose those ten to convey to us the concept of loving God and man. So, 10 denotes sufficiency – adequate. The number 3 signifies the Triune God. Taken together as 1000, it says that God considers that period long enough to prove His point mentioned in par 1 above. It will also provide sufficient time for as many people as had the desire to accept Jesus as Lord and share in His eternal glory.
4. Numbers added to the Family/Bride/Citizens of the Kingdom
Such a peaceful, disease free environment will cause an explosion of the population covering the whole earth. More people might therefor come to Christ during this period, than during all of the previous millennia of the existence of the earth, so that the total number saved will, in the end, vastly outnumber the ones lost.
B. UNLEASHING OF SATAN AND THE FINAL REVOLT (REV 20:7-10)
1. Why is he unleashed?
After reclining in a rocking chair, relishing sweet thoughts pertaining to the heavenly thousand years, the reader is shocked by this sudden announcement over the media that the almost forgotten arch-criminal of all times is to be released from prison. All around there is a gasp: why would God do that? Why release His greatest enemy? Why let him loose on earth again?
Well the answer is quite simple: it is a strategic act on His part to bring the multitudes that have not accepted Him as their God, notwithstanding all the evidence surrounding them, to a final decision. Only then can they be removed from amongst the godly and the Kingdom of God be finally purged. Only then can the new heavens and earth be set up.
2. Satan’s reappearance
It is God Who is in control of the bottomless pit and He will order the seal to be broken and the long-term prisoner to be released (and his hordes of demonic angels).
He and they will not have been changed and brought to repentance by their terrible and long suffering. This proves that a sinful being cannot change himself; only God can implant a new nature within him.
3. He will go out to deceive the nations
He will spare no time but immediately set out on his passion which is to overcome Christ. This he will do by enlisting the unsaved humanity. As of old, his strategy will be to deceive them.
The nature of deception is not mentioned but will probably be the same as it was in the Garden of Eden, namely that God was not good in that He was keeping the best from them.
4. The reaction of the multitudes.
Notwithstanding the 1000 years proof of God’s goodness they had been experiencing under the reign of the Lord Jesus, they will believe satan’s perversion of the truth. God will allow this lie to overwhelm them because they had, during all that period, not responded to the truth of His demonstrated love and had not accepted Him as Saviour and King.
In 20:8 their number is said to be as the sand of the sea. How come so many? Well think of Jacob and his family. When they went to live in the fertile land of Egypt, they were just 70 souls and 400 years later when they left, they had accumulated to at least near to 2 million.
Applied to the post Millennial situation: by the end of the seven years of tribulation there would certainly have been more than 70 souls left that had not accepted the mark of the Beast. Let us say there were 1000 and they were now released into these ideal circumstances, would they not have multiplied into many millions of people? Unfortunately, an uncountable number of children born, had followed the sinful inclination of their hearts and had not accepted Christ as Saviour and King.
This deluded, hostile multitude, as vast as the sand of the sea (20:8), will follow satan in his attack that will center on Jerusalem, from where Jesus will be ruling.
They are called the Gog and the Magog, but will be coming from the four corners of the earth, so they will not be Russia and its associates that attacked Jerusalem at mid-tribulation. They are probably called thus in analogy of that former attack which had the same objective, the destroying of God’s people.
5. The outcome of their revolt
This time, there will be no need for God’s people to defend themselves, for the Lord will use His almighty power and destroy them with fire from heaven (Rev 20:9).
The devil, who deceived them, will be cast into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet already were. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Rev 20:10).