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Millennial Kingdom: What the 1,000 Years of Peace Means in the Bible

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Ever thought about what it would be like if Jesus reigned over the world? Non-believers may scoff at the extreme religious reference, so rephrasing it—how about a thousand years of peace?

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For Christians, the millennial reign of Christ may sound quite unsettling but certainly has its appeal. Just imagine a world of peace and justice, without all the hatred and pain. Sounds like what every human being wants, right?

When stories akin to an apocalypse, end times, and conspiracy theories are all the rage, people just yearn for good news. So in this article, we’ll talk about one. That is Christ’s reign on earth, more commonly known as the Millennium, and everything the Bible tells us about it.

What is the Millennium in Revelation 20?

Photo from theheritagechurch.org

Merriam-Webster defines a millennium as a period of 1,000 years, from the Latin word mille meaning ‘thousand’. But as of this writing, its first definition is actually “the thousand years mentioned in Revelation 20 during which holiness is to prevail and Christ is to reign on Earth.” 

In the Book of Revelation, the millennium is described as the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ. Other titles include the millennial reign of Christ, millennial kingdom, and messianic kingdom.

It is said that during this reign, Jesus will have power over the earth for one thousand years. Jesus will be King, following the Tribulation. The Bible prophesied a world of supernatural peace and abundance without war and suffering.  

The millennium or the millennial kingdom is basically a perfect environment physically and spiritually. 

What the scripture says about the Millennial Kingdom

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Although the term “millennium” has not been explicitly used, six times that the Bible mentioned the period of “one thousand years” in the Book of Revelation, specifically in Revelation 20:1-6.

Revelation 20:1-2, in particular, tells about the event that will lead to the thousand years of peace.

It is said that an angel will descend from heaven with a key to the abyss (or “bottomless pit” in other versions) and a great chain. He will seize the dragon, also described as the devil, Satan, or ancient serpent, and bound him for a thousand years. 

The dragon will be locked and sealed to keep him from deceiving the nations for a thousand years.

And what’s more is that countless references about the millennium can be found throughout the scripture, not just in Revelation. One even claimed that if you really look for it, there are more references to the millennium than any other period in the Bible beginning from the Old Testament.

The Purpose of the Millennium

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The reason for the 1,000-year reign of Christ traces back to God’s covenant in the Old Testament. Remember that God has made unconditional promises to Israel and these covenants are to be fulfilled during the millennial reign.

God’s unilateral promises to Israel include the Abrahamic Covenant wherein Abraham is going to be a great nation, and that through him nations will be blessed. The millennial reign also promises to fulfill the Palestinian Covenant or the promise of land to Israel. There is also the Davidic covenant wherein God promised that one of David’s heirs would be king and rule forever.

The new covenant essentially promises a time of obedience (Jeremiah 31:31-34) supported by more verses. 

Simply put, the purpose of the millennial kingdom is to fulfill these promises and reward the people of God based on the people’s faithfulness.

What ‘1,000 years’ mean in the Bible

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Like all other passages in the Bible, the millennium or 1,000-year reign is subject to two main interpretations. The question of what the 1,000 years mean in the millennial reign can, once again, be taken literally and figuratively.

Others argue that the 1,000 years is used to simply depict a very long period of time—which does make perfect sense. Given that in the 7-year tribulation (specifically the 70 weeks in Daniel’s prophecy) there’s a whole other way of telling time, it is contestable that the 1,000 years may be taken allegorically.

Still, there are those who believe that the millennial kingdom is literally that—exactly one thousand years of Jesus’ ruling. It was, indeed, mentioned six times in the Bible after all.

Also, many theologians are convinced that the fulfillment of God’s promises during the millennial reign will be physical and literal.

Who will reign with Christ in the Millennium?

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The Church is said to reign with Christ in the millennium. Phrased differently, many religious basically point to the good people of the earth, the righteous, the believers, and the saints will be with Christ during his 1,000-year reign.

It is worth noting the common idea that the good and righteous people in the world, as well as the believers, will reign with Christ during the millennium. That is regardless of religion, Jews or Gentiles.

But there are still many references and interpretations that exist surrounding the millennial kingdom. So one may still find varying meanings given to the bible verses.

What happens after Jesus’ 1,000-year reign?

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It would be most ideal if this millennium full of peace and fairness is the culmination of every event mentioned in the Revelation. Unfortunately, it is not.

After the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ, Satan will be set free. Anticlimactic as it may seem, the Bible does mention that Satan will be let loose from his prison and will deceive nations.  (Revelation 20:7-8) At this time, Satan was bound but not completely destroyed, thus being released for a brief time.

One logical interpretation of this act of freeing Satan after a 1,000-year reign of Christ is to test people, which God does (Deuteronomy 8:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:4). Sadly, after experiencing utopia, many will still turn away from God.

As described in the passage, “they are like the sand of the sea.” Battle will take place and this time, Satan and his followers will be destroyed and cast out for good.

The sound of God’s promises being fulfilled for a thousand years ignites a flame within our hearts. And with the guarantee of a perfect kingdom where all is good and fair, we all have to strive to be deserving of such. 

*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo from Pixabay

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