Generally speaking there are three major schools of thought in regards to the Millennium among Bible believing Christians. The three views are Premillennialism, Amillennialism and Post Millennialism.
Premillennialism teaches that Jesus Christ will return to set up a one-thousand year Kingdom on earth.
Amillennialism teaches that there is no thousand-year reign of Christ on earth, but when Christ returns earthly existence ends.
Postmillennialism teaches that Christians will “Christianize” the world to make it better, and better in order for Christ to return. This view rejects any notion of a thousand-year reign of Christ on earth.
What we teach at The Master’s Church is Premillennialism.
Overview of Premillennialism
The Bible tells us that humanity will one day experience a blissful state here on earth. One day there will be no war, no disease, no corruption in government, and no Satanic influence. When the Lord Jesus Christ returns to this earth in awesome power and glory, God’s Word tells us that He will usher in His kingdom and reign on earth as King of kings and Lord of lords. This magnificent event will marshal in a time of blessedness such as never been since the Garden of Eden!
Amillennialist Floyd E. Hamilton candidly acknowledges, “Now we must frankly admit that a literal interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies gives us just a picture of an earthly reign of the Messiah as the premillennialists picture.” (The Basis of Millennial Faith, 1942.)
“Now we must frankly admit that a literal interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies gives us just a picture of an earthly reign of the Messiah as the premillennialists picture.” (The Basis of Millennial Faith, 1942.)
Another leading Amillennialist, Anthony Hoakema, agrees with Hamilton’s assessment, “Lets…assume that what is presented in Rev. 20 must necessarily follow, in chronological order, what was described in chapter 19. We are then virtually compelled to believe that the 1,000-year reign depicted in Rev 20:4 must come after the return of Christ described in Rev 19:11.” (Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views).
“Lets…assume that what is presented in Rev. 20 must necessarily follow, in chronological order, what was described in chapter 19. We are then virtually compelled to believe that the 1,000-year reign depicted in Rev 20:4 must come after the return of Christ described in 19:11.” (Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views).
Even Postmillennialist Loraine Boettner admits, “It is generally agreed that if the prophecies are taken literally, they do foretell a restoration of the nation of Israel in the land of Palestine with the Jews having a prominent place in the kingdom and ruling over other nations.” (Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views).
“It is generally agreed that if the prophecies are taken literally, they do foretell a restoration of the nation of Israel in the land of Palestine with the Jews having a prominent place in the kingdom and ruling over other nations.” (Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views).
What are they saying?
That if you understand the Bible literally, you will accept a 1000-year reign of Christ on this earth. Amillennialists interpret the Old Testament prophets and Rev. 20 symbolically; not as an earthly golden age in which the world will be ruled by Christ from an earthly Jerusalem, but as the present period of Christ’s rule through His Church on earth.
What do we say?
In contrast to this, we take the prophetic portions of Scripture in their plain and normal sense according to the natural and customary usage of language. Proper interpretation can only be done through an exegetical understanding of the written text, which includes consideration of the historical and grammatical aspects of the passage. Thus, when we read the Bible we understand it in the normal way language is used. We interpret what we read in a literal fashion, we do not try and make what the author of Scripture wrote to mean something that he did not intend or that is not obvious.
We adhere to the “Golden Rule of Interpretation,” which states, “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense.”
The Old Testament Lays the Ground Work
Zechariah 8:3 declares
“Thus says the LORD: ‘I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the LORD of hosts, The Holy Mountain.’
Notice the physical overtones to this passage. Christ returns and dwells in the midst of Jerusalem. It is talking about His physical presence on earth. This has never happened in history so it has to be something that will happen in the future. Zechariah 14:16 states: It shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts. The normal reading of this compels one to envision a time where the Lord is ruling as King on earth and nations are traveling to worship Him. This never happened in history and will not happen in heaven. Thus, we believe this will happen on earth when the Lord Jesus Christ returns.
Isaiah 2:2-4 sums it up precisely
2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. 3 Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.
The mention of the phrase “the latter days” is significant. This is a technical phrase that places the setting at the time of Christ’s Second Coming and the events that are associated with this event. Here is a future time when the LORD is physically reigning in Jerusalem subduing the nations of earth. Peace will finally prevail. Again, this has never happened in the history of Israel or the world and is not descriptive of the conditions in heaven.
A few other brief examples of conditions that fit a physical messianic reign on earth:
Isaiah 9:6-7 speaks of a time when the government will be upon the Messiah’s shoulders.
Zechariah 9:10 pictures a time of when the Messiah will have dominion from sea to sea and bring in unparalleled peace.
Micah 4:1-3 speaks of the Messiah teaching the world His ways and people will walk in His ways.
Zephaniah 3:14-17 speaks of a time when the Messiah will be in the midst of His people bringing great joy and gladness.
Ezekiel 43:7-12 states that around the new Temple holiness will rule the day like it has never done before.
Isaiah 32:1 announces that the Messiah will reign in righteousness and kings will rule in justice.
Daniel 2:44 proclaims that the Messiah’s Kingdom will be an invincible kingdom.
Daniel 7:14 states all people and nations shall serve the Messiah and His Kingdom shall not be destroyed.
Jeremiah 31:4-9 declares that God will bring the people of Israel back to her land with prayers and gladness.
All this adds up to a future day when, the true Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ is on earth setting the world in order and restoring all things to the way they should be.
The New Testament is Explicit
When we study the New Testament, we see explicit statements that Jesus Christ will reign for 1,000 years. The book of Revelation gives the clearest statement of a 1,000-year reign. In Revelation 20:2-7 there are six instances where the phrase “thousand years” is used. For example, in verse 4 the text explicitly says of the martyrs, They lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. In verse 6, it says, They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. The onus is on the non-literalist to demonstrate why these passages should not be interpreted literally. There is no contextual or literary reason to make this allegorical. Rather this is the plainest statement God could make. It is explicit language that speaks of the duration of the time of the earthly Kingdom.
Reigning and Ruling With Christ on Earth
There will be a 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth. We do not believe this is speaking of a heavenly reign with Christ since Revelation 5:9-10 states that believers will reign with Christ on earth, 9 And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth. That is specific! Not in heaven; not on the new earth, but on this earth. The mention of believers reigning is powerful language that speaks of an earthly Kingdom. 2 Timothy 2:12 states, If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. There is no reigning in heaven for believers, but there will be on earth. Believers will have authority under Christ to rule over the nations. Luke 1:31-33 speaks about Jesus sitting on David’s throne. David’s throne was an earthly one. He reigned from Jerusalem and so will Jesus in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:16).
Revelation 2:25-28 promises
25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’–as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.
There will be no ruling in heaven since Christ is the only Sovereign ruler (1 Timothy 6:14-16). There are no nations in heaven since there we will be one people of God, but there will be nations on earth (Revelation 21:24-26). When believers are in a glorified state they will rule on earth over the nations. At that time believers will have glorified bodies that are not limited by the laws of nature (1 Corinthians 15:35-49). At the same time there will be mortal people who enter the Millennium in their mortal bodies, and it is these mortal people whom glorified believers will rule over. There will still be procreation during the Millennial time and if these mortals sin they will die (Isaiah 65:20).
Judging With Christ on Earth
The Bible not only speaks of believers ruling and reigning, but it also speaks of believers judging.
Revelation 3:21 tells us
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
To sit on Christ’s throne pictures both ruling and judging. The overcomers will judge the world of mortals alongside the ultimate Judge the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul, writing to Christians, in
1 Corinthians 6:2-3 states
2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?
Paul says Christians will not only judge the world, but also the angels. Paul uses this to show that Christians are more than able to judge individual people and situations here and now, since they will judge them in a bigger arena later. We believe the angels mentioned here are demons who will be judged. Christians will have some deliberation in that judgment. This judgment will take place at some point before the Millennium is over, perhaps at the very end. Once the 1,000 years have commenced, we read of an eternal and final judgment known as the Great White Throne judgment at the very end.
Revelation 20:10-12 in addressing this particular time, states
10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. 11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
Matthew 19:28 is a key verse that puts Jesus’ disciples in the role of judges
28 So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
This is a powerful verse for a Millennial Kingdom. There is earthly language in the words “regeneration,” “judging,” “twelve tribes” and “Israel.” We believe the regeneration is the time in which Christ is reigning on earth and reversing the curse. The world will blossom and be restored (Isaiah 35:1-2; Romans 8:20-22).
In the parallel passage in Luke 22:29-30. Jesus adds
29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Jesus gives a kingdom to the disciples. It is a kingdom that has deep roots in Old Testament theology. The disciples understood that there would be a kingdom where the Messiah would be the Supreme Ruler. They asked Jesus in Acts 1:6, Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? Jesus responds in verse 7, It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. He does not deny the basis of their question; He substantiates it by saying the timing belongs to the Father. In other words, yes there will be a restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, but it will be on the Father’s time table. The only logical understanding of this passage is that there will be a Kingdom on earth where Israel will receive all the blessings promised to them in the Old Testament. From the land promises to the spiritual blessings, it will all come to fruition during this 1,000 year Kingdom.
All this language of reigning and ruling and judging can only be related to Christians in the time Jesus is here on earth following His return. There is no sense in mentioning a rule over nations if these nations do not exist anymore. There is no sense in saying there is an opportunity to judge the world if the world to be judged does not exist after Jesus Second Coming. There is no sense in saying we will reign with Christ, if there is no one, and no place to reign over.
The Elders Hope
We believe during the Millennium, sin will still be present, but unlike in the present age, all sin will be revealed and punished immediately. During the Millennium, Jesus will reign until He has put all of His enemies under his feet (1 Corinthians 15:25). Under the direction of Christ, the earth will be transformed into a global paradise filled with happy, healthy, peaceful people just as God intended it to be from the beginning (Isaiah 51:3-6). God will cause the earth to produce food abundantly, even controlling the weather by preventing destructive storms (Isaiah 49:8-12). The animal kingdom will be tamed (Isaiah 11:6), war will end (Isaiah 2:4) and the whole world will be filled with the knowledge of God (Isaiah 11:9). All the people of Israel will be taught about the Lord (Isaiah 54:11-17). In His first coming, Jesus demonstrated His power to do miracles while He was on earth giving us a glimpse of what He will do in His Second Coming on earth. Since The Fall, man has sought to escape the pressures and trials of this life by creating their own utopia. However, these have only been pipe dreams that have never materialized. What man has failed to realize is that only God can solve the world’s problems. One day the Kingdom of Christ will bring an end to the world as we know it. It will be a world beyond our wildest imagination. There will finally be justice for all; this is our hope!
A consistent literal, historical, and grammatical interpretation of Scripture
forces one to believe in Premillennialism. The Old Testament demands fulfillment concerning the physical and spiritual promises to the ethnic people of Israel, which can only be fulfilled in a future kingdom. The New Testament demands an earthly kingdom, by telling believers they will rule, reign and judge with Christ. The case for Premillennialism rests on the fact that the Old Testament promises of an earthly kingdom are not denied or redefined but confirmed by the New Testament. The basis of Premillennialism is the covenant-keeping nature of our sovereign God, affirmed over and over again in the pages of Scripture. We believe God will do what He said He would do, for His own glory among the nations, for He is able. He said He would fulfill the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants to a regathered, regenerated, restored nation of Israel at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and for a thousand years thereafter. Thus, we teach Premillennialism at The Master’s Church.
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