It is important to note that while it is in accord with Scripture to speak about the end of the millennium, it would be incorrect to speak about the end of the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. Once He is enthroned as the mighty Monarch in this world, none other will wear the crown of global dominion. Peter reminds us of theeverlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:11). What David said in his second Psalm of praise (145:13), what a humbled Nebuchadnezzar confessed in his story of conversion (Dan 4:3), what Daniel understood in his vision of the four great empires will yet be realized in this world – His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed (Dan 7:14, 27). The words of Gabriel the angel regarding the Lord Jesus still thrill the heart of every believer who loves His appearing: He shall be great,and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end (neither geographical outpost nor chronological termination).
But while His kingdom and reign are eternal, there will come an end to its first earthly phase. Revelation 20 points to one feature that will make the thousand years so splendid: the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, will be bounda thousand yearsand castinto the bottomless pitthat he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be fulfilled (Rev 20:2, 3). The words that follow are ominous: and after that he must be loosed a little season. Satans return to earth from the bottomless pit will result in a final, defiant rebellion by unconverted mankind. Although all who enter the millennial kingdom will be saved people, those living on earth will still be in mortal bodies, will have children, and will raise families. Not all of these children will become believers. Growing to maturity, they will have the same attitude as the Gog and Magog rebels of the tribulation period. A vast multitude (as the sand of the sea) will unite in a burning hatred of Christ and opposition to His rule. Driven once more by satanic deception, they will spearhead toward Jerusalem in an attempt to finally overthrow the King and His kingdom. This will be supremely foolish, futile, and fatal, for God will move to defend the honor of His beloved Son – fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
Some have suggested that when these armies converge on the earthly Jerusalem, the (heavenly) New Jerusalem will become like a Noahs ark refuge for the redeemed of earth. Whether that is so or not, we are left to infer that those on earth who are saved will immediately receive their glorified bodies. The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up(2 Peter 3:10). Making way for the advent of the day of God, the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. Following this will come the Judgment of the Great White Throne, the final separation of saved and lost, and the resumption of the everlasting reign of our Lord Jesus, as God will be all in all. We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
There are implications from these truths that are extremely practical. The more we understand these great prophetic events, the more we will rejoice in the eternal purposes God has for His unique Son. We will have a better understanding of the need of sinners in our age. Under the thundering judgments of the tribulation period, mankind will refuse to repent of its wickedness (Rev. 9:20, 21). Under the benign and munificent reign of the Lord Jesus – a thousand years of relief from the ruinous effects of sin and the venomous activity of the devil – human nature will still remain unchanged in its antagonism towards God. Notwithstanding all the modern philosophies of human behavior, it is only the believer who can grasp the true character of human nature. It is both ruined and rebellious, and nothing but a new birth from God can permanently change a human being. Instead of reducing our attempts to preach the gospel, or lessening our efforts to reach the lost in these last days, we should be inspired by the thought that we have the ONLY solution – the Gospel of the glory of the blessed God.
With our eye on the future, assured of our link with the coming King and His eternal glory, our lives should reflect even now the dignity of our high calling. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless (2 Peter 3:11, 14). It was said of Gideons brethren: each one resembled the children of a king. May that be true of our lives as well!