The Millennial Kingdom

The Millennial Kingdom and Its Prospect

That humanity has an innate obsession with the future was evident on a stroll through a nearby town. Shops offering palm and tarot card readings, crystal balls, and fortune-telling gimmicks joined the array of magazines offering hope through horoscopes and the like. In this sin-stained world, books, songs, movies and documentaries espouse future fantasies of the fallen mind. Obituary columns are replete with imaginative speculations of loved ones celebrating with friends, flying with the angels or at peace in some celestial realm. This should not be surprising, since both the Old and New Testaments inform us that eternity and the knowledge of God are stamped into the human being (Ecc 3:11; Rom 1:19). In the January issue of this magazine, various writers provided us with a scriptural foretaste of the Christian’s glorious prospect. You would have noticed that the central theme and thrill of our “blessed hope” is to be with Christ. We long to experience the infinite privilege of reigning with Him in His everlasting Kingdom, first in this world where righteousness shall reign for 1000 years, and ultimately in a new, eternal world wherein dwelleth righteousness (2Pe 3:13; Rev 21:1-4).

The Millennial Kingdom and the Past

For the Christian, the future is not left to abstract theories of the mortal mind but to the very revelation of God Himself. For anyone to understand the future, they must first observe the past.  With Bible in hand, we systematically trace the unveiling of God’s great kingdom purpose.

To begin our understanding of this vast subject, we must turn our minds to eternity past when there was no world, universe or created beings. The triune God co-existed in perfect harmony in an eternal kingdom. In this timeless kingdom, we read of the eternal Son as King (1Ti 1:17). The Lord Jesus, in His prayer to the Father, spoke of the eternal glory that existed prior to this universe being formed (Joh 17:5), and the writer to the Hebrews corroborates this regarding the eternal Godhead and His Majesty on high (Heb 1:3). The eternal union of love was perfectly expressed (Joh 3:35; 1Jn 4:8,16), the treasure of God’s wisdom fully known (Pro 8:22-23), with every attribute of the eternal God permeating that holy kingdom (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8). Although we are not sure when, Colossians 1:16 communicates that God introduced angelic beings into His kingdom. Lucifer, given the noble place as anointed cherub, was seemingly the most beautiful of all angelic beings (Eze 28:12). But we also read about Michael the archangel, Gabriel, seraphim, cherubim, living creatures, 24 elders and ordinary angels, all with varying degrees of rank and responsibility. Tragically, Lucifer, with pride in his heart, desired to usurp the kingdom and dethrone God. “I will ascend into heaven,” he thought; “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God … I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High” (Isa 14:13-14).1 Incredibly, one third of the lofty angelic world followed Lucifer in his revolt, only to be consigned to eternal judgment.

Opening to the Genesis account, we find that God turned His attention to this universe. The inhabitants of this world would also be offered the privilege to enjoy the kingdom of God. As the prized piece of God’s creation, Adam was crowned with glory and honour (Psa 8:5-6) and, along with his bride, was given total dominion to rule and reign for God. Inexplicably, Adam surrendered his crown to the feet of the very one who attempted to overthrow the kingdom in heaven. The ensuing chapters in Genesis tell us of the establishing of the kingdoms of men in opposition to God, originating with Cain in chapter 4 and finding their ultimate fulfilment with the kingdom of Babylon (Gen 10:10; Rev 17:5; 18:2). God was both unsurprised and undeterred in divine purpose. Through Abraham, He would establish a nation, desiring a kingdom of priests (Exo 19:5-6). Through judges and kings, He provided a foretaste of kingdom responsibility and blessing, promising through prophets that they were to be the nation to host His kingdom on earth. He would disclose to them a Jewish suffering Messiah King, born of a virgin, Emmanuel, God Himself, who would suffer for sin not His own (Dan 9:26; Isa 53). He would explain unto them in detail the “Day of the Lord” when this magnificent, lowly King would enter Jerusalem to set up His kingdom and “reign in righteousness” (Zec 9:9; Isa 32:1). But for all this they failed.

The kingdom was divided, tribes were scattered, the nation was in tatters, and after 400 silent years, when their Saviour finally arrived, the religious leaders rejected and crucified Him; so God set them to one side. Did this throw the plan of God into chaos? Did God resort to plan B?  Never! It’s been well said that His first thoughts are His last thoughts, for God has no second thoughts. Would God have angelic beings in His kingdom? Would He keep His promise to Israel? Would He redeem a people for Himself from every dispensation, kindred, tongue, people and nation? Yes! But God had a unique mystery He was eagerly waiting to declare. What God wanted in the beginning He would have in the end. At the summit of His kingdom on earth, He would have a Man reigning in supreme dominion with His Bride. That Man? Christ. And the mystery? His bride would be the saints of this dispensation, Jew and Gentile in one body. Wonder fills our minds as we contemplate these things.

The Millennial Kingdom and the Present

Although by new birth we have been spiritually translated into this kingdom (Joh 3:5; Col 1:13), we must understand that the purpose for believers in the New Testament is that Christ might be formed in us, that we might bring glory to God, that we might benefit from godly living in the present, that we might be fitted for an abundant entrance and place in that coming kingdom. If we have peered into the past to understand the future, we now keep our minds on the future to be conformed in the present. Titus 2:12 teaches us that, looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, we should deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” Peter exhorts, “If ye do these things … an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2Pe 1:10-11).

In the following series, we want to discover in some measure the fascinating details of what lies ahead in the kingdom of Christ. For this, we will turn to the prophetic Scriptures, assured of the promise, “Blessed is he that readeth” (Rev 1:3). We will look at this subject under three sections —the role of Israel, the nations and the Church in the Millennium — praying that what we discover about the future will cause us to live for God in the present.

1 Bible quotations in this article are from the KJV.