By Gary Vaterlaus
The Bible teaches that after the return of Christ, He will set up an earthly kingdom of 1000 years in duration. The constituents of this earthly kingdom will include both saved and glorified individuals as well as saved and non-glorified individuals. The saved and glorified individuals will consist of all the saved of all the ages from Adam to the last beheaded martyr. The saved and non-glorified group will consist of a remnant of Israel (who is saved at the conclusion of the 70th Week of Daniel) and some Gentile believers who survive to the Day of the Lord.
Following the battle of Armageddon, Christ will sit in judgment of those remaining alive on the earth in what has been called the Sheep and Goat Judgment (Matt. 25:31-46). Those Gentile believers, who
evidenced their faith by how they treated the Jews during the Great Tribulation, will enter the Millennial kingdom along with the saved Jewish remnant.
There are many Scriptures which give us insight into the conditions on earth during the Millennial reign of Christ. These include Isaiah 35, 60-62, 65; Ezek. 40-48; Micah 4; and Rev. 20-22.
From these passages we understand that the Millennial kingdom will be an earthly kingdom, with Christ ruling from the New Jerusalem which will descend from heaven and reside above Mt. Zion. Christ will rule in righteousness over the inhabitants of earth. During this time the earth will have been restored to conditions similar to before the Fall of Adam: wild animals will be tame, there will be no war, trees will give abundant fruit, sin will be punished. Ezekiel 47 points out the fact that fishermen will fish in the waters of the rivers and will catch “very many” fish. So the activities of life continue in a normal fashion, only with righteous government, peace and perfect conditions.
The saved but non-glorified group of individuals will enter the Millennial kingdom in natural, human bodies and so will be subject to death and disease. Revelation 22 and Ezekiel 47 tell us that the leaves of the trees that grow along the river of life are for the healing of the nations. Isaiah 65 tells us that people on earth at that time will live long lives, and if someone dies at 100 he will be considered accursed. Evidently, similar to those days prior to the flood, people will live hundreds of years.
During these 1000 years, Israel will be the chief nation of the world and will be restored to the full dimensions of her land which God promised. Mt. Zion will be raised up as the chief mountain in the world and it is from here that Christ will reign from the New Jerusalem (Ps. 68:16; 132:13-14; Micah 4:1-8). King David will be resurrected and will be the chief prince over the nation of Israel (Jer. 30:9; Ezek. 37:24-25). All other nations will honor Israel and will worship God in Jerusalem. Zechariah 14 tells us that those nations who do not come up to Jerusalem every year to worship God will be punished with no rain.
While all the saved, but non-glorified individuals who initially enter the Millennial kingdom will be believers, we understand that during the millennium there will be many people born. Some of these will choose to not follow the leadership of Christ and will be rebellious in their hearts. Those born during this time are born with the same sin nature that humans now are cursed with. Thus, when Satan is released at the conclusion of the 1000 years, he is able to amass a great army to come against the “beloved City”, Jerusalem (Rev. 20:7-10).