Last week we began our four-part “Christ in Prophecy” series titled Epic Battles of the Bible: Genesis vs. Revelation. It is based on a very important question: Can we take the books of Genesis and Revelation literally?
Most people today, even many Christians, do not accept the plain sense meaning of these bookends of the Bible. Instead, they spiritualize their interpretation, arguing that the plain sense meaning of Scripture is not its true meaning. The result is that the beginning and end of the Bible are the two most abused areas of God’s Word, having been spiritualized into meaninglessness. We believe this results in a travesty to one’s understanding of God and His plan of salvation.
This Epic Battles series is meant to combat this abuse of God’s Word. Our hope is that through it you will gain an appreciation for the literal interpretation of the Bible. And, we also hope that you will gain the wonderful realization that Genesis and Revelation are not at odds, but that these books complement each other. God’s plan for the ages is meant to be understood and that is meant to provide us with hope in these challenging days.
In our first episode, Eric Hovind of Creation Today Ministries addressed a controversial debate in Genesis: “A Literal Global Flood.” (It’s one of my all-time favorite “Christ in Prophecy” episodes, so check it out!)
In this week’s second episode of our series, I’m going to swing to the other end of the Bible to address a controversial debate in Revelation: “A Literal 1000-Year Kingdom.” I’m seeking to prove that a literal interpretation of the Bible reveals that Jesus Christ will, in the future, physically rule over this earth for a thousand years. And, the takeaway that I want you to get from this is — knowing our future in Christ’s victory is meant to bring you both joy and hope.
The following excerpt skips ahead a little past Nebuchadnezzar’s dream where God foretold the end of failed human government due to the return of King Jesus and picks up in the middle of my biblical exposition of what life will be like living during the Millennial Kingdom.
A Time of Joy
One of the aspects that really touches me about the Kingdom of Christ is how it’s going to be a great time of joy. Jeremiah 31:13 says, “Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old, together; for I will turn their mourning to joy, I will comfort them, and make them rejoice rather than sorrow.” The Kingdom of Christ is defined as a time of peace and righteousness and justice, but it’s also a time of great happiness and childlike joy.
Zechariah 14:16-18 adds: “And 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, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain.” The Feast of Tabernacles will be instituted across the entire world so that Jesus gets to have all of His people come at least once a year to visit Him. And, if they neglect Him, well He shuts the rain off for a little while as a kind of reminder for them to return.
A Time of Peace and No War
Not only will the Kingdom of Christ be a time of great joy, but it is also going to be a time of peace with no war. Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3-4 tell us: “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. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.” Hosea 2:17-18 adds, “Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, to make them lie down safely.”
How long has mankind tried to end war and failed? And yet, during the Kingdom of Christ, it will be a time of true peace with no war. Just think about it: no soldiers, no weapons, no hatred towards our fellow man. Consider how much of our nations’ budgets go to war production and weaponry when the money could be used for building and caring for its people. What a tremendous time it will be when you don’t have to fear for your life due to endless wars!
The Animals at Peace
Nor will mankind have to fear the animal kingdom, for the animal kingdom will once more be at peace with humanity. Isaiah 11:6-9 and 65:25 reveal: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain.”
Even the animals will be at peace with each other and with mankind. Although, I have to admit, I think the lions are probably going to be quite depressed at that time as they’re back to eating grass again! (jk) But, there will be very bountiful grass for them to find because…
The Bountiful Land
Amos 9:13-14 tells us, “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.” And, Zechariah 8:12 reveals, “For the seed shall be prosperous, the vine shall give its fruit, the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew — I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these.” And, Isaiah 4:2 describes, “In that day the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious; and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped.”
The Kingdom of Christ is defined as a time of great bounty and unlimited food. There will be no hunger or poverty at that time.
Zechariah 14:8 describes, “And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; in both summer and winter it shall occur.” And, Ezekiel 47:8-9 adds: “This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live.”
The Dead Sea is so salty that nothing can live in it. It sits at the lowest elevation in the world. It’s also the deadest body of water. But, during the Kingdom of Christ, the waters will flow into it again. Life will flow into the Dead Sea! It’ll become alive once more. Just imagine fishermen out there fishing on what was once known as the Dead Sea.
The Plains of the Earth
Considering the geography of the Kingdom of Christ, the Bible indicates that the earth will be all plains. Look at Isaiah 40:4-5, “Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth.” Revelation prophesies how during the Day of the Lord four tremendous earthquakes will level the mountains and make the islands move from their positions. A strong possibility exists then that the Kingdom of Christ will be a land of plains with Jerusalem as the only exalted mountain.
Long lifespans add another welcome characteristic of the Kingdom of Christ. Isaiah 65:20-23 describes: “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed. For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people.” Remember that people before the Flood lived for hundreds and hundreds of years, and during the Kingdom of Christ — the same thing. People will live hundreds of years again, except those who choose evil, for they will die young.
Isaiah 33:24 foretells, “And the inhabitant will not say, ‘I am sick’; the people who dwell in it will be forgiven their iniquity.” And, Isaiah 35:5-6 exclaims: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing.” Sickness and disability will not be an issue during the Kingdom of Christ. The curse that God had put on the planet when mankind rebelled at the Garden of Eden will be partially lifted. Oh, how the Creation so looks forward to that time!
What a wonderful time to live knowing that Satan will be bound! Revelation 20:1-3 tells us: “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things, he must be released for a little while.”
While Satan is bound for a thousand years, he cannot deceive anybody. Revelation 20 reveals two things about the Kingdom of Christ. One, when Jesus returns at the Second Coming, He’s going to throw Satan into the Bottomless Pit. So, mankind will not be tempted by demonic activity during the Kingdom. Two, we also learn that Satan must be released for a little while at the end of those thousand years. So, we learn that the Kingdom of Christ will last for exactly a thousand years. That’s where the Kingdom of Christ gets the label “Millennial Kingdom” as “milli” means “1,000” and “annum” means “years,” so “a thousand years.”
It’s at the end of the millennium when Satan is once and for all defeated. Revelation 20:7-10 explains: “Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, and to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 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.”
So, for a thousand years, Christ has been reigning physically on this earth and Satan has remained in a prison. But, near the very end, Satan will be let out for a short time. Those children who will be born to the Tribulation Saints still get to choose Jesus or not. Sadly, many will turn to Satan as a lightning rod and will follow him. They will attempt to overthrow Jesus in Jerusalem. But, Jesus sends fire down and evaporates the rebels. Satan is then cast into the Lake of Fire, which is Hell, where our old Adversary will finally receive God’s justice for all of eternity. Satan is finally defeated and he can no longer hurt anybody anymore.
We have now reached the point in world history when the unredeemed mankind receives their final judgment. Revelation 20:11-15 explains: “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. 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 book. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the Lake of Fire.”
Hell is the Second Death. Anyone not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Satan’s been defeated and sentenced to Hell. It’s now time for God to judge those who died in rebellion against Him. So far they’ve been sentenced in Hades awaiting judgment, and at that time they’ll be resurrected. They’ll then stand before God’s Great White Throne. They will be judged by their works, but they’ll be missing the one and only work that matters — the saving work Jesus did on the cross. They never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior nor the saving work He accomplished on the cross, that He alone did, and their names will not have been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. They, like Satan and his demons, will be sentenced to Hell.
And that’s when we get to the sum of all things. First Corinthians 15:24-28 foretells: “Then comes the end, when He [Jesus] delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He [Jesus] must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death… Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”
The Kingdom of Christ has lasted for a thousand years. Finally, at long last, all of Christ’s enemies have been defeated, including Death. King Jesus then hands over the Kingdom to the Father. And that’s when the Redeemed enter the Eternal State (but that’s a story for another time.)
The Plain-Sense Interpretation
When I read the Bible for its plain sense meaning, it tells me these things concerning the Kingdom of Christ:
- That the Jews have to be regathered back to the land of Israel.
- That the world must endure the horrors of the Day of the Lord.
- That Jesus has to return physically to conquer.
- That the Gentile world order has to be destroyed.
- That the world is judged so only the faithful will enter the Kingdom of Christ.
- That Jesus rules and reigns as King and Priest from His temple in Jerusalem.
- That King David and the resurrected saints fill the roles as governors and mayors.
- That the Jews serve as an exalted priestly people.
- That all of the world’s inhabitants know Jesus and worship Him.
- No war between man or beast exists, but only peace and bounty.
- Lifespans are counted in the hundreds of years.
- Satan is bound in a pit for a thousand years and does not tempt people, that is until the very end when he is released and permanently defeated.
Now I ask you: Has any of this happened or is happening now? No, of course not!
But, there are some who would answer, “Yes, this all has to happen, but it already has or will happen spiritually.” Well, no matter if you take a literal interpretation of the Bible or an Amillennialist’s spiritualized interpretation, we agree on two things: one, that Jesus Christ is coming back for His saints; and two, that the Redeemed will spend eternity with God.
A literal interpretation of the Bible or a spiritualized interpretation? Should the Bible be interpreted literally or symbolically?
Is there a literal Davidic King? Yes, Jesus Christ. Is there a literal throne? Yes, it’ll be in Jerusalem. Will there be a literal Kingdom? Yes, it’ll last for a thousand years and then on into Eternity. Amen! The Bible says yes and so it will be.
When it comes to interpreting the Bible, do so then by the Golden Rule of Interpretation: “When the plain sense makes sense, look for no other sense, lest you end up with nonsense.”
A literal interpretation of the Bible reveals that Jesus Christ will, in the future, physically rule over this earth for a thousand years. Knowing that Jesus Christ’s victory is coming should bring us great joy and happiness for today. It should lead us to a life excited about the Kingdom that is to come. Christians are already residents of that Kingdom, and it is coming to full fruition soon.
You may ask yourself: “How can I become a citizen of the Kingdom of Christ?” Well, it requires that you have accepted Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of your life. You can’t live in that Kingdom unless you follow the King.
Now, for those who are Christians, we can already find great joy and hope knowing what wonders await them. But, for those who have rejected Jesus Christ, they cannot claim that hope. They have the Lake of Fire waiting for them in the end. They’re the citizens of the Second Death.
For those of you who have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, now’s the time to do so. Listen to the Holy Spirit’s tug inside your heart, pulling you to accept Jesus as your Savior. Then pray from your heart something like: “Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins. I know I am a sinner. Please forgive me and be my Savior and the Lord of my life.” And, Jesus will do just that. Your sins will be forgiven. The guilt will be washed away. The Holy Spirit will reside in you. And then, you too will become a citizen of the Kingdom of Christ.