Why should universal peace and prosperity be impossible? Why can't we have a world bubbling over with joy and happiness?
EVER SINCE the dawn of civilization, man has longed to live in a plush world where all his physical desires could be fulfilled! But even as he has longed for such a place, in his heart he has been secretly positive that such a Utopia could never be found on this earth. WHY SHOULD SUCH A UTOPIA BE IMPOSSIBLE?
Where Mentioned in the Bible
God has allowed a six-thousand-year period for mankind to rule himself. During this time, God has kept hands off the affairs of this world. Man has pursued the course that "seemeth right" to him. But this time is now almost up! The new order — THE WORLD TOMORROW — is about to begin! A 1000 years of peace and prosperity is just around the corner. In Micah, the fourth chapter, a graphic description is given us concerning the soon-coming Utopia. Verse one shows God's rulership established over the nations. Then what happens? "And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain [government] of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." In less than 40 years all nations are going to live in a Utopia! They will be forced, to learn the ways of peace. A Utopia of God's making — not man's — is fast approaching. What's wrong with this millennial Utopia? Why don't people want it? It is time you knew about the coming Utopia — a MILLENNIUM of plush and happy living you never dreamed of! Actually, the word "millennium" is derived from the Latin which simply means a thousand years, Instead of finding the word "millennium" in the scriptures, you will read of the "thousand years." The only scriptures in all the Bible mentioning this specific period of time are in Revelation 20:1-9. Here is the TIME SETTING for the coming Utopia or Millennium. The apostle John wrote that he saw an angel who "laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. and set a seal upon him, that he should, deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled" (Rev. 20:2-3). Did you notice that? During the millennium [the thousand years], the devil does not deceive the nations. This age we are now in couldn't be the millennium, because the devil IS STILL DECEIVING THE NATIONS. The millennium must still be in the future — a time when the devil will not be deceiving the whole world any longer. Notice what else the apostle John says about the thousand years. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Rev. 20:6). So the millennium is a time when the saints reign with Christ. The saints help create the millennial Utopia. Did you ever notice before that those in the first resurrection will reign with Christ a thousand years? (Rev. 20:4). This means that the millennium can't begin until AFTER the first resurrection, because it is those in the first resurrection who do the ruling.
WHEN Will the Millennium Occur?
Now when does the first resurrection occur? I Thes. 4:14-17 declares that the first resurrection occurs at the second coming of Christ. "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." This first resurrection occurs "at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (I Cor. 15:52). Since the saints do not rise until the second coming of Christ, and since they rule with Christ during the millennium, then the thousand years must occur after the second coming of Christ, and NOT before. This is vitally important because there are some who teach that Jesus does not come until the end of the thousand years. But your Bible says Jesus comes at the beginning of the thousand years. Christ is returning to make a UTOPIA possible! But what else happens when the last trump sounds? In Revelation 11:15-19, when the last or seventh trumpet blows, the dead are raised AND "the kingdoms of this world, are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever." This is when the millennium begins! Christ is starting to reign and the saints are already resurrected to rule with Christ. But where shall we rule?
WHERE Will the Millennium Be Spent?
The last phrase of I Thessalonians 4:17 tells us. After all the saints meet the Lord in the air they shall "ever be with the Lord." Since the saints shall always be with Jesus Christ, then any scripture that tells us where Christ will be, will also explain where those resurrected saints shall be during the thousand years. Also a verse that says where the saints shall rule during the thousand years, explains the place where Christ must be ruling, too! Now consider this. In order to reign during the millennium, there must be someone for the saints to reign over. Over whom does Christ give the saints power and authority to rule? Notice Revelation 2:26-27. Jesus promises: "And he that overcometh... will I give power over the nations: and he shall RULE them with a rod of iron." So the saints will rule over the nations. And these nations will be ruled with a rod of iron. In the last days of the kings or rulers of this present civilization, "shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people [not to human beings, but to the sons of God], but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever" (Dan. 2:44). Notice, that it is "in the days of these kings," not a thousand years later, that God sets up His kingdom under Christ — pictured by the stone that smote the image (Dan. 2:34, 35) — which "became a great mountain, and FILLED THE WHOLE EARTH." It doesn't fill heaven, BUT IT DOES FILL THE EARTH. To say that these nations are in heaven is absurd. Are there such sinful nations in heaven that the saints have to rule them with an iron rod? Of course not. These are the nations of this earth, Now let's find scriptures telling us that Christ WILL rule on this earth. In Rev. 3:21, Jesus said: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne." So the resurrected saints will sit with Christ ON HIS THRONE while ruling the nations. At the present moment Christ is sitting on His Father's throne in heaven. (Rev. 3:21) He is NOT sitting on His own throne. But when Jesus leaves heaven (Acts 3:21) to come for the saints, they are promised a place with Him on His throne. Jesus does not promise them a place on the Father's throne in heaven, but a place on His own throne, from which they, with Jesus, shall rule the nations with a rod of iron. Where will Jesus' throne be?
The Throne of David Is NOT in Heaven!
The throne of Jesus Christ could not be in heaven. If Jesus' throne were the Father's throne in heaven, then He would not need His own throne because He is already sitting on the Father's throne. But what throne will Jesus have? Gabriel said, as recorded in Luke l:30-33, that Jesus "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." So Jesus' throne will be the throne of David. David's throne is on this earth! Jer. 33:17). The Father's throne is in heaven. During the millennium, the saints shall sit with Christ on the throne of David and rule the nations of this earth. Not only will Christ rule over the house of Jacob forever, as Gabriel said, but it is also written: "Thou are my son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of Iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel" (Psalm 2:7-9). Here the Psalmist says that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will do the very same things that He promised those in the first resurrection shall do. Of course, for the saints shall rule, WITH HIM and carry out His will and authority over the nations. This is when the Kingdom will be restored to Israel and when Christ shall rule the house of Jacob on the throne of David (Acts 1:6). When the Kingdom of God is established on earth, then we shall have peace — and not until then. Yes, a wonderful UTOPIA is coming in the WORLD TOMORROW! If all these scriptures are not proof enough that we shall reign with Christ on this earth, and not in heaven, during the millennium, then turn to Revelation 5:9. The proper translation of this verse, from the original Greek, is that Christ purchased with His blood "men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and madest them a kingdom and priests to our God; and THEY SHALL REIGN UPON THE EARTH." Here it is in the plainest of language. The saints shall reign, not in heave, but on the earth. Do you believe what the Bible says?
HOW and WHEN Jesus Returns to Earth
In Acts 1:9-11 the account of Jesus' departure nineteen hundred years ago is given. "While they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men... said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." How did Jesus leave? He ascended from the Mount of Olives and was received by the clouds of heaven. And He is going to return in like manner. Let's find a scripture explaining this. In Revelation 19 we read that, at the second coming of Christ, all nations are gathered to battle against Jerusalem. This same time, the second coming of Christ, is described in Zechariah 14:1-3. It is in the Day of the Lord when all nations are warring against Jerusalem. "THEN shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations AND HIS FEET SHALL STAND IN THAT DAY UPON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES" (Zech. 14:3, 4). Notice it. Jesus is coming in the clouds of heaven (Rev. 1:7) and shall fight against the nations AND HIS FEET SHALL STAND IN THAT DAY UPON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES which is on this earth, It does not say that Jesus will stand on the Mount a thousand years later, bat in that day as He returns to receive the throne of David and to rule the nations with a rod of iron.
He Remains ON THE EARTH
When Jesus returns to earth, the saints will be with Him — they will "ever be with the Lord." He comes in the clouds of this earth's atmosphere wherein they meet Him and then accompany Him to this earth. That is where the saints shall be. But some contend that we return to heaven immediately. The Bible no where teaches any such doctrine. Let's continue reading what Zechariah wrote. "And it shall be in that day [notice, it is still the same day, not seven years or a thousand years later], that living waters [salvation] shall go out from Jerusalem... in summer and in winter shall it be. And the Lord shall be king over ALL THE EARTH... and the land shall be turned as a plain... AND INHABITED ... And men shall dwell in it, and, there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited." (Zechariah 14:8-11). Here is the promise of the coming Utopia. In the day that Christ returns, not a thousand years later, but in that very day, when the nations that battled against Jerusalem are subdued, the land shall be inhabited and MEN SHALL LIVE THERE. And the Gentile nations, after their entire armies have been destroyed (Zech. 14:12-15), shall come to serve Jesus Christ. "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from. year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of Tabernacles" (Zech. 74:16). The people that shall be left are going to worship the Lord year by year in Jerusalem, which is on this earth, not in heaven. The Lord shall be King over all the earth. (Zech. 14:9). The next verses show Him punishing nations for disobedience. The saints are also going to judge and correct the nations as they sit with Jesus on His throne. None of these events can occur before the thousand years, and none can occur in heaven because there are no disobedient nations there. Neither will disobedient nations be in the New Earth after the millennium. Therefore these events must happen DURING THE MILLENNIUM AND ON THIS EARTH. These are the plain statements of Scripture.
The Earth Is Not to Be Desolate
In the book of Isaiah, chapter 24, there arc verses which some seize upon in a feeble effort to contradict the plain statements of Scripture. These verses are quite often misquoted to substantiate theories of men. The time setting of this chapter is near the beginning of the millennium period. The first verse is often quoted as: "Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down...." Just quoting this much, one is left with the impression that there are no inhabitants on the earth, that the millennium will be a period of complete desolation. But why not quote the whole verse? 'What does God mean by the earth being made empty? Did He mean that there are no inhabitants? NOT AT ALL! Let's not stop at this verse, as some denominations do, but continue reading this entire chapter. What will God do? He "scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with the master. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled... The haughty people of the earth do languish... They that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth ate burned, and FEW MEN LEFT." Read this entire twenty-fourth chapter of Isaiah. It shows the punishments to be meted out on this earth just prior to the beginning of the thousand years — the complete destruction of civilization and "few men left," A Utopia can come only when international gangsters in high offices are removed from their seats of power and when their armies are wiped out. Remember also what Zechariah said about those who shall be left, They shall go up to Jerusalem from year to year and worship the Eternal who shall be King over all the earth. Isaiah says that those few who are left "shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord (verse 14).. when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem." (verse 23). Yes, Christ will reign in Jerusalem, not heaven, and there will be inhabitants who shall REPOPULATE the earth. Again Jeremiah 4:23-31 is often lifted out of its context and misapplied to the thousand years. If you will study the book of Jeremiah from the beginning you will notice that these verses are NOT referring to the thousand years. The prophet warns Judah that Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon is coming "to make THY LAND DESOLATE; and THY CITIES shall be laid waste without an inhabitant" (verse 7). This is speaking of Judah, not the whole earth. The "WHOLE LAND SHALL BE DESOLATE; YET WILL I NOT MAKE A FULL END" (verse 27). The same word in the original Hebrew is often used to mean either "earth" or "land." It actually should be translated "land" in verse twenty-three, because God is speaking of the land of Judah. It shows, too, that there are Gentiles still on the earth who will not be allowed by God to make a full end of Judah, even though they desolate the land, completely. Verse twenty-nine shows that not a man shall dwell in the cities. Why? Because there are no human beings on the earth? No! But because whole cities shall flee before the horsemen of the Gentiles. This prophecy is NOT referring to the millennium. Together with these two misquoted texts, people who hate God's Utopia turn to II Thess. 1:8 and 2:8. The first of these verses is speaking of angels who will take vengeance on those that know not God and obey not the gospel. It is assumed, that this text says that all people will be destroyed, but it doesn't say that. It is only those who refuse to obey that will perish. But there will be many other Gentiles who shall repent of their wrong ways and admit that their "fathers have inherited lies" (Jer. 16:19). The other verse often mentioned (II Thess. 2:8) nowhere speaks of ALL THE WICKED. It mentions "THAT WICKED" whom Christ shall destroy, "even HIM, whose coming is after the working of Satan" (verse 9). So it is not all the wicked, but one person, even him, that is to be destroyed. This wicked one is that false prophet whose destruction is described in Revelation 19:20. None of the preceding texts describe an earth without inhabitants for a thousand years. But some people just don't want to believe the plain statements in God's Word!
WHAT Will the Millennium Be Like?
Isaiah 11 tells us of the Millennium. The Gentiles are going to seek God (verse 10) and Israel and Judah are going to be gathered THE SECOND TIME from the heathen nations (verse 11). This could not be speaking of any "spiritual Israel." The last verses in this chapter speak of men crossing rivers and highways as they leave the Gentile nations and return the second time to the land of promise. This is the time spoken of by Paul. "Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins" (Romans 11:25-27). Here is GOOD NEWS! Here is part of the gospel message. Blindness is happened to Israel, not forever, but until the full number of Gentiles who are to be converted in this age comes into the Kingdom. Then Israel shall be forgiven and the vast majority of Gentiles shall seek God. Returning to Isaiah 11, verse 4: Christ "shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." At this very time when He is punishing the wicked and "reproving with equity the meek of the earth" — at this very time, notice it — "the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid... and a little child shall lead them. And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child. shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child, shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:6-9). This is a real Utopia. This can't be in heaven. There are no wicked human beings in heaven. Children are not being suckled and weaned in heaven. AND THIS CAN'T BE IN THE NEW EARTH BECAUSE THERE WILL BE NO WICKED PERSONS THERE (Rev. 21:1-4). These events must occur on this earth during the millennium. It can't happen in heaven, nor in the New Earth, nor during this age before the millennium begins. No wild, carnivorous animals are going to be tamed before the 1000 years to eat straw like the ox. This is a prophecy of the Millennium! The thirty-fifth chapter of Isaiah contains other descriptions of the reign of Christ and His saints for the thousand years. In the preceding chapter the destruction of this present world's civilization is depicted as a bloody catastrophe, but thanks to God, the world won't long be in the throes of destruction. For the wilderness shall blossom as the rose, the blind will see and the lame shall walk, because Christ is going to heal the afflicted just as He did in His ministry nineteen hundred years ago. This is what the millennium will be like. And each of us can have a part in making the glorious age to come possible. This is the message of the gospel which Jesus preached — the Kingdom of God.
Satan Is to Be Bound
The Bible teaches that the millennium is the reign of the Kingdom of God ON THIS EARTH — the millennium is not the Kingdom, it is merely the first thousand years reign of that Kingdom on this earth. Yet some people try to tell you that during the millennium Satan will be bound by circumstances — supposedly there will be no human beings alive for him to tempt! The Bible says no such thing. Satan is taken from the people and bound LEST he should deceive the nations. If there were no nations to deceive, he would not have to be BOUND AND SHUT UP IN A PLACE OF RESTRAINT (Rev. 20:1-3). When Satan and his demons are restrained from their work of deception, the earth shall at last have its millennial "sabbath of rest." The resurrected saints will judge the world with Christ and all nations shall have peace at last, because they will for the first time be following that "law which shall go forth out of Zion."
Will the Dead Be Resurrected During the Millennium?
Some groups know that the millennium will occur on this earth. But they teach that there will be resurrections during the entire period. Is this true? They falsely claim that Revelation 20:5 is not a part of the Bible. This verse says: "BUT THE REST OF THE DEAD LIVED NOT AGAIN UNTIL THE THOUSAND YEARS WERE FINISHED." The greatest scholars admit that this text belongs in the Bible. It is found in the overwhelming majority of Greek manuscripts. It is after the millennium (Rev. 20:11-15) that the rest of the dead are raised. If they were raised from their graves during the millennium, there would be no need of a time of resurrection after the thousand years. It is important that we do not follow this error by removing this verse. Jesus said: "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life." (Rev. 22:19). Let's not follow the heresy that denies the rule of the Kingdom of God ON THIS EARTH during the millennium. If any man preaches a gospel that denies this, he shall be cursed of God. Yes, a Utopia is coming — the wonderful World of Tomorrow is just around the corner. You can be there and help make it possible if you yield NOW your life to God and OBEY Him! What a glorious age that will be!