a thousand years; the name given to the era mentioned in Re 20:1-7. Some maintain that Christ will personally appear on earth for the purpose of establishing his kingdom at the beginning of this millennium. Those holding this view are usually called "millenarians." On the other hand, it is maintained, more in accordance with the teaching of Scripture, we think, that Christ's second advent will not be premillennial, and that the right conception of the prospects and destiny of his kingdom is that which is taught, e.g., in the parables of the leaven and the mustard-seed. The triumph of the gospel, it is held, must be looked for by the wider and more efficient operation of the very forces that are now at work in extending the gospel; and that Christ will only come again at the close of this dispensation to judge the world at the "last day." The millennium will thus precede his coming.
A period of a thousand years, during which, according to Re 20:2-7, the Dragon (i.e. the devil) is to be confined in the abyss, while the martyrs, having been raised from the dead, are to reign with Christ. The period begins with this first resurrection, and at its end, Satan, prior to his destruction, is to be released for a time to deceive the nations.
This reference in Revelation is unique in the NT. The Millennium was, however, present in the Jewish apocalyptic literature. In Slavonic Enoch (chs. 32 and 33), time is described as a week of seven days, each of one thousand years in length. These six days (i.e. 6000 years) are said to have elapsed from the time of the Creation to the Judgment. Then will come a 'sabbath of rest' of a thousand years, and then an eighth day which shall be timeless. A similar expectation is to be found in the Talmud (Sanh. 97 a), and it is not impossible that this conception can be traced back to Babylonia or Persia.
In the history of the Christian Church the doctrine of the Millennium has played a considerable r
This word signifies a thousand years, and usually refers to that period spoken of in Rev. 20. The first resurrection will have taken place before these years commence, the saints who have part in this resurrection will be priests of God and of Christ, and reign with Christ the thousand years. During that period Satan will be confined in the abyss, or bottomless pit. Re 20:1-6. These two facts prove that the millennium will not be brought about by any present or similar agency in connection with the gospel. Satan must be confined, and the first resurrection must have taken place. See RESURRECTION. Other important events will also have occurred previously, namely, the judgements that must fall upon Judah and Israel before they can under God occupy the first place of earthly blessing in their own land, the nations being blessed through them. Jer 30:4-9; Mt 24:21-22. Blessing will follow the judgements. They will not speak then of having been brought out of Egypt, but from all countries whither God has driven them. Jer 23:5-8. The reconciliation of Israel will be "life from the dead." Ro 11:15.
The man of sin also must first be manifested, and, with the resuscitated Roman empire, be crushed. 2Th 2:7-12; Rev. 13; Rev. 14. From these, and from other particulars mentioned in scripture, it is clear that there will be a great and marvellous change before the millennium is established, and that change will not be limited to a spiritual change in man, as many suppose. The change will bring about a dispensation entirely different in character from that which now exists during the gathering out from the nations of a people for heavenly blessing. It will be characterised by a universal knowledge of Jehovah in relation to Israel. Jer 31:34; Zec 14:9. "All flesh shall know that I Jehovah am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob." Isa 49:26. The Lord Himself will reign over the earth in righteousness, and all the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Ps 72:8,17; Isa 11:5; 26:9.
The Spirit will be poured out on all flesh, and creation, now groaning and travailing in pain, will be delivered from the bondage of corruption. Ro 8:19-22. "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree." Isa 55:13: cf. Isa 41:19. Things and natures, most opposed and diverse, will dwell together in peace. "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: 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 cockatrice's den." Isa 11:6-8.
There will be universal peace and blessing all over the earth: instead of the invention of weapons of slaughter, the swords will be beaten into ploughshares. Isa 2:4.
Thus the kingdom spoken of in Da 2:44 will be established on earth by the God of heaven, and it will consume all other kingdoms. It will be the kingdom of God in power, and the Lord Jesus will be acknowledged King of kings and Lord of lords. He will first reign as son of David, the man of war, and then, when all enemies of His people have been subdued, as Solomon, the man of peace.
Death, though not destroyed, will be swallowed up in victory. If one should die at a hundred years of age he will be considered an 'infant.' Isa 65:20.
The throne of God and the Lamb will be in the new and heavenly Jerusalem, which descends from God out of heaven, and the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb will be the temple thereof. The glory of God lightens it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. The saved nations will walk in the light of it. Re 21:22-24.
As well as being the fulfilment of all God's promises to Israel, the millennium will be a trial of man under entirely new circumstances. And no sooner will Satan, released from his prison, go forth to deceive the nations, than he will be readily listened to. They will be gathered to attack Jerusalem, but only to meet with their own destruction. Re 20:7-9.