Politics & Prophecy: A Lawyer’s View of the End Times
Part 5 – The Kingdom of Christ
by Gerald R. Thompson
Rev. 20:1-6 (summary) – Satan is seized, thrown into the bottomless pit, and chained there for a thousand years. Then the pit is shut and sealed over him to prevent him from deceiving the nations until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. Then, seated on thrones “were those to whom the authority to judge was committed.” Also, the souls of those who had been beheaded for the sake of Jesus and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received the mark of the beast came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.
The Millennium is, for all practical purposes, the same as the Golden Age of the O.T. The difference is that O.T. prophets saw this period primarily in terms of the restoration of Israel, whereas Revelation sees it primarily as the establishment of the earthly kingdom of Christ, in which Christians will rule and reign. These two things are not incompatible, nor are they completely separate, nor are they completely identical. They are symbiotic and complementary.
Which is to say, Jesus will establish His worldwide earthly kingdom with its capital in Jerusalem. He will rule all the nations, but Israel will play a prominent role in that kingdom, because its land, fortune and reputation will have been restored, and people from around the world will come to Jerusalem both the worship the king and also conduct official business. Israel will be the center of the world not only geographically, but politically. Don’t be surprised if the GMT/UTC is reset to Jerusalem instead of Greenwich, England.
The Millennium, the 1,000 year earthly kingdom of Christ, is only mentioned once in the entire Bible as a fixed period of time, in Rev. 20:1-10. For this reason, some people discount it as something of an aberration – supposedly you can’t get good doctrine from just one text. But the phrase thousand years is mentioned six times in those few verses, adding considerable emphasis. Plus, when put together with scriptures regarding the Golden Age and other scriptures regarding the rule of the nations by Jesus with a rod of iron, you get a fairly comprehensive picture of the time we call the Millennium. The point is, you have to put them together.
There are several reasons why a literal, physical 1,000 year earthly kingdom of Christ preceding eternity is both reasonable and part of the overall plan of God, even if we were to ignore the mentioning of it in the first few verses of Rev. 20. I have alluded to a couple of these early on, namely, that there is something more that Jesus needs to do on earth, and there is some unfinished business relating to the divine covenants. Both of these are discussed in detail in the next section. Additionally:
1) God is as concerned with the physical as He is with the spiritual.
It really bothers me when people think God is only concerned with spiritual things, and to regard physical things either as necessary but unimportant, or as corrupt and to be avoided. It borders on Gnosticism – the belief that all material things are evil. In eschatology, the view which emphasizes all things spiritual and de-emphasizes all things material is amillennialism. Hence, in the amillennial world, the political kingdom of Christ is not past, present or future, it is non-existent.
There are so many ways in which God has shown himself to be concerned with the physical world, and that it matters, I cannot list them all. But here are a few: God created man from the dust of the ground, a physical being, perfect, without sin, and it was very good. God gave man dominion over the spiritual (oops! I meant physical) world – stuff like plants and animals, involving physical work. The whole familial system created by God is gritty and earthy – sex, children, food, shelter, clothing. And all of it was very good when created, too.
If you consider the various laws God gave to ancient Israel, only about half of them concerned the temple/ tabernacle, priests & Levites, sacrifices, feasts and holy days – you know, spiritual’ things. The rest of the laws concerned clean and unclean food (not from a spiritual perspective, but a physical health perspective), dealing with bodily discharges, waste, various diseases and other health concerns. Not to mention all the commercial and economic laws, land laws, inheritance laws, the judicial system, etc. For a God supposedly only interested in spiritual things, He sure spent a lot of time and effort on physical things and wanted His people to do the same.
And then there’s the whole aspect of redemption. Spiritual redemption you know about. But God also provided for redemption of people from physical bondage (whether slavery or indentured servitude), redemption and release from financial burdens (debts, sureties & pledges), and redemption of the land (whether from transfers or conquests). See, e.g., Lev. 25:25-54; 27:13-33; Num. 18:15-17.
When He sent Jesus to earth, it was done in the most physical of ways – not by dropping in out of the sky, not by miraculously appearing, but being born as a child to real parents, and growing up to adulthood in the real world working as a carpenter. God didn’t have to do it that way. Don’t tell me God isn’t concerned with the physical world – He wanted to do things that way. And just as Jesus came to earth in bodily form (the incarnation), so His kingdom will come to this earth incarnate. When Jesus said His kingdom was “not of this world” (Jn. 18:36), He only meant, “not yet.”
2) Either the Golden Age will be literal or God is a great exaggerator and a liar.
One of the most profound questions you can ever ask someone about prophecy is, “Does God exaggerate?” Amillennialists especially, but also some postmillennialists, would have us believe God didn’t literally mean it when He said Satan will be bound for 1,000 years, the dead in Christ will rise from the dead and rule on earth prior to heaven, the throne of David will be reestablished, or that Israel and Jerusalem will be restored in physical terms in history. They would have us believe all these things are merely allegorical, spiritually symbolic, or a type of things to come in eternity.
Well, if that’s all those things mean, then God is a great exaggerator and a liar. Because the Jews of the first century knew what those things meant – the Messiah would conquer Israel’s enemies in this world and restore Israel in this world. The Jews weren’t actually wrong about that – they just got the timing wrong. Jesus is still going to do those things, and the Jewish Messiah is still going to come. The apostles knew it, too (Acts 1:6).
I don’t know about you, but if all the above prophecies are just allegorical, then I guess all that stuff about Adam and Eve was probably allegorical, too. The flood of Noah probably only covered the Black Sea. Jesus wasn’t really born of a virgin – what does it matter anyway? – his birth was just a spiritual type. We just need to believe, right? Hogwash.
I know God often uses symbolic and allegorical language – much of this discussion is devoted to acknowledging and understanding those symbols. But not everything, not even the majority of things, can be merely symbolic, or the whole framework of understanding God, man and the world in which we live falls apart. Allegorical things are the exception, not the rule, and we have to identify them carefully. Everything else must be literal.
So the way I answer the question is this: God sometimes speaks symbolically, but no, He never exaggerates, and no, God never lies. God is a God of truth. Isa. 45:19; Jn. 1:17; Jn. 14:6. And when God inspired the scriptures, He chose words carefully and knew what He was doing. 1 Tim. 3:16.
The material I present in this current section will be different from the rest of this book in a key respect. The rest of this book is almost exclusively based on a careful exegesis of the scriptures. But here, it is not the text of the Bible we will examine so much as making observations about the world, about history, and about the ways God appears to work in human affairs so as to discern, if possible, patterns in the way those things occur.
One of the many advantages of believing in the laws of nature and nature’s God as I do, is that it does not exclude the law of nature component from our efforts to discern God’s will. Remember, the laws of nature and nature’s God consists of the revealed word of God in the Bible and the person of Jesus Christ, and the general revelation of God’s will in the observable creation (i.e., the law of nature) and our consciences.
As between the two, the revealed will of God in the Bible is always of more authority than what we merely guess it to be from making observations. Yet it is valid to make observations about matters not addressed in the scriptures, and to the extent such observations do not contradict the scriptures they may be used to formulate arguments which are entitled to as much respect as they are persuasive. So please allow me to make some observations and put forward arguments based on them as best as I can. I will let you judge the extent to which any of them are persuasive.
The Sabbath Principle is simple – 6 days of labor followed by one day of rest. Gen. 2:2-3; Exo. 20:11. Does the same thing hold true for millennia? That is, does God have a 7,000 year plan for man – 6 millennia of labor followed by one millennium of rest (Jesus’ kingdom)?
If I understand the millennial kingdom of Christ correctly, it will be a time of relative rest (that is, compared to what we have now). The curse of the ground will remain, but the face of the earth will be changed, cleansed, and in all probability be a more friendly environment over the globe. Men will still be born with a sin nature, but Satan and his demons will be removed from all earthly influence. Israel will be restored, and the earth will experience a time of unparalleled peace and prosperity. People will live longer, disease and pestilence will be rarer, and war will be abolished. It’s not heaven – but isn’t it the definition of a period of rest from what we now have?
So the question which naturally arises is this: Assuming the Millennium will be a period of rest arguendo, has all the prior history of the earth occurred in only 6,000 years? For the following reasons, I believe the answer is yes’ – approximately. Plus or minus 50 -100 years. Ask me again a hundred years from now.
A. The biblical genealogies, if one takes them at all seriously, or as trustworthy, cannot put together a chronology going back to Adam which extends beyond roughly 6,000 years. Numerous biblical scholars have constructed timelines of world history, and every one I have ever seen puts Adam at 4001-4004 B.C. Even if creation pre-dates Adam, all prophecy is concerned with (think back to Gen. 3) is human history, which only goes back to Adam. Unless, of course, you just plain reject the biblical genealogies or reject a literal Adam and Eve who were created by the direct act of God and did not have any human parents.
However, consistency is important. If we’re going to assume for the sake of this discussion that the Millennium will be literal, it only makes sense to take the creation account of Gen. 1 & 2 literally, as well as the genealogies going back to Adam. Put another way, No, I don’t think the biblical genealogies are another example of God’s exaggerations about lineages and life spans.
But a review of the evidence in this regard is beyond the scope of this book, except to say that it isn’t a matter of science. Rather, it is a matter of documentation - what the oldest writings testify about the origin of man and whether those documents are reliable. I told you up front this was going to be a lawyer’s perspective on things. And to a lawyer, documents are competent evidence. God never said science holds the key to history.
So humor me, even if I may be out of my mind on this point. The documentary evidence is on my side, so it is at least a plausible and rational basis for proceeding, even if you disagree.
B. There are scientific studies of the distribution of blood types (A, B, AB & O) worldwide, showing how they are perfectly harmonious with the human race being started by only two individuals, followed by a catastrophic event which severely restricted the gene pool (i.e., the flood of Noah). The blood type distribution data of the present world fits exactly the predictive model based on the book of Genesis being taken literally. Here, obviously, I defer to scientists, but I leave you to your own devices in checking me on this, and I only suggest that if you are open to the idea, scientific research exists to support my claim.
C. There are scientific population studies with complex mathematical formulae calculating the rates of population growth over the centuries. The fact is, today’s world population fits exactly the predicted amount if one assumes eight people stepped off Noah’s ark around 2344 B.C. If you vary any basic assumption – e.g., Noah’s flood was only regional, not worldwide; or Adam and Eve were not literal, but representative of many more people living at that time; or that the human race started even a modest 10,000 years ago (much less 100,000 years ago or earlier); the numbers don’t work.
Make any of those assumptions supporting a non-literal understanding of Genesis, and the world population skyrockets – even taking into account wars and plagues – so that we would be stepping all over each other with no unpopulated areas of the earth, resulting in many times the current world population. Today’s world population only makes sense if the human race is very young. Again, if you look into this, you will be able to find research by actual non-lawyers in support of what I have said.
D. The Jewish calendar, which purports to keep track of the years since Adam’s creation is currently at year 5773 (in our year 2013). There are some interesting theories of why the Jewish calendar has a 240 year “gap”, but the point is, no reworking of the Jewish calendar will get you beyond 6,000 years since creation. And who on earth would have a more reliable continuous calendar going back to creation (according to the Genesis account) than the Jews? Oh, you want to rely on the Egyptian calendar? Good luck with that.
E. Many of the significant events in biblical history have occurred near 1,000 year or 500 year markers since creation, with a plus or minus of about 50 years. Namely, the births of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus, all of whom were instruments to bring in a new divine covenant. I argue the divine covenants are the key events in all of human history. Coincidence, or planned? It seems that God has tended to do big things in increments of 1,000 years throughout history – including the coming Millennium. Will the Second Coming follow this pattern? Who can say?
In calculating our current position in world history, I wonder whether, from God’s point of view, the historically significant date is the birth of Jesus or the death of Jesus. Since the Church was founded at His death, not His birth, I lean toward viewing His death as the more significant. Thus, if God were to go out 2,000 years from that date, it would take us to 2030 – plus or minus 50 years. The Bible says we cannot know the day or hour, but we can know the season. It would seem that the season is near, probably very near, but I acknowledge people have thought that before.
However, it does seem apparent that God is in charge of history. I’m not a numerologist – trust me, I’ve seen and studied many timelines and charts showing how God is supposed to work in certain multiples of years, etc. For the most part, I have not been convinced by any of these. But I know He is in charge, and nothing happens truly by accident, both at the small level and in the big picture. So whether history is only 6,000 years old or not, God has a plan and history is not just a series of random events over endless amounts of time. History has a beginning, an end, and a plan that goes all the way in between.
“I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ … I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.” Isa. 46:9b-11.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Rev. 22:13.
All of this discussion leads to a final question. OK, let’s assume arguendo that the history of the human race has taken roughly 6,000 years so far. Let’s also assume that any earthly kingdom of Christ, if it were to exist, would be a time of relative rest. But does any of that mean that God has actually planned for the totality of history to be structured this way? Not necessarily, but if that isn’t the grand plan, then what is? Is Jesus really going to wait 100,000 years before returning? Does God need that much time to spread the gospel to all nations? Does Satan need that much time to bring sin to its full fruition?
Oh wait! I forgot to put my postmill hat on. According to that view, Christians are gradually going to transform culture and dominate the world before Jesus returns. At the current rate of progress, it would probably take them about 100,000 years. No, I’ve changed my mind. There is no Christian cultural progress. The Church will never get there. Do you think the Church will ever really dominate the world before the Second Coming? Where is the evidence? Is Christianity trending on social media?
Other possible historical patterns
There are other historical patterns people have suggested for how history may be organized. Thus, for example, some have suggested a model for the Millennial timetable based on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. In other words, He lay in the grave for two days, and arose on the third. Again making an argument based on a figurative day as a literal thousand years, this would put the beginning of the Millennial kingdom 2,000 years out from the crucifixion, or about 2030 A.D. In other words, two thousand years when Jesus was absent from the earth, and then a thousand years when He is brought back to life. Also see Hos. 6:1-2.
I do not present this argument as truth, as a doctrine, or even as a biblical teaching. It makes a certain amount of logical sense, but whether it has any connection to historical (or future) reality is something I really cannot pass upon. That it has been almost 2,000 years since the crucifixion I take as a fact. That the Millennial kingdom will be 1,000 years I take on faith. Whether the end of one will be the beginning of the other remains to be seen.
Although some people immediately jump to 2 Pet. 3:8 (“one day is as a thousand years” ) to bolster their position either as to the 7,000 year plan for man or as to the 3,000 year scenario, I do not take that statement as laying down a rule of prophetic interpretation. It just means that God exists transcendent of time, and time doesn’t affect Him. To read a prophetic rule into that verse is not warranted by the text.
However, I cannot deny the possibility that such a rule might be true for reasons other than the existence of the verse. Let me explain, again going back to the law of nature.
We know that murder has been wrong from the beginning of history, as may be discerned from the account of Cain and Abel. Gen. 4. We also know that murder was prohibited in the Ten Commandments, but that those commandments were specifically given to and directed solely towards Israel in its national capacity. Ex. 20. Thus, as a matter of scriptural interpretation, we do not properly say that murder is wrong in Gentile nations today because the Ten Commandments say so. Rather, murder is wrong in Gentile nations because it is part of the law of nature, which we can prove without resorting to the Decalogue.
That these two should agree is no surprise, because the law of nature (or general revelation) and the laws of nature’s God (or special revelation, including the Decalogue) have the same author, namely God. So the fact that murder is prohibited in the laws of ancient Israel is not what makes that law applicable elsewhere, but it gives us a clue of what to look for in nature that might be proved by other means.
Similarly, the laws of immorality God used to vomit the Canaanites out from the Promised Land in Lev. 18 were not made applicable because those same laws were recited in the Mosaic laws, rather the strong inference is those laws must also be a part of the laws of nature and that’s what made them applicable to the Canaanites.
So too, when looking at 2 Pet. 3:8, the question is not whether the verse states a prophetic rule binding on God, but whether an observation of history corroborates or contradicts the possible existence of a pattern whereby God works in human affairs in 1,000 year increments. Present your arguments either for or against, and make your case. Until the pattern be proved or disproved, let others agree to disagree. But it does present an intriguing possibility.
The same type of argument and reasoning applies to The Mystery of the Shemitah, a book by Jonathan Cahn. In it he argues that God is judging the world economy in a seven-year cycle corresponding to the Hebrew sabbath year with each such year starting on Rosh Hashanah. See Deut. 15:1-6 & Lev. 25:1-6. From the standpoint of biblical interpretation, there is no textual basis for construing Deut. 15:1-6 as a law binding on Gentile nations as that law was given exclusively to ancient Israel, and the same is true for the observance of Rosh Hashanah.
Nevertheless, as the author shows from objective economic data, there is definitely a seven-year cycle at work in the world economy and no one knows why. Similarly, over the long-term, September (when Rosh Hashanah occurs) is the poorest performing month for investments consistently. In fact, the average return on investments for every month of the year other than September is about 0.67%, but for Septembers going back well over 100 years, the average return on investment is a negative -0.67%. This is a fact – it is not in dispute in economic circles.
So the question for me becomes, Why is this happening? Is there anything here which can reasonably be attributed to human behavior, or is this the hand of God being made manifest? In other words, we can see the pattern repeat, and we know from scripture that in other situations far removed from us at present, God has operated in an analogous fashion. So is the pattern an indication of divine behavior or not?
Remember this also – earlier I asked the question, What calendar does God use? As I said then, God is not bound by the calendar modifications man has made in the modern era. As far as I am concerned, God has always used, and will continue to use, the calendar He instituted. Which, not coincidentally, happens to be the Hebrew calendar. We may not use the Hebrew calendar, but what if God still does? Shouldn’t we take notice?
The one thing I would caution in all of this is that even though God certainly knows how to count days, the imposing of judgment is always a matter of discretion (i.e., sovereignty) and therefore He is not constrained to act with any sort of mathematical precision. The human tendency – which we must resist – is that once a pattern has been discerned, we try to quantify it with numerical precision so we can calculate things in advance. God doesn’t work that way. Know when the season is at hand and be prepared, but don’t waste your time trying to predict things in advance because the numbers line up a certain way.
Isa. 2:3b-4 tells us what the government of the Millennial kingdom will look like. “For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; … nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
We already know Jesus will rule as King from the Third (or possibly Fourth) Temple in Jerusalem. We also now know He will issue and promulgate laws, and He will judge between the nations as its supreme court of last resort. In other words, Jesus will be the supreme executive, supreme lawgiver, and supreme judge of the world, uniting all three branches of government in Himself without corruption. “For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us.” Isa. 33:22.
In saying that Jesus will rule and judge all the nations, of necessity it means that nations will still exist. There may be a one world government in the Millennium, but it will not eliminate separate nations. Scripture teaches us that nations were not invented by men, they were created by God in the dispersion following the tower of Babel. Gen. 10:32-11:9. Governments are created by men, but nations were created by God.
A nation and its government are two different things. A nation can throw off its government and adopt a new one, yet remain the same nation. The history of the United States proves it. See my extensive treatment of this subject in my essay, The Right To Alter Or Abolish The Government.
The one world government of Christ will be in stark contrast to globalization movements today, whereby people attempt to destroy what God has created by eliminating both national sovereignties (governments) and national identities. There is only one way to have a godly globalization: maintain national identities and have Jesus Christ as the one world ruler. All current globalization efforts are doomed to fail because they deny these two requirements.
Under Christ, not only will national identities be preserved, but also to some extent national sovereignties. That is, not the governments in place now, but new national governments which are separate from each other. We can expect Jesus to follow the pattern of Exo. 18:24-26 in establishing levels of inferior courts so that He is, in fact, only a court of last resort. Similarly, we can expect Him to appoint national and regional governors, etc. to maintain internal governments for each nation. Perhaps the same will also be true of national legislatures.
In other words, the U.S. model of federal and state government will likely be applied to the whole world. No, of course I don’t mean to imply that Jesus will follow the pattern of America – don’t be silly. What I’m saying is that America simply got the idea from the Bible and God’s pre-existing plan.
In addition, war will be abolished, as all disputes will be resolved without the need for military actions. Thus, no one will need to learn the art of war, or train for it. Gone will be all standing armies and military forces. Gone will be all military academies and schools. No one will have a career in the military. People will “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.” Isa. 2:4. Also see Micah 4:3.
As noted earlier, every mortal person who enters the millennial kingdom will be an unbeliever. The righteous will all have been transformed at the Second Coming. Only unbelievers will be left. Many, perhaps most, people will come to Christ during the Millennium because of the pervasive and visible presence Jesus and His kingdom will have worldwide.
But even then, no one will be forced to accept Christ, and many will not. For those who are born during the millennium especially, it will be all they have ever known – so they will take the kingdom of Christ for granted and it will simply be the system in power. They will not know what it was like before the Second Coming just like we cannot know what it was like before the First Advent. They will not necessarily see the millennial kingdom as something special, but treat it as background noise, like Washington politics.
Yet, they will all be born with a sin nature, as this will not have been bred out of the human race. They will act just like people being born now, except the official government position will support Christianity and the knowledge of Jesus will cover the earth. But each person will still have to choose for himself.
Added to the mix are those unbelievers surviving Armageddon who will remember what it was like before – how they once had freedom to indulge in all kinds of sinful activities, and now they cannot. Some may turn to Christ, but Revelation says repeatedly that in spite of God’s many judgments, the people would not repent. Rev. 9:20; 16:9, 11. So just because Jesus comes to earth to visibly rule does not mean He will be welcomed by the masses. He is just as likely to be greeted with disdain and contempt. They will acknowledge His lordship and sovereignty, but grudgingly.
Some people argue Mat. 25:31-46 is a basis for claiming that only believers will enter the Millennium. That text provides:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” … Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
According to advocates of this view, verse 31 (the first sentence) refers to the Second Coming. Therefore, all the rest of the text refers to the beginning of the Millennial kingdom. So when Jesus separates the sheep from the goats, only the sheep (believers) will inherit the Millennial kingdom, and the unbelievers will not enter in.
There are several factors which mitigate against such an interpretation. First, Jesus will in fact judge all the nations at the Second Coming, but this will be done in the context of Armageddon, where he will not separate the unbelievers, rather He will destroy them. Second, unbelievers are not sent to the lake of fire at the beginning of the Millennium, but at the end. Third, the Millennial kingdom has not been prepared from the foundation of the world, which speaks of eternity, because the Millennium will be merely an earthly kingdom.
Clearly, the context in Mat. 25 is the Great White Throne judgment which occurs at the end of time. It is only then when believers and unbelievers are separated, eternal rewards and punishment are meted out, and the wicked are sent to the lake of fire. The jump in time between verses 31 and 32 is just one more example of when separate events are telescoped together when viewed from a long way off. It’s not as if this is the only time such a thing occurs in biblical prophecy.
What’s that you say? “Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess, that Jesus is Lord.” Isa. 45:23; Rom. 14:11; Php. 2:10. True enough. That’s what people will do outwardly, and that’s what everyone will see in public. But is that what absolutely everyone on earth will believe and accept in their heart? Are these verses actually to be understood as standing for universal salvation? Is that what the Bible says – everyone on earth will be saved once Jesus returns? I’d be a little cautious of making that leap, if I were you.
If absolutely everyone is going to be saved in the Millennium, who are the people who will be waiting for Satan to lead them in a final battle against the God most High? Don’t tell me these are more backsliding or apostate Christians coming to plague the world again! Aren’t these people in fact going to be unbelievers in the time of Christ’s kingdom who will not accept Him, and who are biding their time to get out from under His thumb (the rod of iron)? Is Jesus really going to need to rule a kingdom composed of 100% believers with a rod of iron? So what is the rod of iron?
Ps. 2:1-3 – Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”
Ps. 2:7-12 – The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Rev. 2:26-27 – “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron.”
Rev. 12:5 – She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.
Rev. 19:15 – From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.
I used to wonder why the nations would rage against God, but no longer. Today ‘days of rage’ are common throughout the world, and there is no shortage of people who hate Jehovah and Jesus. God’s response? Jesus will rule over them with a rod of iron, in other words, rule them harshly against their will. God will not oppress the people, but He will not let them practice evil, and to their sin natures it will seem like oppression.
And why do the nations rage? Is it because they reject the Gospel and Jesus as Savior? No, it is because they want to get out from under the cords and bonds, i.e., restraints placed on them by God. Which is to say, the nations want to get out from under God’s law, because it is the law which constrains. It is no coincidence that the Antichrist will be called the lawless one. The main goal of the forces of evil is to escape the constraints of God’s laws.
Just imagine: during the Millennium, no one will be able to open a casino, start a house of worship for the moon-god, or become a recognized sex worker. All L, G, B, and T activities (which are simply differing methods of engaging in homosexuality) will be banned. “Community organizing” will finally be recognized for what it is: rabble-rousing and meddling in nobody’s business, and be prohibited.
No one will be allowed to openly promote or engage in pornography, idolatry, abortion, bribery and corruption, or a host of other profitable vices and sins. They will all be shut down. All the purveyors and teachers of false religions, humanism, atheism, materialism and evolution will go back into the closet for a thousand years. And unbelievers won’t be happy about it. Instead of tolerating and winking at vice, the Millennial kingdom will actually eliminate all public vice.
I don’t mean to suggest that all forms of sin will be eliminated – it won’t. I daresay many of the worst vices will continue to exist out of the public eye and in secret. Human nature and temptation will exist and continue during the Millennium as they do now.
But anyone practicing vice will have to do it at great personal peril, and this will be a vast change from our current situation. Those who wish to do evil will be frustrated at every turn, and that frustration will seethe and rage within them so that they bring themselves to the boiling point rather than repent and turn to Christ. They will instead plot in secret to overturn God’s rule of the earth.
Because of the profound ignorance of God’s laws among Christians today, most people have absolutely no idea what it will mean to rule and reign with Christ when the Millennium gets here. The most I get from others is that they think they will live “large and in charge.” But I conceive it will mean that Christians will be involved in the daily affairs of governing the kingdom of Christ. In other words, the saints will be public officials – government workers, if you will.
Some will administrate, but others will be police – enforcers of God’s laws. Some will undoubtedly be judges in the legal sense – trying cases and rendering legal decisions in disputes. Some will prosecute crime. Some may even govern in the traditional sense – be a ruler of a province under the general authority of Christ.
That is, they will engage in tasks the average Christian is totally unprepared for. Any Christian who has been a government employee or public office holder will probably be the least prepared of all. Not only will they be totally ignorant of God’s laws like everyone else, but they will also have to unlearn their entire understanding of how good government works. So most of the saints are likely to be very low level workers in the kingdom, such as filing clerks or sanitation workers. You know, stuff the average Christian is actually qualified for.
It is at least a possible interpretation of prophecy that the saints in the Millennium will return to earth after being ‘translated’ and rule in the kingdom with immortal bodies while the general population will consist of mortal people. The saints will have, ostensibly, bodies after the manner of what Christ had following His resurrection and before the ascension. It is hard to talk of such things with any degree of certainty because it is so foreign to all of our common experiences in the history of the world. Yet, that is what scripture seems to indicate.
If this will be the case, it seems to me to make perfect sense. What better way for Jesus to rule with a rod of iron all over the world, than to have an army of incorruptible agents dispersed over the surface of the planet enforcing His laws and commands? Is He more likely to enforce His laws in person all over the globe, or to employ agents to assist Him? Agents who will not take a bribe or look the other way. Agents whose judgment will be free of bias or prejudice. Agents who cannot be attacked or harmed or held for ransom by wrongdoers. Agents who cannot be coerced.
Yes, to the evildoers, it will seem like insufferable oppression. But to the godly, both mortal and immortal, it will be the ultimate fulfillment of Luke 4:18-19: “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”