THE TRUTH ABOUT THE 1000 -YEAR REIGN OF JESUS CHRIST ON EARTH
There is a biblical truth that promises a world of peace and prosperity for all. It is the scriptural teaching of the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ on earth. The first explicit statements that the Kingdom of God will reign on earth for a thousand years appear toward the end of the Bible, in the book of Revelation. Revelation 19 describes the return of Jesus Christ, coming in glory and power to take over the kingdoms of this world and to institute a new, just reign here on earth (Revelation 19:11-16). He will put down rebellion, remove the last human empire ruling on earth and institute the reign of the government of God for the 1,000-year. Moreover, in Old Testament we also read of the impact the ruling Kingdom of God will have during the 1000 years in areas that include world peace, economic stability, the restoration of true education and right values, the role of the resurrected saints, the roles of various physical nations and even changes in the nature of animals. This is going to be a wonderful and exciting time—something we can eagerly look forward to.
In an unstable world threatened by wars, terrorism, weather disturbances and natural disasters, the concept of a 1,000-year period of peace fascinates us. It’s not surprising that people should be curious about the future. What is surprising is how little true information is available about this spoken of in the Bible and how little most people understand about the topic.
2.0 WHO WILL BE ON THE EARTH DURING THE 1000 YEAR OF REIGN OF JESUS CHRIST?
Those remaining on the earth during the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ on earth will be the good people of the earth—those who were righteous and just, regardless of their religion. This includes those who will be on the earth at the time of the next coming of Jesus Christ as well as those who will be resurrected at that time and other times throughout the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ on earth. The wicked will not remain on the earth and will not be resurrected until after the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ on earth.
In the book of Revelation, the apostle John records that in the next coming of Jesus Christ, the saints will reign with Him for 1,000 years. Here’s what it says: “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. “And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years … blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).
During the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ on earth, the saints will have immortal bodies. They will be something like God in that they will have bodies that cannot die. God, however, is everywhere all the time. The saints will not have that particular ability; however, they could be in another location very quickly. Their bodies will function beyond their present abilities. They could be in Jerusalem in one instant; they could be in India in one instant; they could be in China in another instant.
Revelation 20: 6 says, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection.” This verse is speaking of the resurrection of the just. It is speaking of the resurrection of the righteous. Those who take part in the first resurrection will appear with Christ, and it is then that they will receive the job that they will perform during the thousand years. The second death has no power over them, as once they have been resurrected, they will be immortal. There will be no more death for them! It goes on to say, “They shall be priests unto God and of Christ, and they shall reign with Him.” They will not be as strangers, or pilgrims, or street walkers. They will reign! The word “reign” means to rule. They will rule with Christ for a thousand years!
3.0 WHAT WILL HAPPEN DURING THE 1000 YEAR OF REIGN OF JESUS CHRIST?
Isaiah’s words have crystallized the idea of the 1000-year reign of Jesus Christ. What is described here is a complete change in all parts of this world—a time when the nature of wild animals will be changed. A child will walk among them in safety with no fear. And this passage further shows, in light of the last verse here, that even the nature of man will be changed!
“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, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6-9).
Through the Word of God, we understand that Daniel prophetically saw the coming of this Kingdom (Daniel 2:45). It is a beautiful revelation. Here was a man whom God gave the vision of this coming Kingdom! Imagine that. Daniel saw the Stone cut from the mountains without hands, which means that the Lord Jesus Christ was born without an earthly father, and He saw the Stone smite the empires (world powers) and destroy them completely. It says the Stone filled all the earth. We will be coming to that time soon. Daniel saw this 2,500 years ago.
4.0 WHEN THE 1000 YEAR OF REIGN OF JESUS CHRIST WILL HAPPEN?
Let’s take a look at those passages that speak of a “thousand years.” There are two – three passages in the Bible that speak of a thousand years (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8 and Revelation 20:1-7). Psalm 90:4 tells us that “a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night.” For God, the passage of time is different from the way we experience it. Being eternal, and not dependent on food, water and other physical factors, God views time differently. The apostle Peter adds to the thought: “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). These are not talking about a thousand years. The other is Revelation 20:1-7. There, in vivid picture language, the author describes only two things happening during a thousand-year period:
- Satan is hindered
- Believers reign with Christ
These two things are happening right now! Satan is hindered by the preaching of the gospel (1 John 3:8). Believers are reigning with Christ (John 5:24). These two things began to happen just after Jesus rose from the dead. These two things will continue happening until Jesus comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead. From the very beginning of the book, Revelation describes itself as the kind of literature in which the numbers are to be interpreted, not taken at face value. A thousand years is simply a long and complete period of time, the time in which people who come to faith in Jesus as their Saviour are counted as kings (1 Peter 2:9). Limiting Jesus’ reign to a thousand years is a serious mistake. How long does He actually reign? If we read the Scriptures, we know the answer. “And he shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15)!
The truth of Christ’s reign on earth connects with some of the Bible’s earliest statements. It is found in virtually all the Hebrew prophets. God’s promise of His 1,000-year reign on earth stands as a symbol of hope for all mankind. The reign of the 1,000-year period of peace and righteousness following the next coming of Jesus Christ, who will reign over the earth forever and ever. The book of Revelation makes it clear: “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6). Those resurrected in the first resurrection, at the beginning of the thousand years, will no longer be subject to death. AMEN!