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Millennium People

  • We've established that Jesus Christ will return at the 7th trumpet, before the start of the millennium.
  • We also know that the return of Christ will be a cataclysmic event, during which all flesh will be destroyed.
  • However, if the earth will be completely desolate during the millennium, then why does the bible describe people in the world throughout the millennium?
  • Who are these people of the millennium?

The bible documents that the millennium will be a purely spiritual time, during which the souls of people who have lived before will reinhabit the earth.

The scriptures are clear that on the Day of the Lord the earth will become desolate, and everything will return to the dust. It will also remain desolate throughout the millennium, and then only after Judgment Day will there be a new earth and heavens (Revelation 21). If we understand correctly that the earth will be a scorched wasteland, and every living soul will die in the flesh, then why does the bible describe peoples and nations serving the Lord during the millennium?

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2.2-4 KJV bible). The peoples being described here are clearly not part of the first resurrection (see ch.19 Seventh Trumpet: Resurrection). However, it describes these people as going to Mt. Zion to learn, for the first time, the ways and knowledge of the Lord. It says that they will beat their spears into pruning hooks because there will be no more war, and that the law of righteousness will go forth to the entire world.

The scriptures also describe plants and animals inhabiting the wilderness during the millennium, "Thorns will come up in its fortified towers, Nettles and thistles in its fortified cities; It will also be a haunt of jackals and an abode of ostriches. The desert creatures will meet with the wolves, The hairy goat also will cry to its kind; Yes, the night monster will settle there and will find herself a resting place" (Isaiah 34.13-14 NASB bible), "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..." (Isaiah 11.6 KJV bible). The context of these passages is millennial, so then how could these details be accurate if the earth will be completely desolate at this time? Is it possible that God leaves behind a few survivors of different species to repopulate, or that he starts a mini-creation before the new heavens and earth? The answer is stranger than either of these possibilities, and requires going deeper into the Word.

In Psalm 49, King David speaks to us in a riddle, "Like sheep they are laid in the grave [Sheol]; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave [Sheol] from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave [Sheol]: for he shall receive me" (Psalm 49.14 KJV bible). We already know that the unredeemed go down to the underworld, where they are consumed in spiritual death, and they will remain there until the second resurrection. However, notice how it says that the upright, meaning God's elect or the redeemed ones, will have dominion over them in the morning. The morning is the Day of the Lord, because when Christ returns the spiritual sun will rise upon the world bringing the night to an end (Micah 4.2). So in the morning, which is the Day of the Lord, the redeemed ones from the first resurrection will have dominion over the dead. Therefore, the multitudes described in the millennium are not flesh and blood, but rather the disembodied souls of people who have lived before.

This is why when Jesus is being falsely accused by the high priest he says, "ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven" (Mark 14.62 KJV bible). The high priest would be long dead and dwelling in Hades before the second advent, so then why does Jesus say that he will see him return? Jesus again states in Revelation that those who pierced him will see his return, "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him" (Revelation 1.7 KJV bible). How is it possible that every eye will see Jesus when he returns, including the ones who crucified him two thousand years ago?

They will see him, because when he returns he will remove the curtain or barrier that separates the physical realm from the spiritual, and the souls of individuals that have lived before (both human and animal) will reinhabit the earth. In other words, when the physical world is ravaged at the second advent, the spiritual will spill over to take its place. Therefore, the multitudes of people from all prior generations will both see Christ return, and be subject to him throughout the millennium.

Psalm 72 makes reference to the dead in the millennium when it says, "They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him (Christ); and his enemies shall lick the dust" (Psalm 72.9 KJV bible). Those who are Christ's enemies in this age will be humiliated in the millennium, and his servants will have dominion over those who have afflicted them, "The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet" (Isaiah 60.14 KJV bible), (see also ch.26 Millennium Nations).

In the millennium the tables will be turned, and the people who have been humble and righteous in life will be honoured, while the people who have been arrogant and selfish will be disgraced. Therefore, there will be no "new people" in the millennium, but only the spirits of individuals that have lived before. Even though they remain captive to the dust of the earth until Judgment Day, they will still inhabit the world, and interact with God's elect throughout the millennium. So while the millennium is often portrayed using flesh and blood terms, it will be a purely spiritual time.

Comments

Brandon W      25 Feb 2010, 18:56

Isaiah 65 talks about the New Heaven and Earth and it sounds to me as if he is talking about the milliennium age also. With this in mind when you read revelation 20 you will notice that John seems to be just finishing his thoughts about the millennium and the judgment at the end of it. Chapter 21 is when he goes back to talking about the beginning of Jesus reign as king on the Earth and the The new heavens and earth he has made or restored.
If i have faulted in my reading of the scriptures i would appreciate some guidance on the issue to get back on the right path.

Doug Buckley      27 Feb 2010, 00:59

Hi Brandon, I'm glad to see you engaged in the substance of God's Word, and I see what you're saying with respect to the millennium.

When Christ returns and the millennium begins, evil will be dealt a major blow, but it will not be the end of it. The millennium will be a transitional time between the darkness that is so prevelant now, and an eternity of righteousness.

Starting with Revelation 20, it first describes the devil being locked in the Abyss, and the faithful reigning with Christ during the millennium. Then at the end of the millennium, the "dead" are resurrected for judgment. So the dead remain unchanged throughout the millennium until they are resurrected at the end of it (verse 5). Also notice, how it says that heaven and earth flee away at the presence of God (verse 11), which means the current heaven and earth will continue on until after the millennium.

Now looking at Revelation 21, John sees the new heaven and earth, where there is no longer wickedness, death, or sorrow. All that is evil is in the Lake of Fire (verse 8), having been cast into it on Judgment Day (Revelation 20). So we know that Revelation 21 refers to a time after the millennium of Revelation 20. It refers to the new heaven and earth wherein dwells righteousness (2nd Peter 3.13).

Lastly, looking at Isaiah 65, I don't think that this chapter is really a chronogical chapter, which might be throwing you off a bit. It does tend to move gradually from the messianic times we are in now, into the millennium, but not smoothly. It mentions the new heaven and earth at verse 17, but then goes on to give details such as the "sinner being accursed" (verse 20), and the "dust being the serpent's food" (verse 25). These details are more consistent with the millennium than the eternity (compare with Isaiah 11).

Eudene Valle      30 Dec 2011, 04:46

Hey Doug,
As you know, I'm taking the preterist position which take Jesus' statement about the High Priest seeing His glory at the right hand of the Father in the clouds more at face value i.e., within the lifetime of the high priest, the high priest would see the destruction of Jerusalem which would indicate that Jesus was seated at the right hand of the Father and had come again to the earth on clouds.

About the people who pieced Jesus seeing Jesus at his second coming and mourning (Rev. 1:7), you seem to be using your own imagination to interpret what this means rather than looking to the Bible for an interpretation. I'm assuming that because you don't refer to the OT passage which talks about this event, Zech. 12:10-14. "I will pour out the Spirit of Blessing and mercy on David's family and on those who live in Jerusalem. They will look at me, whom they have stabbed. Then they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they will cry bitterly for him as one cries for a firstborn son." Rev. 1:7 is not talking about the soldiers who stabbed Jesus seeing Jesus and mourning. Rather, it is talking about the people upon whom the Holy Spirit is poured recognizing that their sinful state caused the need for Jesus to be sacrificed and in this sense they, each believer, pierced Jesus. Naturally, each believer, mourns for Jesus and identifies with the suffering he endured for his/her sake. The "eyes" that will see Jesus coming in the clouds are every born-again believer living in 70 ad, not every literal person.

Your idea that a curtain or barrier will be removed at the second coming which will allow the non-regenerate to see the spiritual world is understandable but flawed. First, I Cor. 2:14 [But people who aren't Christians can't understand these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means.] suggest that this is unlikely. Secondly, the verses you cite are talking about something else. Those that dwell in the wilderness (Psalm 72) bow to Christ when they hear the gospel and get saved. This is the present age. Your second reference, Isa. 60, is talking about Israel, not necessarily Jesus. The descendants of those who oppressed you are the gentile nations. v. 14. They now bow at your feet and call you Zion, the city of the Holy One of Israel because they are also now part of Israel and have been saved. Back up to v. 11, "Your gates will always be open. They will never be closed day or night so that people may bring you the wealth of the nations." This is the church aka New Jerusalem and the same city discussed in Rev. 21. The wealth of the nations is the people of the nations who get saved and go in the city gates. That's why the gates are never closed.

If the millennium is a non-physical place, why do foreigners rebuild walls? Isa. 60:10. Are the souls of these dead people that reinhabit the earth saved or unsaved? Isa. 60 begins, "Arise, Shine, your light has come and the glory of the Lord has dawned. Darkness now covers the earth, and thick darkness covers the nations." This language is reminiscent of Isa. 9 which is talking about about Jesus birth. The rest of the chapter is talking about gospel going out to the nations during the millennial reign of Christ.

Third, doesn't the judgement happen at Christ's second coming?

"Even now the ax of God's judgment is poised, ready to sever your roots. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire." Matt. 3:10

The time of judgment for the world has come, when the prince of this world will be cast out. John 12:31

And when he comes, he will convince the world of its sin, and of God's righteousness, and of the coming judgment. John 16:8

And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don't know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power when he comes to receive glory and praise from his holy people. And you will be among those praising him on that day, for you believed what we testified about him. 2 Thess. 1:7-10

For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin first among God's own children. And if even we Christians must be judged, what terrible fate awaits those who have never believed God's Good News? 1 Peter 4:17

If so, then what is the point of removing the barrier to the spiritual realm at the second coming?

Doug Buckley      02 Jan 2012, 01:00

Hi Eudene. Among non preterists, alot of these verses do support a spiritual millennium, as opposed to a millennium of flesh and blood people. Some verses like the high priest seeing Jesus return can only be explained by a spiritual millennium, or preterism.

I'm not sure how one concludes that Revelation 1.7 and Zechariah 12.10 are the same events. The context of Revelation 1.7 is the return of Christ. However, Zechariah 12.10 says the Lord pours out on them "the spirit of grace and of supplication".

The bible is very clear that when Jesus returns he will be pouring out anything but grace and supplication, "And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Revelation 6.16-17 KJV bible).

"And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 24.51 KJV bible).

So Zechariah 12.10 is clearly before Christ returns when the world is against Israel, and Revelation 1.7 is Christ's return, when the millennium starts.

This is a main points of the NT. Once Jesus returns the door is shut and the time for repentance is over, "Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not" (Matthew 25.11-12 KJV bible).

The path of salvation through faith will not exist after Christ returns. "And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes" (Luke 12.47 KJV bible). This also supports that all souls will experience the millennium.

As far as 1st Cor 2.14, that's the point, carnal nonbelievers can't see it until Jesus comes as a thief, and the truth hits them in the face. As far as Psalm 72, it describes these ones licking the dust, as "enemies". Conversion is joyful, because ones sins are forgiven. These people are grief stricken because they can't have repentence. This is not conversion, but God's wrath

Regarding Isaiah 60.14, Jesus says believers are brethren and that we shouldn't take titles such as Rabbi. New believers are part of the same flock, so God wouldn't make new believers literally or figuratively bow down at the feet of some other believers.

On your next point, the bible uses symbolism and metaphor, so its fair to say that any sensical interpretation will have some scriptures that are taken more literally and others less.

John 12.31, the kreesis, which can mean condemnation, of the world has come, because the world and its king crucified Christ. The prince of the world is cast out, but from where? Maybe it refers to a new unpolluted priesthood.

John the baptist saying the axe is already at the root of the tree, would be some 40 years before 70AD. That's still a long time. The OT prophets sometimes spoke of the imminent Day of the Lord. The imminence is a rhetorical device to show the catastrophic and inescapable nature of God's judgment. By God's time scale it is imminent.

The point of removing the barrier is because the millennium will be a spiritual time. The millennium will be a time of judgment and enlightenment for all people, not just the people alive when Jesus returns (see ch.25 and 26).

JudiKay      24 Feb 2013, 19:56

1. If all human flesh people (good AND bad), all over the whole earth, are changed into spiritual bodies when Jesus and the angels reap the earth after the 7th trump (therefore, NO flesh bodies left), then why does it say that there will be marrying and children born, and dying during the millennium? Spiritual bodies don't marry or have children--just humans, and spiritual bodies don't age or die. 2. The focus of the millennial age is strictly the area around Jerusalem--what about the rest of the world, the other nations like U.S., U.K., Australia, etc.? Do they even exist, or is the only place left is the land centered around Jerusalem (Mt. Zion)? I'm confused... please give me some detailed scriptural guidance.

Eudene Valle      24 Feb 2013, 23:54

I believe that we are in the millennium right now and this was the view of most of the reformers. The Bible is clearly sometimes talking about the spiritual realm and at other times talking about the physical material realm. The reason there are so many divergent views about prophecy is that in large portions of prophecy you cannot tell for sure from the immediate context of the passage whether the spiritual or the material is referred to. You have to piece it together and do a lot of deducing in order to figure it out. It was so difficult for the first-century Jews to figure out what sort of Messiah to expect that even Jesus' disciples who walked with Jesus for three years were mistaken on a lot of issues. On the other hand, I'm convinced that all the information necessary to figure it out is there. It just requires an extreme dedication to detailed study and analysis to figure it out.

The millennial age is not strictly around the physical city of Jerusalem. The NT tells us that there is both a Jerusalem below (the physical city) which is in slavery and a Jerusalem above (spiritual). Gal. 4. The heavenly Jerusalem is a euphemism for the church. Believing saints rule over the nations during the millennium. Eph. 2, Rev. 20:4. Saints that have died are exclusively in the spiritual realm i.e. heaven. Living saints have one foot in both worlds. The are flesh and blood, yet they also live and rule in Jesus' kingdom which is not of the this earth. When a non-believer gets saved, he brings his "wealth" into the city gates of Jerusalem (from above) and thus the saints "consume the wealth of the nations and boast in their splendor." Isa. 61:6 Jesus quotes Isa. 61 is being fulfilled in his day. Luke 4.

JudiKay      25 Feb 2013, 19:25

To Eudene--Thanks for taking the time to comment on my questions. However, I am not a preterist (one who believes that the prophecies have already happened). The millennium comes AFTER the tribulation, and Satan will be revealed DURING the tribulation, and at the END of the tribulation Satan will be imprisoned for 1000 years. That has NOT happened yet!--The worst is yet to come, but we're heading there faster every day. I believe that the Bible portrays both a physical and spiritual meaning, at the same time, with MOST of the Scriptures--yet some of it is prophetic for only future events. And, yes, it is hard sometimes to figure out what is symbolic and what is literal, or that which is spiritual as opposed to that which is physical--and unless we research the whole bible we can't find the "double-witness" testimony that God has woven into His Word in order to clarify some of these dubious subjects. I thought I might find someone here who has already done the research that I am in the process of now.

Doug Buckley      25 Feb 2013, 21:57

Hi JudiKay, there are alot of opinions on the millennium, and sometimes it's difficult to tell whether a prophecy is about the millennium or about God's people now. Scripture often "jumps" over the millennium as well, leading many to assume that it doesn't exist.

You're questions are good ones, but most of them are fully answered in the other millennium chapters (on right), and also see the series of articles (in the articles section) I have about the millennium. I can't explain it all here.

First, I don't believe that "everyone" is resurrected at the last trumpet. Only the elect who are gathered to Christ as part of the first resurrection. The rest of the dead are around in the millennium as bodiless souls. The world will be divided between the spiritual darkness and the light of God's Kingdom. At the start of the millennium, Christ will clean house and cast many souls who have lived before into the "outer darkness" (Matthew 22.13).

As far as millennium children, see ch.27 on the right. Millennium scriptures often continue to use the same spiritual metaphors that Jesus uses. True Christians are reborn as spiritual people in Christ, through his sacrifice, and so we are in a sense his family, nation, and descendants. Millennium scriptures often use these spiritual metaphors of Christ's family reigning over the nations and possessing the land. The nations, meaning nonbelievers, become servants to God's elect, as the beginning of the eternal order of the Kingdom. The elect reign and so are no longer strangers in the world and rejected by the "nations".

JudiKay      25 Feb 2013, 22:47

Thank you, Doug...I will check out the other chapters you noted. This has been a help in understanding other people's viewpoints. I didn't realize there was such a drastic difference and variety in personal interpretations of this book.
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