Millennium is taken to mean one thousand years. It includes the end of the world and the coming of Jesus Christ on earth. Millennium is not only valued by Christians but other cultures also have such common believe concerning the transformation of the earth, the end of the world and the beginning of a new era where there will be no more sufferings and no violence to human being (Walvoord 1983, p. 124). It is believed that there will be total destruction of the current world, followed by the beginning of the new one. It is believed that this will usher in a new beginning of holiness, with a perfect world with no sins. Such thoughts and beliefs have been in existence for a long period of time and many people still hold them dear even in the current life. For example the year 2000 brought some thoughts that something spiritual was to take place with the turn of the calendar. Thus it contained some symbolic power among the Christians, which led to the reflection of the past thousand years and the imagination of the coming a thousands years again. This imagination provides people with the hope of next life, where people would be able to live a more satisfying life- a life with little tribulation and less mystery.
The nature of the millennium (in relation to the second coming of Christ)
Millennium is a period associated with fresh harmony and earthly perfection by the second coming of Jesus Christ.Its a period where people believe that the world will be saved from its suffering and violence. Therefore, the year 2000 led to the reflection by Christians on their past lives and focusing on the coming of another thousand years again. many people expected the world to come to an end and have a better perfected earth by the coming of Jesus Christ.The concept of millennium is brought out towards the end of the book of Revelation in the Christian bible, where according to Revelation 20:1-6, there will be the coming back of Jesus Christ in the world to defeat the devil in the battle of Armageddon. He will throw the devil into a deep pit for a thousand years, and then Jesus Christ will occupy or take over the earth during this era of millennium of peace and harmony. Jesus will triumph over the devil and its powers, leading to a peaceful life among the people of the earth. This will lead into the resurrection of the dead human beings and their judgment depending on their beliefs and activities. Therefore, the holy people will be awarded everlasting life in heaven while the evildoers will be sent to hell to burn forever.
Millennium is not only believed by Christians but also other cultures. These cultures also do hold this belief of the second coming of Jesus Christ to judge the right and the wrong as well as to give people eternal life. Unfortunately, it’s really not known when this process will take place, because we are told in the same book of revelation that no one knows the exact day and time of the coming of Jesus Christ. Its only God who has the knowledge of the second coming of Christ.Therefore , it is advisable to keep watching and living holy lives so as to be in position to acquire eternal life during the judgment day, whose date is believed to come unexpectedly (Hoeksema 1969, p. 120).
The timing of the millennium in relation to the second coming of Jesus Christ
It is not known when the Millennium was started and therefore the year 2000 was celebrated as the third millennium. There are beliefs that the change to another millennium has to last for thirty –three years (p. 33) relating to Jesus Christ’s lifespan on earth (Walvoord 1983, p. 62). Therefore, the year 1033 was taken by many people as a 1000 anniversary year of the death of Jesus and this made people to have many expectations about the destruction of the earth and the beginning of the new era of peace and harmony. There are some predictions concerning the year 2033 to have millennial experience, hence it will be considered to be the start of the new millennium. For example religious and ceremonial calendars are used by about three –quarter of the people in the world in timing of the second coming of Jesus Christ. “Years ending with zeros have been attached with special significances since they tend to show a transition from one period to another” (Hoeksema 1969, p. 121).The years that have three zeros at the end also have greater significances and thus the year 2000 ignited in people expectation of transformation of the world and beginning of the new world through the coming of Jesus Christ. People were filled with hope of having a new era free from sufferings and sins. Timing in the Western cultures has been associated with ten –year periods, which is a decade and a hundred year period, representing a century. Therefore the timing of the millennium differs from person to person as a result of the kind of the calendar being used in those places. Though many people have come up with different information concerning the second coming of Jesus Christ, we are warned of the false teachings, as no one really has the hint of when this event will take place. We are also told in the bible that He will come like a thief, so it is recommended for people to always be ready for the time and hour is not known (Walvoord 1983, p. 76).
The duration of the millennium
The scriptures of the bible tells us about an era to come , followed by period in which we exist at the present and the era which will be brought in by the second coming of Jesus Christ. This time measure of a thousand years is seen in the book of Revelation 20 as well as in other books of the holy bible.The duration of the millennium, consists the restoration times where its expected that all things will be brought back to eternal life and this will only happen after the second coming of Jesus Christ, who is at the moment in heaven, where He is expected to stay until the time of restoration of the earth. Therefore, this scripture encourages people to repent their sins so that when that time comes, they will be in a position to experience everlasting life that Christ will come to offer. Duration of the millennium is a period where people are living with too many expectations in their hearts. The return of Christ is expected to usher in the resurrection of the dead, plenty of better lives, peace and harmony.
In the coming era, it will be a period when Jesus Christ and His followers will be experiencing earth leadership, the devil will be thrown in a very deep hole where he will never be able to come out and thus leaving the world a peaceful place.Christ will now be the most high and He will take control of all things that belong to the earth. Therefore, the duration of the millennium is a period of preparation for second coming of Christ by people for total restoration from all kind of sins the devil had taken from them. Its believed that God will one day fulfill His promises to us just as He promised, thus it is recommended that people should have no doubt ,despite the fact that they have many questions hanging without answers.
The occupants of the millennial kingdom
The occupants of the millennial kingdom are the believers of the word of Jesus Christ or the Christians, the son of God Jesus Christ and God. They will occupy the earth after its renewal by the coming of Jesus Christ.We are told that the earth was God’s plan from the beginning, He created it for the sake of man and He will renovate it for the second time to make a more vibrant home with no evil and sins. There will be restoration of everything on earth. The occupants who are the believers will occupy the holy place, after which it shall be regenerated. They will be granted opportunity to dwell there forever with God, just as it used to be during the times of Adam when God communicated and had fellowships with men (Cox 1967, p. 163). These occupants of the millennial kingdom will lack nothing; their tears will be wiped away; they will die no more; and they will cry because the old sins will have been washed away by the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The church will take over the Holy City, which will be comprised of the Jews, the Gentiles, and believers who have accepted Christ in their lives. These people will occupy the millennial kingdom because they never embraced evil life. The holy angels of God will ensure that nothing filthy or anyone who is not of God enters that kingdom. Only the purified souls shall dwell in the house of God for eternity. Therefore, it’s up to every individual to live a life that will make him have that everlasting life, and avoid the punishment that comes with sin (Marcellus 1973, p. 89).
The relationship of Israel and the church to the millennial kingdom
Israel means “Jacob’s descendants who came to Egypt and later on they grew into a great nation during pharaoh’s reign, while the church is the congregation of believers of Christ Jesus” (Wurman 1940, 37). The Israel and the entire church played a very important part in God’s plans of renewing the earth through His son Jesus Christ. These were chosen by God as being very special to Him (Wurman 1940, p. 39). The Israel had believed in the millennial kingdom, in that they knew of the second coming of Christ to rescue them from their sins and provide them with an everlasting life.
The church is assumed to have replaced the Israel. This is as a result of the Israel denying the love of Jesus Christ and thus all the blessing had to be transferred to the Christian churches (Marcellus 1973, p. 41). Therefore, the new covenant that was meant for the Israel was hence fulfilled through the church. The whole of this process is referred to as replacement. The millennial church replaced the Israel as the true church of God. All the promises about Israel restoration and deliverance from its enemies in the second coming of Jesus Christ were transferred to the church, the sinners were separated from the well doers and the millennial kingdom of God was to reign forever.
Israel and the church are also seen as two different things (Wurman 1940, p. 133). For instance, the church is believed to be the new creation which was facilitated by the present of the Holy Spirit at the time of Pentecost. It is presumed to carry on until when it will be transformed to heaven at the time of judgment. The church has no any covenant that was made specifically for it by God as it was with the Israel, thus the promises given to the Israel are just meant for them and has noting to do with the church. The argument to this difference between the Israel and the church is that it might lead to separation of people of God through different methods of salvation. But it is believed that Israel will one day realize their mistakes and return to God who will rescue them and award them eternal life, just like the church (Cox 1967, p. 45).
The last type of relationship between Israel and the church is that, they are taken to overlap in some way. In this theory, the church is understood to be a set of faithful ethnic Israel who accepted Jesus Christ as the promised Lord and savior by God. Therefore, there is need for the church to consider the ethnic Israel as the followers of Jesus Christ.The major plan of God is to bring redemption to both the Israel and the church in the millennial kingdom.
The book of Revelation 20 talks about the current Christian and the things that come after it.From verses one to six; we see both the positive and the negative areas of these era. It is a period where those people who chose to accept Jesus Christ as their savior gain that assurance of eternal life.During this period, many people are rescued from their evil ways and turned to Christ.The end of this period led to the coming back of the devil, whose trickeries deceived many people. The work of the devil has been analyzed to mean the lack of appropriate sanity in the life of human. They have been viewed as the source of all ills in the society as humans are left vulnerable to the dangers of devilish acts. And finally, Jesus Christ returns to save the entire earth and this time he does not go back to heaven but stays with His followers, press the judgment and true believers are thus seen to have that eternal life.
- Cox, William Edward. 1967. Biblical Studies in Final Things. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co.
- Hoeksema, James Herman. 1969. Behold He Cometh. An Exposition of the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids: Reformed Free Publishing Association.
- Marcellus, John Kim. 1973. Eschatology of Victory. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co.
- Walvoord, John. 1983. The millennial kingdom. New York: Zondervan.
- Wurman, Hendrickson Saul. 1940. More than Conquerors. An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. New York: Grand Rapids Baker.