The chronological placement of Revelation’s 1,000-year reign of Christ with His Saints has been a matter of great dispute. The main conclusions give this millennium either a future fulfillment, or a current fulfilment that’s been spanning the Church Age ever since the Crucifixion 2,000 years ago. Based on the lesser-studied Old Testament prophecies concerning this period of holy reign, I want to suggest that it is impossible for the Church Age to have fulfilled all that is written about God’s coming rod-of-iron dominion over the nations.
In case it isn’t obvious, none of the verses cited in this article are referring to the “new earth” of Revelation 21, a world that comes after the final “great white throne” judgment of Revelation 20; and we know that every trace of conflict ends at the final judgment, when Satan is ultimately destroyed, beginning the absolute state of eternal peace. So, what we are going to read about in these Old and New Testament passages is a different period of time, an era preceding the final judgment and the New Earth, where a Messianic theocracy of worldwide dominance still sees some rebellion, but under extreme severity of consequences. Its prophetic illustrations are not merely symbolic of the Church Age. 1,000 years is not symbolic of 2,000 years. To poeticize these prophecies as mere symbols is to open up endless debate by making them the subject of everyone’s own personal interpretation. The Scriptures are clear, not confusing. There will be no mistaking this final millennium of divine kingship.
You’ll know that we’re in the Millennium when…
1. The highest point on earth is in Jerusalem.
(Isaiah 2:2) “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills…”
(Isaiah 40:4-5) “Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
2. Christ is arbitrating international disputes from Jerusalem.
(Isaiah 2:3-4) “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples.”
3. War is officially over.
(Isaiah 2:4) “… they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
4. Sunlight is replaced by the light of God, and snow is no longer a weather type.
(Isaiah 24:23) “Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem…”
(Zechariah 14:6) “On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light.”
5. Every person among Israel’s former enemy nations are making annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem to honour God and observe the Feast of Booths.
(Zechariah 14:16-17) “Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them.”
6. Every king on earth is bowing to Christ and bringing Him gifts.
(Psalm 72:8-11) “May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth! May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust! May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!”
7. The universal dominion of God’s theocratic government doesn’t allow rebellion to succeed in any capacity ever again.
(Isaiah 9:7) “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.”
8. The resurrected Redeemed are the rulers of the world alongside Christ, and none of the world’s nobility are foolish.
(Isaiah 32:1,5) “Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice… The fool will no more be called noble, nor the scoundrel said to be honorable.”
(Revelation 20:4,6) “Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years… Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.”
9. The Israeli desert is a lush garden flowing with water, and it has a main road upon which the Redeemed travel free of wild animals.
(Isaiah 35:6-10) “For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing.”
10. A cloud hovers over Mount Zion in the daytime, which becomes a fiery canopy by night.
(Isaiah 4:3-5) “And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy.”
11. All animals are harmless and peaceful.
(Isaiah 11:6-9) “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
Note: this cannot be describing the “new earth” of Revelation 21:1, since the New Earth is described as having no oceans — “… the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” — therefore it can only be describing the Millennial Reign of Christ.
12. God’s people don’t cry, they live as long as trees, and none of them are homeless.
(Isaiah 65:19-22) “I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.”
13. No one in Jerusalem is sick, diseased, or impaired.
(Isaiah 33:24) “And no inhabitant will say, ‘I am sick’; the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.”
14. Israel has no troubles or enemies.
(Zephaniah 3:15) “The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ‘Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save…”
15. No nation on earth is free to act apart from the “rod of iron” legislation and judiciary of Christ.
(Psalm 2:4-12) “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, ‘As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.’ I will tell of the decree: 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.”
(Revelation 12:5) “She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron…”
(Revelation 19:15) “From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rulethem with a rod of iron.”
(Revelation 2:7) “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, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.”
Note: the passage above is CLEARLY stating that the Saints do not reign with Christ over the nations until the end!
All this is a small preview of what’s coming, not what’s been, not the allegorized Church Age, not a symbol of present-day Christendom — how disenchanting if it is. I have trouble seeing how modern Christianity is in any way, shape, or form reigning in holy rule over the nations. Seldom over the last 2,000 years has Biblical Christianity possessed even a fingertip of genuine government influence, let alone universal omnipotence. It is a total fallacy to see ourselves today, as Christians, on the verge of baptizing the whole world to Christ, especially after Christianity has just seen what might be its steepest historical decline in popularity take place over the course of just one generation. Churches everywhere are shutting down in record numbers; what remain are mostly polluted with apostasy — “For that day will not come, unless the apostasy comes first.” (2 Thess. 2:3)
For all the nations to become enthralled in the worship of Christ, the wrath of God will have to first devastate the world; and just as with Noah and Lot (Luke 17), our salvation will be prior to this promised outpouring of destructive wrath on the wicked.
There will be a rapture.