Life during the Messianic kingdom or Millennium will be completely different from life today. There will be a series of supernatural events which will totally transform the earth from its present condition.
First and foremost the Messiah Himself will be there. According to Revelation 20 the Messiah Jesus will reign in person with the resurrected saints. This ties in with a number of passages in the Hebrew prophets which prophesy a time when the Lord is present on earth and brings peace and safety to His people. For example Jeremiah 23-5- 6 describes the reign of the righteous king of the line of David in whose days ‘Judah will be saved and Israel will dwell safely.’ It gives us His name as ‘The LORD (Hebrew uses the divine name YHVH / Jehovah) our righteousness.’ In Ezekiel 40-48 we have a description of the restored temple in Jerusalem, which concludes with the words ‘The LORD (YHVH) is there’ (Ezekiel 48.35). Zechariah describes the last battle over Jerusalem and says that the LORD (YHVH) will come ‘with all the saints with Him’ and stand on the Mount of Olives to bring an end to the war and then reign as ‘King over all the earth’ (Zechariah 14.3-9). All these passages specifically use the divine name to describe the Reigning King Messiah, known to the Jewish people as ‘Messiah ben David.’
Along with the Messiah will be all the resurrected saints. By saints we understand those who are true believers in the Lord Jesus and have accepted the salvation He offers us, not a special category granted ‘sainthood’ by the Vatican. A number of verses speak of the Lord coming with the saints (Zechariah 14.5, Jude 14, Revelation 19.14). This means all those who lived and died as believers during the time from the first coming of Jesus and those who are still alive at the time of the rapture of the church and are supernaturally resurrected to be with Jesus at that time. These will be changed in moment as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15.50-58, putting off this present body which is subject to mortality and corruption (i.e. sickness, aging and death) and putting on a new immortal body which will never get sick, never age and never die. They will also be redeemed from sin and as a result never be able to sin again in this new resurrection body.
There are a number of passages which speak of the saints reigning with the Messiah during the Millennium (Daniel 7.18-27, 1 Corinthians 6.2-3, Revelation 2.26-28, Revelation 20.4-6). During this present age we are being tested by God to determine our future position of authority and responsibility in the kingdom. According to Luke 19.11-16 we will be given rulership in the kingdom based on what we did with the treasures and talents God has blessed us with in this life. This means we have an incredibly exciting prospect to look forward to when we see the fulfilment of the verses in Revelation 5.9-10 ‘You have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation and made us kings and priests to our God, and we shall reign on the earth.’ Exactly what we will be doing is not revealed, but it does appear that the resurrected saints, dwelling in immortal bodies, will be present with the Messiah, engaged in some kind of governmental role during the Messianic kingdom.
Another category of people are those who died during the tribulation period. According to Revelation 20 they will be resurrected after the Lord returns to the earth ‘with the saints’ (i.e. those who died during the church age or were taken in the rapture). These ‘tribulation saints’ are described in Revelation 6.9-11, 7, 13.7-9, 14.1-5. These people were not believers at the time of the rapture of the church, but accept Jesus as Saviour during the tribulation. Many of them will give their lives as martyrs during this period. They are resurrected after the return of Jesus to the earth.
This is actually another reason for believing the pre-tribulation rapture. These people are not believers at the time of the rapture and so are left behind when it happens. They become believers soon after and many suffer martyrdom at the hands of the antichrist as described in Revelation 13. They are resurrected at the beginning of the Millennium and will reign with Messiah along with those who have returned with Jesus at His second coming to the earth. They are part of the ‘first resurrection’ (which is the resurrection of the just) as opposed to the ‘second resurrection’ which takes place at the end of the world, after the Millennium, and is the resurrection of the unsaved (Revelation 20.11-15). Those who are part of the second resurrection go to the Great White Throne judgement and then to the lake of fire.
There will also be a resurrection of the Old Testament saints as recorded in Daniel 12.2 ‘And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.’
There will also be those who survive the Great Tribulation period in mortal bodies. At the second coming of Jesus there will be a judgement of the nations. Matthew 25 describes the separation of the sheep and the goats. The sheep will be those who have accepted salvation through the Messiah and the goats will be those who reject it. Ezekiel 20.33-44 also describes a separation between those who are rebellious against the Lord in Israel and those who are accepting of His rule. Those who are saved amongst the nations will be allowed into the Millennial kingdom and those of Israel will enter into the promised land of restored Israel. It appears from a number of scriptures that these people will be living in mortal bodies during the Millennium and will have children in the normal way. Isaiah and Zechariah speak of children playing during this time (Isaiah 11.6-8, Zechariah 8.5). It is possible that these children will not all accept the rule of the Messiah and therefore sin will be a possibility during this time (Isaiah 65.20, Zechariah 14.18-19).
Revelation tells us that one very significant person will not be there during this time (at least not until the end of the 1000 year period) – Satan. Revelation 20.1-3 tells us that at the beginning of the Millennium, Satan will be bound and cast into the bottomless pit, ‘so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished.’ At the end of the 1000 year period Satan will be released for a little while and then he will gather the rebels against Messiah’s rule for his last act of defiance against God and the Messiah as he gathers together those who are inwardly in rebellion against the reign of the Messiah for the final battle of Gog and Magog (Revelation 20.7-10).
This actually brings about the end of the world, at which point Satan and all who oppose the Messiah Jesus will be cast into the lake of fire and God will create the new heavens and new earth. For Satan to be able to gather a great number of people together at this time, it is clear that there must be a great population explosion during the Millennium. Amongst those born at this time there will be many who submit to the Messiah’s rule against their will, but have very limited opportunities to express their sin. This is because Satan is bound and unable to influence them and the Messiah is ruling with a rod of iron (Psalm 2.9, Revelation 19.15). This number cannot include the resurrected saints from this age, but must be those born during the Millennial period who do not accept the rule of Jesus the Messiah.
So what will happen in the Millennium?
During the time of the Millennium the Messiah will be present, not this time as the Suffering Servant, the form in which He came the first time. On that occasion He came to fulfil the prophecies of Isaiah 53, Daniel 9.26, Psalm 22, when He suffered and died for the sins of the world and rose again from the dead to give eternal life to all believers. When He comes again He will fulfil the prophecies of the Reigning King Messiah (Isaiah 2.1-4, 11-12, Zechariah 14 being the main ones). He will then judge the world in righteousness and only those who have accepted the salvation He has offered to the world will be allowed into the Messianic Kingdom.
This will bring the fulfilment of the promises made to Israel, as all the redeemed of Israel are gathered to the land, the Temple is rebuilt and Israel dwells in peace with her neighbours within the borders of the land promised to Abraham (Genesis 15, Isaiah 11.11-16, Ezekiel 40-48, Isaiah 19.18-24).
There will be enormous changes to the natural world. Isaiah 11.6-9 prophesies that the animals will go back to being vegetarian with carnivorous animals (the wolf, the leopard and the lion) lying down with animals they would now eat (the lamb, the goat and the cow). The effects of the fall will be reversed as even snakes will become safe playthings for children. The physical environment will change as ‘the mountain of the Lord’s house’ will be raised up above the hills that now surround the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (Isaiah 2.2). A river will flow out from the temple down to the dead sea, making it fresh and causing trees with healing powers to grow beside it (Ezekiel 47.1- 12, Joel 3.18, Zechariah 14.8). Waters will burst forth in the wilderness, causing the deserts to blossom as the rose (Isaiah 35.1-7). There will be healing of all the sick as the blind see, the dumb speak and the lame leap like a deer (Isaiah 35.5-6).
These changes will not only return the physical conditions of the earth to those which existed before the fall but also accomplish a massive clean up of the earth after the pollution and degradation of the present age. Clearly no human leader, however brilliant he may be, could accomplish any of this. However as I have already said in this article a number of passages in the Hebrew prophets indicate that the Messiah who reigns on earth is a divine person. Only one who is God, through whom the worlds were made in the first place, is capable of carrying out the programme of the Reigning King Messiah. Therefore the view of Maimonides, which has become the standard view of modern Judaism that the Messiah is a great man, who brings about these conditions on earth, does not fit with scripture. Interestingly Maimonides’ interpretation of the ‘lion / wolf lying with the lamb’ prophecy is that it means that Israel (the lamb) will live at peace with the fierce Gentile nations (the lion).
Only one who is God, who was there at the creation, is able to bring about these supernatural changes. When Yeshua (Jesus) was present at His first coming He showed His power over nature and over sickness, death and the devil in His miracles. These miracles were just a taster for what He will do to the earth when He comes the second time.
The Messiah will bring universal peace to the world as the nations beat swords into ploughshares and study war no more (Isaiah 2.1-4). There will be universal worship of the one true God which will be centred on the restored Temple in Jerusalem which will also be the seat of government of the Messiah.. In addition to this there will be one language spoken by all the peoples of the world (most likely Hebrew): ‘For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord. Zephaniah 3.9. Messiah’s benevolent rule will also bring justice and righteousness throughout the world following the judgement of the wicked and the setting up of the Messiah’s reign on earth: ‘But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Isaiah 11.4. As a result of the healing power of the Messiah, the changes in the natural world and the righteous reign He brings in, there will be abundance and plenty for all the inhabitants of the earth. People will dwell in peace and security without fear of having their homes plundered or their children taken away from them (Isaiah 65.21-23, Micah 4.4).
As I have already said, Satan will be bound and unable to deceive the nations during this time, until he is loosed right at the end of the 1000 year period. This is a piece of information which is not revealed anywhere in the Hebrew prophets, but shows us that the Millennium will not be a permanent home to the redeemed. Although Satan will be inactive on earth during Messiah’s reign, there will still be the possibility of sin, as those born to the redeemed survivors of the tribulation period, will be born with a human nature capable of sin. At the end of the Millennium, when Satan is loosed, those who sin and reject the Messiah will join with Satan in his final act of rebellion against the Lord: ‘Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. Revelation 20.7-9.
This rebellion will result in swift destruction from the Lord and actually bring about the end of the world, as this earth is destroyed and God creates a new heavens and new earth. Satan and all demons and the unrighteous will be cast into the lake of fire and forever kept out of the new heavens and new earth which God will create after this earth is destroyed. This will be the eternal dwelling place of all who are redeemed now through faith in Yeshua as the Messiah. Now is the day of salvation and now is the time to decide to accept God’s offer of salvation through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus the Messiah.
Below is a prayer which you can pray to accept Jesus as your Saviour and Messiah now.
‘Dear Heavenly Father, I admit that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I repent of my sins and believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died in my place, shedding His blood to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead to give me eternal life. I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour and Lord. I commit my life to you and ask you to cleanse me from my sin. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit and help me live the rest of my life to please you and do your will. Thank you Father for loving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.’