The hope of a new age of utopian peace and plenty has burned in the heart of man since earliest times. Somehow, man has never been satisfied with the world that he has made. Always he has yearned for a new golden age of peace, harmony and prosperity. Out of the wellspring of his own vivid imagination man has often devised utopian concepts, but always he has failed to bring them to reality. All attempts to humanly devise ideal societies have failed.
God’s utopia will be founded in a land of “unwalled villages” (Ezk. 38:11). It will be a free society in which man’s creative imagination will be encouraged to soar to unprecedented heights. It will be utterly different from this world which is influenced by the insidiously evil mind of that old serpent, Satan the devil, who has deceived the entire world (Rev. 12:9). Satan’s influence will be removed and the Spirit of God will flow out into human society, leading man gently in the right paths. One of the first major acts to be performed by the returning Messiah will be the binding of Satan. Jesus will use a powerful archangel, possibly Michael, to subdue man’s angelic enemy: “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:1-2). Satan is then thrown into the pit or “abyss” “that he should deceive the nations no more” (v. 3).
But why should Satan be bound for a thousand years? Why not 500 or 2350? Because one thousand years is the duration of the first phase of the new age! The Latin for “thousand years” is millennium. Jesus Christ’s return, which is accompanied by the first great resurrection, will usher in a millennial age of utopian peace and plenty! At the very outset Satan will be stopped, bound and imprisoned so that he can no longer influence the course of human events. During man’s age Satan has been “the god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). But Jesus Christ disqualified Satan from ruling over the earth (Matt. 4:1-11). The devil proved unworthy of that trust originally placed in him. He rebelled against the Creator from whom he derived his authority. Satan and his angelic minions will be reserved for judgment – later, after the millennium. “And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6).
Following the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ, Satan will be released briefly (Rev. 20:3). He will then demonstrate his moral incorrigibility by once again rebelling against Christ! “And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners (i.e., directions) of the earth, that is Gog and Magog to gather them for battle” (Rev. 20:7).
What incredible persistence! Even after Jesus Christ has presided over 1000 years of godly growth and development, even after a millennium of imprisonment, Satan will still not have learned his lesson! How utterly evil he will prove to be! “And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city (Jerusalem); but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were (cast), and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev. 20:9-10).
Tormented forever! That is Satan’s fate! His final judgment will occur at the end of Christ’s millennial rule. But that’s another story. What is important to us at this juncture is the arrival of Christ’s millennium of righteous rulership – the dawning of the new age.
Of course the binding of Satan is one of the chief things that makes a new age possible. So long as he is here to deceive and to destroy, things will continue as they have throughout six millennia of human history. But with Satan out of the picture the stage will be truly set for an utterly new order.
Jesus will establish Himself at Jerusalem, the “beloved city.” It will become His headquarters for a thousand years. “On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives which lies before Jerusalem on the east” (Zech. 14:4).
Micah describes the establishment of Christ’s kingdom in great detail: “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain (symbol of a nation) of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, and many nations shall come, and say: ‘come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and we may walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Micah 4:1-2).
Jerusalem will become the focal point of government for a truly “united nations.” The whole world will look to the Holy City for guidance. The glory of Jesus Christ who will reign as King of kings will shine forth from the City of Peace. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isa. 40:5). In the new age, as never before, Jesus Christ will be glorified among men. Before His benevolent but firm rulership “every knee shall bow.” But He will not rule with harshness and cruelty as do so many modern despots. He will practice what He preached to His own disciples about rulership: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority (tyrannize, Goodspeed translation) over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve” (Matt. 20:25-28).
There will be no question about “who is in charge here” when Christ takes up world rulership. There will be power there to control the situation. Make no mistake about it. But that power will be used wisely. Jesus Christ will rule as mankind’s loving Servant. He will also serve God the Father and will work tirelessly to bring about universal peace and justice upon this good green earth. Isaiah spoke of this: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not fail or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law” (Isa. 42:1-4).
Jesus Christ will have a thousand-year opportunity, with full backing from God the Father, to put into practice His own teachings as recorded in the four New Testament Gospels! Figuratively speaking, He will be able to say to the entire world: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
The millennium will be a time of rest – a thousand-year Sabbath for mankind. It will be a time of restoring, building, growing and undoing the incredible damage left in the wake of six thousand years of human misrule. It will not be a period of stress and pain such as we live in today! Christ’s millennial “burden” will truly be “light”!
Isaiah describes the new age as a time of comforting, healing, and forgiving. He says of Jerusalem, a city which has seen centuries of strife and bloodshed: “Comfort, comfort my people says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned” (Isa. 40:1-2).
Mankind will experience for the first time on a grand scale the incredible gentleness and compassion of a loving Savior. Jesus will rule as a good Shepherd over the flock of God, which will consist of all of mankind. “He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young” (Isa. 40:11).
Never before has mankind experienced this kind of leadership! Never such a beautiful blend of strength and compassion, power and gentleness, authority without tyranny. It will truly be a marvelous new age in every sense of the word!
The darkness of “this present evil world” will have given way to the brilliant light of the loving rule of Jesus Christ. Kings, princes and rulers of every kind will be attracted to the radiance of the Great King! The Prince of Peace will teach them the way of peace which they “know not” (Isa. 59:8; Rom. 3:17). The new Israel, and ultimately the whole world, will be illuminated by the wisdom of the Son of God: “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth (as it does today), and thick darkness the people (the world is spiritually blinded Isa. 29:9-10); but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isa. 60:1-3).
Following the arrival of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of “the dead in Christ,” and the binding of Satan, a new age will dawn. Darkness will yield to the light of God’s way and to His Messiah. Jesus Christ will set His hand to bring about the “restitution of all things” (Act 3:21).The government of God will be restored to the earth and peace will break out all over the globe.