After viewing today’s political turmoil and bloodshed in the Mideast. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel asks: “When will it all end – will we go on struggling forever? Will the sword forever devour its maker? Political conflict in the Middle East is not about to disappear under any predictable circumstances – that is, unless one accepts the idea that history will soon come to its end and we shall reach the Millennium.”
Is he right? Is continued conflict and bloodshed – in a world that has mastered the technology to erase human life from this planet – the probable course of events? Or will the Great God intervene supernaturally and establish the Millennium – a 1000 years age of peace, justice and prosperity under the rule of Jesus Christ and His resurrected saints?
One of the most popular, longtime religious beliefs is that those who have led a “good life” go to heaven when they die. It follows, then, that heaven would be where Christ establishes His Kingdom. But are these assumptions really what the Bible teaches?
Jesus Christ said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). What a strange thing to say if people go to heaven when they die. And most assuredly, the meek have not inherited today’s world, where so often “might makes right”! If anything, they are the oppressed.
Perhaps the most definitive proof of all is found in Revelation 5. Speaking of the resurrected saints, we learn that they will be “kings and priests to our God: and shall reign on the earth” (v. 10).
What will happen in this Kingdom? Jesus taught that after He returns to earth, He will take the reigns of government. “When the Son of man comes in His glory and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him” Matt. 25:31-32.
It is the Father who will give Christ the authority to rule these nations at His Second Coming. The book of Revelation tells us of that time: “Then the 7th angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11: 15).
But first, Jesus Christ will have to destroy the armies gathered at Jerusalem who oppose His rule (Rev. 19:15).
Under Jesus Christ a resurrected King David will rule the descendants of the Twelve Tribes of Israel living at that time (Ez. 37:24-28; Jer. 30:9). Under David the twelve apostles will “sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:28). As we saw earlier, other immortal saints will rule as “kings and priests” over all nations under Jesus Christ (Rev. 5:10).
The very seat of Christ’s government will be in the Middle East. “At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it” (Jer. 3:17).
In chapters 43 and 44 of Ezekiel we are told of a glorious millennial temple that will be located in Jerusalem, “And He said to me, Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever” (Ez. 43:7).
The book of Daniel also tells of this time: “Then the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him” (Dan. 7:27).
And Isaiah foretells the Messiah’s rule over nations as well: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government will be upon His shoulder. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom forever” (Isa. 9:6-7).
What a wonderful concept Isaiah speaks of – global peace! But peace can never come to a world held in the grip of ignorance, poverty and lawlessness. Today’s world rejects God’s laws and has turned to “man’s way”- the path that produces ignorance and suffering. But the time is soon coming when this earth will be refreshed by first learning, then following God’s ways of peace and happiness (Isa. 48:17-18). These “times of refreshing” will come to this earth after Christ’s return (Acts 3:19).
The Father “will send Jesus Christ whom heaven must receive until the time of restoration of all things” (v. 21). What will the Father restore? God’s way, His laws and His government over all the earth! But to restore these things, the entire human race must be reeducated. Men and women will need to acquire true wisdom, knowledge and understanding. “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountain. And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:2-3).
Mankind will then come to love the law of God, and will learn how to apply it in everyday life (Ps. 119:97-104). During that utopian age, man will no longer doubt the existence of his Maker. The foolishness of atheism (Ps. 14:1) will be replaced by the full realization by everyone that our universe did not come into being through blind, random forces.
In the wonderful New World to come, all nations will come to see that the fear of or deep reverence for the Lord “is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10). Part of fearing God is learning to obey Him. “A good understanding have all those who do His commandments” (Ps. 111:10).
But more than just learning His laws, people will come to really know God Himself, the Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth. No person or nation can be truly wise and understanding without genuinely comprehending that an all-wise Creator made the entire universe and rules it by His great power, through His invisible laws (Deut. 4:6-7).
During this present age, all mankind has been misled by Satan, the great deceiver (Rev. 12:9). And surely the greatest of his deceptions have been in the realm of religion. Of the seven billion human beings alive today, only about one-third even professes to believe in Jesus Christ. But, sadly, even most of them do not really understand the awesome plan of God and the real meaning of His true Gospel. Rather, many have accepted a counterfeit gospel (Gal. 1:6-9; II Cor. 11:3-4).
Today, countless millions look to Mecca, Rome or other “holy cities” for religious guidance and direction. Millions make pilgrimages to those places. But during the Millennium, far greater numbers will flock to Jerusalem, and will then look to it as God’s Holy City: “And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me” in Jerusalem (Isa. 66:23). Furthermore, “it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up (to that city) from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of host, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zech. 14:16). Thus, God’s Sabbaths and Festivals (Lev. 23) will be kept by all of humanity! (Enroll today in our new series, God’s Plan of Salvation).
When the Messiah comes to establish His Kingdom on earth, He will begin the colossal task of reeducating the entire world. It will take much time and effort to convince all nations that they have been deceived by following false ideologies in all major areas of belief and activity – religion, morality, education, government, commerce, etc.
God will bind Satan and remove the evil influence he has had over all mankind from the time of Adam and Eve (Rev. 20:1-3; Eph. 2:1-3). Then, with the resurrected saints helping Christ to teach mankind a better way of life, “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9).
There is so much instability in today’s world – in its religions, government, education and family structure. But, that will not be so in the New World ahead: “The Lord is exalted. He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of your salvation” (Isa. 33:5-6).
After the God removes Satan’s influence from this earth, He will then graciously pour out His Spirit on all flesh (Joel 2:28-29). God will give humanity “a new heart and a new spirit” (Ez. 36:26-27). Further, the Great God says that He will put His law “in their mind and write them on their hearts” (Heb. 8:10).
The nations will then learn that living by God’s law of love – summarized by the Ten Commandments (I John 5:3) – is the only way to peace, happiness and everything good. Only then will they begin to experience true peace with security. The power of divine love will then replace the destructive influence of bitter hatred and strife that is so prevalent in our world today.
What will be the result of the influence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of billions? Today’s worldwide ethnic hostilities will vanish as God’s Spirit softens the hearts of all men. The book of Isaiah tell us that men will “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” (Isa. 2:4).
Do you fully realize the importance of this prophecy? Men will convert their weapons of war and destruction into implements of production! No more heavy taxes to pay for arms that serve only to maim and kill fellow human beings.
The peace, prosperity and abundant living of the coming New Garden of Eden is perhaps best summed up by the Prophet Micah: “Everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree and no one shall make them afraid” (Micah 4:4). What a contrast to our present societies plagued by violence, poverty and ignorance. May God hasten Christ’s return and the establishment of that marvelous paradise on earth!
The city of Jerusalem today is a hotbed of ethnic strife, unrest and violence. But in the Millennium, this same city will be the focal point from which will flow the knowledge of God’s way of life to every other nation and people on the face of the earth. God tells us of that time: “I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem – old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each one with his staff in his hand because of great age. The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing”.
During the Christmas season, many will recite these words: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). Yet how sad it is that most who read these words do not understand what the angels were really talking about – that Jesus Christ was born as the King of a genuine World Government that will one day bring world peace, harmony and love - the New Garden of Eden!