MILLENNIUM, as defined in Webster’s dictionary, is a period of 1000 years. Only two scriptures in the New Testament mention a 1000-year period (a millennium). The first is 2 Peter 3:8. The last is Revelation 20:4. We will examine these scriptures after considering whether the year 2000 is the third millennium from the birth of Jesus Christ.
WHEN WAS JESUS BORN?
Many Bible commentators have placed Jesus’ birth at 4 B.C. (B.C. means before Christ). Two thousand years after 4 B.C. brings us to 1996 A.D. (four years earlier than 2000 A.D.) The most accurate dating for Jesus’ birth is 2 B.C. (See The Time is at Hand, pages 54-62) Two thousand years after 2 B.C. brings us to 1998 A.D. (Still 2 years short of the year 2000) In reality, the B.C. and A.D. calendar division is a rather arbitrary time measure used only for convenience and not for accurate Bible chronology.
The 21st century actually began January 1, 2001, but the year 2000 A.D. has been a date of great concern and curiosity for the world. It has no real Biblical significance and IS NOT the start of the Bible Millennium! It’s not even 2000 years from the birth of Christ. Furthermore, the Word of God does not tell us to watch for the 2000th year from Christ’s birth.
WHICH 1000-YEAR PERIOD DO WE LOOK FOR?
Careful study of the scriptures teach that the Bible Millennium is the seventh 1000-year period from the entrance of sin and death upon the human family through father Adam. That is to say, since Adam sinned, 6,000 years of suffering, dying and death have passed over his offspring, the entire human race. When considering creation (Genesis 1), we notice that God worked for 6 days (six periods of time of equal length) and rested on the 7th. In like manner, the nation of Israel was required to work 6 days in the week and rest on the 7th. We will use this same pattern (6 days of toil followed by the 7th day of rest) to help us locate the Bible Millennium.
HOW LONG IS A DAY WITH THE LORD?
We are not left to guess. The Apostle Peter supplies us with the answer in 2 Peter 3:8: But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Applying this knowledge to the divine pattern, we learn that the six 1000 year long days of mankind toiling under the burden of sin and death are to be followed by the seventh 1000 year long day for the purpose of removing (or resting from) sin and death. We see then that 7000 years are required, from the entrance of sin and death, to its complete eradication. This same 1000-year day is spoken of as the time in which the saints will reign with Christ. (Revelation 20:4) Paul tells us that the purpose of this 1000-year reign is to put all enemies under his (Christ’s) feet and the last enemy of mankind (as a result of sin) which he will destroy is death. (1 Corinthians 15:25, 26) This 1000-year period or millennium is described in Acts 3:19-21 as the times of restitution of all things. In other words, it’s the period of time in which mankind will be brought back (restored) to their original condition that is, made perfect. Genesis 1:27, 31
WHEN DOES THIS 1000-YEAR DAY BEGIN?
By carefully considering Bible chronology, we can pinpoint the very year Adam sinned to be 4126 B.C. To this date we add 6000 years and we arrive at 1874 A.D. the time for the great 7th 1000-year day, the Bible Millennium, to commence. For this chronology study see, The Time is at Hand, pages 33-63. Peter states in 2 Peter 3:10, 12, 13 that, The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned upLooking for and hasting unto the coming of the DAY of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
These and many other scriptures reveal that this 1000-year day does not begin peaceably, but with trouble terrible trouble. This Millennial Day arrives as a thief in the night. (1 Thess. 5:1-4) That is, it comes quietly, unobserved by the sleeping world. We believe the Scriptures teach that 1874 A.D. was the beginning of this Day of the Lord and that Jesus did indeed return as a thief (Matthew 24:42-44) and the world is unaware of it because the Lord returned to the earth’s atmosphere not as a man but as a glorious invisible spirit being. As Peter reveals, our Lord was, put to death flesh, quickened (resurrected) spirit. (1 Peter 3:18) Paul teaches us that our Lord is no longer in the flesh, because he says, flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 15:50
WHAT WORK IS THE LORD ENGAGED IN?
The binding of Satan (Revelation 20:1-3) who is the god (2 Corinthians 4:4) of this present evil world is one of the many great works. (Galatians 1:4) Satan must first be bound if his house (dominion this present evil world) is to be spoiled (destroyed Mark 3:27). This means the removal of false religions and oppressive governments (the heavens) and the present selfish social order (the earth) as described in 2 Peter 3:10-13 quoted above.
HOW IS SATAN BOUND?
Does our Lord use a literal chain and throw him in an actual pit? No, of course not. Satan is not a flesh and blood being, but a spirit being. Since he can’t be physically restrained his great influence by which he rules mankind will be limited. God has, in his wisdom, determined to restrict Satan’s usual method of operation in a gradual manner. The chain he is using to render Satan powerless is truth. Yes, the truth, which has shone forth from the time of our Lord’s presence (at the beginning of the Millennium), is dispelling the darkness (ignorance, superstition, and errors of the dark ages). Light, (knowledge, understanding and truth) shining upon both spiritual and temporal matters, is exposing and weakening the leading ruler of darkness, Satan. Ephesians 6:12
How has the Prince of Darkness reacted to the increased light of the Millennial Day? Satan, like a wounded animal, caught in a trap, is fighting for his life! His weapons are the new errors of higher criticism, greed, evolution, immorality and gross violence. These weapons have been forged to fight off or offset the increasing light of this Millennial Day. This is the reason that unprecedented trouble is sweeping over the world. The wicked one (Satan) is being destroyed with the spirit of his (our Lord’s) mouth (the truth). But Satan does not go down in defeat without a fight. As he is gradually being resrained, he responds with deceitful, enticing signs and lying wonders. 2 Thess. 2:8-12
DANIEL SPOKE OF THIS DAY
Over 2500 years ago the hebrew prophet Daniel called this day the time of the end (when) many will run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. (Daniel 12:1-4) Have these signs had their fulfillment in our day? Is man running to and fro? Do we have evidences that knowledge (light, which is the chain used to bind Satan) has increased since 1874? Consider carefully the condensed list headed Knowledge Increased and Many shall run to and fro. Look around, draw your own conclusions. What do you see?
Why does the Millennial Age spell trouble? Because the beginning of this Age of blessing is a transition period. God is setting up his Kingdom in the days of these kings. But to do that he must remove the present Kingdoms and that spells trouble. (See Daniel 2:44) How does the world react to the setting up of God’s glorious Kingdom? Do they rejoice and receive it with open arms? On the contrary; they are angry and fearful because they do not understand why their world is crumbling around them. Their laws (governments) and creeds are being exposed as failures. See Revelation 11:15-18.
Our Lord indicates how great the trouble will become during this transition period. He says that the trouble will be greater than any mankind has ever experienced. (Matthew 24:21) Paul likens it to a woman in birth pains: For when they shall say, ’Peace and safety’; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3) Are there any indications that this time of trouble, which will bring about the destruction of the old order (present society), has begun? Consider the condensed list titled The Time of Trouble and perhaps you may agree that we are indeed living in the beginning or transition period of the Millennial Age.
ISRAEL: GOD’S TIMECLOCK
Our Lord indicates that at the time we begin to see the restoration of Israel, the Kingdom of God will be nigh at hand. (Luke 21:29-32) Prior to 1874, the nation of Israel had been scattered and persecuted throughout the world, for over 1800 years. Consider the list entitled Israel God’s Time Clock and read in amazement how God is again working in Israel.
One prominent event that we expect in the future is the coming cooperative effort between the churches and the state. This powerful alliance will resemble the Holy Roman Empire of old (a civil and religious government). We can expect that this government will have the power to persecute all (including true Christians) who do not cooperate with them receive the mark of the beast. See Revelation 13:16, 17. The movement toward the union of the various religious groups (as well as the cooperation between religion and government) has been very marked in this Day of the Lord. Consider this for yourself. See the list entitled The Ecumenical Movement. The climax of the great time of trouble (as indicated on the time line) is an event called Jacob’s trouble. (Jeremiah 30:7) At this time all nations will come against Israel. (Zechariah 12:2, 3; 14:2) God will then fight for Israel as he did in the days of old. (Ezekiel 38 and 39; Zechariah 14:3) After this great victory, God will establish his New Covenant with the nation of Israel. Jeremiah 31:31
THE DEAD WILL LIVE AGAIN!
Sometime after the establishment of the New Covenant with Israel, the resurrection of mankind will begin. This is a time when the dead must return to life when all in their tombs will hear the voice of the son of God and come forth. (1 Corinthians 15:22; John 5:28, 29) The risen dead must then be educated. They must overcome their old habits and improper character which they have developed during the present life. Developing along this line, they will also be learning the benefits of keeping God’s perfect law. (Isaiah 26:9) Isaiah describes this educational process as a highway leading to holiness. (Isaiah 35:8-10) In that day (during the peaceable phase of the Millennial Kingdom) the educational program will be so complete that all will hear its message. Jeremiah 31:34; Isaiah 11:9
A FINAL TEST
At the end of the 1000-year Millennial day, mankind will have been perfected by this process of education and discipline. (Revelation 2:27) Then a final test will be supplied to prove all mankind, to see whether their obedience is of their own free will. (Revelation 20:7-9) The vast majority will accept the Kingdom arrangements and go on to live forever. The disobedient of mankind will die the second death (oblivion, extinction) from which there will be no further resurrection.
A GLORIOUS ENDING!