In history, there have been a few men who have made an impact in their quest to rule the world. Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great and Hitler are names that come to mind. There have been others who have made a significant impact as they sought to expand their political influence. History is most notably marked by the wars that accompany the expansion of kingdoms. Granted, once political power is consolidated under one head, then peace and prosperity tend to grow.
The Bible talks about a time when swords will be beat into plow shears, men will not practice war anymore. Isaiah 65:25 says, “The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD.” (NIV)
The apostles and followers of Jesus were looking for Jesus to usher in this time. In Acts 1:6, we are told about a meeting these disciples had with Jesus. It says, “So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" (NIV) The apostles and early followers of Christ continued to teach on this subject. Jesus will return. According to Revelation 20, He will set up His kingdom for 1,000 years, during which time the devil will be bound. At the end of that time the devil will be released from his chains to deceive the nations once again.
The thousand year reign of Christ on Earth is called the Millennium. A millennium is a thousand years, and this is where the Millennium gets its name. Besides the Revelation 20 passage we are looking at today, there are other Scriptures that speak of this period of time.
Why a Millennium? When we try to understand what God is doing we must first realize that His ways are not like our ways, and there is no way we can fully understand. This being stated let me give you a picture of what I think happened and is happening. First, God put a man and a woman in a perfect environment with just one test. Do not eat of the fruit of one of the trees. Because mankind failed this test, God removed man from the Garden, and men depended on their consciences to direct their behavior. This continued up to the time of Noah when God destroyed the Earth because of the wickedness of men. God made a covenant with Noah and made the law that the man that killed a man was to be killed by Man. This established an age of human government in addition to conscience. As the rule of conscience ended with the flood, the rule of governments culminated in the Tower of Babel and the division of nations. God then chose Abraham and made him the father of a nation. Through Moses, God gave the Law and the people entered into a covenant of works where at Mt. Sinai they promised to abide by all that was written in the Law.
These were four separate administrations that God had used with men: First the perfect environment of the Garden, then conscience, then human government and then the Law. There has always been only one plan of salvation and that is faith in Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve knew Him only as the promised seed and those under the Law of Moses knew Him as the coming Messiah, the Anointed One.
God set up these different administrations for mankind’s sake.
Acts 17:26-27 tells us:
26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.
27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. (NIV)
God set up these administrations so that men would seek Him. All the things that happened in history are examples for us that we might learn.
Speaking on the history of the Children of Israel, 1 Corinthians 10:6 says, “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” (NIV) This principle of teaching through history has remained constant as God has dealt with mankind.
So how did men do? Well at the end of the time of the Covenant of Law God’s chosen people and the gentiles together rejected God’s Messiah, the Anointed One and crucified Him. God has an everlasting covenant with Abraham but because of their rejection of the Messiah the nation of Israel was wiped out and dispersed throughout the world in 70 AD.
Since this time, there has been a new administration. We call it the Church age. Prior to this time in God’s administration, the plan of salvation was but dimly known. Now it is plainly laid out for every person. All that is required for any person is to accept what God has done through Christ. In each and every age, mankind has rejected God’s administration. When left to his conscience mankind sought evil until God destroyed the world. When God established human government, mankind banded together and built a tower setting themselves up as supreme. When God set up the Law, mankind rejected and crucified the Messiah. Now that God has established His Church and sent His Holy Spirit to live among us, has the whole Earth yet bowed the knee to God and sought His kingdom and His righteousness? Of course not, and we know that this age also will come to an end with the judgments of the tribulation.
There will be yet another administration set up, and this is why the Millennium. In this administration the prophecies of Daniel will be fulfilled.
27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.' (NIV)
As we read in Revelation chapter 20 the devil will be bound during this period. He will not be allowed to deceive anyone for 1,000 years. Everybody going into this kingdom will be redeemed. They will have children. And then at the end of the 1,000 years Satan will be released. Let’s read again what happens.
7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison
8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth-- Gog and Magog-- to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.
9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (NIV)
Can you imagine this? After 1,000 years of perfect government, godly parentage and all the lessons of history the rebellion that follows Satan will be like the sand on the seashore. Even now it is almost unbelievable that as much as God has foretold, men still do not believe. By the time of the end of the Millennium there will be even more history to show fulfilled prophecy, but it will not soften hard hearts.
So what is the point? Why does God take the time to tell us all this? Let’s look at Revelation itself and see what God says about why He is telling us this. Revelation 22:12-17 says,
12 "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.
15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."
17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
Will you look at verse 17 again?
The Spirit is God Himself. He says, “Come.”
The Bride is the Church, which is us. We all with one voice say to all who will listen, “Come.”
“Whoever is thirsty, whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
God is not willing that any should perish. In every age, in every administration God has said this same thing. He has taught us through History that the problem is not the system or the administration. The problem is not with God. It is us. It is sin.
Rom 3:10-12 explains it this way.
10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." (NIV)
The history of the world teaches us that we are without excuse. And still we make God our enemy. Throughout history man has gathered himself together to oppose God.
The message of the Church and the Bible is simple. Let me give you a synopsis.
It is found in John 3:16:
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV)
Won’t you accept His free gift today? The water of life is free. God wins in the end. Why would you put yourself on the losing side? God loves you and wants you so accept His invitation today.