Revelation 20:2-7: "He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison."
The Millenial reign, cataloged by the Apostle John, occurs sometimes in the End Times, depending on who you ask. It's a 1,000-year reign of Christ before Satan is released from his prison for one last stand-down. Spoiler alert: he will lose.
But what exactly is the Millenial Kingdom and reign? When will it take place? And has it already begun? We'll address these questions and more.
What Is the Millenial Kingdom and Reign?
As stated above, the Millenial Kingdom and reign take place when Christ is in power for 1,000 years, whilst Satan waits in prison for his last stand against the people of God. Some people interpret this as an allegorical 1000 years, like the 70 weeks in Daniel not being a literal 70 weeks.
But Scripture does seem to make it clear that this case is probably literal. During this time, after the rapture, the saints of God will come to life again and reign with Christ during this time. We don't have an exact job description of what we'll do, but it seems to involve some type of ruling and judgment.
We also should note that it mentions these saints didn't get the Mark of the Beast. Scripture makes it clear that those who do not receive the Mark will not have a chance to purchase anything (including food) and eventually may be killed, persecuted, or imprisoned for their refusal (Revelation 13). This can give us a good idea of when the Millenial Kindom will take place.
When Will the Millenial Kingdom Reign Take Place?
Again, it depends on what Christian you ask. Some, known as Amillenials, believe the Millenial kingdom is taking place right now. That sometime in history marked the start of the 1000 years in which we live. Others in the Amillenial camp also believe in a figurative 1000 years, rather than a literal one.
Premillenials, on the other hand, believe that after the period of tribulation, Christ will return. Then the millennial reign will begin. Premillenials can split into various camps as to when Tribulation will occur, when Christians will get raptured, and when Christ will step onto the scene.
Postmillenials believe the millennium happens prior to when Christ returns. For a chart that details this, check out this article here.
In other words, for the most part, Christians do believe in a 1000-year reign. They just tend to differ on when it will take place. Revelation seems to make it certain that it will happen after a period of Tribulation with the Beast. All Millenial camps offer Scriptural support for their viewpoints, so we won't pick a side in this article (or at least, won't allude to which camp the author of this article falls into). But we should know that the Millenial reign does mark an important period in the End Times.
What Will Happen during the Millenial Kingdom and Reign?
Scripture doesn't seem to tell us much about what will take place over these 1000 years, whether literal or figurative.
We do know that Satan will stay imprisoned during this time, with his power limited. Considering he ups the ante with the Tribulation that precedes this, it will be like a breath of fresh air for all the saints of God. Of course, Satan isn't done yet. He still has one last battle to fight. But there will be a 1000-year breather from his schemes on earth.
The people of God are given thrones and roles of leadership. The passage also mentions they will come back to life, those martyred in the faith. Some people have wondered if this means they didn't make it to heaven until this point. Commentaries tend to differ on this, thinking that those saved who perished go to heaven immediately. But perhaps the "come to life" seems to imply an inauguration of their new role in the reign. We should make an important note that those who are not saved do not come again to life during the 1000 years. Perhaps this means that they spend the 1000 years in hell, awaiting their eternal judgment, which will take place later on.
At the end of the 1000 years, Satan is released from his prison. He gathers the nations for battle against God's people. There, fire devours them from heaven, and all those who followed the Beast, and Satan himself are thrown into the lake of fire, the second death. Scripture seems to hint that the second death is far worse than the first. Some have surmised it is the death of the soul.
Why Should Christians Know about This?
As we approach the events of Revelation and hear more about wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24,) we cannot help but exercise a curiosity when it comes to what will come to pass. Although we can't know every detail, as apocalyptic texts tend to be shrouded in mystery, we want to be as prepared as possible. We don't know much about the Millenial Kingdom and reign, but we do know we can look forward to this 1000-year period. Christians yearn for it now when they cry out, "Maranatha!' Come, Lord Jesus.
All of creation groans for Jesus' return and reign, and so we find a deep longing within ourselves for this to come to pass.
In the meantime, let us not forsake our mission here on earth. To spread the Gospel to every nation, to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. It's certainly exciting to ponder all the events that will soon take place, but we'll allow the Lord to exercise His righteous timing, and continue to be diligent workers for the Lord. Spreading the Good News to whom we can, so that we can have more brothers and sisters to participate in the Millenial reign together.
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Hope Bolinger is an acquisitions editor at End Game Press, and the author of almost 30 books. More than 1500 of her works have been featured in various publications. Check out her books at hopebolinger.com for clean books in most genres, great for adults and kids.
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