What is the…

Meaning: a thousand years

This is a name used by Christians to refer to the future 1,000 year era mentioned in Revelation 20:1-7—a period when the physical kingdom of God will be on this Earth, ruled by the Messiah, the Son of God.

This era directly follows the triumphant Second Coming of Christ at the end of the Great Tribulation. The Millennium ends, when God destroys the universe and creates a new heavens and new Earth, providing the redeemed and sanctified children of God with a universe as good, if not better, than the original Creation prior to its corruption by the fall to sin.

Revelation 20:2-3 reports,

“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”

“With Satan bound in the bottomless pit, the beast and the false prophet in the lake of fire, and all the ungodly men and women purged from the Earth either at Armageddon or at the judgment of the nations (Matthew 25:31-46), there will be only a “few men left” (Isaiah 24:6) still in their natural flesh to enter Christ's millennial kingdom (Matthew 25:34). Redeemed Israel, having been saved both individually and nationally when she sees and accepts her Messiah (Zechariah 12:9-13:1; Romans 11:25-26), will become the world's chief nation. All the ancient prophecies and promises concerning Israel will finally be fulfilled (Isaiah 2:2-4; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Zechariah 9:10; 14:9).”

The “thousand years” or millennium (Greek: chiliai), should be taken literally. It is mentioned 6 times in Revelation 20:2-7, as though the Lord would make it emphatically clear that Satan will be restrained for literally a thousand years. He is certainly not “bound” in this present age, for he still “walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Peace and righteousness under the iron rule of Christ and His resurrected saints (Revelation 20:4; 2:26-27; 19:15; 1 Corinthians 6:2-3), will endure for a thousand years. Furthermore, the catastrophic changes on the Earth's surface during the tribulation judgments will have restored the gentle topography and protecting vapor canopy over the Earth (Isaiah 40:4; Psalm 148:4-6), so that the primeval “very good” condition of the whole world (Genesis 1:31) will be restored in large measure. Harmony will also be restored between men and animals, and people will again have only one language and will live to great ages (Isaiah 11:6-9; Zephaniah 3:9; Isaiah 65:20).

The events described in Revelation 20:7-9 take place only after there have been a thousand years of enforced peace and righteousness. In Revelation 20:3, it was said that Satan must be loosed a little season, evidently to give men an opportunity to reveal the basic rebellion still simmering in their human natures, and in order to see openly whether they will choose Satan over God, as their ancestors had done a thousand years before.

Those entering the millennial period will be genuine believers, but their descendants will evidently drift away from the faith of their fathers as the generations accumulate and the population grows. Open rebellion, as well as crime and warfare, will be impossible. Satan and his hosts will all be bound in Hades, but men and women will still be born with sinful natures and will need to receive Christ as their personal Savior by faith. If they do not, they will still be vulnerable to Satanic deception when Satan is released to tempt them.” (Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defender's Bible)

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