The Millennial (Messianic, 1000 year Reign of Christ) and Eternal Kingdoms

The Bible indicates that there will be two kingdoms on earth in the future, one following the other. The first kingdom will last 1,000 years and is therefore referred to as the “Millennial (Messianic) Kingdom” (from mil, one thousand, and annus, year). The second kingdom is referred to by the author as the “Everlasting Kingdom.” [1] In the Millennial Kingdom, Jesus Christ will rule as King after he fights and wins the Battle of Armageddon at the close of the Tribulation (Rev. 19). [2] The Everlasting Kingdom will begin after the close of the Millennial Kingdom when the Devil and his demons are destroyed and the Final Judgment has taken place (Rev. 21). [3] The sequential order of these two kingdoms is apparent through a reading of Revelation 19 – 22. Following is a brief summary of the events recorded in these chapters.

At the end of the seven-year Tribulation period, Jesus Christ, followed by his armies, rides a white horse down out of heaven to fight the Battle of Armageddon. He wins the battle and conquers the earth (Rev. 19). After the battle, the Devil is “chained” and the “First Resurrection” occurs (Rev. 20). The First Resurrection includes the following people: a) believers, saved individuals, who lived in Old Testament times and died before the Day of Pentecost recorded in Acts 2; and b) believers, saved individuals, who lived and died during the seven-year period of the Tribulation. The people in both these categories are brought back to life and reign with Christ for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:4-7), together with the previously raptured Christians. After the 1,000-year reign of Christ, the Devil is loosed from his “chains” and gathers another army to fight against God’s people. This time, instead of Christ fighting and winning the battle, the Devil’s army is destroyed by fire from heaven (Rev. 20:7-10). Following the victory, the Second Resurrection and the Final Judgment take place. After the Final Judgment, God sets up the Kingdom that will last forever, the Everlasting Kingdom.

Throughout the Bible there are prophecies concerning both kingdoms, but God does not label the prophecies as “Millennial Kingdom” or “Everlasting Kingdom.” The only way to determine which kingdom is the subject of the prophecy is by studying the prophecy in detail, keeping in mind that the Bible cannot contradict itself. For example, some prophecies concerning a future kingdom refer to a temple (Ezek. 40–48), while other prophecies concerning a future kingdom indicate that there will not be a temple (Rev. 21:22). In regard to the Temple, it is relatively easy because Revelation 21, which indicates there will not be a temple, is describing a kingdom that exists after the 1,000-year reign of Christ. The only kingdom after the 1,000-year reign of Christ is the Everlasting Kingdom. So, the prophecy in Revelation 21 applies to the Everlasting Kingdom. Ezekiel’s prophecy, which describes the Temple in great detail, applies to the Millennial Kingdom.

Another example of an apparent contradiction involves prophecies concerning death. According to some prophecies, there is death in a future kingdom (Isa. 65:20, “He who dies at 100 will be thought a mere youth”) while other prophecies indicate there will be no death (Rev. 21:4, “There will be no more death”). One key to resolving the apparent contradiction is knowing that “death” and “Hades” (the grave) are destroyed after the Millennial (Messianic) Kingdom ends and shortly before the Everlasting Kingdom begins (Rev. 20:14). Another key to resolving the apparent contradiction is determining who is present in each kingdom.

The Millennial Kingdom will be populated by three “groups” of people: a) Christians who were transformed and made immortal at the Rapture; b) believers who were resurrected and made immortal during the First Resurrection, and c) believers who survive the Tribulation and are allowed to enter the kingdom because they are judged righteous. The last “group” will enter the kingdom as mortals and will, therefore, eventually die. Furthermore, they will have children who, like all mortals, will be subject to death. In contrast, the Everlasting Kingdom will be populated only by immortals, namely: a) those who were already immortals during the Millennial Kingdom; b) believers brought back to life and transformed into immortals during the Second Resurrection, which occurs at the conclusion of the Millennial Kingdom; and c) mortal believers who are alive at the beginning of the Everlasting Kingdom who are judged righteous and who will be transformed into immortals. [4] Therefore, because mortals will be present in the Millennial Kingdom, there will be death, but because only immortals will be present in the Everlasting Kingdom, there will be no death.

Endnotes

[1] For a depiction of these two kingdoms chronologically on a chart, see Appendix A.
[2] The Battle of Armageddon ends the reign of the Antichrist and the Tribulation period. The details of the book of Revelation, such as the seals, trumpets, vials, and the reign and identity of the Antichrist, are outside the scope of this book and so will not be covered. A wonderful source for this information is Bullinger, op. cit., Commentary on Revelation.
[3] It is sometimes taught that the Battle of Armageddon is the “final battle,” but this is not the case, as a reading of Revelation 19 and 20 will show. Revelation 19:11–21 says that Christ and his armies come down from heaven and fight the beast, the false prophet, the kings of the earth, and their armies. That is the Battle of Armageddon. Then, in Chapter 20, Christ sets up his kingdom for 1,000 years, at the end of which there is another war, the final war in the Bible. It is brief—fire comes from heaven and destroys Christ’s enemies. There is no record of either Christ or Christians fighting in this final battle. See Appendix A, events 8 and 12.
[4] The Bible does not specifically mention this group. However, it must be the case. There is no evidence that the Devil will deceive every natural person in the Millennial Kingdom. He has never been able to do that. Even during the Tribulation there are people from both Israel and the nations who are saved. Thus there will be “natural people” who enter the Everlasting Kingdom, just as there are natural people who enter the Millennial Kingdom. However, since death is part of the Millennial Kingdom the natural people will age and die. That will not be the case in the Everlasting Kingdom. Everyone will be immortal.

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5 comments

  1. is it a sin to pay a bus fare travelling to church on sabbath day?.

    1. No, and it’s not a sin to walk there either.

  2. Where are the appendices referred to in this article?

    1. Hey Hank,

      Thanks for your question! The appendices referenced in the article are found in the book The Christian’s Hope: The Anchor of the Soul by John W. Schoenheit. The book is available for sale at our online store: http://stfonlinestore.com/hope.aspx

  3. Shalom,
    I am still confused about first and second resurrection. You are saying that until pentecost day and the ones service the tribulation will resurrect in the 1000 years kingdome and what happened to the ones that died between that time. And who will resurrect on the end of the 1000 years millennium. Are we still going to have life and die in this time so we will resurrect again.?

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