Will Christ Reign for a Thousand Years? (Part II)
Will Christ reign for a thousand years after His return? In other words, when will the kingdom of God come?
The kingdom of God is a central message in Scripture and is defined as “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17). The terms “ kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven” are used interchangeably and appear 104 times in the New Testament and in nineteen of Jesus’ parables.
But when will the kingdom of God come? Has it already come, or will Jesus set up an earthly millennial kingdom after the Second Coming? Has Jesus Christ been crowned King, or is He yet to be coronated? Have Old Testament prophecies concerning His kingdom been fulfilled, or do they yet await fulfillment? Stay tuned for scriptural answers to these all important questions.
When will the kingdom of God come? Scripture reveals that the kingdom of God has already come. Consider six undeniable proofs:
Proof #1. The very nature of the kingdom indicates that it has already come. It is spiritual and redemptive in nature, not earthly and materialistic.
Jesus spoke of two kingdoms, the kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of God (Matt. 12:26,28). Both are spiritual in their nature, but they differ—the kingdom of God is “light,” but Satan’s kingdom is “the power of darkness” (Col. 1:12,13). Deliverance from Satan’s kingdom into God’s kingdom is by spiritual means—repentance, faith in Christ, and the new birth (Mark 1:15; John 3:1-7; Col. 1:13,14).
Also, Jesus said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Once, when the people wanted to make Jesus a natural king, He departed from them and went off to be alone in the mountains (John 6:14,15). Why? Because He knew that His kingdom was not of this world. It never was and it never will be. His kingdom emphasizes humility and servanthood rather than pride and royal grandeur (Matt. 20:20-28).
It has been said that “the idea of an earthly kingdom with material wealth and national superiority where everyone rules and no one serves is carnal, materialistic, and political. Furthermore it appeals to the pride of life, which is of this world (1 John 2:16) and is diametrically opposed to the kingdom of God, which is spiritual.” In fact, a kingdom of earthly power and glory is the kind of kingdom which Satan offered Jesus and which Jesus immediately refused (Luke 4:5,6).
Which is greater? The spiritual kingdom of God or an earthly kingdom? Let it be known that the spiritual kingdom of God far exceeds an earthly kingdom. Someone has said:
• An earthly kingdom deals with the external, as with King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon; the spiritual kingdom deals with the internal, the heart.
• An earthly kingdom degenerates with all education, culture, military strength, and a high standard of living. The spiritual kingdom regenerates. The inward man is renewed day by day.
• An earthly kingdom is temporal, but the spiritual kingdom is eternal.
• Entrance into an earthly kingdom is compulsory; entrance into the spiritual kingdom is voluntary.
• An earthly kingdom is natural; the spiritual kingdom is supernatural. Men may be part of an earthly kingdom without repentance and change of heart; to enter the kingdom of God, one must be born again.
Therefore, since Jesus and the apostles demonstrated that the nature of the kingdom of God is spiritual and redemptive, we know it is a present reality.
Proof #2. We know the kingdom of God has already come because it was ushered in during the ministry of Jesus, the Messiah.
He came as the long-awaited Messiah and King. According to John 1:41-49, Jesus was recognized by some as the Messiah and the King whom the prophets said would come.
When Jesus came forth preaching, He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). What did Jesus mean when He said, “The time is fulfilled”? Daniel prophesied that God would, during the days of the fourth world empire, which is the Roman empire, set up a kingdom that would never be destroyed (Dan. 2:44). He also received a vision which predicted the
time when “Messiah” would come (Dan. 9:24-27). Evidently, that time had been fulfilled. Knowing these and other prophecies, devout people in Jerusalem were waiting for the Messiah and “the kingdom of God” (Mark 15:43; Luke 2:25,38).
Scripture also reveals that Jesus did not come to offer a restored, earthly kingdom (John 18:36) but to announce His kingdom (Mark 1:15); to demonstrate the power of His kingdom through miracles (Matt. 4:23,24; 12:28,29); to teach the principles of His kingdom (Matthew chapters 5-7); to be an example of how to live in His kingdom (Matt. 20:20-28); and to establish His kingdom by His death, resurrection, and ascension (Luke 19:11-27).
Jesus also indicated that the time had now come for the kingdom of God to be accessible to all who repent, believe, and press their way into it regardless of the obstacles (Mark 1:15; Luke 16:16).
Therefore, since Jesus Christ, in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, inaugurated the kingdom of God through His preaching, miracles, and power over Satan and, since He repeatedly showed that His kingdom is accessible to all who repent and believe the gospel, it is apparent that the kingdom of God came during His life and ministry.
Proof #3. We know the kingdom of God has already come because Scripture associates Jesus Christ receiving His kingdom with His resurrection and ascension, not with His Second Coming and a future thousand-year reign.
In the Parable of the Nobleman, Jesus Himself indicated that He was going to heaven “to receive for himself a kingdom” (Luke 19:12). This truth is depicted in Daniel 7:13,14:
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the
clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near
before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that
all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting
dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be
Clearly, our resurrected Lord received His kingdom when He ascended into heaven.
Also, as a result of Jesus defeating Satan at Calvary and being enthroned in heaven, the apostle John, in a vision, heard a heavenly voice proclaim:
Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the
power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren [Satan] is cast down.
We see, then, that just as salvation, and strength, and the Holy
Spirit came when Jesus was enthroned in heaven, so also the “kingdom
of our God.”
Consider also Hebrews 1:8. God, the Father, said to His exalted Son, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” Clearly, then, God Himself affirmed that as King, Jesus has a throne, a scepter, and a kingdom.
Obviously, then, in accordance with the words of the prophets, Jesus first initiated the kingdom during His ministry and then He established His Messianic kingdom when He paid the price for our sins and was exalted at His Father’s right hand, “angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1 Pet. 3:22).
From His heavenly throne, He now exercises rule “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph. 1:21,22).
Proof #4. We know the kingdom of God has already come because Isaiah 9:6,7, which tells about the birth of a child who would establish His kingdom and reign forever, was fulfilled by our resurrected Lord.
He fulfilled this six-fold prophecy in every detail. Consider the following:
(1) Verse 6 says that “the government shall be upon his shoulder.” To say it another way, Isaiah 22:22 reads, “And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.”
Revelation 3:7 says, “These things saith he that . . . hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.” Therefore, since the New Testament reveals that our resurrected Lord has “the key of David,” we know that He is in control. Indeed, our Lord is presently exercising the rule of government on David’s throne.
(2) Isaiah 9:6 says, “And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” According to Philippians 2:9,10, Jesus became obedient unto death, even “the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” See also Eph. 1:20,21.
(3) Isaiah 9:7 records, “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” Jesus said to His followers, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27).
Truly, Jesus’ government is a government of peace.
(4) In Isaiah 9:7, we also read that He shall reign “upon the throne of David.” At Pentecost, Peter showed that Jesus had already ascended the throne of David, not in Jerusalem, as the Jews anticipated, but in heaven at the right hand of the Father. In fact, David himself associated Christ’s enthronement with His resurrection, not with His Second Coming and a literal millennium as many suppose (Acts 2:34,35).
(5) Verse 7 also tells us that He will establish His kingdom with “judgment and justice.” God said to His exalted Son, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom” (Heb. 1:8). Thus His kingdom is a kingdom of righteousness.
(6) Isaiah 9:7 indicates that He shall reign in His kingdom “for ever.” The apostles and God, the Father, recognized the eternal reign of Jesus Christ. To illustrate:
• Paul declared, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Tim. 1:17).
• God Himself said to His exalted Son, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever” (Heb. 1:8).
Therefore, in fulfillment of Isaiah 9:6,7, the New Testament reveals that Jesus Christ already governs as King on David’s throne, that His name is above every other name, and that His kingdom of peace and righteousness is “for ever and ever.”
Proof #5. We know the kingdom of God has already come because it came with power when the Holy Spirit was outpoured.
According to Jesus and the prophets, the kingdom of God is in the sphere of the Holy Spirit, not in the sphere of a mere earthly kingdom. The Holy Spirit and the kingdom are inseparable. The kingdom of God is “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17).
• The prophet Isaiah foretold that “a king shall reign in righteousness” and of “the spirit [being] poured upon us from on high” (Isa. 32:1,15).
• Ezekiel prophesied: “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them . . . And . . . there shall be showers of blessing” (Ezek. 34:23,26). Truly, these prophecies are already being fulfilled.
• After the resurrection, the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus replied, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me . . . unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:6-8). On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was initially outpoured and the kingdom of God came with power (Acts 2:33).
It is important to note that after receiving the Holy Ghost, the disciples never again asked about when the kingdom should come. Evidently, it had been revealed to them that Jesus had been exalted as King and that His kingdom had come.
Clearly, then, the kingdom of God came with power on the Day of Pentecost. On that day, three important things happened: (1) Old Testament prophecies concerning a coming King and the outpouring of the Spirit were fulfilled; (2) the disciples understood that the King and His kingdom had come; (3) the Church was empowered to go into all the world and preach the “gospel of the kingdom” until the end comes (Matt. 24:14; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8).
Proof #6. We know the kingdom of God has already come because true believers are reigning with Christ in His kingdom.
Because the kingdom of God has come, it is available to whoever believes on the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:1-16). All who repent and trust Him are set free from Satan’s dominion and overcome his temptations by the blood of Jesus, by the Word of God, and by self-denial (Rev. 12:11). They have been delivered from Satan’s dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of God (Col. 1:13).
As partakers of a spiritual resurrection, believers have been “raised” from the deadness of their sins to sit in “heavenly places” where Christ has been seated at the Father’s right hand (Eph. 1:20,21; 2:5,6). Peter stated that born again believers “are [not will be] . . . a royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9). Thus, they are now reigning with Him as “priests” in His kingdom (1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 1:5,6). This truth fulfills Isaiah 61:1-6.
At the same time, believers are patiently enduring persecutions, afflictions, and, if need be, joyfully suffering the loss of all things for the kingdom’s sake. Why? Because they have the hope of the Second Coming and heaven (Heb. 10:32-36; 1 Pet. 1:3-7). In that eternal city there will be “no more” death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Rev. 21:4) and they will “reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 22:5).
Proof #7. We know the kingdom of God has already come because Scripture declares that Christ “must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet,” that is, until His Second Coming.
According to 1 Corinthians 15, Paul associated this final event with Christ’s single coming (v. 23); the end of the world (v. 24); the sound of the Last Trumpet (v. 52); and the resurrection and glorification of believers (vv. 51-54).
In fact, three other passages of Scripture also demonstrate that Paul associated Christ’s single return with the destruction of all His enemies and the glorification of His people (1 Thess. 4:16-5:3; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 2:1-3,8).
When describing the great white throne judgment, John also linked the coming of Jesus and the end of the world with the eternal destruction of all of Christ’s enemies, including death, the last enemy (Rev. 20:11-15; 21:8).
According to the Parable of the Nobleman (Luke 19:11-27), Jesus Himself said that He was going “into a far country [heaven] to receive for himself a kingdom” (v. 12). After “having received the kingdom” (v. 15), He will return to reckon with His servants and to destroy His enemies, that is, those who “would not that [He] should reign over them” (v. 27).
We see, then, that Jesus will not return to receive for Himself
a kingdom. Rather, He will return, “having received the kingdom.” Thus,
this reign leaves no room for another reign—it continues until
Jesus returns to destroy all His enemies and death itself. Clearly,
there can be no more enemies to conquer after the last enemy is
destroyed and all men are appointed to their eternal destinies.
To recap, according to the words of Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles, we know the kingdom of God has already come because:
Proof #1. The very nature of the kingdom indicates that it has already come. It is spiritual and redemptive in nature, not earthly and materialistic.
Proof #2. The kingdom of God was ushered in during the ministry of Jesus, the Messiah.
Proof #3. Scripture associates Jesus Christ receiving His kingdom with His resurrection and ascension, not with His Second Coming.
Proof #4. Isaiah 9:6,7, which tells about the birth of a child who would establish His kingdom and reign forever, was fulfilled by our resurrected Lord.
Proof #5. The kingdom of God came with power when the Holy Spirit was outpoured.
Proof #6. True believers are now reigning with Christ in His kingdom.
Proof #7. Christ “must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet,” that is, until His Second Coming.
Obviously, then, either the prophets foretold a spiritual kingdom that would come as a result of Christ’s resurrection, or a materialistic kingdom that would come on earth after the Second Coming. Since they did not foretell more than one reign of the Messiah, it cannot be both.
Therefore, since Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled at Christ’s resurrection and the preaching of the gospel, and since Christ must reign until He returns to destroy all His enemies and death itself, there can be no doubt that He is presently reigning as King and that these prophecies do not have a future fulfillment in a supposed millennium after the Second Coming. Christ, the Messiah, now reigns as Lord and King in His kingdom.
Will Christ reign for a thousand years after His return? Thus far, we have considered three major reasons why this is scripturally impossible.
1. The events of the Second Coming are final.
2. The Bible speaks of this present reign of Christ as being the “last days,” not a future millennial reign.
3. The kingdom of God has already come.
This message is available by tape or CD. For your free copy, call 540-387-1916. Ask for tape #111—When Will the Kingdom of God Come? Once again, the number to call is 540-387-1916. Also,
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Be sure to tune in tomorrow evening at this same time. Hear scriptural
answers to timely questions, such as: If Revelation 20:1-10 does
not teach a literal millennium after the Second Coming, what does
it teach? Has Satan already been bound, or will he be bound in the
future? Don’t miss these all important subjects. Invite a
friend to listen with you. Until tomorrow, may God bless you and
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