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The Millennium

 

When the World Ends: (Part V)

Rev. Jerry Lepasana

 

Relation 19:11-21 (NIV)
11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.
12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.
13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.
14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.
16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND Lord OF Lords.
17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God,
18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.”
19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army.
20 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
21 The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

Two days from today, America will once again elect the president who will lead us for another four-year term. I know how critical this election is because we are choosing the main leader who can lead this nation either uphill or downhill. I’ve been hearing that there are a lot Christians who are thinking of skipping this election because they don’t believe their vote will really make a difference. I don’t agree! I believe that we have to exercise this privilege as believers because we can be instruments of the Lord to positively affect this nation. The Bible plainly states that we are the salt and light of this world.

Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

I believe that when we vote, we can help steer this country towards the Lord. We can be instruments in sowing righteousness by voting for candidates who closely support our moral values and biblical principles. Our choice should not be based on political parties. We should choose the one who can help build a nation who takes the side of God and the Bible. Almost all of us want God to bless America, but this is not going to happen if we continue to oppose God and His moral values. Proverbs 14:34 reminds us about this truth.

34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.

For this reason, we need to be informed voters. We need to know the moral issues the candidates are supporting or opposing. Let’s do our best to steer this nation towards God who alone can pour His rich blessings to us.

Of course, our real hope for a true leader who will reign with absolute righteousness on earth will only come when Jesus Christ returns in our world and establishes His kingdom. In the study of prophecies, this is called the Millennium, the thousand- year reign of Jesus Christ that begins in Revelation, the second phase of His second coming. When this Millennium is ushered, finally, all the prophecies concerning the Messiah gloriously reigning as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords over all the earth will come into fulfillment. I would like to close our series, When the World Ends, explaining this period further, so we can all be excited about its coming. I know living in a sinful world can bring so many frustrations to us. The good news for us is that Jesus is coming to make everything right. He is getting ready to restore this world to its original condition, a place without sin. Let’s begin examining what the Bible says about it.

I           THE DISCLOSURE OF CHRIST:

After studying the terrible plagues within the seven years of tribulation, beginning in verse 11 of Revelation 19, we find Jesus coming down from heaven to finally disclose or reveal who He really is.

Revelation 19:11-16 (NIV)
11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.
12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.
13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.
14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.
16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND Lord OF Lords.

Unlike the rapture, where only believers will see Him, this time, the whole world will see and recognize who Jesus is. Based on these verses, there are some important truths about Him that people will begin to recognize.

  1. A.     He will conquer and win

As John describes Jesus descending from heaven, it is noticeable that He is riding a white horse. This is a symbol of victory. It has been said that it was customary for Roman generals after a conquest to parade on white horses with their captive prisoners in the procession that followed. So, this is a picture of Christ conquering and winning against Antichrist and his evil forces here on earth.

In verse 14, you can find the description of Christ’s army coming down with Him – “riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” First of all, who could these armies refer to? Biblical references will refer to both saints and angels.

Revelation 19:8 – (They are the saints)
8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

Matthew 25:31 – (They are His angels)
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.

Second, it is interesting to notice what they are wearing. There is no army in the world that will go to battle wearing fine white linen clothing. Of course, they can wear this because there is really no need for battle. Verse 15 tells us that Jesus Himself will defeat His enemies with sharp swords coming out of His mouth. You may be wondering whether or not these sharp swords are literal. Hebrews 4:12 helps to clarify this.

12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Therefore, as the Word of God is symbolized as a sharp double-edged sword, we can also conclude that Jesus, during this time, will execute justice defeating all His enemies by simply speaking powerful words of judgment to them. Regardless of what Antichrist and his evil forces do, they are no match against the power of Jesus Christ. Without a doubt, He will totally win this battle.

  1. He will carry out His justice

While the plagues of the seven years tribulation demonstrates the wrath of God towards sin, the ultimate expression of God’s wrath and justice will take place when Jesus returns. Jesus Himself will fulfill His promise of deliverance to the believers and judgment to the wicked. No wonder He is given the titles – Faithful and True (v.11). This title depicts Him as trustworthy, always true and faithful to all His promises.

 

  1. C.     He will claim His throne on earth

Going back to John’s description of Christ’s revelation, it is quite obvious that all the skepticism and confusion about the person of Jesus Christ will be abolished. He is appearing before the whole world in His full majestic glory. He is no longer coming like a helpless baby, but as a royal king with many crowns (v.12). He doesn’t have just one crown, but many crowns because He is the ultimate king over all the kings of the earth. He is appropriately named – King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

But He is not only wearing many crowns, John also mentioned His robe dipped in blood. What do you think is the significance of this? Many Bible scholars connect this with the blood He spilled at Calvary.  Wearing this, it will once again remind everyone that it is through His sacrifice on the cross that He established His right to rule over the world. I believe the apostle Paul referred to this truth in Philippians 2:8-11.

8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Then, in connection with these, Jesus is also called the Word of God. This is also significant because just as we reveal our hearts and minds by using words, Jesus is the absolute revelation of the Heavenly Father to the entire world (John 1:1-14).

Now, before we move to the next point, it is important that we ask ourselves again, “Who is Jesus for me?” If we fail to supply the proper answer today, we will certainly suffer for it. The reality is that everyone will end up bowing before Him for worship. If you bow today, it will result in your salvation. If you bow before Him in the end of tribulation, it is only because of your subjugation (defeat).

II         THE DEFEAT OF CHRIST’S ENEMIES:

Throughout the book of Revelation, the primary enemies of Jesus Christ are identified as Satan’s Trinity – the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. John has also prophesied how Jesus will deal with them.

  1. A.     The Destruction of the False Prophet and Antichrist

Revelation 19:19-21 (NIV)
19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army.
20 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
21 The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

In their arrogance, the Antichrist together with the false prophet and their armies will attempt to fight against the returning Messiah. This is their final effort of rebellion against God and His authority. But all their efforts will be useless. They are completely powerless against the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! According to verse 20, after their defeat, the Antichrist and the false prophet will be captured and immediately judged by being thrown to hell. In hell, they are destined to suffer for eternity.

 

  1. B.     The Detention of Satan

The story does not end here. If you read Revelation 20:1-3, you will find what will happen with Satan and his evil forces.

Revelation 20:1-3 (NIV)
1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.
2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
3 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.

In order for Jesus to reign for a thousand years here on earth, Satan will have to be captured and detained in the Abyss together with all the demonic spirits. Although the passage does not mention the capturing of the rest of the demonic forces, there is lots of evidence that they will have no activity or authority during the millennial reign of Christ. With Satan bound for a thousand years, the earth will certainly be a different world. This will be the fulfillment of the second half of Isaiah 9:6.

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

This verse is often a favorite passage during Christmas, but there is obviously a gap in this verse. The first part was fulfilled in Christ first coming. The second part will be fulfilled during the second coming. To appreciate better the millennium, let’s go to the third point.

III        THE DIGNITY OF CHRIST’S KINGDOM:

With Satan and his demons being removed out of the way, Christ’s reign on earth will definitely be perfect in all senses of the word. The passage which beautifully describes it is Isaiah 11: 1-11

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him– the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord– and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;  but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.

Clearly, this is one of the prophetic passages concerning the reign of the Messiah. The phrase in verse 1, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse,” is a direct reference to the Messiah who was to come from the family of Jesse, the father of King David. From this royal line would come one who is destined to rule the world for eternity. If you study the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:1-17, He rightly fits the fulfillment of this prophecy.

As we continue to examine the descriptions of the millennium, we find Christ reigning with total justice and righteousness. Added to these are the peace and harmony of all creation. There will be no wild creatures throughout the world where even babies can pet poisonous snakes. Theologians believe that during the millennial reign of Christ, the condition of the world will be restored to its original design prior to the fall.

What is even more exciting to me is the role of the glorified saints during Christ’s reign. The New Testament has stated that Christians today will reign with Him according to their faithfulness to Him. In the parable of the talents, we find this verse.

Matthew 25:23 (NIV)
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

This verse teaches the principle that if you and I have been faithful in serving the Lord with our “talents” today, we will be given greater privileges and opportunities in His kingdom. Another great passage is 2 Timothy 2:12

12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us;

Today, our journeys are just tests of faithfulness. If we are willing to endure sufferings for Him, He will reward us by giving us the privilege to reign with Him.

Beloved, none of us should lose sight of our ultimate King who is about to come and claim this world that rightly belongs to Him. When that time comes, we want to make sure we belong on His side. Choosing His side simply means humbling ourselves now and receiving Jesus as savior. If we reject Him, we are rejecting His forgiveness. Suffering for eternity awaits those who will fail to believe in Him today.