Tuesday, November 1, 2011

1,000 Years of Perfection... But Why?

This, then, is how you should pray: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven..." Matthew 6:9-10 NIV
God's will. His good and perfect will. The way it has always been in heaven. Coming to earth! This prayer that we have been praying for centuries is about to come to fruition on this earth.

We saw in the last post the return of Jesus to earth, with the church following behind, and the banishment of Satan to hell. Now, as we continue reading in Revelation, we learn of the 1,000 years that are to follow. Some have argued that the Bible is not speaking of a literal 1,000 years, but the Scriptures really don't leave us any room to believe anything but that. The Bible should always be taken literally unless it tells us not to, through obvious imagery and the use of phrases such as, "it was like such and such." But, here in Revelation 20, we are given reference to an exact number, and we see it multiple times in just a few verses:
"... --and bound him in chains for a thousand years..." (v. 2)
"... Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished..." (v.3)
"... They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years." (v. 4)
"..., but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years." (v.6)
"When the thousand years come to an end, ..." (v.7)
Clearly, God is speaking of a literal thousand year period, the Millennial Kingdom, during which Christ will rule on earth as King, with us, his bride, ruling at his side. The book of Revelation itself doesn't have a whole lot to say about what the Millennial Kingdom will be like, but God has given us plenty of other details throughout the rest of the Bible. In the next few posts, I'll outline some of the details that we're given in Scripture of our future on earth. For starters, WHY?

What's the point? What is the purpose of Christ's thousand year reign on earth? Why this gap between life as we know it and eternity? Here are six points, as outlined by Pastor J. Mark Martin of Calvary Community Church in Phoenix:

  1. To fulfill promises: Throughout the Bible, God made specific promises to Abraham (Genesis 12:7), to Isaac (Genesis 17:19), and to Jacob (Genesis 28:13-15) to give them the land of Israel. Throughout history, the Jewish people have never truly had full possession of the land, and in fact were driven entirely out of it for the last 2,000 years, up until the rebirth of Israel after WWII. To this day, the land that God promised them is still not safely and undisputedly theirs. During the Millennial Kingdom, that promise will be fulfilled. Also, God made promises to King David that he would be given an everlasting throne (2 Samuel 7:8-16). During the Millennial Kingdom, that promise will be fulfilled as well. Later, we'll take a look at the ruling structure that will be in place during the Millennium. There will again be a division of Jews and Gentiles, with the Jews living in their own land, ruled by King David, and ruled ultimately by Jesus Christ.
  2. To fulfill prophecy: Simply, because God said so! The Bible is teeming with prophecy, some of which has been fulfilled throughout history, and much of which is still to come. God keeps his promises. If he says it's going to happen, it's going to happen.
  3. To reward saints: A "saint" is not a person who has somehow earned a position of praise and importance as a result of good works. We all, who have believed in Jesus Christ, and have been covered by his blood, are considered the saints. Those of us who have believed now, those who will believe during the tribulation, and those who believed in the messiah to come, before Christ came to earth, are all going to be rewarded during this time on earth.
  4. To answer prayer: As I stated above, this time on earth is God's answer to the prayer that we have all been praying for centuries. It is God's will finally come to earth, as it has always been in heaven.
  5. To free creation: We read in Romans 8:20 that we are under a curse. Our world and our bodies have been in a cursed state of decay and deprivation ever since Adam and Eve sinned. During the Millennium, that curse will be lifted. This earth will be renewed. It will be nearly perfect in every way. There will be no hunger, no fear, no suffering. We won't have to pray and wait years for an answer. We will be living in the midst of God himself. We will have everything we could possibly need or want. It will be the garden of Eden all over again, this time without the serpent to get in the way.
  6. To show the TRUTH: This thousand year period is going to demonstrate once and for all God's perfect righteousness and man's utter depravity. For 1,000 years, the world will live in perfect peace and harmony, with want for nothing. No longer will it be a matter of faith without seeing. You doubt the existence of God? Go look at him! He'll be right there. He'll give you everything you could possibly need. People like to complain now that the reason no one believes in God or obeys God is because of all the evil and sin in the world. If God would fix everything, then they would believe. If they could see and touch him, then they would believe. If He didn't allow so much suffering, maybe they would believe that He's out there and that He's good. But even after 1,000 years of perfection, there will be MANY (of those who are born after the start of the Millennium) who will turn against him and forfeit eternity with him in order to assert their own wills and their own egos (Revelation 20:7-10). It is ONLY by the grace and mercy of a perfect, loving God that we have any hope whatsoever of possessing even the tiniest, remotely redeeming quality. The Millennium will prove that.
More to come...

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