Chapter 4: Leading Into the Millennium
Events: Looking Ahead
- The appearance of Elijah the prophet
- The resurrection of the “dead in Christ”
- The arrival of Christ
- The meeting in the air (the so-called “rapture”)
- The judgment of the covenant-makers
- Christ stands on Mt. Zion with His saints
- The Coronation of the King
- Establishing the new government
- The call to universal allegiance to the new government
- Worldwide resistance to the new Kingdom
- The Battle of Armageddon
- Reconstruction, rehabilitation
- The Millennial reign of Christ and the saints
How will the world get from here to there? How will the Millennium, that ideal state of affairs, come into being? How will a hundred corrupt and mismanaged governments be replaced with one just and equitable worldwide system? The Bible reveals a number of events that will bring that new state into being.
The first open act of divine intervention will be the appearance of the prophet Elijah to herald the approach of the King and to break God’s long silence. The promise is, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Mal. 4:5). He comes to prepare the way for Jesus the great King and Conqueror—“lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (v. 6). Elijah comes to “restore all things” (Matt. 17:11), and from the evidence given it seems that he may be the one who will bring to life those who sleep in Jesus that they, along with the living believers, may be ready to meet Christ when He arrives (1 Thess. 4:16-17). Elijah comes to announce the imminence of Divine judgment, and to begin a worldwide moral reformation.
Soon after the arrival of the herald will come the King in all His splendor, “in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). The greatest event in the history of the ages, it will not go unknown and unacclaimed. The resurrected saints, together with the living believers, will be gathered, and “caught up…in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:16-17). This ecstatic meeting, often called the “rapture,” will give the King the welcome He is due; but it will not result in the saints being taken to heaven to dwell with Christ. The saints will be with Christ, but they will be on the earth, not in heaven (see Ps. 37:11, 29; Rev. 5:9-10; Matt. 16:27).
The next event will be the Judgment of God’s Servants, the separating of the righteous from the wicked (which may take place in the air—we are not told), the saints will stand with Christ upon Mount Zion: “And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (Zech. 14:4-5). The Judgment will have identified the true Church, the winners in the struggle for life eternal, the Bride of Christ, which will then be united to Christ in a glorious ceremony of marriage (Revelation 19). These will become the New Royalty, immortal members of His family.
Immediately the new administration will take the reins of world government, with Christ and His saints as acting authorities, and all nations will be asked to pledge allegiance to them (Rev. 14:7). Unfortunately, all will not be so inclined. The Great King, who has been the expectation of the ages, will not be honored universally when He declares Himself King. In fact, the reaction of the majority will be violent: “We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14). The result: “These shall make war with the Lamb…” (Rev. 17:14). a great holocaust will follow, a “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation” (Dan. 12:1). It will be the Battle of Armageddon. “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Rev. 16:16).
But the new King and His co-rulers will be prepared and pre-armed. The Judgment which separated the faithful to be kings and priests with Christ and to sit with Him on His throne also will have identified the unfaithful servants, and from among these will be selected some to serve as His army, His “sword,” with which He will smite and conquer the nations of earth.* The King who comes to bring peace must first meet violence with violence. Those who resist will suffer. “For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted” (Isa. 60:12).
The battle will be costly, but only to the evil; no innocent ones will suffer, and none who will serve God will be allowed to perish. It is not God’s policy to punish the innocent with the guilty. He will “destroy the sinners” of the land (Isa. 13:9); the day will burn as “an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch” (Mal. 4:1). all who oppose the new regime will be removed. God who can read the human heart will know. only they “that do wickedly” shall suffer. For, “it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call” (Joel 2:32).
The outcome of this great conflict will never be in question. Right shall triumph; the new Kingdom shall stand; the Millennial Age shall dawn. As for the opposition, “the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings” (Rev. 17:14).
Then, after the mighty holocaust, will dawn the grandest age of peace this earth has ever known—a thousand years of reconstruction, growth, development and progress. With the wicked, rebellious element removed, the road for progress will be wide open. And progress there will be, “for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14).
Jeremiah, depicting this same period of time and the same glorious results, said of the inhabitants of that age, “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them” (Jer. 31:34). All who live will be taught the knowledge of God, and this teaching will be largely responsible for filling the earth with the glory of God, a righteous, God-fearing, prosperous people (Isa. 43:21).