Revelation 19:17-20:6 • June 6, 2021 • s1301
Pastor John Miller continues a series in Revelation with an expository message through Revelation 19:17-20:1-6 titled “The Millennial Kingdom.”
19:17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, "Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great." 19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
What kind of a world would you like to live in? Would you like to live in a world where there’s no war? That would be pretty cool. No more Army, no more Navy, no more military, no more need for any more defense spending. All those funds could be spent on other things that are more necessary, because there’s no more war. Or maybe you’d like to live in a world where there’s no devil. Wouldn’t that be cool? Satan gone for 1,000 years would be very cool. And maybe everything would be peace and prosperity.
The Bible describes this period, “where righteousness covers the earth as the waters cover the earth.” I believe that this day is coming. Men have tried, all through history, to create a utopian society. And all our attempts have failed. This is why we need Christ, the King, to come. He will set up His kingdom on earth, and there will be peace, righteousness and justice for all when Christ returns. So that day is coming.
I like to think of the millennium as the world under new management. Have you ever seen a sign at a business that said, “Under new management”? Imagine the whole universe under new management. Christ is coming again to reign on planet earth.
To catch up to where we are in Revelation 19, in verses 11-16, we see the Second Coming of Jesus Christ; He comes back in His Second Advent, and He will reign as “King of kings and Lord of lords.” When He comes, “His eyes were like a flame of fire” and “out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”
From this point on in Revelation, we are no longer in a parenthetical section, where we pause and go into details that are out of the chronological flow. We are again in the chronology of the book.
Now what happens after Jesus comes again? He comes to set up His kingdom on earth for 1,000 years. That’s the sequential, chronological flow of the book of Revelation and what we have in the future. I’ll break that down for you.
Two wonderful things happen when Christ comes back in His Second Coming. And it was challenging for me to put it into two categories. Number one, He puts an end to war, and number two, He sets up His kingdom of righteousness and peace.
First, in Revelation 19:17-21, Jesus will put an end to war. What a glorious world that will be! In order to put an end to war, Jesus does three things. The first thing He does is destroy all the armies of the earth during the battle of Armageddon. At the moment Jesus Christ comes back in His Second Coming, there will be what we sometimes call World War III, but we know it more Biblically as the battle of Armageddon. It will be the great battle in which all the armies of the world will be gathered together in the Valley of Megiddo on the plain of Jezreel.
In Revelation 19:17, it says, “Then I saw.” This will be a frequent phrase repeated from this point on in Revelation. It always indicates that John is getting a new vision. So the divisions can be noted by this phrase. John also says, “And I heard.” He saw a vision and he heard a voice. That’s the theme throughout this section.
“Then I saw an angel standing in the sun.” This angel is not a reference to Christ. It’s a mighty angel glorious in power and perhaps standing in front of the sun. “And he cried with a loud voice…”—indicating the importance of what he is uttering and the authority, which he possesses—“…saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, ‘Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.’ And I saw the beast…”—this is a reference to the Antichrist—“…the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.”
So when Jesus Christ returns, the Antichrist and his armies, all the nations of the earth and their armies, will come to a point where they will no longer like each other, and they go against each other in this big, World War III, this battle of Armageddon.
This Scripture says that the angel called for all the fowl of the earth to gather together, so that after this battle, they could eat the flesh of these “kings,” these “captains,” these “mighty men,” of “people, free and slave, both small and great.”
God is no respecter of persons in His judgment. From kings and mighty men and world leaders and those of great military might all the way down to peasants and common people, they will all be judged by God.
So He calls all these carnivorous birds and vultures to come to eat the flesh. This is really not a bedtime story for your five-year-old. This is like the Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds. It’s creepy. It’s interesting that Jesus also mentions this in Matthew 24:27. He said that His Second Coming would be “as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is there the eagles will be gathered together.”
There is a lot of confusion about that statement. A good guess is that it is a reference to what we read in Revelation 19, where all these carnivorous birds come to gather, because they will eat the flesh of all these mighty men.
As a footnote, what a contrast verse 17 is to “the marriage supper of the Lamb,” in verse 9. The church is called “to meet the Lord in the air,” then we have “the marriage supper of the Lamb” when we come back with Him. But in contrast, there will be this feast of God upon the earth where these birds will eat the flesh of these armies. So He destroys the armies of the Antichrist and of the world.
In Revelation 16:13-14 and 16, John says, “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.” So Satan, the Antichrist and the false prophet gathered all the armies of the world at the Valley of Megiddo for the battle of Armageddon. They are brought together and destroyed.
The second thing Jesus does to put an end to war is He Himself destroys the Antichrist and the false prophet. Verse 20, “Then the beast….” This is another title for the Antichrist. He was also called “the man of sin” and “the son of perdition” by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. This Antichrist “was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two…”—that is, “the beast” and “the false prophet”—“…were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.” So He puts an end to the armies of the world, and then He confines the Antichrist and the false prophet in hell at the time of Christ’s Second Coming.
So you can see that when Christ returns, things are starting to look pretty good. War has ceased. The Antichrist has been deposed; he’s thrown into a “lake of fire burning with brimstone.” In Revelation 20:10, we see another reference to the “lake of fire.” That’s when Jesus will judge the wicked dead at the great white throne. The wicked dead will be resurrected at the end of the millennium, they will be judged and then thrown into the “lake of fire.” We know it as “hell.” The Greek word is “gehenna.” It’s called “the second death.”
This is one of those Praise the Lord! sections of the Bible, where Jesus comes back to judge in righteousness. We saw the description of His Second Coming where His vesture was “dipped in blood.” It’s not His blood. When Jesus came the first time, He was covered in His blood when His enemies crucified Him. When He comes back the second time, He’ll be covered in their blood, as He comes back to avenge and judge wickedness. Revelation 20:10 says, “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the best and the false prophet are.” This is 1,000 years later. The beast and the false prophet are still in this “lake of fire.” Verse 10, “And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” The same word used for “eternal life” is used for “eternal punishment.”
We get some insight into hell here, and it’s not what some liberals would have us believe. It’s not annihilation; you don’t go to hell, get burned up and then you disappear. You may want to believe that, but it’s not what the Bible teaches. What we have to learn is that the Bible is the authority, not my feelings or what I want or what I like.
There may be things about God that I don’t understand. That’s natural; He’s infinite and I’m finite. There may be things He does that I don’t understand, which is fine; He’s omniscient and knows all things. But we believe them, because they are in God’s Word. And the authority is not what I feel or think; the authority is the Bible.
There is a place called hell, and there is a place that has eternal fire and judgment. Jesus spoke about it, probably more than anyone else. So I wanted you to know that hell is not annihilation; it is eternal.
And hell is not preparation or purification. It’s not a purging; it’s not a purgatory. You don’t go to hell to pay for your bad deeds, and then you get to “pop out” and go to heaven, if everyone prays for you fervently. That’s not taught in the Bible. The Bible does not teach the doctrine of purgatory. Purgatory is like a safety net that people have created, but it’s not Biblical. The Bible says, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Purgatory is not a second chance. Hell is not a place to be purged, to prepare you to go to heaven.
Jesus died for our sins. That’s the provision of God. You must appropriate what He did for you by faith. Your parents can’t do it for you, your friends can’t do it for you, your wife or your husband can’t do it for you. You must do it by faith yourself. You can’t go to heaven because your parents are believers, because you’re born in America, because you come to church or because you’ve been baptized. You’re only going to go to heaven because you have, by faith, trusted Christ as your Lord and Savior, have received Him and been born again. It’s the only way to go to heaven. The Bible makes that very clear.
So the Antichrist and the false prophet are in hell for 1,000 years.
Then thirdly, He will put an end to war by destroying the remainder of the wicked people on earth, verse 21. “And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse.” That’s chapter 19, verse 15. “And all the birds were filled with their flesh.” So this is a gruesome picture when Christ returns, and He judges and destroys armies, the Antichrist, the false prophet and all the wicked who are there. He destroys them.
In Matthew 25, where Jesus described the end of times, He said that when He returns, He will judge the nations. That would fit in at about this point when Jesus sits on His throne, and all the nations are gathered. He separates them as the sheep from the goats. His sheep are on His right hand, and the goats are on His left hand. He says to the sheep on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom…”—that’s the millennium—“…prepared for you before the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” And they asked, “Lord, when did we do that?” He said, “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
They don’t get saved because they did good deeds. You don’t get to go to heaven because you visit people in prison or you feed those who are hungry. Those good deeds are the evidence of true salvation. When you’re saved, you respond with good deeds.
But Jesus said to the goats on His left hand at this time, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” So hell wasn’t made for man; it was made for Satan and his fallen angels. But if you choose to follow the devil, like the Antichrist and the false prophet, then you’ll spend eternity with him in hell.
Every soul lives forever. The question is, where? It will either be in heaven or in hell. There are only two, eternal destinations. Everyone living will either go to heaven or to hell. And there’s only one way to get to heaven, and that’s through Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” I order to go to hell, you must say “No” to His provision on the Cross, you must say “No, I’ll do it myself. I’ll live the way I want to.” But the Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.” That is eternal separation from God.
So only these saved people, these sheep, enter into the millennium in their mortal bodies.
The second thing that happens when Jesus comes again is that He sets up His millennial kingdom. First, He puts an end to war, and two, He sets up His millennial kingdom. This is a very vast subject. In Revelation 20:1-6, he describes the 1,000-year, millennial period.
I want you to note the reference to “a thousand years,” in verse 2; “the thousand years,” in verse 3; “a thousand years,” in verse 4; “the thousand years,” in verse 5; “a thousand years,” in verse 6; and “the thousand years,” in verse 7. So this period is 1,000 years.
Yet it’s a subject that Christians disagree on. But it’s a primary doctrine of both the Old and New Testaments. Many Christians are divided over the subject of the Second Coming of Christ in its relationship to the millennium.
There are three basic views in Christianity on the millennium. And each of these three views is in the circle of orthodox Christianity. So a person who holds a different view from mine is not unorthodox and not a Christian, so we shouldn’t divide over nonessentials. If we believe that Christ is coming back, praise the Lord, that’s great! But we try to define what that means and how it works.
The first view on the millennium is called “postmillennial.” It’s pretty simple. They believe that Jesus Christ comes back after the millennium. But my question is, how do you have the kingdom without the king? How do you have the kingdom on earth without Jesus Christ coming to earth as King? And during the millennium, Satan is bound for 1,000 years. I don’t see how you’re going to have the kingdom of peace on earth with Satan loose and wreaking havoc on people.
Postmillennialism almost died out when we had World War I and World War II, because they believe the church will Christianize the world. Through the Christian influence in the world, there will be so many people coming to Christ that the world will become a Christian world. The world will get so that the Jesus will say, “It’s safe for me to return. I can come back.” These two world wars and the idea that man is sinful and unable to bring about this change brings people to not hold this view.
Not only that, the Bible is clear that at the end times, there will be an apostasy in the church. There is all this talk about a revival—and I pray it takes place—but the Bible is specific that there will be an apostasy. And I feel that for many years already, we’ve been seeing it happen. Even evangelical Christianity has become watered down and anemic in adopting things of the world that shouldn’t be a part of the church. So you need to be thinking Biblically in your thoughts and having a knowledge of God’s Word, because many different Christian churches and organizations are denying orthodox Christianity.
Some others deny the virgin birth, deny the deity of Christ and deny salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Those are essentials that we cannot compromise on. But in the last days there will be an apostasy.
The second view is what’s called the “a-millennial” view. It means “no millennium.” This view is that the millennium is not necessarily literal; it’s figurative or symbolic or more spiritual. The problem with this view is that those who hold it spiritualize the teachings of the Bible on the millennium. They don’t believe that Christ is going to literally come back and literally be on earth for 1,000 years. They believe Christ will come at the end of time, He judges all the wicked dead and there is the new heaven and the new earth. They believe Satan won’t be literally bound, and there won’t literally be peace on earth. So they allegorize or spiritualize the text.
This view started in the third century, and it came out of Alexandria, Egypt. Augustin was one of the leaders of this doctrine. It was adopted by the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, when the Protestant Reformation took place, they also held that view. So within the reformed theology, they hold this doctrine of a-millennialism.
I don’t hold a post-millennial view, because you have to have the king in order to have the kingdom, and I don’t believe in the a-millennial view, because you have to abandon a literal view of interpreting the Scriptures and resort to an allegorical or spiritual view of the text. You then become the authority and not the Bible, by reading into the text that it isn’t literal but is figurative.
They tend to use replacement theology in which the church has replaced Israel. They believe God is finished with the nation of Israel, the church is spiritual Israel and we are living in the kingdom. So those who hold the a-millennial view believe we are in the millennium right now.
If this is the millennium, I’m disappointed. The Bible says that during the millennium, Satan will be bound. Do you think Satan is bound right now? I don’t think so. I think he’s alive and well and thriving on planet earth. So if he’s chained right now, his chain must be pretty long and it needs to be tightened up a little bit to keep him there in the abussos.
I believe that it’s clear from the chronology in the book of Revelation that it supports a “premillennial” view. So that’s the third view and the one that I hold. This view is that Christ comes back before the millennium, which is Christ’s theocratic reign on earth.
It’s laid out that way in Revelation. Jesus came to earth and died, rose from the dead and ascended back into heaven. Fifty days after His Resurrection and Ascension, we have the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit came from heaven. It was the birthday of the church, the body of Christ. That’s when this dispensation or grace period was born on the day of Pentecost. This church age will end at the rapture. That’s when the church will be “caught up” and be raptured prior to the seven-year tribulation.
Whenever you’re teaching Bible prophecy or studying the subject, keep these three groups of people separate: God’s plan for the Gentile nations, laid out in Daniel 2, where Nebuchadnezzar saw the image of the beast from Babylon to the revived Roman Empire and to Christ, who destroys the kingdom of man; Israel, for which we have all the Old Testament prophecies of God’s purpose and plan for that nation, and Romans 9, 10 and 11, which is God’s plan to restore Israel, which happens in preparation during the tribulation and in the kingdom age; and there is the church.
What happens in Bible prophecy is that people think the church is Israel, that God is finished with Israel, the church is here, we’re in the kingdom age right now and they get it all convoluted and mixed up.
So yes, this is the dispensational period we are living in now. But what the Bible clearly teaches is that after the tribulation, we have the Second Coming of Christ, the King comes and we have the kingdom on earth for 1,000 years, or the millennium of His theocratic reign, which will flow into the new heaven and the new earth.
Now we’ll see how all these pieces of the puzzle fit together.
What happens when Jesus comes back to set up His millennial kingdom? There are four things that Jesus does. Number one, He removes Satan from the earth. Notice Revelation 20:1-3. “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit…”—that’s the abyss, the abussos, the incarceration place of demons—“…and a great chain in his hand.”
Now isn’t it ironic that the devil, Lucifer, himself is a fallen angel, and God gives another, mighty angel the authority to come down to chain the devil and throw him into the abussos. And he did that with a great chain.
Verse 2, “He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.” When the plain sense makes good sense, seek no other sense; don’t spiritualize this text. A real angel grabbed the real devil and put him in a real pit and chained him up.
You ask, “Well, what kind of a chain do you put on the devil?” I don’t know; it’s God’s chain, and He’ll figure it out. I just believe God’s Word.
Notice how much emphasis there is on who is bound. “The dragon” speaks of his fierceness. “The serpent of old” emphasizes that he’s been around a long time; that’s why he’s good at what he does. And it all started in the Garden of Eden. The devil asked, “Did God really say…?” The first, recorded words out of the mouth of the devil were questioning God’s Word. And he hasn’t stopped doing that since.
When you meet someone who says, “Did God really say that?” chances are it’s the devil speaking. “You’re not really going to die. God said you were, but I’m here to inform you that you’re not really going to die. Here, eat the fruit.” And Eve ate the fruit and gave it to Adam. And things have been pretty messed up ever since. Thanks a lot, Adam.
One of the greatest mysteries theologians think about is the source of evil. All we know from the Bible is that it started in the heart of Lucifer. It started with what we call pride. Pride was the first sin that lead to his fall. Be careful; pride leads to destruction.
But Lucifer, the archenemy, is going to be bound. Notice he is called “the serpent,” “the “Devil” and “Satan,” speaking of his subtlety; speaking of the fact that he is a slanderer, which the devil, “diablos” means; and “Satan,” which means he is our adversary.
The summary is in verse 3: “And he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him…”—it’s a done deal—“…so that he should…”—now it gives us the reason why he’s put in this pit—“…deceive the nations no more…”—that’s what he’s been doing for all these years—“…till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he…”—notice all the personal pronouns; there really is a devil—“…must be released for a little while.”
It’s like “Why?!” This is one of those, “Why, God? What are You thinking?! I don’t know what You’re doing, but You’re smarter than me.” Our next lesson will get into that; Satan will be loosed for a short period of time and will go out to deceive people again. People who were born during the millennium never had an opportunity to be tempted by the devil. They are given that opportunity to make a choice to either follow God or follow Satan. So he will be loosed for a short season.
So Satan is a real being, he is the archenemy of God and he will be destroyed.
The Bible tells us that right now, while Satan is still active in the world, James 4:7-8 tells us that we are to “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” What great promises.
The second thing that Jesus does when He sets up His kingdom is He resurrects saints from the grave, verses 4-6. John said, again, “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw…”—there it is again—“…the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast…”—who is the Antichrist—“…or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
These are the tribulation saints who were living during the tribulation period and who did not worship the beast, did not take his mark and did not follow Satan. They would be put to death; it talks about them being beheaded. This is why some people think that during the tribulation, they will bring back the guillotine, even though it’s not mentioned in the Bible. That’s not necessary; they can just use a sword or some other method. These saints are martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ. Paul the apostle was beheaded for his commitment to following Jesus Christ.
But it says that these tribulation saints will be resurrected at the end of the tribulation, at the time of the Second Coming, so they can live and reign with Christ during the millennium. So this is the resurrection of the bodies of the tribulation saints. Some Bible scholars feel that the Old Testament saints will be resurrected as well at this time.
The confusion comes at the first part of verse 5 where John says, “But.” He says, “But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished.” This is a reference to the wicked, unsaved dead. They won’t be resurrected until the end of the millennium when they will be brought before the great white throne. They will be judged and then thrown into the “lake of fire.” The wicked, unsaved dead are part of the second resurrection.
And at the end of verse 5, John actually says, “This is the first resurrection.” This refers to the end of verse 4, where it talks about the tribulation saints who “lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” That’s the first resurrection.
Then verse 6 gives us another of our beatitudes in Revelation. “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death…”—which we’ll see in chapter 20, verse 14—“…has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
Saying “a thousand years” over and over almost seems like God is trying to ram that thought into our brains. The word “millennium” is a Latin word formed from two words: “thousand” and “year.”
The doctrine of resurrections can be quite complicated. Let me make it simple. The Bible does not teach one, end-time, grand resurrection. When we use the term “resurrection” here, we’re talking about our physical bodies. It doesn’t matter if your body is cremated, if it decomposes, if you’re thrown overboard at sea and the sharks eat you, God will resurrect your body. Cremation has a pagan origin, and it conveys the concept of the discarding of the body. Burial has a Judeo-Christian origin that conveys, in symbolism, the concept of resurrection of the body. But either way, it doesn’t affect your eternity; God’s in control.
Here’s how you break down the resurrections of the bodies of the saved and unsaved. There are two categories of resurrections. There is the first resurrection and the second resurrection. The Bible uses these terms. Under the first resurrection, only the believers, saved people, are resurrected. Under this first resurrection, there are three stages. The first stage is the Resurrection of Jesus, who is the “firstfruits,” or the first in order, the prototype of those who will be resurrected, 1 Corinthians 15. His Resurrection is a picture of ours. The second stage of the first resurrection is the rapture of the church, where “the dead in Christ will rise first.” That’s talking about the resurrection of their bodies. And the third stage of the first resurrection is what we just read about in our text. Those who are martyred during the tribulation will be resurrected and will live and reign with Jesus during the millennium.
The second category is the second resurrection. This will be only for the unbelievers, the unsaved down through all of history. They will all be resurrected at once at the end of the millennium. They will come before the great white throne judgment. All the wicked dead will come out of their graves, their souls will be reunited with their bodies, they will stand before Christ, who sits on the great white throne, the books will be opened, their names will not be found written, so they will be thrown into “the second death,” the “lake of fire.” The word is “gehenna.” That’s hell, which is eternal.
So verse 4 refers to the tribulation saints, who are part of the first resurrection, and they live and reign with Christ for 1,000 years. Jesus said it like this: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believe in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”
The third thing that Jesus does when He sets up His kingdom is that He reverses the curse. The earth becomes a new paradise, like a Garden of Eden. Romans 8:19 and 22 says, “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.” So the earth will be restored into a Garden of Eden paradise condition. Creation shall be delivered from bondage.
Isaiah 35:1-2 says, “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the excellency of our God.”
Isaiah 11:6-7 says, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.”
So in the kingdom age, all the animals are going to be friendly. You can pet a lion. You can ride a lion. You can pick up a venomous snake and pet it—I won’t do, even in the millennium! The earth is going to be restored. The earth will be under new management. How glorious is that!
The Christmas carol, Joy to the World by Isaac Watts, is all about the kingdom age, about the Second Coming and the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let ever heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.
Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders of His love.
Fourthly, and lastly, when Jesus comes to set up His kingdom, He will reign as King over the earth. So He comes and removes the devil from the earth, He resurrects the saints from their grave, He reverses the curse and He reigns over all the earth. The same earth that rejected Him, the same earth that crucified Him, he will reign over as “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
Popular verses are Isaiah 9:6-7: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given….” That’s His first coming, His first Advent. Then it goes on to describe His Second Coming and the kingdom age. “And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom…”—that’s the Davidic covenant—“…to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
What joy will fill our hearts when we come back with our King to reign on earth!
Pastor John Miller continues a series in Revelation with an expository message through Revelation 19:17-20:1-6 titled “The Millennial Kingdom.”