Is the Millennium the Ultimate Kingdom?
Question: Referring to Christ’s prophesied future reign over this world from Jerusalem, the Bible says, “Of his government and peace there shall be no end” (Isaiah:9:7). Yet the Bible also says that His reign will only last a thousand years and that it will end with a world war (Revelation:20:6–9). Which is it—forever, or a thousand years; peace or war? It can’t be both. How can anyone believe that the Bible is God’s infallible Word when it contains so many contradictions, and particularly on such fundamental concepts as the reign of Christ, which is supposedly the culmination of all?
Response: There is a very simple and obvious explanation: the millennial reign of Christ is not the “government and peace” that the Bible says will never end. That fact is clear for a number of reasons. Certainly 1,000 years is not endless, and war cannot be equated with peace. Yet most Christians imagine that the Millennium is the “kingdom” for which we are to pray “Thy kingdom come” (Matthew:6:10), and that is the subject of so many biblical prophesies. In fact, it is not.
It is amazing that the obvious contradictions are ignored by Christians who persist in equating the Millennium with Christ’s eternal kingdom. The critics, however, who diligently search for every seeming contradiction they can find, have noted the problem, but in their eagerness to condemn the Bible, they overlook the simple solution: The Millennium is not the kingdom.
Christ said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see . . . [or] enter into the kingdom of God” (John:3:3, 5). Clearly, there will be many individuals living during the Millennium who have not been born again, or they would not follow Satan: “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city; and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them” (Revelation:20:7–9). These rebels are obviously not born-again Christians! Yet only those who have been born again can be in the kingdom.
Moreover, Paul tells us that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians:15:50). Yet the earth will be inhabited during the Millennium by great numbers of “flesh-and-blood” people. Here, then, is another reason why the Millennium cannot be the kingdom. (The unique role that the Millennium plays will be discussed later.)
What then is the kingdom? It is eternal, which indicates that it will exist in the new eternal universe that God will create after He has destroyed this one: “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. . . . Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter:3:10, 13).
Obviously, no kingdom nor anything else on this earth can be eternal until the present universe has been destroyed and a new one created. Only then will the kingdom have arrived that is eternal, whose peace will never end, that cannot be inherited by flesh and blood, and for which the entrance requirement is being born again. As Paul informed us:
Then cometh the end [consummation], when he [Christ] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. . . .
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians:15:24, 28)
—An excerpt from In Defense of the Faith (pp. 116-18) by Dave Hunt