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The New Millennium

by Tom Stewart

September 13, 1999

As the last months, weeks, and days of 1999 slip away, many are looking forward to a New Millennium. But, it may come as a surprise that the next Millennium will not begin until January 1st 2001-- at least, according to the World Almanac. "A century consists of 100 consecutive calendar years. The 1st century AD consists of the years 1 through 100. The 20th century consists of the years 1901 through 2000 and will end Dec. 31, 2000. The 21st century will begin Jan. 1, 2001" ("The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1995", p. 288). "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the Heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3:1). But, to the popular understanding, when the last moment of 1999 expires on December 31st and the New Year is ushered in, that will be the New Millennium. "A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace" (3:8).

And, why should there be such anticipation about a mere date? Since Dionysius Exiguus' 525 AD invention of the usage of the BC (before Christ) and AD (anno Domini, "in the year of the LORD") chronological distinction of dates, this will be only the second time the world has marked a millennium.
"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the LORD as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2Peter 3:8). The question remains whether the anticipators of the New Millennium will be rewarded with:

(1) a new era of peace, i.e., "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them" (Isaiah 11:6),

(2) an apocalyptic calamity, i.e.,
"Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about" (Joel 3:12), or

(3) a non-event, i.e.,
"The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

The ancient Jews looked forward to:

(1) a sudden, dramatic, and cataclysmic intervention of God into human history, i.e., "1 Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the LORD, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant, Whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the LORD of Hosts. 2 But who may abide the Day of His Coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap" (Malachi 3:1-2),

(2) the judgment of mankind, i.e.,
"He cometh to judge the Earth: He shall judge the world with Righteousness, and the people with His Truth" (Psalm 96:13), and

(3) the rule of God in a New Heaven and New Earth, i.e.,
"22 For as the New Heavens and the New Earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the LORD" (Isaiah 66:22-23).

The word "millennium" does not occur in the King James Version of the Bible. But, the phrase "thousand years" is employed in reference to that period of time when, in prophetic retrospect, Resurrected Saints "reigned with Christ a thousand years" (Revelation 20:4), a half a dozen times in as many verses in the Book of Revelation (20:2-7). However, the "chiliastic" (Greek, chilioi meaning thousand) hopes of Christendom for the thousand year, earthly reign of the LORD Jesus Christ are initially founded in the Old Testament Scriptures. "6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:6-7).

The LORD God promised David that He would establish David's house, kingdom, and throne forever.
"12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom... 16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever" (2Samuel 7:12,16). Just how the LORD would accomplish this when Israel, in the future, would be captive in Babylon or when Israel would be under the iron fist of the Pax Romana (Latin, peace of Rome), may have been temporarily unclear; but, as with all Promises from God, it must be received by faith. "The just shall live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4). The LORD Jesus confessed both His Divinity and Humanity when He demonstrated that the Christ or the "Son of David" was identified as greater and superior to David (Psalm 110:1). "If David then call Him LORD, how is He his [David's] son?" (Matthew 22:45).

The significance of the LORD Jesus Christ returning at the height of the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16), i.e.,
"Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of Him" (1:7), at the close of a seven year Tribulation Week (Daniel 9:24-27), to "judge and make war" (Revelation 19:11), and then to "reign" for a "thousand years" (20:6), is that the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah or Christ, i.e., "What think ye of Christ? whose Son is He? They say unto Him, The Son of David" (Matthew 22:42), will be literally fulfilled in the Millennial Reign of the LORD Jesus Christ-- shortly. "Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this Book" (Revelation 22:7).

Two things of significance will occur during the Millennial Reign of the LORD Jesus Christ: (1) Jesus Christ,
"Who is the Blessed and Only Potentate, the KING of kings, and LORD of lords" (1Timothy 6:15), will be personally, bodily present on Earth to rule for a "thousand years" (Revelation 20:6), and (2) Satan, the "tempter" (Matthew 4:3) will not be present, i.e., "And [an angel] laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:2). If men sin when they are tempted of the devil, i.e., "And [the serpent] said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1), then the Millennium will be a holiday from this temptation to sin. And, if the LORD Jesus Christ embodies all that His people need to live Godly apart from sin and sinning, i.e., "His Divine Power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and Godliness, through the knowledge of [Jesus Christ] that hath called us to glory and virtue" (2Peter 1:3), then the Millennium will be a delightful time of living with the Saviour apart from sin.

Whenever the
"fulness of the time" (Galatians 4:4) actually comes for the Son of Man (Revelation 14:14) to return to finish the harvest of the Earth, and to set up His Millennial Kingdom, all of the Godly and the inanimate creation will sigh with gratitude and relief. "22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" (Romans 8:22-23). This will be that prophesied time of peace that only the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) will bring in.

"Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, LORD Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).

Tom Stewart

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