Question Time – Where Will Christians Be During the Millennial Reign of Christ?

QUESTION

Where will Christians be during the millennial reign of Christ?

ANSWER

The millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ is a specific period that will occur in the near future commencing with the personal return of the Lord Jesus to the earth in a visible and overwhelming display of power and glory. On His return, the Lord Jesus will defeat the enemies of God, led by the beast during the tribulation period. Following the removal of evil, the Lord Jesus Christ, as King of kings, will personally reign over the earth bringing into fruition an unparalleled time of peace, righteousness, justice, and abundance which will affect the whole world including spiritual, social, ecological, geographical, and biological spheres of life. Revelation chapter 20 verse 4 states that the period will last 1000 years. Hence the reason it is often simply called the ‘Millennium’.

The millennial reign of Christ is closely associated with the unconditional, but yet to be fulfilled, covenants God made to Abraham and David. The millennium is an aspect of prophecy that perhaps receives more coverage than any other subject in the Bible with many of the Old Testament prophets describing the events of that era.1 Given that the Millennium is primarily linked to the nation of Israel, the question has been raised as to where Christians will be and what their role will be during this period. One reason why this question is difficult to answer is because the Church, to which all New Testament believers belong, is described as a mystery in the Bible. In other words, the truth of the Church was hidden in the Old Testament, although it was planned by God before time began. This means that the many Old Testament prophecies describing the Millennium do not identify the Church or its role during this era.

It is clear from the New Testament that when the Lord Jesus returns in glory, at the beginning of the Millennium, Christians will be an integral part of His return. Paul reminds the Colossian believers, ‘When Christ, who is our life, shall appear [i.e., be made manifest or visible], then shall ye also appear with him in glory’, Col. 3. 4. With respect to His reign on earth, the Bible also provides the general principle that ‘if we suffer, we shall also reign with him’, 2 Tim. 2. 12. This suggests that believers who currently identify with the rejected Saviour will have a shared participation in His earthly reign.

Paul provides further information. In correcting the Corinthian believers over their inability to deal with issues outside of the law courts, he makes several profound statements concerning the role of New Testament believers during the Millennium. He informs the Corinthians, ‘Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?’ and, furthermore, ‘Know ye not that we shall judge angels?’ 1 Cor. 6. 2, 3. The word ‘judge’ means to ‘give an opinion concerning right and wrong’. This indicates that New Testament believers will have administrative and leadership responsibilities on the millennial earth. Several of the parables the Lord Jesus mentioned highlight the principle that the amount of responsibility we have during the millennium will be in proportion to the quality of service we offer Him today.2

This still leaves the question unanswered, however, as to whether we as Christians will be residing in heaven or on earth during the Millennium. Following the return of the Lord Jesus for His bride, the Church, at the rapture, we read, ‘so shall we ever be with the Lord’, 1 Thess. 4. 17. As His bride, we will be the eternal companion of the Lord Jesus Christ. So where will the Lord Jesus be during His millennial reign? The emphasis provided by the scriptures is that He will take up residence on earth. As Priest-King He will dwell in the temple-palace complex in Jerusalem as described in remarkable detail by Ezekiel the prophet (see chapters 40 to 48). He will be the first and only ruler the world has ever seen who will provide both spiritual and political leadership to perfection.

Although these verses suggest that we will abide and carry out administrative tasks on earth, one proviso we should add is that several scriptures indicate that heaven and earth will be much more closely interconnected during the Millennium than they are today. The new Jerusalem may be much closer geographically than heaven is now, and the bidirectional flow of traffic could also be greater. This was implied by the words of the Lord Jesus to Nathaniel, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man’, John 1. 51. Hence, believers could move interchangeably between heaven and earth during the Millennium.

Endnotes

1

Isa. 2. 1-4; 11. 1-10; Ps. 72; Mic. 4. 1-5; Hab. 2. 14.

2

See Matt. 24. 45-51, Matt. 25. 14-30, Luke 19. 11-27.

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