Why I Believe in a Literal 1000 year Millennial Kingdom of Christ on Earth

By Ron Jones ©Titus Institute 2009

There are three basic positions regarding the millennium, whether it is a literal thousand years or symbolic, and how Jesus will reign, whether on earth or in our hearts.

Pre-millennial position: Jesus will return before he reigns on the earth for a literal thousand-year period (millennium). The purpose of the millennium is to fulfill God’s promises in the OT to Israel.

Post-millennial position: Jesus will return after a thousand years. When this begins and ends no one knows. During the thousand years there will be an increasing progress of righteousness and justice on the earth by the church of Jesus Christ evangelizing the lost. Then Christ will return. The promises in the OT to Israel are fulfilled in the new Israel, the church.

Amillennial position: There is no literal thousand-year millennium. It is symbolic of the present age where Christ is ruling in the hearts of Christians and in heaven. The promises in the OT to Israel are fulfilled in the new Israel, the church.

Sincere and intelligent Christians disagree on which of the above positions best represents the Biblical evidence. The outline below reflects my belief.

Why I believe in a pre-millennial position:

I. The prophecies in the OT that messiah will reign on the earth directly correlate with the prophecy in Revelation 20 that Jesus the messiah will reign on the earth for a thousand years.

A. Isa.9:6-7 speaks of the messiah reigning on David’s throne, which is on earth.

B. Zech.14:1-21 speaks of the messiah ruling over the whole earth from Jerusalem.

C. Rev.20:4-6 speaks of Christ reigning on the earth for a thousand years.

These verses most likely are referring to the same time period since in both Christ reigns.

II. The specific promise given to Israel in the OT that they will be rescued at the end of a terrible tribulation by messiah and inhabit their land in peace and be a great nation during messiah’s reign on earth.

Zech.14:1-12 speaks of the messiah rescuing Jerusalem and reigning on the earth in Jerusalem (during the millennium). These statements cannot be taken metaphorically for the church.

A. The Lord rescues Jerusalem from the antichrist and certain destruction v.1-5

B. Zechariah describes what the day of the Lord’s return will be like v.6-7

C. Then Zechariah describes what will happen as the Lord Jesus reigns on the earth in v.8-11

D. Then Zechariah looks back and describes the terrible punishment the Lord will bring upon the armies of the antichrist when he rescues Israel v.12-15

E. Then Zechariah returns to describing the reign of the Lord upon the earth v.16-21

How can these verses be metaphorical with Israel symbolizing the church?

III. The specific prophecies given in the OT to the nation of Israel must be fulfilled in the nation of Israel (not the church)

A. God’s promises to Israel cannot be revoked.

These promises cannot be revoked or given to the church. They are for Israel.

“As concerning the gospel, they [the Israelites] are enemies for your sakes: but as touching their election [as God’s people], they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.”

God gave three promises to Abraham in Gen.12:1-3. He promised that Abraham’s descendents would receive a land that would be theirs. They would be a great nation and they would be a blessing for all peoples.

Later in Gen.13:14-17, God promised Abraham that his descendents would be numerous and they would receive the land forever. Then in Gen.17:7-8 God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendents establishing them as his people and the land of Canaan as their land.

These promises are forever which means that Israel must become a great nation and possess the full measure of the land of Canaan. This is the purpose of the millennial kingdom – to fulfill God’s promises to Israel. In the millennium, the messiah will reign in Jerusalem, Israel will be a great nation and they will possess fully the land of Canaan.

B. God’s promises to Israel were repeated with details in the OT.

1. God promised Israel that she would inhabit the land promised them and would be a great nation
Mic.2: 12-13
Jer.23: 5-6
Isa.61: 1-62: 12
Isa.65: 17-24

Israel never received the full land of Canaan and never received the prominence as a nation promised by God.

2. God promised Israel that she would be the center of worship of the Lord
Zech. 14: 6-21

3. God promised Israel that the Lord would reign with righteousness and justice from Jerusalem
Isa. 2:1-4

4. God promised Israel that she would be completely free from oppression and fear.
Isa. 14:1-7

None of these promises have been fulfilled.

IV. Paul’s statement in Rom.11: 25-27 that the nation of Israel has been temporarily set aside until the time of the Gentiles has been completed and then they will enter the land believing in Christ must be understood in light of God’s promises to Israel in the above two points.

“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”

I believe that the “fullness of the Gentiles” is completed at the end of the tribulation and that God sends His Son Jesus Christ to rescue Israel from the antichrist (see Zech 14.). Then after the Son of God rescues Israel, he will separate the Israelites who believe in him from those who don’t. All those Israelites who believe in Jesus, the Lord will form into the nation of Israel who will enter the millennial kingdom. At that point, the entire nation of Israel (who are all believers) are saved. Paul’s statement that “all Israel will be saved” will be fulfilled.

For more information, see “Second Coming Judgments” section of Last days Outline.

The context of Romans 11 is talking about the literal nation of Israel which God laid aside to bring in the Gentiles. Therefore, the context demands that the Israel of the statement “all Israel will be saved” must be literal Israel, not the church.