Why Will Jesus Reign on Earth for a Thousand Years?

Charles H. Dyer
header for Why Will Jesus Reign on Earth for a Thousand Years?

There seem to be at least two reasons Jesus will reign on earth for a thousand years. The first is to allow for the fulfillment of God’s Old Testament promises to Israel. For example, in Jeremiah 30:3 God announced He would bring both “Israel and Judah” back from captivity and restore them to the land. He also promised to restore them spiritually so they “shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them” (30:9). God promised to establish His new covenant “with the house of Israel and the house of Judah” (31:31), and in the same chapter He announced Jerusalem would be completely restored. The city “will not be uprooted or overthrown ever again” (v. 40).

These and many other Old Testament promises for Israel have yet to be fulfilled. Micah the prophet ends his book by announcing that a day will come when Israel will be restored and blessed (Mic. 7:11–14). In the very last verse of his book Micah explains why this has to take place. “You will give truth to Jacob and favor to Abraham, which You swore to our forefathers from the days of old” (7:20, emphasis added). God made solemn covenant promises to the patriarchs, and Micah said they will come to pass because God is a God who keeps His word. The Old Testament didn’t announce the specific length of God’s promised kingdom, but the prophets clearly predicted that such a kingdom would come.

Everyone will experience universal peace and prosperity. Even animals will be at peace.

There is also a second, more theological, reason for the millennium kingdom. Humanity has always sought an excuse to justify its sinful rebellion. “It’s the circumstances—or environment—in which we grew up.” “It’s the poverty and hunger we’ve faced.” “We succumbed to peer pressure.” “The devil made us do it.” These and other excuses always seek to lay the blame for our sins somewhere else. But in the millennial kingdom God will set up the equivalent of heaven on earth for a thousand years.

Satan will be banished to the abyss. “And he took hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed” (Rev. 20:2–3). There will be no satanic influence during this period.

Jesus will rule in perfect righteousness. “And He will judge between the nations, and will mediate for many peoples; and they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning knives. Nation will not lift up a sword against nation, and never again will they learn war” (Isa. 2:4). There will be no injustice.

Everyone will experience universal peace and prosperity. Even animals will be at peace. “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fattened steer will be together; and a little boy will lead them” (Isa. 11:6). Amos describes the kingdom as a time when people will struggle to harvest all the crops before it’s time to plant again. “‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when the plowman will overtake the reaper, and the one who treads grapes will overtake him who sows the seed; when the mountains will drip grape juice, and all the hills will come apart. I will also restore the fortunes of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the desolated cities and live in them; they will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, and make gardens and eat their fruit’” (Amos 9:13–14). There will be no poverty.

People born during this thousand-year period will not know poverty, injustice, or oppression. Yet at the end of the thousand years, Satan is given one final opportunity to encourage people to turn against God. “When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations” (Rev. 20:7–8). Sadly, Satan will find many willing to follow him.

This second purpose for the millennial kingdom is to show that the ultimate problem with humanity has always been our own depravity and sinful nature. It’s no accident that immediately following this final rebellion the apostle John describes the great white throne judgment (Rev. 20:11–15). God can righteously judge humanity because He has now demonstrated that the underlying problem has never been external influences—it has always been the human heart.

For Further Reading:

What Does the Bible Say About the Future?

by Charles H. Dyer

Anyone can make predictions about the future. The real question is, “What does God have to say about it?” The end times is one of...

book cover for What Does the Bible Say About the Future?