This is the fourth in a series of posts regarding the approaching 1,000 year reign of Christ when He returns to earth. The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ establishes His kingdom in three distinct phases. The first phase began when He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to His followers. This means that all who now believe in Him are already part of His kingdom. "And He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (Rev. 1:6) This also means that this present phase of His kingdom is entirely spiritual; and believers, as part of the spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ, find themselves in enemy territory in this world. The ruler of this present visible world is Satan. "We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." (1 John 5:19) For this reason Jesus said that His followers will have trouble in this world, and Satan will continue to exercise his power in this world until the time when Christ returns. The return of Christ will usher in the second phase of His kingdom which is the "Millenial Kingdom." It begins when Christ returns to conquer the final human ruler of this world, and have Satan bound and imprisoned in a place called the abyss. (Rev. 19:11 - 20:3) At this point, redeemed believers who had died will be raised physically to participate in this earthly kingdom of Christ. (Rev. 20:4-6) Much Old Testament prophecy is devoted to this phase of the kingdom. There are descriptions of the universal knowledge of God, peace in the human and animal realms, worship of the Lord centered in Jerusalem and participated in by all the nations of the earth, and many other astounding features. But this phase of the kingdom will not last forever. After the 1,000 year reign of Christ, Satan will again be released for a short amount of time. (Rev. 20:7-10) In one of the most shocking prophecies in the whole Bible, we are told that a massive multitude of people will be deceived by Satan and form a rebellion against Christ and His Kingdom. Although this rebellion will be immediately put down with fire from heaven, it is deeply sobering to see that even with all the benefits of the kingdom, and Christ Himself reigning as King, people are quickly deceived into rebellion against Him. We are thankful to see that after this rebellion is put down, Satan is finally and completely removed by being cast into the eternal lake of fire. Then the final phase of the kingdom begins with a new heavens and new earth in which Christ will reign for all eternity. So as we wait for Christ's return, we are thankful that He has already made us spiritually part of His Kingdom. We anticipate the amazing 1,000 year kingdom He will establish, and we rejoice in the thought of the new heavens and new earth where we will forever abide with our Lord and King. We remember His words: “And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.” Thank you Lord Jesus for telling us what is to come, and although some things may seem unclear, uncomfortable and even alarming, we submit ourselves to Your Word and eagerly await Your arrival.
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