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Series 3 - The Great Teachings of the Bible and What They Mean for You: Bible Prophecy and You

Hi, friends! Welcome to the 14th lesson in the "Bible Prophecy and You" series!

What's the future of planet earth? Will we ever have real peace? If so, how will it come about?

And what does the Bible say happens after Christ returns? Will the whole world become Christian? And just what is the "Millennium"?

The Bible contains many prophecies about the future of mankind and the future of this planet. In this lesson, we'll get a grand overview of that future!

Lesson 14: The Millennium and Peace on Earth!

The Bible is full of promises that someday there will be peace on earth. And it is full of specific prophecies about the healthy and happy state of the world during the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ!

Following is part of a message from a United Church of God member in Washington:

"Ever since years ago when I first began receiving literature from the Church of God, it's been wonderful learning what the Bible really teaches! In the church I grew up in, we were taught lots of things that aren't true! I was so trusting that I assumed that everything I heard must be true!

"The real truth is so much more logical and inspiring than anything I heard before. To know that God didn't change His mind about which day of the week is the Sabbath. That Jesus will be coming back to earth and not just to visit but to stay and set up His Kingdom! And to know how everyone will have a real opportunity to learn God's truth. I'm hoping and praying for the day when they'll all understand at least as much as I understand."

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God's Truth Is Far More Wonderful Than Any Fiction!

From the beginning of time, countless stories, fantasies and fairy tales have been written by authors who were imagining some kind of paradise or utopia. And almost every religion has ideas about what life will be like after death. But once you really understand what the Bible reveals, you'll see that no one has ever envisioned any life as beautiful, as joyous and as meaningful as the truth about God's plan for humanity.

In the last couple of lessons, we learned about the traumatic events that will take place before Christ returns, including the Great Tribulation, the Day of the Lord and "Armageddon." All of that is a necessary part of God's plan to bring humanity to repentance. And that prepares the way for Christ to establish His Kingdom on earth. Then during the Millennium, Christ will teach all humanity the way to eternal life.

In the last lesson, we also learned that as Christ returns to earth, He will glorify all the saints by resurrecting those who have died and by giving immortality to all who are living (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). It is through the resurrection and change that the saints will "inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). (These lessons use the word saint as the Bible does to mean all true converted followers of Jesus Christ. It applies both to those who are still human and to those who will have been glorified as immortal spirit beings.)

Where will our "home" be? What will Christians inherit?

Matthew 5:5
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Zechariah 14:9
And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be—"The Lord is one," and His name one.

Jesus said the meek will inherit, not heaven, but the earth. What can be more appealing than planet earth once all its problems are solved? Think of this marvelous showcase of God's creation without any evildoing, without any natural disaster and without any man-made disasters. We can think of it as "heaven on earth"!

Jesus advised us to pray "Your kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10). He meant for us to pray for God's Kingdom to come rule the earth.

A long time ago, an archangel decided he would "ascend into heaven" to replace God (Isaiah 14:13). With that rebellion, he became Satan the devil. Ever since then, it is Satan who "deceives the whole world" (Revelation 12:9). One of his lies has become a part of most religions—the lie that people will go to heaven when they die.

After Christ's return, will there still be human beings on the earth?

Zechariah 14:16
And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

Ezekiel 36:10-11
"I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt.
"I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bear young; I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the Lord."

Isaiah 27:6
Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.

Although it appears the majority of people on earth will die during the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, many millions of others will survive. "Everyone who is left of all the nations…shall go up from year to year to worship the King [Christ]" (Zechariah 14:16).

Then, under Christ's peaceful rule, there will be a population explosion as countless babies will be born throughout most of the Millennium! God said, "I will multiply men upon you…the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt" (Ezekiel 36:10). "Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit" (Isaiah 27:6).

God will choose Israel once again to be the model of a nation obedient to God (Deuteronomy 4:5-8), and this time Israel will live up to that calling. But many prophecies regarding "Israel" during the Millennium will apply eventually to all humanity, especially as people are spiritually converted and become part of the "Israel of God" (Galatians 3:27-29; 6:16).

What will be the job of the saints after they are resurrected?

Revelation 20:4-6
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

Revelation 5:8-10
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."

In Revelation 20, we learn that the resurrection of the saints is called "the first resurrection." They will then be immortal, so there will be no possibility of dying again (experiencing a "second death"). Their purpose will then be to assist Christ in teaching and ruling the world. "They shall be priests [teachers of spiritual matters] of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."

The word millennium means a thousand years. When spelled with a capital "M," it refers to Revelation 20:4 and 6 and all the millennial prophecies—the many biblical prophecies of all that will be fulfilled during those thousand years. Christ and the saints will live forever, not just a thousand years. But after a thousand years, a new period will be ushered in with the second resurrection (as will be explained in the next lesson).

In Revelation 5, we read of the "new song" regarding the "saints" that says, "You…have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth." As such, they will be assisting the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16).

What will be the most important step in removing evil influences in the world?

Revelation 20:1-3
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.

Revelation 18:2
And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!"

Satan will be bound for a thousand years—restrained so he can have no influence on anyone. "Bottomless pit" is a translation of the Greek word abyssos. A better translation is "abyss," meaning an extremely deep chasm. At the end of the Millennium, Satan will be released "for a little while" but then will be put away forever.

To understand more about what the Bible says about Satan and the demons, see Is There Really a Devil?

What is the prophetic meaning of the Day of Atonement?

Leviticus 23:26-27, 32
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: "Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord...
"It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath."

God's Holy Days reflect stages in God's plan of salvation. As we saw in the last lesson, the Feast of Trumpets pictures Jesus Christ's return at the last trumpet. Next, the symbolic meaning of the Day of Atonement builds on the meaning of the Passover. As the Passover pictures our individual reconciliation with God made possible by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Day of Atonement pictures the time when the invitation to be reconciled with God will be extended to all humanity.

Furthermore, this Holy Day pictures the transition time between Christ's second coming and the beginning of world peace. Therefore, a critical part of the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement will be the binding of Satan and the demons. This is shown in the detailed symbolism of Leviticus 16, as explained in our booklet God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.

What is the prophetic meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles?

Leviticus 23:33-36, 42-43
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord.
"‘On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it.
"‘For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it...
"‘You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.'"

The Feast of Tabernacles celebrates the completion of the final and largest harvest season in the Holy Land. This and the command to dwell in temporary dwellings like Israel did on the way to the Promised Land help us see the prophetic meaning of this festival. It pictures the Kingdom of God, of which the Promised Land was a type, and the large harvest of human beings into God's family.

God commands us to observe His annual festivals as an essential factor in helping us to understand and remember His plan of salvation for all of humanity. God designed us to enjoy annual celebrations! His festivals fill that need while giving us ever-deeper understanding, appreciation and inspiration.

For further explanation, see God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.

Will there be peace on earth?

Isaiah 9:6-7
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Micah 4:3-4
He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

Zechariah 8:4-5
"Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each one with his staff in his hand because of great age.
"‘The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.'"

These inspiring prophecies show Jesus Christ, the "Prince of Peace," bringing this elusive dream to reality. Not only will there be peace between nations, but even the cities will be safe and peaceful, "full of boys and girls playing in [their] streets"!

What city will be the capital of the earth?

Jeremiah 3:17
"At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts."

Isaiah 2:3
Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

"Zion" was the name of a small mountain in Jerusalem and is often used as a synonym for Jerusalem. Jerusalem at last will truly be "the holy city" and will live up to its name, which includes the word for peace (Matthew 4:5; Hebrews 7:2).

What famous people will rule the 12 tribes of Israel?

Jeremiah 30:7-9
"‘Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.
"‘For it shall come to pass in that day,' says the Lord of hosts, ‘That I will break his yoke from your neck, and will burst your bonds; foreigners shall no more enslave them.
"‘But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.'"

Ezekiel 37:24-25
"David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them.
"Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever."

Matthew 19:28
So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

God will raise up—resurrect—David. He will reunite Israel into one nation and "David My servant shall be king over them." (Remember that Jesus Christ will be King over all the world.) Under David will be the 12 apostles.

Will it be a time of health, healing, abundance, prosperity and joy?

Isaiah 35:1-7
The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the excellency of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you."
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.
The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; in the habitation of jackals, where each lay, there shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

Leviticus 26:3-6
"‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
"‘Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage, and the vintage shall last till the time of sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
"‘I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land.'"

There are many Bible prophecies about the physical conditions in the world of tomorrow. People will be healed of their sicknesses, injuries and disabilities! Everyone will learn good health habits and how to prevent health problems. People will have healthy children and healthy livestock. There will be no famines, food shortages or disease epidemics! There will be much more arable land, and agriculture will be highly productive. There will be gentle rain in due season. There will be abundance and prosperity. Everyone who submits to the laws of our loving God will be greatly blessed! "They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah 35:10).

How will people all over the world be taught the truth of the Bible?

Isaiah 30:20-21
And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers.
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.

Isaiah 2:2-3
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

As we previously read, the immortal saints will be priests and teachers under Christ who will spread out over the world to direct all education. Isaiah 30:20-21 speaks of these "teachers." In addition representatives from all over the world will come to Jerusalem to learn God's "ways," "paths," "law" and "word,"and then they will take that knowledge back to their nations (Isaiah 2:1-3).

Before long, all parents, churches and schools will teach the truth. Soon no one will need to say, "‘Know the Lord,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them" (Jeremiah 31:34). After a while, "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9).

God truly "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4).

You may have noticed quite a few references in this lesson to the book of Isaiah. It has more messianic and millennial prophecies than any other book. There are many additional prophecies of the Millennium throughout the Bible. God has blessed us with a clear vision of the fabulous future He has in store for us! May we have the focus, dedication and determination to walk in His paths. May we become disciples of Christ now so we'll be ready when He returns to help Him teach the rest of the world those paths!


Apply Now

Think about how different the Millennium will be compared to the world today. Write down three evils in the world today that you are especially eager to see abolished by Jesus Christ. Then write down three of the wonderful conditions prophesied about the Millennium that you are especially eager to see come to pass. Then during the coming week when you are praying "Your kingdom come," think of those six reasons you are especially eager to see it come! It will put more heartfelt meaning into that prayer.

Next Lesson: The Second Resurrection: Humanity's Opportunity for Salvation!

Questions about this lesson? Feedback about this lesson?

Related Resources:

The Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ

The Millennium: The Vision that Won't Die

World Peace: The Impossible Dream?

The Everlasting Kingdom of God