11.5. Millennial Reign of Messiah

The book of Revelation describes saints who are resurrected at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom. They sit on thrones and judgment is committed to them. It is said that they reign with Christ for the full thousand years (Rev. Rev. 20:4+). If they reign with Christ during this period, then it follows that He must reign upon the promised throne of David during the Millennial Kingdom. There are many passages which show this is true, only a few of which we’ve included below. As we’ve seen throughout our study of the book of Revelation, Psalm Ps. 2:1 is the bedrock OT promise around which the grand theme of Revelation develops: the physical placement of Christ over the nations.

I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion. . . . Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. (Ps. Ps. 2:7-8)

Christ will be given the ends of the earth for His possession. If this is to be the case, how can it be true now? Most of the world hasn’t the foggiest notion they are being broken by His scepter as potter’s vessels, as amillennialists would have us believe (Ps. Ps. 2:9)! Isaiah tells us of a specific time when Messiah will reign from the throne of David:

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. (Isa. Isa. 9:7)

He also says that the reign will be in Jerusalem and that there will be elders (lesser rulers, see Millennial Reign of the Saints) who rule with Him.

Then the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed; for the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously. (Isa. Isa. 24:23)

Isaiah indicates that although He was despised, kings and princes will arise (in honor and worship) for Him:

Thus says the Lord, The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One, to Him whom man despises, to Him whom the nation abhors, to the Servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise, Princes also shall worship, because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel; and He has chosen You.” (Isa. Isa. 49:7)

Jeremiah tells us that in the time Christ reigns, there will be righteous judgment in the earth and that Israel will dwell safely during His reign:

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jer. Jer. 23:5-6)

How do we know this is yet future? First, the world cannot be characterized by righteous judgment. Second, Israel is not dwelling safely in her land.1 Zechariah tells of a day when living waters will flow from Jerusalem, both to the east and to the west. In that day, the LORD will be King over all the earth:

And in that day it shall be That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; in both summer and winter it shall occur. And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be-“The LORD is one,” and His name one. (Zec. Zec. 14:8-9)

The extent of His rule is global and is recognized to be so by all nations. This is certainly not the case today. Micah mentions a time of physical healing during which dispersed Israel will no longer be outcast, but will be a strong nation. At that time, Messiah will begin His eternal rule:

I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcast a strong nation; so the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever. (Mic. Mic. 4:7)

In the NT, Jesus promised his disciples that they would sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel:

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.” (Mtt. Mat. 19:28)

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. (Luke Luke 1:32-33)

Of particular interest, both Matthew and Luke record the future aspect of His rule. Jesus says this rule will be “in the regeneration,” παλιγγενεσίᾳ [palingenesia] —again genesis—when the earth is renovated following the destruction of the Tribulation in preparation for the Millennial Kingdom. This is not a spiritual regeneration, but refers to a physical reconstruction of the earth after His Second Coming. Additional evidence of the future reign of Jesus on His throne can be found in His teaching concerning the Sheep and Goat Judgment.

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. (Mtt. Mat. 25:31-32) [emphasis added]

Notice carefully the chronology of what Jesus said: When the Son of Man comes in His glory . . . then He will sit on His throne. How much clearer could it be? Jesus’ reign on His own throne begins when He comes in His glory. This does not occur until the Second Coming, when He arrives with His holy angels. Until then, He is seated with His Father on a throne in heaven which is not the throne of David (Rev. Rev. 3:21+). When Paul wrote to Timothy, he explained that Christ would judge at His appearing which would coincide with His kingdom:

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom. . . (2Ti. 2Ti. 4:1)

The book of Revelation indicates that Jesus’ earthly rule is future:

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Rev. Rev. 3:21+)

In the future, Christ will grant the overcomer to sit with Him on His throne, just like He was presently sitting with His Father on His throne. Jesus said these words after the crucifixion, resurrection, and several decades of the Church age had already passed. The certainty of a literal, future, earthly reign is the subject of the declaration at the sounding of the seventh trumpet:

Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. Rev. 11:15+)

This alludes to Psalm Ps. 2:1 (our Lord and of His Christ) and indicates that when Jesus rules as King, there will be no mistaking it! You will either be a broken potsherd or a humble servant. The countless authorities in our own day who reject Christ or don’t even know about Him are not in the picture which Scripture paints for the ultimate physical dominion of our Lord during His Millennial Kingdom.

Notes

1 How does the amillennialist get around these logical contradictions to believe He reigns as described here now? It’s simple really. In Biblical interpretation, you can make two wrongs appear to be right. Just redefine Israel to mean Church—which dwells safely in her Saviour’s promises—and you are well on your way to “making it work out.” This is perhaps the most serious danger of amillennialism: in the pursuit of its desired interpretation, it ignores the law of logical non-contradiction and simply contorts contrary evidence into supportive evidence.