In Heaven, on Earth, in your Grave?...

Where will You spend the Millennium?

Millions have already booked for a thousand years of productive life here on earth. Do you have your ticket?

It's here! Mankind has safely slipped over the threshold of a new millennium. The world didn't evaporate at midnight on December 31, 1999. So - where will you spend the next thousand years?

That may sound a daft question, for medical science isn't yet that good! Soon, however, our world will dramatically change. The coming global chaos spawned by human ineptitude laced with sheer wickedness will give way to a new world order - a gentle, peaceful and prosperous golden age embracing every nation, every individual then alive.

The Coming Utopia

It's what man has long dreamed. We're weary of poverty, inequality, sickness and pain. We long for an end to bloody war and endless unsuccessful and hypocritical peace processes. We want clean air, pure and abundant water, unpolluted produce. We're sick to death of self-serving politicians and hope for open and honest government. It's all coming! And likely within your lifetime.

The inspired Bible apostles and prophets looked beyond the end-time horrors revealed to them. What did they foresee?

TV images from Rwanda, Kosovo, Chechnya need no repetition. But imagine such devastation worldwide - no hiding place, nowhere to flee, anywhere. Imagine the tangled chaos of the Turkish `quake -worldwide. Imagine a world enslaved by tyrannical despots with no outlet for free expression, millions screaming to die - but can't.

Then, with the prophets, see terror spread among the oppressing global leadership. Invasion! Invasion from space, long feared, has come. Nations, spurred on by demonic spirits working spectacular miracles, marshal their military might to combat the invader. The world's armies assemble near Mount Carmel in northern Israel - the site of an earlier epochal battle between the forces of God and Satan. They gather on the Plain of Megiddo.

But the battle is over! For the "invader" is none other than the all mighty Jesus Christ returning to claim his inheritance, against whom no power can endure.

In the months leading to this climactic battle, mankind had been given chance after chance to turn from wickedness and idolatry as God's servants had witnessed powerfully worldwide. Now, willingly deceived by Satanic powers, they align themselves against the returning King of kings. Guess who wins?

Few Left

The outcome leaves but a remnant of pitiful humanity scattered in the four corners of the planet. The prophet Isaiah describes it: "Behold the LORD makes the earth empty and makes it waste, distorts its surface and scatters abroad its inhabitants .... The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants because they have transgressed the laws fie, the fundamental principles that underpin human life], changed the ordinance and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth and those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned and few men left" (cs 24:1-6).

God has not yet finished with human life! The military forces who opposed Jesus at Megiddo will be annihilated. But from around the earth Jesus, with the resurrected saints, will shepherd the remnant of mankind, now repentant, into the new world. Reports the apostle John: "He himself [Jesus] will rule them with a rod of iron" (Revelation 19:15). These words reflect the work of a shepherd: literally, "He will shepherd them with an iron (i.e., strong) rod. The rod carried by every shepherd symbolizes authority, power, discipline, defense.

Elsewhere we are informed that the surviving descendants of the nations of Israel will be gathered from around the world: "It shall come to pass in that day that the LORD shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people who are left .... There will be a highway for the remnant of his people who will be left from Assyria, as it was for Israel in the day that he came up from the land of Egypt fie the Exodus]" (Isaiah 11:11-16).

The prophet Zechariah, too, speaks of those who survive the coming holocaust. He says: "And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations that 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" (cs 14:16). He goes on to talk about drought and plague afflicting those who refuse to observe this Festival. Clearly this is on earth and not in Heaven!

The King - Jesus of Nazareth -will, as predicted (Acts 1:9-12), return to Planet Earth and "in that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which faces Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west making a very large valley" (v.4ff). Again, we are planted firmly on earth. Further, we're told that the new world rulers "shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10) led by Jesus Christ - and for a thousand years (cs 20:4).

New World Rulers

Who, then, will be responsible with Jesus to rebuild the chaotic earth?

For a start we can rule out the present world leadership. They, clearly, have failed. However, God is now hand-picking those who will be "joint-heirs with Christ". He's not looking to earth's self-sufficient nobility, not to the world's military dictators and not to some elite inner circle of manipulating conspirators. He is, instead, selecting those who are now largely despised. The only men and women deemed fit to reign with him are those who in this life are learning to serve him by faith and by love.

Already, specific leadership positions have been assigned. David, the resurrected king of ancient Israel, has been appointed as King of the returning remnant of Israel (Jeremiah 30:9). Assisting him will be the twelve apostles, each of whom will be raised to judge a division of Israel (Matthew 19:28). And at the sharp end to "rebuild the waste places" will be a multitude of God's people from all ages, now resurrected from the grave.

No person on earth can by any means earn salvation. We enter the Kingdom of God solely through the shed blood of Jesus of Nazareth applied to our sin. But Jesus is preparing a place for us - and that is dependent on how we use the gifts he bestows. Some, for example will be equipped by their effort to, in the resurrection, "have authority over ten cities", while others will have more limited responsibilities (Luke 19:11-27).

Those cities, with their infrastructure of roads and sewerage and security needs etc are right here on earth - not in Heaven! It's a real job. But equipped with divine authority and eternal wisdom and limitless power the saints will under Christ restore earth to its pristine beauty.

Where Will You Be?

Right now you are shaping your destiny. Soon our world will plunge into a whirlpool of man-made chaos. Everyone will have a stark choice: to commit to Jesus Christ and be faithful to him in face of state persecution and possible death.

The Bible is clear that believers will not have an easy ride in the end-time. Many will be dragged before the courts, many martyred (Revelation 20:4).

The apostle Paul detailed the outcome for those who now begin to follow the narrow way of true Biblical Christianity. In the midst of terrible distress, but before the final great Satanic attempt to dethrone Jesus Christ, those who have God's seal will be transformed from physical to spirit "at the last trumpet". Their physical bodies will shed the imperfections and weaknesses of the flesh and they will be imbued with the spiritual power and the wisdom of Almighty God.

Together with a host of resurrected saints from past ages - also made immortal - they will accompany Jesus Christ to Israel for the last great battle of this age. Writes Paul: "...the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (I Thessalonians 4:1617). Their destiny is then to implement the next phase of the divine plan - a thousand years of peace and prosperity - right here on earth.

The alternative choice is to align with demonic world-ruling forces and face almost certain destruction by vainly resisting the returning Christ.

From this last battle will creep from cave and wilderness a tiny shaken and repentant remnant of mankind. Under the watchful all-seeing eyes and tender care of the immortal saints they will slowly rebuild their lives and their cities. A new civilization founded on divine principles will cause Earth to blossom in peaceful harmony as the laws of God are benignly administered from Christ's capital city, Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:2-4).

The same prophet foretells of " a new heaven and a new earth" in which mankind will continue to live out an extended physical lifetime. He wrote: "The child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them, they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit ...They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for trouble, for they shall be descendants of the blessed of the LORD and their offspring with them" (read Isaiah 65:17-25).

Jesus said the path to living for ever - to reigning with him - is a difficult one. See the article Coming To Baptism for an insight into what God requires of you, if you are to be part of the solution to the vast challenges that will face mankind in his coming millennial reign on earth.

To comment on this article or request more information, please contact James McBride by e-mail at the comment form below.

For PDF or mailed copy, see CGOM. Excerpt from New Horizons Volume 4 No. 3, January/February 2000. Edited by James McBride of the Churches of God, United Kingdom.

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