The bible has quite a lot to say about a millennium rule of God on earth. According to some interpretations, when Jesus returns there will be a period of 1000 years during which He and His holy ones will rule over all the earth so that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9, Habakkuk 2:14).
I have been attempting to bring my understanding of Scripture and of how God works in our lives now to imagine how it might be during the Millennium. So I have started to write a book on the subject.
It is surprisingly difficult to imagine even the most basic things about what it might be to have an indestructible body and to live like that for a thousand years on this earth.
In Millennium the author combines deep biblical study with an active imagination to create an account of what life might be like for those living on the earth during the predicted 1000 years of Christ’s rule on earth.
In his account the millennium reign of Christ starts on a “possible” date of 2037 shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem by a nuclear explosion. He deftly weaves in various biblical prophecies to create a compelling account of what it might be like to live during those times.
One of the fundamental theses of the author’s account is that during the Millennium there will be two types of humans living on the earth: those who are mortal and those who are immortal. The immortals are the faithful, called and chosen ones from all ages past and up to the time of Jesus’ return who reign with Him for the Millennium. They have a number of super powers and govern the earth ushering in an age of peace and security – unless you happen to oppose them.
Martin was trying to explain to his children why holiness was a prerequisite to being in the first resurrection.”Without holiness you cannot see God,” he explained, “and if you cannot see Him you cannot be changed to be like Him. And anyway, there was no way He would allow you to become immortal and be released from a single point in space, and, after the Millennium, in time, unless you love Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Can you imagine the harm you could do to creation if He granted you the ability to be anywhere at the same time and you could not be trusted to only do as perfect Love directs?”
Martin sensed that the first resurrection (that which some people called the rapture) wasn’t far away now. He and his family were waiting.
The trumpet had been blaring for almost 3 days now. It seemed to be getting louder. Most people hadn’t a clue what it was. The most commonly reported explanation was that it was an atmospheric distortion caused by the massive nuclear explosion that had wiped out Jerusalem just before it started. The earthquake that had followed the explosion had split the mount of Olives in two. Some scientists thought that that had set off a chain reaction that had led to the noise everyone now was trying to avoid.
Or at least nearly everyone. Martin and Jillian were going around encouraging all those that knew them to continue to look up. They were expectant as were some others.
It was a curious noise, this trumpet sound. Different people seemed to experience it in different ways. Most people’s reaction was terror. A lot of people were going around with headphones on. The most noise reducing ones were sold out on Amazon and everywhere else by now. Some people hadn’t left their rooms since the noise started. There was a lot of fear around. There was a rumour the world was going to disintegrate or blow up.
For some though the noise was exhilarating. Martin and others like him were convinced that the noise was the last trumpet that Paul spoke about in the bible. To tell the truth it was hard to stand while listening to it. His flesh quaked to put it in archaic but somehow appropriate terms. It was not quite music but it had the same effect of resounding through his soul and arousing all sorts of emotions. The sound was primal, creative, destructive and renewing at the same time.
The more he listened to it the more he felt ready for the translation he felt sure was coming. He was going to shake off this mortal coil and put on immortality – he felt sure of it. It seemed his wife was feeling as expectant as he was. They both continued to look up.
Into the Third Heaven
2037 – 3036 AD
Entering the upwelling was a remarkable experience even by an immortal’s high standard for such things.
The best way to enter was with others and while singing. Immortals from all ages knew various songs of ascents. It was curious if you thought about it. Timothy, who had been mortal during the first century after Christ appeared on earth the first time was able to sing in harmony with Brian who had sung in the 21st. The styles were different but the combination was wonderful.
Sometimes people held hands, sometimes they just stepped forward together in unison. The force of the water was such that no mortal could enter, they would have just been swept down the mountain, presuming they could have approached the place at all.
When Florence entered the most amazing thrill filled every atom of her body. The space between the nucleus and the electron cloud of each atom resonated so that laser lights poured out through her. Then there was the rush upwards, the deep intake of breath and suddenly out into the brilliant light.
And there she was with the others standing on the sea in the middle of heaven before the throne of God, still singing.
Everything had become heavenly, the music was intricate, multi-placed, harmonious and surprisingly loud. Near the front were some huge drums (though that name didn’t do them justice) producing crashes of thunder and flashes of lightning. The classical instruments of an earthly orchestra had their heavenly counterparts: flutes, trumpets, oboes, violins only these seemed to be living somehow.
The word “life” in heaven carried many different meanings: the source of all life was The Life who was God Himself in all three persons. The Father was somehow unknowable as to His substance – He was Spirit but more than that. Jesus was like the immortals, the Spirit in an indestructible body. Then there was the Holy Spirit Himself.
Then there were the purely spiritual beings, the angels who moved so easily with God.
The immortals standing on the sea were those who had been redeemed from the earth from every tribe, tongue and nation. During this millenial phase they ruled with Jesus on the earth and were able to enter heaven and leave again through the sea.
Florence wasn’t keen on the leaving part. She usually found some way of lingering there as long as possible. The millenium could have come and gone if the Spirit didn’t tell her every so often that she was needed on earth during it.
Then there were the other creatures like the four living creatures beneath the throne. They seemed to be of a different order altogether. It was hard to relate to them and some of the other things going on in what seemed like the endless dimensions of heaven. Florence thought she would have eternity to find out if she wanted to.
Though every time she looked up at Him on the throne she wondered why she would ever want to.
Learning How to Fly
Probably the hardest thing to get used to for the immortals during the Millennium was the lack of physical limitations. Instead of being confined to one bodily space, their bodies could be anywhere God (and they) wanted to be instantly.
Prayer, imagination and music were the means by which this particular super-power was invoked and controlled. As usual you had to have a centre to focus on and, as usual, this centre was God.
So this was how it worked: First you found out where God wanted you to go. Then you imagined yourself being there. That was not so difficult if you had been there before or had seen some pictures, not so easy when you hadn’t. In the latter case you needed to join up with someone who had been there. Finally you began to sing the song that opened the channel to the place. Or perhaps more accurately, enabled you to extend through that physical distance.
In the early days no one of the immortals could do this on their own. So all movements to places were congregational. It wasn’t too hard since the immortals had all been parts of a church on earth. When they worshiped as mortals they often felt transported, though few knew the significance of that word at the time or its implications for their next life.
So in the early days each immortal would get together with the other overcomers from their churches that were immortal and seek God’s directions together.
The angelic teachers explained that the capability to transport to another place instantly using prayer, imagination and music was only the first baby step in the use of this particular super power. Later on the immortals would learn how to be in more than one place at a time.
It was true that this new existence was almost completely unimaginable. God was doing more than they could ask or think as He had promised in the Book.
Martin couldn’t wait.
“You did what?!!!”
Rupert tried to defend himself again but he really didn’t have a leg to stand on. Not literally, but he was genuinely concerned that he might end up that way. He remembered how he had taken the legs off -literally – another man some years back. That was when he was taking the position he had now from his predecessor. Or rather, the position he used to have.
Now there was another man sitting in the seat he used to issue his world changing orders from, extracting a nation’s taxes here, lowering an expensive stock there. The man seemed ordinary enough. There was a strange glow about him but other than that he could have been any of the significant, charismatic men Rupert had often made kneel before him. Presidents, world leaders and shakers, they had all been there at one time or another. He hadn’t a clue who this man was though and he thought he knew them all.
“I am Timothy, servant of the Living God and you need to account for your actions.” said Timothy.
What was strange about Timothy was that he should have been dead several times over. No one could survive that many bullets and live. But not only was Timothy living but he was also completely unscathed. When he had come through all the security he didn’t even seem to notice the bullets and simply asked the guards to move to one side. When one of them didn’t he just kept walking as if he wasn’t there. Rupert also thought there was no way he could enter his fortified room either but there he was.
Rupert was a bit lost for words which wasn’t like him. He also hated the way Timothy called him by the name his God forsaken mother had given him and put on his birth cert. He much preferred being called by the name that arose fear in anyone that had anything to do with him over the last few years: Lucifer. Admittedly the name had been borrowed from a well known character in an old book (and some more modern films) but he still preferred it to Rupert. Somehow, though, Lucifer didn’t seem to carry the menace it used to.
Rupert had noticed the difference on the day the trumpet stopped blaring. Before then he had felt energised, filled with power and able to take on the world. Afterwards he literally felt deflated. So somehow what was happening now didn’t seem so unexpected.
He tried again to defend his actions. However, as he stood there looking back over his life he could only see the amount of people he had killed, destroyed and racked with pain. The ones he had defrauded, the poor who he had been the means of ransacking, the millions who had suffered because of what he had done. There in his nakedness nothing good seemed to come.
He remembered back to the day someone obscure had tried to tell him about the Christian gospel. He was young then and mostly innocent enough. But he had dismissed it for the fairy tale he and all his peers had believed it to be. And anyway he was bright and knew how to make money and was, even then, able to win over the rich and famous. His father, after all, was the main man ruling the Fed at the time.
Timothy broke the silence. “OK, I’ll tell you then.” And he went on to list a catalogue of very specific and heinous crimes. Rupert felt strangely proud as he listened to the list. It was quite impressive, he thought.
Seeing that he was unrepentant, Timothy let the police take him away. He would go through the justice system and receive justice instead of mercy or grace. Timothy felt a bit sad at the thought.
One of the great things about being an immortal is that you didn’t have to go around with a security contingent everywhere you went. That and the ability to conceal yourself meant you could turn up unannounced, and if you wanted, unnoticed at any venue.
Martin wanted to call up on an old acquaintance who was still mortal. She had missed out on the chance to be immortal through… well actually Martin wasn’t quite sure why she had missed out. He knew of other cases of those that seemed as they would have qualified to be transformed but didn’t. The problem in those cases seemed to be a lack of genuine relationship with Jesus. He didn’t know why Genevieve hadn’t made it though. Her relationship seemed genuine and she had blessed him many times during his mortal past.
He stood outside her door and rang the bell.
Genevieve arrived at the door looking rather disheveled. Martin had toned down his appearance to look as much like his mortal self as possible but she knew what had happened to him – and hadn’t happened to her.
Genevieve’s husband shouted out from a room somewhere in the back of the house: “Who is it?”
“An old friend”, Genevieve called back.
“Tell him to go away.” It seems Genevieve’s husband wasn’t the most sociable of people.
“Let’s go.” Genevieve grabbed Martin’s arm and went out to the car. Martin was thinking that he didn’t need a car to go anywhere but he let it pass. They got into her old Nissan Leaf (it was 30 years old) and drove to the nearest restaurant.
“What happened, Genevieve?” asked Martin getting straight to the point, “I remember when, even as a mortal, I could see you shining with the Holy Spirit. You blessed me and everyone around you.”
“I didn’t want to leave him.”
Martin thought about that for a minute. He could understand how that might be possible but he was surprised anyone could resist the loving tug that he had felt during the time leading up to his transformation. He could have asked whether she thought it was worth it but her appearance and her husband’s response back at the house seemed to make the question redundant. Martin decided to ask the question anyway.
“No.” Came the simple reply followed by a sigh.
Meeting the Old Enemy
It was Martin’s turn to go and visit the old enemy in his prison.
Other immortals who had gone there before him had warned him that it would not be easy. Jesus had explained that He had always wanted all His disciples to follow Him fully aware of all the alternatives and that that desire hadn’t changed just because they were now seeing Him more fully.
The devil was a shape shifter also so Martin wasn’t sure what he was going to look like. He thought he might find a young girl difficult to deal with. As it turned out the devil took the shape of his earthly father which was definitely disconcerting. He didn’t speak like him though.
“You know that they will all turn against you and your God in the end don’t you?” The devil’s opening move was to quote Scripture which was typical of him Martin thought. The devil was referring to the big battle at the end of the Millennium when he was going to be released. The saints were going to have to all retreat into Jerusalem while those mortals that they had enabled to live such wonderful lives believed the devil and used their new tools against them. The devil knew he was getting out at that time and he knew how effective he was at getting people to follow him.
“Yes, I know.”
“Why do you think that will happen?”
Martin thought that he wasn’t going to give the devil any kind of praise or credit so he said nothing.
“You know it’s because I am much better at getting people to follow me than your God is. I used to tell Him. We were so close you know. We would walk together in the places where only I and He could go and I would tell Him. He had this idea that his creatures should be as free as possible so that the only reason they would follow Him would be because they loved Him! Such silly reasoning! Did He not know that it would only take a few lies, just a little coercion, a few subtle appeals to their emotions, intellect and ego and they would do anything but love Him? You know I have proven that billions of times already?”
The devil was using an argument that Martin was familiar with. The fact that God was not as effective using His methods of truth, love and freedom to get people to follow Him was something even Jesus had admitted when He talked about the narrow way. The whole sorry story of God’s failure to get the Israelites to consistently obey Him was also recorded for everyone to see. He also knew that God wasn’t proud of His record. He had taken full responsibility for this failure on the Cross though which was one of the reasons why Martin loved Him.
“Are you finished?” Martin asked.
Martin was in front of the four living creatures and had fallen over onto his face again. “I thought You said he would be able for this,” an angel said. “He will be ok it’s just that, even in his new body, he finds it hard to cope with things that don’t relate to anything he has experienced before,” Jesus responded.
Martin began to come around. As he regained consciousness he remembered to prepare himself for the shock. He didn’t want to go into that catatonic state or whatever it was he had just experienced again. So he concentrated hard and managed to get a hold of all the various impulses coming to him through all his senses and extra sensory perceptions. The flood of impressions coming at him from the four living creatures this close up was the closest thing to pain he had felt this side of the rapture. He could feel himself wobbling again and getting giddy.
“Look at Me.” It was Jesus saying the only sensible thing to do. So Martin looked into Jesus’ eyes. Strength and power flowed through his new body and he found he could stand firm. His admiration for John, Ezekiel and Daniel grew.
Patricius, the angel, asked Martin if he was ready for a short journey to the regions beyond. Martin thought he was so he went with the angel into the living creatures.
End of Millennium
Martin looked up at Florence and was immediately dazzled by her beauty. It was both exceedingly bright and deeply resonant in his soul as only an immortal’s beauty could be. Florence had spent the last 997 years in a state of worship, seemingly doing nothing all day and night long except stand transfixed in the presence of God. She had been singing and dancing, yes, and sometimes Martin had gone into the worship palace to watch her and the others do amazing things – like figure skaters only more so – but generally he was too busy saving the world to spend as much time there as he would have liked.
Anyway, here she was out in the field so to speak. Martin found himself wondering what she had been doing all this time that she was only finding her way out here now for the first time?
It was a strange thought, he never had questioned her, or any immortal’s, path before.
Florence saw the puzzled look on his face and knew what was going on.
“He has been released.” she said.
This was a non-sequitur in Martin’s mind, he hadn’t a clue where she was coming from. Again he had some strange thoughts: “All that time doing nothing has made her mad.” “You can see that she is out of touch with the real world”.
Martin couldn’t remember thinking such negative thoughts about an immortal for almost a thousand years. Now he was really wondering what was going on.
“He has been released.” Florence reiterated. “Just as the book said he would be.”