Organizing Now for the Thousand Years to Come
“They . . . will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.”—REVELATION 20:6.
1. What will be the state of affairs on the earth more than a thousand years from now?
WHAT! Do we mean that more than a thousand years from now, mankind will still be here on earth? We mean exactly that! And what is more, all mankind will then be perfect in body, heart, and mind—like the first man and woman at the start of human existence on this globe. Yes, a thousand years from now, humans will be in the image and likeness of their God and Restorer. (Genesis 1:26-30) They will be enjoying life to the full in a “garden of Eden,” a paradise of pleasure, on a cleansed earth that will not be overcrowded with human inhabitants. (Genesis 2:15) All of this will be in fulfillment of the Creator’s original purpose toward the earth and those who were to reside upon it. This beautiful accomplishment will vindicate him as being faithful to his loving promise to bless all mankind despite all opposition.
2. How did people of some 19 centuries ago get a view of what perfected mankind will be like?
2 That blessed accomplishment will crown the Thousand Year Reign of God by means of his glorified Son, who spent 33 1/2 years on earth as a perfect man more than 19 centuries ago. As to the kind of appearance he presented at that time, we read: “The Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father; and he was full of undeserved kindness and truth.” (John 1:14) So in Jesus Christ, the people of Israel then saw what a perfect human creature is like. (Luke 3:23, 38) Yes, 19 centuries ago some people saw what perfected humankind will be like in the coming earthly Paradise.
3, 4. (a) How long will Jehovah’s reign by Jesus Christ and the 144,000 actually be? (b) What expression is used for that time period, and how was that reflected in the titles of certain Watch Tower publications?
3 The length of Jehovah’s Kingdom rule by Jesus Christ and his 144,000 glorified disciples was foretold to be a thousand years. Regarding that Thousand Year Reign, the aged apostle John wrote: “I saw thrones, and there were those who sat down on them, and power of judging was given them. Yes, I saw the souls of those executed with the ax for the witness they bore to Jesus and for speaking about God, and those who had worshiped neither the wild beast nor its image and who had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand. And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.”—Revelation 20:4-6.
4 Since a thousand years is a millennium, that period is called Christ’s Millennial Reign. Those who accept and teach this Bible doctrine are sometimes called millenarians or chiliasts, according to the Greek word for “thousand.” Interestingly, the volumes of Studies in the Scriptures (once published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society) were originally called Millennial Dawn. And the songbook once used by the International Bible Students was entitled Hymns of the Millennial Dawn.
5. What will be the state of Satan and the demons during the Thousand Year Reign of Christ?
5 The expression “a thousand years” at Revelation 20:4 is not symbolic but refers to a thousand solar years. During that Millennium, Satan the Devil and his demon hordes will be in the abyss, for just before telling about Christ’s Thousand Year Reign, the apostle John said: “I saw an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, that he might not mislead the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After these things he must be let loose for a little while.”—Revelation 20:1-3.
6. (a) What date have some Roman Catholics given for the end of Christ’s Thousand Year Reign? (b) If Catholic claims were true, how long has the little time of Satan’s release from the bottomless pit already been?
6 Some Roman Catholics have claimed that Jesus Christ’s Thousand Year Reign ended in 1799 when French armies captured Rome and deposed the pope as its ruler, so that he was deported as a prisoner to France, where he died. The Catholic clergy have said that Satan and his demons were then released from “the bottomless pit,” or “the abyss,” to renew their deceptive work for “a little time.” (Revelation 20:1-3, Catholic Douay Version) If that were true, it would mean that the “little time” has already continued for 190 years, with no end in sight.
7. What does the Bible indicate about the time and nature of Jesus Christ’s Millennial Reign?
7 According to the Scriptures, however, the true Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ is still future. Present-day fulfillment of Bible prophecy shows that it is very close at hand. During the true Millennium, Satan and his demons will actually be abyssed, and Jesus Christ and his 144,000 joint heirs will reign over all mankind without interference from the Devil’s organization. The everlasting blessing of all redeemed mankind, in fulfillment of Jehovah’s covenant with his “friend” Abraham, will begin with the “great crowd,” who will survive the unparalleled “tribulation” with which this wicked system ends. It will extend to the billions of human dead ransomed by “the blood of the Lamb,” Jesus Christ. (James 2:21-23; Revelation 7:1-17; Genesis 12:3; 22:15-18; Matthew 24:21, 22) To this end, these will be resurrected from their death sleep in the memorial tombs to life on earth.—John 5:28, 29.
A Christian Organization
8. What organization did the book The New Creation describe, but what organizational work did it not envision?
8 In the outworking of the divine purpose, a new organization has preceded those blessings by centuries. Regarding that organization, we read: “If anyone is in union with Christ, he is a new creation.” “Neither is circumcision anything nor is uncircumcision, but a new creation [a new creature, King James Version] is something.” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15) Back in 1904, the book The New Creation called attention to this new organization that came into existence in the first century C.E. (Studies in the Scriptures, Series VI, Study V, entitled “The Organization of the New Creation”) Owing to its view of what the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 would mean, that book did not envision the remarkable organizational work that was due to take place after the crippling effects of the first world war of human history.—Luke 21:24, KJ.
9. To what occasion did the remnant of the new creation rise?
9 The preservation of the remnant of the spiritual new creation to the end of World War I in 1918 and their being kept alive in the flesh into the postwar year of 1919 came as a wondrous surprise. But millennial conditions had not set in. Evidently, then, there was more work for the remnant of the new creation to do on earth before realizing its heavenly hope of sharing with Jesus Christ in the millennial work. Therefore, the great need was for the revival and reorganization of the remnant. So, with unshattered faith and eagerness for the thrilling work ahead, they rose to the occasion.
10. What questions arose with regard to the millions expected to survive into the new system of things?
10 Survival on earth by some of mankind through this wicked system’s catastrophic end and on into Jesus Christ’s Millennial Reign was expected by the anointed remnant. Especially was this so after the public talk “Millions Now Living May Never Die” was given at Los Angeles, California, in the war year of 1918. Were these millions of future Har–Magedon survivors to be organized? (Revelation 16:14-16) Before being ushered into the Millennium to become part of the “new earth,” would they engage in the Kingdom-preaching work along with the remnant? (2 Peter 3:13) These questions would be answered by postwar developments.
11. (a) What would have to be done with the other sheep due to become one flock with the remnant? (b) Why was a difference in hopes no reason for division between the remnant and the other sheep?
11 The following words of the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ, duly came to the fore: “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:16) If the anointed remnant needed to be organized for the postwar work from 1919 onward and if later the other sheep were to become one flock with the remnant in this fold, then what? Why, those other sheep would also have to get organized in conjunction with that remnant! The fact that the other sheep had a different hope—that of life in an earthly paradise of pleasure—was no cause for division between them and the remnant. All were following just the one Shepherd, and there would be no separation between the two groups until the glorification of the anointed remnant in the Kingdom.
12. (a) What is of far greater importance than the salvation of humankind? (b) When and why did it become of prime importance to advertise the Kingdom?
12 The salvation of humans from sin and death, the end of domination by Satan’s world, and the restoration of obedient mankind to Paradise reestablished earth wide are outstanding features of Jehovah’s loving purpose. However, there is something of far greater importance to all the universe. What is that? It is the vindication of Jehovah God’s universal sovereignty along with the sanctification of his holy name. The timeliness of advertising Jehovah’s Kingdom by the reigning King, Jesus Christ, was emphasized in 1922 at the second Cedar Point, Ohio, convention of the International Bible Students. Since the Gentile Times had ended in 1914, it was due time to carry out Jesus’ prophetic words: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) The Kingdom that would vindicate Jehovah’s universal sovereignty and sanctify his holy name had been established in heaven in 1914, and Jesus Christ was ruling in the midst of his enemies. This was the grand good news to be preached with all available means for advertising the King and his Kingdom!
13. For the work of Kingdom proclamation, what did God provide, and why?
13 Jehovah is an organizer on a universal scale, for he is the Most High, the Supreme One. He now saw to the thorough organization, here on earth, of the work of proclaiming his Kingdom internationally before the end of this system comes. Members of the surviving remnant of anointed ones were welded, therefore, into an international organization to accomplish his will. These must proclaim to the world that in view of Satan’s having challenged Jehovah’s universal sovereignty, both the reality and the rightfulness of that sovereignty must be vindicated, justified, for all time.
14. (a) Before our Common Era, what organization became the earthly part of Jehovah’s universal organization? (b) How did David prove to be an outstanding organizer?
14 For 15 centuries before our Common Era, Jehovah God had a visible organization on earth. He used the prophet Moses as His mediator in organizing the nation of Israel after its deliverance from Egypt, the first world empire of Bible history. Under the Mosaic Law, Israel became the visible part of Jehovah’s universal organization. An outstanding organizer among these chosen people of God was the shepherd-king David, of whom we read: “David organized them [the Levites who served at Jehovah’s sanctuary] in divisions, called after Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, the sons of Levi.” “He organized them [the priests] by drawing lots among them, for there were sacred officers and officers of God in the line of Eleazar and in that of Ithamar.”—1 Chronicles 23:3, 6; 24:1, 5, The New English Bible.
15. (a) In what manner did the Israelites depart from Egypt? (b) Who also chose to leave Egypt, and did they remain with the Israelites?
15 Hundreds of years before David’s time, when the Israelites left Egypt, they did not rush out in a mad scramble but departed in an orderly manner. This indicated good organizational work on the part of their mediator, Moses. A great crowd of non-Israelites went out with them, choosing to throw in their lot with the people of the miracle-working God, Jehovah, who was mightier than all the gods of Egypt. Despite many hardships, some time later this “vast mixed company” having goodwill toward Jehovah’s chosen people was still with them in the awesome wilderness of Sinai. (Exodus 12:37-51; Numbers 11:4) Along with the Israelites, that mixed multitude evidently entered the Promised Land under the leadership of Moses’ successor, Joshua, for God ordained that provision be made there for such alien residents.
16. (a) Whom did the vast mixed company prefigure? (b) What must these do to survive this system’s end?
16 That vast mixed company from Pharaonic Egypt prefigured a great crowd of the 20th century. They are not spiritual Israelites but are other sheep of the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ. With the anointed remnant, they look forward to complete deliverance from antitypical Egypt, the world system of things of which the Greater Pharaoh, Satan the Devil, is the god. (John 10:16; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 7:9) But what must they do to survive the violent destruction of Satan’s old world and enter the promised new world under the Greater Joshua, Jesus Christ? (2 Peter 3:13) They must keep in line with the organizational arrangements of the nucleus of Jehovah’s visible organization, the anointed remnant.
17. In this disorganized world, how do those of the great crowd act, and to what do they look forward?
17 Especially since the middle of the fourth decade of the 20th century has the great crowd of other sheep been brought into the organized one flock under the glorified one Shepherd, the reigning King, Jesus Christ. In a world that continues getting more and more disorganized despite the existence of the United Nations organization, those of this great crowd wholeheartedly support the anointed remnant and thus give evidence of the unifying power of Jehovah’s holy spirit. Determinedly, they keep organized with the remnant while looking forward to special service on earth during Jesus Christ’s Thousand Year Reign.
What Are Your Thoughts?
□ What do the Scriptures indicate about the time and nature of Jesus Christ’s Millennial Reign?
□ What is far more important than the salvation of humankind?
□ Before our Common Era, what organization became the earthly part of Jehovah’s universal organization?
□ How do those prefigured by the vast mixed company survive into the Thousand Year Reign?