We will rule and reign with Jesus. But will Jesus and the saints rule the earth from the earth or from heaven?
This is the fifth article in the series on Amillennialism. If you haven’t read the previous articles (they build on one another), please read them first:
Please consider reading all the articles before tackling this one.
Will Jesus and the Saints rule the Earth?
Our first four articles have clearly established that there will be a Kingdom on the earth for a literal 1000 years after the return of Jesus. The question now is whether Jesus and the saints will rule the earth from the earth or from heaven.
1 Thess. 4:17 clearly states that after the Rapture, the saints will always be with the Lord. So whether Jesus is, there the saints will be also. If Jesus reigns from the earth in the Millennial Kingdom, the saints will be there as well. Thus all we need to do to answer this question is to find out where Jesus is during this time (or vice-versa). The saints and Jesus will be together wherever they are.
Heavenly or Earthly Zion and Jerusalem
We must first establish that in the eternal state, Jerusalem and God the Father will descend to the earth and God the Father and Jesus will dwell on the earth with men forever. This is very clear.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them . . . I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Rev. 21:1-4, 22)
We also know that the Millennial Kingdom will take place on earth, so the only question is will Jesus and the saints rule it from the earth or heaven. This is complicated because there is a heavenly Mount Zion and Jerusalem as well as earthly ones. Which do Bible verses refer to? Some point to this verse:
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of [h]angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant (Heb. 12:22-24)
This absolutely establishes that there is a heavenly Zion and Jerusalem as well as an earthly one. However, notice a few things. It states “you have come” to Christians. This is currently occurring. It doesn’t say “you shall come.” This passage is a contrast between Judaism and Christianity during our earthly lives not after. Also notice the “spirits” of the righteous are living there, this is pre-resurrection and pre-Millennial Kingdom (when the righteous will be in glorified bodies not as spirits.) In other words, this heavenly Zion and Jerusalem are in existence right now and Jesus is there right now as are the spirits of the deceased saints.
This heavenly Jerusalem will be the one that descends to the earth in the eternal state. Jesus in it now, but this still doesn’t answer where he will be in the Millennial Kingdom.
There are literally 2 dozen of scriptures that clearly show Jesus will rule from Zion and Jerusalem during the Millennium, but only a few show which ones: heavenly or earthly.
The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies . . . He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.He will drink from the brook by the wayside; Therefore He will lift up His head. (Psalm 110: 1-2, 7)
Jesus is said to rule in the midst of his enemies. Obviously those enemies aren’t in heaven! Also notice him drinking from the brook while judging the nations and filling them with corpses; also not in heaven.
Jeremiah specifies that Jesus will reign as King in the land; not over the land, but IN it.
Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land.” (Jer. 23:5)
In Ezekiel, Jesus says directly he will be IN Israel after the Battle of Gog and Magog (Armageddon).
My holy name I will make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let My holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is coming and it shall be done,” declares the Lord God. “That is the day (Day of the Lord) of which I have spoken. (Ezek. 39:7-8)
In Joel, Jesus is said to dwell in Jerusalem after the Day of the Lord, but a caveat is added, that strangers will no longer pass through it. This can only be the earthly Jerusalem. Strangers don’t pass through the heavenly Jerusalem!
For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon grow dark and the stars lose their brightness . . . Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. So Jerusalem will be holy, and strangers will pass through it no more. (Joel 3:14-17)
In Zephaniah, we see that Jesus is King of Israel on the earth. Obviously Jesus has no need to say to the heavenly Jerusalem to not be afraid, only to the earthly one. And he is in their midst on the earth.
In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp. The Lord your God is in your midst, . . . Indeed, I will give you renown and praise among all the peoples of the earth. (Zeph. 3:16-17, 20)
Zechariah has several verses that clearly state that Jesus will reign on the earth.
“Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the Lord. “Many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. The Lord will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem. “(Zech. 2:10-12)
Again we see this happens “in the land” and if Jesus again chooses Jerusalem, it can only be the earthly one. Obviously he has always chosen the heavenly one.
Later in Zechariah, Jesus’s feet touch the Mount of Olives and he becomes King of all the EARTH. Does he ascend again to do this?
In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. . . And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one. (Zech. 14:4,9)
These examples are not simply one isolated verse. There is very substantial evidence that Jesus will reign from the earthly Jerusalem for a 1000 years and the saints with him. After that the heavenly Jerusalem will descend to the earth and God the Father and Jesus will dwell on the earth with the saints.
We are to resurrected into glorified bodies. Bodies are made for the earth not heaven. If we remained in heaven it would be fine to be spirits, but if scripture says we are bodily resurrected there is a reason. That reason is to reign with Jesus upon the earth.
The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. (Psalm 37:29)
In the next article we will look at the final aspect of this study, whether the promises of God made to the Jews have been transferred to the Church. Has the Church replaced the Jews?