The Millennium is the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth after He returns at the second coming (Rev. 20:1-10). During this time, Jesus will set up His Kingdom in Jerusalem and people will continue to live on earth until the earth is destroyed at the end of the millennium (2 Pet. 3:10-13, Rev. 20:11). Many people wrongly believe that the earth is destroyed when Jesus returns. The second coming is not the end of the world, but the end of the age-the end of this time period as we know it (Matt. 24:3).
The Rapture and the Second Coming cannot be the same event because if that were true, who would populate the Millennium? Consider the following:
1. How do multitudes of people get into the Millennium?
Only a few will enter into the millennial kingdom (Matt. 24:22)
“Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up year to year to worship the King.” (Zech. 14:16). This verse indicates that most of the earth’s population will be destroyed before Jesus returns. By the end of the millennium, there will be multitudes on earth. Rev. 20:8 tell us “the number of them will be like the sand of the sea.” If only a few people enter the millennium and there are multitudes by the end, how did all those people get there?
2. How do lost people get in the Millennium?
Only saved people enter the millennium.
At the Second Coming, only the sheep (saved people) enter into the kingdom, while the goats (lost people) are cast into hell. See Matt. 25:31-46. That means that the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth begins with an entire population of people who have eternal life (Matt. 25:46).
By the end of the millennium, many lost people will be there. At the end of the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth, Satan is loosed from the abyss and deceives the nations on the earth, who try to overthrow the throne of Jesus (Rev. 20:7-9). These are obviously lost people. Zechariah 14:16-19 tell us that during the millennium people will be required to go to Jerusalem once a year to worship the King (Jesus). For those who refuse to go, punishment will come upon them.
Why would a saved person refuse to worship Jesus? Obviously, saved people will look forward to worshiping Jesus. But these are lost people. How did they get in the millennium? The answer is simple. These are people born during the millennium.
3. How can people be born after the Second Coming?
Resurrected people can’t beget children.
Jesus said, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven.” People with resurrected bodies won’t be able to marry or have children (Matt. 22:30). At the Rapture, every Christian will receive a resurrected body, therefore we can’t be involved in repopulating the earth. The Rapture cannot occur at the same time as the second coming because no one would be available in natural bodies to repopulate the earth. Children will be born during the millennium.
Only people in their natural, unresurrected bodies are able to have children. Because the earth’s population will be drastically reduced because most people will be killed (or raptured) before Jesus returns, the earth will need to be repopulated. Jesus referred to the millennial kingdom on earth as the “regeneration” (see Matt. 19:28) which means “repopulation.”
Many children will be born on earth during this 1,000 year of Christ (Zech. 8:1-5, Isa. 65:20-23, Ezek. 47:22, Rev. 20:7-9). Zechariah 14:16 tells us that those who refuse to worship Jesus in Jerusalem come from “the families of the earth,” indicating these are the children and grandchildren of those who entered the millennium.
4. Who are the parents of these children?
The parents are people who have been saved after the Rapture, who are still alive at the Second Coming.
This is why the Rapture and the second Coming of Christ cannot be the same event. If the Rapture happens at the same time as the Second Coming, all saved people would have resurrected bodies and there would be no people in natural bodies to repopulate the earth.
We know that only saved people enter the millennium, so these believers must be people who were saved after the Rapture-who are still alive at the Second Coming. God kept them alive through the Tribulation Period so they would be able to repopulate the earth during the millennium.
Therefore, the Rapture serves 2 purposes: 1) For the church to receive our resurrection bodies and home in heaven 2) To provide a group of people to populate the earth after the Second Coming.