As we are bombarded more frequently with devastating hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, shootings, and diseases, many of us can’t help but think, “Boy! We really are living in the last days. Look at all these prophesied signs of the times.” And we wonder: When is Christ coming? What will the Millennium be like?
Although there are many things we don’t know about the Millennium, and we’ve all heard rumors and speculations that we can’t be sure are true, there are several things we know as revealed through the scriptures and modern-day prophets. Here are five things you may not know about the Millennium.
Our Physical Nature Will Change
Isaiah tried to describe our modern vehicles, such as trains and airplanes, without modern language. Elder LeGrand Richards of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles suggested such when he said in 1954, “Since there were neither trains nor airplanes in that day, Isaiah could hardly have mentioned them by name. However, he seems to have described them in unmistakable words. How better could ‘their horses’ hoofs be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind’ than in the modern train? How better could ‘their roaring . . . be like a lion’ than in the roar of the airplane?”
In a similar manner, it is difficult to describe what our physical natures will be like during the Millennium. We just don’t necessarily have the language to describe it. Hence, scriptural words like “changed,” “quickened,” “transfigured,” and “translated” are used to describe the natures of mortal men and women during the Millennium.
In this new physical state, we will be mortal (meaning we won’t yet be resurrected), but our bodies will not be subjected to many of the physical ails that plague them now. There will be no disease, no pain, and no natural death. (See Revelations 21:4, 3 Nephi 28: 7-9, The Millennial Messiah.)
Instead of death, we will be “twinkled,” as many affectionately call it. The term comes from D&C 63:51—“Wherefore children shall grow up until they become old; old men shall die; but they shall not sleep in the dust, but they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye.”
In other words, those who live during the Millennium will not experience death as we now know it but instead will be resurrected instantaneously when they reach old age, which, according to Isaiah, is 100 years (see Isaiah 65:20).
In Living in the Millennium, Robert L. Millett quotes Elder Orson Pratt’s description of this change. “That fallen nature, introduced by the fall, and transferred from parents to children, from generation to generation, will be, in a measure, eradicated by this change.”
Resurrected Saints Will Dwell on Earth
“Mortals will inhabit the earth alongside immortals during the entirety of the 1,000 years,” Millet writes. These immortals will be Saints who died before the Millennium and were resurrected with Christ’s Second Coming.
These resurrected individuals will help Christ govern the earth (Teachings of the Prophets: Joseph Smith). They will help us accomplish the magnificent task of completing the temple work for every individual who has ever lived, and they will help us correct any mistakes we have made in trying to do our family history in the last days (Gospel Principles Ch. 45).
“This work of administering the ordinances of the dead . . .will require the whole of the Millennium, with Jesus at the head of the resurrected dead to attend to it,” President Woodruff taught, as quoted in Living in the Millennium.
You may wonder how the earth could accommodate so many people. Here are a couple of things we can consider:
- It is understood that resurrected beings will reside on the earth as visitors, coming and going as needed to help with our work. The prophet Joseph Smith said, “Christ and the resurrected Saints will reign over the earth during the 1,000 years. They will not probably dwell upon the earth, but will visit it when they please, or when it is necessary to govern it.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 268.)
- The earth will be transfigured at the time of the Second Coming, changing from a telestial to a terrestrial state. Is it impossible that a transfigured earth could have a greater capacity than it does now? Elder Bruce R. McConkie speculates on such changes in The Millennial Messiah, referencing D&C 133:26-29: “After our Lord comes and the new heaven and the new earth are a reality, then the earth will bring forth bounteously to support the billions of our Father’s children who shall soon find lodgment on its surface. We do not know what changes will cause this to be.”
New Scripture Will Come Forth
It may seem like we already have plenty of scripture to keep us occupied for millennia—especially when you add up conference addresses from our latter-day prophets and apostles. But just wait. As Nephi put it, “Wo be unto him that shall say . . . we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!” (2 Nephi 28: 29).
In the Millennium, we will receive additional scriptures. Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote in A Wonderful Flood of Light that these additional scriptures will include the account of Enoch, the writings of the Apostle John, the records of the lost tribes of Israel, and the sealed portion of the gold plates.
“Today we carry convenient quadruple combinations of the scriptures,” Elder Maxwell wrote, “but one day, since more scriptures are coming, we may need to pull little red wagons brimful with books.”
Anyone glad they have a smartphone library?
And of course, additional scripture leads to additional revelation. D&C 101: 32-34 reads:
“Yeah, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things—
“Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof—
“Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven.”
Not Everyone Will Be Mormon
A common misconception about the Millennium is that everyone will be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but this is not true.
At Christ’s Second Coming, all of the wicked people will be destroyed from off the face of the earth, but many good people of other faiths and ideologies will remain. Aside from temple work, the other great work of the Millennium will be missionary work.
Those living during the Millennium will still have their agency to believe and practice religion as they please. Robert Millet writes, “Seeing is not often believing . . . just as noble and upright souls in all nations and climes hesitate in our day to partake of the glories of the new and everlasting covenant, so also will many decline the fullness of the gospel light in that day when the mediator of the new covenant presides among his Saints.”
Missionary work, however, might be a little different. Since Christ will “reign personally upon the earth” (Articles of Faith 1:10) all peoples of the earth will come to know who He is. It says in the Gospel Principles manual chapter 45 that “Eventually there will be no need to teach others the first principles of the gospel because ‘they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord’ (Jeremiah 31:34).”
Despite differences in belief, everyone will live in peace and harmony during the Millennium, and all will be subject to Christ’s rule. President Taylor taught, “Every nation under the heavens will have to acknowledge his authority, and bow to his scepter . . . [those] who may not yield full obedience to his laws, nor be fully instructed in his covenants will, nevertheless, have to yield full obedience to his government” (Gospel Principles, ch. 45).
There Will Only Be One Continent
We discussed the transfiguration of the earth briefly already, but did you know that all the land masses that now exist will be joined back together in the Millennium? Elder McConkie uses many scriptures to confirm this. D&C 133:22-25 is one of them:
“And it shall be a voice as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder, which shall break down the mountains, and the valleys shall not be found.
“He shall command the great deep, and it shall be driven back into the north countries, and the islands shall become one land;
“And the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place, and the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided.
“And the Lord, even the Savior, shall stand in the midst of his people, and shall reign over all flesh.”
It's really interesting to see how scriptural references overlap with existing scientific theories. The Pangaea Theory supports the idea that the earth was once one solid land mass. Pangaea is the name of the supercontinent that scientists believe existed approximately 335 million years ago.
If you were to sit down and play a game of Tetris with the current continents, you can see how a few earthquakes could reshape the landmasses just enough that they would all fit back together like a puzzle. It is unsurprising, then, that when the earth is burned and the elements “melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:13) that the fragments of land now scattered in the oceans could be merged again.
Want to learn more about the Millennium? Check out Living in the Millennium by Robert L. Millet.
The Savior taught through the Prophet Joseph Smith that the time will come when "he that liveth in righteousness shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and the earth shall pass away so as by fire" (Doctrine and Covenants 43:32). What do we know about that day when Jesus Christ will come in glory to cleanse the earth? And what will life be like after He comes to reign?
In Living in the Millennium, the companion volume to Living in the Eleventh Hour, author Robert L. Millet opens the doors wide to show us what life will be like during and after the Millennium. Relying on the words of ancient and modern prophets, he shares what has been revealed about Christ's preliminary appearances, His return in majesty and power, and His millennial reign—a thousand years of goodness and peace.