Bruce R. McConkie

Just as century means a period of 100 years so millennium means a period of 1000 years. This earth, according to the divine plan, is passing through a mortal or temporal existence of seven millenniums or 7000 years. (D. & C. 77:6-7.) During the first six of these (covering a total period of 6000 years from the time of the fall of Adam) conditions of carnality, corruption, evil, and wickedness of every sort have prevailed upon the earth. Wars, death, destruction and everything incident to the present telestial state of existence have held sway over the earth and all life on its face.

When the 7th thousand years commence, however, radical changes will take place both in the earth itself and in the nature and type of existence enjoyed by all forms of life on its face. This will be the long hoped for age of peace when Christ will reign personally upon the earth when the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory; when corruption, death, and disease will cease; and when the kingdom of God on earth will be fully established in all its glory, beauty, and perfection. (Tenth Article Faith.) This is the period known to the saints of all ages as the millennium. Important events and conditions to precede, attend and follow the millennial era include the following:

1. COUNCIL AT ADAM-ONDI-AHMAN PRECEDES MILLENNIUM. During the first 6000 years of this earth's temporal continuance, the Lord is administering the affairs of his earthly kingdom through agents, stewards, prophets, and appointed servants to whom he gives the keys and authority to direct such affairs. Adam is the Lord's chief agent in governing the affairs of this earth. The heads of the gospel dispensations and all of the prophets who have served in those blessed eras have been and are subject to this first man of all men.

When the time approaches for Christ to come and reign personally upon earth for the millennial period, then Adam and all those subordinate to him who have held keys and authority will meet in the Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman. There an accounting will be made of all stewardships; Christ will come and receive back the keys; and there will be "given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him." (Dan. 7:14.) Following this all will be in readiness for our Lord to reign personally upon the earth, and he will soon thereafter come to usher in the great millennial era.

2. SECOND COMING USHERS IN MILLENNIUM. We are not living in the millennium now; nor do millennial conditions now prevail upon the earth; nor will they until Christ comes and the earth is renewed and receives its paradisiacal glory. (Tenth Article of Faith.) Christ's coming will mark the beginning of the millennium. The changes in men, all forms of life, and the earth itself, which will be incident to the new order of things, will take place in the day of that coming.

"In mine own due time," saith the Lord, will I come upon the earth in judgment, and my people shall be redeemed and shall reign with me on earth. For the great Millennium, which I have spoken by the mouth of my servants, shall come." (D. C. 43:29-30.) Again: "I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory, with all the hosts thereof, and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand." (D. & C. 29:11.)

3. FIRST RESURRECTION USHERS IN MILLENNIUM. Many persons have already come forth from the grave in their resurrected and glorified bodies. Righteous saints who lived from the day of Adam to the day of Christ were with him in his resurrection. (Matt. 27:52-53; D. & C. 133:54-55; Hela. 14:25.) To us, however, the first resurrection, the resurrection of the just, will come with the return of our Lord and the commencement of his millennial reign.

"Yea, and blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, from henceforth, when he Lord shall come, and old things shall pass away, and all things become new, they shall rise from the dead and shall not die after and shall receive an inheritance before the Lord, in the holy city." (D. & C. 63:49.)

4. RIGHTEOUSNESS WILL NOT HASTEN MILLENNIUM. The time for the beginning of the millennium is fixed. It has been definitely set and is known to the Father. It cannot be advanced by the righteousness of the saints nor the repentance of people in the world. Nor can it be postponed either because of increasing wickedness or for any reason. By definition the millennium is the 7th period of 1000 years duration to which this earth is subject. It will commence when Christ comes, and his coming is set by revelation to be in the beginning of the 7th thousand years of this earth's temporal existence. (D. & C. 77:6, 12.)

As a matter of fact, the Second Coming of Christ (and thus the ushering in of the millennial era) will occur in a day of war and wickedness, of carnality, corruption, and abomination such as the world has never before seen. The cup of man's iniquity will be full, and the fury and scourge of the Lord will then be poured out without measure upon all nations. (Ezek. 38; 39; Joel 2; 3; Zech. 12; 13; 14; Mal. 3; 4; D. & C. 29; 45; 64:23-25; 133.)

5. DESTRUCTION OF WICKED AS MILLENNIUM COMMENCES. Incident to the commencement of the millennial era, the earth (the Lord's vineyard) will be burned. Every corruptible thing will be consumed. (D. & C. 101:24); all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be burned as stubble (Mal. 4:1; D. & C. 29:9; 64:23-25; 133:63-64): the sinners will be destroyed (Isa. 13:9-14); and there will be an entire separation of the righteous and the wicked. (D. & C. 63:54.) Those only shall be able to abide that day who are worthy to live on a paradisiacal or terrestrial sphere.

6. DAY OF JUDGMENT COMMENCES MILLENNIAL ERA. With the return of our Lord in the clouds of heaven in all the glory of his Father's kingdom, to usher in the millennial era of peace, will come the first great formal day of judgment. At that day shall be gathered before him all the nations of the living, and he shall separate the sheep from the goats, rewarding the righteous with an inheritance in his Father's kingdom and cursing the wicked with everlasting punishment. (Matt. 25:31-46.) At that day the Twelve who were with the Lord in Jerusalem shall be in glory, even as he, and shall judge the righteous hosts of "the whole house of Israel." (D. & C. 29:9-13.) And beginning at that day, the worthy saints, having been resurrected with celestial bodies, shall live and reign on earth a thousand years. (Rev. 20:4.)

7. RENEWAL OF EARTH TO PARADISIACAL STATE. With the ushering in of the millennium, "the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory" (Tenth Article of Faith); that is, it will return to the edenic, terrestrial state which existed when the Lord God finished the creative enterprise and pronounced everything that he had made, "very good." (Gen. 1:31.) In that primeval day, thorns, thistles, briars, and noxious weeds had not yet made their appearance (Gen. 3:18); there were no deserts and unfruitful places, no barren and unproductive mountains, but the whole earth was a delightful garden; all the earth's land surface was in one place, the seas in another; and death had not entered the scene, but immortality reigned in every department of creation. (2 Ne. 2:22.)

Then came the fall of Adam and with it the beginning of the present telestial order of things. (Man: His Origin and Destiny, pp. 380-397.)

The millennium is the age of renewal and regeneration when the Lord will "create new heavens and a new earth." So sweeping will be the changes, so radical the differences in the order of things, that the former heavens and earth "shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." (Isa. 65:17.) It will be a "day of transfiguration," a day "when the earth shall be transfigured" (D. & C. 63:20-21), a day when the continents and islands shall again "become one land," when the mountains and valleys will no longer be found (D. & C. 133:22-24), when all things will return to their state of paradisiacal glory.

Our revelations tell us that when the Lord comes, the "element shall melt with fervent heat; and all things shall become new." (D. & C. 101:25.) And Peter used this gospel truth as a basis for this powerful exhortation:

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to the promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." (2 Pet. 3:10-14.)

8. MILLENNIAL BINDING OF SATAN. When we speak of the binding of Satan in connection with the millennium, we mean that he will be bound during that era, that his powers will be limited after that day commences, and not that men will turn to righteousness so as to tie the hands of Satan, thereby bringing millennial conditions to pass. The plan does not call for men to turn voluntarily to righteousness thereby causing the thousand year era of peace to commence. Rather, the millennium will be brought about by power; the wicked will be destroyed; and those only will remain on earth who are sufficiently righteous to abide the day of the Lord's coming (Mal. 3; 4), a day when the elements shall melt with fervent heat and all things become new.

However, Satan shall be bound (D. & C. 43:31; 45:55; 84:100; 88:110-111; Rev. 20:1-3, 7), and for a thousand years he "shall not have power to tempt any man." (D. & C. 101:28.) Accordingly, "children shall grow up without sin unto salvation" (D. & C. 45:58), and righteousness and peace be everywhere present. It was this concept that caused Nephi to write, speaking of the period after the commencement of the millennium, that: "Because of the righteousness of his people, Satan has no power; wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years; for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth." (1 Ne. 22:26.)

"And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison" (Rev. 20:7), "that he may gather together his armies. . . . And then cometh the battle of the great God; and the devil and his armies shall be cast away into their own place, that they shall not have power over the saints any more at all." (D. & C. 88:110-114.)

9. MILLENNIAL ATTAINMENT OF PEACE ON EARTH. Not until the Prince of Peace comes to reign personally on earth will there be peace, and it will only come then because carnal, wicked, and lustful people have been burned as stubble by the brightness of his coming. (Mal. 3; 4; D. & C. 29:9; 64:23-25; 133:63-64; Jos. Smith 2:37.) It will only come because on the new earth the "enmity of man" shall cease from before the Lord's face. (D. & C. 101:26.) Wars come because of lust (Jas. 4:1-2), and will continue until lustful men are swept from the earth.

When Christ comes "he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Isa. 2:4; Micah 4:3; 2 Ne. 12:4.)

10. MILLENNIAL CHANGES IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM. On the paradisiacal earth "the enmity of beasts, yea, the enmity of all flesh, shall cease." (D. & C. 101:26.) All animals shall mingle together in peace, and the appetites of the carnivorous beast shall be changed so that the grass of the field becomes the common diet of the animal world. (Isa. 11:6-9; 65:25.)

11. MORTALITY CONTINUES DURING MILLENNIUM. Great and marvelous though the changes will be incident to life during the millennial era, yet mortality as such will continue. Children will be born, grow up, marry, advance to old age, and pass through the equivalent of death. Crops will be planted, harvested, and eaten; industries will be expanded, cities built, and education fostered; men will continue to care for their own needs, handle their own affairs, and enjoy the full endowment of free agency. Speaking a pure language (Zeph. 3:9), dwelling in peace, living without disease, and progressing as the Holy Spirit will guide, the advancement and perfection of society during the millennium will exceed anything men have supposed or expected.

"And he that liveth when the Lord shall come, and hath kept the faith, blessed is he; nevertheless, it is appointed to him to die at the age of man. 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." (D. & C. 63:50-51.)

"For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day. And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation." (D. & C. 45:57-58.)

"Be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. . . .

"And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them." (Isa. 65:18-23.)

"But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it." (Micah 4:4.)

12. DEATH, SORROW, DISEASE CEASE DURING MILLENNIUM. Physical bodies of those living on earth during the millennium will not be subject to the same ills that attend us in our present sphere of existence. Men in that day will still be mortal; children will be born to them; spirits coming into the physical or natural bodies born in that day will then go through their mortal probation as we are now going through ours. Those born during the millennium will not be immortal, that is, their bodies and spirits will not be inseparably connected as is the case with resurrected beings. But their bodies will be changed from conditions as they now exist so that disease cannot attack them, and death as we know it cannot intervene to cause a separation of body and spirit.

"There shall be no more thence," the Lord said to Isaiah, "an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed." (Isa. 65:20.)

In our day the Lord has revealed: "And there shall be no sorrow because there is no death. In that day an infant shall not die until he is old; and his life shall be as the age of a tree; And when he dies he shall not sleep, that is to say in the earth, but shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and shall be caught up, and his rest shall be glorious." (D. & C. 101:29-31.)

13. ALL THINGS REVEALED DURING MILLENNIUM In this pre-millennial age we have the fulness of the gospel, meaning that we have the fulness of the authority and sealing power whereby man can be sealed up unto eternal life and become an inheritor of the fulness of eternal reward in our Father's kingdom. But we do not have the fulness of truth; many glorious gospel doctrines have been known and taught in previous dispensations which have not as yet been restored to us. Such was the case, for instance, with Enoch and his people, with certain of the Jaredites, and with the Nephite people following the ministry of Christ among them.

But with the dawning of the millennium, the restoration of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began," shall be completed (Acts 3:21.) As Nephi expressed it, "All things which have been revealed unto the children of men shall at that day be revealed." (2 Ne. 30:15-18; D. & C. 121:26-32.) If the sealed part of the Book of Mormon has not already been revealed, it will come forth in that day.

In addition, millennial revelations will bring to light truths never before manifest to any mortal. "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." (D. & C. 101:32-34.)

14. NONMEMBERS OF CHURCH DURING MILLENNIUM. Since all who are living at least a terrestrial law the law of honesty, uprightness, and integrity will be able to abide the day of our Lord's coming, there will be nonmembers of the Church on earth during the millennium. (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, pp. 86-87; vol 3, pp. 63-64.) Honest and upright people who have been deceived by the false religions and false philosophies of the world will not have their free agency abridged. They will continue to believe their false doctrines until they voluntarily elect to receive gospel light. Speaking of the millennial period, Micah said, "All people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever." (Micah 4:5.)

During the millennium, however, the Lord will use the forces of nature to turn people's attention to the truth. "Whoso will not come up," said Zechariah, "of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain." (Zech. 14:16-19.) Joseph Smith said, "The heathen nations who will not come up to worship will be visited with the judgments of God, and must eventually be destroyed from the earth." (Teachings, p. 269.)

15. MILLENNIAL CONVERSION OF ALL TO TRUTH. With the destruction of the wicked and the fall of the great and abominable church (D. & C. 29:21; 88:94) events destined to accompany the ushering in of the millennium the conversion of men to the truths of the gospel will become easy. In due course every living soul on earth will come to the knowledge of the truth, "for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Isa. 11:9; Hab. 2:14.) This means that when "all things shall be made known unto the children of men" (2 Ne. 30:15-18), they all shall accept the gospel, for the knowledge of God is found only by revelation through the power of the priesthood. (D. & C. 84:19-22.)

This will be the day when the great promise to Israel is fulfilled: "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jer. 31:34.)

This, also shall be the day wherein men shall be so close to the Lord that, "Whatsoever any man shall ask, it shall be given unto him" (D. & C. 101:27), the day in which before men call, the Lord will answer, and while they are yet speaking, he will hear. (Isa. 65:24.)

16. THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God on earth; it is the kingdom which shall never be destroyed or left to other people; it is the kingdom which shall break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms; and it shall stand forever. (Dan. 2:44.) But for the present it functions as an ecclesiastical kingdom only.

With the millennial advent, the kingdom of God on earth will step forth and exercise political jurisdiction over all the earth as well as ecclesiastical jurisdiction over its own citizens. When the saints pray, according to the Lord's pattern, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10), they are petitioning the Father to send the political or millennial kingdom so that complete righteousness, both civically and religiously, will prevail on earth. That will be the day when, "The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him." (Dan. 7:27; D. & C. 65; Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, pp. 229-230.)

Until that glorious day when the Lord shall make "a full end of all nations" (D. & C. 87:6), when he shall reign "whose right it is to reign," the saints are commanded to "be subject to the powers that be." (D. & C. 58:22.) But in that day the whole system of government will be changed. Christ having previously come in the clouds of heaven to Adam-ondi-Ahman where "there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him" (Dan. 7:13-14) shall then take over the reigns of government personally. "Ye shall have no laws but my laws when I come, for I am your lawgiver," he has said. (D. & C. 38:22.) To the Prophet he said of those who would inhabit the millennial earth: "For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver." (D. & C. 45:59.)

At the time there will be two world capitals, "for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (Isa. 2:3; Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, pp. 66-72.) That resurrected personages will have positions of power and responsibility in the kingdom is evident from John's millennial statement: "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." (Rev. 5:10; 20:4.) Of this the Prophet Joseph Smith said: "Christ and the resurrected saints will reign over the earth during the thousand 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, p. 68.) Obviously many governmental offices will be filled by mortal persons living on the earth.

17. TEMPLE WORK DURING MILLENNIUM Salvation cannot be gained except through baptism of water and of the Spirit, nor can exaltation be achieved except through temple endowments and the sealing of families together for eternity. These saving and exalting ordinances are performed vicariously in the temples for the worthy dead who did not have opportunity to receive them in this life.

We are commanded to go to with our might, collect all the accurate genealogical data we can, and perform these saving and exalting ordinances for our worthy ancestors. Obviously, due to the frailties, incapacities, and errors of mortal men, and because the records of past ages are often scanty and inaccurate, this great work cannot be completed for every worthy soul without assistance from on high. The millennial era is the time, primarily, when this assistance will be given by resurrected beings. Genealogical records unknown to us will then become available. Errors committed by us in sealings or other ordinances will be rectified, and all things will be arranged in proper order. Temple work will be the great work of the millennium. (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, pp. 251-25.)

18. END OF MILLENNIUM AND OF THE EARTH. When the thousand years are ended Satan shall be loosed, men again shall begin to deny their God, and rebellion shall well up in the hearts of many. For a little season the devil will be free to gather together his armies, even the hosts of hell; and then the final battle will be fought in which Satan (who is Perdition) together with all his sons shall be cast out forever. (D. & C. 29:22-29; 43:31; 88:110-115; Rev. 20:7-10; 2 Ne. 9:16.) Then will come the end of the earth as it is now constituted, for it will attain its final destiny as a celestial sphere, and the meek shall inherit it forever. (D. & C. 88:16-20.)

Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1958, 1966