The 1000 year millennial reign of Christ.
This is certainly a topic that is very complex and one that is constantly used to try and refute the belief that all scripture has been fulfilled. I would like to consider myself an honest guy. Being honest I can say upfront that I personally do not claim to have a 100% dogmatic and fully confident understanding of it myself. However, I think I have an ok grasp on it and I will say that if we just carefully consider some of the facts that we do clearly know, then understanding the millennium or at least being able to "place" it into a spot in history, becomes easier.
I will be up front with you and tell you that this teaching will be longer than my normal ones but please take 5-10 minutes and give it a fair chance until the end. It may not convince you fully, but I am confident it will point us in a better direction.
What do we know about this "reign of Christ"?
Four things we need to establish in our minds before we approach this are the following (store these good and keep them in mind)....
1) Revelation chapter 20 is the ONLY place in the entire bible where we hear about this "1000 year reign".
2) The book of Revelation is HIGHLY symbolic. We read of 10 headed dragons, a woman clothed with the sun, locusts with the faces of men, 200 million man armies, and on and on. It is a highly symbolic narrative of the end of the Old Covenant. I like to call it "The Mount of Olives on steroids."
3) The book of Revelation draws from the Old Testament far more than any other New Testament book.
4) ALL of the events in the book were promised and assured to be taking place "shortly", "soon", "near", and "at hand". John opens and closes the book emphatically declaring the imminence of not some, but ALL of the events within.
Allowing these 4 points to steer your imagination when reading this highly symbolic book will help greatly in keeping our focus dialed in and not wandering.
We know that this period was going to be a period of time when satan was going to be "bound". Satan would be bound so that he couldn't deceive the nations. He would be let loose for a short time at the end of the millennium to wreak havoc but only FOR A SHORT TIME.
Now the mainstream popular view is that at some time in the future, Jesus is going to return bodily on a cloud from the heavens, and He will take His throne in literal Jerusalem. He will rule and reign from this literal throne and will restore peace to earth during this literal 1000 year period in history. They hold firm to the belief that Jesus will visible and physically return to establish His Kingdom on earth in a visible and observable way. Jesus had something else in mind apparently because when asked about when the Kingdom of God would come, His answer was ....
“The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed"
The Kingdom was already in their midst and was inside of them. It was in it's birth stage at that point. It would fully mature and COME when He returned in that Kingdom at the end of the age.
Also, the passage says nothing about Jesus coming to this earth and establishing a worldly kingdom at Jerusalem! This is an example of allowing our imagination to conjure up something that isn't even there in the first place.
What about the binding of Satan?
Well Jesus during His ministry was asked by what powers He was conducting all of His miracles. He gave a pretty powerful answer. They were accusing Him of working by the power of the devil but He shut that down and revealed something to them. He said....
"But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house." Matthew 12:28-29
The subject is the strongman which we know is satan according to the accusations that led to this exchange. Jesus clearly says that He is conducting these miracles because the strongman (satan) was ALREADY BOUND at that time. It is my opinion that the binding of satan occurred at the start of His ministry or perhaps at His baptism. Remember, this scene is PRE-cross, so satan had already been bound at that time.
Type to Anti-Type:
I believe that the millennial reign of King Jesus correlates to the rule and reign of King David in the Old Testament. King David was a shadow of Christ. David was promised that one of his seed would be established on his throne (2 Samuel 7:12, Psalm 132:11). "David" was a symbolic reference of Christ. In fact, Jesus was from the lineage of David and was called the "Son of David" on various occasions.
David and his reign as king over Israel in the flesh, was the "type and shadow" for Christ's Messianic reign over Israel in the Spirit. The length of David's reign over the nation of Israel was 40 years.
(2 Samuel 5:4, 1 Kings 2:11) I do believe that Christ's Messianic reign was also 40 years which was the time between His ministry and when He finally put all His enemies under His feet. King David was the "type" and King Jesus was the "anti-type". We see this same theme with Noah, Moses, etc. The number 40 is actually extremely common when making comparisons and also when dealing with type/anti-type scenarios in the bible.
Argument: "But Jesus didn't put all enemies under His feet in 70ad!"
He most certainly did. His enemies were the Jews who had slaughtered all the prophets He sent to them dating all the way back to Abel. Jesus refers to them as "brood of vipers", "wicked and adulterous generation", "synagogue of satan" etc. It would be the Jews who would mourn when they saw Him return in Judgement, they were the ones "who pierced Him." (Rev 1:7) This was pulled from Zechariah when the prophet looked ahead to the day when Christ would hang on the cross. He said....."so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo" Zechariah 12:10-12
It was the Jews who called for His ultimate crucifixion. They "crucified the Lord of glory" said Paul in
1 Corinthians 2:8
When asked if they wanted Christ or the murderer released they chose to release the murderer and referring to Christ they shouted....
"Crucify Him, Crucify Him!" Luke 23:21
Paul says this...
"...just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost." 1 Thess. 14-16
What did Jesus say about that generation of enemies? Speaking to the Jewish Pharisees He said...
"that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation." Matthew 23:35-36
This was a covenantal judgement and His enemies were those of the Old Covenant who had played the harlot one too many times. Christ ruled and reigned and sat at the right hand of God until His enemies (the Jews who had killed all his prophets and also Himself) were made His footstool. 1 Cor 15:23-28 says that at the Coming of the Lord, "the Kingdom would then be delivered back to the Father so that God would be all in all." The coming of the Lord can clearly be posited at the end of the age in AD70.
Argument: "But it says 1000 years! How could that mean just 40!?"
The term "1000" in scripture is used often to represent a complete, full, or a perfect amount of something. For instance...
"For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills" Psalm 50:10
Does this mean that God only owns the cattle on those 1000 hills and that all the cattle on hills #1001 and onward are not His? Of course not. It's just used to represent "fullness" or "completion". In other words, God owns all the cattle on all the hills. Another example...
"For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night" Psalm 90:4 OR "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." 2 Peter 3:8
Both passages compare 1000 years to a day and even to "a watch" which is a group of 3 hours. The point is that we can't say that just because it says 1000, that it literally must mean literally 1000 years. This number, as well as many other whole complete numbers like 10, 100, 10,000 etc are VERY often used in scripture as non-literal.
An absolutely crucial piece of evidence pops up when we look at Revelation chapter 20. Look what it says about the END of that "1000 year" reign...
"Now when the 1000 years have EXPIRED, Satan will be released from his prison
(or unbound)... ..and he will gather them together to BATTLE, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the BELOVED CITY." Rev 20:7-9
Now regardless of all the imagery in that chapter, we can't neglect to notice that the 1000 years would be over AND THEN the beloved city would be surrounded and burned. Does anyone deny that the "beloved city" is Jerusalem? It cannot be denied. That is exactly what is was and it's exactly what happened. The Romans surrounded the city and burned it down. This was AFTER the 1000 years had expired.
We also need to take note of the events being mentioned in Revelation chapter 20 AFTER this beloved city is burned down. We have the Scene of the resurrection and the scene of the judgement as well as the saints getting their reward of inheritance.
Do we know when that all happened? Well, take a look at Daniel chapter 12 and you'll see clearly when it happened. It would be after a 42 month destruction on Jerusalem which would result in their total shattering and loss of power. This absolutely CANNOT be placed in our future as it has already been fulfilled.
Really think about this next point long and hard because this is an absolute game changer for the positive END of the 1000 year reign!!....
Since Revelation 20 shows the resurrection and judgement as happening AFTER the 1000 years has expired, and Daniel chapter 12 shows those events as being already fulfilled at the end of the age in AD70, you know what this logically means right?
The 1000 year symbolic/anti-type Messianic reign of Christ would be finished at the Coming of The Lord at the end of the age.
If all of those facts didn't convince you, just remember, John closes out the book of Revelation just shortly after he writes about this 1000 year reign and he says...
"Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.
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