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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 7

The Thousand Year Mystery

“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. Revelation 20:1-3.

Much of the Bible, Old Testament and New, uses symbolical language. This is especially true of the books of Daniel and Revelation. Many of the prophets and especially the Lord Jesus Christ purposely hid spiritual gold under the cloak of earthly stories called parables.

When the disciples asked the Lord about the parable of the sower, he told them, “... unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” Mark 4:11-12.

From this scripture it is evident that God purposely uses symbolical language to keep the natural man from understanding what He is saying. This is another reason there is so much difference of opinion and misunderstanding about the Bible. Most religious people trying to interpret the Bible are just natural men having never experienced the spiritual birth.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I Corinthians 2:14.

Although most Bible expositors recognize the book of Revelation as being highly symbolical, they interpret the thousand years of chapter twenty literally. They readily admit “the key,” “the bottomless pit” and “the great chain” are symbolical terms but when it comes to the thousand years they want to make that literal. I believe the “thousand years” is symbolical also.


The key to its meaning is found in II Peter 3 which deals principally with the unbelief of man concerning the coming of Christ and the faithfulness of God in keeping his promise. It is the eighth verse of this chapter that gives us the key to our mystery concerning the thousand years.

“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” According to this scripture a thousand years with God could be any period of time from one day to a thousand years.

Some, of course, would argue that this was just a figure of speech with the emphasis on God’s faithfulness to keep his promise whether it be one day or a thousand years. Although I agree this is true, I believe there was a secondary reason the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to use what I feel was more than a simple figure of speech. The Holy Spirit was infinitely wise and careful to choose such language. God knew the natural religious man would think of it only as a figure of speech, thus the key to a great mystery would be hidden.

Let’s remember this thousand years or one day was used in connection with the time period that precedes the coming of Christ and the destruction of the earth by fire. In fact, I believe it does represent this time period and is identical with the thousand years of Revelation twenty.

If a day with the Lord could be as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day then the literal time period is certainly indefinite and unknown: known to God but not to man.

Another reason I believe the thousand years to be symbolical and not literal is because it would allow man to pinpoint the end of the age. All scripture makes it plain that God alone knows the specified time element concerning these things. No man can know the day nor the hour. Matthew 24:36. Acts 1:7.

The Lord Jesus Christ, Peter, Paul and others warned us that Christ would come suddenly and without warning taking the world by complete surprise. Matthew 24:37-39. II Peter 3:10. I Thessalonians 5:1-3. God has not given us any mathematical formula whereby we can pinpoint these things. Only by the revelation of the Spirit through the word can we recognize the true signs of his coming and be prepared.


This thousand years is symbolical and represents a day of God’s dealing with man in a certain way. It is not a twenty-four hour day but a dispensational day. So far as the time element is concerned it is unknown and indefinite. It is indeed “known to God but not to man.” This day or dispensation has come to be known by many as the day of grace.

I personally believe the figure “thousand” is used because it represents the full measure of time allotted to man during this day of grace. This is the day of divine restraint which holds back the forces of evil so man can hear the gospel message. It represents the Church age or that time period that reaches from Calvary to the end of the gospel age.

Although the mystery of iniquity has worked in this age it has been under divine restraint. This divine restraint was necessary for man to have a chance to hear the gospel. The unfettered activity of Satan and his demoniac host would have prevented this.

What men are still looking for out in the future has come and is, in fact, about over. Deceived religious teachers, by their doctrines, say there is still plenty of time and opportunity for men to be saved. According to their doctrines we have whatever time is left before the rapture plus the seven years tribulation, plus the millennium (1000 years), plus the little season at the end before the world is finally destroyed by fire.

How can man be concerned and prepared when he thinks he has so much time left? No wonder Peter said, “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.” II Peter 3:10.

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