A Question About the 'Millennium'
A 5th Grade Teacher wrote:
I am having trouble with the idea of the Millennium. Up until Rev. 20, I don’t see the concept clearly in the Bible. With 20/20 hindsight and the use of what is shown in Rev. 20 I can find it in places...
John the Baptist talks about Jesus’ return as the straw being burned up. Peter talks of the elements being destroyed by fire. Could you take the time to explain to me what is going to happen?
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An excellent question! I grew up believing in a coming millennium so I can appreciate where you are coming from. For a more detailed treatment of your question I would direct you to the middle chapters of the book Lying Signs and Wonders.
However, I will be glad to share a quick overview of some things the Lord has made very real over the years, knowing, of course, that you need to seek the Lord for yourself concerning these things.
Rev. 20:1-7 is a passage containing much symbolism in the midst of a book of prophetic symbols. It was never meant to be unraveled by the natural mind. The central thing in the passage is the reign of Christ. That began when He ascended to the throne following the resurrection. Rev. 20 says nothing about the reign being ON EARTH or being a political and military empire as we know them. He has been ruling the nations with a rod of iron ever since (Psalm 2). I believe the outcome of wars, and the rise and fall of nations have been governed by His will. All authority in heaven and earth was given to Him that He might call out His elect during the “church age,” referred to in Heb. 1:2 as “THESE LAST DAYS.”
I Cor. 15:25 says of Christ: “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” Verse 26 continues, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” This takes place when the righteous are resurrected at Christ’s coming (verse 54). If death is the LAST enemy, how will any others arise later on?
On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:33-36), Peter referred to the ascension of Christ to the throne till His enemies are made his footstool. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was a direct result of His exaltation and consequent authority.
The period mentioned — a thousand years — is a large round number symbolic of the whole age. It would hardly have been appropriate for the Lord to have given a precise literal number since no man knows the day nor hour but the Father only (Matt. 24:37). We have enough would-be “date-setters” as it is!
The binding of Satan was relative and was accomplished through the victory of Calvary (Col. 2:15). Shortly before He went to the cross, Jesus said, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” John 12:31. He bound the strong man in order to spoil his house (Matt. 12:29). During this age, Satan has been unable to prevent Christ from gathering His elect. We can tell something about his binding from what occurs as a result of his loosing at the end: he gathers the world together against the camp of the saints (Rev. 20:7-9). All of the attempts of Satan to create an evil world empire during this present age have failed! Why? Because Christ is on the throne and it hasn’t been time! The end of this last rebellion is fire, the same end promised for the world as a whole (II Peter 3).
The Christian martyrs pictured in Rev. 20 have indeed been reigning with Christ during this time. I believe that the saints who have gone before are busy in the work of the kingdom from the other side of the veil. According to their call and place, they share in the exercise of Christ’s authority over the nations.
The two resurrections referred to are the same as those referred to by Jesus in John 5:24-29. The first, which Jesus said “now is,” is the resurrection of sinners to eternal life through the gospel (cf. Eph. 2:1). They live as a result of hearing the voice of the Son of God. The second resurrection has to do with those who are “in the graves” and includes both righteous and wicked — in the same HOUR(!), not 1007 years plus a little season apart as so many teach today. Rev. 20:6 says, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Compare this with John 5:24 which indicates that the believer “hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
Rev. 20:5 tells us that the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. I personally believe the wicked who have died are indeed dead and will not live again until the resurrection from the graves and that will be to judgment and damnation.
The mark of the beast in the foreheads and hands expresses symbolically those whose minds and works are in harmony with and under the dominion of Satan. Through the gospel we are translated out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. Col. 1:13.
The only kingdom Christ has with respect to this present world is the one He referred to in Luke 17:20-21 when he said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within” (or “among”) “you.”
I believe we have been in the period of the loosing of Satan for some time now and we see the effects everywhere. I don’t know what all he will be allowed to do between now and the time Christ comes, but I know his end! Hallelujah! Till then we are encouraged to lift up our heads because our redemption draweth nigh! Luke 21:28.
In Christian Love,