Part of what makes the end of the world a daunting topic is that there are many different theories as to how exactly it will happen. All Christians agree that it will happen. In this post I wanted to take a look at the millennium a little closer with you.
The only two places in the Bible where the concept of one thousand year is mentioned is in Revelation 20 and 2 Peter 3. The passages in Revelation are in a vision where symbolic imagery is rampant. That’s ok; it’s a dream! St. John’s Revelation was written to comfort the church with pictures of the struggle won by our God and our heavenly home. 2 Peter 3 also has as its topic the end of the world, but the passage in question totally undermines the thought assigning a time frame to our God.
I want to suggest to you that the thousand year reign of Christ is happening right now. It started with Jesus’ first coming as a man and it will end just before the end of the world. The thousand year reign of Christ is a spiritual one. Jesus explained that his kingdom is not of this world to Pilate on the day he was executed. So also his reigning is not of this world either. It is a spiritual one.
Let’s walk through Revelation 20.
The first three verses describe what the millennium is. Satan is bound. Is there actually a great chain? I don’t know the best way to control an angel – I’m sure my God has it figured out. The point is clear; God is in control. Satan is not.
Verses 4 – 6 talk about the dead and a couple different resurrections, beasts, his mark, and thrones. This is par for the course in Revelation. Again it’s a vision or a dream. The first resurrection is when a Christian comes to faith in Jesus. The Bible talks about how we are dead in our trespasses and sins. The Spirit creates life – spiritual life – that will last us through the end of the world. That is why, “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death (physical death – remember, we’re all born spiritually dead) has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.”
Verse 7 through the end of the chapter talk again about the destruction of God’s enemies and the Last Day. This has already been covered in the book. The whole outline of Revelation is not a Western linier train of thought. There is no point A to point B. It is an Eastern repetitive outline. People have compared Revelation to an onion that is peeled back and repeats the central theme of God’s victory and Satan’s demise over and over again. Our minds chafe – get to the point! The Apostle John relaxes as wave after wave of the fantastic imagery pound the point home of our victory in Jesus.
There are many who take the thousand year reign of Christ and run with it cheery picking different chunks of Scripture to make a confusing case. There are multiple versions this shifting the timing of the rapture, the tribulation, and the “secret coming of Christ”. They are making it up. There is no time line for the end of the world beside what God clearly describes for us in Matthew 24, 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5, and 2 Peter 3. There are bits and pieces else where. Do not go dig into a visions from Revelation or Daniel and try to make a clear path. A basic concept of interpreting Scripture is to let the clear passage interpret the less than clear. Why would we do it the other way around? The examples abound. Here is one. Why take Revelation 1:16 and think that Jesus will be spitting swords on the Last Day when it’s probably just a really cool picture and description of God’s word from Hebrews 4? Revelation is a fantastic puzzle that takes pieces from all over Scripture and makes a brilliant tapestry of the Last Day and heaven.
Look forward to the Last Day. It will be the first day of eternity with your Lord in heaven.
Please click HERE for the Bible class slides.