The Millennium

Revelation-Lion-and-the-Lamb1

 

The eschatology one holds to is heavily influenced by where they place the Millennium we find in Revelation.

 

“Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Rev 20:4 ESV

 

My question is, where did the Apostles place this period of time?  We find many places in the New Testament where the Apostles interpret the Prophecies of Christ for us.  Do they perform the same inspired exegesis in the New Testament for the Millennium?

 

I believe that I can make a very strong argument in the affirmative.  Take a look below and tell me what you think in the comments if you want to.  As I said on the Eschatology page, I’m not super dogmatic about the particulars of eschatology so I not only appreciate critique but I am asking for it.

 

Mountain of the Lord

 

Old Testament Millennial Text

 

“It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to itand many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord , to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Isaiah 2:2-3 ESV

 

“It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it,  and many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord , to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore;  but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.”  Micah 4:1-4 ESV

 

“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.”  Hosea 1:10 ESV

 

“In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old,” Amos 9:11 ESV

 

New Testament Millennial Text

 

“After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,  “‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it,  that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.’  Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God,” Acts 15:13-19 ESV

 

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,” Hebrews 12:22 ESV

 

Above we see that a commonly used passage in Isaiah for the millennium is interpreted in the New Testament.  The “nations” in Isaiah are interpreted as “gentiles” in Acts.  The “mountain of the Lord” and the “house of Jacob” is interpreted as “turn to God”.

 

Furthermore, in Hebrews we see that the author is declaring that we, those in Christ, have “come to Mount Zion”.  It appears that the Apostles are arguing for a figurative “mountain” expressed in gentiles turning to Christ rather than a literal geographical location that PreMillennialists prefer.

 

Millennial Peace

Old Testament Millennial Texts

 

“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.  The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.  The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.  They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:6-9 ESV

 

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.  I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:9-10 ESV

 

“Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before.” Joel 2:23 ESV

 

“And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streambeds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord and water the Valley of Shittim.” Joel 3:18 ESV

 

“He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore;” Micah 4:3 ESV

 

Above we see that the old testament is speaking of a time of peace.  So far as to say that nations themselves are not seeking war with each other.  Understanding this in a carnal sense would completely exclude our modern world from this.  You don’t even have to read today’s newspaper.  Just consider recent world wars of the last century.

 

There is no peace in our current age in the sense of the Law (Rom 13:9) (Eph 4:28) that one could call fulfillment of the above prophecies of millennial peace.

 

New Testament Millennial Texts

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14 ESV

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27 ESV

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV

“and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15 ESV

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 ESV

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27 ESV

 

Clearly, the above passages do teach that the Peace foretold in the old testament has come to fulfillment.  How are we to understand this then?  Even Jesus is clear that there is no peace between men even in his teachings.

 

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34 ESV

 

I would argue that all of these Biblical texts are true.  So how are we to understand them correctly?  The simplest explanation is that the Peace foretold and fulfilled is a peace between God and man.  This is peace in a gospel sense rather than that of the law.  Because of the penal substitution atonement of Christ on the cross our sins are not seen by God and his wrath is not upon us.  Rather than wrath we experience his peace.

 

Francis Pieper addresses this Millennial Peace in Christian Dogmatics, Vol 3, pg 521

 

“what these Old Testament texts prophesy of a future peace in the world is realized in its “full, actual value” not in a still future millennium, but in the appearance of the Son of God in the flesh, in the reconciliation of the world to God, in the proclamation of this news in the world, and in the sending of the Holy Spirit who through this message works faith in people’s hearts, thus creating children of peace in the whole world and among all nations.  By faith in the Gospel the Christian Church on earth possesses a peerless state of peace.”

 

Is this peace with God prevalent amongst the nations?  In a gospel sense it is, but in a law sense it is not.  The same distinction applies.  In this manner, new testament and old draws us to the Gospel of Christ.  If you are looking for millennial fulfillment in a carnal sense you will be just as disappointed as the pharisees who were seeking the same in the first century.  The failure to see the New Covenant peace in the age we currently live in is to fail to see the Wrath of God against man and the Gospel as the only solution to it.

 

“and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Col 1:20 ESV

 

We should look for the kingdom of God in the gospel, in a spiritual sense rather than in a carnal one.  Even Jesus says it is not something we would be able to point to physically.

 

“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed,  nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” Luke 17:20-21 ESV

 

Millennial Ruling and Reigning

 

Old Testament Millennial Texts

 

“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” 2 Samuel 7:12-13 ESV

 

The above passage speaks of Solomon and the immediate kings that succeeded David if you want to read it in its entirety.  But it also gives glimpses of the Messiah who is to rule on the throne forever, descended from David’s very body.

 

“For to us a child is born,to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder,and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom,to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;  you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;” Psa 45:6-7 ESV

 

New Testament Millennial Texts

 

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luk 1:32-33 ESV

“concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh” Rom 1:3 ESV

But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.” Heb 1:8 ESV

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matt 28:18 ESV

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV

 

Something important to understand about the above statement is that it is presently true.  Jesus is ruling and reigning now with the authority prophesied to be during the millennial reign.  To push this off into the future would be to argue that Christ is not ruling and reigning now.

 

Vision and Prophecy – Sun Moon and Stars

 

Old Testament Millennial Texts

 

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.  The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.  And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.” Joel 2:28-32 ESV

 

 Some things above are obvious and others not so much.  Even without examining the new testament text is should be clear that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” is the Gospel going out to the world, most notably to the gentiles.

 

 New Testament Millennial Texts

 

“But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.  For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:  “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;  even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.  And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;  the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.  And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” Acts 2:14-21 ESV

 

Above we see that Peter cites the following as being fulfilled at Pentacost:

 

  1. Pour out my Spirit
  2. Visions, dreams, prophecy
  3. Wonders in the heavens signs on the earth
  4. Sun shall be turned to darkness
  5. Moon to blood
  6. Fulfillment of the Day of the Lord
  7. Everyone that calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved

 

 

I would argue that cross referencing Acts 2:14-21 with the following passages demonstrates that the above prophecies were fulfilled at Pentecost as Peter declared.

 

“6 And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. 7 Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. 8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”” Num 12:6-8 ESV

 

Above we see that Moses spoke to the Lord mouth to mouth as juxtaposed against the dreams, visions, and riddles that we should expect from other Old Testament Prophets.  This is not the only place in the Bible we see this stated.  Below is another similar passage.

 

“I spoke to the prophets; it was I who multiplied visions,and through the prophets gave parables.” Hosea 12:10 ESV

 

In the ESV we see Parables, other translations say “similitude’s” which means likeness.  Both work choices are consistent with riddles and dreams noted above.  Putting it bluntly, we shouldn’t expect clarity from Old Testament prophets.  Since Peter interprets the fulfillment of these things at Pentecost so to should we.  Based on this I would argue that even the blood moon and darkening of the sun should be seen as apocalyptic language which finds its fulfillment in the New Covenant Apostolic era.

 

Binding of Satan

At the end of Revelation we see that at the start of the Millennium Satan is bound for 1000 years.

 

“And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years” Revelation 20:2 ESV

 

PreMillennial Dispensationalist material I have read teaches that the Devil is literally bound in chains and tied to the bottom of the sea, or abyss, prior to the start of an earthly rein of Christ in a semi-sinful world for 1000 years.  If I am misrepresenting them please let me know.

 

Is this true?  Should we expect to see Satan bound at some point in the future or has it already happened?

 

Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.” John 12:31 ESV

“concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:11 ESV

 “But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.” Mark 3:27 ESV

“17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” ; 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. ; 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. ; 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20 ESV

 

Do I have to point out that the above texts are current or past tense?  We see clearly that from today’s perspective Jesus bound Satan in the past.  Should we consider him bound today?  Of course, but it depends it depends on what you mean by that.  Some argue that since there is so much evil in the world that means the Devil isn’t bound, or that he has a very long chain.  I would respond to this by pointing out the obvious. First is that this isn’t a theological argument its an experiential one.  Second I would state that just because there is evil in the world doesn’t necessarily mean its the Devils fault, we are pretty evil all on our own.  It’s a cop out to blame the devil for your own wickedness.

 

That is all secondary to the scripture, which though unclear does allude to the nature of the binding.

 

“and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.” Rev 20:3 ESV

 

Admittedly the above verse doesn’t define the manner of deception being prevented.  If I were to guess though, and I think it is a reasonable one, we have received the fullest Revelation from God imaginable in this very age.  Today in our hands we have the full canon of scripture which is promised to have the power to create faith and save souls when rightly preached (Rom 10:17).  Through the preaching of the word, baptism, and administering of the Sacrament the devil is cast out and helpless.  A creature created above us in every way entirely irrelevant against the power of the word in the hand of a mere man.

 

The only thing that could then reverse this would be an Apostasy from the very means of Grace binding the Devil (2 Thess 2:3).  The scriptures do tell of a Great Apostasy near the end so perhaps that is a good cross reference for the last sentence of Revelation 20:3.

 

Conclusion

 

Based on the above I think it is fair to argue that we are in the Millennium right now.  It seems the plainest handling of scripture to me anyways.  The only problem I had a hard part with is that Revelation 20 does plainly state “1000 years”.  It’s rather declarative about it and I don’t have much on that to compare it against.

 

Some argue that 10 is a number for the completion of God, and 3 is for the three persons of the Trinity.  Thus 1000 would be a complete fullness of time ordained by God.  Upon examination of all of that data I think that this is the correct understanding.  The reason is I am able to take the apostles interpretation of the Old Testament at face value.  It is obvious to me that they were teaching the millennium age had come.

 

So, when faced with a book that opens up with “the seven lampstands are the seven churches” (Rev 1:20) I don’t think it is a stretch to assume a pattern of symbolism is to follow in the chapters to come.  Understanding the 1000 years as symbolic actually makes more sense than the alternative.  If that makes me an amillennialist so be it.

 

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About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
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