Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
Oh no, based on the leading verse you probably can tell that this article is going to focus on the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and what that means. You would be correct, however before we jump into a short exposition on it, I do want to first remind you of the larger purpose for the book of Revelation that I made in the first article (If you have not read it yet, go back and read it). Ok, you’re back? Let’s jump into.
In our reading from yesterday and today (specifically Rev 20:2-7), we find that controversial phrase, “a thousand years”. Probably this is the most hotly debated section of the book of Revelation and we really should approach this passage with a measure of humility. Firstly, as Christians we must understand that the book of Revelation is much more than the literal or symbolic millennium reign of Christ. Likewise, we need to understand that wherever we fall on this doctrine should not be a divisive one and if we make this one that divides the church, we are in sin and should be quick to repent. Got that? Ok, let’s move on.
This six-time repeated phrase, “a thousand years”, can be understood in two different ways. The first is in terms of its order with relation to the Second Coming. It either occurs prior to the Second Coming of Christ, as understood by Amillenialists and Postmillenialists, or after the Second Coming of Christ, commonly held by Dispensational Premillenialists and Historic Premillenialists. Secondly, if this passage is to be understood as figurative language (allegorical or spiritual) or literal language (We find meaning in the words in the sense that they were given). As you know (because your read the first article), I currently hold to the Historic Pre-Millenial perspective so this article will help you understand my positions understanding of the millennial reign and how I came to this conclusion.
In Rev 20:1, we are introduced to an angel that has “the key to the bottomless pit” which we will remember is an angel from chapter 9. Amillenialists will tie the millennial reign to the current period we are living in now, but I do not see that squaring up with chapter 9 of Revelation. I understand this description, to include the “chain”, as being symbolic of a time for God’s defeat of Satan (Premillenialist position) as opposed to being a symbol of the power of the gospel (Amillenialist position). Additionally, the repeated mention of this time frame and everything in the immediate context of this passage does not seem to suggest a figurative interpretation, but rather a literal interpretation. Thirdly, the premillennialist position is the only one that seems to rightly reconcile the sequences as described in Rev 19 and 20.
Regardless of which position you take, what is important for us to remember is that Christ is indeed coming again even though we may think he is delayed. As we await his return, we must be persistent in preaching the Gospel to the nations, even in the midst of persecution and suffering. And finally, we have a sure hope that Christ will come and destroy Satan and that those whose names are found in the book of life will be with the Lord in eternity, but those whose names are not found will spend eternity in Hell. I pray that our interpretations of the millennium will not divide us, but instead bring us together in giving God the glory and convict us all to have a greater urgency in proclaiming the Gospel.
Grace and Peace,
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