Friday, January 18, 2013

Revelation Bible Study - Lesson 47 - Revelation 20:1-6

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. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 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. (KJV)

Satan’s Confinement


What will Satan’s imprisonment be like? 
 

It shall come to pass in that day That the Lord will punish on high the host of exalted ones, And on the earth the kings of the earth. They will be gathered together, As prisoners are gathered in the pit, And will be shut up in the prison; After many days they will be punished. (Isa 24:21-22 NKJV) 

As prophecy indicates, Satan will be locked up and held for a future time of punishment. This verse simply says that he will be held for many days. Revelation more clearly defines this as a thousand years. It is important to note that this imprisonment is not the time of his punishment. He is locked up in the abyss instead of being tossed into the lake of fire, which will be his punishment.  

For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment. (2 Peter 2:4 NLT)   

The word hell is: (tartaroo (tar-tar-o’-o); from Tartaros (the deepest abyss of Hades); to incarcerate in eternal torment).[1] Hell is much more than the lake of fire as we often imagine it. This verse indicates that these dungeons are in the deepest abyss of Hades where many fallen angels have been confined from before time began. These demons are so evil that they have not been allowed to roam the earth and torment people. Instead, they have been held for punishment.

Now, Satan, who had been left to roam the earth, will also be held in the part of Hades called the abyss along with those fallen angels who were not allowed any freedom after they sinned. As we will see in Rev 20:13, the dead who will not reign with Christ will still be kept in Hades for the Day of Judgment and then eternal punishment. 

What is significant about the angel who has the key to the abyss and binds Satan?  
 

The key to the abyss is now returned to the hands of an angel of God. In chapter 9, the key had been given to a fallen star, a demon. The horrors and evil that were released from the pit of Hades will now be locked away again. But more importantly, the leader of the horror, Satan, will be locked up. For years, the people of the earth have been slaves of Satan. They have been bound by sin. Now a great chain like the chain Satan has had on people will be used to bind him.

We have gone back to Daniel many times in our study to ponder how it is that an angel of the Lord was held up in reaching Daniel until Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help (Dan 10:13). We have also looked at verses like Eph 6:12 that let us know that we are undergoing a struggle against the rulers of the dark world.  

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (Col 1:16 KJV)

And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Col 2:15 KJV)  

Lest we become worried or alarmed, we need to remember that Jesus created all powers and that even though they became corrupt, He has shown His power over them by His death on His cross and His resurrection. But it’s not until we see Satan captured and imprisoned by a single angel that we understand the truth of it.

This angel’s name is not even mentioned. It just says an angel. We have had descriptions of other angels, which said a mighty angel or described them in glowing terms. Michael and Gabriel are named. There is nothing like that here. This demonstrates that the lowest of angels in heaven could have done the job because of what Jesus has done. I think that even one of the saints could do this if that’s what Jesus would have wanted. It is only because of what Jesus has done.

This is one of the things that we need to remember. Satan is already defeated. His doom is set. It certainly doesn’t make sense for us to follow the directions of someone who is doomed when both of us are going to live forever. It is however an angel that binds Satan. It isn’t by human effort and it isn’t because we have spread the gospel. It is done at God’s bidding and in His authority. 

How does Satan’s capture reveal his reality and why is it important to understand his reality?
  

If there is any doubt about who is being locked up, Satan is identified by three titles: the dragon, the ancient serpent, and the devil. This ties him right back to the Garden of Eden. From the beginning of the Bible to the end he is identified as a person, a being who incites evil. It is a person who is being bound and imprisoned. He is not a concept or theory, but someone who thinks, and has emotions. We have already seen most of this when we saw the dragon in Rev 12.

One of his most vicious lies has been to get people to doubt his existence. It is much easier for him to influence people if they don’t realize he is around. This applies to the unsaved and the believers alike. I really don’t understand how a Christian can believe that he doesn’t exist, but some do. Maybe, if they have studied the Word as much as they say they have and still deny hell and Satan, then they also have a different Jesus as well as a mythical Satan. If this is true then they aren’t really Christians.

There are many who don’t understand Satan’s power and ability now. They are unaware and fall into traps and temptations that keep them from living a victorious Christian life. I wrote a short booklet, Battling Satan with the Armor of God to expose some of the areas where we are vulnerable if we don’t recognize the way Satan can work. It is available at http://www.rayruppert.com/battling-satan.html.  

And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to every one, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2 Tim 2:24-26 RSV)

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Cor 4:4 KJV)

Those who do not know the Lord are captured by the devil. He has ensnared them through sin and has blinded them so they can’t see the way out. The only hope is in God who can open their eyes and lead them to repentance. In the millennial reign, Satan will not have the opportunity to blind them. He will not be able to work through their bodies to lead them to sin – until he is released for a short while. 

How will temptation and resisting sin be different in the millennium?  
 

I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (Rom 7:21-23 KJV) 

These verses will take on a different aspect with Satan bound. Evil will no longer be an external force that will tempt to people to sin. Certainly, people who enter the millennium with mortal bodies will still have the same desires and physical inclination to sin. However, each person will also be aware of Jesus, in the flesh, ruling from Jerusalem. Instead of the old picture we have where there is a little devil on one shoulder and a little angel on the other, the picture will be changed to only having a little angel.

I believe that one of our jobs in reigning with Christ will be to be that little angel. Whenever a person is tempted to do wrong by his own desires, instead of evil being right there with him, to egg him on, we will come to them. We will have bodies like Jesus to appear behind locked doors or wherever else. One of our jobs will be to physically appear to stop murder, thefts, even family squabbles. Jesus knows all and will have tell us in a flash where to go to stop something before it gets out of hand. To rule with an iron scepter means to have such control that evil will not have a chance to spawn. My novel, 999 Years After Armageddon, describes how this could happen. See http://www.rayruppert.com/999-years-after-armageddon.html for more details. 

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (James 1:14 KJV)

We will be there to prevent people from being dragged away by their own evil desires. Since Satan will be locked up, he won’t be able to drag them away either. Jesus has not done away with sin as yet; that will come at the end of the chapter when death and Hades are thrown into the lake of fire. What He will do is keep a tight control on sin for the thousand years. Therefore, to set up this condition in the millennium, Satan has to be removed. 

Is God finished with Satan, why or why not? 
 

God isn’t finished with him yet. That is why he is only locked up and it says that he must be set free for a short time. This is God’s plan to make sure no one has an excuse. Since there is a mention of time, the thousand years, and that he must be set free for a short time, we know that this is still not eternity. Time is still measured.

First Resurrection


Who will be on the thrones and what will they be doing during the millennium? 
 

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (1 Cor 6:2-3 KJV)  

Everyone who has already been resurrected will be sitting on thrones and have been given authority to judge. These verses clearly speak about what we will be doing during the thousand years. We will be judging on the earth. This is not something that we will be doing in heaven.

In many countries when the king took a bride she shared the throne with him. She had power to rule just as he did, only under subjection to him. Queen Isabella of Spain financed and gave authority for Columbus to sail; not her husband, the king. This is only an example, but what has just occurred is the wedding supper of the Lamp, then the Groom and His bride have gone to war. In this scene the bride is now taking the position on thrones as an extension of the King and her husband’s rule.  

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (Dan 7:21-22 KJV)

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Rev 3:21KJV)  

The time for the saints to posses the kingdom occurs after the first resurrection. Jesus’ promise to the overcomers occurs at this time.

It is possible that the governmental structure during the millennium will have mortal people who are answerable to the resurrected saints. In the Old Testament, judges were appointed over groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens (Ex 18:21-23). For instance, a community may have individual leaders or a council that directs the affairs of the community as well as judge disagreements. One or more resurrected saints would then instruct, guide, and have veto power over any of the decisions they make. This structure would be repeated for cities, states, nations and finally the world with Jesus as the final authority.

Challenges to council or resurrected saints’ decisions could be escalated to the next higher authority. However, since the saints have the mind of Christ, even at the lowest level, there would never be a reversal of a decision. 

How is the parable in Luke 19:11-27 descriptive of what we will be doing during the millennium? 
 

Luke 19:11-27 is a parable about a nobleman who leaves to be crowned king. Before he leaves, he gives his servants some money to invest while he is away. Some of his subjects didn’t even want him to become king. When he returns he rewards the servants who invested the money but punishes his enemies and the servant that hid the money. You need to read it to get the full flavor.

I get tired of people who look at this and other parables about the kingdom of God and can only see Jesus talking about how to handle money. While we can learn about money, Jesus says that the primary purpose of these parables is to tell us about the kingdom of heaven. When Jesus comes back, He is not going to be asking people how much money they made. In the kingdom of heaven Jesus is the returning King and has given out His first rewards at the wedding supper of the Lamb. These are the thrones that have been awarded to all who are resurrected for the wedding supper of the Lamb. We will be the ones that have used what the Lord has provided for the advancement of His kingdom.

Those who did little with their spiritual gifts will rule or judge small groups or possibly only be over a family or individual. Those who did much will be over cities or nations. A person could easily make a lot of money in this life but ignore his family and relationship with Christ and end up at the bottom of the governmental structure in the millennium. A lowly person in a poor country who was faithful to Jesus, his family, and his church could be over cities. 

What has God given us for the advancement of the kingdom? 
 

First of all He has given us salvation. He also gives wisdom and the ability to live for Him in readiness for His return and to bring others to Him. These are the talents mentioned in the parable, not physical monies.  

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt 25:30 KJV)  

The servants in these parables who don’t use the talents are thrown outside, proving that the talents aren’t money but salvation. They had not even appropriated salvation for themselves. 

What does the mention of people coming to life who wouldn’t worship the beast prove? 
 

There is a second group of people mentioned in this passage. They are the ones who were beheaded for their testimony of Jesus or killed in some way during the tribulation. This leaves room to believe that this is after the rapture but as we’ve seen, the rapture appears to be at the very end of the tribulation. If they came to Jesus after the rapture, then it indicates that even after the Holy Spirit has been withdrawn along with the presence of the Saints, God will be working in the hearts of some to keep His testimony.

In every age, there have been people whom the Lord knew. There was Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Samuel, and David. Simeon and Anna are two examples who were at the temple when Jesus was presented (Luke 2:25-38). None of these had the Holy Spirit living in them for it was before the Holy Spirit had been given. Then we can point to Cornelius and Apollo. Each of these people had a relationship with the Lord. Cornelius and Apollo were both devout people who accepted Jesus when He was made known to them.

What makes us think that God is going to deal any differently after the rapture if it comes before or during the tribulation? We have speculated that at some point after the rapture, none may make a decision for Jesus and that could be true. On the other hand, the clear meaning of Revelation 20:4 is that some will come to faith during the tribulation. If it is after the rapture, do they receive the Holy Spirit? Well, why not? That is what He promised. Why would Jesus not send the Holy Spirit just because all of the Saints have been raptured? It makes more sense that He would continue doing what He has always done, rather than suddenly change what He has written. In every age, He has had people who call on Him.

Then again, we don’t know when the rapture will take place. If it occurs at the beginning of the tribulation as most people hope, I’m sure there will be many coming to Jesus during the tribulation. The same applies if it occurs in the middle. However, if it occurs very near the end, then there is more of a possibility that none will come to the Lord after the rapture. We have the parables that tell there will be a time when it is too late. 

If the rapture occurs before the end of the tribulation, does Rev 10:4 indicate that there will be two resurrections, one before Satan is imprisoned and one after? How many resurrections will there be? 
 

So far we have seen the rapture of the Church where the dead in Christ are caught up in the air with Jesus and what appears to be the resurrection of those who died as believers after the rapture. Even though they take place at two different times, it is called the first resurrection.  

But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. (Luke 14:13-14 KJV)  

Jesus affirmed several times in Scripture that there would be a resurrection as in this verse and in Matthew 22:31 when He was confronted by those who didn’t believe in a resurrection.  

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26 KJV)  

However, the most important verse about the resurrection is that Jesus is the resurrection. Without Him no one would be raised from the dead.  

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. (Job 19:25-27 KJV)

Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. (Ps 49:14-15 KJV)  

The saints of the Old Testament also looked forward to the resurrection. Job knew that he would not just be raised, but see God as well. In the same way David knew that God would take him to be with Him, which is more than just raising him and restoring his flesh. I see a close embracing relationship in both of these people.  

And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. (Acts 24:15 KJV)  

Paul lets us know that many of the Jews of his day believed in two resurrections. I doubt if they realized that they would be separated by a thousand years. If you look at the parable that Jesus told in Matt 25:31-46, it appears that both resurrections are at the same time. But I believe that the righteous that are gathered have already been resurrected for a thousand years when the unrighteous are resurrected. 

Why will those who have part in the first resurrection be blessed and holy? 
 

Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. Anyone who has received a new, immortal body at this time will be holy. They will be reigning on earth with Jesus. It says that the second death will have no power over them. 

You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5 NASB)  

Peter tells us that we are being built up to become a royal priesthood. This is the time when we will be fully participating in reigning. 

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Cor 13:12 KJV)  

Paul’s prophecy will be fulfilled. We will know Jesus fully even as He knows us now.  

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2 Cor 5:1 KJV) 

Paul talked about the future when we will die and be free from our mortal bodies and gain heavenly immortal bodies. He explains even more about this for another nine verses. He explains that as long we have mortal bodies, we will not be complete because we will never be completely satisfied. It is because of the mortal body that we are still subject to sin. With the immortal body, all subjection to sin will be finally removed. No longer will we say the spirit is willing, but the body is weak, for the body will not be weak. It will be perfected, just as Jesus’ body is now. Paul elaborated much more on the body we will have in 1 Co 15:35-58. Since we know that we have this ahead of us, he exhorts us to not sit back and wait, but to work even harder. If this body we have now is only for a short time, we need not be concerned as much with it to satisfy us personally, but only in using it to serve Jesus. 

Who will we be ruling?
 

There are others who will be alive at that time, but they will not have immortal bodies. They will be the survivors of the earth who did not participate with the beast in the battle of Armageddon. They are not participants of the first resurrection because they have not died. These are the ones who need someone to rule over them. It doesn’t make much sense to make all the saints rulers with Jesus and not have someone to rule.

The Millennium

Premillennialism


Premillennialism is the view that Jesus will come, as we’ve described, at the end of the tribulation to establish His rule for a thousand years. He is going to reign with an iron scepter. This means that there will be no tolerance of sin. These thousand years will be almost like the Garden of Eden.  

The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. (Isa 2:1-5 KJV)  

When you read these verses, what pictures of the millennium comes to your mind? 
 

This is a beautiful description of what it will be like during the reign of Jesus. The temple of the Lord will be the most prominent building in Jerusalem. It will be a United Nations building only the government will not be an attempt at a democracy, but a theocracy. It will not just be for the leaders of the nations, but anyone will be able to come to learn directly from Jesus. All people will have a desire to go directly to the source to learn how they can get along with one another. He will also establish His law from there; it will go out from Jerusalem. The way two nations will settle problems will be to go to the source of their authority to rule. In the past Satan had authority over nations, now he is bound and Jesus has the authority to rule. He or his co-rulers (us) will be the ones to settle the disputes.

It is ironic that the United Nations chose Isa 2:4 to engrave on their building as if this could come about by human activity. Few nations have Christian leaders, and fewer if any have a majority of Christians in their population, yet for this to come true before the Millennium, they must desire to walk in the light of the Lord Jesus. During the Millennium His rule with an iron rod will ensure that the government will be perfect even if leaders don’t have a desire to walk with Him. 

Read Isaiah 11 - 12 to get a more information of what the millennium will be like and list the things that stand out. 
 

 The most important aspect is that Jesus is going to rule with all understanding. In a word, His rule will be perfect. There will not be anything that anyone will be able to question. No one will be able to have a legitimate gripe against the government. He will do this when He returns and after the wicked are slain.

When He does this, He will restore nature to the way it was in the Garden of Eden. 

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isa 11:6 KJV)  

Starting in 11:6, we see a description of how nature will be restored to its original state during that time. National Geographic will have to do something different than quote the law of the jungle for they will not be able to film a lion eating even a mouse. The plants of the earth will supply all of the nutrition necessary for all animals. Think of it, mosquitoes will no longer bite and disease will be non-existent. In this atmosphere people will live as God intended in the Garden of Eden.

They will live hundreds of years (Isa 65:20). I have a feeling that at the beginning of the reign, there will be very few people left on earth. At the end, the world will be very heavily populated.  

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Gen 1:28 KJV)  

God’s initial command to mankind will finally be fulfilled. With all of the Earth inhabitable, very few deaths, and an abundance of food, our current six billion people will look small in comparison to the number at the end of the thousand years. 

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. (Isa 11:11KJV) 

What is significant in Isaiah 11:11 regarding Israel? 
 

We look at the nation of Israel that was re-established in the 20th century and often point to it as the second gathering of the dispersed Jews. While it certainly appears to be a miracle that the nation exists and that Jews from around the world have returned, it isn’t the fulfillment of the prophecies. Most of the prophecies speak of a nation which will worship God. That doesn’t describe the secular state of Israel. Only in the millennium will the nation of Israel become what God truly intends.

God considers the Israel of the millennium the complete fulfillment of these prophecies. Note that He will bring back His people from all nations including the islands of the sea. North and South America would have been considered islands of the sea at the time this was written.  

Isa 12:5 tells those who will live in the millennium to let what God has done be known throughout the earth. Why will they need to do this? 
 

For a thousand years, the people of the earth will be praising Jesus. He will be living among them and they will remember that they were spared in the day of wrath. They will see and know His physical salvation. This will be proclaimed throughout the world. As generation is added to generation, these praises will echo throughout the earth. Unfortunately, only the first generation will know about it firsthand and eventually, they will die off. The following generations will be the ones to whom it must be made known.

It will be very much like what God intended for the nation of Israel after it was brought out of Egypt. He wanted them to be a witness to each generation so that the nation would always know God’s goodness and love. In the millennium all the people of the earth will be teaching their descendents about God’s love in sparing them from His wrath. Jesus will see to it. However, will all believe? 

Read Isa 65:17-25. Does this speak of eternity or of the millennium? How do you know? 
 

When Jesus comes back, He will have to do a restoration on the heavens and earth. The reign of sinful mankind has taken its toll on the earth and God’s wrath has finished off the planet. The pain and torment of this current world will not be remembered. Some might think that this is not a description of the thousand years, but eternity to follow. However, these passages show that there will still be birth. Jesus told us that in heaven that we will be like the angels, there will be no giving and taking in marriage. So this must be the thousand years. It sounds almost like heaven though. Yet it doesn’t say there will be no death. However, they would be considered accursed if they don’t live to be an hundred years old. Even with Satan shut up, there may be a possibility that sin within a person is so strong that he must be taken out of the way to keep it from infecting others even in such a perfect surroundings. But these verses indicate that it won’t be because of disease, wild animals, or famine.

Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. (Isa 65:20 NIV)

For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. (Isa 65:22 NIV) 

What do these two verses from Isaiah specifically tell us about the life span of people during the millennium? 
 

First of all, infant mortality will be unheard of. The verses speak of death, but if anyone dies before they are a hundred years old, it will be as if they are accursed. Note the word says they will be considered. This is from our estimation. It doesn’t say that they are sinners who have not repented and accepted Jesus as Lord and savior. It tells us that most people will be living out a life span that is the same as trees. Some could possibly live the full 1,000 years, others may die after only a few hundred years. There is no guarantee that anyone will live the full length of the millennium.

These verses do not say that an unbeliever will die on their hundredth birthday as is stated by Dr. Tim LaHaye in his preface notes to Kingdom Come.[2]  Nor have I found any consensus among scholars who take the Bible literally as he states. In fact I had never heard of this until I read the book. The novel also implies that believers can’t be killed because they must live out their years which take them to the end of the Millennium. Again these verses don’t guarantee anyone to live to the end of the Millennium. 

We saw that Israel will again become a nation. How will the Lord deal with the other nations of the earth? (See Zech 14:16-19 below.) 
 

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zech 14:16-19 KJV)  

The survivors of the nations are mentioned specifically as they will now worship the Lord. However, the reign of the Lord is described much more harshly for the nations in Zechariah than in any other passages. When it says that He will rule with an iron rod, this is what is meant. There will not be any room for rebellion. Sin and rebellion will be dealt with quickly and fairly, even though it may appear to be harsh in light of the perfect environment that will be set up. I believe that the Lord will not have to carry out these threats until the very end of the thousand years when Satan is freed again. 

We have looked at the millennium as a literal 1,000 years. What are some spiritual interpretations of the millennium? 
 

Amillennialism


Amillennialism is the belief that the thousand years is a spiritual reign of Jesus through the Church. They basically believe that we are now in the millennium. The 1,000 years is symbolic and in essence, it will never end until Jesus comes back and creates a new heaven and a new earth as described in Revelation 21. Since a day is as a thousand years to the Lord, they don’t see that a thousand is anything more than a symbolic representation of the time of Christ.

They say that all the Old Testament verses about the millennium used above describe eternity. As mentioned above, there will be births and death so that makes it hard to apply those verses to eternity.

Since Jesus gained victory on the cross over Satan, they use that to explain the meaning of Satan being bound and thrown into the pit so that he can’t deceive the nations. If that is true then they should have a problem with  1 Peter 5:8 that lets us know that the devil is roaming around like a lion seeking devour us. He can’t be both locked up and roaming. We are also told to put on the armor of God to stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph 6:11-12). Clearly Satan is still an active force in the world at this time which must be the biggest argument against this theory.

Postmillennialism


Then there are some who believe that the thousand-year reign will only be accomplished when the Church has spread the gospel and has created the environment that is described in the Old Testament passages. They believe it is the work of the Church to bind Satan before the thousand-year reign of Jesus. This just doesn’t stand up in light of most of the book of Revelation, besides passages like 2 Thess 2:1-11. Paul makes it very clear that the Church is not going to overthrow Satan or even his plans for the Anti-Christ.  

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (2 Thess 2:8 KJV)   

Paul couldn’t make it any clearer. The Lord Himself will overthrow this reign of lawlessness. Anyway, they believe that when the church has done all of this, Jesus will come back to take the throne that He has provided through the work of the church. (I believe that the throne is provided by God based on Jesus’ work on the cross.)  

How does this philosophy affect the church? 
 

The main danger in this theology is that it has produced a church that is focusing on producing a perfect society on earth instead of focusing on saving souls. Many mainline churches have taken this philosophy. You can see it in their missionaries who are more concerned for political rights and justice than they are for souls. They can be vitally concerned for feeding the poor in Ethiopia and totally ignore the abortions at their front door. They can be concerned about saving whales (the perfect environment) and getting rid of nuclear arms, and let their neighbors go to hell because they don’t know the Lord. It is strange how altering what the Word says to fit what you want leads to alterations in other areas. It goes to the point that hell and Satan do not even fit into their theology. Since all roads lead to heaven, so why do anything else other than social work? 

What have you leaned in this lesson that stands out to you? 
 

The study of the millennium is always a blessing to me. Whenever I think of what is in store for the us and the earth, I’m encouraged. When I see how mankind is destroying our environment and how sin is becoming worse and worse, I can see how much we need to have Jesus ruling with power and authority as well as restoring nature to the way it was originally designed.

We are blessed because we will reign with Christ for a thousand years and the second death has no power over us. May we share this with as many as possible while we can.


[1] Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.
[2] Tim LaHay and Jerry B. Jenkins, Kingdom Come, The Final Victory (Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 2007) page xiv

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