Saint John on Patmos, Van Limburg Brothers (1375-1416)
Source: Art and the Bible
Act 1:3 KJV To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
Jesus spoke ‘of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God’ during the forty days prior to His ascension. Yet, during His ministry, there is no record of Him ever mentioning a ‘thousand years reign on earth’. Surely, it is reasonable to assume Jesus would have mentioned it, if such an important doctrine existed in the plan and purpose of God.
Act 1:6 KJV When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
Not only did Jesus never mention a thousand years reign on earth, He refrained from discussing the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.
Mat 21:43 KJV Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
Undeterred by Christ’s warning to the chief priests and the elders that ‘The kingdom of God shall be taken from you’, the disciples still felt the need to ask ‘wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel’. However, after the Day of Pentecost and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the question never arose again.
Peter Preached by the Power of the Holy Spirit that God had Fulfilled His Promise to Israel Acts 2:29-36
Acts 2:29-36 KJV Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
‘he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne’ God promised David that from the fruit of his loins He would raise up the Messiah to sit on his throne over Israel.
‘received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost’ The outpouring of the promised Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was evidence of the exalted Christ.
Heb 12:2 KJV Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The writer to the Hebrews wrote in the present tense Jesus ‘is set down at the right hand of the throne of God’. The King was already reigning from His heavenly throne before the epistle was written.
Rev 1:18-19 KJV I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. 19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
John said at the commencement of the Revelation that Jesus possessed the keys of Hades and Death. Jesus, having already been raised to the throne, was about to make manifest the Kingdom of God with power, the theme of the Revelation.
Jesus was not Waiting for a Future Millennium Kingdom
Luk 19:11-15 KJV He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
It is interesting to note, in this parable the nobleman ‘went into a far country to receive a kingdom and to return’, Jesus also received His Kingdom after His ascension, prior to His return… Matthew 16:28; Mark 9:1; Matthew 26:64; Revelation 1:7
A Quote from Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
Luke 19:12 ‘A certain nobleman – A prince; a man descended from kings, and having a title, therefore, to succeed in the kingdom. Went into a far country … – This expression is derived from the state of things in Judea in the time of the Saviour. Judea was subject to the Romans, having been conquered by Pompey about sixty years before Christ. It was, however, governed by “Jews,” who held the government “under” the Romans. It was necessary that the prince or king should receive a recognition of his right to the kingdom by the Roman emperor and, in order to this, that he should go to Rome; or, as it is said here, that he might receive to himself a kingdom. This actually occurred several times. Archelaus, a son of Herod the Great, about the time of the birth of Jesus, went to Rome to obtain a confirmation of the title which his father had left him, and succeeded in doing it. Herod the Great, his father, had done the same thing before to secure the aid and countenance of Antony. Agrippa the younger, grandson of Herod the Great, went to Rome also to obtain the favor of Tiberius, and to be confirmed in his government. Such instances, having frequently occurred, would make this parable perfectly intelligible to those to whom it was addressed. By the nobleman, here, is undoubtedly represented the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ; by his going into a far country is denoted his going to heaven, to the right hand of his Father, “before” he should “fully” set up his kingdom and establish his reign among men.’
Did Jeremiah the Prophet get it Wrong? Of Course He Didn’t
Jer 22:30 KJV Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.
The Kingdom of Judah had lapsed into apostasy again, God finally removed the ‘Kings’ by sending Coniah, also called ‘Jeconiah’, into captivity in Babylon. God decreed ‘no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah’.
Jesus is a descendant of Jeconiah… Matthew 1:11-16 and the rightful heir to David’s throne, but He will not physically reign in Judah.
Jesus Reigns on David’s Throne in the Heavenly Realm!
Nevertheless, Dispensationalism persists in teaching contrary to Scripture.
Why Did Paul Never Mention a Thousand Years Reign on Earth?
2Co 12:4 KJV How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Even after his ‘paradise’ experience, Paul still never mentioned such a doctrine.
Act 20:27 KJV For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
Paul was convinced he had preached all the ‘council of God’, yet he never mentioned a thousand years reign of Christ on Earth.
John Never Mentioned a Thousand Years Reign of Christ!
Rev 20:4 KJV 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.
Neither the Old nor the New Testament mention a thousand years reign of Christ on Earth.
The ‘thousand years reign’ is not mentioned in Revelation 20:4, as many imagine. On the contrary, the Scriptures proclaim Christ’s reign is everlasting.
Revelation 20 is not about how long Jesus will reign, but about a specific period when the martyrs would reign with Him from His heavenly throne.
On closer examination we find ‘they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years’. John described the souls of the martyrs who paid the ultimate price for their loyalty to Christ. Many suffered during the great tribulation, having refused to deny the Lord and worship the beast.
Can this dubious interpretation of a ‘millennium’ be a major doctrine of the Faith? This teaching contains hidden ramifications rarely taught to unsuspecting believers in Christ.
‘Chilioi’ and ‘Chilias’ What Difference Does it Make?
John wrote the Greek word ‘chilioi’ in Revelation 20:4 ‘and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand (chilioi) years’, he did not write ‘and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand (chilias) years’. So what is the difference?
A Quote from Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary
‘G5507 ÷ßëéïé chilioi khil’-ee-oy Plural of uncertain affinity; a thousand: – thousand.’
‘G5505 ÷éëéÜò chilias khil-ee-as’ From G5507; one thousand (“chiliad”): – thousand.’
Chilioi’ is unique in its plurality, its etymology is not from any known numeric value, and it is unique in its usage of the word ‘thousand’.
In Revelation 20, ‘thousand’ was always ‘chilioi’, not the numerical 1000 ‘chilias’. John had good cause for using ‘chilioi’ in preference to ‘chilias’, because the Holy Spirit inspired him.
‘chilioi’ is an adjective whereas ‘chilias’ is a noun. As an adjective ‘chilioi’ is descriptive and therefore more suitable for figurative speech and described an undefined period.
Apocalyptic Figure of Speech
The term ‘a thousand (chilioi) years’ is an apocalyptic figure of speech with reference to the reign of Christ over Old Covenant Israel, and was the period between the ascension and glorification of Christ in AD 30 until His return in AD 70… Acts 2:29-36 Saul, David, and Solomon each reigned 40 years. Likewise, Christ reigned 40 years and was the final King of Old Covenant Israel.
A Quote from the Christian Courier Publications
‘Regarding the “thousand years” of Revelation 20, it should be observed that the opening of the book itself provides caution that this is a document characterized by symbols (see “signified” – 1:1). In addition, the “thousand years” of Revelation 20 is nestled in the midst of a number of other dramatic figures —a pit, a great chain, the dragon/serpent, thrones, a beast, a mysterious “mark,” resurrections, etc. Why should the pit, chain, dragon, etc., be viewed as figures, and yet the “thousand years” be singled out as literal? That defies common sense.’
The Reign of Christ has no End!
Heb 11:13-16 KJV These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
‘strangers and pilgrims on the earth’ Abraham continued to dwell in tents and never built a permanent home in the land. They desired ‘a better country, that is, a heavenly’. A millennium kingdom on earth was never in their thoughts.
Isa 9:7 KJV Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
2Sa 7:13 KJV He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
2 Samuel 7:13 ‘…The throne of his kingdom for ever – This is a reference to the government of the spiritual kingdom, the kingdom of the Messiah, agreeably to the predictions of the prophet long after, and by which this passage is illustrated: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it, with judgment and with justice, from henceforth even For Ever.” Isa_9:7.’ — Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Bible
It is astonishing that the millennium doctrine is so highly regarded, considering it originates from one portion of Scripture.
The fulfilment of the Revelation was in AD 70. Therefore, the ‘thousand years’ was figurative speech and applied to Christ’s reign over Old Covenant Israel with a ‘rod of iron’.
Christ returned in judgement in AD 70, fulfilled the promises of God to Old Covenant Israel and fully established the Kingdom of God.
There is no scriptural evidence for a thousand years reign of Christ on Earth, as described by Dispensationalism.
What do you think?
ps Do you think it strange that Paul never mentioned a thousand years reign on earth?