Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The Millennium

"Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years." (Revelation 20:6).

Revelation 20 shows the saints reigning with Christ for 1000 years, the Millennium, while Satan is bound from deceiving the nations. When the Millennium is over, Satan is loosed once again and attacks the church but is defeated for the last time. Then follows the Last Judgment. There are four different major interpretations of the Millennium.

First, some have felt that the saints who reign for 1000 years are the saints in heaven. They have “been beheaded” and then have come to life again and reign with Christ (Revelation 20:4). During this period, the present Gospel age, Satan is bound from deceiving the nations. He is still active, but the Gospel is converting the nations away from him.

Second, some have thought that the Millennium refers to the age of the Gospel on earth. The “first resurrection” means conversion from spiritual death. The saints on the earth reign through prayer and through exercising the keys of the kingdom. These keys bind Satan whenever they are properly used. The Millennium runs from Pentecost to the Second Coming.

Both of these views are generally regarded as “amillennial,” because they do not have a separate phase of history called the Millennium. Some who interpret Revelation 20 in one of these two ways are called “postmillennial” because they believe, on the basis of other passages, that the Gospel will gradually triumph in history before Christ returns (though Satan will mount a resurgent attack just before the end).

Third, some have felt that the Millennium does not begin until sometime during the Gospel age, when “Babylon” has been defeated, maybe the fall of Jerusalem or the fall of Rome. Others start the Millennium at a time yet future when the world largely converts to Christ and a “golden age of the Gospel” comes to pass. This is the older “postmillennial” view held by many of the Reformers, Puritans, and Presbyterians until about a century ago.

Finally, there is the premillennial view, popular today. It says that Christ personally returns after the destruction of Babylon and rules for a literal 1000 years on the earth before the Last Judgment.

With the whirlwind of world events swirling around us, more energy is diverted to speculation on millennial eschatology. Although we should diligently study all of Scripture, determine to forsake not your call to live all of life in a manner pleasing to God. Don’t trade idle speculation for active obedience.