Today you should read: Revelation 20:1-6
Hardly any other passage has had more ink shed than our passage for today. This passage is the primary text for end-times theology. Spread throughout our study of Revelation, you’ve encountered some of the theological terms associated with the time-frame encountered in our text. Unfortunately for some, we have to hit those terms head on.
This passage deals with the millennial reign of Christ. Thus, eschatological (end-times) terminology—pre-millennialism, post-millennialism, amillennialism—use this event as the primary differentiator for their viewpoints.
A millennium simply means 1,000 years. When we refer to the millennium in eschatological terms, what we’re talking about is the 1,000-year reign of Christ stated clearly in verse 4. The prefixes “pre-,” “post-,” and “a-,” refer to where the millennium fits regarding the other eschatological events (i.e. the rapture, return of Christ, etc). Although these views can be nuanced ad-nauseum, each view falls into one of four major categories. For a good discussion of the categories, I want to point you to the article Todd referenced earlier in Revelation.
It’s important to understand that even though disagreement exists, there are points of agreement that we share with those believers who have different eschatological views. “1. Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords, and He rules or will rule over a glorious Kingdom. 2. Jesus Christ will one day return to this world literally, physically, visibly, and gloriously as the Judge of all the earth.” (Hitchcock, The End, 401)
In terms of disagreement, you may be interested to know that the CPC staff holds to a variety of views held in the article cited earlier. If you can’t tell from my earlier Jumpstarts, I find the “Dispensational Premillennialism” viewpoint most compelling. Although I would not consider my favored interpretive method as “strict literal,” but rather “grammatic-historical” (per the article), I do believe that there is no reason to view the 1,000 years mentioned 5 times in our passage as anything less than a literal 1,000 years.
Basically, in this view, I believe the next great event in God’s plan will be the rapture of all those who have trusted Christ as their Savior. Following that is 7 years of Tribulation. In the Tribulation period the Church is gone, the Holy Spirit’s restraining influence is removed, and God’s wrath unfolds as we have read through Revelation. It is, however, during this time that God sets in motion His plans to restore Israel as His covenant people. Thus, those Jewish people who had not received Christ, and as such, were not raptured, endure the Tribulation, through which, they repent and through Christ, return into a relationship with the Lord. Then, after the Tribulation, is the battle of Armageddon, and the defeat of the Anti-Christ when Jesus returns to Earth as we read about yesterday. Finally, Satan is bound and Christ reigns for a literal 1,000 years until Satan is loosed and ultimately defeated.
Charles Ryrie describes the millennium this way, “The millennium is the period of a thousand years of the visible, earthly reign of the Lord Jesus Christ who, after His return from heaven, will fulfill during that period the promises contained in the Abrahamic, Davidic, and new covenants to Israel, will bring the whole world to a knowledge of God, and will lift the curse from the whole creation.” That is a great description of the dispensational premillennial view. Israel and the Church does not have “two individual redemptive plans” as stated in the article. Instead it is one redemptive plan, through Christ, in which God fulfills every promise and all of human history peaks at the point where every person who ever lived bows before Christ our King.
There are several Old Testament passages that describe Christ’s 1,000 year reign— Isaiah 2:1-5, 11:1-16, 32:1-20, 35:1-10, 60:1-22; Jeremiah 31:1-40, 33:1-26; Ezekiel 37: 14-28; Amos 9:11-15; Zechariah 14:6-21. Take a few moments throughout your day and read the passages, reflecting on the fact that God is faithful.
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate