The placement of the thousand years

My ONE FRIENDS Jim has a question.  I’ll quote him from a comment he made.


Why is the 1,000 year reign of Christ a literal 1,000 years. It would be in the only place in all of Scripture that the word "thousand" meant a literal and exact 1,000. Again, no amillenialist takes issue with whether Christ will reign (or, i guess, is reigning). The issue is with the literal 1,000 years.


While Jim’s comment is slightly inaccurate since the differences between A-Mil and Pre-Mil span a far greater chasm than just the 1,000 years being literal or figurative, I think the question warrants answering.  Why does that 1,000 years referred to in Revelation 20:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 have to be a literal 1,000 years?  Why can’t it just be a symbolic number used to tell us some spiritual truth about something else?  Before I deal with that issue specifically, I would like to address some other points of interest concerning the thousand years.


The placement of the thousand years.


First of all, one of the big differences between A-Mill and Pre-Mill is where to place the thousand years.  Pre-Mill would say that the thousand years is yet future while A-Mill would say that it is occurring right now, but in a non-literal way.  Perhaps if we reduce the debate to this issue alone, we may be able to make some headway.  In this section, I would like to strip away any preconceived notions that we have and stick solely to the few texts that we have.  That means we cannot use the phrase “the thousand year reign of Christ” since it doesn’t occur.  We cannot say “The Millennial Kingdom”; it doesn’t exist in scripture.  This is one reason that I prefer the phrase “Messianic Kingdom” more and more, for those readers who haven’t caught on yet.  What do we know about this alleged “thousand years”?


Satan is bound ~ We know that Satan is bound in the bottomless pit during the thousand years.  Satan will be shut up with a seal upon him with no ability to deceive the nations.  Within this language is a reference that the thousand years has an end, since it states that after the thousand years are “fulfilled”, Satan will be released.  So before and after the thousand years, Satan is loosed deceiving the nations.


The reign of the saints ~  Those who have a part in the first resurrection will reign with Christ for a thousand years.  It is understood that Christ is reigning, but Christ’s reign is not limited to a thousand years by the text.  Only the reign of those who reign with Christ is described as lasting for a thousand years.  Those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and the word of God are stated to have a part in the first resurrection.  Also, those who refused to worship the beast, his image, and refused to take his mark are stated to have a part in the first resurrection.  Those who have a part in the first resurrection are then described as priests of God and of Christ.  Thrones, judgement, and reign are the words to describe the new position of the saints.


The non-resurrection ~ An important point must not be overlooked.  Arguments from silence are used so frequently in debates, yet some of them are biblical.  Here we have a description of an omission.  There are described in the text some who are brought to life to reign with Christ for a thousand years.  Yet it states that there are others who are not brought to life.  The remnant who are not brought to life are stated to be brought to life after the thousand years are finished.  So while the thousand years is occurring, there are many who remain dead in a state of non-resurrection.


Its beginning point.


The thousand years has a beginning point.  It begins with the binding of Satan.  The effect of this binding is that Satan can no longer deceive the nations until the thousand years are over.  There are different views as to the chronology of Revelation.  If you have already chosen a viewpoint, you may have already determined how you will read this text before even examining other passages.  My view point is one of linking common themes throughout the book and letting these themes determine the chronology.


We know that Satan will give his power to a governmental framework and a man at the head of that system, Revelation 13:2.  We know that unclean spirits will come forth from Satan, the beast, and the false prophet in order to work miracles to gather the kings of the earth to Armageddon for battle, Revelation 16:12-16.  It is this very gathering that is described in Revelation 19:17-21 just previous to the description of the binding of Satan.  Linking this common theme together, I believe we can safely put the binding of Satan directly after the battle of Armageddon. 


Although there will be a final gathering against the Christ at Armageddon, this deception of the nations is typical of this age.  Psalm 2, which is a Messianic psalm, speaks of the kings of the earth gathering together against the Messiah.  The early church quoted this psalm as the rulers of Israel stood against the message of repentance and forgiveness in the name of Jesus, Acts 4:23-31.  So to place the binding of Satan at the beginning of the church age seems to run counter to the way the early church saw the kings of the earth still under the influence of Satan.


The binding of Satan is something that is not occurring right now according to the way the early church interpreted Psalm 2.  The nations are still deceived into thinking they can stand against Messiah and Messiah’s people.  Only after the battle of Armageddon will Satan be bound in the bottomless pit for a thousand years.


The first resurrection is also an event that occurs at the beginning of the thousand years.  Identifying the people who are resurrected in the first resurrection gives us tremendous insight as to when it will occur.  When we read that those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and the word are included, we may yet remain vague in our viewpoint.  But as soon as the text mentions those who refused to worship the beast, worship his image, or to take the mark of the beast, we know the first resurrection must occur after the 42 months of persecution against the saints by this beast and false prophet.  Then we can move back and reexamine the inclusion of all who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and the word and see this occurs after the persecution of this entire present time is over.  This present persecution will culminate in the great tribulation which begins with the 42 months previously mentioned.  Conclusion:  The first resurrection occurs after the great tribulation.


Thus we see that the beginning of the thousand years is after the battle of Armageddon and after the 42 month period of persecution against the saints by the beast (empowered by Satan) and the false prophet, also known as the great tribulation.


Its ending point.


The thousand years are said to fulfilled, finished, or expired, but the Greek word in each situation is the same, teleo.  The idea of this word is to be finished, to bring to an end, to be completed.  This is what Jesus said from the cross when He cried out “It is finished!”  So while it is plain that the thousand years have a beginning, they also have an ending.


The one event that practically defines the “teleo” of the thousand years is the release of Satan from His prison.  After His release, he deceives nations to gather them to battle.  Some would say that John is seeing a recap, or a retelling of what he has previously seen.  Some would say that this is just another vision of Armageddon from another point of view.  There is one good reason why this cannot be a review of Armageddon.  After this deception and gathering, Satan is cast into the lake of fire to join two other figures who are already there.  The beast and false prophet are already in the lake of fire when Satan is cast there after the thousand years.  This shows us that we have a chronological reading of Revelation 19 with Revelation 20.  The beast and false prophet are cast into the lake of fire at the battle of Armageddon which is before the thousand years, and Satan is cast there to join them after the thousand years.


There are other differences which are noteworthy.  When the beast and false prophet gather kings to make war at Armageddon, it is against the One who sits on the horse, meaning Christ.  When Satan gathers the nations after the thousand years, they surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city.  This shows us that the saints are centrally located in one position at this time somehow in connection with the beloved city.  Also, at Armageddon the birds devour carcasses which had been slain by The Word of God.  After the thousand years, fire from heaven devours those gathered against the saints.  Different OT prophecies are referred to as well.  In reference to the beast, imagery from Daniel is invoked.  In those OT passages, the governmental systems of this world are smashed and given to the saints.  After the thousand years, the prophecies of Gog and Magog from Ezekiel are referenced.  Those who know my views on Gog and Magog understand where I am coming from.  I think I’ll post a refresher on that.


Whether or not this time period is an ideal, or symbolic time period, there is no way to get around the fact that it is still a time period with a beginning and an ending.  This time period will begin at the end of this age.  There is no way to interpret these passages to mean that the thousand years are occurring right now.  My next post will focus on the use of literal versus symbolic time periods in the book of Revelation.


Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13


-The Orange Mailman

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8 Responses to The placement of the thousand years

  1. The Riley Family says:

    There are many key elements that direct a person to who and what the beast and its mark is. One element is an image is made that people bow down to and worship and another is it has a name. Bio-chips, social security numbers, government brandings, and other concoctions do not fit. If you take the number 666 and write it in the Hebrew numbering system using letters you come up with vstr, or vav samech tav resh. Vav is a prefix while the root str means secret or hidden. If you then look up the symbols of the letters they are nail, prop, cross, and head, and mean nail, prop, mark or sign, and head or leader. If you put these together it is the crucifix, the image of the beast. If you then take the name of the image, jesus, and add it up it comes to 616. The True Messiah/Christ warned that if another came in his own name he would be accepted, and he said many will come saying they are the Messiah/Christ. He gave us the tools to figure out who this deceiver would be and pointed out the deceiver would sit in the temple of God making himself out to be God and the whole world would be deceived. No one is supposed to bow down to idols or serve them. This is what marks an individual. Do not bow down to them (mark on your forehead) and do not serve them (mark on your hand).

  2. Yeshua is the Lord of Glory says:

    Darrin you have an interesting view…I,however,cannot imagine the Glorified King of kings and Lord of lords and the resurrected and glorified children of the living God, being encamped by anyone or thing…Moreover,God the Father sending fire down from Heaven? Is He rescuing Christ and us from Satan and his minions? Not so Darrin,not so at all…There is no Earthly,Millennial or a thousand,or even 1000 year reign of Christ…The first resurrection is taught and spoken of in John 3:3-7,John 5:24 and Romans 8:1…It is the spiritual New Birth…This is why the scriptures says that those in the " first resurrection" will not be hurt by the second death… It is because they were born anew, regenerated by the Holy Spirit…Those of us who believe in him (the Father) who sent his Son,have been passed from death unto life…Therefore there is no condemnation in them who are in Christ Jesus… Remember,they who are in the first resurrection are blessed and holy… If there was such a thing as two literal physical resurrections,then many believers would be in trouble,and this is according to what is written in the word of God…For they who are not in the first resurrection,are neither blessed or Holy…Many futurists have seem to come to the same conclusion,and so they have imposed upon the scriptures an order of resurrection,that simply does not exist…Where again are the "Great tribulation" and Old Testament Saints,and when are they raised? Final question,where is the Pre-wrath rapture taught in the scriptures? The rest of the dead,are they who have died and were not born again,and therefore have died in their sins…There is no scriptural warrant to literally or symbolically separate the general resurrection into phases or stages… I understand that the only order of resurrection is that Christ is the " Firstfruits",and that those who are his,are resurrected at his coming…NEXT,unbelievers are raised…This is at the same day,it is a sequential order of resurrection,not a time separation… Christ is the Firstfruits of the resurrection,period… He is the first to have risen from the dead,never to die again…Christ now reigns from Heaven and has been reigning since Ad33…His reign will end at his coming,when he raises the dead,make all things new and executes the final judgment…All things will then be subdued onto him and so he delivers the Kingdom (church) up to the Father…See 1 Cor 15:20-28…John 5:28,29 says that ALL that are in the graves will comeforth,not some,all…Christ reigning and believers reigning with Christ for (a thousand years) is simply an indefinite period of time,until he comes…You do agree that those who have died in faith are with him,right? Better said they absent from the body and present with the Lord…And so those who have died and those who continue to die apart from faith and trust,are not with the Lord,nor will they ever be…They are in Hades,awaiting the resurrection and final judgment…They are the ones who will be cast into Gehenna (the lake of fire) the second death…This is why the scripture says " whoseover" was not found written in the book a life,was cast into the lake a fire…This is why the sheep are set at his right hand and the goats at his left… Darrin,there will be a general resurrection and judgment at the last day,which is at the Lord\’s coming,to sit on the throne (not kingdom) of his glory… See Matthew 25:31-46 and Revelation 20:11-15…All will stand before the white throne,believers and unbelievers alike…Believers will give an account of themselves and be rewarded or have their works burned,but all believers will enter the Kingdom of God…Unbelievers will have the account(s) of their lives and works read from the " books"… None of their names are in the book of life…I promise you that this is the truth Darrin,if this many scripturally sound holes,were to be poked into Postmillennialism ,A-millennialism and Orthodox Preterism,i would let go in a heart-beat…Yeshua is the Lord of Glory

  3. Darrin says:

    Thank you for categorizing my view as interesting.What would a simple rendering of Rev. 21:24 tell us? After the New Jerusalem descends, there are nations which are saved, and some that are not. This is reinforced by the leaves from the tree of life being for the healing of the nations. If nations have been completely perfected, why do they need to be healed? Why the prohibition in Rev. 21:27? Why does Rev. 22:15 state that sinners continue to exist outside the city? You can say that you can\’t imagine something, but if the Word of God says it is so, why would we question it?There is a 1000 year period of time. Revelation 20 expounds it quite clearly. I notice that you did not have an explanation for why Revelation 20 is laid out in just the way that it is, or for my exegesis of the placement of the thousand years. John 5:28, 29 is a principle which states that all will come up from the grave. There is no teaching here that the resurrection of the righteous and the resurrection of the damned will occur at exactly the same time. There is, however, scripture in Revelation 20 which states in no uncertain terms that the resurrection of the righteous will occur before the 1000 year period. The rest of the dead are not given up by hell until after the 1000 years and a little season. There is no way around that text.I have had conversations with A-Millennialists in the past, most notably Dr. Waldron who posts at Illumination. I even did a series here on my blog about the conversations (they were more like non-conversations actually). They were under the titles "Illumination #1, #2, etc.". Dr. Waldron and the rest of the gang over there could not answer my questions. I was trying to have a nice conversation, but I\’m afraid they weren\’t prepared to answer me. The reason for this is an overall established point of view which they have which is termed "Covenant Theology". It is suitable to answer dispensationalists, but I\’m not a dispensationalist. My reasoning does not come from dispensational extrapolation, which I find very unhelpful. I have blogged about dispensationalism as well.The coming Messianic Kingdom is a reality. It\’s nature is clearly contained within the psalms. Thanks for the response, but I really have researched my views and found A-Millennialism and Post-Millennialism lacking, although they do have good points.Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13- The Orange Mailman

  4. Yeshua is the Lord of Glory says:

    Hi DarrinI did not mean to be disrespectful to your view…You have a point with Revelation 22:15…I do not know what it means…I do not know why Revelation 20 is laid out the way that it is either…No,i do not have an explanation for your exegesis or the placement of the 1000 years… You still have not given me a passage that proves any kind of rapture (pre-post-mid-prewrath)… Nor did you tell me when the Old Testament and " tribulation" saints will be resurrected… What Psalm is it that speaks of the Messianic Kingdom? Finally which passage of scriptures teaches that there are two resurrections separated by 1000 years?

  5. Darrin says:

    Hello there. I didn\’t take anything as disrespectful. I suppose as long as we have respect for people, that\’s what counts, regardless of the view.I\’m sort of past proving rapture points. I take I Thess. 4:13 – 5:11 as one passage. There will be a catching up of living saints at the time of the resurrection of the righteous dead, but just before the Day of the LORD. Chapter 5 is not a separate subject, but the same coming of the LORD. Then in II Thess. Paul is reclarifying what he had written in his first epistle. So the gathering in II Thess. 2:1 is the same as the catching up (rapture) in I Thess. 4. Further, Paul is describing the events which will occur as He comes to gather the saints into that "rest" in II Thess. 1. It is the coming in power and glory to take vengeance on those who had been persecuting the church. But remember, according to I Thess. 5:9, the saints will be spared the wrath of God which is associated with the Day of the LORD in I Thess. 5:2.The two resurrections separated by a thousand years is explained in Revelation 20.The Messianic Kingdom is spoken of in Psalm 92-99, which I have been blogging about quite frequently in the past month or so. Also, posts on Psalm 45 and 72 contain much on the Messianic Kingdom. My posts on 46, 50, and 102, not so much, but they are considered prophetic apocalypse just the same.Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13-The Orange Mailman

  6. Yeshua is the Lord of Glory says:

    Hi DarrinI am glad that you did not see my comment that way…And you absolutely do have my respect…I have to admit i do not read the Psalms that much anymore.From reading your pages,i see that you love reading them…Psalm 24 and 45 were my favorites when i saved…I think that i will read a few of them tonight while at work (on break of course)…Well,at least you have passages to state what you believe concerning the rapture…When i was a Fundamental independent Baptist,1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 was our proof text of the Pre-trib rapture…I do not really believe that there will be a rapture at Jesus\’ coming,but why rule it out…I hold only to A-mill position in that i do not believe that the scriptures teach a future earthly Millennial or 1000 year reign of Christ…Most Postmills do not believe this either..I do believe that we are currently in the Millennial reign or better said the Lord is reigning for a thousand years from Heaven…I do know that the souls of those who are with him,await the one and the same physical/bodily resurrection at the last day… I am Postmillennial,in that i share the hope a huge conversion before the Lord returns.My heart is set on Ethnic Israel and Muslims all around the world,coming to faith in the billions (bazillions) before He comes…I am actually hoping that a few thousand thousand Orthodox Preterists would come to together,with perhaps a few thousand furturist (like yourself) who do believe and understand that Jesus pronounced judgment on those of his generation (ONLY)…We could just go on over to Israel and teach/preach Matthew 24 to them…I think that it could and likely would,make a difference…Since becoming an Orthodox Preterist," the great commission" that we were all given is at the forefront of my mind…I think that if there is to be a huge conversion,that we all have to be about the Father\’s business and with one accord,the well being of the souls of ALL who do not yet,know Christ as Savior…Christian Zionists and most Premill\’s (not all) with their blind support for the State of Israel and all that she does as a nation,is not going bring them to Christ…I have to wonder sometimes if our Palestinian,brothers and sisters,even know or believe that we love and pray for them… All Israel will be saved? Well,those of us who are careful of this,should unite in some way to see to it…My belief and yours of the meaning of the Apostle Paul\’s words is likely different…I believe that "all Israel" will be saved means the church…And of course i believe that the church is the "Israel of God"… Not replacement theology,but a continuation,even beginning with Abel the Son of Adam (who was not a Jew) all they way through to us…Darrin,i believe that you and i leave this conversion with our same views in tact,perhaps even solidified in some ways…I always learn from Christians whom i disagree with:and i have from you..So laying aside all the rest,i would like to know your thought on the great commission…We know that it is God\’s will that all come onto to the knowledge of the truth and be saved…I know that salvation is of God alone,it is his work,not ours…However,he blesses the efforts of those who seek him and obey his will…

  7. Darrin says:

    I have some A-Mill and Post-Mill tendencies, but don\’t tell anybody. What Post-Millers have right is the conversion of the nations, they just place it on the wrong side of the return of the Messiah. What A-Millers have right is the continuity between Israel and the church, they just rule out God keeping His Word to the physical nation of Israel because of current spiritual application. (Not to open up a can of worms, that\’s just the way I see it.)I have tried to build some bridges with some orthodox preterists, but it just hasn\’t worked out except for Dee Dee Warren kindly posting links to my material.All Israel saved. I believe the verse should be quoted in context, and that context is Isaiah 59:20-21. That passage in context speaks of Israel as a nation existing before the LORD with their offspring always in covenant relationship with Him.You would like to know my view on the great commission. That\’s appropriate because I don\’t believe the great commission can be understood apart from the Olivet Discourse. Both have the preaching of the gospel until the end of the age. Jesus only taught two ages, the age that is (currently), and the age that is to come. Both of these contain the same end of the age and the same gospel message. Dispensationalists sometimes separate the gospel of the kingdom from the gospel of grace, which I find no basis for. We are currently in the time period of the preaching of the gospel until the end of the age. Persecution and tribulation are to be expected until Jesus returns. Israel is the vehicle for preaching the gospel with believing Gentiles grafted in until Israel is wakened from her spiritual sleep (Romans 11).I do not view the gospel as facts such as Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. The gospel was being preached before these things occurred. The gospel is inseparable from the person, work, and kingdom of Jesus who is the Messiah. The gospel is the good news that the Messiah will reign over the nations here on earth. John preaches: Repent in advance of the judgement that is coming and you will enter the Kingdom of God now by faith. The church stands as the assembly of citizens of the future kingdom to be established at Messiah\’s coming (parousia = presence).You wanted some thoughts, so that is a start. If you there is something you would like clarified, please let me know.Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13-The Orange Mailman

  8. Yeshua is the Lord of Glory says:

    Hi DarrinA-mill and Postmill tendencies? Don\’t tell anybody? Sorry orange mailman,but this is one of those shout it from the roof top things! Seriously tho,here is proof that none of us (Christians) fit into any certain boxes…No can of worms to open,we just agree to disagree,that\’s ok…Besides,i would not mind it one bit,if you were right concerning national Israel…As a matter of fact,i had a brief conversation a few weeks ago with an A-millennial Christian,who also believes that ethnic/national Israel will return to God.He also mentioned something about God,keeping the promises that he made to them…Wether i disagree with him or not,i hope for what he believes:concerning ethnic/national Israel returning to God…Of course,by WAY of Christ Jesus.I have a co-worker who is Premillennial and thinks that it is possible that Daniel 9:27 does speak of Christ confirming the New Covenant with many…Yet he still believes that the anti-christ/beast or man of sin,will make a seven year peace treaty with national Israel,and then break it in three and a half years…He does believe that Jesus died during the Holy week…However,the holy week he speaks of begins on Palm Sunday,with Good Friday being the day of his death,and rising on Easter Sunday.I see Messianic proof,in the Lord\’s death,burial and resurrection,Matthew 12:39-42…The sign of Jonah,three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth (sundown to sundown) three consecutive Sabbaths or Holy days…Passover,Unleaven Bread,Seventh day Sabbath and risen on Firstfruits…Perhaps it is that all my thinking is centered around the people Israel…Each and every orthodox Preterist that i have spoken to,believes that the seventieth week of Daniel began at Jesus\’ baptism… I have NOT found even so much as one commentary or person,Preterist or futurist ,Premill, Postmill or A-mill that believes as i do, that the 70 weeks of Daniel are actually the 70 years from the birth of Christ to the destruction of the Temple…Does it matter,sure it does,will that alone change my thinking,probably not…I think that we all have believed things at one time or another,that was later proven not to line up with scripture…This is what will change my thinking,not man\’s calculations of the weeks or years…If the seventy years of captivity meant exactly that and not a day for a year,then perhaps the 70 years from the birth of Christ to the destruction of Jerusalem means the exact same thing…I do not hold to it with an iron grip,i have and will always change my thinking,based on the teaching of scripture…You mentioned Dee Dee Warren.Did you know that she has a Podcast? It is called the Preterist Podcast… Episodes 4,6 9,17 and 21 are beyond excellent (in my opinion)…The most moving episode is her interview on Iron sharpens Iron,this is episode 23… Perhaps you might listen to them? Yes i agree that the Gospel was preached from the beginning…Genesis 3:15.I believe that those who had faith in the promise of the coming of the Son of God,the seed of the woman,were saved by Grace and through faith,as we are today…I want to thank you Darrin " the orange mailman" for sharing your thoughts on the great commission and of course the futurist Christian view of last things… Take care Darrin…Yeshua is the Lord of Glory…

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