Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Millennium

by James C. Morris – 

The Bible could not be more clear in explicitly teaching that, following the coming restoration of the ancient nation of Israel, there will be a golden age on this earth, in which the resurrected saints will reign for “a thousand years.” This time span is explicitly stated in the following passage:

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison.” (Revelation 20:1-8)

In spite of this time span being so explicitly stated, no less than six times in just the last six verses of this passage, many claim that this term, “thousand years,” is only a metaphorical expression meaning “a very long time.” But is this claim correct?

The first place this term occurs in the Bible is Psalm 90:4, where we read, “For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night.” In the Hebrew, the words here translated a thousand years are שנֶה אֶלֶף elep shaneh in our alphabet, word numbers 505 and 8141 in Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, which translate literally as thousand-of years.

The second place where we find this term in the scriptures is Ecclesiastes 6:6, where we read, “even if he lives a thousand years twice.” In the Hebrew, the words here translated a thousand years twice are the same ‘elep shaneh, but with the added word פעם, paʿam in our alphabet, word number 6471 in Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, which literally means two times.

The third and fourth places where we find this term in the scriptures both occur in 2 Peter 3:8, where we read, “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” In both of these cases, the Greek words translated “a thousand years” are χίλιοι ἔτος, chilioi etos in our alphabet, words numbered 5507 and 2094 in Strong’s Greek Dictionary, which literally translate as thousand years.

This is all the places where this term is used in the Bible outside of Revelation 20. In each of these places it is obvious that, as these people argue, it is indeed simply a metaphorical expression meaning “a very long time.” But now we need to examine the first eight verses of Revelation 20 in more detail. Here we find the term “a thousand years” three times. This is found in verses 2, 4, and 6. In each of these cases we find exactly the same Greek words as we saw in 2 Peter 3:8, chilioi etos, which literally translates as “thousand years.”

But we need to notice that in each of the passages we have examined so far, the Holy Spirit did not use any article at all. Now anyone with even a smattering of knowledge of Hebrew and Greek knows that in both Hebrew and Greek, the use of an article is optional. So the translators were indeed correct in adding the indefinite article “a” in each of these cases without putting it in italics, for it is implied, even though it is not stated.

But there is a different term also used in verses 3, 5, and 7 of Revelation 20. In each of these, we find the English words “the thousand years,” as opposed to the term “a thousand years” we have been seeing. In each of these cases, the Greek words translated “the thousand years” are τα χίλιοι ἔτος, ta chilioi etos in our alphabet, words numbered 3588, 5507 and 2094 in Strong’s Greek Dictionary. These words literally translate as “the thousand years,” not just the “a thousand years” that we saw in all the other cases. (The Greek word τα, ta in our alphabet, is a nominative form of the Greek word ὁ, ho in our alphabet, which literally means “the.” In both Greek and Hebrew, when the definite article is used in the Bible, it is normally used for stress. Thus, it refers to a particular thing, instead of just something in a general way. So the clause “the thousand years” means a particular period that will last “a thousand years,” not just some generic long period of time that may or may not literally last “a thousand years.”

But whether this period will literally last “a thousand years” or will just last “a very long time” is really nothing but a detail used by false teachers to distract people. to keep them from noticing everything else our God has explicitly told us about this time. And the hard truth is that, although the length of the time this coming earthly kingdom will last is only stated in tRevelation 20, the kingdom itself is the subject of many propheciees. And most of these prophecies are explicitly stated in plain, clear words. That is, they are not parts of symbolic visions whose meanings can be debated endlessly, but instead are simple statements of coming events or conditions.

The first and most significant detail we need to notice about this future kingdom is that during this time Satan will be imprisoned Many think Satan is just a symbolic personification of evil, but the Bible could hardly be more clear in depicting him as an actual living being, a person, an individual. And the Bible explicitly tells us that this wicked individual will be imprisoned during this period, saying:

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished.” (Revelation 20:1-3)... 7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison.” (Revelation 20:7)

It is amazing to hear people claiming that this imprisonment is currently in effect. While the manifest presence of evil throughout the world renders this claim obviously ridiculous, it is more than simply ridiculous. For it is directly contrary to explicitly stated scripture. We are explicitly told, 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) And, 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) An individual that is presently imprisoned “so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished” would be unable to be currently blinding “the minds” of those “who do not believe,” and would be unable to currently walk about, “seeking whom he may devour.”

We remember that, as we saw in the previous article titled “The Ancient Promises,” the ancient nation o Israel will be brought back to its ancient homeland, This is explicitly stated in Ezekiel 36:1-12, where the “mountains of Israel,” along with “the hills, the rivers, the valleys, the desolate wastes, and the cities that have been forsaken, which became plunder and mockery to the rest of the nations all around–” (verse 4) are explicitly promised that 8b you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come. 9 For indeed I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. 10 I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. 11 I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bear young; I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the LORD. 12 Yes, I will cause men to walk on you, My people Israel; they shall take possession of you, and you shall be their inheritance; no more shall you bereave them of children.” (verses8-12)

And as we saw, in Ezekiel 47:13-20 the Holy Spirit went so far as to specifically define the borders of the land of Israel in that day, and in the following chapter to specify which part of that plot of real estate would go to each of the twelve tribes of Israel, naming each of these twelve tribes as it specified the location of its individual plot of real estate.

But it is not only Israel that will be restored at that time. We are explicitly told that the whole world will be blessed. For, as we also saw in the article titled “New Testament Prophecies of the Restoraton of Israel,” it says concerning Israel that “if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:15) And we read of this day that “there shall be no more curse.” (Revelation 22:3) This refers to Genesis 3:17, where the Lord told Adam, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.” We see this again in Romans 8:19, where we read that “the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”

The blessings of this wonderful time are described in glowing terms such as:

6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,

The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,

The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;

And a little child shall lead them.

7 The cow and the bear shall graze;

Their young ones shall lie down together;

And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

8 The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole,

And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den.

9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,

For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD

As the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:6-9)


“‘20 No more shall an infant from there live but a few days,

Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days;

For the child shall die one hundred years old,

But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.

21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;

They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

23 They shall not build and another inhabit;

They shall not plant and another eat;

For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people,

And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

23 They shall not labor in vain,

Nor bring forth children for trouble;

For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the LORD,

And their offspring with them.

24 It shall come to pass

That before they call, I will answer;

And while they are still speaking, I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,

The lion shall eat straw like the ox,

And dust shall be the serpent's food.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,’

Says the LORD.” (Isaiah 65:20-25)

We also read of that day that “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4) This is so important it is repeated in Micah 4:3.

And, as we will see in more detail in the next article, titled “The Worship During the Millennium,” in Ezekiel 40-46, we are explicitly told of the worship in that day. Some have imagined that this cannot happen, because they think it would be a return to the law of Moses. But that is not the case. For, although all the sacrifices that were specified as perpetual in the law of Moses are again specified in Ezekiel, The sacrifices and the associated ordinances are significantly different from those specified by Moses.

And finally, we are told of a healing river that will flow out of the temple.

8 This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. 9 And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. 10 It shall be that fishermen will stand by it from En Gedi to En Eglaim; they will be places for spreading their nets. Their fish will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea, exceedingly many. 11 But its swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will be given over to salt. 12 Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.” (Ezekiel 47:8-12)

The fact that these scriptures describe reproduction, (and thus marriage) sin, death, and healing (indicating the presence of sickness) are hard proof that these are not descriptions of the resurrected state, where none of these things will exist, but of a future intermediate state, different from both the present time and the eternal state. And the end of this intermediate state is described in explicit words:

7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:7-10) And then, just a few verses later, we read, 1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.” (Revelation 21:1) But that is a subject for a different article.


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