Tuesday, October 14, 2014

1,000 years, literal or figurative?

Dear in Christ,

There are quite a few numbers used in the book of Revelation. Of these 3½ years, 42 months and 1,260 days are expressedly the same (Compare Rev 12:4 and 6). Expressing the same number variously precludes any other interpretation. (There are some groups which attempted to interpret the 1,260 days as 1,260 years. Nevertheless, their calculations went wrong and their doomsday predictions failed.)

There are many who interpret the 1,000 years of Rev 20 as an infinitely long period. But if we analytically study Rev 20:7-9, it is very evident that Satan's release from prison and Satan's gathering nations together to surround the beloved city happens after the completion of the 1,000 years. As we have seen from the complementary post on Rev 20, this is a past event and it makes absolutely no sense to say that either New Jerusalem or the present day Jerusalem will be surrounded by Satan & Co in the future. We have also seen that the siege of Jerusalem by enemies happened between 66 and 70 AD. Which implies that the 1,000 years ended around the time Jerusalem was surrounded.

While there is an agreement on the end of the 1,000 years, many find it embarrassing to admit that the period is not a literal one, but a much shorter and symbolic one. They say that the 1,000 years started with the reign of King David, around 1,000 years before Christ. This does not add up, as King David himself was provoked by Satan into taking the census of Israel (1Ch 21:1), whereas the express purpose of binding Satan during the 1,000 years was to prevent Satan from deceiving the nations. (One may argue that David did not belong to nations.)

I strongly believe that the millennium or 1,000 years is a symbolic period that started with the earthly ministry of Jesus and ended before the siege and fall of Jerusalem, 66 to 70 AD.

It is customary to cite a passage that proves 1,000 is not literal. So, here it is:


Psa 50:10For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.

Obviously, the talk here is of completeness and not the exact count. Even the cattle on 1001st, 1002nd hill are of the LORD.


Indicators to the binding of Satan.


When the 72 chosen disciples who were sent by Jesus to preach the gospel of the kingdom returned to Him rejoicing that even the devils are subject to them through the name of Jesus (Luk 10:1-18), He tells them:

Luk 10:18And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

Once, while Jesus was healing the demon possessed and the dumb, Pharisees accused Him of casting out the devils with the help of Beelzebub the prince of the devils. (Mat 12:24). Then Jesus in His response says this:


Mat 12:29Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.

Obviously, Jesus has entered the strong man's (Satan) house and spoiled his goods - released the demon possessed and dumb. After having accomplished the spoiling Jesus asks whether it is possible to loot a strong man's house without binding him. (The Greek word used for binding in Mat 12:29 and Rev 20:2 are the same).

For reasons that we will see later (if it be the will of God), Jesus terms the entity called Satan as "the prince of this world" and talks about the casting out and judgment of Satan.


Joh 12:31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

Now in the above sentence is not the time that you read it, it was the time Jesus uttered these words, nearly 2,000 years ago - immediately after Jesus' entry into Jerusalem on an ass (John 12:12-15). He says that the prince of this world was then (2,000 years ago) about to be cast out.


Joh 16:11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

Under normal circumstances, you cannot judge someone who is not arrested! (No standard translation of the scriptures render this verse in future tense.)


An examination of the words that is used in "prince of this world" may prove that it is not some celestial agency. I am not oblivious of the passages which say that "your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1Pe 5:8) or Satan hindered Paul from visiting the Thessalonian believers (1Th 2:18). If it be the will of God, we will examine these passages to prove that the these passages do not talk of some celestial monster called Satan. 

To sum up what we have seen above, the binding of Satan happened towards the beginning of Jesus' ministry.


A day with the Lord is as a thousand years ...




When we tell someone that the 1,000 years mentioned in Rev 20 could be a shorter and symbolic period of time, they would be quick to quote 2Pe 3:8 (capitalization and emphasis is mine):


2Pe 3:8But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord AS a thousand years, and a thousand years AS one day.

They ignore the presence of the word AS and they equate one day with a 1,000 years. And what do they prove? To the best of my knowledge, not a thing. The word means "like", "similar to". Does the expression "one day with the Lord is like a 1,000 years" mean "one day with the Lord is 1,000 years"? No, not if you have an iota of common sense left in you.

Please do read from 2Pe 3:3 onward, Peter is dealing with the scoffers who ask: Nothing has changed since the days of our fathers, where is the promise of His coming? Obviously, these scoffers expect some drastic changes (like earth becoming a paradise - as some of our contemporary Christians look forward to) if the coming of the Lord happens. Apostle Peter corrects them, telling them that the day of the Lord is not about the earth becoming a paradise, it is about the annihilation of the wicked people. He reminds them of the days of the Biblical flood and tells them how the wicked perished and the righteous alone survived. He says what they they consider as a delay on the part of the Lord is in fact the Lord's patient waiting for people to repent and leave their wicked ways.

In other words, the expression "one day is with the Lord AS a thousand years" is used as warning regarding a terrible and unbearable time.

Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity. ~Albert Einstein.

Look up the expression "the day of the LORD" in the prophetic books of the Bible and you will see many expressions like the day of the LORD's wrath, the day of the LORD's anger, the great and terrible day of the LORD. There is nothing about the earth becoming a paradise. This one passage disproves all those who look forward to some glorious day of the LORD:


Amo 5:18Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.

There is nothing desirable about it. It is the day when the Lord rules with an iron rod.

Conclusion


The 1,000 year reign of Christ, mentioned as the day of the LORD in the Old Testament is a terrible period. It is not termed as 1,000 years because of the dreadful nature of the period and not in terms of the duration of the period.

Do I talk of Amillennialism? No, because, Amillennialism teaches of a a final judgment some time in the future.

I have absolutely no reason for embarrassment to say that 1,000 years is not a literal period.

In Christ,