Summary: Message 35 in our exposition of Revelation covering the millennium.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
“The Millennial Reign of Jesus” Rev 20:1-6
Where are we in our study of the end times as revealed in the book of Revelation? The tribulation has ended. The accumulated wrath of God for the accumulated sin since the beginning has been poured out on the people and kingdoms of the earth through the various judgments. Romans 2:1-6
The final day of wrath and the revelation of the righteous judgment has passed awaiting one final hearing before the judge when all the wicked of the earth from the beginning whose names are not found in the book of life will receive final judgment and sentence. Jesus has gloriously returned to earth with His faithful followers and victorious angel army. The beast and the false prophet have been consigned to the lake of fire. Everyone who embraced the antichrist was killed and awaits final judgment. What will happen to all those who remained true during the tribulation along with the Jews who embrace their Messiah.
Do you ever wish you could be in charge? Do you wish you could be responsible for seeing that thing get done properly? Ever want to be involved in government? Well, if you are a follower of Jesus, a day is coming when you will be directly involved in governing the Kingdom of God.
Revelation describes a period of 1,000 years. The duration of Christ’s earthly reign is mentioned only here (six times). The fact of an earthly reign of Christ is mentioned multiple times throughout the Bible.
Two things are described in this passage.
The binding of Satan the dragon of old in the abyss
The reigning of the faithful on the earth
There are at least three views concerning the millennium. Just as there has been a great deal of discussion concerning the timing of the rapture of the church from the earth, there has also been considerable discussion concerning the timing of the 1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth. I feel the same way toward the discussion concerning the millennium as I do the rapture. We should invest more energy in the wonder of the actual even than the timing of the event. One book on the millennium devoted three quarters of the book on the theological discussion concerning the timing and only one quarter actually discussed the event itself.
II. Messages to the churches
III. Last days
G. Marriage of the Lamb 19:7-11
H. Return of Christ 19:12-22
I. The MILLENNIUM 20:1-6
1. The Moment of the Millennium
The three main interpretations concerning the millennium hinge mostly on one’s method of Bible interpretation. I will first describe the three views and then look at how they are affected by one’s method of interpretation and which view best incorporates the teaching of the Scriptures regarding the future and end times.
An “a” or “un” in front of a word negates the word that follows.
“a” moral means no moral implications
“un” American means views that do not correspond with American values.
“un” faithful means one who is not faithful.
An “a” millennialist is one who does not believe in a literal 1,000 year reign. They teach that from the ascension of Christ in the first century until His second coming, both good and evil will increase in the world as God’s kingdom parallels Satan’s kingdom. They teach that Satan is currently and actually or literally bound as taught in Rev 20 but evil will still increase.
When Jesus returns, the end of the world will occur with a general resurrection and we will all enter into the eternal state. The a-millennialist must spiritualize all of the future kingdom prophecies. There is no record of this view in the early church writings. It became the dominate view during the time of Augustine (354-430) and Jerome. It has been the predominate view all through recent church history.
The postmillennial view, by its name, believes that Christ will return AFTER (post) the millennium. They teach that the current age since the ascension of Jesus IS the millennial period described in Revelation 20 but does not necessarily represent a literal 1,000 years.
At the close of the church age, Jesus will return to earth after Christianity has grown in power and dominated the world for a long period of time. The postmillennialist believes that things will get better and better through the control of the church and there will be no need for a cataclysmic return of Christ to impose righteousness. Victory will result from the faithful application of the means available during our present age. This was a major view in America during much of the nineteenth century but fell out of favor until the 1960’s. The view has reemerged as under what is called the Christian Reconstruction movement. This movement believes that the command to dominate the earth must be achieved by Christians who transform the current governmental system into a theocracy. It is known by other names such as: Dominionism, Dominion Theology, Christian Reconstructionism, Theocratic Dominionism, Kingdom Now theology, and Theonomy