Saturday, October 20, 2012

What about the thousand year reign on earth in Revelation that the modern Church is always mentioning?

The next question that would naturally come to mind is if Jesus was not to ever return to earth in a literal, physical glorified, body, what about the thousand years reign on earth in Revelation that the modern Church is always mentioning?

The word thousand is only mentioned two places in the New Testament and that is (Revelation 20-4 and 2 Peter 3) But before we dig into the thousand years reign, list first look at some of Jesus statements.   Jesus has just been betrayed by Judas,  and arrested and later taken before Pilate. (John 18:29)  Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?"  Jesus answered him, "Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?"  Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?"  Jesus answered, "(My kingdom is not of this world). If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now (My kingdom is not from here)." (John 18:33-36) emphasis, added.

How much clearer could Jesus be that his  kingdom has nothing to do with him reigning on the earth, but is rather a spiritual kingdom operating through the "church" since Pentecost.     Jesus was still on the literal earth, but he was not a part of the order of things on the earth.  Christ's kingdom is "not of this world" because it is a kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 13:44)

Jesus was once asked when the kingdom of God would come on earth.  Jesus replied, it is not something people will be able to see ...  (Luke 17:20-21)   Another time when Jesus was speaking to his disciples, he said, Before long, the world will not (see me anymore), but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  (John 14:19)  (emphasis, added).  How much clearer could Jesus be in these above statements?   

So what about the thousand year reign?    The modern view goes something like this.  A millennium is a period of one thousand years, where there will be a Golden Age or Paradise on Earth in which "Christ will reign" for 1000 years prior to the final judgment.  To make a long story short. When the kingdom is finally restored to Israel, it is a continuation of the same historical, theocratic, earthly kingdom.   There, Jesus will reign on earth from Jerusalem for a thousand years.

But lest examined or test, this view against scripture to determine if it is correct. Revelation 20:4  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.   (emphasis, added)

The first, observation that should be made is the verse nowhere speaks of a reign of Christ on the earth.  It clearly says, And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  There is no mention were this reign takes place.   The second observation that should be made is if this is a literal 1,000 years, then the only people who can reign with Christ are those who have been “beheaded for the cause of Christ.”    There is no mention of anyone living reigning with Christ.   John says only those who have been “beheaded for the cause of Christ reign with Christ.”  There's NO need to do gymnastics with the scripture here.    If we are honest with the scriptures, we have seen the problems here. 

The Bible often uses the metaphor thousand as a figure of speech.  For example, it says in Scripture, God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  (Psalms 50:10)   We don’t go around saying that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but the cattle on the thousand and one hill, I guess He doesn’t own those cattle.” So who owns them? Well, we know what that means. It means that God owns all the cattle.   The problem is ironically, most of the time when the world thousand is used, it is taken in a literal sense.  The word “thousand” is rarely used in a non literal sense throughout the Bible, but is sometimes used in a metaphor thousand as a figure of speech.  

In Hebrew poetry it is common to have two lines juxtaposed to each other.  “For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills.” The first line states that God owns all beasts. The second line gives an example (cattle) of all the beast of the forest belonging to God. Thus, the context supports in this instance a figurative use of “thousand.” The next line (Psalm 50:11) continues in the same vein: “I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine.” Does God only know the birds or the mountains and not those of the valleys? In this verse the Psalmist goes from the specific to the general. It would make sense from this passage to conclude that God owns all.

Time Statement all though they are often ignored in the Bible are very important.  John also says the martyrs were priests who reigned with Christ for the millennium he does not mention any living Jews.  Revelation 20:6 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.

Understanding the Bible hinges on taking time statements at their face value.  Jesus told the parable about how His “citizens of Israel” hated him and sent a delegation asking that he not be allowed to (reign over them).  (Luke 19:14)  Was Jesus reigning in the mean time?   Notice 1Cointhians says  Christ WAS reigning with the Father until he put all enemies under His feet.  1Cointhians 15:25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 

Who were these enemies of Christ?   According to scripture, it was the Jews living in that day and others Psalms 2:1-9.  We can find the fulfillment of the second Psalm in Act 4:25-26 "who by the mouth of Your servant David  have said: 'Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.' "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You  anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles (and the people of Israel, were gathered together).    Notice Luke says Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together against the LORD and against His Christ.   These were enemies of Christ as clearly stated in scripture.

During this most amazing trial in history Pilate has come to the conclusion that all of his appeals have had absolutely no effect upon the Jews; that his only option is to condemn a completely innocent man to death.

Matthew. 27:22:26  Pilate saith unto them, “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” They all say unto him, “Let him be crucified.” And the governor said, “Why, what evil hath he done?”They respond like wild dogs after an injured young deer.,  “Let him be crucified.” ” In other words, take Him away and crucify Him.”  When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person.  You see to it."  And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children." Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

John adds, And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and Pilate saith unto the Jews, “Behold your King!” But they cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him.” Pilate saith unto them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “WE HAVE NO KING BUT CAESAR,” Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. (John. 19:14-16)

The governor’s frustration is seen in his statement to the Jews, “Behold your king!” Pilate knew that the Jews empathically rejected the kingship of Christ, so this statement is spoken with scorn and sarcasm. Pilate is angry at the Jews and thus purposely inflames their rage.

This is a grim echo of  1 Samuel 8:7 “And the LORD told Samuel: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.“  The Jews’ expressed who was  reigning over them (CAESAR) and their hatred toward Jesus, but this did not stop the reign of Christ.  We read in Psalm 110:2 that Christ would reign right in the midst of His enemies.