Thousand Years

Like the other numbers in Revelation, the "1,000" is symbolic, a large, rounded-off number. Where seven connotes a fullness of quality in Biblical imagery, the number ten contains the idea of a fullness of quantity; in other words, it stands for manyness. A thousand multiplies and intensifies this (10x10x 10), and it is used in Scripture much the way we, with a more inflationary mentality, use the term million: "I've told you a million times!" (Perhaps "literalists" never talk that way, but I'm sure the rest of us do on occasion.) There is a difference, however. When the Bible speaks of 1,000, it is not really for the purpose of exaggeration, the way we do, but simply to express great vast-ness. Thus, God claims to own "the cattle on a thousand hills" (Ps. 50:10). Does Hill No. 1,001 belong to someone else? Of course not. God owns all the cattle on all the hills. But He says "a thousand" to indicate that there are many hills, and much cattle. (For some similar uses of 1,000, see Deut. 1:11; 7:9; Ps. 68:17; 84:10; 90:4.) In the same way -particularly with regard to a highly symbolic book - we should see that the "1,000 years" of Revelation 20 represent a vast, undefined period of time. It has already lasted almost 2,000 years, and will probably go on for many more. "Exactly how many years?" someone asked me. "I'll be happy to tell you," I cheerfully replied, "as soon as you tell me exactly how many hills are in Psalm 50."

According to some, Christ's Kingdom will begin only when He returns in the Second Coming; then, they say, Jesus Christ will actually take up residence in Jerusalem, where there will be a restored, active Temple, with real sacrifices - sometimes I wonder if these dear people ever read the New Testament! None of these ideas are contained in this text (or any other, for that matter). As we have repeatedly seen, Jesus Christ is reigning now (Acts 2:29-36; Rev. 1:5), and He will remain in heaven until the Last Judgment (Acts 3:2).

The thrones in Revelation 20:4 stand for the reign of the saints, the faithful overcomes who are victorious over the Dragon and the Beast (Rev. 12:9-11). Our rule is going on now, on this earth (Matt. 19:28; Luke 18:28-30; 22:29-30; Eph. 2:6), and the extent of our rule coincides with the progress of the gospel. As it increases, so does the dominion of Christians. The two go together, as Jesus stated in His Great Commission (Matt. 2:18-20): we are to teach and disciple the nations, and as they are to the commands of God's Word, the boundaries of the Kingdom will expand. Eventually, through evangelism, the reign of Christians will become so extensive that "the earth will be full of the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea" (Isa. ll:9).Edenic blessings will abound across the world as God's law is increasingly obeyed (Lev. 26:3-13; Deut. 28:1-14). What a tremendous motive for worldwide evangelism! In fact, this view of worldwide conversion has been the basic inspiration for missionary activity throughout the history of the Church, particularly since the Protestant Reformation (for documentation of this, see Iain Murray's excellent book, The Puritan Hope: Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy).

How To Survive The End Of The World

How To Survive The End Of The World

Preparing for Armageddon, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Strikes, the Zombie Apocalypse, and Every Other Threat to Human Life on Earth. Most of us have thought about how we would handle various types of scenarios that could signal the end of the world. There are plenty of movies on the subject, psychological papers, and even survivalists that are part of reality TV shows. Perhaps you have had dreams about being one of the few left and what you would do in order to survive.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment