Why the Millennial?
Pastor K. Kirkland, Valdez Apostolic Church, Valdez, Alaska
FOLLOWS THE FALSE, THE TRUE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM FOLLOWS THE IMPOSTOR KINGDOM
Why the millennial? We could just as well ask, why the great tribulation? Why the beast, or antichrist, ruling the world in an end time one world government? The antichrist kingdom, and Christ’s millennial kingdom, are the two great events of the book of Revelation. Chapters 6-19 deals with the former, chapter 20, the latter. According to Revelation, Christ comes at the end of the tribulation (chapter 19, verses 11-21), when he destroys the beast and puts an end to his kingdom. The second coming closes out the tribulation, while at the same time, ushering in the reign of Christ for a thousand years, called the "millennium" (derived from mille, Latin for thousand), chapter 20. The millennial kingdom of Christ, thus, is not a stand-alone event, an entity unto itself, it should be viewed in context with the beast kingdom, and the tribulation, that immediately precedes it.
We see a basis for this in 1 Cor. 15:46, 47. The first man, Adam, represents the old creation, the carnal nature of man, while Christ, “the second Adam,” represents the new creation. We see this in the end time, first must come the antichrist and his kingdom, representing the fullness of unregenerate, carnal, man, the old creation, then must come Christ and his kingdom. The sequence is, first the end time kingdom of antichrist, followed by the Lord from heaven in his second coming, ushering in the millennial kingdom. While the carnal and spiritual nature of man, the old and new creation, have been in conflict since the founding of the church, it is the end time tribulation, with the antichrist at the head of the old creation, followed by the millennial kingdom, with Christ at the head of the new creation, that manifests the last stage of this conflict, it’s fullness, its consummation.
We see the same sequence in such things as Cain and Abel. Cain was the firstborn, and then came Abel. The same with Ishmael and Isaak. Same with Esau and Jacob. Same with unregenerate man, and born again/regenerated man. And the same with the antichrist end time kingdom, and Jesus Christ and the millennial kingdom.
If the earth was the stage of the first Adam, the earth has to be the stage of the second Adam. The victory must be won on the same battle ground, here on earth. The victory was only partially won at Christ’s first coming, it is completed in his second coming and the millennial. The millennial, thus, must be enacted upon an earthly stage to complete the first Adam – second Adam sequence.
We see the same sequence in Daniel. Chapters two and seven of Daniel prophesy human history to culminate in a one world kingdom (as Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome had been in antiquity), followed by Christ’s second coming as the stone from heaven, chapter two, or the ancient of days, chapter seven, destroying the beast-like kingdom – from whence we get the “beast” in Revelation – bringing in his kingdom on earth in a new golden age. Dan. 7:18, 22 tell us that “The saints…take the kingdom” from the beast, and “possess” it, that is, the former kingdom ruled by the end time beast is taken over by Christ and the saints. As also saith Rev. 11:15, And the seventh angel sounded (the last trump); and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. This is obviously an earthly reign and kingdom. First must come the end time impostor kingdom, THEN must come the true kingdom, the millennial reign described in Rev. 20.
Isaiah 11 depicts the same sequence. Christ coming in judgment at his second coming, verse 4, followed by millennial conditions upon earth, verses 6 – 9. Psalms 2 puts it like this. Christ breaks his antichrist opponents with a rod of iron; dashing them to pieces like a potters vessel, verse 9. And, as we have seen in Daniel 7 and Rev. 11:15, in verse 8 the kingdoms of the earth become Christ’s kingdoms, the heathen become “his inheritance,” and the uttermost parts of the earth become his “possession.” The same Christ coming to “rule with a rod of iron” theme, Ps. 2:9, we see in Rev. 2:25-27, 12:5, and 19:15.
Zechariah 14 has Christ coming in judgment to the Mount of Olives, from whence he left, see Acts 1:9-12. Coming with his saints, “and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee,” verse 5b. Coming to rule as king upon this earth in the millennial, “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one,” verse 9. Certain millennial conditions are described, verses 8, 16-21.
Some have called Isaiah 24, especially verses 21-23 a “mini-apocalypse.” A sort of rough preview, in condensed form, of the important details we see in the “big apocalypse,” the book of Revelation. Our commentary here of Isa. 24, compares Isa. 24 alongside Revelation.
The day of the Lord is described, verses 1-20, with the sun “ashamed” and the moon “confounded,” verse 23a. In the earthly realm, the beast with his ten kings and armies “upon the earth” are destroyed at Armageddon, while in the spiritual realm, the devil with his angels, “the host of the high ones that are on high,” are NOT destroyed, but are incarcerated in the pit, “gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison,” verse 21,22. Is this not precisely what we see in Rev. 19 & 20? The beast is destroyed at Christ’s coming in chapter 19, while (chapter 20) the devil gets incarcerated in the pit, not being destroyed yet, only imprisoned, for a thousand years.
And here is the millennial reign, “when the Lord of hosts shall REIGN (as king) in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, before his ancients gloriously,” verse 23b. Reigning gloriously indeed, elsewhere described in the Bible as “the throne of his glory.” Please note how Isaiah even includes this important detail, verse 22b says the devil and his angels are not “visited,” or judged, until “after many days.” Which coincides exactly with Rev. 20, which tells us that the devil is not destroyed until the thousand years are expired. When he is loosed out of his prison, deceives once again, and then cast into the lake of fire. “After many days” indeed, after a thousand years.
There is a reason we have taken up a goodly amount of space here with Isaiah’s “mini-apocalypse.” We are told by the opponents of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, as described in Rev. 20, with the devil bound for a thousand years, and then a thousand years later destroyed, should not be taken seriously. Where else do we find such stuff in the Bible? They say. Thus they dispense with the Rev. 20 millennial by spiritualizing everything to do with it. If these details are to be taken as actual prophecy to be fulfilled, we should have support for it somewhere else in the Bible, they say. We do – in Isaiah 24.
THE PROPHETS SET THE PRECEDENT
THE PROPHETS SET THE PRECEDENT
Human history will conclude in a grand clash between good and evil, between the true and the false, which will usher in a messianic golden age upon earth. The prophetic precedent for this was set in the prophets, assumed (or presupposed) in the time of Jesus, by his hearers the Jews – thus it came as no shock when Jesus said, “blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth,” Matt. 5:5 - by the Apostles in Acts, by the writers of the epistles, and, finally, in the Revelation. The Messianic earthly reign of Jesus Christ, after he defeats his enemies, is presupposed throughout the New Testament.
CHURCH WILL PREVAIL
CHURCH WILL PREVAIL
Jesus said the gates of hell shall not prevail against his church, he gave Peter the keys of the kingdom, Matt. 16:18.19. The endtime tribulation is a “kingdoms in conflict” arena, the antichrist and his kingdom against Jesus Christ and his church – the church he gave the keys to. Which kingdom is going to prevail? We stress again our point at the beginning of this article; the millennial has to be understood in context with the tribulation. Which is why the millennial is so important, it shows which kingdom prevails.
IS THE HISTORIC VIEW
We have not been putting some sort of
“spin” on the scriptures, a new, novel, interpretation about the millennial.
Far from it, it is, in fact, the historical view. It was the view of the
earliest writers of Christianity. So outspoken were these early writers about
this that theologians commonly refer to them and their writings as “millennialist,”
or "Pre-millennialist" - Jesus Christ will return before (pre) the
millennial. Sometimes known as Chiliast” (another Latin word for
WHY A THOUSAND YEARS?
But why only a thousand years? Why not two thousand years? Why not ten thousand? (The Amillennialists spiritualize the thousand years, it is indefinite, it can mean two thousand years – our present span of time since Christ – or ten thousand.) This writer believes thousand actually means thousand. Remember the point I made at the beginning of this article, that we should view the millennial in context with the tribulation that precedes it? Well, if 42 months (Rev. 11:2), 1260 days (Rev. 12:6), and time, times, and a half a time (Rev. 12:14), the length of time of the tribulation, actually means three and one half years, then, likewise the thousand years. While it is true that Revelation uses symbolic language, this is not the case when it speaks of time periods. Especially these two highly significant time periods.
We know from whence Revelation gets the
time period of the tribulation - the book of Daniel. But, if the precedent for
the time period of the tribulation came from the Old Testament, we should also
find in the Old Testament precedent for the thousand years time period. We
believe we find it here, Psalms 90:4, Moses said, “For a thousand years in
thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”
Or, as Peter puts it, “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a
thousand years as one day,” 2 Pet. 3:8. The prophetic principle of God’s
days equal to a thousand years, leads to another important consideration – the
GOD PROPHESIED THE END FROM THE BEGINNING
In the beginning, God “worked” for six days, then rested the seventh day, the Sabbath. Think of this as prophetic of God’s great plan, his great “work” of the new creation, concluding with a day of rest. In Genesis, after the completion of his “work,” Adam and Eve were placed in Eden, resting in God’s Sabbath. This is prophetic of Christ and the church in the millennial kingdom, after God’s prophetic “work” has been completed. The Sabbath, thus, is prophetic of the millennial reign of Christ upon this earth. As also saith Paul in Col. 2:16, 17, he said the Sabbaths (among other things) “are a shadow of things to come.”
666 THEN THE
These things can be expressed numerically. That is, taking the number seven to represent the Sabbath, the seventh millennium, Christ’s millennial kingdom, then the number six would represent the sixth millennium. This helps us to better understand the prominence of the number 666 associated with the antichrist kingdom, coming at the end of that sixth millennium. Six, six, six, the number six maximized, represents the maximization of carnal unregenerate man, “the number of a man,” Rev. 13:18. The fullness of it, embodied in one man, the beast/antichrist. One man, representing the old creation. This illustration, though simple in the extreme, soundly trumps the crafty schemes of the anti-millennialists. As sure as seven follows six, Jesus Christ as head of the new creation in the millennial, as expressed in the number seven, must follow the antichrist as head of the old creation in the tribulation, as expressed by the number six.
This millennial hope, based on the Edenic-Sabbath ideal, which God had declared from the beginning, spoken of by prophets like Isaiah (Isa. 46:10 above), Peter addressed in Acts 3:20, 21. He said Jesus Christ will remain in heaven “until the times of restitution (restoration) of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Which restoration, according to Peter again, in 2 Pet. 3:10-12, occurs after the heaven and earth has been purged by fire. A purging by fire, not a total incineration by fire.
This “restoration” Jesus calls “the regeneration” in Matt. 19:28, he said to his twelve disciples, “Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory….” Yes, just as we humans must be regenerated, purged from our sins, so the cosmos, or the creation. Not the total annihilation of the cosmos, mind you, but a regeneration of it, a purging. Even the creation must undergo birth pains (travail) in its process of regeneration, see Rom. 8:19-23. Which cosmic conflagration is otherwise known as the day of the Lord in many passages throughout the Bible, both Old and New Testaments.
Please note, “in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory.” There is much behind this phrase “throne of his glory.” It speaks of the special glory a king has after defeating a bitter enemy in battle. Always in the Bible, that glory doesn’t signify just the enemy’s defeat, but THE KING’S RULE AFTER THE DEFEAT. What glory does a victorious king have if he doesn’t actually take the rule over, and reign over, the very lands so many of his people had endured so much hardship, and so many had died for?
Jesus must be vindicated, not in the eternal, but right here in the earthly sphere of things, here on earth. Think of the abuse heaped upon Jesus throughout this age, and especially the end time, when he will be viewed as a lying hoax perpetuated on mankind, the antichrist being the true messiah. With those who believe in the name of Jesus being afflicted, killed, and hated for his name sake, Matt. 24:9. I, myself, personally, WANT to see him vindicated! I WANT TO SEE HIM, NOT ONLY DEFEAT HIS ENEMIES, BUT REIGN AND RULE AFTER HE DOES IT!
Wars are fought over territory, over land. They fight to defeat what they view as aggressors and tyrants – called “just” wars. So many examples: the allies in Europe fought Hitler to liberate and regain the lands of Poland, France, Holland, Norway, etc. Same in the war with Japan in the Pacific. The British fought the fledgling American colonies in the Revolutionary war over, what they viewed, as their lands. The colonies saw it different, of course, it was their land they were fighting for.
If the end time fight is over land, what territory, what land? And who is the tyrant? The devil claims the earth (“the god of this world,” 2 Cor. 4:4) as his. By the time of the end, he will have attained his goal, a one-world government ruled over by his man, the antichrist. But men and nations don’t fight wars just to say, “Hurray, our side won.” At the end of the fight their goal is to take the rule over that territory they have fought so hard for. Likewise, neither will the grand cosmic battle of the end time end in a “Hurray, our side won.” Jesus Christ comes to defeat the impostor tyrant and his kingdom, and to take the rule over, and reign over, his former territory, this earth!
We think we have answered why. We have given scriptural reasons; we have given common sense reasons. If the millennial is as we have outlined it here, God’s intention from the beginning, the restoration, or “regeneration,” prophesied in the prophets, the throne of Christ’s glory, the inheritance of Jesus Christ and the saints, yet men choose to disbelieve and set themselves against it, then they are simply setting themselves against the will and plan of God. By so doing, they forfeit their own inheritance. Sadly, they, like Esau, sell their millennial inheritance for a mess of anti-millennialist pottage. Faith is the great determinant. You will get only what you believe. If you don’t believe in the millennial kingdom of Christ upon this earth after his defeat of Satan’s kingdom, Rev. 19 & 20, it won’t be yours. According to your faith be it unto you.
Rev 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Other issues internal to the millennial
By no means does this paper attempt to address all the issues raised internal to the millennial itself. Such as, who are the “nations” of Rev. 20:3, 8-10? How did they survive the tribulation to populate the millennial in their natural bodies? Who are the brethren, sheep nations, and goat nations in the parable of the sheep and goats, Matt. 25:31-46? The 12 tribes, Matt. 19:28. And other related millennial questions. Our emphasis has been throughout, simply the fact of the millennial. Will there, or will there not, be a millennial reign of Jesus Christ upon this earth? That has been our subject. As to issues raised concerning the internals of the millennial, they would require a separate article. Suffice to say, however one might interpret the internals, they do not defeat, or detract, from the basic premise outlined in this paper.
A Christian Millennium
Beyond the mere fact of it, it should be obvious that this writer believes the millennial will be a Christian millennial, an Apostolic one, a new covenant one. A millennial ruled by King Jesus and the church, inclusive of the faithful elect of both testaments, Jew and Gentile, not a Jewish millennial ruled by King David and Jews under the old covenant (under the law). I am not a Dispensationalist. This writer believes God, at the beginning, predestined the church, at the end of human history, to rule with Christ in a thousand year earthly reign – as prefigured in Adam and Eve in the Edenic Sabbath/rest. Thus, the church is the elect of the millennium, not Judaism. As to the many Old Testament prophecies that seem to say otherwise, we should understand that the prophets prophesied under the law, their prophecies were colored by it. They used the events and forms of old Israel, in the time frame they lived. This writer believes that we should interpret the Old Testament in light of the New.
The Millennial has to do with the earth and human history, not the eternal state
Neither does this paper attempt to address the eternal state, that which lies beyond the Millennial. It has not been our subject. As we believe the millennial reign has primarily to do with the long war between God and the devil, and the latter’s claim to the earth as his kingdom – the earth originally belonged to Lucifer the “son of the morning” – the issue between God and the devil must be settled right here on earth, the devil’s domain. Settle within human history, not in the eternal state. Which is what we see in Rev. 20.
During the millennial, the devil has the
unhappy experience of seeing his earthly kingdom taken from him and given to
Jesus Christ, and then a thousand years later, being thrown into the lake of
fire. Thus concluding the long war between God and the devil. The Genesis six
day creation and Sabbath prophecy, thus, is earth-specific.
Which has to do with the long war between God and Satan, in relation to
humanity. Which is concluded by the end of the millennial, when Satan is
destroyed, after which, begins the eternal state. THE MILLENNIAL OF REV. 20 IS EARTH-SPECIFIC!
11:15 says at the sounding of the last trump, “…and he shall reign for
ever, and ever.” The millennial reign that ensues, is God’s rule within
human history, however, by no means does his reign end there. It continues on in
the eternal state beyond the millennial, as our text here, Rev. 11:15, says, “for
ever, and ever.” The last trump and the day of the Lord, mark that point
in time when man’s day ends.
We are not promoting old covenant keeping of the Sabbath
Much emphasis is placed in this paper on the Sabbath. However, I do not keep Jewish dietary laws (“meat and drink”), feast days, new moons, nor Sabbaths (weekly, monthly, or yearly), Col. 2:16. These are old covenant-specific, the only valid covenant in force today is the new covenant, the old covenant, the law, has been rendered invalid. I am not a Judaizer. However, there is a sense in which I do keep the feast days, new moons, and sabbaths, I keep the new covenant truths they point to, or are prophetic of, are shadows of. I follow Paul, he said these things are prophetic, they are shadows of things to come, Col. 2:16, 17. Feast days, new moons, and Sabbaths, including the weekly Sabbath, were part and parcel of the Jewish calendar, which governed every aspect of Jewish life under the law.
Those under the old covenant (the law), keep the carnal or fleshly “letter of the law,” new covenant Pentecostals keep the “spirit of the law.” “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life,” 2 Cor. 3:6b. The Spirit reveals the prophetic meaning of these things. Hence, I “keep” the Sabbath in the sense of keeping (belief in) the millennial truth it is a shadow of. Which means, conversely, Anti-millennialists do not. If one is an opponent of the millennial, does not believe in the millennial, the thousand year reign of Christ upon this earth after he defeats the antichrist, he does not “keep” the Sabbath. As to the keeping of the letter of the law, keeping the calendar Sabbath as Jews do, by so doing one Judaizes, signifying he does not have New Testament, or new covenant, revelation. He aligns himself with Judaism, not the things of the Spirit, the revealed truths of the new covenant.
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