We have come to the one passage in Scripture where the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ is mentioned. There is a lot of confusion about this passage, a lot has been written about it. In looking at this passage, I may get technical and theological, I will try not to, but may have to.We need to remember two things: 1) The Bible is one book with one message, even though it has been written by many people over many years, it has but one author and he has one message. 2) The Book of Revelation is not a timetable of events, but reveals Jesus Christ.The book of Revelation says the same thing as the rest of the Bible, it talks of Jesus Christ. If we find an interpretation that is different than the rest of the Bible, then our interpretation is wrong. We must read this book with the glasses of the rest of Scripture, not the other way around, that is, read the rest of Scripture through the glasses of this passage.All the mistaken views have one common thread, they use this passage to interpret Scripture, whereas the key to Scripture is Jesus Christ and him crucified. To follow the main thread in these views: Christ will rule for 1000 years on earth. He will rule in Jerusalem over a converted Jewish nation, where the land will be fruitful. At the end of the 1000 years, Gog and Magog (whoever they are) will rise up in rebellion.And then the final battle where Jesus will win and then the end of human history. Not too detailed, but basic picture.However, there are problems with this: 1) Depending on the particular viewpoint, there are at least 2 and as many as 4 resurrections and judgement days, Bible only talks of one. 2) Bible only speaks here of the 1000 year reign, and it is a highly visionary book and a book full of images. 3) This then becomes in many places and among many groups the true mark of a Christian. How or what you believe about the 1000 years, not how or what you believe about Jesus Christ.There are three basic views of the 1000 year reign: 1) Post-millennialism — the world eventually becomes Christian. There will be a long period of peace and prosperity. Then Jesus Christ will come again. 2) Pre-millennialism — the world is moving toward a grand climax. Jesus Christ will then return and the first resurrection will take place and he will set up a kingdom. Peace and righteousness will reign for 1000 years. Then the final resurrection, the new heaven and new earth, then the eternal kingdom. 3) A-millennialism — the time between the first and second coming is the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ. This present form of things will end with Jesus Christ’s second coming and at that time the renewal of all things will take place.The result of all this is that Christians have been led up the road of fruitless speculation, for if the church had spent as much time and energy on missions as on this, the church would be a real force in the world.
John writes, and then I saw, he is writing about his vision. That is what we need to remember — this is a vision, and visionary language needs to be interpreted.Some will not allow interpretation, because you are not supposed to interpret, you just take it as it stands. However, if we take this passage that way, we need to take all passages that way and then what do we do when Jesus says he is bread, water, etc.Now if we do take the passage literally, then vv. 1-3 tell how satan is bound for 1000 years; vv. 4-6 show how martyrs are raised to reign 1000 years and this easily turns into a timetable.Is this the only way to approach this passage? I submit not.To come to an understanding of this passage, we need to go back to Revelation 12. There we read of the vision of the woman and the child. We noted then that this was a summary of the whole of the history of redemption, of God dealing with his people, a message of hope, that Jesus Christ is on the throne and that satan has but a short time. (See Revelation 12:5 and Revelation 12:9)We read of the overthrow of satan and this is what Revelation 20 is telling us about, not about 1000 years, but about the overthrow of satan. What is portrayed in Revelation 20:2 is what Jesus talks about in Luke 10:17-18.The disciples have come back from their mission. Their message is one of joy — that the demons obey them. Jesus says that he saw satan fall like lightning from heaven, satan suffer defeat, the mission of the 70 is associated with satan’s fall.John 12:31: satan has been driven out, he no longer has a place in heaven, the cross seems to be the defeat of Jesus, but it his great victory.Colossians 2:15: Jesus won over satan on the cross, he has triumphed.In Christ’s death and resurrection satan is bound, bound so his LIE will not reign on earth. Before he was bound, satan’s lie ruled, that salvation was for the Jews, to become saved one must become a Jew. Now satan is bound, and people come to Jesus Christ come by the 1000’s from all nations. satan is bound, but not completely, like a dog on a chain, he can make noise and scare, but he cannot destroy the church.The world is not getting better except for one thing, the freedom and truth of the gospel can now be proclaimed.We ask is it all true? Is Jesus Christ reigning — for it looks like satan is free. However, now is the 1000 years, the time when satan is bound, now Jesus Christ is the ruler and those who have gone before rule with Jesus. They have suffered the first death, but will not suffer the second.satan seems to be the most powerful force on this earth, but he is bound. In many places the light of the gospel and rule of Christ seem non-existent, it seems as if we are losing.Revelation 20:7: a last attack is permitted, an avalanche of evil, pictured in Ezekiel 38 and 39.Listen closely, satan may not rule, he may attack, but never rule, for Jesus Christ is the ruler and we in faith can never expect enough from Him.We live in the Golden Age of the Gospel — the 1000 years. satan is bound, the King reigns. To spend time trying to figure out the timetable is a waste of time, that is time better spent on the spread of the gospel.
Revelation Series: The 1000 Years