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Millennium Passages and Christ's Return

The bible contains many passages and prophecies that depict a millennium world. They describe a world that is clearly after Christ's return, but also before Judgment Day. Even though these passages don't use the word "millennium", they can only be interpreted as part of the thousand year period.



None of the passages we've looked at so far contain the word "millennium" in them. Yet, they all necessitate the existence of a millennium period, or gap, between Christ's return and Judgment Day. They describe a world that is unlike our current times, but also cannot be understood as the eternity. They describe a transitional time that separates our current times of ungodly exaltation, with an eternity that is free from all those who practice evil and deceit. Thus, the only possible explanation for these passages is a millennium gap that comes after Christ's return, but before the eternity.

If we try to move the fulfillment of these scriptures closer to the present, we run into a number of issues. They depict a world in which Christ is revealed, not just as a Spirit dwelling within us, but as a triumphant King, bringing justice and order to the world. Christ actively and conspicuously rewards the pious, while rejecting multitudes. This can only be accounted for by a millennium period that takes place after Christ's return at the second advent.

In one of these "millennium passages", Jesus says, "Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out" (Luke 13.26-28 KJV bible).

In these verses, Christ says that he will reject the false Christians who don't really know him. It describes them as being grief stricken, even weeping and gnashing their teeth as they are pushed out. Nothing like this scenario could have happened or will happen until Christ's defacto presence is in the world. Only after his return, can these so-called Christians be stopped from using his name to practice their iniquity and deceit.

In our present times, we see the working of salvation in the world. In each generation there are people who find the narrow gate of life through God's Word. However, the "millennium passages" describe something different, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are" (Luke 13.24-25 KJV bible).

At the time of the fulfillment of this scripture, the doorway of salvation through faith will be shut. When Christ returns, he will receive his elect as his eternal bride, and shut the door on all others, thus locking in his unique and exclusive relationship with them (see also Matthew 25.1-13). How could the door to him be sealed, if multitudes of people are still finding him through repentance and faith? So this and other passages must refer to a future millennium period, and not some event that has happened or is happening right now.

The millennium passages cannot be properly interpreted as being part of Judgment Day.

On the other hand, we can't push these same scriptures further into the future, and interpret them as being part of the White Throne Judgment. While it is true they depict a period of judgment and tribulation for humanity, they also describe the creation of a world order that is clearly different from the eternity. Unlike the eternity, this millennium order will include apostates and nonbelievers living in the world, and interacting with God's elect.

In the White Throne Judgment, the wicked are described as being separated out from the righteous, and cast into the Lake of Fire. From this point onward, they play no future role, and have no active place in the world, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation 21.8 KJV bible).

In the White Throne Judgment, only those who names are written in the book of life will be allowed to continue on, and live forever. Everyone else will be cast into the Lake of Fire, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20.15 KJV bible).

In contrast, the millennium passages describe a different scenario. They describe the elect being gathered to Christ, and then reigning over the nations. In these passages, the heathen are not depicted in a state of eternal damnation, but one of servitude and subjection to God's people, "And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth..." (Isaiah 49.23 KJV bible).

At this time, those who did evil will be abased and humiliated, however, they will not be in the Lake of Fire, "...and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 60.14 KJV bible).

During the millennium, nonbelievers will not be eternally condemned, but instead they will receive instruction, "And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths" (Micah 4.2 KJV bible). Such a scenario can only be fulfilled through a millennium period, occuring after the return of Christ, but before the White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20.

Comments: (5)
Topic: Millennium Passages
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Marilyn
wow, probably shouldn't have opened this question and read........
I believe this teaching to be distorted and here's why. The only scriptures speaking about what you call the "millennium" are in Revelation 20. The actual Greek is "plural of uncertain affinity", not 1000 the number, as it is translated. To save time, I'm not going to quote the scripture but if you will insert "plural of uncertain affinity" every time you see the number 1000, you will begin to see what I'm getting ready to explain.
In the parable of the harvest, Jesus tells us that weeds are harvested first, then wheat (believers). It all happens at the end of the age where judgment is handed out and it's over for some folks. No where does He explain or verify a millennium period of waiting. Nor do any OT prophets verify a millennium time frame. In fact, the scriptures you've quoted above clearly tell us that when Jesus returns, the world as we know it falls apart. We get a new one. Revelation 21 tells us that only believers inherit this new heaven and earth.....Jesus also confirms this in the parable about the ten virgins when the door is shut....no one else let in. Isaiah also confirms it, Peter as well. All of these clues tell one story....that we are harvested and judgment follows and the only ones left on earth are the saints.
The "plural of uncertain affinity" that Rev 20 is speaking about is what we call the church age.....now. Jesus told us that Satan was defeated on the cross. In John 12 Jesus says "now the prince of this world will be driven out". The cross is when the angel bound Satan (metaphorically). And the Great Tribulation is when he will be "set free for a short time".
Stay with me on this and just keep an open mind because it's going to explain the 1st resurrection and the 2nd.
If we read through Revelation, other than the 24 elders mentioned, the only other humans that John saw in heaven are martyrs, no one else, only martyrs and a lot of them...from the beginning of time, I suspect. When he asks who they are or we are given clues as to who they are, they ALL have lost their life on earth as a result of their testimony. These are a very special group of people. They are given white robes, crowns, harps. Indeed, dying a martyrs death will have great reward. These people are the 1st resurrection that is described in Rev 20. Some of them are seen in Matthew 27 as well.
The 2nd resurrection is everyone else who is a believer...us. Let that sink in and reread this passage. I challenge you to read Revelation 20:1-10 with these things in mind. Throw out what you've been taught and just read it with the true meaning of the Greek. Read how Jesus is telling us that anyone who dies for keeping their testimony of Him, will have a special, and IMMEDIATE resurrection. Confirm that in Revelation 4, 6 & 7 as well as Matthew 27. Then when the short time (42 months) is ended, we also have the harvest of non believers and believers and judgment and new heaven and new earth......no waiting period, no wicked left, "nothing impure". This is the 2nd resurrection which happens after the "plural of uncertain affinity" is over.
This passage only makes sense when explained this way. The rest of scripture does not confirm a millennium, nor a waiting period before judgment, nor does it confirm that Satan will have a last showdown 1000 yrs later. In fact, the rest of scripture confirms just the opposite. It confirms what I've written above. The show is over for Satan as soon as he is defeated by Jesus' return.
28th September 2011 8:18pm
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Doug Buckley
Hi Marilyn, actually Revelation 20 does say literally a thousand years. The Greek word is a plural form of a thousand (kilia), because it's modifying the word years, which is plural. He's literally locked up for a thousand years (a millennium) in the Greek.

Second, if you continue reading, you will find out that there are lots of scriptures that support a longer period of judgment, ie a millennium. Judgment starts when Christ returns, and it STARTS at the house of the Lord (1st Peter 4.17). He will reign until his enemies are under his feet (1st Corinthians 15.25), and this will happen during the millennium, and before white throne judgment.

This is where the parable of the ten virgins fits in, when the scripture is rightly divided. You'll notice that they are denied being the bride of Christ. No where does it imply that they are the tares cast into eternal damnation. Rather they are apostate Christians in the millennium, spoken of here,

"There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out" (Luke 13.28 KJV bible).

Here's another passage, people are being denied entry, but they are not cast into the Lake of Fire. That's because there is a millennium gap between Christ's return and the second resurrection,

The Old testament prophets also speak of the millennium, "and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 60.14 KJV bible). God will not subjugate people like this in the eternity, but he will do this in the millennium.

I have to strongly disagree with your interpreting Matthew 27 as the first resurrection. The first resurrection hasn't come yet (2nd Tim 2.18). Paul says in first Corinthians 15 that the resurrection is into a spiritual body and will happen at the last trumpet. This is when Christ returns, confirming that the first resurrection is of believers. Otherwise you're saying that believers are the ones resurrected from Hades and death (Revelation 20.13).
29th September 2011 1:39am
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Marilyn
I am still searching through everything you have written and will continue to do so. I hope you will do the same. It does neither of us any good if we hold to our beliefs without submitting them to the Word of God.

So when I read the Prophet's writings about the end times, I do not see at all a waiting period between Jesus' 2nd coming and judgment (Isaiah 13:6-14, Zephaniah 1, Amos 8 & 9, Malachi 4, Zechariah 9 & 14).

And when I read Jesus' own words explaining and fulfilling what was spoken by the Prophets, I read Matthew 13: "First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn...angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age."

And then I read Paul's words 2 Thess 1: 5 "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed."

And John's words in Rev 14 explain in detail about the harvest that Jesus told us about in Matt 13. In fact, John's account follows exactly what Jesus said with great clarity.

Then we bump up against Rev 20. Do we throw a new idea in the mix? Or do we search out the discrepancy to find why it appears to contradict? I know that these words are inspired by God but I also know they were inspired in Greek, the language that John wrote, not in English. So knowing how man has the unique ability to twist and distort while translating, I'm willing to dig deeper. Yes, "chilioi" can be translated 1000 but it also has a definition that is not specific and means "a plural of uncertain affinity". It is used both ways in scripture, to mean a specific number as well as to mean an uncertain number.

As to the first resurrection, just who are the people in Matthew 27? We know with absolute certainty that they were indeed resurrected. And these "blessed" ones described in Rev 20, doesn't it make sense that if you are martyred, you get special treatment? Why didn't John see everyone who had died? Why were the only ones he saw, martyrs? Doesn't it tell you that the people of Matt 27 were also martyrs? What happened to them a month later? a yr later?
Can't we assume that since Jesus tells us He has special plans for martyrs, and then shows us what is going on in heaven, that this is the 1st resurrection of believers? Everyone else (believers) are resurrected according to 2 Thess and according to Matt 13, the harvest, when Christ returns. Why would we insert a millennium waiting period thereby calling the first resurrection "us" and the second resurrection?

I'll continue to search your scriptures but instead of coming up with a doctrine from Revelation and then making all the rest of scripture FIT that doctrine, we would be better off looking at the rest of scripture, what does it say, what is the timing it explains to us, what does Jesus say, what do all the other writers say and THEN how do we explain this new idea in Rev. as it has been translated into English?
29th September 2011 9:56am
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Doug Buckley
The problem isn't with the millennium of Revelation 20, or the bible. The problem is assumptions you've made about the timing of Christ's return and final judgment. Lot's of people read passages like Daniel 12.1-3, and similar passages, and assume that the second resurrection happens immediately when Christ returns.

This would be okay, except there are lots of other scriptures that tell us there will be two resurrections and a millennium period between them.

1st Thess. 4.13-17 describes Christ's return at the last trumpet, and the dead in Christ rising and gathering to him. Also Matthew 24 and 2nd Thessalonians 2.1 speak of only the elect being gathered to Christ at his return. In Acts, Paul makes clear that ALL the dead resurrect. So if some are excluded then there must be a second resurrection, just like Revelation 20 tells us. Whether you want to call this two harvests or not is up to you.

This is why Paul says that there is an order to the resurrection of the dead, "But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruit; afterward those of Christ at His coming. Then is the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God, even the Father, when He makes to cease all rule and all authority and power" (1st Corinthians 15.23-24 KJV bible).

Paul doesn't mention the second resurrection, but remember, ALL the dead resurrect. So there is an order of Christ, the saints, and then nonbelievers. Nonbelievers will resurrect after the millennium, because this is when Christ delivers the Kingdom to his Father (Revelation 20.12 the dead stand before God). So Christ and his elect rule throughout the millennium.

You misunderstood what the Strong's concordance is saying. An affinity has nothing to do with a measure time. All the translators translate it as a thousand years because that's what it says, and the word millennium just means a thousand years.

Yes Christ will unleash fire and judgment when he returns as 2nd Thess. 5 and Zephaniah 1 describe. There will be the battle of Armageddon, and he will pour out wrath on nonbelievers, but this is NOT the final judgment which is after the millennium and when he turns the Kingdom over to the Father. First, he will shepherd them with a rod of iron like Revelation 19.15 tells us.

The millennium is in the OT, Ezekiel 44+ speaks of a pure priesthood reigning over heathen or unclean nations. These chapters are not like the eternity of Revelation, but certainly nothing like them can happen till after Christ conquers the nations. The millennium is in there.
30th September 2011 7:09pm
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Marilyn
Doug, with all due respect, I have made NO assumptions as to the Lord's timing; I have only read and recanted what scripture says. In fact, it seems that Isaiah, Zephaniah, the Psalmist, Amos, Zechariah, Malachi, Joel, Jesus, Paul, Peter and John, ALL agree that when Christ returns, judgment happens. It is exactly as Jesus described in the parable of the harvest.

Again, we need to stop trying to insert a millennium waiting period into these verses. It's not there. Let scripture speak for itself without adding or taking away. And when we scratch our heads about Rev 20, submit those 6 verses to the other 100+ instead of submitting 100+ to those 6, thereby creating a contradiction with almost every OT prophet as well as God, Himself. Read Isaiah 34:2-4, Zephaniah 1, Zephaniah 3, Psalm 37.10-13, Amos 8-9, Zechariah 9, 14, Malachi 4, Joel 2, Revelation 14, Luke 17, 2nd Thessalonians 1,2, 2nd Peter 3, Daniel 12.

If all of these scriptures do not PROVE that there is one harvest as Jesus told in His parable, and that it happens exactly as He said it would and as John said in Rev 14, I don't know what else to say.

As far as there being different timing as to resurrections, I stated earlier that we know for certain that those people in Matthew 27 were resurrected. We also know that Elijah and Enoch were. We can also glean that Moses has been, since he appeared with Elijah speaking to Jesus, and Michael disputed for his body. AND we know that the multitudes that John saw in heaven that were martyred have been resurrected. I'm sure there are more. Revelation 20 is simply stating that they have a special blessing. "the rest of the dead did not come to life until the plural of uncertain affinity was ended" This is speaking about the church age.
The dead WILL come to life when this age is over, when Christ returns...some to everlasting life, some to everlasting contempt. He told us so in the parable of the harvest as well. Those that are unbelievers (weeds) will be gathered first. This confirms Luke's gospel where one will disappear. Remember he says it's like in the days of Noah when the flood came and destroyed the sinners. The angels will come and swing the sickle, as John puts it. That leaves only the righteous left, both alive and dead.

Anyway, back to Rev 20, only those on the thrones and those martyred are clearly described as "come to life" and these are the 1st resurrection; no others. No dead in Christ (died without being martyred) nor alive in Christ are part of this group being described. This also gives us a clue that the 1000 years is not really a literal time frame and also it's not a time frame that happens after the return of Christ. These "come to life" ones are already resurrected.
The passage then tells us that the rest of the dead (all the rest of mankind, including dead in Christ and dead in sin) did not come to life until the 1000 yrs (church age) is ended. We don't have to go looking for a millennium in the rest of the bible to explain these verses. They've just been misinterpreted.
1st October 2011 10:01am
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