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Reference: Thousand Years


The millennium. The period of Christ's coming reign with His saints over this earth, delivered from Satan's presence. As Satan and His kingdom in successive stages sink, Christ and His kingdom rise (Revelation 19-20). Satan, having been foiled in his last desperate attempt to overthrow Christ's kingdom by Antichrist or the beast, shall by the just law of necessary retributive consequence be bound immediately afterward and imprisoned in the bottomless pit a thousand years. (See ANTICHRIST.) On the same just principle they who have suffered for Christ, and not worshipped the Godopposed world power, shall come to life again and reign with Christ (2Ti 2:12), at His coming, a thousand years. Their resurrection is "the first resurrection." (See RESURRECTION.) "The rest of the dead live not again until the thousand years are finished: blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."

Ten, the "world number", raised to the third power, the "divine number", expresses the world pervaded by God. Possibly the "thousand" may extend much longer than the literal number. So also (Php 3:10.) Paul's ambition was to "attain the resurrection from out of the rest of the dead" (exanastasis). So our Lord declares (Lu 20:35), "they who shall be accounted worthy to obtain the resurrection from the dead cannot die any more, for they are equal unto the angels, and are children of God, being children of the resurrection." Again, to the apostles (Lu 22:18), "ye are they who have continued with Me in My temptations, and I appoint unto you a kingdom as My Father hath appointed unto Me, that ye may eat and drink with Me at My table, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Again (Mt 19:28), "ye that have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

Those "beheaded (virtually or actually, literally, hatcheted) for Jesus and for the word of God" stand first; then they" who have not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands," i.e. did not treat the world's riches, ambitions, and pleasures as their portion. Jesus implies, in reply to the request of Zebedee's two sons, that there are places of peculiar honour reserved by the Father for those who drink Christ's bitter cup (Mt 20:22-23). Thus, "whosoever shall lose his life for Christ's sake (in will or deed) shall save it" (Mr 8:35). Satan thought to destroy God's people by persecutions (just as previously to destroy Christ, Revelation 12); but the church is not destroyed from the earth, but raised to rule over it; Satan himself is shut up for a thousand years in the "abyss" (" bottomless pit"), preparatory to the "lake of fire," his final doom. As before, by Christ's ascension, he ceased to be accuser of the brethren in heaven, so during the millennium he ceases to be seducer and persecutor on earth.

As long as he rules in the darkness of the world we live in an atmosphere tainted with evil physical and spiritual (Eph 2:2). Christ's coming will purify the world (Mal 3:3). Sin will not wholly cease, for men shall be still in the flesh, and therefore death will come, but at long intervals, life being vastly prolonged as in the days of the patriarchs (Isa 65:20); but sin will not be that almost universal power that it is now. Satan will no longer seduce the flesh, nor be the "god" and "prince of this world" (Joh 14:30; 2Co 4:4), which now "lieth in the wicked one" (1Jo 5:19). The flesh, untempted from without, shall become more and more subject to the spirit. Christ with His saints, in transfigured bodies, will reign over men in the flesh. The millennial nations will be prepared for a higher state, as Adam would have been in paradise, had he never fallen (Re 21:1-24,26).

This will be the manifestation of "the world ("age", aion) to come" already set up invisibly in the saints in "this world" (Heb 2:5; 5:5). As each seventh year was Israel's year of remission, so of the world's seven thousands the seventh shall be its sabbatism (Heb 4:9, margin). Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Cyprian, expected an earthly millennial kingdom; not until millennial views carnally confounded the state of the transfigured king-priests with that of the subject nations in the flesh, and the church itself sought a present visible kingdom with Rome as its center, instead of hoping for it only when Christ shall come, was the doctrine abandoned by the church and apostasy set in. Earth, not becoming transfigured until after the millennium, shall not be, during it, the meet home for the transfigured saints; but from heaven they with Christ rule the earth, the comparatively free communion between the heavenly and earthly churches being typified by Christ's communion at short intervals with His disciples during the 40 days between His resurrection and ascension.

Old Testament prophecy everywhere anticipates Christ's kingdom at Jerusalem: Jer 3:17; Isa 4:3; 11:9; 35:8; 22'>60:22,22; Ezekiel 37 to 48, etc., etc. He confirms His disciples' expectation of it, but corrects their impatience to know the time (Ac 1:6-8). The kingdom begins, not as the carnal Jews thought, from without, but from within, spiritually; then when Christ shall be manifested it shall be manifested outwardly (Col 3:4; 1Jo 3:2). The papacy blasphemously anticipates the visible headship which Christ shall then assume, "reigning as kings" without Christ (1Co 4:8).

When Christianity became a worldly power under Constantine, the future hope was weakened by joy over present success (Bengel); the church becoming a harlot ceased to be the bride going to meet her Bridegroom. The saints' future priesthood unto God and Christ "in His temple" (Re 1:6; 5:10; 7:15; 20:6) is the ground of their kingship toward men. Men will be willing subjects of the transfigured priest-kings whose power is the attraction that wins the heart, not counteracted by devil or beast. Church and state will be coextensive; and the church and the world no longer in mutual repulsion. The distinction between them shall cease, for the church will be co-extensive with the world. The veil shall be taken off Israel first, then off all people, and the kingdoms of this world shall be the kingdoms of Christ (Re 11:15; Isa 25:7). Christ's glorious appearing, the church's transfiguration, antichrist's destruction, and Satan's binding, will dispose the nations to embrace the gospel.

As a regeneration of elected individuals "taken out" from Jews and Gentiles (Ac 15:14) goes on now, so a regeneration of nations then. As the church begins at Christ's ascension, so the visible kingdom at His second advent. What the transfigured priest-kings shall be in heaven, that the Israelite priest-kings shall be on earth. A blessed chain of giving and receiving: God, Christ, the transfigured bride, i.e. the translated church, Israel, the world of nations. The outpouring of the Spirit on Israel (Zec 12:10) will usher in the new period of revelation, which has been silent so long as Israel, God's chosen mediator of revelations, and of establishing His manifested kingdom on earth, has been in the background. God from the first, in dividing to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, set their bounds "according to the number of the children, of Israel" (De 32:8). Now is the time of preaching; then shall be the time of liturgy of "the great congregation" (Ps 22:25; Ezekiel 40 to 48; Zec 14:16-21; Isa 2:3).

Art and music will be the handmaids to spiritual worship, instead of drawing off the soul to sensuousness. Society will be pervaded by the Spirit of Christ. Earthly and heavenly glories shall be united in the twofold election: elect Israel in the flesh shall stand at the head of the earthly nations; the elect spiritual church, in the heavenly kingdom, shall reign over both. These elections are for the good of those to whom they minister respectively; compare, as to Israel's mediating blessedness to the nations

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