MILLENNIUM OF REVELATION 20
WILL JESUS CHRIST REIGN FOR 1000 YEARS ON THE
EARTH FROM JERUSALEM?
©Carlos Padilla, August
...For a thousand years in Your sight are
like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night. Psalm 90:4.
...And I will give you the keys of the
kingdom of heaven...
...For indeed, the kingdom of God is within
...My kingdom is not of this world...
...For He must reign till He has put all
enemies under His feet...1Corinthians 15:25
The Millennium that the
Bible shows us, which is part of the prophetic eschatology, has been
interpreted in different ways according to the diversity of doctrinal influences
throughout the twenty centuries of the history of the Church, but not only by
the Church, since it is part of the vision that Israel has, known as
millennialism and also known as chiliasm in the Greek text of Revelation when
referring to the millennium. However, we must always try to find out which was
the faith of the first Church in the teachings of the Master, Jesus Christ,
Yahshua or Yeshua the Messiah, and in order to do so, as always, we have His
Word, the most trustworthy source, which the Holy Spirit must interpret for us.
The fact is that God has designed this period of time and there is a reason and
an objective for doing so, whether it may be a literal period of 1000 years or a
short or long period of symbolic time, whether it may happen on earth or in
Heaven, whether it may affect the saints or the whole world.
The purpose of this
study is to invite every reader to study the millennium, no matter whether the
reader is an expert on Bible eschatology and/or has a certain belief about its
interpretation, individually or through whichever church he may belong to, or
whether the reader has never considered the study in depth of such a fascinating
doctrinal subject which the Lord shows us and urges us to study, so that we are
aware of the prophecies that are still due to be fulfilled before the end of
times, in order for us to avoid the deceit of false prophecies and false
During the history of
the Church, in every denomination, Christianity has discussed about the meaning
of the kingdom of a thousand years announced in the prophetic book par
excellence of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation, in chapter 20,
revealed to John the Apostle while he was a prisoner in a concentration camp in
the island of Patmos, around year 90 A.D. This book itself includes an
invitation of blessing for those who read it or hear it being read and it is
precisely because it contains the blessing of the Lord that we should know it,
Revelation 22:7. This book becomes a call for the mind of the Christian for
blessing promised to those who read the prophecies in this book, study them and
keep them in their heart, without adding to or removing from the text.
Revelation 20 - the text
is included at the end of the study - announces a kingdom of a thousand years
during which an angel from the Lord binds the devil for this period of time,
with the purpose of stopping him from deceiving the nations, during which time
the martyrs of the Lord, having resurrected, will reign with Jesus Christ on
thrones, and the devil will be released at the end of that period of time, and
he will have the capacity again to deceive the nations, and he will do so by
gathering Gog and Magog together, through deceit, for the war against Jerusalem
and the saints, being finally defeated by God who will make fire come down from
heaven devouring them and casting the devil into the lake of fire and brimstone
where the beast and the false prophet are, and immediately after comes the final
judgement, prior to the establishment of the new Heavens and the new Earth of
chapter 21 in Revelation. This is what the Text shows us in verses 1 to 6
The millennium is linked
to the historical and awaited coming of the Messiah of Israel and of every
nation Who, although He already came to His people and they did not receive Him
(John 1:11), they will receive Him in His second coming, according to the
prophecy in the Word of God, Romans 11.This promise which awaits the literal
Israel has been reason for fights between Jews and Christians trying to award
themselves the leading role over the centuries and this has led to different
interpretations which we will discuss below and which imply different
consequences for the chosen people, whether it may be understood as the literal
Israel or converted to Yahshua, Jesus Christ, the Messiah or whether it may be
understood as the Church of the Gentiles, or the true Church which includes both
Gentiles and Jews who have received Jesus Christ as their Lord.
Peter the Apostle,
talking about the end of times, gives us a key to consider about this Text:
...But, beloved, do not
forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a
thousand years as one day... 2 Peter 3:8. It seems as this specific detail which
Peter provides us with is like a reply to the millennial Text to which we can
add, amongst others and not many of them, the reference to Psalm 90.
The Bible has many
hidden, prophetic and allegorical messages that are opened for the mind of the
disciple through the Spirit when the time comes for us to receive each message,
confirmed in prophecies as they are fulfilled, and there are only a few of them
that have not been fulfilled yet related to the end of times. And prophecies are
fulfilled literally, as we have seen over almost 5770 years. ...Do
not despise prophecies...1 Thessalonians 5:20.
If the Lord has revealed
in the Bible the concept of the millennium is for the Church to study its
meaning and not to accept any concept that may leave room for confusion in its
interpretation, and this is why different questions will come to our mind.
However, we must understand in the first place that the whole of Christianity
believes in the second coming of the Lord, but faith will be lived in a
different way depending on the belief of one or another doctrine about its
interpretation, and it will also affect the whole eschatological view of faith,
the vision of the prophecies of the end of times.
Famous series like "Left
behind", the concept taught by fundamentalist churches about the secret rapture,
have conditioned the faith of millions of evangelical Pentecostal Christians.
Will the Church go through the Great Tribulation or will it be snatched away
before the antichrist appears?. Whether the millennium is a thousand years or
not, and whether we will live in it are some of the questions that require
answers. But there are other questions. Are they 1000 literal years or do they
represent one of God's days which for us will be like a twinkle of an eye as the
threshold to the judgment and God's justice? Or will the saints be judged by the
angels? Who will live during that period and what type of life will there be,
which generations will be born, if any?. All this seems to have Biblical
reference to the eternal kingdom ...And have made us kings and priests to our
God; and we shall reign on the earth. Revelation 5:10. Who will be alive during
the millennium, when Christ, the Messiah, establishes His kingdom on earth? Will
it only be those people who were alive in His coming, plus those resurrected in
the rapture of 1Thessalonians 4:15?. Will the life expectancy of people at that
time be the same as now or will a chosen generation live for a thousand years,
the chosen ones, the saved ones like at the beginning in Eden? Isaiah 65:17.
The millennium can
easily be confused with a return to Paradise, to Eden, as the experience of what
was God's first project for mankind, but for Israel it would be the culmination
of the Torah in its full splendour, with temple and sacrifices, but this makes
no sense with Jesus Christ being present, although this is a Christian and not a
Jewish reasoning, since Judaism does not see the Messiah as Saviour but as a
political king. Immediately after the millennium, the Final Judgement of
Revelation 20:11 takes place and after that the Kingdom of Heavens will be
established, which is eternal, new Heavens and a new Earth where justice dwells.
This is where many of the arguments meet, between the characteristics of the
kingdom of a thousand years, if it exists, and the eternal kingdom.
The key to understanding
the millennium is to interpret Revelation at the light of the Bible and not the
other way round, and it must also be considered as an undetermined period of
time and adjust to the characteristics revealed in the Text, which are not many,
the rest are taken from the other Bible Texts that could well refer to the
eternal kingdom. By saying this, I do not mean that the millennium - whether it
literally lasts for a thousand years, and whether it takes place on earth with
Jesus Christ on the throne of David or whether is symbolic - is easy to
understand, nor can it be understood with the resources of our mind; the rules
of hermeneutics and the interpretation of previous prophecies in the Bible are
the base to start a doctrinal study. If, instead of the millennium, the text
said one day or one hour, there would not be such speculation announcing all the
events that are going to take place in that time, which many have used to argue
the millennial characteristics, which are the exposition of the messianic
kingdom of Jewish faith without the Son of God.
My recommendation is
that the study of the millennium should be done within the global context of all
final events, not as an isolated issue, this will allow us to have an orderly
vision of the timing of the prophecies. It must also be considered from the
perspective of eschatology from man's personal level, on how it affects him
THE INTEPRETATION OF THE MILLENIUM
BY THE CHURCH THROUGHOUT HISTORY
The History of the
Millenniarist concept within the Bible, for Israel as well as for the Church, is
centred on two options: either there is a literal millennium or there is not;
therefore you are either a millennialist or an amillennialist. If you are a
millennialist, you can either be "pre" or "post": you either believe that the
Lord will come before the millennium or after the millennium. Up to present
times, the millennium has been the source of four eschatological lines which are
namely, in a historical order of concepts: the historic premillennialist, the
amillennialist, the postmillennialist and the dispensational premillennialist.
The premillennialist is, also, divided in two: the historical and the
dispensationalist. These are terms which the Christian must know in order to
study this Biblical message, if we obey the Word: ..Do not despise prophecies.
Test all things; hold fast what is good... 1Thessalonians 5:20-21.
The history of the
concepts and interpretations has, as one would expect, relevant individuals who
have made the resulting doctrines famous, although - as usual - there was often
more than one person involved, sometimes many and even whole generations and
many groups who in principle conceived and developed one or another belief. We
could mention John the Apostle and, alongside him, the apostles as heirs to the
premillennialism, but here is where part of the debate
lies since, according to many scholar experts, the apostles were amillennialists
(we will see our opinion about this later on, at the light of the Bible);
Augustine of Hippo in the 4th century as the reference for amillennialism, even
though he was coming from the primitive historical premillennialist faith of
the apostles, and who would influence the Apostolic Creeds to be all
amillennialists; Luther and Calvin were faithful amillennialist followers. Rome
awarded itself a leading role in the world of catholic governments, basing
itself on a medieval postmillennialism which Constantine created, although after
the counter-reform they confirmed the doctrine of their creed as amilennialist.
Later on, Spurgeon, in the 19th century, would return to the primitive faith of
the historical premillennialism, even though his eschatology was not easily
identifiable like almost all evangelists and finally John Darby in the same
century would develop dispensationalist premillennialism where the Church and
Israel both govern from Jerusalem the millennial kingdom at the end of times. It
has been a long journey for the understanding of the millennium which we finally
have to bring back to harbour, even though there are certain new nuances which
we will explain further along.
Let us start with
amillennialism because it is the faith of the Creeds, followed by
postmillennialism and finally the premillennial faith which also has a place in
the Creeds in its historical version.
interpretation denies that a millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth will
exist literally. Amillennialism literally means "no millennium" but it
spiritualizes the one thousand year period interpreting it as the kingdom of
Jesus Christ since His first coming for a thousand years in heaven. This concept
of time would later become symbolical in the Middle Ages, since Christ did not
return after a thousand literal years, and it was then conceptually defined as
the period of time between Jesus Christ's ascension until His second coming
(just like postmillennialism does. See further on). The ones sitting on the
thrones to reign are the "souls" of the saved ones in heaven, together with
Christ, teaching that from the two resurrections, the first one is spiritual and
the second one is physical, ...For He must reign till He has put all enemies
under His feet...1 Corinthians 15:25. Christ is now reigning to the right of the
Father through His Church.
It is expected that the
world, just like premillennialism teaches too, will get worse and worse before
the day of judgment. ...My kingdom is not of this world...John 18:36. Jesus
Christ reigns now in the Church: ...The Kingdom of God is within you...Luke
amillennialism, Israel has been replaced by the Church. This concept is known as
Replacement or Supersessionism Theory where there is no prophetic future for
Israel, and it is hard to defend in our times that their return to their land is
not the fulfilment of the prophecy in Ezekiel 39. This doctrine does not expect
the fulfilment of any future pre-tribulationist theory of two raptures, a secret
one and a visible one - like dispensational premillennialism does - and the
Church is alive in the end of times, except in His second coming that will
establish the eternal state of the new Heavens and new earth. This coming - as
in postmillennialism - is expected to be imminent and followed by the eternal
status. There is no millennium on earth.
In amillennialism, all
the prophecies that announced the literal kingdom of the Messiah on the throne
of David which is on earth are seen to be in the kingdom of Heavens, and the
prophecy of the return of Israel to their land, already fulfilled in 1948, is
not related at all - according to this interpretation. It is normally explained
that amillennialism implies that Israel would not have the leading role in the
prophecies which they must participate in, but they do take part, since whether
there is or there is no millennium on earth, it does not imply that the other
prophecies do not exist, including those where Israel does participate or has
the leading role, like in their conversion to Christ in the end of times on a
national level and the return to their land.
The church of Rome
condemned the belief in the literal millennium, which was Israel's hope for the
end of times, known as "chiliasm", which would be stated in councils a the time.
But now, with Israel having returned to their land, how will we interpret Romans
9 and 11?
Augustine of Hippo, in
the 4th century AD interpreted the passage by spiritualizing it, like other
fathers of the Church would do, who influenced the rest of the elders, including
not only the Catholic church but also reformed Christians like Luther or Calvin,
who includes it in his "Institutes of the Christian Religion". Later on, the
concept of amillennialism would differ from another concept that today is
followed by few traditional protestant churches: postmillennialism.
Augustine, like others,
changed his vision about the millennium; he was premillennialist and became
ammillennialist, spiritualizing the millennium and teaching that Jesus Christ
went to reign in Heaven for a thousand years and then He will return. This
change of doctrine was due to the anti-millennialist trend against having a
kingdom where Israel had a leading role, a growing anti-Semitic feeling,
additional to the influence of the teachings from Alexandria and the bad
behaviour of the leaders of the Church of those times, who although they
defended the belief of the Apostles, their behaviour in their lives left much to
be desired. (And at this point I would like to draw your attention to the
subtleties of the enemy: there are so-called brethren who believe the true
doctrine but they live a sinful life and there are true brethren who believe
wrong doctrines. Therefore, we must share our life with those who live in a
Christian manner and work to cleanse and refine the doctrine that we believe and
teach. You will know them by their fruits).
The influence of Greek
philosophy in the amillennial concept was a breeding ground to find a new
gnostic and stoic vision of a millennium which was hard to believe after three
centuries of Jerusalem being destroyed and forgotten, and the Jews scattered in
the diaspora and under persecution. When eldery wise men used to gather and the
gnostic and platonic doctrines were predominant, they would influence the
thought that nothing material or present, creation included, could be the basis
of anything ideal or perfect, therefore the millennial kingdom of Christ on
earth was something abominable. The Creeds are amillennial and Rome in its
Cathecism, article 676, defends its post-tribulational amillennialism.
In the amillennial
interpretation, according to the reformed statements of faith, the Church goes
through the Great Tribulation in a world of apostasy, and the fact that the
devil is bound only affects the world, he cannot
deceive the nations to gather them for the battle but,
also, he cannot stop the Gospel from being
spread everywhere in the Great Commission which the Church must fulfil at Jesus
Christ's request (Matthew 28), until he is released after the millennium to
gather the nations again, Gog and Magog, to gather them for the battle and
surround the beloved city, with fire coming down from heaven devouring them and
the devil is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone for ever.
Definitions of amillennialism:
Millennium, where and when?: From Jesus' ascension in glory at the right of the
Father until the second coming; in the meantime He reigns in Heaven at the right
of God the Father. The second coming of Jesus Christ happens after the
millennium in Heaven or period of time between the ascension and the second
coming. The apostolic Creeds are all amillennial.
and 2nd Resurrections: At the same time, on Jesus Christ's coming. The
resurrections in Revelation 20 are interpreted as the first one being within the
believer who has received Christ and the second one as the bodily one after the
millennium which is the present time, until His coming.
Israel and the Church: Israel receives the judgments only and is replaced by the
Church, who receives the promises. Israel is left without any future as a
nation, against what the Scriptures say, and all evident prophecies (like the
one fulfilled in 1948 about Ezekiel 39) are null and void.
Defenders: Origen, Dionysius, Eusebius, Jerome, Augustine of Hippo (known as the
father of amillennialism), Martin Luther, John Calvin, Hoekema.
Present-day churches teaching this doctrine: Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran,
Calvinist, many reformed and Presbyterian churches, Baptists and Christians of
Post-millennial interpretation sees Jesus Christ's millennial Kingdom in the
present era and in the hands of the Church, from Christ until His final coming.
Like in the amillennialism as far as the period of time is concerned, therefore
it is not a literal millennium of one thousand years but a symbolic one, but it
is presently in force as kingdom of the Church on earth now, and of Jesus Christ
in heaven, since the ascension of Jesus Christ until His second coming which
will happen after (post) the millennium.
fact that this period of time is taught as symbolical, in addition to being a
very useful argument when one does not believe some of the prophecies, is argued
on the basis of Judaism understanding the "thousand years" concept as an
undetermined period of time during which a certain event occurs. It also states
that the Church, through its work, will succeed in establishing world-wide peace
and the governments in every nation will surrender to Christ before the coming
of the Lord, by preaching from the basis of society.
Texts in the Old Testament which use postmillennialism and that have a
millennarist origin are: The Messianic kingdom over the nations with the rod of
iron in Psalm 2; the kingdom of peace in Psalm 72; the earth is filled with
knowledge of the Lord in Isaiah 11; and the prosperity of the saints in Isaiah
65 and Daniel 2; these are the prophecies. The question is whether these Bible
texts are applicable during the kingdom of the Church or once Jesus Christ comes
in His kingdom, either millenary or final and eternal.
Postmillennial interpretation includes that the Great Commission has the
consequence (according to the defenders of this doctrine) that it will steadily
lead the world to a Golden Age, since the Lord already bound the devil in His
first coming. This interpretation has the same mistaken origin as the salvation
through own merits which Rome eagerly spreads, opposing Jesus Christ's Gospel in
the Bible, where salvation is through faith in His work on the Cross. This is
just the same case, the evangelization of souls is put on the same level as the
evangelization of the world. The Church cannot establish the Kingdom of God over
the apostate world, it has to be established by God in a supernatural way.
However, at the end of the symbolic millennium and before the second coming of
Jesus Christ, they also believe that there will be a time of apostasy which will
end with the physical return of the Lord that will bring the resurrection of the
righteous and unrighteous for final judgment.
Constantine and Rome, that declares itself as being amillennial but has governed
in a postmillennial manner and still exudes this doctrine, the period of time
when the Church has embraced this interpretation is during the historical
expansion of protestant churches which are part of the society in protestant
countries, such as the USA, originating from the Protestant Reform. We can say
that it is the vision of the traditional or conservative Churches of English and
North-American puritanism, burdened and blinded by tradition, Methodist and
Presbyterian Churches. But this is a temporary situation, and Christianity
cannot make interpretations according to the different times in history, but
according to the Prophetic Word of the Bible which is the one and only that is
Therefore, if this interpretation were correct and a kingdom of the Messiah was
already established, how can we explain the persecution against the first Church
by Rome, and the martyrdom of believers at the stake by the Catholic Church's
inquisition, or by the Protestant one, or the two world wars, the plagues, the
holocaust, the cold war, the natural disasters, the famine, the pandemics and
the overall world situation in growing deterioration. It does not look as if the
devil, the serpent, supposedly bound during this postmillennial millennium that
we are living in (Revelation 20:2-3), is bound in the bottomless pit; it does
not look much like a Kingdom of Christ, but like the prophesized final apostasy,
the reveal of the man of sin and the antichrist (2Thessalonians 2:3), especially
with Israel having returned to their land.
Postmillennial vision is the doctrine defended by protestant presbyterian
churches, some reformed churches, the puritan churches of England and the USA
and some Baptist churches. The anti-semitic influence in postmillennialism and
the greed for power of the fundamentalist church which already influenced
society that governed the kings of the earth completed the definition of the
Definitions of postmillennialism:
Millennium, where and when?: The millennium is happening, here and now since the
first coming of Jesus Christ until the second coming; the Church reigns now and
it is the kingdom of the Lord on earth, and through the Great Commission they
will convert the majority of the world.
and 2nd Resurrections: They occur upon the coming of Jesus Christ for the final
Israel and the Church: It is considered that the Church has replaced Israel but
also accepting what is stated in the Bible in terms of the conversion of the
Jews at the end of times, as it is already happening with the Messianic.
Defenders: Tyconius; Constantine; Eusebius, who had been amillennial before;
Charles Finney; Whitby; John Wesley (seen as post and pre-millennialist); Rick
Warren (as per his statement of faith, more than his fruits).
Present-day churches teaching this doctrine: Protestant churches that are part
of the society in protestant countries such as the USA, originating in the
Protestant Reform. We can say that it is the vision of the traditional or
conservative Churches of English and North-American puritanism, Methodist and
are awaiting the millennium, because the Lord has not established His Kingdom
literally on earth and we still do not reign with Him in a definitive way over
all the nations. In the understanding that Christ has to come before the
millennium because the efforts of the Church cannot establish world peace and
Jesus Christ has to come to establish the Kingdom of the Lord in a supernatural
way. Humanity is fast approaching its physical, moral and spiritual destruction
- according to the prophecies - is it not obvious? and the efforts of the Church
will not accomplish the Christianization of the world, they will only convert
those who are called to the Kingdom of the Lord. The Christian millennium is
based on the Jewish millennium but in the second coming instead of the first one
and with the Church reigning instead of Israel.
are two versions of premillennialism: a historical one that interprets the
millennium as a kingdom of the Church with Christ, and a dispensationalist one
that interprets the millennium as a kingdom of the Jews in Israel with Jesus
Christ over the rest of the nations and without the Church, which would have
been secretly raptured before the Messiah's second coming. This part corresponds
with the Jewish millennarist concept of the millennial kingdom of the Messiah at
the end of times, which is adopted by fundamentalist Pentecostal churches and
other known as Christian Zionists, in addition to the Messianic churches.
According to the historical premillennial interpretation, the Lord will come for
the second time before the millennium that He will establish during a literal
period of one thousand years, where Jesus Christ will reign over the nations
together with the Church, which Israel will be a part of when they convert to
Christ and who will have a relevant implication at a national level from
Jerusalem and Mount Zion together with the Christians. Jesus Christ will come
unexpectedly and in a cataclysm after the Great Tribulation (post-tribulationism).
The historical vision states that the church will be protected (Rev. 3:10) but
not snatched away (rapture) before the Great Tribulation, but it will go through
it, like amillennialism declares.
concept of historical premillennialism has been taken up again from the Apostles
as such towards the middle of the 19th century and updated within millennialist
concepts, but in times of Papias and other fathers of the Church like Tertullian,
Irenaeus and Justin Martyr, they referred to this interpretation as the legacy
of the Apostles and of the Bible.
Definitions of Historic Premillennialism:
Millennium, where and when?: After the tribulation, at the end of times of the
Church and the return of Israel to their land once they convert to Jesus Christ.
Romans 11. The Church is protected from the wrath to come sent by God before the
and 2nd Resurrections: There is a one thousand year gap between them according
to the Text.
Israel and the Church: The Church includes Israel and the Gentiles but Israel
has a national role since they convert as a nation according to the prophecy in
emphasized that this is the original faith of the Apostles, although it was not
so elaborate as it is now. Together with the amillennialism of some of the first
Christians it will be the subject to debate about the original faith taught by
the Lord in the Bible.
Defenders: Barnabas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and Tertullian. Barnabas
specifically wrote about Christ's millennial kingdom on earth. He considered the
millennium to be the seventh day of creation or millennial Sabbath prior to
eternity. Charles Spurgeon talks about historical premillennialism as the faith
of the primitive church until the times of Augustine, who was a premillennialist,
as it is clearly shown in his work "The City of God", but he would change his
faith and he would spiritualize the interpretation towards the end of his life,
which would influence the councils and the Creeds, that longed for Israel's
leading role. Evangelical Churches, Baptist Conference, John MacArthur (premillenialist
and calvinist), Billy Graham.
Present-day churches teaching this doctrine: Evangelical, Pentecostal and some
According to the dispensational premillennialist interpretation, the millennium
is a literal period of one thousand years that will occur immediately after the
70th week in Daniel 9:27 on Earth. A week understood as the Great Tribulation,
with the prior rapture - which the most fundamentalist groups qualify as
"secret" - of the living Church and of the resurrected dead saints.
Dispensationalism teaches that the second coming of Yahshua the Messiah, Jesus
Christ, as happening before the Great Tribulation (pretribulationist). But if we
read 1Thessalonians 4:16-17, Peter clearly says: ...For this we say to you by
the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and
remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those
who are asleep. For the Lord Himself
will descend from heaven
with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And
the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus
we shall always be with the Lord...
this last week, the 70th, is when the second coming of Christ takes place, in
the clouds with the saints, who have been previously raptured, in order to
establish His millennial Kingdom with Israel in the leading role from Jerusalem,
thus fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament.
after the millennium, when the enemy is set free to deceive the nations again
who have been born during the millennium (this concept seems difficult to accept
since Jesus Christ is with them, how are they not going to convert?) Although we
must consider that it may be a proof of the fact that man does not behave in a
holy manner, not even in the literal kingdom of Jesus Christ, and that it must
be by faith, the Lord's gift, by grace, that man has no merits and does not look
for God naturally except to obtain the blessings).
final coming of Jesus Christ is divided in two stages: a secret one in the
"rapture" to take the Church away, and another one coming with the saints to win
the armies of the enemy and establish the millennium on the land of the restored
Israel. Even though we have read that the Text of 1Thessalonians 4:16-17 talks
about the coming together with the rapture, not the two events separated from
each other. We can compare this concept with the warning from our Lord Jesus
Christ and the comparisons with Noah's ark, Lot, etc, how they are snatched away
before destruction. Dispensationalism makes a radical distinction between Israel
and the Church. In Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, that is the concept taught
by the Bible.
Dispensation means economy, in this case the administration of prophetic time in
the history which God has granted men, following a series of events in which He
divides His relationship with us. The Millennium would be the dispensation or
administration of this period prior to the eternal state.
Daniel 7, threshold of the possible millennium of the Old Testament. Daniel 7:18
and 12:1. Isaiah 26:16...
History of dispensationalism:
origin of the premillennialist interpretation of a Golden Age governed by the
Messiah comes from Israel and Jewish eschatology, which would later be adapted
by the Christians and that comes from the Old Testament or Tanakh. This
millennial kingdom awarded to Israel in the last one of the periods of time or
dispensations of time in which the history of time is divided, is called
dispensationalism, as I explained above, because it divides history in seven
times: From Innocence until Adam's fall; from Adam's Conscience to Noah;
Patriarchal from Abraham to Moses; Mosaic Law, from Moses to Christ; Grace, from
Acts 2:4 until Revelation 20:3; Millennial and Eternal Kingdom. The part of the
millennial Kingdom which starts eternity is the origin of the concept that was
then called millenniarism.
interesting to point out that, although the Jewish millennial dream has - sort
of - partly "judaized" their leading role in the millennial kingdom with the
Messiah governing Israel, this has been the starting point for Christian
Messianic defenders to conceive and develop the dispensationalist vision. The
church in the times of Constantine, which exuded anti-semitism, also influenced
the interpretation of millennialism in the councils, getting to the point of
condemning this belief, as Rome has done, leading it to amillennialism or
postmillennialism, in order to give the Church, and not Israel, the leading
role in this period of time of kingdom with Christ, the Messiah; a leading role
that in many Texts can only be applied to the literal Israel, as it is the case
of the return to their land, Israel, a prophecy that was fulfilled in 1948 but
which in the first centuries, and even in times of World War II it seemed
impossible to fulfil. Once again, let us refer to the Bible, since ...And so we
have the prophetic word confirmed...2Peter 1:19.
Therefore, the fights over the leading role have influenced doctrine, as it has
usually happened in History, through man-made commandments and traditions that
oppose the Word of God.
can find in history the transition from Jewish millenniarism to Christian one in
Justin Martyr, and the description of the seven stages in Augustine of Hippo and
later three Jesuites against catholic reform: Ribera, Bellarmino and Lacunza and
later the protestant John Nelson Darby, in the 19th century, who after being a
minister of the English Episcopal church, when he saw its organization from
within, he came out of it to fight against the established national church and
became part of the Brethren Assemblies, becoming the leader of this movement and
creating the system of Biblical interpretation known as modern dispensationalism.
These churches, until today, defend this eschatological interpretation that
supports Israel's millennium without the Church, typically part of the
eschatology of the latest charismatic fundamentalist or neo-pentecostal
churches and some messianic or christian zionist churches.
Definitions of Dispensationalist Premillennialism or Dispensationalism:
Millennium, where and when?: On Earth and after the second coming of Jesus
Christ. With the rapture of the faithful Church occurring before the Great
Tribulation and after the kingdom of the antichrist for seven years after the
reconstruction of the temple of Jerusalem.
and 2nd Resurrections: And third, because dispensationalism teaches that Jesus
Christ is the firtsfruits, then the living Church in the rapture, the saints of
the Old Testament and the saints of the tribulation in the second coming of
Jesus Christ and finally the wicked ones at the end of the millennium.
Israel and the Church: Dispensationalism teaches that Jesus Christ - Yahshua -
as the Messiah accepted by Israel at the end of times, according to the
prophecy, will reign from Jerusalem in the third temple which will be rebuilt,
and will do so for every nation, fulfilling all the promises made to Israel. The
system of worship of the Torah will change, since Yahshua will be present as
Defenders: Justin Martyr, Ribera, Bellarmino and Lacunza are precursors, it was
John Nelson Darby who developed it to its full extent. The notes in the Scofield
Study Bible, Benny Hinn, Yiye Avila, Luis Palau, John Hagee.
Present-day churches teaching this doctrine: Brethren Assemblies,
fundamentalists, neo-pentecostals, Christian Zionist and many messianics.
last group, the Messianic Jews, normally defend premillennialism, either
historical or dispensationalist.
JEWISH ESCHATOLOGY AND THEIR VISION OF THE MILLENNIUM AS THE KINGDOM OF THE
MESSIAH. CHILIASM OR MILLENNARISM AND THE REPLACEMENT DOCTRINE OR
We cannot study the
subject of the millennium without going into the
history of the origin of Jewish millenniarism, which is where the Biblical
concept of the Old Testament comes from, in the Jewish Torah, in the aspect of
the tradition of the Jewish people. The millennium seen from the Jewish point of
view is the reconstruction of the kingdom of David, with Jerusalem under Jewish
government in Israel, with the temple rebuilt and living in peace amongst the
rest of the nations and in a time of millennary prosperity, but the Messiah that
they are expecting is not the Son of God, it is a political leader anointed by
God for this purpose, descendant from David, in whose throne he shall sit.
Maimonides, the great rabbi, wrote the following in the tractate Sanhedrin of
the Babylonian Talmud and with regards to the millennial kingdom of the Messiah:
Messianic age is when the Jews will regain their independence and all return to
the land of Israel. The Messiah will be a very great king, he will achieve great
fame, and his reputation among the gentile nations will be greater than that of
King Solomon. His great righteousness and the wonders that he will bring about
will cause all peoples to make peace with him and all lands to serve him ... ...
war shall not exist ... ...The Messianic age will be highlighted by a community
of the righteous ... ...It will be ruled by the Messiah ... ... Do not think
that the ways of the world or the laws of nature will change ..."
spiritualizes the words of the prophets always in Israel's favour, etc. As we
can see, this exposition is not the kingdom of Jesus Christ the Messiah, but it
is what the Jewish believer of the Torah believes today.
On the 60th anniversary
of the return to their land, you can imagine how the fire of the spirit of the
Davidic kingdom is becoming stronger than ever. Orthodox Jews already have all
the requirements ready to build the third temple. Haretz, the newspaper,
publishes ads asking for pious parents to hand over their newborn sons to serve
in the temple, in a life of isolation and purity. Recent polls on Israel's
population - both believers and non-believers - show that over 70% of them wish
to have the new temple, a fact that no one could even think of some years ago.
Source: Jews for Jesus
Jeremiah 31:37; Ezekiel 36:22-23; Amos 9:14-15. As we can see, this
interpretation and the dispensational premillennial one go hand in hand. This is
what the Christians in the times of Constantine condemned, what is known as
chiliasm (chilia means thousand in Greek), or Israeli millennarism. 1948. Romans
11, it is eschatology for Israel, who will convert at the end.
this point is when the Replacement or Supersessionism theology appeared,
those who say they are
Jews and are not...Revelation 2:9.
Hippolytus of Rome, Origen, Augustine in a certain way, Rome and primitive
protestantism since Luther were all supersessionists to a lesser or greater
degree of radicalism, leaving Israel without their Biblical prophecies which are
fulfilled, as we can see, but not only those of the Old Testament which are of
the interest of Orthodox Jews, but those in the New Testament that they are not
so fond of, but which have been obvious, like Jesus Christ's prophecy about the
destruction of the temple in the year 70 A.D. as a consequence of having
rejected the true Messiah, but it is all part of God's plan, who has
committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all
and thus Israel will receive Yahshua at the end of times. Therefore, Jews and
Gentiles who fear YHWH, let us watch because the coming of the Kingdom is near.
very likely that the Lord may also allow that in the last times, with regards to
Israel, they build the third temple and restore all the religion in the Torah,
including sacrifices, commanded by an antichrist messiah, who will be the
expected king or political leader who will achieve great wonders to their eyes,
obtaining a temporary peace with Islamic neighbours, bringing the solution to
the distribution of Palestine land and all other hopes to then, after all these
events, realize that every nation will gather against them to destroy them, and
it will be only then that they will claim to the True Messiah, Yahshua, and...then
they will look on Me whom they pierced...Zechariah 12:10, Revelation 1:7.
Because the Word says: ... Blessed is He who comes in the name of the
Lord...John 12:13. Baruj Haba Beshem Adonai.
However, the true Messiah, Yahshua, Jewish, from the tribe of Judah, descendant
of the house of David, born from virgin Mary, Isaiah 9:6, crucified, Isaiah 53,
resurrected and sat at the right of the Father, did not come to build a temple
of stone, but an eternal one in the body, the soul and the spirit of those who
receive Him as Saviour and King of kings. In the new Jerusalem that comes down
from Heaven there is no temple. Revelation 21:22. We can see the dream of the
Jewish Messiah in John 6 about the peace and goodness of His messianic and
world-wide kingdom, with emphasis on verse 15. This is the understanding which
most Jews still lack; I say most because there is already a high percentage of
those who have received Jesus Christ, Yahshua, as the Messiah of Israel and the
world, I refer to those known as Messianic Jews which makes many people have to
review their eschatological belief and return to the Bible.
REVELATION: CHAPTER 20
1 Then I saw an angel
coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great
chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that
serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and
bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he
cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so
that he should deceive the nations no more
till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be
released for a little while. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on
them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of
those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God,
who had not worshiped the beast or his image,
and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on
their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were
finished. This is the first resurrection. 6
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection.
Over such the second death has no power, but
they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and
shall reign with Him a thousand years. 7 Now
when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8
and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of
the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to
battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up
on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp
of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven
and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the
lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the
false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night
forever and ever.
FINAL WORDS AND CONNECTION TO A SECOND AND FINAL STUDY ABOUT THE CONCLUSION OF
Finally, I want to point
out that, as we have been able to see from the history of the Church, patristic,
doctrines and the evolution of the Church in all its denominations, in certain
aspects that are difficult to understand, the Lord has been having patience,
seeing that along the years eschatology has been taught in different ways that
differ from His teaching, influenced by the circumstances and culture of the
different ages and of course the tares that our enemy has been sowing together
with the leaven, all favoured by the minds of brethren who did not listen to the
So that we, at the end
of times, prior to the - defended by all - second coming of the Lord, whether
their belief is "pre", "a" or "post" millennialist, in the next eschatological
study about the millennium we will conclude which was and which is the faith of
the Church about the kingdom of a thousand years according to the teachings of
Jesus Christ in the Gospels. Until then, let us watch, because Revelation 1:7
says: Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they
who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even
May the grace of the
Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.