YAHSHUA  BEHOLD, HE COMETH WITH CLOUDS; AND EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM, AND THEY ALSO WHICH PIERCED HIM: AND ALL KINDREDS OF THE EARTH SHALL WAIL BECAUSE OF HIM.  EVEN SO, AMEN. REVELATION 1:7.

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THE MILLENNIUM OF REVELATION 20

 

WILL JESUS CHRIST REIGN FOR 1000 YEARS ON THE EARTH FROM JERUSALEM?

 

Carlos Padilla, August 2009

 

...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... Matthew 16:19

...For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you... Luke 17:21

...My kingdom is not of this world... John 18:36

...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 prophets.

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 inclusive.

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 individually.

 

 

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.

 

AMILLENNIALISM

The amillennial 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 17:21.

According to 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.

1st 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 symbolic interpretation.

 

POST-MILLENNIALISM

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.

The 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.

The 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.

After 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 assuredly fulfilled.

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 term.

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.

1st and 2nd Resurrections: They occur upon the coming of Jesus Christ for the final judgment.

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 Presbyterian Churches.

 

PREMILLENNIALISM

We 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.

There 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.

 

HISTORICAL PREMILLENNIALISM

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.

The 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 judgment.

1st 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 Romans 11.

It is 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 Baptist Churches.

 

DISPENSATIONAL PREMILLENNIALISM 

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...

After 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.

Or 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).

The 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:

The 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.

It is 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.

We 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.

1st 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 king.

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.

This 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 SUPERSESSIONISM

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:

"The 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 ..."

He 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.

At 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.

It is 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.

 

BIBLE TEXT

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 THE MILLENNIUM

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 Holy Spirit.

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 so, Amen.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you. Amen.

 

 

  • For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Prophecy of Isaiah 9:6.


  • I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6. Words of Yahshua - Jesus Christ.
  • You want to know God, but you know the way is not through organized religion, nor by sects, nor by society. The world has failed. ...I pray for them;  I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours... John 17:9. Prayer of Yahshua - Jesus Christ.


  • If you really seek God, begin today the new life though the true hand of God. The Gospel is the message for all nations, no matter their race, their origins or culture. God is the saviour of those from humanity who open their hearts to Him.


  • ...Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.  1Corinthians 15:58.

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