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The Christian Counter

   
The Seventh Millennium
Lesson 39
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And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, which is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

-  Revelation 20:1-3

Introduction

I believe the 1,000 years of Revelation 20 will be a sabbatical millennium when Earth gets a rest from the works of sin. Bible chronology indicates the 6,000th anniversary of sin could occur somewhere between 1998 and 2017. If the Second coming were to occur at the end of the 6,000th year of sin, the 1,000 years of Revelation 20 would be a sabbatical millennium. Of course, no one knows when the 6,000th year will occur and the Bible does not say that Jesus is going to return at the end of 6,000 years, but the progressive fulfillment of apocalyptic prophecy confirms the Second Coming of Jesus is very near. The Bible says that no man knows the day or hour of Christ’s return (Matthew 24:36), but the Bible does say that we can know when the end is near! (Daniel 8:17,19; 12:4,9) We should thoughtfully consider clues about the timing of the Second Coming in the Bible. (1 Thessalonians 5:3-9) Eighteen apocalyptic time-periods are mentioned in the books of Daniel and Revelation and these time-periods are pieces of a big puzzle that reveal God’s timing. God is always on time (Exodus 12:40-42, Galatians 4:4) and with Him, timing is the basis for everything.

God’s use of Clocks

The Bible teaches that God created four clocks during Creation’s week by which He measures Earth time. Three clocks are based on planetary motion: The “day clock” is based on one rotation of Earth on its axis; the “month clock” is based on one orbit of the moon around Earth; and the “year clock” is synchronized with the positions of the Sun and moon in the spring of the year. The weekly cycle also began at Creation and it remains synchronized with Creation’s week to this very day! About 2,500 years after Creation, God introduced five more clocks. It is interesting to note that three clocks are based on the template of the weekly cycle. Notice:

  1. Week of seven months (Israel’s religious year)
  2. Week of seven years (7 years)
  3. Week of seven weeks or one Jubilee cycle (49 years)
  4. Great Day = ten Jubilee cycles (490 years)
  5. Great Week = a week of Great Days (3,430 years)

In addition, if you add up the genealogical records in the Bible, the prophetic time-periods mentioned in Daniel and Revelation and the 1,000 years of Revelation 20, the Bible record covers a total span of 7,000 years. Using the weekly cycle template, two clocks appear to be at work:

  1. Grand Day = ten centuries (1,000 years)
  2. Grand Week = a week of seven Grand Days (7,000 years)

I have asked myself, why did God create seven clocks based on the weekly template? After much study, I have concluded that each “weekly” clock point’s man toward God’s Sabbath rest and God’s Sabbath rest at every level says something significant about the duration of sin.  If you want an in-depth article, you can download from Wake Up America Seminars web site at www.wake-up.org or a printed copy can be obtained for a minimal cost by contacting the office. The office number (937) 848-3322.

Four Prophetic Views

Students of Bible prophecy usually accept one of four basic views regarding the 1,000 years mentioned in Revelation 20. Of course, there are also variations within each view. They are:

  1. Pre millennialism
  1. Post millennialism
  1. A millennialism
  1. Pan millennialism

The most popular of the four is called Pre millennialism. Adherents of this view are so called because they believe that Christ’s kingdom on Earth will be established before the millennium begins. In essence, pre millennialism teaches there will be a pre-trib rapture. Seven years later, Jesus is supposed to return to Earth and resurrect the righteous. Then, it is believed that Jesus will reign for 1,000 years in peace and righteousness from the throne of David located in the city of Jerusalem. At the end of the 1,000 years, there will be a final resurrection, judgment and a renewal of the heavens and Earth. Many pre millennialisms believe that the promises and covenants God gave to ancient Israel in the Old Testament will be fulfilled during the 1,000 years. (Pre millennialism is largely based on the doctrine of dispensationalism.) There is some dispute among pre millennialists concerning the identity and role of the saints during the millennium. Some scholars teach that the saints will rule as priests and kings with Christ over the unconverted. Others believe the Jews will be converted to Christianity as a result of the rapture and they will rule over the Gentiles. The net effect in either case is that the saints will rule over the wicked.

The opposite of Pre millennialism is Postmillennialism. Bible students who believe in Postmillennialism teach that Christ’s kingdom will be established on Earth after the 1,000 years are over. One group of postmillennialists believe that the world will continue as it is, getting more and more Christianized as a result of Christians sharing the gospel on a wider scale (worldwide TV, short-wave radio, Bibles printed in many languages) When the world has been reached with the gospel, a long period of peace and prosperity will exist for 1,000 years. At the end of the 1,000 years, Christ will return to Earth, resurrect the dead, perform the final judgment, give the saints eternal life and destroy the wicked. Other postmillennialists believe that Christ will establish His kingdom on earth at the end of the 1,000 years, but they believe the Earth will be desolate of mankind during the 1,000 years.

The third view of the 1,000 years is called A millennialism. Advocates of this view maintain that the 1,000 years is not a literal period of peace and righteousness. They believe the millennium alludes to the present reign of deceased souls with Christ in Heaven. Christ’s Second Coming, a resurrection, final judgment, and Christ’s eternal reign will follow this over a perfect kingdom on Earth. Just what takes place during the 1,000 of Revelation 20 is a matter of debate among amillennialists. The millennium, according to amillennialism, is to be understood in an allegorical sense.

There is a “tongue-in-cheek” position on the millennium called “Pan millennialism.”  People in this category do not attempt to explain or understand Revelation 20. They take a fail-proof position saying the millennium will “pan out” just as God intends.

So, which view of the millennium is best? Which view is more comprehensive? What is the truth about the 1,000 years of Revelation 20? Do Christians really need to know about the millennium right now? Certainly, the subject of the millennium years invites many good questions.

A Completed Picture

It is human nature to dismiss the importance of things we do not understand. An elderly man once said to me, “I’ve lived 80 years without understanding the millennium. Do you really think I need to know about it now?” I smiled and responded, “People lived on earth for thousands of years without refrigerators. Do we really need them now?” We both smiled. I find that God has included “timely” information in the Bible because this information becomes essential to His believers who want to understand the ways of God when the appointed time arrives. The better we understand God’s actions, the deeper our faith in God can grow! Therefore, I believe the subject of the millennium is important because I believe the time has come to understand a host of prophetic matters that are about to be fulfilled – Revelation 20 brings the big picture of God’s plans into focus.

The Sequence of Events

In the previous chapter, I mentioned how the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are “stacked” onto each other like layers of a wedding cake. As we investigate the 1,000 years of Revelation 20, I would like to present portions of prophecies #16, #17 and #18 so you can see how the layering of prophecies says so much in a very few words. The first prophecy we will examine (#16) is taken from 19:11 – 20:10. This prophecy has a beginning point in time and an ending point in time and the events within the prophecy occur in the order in which they are given. It provides an overall big picture of what happens at the beginning, the middle and the end of the 1,000 years. The two shot prophecies that follow (#17 and #18) add more detail. Notice how the chronology in each prophecy contributes to the overall story.

Prophecy #16 (Revelation 19:11 – 20:10)

Step 1: Heaven’s Army Assembled for the Second Coming

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Step 2: Jesus Returns to Earth

“And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, ‘Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.’ Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army But the beast [Babylon] was captured, and with him the false prophet [the lamb like beast] who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshipped his image. The two were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them [he wicked] were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.”

Step 3: The Antichrist is Returned to the Abyss

“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the keys to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, which is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.”

Step 4: The Saints Judge the Actions of the Wicked

“I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priest of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.”

Step 5: The Wicked are Annihilated

“When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth – Gog and Magog – to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, which deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

Prophecy #17: The Great White Throne Judgment Scene (Revelation 20:11 – 21:1)

A new prophecy begins with Revelation 20:11 because verse 11 breaks the chronological order of the previous prophecy. This prophecy reveals certain details that take place at the end of the 1,000 years, just after the wicked are resurrected, but before they are destroyed in the lake of fire. After studying the contents of this prophecy, see if you can chronologically harmonize this prophecy with the previous prophecy.

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that ere in them, and each person were judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth has passed away, and there was no longer any sea.”

Prophecy #18: The Holy City Descends at the End of the 1,000 Years (Revelation 21:2-6)

A new prophecy begins with Revelation 21:2 because verse 2 breaks the chronological order of the previous prophecy. This prophecy reveals certain details that take place just after the wicked are resurrected, but before the destruction of the wicked.

“I saw the Holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. ‘He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ The he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true…’”




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