Revelation: the thousand year reign

We have talked about prophecy and it’s tendency to use different visions to make a more three dimensional picture of the events described. John, being a Jewish man, had memorized a lot of the scriptures. To interpret this vision we must start with his short handed references to Jewish eschatological prophecies. We looked at the call for the “gathering of the feast of God” to the birds, which is a reference to Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38&39. In this passage he names them. We must begin by seeing this as the same war. Therefore, the thousand year reign is the time between the first and second coming. The objection to this view is that devil is obviously still working so how is he bound. Revelation is very specific he is bound so he can “no longer deceive the nations”. To see what that means, it is expedient that we go to the apostle Paul and even Jesus himself. In his sermon on mars hill Paul speaks of the time being fulfilled that God would allow the nations to wallow in darkness, he says that God now calls every man to repent. So again he says again in Titus that the grace of God has appeared to all men teaching them to reject sin. In the psalms it is often said that Israel is God’s inheritance and the nations are left to their own devices, Jesus came to end that. Jesus announces the kingdom of God and He likens it to a strong man tying up and plundering another man, that other man is the devil. The devil is now bound so he cannot deceive the world, this is the power that brings us to repentance. With all that in mind, let us consider the purpose of this vision. The church was under insane persecution, but also growing and changing the world. Martyrdom was basically expected in the early church. The first resurrection is actually a paradoxical view of martyrdom\death for death is not death at all, but rather a resurrection at which one is raised to reign with Christ. This is why a blessing is given to those who take part in it. It also sets us up to understand that the period of time between the first and second comings will be extended. A thousand has always been used as, less of a quantitative limitation, and more to express a lack thereof. That is to say endless. Is the Lord only good to a thousand generations? Does he own cattle only on a thousand hills? The point here is that his reign will be perfect and theirs will be perfect with his.

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