I am happy to share with our visitors and excellent article by my friend Frank Speer. The issue of the millennium is one that perplexes a lot (most) Bible students. I believe Frank has presented some solid thoughts. Be sure to read my Who Is This Babylon? for an extended discussion of the millennium that supports Frank’s thoughts.
By Frank Speer
Many Pre-Christian Jewish Rabbis believed that the reign of the Hebrew Messiah would last for 1,000 years (“The Millennium”). Some Rabbis (like Rabbi Achebe— note, this is an alternate spelling of Akiba) taught that the reign of Messiah would actually last for just 40 years.
[Note: Rabbi Akiba (an early second century rabbi who believed Bar Kochba was the messiah). The reason he believed the Days of the Messiah would be 40 years was so that he could make the application to Bar Kochba, who they hoped would rule as king in Jerusalem. Unfortunately for them, the Bar Kochba revolt was crushed and Bar Kochba was killed. On page 356 of Everyman’s Talmud it mentions a group of rabbis who debated the length of the Days of the Messiah (that transitional period between “this world” and the “world to come”). THREE OF THOSE RABBIS BELIEVED IT WOULD BE A FORTY YEAR PERIOD. All three of them were either first century or early second century: Akiba, and two different guys (grandfather and grandson) with the name Eliezer.]
In Revelation 20, the Apostle John sees the first century Christian church reigning with Christ for this 1,000 year period.
Since the first century Jews were all aware that the Messianic kingdom (rule) was expected to last for 1,000 years – they would have without question recognized the Rev 20 was pointing to the time of their Messiahs reign.
So – how LONG did Messiah-Jesus’ reign actually last?
Let’s see what The Messiah Himself said about it…
(Mat 28:18-20) “And (after His resurrection) Jesus came up to His disciples and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has (now) been given to me in heaven and on earth (the Messianic Reign begins). Go therefore (my first century disciples) and make (more) disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and listen carefully, I am with you ALL THE DAYS, EVEN UNTIL THE END OF THE (Old Covenant) AGE.’ “
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church…
(1 Cor 15:25) “Messiah-Jesus must REIGN UNTIL He has put ALL of His (apostate Jewish) ENEMIES UNDER HIS FEET.”
How long would that take?
The Apostle Paul encouraged the church at Rome – which was under attack from the apostate Jews seeking to destroy Christianity…
(Rom 16:20) “The God of peace will soon crush the enemy under your feet.”
That sounds just like 1 Cor 15:25!
And WHEN exactly WERE the Jewish ENEMIES of Christianity “CRUSHED UNDER THE FEET” of Messiah Jesus and His Church?
66 – 70AD.
And how many years were there between Jesus’ ascension and judgment coming in 70 AD?
40 YEARS. The duration that some Hebrew Rabbis taught Messiah’s reign would last. One year for every day that Jesus was tempted by the Adversary/Slanderer in the desert (Mt 4; Lk 4) – just like the 40 years ancient Israel spent in the desert – one year for every day the Hebrew spies spied out the land of Canaan (Numb 14:32-34)
This explains why “Satan (not a proper name but lit. “The Enemy/Adversary” – i.e. apostate Israel) was “bound (restricted) for 1,000 years – the 40 year covenant transition period of Messiah Jesus’ reign.
(Rev 20:1-2) “And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss (grave of the wicked) and A GREAT CHAIN (restraint) in his hand. And he laid hold of (arrested) the dragon (apostate Israel), the serpent of old, who is the slanderer of God’s children and the Adversary of God, and bound him for a thousand years…”
For sure apostate Israel persecuted the church of Christ, but they were divinely restrained (“chained”) from obliterating the church (which was their goal) during the 40 years covenant transition period (“The Millennium”) between Jesus’ ascension and judgment coming upon national Israel.
It was Jesus Himself who did the actual restraining of the enemy…
(Mark 3:27 NASB) “Jesus said to the Pharisees, ‘No one can enter the strong man’s house (Israel) and loot his property (the saints) unless he first ‘BINDS’ (ties up/restrains) THE STRONG MAN, and then he can loot his enemies) house.'”
I see the actual “binding” of enemy Israel beginning at Pentecost. A foreshadowing was given at the sending out of the twelve and the seventy. At that time Jesus recognized the beginning of enemy Israel’s (“the Satan”) demise (“I saw the enemy fall like lightening…”) – losing her position of authority – i.e. falling off the “heavenly throne” – but not yet “chained up in the abyss”…
(Luke 10:18) And Jesus said to His disciples, “I was watching THE ENEMY fall from heaven (place of authority and God’s favor) like lightning. So listen! I have given you (the twelve) authority to tread upon (poison) serpents (Mt 23:33) and (poison) scorpions, and over all the power of THE ENEMY, and nothing shall injure you (plural – the twelve – Jesus will see to it that they get the job done)…
(Mat 28:20) “…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you (the 12 reigning over ISRAEL with Messiah – Mt 19:28); and lo, I am with you (empowering you as you go) all the days (40 years of the Messianic reign), even to the end of the age.”
Upon completion of the Messianic age – Christ has been reigning WITH THE FATHER for all eternity (1 Cor 15:24, 28; Psalm 2:8-9). Jesus was for a time (The Messianic Millennium) given “all judgment” (Jn 5:22-23) and once He completed His mission of subduing apostate Israel (“putting all enemies under His feet”) He “delivered up” (paradido – “to hand over authority”) the kingdom to The Father…
(1 Cor 15:24 NASB) “…then comes the end (of the O.C. age), when He (Jesus) delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, once He has abolished all rule and all authority and power…
…(1 Cor 15:28 NASB) And at the time when all things are subjected to Christ (Lit. “placed in rank under” – which had happened by AD 70), then the Son Himself also will be subjected (placed in rank under) to the One (Father God) who placed all things under Christ (in the first place), so that (when all is said and done) God (The Trinity) may be all in all (“everything” – i.e. no more Judaism).
Notice HOW in the Book of Revelation, the enemies (apostate Israel) of the church are pictured in metaphoric language as finally being subjected to Christ/put under his feet…
(Rev 20:7-8) “And when the thousand years (the Messianic reign) are completed, the adversary (apostate Israel) will be released from his prison (divine restraint), and will come out to deceive the nations (the tribes/Jews) which are in the four corners of the earth (Holy Land – Ezek 7:2; Rev 7:1), (spiritually called) ‘Gog and Magog’ (enemies of true Israel – Ezek 38-39; Rev 11:8; 17:5), to gather them (the zealot Jews) together for the war (with Imperial Rome – AD 66-70); and the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.