Where Does The Millennial Theory Come From?
2 Peter 3:10 – But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Not only will the earth be destroyed, but the heavens as well! The LORD will create a new heaven and a new earth at that time and not, as many claim, a thousand years in the future after some type of a golden age on earth that they term as the “millennial kingdom.”
Isaiah 65:17 – ¶For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
Make no mistake about it; the earth will be destroyed when Christ returns. All of the talk of a millennial kingdom here on earth is misinterpreted and assumed to be references to a future golden age here on earth after the second coming of Christ. In actuality these references speak of a spiritual golden age that we call the Gospel Age. Revelation 20:4 is the one and only numerical reference that these millennialists use to support their millennium theory.
Revelation 20:4 – And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
The above verse is certainly no proof that Christ will reign on this earth for a thousand years after His second coming. Far from it. Take note that God uses the word “and” between subjects which may imply these are eras or periods, rather than speaking of one specific time frame, such as the great tribulation. We must remember that God assigns various numerological values or meanings throughout His Word. Thus the number ten, hundred, and thousand would appear to designate completion in much of scripture. Having said that, we must realize that Revelation 20:4 is not singling out “tribulation saints” as many proclaim, who are then to rule and reign with Christ on this earth for a thousand years after Christ destroys the earth. No, it does not appear that way in the least. What, may we ask will these so-called “tribulation saints” do after the closing of the thousand year period? The millennialists have never addressed this question. It would appear that Revelation 20:4 includes ALL of God’s elect, not simply those who lived during the closing days of earth’s history. If the latter were true, then we may be forced to admit that Christians who were “beheaded for the witness of Jesus,” Revelation 20:4, only existed during the great tribulation and not any time prior to that. Do we believe that the “tribulation saints” are rewarded more than those Christians who were burned at the stake centuries ago? Are we better than those Christians who were beheaded centuries ago? God forbid! We know there were Christian atrocities by the hundreds of thousands throughout the Gospel Age (metaphorically one thousand years; or completion of the church.) At the time of Christ’s return, all of His elect will then begin to live and reign with Christ for all of eternity. We do not truly reign with Christ in all fullness until after the last resurrection. Please read the following references carefully.
The vision is in heaven and Christ is prepared to loose the seven seals upon the earth:
Revelation 5:8-11 –
8 – And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
9 – And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
<God’s completed elect from every kindred, tongue, people, and nation and not merely God’s so-called “tribulation saints.”>
10 – And hast made us <God’s elect> unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
<It is only then, in the new heavens and the new earth that believers are to reign with Christ FOR EVER. In the New Testament time we reign with Christ for a thousand years, metaphorically speaking, but in eternity we reign with Christ for ever. Those who teach a literal thousand year millennium will say that we reign with Christ before the earth is destroyed; they teach that the earth will be destroyed at the end of this thousand year period. The Bible simply does not teach three reigns of Christ, one during the Gospel Age, another between the Gospel Age and eternity (millennium), and yet a third reign for all of eternity. No, it seems that there are two reigns of Christ with which the true believer reigns; one during this life and the second for all of eternity.>
11 – And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
<Again we see the numerical value of the number ten being interpreted as completion.>
Where Does the Millennial Theory Come From?
Old Testament scripture has much to say concerning the then future Gospel Age. That in itself has been wrongly interpreted as foretelling a future one-thousand year millennium on this earth. The many beautiful metaphorical descriptions of the precious Gospel of salvation raining upon the earth can appear to be teaching a future literal kingdom. This has been misconstrued by many in Christendom as foretelling of an earthly paradise. As we have stated many times, the Israel of the Old Testament days is not the same Israel of the New Testament, and that is essentially the key to understanding much of Scripture. Israel dominated the events of the Old Testament simply because ancient Israel was a precursor to New Testament spiritual Israel; that is to say the Church. Old Testament Israel would herald in the New Testament Israel, and New Testament Israel would be found in every believer throughout the earth. The reasons we should be against the teachings of a one-thousand-year millennium on this earth are numerous, but let us say for one, this theory takes the many beautiful metaphorical verses pertaining to the Gospel Age and replaces them with a so-called earthly utopia in national Israel. Let us now look at a few references that are wrongly interpreted as a future literal golden age on earth after Christ returns:
Isaiah 35:1– ¶The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
<This is salvation language altogether; language that is highly spiritual in nature and should not be interpreted literally. Many teach that this is a picture of the deserts of national Israel today or even in the so-called future millennial kingdom, as they have been tilled and made useful for such agricultural endeavors. Old Testament scripture, however, teaches that the entire earth was a wilderness and a solitary place that would one day be refreshed and made green with the spiritual waters of the Gospel of salvation.>
Isaiah 28:12 -To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
Acts 3:19 – Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Yes, the times of refreshing is a term used in describing the Gospel Age. There are a great many verses throughout the Old Testament that speak of this time in extremely spiritual language; that is metaphorical and allegorical terms. Hence, this is where many become confused and interpret these references as speaking of a then future time on the earth for national Israel, rather than the Gospel Age with New Testament spiritual Israel (the church) at the centre. Let us look at a few Old Testament verses and discuss their spiritual interpretations or fulfillments.
Isaiah 35:5-7 –
5 – ¶Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
<Christ literally opened the eyes of the blind to teach that He was indeed God. But the real miracle is in the new birth; when the spiritual eyes and spiritual ears are truly opened to God’s Word. That appears to be why Christ healed the blind and deaf.>
6 – Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
<What waters is God speaking of here if not the spiritual waters of salvation? What streams is God speaking of here if not the spiritual streams of salvation? Will there be new springs and streams that break out in national Israel during the millennial kingdom? Not at all, but let us consider in its stead the Old Testament scriptures that foretell of the glorious Gospel Age :>
“But there the glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby,” Isaiah 33:21.
“But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream,” Amos 5:24.
“For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees,” Isaiah 66:12.
7 – And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
<The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land will become springs of waters. Is this parched ground the literal soil of national Israel today? It is not our intention to deny national Israel anything that is theirs from Scripture; however the biblical truth is of the utmost importance. This parched ground that is spoken of here is indeed representative of the entire fallen earth. Once the Gospel of Christ went forth, it did so in a way that God describes in many different metaphorical terms, one of which is waters, rivers, ponds, streams, brooks, fountains of waters, etc. gushing out toward the spiritually dried earth. These allegories or metaphors describe the times of refreshing once the Gospel Age arrived. It is as if God Himself spiritually waters the earth with His plan of salvation.>
“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water,” Jeremiah 2:13.
“O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters,” Jeremiah 17:13.
“The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen,” Isaiah 43:20.
“¶Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price,” Isaiah 55:1.
<Truly the Gospel of Christ is in view in all of the above verses here; Christ as our living waters.>
“And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not,” Isaiah 58:11.
“I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water,” Isaiah 41:18.
<Again, we cannot over emphasize the pure true fact that the dry land, the dessert, and the wilderness that Old Testament Scripture speaks of so often is indeed symbolical of this fallen earth and is not to be interpreted as some future golden age for national Israel or any other worldly nation for that matter.>
“There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High,” Psalm 46:4.
“¶In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water,” John 7:37-38.
We can continue to cite verse after verse that speaks of the then coming Gospel Age when the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be introduced into this spiritually dead wilderness we call Earth. It is verses as these that so many today misinterpret, thinking they are foretelling of a glorious age upon the earth with national Israel at the centre of it all. God will certainly not revert back to animal sacrifices in a rebuilt Jewish temple as many claim. What a blasphemous idea when all Old Testament Jewish rituals, holy days, etc. ultimately pointed to their then future Messiah – the Christ! Old Testament Israel is fulfilled in the New Testament spiritual Israel, Galatians 6:16. It would appear that many of God’s verses that pertain to eternity in the new heavens and the new earth are misdirected by many into a so-called millennial age on this sin-cursed earth.
The many literal and historical events that Israel endured carried teachings for us today. The fact that Israel had warfare with many of its neighbours may allegorically tell us that spiritual Israel will continue to be the centre of warfare in the New Testament age, this time a spiritual warfare, but also the spiritual Jew (Christian) will face physical persecutions, as they have done throughout the Gospel Age. Our warfare is spiritual, but that in no way implies that we won’t suffer in the flesh. The end of days for the true Christian will be a climax of spiritual warfare and physical persecution. The world will and is presently witnessing a drastic increase in raging wars, upheavals in weather, more famine, pestilence, and civil unrest than in the past, as the beginning of sorrows progresses.
The Importance of Isaiah 2:4
“And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2:4)
As we stated earlier, many people wrongly interpret portions of the Old Testament, believing that certain verses are speaking of a future one-thousand-year golden age here on this sin-cursed earth. They are mistakenly interpreting these verses to be fulfilled during a millennial reign of Christ on the earth. The new earth will indeed be for all of eternity and will in no way resemble a physical earth as we know it to be today. These verses are not teaching a future golden age, they are indeed teaching and prophesying of a future time, from their vantage point, when the Gospel of Christ would rain down from heaven and convert men’s hearts. When God speaks of a time when man will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruninghooks, we know that this is metaphorical language describing a changed heart! Isaiah 2:4 goes on to say that nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. We now ask ourselves – have nations stopped warring against other nations? The answer is of course no. Is this prophesy yet set for another time, perhaps a golden age after all? Why should we doubt at this point in our study? This verse appears to be teaching precisely what we have stated thus far, and that being that as true believers in Christ, we are not to learn war anymore. Our weapons are spiritual as we saw from Ephesians. Isaiah 2:4 is right on target with the Gospel and how it converts the hearts of those who are truly called. But what about this verse; stating that nations will no longer war against other nations? The verse does not state nations in the plural, but nation in the singular. The Hebrew word is also translated as people or heathen. It is a fact that the nations of the world are not affected by this verse, since it is more than likely prophesied of the individual rather than of whole nations. We know that there are no true Christian nations on earth other than God’s spiritual nation, which is His true elect scattered throughout the earth.
1 Peter 2:9 – But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Now then, why does God use the terms plowshares and pruninghooks in His allegories of the transition from being unsaved to becoming a child of God? Being unsaved constitutes being at war with God and even at war with our fellow man. The sky is the limit in man’s inhumanity toward man. The true child of God knows that our true weapons of war are spiritual in nature; that is the whole word of God. Knowing this, we now should understand why God equates our old nature (a combatant heart) to spears and swords. These are fragments of our old warrior nature apart from the spiritual healings of Christ. Now that the true believer has been cleansed, his old combatant nature has been converted to plowshares and prunninghooks. He is now in the kingdom of God and has no use whatsoever for spears and swords, which were the natural instincts of his old nature. He or she is now a soldier of God and their weapons are all spiritual in nature. The plowshares and prunninghooks are not merely inconsequential; they are representative of our new nature with Christ; our working in the metaphorical parch fields of the world labouring for souls in the garden of God. They are now planting the seeds of faith by plowing and tilling and attending the chores of God’s earthly garden or vineyard.
Isaiah 51:3 – For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
Isaiah 58:11 – And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
Isaiah 61:11– For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
Isaiah 5:1 – ¶Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:
Matthew 20:1 – ¶For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourersinto his vineyard.
We as true believers in Christ are indeed labourers of God; Christ has converted our combatant hearts from swords and spears to plowshares and pruninghooks. Knowing this, how could a true Christian support any type of worldly conflict?
2 Timothy 2:3-4 –
3 – Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4 – No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
<Our warfare is spiritual, as scripture tells us. All true believers are a part of this warfare and as such does not entangle himself with the affairs of this life.>
Hebrews 11:13 – These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.