Are the “Thousand Years” Millennium a Literal ‘Thousand Years’?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

God often speaks to us in allegorical truths. He explains one thing in the natural to expound our understanding in the spirit. The sea is not the sea. It’s mankind.

Rev 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

Water is not water. It’s the word of God;

Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Men’s and women’s literal lives are not for them but for the understanding of the truth of God;

1Co 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

So too, with numbers in the scriptures.

2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

The natural interpretaion of this verse is that time is not relevant to God, and He sees one day as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. However, the truth of this verse is that Christ is the Day, the One Day.

2Pe 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

He is the fulfilling of the sin of the world, the total completion of all the sin of mankind, 10x10x10 = 1000. When we are in Christ we have experienced our last night, because the Sun of righteousness has risen in our hearts, and there is no more night.

Mal 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

Rev 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun (literal sun), neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof (spiritual Sun).

The thousand year period represents the end of all sin of the flesh – the culmination of the last efforts of mankind to establish his own righteousness by the literal law of the flesh. Even though we will be there ruling over flesh in our spiritual bodies, by the rod of iron. Because they are flesh, they will still rebel against the authority of God and gather all the world against the body of Christ.

Rev 20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
Rev 20:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
Rev 20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

“When the thousand years are expired” (the completion of the flesh of all of mankind) fire comes down from God and destroys them, and all flesh has ceased to exist. As long as there are fleshly first Adams born, there is sin in the world. The period of time called the thousand years is to complete the flesh and usher in the “kiln” of God called the lake of fire, where all who have ever lived will be changed by the fire of God’s word in our mouth.

kiln
/kiln/
noun
1.
a furnace or oven for burning, baking, or drying, especially one for calcining lime or firing pottery.
verb
1.
burn, bake, or dry in a kiln.

The symbolism in scripture is to get the new man to look outside the flesh and to the spirit, where Christ dwells. Numbers, animals, the sky, the earth, the moon, the sun and the stars and everything that has ever been created is for the purpose of seeing Christ in the glory of God. To worship God in truth, in spirit, for He is Spirit, not flesh.

Joh 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

If the words Christ speaks to us are spirit, and they are, every one of them, then the word “thousand” must also be taken in spirit, and the spirit of the word thousand is 10x10x10, the complete destruction of the flesh of all of literal creation. This is the ultimate purpose of creation, to be destroyed.

Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

How many words in the whole bible were spoken by Christ? ALL OF THEM! Our very lives are spiritually being spoken from the book of God, and we are living out those words every day. Each day in the flesh is a spiritual revelation about Christ in YOU. Our days are the completion of this flesh for the purpose of recreating us into spiritual parts of the Body of Christ. As these new creations, we will stamp out the last literal years of the flesh for the recreation of all things.

2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2Co 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
2Co 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto the word of reconciliation.

As Christ reconciled us to Him, so He will use us to reconcile the rest of mankind to Himself by that same spiritual word of reconcilation. God was all things to them, as He was to us, and He will reconcile them to Himself through our words in the lake of fire;

2Co 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The thousand year millennium is a symbol of the completion of all flesh, as much as every literal word spoken in scripture is symbolic. But you must read it as, “first the natural, then the Spiritual” and see the positive and negative of each word.

1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

1Co 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
1Co 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
1Co 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
1Co 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (the literal rock represented the spiritual Rock)
1Co 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
1Co 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

The literal law of the flesh is for us to see the spiritual meaning of the literal. If I steal literally, it is an allegory of the spiritual stealing I am doing from God, etc. So all things in scripture have a literal meaning but a spiritual understanding. I understand that a thousand means the number one repeated a thousand times, but the spiritual meaning is that the number One represents unity – God. And God is repeated in a thousand different ways in the natural for us to see until the completion of the flesh has reached its end. No matter if He rules on the literal earth for a literal thousand years, man in the flesh will still rebel against the authority of God. The fleshly man was made to be destroyed in the process of remaking him into a vessel of honor.

Rom 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

My hope is this helped you and did cause any confusion. Let me know what you think and maybe our Brother Mike, who has been given much understanding in this area, will add to this thread.

ybiTC,

Dennis

[Author may be reached for question or comment at: gdlmre5 @ windstream.net]

Thank you for this answer, Dennis, and thank you for the question, R____.

Your question is two-fold:  1) “Could you explain to me about the symbolic number of 1,000?”, and  2) “How is it determined that it isn’t a literal 1,000 years?”

I am including a link to our study of the number ten, which is the multiplier of the number 1000. All large numbers are but multiples of their smaller multipliers and are integrally linked to and simply amplify their multiplier. The multiplier for the number 1000 is 10 to the third power; 10X10X10 =1000. The fact that 1000 is ten to the third power connects 1000 with the concept of the process of being judged, which is the spiritual significance of the number three. So in answer to the first part of your question here are the URLs to the studies on those two numbers, 10 and 3:

Number Ten and
Number Three – Process of Spiritual Completion

Here is the direct answer to the second part of your question, “How is it determined that it isn’t a literal 1,000 years?” It is found in the very first verse of the first chapter of this book:

Rev 1:1  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

So the entire “revelation of Jesus Christ” is “signified” by all the signs, symbols, types and shadows found throughout this book, with their significance being revealed throughout the scriptures.

Here is the definition of the Greek word here translated as “signified”:

G4591
σημαίνω
sēmainō
say-mah’ee-no
From σῆμα sēma (a mark; of uncertain derivation); to indicate: – signify.

A stop ‘sign’ stops nothing. It is the brakes on our cars that stop our cars. But the ‘stop sign’ indicates where we are to stop.

The very same Greek word is used two times to give us a “sign”, an ‘indication’ of how Christ was to die for our sins:

Joh 12:31  Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
Joh 12:32  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Joh 12:33  This he said, signifying what death he should die.

Joh 18:31  Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:
Joh 18:32  That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.

It is the same Greek word used to signify “by what death [Peter] should glorify God”:

Joh 21:17  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Joh 21:18  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
Joh 21:19  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

Christ used the words “lifted up from the earth” to signify, or indicate, His own crucifixion. He used the words “Carry you where you would not” to signify “by what death [Peter] should glorify God”. There is nothing specific about how either would be accomplished. The words “lifted up from the earth” give us none of the details of how Christ was to die or even that He was referring to His death. If the next sentence were not added, we would never have known for certain what it was Christ was “signifying” with these words:

Joh 12:32  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Joh 12:33  This he said, signifying what death he should die.

So we are informed in the first verse of the Book of Revelation that this book is a book of signs and symbols. Dennis gave you many examples of the signs and symbols we find throughout the Book of Revelation. So if we  are consistent, then we must acknowledge that the number 1,000 is just as much a symbol as the number 7 or 12 or 666.

The seven churches with their seven angels signify the complete church just as the seven days signify the time needed to complete the Lord’s creation of His new man who must enter into the Lord’s rest before he is completed (Heb 4).

A Biblical example of how the number ‘1000’ is used in scripture is:

Psa 50:10  For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
Psa 50:11  I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.

“The cattle on a thousand hills” signifies and indicates that “every beast [and] all fowls” are the Lords.

The number 10 signifies corruptible flesh. Flesh was chastened by ten plagues. It is ruled over by ten commandments, and all flesh being brought to judgement is signified by the symbol of ten times ten times ten… “a thousand years”:

Rev 20:1  And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
Rev 20:2  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Rev 20:3  And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
Rev 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.
Rev 20:5  But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Rev 20:6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection : on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

At the end of that symbolic time of being judged and ruled over by the Lord’s very elect, while the adversary, the devil, is restrained with a symbolic “chain” (Rev 20:1), the adversary will be released and the temptation to rebel against the rule of Christ’s elect will be more than anyone alive at that time can resist. They will literally attempt to throw off the rule of God’s elect signified by the words “encompass the camp of the saints”, and that will be the “occasion” the Lord is seeking to destroy the grip which death has had upon all of mankind from the time of “the first Adam”:

Jdg 14:4  But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

Hos 13:14  I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

Heb 2:14  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Rev 20:7  And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
Rev 20:8  And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
Rev 20:9  And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 

Now the stage is set for the redemption of all men of all time via a judgment which is signified by the words the “great white throne… judgment”. But that judgment is also called “the lake of fire/second death”, and it is administered by Christ and His Christ who were the first to die and were the first to be resurrected at the beginning of the thousand year reign.

Rev 20:10  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Rev 20:11  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Rev 20:12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Rev 20:13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Rev 20:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Rev 20:15  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

The Lord loves all of His creation, and when the Lord’s chastening, and scourging judgments are in the earth, then men “will learn righteousness”:

Isa 26:8  Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.
Isa 26:9  With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

The Lord can chasten without judging, as indeed He did His carnal nation and His carnal people throughout the Old Testament. He often chastened Israel, but that chastening simply put down rebellions and was never intended to change the hearts of any of the people of God in the Old Testament. We are told plainly that all the rebellions and all the chastening of the Lord’s physical nation in the Old Testament “was for our admonition”:

1Co 10:11  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

“The ends of the ages are come… upon [us]”. Later Peter informs us further that not only was all that happened to the people of the Old Testament “for our admonition”, he goes on to let us know:

1Pe 1:12  Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Not only do the angels desire to know what Christ has shown us, but just look at the context of 1Pe 1:12:

1Pe 1:9  Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
1Pe 1:10  Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
1Pe 1:11  Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
1Pe 1:12  Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

I have been asked how we can say that no one is saved during the thousand years. Is it not true that we “judge the world” during that time? Indeed we do “judge the world… for a thousand years”:

1Co 6:2  Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
1Co 6:3  Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

Yes, we will judge and rule the kingdoms of the world for a thousand years:

Rev 20:1  And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
Rev 20:2  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Rev 20:3  And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
Rev 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.
Rev 20:5  But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Rev 20:6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Verse 4 tells us that our thousand year reign is also a time of “judgment”. Yet no one is saved during this time of judgment.

How can I say that? Here is how we know that no one is saved during the thousand year reign. Notice that Rev 20:5 tells us:

Rev 20:5  But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

Who makes up “the rest of the dead”? Verses 4-6 make clear who it is that is “living again” and is excluded from “the rest of the dead”.  Let’s read it again:

Rev 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.
Rev 20:5  But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Rev 20:6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

It is only those who reign with Christ during the thousand years who are excluded from “the rest of the dead”. That is why we are even told:

Rev 20:6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Only those who “reign with [Christ] a thousand years” are excluded from “the rest of the dead”. As we are told in verse four, these “blessed” few are the first of all men to die to the kingdom of their old man. That is why they are called “the firstfruits unto God and the Lamb”:

Rev 14:4  These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

Rev 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.

If the Lord’s elect rule over the kingdoms of this world for a thousand years then it follows that those who live during the thousand year reign, will be raised up with those who are in the second  group who will die to the kingdom of their old man.  Contrary to the doctrine of Hymenaeus and Philetus (2Ti 2:17-18), there are two resurrections separated by a symbolic thousand year reign, as we just read in Revelation 20:1-6, and as Christ reveals in these words:

Joh 5:28  Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
Joh 5:29  And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation [G2920: krisis, judgment, Joh 5:29].

The only reason the first resurrection is not called ‘the resurrection to judgment’ is that those who are in that resurrection are judged “in this present time” as “the house of God” (Rom 8:18, 1Pe 4:17).

Rom 8:18  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Rom 8:19  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. [The “blessed and holy first resurrection“]

1Pe 4:17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

Only those who are judged in this life will be in that first resurrection and will reign with Christ. Those who live during that thousand year reign will therefore die and be resurrected with the second group to be raised up from the dead. They are all referred to as “the rest of the dead”, and ‘the second death” and “the resurrection of damnation” [Greek: judgment].

Rev 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.
Rev 20:5  But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

Rev 20:13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them [“the rest of the dead” verse 5]: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Rev 20:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

“The rest of the dead” are any and all of mankind whose names were not in the “book of life” at the time of the first resurrection. All those in the first resurrection were judged in this life and died to their carnal mind and to the kingdom of their old man in this life. They were the first group of all of mankind to be “crucified with Christ [and to] die daily” with Christ. That is why they are promised “on such the second death has no power”:

Rev 20:6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

I hope this all helps you to see how this entire book is a book of symbols which “signify” how Christ is going about bringing all men and all dominions under Himself and into His Father.

Rev 1:1  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

Col 1:19  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
Col 1:20  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

The seven churches of Asia signify the entire church of God and of Christ, and the thousand years symbolizes that time when the kingdom of God will rule over all flesh with a rod of iron, culminating in the death of death through the destruction of all flesh by the fiery word of God.

Rev 11:15  And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever [the ages of the ages; the thousand years and the lake of fire/ second death].

YbitC, Mike

Other related posts