"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Grace under Siege 59: Millennium

     "A larger body of prophetic Scripture is devoted to the subject of the millennium, developing its character and conditions, than any other one subject. This millennial age, in which the purposes of God are fully realized on the earth, demands considerable attention. An attempt will be made to deduce from the Scriptures themselves the essential facts and features of this theocratic kingdom. While much has been written on the subject of the millennium, that which is clearly revealed in the Word can be our only true guide as to the nature and character of that period." Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, chapter 28: "The Scriptural Doctrine of the Millennium."
     For my money, Pentecost's classic volume, after more than 50 years in print, still reigns over every other attempt to gather and group all the relevant verses on prophecy yet to be fulfilled. His examination of the texts and the possible interpretations to be made from them are exhaustive. His conclusions based on this research provide the most thorough and convincing chronology of the events ever put forward, in my opinion.
     Dr. Pentecost quotes or cites hundreds of verses in his four chapters (70 pages) about the millennium. I would like to post every verse on the millennium here but obviously that isn't practical. I refer you to the book itself.
     One of the primary passages on the subject is Revelation 20:1-9:

Satan Bound

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years ; 3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. 4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection ; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

Satan Freed, Doomed

7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth , Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 

     Pentecost writes (p. 491), "It is generally held, even by those denying the literalness of the thousand year period, that the angel, heaven, the pit, Satan, the nations, the resurrections mentioned in this chapter are literal. It would be folly to accept the literalness of those and deny the literalness of the time element. . . Six times in this passage it is stated that Christ's millennial kingdom will continue for a thousand years."
    Amillennialists argue that "the eternality of Christ's kingdom does not permit any place for a thousand year reign on earth." Pentecost suggests (p. 494) that His millennial reign will lead into His eternal reign: "By the establishment of the theocracy for a thousand years, under the Mesianic theocratic King, God has accomplished His purpose of demonstrating His rule in the sphere in which that authority was first challenged. By merging this earthly theocracy with the eternal kingdom God's eternal sovereignty is established. Such was the purpose of God in planning the theocratic kingdom and developing it through successive stages throughout history until it reaches the climax of the program in the theocracy under the enthroned Christ in the millennium. That authority, which Satan first challenged, Christ has now demonstrated belongs solely to God. God's right to rule is eternally vindicated."

No comments:

Post a Comment