Useful Bible Studies > Revelation Commentary > chapter 20

The millennium: Christís 1000 year rule on earth

Revelation 20:4

The 1000 year period of Christís rule upon earth is often called the millennium. Many Christians have serious difficulties with this belief.

Acts 1:6-7 clearly shows that the apostles (the first Christian leaders) expected Christ to rule as king upon this earth. That passage refers only to Israel; but they believed that Christ will rule the whole world from Israelís capital, Jerusalem (Psalm 2: Zechariah 14:9-11). The apostles would have been familiar with those passages.

In Revelation 20:4-7, John shows that he had not changed his beliefs about these matters. He described a time when the devil is a prisoner in hell (20:1-3). During these 1000 years, therefore, the devil is unable to do his work on earth. This 1000 year period is before God creates the new heaven and earth in chapter 21. That fact is very clear from what happens at the end of the 1000 years (20:7-11).

At the beginning of the 1000 years, there is a resurrection. In other words, God causes dead people to live again. The people who will live again then are Godís people. Formerly, other people were very cruel to them; they wanted them to have no place in this world (Hebrews 11:35-38; Revelation 13:16-17). However, God remembers his loyal people who suffered so much (6:9-11). When Christ returns, they will have the places of honour in his government (Mark 10:35-40). In 1 Corinthians chapter 15, Paul teaches that God will give life to the bodies of his people, and not just their spirits.

John clearly believed these things, but the purpose of his words in Revelation 20:4 was not to teach his beliefs. He begins with the words, ĎAnd I sawí. He means that God showed him these things. It was a very wicked act for a prophet (someone who receives a message from God) to lie about what God has shown him (Deuteronomy 18:20; Zechariah 13:2-4). In Revelation 22:8, John gives his name to take responsibility for his words. God has told him to be a witness of these things, and a witness must speak the truth (Revelation 1:1-2; compare John 21:24).

Next part: The resurrection of Godís people (Revelation 20:5)


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© 2016, Keith Simons.