How many times does the Bible declare Jesus' kingdom on earth will last a thousand years?
This question was posed by Dr. David Reagan to his Christmas special panel of guest Bible prophecy teachers: Don McGee of Crown and Sickle Ministries, Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries, and Don Perkins of According to Prophecy Ministries.
Dr. Reagan: In Revelation 20:2 it says that Christ's reign on earth is going to last "a thousand years." It says in verse three a "thousand years." It says in verse four "a thousand years." It says in verse five "the thousand years." It says in verse six "a thousand years." It says in verse seven "the thousand years."
How many times does it have to say a thousand years to mean one-thousand actual years?
Dennis Pollock: One time would be sufficient, but here we're given the number six times.
Dr. Reagan: I've had people tell me, "The thousand years is only mentioned in one chapter of the Bible, therefore it couldn't really mean what it says, or it's not important." I think if it mentioned it in one verse it's important.
Don McGee: Sure is! If we're not going to have a thousand years on this earth with the Lord, then I'm going to seriously reconsider my belief in His imminent return to take the Church out. There is more in the Bible about the Second Coming and what is going to happen when He comes back to this earth than there is about the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15. So, if we're going to interpret this, then let's be consistent. If we're not going to believe that He's coming back to this earth literally, then we need to question whether or not He's going to come back in the air to take the Church out.
Dennis Pollock: If you lived back in the days before Christ came the first time, and you wanted to get the most accurate knowledge you could about how the Messiah and what He would be like and how He would come, then the best way you could have done that would have been to find the guys who took the Bible literally. These are the prophets that said, "It says He's going to be born of a virgin, and so I think He's going to be born of a virgin. It says He's going to ride on a donkey at some point, and so I think He's going to ride on a donkey." The guys who took the Bible literally would have been your best bet for understanding the First Coming. Who says that that's not the case for the Second Coming?
Dr. Reagan: Well, I always have people say to me, "Apocalyptic!" And, one day I read the whole book of Zechariah, which is an apocalyptic book. That book says Jesus is coming. The Messiah is coming. He's coming on a donkey. He's going to be hailed as a king. He's going to be betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver. The 30 pieces of silver will be used to buy a potter's field. He will be lifted up. He will be pierced. What every one of those things meant is exactly what was said. You don't have to be a space scientist to say, "Well, if they meant what they said, then the Second Coming prophecies must mean what they say, whether it's apocalyptic or not." Apocalyptic, I thought, was a disease for a long time, and I think it is the way some people use that term.
Dennis Pollock: The thing that is so disastrous is when you start spiritualizing the Bible then nothing really means anything. It becomes anybody's guess. There's nothing you can say definitively, and that's why those that hold to the Amillennial view basically don't teach on Bible prophecy very much. That's what they believe, but they don't teach on it much because it's just so wide open for anybody to believe anything.
Dr. Reagan: Do you know why people love to start spiritualizing? Because when you start spiritualizing, you become God. Then the Scriptures mean anything that you want them to mean.
Dr. Reagan: Let's refresh for a moment what the last three promises from Luke 1:26-33 are that appear to be unfulfilled. Those prophecies concerning Jesus are that:
- He will be given the throne of David.
- He will reign over the house of Jacob forever.
- There will be no end to His Kingdom.
Well, the last three promises that the angel Gabriel relayed to Mary are really glorious ones for all believers. Don't let anyone rob you of their glory by spiritualizing them with nonsensical arguments that they really don't mean what they say or that they have already been fulfilled in some strange, mysterious, and spiritual way. Again, the first four promises were literally fulfilled. And, I think we can confidently expect the last three to also be literally fulfilled in history.
Dennis Pollock: Are you an heir of these promises? Do you have the promise of living with God in His eternal kingdom? The Bible says there is only one way you can become an heir of these promises, and that is to become a child of the Father who made the promises.
Don Perkins: The way you do that is by being born into the family of God by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. If you have never done that, then all you need to do is pray a simple heartfelt prayer to God in which you would say something like this: "Dear Heavenly Father, I confess to you that I am a sinner and that I am sorry for my sins. I ask you to forgive me as I accept your Son Jesus as my Lord and my Savior. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus name, amen."
Don McGee: After you pray that prayer, be sure to seek out a Bible believing church where you can witness your faith through a public confession of Jesus and through water baptism.