The Last Years of Time: How Should We Interpret the 1000 Years of Revelation 20?

In Revelation 20:2-7, six times we are told that Satan will be bound and that Christ will reign for a thousand years. The question regarding the last years of earth’s history is, in a sense, very similar to that regarding earth’s first days: what do numbers and units of time in the Bible actually mean?  Are they merely figurative or are they to be taken literally?

Understanding this to be a literal period of thousand years or an allegory of an indefinite period of time has been an issue which has, generally speaking, created two camps of believers. There are those who call themselves premillenialists, believing that the Great Tribulation will occur before Jesus returns to set up His kingdom for a literal period of a thousand years in which He will reign physically from Jerusalem.  The amillenialists purport that the thousand years in Revelation should be taken figuratively, and that there will not be an actual, literal, physical reign of Christ nor a binding of Satan for a literal thousand years.  Again, we are faced with the question of whose view is right.  Is it really a matter of theological preference as to which view one holds or is there some key to unlock this enigma?

There are in essence two words that we need to study in order to determine the duration of time in Revelation 20.  We will first of all look at “years” to appreciate how the word is used in the Bible.  Once we have recognized what is the normal meaning we will explore what writers meant when stating “one thousand”, to see if the number has just a simple meaning of thousand or if as the amillenialists state, it should be understood as an indefinite period of time.

Years in the Bible

The word “year” (ἔτη ete) appears a total of 29 times in the New Testament.  In every occurrence the meaning of “year” (or “years”) is simply that of a real, literal period of a year, whenever a number precedes it.  For example we read in Mark 5:25, “Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years.” The text treats this as a real number of real years and why shouldn’t it?  What else could “years” mean?  In Luke 2:37, we read of the prophetess Anna: “and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years…”  In John 2:20, the Jewish leaders reply to Jesus’ claim, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”  Furthermore, in Acts 13:20, we read “After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.”  In all of the examples, the word “years” (ἔτη ete) is referring to a real (specific) amount of time and is used in its literal sense.  The 450 years of the time of the judges is considered to be a real amount of time.  The fact is that “year”, when preceded by a cardinal number, is never used in any other way.  “Year” always refers to what we understand to be a year – that is, the completion of twelve months (with the exception of an occasional 13th month added every several years to balance out the calendar), once around the sun.  Similarly to “day” in the Old Testament, which when preceded by a number means only a real day, so too when the words “year” and “years” are preceded by a number, they always and only signify a definite period of time.

The Number “Thousand”

Since “year” (ἔτη ete) (and “years”) has only a literal and absolute meaning when preceded by a number, our next undertaking is to try to correctly understand “thousand”.  Is there something in the word which would lead us to conclude that “thousand” could mean something other than its literal and plain meaning?

 

“Thousand” (χίλια chilia) occurs in the New Testament eleven times, six of those being in the twentieth chapter of Revelation.  Twice it occurs in 2 Peter 3:8 “…that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”  The other three occasions are in the book of Revelation as well.  The number of verses with which we can compare the word “thousand” in the New Testament in order to correctly determine the meaning is somewhat limited since six of the eleven examples occur in Revelation 20.  Thus, we need to turn to the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament translated from the Hebrew in approximately 270 BC.

 

The word “thousand” appears 504 times in the Septuagint where it is translated from the Hebrew word אלף elef, which simply means thousand.  It never refers to any kind of imaginary number nor does it signify an indefinite quantity.  The Septuagint merely translates that word literally and it carries the same meaning.  There are cases where a text will say “thousands” in the plural and, of course, that by definition is indefinite.  But whenever a text refers to “one thousand” it is speaking in a literal sense.

 

So, you might ask, why doesn’t the word “one” appear before the word thousand?  Quite simply, Greek does not require the word “one” to appear before thousand for it to be understood that it means “one thousand”.  Many languages are parallel to Greek in this respect.  For example, in Hebrew, there is no need to say “one” echad before “thousand” elef.  In fact, it is impossible to say that and to do so would sound very foreign.  So too in Greek, when it is only one thousand then no other word is necessary to qualify the number.  Only when it is two thousand plus, does a number come in front of it.

The Definite Article

The phrase “thousand years” appears six times in the passage of Revelation 20:2-7.

He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.   Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison.  (Rev 20:2-7 emphasis mine)

Three times in the passage the author, John, states “…bound him [Satan] for a thousand years,” (20:2) “…And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” (20:4) “…and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” (20:6).  In all three of these passages the literal rendering of the text is that Satan is bound and the saints reign one thousand years (one is included in the word “thousand” in Greek).  The other three passages “…till the thousand years were finished.” (20:3) “again until the thousand years were finished.” (20:5) “…when the thousand years have expired…” (20:7) all refer to a specific time indicated by the use of the definite article “the”.  The word “the” is a limiter or a definer.  It tells us that something specific is indicated.  So too, the time frame is not something undefined but in fact it is very defined.  “The thousand years…” reinforces the fact that a literal amount of time is indicated.

 

A Final Objection

In Peter’s second letter, he writes to fellow believers who were suffering all kinds of trials and persecutions on account of their belief in Jesus.  His words are to comfort them and remind them that God’s perspective is different from ours.  He writes, “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8).  This verse has been used to supposedly prove that time and numbers in the Bible do not have concrete value and therefore the “days” in Genesis 1 could have lasted one thousand years or perhaps even one million, and likewise the “thousand years” in Revelation is not an actual period of one thousand years.  But is Peter really saying that one day is equal to one thousand years?  Looking at the verse again carefully we note that there are two important keys to a correct understanding.

 

The first key is “with the Lord”.  Peter here is describing God’s perspective to time and not man’s.  This cannot be overlooked.  Peter is not saying that one thousand years is equal to one day.  He is saying that, in God’s economy, time is radically different – when we think that the Lord is “slack” we should think again. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).   Peter wants to make clear that God’s timetable is different than ours.

 

The other important key is the little word “as” (ὡς hos).  Though small, it plays an important function in that it tells us that two things are similar but not exact in nature.  It is no different than when we make such statements as “Johnny is like his father” or “In Johnny’s eyes, his father is as Hercules”.  Both statements are merely stating that one is like or similar to another but not the same as the other.  So too, Peter is saying that in the eyes of God, a day is similar to one thousand years and vice versa, one thousand years is like a day.  Since God is outside of time, this simply confirms that time is irrelevant to God, though it is not irrelevant to us.  Peter gives us another example of the use of this little word in his first epistle (1 Peter 1:24) where he says, “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.”  Clearly, he is not saying we are actually grass growing on the field.  He merely says that we are in many ways similar to grass.  Just as it has a short life, so too are our lives short when compared with the eternal God, and our glory will fade away faster than we think.  Thus to God, a day or a thousand years is the same and our lives will pass by quickly.

 

This truth was first stated in the Old Testament, which Peter more than likely drew from.  Psalm 90:4 “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night.”  Here too, the writer is simply stating things from God’s point of view – that is, time has no bearing on God.  He is outside of time and hence whether it is a day or one thousand years, it is the same to Him.  We are not to conclude however, that time is irrelevant for us.  Again and again, we see that people live real lives for a specific amount of time.  The Bible treats the lifespan of the lives of Adam (930 years), Noah (950 years), Abraham (175 years), Sarah (127 years), Jacob (147 years), and Moses (120 years) as all real and definite (See Genesis 5:5; 9:29; 25:7; 23:1; 47:28; and Deuteronomy 34:7, respectively).  Notice that Adam and Noah lived close to one thousand years. Their lifetime was like a single day in the eyes of the Lord, but nevertheless, they lived a specific number of years, and at least according to Jacob, those years didn’t pass by as if they were just a day:

And Jacob said to Pharaoh, ‘The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.’ (Genesis 47:9)

Conclusions about the Thousand Years in Revelation 20

In conclusion, we have seen that years and numbers in both the Old and New Testaments are taken as literal.  “Years” always refers to a literal amount of time.  “Year”, when used with a number, is never used to refer to anything more than once around the sun.  When the writer wished to indicate a longer period, then the exact number of years was mentioned.  We also saw that the number “thousand” is treated just like the other numbers in both Testaments.  The references to years in the New Testament are numerous and all of them are treated as real years including the one of 450 years.  Furthermore, the Greek word χίλια chilia meaning “one thousand”, is used hundreds of times in the Greek Septuagint and every time has a simple meaning of a literal number, that is “one thousand”!  And finally, we noted that the grammar in Revelation, by the use of the definite article, limits the use of what one thousand can mean.  It is not an indefinite period of time, but rather is very definite.

 

Thus we are left with the conclusion that the thousand years of Revelation should be understood to mean precisely that – one thousand literal years.  Having used Scripture to interpret Scripture, we see that any other interpretation is both grammatically unsound and inconsistent with the teaching of the Bible.

 

According to the Scriptures with Chris White!

Today on According to the Scritpures – Chris White speaks on his new book, Mystery Babylon! 4-6 PST (Click here to listen)

http://bibleprophecytalk.com/mystery-babylon-when-jerusalem-embraces-the-antichrist-by-chris-white/

 

Book Description

Publication Date: September 11, 2013
“And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” – Revelation 17:18

Which city is this that reigns over all the kings of the earth? Rome? New York? Mecca?

There are over 90 Characteristics given in the book of Revelation about the city of Mystery Babylon, and none of these three cities meets all of the criteria.

But there is one city that does…or should I say will.

Too often people look for the city of Mystery Babylon in history, or in their present day, as opposed to what the scriptures say we will see in the future.

The Bible tells us exactly which city will be the capital city of the Antichrist in the last days, it tells us the city that will promote the Antichrist’s worship to the rest of the world, and the city in which the Antichrist will institute the greatest persecution of all time.

That city is Jerusalem.

The city of Mystery Babylon will be Jerusalem when it embraces the Antichrist as if he was their long awaited Messiah. The reason that she is referred to as a “harlot” is the same reason she was referred to as a harlot hundreds of times in scripture, because she is committing spiritual adultery.

“How is the faithful city become an harlot! – Isaiah 1:21a

Consider just a few similarities between Mystery Babylon and Jerusalem:

1.) Mystery Babylon is said to kill the prophets in Revelation 18:24.

Yet the only city that has ever been recorded as killing the prophets is Jerusalem: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets…” – Matthew 23:37

2.) The Bible says that Mystery Babylon will be held accountable for ALL the righteous blood shed on the earth.

Yet Jesus said the exact same thing about Jerusalem: “That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth…” – Mat 23:35a

This is just scratching the surface.

In the last days the Antichrist will seek to convince the Jews that their Messiah has finally come, he will seek to make them, and the rest of the world think that the kingdom age has begun.

This is the only view of Mystery Babylon that can withstand a meticulous verse by verse examination.

Find out about the “seven hills” and why the bible refers to them as “kings” in almost every bible translation.

Find out why every item brought to Mystery Babylon are used for temple construction, daily sacrifice, and a vast, worldwide pilgrimage system.

For more information or to buy the book go to the authors podcast website http://bibleprophecytalk.com/

Comparison of Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls From the Book of Revelation and Other Key Scriptures (Updated Dec 2012)

Comparison of Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls

From the Book of Revelation and Other Key Scriptures (Updated Dec 2012)

PDF version recommended (parallel language is color coded and easier to follow)

Explanation: This table demonstrates how chapters 6-19 of Revelation are a series of visions from different camera angles. This means that there is repetition in the seals, trumpets, and bowls. Seals 1-5 appear to be before the time of Jacob’s trouble (last 3 ½ years). Seals and 6 and 7 appear to encompass the rest of the tribulation to the very. The subsequent trumpets and bowls are looking at those events in either greater detail or from a different angle. There is also some intensification of the events (from 1/3 to everything). Question marks were placed where something was not absolutely certain. Words in red are from Jesus.

By Douglas Hamp

Rise of the Antichrist

“I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, [were] eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words. (Dan 7:8)He even exalted [himself] as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily [sacrifices] were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. (Dan 8:11) Because of transgression, an army was given over [to the horn] to oppose the daily [sacrifices;] and he cast truth down to the ground. He did [all this] and prospered. (Dan 8:12) Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals…(Rev 6:1) And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Rev6:2)Antichrist?? “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. (Rev 17:8) So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Rev 12:9)Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. (Rev 13:1) “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), (Matt 24:15) 

No Peace: Nation against Nation

When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” (Rev 6:3) Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that [people] should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Rev 6:4) “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. (Matt 24:5) “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

Beginning of Sorrows Famine, Hunger, Death ¼ Humanity Killed

When He opened the third seal…So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. (Rev 6:5) And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Rev 6:6) When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” (Rev 6:7) So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. (Rev 6:8) “…And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Matt 24:7)  But all these things are only the beginning of the birth pains.” (Matt 24:8) “Then they will hand you over to suffer and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations because of my name. (Matt 24:9)

When Will You Avenge Us?

When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. (Rev 6:9) And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Rev 6:10) Then a white robe was given to each of them; [Resurrection/rapture?] and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both [the number of] their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they [were,] was completed. (Rev 6:11)

Four [Bad] Angels Wait to harm Earth, Sea, Trees

After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. (Rev 7:1) Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the [bad] four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, (Rev 7:2) saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” (Rev 7:3) 1st Trumpet: The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. (Rev 8:7) Then the second angel sounded: And [something] like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. (Rev 8:8) (They [locusts] were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.) (Rev 9:4) …sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four [bad] angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” (Rev 9:14) So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. (Rev 9:15) [compare with Job 1:16, 19]

Blood

Then the second angel sounded: And [something] like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. (Rev 8:8) And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. (Rev 8:9) Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. (Rev 8:10) Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead [man;] and every living creature in the sea died. (Rev 16:3) Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. (Rev 16:4) (Wormwood)And I heard the angel of the waters saying: “You are righteous, O Lord, The One who is and who was and who is to be, Because You have judged these things. (Rev 16:5) For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.” (Rev 16:6)

Darkness When the Abyss Opens (5th Trump)

“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. (Joel 2:30) The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. (Joel 2:31) Behold, the day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. (Isaiah 13:9) For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine. (Isaiah 13:10) Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night. (Rev 8:12) [day and night don’t shine when smoke is blocking the sky] And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. (Rev 9:2) Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. (Rev 16:10)

Intense Pain Inflicted From What Comes Out of Abyss

And they were not given [authority] to kill them, but to torment them [for] five months. Their torment [was] like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. (Rev 9:5)In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them. (Rev 9:6) So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. (Rev 16:2)and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. (Rev 16:10)They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds. (Rev 16:11)

River Euphrates

saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” (Rev 9:14) So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. (Rev 9:15) And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Rev 9:21) Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. (Rev 16:12)


 

Satan and His Angels Cast to Earth at 3 ½ Year Mark

Great Earthquake – Volcanic Mountain Thrown Into Sea (Just Before His Fall)

I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. (Rev 6:12) Then the second angel sounded: And [something] like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. (Rev 8:8) And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. (Rev 8:9) In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. (Rev 11:13) Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead [man;] and every living creature in the sea died. (Rev 16:3)
I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. (Rev 6:12) And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. (Rev 6:13) Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. (Rev 8:10)The name of the star is Wormwood [gall, venom, poison, death]. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter. (Rev 8:11) Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen [having fallen (already)] from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. (Rev 9:1)And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew [is] Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon. (Rev 9:11) And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs [coming] out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. (Rev 16:13) [Satan is on the earth, not the heavens] His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. (Rev 12:4)So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Rev 12:9) All the host of heaven [angels] shall be dissolved… All their host shall fall down As the leaf falls from the vine, And as [fruit] falling from a fig tree. (Isaiah 34:4)

****The Temple of God in Heaven is Opened (Paired with Opening of the Veil/Heavens) – Day of Wrath****

Sky Recedes Like Scroll

Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. (Rev 6:14) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10) All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; All their host shall fall down As the leaf falls from the vine, And as [fruit] falling from a fig tree. (Isaiah 34:4)

Islands and Mountains Flee (World-wide Cataclysm: Extinction Level Event)

And every mountain and island was moved out of its place. (Rev 6:14) Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. (Rev 16:20) For the day of the LORD of hosts [Shall come] upon everything proud and lofty, …(Isaiah 2:13) Upon all the high mountains, And upon all the hills [that are] lifted up; (Isaiah 2:14) Upon every high tower, And upon every fortified wall; (Isaiah 2:15)   He stood and surveyed the earth; He looked and startled the nations. Yes, the perpetual mountains were shattered, The ancient hills collapsed. His ways are everlasting. (Habakkuk 3:6 [NASB]) Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; (Isaiah 40:4)   I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, And all the hills moved back and forth. (Jeremiah 4:24)

Into the Caves

And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, (Rev 6:15) and said to the mountains and rocks, “fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the lamb! (Rev 6:16) Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty. (Isaiah 2:10)They shall go into the holes of the rocks, And into the caves of the earth, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily. (Isaiah 2:19)

The Great Day [Day of the Lord] Has Come (It is Done)

“For The Great Day Of His Wrath Has Come, And Who Is Able To Stand?” (Rev 6:17)   Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become [the kingdoms] of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev 11:15) (Rev 11:17) The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.” (Rev 11:18) …They go to the kings of the whole earth and gather them for the war of the great Day of God Almighty. (Rev 16:14) “See, I am coming like a thief. How blessed is the person who remains alert and keeps his clothes on! He won’t have to go naked and let others see his shame.” (Rev 16:15) [day of the Lord=thief in night] Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” (Rev 16:17) for you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. (1Thess 5:2) However, brothers, you are not in the darkness, in order that the Day of the Lord might surprise you like a thief. (1Thess 5:4)   But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day the heavens will disappear with a roaring sound, the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be exposed. (2Pet 3:10) But be sure of this: if the owner of the house had known when during the night the thief would be coming, he would have stayed awake and not allowed his house to be broken into. (Matt 24:43) So you, too, must be ready, because at an hour you are not expecting him the Son of Man will come.” (Matt 24:44)

Temple of God Opens / Noises, Thunderings, Lightnings, and an Earthquake

Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw [it] to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. (Rev 8:5) Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail. (Rev 11:19) And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. (Rev 16:18)

 

 

Are the Thousand Years in Revelation 20 Literal?

The question regarding the last years of earth’s history is, in a sense, very similar to that regarding earth’s first days: what do numbers and units of time in the Bible actually mean?  Are they merely figurative or are they to be taken literally? The interpretation of the days in Genesis 1 and the meaning of the thousand years in Revelation 20 are related due to the use of numbers and measurements of time in the Bible.

In Revelation 20 verses 2-7, six times we are told that Satan will be bound and that Christ will reign for a thousand years.  Understanding this to be a literal period of one thousand years or an allegory of an indefinite period of time has been an issue that has, generally speaking, created two camps of believers.  When we look at the ancient interpretations of both the creation account and Revelation 20, we will see that before the time of Augustine (354 to 430 A.D) both were interpreted literally.  Those holding to a literal interpretation are historically called millenialists (although today they are called premillenialists) and believe that the Great Tribulation will occur before Jesus returns to set up His kingdom for a literal period of a thousand years in which He will reign physically from Jerusalem.  Justin Martyr, a church father from the early second century A.D. declared emphatically in his Dialogue with Trypho,

But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, [as] the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare.  (The FathersDialogue with Trypho Chapter 80)

Clearly, Justin Martyr took the literal interpretation rather than a figurative or typological approach as Augustine, who is the father of the amillenial position, would later do. [i] The amillenialists purport that the thousand years in Revelation should be taken figuratively and that, in fact, there will not be an actual, literal, physical reign of Christ nor a binding of Satan for a literal, thousand years.  Again, we are faced with the question of whose view is right.  Is it really a matter of theological preference as to which view one holds?  Or is there some key to unlock this enigma?  Rather than looking to the Church Fathers for validation, let’s first look at the passage and allow Scripture to interpret itself.  I believe that we will find that, as with Genesis 1, only one of the two approaches is acceptable.

There are in essence two words that we need to study in order to determine the duration of time in Revelation 20.  We will first of all look at years to appreciate how the word is used in the Bible.  Once we have recognized what is the normal meaning, we will explore what writers meant when stating one thousand.  Does the number have just a simple meaning of thousand?  Or if as the amillenialists state, should it be understood as an indefinite period of time similar to the days of creation as purported by evolution supporters?

Years in the Bible

The word year (ete ἔτη) appears a total of 29 times in the New Testament.  In every occurrence the meaning of year (or years) is simply that of a real, literal period of a year whenever a number precedes it.  For example, we read in Mark 5:25, “Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years.”  The text treats this as a real number of real years — and why shouldn’t it?  What else could years mean?  In Luke, we read of the prophetess Anna, “and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years…” (Luke 2:37).  In John 2:20, the Jewish leaders reply to Jesus’ claim, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”  Furthermore, in Acts 13:20 we read, “After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.”  In all of the examples, the word years (ete ἔτη) is referring to a real (specific) amount of time and is used in its literal sense.  The 450 years of the time of the judges is considered to be a real amount of time.  The fact is that year, when preceded by a cardinal number, is never used in any other way.  Years always refers to what we understand to be a year – that is, the completion of twelve months (with the exception of an occasional 13th month added every several years to balance out the Jewish calendar), once around the sun.  Similarly to day in the Old Testament, which when preceded by a cardinal number means only a real day, so too when the words years and years are preceded by a cardinal number, they always and only signify a definite period of time.

The Number Thousand

Since year (and years) has only a literal and absolute meaning when preceded by a cardinal number, our next undertaking is to try to correctly understand “thousand.”  Is there something in the word which would lead us to conclude that thousand could mean something other than its literal and plain meaning?

Thousand (chilia χίλια) occurs in the New Testament eleven times, six of those being in the twentieth chapter of Revelation.  Twice it occurs in 2 Peter 3:8, “…that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”  The other three occurrences are in the book of Revelation as well.  The number of verses with which we can compare the word thousand in the New Testament in order to correctly determine the meaning is somewhat limited since six of the eleven examples occur in Revelation 20.  Thus, we need to turn to the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament translated from the Hebrew in approximately 270 B.C.

The word thousand appears 504 times in the Septuagint where it is translated from the Hebrew word אלף elef, which simply means thousand.  It never refers to any kind of imaginary number, nor does it signify an indefinite quantity.  The Septuagint merely translates that word literally and carries the same meaning.  There are cases where a text will say thousands in the plural and of course, that by definition is indefinite.  But whenever a text refers to one thousand it is speaking in a literal sense.

So, you might ask, why doesn’t the word one appear before the word thousand?  Quite simply, Greek does not require the word “one” to appear before thousand for it to be understood that it means one thousand.  Many languages are parallel to Greek in this respect.  For example, in Hebrew, there is no need to say one before thousand.  In fact, it is impossible to say that and to do so would sound very foreign; so too in Greek.  When it is only one thousand, then no other word is necessary to qualify the number.  Only when it is two thousand plus does a number come in front of it.

The Definite Article

The phrase thousand years appears six times in the passage of Revelation 20:2-7.

He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.  Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison.  (emphasis mine)

Three times in the passage the author, John, states “…bound him [Satan] for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:2); “…And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4); and “…and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).  In all three of these passages, the literal rendering of the text is that Satan is bound and the saints reign one thousand years (one is included in the word thousand in Greek).  The other three occurrences “…till the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:3); “again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:5); and “…when the thousand years have expired…” (Revelation 20:7) all refer to a specific time indicated by the use of the definite article the.  The word the is a limiter or a definer.  It tells us that something specific is indicated.  Therefore, the time frame is not something undefined but in fact it is very defined.  “The thousand years…” reinforces the fact that a literal amount of time is indicated since it points back to “a thousand years” already mentioned in verse 2.

Summary of Years

In conclusion, we have seen that years and numbers (just like days) in both the Old and New Testaments are taken as literal.  Years always refers to a literal amount of time.  Year, when used with a number, is never used to refer to anything more than once around the sun.  When the writer wished to indicate a longer period, then the exact number of years was mentioned.  We also saw that the number thousand is treated just like the other numbers in both Testaments.  The references to years in the New Testament are numerous and all of them are treated as real years, including the one of 450 years.  Furthermore, the Greek word chilia χίλια, meaning “one thousand,” is used hundreds of times in the Greek Septuagint and every time has a simple meaning of a literal number, that is one thousand!  And finally, we noted that the grammar in Revelation, by the use of the definite article, limits the use of what one thousand can mean.  It is not an indefinite period of time, but rather is very definite.

Thus we are left with the conclusion that the thousand years of Revelation should be understood to mean precisely that – one thousand, literal years.  Having used Scripture to interpret Scripture, we see that any other interpretation is both inconsistent with the teaching of the Bible and grammatically unsound.


[i] Augustine formulated this eschatology primarily in response to the Donatists’s drunken feasts in their “cult of the dead” ceremonies honoring the martyred brothers.  Augustine also reacted to the millenialists’ anticipation as the year 500 approached since they thought that to be the culmination of the 6000 years since creation. (Anderson 2002: 4)

Prophecy Update with Doug Hamp and L.A. Marzulli May 2012

Doug Hamp and L.A. Marzulli discuss how the radiation danger from Fukushima reactor 4 still threatens us – billions of people are at risk. They also discuss the collapse of the economy. We need to pray. Click below to listen.

Fukushima reactor No. 4 vulnerable to catastrophic collapse; could unleash 85 times Cesium-137 radiation of Chernobyl; human civilization on the brink

(NaturalNews) The news you are about to read puts everything else in the category of “insignificant” by comparison. Concerned about the 2012 U.S. presidential election? Worried about GMOs? Fluoride? Vaccines? Secret prisons?None of that even mattersif we don’t solve the problem of Fukushima reactor No. 4, which is on the verge of a catastrophic failure that could unleash enough radiation toend human civilizationon our planet. (See the numbers below.)

The resulting releasing of radiation would turn North America into a “dead zone” for humans… mutated (and failed) crops, Fukushima Reactor 4radioactive groundwater, skyrocketing infant mortality, an explosion in cancer and infertility… this is what could be unleashed at any moment from an earthquake in Japan. Such an event could result in the release of85 times the Cesium-137 released by the Chernobyl catastrophe, say experts (see below). And the Chernobyl catastrophe made its surrounding regionsuninhabitable by humans for centuries.

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/035789_Fukushima_Cesium-137_Plume-Gate.html#ixzz1v50B7tem

 

 

Prophetic Signposts 2011 Audio

Douglas Hamp presents an array of prophetic signposts at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa Maranatha 6 prophecy conference September 2011. (Click below to listen)
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (Dan 12:1 [AKJV/PCE])