Millennial Reign

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Biblical Significance

Isaiah 11:1-10 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse [King David's father], and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him [Messiah], the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: But with Righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod [words] of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. And Righteousness shall be the girdle [belt] of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins [determination]. The wolf [during the Millennial Reign restoration] also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid [young goat]; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp [snake], and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' [spider] den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My Holy Mountain [government]: for the earth shall be full of the Knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root [offspring] of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign [guide] of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be Glorious.

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the First Resurrection: on such the Second Death [eternal judgment] hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

Church Fathers

The Church Fathers who expected Christ to Return and inaugurate the Millennium of a literal 1000 years included: Justyn Martyr (100-165 AD), Theophilus of Antioch (115-181 AD), Irenaeus (120-202 AD), Hippolytus (c. 236 AD), Tertullian (150-225 AD), Cyprian (200-258 AD), Commodian (200-275 AD), Lactantius (240-320 AD), Methodius (d. 311 AD). They all affirmed their Millenarian views with comments like those of Victorinus of Petau, who died around 304 AD, and wrote: "The true sabbath will be in the seventh millennium of years, when Christ with His elect shall reign." [Victorinus :"On the Creation of the World"]. Lactantius wrote that God's "religion and truth must labor during these six thousand years, while wickedness prevails and bears rule..." whereupon "all wickedness must be abolished from the earth, and righteousness reign for a thousand years; and there must be tranquility and rest from the labors which the world now has long endured." [Lactantius, "The Divine Institutes" 7.14]. Similar statements were made by other early Church Fathers.

Please bear with me for the story continues. These early Church Fathers, generally believed in a literal Millennium of 1000 years in which Christ will reign over the whole earth. Some called this the Millennial Sabbath. From this Biblical concept there developed the idea of what might be called the "Earth's Great Week." This idea was expressed first by a Jewish Christian, Barnabas, in Alexandria, Egypt, around 117 AD. He believed that man would have 6000 years on earth corresponding to 1000 years for each of the 6 Days of Creation. Then the 7th Day corresponded to the Millennial Sabbath of 1000 years with Christ reigning from David's throne. Following this was to be the New Heaven and New Earth and the New Jerusalem. Even though a literal 1000 years for the Millennium of Revelation 20 is a Biblical entity, it was not a Scriptural idea to allocate 1000 years to each Day of Creation. Nevertheless, this plausible basis for mankind's history was adopted by many of the Church Fathers. As a result, they expected the Lord to Return and inaugurate the Millennium sometime in the vicinity of 300-500 AD. This was done, as we noted above, on the basis of the Scriptural genealogy in the LXX and paleo-Hebrew which placed Creation roughly 5700-5500 BC.

In other words, it was generally agreed that the Millennial reign of Christ was a period of a literal 1000 years. In my study of Scripture, I have found in a number of instances that prophetic scriptures were fulfilled to the very day. This is also the approach that the early Fathers took. The problem that arose was the additional idea from Barnabas which suggested an approximate time when this Return would occur. We know that Christ did not return about 300 to 500 AD. But by 395 to 430 we have the time of Augustine. The Church leaders during this period had noted that Christ had not returned and offered an alternative interpretation of the Millennium as a result. The one important event that had occurred around the expected time was the acceptance of Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire. As a consequence, the church leaders at the time, like Augustine, concluded that the Millennium was the church age and that the Kingdom of Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven was the Church. The Church of Rome later carried this a little further and claimed the kingdom was exclusively the Roman Catholic church on the basis of Augustine's statements. Thus we have two erroneous doctrines, one from Barnabas, one from Augustine, which have contributed to a mis-understanding of what the Scripture is actually saying.

Source: CONCERNING "ULTIMATE THINGS" by Dennis E. Engleman, Conciliar Press, Ben Lomond, California, 1995

The Second Coming of Jesus

Zechariah 12:10-14 And I will pour upon the [Jews] House of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look [2nd Coming] upon Me [Jesus] whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day [2nd Coming] shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.
Acts 1:1-14 The former treatise [Gospel of Luke] have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which He was taken up [ascension], after that He through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the Apostles whom He had chosen: To whom also He shewed Himself alive after His Passion [Holy Week] by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of Me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized [not for Salvation but for their Empowerment as a Witness to the world -- the Apostles were already Saved (John 20:22, Luke 24:45) having already recognized the Resurrection of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins and for their eternal salvation] with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the Kingdom [Millennial Reign] to Israel? And He [Jesus] said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men [Angels] stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner [back to Mt. Olivet - near Jerusalem] as ye have seen Him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the Mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath Day's journey. And when they [Apostles] were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren [James and Jude].

Note: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the return of Jesus to Jerusalem and to the Jews and not to the Christian Church as the Church in its entirety at that moment is in Heaven and is unable to meet Jesus on the earth during His initial 2nd Coming – Jesus doesn’t return to the Church instead Jesus returns bringing the Church. The Christian Church follows Jesus (Revelation 19:14) to the earth to participate in the Millennial Reign on the earth.

Revelation 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed Him (Jesus) upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.