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The Millennial Kingdom is not referring to the generation of apathetic, bearded, man-bun, non-conformist, twenty-somethings, who live in their parents basements, blogging about the 1%. It refers to a period of time (1000 years) that pre-millennial, dispensational theology believes is yet to come. This is not a literal thousand years anymore than God owning cattle on only a thousand hills (Psalms 50:10). Thousand means “complete.”
This series has shown that context is vital to understanding Revelation and I am offering the historical context as the most harmonious with scripture, ancient history, and the sciences. Referring to the Millennial kingdom, I’m suggesting that we are beyond its inauguration.
In Jesus day, the religious elite couldn’t believe that Jesus from Nazareth was their promised Messiah. They were expecting the Messiah to come in political strength, retaliate against Rome, and restore Israel to power. As a result they rejected Jesus’ alternative kingdom and condemned him along with Harod and Pilate.
If the most religious and devout could stare directly into the eyes of their promised messiah and miss him, what makes the Church think we can do any better?
Revelation 20 is the turning point in Revelation. It depicts the millennial reign and the bride (city) that follows. However, most of the teachings of Jesus are about his Kingdom and how it’s counterintuitive to every kingdom we’ve ever known. It is NOW and NOT YET at the same time. This is key to understanding the millennium given the fallen state of our world.
The biggest objections to post-millennial views are as follows:
- Satan is depicted as bound in chains and unable to deceive. Jesus said in Matthew 12:28-29 “If it’s by the spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder the house.” Jesus clearly sees himself as the change of guard, taking back the world to himself and rendering the opposition powerless. People today are not deceived, we are ignorant.
- The battle with Gog and Magog. Many see this as the future Armageddon. Throughout Hebrew scripture Gog and Magog are depicted as the worst people. Tying the events of Revelation to Israel’s Babylonian captivity makes the most sense here. John is likely comparing the destruction of the 2nd temple (AD 70) by Nero in Rome to the destruction of the first temple (587 BCE) by Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon (Revelation 14:6, 16:19, 17:5, 18:2,10, 18:21). There may be future wars, but they aren’t likely Armageddon.
- The throne of judgement. I’ve explained this in previous posts, but judgement is not future, but always right now within the Eternal Moment. The books of life and deeds illuminate an often missed key, namely: the “pseudo” (Revelation 21:27, 22:15). The coming New city has no pseudonyms (Revelation 20:15, 21:27). Book of life refers to the names we each were given before the foundation of the world. Judgement is restorative, not retributive. It separates deed from life (different books). The part of them (“To meros auton“- Revelation 21:8) -those things done as the pseudo self, are purged, or burnt from the record (second death), leaving only the true self –Lambs book of life (1 Corinthians 3:15). Even death and Hell are destroyed (Revelation 20:14). In the depiction of the New Earth, the “lake” (of fire) translated sea, is no more. All that is left is perfect truth in a world that still needs healing (Revelation 22:2). Precisely what we have today, but not fully.
For many, the historical view allows scripture to shine much brighter, with little need for interpretive gymnastics or current news headlines.
If we are beyond the tribulation, and we are not waiting for the shoe to drop, then what are we waiting for?
The answer is: THE NEW CITY in the NEW WORLD that is joined with the NEW HEAVEN.
We came from a garden and we are building a city. We are called to wake up and realize that the kingdom of God is within us and among us (Luke 17:21). There is no temple in the New city (Revelation 21:22) because external temple has moved inside of each of us (1 Corinthians 6:19). and the Glory of God lights us all.
The arrival of the millennial kingdom doesn’t mean its complete, only that the New operating system is in place each moment. The inclusive city has twelve permanently opened gates on every side welcoming everyone from every tribe, nation, language and people (Revelation 21:12-13). No wonder the multitude sings (Revelation 7:9).
Love is the only rule in this unconventional emerging city and LOVE is how we know its citizens. They are are “called out” (ek-kaleo) by love, for love, to love.
The brightest hope of post-millennialism is this new definition of the Church. It’s not here to hate, condemn or threaten, but to bring healing to the world.