Dr. David R. Reagan and panel on the show Christ in Prophecy answer questions concerning the millennial reign of Christ.
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Dr. Reagan: Is Jesus coming back to this Earth to reign for a thousand years in glory and majesty from Mt. Zion in Jerusalem? Or, is that just a myth conjured up by misguided people with hopeful hearts? Stay tuned.
Dr. Reagan: I’m Dave Reagan, Senior Evangelist for Lamb & Lion Ministries, and I am delighted to have with me this week, two experts on Bible prophecy. The first is my colleague Dennis Pollock, who is my Associate here at Lamb & Lion Ministries. The other is Don McGee, the Founder and Director of Crown and Sickle Ministries, located in Amite, Louisiana. We refer to Don fondly as our “Rajun Cajun.” Over the next few weeks, Dennis, Don, and I are going to respond to questions that have been sent to us by our viewers.
Well fellows, I don’t know about you, but I can tell you right now that question and answer periods are one of my favorite parts of a Prophecy Conference. I just love them because people always come up with questions that I have never heard before, and it keeps me on my toes always digging and learning some new things. And over the years I have really had some very, very strange questions. For example, one time a teenager stood up in a conference and he said, “Sir, tell me, is going to Hell sort of like being sucked into a black hole in space?” I think maybe he had seen too many Star Trek movies. But what about you guys, have you ever had some really strange questions asked of you?
Don McGee: A kid asked me one time: “When the rapture occurs, will we leave our clothes and our dental fillings behind?”
Dr. Reagan: Well, what I want to know is how did you answer that?
Don McGee: I said, “The clothes, I’m pretty sure, and I feel pretty positive about the fillings too, with a new body.”
Dr. Reagan: Well, how about you Dennis, I know you’ve been in a lot of conferences.
Dennis Pollock: Well, you know Dave, one of the things that scares me are the questions that are really non-questions. They’re sermons in disguise, and sometimes they’ll go into lengthy ideas and concepts and they’re really wanting to preach to everybody. But, I don’t know, the one thing I’m struck by when I do questions is how many questions are similar all over the World. I mean, we have done question/answers in Eastern Europe and various places and so many are coming from the same perspective, and one of the big ones that stands out in my mind for example is, “What happens to babies in the Rapture?” I mean almost everywhere you go they ask that question.
Dr. Reagan: And sometimes asked by a woman who is very pregnant.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah, exactly, wanting to make sure hers goes.
Dr. Reagan: Yeah, that’s a good question.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah, it is.
Dr. Reagan: And there are questions that are asked over and over, regardless of the culture you are in, and one thing that’s always impressed me is everywhere I’ve gone in the World, one of the first questions always is, “Where is the United States in Bible prophecy?” People are interested in that all over the World, not just here in the United States. And you are certainly right about people getting up and giving sermons. I’m telling you the truth, I often have had to interrupt people and say, “What is your question?” “Well, I’m getting to it.” And they go on. Finally I’ll say, “Look, if you want to give a sermon, you need to go hire a hall, I hired this one, this is mine, but you need to go hire one.” Because a lot of people just don’t know how to formulate a question. OK, thank you fellows.
Dr. Reagan: OK fellows, let’s go to our first question. Again, these are questions that have been sent in by our viewers, and the first question is this: “How can you contend that there is going to be a future, one thousand year reign of Jesus on this Earth, when that reign is mentioned only one time in the Bible, namely in Revelation 20?”
Don McGee: Actually, the reign of Christ is not mentioned only one time in the Bible. If you go back to the Old Testament, particularly the book of Isaiah, it’s mentioned several times. Revelation 20 is where we are told that it’s going to last one thousand years. So, this idea of it only being mentioned one time is actually not very accurate. But really, I think the most important part of this question is this: “How many times must it be mentioned for us to really believe it?”
Dennis Pollock: Yeah.
Dr. Reagan: For me, God only has to mention it once.
Don McGee: That’s right, that’s right.
Dr. Reagan: But you’re certainly right, this is not the only place the reign is mentioned, this is the only place where the length of it is mentioned. What about you Dennis?
Dennis Pollock: Isaiah, like Don said, Isaiah is filled with references, and there are a number of others. But let me just read a couple of them. One of them is in Isaiah 24. It’s a fantastic chapter that deals with the Tribulation, and it talks about the Earth being destroyed, being ruined, being split open, being shaken exceedingly. It is the classic Old Testament description of Revelation. What Revelation describes is the Tribulation in chapter six and on, Isaiah 24 really captures very well. But at the end of it is the encouraging word. The very last verse of this, Isaiah 24 says, “The moon will be disgraced, the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts will reign on Mt. Zion and in Jerusalem, and before His elders gloriously.” That is the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ from the City of Jerusalem. Now that’s a prophecy. The question you ask is: “Has that prophecy been fulfilled?” Answer: “No, not yet.” Will it? Absolutely. God means what He says.
Dr. Reagan: OK, so let me summarize by saying that all through the Old Testament you will find prophecies about the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ. Isaiah is full of them. There are many others, in Jeremiah, there’s a great one in Micah. In fact one of the greatest prophecies about the Millennial reign is in the book of Micah, in chapter four. So the idea of the Millennial reign of Jesus is not something new when you come to the New Testament. The book of Revelation is primarily about the Tribulation, not the Millennium. But it does mention the Millennium, and in Revelation chapter 20 it says six times that that is going to last for a thousand years. I don’t know what God would have to do, maybe put it up in the sky in neon lights, to convince us that He’s talking about a reign of a thousand years.
Ok, well let’s to our second question. The second question is a really clever one. It says, “Psalm 50:10, says ‘God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.’ This is obviously figurative language, because you know there’s more than a thousand hills. If the reference to one thousand in this passage is figurative, then why isn’t it figurative in Revelation 20?” And let me tell you fellows, I could name several books that are based on this thesis that because it’s figurative in Psalm 50, it’s figurative throughout the Bible and therefore it’s figurative in Revelation 20.
Dennis Pollock: Well, I think the key to the answer to that question is found in the question itself. He said about Psalm 50, “This is ‘obviously’ a symbolic reference.” And he’s right; it is obviously a symbolic reference. You wouldn’t count 50 hills and say, “Oh, this is number 51, God doesn’t own the cattle on this hill. This is number 53, God surely doesn’t own the cattle on that hill.” No, it’s obviously a symbol. But if it’s not obvious, then who are we to say, “It must be a symbol.” You know Arnold Schwarznegger is called the Terminator. In Theological terms, there are “symbolizers” that go around stamping symbols on all kinds of Bible passages saying, “You must accept this as a symbol, don’t take it literally.” Well, who made you the “symbolizer?” That’s my question to anybody that wants to do that.
Dr. Reagan: I didn’t know we were going to get Arnold in on this discussion.
Dennis Pollock: Well, we can bring him in.
Don McGee: I was wondering where this was going.
Dr. Reagan: Well, you know fellows, it seems to me that the thing that this person also overlooks is the fact that words, and the meaning of words is determined by context. That’s true of all literature. It doesn’t matter whether you’re reading Shakespeare, the Bible, or whatever. Context determines meaning. If I say to you that yesterday I toured the White House, and then I say to you, “Today the White House announced that the President is going to Russia,” I have used the same term, “White House” in two ways. One is literal: Yesterday I toured the White House. The other is symbolic: The White House announced today… Well, the White House can’t talk, but we know what that means. So, it’s determined by context. Sure, in Psalm 50 it’s figurative, but that doesn’t mean it’s figurative every time the term one thousand is used throughout the Bible. Do you have anything to say about this Don?
Don McGee: I think God understood that Mankind needed brains so that we could interpret these things in a very plain sense way and that’s why He gave us discernment, to be able to handle this kind of thing.
Dr. Reagan: OK, let’s go to the third question. This one is a little more difficult. Second Peter 3:10 says that when the Lord returns, the Earth will be burned up with fire. How can there be a one thousand year reign of Jesus here on the Earth if the Earth is going to be destroyed when He comes? Now that’s a good question.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah, it is a good question, and there are a few other passages similar to that. Jesus talked about “the time is coming when the dead will hear my voice and come forth, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation.” And it sounds, in that context, as though it’s all happening at one time.
Dr. Reagan: That’s right.
Dennis Pollock: What you have to understand is you can’t just pull out a verse and base your entire Theology on it. You have to read what the entire Bible has to say. And the most detailed account of these two resurrections, and the time factor involved, is found in Revelation 20, where it describes a thousand year period of time between when Christ returns to the Earth, versus when the dead are judged, that is the sinful dead are judged at the Great White Throne judgment. So you have to do some thinking, you have to do some study, and you have to compare the whole of scripture, not just pull out an isolated passage.
Dr. Reagan: Well, there’s no prophetic passage that says, “Here’s what’s going to happen in the end-times. Number one, number two, number three, number four,” and gives you the entire…That’s not the way the Bible is written. The Bible is written in such a way that we have to study and study, and you have to dig and you have to find all the passages that are relevant to a particular topic before you can get the full picture. If this were the only scripture about end-time prophecy, then I would say that when Jesus returns, the Earth will be burned up with fire. But it’s not the only one, and furthermore, the focus of this passage has to do with the Earth. It’s talking about the fact that once the Earth was destroyed by water, and in the future it’s going to be destroyed by fire, and that’s his focus. That’s what he’s focused on; he’s not focused on giving you all the end-time events. Don?
Don McGee: This is the event that occurs just before the Great White Throne Judgment. God is going to refurbish this Earth and put it in a position where He can bring this New Jerusalem down to it. That’s what this is all about.
Dr. Reagan: OK. Let’s go to our fourth question. Colossians 1:13 clearly teaches that the church is God’s kingdom on Earth. If that is so, then doesn’t the church fulfill all the Kingdom prophecies? And let me just read that to you. Colossians 1:13 says, “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son.” It seems that that’s referring there to the church as the kingdom of God, and if that’s so, then doesn’t the church fulfill all the kingdom prophecies, and there’s no prophecies about the kingdom to be fulfilled in the future.
Don McGee: The first thing that we’ve got to understand is the meaning of terms. The term “kingdom” in the minds of most people has to do with an institution. Actually in God’s plan, the term kingdom doesn’t have so much to do with an institution, as it has to do with dispensations, or times, and the meaning of the term, which is simply “the sovereignty of God.” You can take the word kingdom and substitute it with “the sovereignty of God.” Kent East, a preacher at the church I go to has a series of lessons on this, and it’s magnificent, explaining what this term kingdom is about. And that’s all it is.
Dennis Pollock: What you said about context is so important because there are times where kingdom can mean different things. Jesus talked at one point about the Kingdom of God not coming with observation, it’s within you. Well the Kingdom of God is established, it’s set up in your own heart when you get born again. There’s another sense in Colossians where we read about the Kingdom of God being represented by the church, then in Luke 21 and verse 31, Jesus says, “When you see these things happening,” that is the end-times coming upon you, “know the kingdom of God is near.” It’s not here, but it’s near. So in this case it’s talking about the Kingdom that occurs when Jesus comes back and begins to establish His rule. So you can’t have a one phrase catches everything.
Dr. Reagan: Yeah, once again it’s a matter of context. I can show you passages in the Bible where Kingdom is referred to as the creation itself, that God reigns over that kingdom. But I think that your point is really a good one about the nature of the kingdom because I think I can make an argument in detail, with scripture, that shows that God has always had a kingdom on this Earth, the kingdom being those who relate to God by faith. The original Kingdom of God would have been the Patriarchs who related to Him by faith. Then the kingdom became more manifest in the Nation of Israel. Then the kingdom became more manifest in the Church, and the kingdom is going to become more manifest when Jesus comes and reigns over the Earth for a thousand years. But that isn’t even the fullness of the kingdom. The kingdom ultimately comes in the eternal state. So the kingdom is here, yet coming, and constantly coming until it reaches that ultimate state.
Dennis Pollock: It’s God’s dominion on the Earth.
Don McGee: Exactly. And it’s something that is dynamic, it’s not static.
Dr. Reagan: Yes, I think the sovereignty is the key to this. And so again, look at the context folks, always when you’re reading these passages look at the context. The context determines meaning. And also be sure to look up all the verses that you can find on the particular question because you cannot built a doctrine on one isolated verse somewhere. You have to look at every verse on that particular topic like Heaven, or Hell, the Millennium or the Tribulation before you can come to the conclusion as to what is the doctrine on that particular issue.
Dr. Reagan: Okay, fellows, well we can get back now to our questions about the Millennium. OK, our fifth question about the Millennium: “What is the purpose of the Millennium? Why is Jesus returning to reign over this Earth? Why doesn’t the World just come to an end and all of us go either to Heaven or Hell?” You know fellows, that’s a question that–I was raised in an Amillennial church that did not believe in a Millennium, and when I first began to really believe what the Bible said, and that it was serious about Jesus coming back to reign, that was the first thing that popped into my mind. Why in the World would He want to come back to this sin sick World and spend a thousand years reigning? Why not just bring it to an end and all of us go to Heaven or Hell?
Don McGee: Well, that’s just it, it’s not going to be a sin sick World anymore when He comes back to reign. Isaiah chapter 24 and 23 tells us that Jesus is going to come back to be a glorified Savior, Messiah, and He’s going to reign from Jerusalem. I think one of the problems that we have when we look at this thing about the reign in Revelation 20 is that we isolate it from everything that is said just before it in Revelation chapter 19. One of the keys in understanding this Millennial reign of Christ and what is said in Revelation 20, is to keep it in context with Revelation 19:11-21, because both are integral parts of the entire picture that God is trying to paint for us there.
Dennis Pollock: You know, when I hear the question, “Why?” and we do hear that a lot, “Why does there have to be a Millennium?” The first thing that comes to my mind is from the Psalms where it says, “God is in Heaven, He does whatever He pleases.” Basically it’s because God has chosen there to be a Millennium. We can speculate and we can reasonably make some assumptions as to, “Probably it’s going to do this, this and this.” But ultimately God has decided there has to be one. The prophecies are clear.
Dr. Reagan: It reminds me of children when they say to their parents, “Why do I have to do that?” “Because I said so.”
Dennis Pollock: To me it’s God showing the World how it was supposed to have been all along. We’ve had 6,000 years of war and misery and crime and all kinds of horrible things. And for a thousand years, God’s going to be demonstrating: This is the way it was supposed to have been all along. And God has chosen to do that. He’s made a number of promises. He’s made promises about nature being restored; He’s made promises about righteousness, promises about lambs and sheep feeding together and so forth. There has to be a Millennium. There’s no question about that. As to the “why,” God has determined that, and if He says He’s going to do it, I’m satisfied with that.
Dr. Reagan: Well He certainly has a lot of promises that He’s made that are yet unfulfilled. He’s promised the nations: peace, righteousness, and justice. He’s promised Jesus, as you’ve pointed out, glory and majesty that He’s going to receive what He was denied the first time. He’s coming back to be glorified before the people of the world. He’s promised the Jews that they’re going to be the prime nation of the World, and that the blessings of God will flow through them, and that is a promise that is yet to be fulfilled. He’s promised the Church that we’re going to reign with Him over all the people of the World. That’s a promise that He’s made to us that He has yet to fulfill. So you’re right, there’s promise, after promise, after promise that God is going to fulfill during this particular period of time. Any other comments about why there’s going to be a Millennium?
Dennis Pollock: Well, I’m just looking forward to the fact that there is going to be one.
Dr. Reagan: OK, well, number six. You keep talking about glorified saints reigning over the nations during the Millennium. Who are these nations? Where will they come from?
Dennis Pollock: Well, I think that one of the things that people don’t realize is that there’s going to be “real” people during the Millennium. Now we’re going to be in glorified bodies, those that have been Christians before the rapture are going to be taken up, changed, we’re going to be reigning with Christ with bodies like He has. But, there will be people who have lived through the Tribulation that are going to be allowed to live on into the Millennium that will sweat, that will get married, that will have children, and the whole deal, the whole human package. And there will be nations that Christ, and actually those of us that belong to Him, will rule and reign over. I doubt that they’ll be called by the names that we have now – England, Germany, France, United States, and so forth, but there will clearly be nations.
Dr. Reagan: The Bible clearly indicates that when Jesus returns there’s going to be a judgment, when He returns at the end of the Tribulation. He’s going to judge the Gentiles, He’s going to judge the Jews, and only those who are believers who have lived to the end of the Tribulation are going to be allowed to go into the Millennium in the flesh. And that’s going to be a tiny group of people, because most believers, both Jew and Gentile, will be killed during the Tribulation. So the population of the Millennium will start with a small group of “saved” people, and then they will begin to propagate. And the Bible says that during the Millennium, that life spans are going to be extended, probably to what they were at the beginning of time, that people will live as long as a tree. It says that if a person were to die at age 100 they would be wept over as if they were a baby. And so with the expansion of life spans, the population of the World will literally take off exponentially. In fact, I would be willing to estimate that by the end of the thousand years there will be as many people on Planet Earth as there are right now. I’m talking about in the flesh, and we in glorified bodies will be reigning over those people. Don?
Don McGee: The distinctions that God created in the beginning will be distinctions that will be carried through the Millennium. Israel will always be a Nation. That’s what Jeremiah said: “If this fixed order departs from Me then the offspring of Israel shall also cease from being a Nation before Me forever.” And as Israel will retain its nation status, so too will these other groups that’ll be entering into this Millennium.
Dr. Reagan: OK, let’s go to question number seven. This is from an eight-year-old boy, and I love this question. “Will skunks still spray when Jesus returns?” Now what about it fellows?
Dennis Pollock: Yes, but it’ll smell like Chanel No 5.”
Don McGee: I agree with that.
Dr. Reagan: How about my Rajun Cajun?
Don McGee: I agree with that. You know, it’s pretty repulsive to us, but to another skunk it might be “de thang.” I don’t think they’ll be spraying on us.
Dr. Reagan: Well you know this really is an important question because the Bible teaches that Jesus died not only for the redemption of the sins of Mankind, but He died for the redemption of God’s creation. And most people don’t realize that, and when He returns, the curse is going to be lifted and the Creation is going to be returned to the perfection in which God originally created it. And that means that there will no longer be any violence in the animal kingdom. The meat eaters will be herbivorous. There will be no longer any poisonous animals, poisonous plants. Man will not strive against nature. It’s all going to live in peace and harmony, and I look forward to that day. We have a little critter here in Texas called the chigger. And I hate chiggers. I hate them with a passion. You’ve got them in Louisiana don’t you?
Don McGee: Oh yeah.
Dr. Reagan: They’re little microscopic things – crawl up and bite you on the back of the knee and your leg swells up and you itch for days. And one time I was talking about those, and I said, “I want Jesus to come back so He’ll do away with the chiggers.” And my wife said, “Honey, He’s not going to do away with chiggers. He’s going to make you lie down with the chiggers.” I said, “Well, I hope He de-fangs those little boogers first.” And I think He will, but yeah, the skunks will spray Chanel No 5.
Don McGee: There you go. By the way, skunks do make good pets.
Dr. Reagan: OK! Well, all right. Number eight: “Ezekiel seems to indicate that a system of animal sacrifices will be re-instituted during the Millennium. Is this true, and if so why? I thought the sacrifice of Jesus was sufficient to atone for all sins.” We’ve only got about two minutes and forty five seconds fellows, and that’s a big one, so what have you got to say about it?
Don McGee: The person that asked this probably is referring to Ezekiel 42:13, and 44:11 where it talks about these things. What we have to understand is that the sacrificial system that will be in place during the Millennial reign of Christ is not a system in place for salvation; it’s a system that’s in place for ceremony, to retain the distinction that Israel has among the nations.
Dr. Reagan: And to remind them of the cost of their salvation. I mean, a bloody sacrifice of an animal sacrifice is a very vivid reminder of what Jesus Christ did on the Cross. It’s like communion today. It points back, but it points back in a very dramatic way.
Don McGee: Gibson did that with his film, The Passion of the Christ. It’s the same idea.
Dr. Reagan: Anything to add to that?
Dennis Pollock: Just to say Amen.
Don McGee: Well brother I think you summed it up very well. We’re going to have to get you to write a book on Theology, because you can just sum it up. OK. One last question: “The Bible says that at the end of the Millennium, most of those living on the Earth in the flesh will rise up and revolt against Jesus. Why would people revolt after living for one thousand years in a society characterized by perfect peace, righteousness and justice?”
Dennis Pollock: Well, I’ve got an answer for that and it goes back to an eighth grade girl named Nan.
Don McGee: This ought to be interesting. This is going to be good!
Dr. Reagan: I can hardly wait.
Dennis Pollock: When I was in the eighth grade, we had a girl named Nan that talked all the time, constantly chattered. She drove the teacher crazy. We’d get Citizenship grades – she always got the worst Citizenship grade. Finally he put her off by herself in the room. She absolutely could not talk to anyone. And so when the end of the quarter came around and she got her Citizenship grade, it was still a terrible grade. She went to him, and I’ve never forgotten her or her name because of this. She said, “Why did I get a terrible Citizenship grade when I didn’t talk. I couldn’t possibly have talked to anyone!” He said, “Because I knew that if you were with everybody else, you would have been talking.” Well, that’s the way it is here in the Millennium. The truth is they’re not allowed to rebel when Satan is in the pit and when Jesus is reigning. But when Satan is loosed, that which was in their heart all along will be released and they will rebel that last time.
Dr. Reagan: But don’t you think they would be transformed by living in a perfect society?
Dennis Pollock: It’s not the society that transforms; it’s the power of the gospel.
Don McGee: The environment is not the key, now that’s what we need to understand in society. The environment is not the problem; the problem is the human heart.
Dr. Reagan: Amen, amen.
Don McGee: Jesus is going to rule with a rod of iron because He’s going to have to rule with a rod of iron. And what we need to understand is that we are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. And when the presence of the Lord is removed from this situation, we’re going to see that old unregenerate, hardened heart rise up, raise its ugly head again.
Dr. Reagan: The only thing that can change man is the Holy Spirit, not the changing of the environment.
Don McGee: From the inside out, not the outside in.
Dr. Reagan: I want to thank you for tuning in this week. I hope the program has been a blessing to you and I hope you will be back with us next week when we will discuss questions concerning Amillennialism. That’s the widely held belief that there will be no future Millennial reign of the Lord on this earth.
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