Is Jesus returning to reign from Jerusalem for a thousand years? Find out as Dr. David Reagan interviews a panel of Bible prophecy experts on television’s “Christ in Prophecy.”
Last aired on September 9, 2012.
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God's Plan for the Ages Book by Dr. David R. Reagan
Dr. Reagan: One of the most controversial concepts concerning Bible prophecy is the belief that at the end of the Church Age and following the conclusion of the Tribulation Jesus will return to this earth to reign for a 1,000 years. The Catholic Church rejects this idea. And so do the majority of Christian denominations. So what about it? Is Jesus returning to reign or not? For the opinions of 13 Bible prophecy experts, stay tuned.
Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus our Blessed Hope and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. This is our fifth week in a series of programs in which we are featuring 13 Bible prophecy experts responding to questions about the book of Revelation. If you have missed our previous 4 programs featuring these interviews you can watch them at our website at lamblion.com. In this program we are going to seek the answer to one of the most controversial questions in Bible prophecy. Specifically: “Is Jesus going to return to this earth to reign in glory and majesty for 1,000 years from Jerusalem?” Here now are some of the answers we received from our Bible prophecy experts.
Gary Fisher: I love this question because in my background I went all over this. I was raised in a church that did not believe in the 1,000 year reign of Jesus. I had many sermons in my memory that said, “There is not one verse in Scripture that ever says Jesus is going to come to this earth.” But yet in Revelation 20 it says six times, “They came to life and reigned with Jesus for 1,000 years.” Six times a thousand years. Now how do we get the term Millennium? Mille annis is 1,000 years, in the old Latin Vulgate. So there is going to be a 1,000 year period under which Jesus reigns on this earth. And if you have to take, if you can’t take the Bible literally then it’s easy to allegorize that. I have heard sermon after sermon saying, “Well this could just be representative of 10,000 years or whatever.” Man if you are going to start that we can also take liberty to believe that Creation lasted 60 billion years instead of six days and you get the idea. Yes, there is going to be a 1,000 years reign of Jesus on the earth. And it says it six times in Revelation 20.
Don McGee: Yes, I do. I believe that with all my heart. There are any number of reasons and the most obvious reason is that it says so. That He is going to reign for a 1,000 years on this earth. And another reason is that if you look at other text in the Bible in the New Testament you will see that God’s people are going to reign. Paul talked about that we will reign with God on this earth. Go back to Isaiah chapter 11 and I find this interesting in light of some of the new ideas that we are seeing today. The Church is not going to produce Isaiah chapter 11. There is no way that Church is going to bring in a utopia. This idea of Dominion Theology and that kind of thing does not fit with Scriptures. And probably most importantly if you go to the second Psalm and look at verse 8 you see that it is God the Father that gives the Kingdom to the Son, not the Church. And when you take all of these things and put them together with what has been plainly said I think the only conclusion can be that Jesus is going to rule on this earth from David’s Throne for 1,000 years.
Don Perkins: Yes I do, because Revelation 20 is a physical prophecy on Christ that He must fulfill. Not only that but Isaiah 9:6-7 the Scriptures declare that Christ would sit on the Throne of his father David. The Bible says that the authority the seat of government would be on His shoulders. We know when Christ came the first time He never officiated as the true King of Israel. He came into Jerusalem on a donkey, but the next few days they rejected Him. The Millennium Kingdom is a physical prophecy. I believe that He will physically fulfill. So therefore I believe that Revelation 20 is a literal prophecy that Christ must fulfill.
Terry James: Yes I do, because there are so many pertinent Scriptures that pertain to that in Revelation 20. And there is so much talked about there. Also you can find references to it throughout particularly the Old Testament. You can find references, general references to an era that’s coming; particularly where Israel will be the head of nations during that time. Where for example there is a throne upon which David will sit as Coregent with Jesus, Jesus being the King of Kings over all the universe, all that is; and David being the Regent over the millennial Israel. But the nation Israel I think itself is proof that there is a 1,000 years reign.
Daymond Duck: I want to start out with some Scriptures Dave. “But thou Bethlehem Ephrata though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto me that is to be…” What? “…ruler in Israel.” Not very hard to understand. “The Lord of host shall reign…” Where? “…in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem. Behold the days come sayeth the Lord that I will raise unto David a righteous branch and a king shall reign and prosper and shall execute judgment and justice…” Where? “…in the earth. In His day Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely. And this is His name whereby He shall be called the Lord our Righteousness. And the Lord shall be King…” Where? “…over all the earth.” He is coming back as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I do believe in a literal earthly reign of Jesus Christ. Now the reign of Jesus Christ is mentioned many times in the Old Testament and the New Testament. It never tells us how long He will reign, but we know in Revelation 20 that there are six passages about things that will last for a 1,000 years. And I believe that refers to the 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ. When the Bible says something one time we should believe it. But when it says something six times I think God knows that a lot of people are going to have trouble believing it. And He is trying to get it through their thick skull that His Son is going to reign on this earth for a 1,000 years. Now I know that some people they say that the Millennium that just means a long period of time. And they will say we are in the Millennium right now. My understanding of the Millennium is that it will be a time of peace, and justice, and righteousness on earth. And we don’t have peace, and justice and righteousness on earth. We’ve got just the opposite of that, injustice and all that kind of thing. The rock in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 is Jesus coming back to replace the kingdoms of the earth with His kingdom and it will fill the whole earth. So we are not living in the Millennium now. Jesus didn’t tell us to pray, “Thank you God for establishing your kingdom on earth right now.” He said, “Pray that it will come, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” I believe in a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ.
Ed Hindson: Because he says six times in that passage a 1,000 years, a 1,000 years, a 1,000 years it’s almost like he wants you to understand it is a 1,000 years. Trying to make it symbolic has really never worked. And trying to make it literal in the past has never worked. It’s got to be a literal kingdom that comes in the future. The order of events in Revelation, Christ has to return after the Tribulation judgments. He has to defeat the beast and the Antichrist, cast them alive into the Lake of Fire. They remain there for a 1,000 years. Satan is bound in the Abyss for a 1,000 years and he can’t get out. And then at the end of the 1,000 years he is released. Well when in the world is that going to happen? And if you try to say that the whole thing is spiritual, when is Satan bound spiritually? When is he released spiritually? And what is the purpose of all of that unless there is a literal 1,000 year kingdom on earth. And that that kingdom is then later merged into the eternal kingdom of God in the New Heaven, the New Earth and the New Jerusalem.
Nathan Jones: Well because it says six times that Jesus will reign for a 1,000 years. It will say that Satan will be sent for a pit for a 1,000 years. The Saints will reign for a 1,000 years. There will be a second resurrection of the unjust, all those who rejected God throughout history, at the end of the 1,000 years. Six times it says 1,000 years so to me it is a no-brainer. It just is. A 1,000 years is a 1,000 years in Revelation 20.
Tom McCall: The Old Testament tells us about the Messianic Kingdom many, many times there are prophecies about the Messianic Kingdom. But what it doesn’t say is how long it’s going to last. Is it going to be forever, forever, and ever? Or is there a specific timeline? We are simply not told, we are not given that information in the Old Testament. We are not given the information in the Gospels. We are not given the information in the Epistles. It’s the last book of the Bible that gives us the time frame of the Messianic Kingdom on earth. And for six times he says it is a 1,000 years, “chilia”. And a 1,000 years, a 1,000 years, a 1,000 years. So why would we assume it is anything other than a 1,000 years? So yes, I believe it is literal 1,000 years. And God was providing that information right there as a capstone of the Scripture.
Mark Hitchcock: Yeah I think Revelation 20 that’s kind of the classic text about the Millennial Kingdom of Christ or the 1,000 year reign of Jesus. And the reason I think it’s talking about a literal 1,000 years, there are several basic reasons. One is that the word 1,000 is used six times in seven verses. So why would you keep repeating a time period over and over again if it is symbolic. You know some will say, “Well a 1,000 years just means a long time. It’s just symbolic of a long period of time.” The problem with that is in Revelation 20 in verse 3 it says that Satan is going to bound for a 1,000 years. And then it says at the end of the 1,000 years he is going to be released for a short time. Well if 1,000 years is just symbolic of a long time. Why didn’t he just say, “Well he is going to be bound for a long time, and released for a short time.” Or say, “He is going to bound for a 1,000 years and let go for 10 years.” You know the fact that there is a specific statement of a 1,000 years with this non-specific statement of a short time to me indicates clearly this is a time period we are to take literally. Also in the early church for the first 300 years of the early church they believed that Jesus was going to come back and literally reign on the earth for 1,000 years. And even Papias one of the early Church Fathers who studied under the Apostle John that is what he believed. And you think Papias would have known what John had taught. So to me the fact that the early Church held this view, just the text there of Revelation 20 itself gives us I think a strong evidence that Jesus is going to really reign on the earth when He comes back for a 1,000 years. It is going to be that great Messianic Age, really this utopia that man has always hoped for.
August Rosado: There is no justification whatsoever to allegorize Revelation chapter 20. I believe it is a literal, physical, bodily reign of Jesus Christ on this earth. When He comes back at His Second Coming Dr. Reagan, He’s coming back to a literal earth. He is going to be reigning in a literal city, the City of Jerusalem. And He is also going to be reigning over literal nations on the earth. So there is no justification whatsoever to spiritualize and allegorize that and say He is coming back in our hearts, or there ain’t going to be no 1,000 year Millennial Kingdom reign as the Amillennialist are teaching all over this country. That is a physical, literal, bodily reign of Jesus Christ here on this earth. Glory to God.
Dr. Reagan: I hope you are enjoying these interviews with such a variety of Bible prophecy experts. The Lord willing we will continue with them next week. But I would like to spend the rest of this program discussing the Millennium with my colleague Nathan Jones. Nathan thanks for joining us. And this is quite a topic we’ve got a head of us here.
Nathan Jones: Yes.
Dr. Reagan: I would like to start off just by chatting with you for a few minutes about the Old Testament itself. I grew up in an Amillennial church, a church that didn’t believe that Jesus would come back and reign. And we never studied the Old Testament; we were a New Testament Church. And we had three mantras or mantras in our church concerning this issue. (1) Was- all Old Testament prophecy has been fulfilled, not a one left to be fulfilled. And they based that on a statement by Jesus in Luke 24:44 where He said, “All things which are written about me in the Law of Moses, and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Well certainly they must be fulfilled, but it doesn’t say they have already been fulfilled.
Nathan Jones: Exactly.
Dr. Reagan: There are lots of prophecies about the Second Coming in the Old Testament. And the second mantra was the Old Testament was nailed to the cross and therefore is completely irrelevant to us today. And that was based on Colossians 2:14 where it speaks about having cancelled the debt consisting of decrees against us which was hostile to us and is taking it and nailed it to the cross. Old Testament nailed to the cross, that’s it. That doesn’t say the Old Testament was nailed to the cross. It says the debt; the debt of sin that we owed was nailed to the cross through what Jesus did on the cross.
Nathan Jones: Exactly.
Dr. Reagan: And the third mantra was there’s not one verse in the Bible that even implies that Jesus will ever put His feet on this earth again. And well I discovered some in the Old Testament like Zechariah 14, which says He is coming back to the Mount of Olives and when His foot touched the mountain it is going to be split in half, and He will become King over the earth that day. And the other one I discovered was in Ezekiel 43:7 where God says, “This city Jerusalem is the place where the soles of my feet will be forever.” So there are some references to it. But let’s look for a moment at this fundamental issue. Is the concept of the Millennium mentioned only in the New Testament? I’ve had Amillennialist just kind of scoff and say, “Well it is only mentioned in the book of Revelation in one chapter.” As if that makes it irrelevant or unimportant if something is mentioned in one verse to me it is important. But they just seem to be completely oblivious to the fact that there is any mention of it in the Old Testament. Is there any mention of the Millennium in the Old Testament?
Nathan Jones: Oh, definitely, definitely. Matter of fact when you asked me about that…
Dr. Reagan: Lay it on me brother.
Nathan Jones: …I actually went and researched and I have four pages just of verses. And that doesn’t even include the longest which is Ezekiel chapter 40 thru 48. I mean there is nine chapters right there that is purely about the Millennium.
Dr. Reagan: Well give us an example.
Nathan Jones: Well let’s take Psalm 2:6-9.
Dr. Reagan: One of my favorites.
Nathan Jones: Yes.
Dr. Reagan: Go ahead.
Nathan Jones: Psalm 2:6-9, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy hill. I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” I mean that is probably the first one that we’ve got there in our list that talks about Jesus will have a kingdom on earth; a physical kingdom where He will rule over the nations of the world. Not in a spiritual sense, though that’s certainly an aspect of it. But a physical ruler ship where He is on the earth.
Dr. Reagan: Well and there are so many like that. You know one that immediately comes to mind is over in the book of Isaiah in chapter 9 I believe it is which is one that people quote all the time, but they just seem to spiritualize a part of it. Isaiah 9 beginning there with verse 6, “The government will rest on His shoulders…A child will be born to us, a son will be given to us,” that’s the birth of Jesus, that’s the birth of the Messiah. And then it jumps it says, “The government will rest on His shoulders,” that didn’t happen at the First Coming. “His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. And there will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace. And on the throne of David which is in Jerusalem, He will reign to establish and uphold justice and righteousness from then for forevermore.” Well He’s never reigned on the Throne of David. He has never established peace and righteousness on this earth. But it’s going to happen one of these days. How can we ignore passages like this?
Nathan Jones: We can’t. And a lot of people ignore them, they spiritualize them. You and I guess had a different upbringing I went a lot of churches growing up and they always taught that the Old Testament was important. And I grew up learning about these verses and it kind of surprised me when people say well we never learned the Old Testament. Really?
Dr. Reagan: What a blessing you had.
Nathan Jones: It was a blessing.
Dr. Reagan: I think for example of the very first gospel sermon ever preached was by Peter on the Day on Pentecost. And what did he do? If you go and read that sermon in Acts 2 all he did was quote the Old Testament. The prophet said this, Jesus fulfilled it. The prophet said this, Jesus fulfilled it. The prophet said this, Jesus fulfilled it. The people said what do we need to do to be saved? And he said to Timothy you have known from childhood the Scriptures that are necessary to lead you to salvation. That’s talking about the Old Testament.
Nathan Jones: Yes.
Dr. Reagan: The New Testament didn’t exist when he was talking about that.
Nathan Jones: Jesus’ whole ministry He is quoting Scripture. Everywhere you read He is quoting, they didn’t have an Old Testament and New Testament.
Dr. Reagan: But what we call.
Nathan Jones: But what we call the Old Testament.
Dr. Reagan: Well one of the greatest of all of the prophecies I know of in the Old Testament about the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ is in Isaiah 2. How about taking that one for us, that is so beautiful, so great, so powerful. Why don’t you just read it, we will put the words on the screen so the people can see it. OK. Sure. Isaiah is great for talking about the Millennial Reign.
Nathan Jones: This is Isaiah 2 beginning in verse 2. “In the last days the mountains of the Lord’s Temple will be established as chief among the mountains. It will be raised above the hills. And all the nations will stream to it.”
Dr. Reagan: Now just stop there for a moment. You know.
Nathan Jones: All the nations.
Dr. Reagan: One of the things that you can learn in Bible prophecy is there is a lot of symbolic terms but they have literal meanings. And when you read Bible prophecy you will discover that whenever it refers to mountains it’s always referring to a kingdom unless the mountain is specifically named. So basically what this is saying here is in the last days, the days we are in now, the kingdom of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of all the kingdoms. Go ahead verse 3.
Nathan Jones: OK. “Many people will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths. The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.” And here’s that verse that we love to talk about in Bible prophecy. “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” Now that hasn’t been fulfilled. I mean you just read in the news and watch and there is war constantly. But here we are talking about a time period where there will be no war on this earth. We will live totally at peace with the Lord ruling from Jerusalem. I mean right there that is a major verse about the Millennial Kingdom.
Dr. Reagan: You would have to do mighty acts of spiritualization to get around that one.
Nathan Jones: Exactly.
Dr. Reagan: I think that is very clear.
Nathan Jones: Exactly.
Dr. Reagan: And you the interesting thing to me is that the prophet Micah has almost the same prophecy word for word. Either they borrowed from each other. Or the Lord gave to both of them the same vision, the same concept, the same wording. But in Micah chapter 4 beginning with verse 1 he has exactly the same words. Then he adds some things to it. He says, “That in that day I will assemble the lame, and gather the outcast.” And he says, “That I will make the lame a remnant and the outcast a strong nation the Jewish people will become the prime nation of the world. And the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion.” The Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion. Has He ever done that?
Nathan Jones: Nope.
Dr. Reagan: No. Mount Zion is Jerusalem. And from now on forever more He is going to reign. And he even says in verse 4 that each will have their own vine, their own fig tree. There’s not going to be any homeless people, any hungry people. All needs are going to be met. It’s a time that has never occurred in the history of the world. It has to be future.
Nathan Jones: Oh, and what’s wonderful about this is the curse that is on humanity right now. It’s hard to grow anything. I can barely grow anything but onions around here. You know the child bearing pains, everything that was cursed on the earth to make it difficult to live will be partially lifted during that time period. So we get into the verses that talk about the child playing in the pit with the adders; and the wolf lying down with the lamb. In other words there is peace between the animals and humanity during that time. That there’s not that fear of dying anymore.
Dr. Reagan: Well you just mentioned one of my favorite passages in the Old Testament about the Millennium. That is from Isaiah 11 where he speaks about the impact upon the environment. It’s not just going to be a time of refreshment for us, but for the whole of creation. Jesus died for all of the creation to be renewed and refreshed. And he says there in Isaiah 11:7, “The cow and bear will graze together.” These are natural enemies. He says in verse 6, “The wolf will lie down with the lamb.” The wolf who wants to eat the lamb, they are going to lie down together. “The leopard will lie down with a kid, the calf, and young lion and the fatling together, the little boy will lead the cow and bear will graze. The young will lie down together. The lion will eat straw like the ox.” There will no longer be any poisonous animals. It says, “The nursing child will play with the hole of the cobra.” It won’t be poisonous. There won’t be meat eating animals. They will go back to being vegetative. All of nature will live in peace with each other and with man. When did that occur?
Nathan Jones: Never, and all this talk about Jerusalem. I mean the whole world is fighting to take over control of Jerusalem right now. And people are wondering are the Palestinians going to take half of it or not. But we can look in Isaiah 33:20-22 and it says, “Look upon Zion the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode,” certainly not now, “a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken again.” And skip down to 22, “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is He who will save us.” Jerusalem will be the capital city of the planet during the Millennial Kingdom.
Dr. Reagan: I’m convinced that many people who have an Amillennial viewpoint which is based upon spiritualization of Scripture, do so because they simply cannot accept what the Bible says is going to happen with regard to the Jewish people.
Nathan Jones: Yeah.
Dr. Reagan: Because during the Millennium what God is going to do during that 1,000 years is He’s going to fulfill all the promises that He has made to Israel. All the unfulfilled promises will be fulfilled to a group of Jews who are believing Jews, who really believe in the Messiah. He’s going to regather them from the four corners of the earth in belief. Right now He is gathering them in unbelief. Reestablish them and all the blessings of the world are going to flow out through Jerusalem, and through the Jewish people. So much so that Zechariah says in Zechariah 8:22, “Many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the Lord of host in Jerusalem, to entreat the favor of the Lord. And thus says the Lord of host,” this is incredible, “in those days 10 men from the nations, Gentiles, will grasp the garment of a Jew and say, “Let us go with you for we know God is with you.” It’s going to be exactly opposite from what it is today where the Jew is the object of persecution, the object of blasphemy and everything else. You know you pour it all on the Jews, blame everything on the Jews. In that day and time people are going to say, “Can we walk with you because we know God is with you.” What a day that’s going to be.
Nathan Jones: Oh, it is amazing. And you think God has some promises. He has promises to the Jews like you just said. He has promised to His Son, Jesus, He has promised that He is going to rule and reign over the earth. And we are waiting for that.
Dr. Reagan: He will get the glory and majesty He didn’t get the first time.
Nathan Jones: And like you read we have the promises that He’s got to the earth, to restore it. And fourth He has promises to the Church. We have a place in the Millennial Kingdom to rule and reign with Him as administrators, and teachers and things like that. I mean so all these promises that God made aren’t going to just not go. God always follows His promises. And in the Millennial Kingdom He is going to fulfill those promises.
Dr. Reagan: Yes. It’s not just promises to the Jews. It’s promises to the Church as well because you just mentioned something very important in Daniel 7 he has a vision in which he sees God the Father giving the kingdom to the Son. And then it says there, “The saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom also, and possess the kingdom.” And it says in verse 27, “The sovereignty, the dominion, the greatness of all the kingdoms of the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One.” That’s you and me. We are going to reign together with Jesus Christ. In fact Jesus said one of the degrees of reward that we will receive is some will rule over one city, one over five, one over ten, we are going to reign with the Lord Jesus Christ in our glorified bodies. And that’s not just Old Testament.
Nathan Jones: No, New Testament.
Dr. Reagan: You can find that in the New Testament as well.
Nathan Jones: Second Timothy, you made me think of 2 Timothy 2:12, “If we endure we will also reign with Him; if we disown Him He will also disown us.” We will reign with Him. I mean isn’t it amazing that we are just so not worthy, yet through Jesus’ blood, through His sacrifice He elevates us to a position of serving with Him where we rule and reign over the people in the Millennial Kingdom who are living there in their earthly bodies because the Church will be raptured and we will have our glorified bodies then. I mean I just get so excited. I look so forward to the Millennial Kingdom primarily for the peace that the Millennial Kingdom promises; that idea that all the craziness of the world will no longer be there. And we’ll actually have peace. And I hope God gives me a big garden to be in charge of and I will just garden for the 1,000 years. I’m looking forward to that.
Dr. Reagan: Well folks that’s our program for this week. I hope it’s been a blessing to you.
Nathan Jones: And next week, the Lord willing, we will present another program in this series as we ask each of our 13 Bible prophecy experts a very personal question about why they have given their lives to the teaching and preaching of Bible prophecy.
Dr. Reagan: Until next week the Lord willing this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb and Lion Ministries saying, “Look up, be watchful, for your redemption is drawing near.”
End of Program