Thursday, March 8, 2018

Revelation 20:1-6 Millennial Reign of Christ


KEY TEXT: Revelation 20:1-6 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. 

KEY THOT: Following the Return of Christ the Warrior-King with his "armies of heaven" (19:14) to destroy the armies of the AntiChrist in the Final Battle (a.k.a. Armageddon) and to cast the Antichrist and his False Prophet into the lake of fires (19:19-21), the earth enters into an era of global peace known as the Millennial Reign of Christ for 1,000 years when "he will rule them with a rod of iron" (19:15). During this 1,000 years, the dragon (a.k.a. the ancient serpent, the devil and Satan) will be bound in the "bottomless pit" (NIV: Abyss, the place where all principal fallen angels are kept until their consignment into the lake of fires). 

With Satan out of the way, the returning Christ will begin His iron-rod rule with the resurrected saints, including all who have been recently martyred for Christ during the 7-year Tribulation: "Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years" (Revelation 20:4). 

The resurrection of believers will take place before the resurrection of the rest of the dead for the final Judgment: "The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years." (v.5). 

If we read Revelation 19 and 20 without prejudice and presumption, it is quite clear that the Millennial Reign of Christ follows His return. Nevertheless, there are Bible interpreters who reject the idea of a literal Millennial Reign of Christ. They have allowed their own theological presuppositions to over-rule the literal and commonsense reading of the Revelation. In fact, by rejecting the literal reading of Revelation, they find this book difficult to read and to interpret. But if we read it as it is without theological presumption, it is really a straight-forward account of what will soon take place.

So, there will be two resurrections: the first for believers in Christ who will be resurrected at Jesus' return to reign with Him. Paul makes a reference to this in his letter to the Corinthians: "Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels?" (1 Corinthians 6:2-3). Paul is implying that God has left us here on earth to learn how to exercise our spiritual authority to prepare us for the Millennial Reign with Christ. We are not only called to exercise Christ's authority in the worldly realm of civil and corporate society, we are also to exercise Christ's authority in the spiritual realm of angels and demons.

We can do so because Jesus has given believers the authority over the earthly and heavenly realms: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." But are we using the "keys of the kingdom" on earth? Sadly, many Christians are not even aware of the spiritual authority that has been entrusted to them as believers. They live a defeated life as victims of circumstances instead of victors in the world. 

May the Lord open our eyes to know and exercise our spiritual authority entrusted to us to bind on earth whatever is contrary to God's will and to release on earth whatever is consistent with God's will. 

Abba-Father, thank You that we who are believers will be resurrected to rule and reign with You in the Millennial Kingdom. May You help us exercise our spiritual authority now so that we can do so later. Amen.

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