Revelation 20:1-6 by Robert Dean
Series:Revelation (2004)
Duration:1 hr 1 mins 43 secs

The Millennial Kingdom Dispensation of Christ Part 2


We have already looked at the first six verses of Revelation chapter 20 to basically see two things. This is all we learn in Revelation about the Millennium. First is a one-thousand-year period of time. It is not a term that describes an ideal period of time, it is not a sort of spiritualized number to indicate just a vague long period of time, but that 1000 years means 1000 years. "Millennium" is a word that is used to describe this 1000-year reign of Christ, based upon this particular chapter. Secondly, Satan is going to be bound during that time. He is removed from the earth and there is no influence from Satan or demons during the time of the Millennial kingdom. This means that whatever problems there are on the earth come simply because of fallen natures, humans who are sinners.


In the Millennium there will be a perfect political system, the Lord Jesus Christ will be King. The perfect political system biblically is not a democracy or a republic; it is a monarchy and a monarchy where the monarch is absolutely perfect and without sin. It is only when there is a ruler that is sinless that there can be any level of perfection in government. Until that point all governments are composed of evil individuals who will generate evil within their governmental system. The Millennium will start with everybody being believers but by the end of the 1000 years there is a huge number of those who will have rejected God, rejected the grace of Jesus Christ, in favor of elevating their own power lust and sin nature, Satan is released and there will be rebellion.


Non-literal amillennial interpretation says there is not really a literal 1000-year reign of Christ on the earth and 1000 years is just a figurative term, not a literal number; it just indicates that there will be a lengthy ideal period of a utopian kingdom on the earth. In that view the first resurrection is understood to be what happens spiritually at conversion and the kingdom is spiritual, not literal, and in their view we are now in the kingdom. Where we will hear this is when we hear people talking about doing such and so for the kingdom. They are talking about what they are doing ere and now, not about what we are going to do in the future. In some sense that view that we are in some spiritual form of the kingdom today, Christ is reigning from a spiritualized throne of David in heaven, it is not a physical literal throne but just a spiritualized throne and this age will end when Jesus returns at the second coming. All judgments take place at that point and then we go into eternity. Then there is post-millennialism which grew out of amillennialism and it is the idea that under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit the church will expand its influence during this age, the [spiritual] kingdom will spread and permeate all of the nations and cultures, and under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit the church basically, not in a militant sense but through evangelism, the kingdom come into its fullness. After that is established the Lord Jesus Christ returns—after the Millennium has come into existence.

Revelation 20:2 NASB "And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; [3] and he threw him into the abyss, and shut {it} and sealed {it} over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. [4] Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I {saw} the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. [5] The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. [6] Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years." All of that repetition of the thousand years indicates that the writer is very clear that this is a one thousand-year period of time and a literal kingdom. Satan is bound during that time so it is a perfect empire, there are certain aspects of the curse of Genesis 3 that are rolled back so that the way that it first worked its way out in the animal kingdom so that the lion will lie down with the lamb etc. There are other aspects in relation to nature and man's toil that are going to be reversed, it is not perfect environment like the environment that existed in the garden of Eden before the fall but it is close to that. It will be better than the environment from the fall to the flood but it is not going to be absolute perfect environment because there still are sinners and sin natures on the earth.

How do we know about the rest of the characteristics of the Millennial kingdom? We only know those if we go back to the Old Testament. If we are witnessing to Jews we should go to the Old Testament to establish that the future Millennial kingdom is a Jewish kingdom ruled by the Messiah. God will establish His King over that kingdom and that King is referred to by that Old Testament term which means "the anointed [or, appointed] one." The Messiah is going to rule. There is very little talk in modern Judaism about the Messiah. Modern Judaism was a reformulation of what the Jews believed (primarily the Pharisaical Party) at the Council of [  ???  ] 90 AD, some 20 years after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. The rabbis who survived gathered together and held the Council for determining how they were going to continue to unify the Jewish community, now dispersed among the Gentile nations, and restructure Judaism, a templeless, sacrificeless Judaism. They restructured their beliefs and that is known as rabbinical theology, it is not identical with what is going on in the Old Testament. It is really a misnomer to talk about what was going on in the Old Testament as Judaism. They had a real problem dealing with Jesus—passages like Isaiah 53. We believe that refers to Jesus, and it took them almost 1000 years to come up with an interpretation of the suffering servant in Isaiah that claimed it wasn't talking about an individual but about the nation. And there were other things that came in during the middle ages by the rabbis that restructured Judaism. One of these was to reject any discussion about the Messiah. 

There are basically three ways to establish a future Jewish kingdom and of we can think our way through these then when the opportunity comes to speak to a Jew we have some guidance in what passages to go to. The first way is to talk about the covenants that God made to the Jewish people in the Old Testament. The Abrahamic covenant is the foundational covenant, then the land covenant, the Davidic covenant and the New covenant—and that God never completely fulfilled those covenants. The second approach is that there are specific promises about the Messiah: just what does the Old Testament say about the Messiah? There are probably 30 or 40 passages that we could go to to establish certain things about the Messiah, but perhaps the best thing to do is just pick about five key passages that are very clear about who the Messiah is and what the Messiah is going to do. The third element would be to establish the character of the Jewish kingdom. What did the prophets say about this kingdom?      

We learn from the Old Testament that the Messiah will reign as the King from the literal throne of David in Israel throughout the kingdom period as a fulfillment of the Davidic covenant. He is not ruling from any spiritualized throne up in heaven but on a literal throne on the earth in Israel. This is emphasized in a number of key passages. The first one is Psalm 2, a psalm that is used more than any other psalm in the New Testament and it establishes that future reign of Christ as the Jewish King, the son of David. When we look at the psalm we see that it is focusing on a battle scenario between the nations on the earth and the people in verse 1, who have set themselves against the Lord and His anointed [mashiach:Messiah] in verse 2. So there is a battle here between all of the nations of the earth and God and the Messiah. We learn that God will set up His King on Mount Zion, verse 6. The second thing we see is that based on verse 2 the time at which God sets His King on Mount Zion is at a time when there is a united rebellion against Him by the kings of the earth. That hasn't happened yet, there never has been a worldwide revolt against God. We are getting close but it hasn't happened yet. When that occurs that is the event that immediately precedes the establishment of the King and the kingdom in Israel. It is at that time that the Messiah-King will take His rulership over the nations and He will break the disobedient will with a rod of iron, verse 9. Verse 8 tells us that God gives to the King, the Messiah, the nations for His inheritance, and so He will establish a worldwide kingdom and rule over the nations during this time.  

The second key passage is in Isaiah 9:6, 7 NASB "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of {His} government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this." (This section of Isaiah is often called the Immanuel section because the name Immanuel occurs three times in chapters 7 & 8: 7;14; 8:8, 10. It is chapters 7, 8 and 9 that deal with the various facets of the rule of the Messiah. "Immanuel" means God with us). These two verses give us an indication of the nature of the Messiah. The child being born indicates His true humanity; "a son is given"—Psalm 2:7, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you." This title "Son" is a title that applies to the Messiah-King; He is called the Son of God. He is given to Israel as a human child and certain titles are applied to Him. "And the government will rest on His shoulders," so he is going to rule and reign and that connects to the rule of iron in Psalm 2. Then come the titles that describe His character and His roles and responsibilities: "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father [Lit. Father of eternity], Prince of Peace." He is not the Father, He is the Father of eternity, and that indicates that He is eternal in His being. The word "wonderful" here is a word that is only used to describe God and what He does; it only describes deity—"Wonderful Counselor." He is called "Mighty God," a term that indicates again that He is full deity. So why is this describing a child that has been born as fully God? Either this is blasphemy and Isaiah is guilty of describing full deity to a human being, or this is special revelation and the Messiah is going to combine in one person the two natures of deity and humanity. "Father of eternity" indicates that he will be eternal in His very nature. The "Prince of Peace" indicates that He is the only one who will bring peace between man and God; He is the one who reconciles man to God.

Furthermore additional things are ascribed in verse 7. "There will be no end to the increase of {His} government or of peace." That shows the fulfillment of the connection back to the Davidic covenant. He is eternal, it is an everlasting dynasty, there is not going to be any end to the rule and the reign of the Messiah as the eternal Son of God—" On the throne of David and over his kingdom," so Isaiah 9:7 just gives us more information about the one who fulfills the Davidic covenant. It goes on to say: "To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore." So it is a kingdom that will be characterized by perfect justice. Has this ever been fulfilled? No, it hasn't.

The next major passage is Isaiah 11:1, 2 NASB "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD." It says He is going to come from Jesse. Jesse was the father of David, so once again this is locating the Messiah as being in the Davidic line and coming out of the house of David. He comes from "the stem of Jesse." This is a rather humble beginning. It is not talking about a tree, it is talking about a stem. A "branch from his roots" indicates that somehow a tree has been cut down and all that is left is the roots. We believe this was fulfilled in Jesus because after the exile and the establishment of the exiles back in the land the house of David falls into disrepair, so to speak, and there is no longer a Davidic monarchy ruling in Judah. It looks as if the house of David is gone, but it is out of that stump that a new branch comes that is the Messiah. The tern "the branch" becomes a title for the Messiah. Then we are told that the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him and He will manifest all of these characteristics and qualities of the Spirit of God: "The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD."

Jeremiah 23:5-8 connects the dots with the Messiah to the branch of Jesse: NASB "Behold, {the} days are coming," declares the LORD, "When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land." So the characteristic that is most dominant in the Messiah is righteousness. So David has a descendant that is the branch, He is a King, He will reign and prosper and execute judgment/justice in the earth. "In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, 'The LORD our righteousness." So when this kingdom comes there will be a deliverance of Judah and Israel will live safely, but not until then. They are going to call the descendant of David "The LORD [Yahweh]." The name of God [Yahweh], the special covenant name of God that He revealed to Moses before he went to deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, was never ascribed to a human. Yet, that is what this verse is doing. So there is a human being who will be named Yahweh. This human being is the King that is promised from Psalm 2 as the Messiah who comes into His kingdom at the time of a great worldwide rebellion against God, and God puts down that rebellion and establishes His King, His Mashiach, on Mount Zion. We saw in Isaiah 9:6 that this is a descendant of David—a child is born, He is human but He is also God. Isaiah 11:1,2—He is a branch from David and has all of the character qualities of the Spirit of God. And now in Jeremiah we ties that together: He is the Lord our righteousness. Jeremaih 23:7 NASB "Therefore behold, {the} days are coming," declares the LORD, "when they will no longer say, 'As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,'[8] but, 'As the LORD lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from {the} north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.' Then they will live on their own soil." The fulfillment of this is located when God brings the nation back from where He has scattered them in the nations all around the earth.

Some of these facts are also documented by various rabbis and other Jewish literature down through the ages. In the Midrash on Proverbs 19:21 which was written around 200-500 AD one rabbi said that eight names are given to the Messiah, and he recognizes that the Messiah would be given the name of Yahweh. In the Midrash on Lamentations 1:16 another rabbi said: "Jehovah is His [Messiah's] name," and this is proved by this quote, Jeremiah 23:6. Midrash on Psalm 21:1: "God calls King Messiah by His own name, but what is His name? The answer is, "Jehovah is a man of war," and concerning Messiah we read, "Jehovah our righteousness, this is His name." So it can be seen in these passages that there were rabbis who understood this at various times that the name Yahweh would be applied to the Messiah.

Jeremiah 33:20-26 NASB "Thus says the LORD, 'If you can break My covenant for the day and My covenant for the night, so that day and night will not be at their appointed time, then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant so that he will not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levitical priests, My ministers. As the host of heaven cannot be counted and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.'" (In other words, "I will never break my covenant with David my servant, and he will always have a son reigning on the throne.")  "Thus says the LORD, 'If My covenant {for} day and night {stand} not, {and} the fixed patterns of heaven and earth I have not established, then I would reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, not taking from his descendants rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them."

Ezekiel 34:23-25 NASB "Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken. I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods."

Luke 1:32, 33 NASB "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end."