The 1000 Year Reign of Christ
Is it Literal or Figurative?
by Dr. Ken Matto
 
Right up there with the rapture of the church is the teaching on the Millennium. In this study we are going to discuss the subject of the 1000 year reign of Christ or the golden age. The millennium is said to commence at the end of the great tribulation period, when Christ will return to earth to establish His earthly kingdom.
 
At the same time Satan will be bound for the duration of the millennium till the end when he will be loosed to once again wage war against Christ and the Saints of God. In this study we will allow the Bible to be its own spokesman on the this subject. The millennium teaching stems from Revelation 20:1-7, but we are not going to start there. I am going to give many Scripture passages which make it absolutely impossible for there to be a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth. We will start with a passage from the gospels which is pertinent to the study of millennium theology.
 
(Luke 17:20-21 KJV) And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: {21} Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! or, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
 
In verse 20 we read the words of Christ who emphatically states that the kingdom of God will not come with "observation." The word "observation" carries with it the meaning of "outward show, or in a visible manner." Right at the outset of this study God gives us a hint regarding the nature of the Kingdom of God, that it is not visible. Now logic takes over, if it is not visible, then it must be invisible. Now we have to verify if our conclusion is correct, so we will check it out in verse 21. Christ states that the Kingdom of God will be neither here nor there, which is a synonym for saying that it will not be a political kingdom. His kingdom will not be established similar to that of a nation with a political rule.
 
Christ continues to say the Kingdom of God is "within you." The word "within" may also be only one other place in the New Testament and that is in Matthew 23:26:
 
(Mat 23:26 KJV) Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Christ is making a specific distinction between inside and outside. Thus giving us a clue that the Kingdom of God dwells inside the believer and has no outside political nature. These verses cannot be ignored, they must be included to see if we are on the right pathway to truth.
 
Romans 9:28
(Rom 9:28 KJV) For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
 
This verse has been a stumper but if we go back to the original language, we will see how it opens up. This verse lies in the middle of a quotation from Isaiah 10:22-23; 37:32. In Isaiah 10:22 we read that though there are many in national Israel, only a remnant of that nation will become saved. This same verse teaches there will be a destruction of national Israel. The word "consumption" in this verse means "a pining or destruction," but then God declares that out of this destruction will come righteousness. The righteousness is the gospel that will come forth from the remnant. It was out of national Israel that Christ came but only a remnant would believe on Him. The majority of national Israel disbelieved and rejected Christ, and therefore, Christ rejected the nation of Israel, and this rejection, except for a remnant, will stand until the last day.
 
In Isaiah 10:23 God declares that the destruction will be total in that national Israel will cease to exist as the nation which was entrusted to send forth the gospel. Only a remnant will be chosen out of national Israel, the nation will lose its favored status with God. In Isaiah 37:32, God again speaks of the remnant of believers which will be saved in national Israel. Now we may feel confident that the context of Romans 9:28 is dealing with the remnant of believers from Israel. Let us now approach Romans 9:28 with this thought in view.
 
The word "finish" means "to complete entirely." It is also translated "ended" in Matthew 7:28 and "fulfilled" in Mark 13:4. So this word carries the meaning of an ending. This verb is in its active voice. The phrase "cut it short" also is an active voice verb which may be translated "cutting short." It may also be translated "speedily." The words "short work" should be translated "having been cut short," which means the work of salvation will not continue on for thousands of years. God is stating the work has already been completed and it will not be drawn out. In other words, there will be no long length of time, such as a span from Noah to Moses, or from Moses to the cross, or the cross to today. God is going to completely wrap it all up on a day which He has already predetermined, as we read in Acts 17:31. When God saves the last person He intends to, that will usher in the last day, and no golden age will follow. In this verse, these phrases declare finality.
 
THE WORD "THOUSAND," FIGURATIVE OR LITERAL
The word "thousand" is used both figuratively and literally in the Bible. We must learn to discern between the usage. First, let us look at the way the word is literally used. We will look at two because of the wide usage of the word in the Bible.
 
(1 Sam 6:19 KJV) And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.
 
This verse gives us an accounting of the number of men who were smote looking into the Ark of God. God gives a specific number of 50,070.
 
(Acts 2:41 KJV) Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
 
Here God tells us that Peter preached a sermon and about three thousand were saved. God gives us an approximate but literal number.
Now let us look at the figurative use of the word "thousand." Here also we will use only two verses.
 
(Deu 1:11 KJV) (The LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you!)
 
Here Moses tells the people of Israel that his desire is that they multiply to a thousand times what they are now.
 
(1 Chr 16:15-17 KJV) Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; {16} Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; {17} And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant,
 
These three verses are probably the most open about the figurative use of the word "thousand." In Vs 15, we read that God is stating that His covenant is commanded to a thousand generations. In Vs 16, He tells us that the covenant which is in view is the one God made with Abraham. Then in Vs 17 God continues to tell us that He confirmed the covenant to Israel as an "everlasting covenant." Here in the same sentence, the covenant is described as both "everlasting" and "thousand generations." Do you see how figurative this language is as God equates "everlasting" and "thousand generations" as the same thing.
 
Now out of these 4 verses, let us see if we may glean some principles on discerning between literal and figurative.
1 Samuel 6:19 & Acts 2:41 show us:
 
A. A specific, literal event happening.
B. A specific number is mentioned in direct relation to the event happening.
C. A literal result happened because of the action.
 
For a verse to be taken literally, these three principles must be present. Let us test our conclusion to see if we have hypothesized correctly. Let us dissect Exodus 32:28.
 
(Exo 32:28 KJV) And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
 
A. Specific Event - Levites were to slay all idolaters in the camp.
B. Specific number - About three thousand.
C. Specific Result - They were slain by the Levites.
 
Let us test another verse: Job 42:12
(Job 42:12 KJV) So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
 
A. Specific Event - God’s blessing and replenishment of Job’s goods.
B. Specific Number - A thousand oxen and a thousand she asses.
C. Specific Result - Job had double in the end of his life.
 
Deuteronomy 1:11 & 1 Chronicles 16:15-17
 
A. No specific event happening.
B. The number covers an unspecified time period or unspecified amount of years.
C. Anticipated or unspecified result
 
Let us test the conclusion on Genesis 24:60.
A. No specific event happening - The number must be a specific part of the event.
B. An unspecified amount - Thousands of millions which if taken literally would mean billions of Israelites. This is a figure of speech
     because there were never billions but millions.
C. An unspecified amount as a result of the use of a general number.
 
Now I am not claiming this to be a fool-proof system but a guideline to help in discerning the figurative from the literal. Bible study will be more truth revealing if we know what to look for.
 
Revelation 20:1-7
Let us turn to the passage of Scripture which is the hypothetical basis for the theory of the physical one thousand year reign of Christ.
 
VERSE 1
(Rev 20:1 KJV) And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
 
In this verse we will focus on the word "key." It is the Greek word "kleis" and is used only six times in the New Testament. All six times it is figurative.
 
Matthew 16:19-Keys of the kingdom of Heaven
Luke 11:52-Keys of knowledge
Revelation 3:7-Key of David (open and shut)
Revelation 9:1-Key of the bottomless pit
Revelation 20:1-Key of bottomless pit
 
In these six uses, there is a reference to opening and shutting in a figurative sense. Since these are not a literal set of keys, we must be careful to interpret the passage in the light of its symbolic usage. Now if the key is symbolic, we may safely conclude the the chain is also symbolic. The word for "chain" is used eleven times in the New Testament and always with a sense of binding action. For example, in Acts 12:6, Peter was literally bound with chains between two soldiers. The chain we read about in Revelation 20:1 is symbolic for the gospel itself.
 
VERSE 2
(Rev 20:2 KJV) And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
 
Satan has not been bound in a literal sense but that he can no longer prevent someone from becoming saved. Satan was bound at the cross and is helpless to prevent God’s chosen elect from becoming saved. Before the cross very few were saved but since the cross Satan could no longer blind the minds of God’s elect, therefore, thousands were saved. We see this principle in Matthew 12:29 where we see Satan represented as a strong man.
 
(Mat 12:29 KJV) Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
 
Whenever a person becomes saved, they are in essence plundering the house of Satan. That person goes from becoming a child of Satan to a child of God.
 
It is also important to note that the word "bound" is in the Aorist Active Indicative which means it is a past one time action and not a future event. Many espouse the belief that Satan will be bound with a big chain at a future date, but the Bible has revealed that the binding is a past action which continues on until he is loosed at the end of the New Testament period. According to the Bible, if the binding was a past action, then one of the two following scenarios must apply: First, if it is a literal thousand years, then Satan must have been loosed already since it is about two thousand years since Christ; secondly, if the Aorist tense of the word "bound" is true, and it is if it is in the Bible, then the act of binding was a past event. This can only mean that the thousand years represents the whole New Testament period, not a literal time period.
 
VERSE 3
(Rev 20:3 KJV) And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
 
Here we have the word "cast" in the Aorist Active Indicative (aai) form. The next word is "shut" which is a cognate of the word "key" in verse one. (Cognates are words that stem from a common root word.) This word is also in the (aai) form, which means the shutting up or binding was a past action. Remember, we previously saw that Satan cannot hinder those who will become saved because he is restrained by God. The figure of casting, shutting, and sealing are symbolic of this action. The word "seal" is also in the Aorist tense and carries with it the meaning of "seal up, stop, keep secret." All of this confirms what we previously stated, that Satan was bound at the cross.
 
This verse continues to say that this binding will remain till the thousand years are fulfilled. The word "deceive" is in the Aorist subjunctive active form, which indicates a past action which is conditional upon a situation. God is restraining the activity of Satan during the entire New Testament period. Satan will be freed up once again as we approach the end of time. My personal belief is that we are at this stage in history at present as we witness a dramatic increase of satanic activity both inside and outside of the church.
 
VERSE 4
(Rev 20:4 KJV) And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
 
Now the vision of John switches from the devil to the Christian. The first part of this verse deals with the fact that Christians will be partaking in some type of judgment. (1 Cor. 6:2-3) The verse states that the believer "sat" upon thrones. "Sat" is also in the (aai). Throughout the ages as people became saved, they began to reign with Christ at the very moment. Is that biblical? According to Ephesians 2:6 it is:
 
(Eph 2:6 KJV) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
 
They immediately began to reign in their soul essence, as verse 4 states, John saw the souls of these believers, not their bodies, and these souls were upon thrones. Maybe John saw the believers in their glorified state. This verse has two sets of believers in view. The first are those who lost their lives in the service of Christ; secondly, those Christians who were not martyred for Christ in a physical sense. But do you notice both groups reign on an equal basis and for a thousand years. Now a serious question must be posed. If everything we have studied so far in these four verses points to a past action which is still in effect, then at what point does the thousand year reign begin if it is literal, since believers have been dying everyday since the time of the cross?
 
The Bible will not allow a future millennium because all of its language points to a time past. Now if the believer is raised at the time of salvation, then this would mean that the thousand year reign for each believer begins at the time of their salvation and not a future golden reign. We may also safely conclude that the spiritual reign of the totality of believers will end on the last day, in reference to the thousand year reign not eternity, because the believer will continue to reign with Christ throughout eternity. If a Christian is saved the day before Christ returns, that believer is reigning with Christ in the thousand years as the believer who became saved in 113 A.D.
 
VERSE 5
(Rev 20:5 KJV) But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
 
In this verse we read when the resurrection of all people will occur. The Bible is very clear that the resurrection of both the believers and unbelievers will be on the last day. So we see that the thousand year reign and the entire New Testament period are the same, since the resurrection is stated as being at the end of both. This verse also points out the unbelievers, "the rest of the dead," will not be raised till the thousand years are completed. So till that time, where do they go? Psalm 115:17 tells us:
 
(Psa 115:17 KJV) The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.
 
This verse shows us that the unsaved dead go to a place of silence until the resurrection. I do not know where this place is but God declares it is a place of silence. The word "silence" in the Hebrew means "to be dumb." It is figuratively used as "death." So the unbeliever is in a place of silence which is comparable to the silence of death until the last day. The balance of this verse continues to speak of the first resurrection but I will include this study in verse 6.
 
VERSE 6
(Rev 20:6 KJV) Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
 
In this verse we will discover what the first resurrection is. The Bible clearly teaches a single, general resurrection and we must seek to understand if the first resurrection is something different from a resurrection of believers. Let us explore some unique characteristics of the first resurrection. The key to understanding the first resurrection is in the part of this verse which states, "on such the second death has no power."
 
Who is unaffected by the second death, which is a synonym for judgment and hell? Only the born again Christian is unaffected by judgment because Christ has already paid for our sins. Therefore, our abode will be heaven not hell. Every born again Christian on earth has experienced the first resurrection. I saw a famous Pre-trib theologian on a talk show mockingly put down this biblical view by saying something has to be dead before it can be resurrected. He offered no alternative teaching but just a pseudo-intellectual put down.
 
I am glad he said it because it is based on truth, whether he knows or not. Let us look at Ephesians 2:1-3:
 
(Eph 2:1 KJV) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:
 
(Eph 2:2-3 KJV) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: {3} Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
 
We read in verse 1 that we were dead in our sins. It seems that something was dead, and it was us. Now were we physically dead or spiritually dead? The answer is simple, we were spiritually dead. Paul tells us that we walked in the deadness of our sins, until something happened. We read in Ephesians 2:5:
 
(Eph 2:5 KJV) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
 
God made us alive or resurrected our dead souls. The phrase "quickened us together" may also be translated "to make alive together." That theologian who mockingly discounted this truth should have done his homework and would have discovered that something was dead, and was made alive. When you received Christ, did your physical body change? Of course not, but you did receive your resurrected soul, and before you did, you were dead to the things of God, whereas now you are alive to the things of God. Let us look again at Ephesians 2:6:
 
(Eph 2:6 KJV) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
 
As a result of being made alive, we are raised up to sit together with Christ in heaven, as if we are already up there reigning with Him. The rest of Rev. 20:6 tells us that we are on the right track since when a person becomes saved, they become: priests of God and Christ (1 Peter 2:5); blessed (Eph. 1:3); and holy (Eph. 1:4). So as we see the believer is already reigning with Christ as a result of their position, and since this reigning is in effect at present, it also tells us that the thousand year reign is also in effect at present. The two cannot be separated.
 
VERSE 7
(Rev 20:7 KJV) And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
 
In the final verse of our study of millennium theology, it reveals that right at the end of time Satan will be allowed to continue his deceptions. He may blind the minds of the people of the world on a grander scale. Maybe this is how God will wind down His salvation program by saving less and less toward the last day.
 
When God saves the last one, then this will usher in the last day, and then the prophetic events will unfold and it will be the end of recorded history. We are very close to the end as we see the increase in false gospels and New Age philosophies creeping into the church and are being embraced by both clergy and congregations. The church at present is becoming one of the greatest enemies of biblical truth. I need not expound on that.
 
INVIOLATE BIBLICAL EVIDENCE WHICH REFUTES THE LITERAL THOUSAND YEAR REIGN THEORY!
One of the most crucial hermeneutical principles is the interpretation of the obvious. Many times theologians glance at something and believe they understand something by simply glancing at it. This is totally illogical. We saw, in this study, that the binding of Satan was a past action, yet, theologians insist it will be a future event. This is what I mean by the glance method of interpretation. It sounds future but it is past.
 
This reminds me of a cartoon called the Far Side which I have in my possession The scene opens up with a murder in a bowling pin factory and the detective is leaning over the body stating that his preliminary investigation shows that this person was murdered with a large, blunt object. Meanwhile the cartoon shows the detective in the middle of the warehouse with open boxes and a conveyor filled with bowling pins. The detective was overlooking the obvious in his investigation and sometimes we do that.
 
Sometimes Christians purchase new versions with the belief they will have instant understanding of a passage. What they will have is instant confusion. As we continue in our study of the millennium, I wish to introduce some biblical passages which totally refute a literal thousand year reign of Christ on earth. I wish to introduce a biblical phrase which has been totally neglected by proponents of a literal thousand year reign. That phrase is "last days."  We must first establish what the last days are according to the Bible and the time period this represents. This will open our understanding of this important subject.
 
HEBREWS 1:1-2
(Heb 1:1-2 KJV) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, {2} Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
 
This verse is the plainest account in the New Testament showing us that we are presently in the last days. Let us dissect the words in bold print and this will give us a foundation for our study:
 
"These"- A demonstrative pronoun - This shows something which is comparatively near at hand in contrast to something which would be in the distance. For example, these rather than those. It is a specific pointing out of something or someone.
 
"Last"-"Eschatos" which means farthest, uttermost, or last.
"Days"-"Hemera" which is a day.
 
The writer of Hebrews is making a stern assertion that we are living in the last days. Now, let us use logic. If this verse is telling us that we are in the last days, then, how can there be another period of time to follow. The last days stretch from the time of the cross till judgment day on the last day. There is no more time after the last day. If the Bible says we are in the last days, who do we believe, the Bible or misguided theologians. Let’s continue to see if we are on the right path.
 
1 CORINTHIANS 10:11
(1 Cor 10:11 KJV) Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
 
This verse deals with the sins of Israel and her judgment by God to give us an example of what happens when we are disobedient. The part of this verse I want to focus on is "ends of the world." Here the Bible gives us another indication of what time period we live in, namely, the last days. Again, we are living in the last days with no more time left after Christ’s return.
 
HEBREWS 9:26
(Heb 9:26 KJV) For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
 
This verse is also very obvious in that Christ came to earth the first time to put away sin through His atonement. Notice how God describes the time period when Christ was here as the end of the world. Interesting isn’t it? Looking at verse 28 of the same chapter we read:
 
(Heb 9:28 KJV) So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
 
Look at this verse and see what it is saying. The first time Christ appeared it was for the purpose of saving His people from their sins. The second time He appears it will not be in reference to salvation but to judgment. If there is a thousand year reign, then two things must happen:
 
1. There will be universal salvation because who in their right mind will not receive Christ when they see Him sitting there in all His royal
     glory. Atheism will be defunct.
2. There must be a second resurrection at the start of the millennium, which would add up to three resurrections:
 
A. First, the initial rapture (believers).
B. Secondly, the saved dead who die during the great tribulation will have to be raised to reign with Christ.
C. Thirdly, the unsaved dead on the last day.
 
If people were becoming saved during the millennium, then Scripture is wrong and the prophecy books are right because the Bible teaches that the second time Christ comes it will have nothing to do with a further salvation plan. He will come to claim His elect as Mark 13:27 plainly states. The Bible proclaims only one resurrection, and that is on the last day. In Matthew 25, we read about Christ separating the sheep from the goats. If there were separate resurrections, each one dedicated to a certain group of people, namely, one resurrection for the unsaved and one for the saved, then why is Christ separating the sheep from the goats. The sheep would go to heaven and the goats to hell. Let me illustrate: If the principal of a school called a general assembly of students, then all students would attend and you would have both boys and girls in that assembly. You would then proceed to separate the boys from the girls, which typifies what Christ will be doing on the last day. If that same principal calls an assembly of only girls or boys, then no separation is needed, each groups is a dedicated one.
 
As I continue to ponder, allow me to add another event which must happen if there is a literal thousand year reign of Christ on this earth. When He returns next time to earth, it will be in His glory and another dilemma will occur. In addition to universal salvation, there will be universal death of all unbelievers living during the thousand year reign. How do I arrive at that conclusion?  Do you recall when Moses wanted to see God’s glory? This episode is written in Exodus 33:19-21:
 
(Exo 33:19-21 KJV) And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. {20} And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. {21} And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
 
Read verse 20 carefully and realize if unbelievers will die upon sight of God’s glory, then there can be no universal salvation because there will universal death instead. God has qualified only the believers to see Him in His glory as stated in 1 John 3:2:
 
(1 John 3:2 KJV) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
 
Now back to the subject of universal death. The Bible teaches plainly that when Christ returns a second time every eye shall see Him as recorded in Revelation 1:7 and every eye will not see Him by means of television as some deep prophecy teachers tell us. (Lord deliver us from prophecy books and prophecy specialists)
 
Are we on the right path that people will die if we see God in His glory? We sure are! Let’s look at some verses which detail this line of biblical thought.
 
GENESIS 32:30
(Gen 32:30 KJV) And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
 
Here Jacob is making the statement that he is actually alive after he saw God face to face. Why would he make this type of statement if any person can look at God and live?
 
EXODUS 19:21
(Exo 19:21 KJV) And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish.
 
God makes no parable here, any unqualified person who sees Him will die.
 
EXODUS 24:17
(Exo 24:17 KJV) And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
 
This verse tells us that the cloud is what the Israelites saw. If only the cloud is like devouring fire, then can you picture what the full glory of God would do to anyone that looks on it? We must always keep in mind that Christ is the "I AM" of Sinai.
 
DEUTERONOMY 5:24-26
(Deu 5:24-26 KJV) And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath showed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. {25} Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die. {26} For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?
 
These three verses detail for us the experience of the Israelites in seeing the great fire on Horeb and believing that fire would consume them. In the same breath they feared the voice of God in that they believed by hearing His voice they would die. here the Bible is stating again, that anyone who would behold God in all His glory would perish. One more verse and we will return to our original study on the biblical impossibility of a literal thousand year reign of Christ.
 
REVELATION 1:17
(Rev 1:17 KJV) And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:.
 
John in his apocalyptic vision fell as dead in front of Christ because he saw Him in his glory.
 
Let me summarize this section by saying this. If Christ was to reign in all His regal splendor, do we honestly think because we live in modern times there would be a different effect on people. God is God, Christ is God and no way would we have a different response to God’s glory. We are as human as the Israelites were and as sinful, therefore, God’s glory would consume us in an instance.
 
It is also interesting to note, that if Christ reigned in Jerusalem for 1,000 years, who would He reign over since every eye that saw Him in all His glory would be consumed to the point of death. So we have universal death before universal salvation, without 2 of the resurrections needed to maintain this teaching. Absurd isn’t it!
 
Let’s return to our study of the phrase ‘Last days" and see its usage in many verses. We have already extracted the fact from Hebrews 1:2 that we are living in the last days by means of the demonstrative pronoun "these" which points out something specific that is near at hand. The date of the writing of Hebrews is unknown but we do know that it was definitely written after the cross and before the second coming which would place it in the last days, therefore, specifically pointing to the fact we are in the last days. Let us continue.
 
JOEL 2:28-29 & ACTS 2:17-18
(Joel 2:28-29 KJV) And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: {29} And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
 
(Acts 2:17-18 KJV) And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
 
There are only two major differences between the Joel and Acts passage. In Acts God includes the words "last days" giving further comment on the Joel passage and in Acts 2:18, God calls His servants and handmaiden "my." This gives us further understanding of the Joel passage. God is stating in the last days (cross to second coming) His people will prophesy (declare God’s Word), in other words, they will send forth the gospel until the harvest time. (Matt. 3:24-30)
 
2 TIMOTHY 3:1
(2 Tim 3:1 KJV) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
 
Timothy details in this chapter what surroundings the Christian can expect to encounter. Since there is so much in this chapter, we must continue but keep the phrase in mind, "...in the last days..."
 
JAMES 5:3
(James 5:3 KJV) Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
 
This passage speaks of someone heaping treasure for the last days. I do not believe this passage speaks only of money. "Gold and Silver" both speak of facets of God’s salvation plan. But you notice, God says, "Your," it seems He is pointing to the fact there are those in the last days who will concoct their own salvation plan. Whenever man develops a salvation plan of their own, it is like cankered gold and silver (cankered literally means "eaten away") and rust which is evidence of corrosion. There are about 5,000 cults in the United States alone. Each of these have a cankered and rusted salvation plan. Not only the cults, but there are many self-made salvation plans in the church throughout the world. One such plan is just say a few words and accept Christ and you are in. The biblical truth is that Christ accepts us, we do not accept Him.
 
1 PETER 1:5
(1 Pet 1:5 KJV) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
 
The word "time" in this passage is the Greek word "kairo" which means a distinct point in time. Placing "eschatos" and "kairo" in the same statement tells us that Peter is looking for the last distinct point in time. This would be judgment day because after judgment day will come eternity, which is not measured in time.
 
1 PETER 1:20
(1 Pet 1:20 KJV) Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
 
The word "times" in this passage is the Greek word "chronon" which denotes a precise time of an event. This passage is telling us there is a last precise time for a certain event. In this case it would be the precise time for the second coming of Christ, since we have, up to this point, have so openly seen that we are in the last days and there is no more time after these days.
 
2 PETER 3:3
(2 Pet 3:3 KJV) Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
 
Here we see the phrase "last days" which again affirms the fact that last is last.
 
1 JOHN 2:18
(1 John 2:18 KJV) Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
 
The words "last time" may also be translated "last hour" as the Greek word behind time is "hora" which is translated "hour." This passage tells that we, from God’s vantage point, that the times from the cross to the second coming of Christ is literally the last hour. If it is the last hour, how can there be another one after it? This word "hora" can also be used to designate a period of time as we plainly see that God speaks of the whole New Testament period as the last hour.
 
JUDE 18
(Jude 1:18 KJV) How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
 
The words "last time" may be translated "the last precise time of an event. It is the Greek word "chronos" which we have already studied. Here again God is telling us that we are in the last time.
 
Up to this point we have openly seen that God plainly states that we are in the last days. Now many may say, "Yes, they are the last days before the golden reign of Christ." The problem with that is we have looked at many verses and the Bible nowhere adds anything to these verses alluding to a literal 1,000 year reign. If someone chooses to force that doctrine on these verses, they must use a method called "eisegesis" which is placing interpretations into the Bible, especially referring to doctrine or words. The problem is that many theologians and pastors use interpolation instead of interpretation. In the area of prophecy, there is much false doctrine being spewed, and when these prophecy moguls are proven wrong, they do not retract their statements, they just write another book and sell a million copies. The longer I am saved, the more convinced I am that Christians want to be deceived because deceit is always more comfortable to live in than truth.
 
Look at all the prophetical authorities concerning the Antichrist. In the early part of this century it was Kaiser Wilhelm, in the 1940’s it was either Mao, Hitler, or Stalin. Then it was David Rockefeller, Lord Maitreya, Gorbachev and Reagan. Then in 1994 it was Zhiranovsky from Russia.
 
What happened to Russia the great bear which was supposed to attack Israel. The Soviet Union is broken up. They claimed Gog and Magog was the Soviet Union. When we look at Revelation 20:8, we see the Bible speaks of Gog and Magog being the entire earth. Does the Soviet Union stretch over the entire earth? I think not.
 
If pastors and theologians would cease interpreting the Bible according to magazines and newspapers, and burn all their prophecy fiction, and return to the Bible we would once again have a unified theology in the church. The pre-tribulation view was trance-channeled in 1830 by a woman named Margaret MacDonald in Port Glasgow, Scotland. This view was handed down to us through such men as J.N. Darby, Edward Irving, and C.I. Scofield.
 
Allow me to end this monograph by just stating that if we do not return to true biblical hermeneutics which is laid out for us in 1 Corinthians 2:13, we will continue to abide in the following biblical exhortation which is:
 
(2 Tim 3:7 KJV) Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
 
I hope this study will propel you further into a study and search of God’s word. This is its design, not to attack those who hold to the pre-tribulational view but to show these believers there is no need to accept everything which you are taught, whether by pulpit, blackboard, radio, TV, or internet without checking it first in the Bible. It is time Christians start questioning their pastors to provoke them into a deeper study of God’s word. Till we meet at Jesus' feet! - 9/5/95
 
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