The "a" in the word amillennialism negates the term just as in computer programming where "NOT" in front of a T/F variable reverses the state. Amillennialists are not unilaterally negative about everything, for they believe in the Second Coming of Christ who will initiate the eternal state. But they don't believe that there is an interim segment created by a First Resurrection and then a Second Coming. There is a specific time for the return at the end of the church age because there are prerequisite events which must transpire. Jesus explained, "'There will be signs . . . for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory'" (Lk 21:26-27).
But since they don't take everything literally they tend to be spiritualists or idealists. Symbolism and figures of speech are more meaningful to them. Historical events themselves have secondary importance whereas allegories teach principles. The book of Revelation deals with tribulation in the world, but to an idealist, the descriptions sound more like science fiction. They would rather see it as a conflict between good and evil as history progresses. The end result would be the triumph of righteousness over sinfulness. However, the symbolic figures in the book are not impractically detached because their behavior has counterparts in sinful human activity.
You could say that Jesus' disciples were interested in eschatology--the theological study of the end times. They asked, "'What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?'" (Mt 24:3). Later Jesus encouraged them saying, "'I am with you always, even to the end of the age'" (28:20). But he also said, "'That day and hour, no one knows . . . but My Father only'" (24:36). There are numerous events in the last days written about in the book of Revelation. Near the end of the book Satan is locked up for a "thousand years" (Rev 20:3). There is the Latin word "millennium" which means one thousand. Peter said "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years" (2Pe 3:8). Is this time increment literal or symbolic? It is not a reference made just in passing because it is used in Revelation 20 verses 2,3,4,5,6 and 7. Bible students have traditionally tried to place Jesus' Second Coming in relation to the Millennium. However, different interpretations of this time period have developed. The group designated as amillennialist denies that there will be a literal, future millennium.
Amillennialists believe in the return of Christ and a future perfect kingdom. To them the church age is synonymous with a reigning Christ who rules from heaven spiritually through living believers. Also, many of them believe that deceased believers are participating from their heavenly location. Therefore, the thousand year reference is figurative and allegorical. The allegories provide spiritual lessons. Using Revelation 20:1-3 they say that because of Satan's defeat at the cross there is no need for allocating a unique thousand year period since he cannot deceive the nations (:3). Others see the millennium as the "new heaven and the new earth" (21:1). They accept a simpler explanation of things as opposed to the extremely literalistic interpretation of dispensational premillennialists. Some adhere to progressive parallelism which professes that Revelation 20:1-6 reflects the history of the church age. They argue that the church in the New Testament replaces Israel and that it is fulfilling Old Testament prophecies. They cite that Constantine had created a millennium-like environment. In fact, Augustine's advocating a figurative explanation carries on in Roman Catholic doctrine today.
The last book in the New Testament is John's revelation of Jesus Christ. It is prophetic which means it must be interpreted. However, some people think differently than others. It could be said that each way of looking at the symbolism has its share of truth. For instance, the praeterist approach believes that the activities in Revelation are current events with most of them being fulfilled in John's lifetime. That is why the figurative descriptions are difficult for us to comprehend but would have been more understandable to those of that time. The symbolism would have had figurative meaning to them and would have provided comfort because they were contending with the Roman Empire. Perhaps they thought that Nero was the antichrist. But the prophecy would give them a sense of victory over their situation. The historical context would be secondary to figurative lessons taught.
On the other hand, the historist approach sees Revelation as God's prophetic program from the apostles to the end of the age. To them it would be a panorama of chuch history. Descriptions in Revelation have their parallels in church experience and struggles. But they had to connect the symbolism with reality. That could become subjective and it could be reevaluated at another time. A literal interpretation would be more definitive. The futurist postpones the events to seven years before and just after the Second Coming. The dispensationalist sees the temple being rebuilt and sacrifices being restored. Others see King David being resurrected and again places on his throne.
Postmillennialists are a lot like amillennialists. They believe that the Second Coming occurs after the millennium. In the meantime they define the millennium as taking place during this current church age where the spiritual kingdom is unseen but nonetheless in operation. They point out that Satan was bound at the cross so it isn't logical that things will literally get worse and worse. They see the gospel gradually converting the world to Christianity, though not ever to 100%. Sin is gradually erradicated though not altogether. There is no exact 1000 year period, but rather it will take as long as necessary. Liberals see science and the advancement of knowledge as perfecting civilization. But evaluating progress depends on subjective human reasoning which is unreliable. Some activists want to take charge and make the transition more aggressive. The Kingdom Now group advocates that the time for obedience is nigh. The Dominion Theology group stresses that the Bible advocates God's kingdom being the controlling force. But how do you prevent humanism from creeping in or becoming overly forceful?
"A" and "post" millennialists see the church as the new Israel so they don't distinguish between the two. When it says "thus all Israel will be saved" (Ro 11:26) they say it does not mean national Israel but rather an elect number of Israelites. However, Jeremiah had prophesied, "'When I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah . . . I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they will be My people'" (Jer 31:31,34). Hebrews refers to it saying "if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second" (Heb 8:7). Therefore that prophecy applies to Israel and not the church. Paul concurs saying "God has not rejected His people, has He?" (Ro 11:1). He explains to believers "it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you" (:18). Furthermore, "how much more shall these who are natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?" (:24). "All Israel will be saved" (:26). "The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" (:29).
God's plan of redemption began when he "'put emnity . . . between your seed and her seed'" (Ge 3:15). Moses said, "'The Lord's portion is His people; Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance'" (Dt 32:9). Israel was the product of Eve's seed because "she was the mother of all the living" (Ge 3:20). Moses said that Israel was "'Your people, even Your inheritance, whom You have redeemed through Your greatness'" (Dt 9:26). "We [also] have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will" (Eph 1:11). "Since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions . . . those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal promise" (Heb 9:15).
God has "qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints" (Col 1:12) which is an "inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Eph 5:5). We are "to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven" (1Pe 1:4). "The reward of the inheritance . . . is the Lord Christ whom you serve" (Col 3:24). We have been "born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1Pe 1:3). We are therefore to "hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end" (Heb 3:6). "We have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end" (:14).
Paul said that the Lord "will award to me on that day [a crown] . . . but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2Ti 4:8). But they had a "need of endurance" (Heb 10:36) in order that they "may receive what was promised" (:36). "Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord . . . [and] strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand" (Ja 5:7-8). For if the vision "tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay" (Hab 2:3). In a very little while, He who is coming, will come, and will not delay" (Heb 10:37). "Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Nu 23:19). "The Lord is not slow about His promise" (2Pe 3:9).
Premillennialists take literally the events of Revelation 20:1-6. They see the church as "caught up" or suddenly "seized" by Christ to meet him "in the clouds . . . in the air" (1Th 4:7). This is necessary "for God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (5:9). We would therefore avoid the Tribulation which occurs next. Jesus "rescues us from the coming wrath" (1:10). This is in accordance with "the words of this prophecy" (Rev 1:3). "Blessed is the one who reads . . . and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near" (1:3). Premillennialism literally interprets this as a preliminary resurrection where "the dead in Christ will rise first [and] then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together" (1Th 4:16-17). It is an upward "snatching away" as distinguished from "when our Lord Jesus comes [downward, the next time] with all his holy ones" (3:13).
Jesus said, "'Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come out--those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned'" (Jn 5:28-29). "'Everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day'" (6:40). "Martha answered, 'I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day'" (11:24). "They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years" (Rev 20:4). "This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them" (:5). "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies'" (Jn 11:25).
"God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation" (1Th 5:9). "The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11). "Salvation is nearer to us than when we believed" (Rom 13:11). However, we are saved when we believe. But Christ "shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin" (Heb 9:28). It is "a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1Pe 1:5). We are therefore "those who eagerly await Him" (Heb 9:28). "We wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God" (Titus 2:13). "We through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness" (Gal 5:5) which is represented by the "crown of righteousness" (2Ti 4:8). We "wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead" (1Th 1:10).
"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness" (Rom 1:18). But God does "not appoint us to suffer wrath" (1Th 5:9). "It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" (Heb 9:27). The Lord is "the righteous judge" (2Ti 4:8). He "will judge the living and the dead, in view of his appearing and his kingdom" (4:1). Paul said God "will award me on that day [the crown of righteousness]--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing" (4:8). "Keep this command . . . until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time" (1Ti 6:14). "At the last trumpet . . . the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed" (1Co 15:52). "When He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is" (1Jn 3:3).
A concern of Paul's was "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him" (2Th 2:1). He explained to the Thessalonians "we do not want you to be uninformed . . . [because] God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus" (1Th 4:13-14). He used "the coming of the Lord" (:15) to clarify the position of "those who have fallen asleep in Jesus" (:14). They were to "comfort one another with these words" (:18) because "Jesus [also] died and rose again" (:14). Paul referred to "the coming of the Lord . . . [who] Himself will descend from heaven" (:15-16). Then "we shall always be with the Lord" (:17).
"The Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, 'To your descendants I have given this land'" (Ge 15:18). Later God repeated to Abram, "'I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings'" (17:8). Then God told Moses to say to Israel, "'If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine'" (Ex 19:5). While ministering during their return from captivity, the Levites related that God had found Abram's "'heart faithful before Thee, and didst make a covenant with him to give him the land'" (Neh 9:8). Isaiah describes the relationship as, "'Your husband is your Maker, whose name is the Lord of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth'" (Isa 54:5).
However, the Lord asked Jeremiah, "'Have you seen what faithless Israel did?'" (Jer 3:6). Israel and Judah had committed adultery, and God "'had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce'" (:8). "'You were sold for your iniquities'" (Isa 50:1). "'I will also do with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath by breaking the covenant'" (Eze 16:59). "Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear" (Isa 59:1). This means that "her former husband is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled" (Dt 24:4). Satan has been trying to defeat God's purposes since Adam sinned. "They have said, 'Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation; that the name of Israel be remembered no more.' For they have conspired together with one mind: against Thee do they make a covenant" (Ps 83:4-5).
"Jesus began to preach and say, "'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand'" (Mt 4:17). He said, "'I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel'" (15:24). "They were entrusted with the oracles of God" (Ro 3:2). But "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him" (Jn 1:11). "They were not able to enter because of unbelief" (Heb 3:19). Jesus stated, "'How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling'" (Mt 23:37). "'Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it'" (21:43). "A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in" (Rom 11:25). Jesus stated, "'Behold, your house is being left to you desolate'" (Mt 23:38). Peter testified of the seriousness of their actions saying, you "'put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses'" (Ac 3:15).
God has a plan. "'The Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord God has scattered you'" (Dt 30:3). "'I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; and My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, and My glory for Israel'" (Isa 46:13). "Thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written" (Ro 11:26). Here Paul refers to, "'A Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob'" (Isa 59:20). He also quotes, "'Therefore through this Jacob's iniquity will be forgiven; and this will be the full price of the pardoning of his sin'" (27:9). "'It will come about after I have uprooted them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land'" (Jer 12:15).
God has a plan for the restoration of the "'remnant of Israel'" (Jer 31:7). "'The days are coming . . . when I will restore the fortunes of My people . . . [and] bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers'" (30:3). It will be a "'new covenant . . . not like the covenant which I made with their fathers'" (31:31-32). "'This is the covenant which I will make, . . . I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it'" (:33). He will "'restore your fortunes before your eyes'" (Zeph 3:20) and "make them one nation in the land'" (Eze 37:22). His disciples knew of this asking, "'Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?'" (Ac 1:6). It had been prophesied that, "'In that day I will restore David's fallen tent. I will repair its broken places' (Amos 9:11) "'that the remnant of men may seek the Lord'" (Ac 15:17). However, "'that day is great . . . it is the time of Jacob's distress, but he will be saved from it'" (Jer 30:7). "When I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed'" (Eze 16:63). They "will return and seek the Lord . . . and to his blessings in the last days" (Hos 3:5). The "latter days" are the 1,260 days of the two witnesses during the Great Tribulation.
Some see the Old Testament prophesies regarding Israel as applying to Christ and His Church because Jesus said, "'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (Jn 14:6). However, literally consider "how much more shall these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?" (Rom 11:24). All are invited because "let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost" (Rev 22:17). "We are all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles" (1Co 12:13). "There is neither Jew nor Greek . . . for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28). "Neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation" (Gal 6:15) resulting in "peace and mercy . . . upon the Israel of God" (:16). "He is a Jew who is one inwardly" (Rom 2:28) for he who "is born of the Spirit is spirit" (Jn 3:6). "Put on the new self who is being renewed . . . [which is] a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew" (Col 3:10-11). He has "made both groups into one" (Eph 2:14) "and fellow-partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel" (3:6). "Having predestined us to adoption as sons" (1:5) "you received the Spirit of adoption" (Rom 8:15). "If you belong to Christ, then you are real descendants of Abraham" (Gal 3:29). You are "a royal priesthood . . . His special people" (1Pe 2:9).
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap" (Gal 6:7). God has built a cause-and-effect into life which automatically judges. "'Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, in due time their foot will slip; for the day of their calamity is near'" (Dt 32:35). "'I will repay', says the Lord" (Ro 12:19). "God is not one to show partiality" (Ac 10:34). There is "no injustice with God" (Ro 9:14). He is "the one who impartially judges according to each one's work" (1Pe 1:17). "We know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things" (Ro 2:2). "How unsearchable are His judgments" (Rev 15:3). "'Righteous and true are your ways'" (:3).
What you do makes a difference because it determines whether you will "inherit the kingdom" (Mt 25:34). What qualifies is if you help feed, clothe and house people, and visit people when they are sick or in prison (:35-36). They "were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds" (Rev 20:12). It should make one take notice that his actions are actually recorded. "Whatever good thing each one does, he will receive back from the Lord" (Eph 6:8). "You recompense a man according to his work" (Ps 62:12). Paul quotes this regarding "the day of wrath and revelation of the righteousness judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS" (Ro 2:5-6). Jesus says "'My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done'" (Rev 22:12). "By perseverance in doing good . . . [you receive] eternal life" (Ro 2:7). "This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life" (1Jn 2:25). "'This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent'" (Jn 17:3). "'For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life'" (3:16). But "He who does not have the Son of God does not have the life" (1Jn 5:12).
God is "the Judge of all" (Heb 12:23) but "not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son" (Jn 5:22). He is "the One who has been appointed by God a Judge of the living and the dead" (Ac 10:42). "God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus" (Ro 2:16). "There is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known" (Lk 12:2). Is there a time for this? "We will all stand before the judgment seat of God" (Ro 14:10). "He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead" (Ac 17:31). "Having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent" (:30). He "is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2Pe 3:9). "He ordered [the Apostles] to preach to the people and solemnly to testify" (Ac 10:42) about it. "The Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven . . . dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus" (2Th 1:7-8). "'Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell'" (Mt 10:28). "The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ro 6:23). "'My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish'" (Jn 10:27-28). "'In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you'" (Jn 14:2). However, "'He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels''" (Mt 25:41).
Is God's judgment complicated because there are so many different people and religions? Perhaps it can be simplified to just the Jew and the Gentile. God "desires all men to be saved" (1Ti 2:4). It is evaluated when we all "appear before the judgment seat of Christ" (2Co 5:10). "All the nations will be gathered before Him" (Mt 25:32). It is "on the day when . . . God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus" (Ro 2:16). God has clearly revealed his divinity and power such that it is obvious and "they are without excuse" (1:20) if they don't concur. This is at the "great white throne" (Rev 20:11). "The dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds" (:12). "He will separate them from one another" (Mt 25:32) and "say to those on His right, 'Come . . . inherit the kingdom'" (:34) and "those on His left, 'Depart from Me'" (:41). "Those who did the good deeds [will go] to a resurrection of life, [and] those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment " (Jn 5:29). We know God is fair because he "does not show partiality" (Dt 10:17) and "in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him" (Ac 10:34-35).
Judgment and reward are synonymous because "My reward is with Me" (Rev 22:12). God will "render to every man according to what he has done" (:12). He will "search the heart, . . . test the mind . . . [and] give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds" (Jer 17:10). Each will "be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done" (2Co 5:10). There are principles God judges by. "Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life" (Gal 6:7-8).
How do you qualify to get to heaven? "Not everyone . . . will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father" (Mt 7:21). God will give "to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life" (Ro 2:7). "The judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things" (2:2). There is "the truth of God" (1:25). Therefore following the truth is essential. What do you think the destiny of those who "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (1:18), "exchanged the truth of God for a lie" (:25), and "do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness" (2:8) will be? There will be "wrath and indignation . . . tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil" (:8-9).
"Thy word is truth" (Ps 119:160). Why would you want to suppress, exchange, or disobey the truth? "They did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved" (2Th 2:10). It is due to the "deception of wickedness for those who perish" (:10). Deception comes by "the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders" (:9). They opened themselves up to be deceived because they "did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness" (:12). Therefore because they reject the truth "God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false" (:11). Be careful because "many deceivers have gone out into the world" (2Jn 1:7). "Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished" (:8).
You take the wrong direction when you don't "honor Him as God or give thanks" (1:21). When you claim "to be wise" (:22) yourself and do "not see fit to acknowledge God any longer" (:28) you become "selfishly ambitious" (2:8). "It flatters him in his own eyes . . . [and] he has ceased to be wise and to do good" (Ps 36:2-3). You serve instead "the creature rather than the Creator" (1:25) and your "heart was darkened" (:21). "You are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of . . . the righteous judgment of God" (2:5). Their "end will be according to their deeds" (2Co 11:15). But if you go the right direction there will be "glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good" (Ro 2:10).
"Through the Law comes the knowledge of sin" (Ro 3:20). God provided the Law so people could know right from wrong. "Sin is lawlessness" (1Jn 3:4). Man's sinful nature can entice people to be that way. In fact, "the mystery of lawlessness is already at work" (2Th 2:7). The Antichrist is called "the man of lawlessness" (:3). An antichrist is one who does "not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh" (2Jn 1:7) and is a "deceiver" (:7). Daniel prophesied that he would "'do as he pleases, and he would exalt and magnify himself above every god'" (Da 11:36). This is like the self-centeredness of relative humanism. There is no absolute truth and whatever pleases a person and works for the moment is the answer. He is "the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God" (2Th 2:3-4).
The Jew has the Law, so you might say God judges them that way since "the doers of the Law will be justified" (Ro 2:13). Also, "all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law" (:12). Then, Gentiles who do not have the law but "have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law" (:12). In addition, "if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?" (:26). What about a person who does NOT "suppress the truth (Ro 1:18)", has NOT "exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image" (:23), and has NOT "exchanged the truth of God for a lie" (:25)? They would be Gentiles who "do instinctively the things of the Law . . . [which are] a law to themselves" (Ro 2:14). It would "show the work of the Law written in their hearts" (:15). When "God made it evident to them" (Ro 1:19) it was to their heart. "God has allotted to each a measure of faith" (Ro 12:3). Even Paul recognized that he "received [his revelation] from the Lord (1Co 11:23) and he "received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal 1:12).
Therefore "choose for yourselves today whom you will serve" (Jos 24:15). You don't receive salvation by osmosis. Be careful because "the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ" (2Co 4:4). God's judgment is about "dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel" (2Th 1:8) and "to destroy those who destroy the earth'" (Rev 11:18). "These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power" (2Th 1:9).
John classified the Book of Revelation as a "prophecy" (Rev 1:3). We are to "heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near" (:3). Revelation 20:6 speaks of the "first resurrection" which takes place after the events of the Great Tribulation. Satan is bound "for a thousand years" (20:2). Martyrs "came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years" (:4) and "the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed" (:5). John "saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them" (:4) and they "will reign with Him for a thousand years" (:6). If you are a premillennialist you expect prophecy to predict literal events. A specific measure of time could be figurative as long as it doesn't originate exclusively in man's imagination. But proper exegesis requires a literal interpretation if possible. "'Nothing will be impossible with God'" (Lk 1:37).
In a sense, what God does is timeless. "Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou are God" (Ps 90:2). The phrase '1000 years' is mentioned five times in the first six verses of chapter twenty. Premillennialists say that a literal interpretation would be consistent with other OT and NT references to God's promises. Nonetheless, the number one-thousand is composed of the number ten multiplied by itself three times. Repetition demonstrates the importance of something. Also, the number carries a Biblical meaning depending on how it is consistently used in the Bible. "10" indicates completeness as in the Ten Commandments or the ten plagues of Egypt. There is an orderly completion of a cycle where nothing is lacking. "10" also indicates trials and testings. Israel tested God ten times (Nu 14:22), prisoners were tested ten days (Rev 2:10), and Abraham asked if God would spare Sodom for ten righteous people (Ge 18:32-33).
"A thousand years in Thy sight are like yesterday when it passes by" (:4). Peter discusses the "last days" (2Pe 3:3) where people ask "'Where is the promise of His coming?'" (:4). "He has made everything appropriate in its time" (Ecc 3:11). "It escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago" (2Pe 3:5). Peter reminds them to notice that "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years" (:8). It could represent a complete long period of indeterminate length. But there is also a definite schedule because "the Lord is not slow about His promise" (:9). "'That day and hour no one knows . . . but the Father alone'" (Mt 24:36).
Revelation 20:1-6 presents the millennium and you can't dismiss it's validity just because of it's brief mention. Speaking in tongues and the Lord's table are explained only once in New Testament epistles. It is a time of peace because Satan is bound for a thousand years (:2). It is a period of theocratic government because they reigned with Christ for a thousand years (:4,6). Jesus said, "'In the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel'" (Mt 19:28). John saw "thrones and they that sat upon them, and judgment was given to them" (Rev 20:4). "In the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains . . . and all the nations will stream to it" (Isa 2:2). "Behold, the Lord God will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him" (40:10). "The Lord has established His throne in the heavens; and His sovereignty rules over all" (Ps 103:19). "Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Thy dominion endures throughout all generations" (145:13). In the millennium (and afterwards) you could say that Christ fulfills the functions of the executive, legislative, and judicial functions of government. "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our King" (33:22).
The Messianic kingdom was prophesied with, "'Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever'" (2Sa 7:16). "There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace; on the throne of David and over his kingdom" (Isa 9:7). It is because "a Son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders" (:6). It is a matter of authority, power, dominion and rule. "For the kingdom is the Lord's, and He rules over the nations" (Ps 22:28). "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me" (Isa 61:1) "to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God" (:2). "His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth" (Zec 9:10). "He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples" (Isa 2:4). "With righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth" (11:4).
Is the Messianic kingdom synonymous with the millennial kingdom? "For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not keep quiet" (Isa 62:1). "The law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (2:3). There is "an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Eph 5:5). Jesus' disciples had "'been given the mystery of the kingdom of God'" (Mk 4:11). Jesus preached "'the kingdom of heaven is at hand'" (Mt 4:17). The Pharisees questioned Jesus "as to when the kingdom of God was coming" (Lk 17:20) and he replied "'the kingdom of God is in your midst'" (:21). Eventually, of course, it will be proclaimed, "'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord'" (Rev 11:15). But there was a tension between the current and future realities of the kingdom. Jesus knew this since "they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately" (Lk 19:11). Must one wait until the millennium for the kingdom to be fulfilled? We know that scripture teaches that the kingdom is already present because John said he was a "fellow-partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus" (Rev 1:9). Paul stated, "He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and translated us to the kingdom of His beloved Son" (Col 1:13). Jesus explained, "'When you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near . . . [and] this generation will not pass away until all things take place'" (Lk 21:31-32).
Christ says that, "'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne'" (Rev 3:21). It is not just a one-way street. "Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps" (1Pe 2:21). It is "a hope sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever" (Heb 6:19-20). Jesus said, "'In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world'" (Jn 16:33). Paul explained "I run in such a way, as not without aim" (1Co 9:26) so that he would "win" (:24) and not "be disqualified" (:27). Jude said to "contend earnestly for the faith" (Jude 3). "Violent men take it [the kingdom of heaven] by force" (Mt 11:12). "Prepare your minds for action" (1Pe 1:13) and "be self-controlled and alert" (5:8). "Have [your faith] as your own conviction before God" (Ro 14:22). "The testing of your faith produces endurance" (Jas 1:3). Trials occur "so that your faith . . . may be proved genuine" (1Pe 1:6-7). "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith" (1Co 13:5). Then "set your hope fully on the grace to be given you" (1Pe 1:13). "Abide in Him, so that when He appears, you may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming" (1Jn 2:28). Jesus said, "'He who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit'" (Jn 15:5). He advised let "'my words remain in you'" (Jn 15:7) and for them to "'remain in me, and I will remain in you'" (:4). He also said, "'If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love'" (:10). "Whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith" (1Jn 5:4).