About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Thousand Year Rule Of Jesus
If we're honest, none of us have every aspect of Biblical prophecy figured out, and I'm no exception. That being said, I'm pretty well convinced in the prophetic direction I've taken over the last few decades. However, when it comes to the finer details of this direction I'm still searching and I'm still learning.
I am a Prophetic Futurist. I believe most of the book of Revelation details the events that brings this age to an end. One thing Revelation predicts is a time when Jesus will rule the earth with a rod of iron for a thousand years. Some Bible teachers suggest there are about 400 Bible verses that address this period of time. In the following pages I will point out a few of these passages that may be a bit obscure to some of you. I realize the Christian world is divided over this issue so consider what I say as you do your own research.
While growing up in an Evangelical church setting there were a few questions that my Sunday school teachers couldn't answer to my satisfaction. For example, what's the unforgivable sin? Why is playing cards a sin? What will the thousand year rule of Christ look like? As a youth, I understood these thousand years to be a time of world peace where lions and lambs would be buddies. That was about all I could glean from my Sunday school days.
my thinking that Biblical prophecy will not be properly understood unless
you understand the Abrahamic Covenant that God agreed with Himself to keep
and that He spoke to Abraham. This
covenant consists of a number of promises that God promised Abraham, his
descendents, and one special descended who we know to be our Lord Jesus
Christ. How you understand
this covenant will determine what prophetic path you take beyond the book
of Genesis. Just for the
record, your study of prophecy must begin in Genesis 3:15 where we see the
first prediction of the cross of Christ.
who believe the Abrahamic Covenant has been totally fulfilled in Jesus'
first appearance on earth teach that Israel
has forfeited her historic and prophetic significance in the mind of God.
They teach that the present day nation of
who believe, as I do, that the Abrahamic Covenant will not be completely
fulfilled until Jesus' second appearance on earth believe that Israel
still has prophetic and historic significance right up to the end of this
age, and even beyond. I
believe the place of Israel
in prophetic history must not be discounted, and that includes Israel's place in the thousand year rule of Christ on earth.
allegory takes a person, place, thing, or event, and gives it a secondary
spiritual or moral meaning. For
example, in Galatians 4:21 and following the Apostle Paul allegorizes
Abraham's wife Sarah and Sarah's slave girl Hagar.
These two women were literal women of history but in Galatians 4:24
Paul says that they can be understood figuratively or allegorically to
represent two covenants. Hagar
represents the Old Covenant while Sarah represents the New Covenant.
the second century AD Christian
allegorizing of Scripture, especially prophetic Scripture, was cemented
into church doctrine by Augustine (354 to 430 AD) and other early Catholic
theologians, who by the way, believed that Israel no longer had any
prophetic and historic significance. Martin
Luther and most other Reformers of the 1500's didn't depart from this
thinking and thus allegorizing prophetic Scripture remains with us to this
very day. As a matter of fact,
Luther was very hostile towards Jews.
who I attempt to be as much as possible, believe the thousand year rule of
Christ on earth as seen in Revelation 20 is a literal thousand years.
time we repeat the Lord's Prayer as seen in Matthew 6 and say "thy
kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," we are
asking our heavenly Father to bring the Kingdom of God that is in heaven
to earth. So, what is the
Acts 1:5 Jesus told His disciples that they would soon receive the Holy
Spirit into their lives. In
Acts 1:7 the disciples responded by asking Jesus if at that time the
kingdom would be restored to Israel. The restoration of the
as the leading nation among all nations was the hope of all Israelis.
It was promised in the Abrahamic Covenant and predicted by all the
Old Testament prophets. Even
though the disciples' question was misguided at that specific moment, it
was a legitimate question.
did not discount the disciples' question.
He did not deny the fact that the kingdom would be restored to
disciples were on the right track. They
knew God had called Israel
to be a kingdom of priests that was to represent God to the nations
(Exodus 19:6, Isaiah 49:6). They
also knew this calling is irrevocable (Romans 11:26). God
won't change His mind concerning
the king of the Babylonian Empire, had a disturbing dream that only Daniel
could interpret. The king saw
a huge and frightening statue. Its
head was gold, chest and arms silver, belly and thighs bronze, legs iron,
and feet a combination of iron and clay.
A rock was thrown at the feet of the statue and the whole thing
disintegrated into dust. As
the wind blew the dust away, the rock grew into a mountain that covered
the earth. This dream confirms
that it is God who causes nations and their leaders to both rise and fall
from international significance (Daniel 2:21).
told the king that he and his empire was the head of gold.
History tells us that the chest of silver was the Medo/Persian
Empire, the belly of bronze was the Greek Empire, and the legs of iron was
the Roman Empire.
2:43 states that the feet of iron and clay are nations that form an
alliance that most Prophetic Futurists understand to be the last world
empire that is rooted in the old Roman Empire.
This alliance of nations will be demolished by the Kingdom
as we read in Revelation 17 and 18. When
kingdoms of men become the Kingdom of our God (Revelation 11:15) Jesus
will begin to rule the nations for a thousand years.
20:1 to 7 is the only Bible passage that states the world wide rule of
Jesus will last a thousand years. Some
Bible teachers symbolize or spiritualize these thousand years, but not me.
I believe they are a literal thousand years because I believe
numbers in Biblical prophecy are to be understood literally.
Look at the following examples.
25:11 and 29:10 predicted that
9:27 tells us that the last 7 years of this age is divided into two three
and a half year segments. Revelation
11:2 and 13:5 speaks of this time as 42 months.
Revelation 11:3 and 12:6 speaks of this time as 1260 days.
The Bible speaks of this period of time in terms of 42 months, 1260
days, and 3.5 years. The Bible
seems to go out of its way to make us understand the last half of what we
call the Great Tribulation should be understood literally.
Revelation 9:15 we see four fallen angels being released from prison.
The text states that these angels were kept bound until this
"very hour, day, month, and year."
Such preciseness tells me we should take this moment of time
literally, not symbolically.
believe God has a preset timetable of events.
Read the book of John. Over
and over again Jesus says that His time had not yet come. In
John 17:1 He said that His time had finally come.
All this tells me that prophetic numbers should be understood
literally. A thousand years is
a thousand years. It's that
Revelation 20:1 to 3 states that satan will no longer deceive the nations during the one thousand year rule of Jesus because he will be bound. Note that the devil deceives nations as well as individuals. For once in the history of the world there will be relative peace, but, relative peace during the thousand years does not mean perfect or complete peace. I will explain that later.
14 says that Jesus will return
I realize that some people question the canonicity of the book of Jude because Jude quotes from the non-canonical book of Enoch. If you struggle with Jude 14, read 1 Thessalonians 3:13 where the Apostle Paul says the same thing. Zechariah 14:5 also states that the Lord will return with "His holy ones." Jesus will not return to earth alone.
of the above being said, Jesus will return with angels as well (Mathew
25:31, Mark 8:38). Seeing
Jesus, His saints, and His angels, all returning to earth simultaneously
will be one very impressive sight. Once
His holy saints return to earth with Jesus, He will not send them back to
Heaven. They have things to do
during the thousand years of Jesus' rule on earth.
(John) saw thrones on which were seated those who were given authority to
judge. And I saw souls of
those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and
because of the word of the Lord. They
had not worshipped the beast (anti-Christ) or his image and had not
received his mark on their foreheads or in their hands.
They returned to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand
years" (Revelation 20:4 NIV).
verse states that those who will be given authority will sit on thrones to judge.
This verse also states that those who had been executed for their
association with Jesus during the Great Tribulation will rule with Christ for a
thousand years. I believe this
verse speaks of two distinct groups of people; those who will be given
authority to judge, and, those martyred saints who will rule.
Bible teachers say those who sit on thrones judging are the martyred
saints who rule. They say that
there is only one group here, not two groups.
I don't see it that way because the text in my thinking seems to
separate these people into two groups with two different job descriptions.
see the redeemed who have returned to earth with Jesus judging on thrones.
I say this because of the Greek construction of verse 4 and other
Scriptures stating that those belonging to Jesus will sit on thrones
(Revelation 2:26, 5:10, 1 Corinthians 6:2).
In Matthew 19:28 Jesus said that His followers would one day sit on
thrones and judge.
believe the saints returning to earth with Jesus will sit on thrones and
judge. Those martyred during
the Great Tribulation, who have been waiting for God to avenge their blood
(Revelation 6:9 - 11), will sit on thrones and rule.
suggest that judging and ruling are not the same thing.
The word "judge" in Revelation 20:4 is translated from the Greek
word "krima" which has a range of meanings that includes
instruction, investigation, and decision making.
The process of judging includes a wide range of activities as does
the process of ruling, but, judging isn't necessarily synonymous with
will be all sorts of opportunities for us to serve Jesus in some capacity
during these thousand years. I
hope to be part of those who instruct the Word of God.
You might wonder why there will be a need for Biblical instruction
during those years.
said that the saints will judge and rule the nations with Jesus during
the thousand years. Revelation
2:26 confirms this by saying that those who overcome will be given
authority to rule the nations with a rod of iron.
Who are those who live in the nations that the saints will judge
and rule? Will the saints
judge and rule themselves? I
don't think so. I suggest
that there will be non-believers who will survive the Great Tribulation
and live into the thousand year rule of Jesus.
These people will be scattered throughout the nations of the
world and will be ruled and judged by the saints.
19:11 to 21 pictures Jesus returning to earth to defeat the armies of the
nations who have gathered outside of Jerusalem
for the last great battle of
19:15 also states that Jesus will rule the nations He has just defeated
with a scepter of iron. It's
clear to me that even though the armies of these nations die in battle,
many of the citizens they represent back home survive the tribulation and
live into the thousand years to be ruled by Jesus and the saints.
It makes no sense that Jesus will rule His holy saints with a rod of iron,
especially when whey they will be living in their holy and sinless
Zechariah 14 begins with
the Revelation 19
who have the capability to sin can't be the saints who are ruling the
nations with Jesus. The
saints who have returned to earth with Jesus in their eternal glorified bodies
are beyond the point of disobedience.
Satan may be bound during the thousand years but the sinful human
nature of those who survive the Great Tribulation will still be a force to be
Although the title of
Isaiah 65:17 to 25 in the NIV says this passage concerns the era of the
new earth as seen in Revelation 21 and 22, Isaiah 65:20 can't be applied to
the new earth. It states that infants won't die young and anyone who dies at age 100 will
be considered young and cursed. People
neither die or are cursed in the era of the eternal new earth.
Isaiah 65:20 can only be understood in terms of the thousand year
rule of Christ.
The saints who judge and
rule with Jesus in the thousand years cannot die or be cursed.
They judge and rule with Jesus in their eternal glorified bodies.
Those who have the possibility of dying and being cursed are
those who survive the Great Tribulation and still have free will.
Psalm 2:9 is a Messianic verse that predicts Jesus ruling the nations with a rod of iron. Revelation 12:5 and 19:15 repeats this prediction. Revelation 2:26 states that those who overcome will rule with Jesus with a rod of iron as well. I suggest that if there was no possibility of sin and disobedience to Jesus in the thousand years, there would be no reason for Jesus and His saints to rule with a rod of iron. Sinful humanity among the survivors of the Great Tribulation is still a force to be reckoned with.
The rod of
iron is a tool of discipline, correction, and strong leadership over
those with the possibility to disobey.
I suggest that even though the thousand years will be enjoyable,
it will look more like our present age than the era known as the new
Revelation 13:1 to 12 tells us that the anti-Christ suffers a fatal wound. Who would try to assassinate the anti-Christ? I doubt if the saints would attempt this. Like Jesus in John 18:36, the saints won't use such force to establish the Kingdom of
earth. Those who would
attempt to kill the anti-Christ would be those non-Christian staunch political and
economic conservatives who refuse to submit to the anti-Christ's
dictatorial socialism. I'm
sure there will be a few of them around during the time of tribulation.
Daniel 11:41 says that
Let's do some math.
At present the world's population is about 7 billion people.
Revelation 6:8 states that the fourth rider on a horse was given
power over a fourth of the earth to kill its population.
Many people see this rider killing one fourth of the earth's
population but the text doesn't say that.
It says he has power over one fourth of the earth, not over one
fourth of the earth's population. Depending
on what quarter of the earth the text is speaking of will determine how many he
For the sake of argument,
let's say this rider does kill a fourth of the world's population.
That leaves 5.25 billion people remaining alive on earth. Beyond
this, Revelation 9:15 says that a third of mankind will die next.
That's a third of the 5.25 billion people left after the rider on
the horse kills a fourth of the world's population.
That would leave 3.5 billion people left on earth.
doesn't say it, let's say half of the 3.5 billion survivors die in the
Great Tribulation. That still
leaves 1.75 billion people left on earth, which is more than enough to
repopulate the earth in the thousand year rule of Christ.
There is no doubt in my mind that there will be survivors of the Great Tribulation who live into the thousand year rule of Christ. These survivors will need Biblical instruction and just maybe I can have a part in this instruction. There is also no doubt in my mind that there will be relative peace in these years, but relative peace doesn't mean perfect peace. That being said, there is one segment of creation that will live in perfect peace.
human nature will still be a force to be reckoned with among survivors of the Great Tribulation during the thousand year rule of Christ,
animals won't be so inflicted with sinful nature as they are now. Romans
8:19 to 22 gives us some background information about this.
The Apostle Paul states that all creation is subject to a life of
frustration. Creation didn't
choose this way of life. It
was placed on it by the will of "the one who subjected it to frustration,"
as the NIV puts it.
forewarned by God that death and decay would inflict creation if he
rebelled. Adam did rebel.
Therefore, all of creation, including animals, experiences a
frustrating existence. When it
comes to animals, we see this frustration in the enmity they have towards each other and with humans. Genesis
9:5 in the NIV goes as far to say that when an animal kills a human he
will give account of his action to God.
to 22 goes on to say that all creation, which includes animals, eagerly
anticipates "the manifestation of the sons of God," as the KJV puts it.
This means that when creation sees the saints returning to earth
with Jesus in their glorified bodies, creation will know freedom from
frustration has arrived. Until
then, Romans 8:22 says that creation groans.
This groaning is seen in the increase and intensity of ecological
disasters, including the strange things that are taking place in the
animal world today. Romans
8:22 calls these groans birth pains. Birth
pains precede new life. The
increasing frequency and intensity of birth pains we now see in creation suggest that creation's freedom from
frustration is near. Animals
will undergo a major change in their basic nature during the thousand year rule of Jesus.
Isaiah 11:6- 9 states that the wolf will live with the lamb and the
leopard will lie down with the goat. This
portrays a frustration free animal world during the thousand year rule of
Jesus which extends into the era of the new earth.
It will be a photographer's dream come true.
Every ferocious animal will gladly pose before the camera.
says that little children will lead animals around.
Children won't necessarily be playing with stuffed animals during these years.
They will be playing with real live animals. There'll be no fearful screams from
a mother when she sees her
child hugging a snake.
quick reading of the book of Revelation shows that the earth will undergo
all sorts of environmental, ecological, and structural calamities.
The worst of these disasters are seen in Revelation 16.
They include oceans and rivers turning into blood, the sun
scorching the earth, the
You would think that no human flesh would survive these disasters but remember that Jesus told us that unless these days were shortened, no flesh would survive (Mathew 24:22). This tells me that there will be some people who survive the Great Tribulation and live into the thousand year rule of Jesus. Jesus specifically said that some flesh would survive the terror of these days. It will be those people and their descendents that the saints will rule over during this era.
14:3 to 5 tells us that at the end of the tribulation Jesus will stand on
the Mount of Olives, just east of Jerusalem. This causes an earthquake
that will split the mountain in two, part to the north and part to the
south. This creates an
that runs east to west. Again,
a natural disaster changes the geological structure of the earth as we
enter the thousand year rule of Christ.
reasons, Ezekiel 40
As I pointed
out in the last section, the Mount of Olives will split in two, causing a
valley that runs east from Jerusalem
I refer you
back to Zechariah 14:8 that calls the water from this river "living water."
This is why the
It's clear to me that after all the natural disasters of the Great Tribulation the geological structure of the earth during the thousand year rule of Jesus will look different than it does today. That being said, we must not confuse this restructured earth with the new earth as seen in Revelation 21 and 22. The restructured earth of the thousand years, although much different than today's earth, will look more like today's earth than the earth in the era known as the new earth.
Without getting involved
in the complexities of the Babylonian Empire as seen in Revelation, I
simply point out its final fall. Ever
since Nimrod became the first known world conqueror in Genesis 10:8 to
11, and, ever since his attempt at universal supremacy as seen in the
tower of Babel episode in Genesis 11, all that Babylon has represented
throughout history has opposed God.
The final expression of Babylon falls in judgment in Revelation 17 through 19.
Its international military coalition is decimated in Revelation
19:11 through 18. Birds eat
the flesh of dead soldiers in what is called the "Great Supper of
God" (Revelation 19:17) At
this point all humans
systems fall at the hand of God.
Along with the fall of all human systems Revelation 16:20 predicts the worst earthquake in history. It literally relocates mountains and islands. That, along with a multitude of other unthinkably horrific natural disasters, devastate everything man has touched. This is the most geological and ecological change in the earth since the flood of Noah's day. This geological restructuring of the earth along with the fall of the nations is how we will enter the thousand year rule of Jesus.
Every Christmas we read
Luke 1:32 and Isaiah 9:6 and 7. Both
of these passages speak just as much about the thousand year rule of
Christ as they do about Jesus' birth, but that is seldom mentioned from
The angel told Mary in
Luke 1:32 that Jesus will be given the throne of His father David.
Isaiah 9:6 and 7 says a child will be born and a Son will be
given who will sit on David's throne.
We all believe this predicted person is Jesus. At present, Jesus sits on a throne in heaven, but that's not the
throne of David. David's
throne was in Jerusalem, and that's where it will be when Jesus sits on it.
history have awaited the day when their Messiah will rise up from their
midst, conquer their enemies, and rule on David's throne in Jerusalem. This expectation will be
realized when Jesus returns to Jerusalem
to rule the nations of the world for a thousand years.
The book of Revelation is the most Jewish Old Testament orientated book in the New Testament. It has been said that there are at least 285 allusions to the Old Testament in its pages. It's Jewish in nature because it's written about Jews and for the Jews living at the end of this age. I'm sure the 144,000 Jewish evangelists of Revelation 7 will preach from the book of Revelation.
Jeremiah 30:7 calls the
events seen in Revelation the time of Jacob's trouble. These
events are so named because the horrific tragedies of the last seven
years of this age are meant to bring Israel
to her knees in repentance. In
the process, Zechariah 12:9 says that Jesus will destroy the nations who
attack Jerusalem. At that point in time
Jesus will cleanse Jerusalem
from sin as stated in Zechariah 13:1.
Jerusalem, symbolized as the wicked city Sodom in Revelation 11:8, will be
purified and ready for Jesus' thousand year rule.
- All Israel
Zechariah 13:8 and 9 says
that at the end of this age God will strike down two thirds of Israelis
living in their land. No
wonder this period is called the time of Jacob's trouble.
Zechariah also says in this passage that the remaining one third
of Israelis will be purified by the fire of God's judgment.
Once purified, Israel
will call on her Lord, and she will once again become His people.
Zechariah 12:10 states
that at this time God will give these surviving Israelis a spirit of
grace and supplication. This
special outpouring of grace will save the one third of Israeli survivors
that Yahweh has kept for Himself. As
the Apostle Paul pointed out in Romans 11:26; all Israel
will be saved. That is, all
of the repentant one third of Israeli survivors of the Great Tribulation will
be saved. Israel
will finally be the representatives of Yahweh to the nations that it was
meant to be when God called Abram out of Ur.
2:4 has gotten a lot of press over the years. I
recall this verse from my Sunday school days.
It says that nations will turn their swords into plows in which
Prophetic Futurists believe is during the
thousand years. This speaks of
an era of peace.
39:9 is interesting in this light. It
states that Israelis will turn weapons into fuel.
Some Bible teachers suggest that Ezekiel is predicting nuclear
weapons being used for nuclear fuel.
will be relative peace on earth because Jesus will rule the nations with a
scepter of iron. However,
relative peace doesn't necessarily mean perfect peace because Isaiah 2:4
also states that Jesus will judge and settle disputes between the nations.
I believe these disputes will arise from those survivors of the
Great Tribulation. Nations
won't go to war during the thousand years but they will have disputes
needing to be settled.
I hope to teach the Bible
during the thousand year rule of Christ.
Isaiah 2:3 speaks to this. It
states that instruction of the Word of the Lord and the Law will go
forth from Zion.
30 - The Law And The
2:3 states that the time will come
believe the Law of Moses is not applicable for New Testament Christians.
However, I believe it will be applicable during the thousand year
rule of Jesus for Israelis.
this in mind I refer you to Ezekiel 40 through 48 again.
Prophetic Futurists place this passage in the thousand year rule of
Christ because there is no other logical place to put the events of this
passage. I've already
commented on chapter 47. I'll
now comment on the remaining chapters.
40 through 48 follows Ezekiel 36 through 39 which predict events
associated with Israel
at the end of this age. If we
view chapters 40 through 48 chronologically we must place them after the
end of this age and during the thousand year rule of Christ.
40 through 42 predicts a temple that is described in specific details.
For example, Ezekiel 40:5 says that the wall around the temple is 6
long cubits high and 6 long cubits thick.
The alcoves for the guards are 6 long cubits wide and long (Ezekiel
41:7). The jambs on the
portico are 5 cubits wide on either side (Ezekiel 40:48).
The temple itself is 100 cubits long (Ezekiel 41:13). The
north and south rooms facing the temple courtyard are designated for
priests (Ezekiel 42:13). If
you read these chapters you will see many more specific and detailed
43:1 to 12 states that the glory of God will come from the east and reside
in this temple. The rest of
Ezekiel 43 and all of chapter 44 speak of the priesthood and the
sacrificial offerings that will be offered in the temple.
Associated with this temple are holy days as seen in Ezekiel 45:13
through to the end of chapter 46.
chapters portray an Old Testament style Judaism existing after the cross
of Christ and during the thousand years.
That's why this passage is confusing to many.
The temple described here has never been built, so it's yet to
come. I don't believe this
temple can be the anti-Christ supported temple that is built during the
first half of the 7 year tribulation because the other aspects of Ezekiel 40
through 48 don't exist during the Great Tribulation.
This temple can only be a God inspired temple that is built during
the thousand years.
broke the Law of Moses it agreed to keep, the one third of Israelis who
are saved at the end of the Great Tribulation and their descendents will
keep the Law of Moses as their forefathers vowed.
They will do so in remembrance of what Jesus did for them on the
cross, not in hope of a future salvation, as was the case in the Old
Testament. Once the thousand
years ends, that's the end of the Law of Moses for good.
That's why Jesus said that the Law of Moses will not completely
disappear until every little detail is fulfilled (Matthew 5:17), which I
understand to take place in the thousand year rule of Jesus.
45:1 through 12 and 47:13 through 48 states that God will give Israel
their long awaited for promised land. Ezekiel
45:1 says that the Lord will give Himself some land first.
Its specific measurements are 25,000 cubits by 20,000 cubits.
Such specific measurements that are seen throughout Ezekiel
40 through 48 can't logically be understood symbolically or allegorically,
as many attempt to understand them.
the Lord's portion of land you will note that each of the twelve tribes of
last 5 verses in Ezekiel describe
thousand year rule of Christ will see
20:3 says that at the end of the thousand years Jesus will release satan
from his chains to deceive the nations, and He will succeed.
Revelation 20:7 to 9 states that satan will gather an international
military coalition in his final attempt to invade Jerusalem. Before he can take a shot,
Jesus will speak the word of victory and the battle will end before it
begins. At this point the
wicked are judged at the Great White Throne Judgment and thrown into the
Lake of Fire along with satan and the demonic world (Revelation 20:11 - 15).
who are deceived at the end of the thousand years can't be those who have
returned to earth to rule with Jesus for the thousand years.
Hebrews 9:27 implies that once we die and enter into our eternal
bodies, that's it. We don't
come back at a future date to live in our earthly bodies.
Who we become after death is who we will be for eternity.
Satan won't deceive the redeemed.
I also believe he won't deceive the Jews whom Jesus has poured out
a Spirit of grace and supplication upon either.
Those who are deceived are those non-believers who survived the
Great Tribulation and their descendents.
satan is thrown into the Lake
and the wicked dead are judged, Revelation 20:11 tells us that heaven and
earth will flee from the presence of God and will be replaced by a new
heaven and earth. The redeemed
will spend eternity on the new earth and will have no recollection of this
present age (Isaiah 65:17). This
ends the thousand year rule of Christ on this present planet, and, even
though more could be said about the thousand year rule of Christ on earth,
this also ends my account.