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The Meaning Of The Millennium

The meaning of the Millennium is simply 1,000 years.  In eschatology, the meaning of the millennium refers to the 1,000-year reign of Christ mentioned in Revelation 20.  The four major Christian end-time views take their names from how they interpret the Millennium: Historical Premillennialism and Dispensationalism take this to be a literal 1,000 years of Christ reigning on the earth [but they differ on many other things], Amillennialism sees this as the figurative rule of Christ in the hearts of His people since the resurrection and lasting until the Second Coming, and Postmillennialists see the 1,000 years as figurative, but the reigning of Christ is through His people to implement His victory on earth before the Second Coming.  The Book Of Signs takes the Dispensationalist approach. Still, with so much controversy on the subject, it is unrealistic for it to claim this as one of its “31 Undeniable Prophecies Of The Apocalypse.”  [If you have been reading this series of articles, then you know that very few of its so-called “undeniable prophecies” have proven undeniable by conservative Christian standards.]

Joy To The World

But Watts would be chagrinned to know “Joy to the World” is sung today as a Christmas carol, because he wasn’t thinking of the birth of Christ when he wrote it, but of our Lord’s return and the golden age that would follow the second coming.  Jeremiah, David. The Book of Signs (p. 364). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

This statement, in the opening of the Millennium chapter of The Book Of Signs, is either made in ignorance or is dishonest.  There would be nothing wrong with Dr. David Jeremiah saying that the millennium is how he interprets this hymn, but to imply that Isaac Watts had the dispensational view in mind when he wrote it is wrong.  To begin with, the dispensational theory that Dr. Jeremiah endorsed was developed about 100 years after this hymn was written.  Although it would have been possible for Isaac Watts to have written it from a Historic Premillennial point-of-view, he was a Postmillennialist.

The Meaning Of The Millennium

If we fail to understand that postmillennialism was the dominant eschatology in the 18th century during which this hymn was written, and that author Isaac Watts himself was an ardent postmillennialist, one could see how it could be assumed that Christ’s second coming was Watt’s intent behind the Christmas hymn “Joy to the World” and not his first coming.

But first, simply notice the tense of the song is not future. Watts could have easily written, “Joy to the world the Lord will come” or “the Savior will reign” or “He will rule the world”, but he didn’t. The fact that he chose not to, fits perfectly with his inaugurated postmillennial eschatology. The song is intentionally written to highlight and celebrate the present, earth redeeming imperatives of Christ’s first advent. The Old Testament picture we are given by the prophets of Christ’s first appearing is that it was a cosmic event, forever altering the course of history.  Postmillennial Worldview

The Meaning Of The Millennium

The Book Of Signs goes on to explain four purposes of the Millennium.

The first purpose is said to reward God’s people.  Yes, we know that God, in His grace and generosity, will reward His children for what they do according to His will.  While we are sometimes rewarded in this life, the final and eternal rewards will be handed out at the Second Coming.  The Judgment for the Christian is a joyous time of celebration.  While The Book Of Signs quotes several verses that speak of the Christian’s reward [Is. 40:10, Matt. 16:27, 25:24, Rev. 22:12], not one of these verses links the reward with the millennium.  These are put into the millennium due to a preconceived end times theory, not because that is what these Scriptures teach.  Read them for yourself.

The second purpose is to “respond to the prophet’s predictions.”  I admit I fail to see the logic of this reason for the millennium.  The idea seems to be that we must have a millennium to fulfill these prophecies, but that is not a reason for the millennium, for if God didn’t already have a reason for the millennium, He wouldn’t have given the prophecies.  

It’s difficult to make sense of large parts of the Old Testament if we expunge the Millennium from God’s program for the ages.  Jeremiah, David. The Book of Signs (p. 368). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

The Book Of Signs quotes verses like Ps. 72:11, Is. 9:7, 60:21 and Luke 1:32-33.  Dr. David Jeremiah and his dispensational friends must have a literal millennium IF their interpretation of these and other Scripture is correct.  However, considering that most of the scholars for most of church history have applied these Scriptures to spiritual Israel [i.e. the Church], it is highly possible that the dispensationalists are misapplying these Scriptures.

The third purpose is to “answer the disciple’s prayer.”  

The Millennium is also the time when the Lord’s Prayer—or, as I like to call it, the Disciples’ Prayer—will be completely fulfilled. Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:10, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Jeremiah, David. The Book of Signs (p. 370). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

Dr. David Jeremiah does not appear to believe that the prayer of Jesus and millions of Christians will be answered before the return of Christ.  If this isn’t going to be fulfilled before Jesus personally returns to rule in a supposed millennium, why are we praying it now?  Why did Jesus teach His disciples to pray this?  Does this mean the rest of the prayer won’t be answered until the millennium?  Don’t we need our sins forgiven and our daily bread now?

The fourth reason is to “reemphasize man’s depravity and the necessity of Christ’s death.”

The population of the earth will enjoy a thousand years of teaching and testimony and peace, yet it will still end in rebellion.  Jeremiah, David. The Book of Signs (p. 371). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

So not only do Jesus and the Holy Spirit basically fail in this present age, but Jesus ruling over perfect people at the beginning of the millennium is so incompetent that by the end of 1,000 years, the earth is in total rebellion.  This is a very low view of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  Is this really the picture the Bible presents?

Do we really need a millennium to show us man’s depravity and the necessity of Christ’s death?  Didn’t we see that when God had to flood the earth?  Didn’t we see that in the Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities?  Didn’t we see that in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?  Didn’t we see that in AD 70?  Didn’t we see that in two World Wars?  Etc.  Do we really need a millennium to show us man’s depravity?

I don’t see where one of these “reasons” necessitates a literal, dispensational-style millennium.

What Will The Millennium Be Like?

In conclusion, we are presented with five profiles to show us what the meaning of the millennium is and what living will be like then.  This will be a time of peace, a time of prosperity, a time of purity, a time of prolonged life, a time of personal joy.  Remember that even though life is so wonderful, our King is portrayed as so mismanaging this time that He ends up with a full-blown rebellion on His hands.  I would not want to stand before the King of kings and Lord of lords and explain this theory of the millennium. 

Additional Reading

What Is The Millennium Reign Of Christ


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