Editor's note: This column is part three in a series about the biblical end of days and the book of Revelation.
Some people do not distinguish between things that happen on a physical level and things that happen on a spiritual level. This includes the things people wrongly associate with the second coming of Christ. They expect to see these events happen on a physical level.
Some people think Jesus has yet to establish his kingdom and will do so when he comes the second time. But Jesus has already set up a heavenly kingdom in the sense He reigns from heaven. His present kingdom is His church.
The millennium -- one thousand years -- and the kingdom of Christ are the same thing.
So, does the Bible say there is a millennium? It does. And the millennium is now.
"I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
"I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years" (Revelation 20:1-6).
As you just read, the following things happen during the millennium: Satan is bound, the first resurrection happens, Jesus reigns, we are reigning with Jesus. And again, the millennium is this day and age. These things are happening now.
There are three main views of the millennium. Much can be said about them, but we will just have a brief summary here.
Post-millennium believers believe the millennium is in the future. They think Christ's second coming will follow the millennium.
Pre-millennium believers believe Christ will come before the millennium, and that he'll reign from the Middle East.
I am an a-millennialist. We a-millennialists believe there is a millennium, but that the blessings that come with it are spiritual, not physical. We believe Jesus established his spiritual kingdom when he came the first time and that it exists, presently. The number 1,000 symbolizes the time in between the first and second comings of Jesus – the church age. The binding of Satan, etc., occur in a spiritual way.
Jay Craig of Shelbina, Mo., has worked with Shiloh Christian Children's Ranch for nearly 40 years. He's a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Craig attended Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Mo. He can be contacted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.