Another Look at the Thousand Years (end times, part 3)

As I stated in my last post, end times part 2, I want to quote a noted Bible scholar, Dr. Stephen E. Jones.  I will bold his words in this article to make them easier to differentiate from the words that I have written.  In this portion from his book Creation’s Jubilee, he makes an explanation of the use of the term “thousand years” in Revelation 20.

The Thousand Years

Rev. 20 uses the term chilia (“thousand”) six times. It is often argued that the term is plural, and therefore it refers to “thousands” of years, not merely one thousand. But this argument is not valid linguistically.

While it is true that the word is technically plural, this is not how the term is actually used in Greek. It is a plural that can only be properly translated in the singular to make any sense. For example, in 2 Peter 3:8 we read,

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand [chilia] years, and a thousand [chilia] years as one day.

Here “one day” is as a chilia. The normal understanding of this parallel is that ONE day = ONE thousand years.

Let us look at other examples of how chilia is used in the New Testament. Rev. 11:3 says,

3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for a thousand [chilia] two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.

Though chilia is technically plural, there is no way to accurately translate it in the plural here. One cannot say that the two witnesses prophesy for THOUSANDS two hundred and sixty days. The same is true for Rev. 12:6, where the woman flees into the wilderness for a thousand [chilia] two hundred and sixty days.

Chilia is an adjective, and grammar requires that it agree in number with the noun (years) that it qualifies. This is the only way the Greek connects adjectives to their nouns. Thus, because “years” is plural, so also must we use the plural, chilia, in order to make the words agree.

Both the Hebrew and the Greek use plurals differently than we do in English. For example, Jacob wrestled with the angel at a place which he called Peniel. This word comes from panah-el. Panah is the singular of paniym,but panah never appears once in the Bible. The word means “face” or “presence.” The fact that the word is plural may originally have something do with the fact that we have two faces, one on each side of our noses; but the fact that it has to do with one’s PRESENCE makes the plural untranslatable. The plural is used to convey a singular concept.

My conclusion, then, is that Revelation 20 is about a thousand-year period, and that we should not disagree with the scholars without good reason based upon solid evidence that at least a few scholars can set forth.

As you can see, Dr. Jones explains the term “thousand years” here in a way that is much more logical than the way the writer of the tract explains it. I will make this post short, but I wanted to include this information so that as we proceed through the teaching, this interpretation is intact. If anyone has a better way of explaining the term “thousand years” than what Dr. Jones has set forth I would be happy to hear it.  Dr. Jones thoroughly parses this passage and reveals the true meaning, instead of making dangerous assumptions and leaps of logic.


Aside | This entry was posted in Church Teachings, Second Coming, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Another Look at the Thousand Years (end times, part 3)

  1. Hiram says:

    I think there is very little doubt after reading the above post that Dr. Jones takes a much more scholarly approach to the issue of the thousand years. It is much more carefully searched out and well proven than the rather random hit-or-miss type of interpretation given by the Holdeman writers of the tract “Does Revelation 20 Teach a Millennium.” Once a faulty foundation has been laid, it is impossible for the rest of the building to stand. Basing the validity of their amillennial stand on the incorrect interpretation of Revelation 20 and the thousand years leads to further error. In order to come to a correct conclusion of the prophecies in the book of Revelation, it is important to have correct information about a few vital issues to start with.

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