The Thousand Years (end times, part 2)

Another piece of writing that sparked my interest regarding the end times is a tract published by the Church of God in Christ Mennonite, entitled Does Revelation 20 Teach a Millennium? This is actually a small pamphlet, 32 pages in length.  Whoever wrote this article should be ashamed. The amount of deception contained therein, subtle and not-so-subtle, is significant.  If a person does no other study, and is inclined to believe every word that comes forth from the mouth of the church, a reading of this tract would satisfy all questions and and cause one to set oneself above every other Christian in the world and feel very satisfied with oneself.  However, as is so often the case, things are not so simple as they seem.

The tract starts out by quoting the 20th chapter of Revelation and then in the first part proceeding on to make an erroneous explanation of the thousand years.  In order to make a clear explanation of the thousand years, I am going to quote at length, later on, in another post, from a writer by the name of Dr. Stephen Jones.   He is a Bible scholar who teaches at length on Old Testament history and the significance of the feasts in prophecy.  A study of the end times is incomplete without a thorough understanding of the feasts.

Quoting from the Holdeman tract, we read this:  “What is meant by the period of a thousand years mentioned six times in this chapter?  We must choose one of two things, either accept these words in a literal sense, as denoting so many years of 365 days each, or in a figurative sense, as denoting a longer period of time.  That question, whether a passage is to be taken in a literal or a figurative sense is usually determined by the context.  In what sense is it to be taken here?  We note that the number 1,000 occurs in a chapter replete with figurative terms of a symbolical meaning.  Material, visible things are employed to make us familiar with things of the invisible world.  Mention is made of an angel having a chain in his hand; we are told of a dragon and a bottomless pit into which he was cast, and where he was shut up as in a dungeon, and upon which a seal was placed: and all of this for a period of a thousand years.  If anyone should be able to prove conclusively that the angel that came down from Heaven had a real, material key dangling from his side, and that he carried in his hand a real material chain, made up of a number of huge heavy iron links, that he found somewhere on a earth a live monster, called a dragon, and literally bound him with this chain, and that there was at hand a large opening in the earth through which he cast the dragon into the bottomless pit and then shut it up and set a seal upon it, we would be constrained to accept the thousand years in a literal sense also.”

First of all, let us examine one of the most obvious weaknesses in this logic.  I won’t quote all of Isaiah 53 here, but the same arguments could be made about this Messianic prophecy.  In Isaiah, Christ is depicted as a lamb being led to the slaughter.  Here we have a time in the future that is being spoken of.  The Messiah is being depicted.  What if a Holdeman writer had gotten hold of this passage back in that time and tried to claim that it is all “figurative.”  Figurative language is being used to depict an actual future event. The chapter  tells us in verse 2 “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground:  he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see  him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”  If we were to use the Holdeman method of exegesis, we could laugh at the literal interpretation of this passage and say “do you really think there is going to be an actual plant growing out of the literal ground?”  In this way we could discard the meaning of this passage and entirely overlook the coming of the Messiah.

Remember, the Bible uses figurative language to depict actual events.  The Holdeman writer claims just the opposite, that material things are used to depict spiritual events.

Look at verse 5:  “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  Could we say “do you really think he is going to be a striped sheep, and somehow these stripes are going to heal us?”  It is important to not mock the Bible and make light of the words found therein.  All of the Messianic prophecies were fulfilled, and of course looking back, the Holdeman can see that they all made perfect sense, and that they are in fact very beautiful.  The prophecies of the end time are the same, except for the fact that they are not beautiful.  They are apocalyptic, depicting a time of terrible tribulation.

In Mark 14:58 his accusers, no doubt the Scribes and Pharisees, mocked the words of Jesus.  “We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.”  They laughed at the thought that he would destroy the temple and in three days build it back up again.  In this manner they acted just like the Holdeman writers of today;  mocking prophecy simply because they did not understand it.  This is a dangerous thing to do.

Now let us continue as the tract demolishes any possibility that the thousand years speaks of a literal thousand year space of time.

The writer continues on by commenting on the book of Daniel;  the seventy weeks, the ten days, and other figurative language.  Never mind that the Holdemans also have an incorrect interpretation of Daniel; we will get to that at another time.  The thousand year period is what concerns us here.  However, the writer tries to take as proof that the number language in Daniel is figurative, and therefore the thousand years spoken of in Revelation must also be.

The next argument is that if the thousand year period is literal, then there should be an exact time when it began, and since there is no general consensus in Christianity as to when the period begins, then it must not be literal.  The fact that many writers and theologians have had it wrong does nothing to add to or to subtract from the validity of the facts.  This is extremely poor logic, the kind that Holdeman himself employs when tracing the lineage or proving pouring as the mode of baptism.  This is the flimsy foundation that all Holdeman theology rests upon.  Faulty logic. There is another useless point made on page 7 of the pamphlet.  “If we disregard for the moment the end of the period…treated later on…can we find any period of time in the history of this world of such marked distinction that we can point to it with certainty and say:  Here it began?  Is there any time which the Bible points out as being clearly distinguished from the rest of the world’s history as an era which a great deliverance shall be brought and heavenly blessings bestowed abundantly?  There is, beyond all the possibility of doubt.  All scripture with one accord points to just such an era, and what is conspicuously absent is any mention of a particular section of one thousand years characterized by a blessedness superior to that of this period in general.  All prophecy,from Genesis to Malachi, without a dissenting voice, points to the coming of the Messiah as the beginning of an era of unprecedented blessedness for all nations, to continue as long as the sun and moon shall endure.”  Here we see the writer slipping into the tendency to spiritualize.  All of the prophecies indicate a time of spiritual blessedness, but never a time in which the actual conditions in the world are addressed.  Furthermore, there are specific periods of time addressed in prophecy which have come to pass.  I will address them in the comments after this article.

This is the  problem with this assertion.  Although it is true that the gospel era is a time of peace for Christians, the peace is in their hearts.  The world around us continues to deteriorate into chaos, war and utter insanity.  This is not a time of unprecedented blessedness for all nations.  Furthermore, there are may prophecies that have not yet come to pass in this presumed wonderful age of unprecedented blessedness. Consider this one in Zechariah 10:6;  “And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off:  for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.”  This would seem to speak of a time when the Jews will be gathered together again and God will bless them as his people.  This has not happened.  They have been restored to the land of Israel, but it is not yet as though God had never cast them off.  What do we do with this prophecy, which has not been fulfilled and which is not expected by the Holdemans to have any literal fulfillment?  One answer might be that they now see themselves as spiritual Israel and this time of God drawing them to his bosom means the Holdeman people, in the gospel era.

There is another one in the 14th chapter of Zechariah;  The prophet is speaking of a time when all nations will come up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of the Tabernacle.  How can we say this is the millennial age when prophecies such as this have not taken place?  It would be tempting to discard this prophecy, as it is hard to imagine  the manner in which it will be fulfilled, but we simply cannot do that which is easy and fits our agenda.  I say this to point out that claiming that the gospel era represents the thousand years leaves us with a number of unanswered questions,  of which I have only presented two.

I know that this is a lot to digest.  I will continue in another post, and in the comments after this one.

Hiram

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4 Responses to The Thousand Years (end times, part 2)

  1. Hiram says:

    I said I would mention other time periods that were mentioned in the Bible, which were prophetic in nature, and which were fulfilled exactly the way they were written. One very obvious example is the number of times that Jesus mentioned the three days that he would be int he tomb. A I mentioned in the above post, there was an incident where he stated that he would destroy this temple and in three days raise it up again. Naturally the Pharisees did not understand this to mean his body would be torn down and then resurrected, and yet this is exactly what happened. The period of three days was accurate.

    In the days of the feasts of Israel, the Counting of the Omer was a verbal counting of each of the forty-nine days between the Jewish holidays of Passover and Shavuot. (Pentecost) In the practice of the feasts, the day after Passover, began the counting of the omer. The days were verbally counted each day, and on the 50th day was Shavuot, or Pentecost. In reality, Christ was crucified on Passover, then began the counting of the omer, and on the 50th day was Pentecost, and on the 50th day the Holy Spirit was poured out on them. These were all very specific prophecies which were fulfilled to the letter. Therefore I am pointing out that the writers of the tract mentioned in the above post were quite wrong when they disputed the fact that there has never been a specifically spelled out segment of time mentioned in prophecy which was literally fulfilled in exactly the way it was prophesied. These are only two examples. When the Bible said he would be in the tomb three days, it was three days. When the Jews were commanded to tarry in Jerusalem until Pentecost, as per the habit they had formed over they centuries as they kept the feasts, it was an exact and literal 50 days until the fulfillment of the prophecy.
    Hiram

  2. Chris Frase alias: (Set Free) says:

    Revelation 22:10-21 KJV (10) And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. (11) He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (12) And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (13) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (14) Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (15) For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (16) I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (18) For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: (19) And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (20) He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (21) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

    Need we say more ?? God forbid as He already has. This is the problem of CoGCM theology the adding to of man made rules. When it is plain that “the Letter of the Law Killeth but the Spirit giveth Life. The coGiCM and others consider anyone “outside their domain” as such in verse 15, when the fact of the matter is it is anyone that is outside of God’s domain. And when men decree what God has not decreed they are outside of His domain. There is only one other domain…whose side are “you” on ?? Do you know ? Let your Yea be Yea and your Nay, Nay. it’s either one or the other, there is no such thing in reality as straddling the fence. Hesitation as we attempt to crawl out yes but the real decision is either yes or no. When Christ calls, you either accept it or reject it. “For My sheep hear my voice and they follow Me.” Ever stop to ask the question where Christ went ?? Outside the city gates…it cost Him His life, He gave up heaven to die for us, what are you willing to give up ? He plainly states that His servants will be treated the same…if you doubt it, try following Him.

    As I see it, what is so comely considered “the bride–OTVC doctrine” is in reality an adultress enticing and deceiving God’s children. I have said “tongue in cheek” and not positively but more as a comparison to what ??? IF… as is commonly spoken in Holdeman and other circles, the Roman Catholic church is the Great Whore spoken of in Revelation then the Mennonite religion as well as “religion” in general is the Daughter of the Great Whore. I know that will offend some people and I don’t intend it as an offense. If you question it, wonderful !! I say good and more power to you…search the scriptures to see if these things are so even as the Bereans did because they were more noble.

    I know people that attend the Roman Catholic church (and I don’t purport to support the Roman Catholic church any more than any other) that are people of God, I believe and I have eyewitnessed that in any “church” setting there are children of God and that does not make the “church” setting righteous or right. Rather it goes back to the prophecy of Jerimiah 23:3 as well as the rest of the chapter. If you will observe closely, and it doesn’t take a very brilliant mathmetician, God multiplies by division. “Consider the loaves and fishes”. The early church was persecuted and scattered (divided) the result was an exponential multiplication of followers. It is the same in various countries of the world that also try to domineer and intimidate their people and dictate their religion. Does this mean there is NO truth preached over CoGiCM pulpits ? NO ! Neither does it mean there is No truth preached over Roman Catholic pulpits. If the Word of God is preached there is truth regardless of how mingled with lies it is; (Isaiah 55:11 KJV) So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
    God’s word does what He intends for it to do regardless who preaches it. True when deception is taught alongside it, there will be those that will be deceived. “Consider the parable of the wheat and the tares”. That is why it is imperitive to know the Truth so as to discern a lie. If you want to prove a point go to the word of God…NOT the bible doctrine and practice handbook or Mirror of Truth that should be burned as heresy in my opinion. Is there any truth in the BDPH or the MOT ? Of course, there are verses quoted that are from the word of God. Don’t you think Satan knows his bible ?? How did he tempt Christ ? By using the scriptures in such a manner as to tempt the Lord to worship himself rather than God. Are the scriptures the devil quoted valid ? Of course…all the Word of God is valid…there is a time and place for everything. I know a man “considered of the world” and possibly rightly so, that has gone around intimidating people by quoting his pet scriptures from Matthew chapter 5 as well as the “if thy brother trespass against you” verses. Just because it’s in the bible does not keep anyone, myself included, from twisting them to their own destruction. Hence the importance of reading with Holy Spirit guided understanding. When you read those verses about “go to thy brother alone or with another, or take it to the church”…don’t stop there…read to the end of the chapter…don’t take my word for it…search the scriptures for yourself. God is Not offended when we search for the Truth…He encourages it…(Psalms 34:8 KJV) O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
    (Psalms 118:8 KJV) It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
    (Proverbs 25:19 KJV) Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.
    Read Proverbs 3 with prayer and may the Lord give you understanding. God uses all scripture for our profit yet far too many times pet scriptures are used “out of context.” And I am not convinced that there is never a time to use a verse out of context. Just that we need to be careful to know the whole Truth “in context.” Chapters of the bible are at times divided in the middle of a thought as well as verses.

  3. Chris Frase alias: (Set Free) says:

    Consider this; “Mirror” of truth, Martyrs “mirror”, the statement often heard; I want to be a “mirror” and “reflect” the image of God, or the image of Christ.
    It is a known fact that “mirrors and reflections” are a distortion and reciprocal of the image they portray…it turns the truth around backwards but it still portrays the truth. Consider the carnival fun house mirrors that make you look fat or skinny ? I do not want to “reflect” Christ…I want Him dwelling within me !!!

  4. James says:

    I’m with you on that!

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