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What is the Millennium?

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
February 9, 2020 11:00 am

What is the Millennium?

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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Bubbles with you if you would Revelation chapter 20. Look at verses 1 to 3 this morning that I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand. The key to the bottomless pit and a great chain and he saves the Dragon that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years and threw them into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for little while.

Spray heavenly father we come before you today with passage to study and to deal with. That is one of the most controversial passages in the entire book of Revelation. We pray father you give us wisdom and direction and insight that we might understand clearly that we might know that this is a passage Lord that is not just written for the first century Christian.

It's a passage is not just written for that last group of Christians that will be living on this earth before Christ returns, but that that particular passage Lord is is a passage for every child of God in every generation may we see it, may we understand it, may we take heed to it, may we believe it may, we trusted and may it be life changing for us. We love you today. Jesus, we thank you for your love and goodness to us. We pray that you guide us and direct us through this passage today that Jesus would be honored that this congregation would be helped and edified, and it's in Jesus holy and precious name we pray.


You may be seated six years ago I sat in Sunday school classroom Eugene Oldham was teaching and Eugene was teaching that particular time on the Pentateuch. The first five books of the Bible that particular Sunday he was teaching on the creation story in the book of Genesis and he shared with us at that time that there were theologians who believed that the creation of the earth moon, the stars, the heavens, the universe took place in six literal 24 days and then on the seventh day God rested.

He said there were other theologians who believed what is called the day age theory where they believe that each day is a picture of long periods of time, perhaps millions or billions of years is another theory called the, the framework hypothesis after complicated even try to get into. In this sermon, but what we believe here at Grace with the leadership here at Grace.

The session, the teaching elders and the ruling elders here at Grace believe that God created all in six literal 24 hour days now while we take that stance, we take that stance because you must interpret Scripture.

According to the John or in which that Scripture was written. We believe that all Scripture is true, it is all God breathed, it is all infallible. It is all in errant is all absolutely trustworthy, but the genre determines how that Scripture is to be interpreted. We believe that the book of Genesis is a historical book and that that should be interpreted literally.

And it's very important to do so. The Gospels are historical books and the Gospels you have parables that are to be taken symbolically but we are told that this is a story that Jesus is teaching but the events in the Gospels are to be taken absolutely literally, in other words, Jesus was literally born of a virgin. Jesus literally turned water into wine. Jesus literally raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus literally died on the cross, Jesus literally bled and shed his blood on that cross.

Jesus literally was raised from the dead.

Jesus literally ascended into heaven, and I remember Eugene saying if you taken a historical book and you try to force a symbolic hermeneutic on that passage, then you are dead wrong and it's going to lead you to some bad conclusions. Thus, we believe in a six day literal 24 hour creation. As I started the study on the on the book of Revelation. I thought back to what Eugene said that day and I thought well this is interesting because I'm gonna have to do in Revelation. The exact opposite of what Eugene said to do in in the book of Genesis and that's so important.

I lunch with Steve McCullough this week and Thursday afternoon we had lunch together as we were eating we were talking about biblical interpretation, and Steve said to me said, you know, Doug. It's a lot of times. He said people asked me said Steve, do you believe you take the Bible literally and Steve said that he would always say to them. I believe that the Bible is absolutely true. I believe it is the God breathed in errant infallible word of God.

I believe that every every book in the Bible is true of every statement in the Bible is true. Every word in the Bible is true.

Every jot and tittle of the Bible is true, but if I try to interpret literally a passage of Scripture that the Holy Spirit has given to us to be taken and interpreted symbolically that I do great error to that text. Pay said Jesus said I am the bread of life you'll take that literally is Jesus a loaf of bread. What did he mean he means eyeing your sustenance. I am undernourished or I am your life giver Genesis is a historical book, take it literally with the book of Revelation is a book that is written in apocalyptic language and it is absolutely field with symbolism. Now that was not strange to the people in the day and think what were living in the day that John wrote the book of Revelation. They had the Old Testament and John uses over 500 Old Testament references and where he takes scriptures that were taken from apocalyptic passages like in Isaiah and Ezekiel and and Zechariah and Daniel in the takes those passages I out and those people understood it late seated.

They had the Old Testament background and they it didn't seem strange, it didn't seem weird to them that John would be using that like it would be to the American mind today book of Revelation is a tremendous book is one of my favorite books in the Bible is a book that is filled with promise in Revelation chapter 1 verse three.

The Scripture says this Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep these things which are written in it for the time is near. In other words, you will be blessed by God by reading this book by hearing this book and by obeying this book.

I love the book of Revelation. It excites my heart.

It thrills my soul and it increases my fear of God. It decreases my fear of man and it helps to median and purification amount in heart and my sanctification as I contemplate the second coming of Christ, be honest with you.

It's a difficult book and it's a difficult book, for it is written in apocalyptic language. It was written cryptically and weight which means it's filled with symbolism and in imagery, and it was done that way for a purpose in order to hide the meaning of it from the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire at the time, John wrote it was terribly persecuting the church of Jesus Christ not share this with you before, so if you remember to stick with me, but I want to get across is truth to you today because this is tremendously important to give you little illustration about a a man who was a an older man. He was a she repairman a shoe cobbler had this little shop and he he ran the shop and put his he was Christianity. He would put little signs up in a store that had Bible verses on it. Everybody knew that he was a believer.

One day a seminary professor walked in to get issues fixed and he walked TNN and via the cobbler and had his Bible that was still out on the counter where he been screening the Bible was in the book of Revelation seminary professor came up and he looked at the Bible in later and he kinda smiled and looked over at Leo she cobbler set up so you read the book of Revelation. He said yes that's right said let me ask you something that you understand and the end and the shoe cobbler said yes sir understand seminary professor got my is it what you mean. You understand that I'm a seminary professor he's been studying the book of Revelation for the last 30 years I studied the Greek language the original language I've read, the best commentaries are set at the feet of some of the most learned theologians still don't understand the book of Revelation what you mean. You understand it you understand it when you think it means in the shoe cobbler looked at up at him and smiled and said it means this Jesus wins, Jesus wins brothers and sisters. That's it. That's right. That is what it means no matter what millennial view may espouse no matter what hermeneutic you may try to apply to Scripture. The truth of the matter is, the book of the Revelation means that Jesus wins folks. He defeats the beast he defeats the false prophet, he defeats the armies that hate him.

He defeats the false religious system. They do things. The world system to defeat Satan. He defeats death. There a lot of themes in the book of Revelation, but the one you must remember is this Jesus wins the three points I want to share with you today.

Number one is what is the millennium. Look at verses 132 then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding his hand. The key to the bottomless pit and a great chain and he sees the Dragon that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for thousand years. Today, as we start digging into Revelation 20. Let me say this, I do not believe that the millennium is a literal 1000 year period of time a period of great golden age, so to speak, and that it will take place immediately after the second coming of Jesus Christ. I do not believe that I believe that Revelation chapter 20 verses 133 is a summary a synopsis or reiteration of the first 19 chapters the 1000 years is a symbolic prophetic picture of the church age. From the first coming of Christ to the second coming of Christ. Now share with you before that I used to be a premillennial dispensationalism I was that for about 20 years first 20 years of my of my Christian life I read plants Larkins book dispensational truth that was filled with charts and I was almost like a Bible to me.

I studied the books of John Wolford and Dwight Pentecost and Ann CI Scofield and and Hal Lindsey and Salem carbon and a host of others, and a host of others. I am now and have been for 35 years what is called an all millennialist and I've had people to question me and pulled it if you just read some of these dispensational books. You wouldn't think that way. Let me assure you I have read the box and I know what those books I have preached that for 10 years I described that with the more I study the more holes I saw when it and the more I realize that it just wasn't true.

It wasn't what the Bible was teaching and it was absolutely dangerous. So how should we interpret the book of Revelation because it is written is apocalyptic literature, you must acknowledge that you are to be dealing with a lot of symbolism. The first person Revelation 11 says this Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave them to him to show it to his servants, things which must shortly come to pass, and he sent and signified that means made known, symbolized show through symbols by his angels under his servant John, one of the first questions that must be asked is this is this book of Revelation meant to be understood as laid out chronologically and what do I mean by that.

When you read the book of Revelation. You started Revelation 1 read all the way through to Revelation 22 and see one of the taken place in session in imperfect succession, one after another after another after another after another. If you interpret the book of Revelation. That way you will have a lot of problems because you can see Jesus Christ coming back. The second time several times you go to see the final judgment taking place several times to read it chronologically just does not make sense at all.

I believe that the best way to view the book of Revelation is to view it through a method of interpretation that was often used in apocalyptic literature or that is called progressive parallelism or progressive recapitulation of what is that it says the book of Revelation is to be divided up into seven chapter divisions, each chapter division is a picture of the same thing.

It's a picture of the church age. From the first coming of Christ to the second coming of Christ. What are the chapter divisions. Chapters 1 through three chapters 4 through seven chapters 8 to 11 chapters 12 through 14 chapters 15 and 16. Chapter 17 through 19 and then chapters 20 through 22. Each division is a picture of the church age see it from a different perspective, but it's the same picture of the same time from the first coming of Christ to the second coming of Christ have used this illustration before but again it really helps me to understand how this works out Everest been watching a football game on TV and all of a sudden there's a controversial play, one that where the referees are not sure exactly how to call the play and so they start doing replays and they should show the replays from different angles. There might be an angle from the top, where they got a camera on a wire way above are there might be an angle from behind the quarterback and from behind the defense or from the right sideline from the left sideline is a show all these different route replays all these different reviews. Then when you take it altogether. You got a pretty solid picture of what really happened. I remember this year watching Clemson football game and there was one of our receivers that made a diving catch and it was good enough for the first down. I can never jump it yeah yeah that's right.

And then the coach from the other team called a timeout. Said he wanted to review. I said sit down touch. I was a first day on and know he wanted to review so they got it and they started showing the different angles and one angle they showed the ball when it was being passed before he got to the receiver right before he got the receivers hands. It hit the ground, then bounced in his hands and he took it in.

From my standpoint where I was watching on TV. It looked like a perfect catch, but when I saw it from that angle I saw didn't catch it all, and it was in the catch and it was in the first damn books. The different angles brought out the truth and that's important and that's why we have the seven different divisions of Scripture that show us the same thing.

So here know they are not all they're not different second comings of Christ, they are not different final judgments. It's the same story from different viewpoints, emphasizing different things. We have a view from heaven we have a view from Earth. We have emphasis on the beast and the and and and the false prophet. We have emphasis on Satan and his activity.

We have emphasis on Jesus and the church.

So you read revelations like you would seven different little books and read them in succession, one after the other. So you see in the same time. From different perspectives and it's amazing how that will and how helpful that is. As you go from one division to the next, you get more intensity and you get more information brothers and sisters I'm sold on on the fact that that's the best way to interpret the Revelation, it makes sense. If Otto follows the pattern of how to interpret apocalyptic literature it has no room for dates setting or silly speculation. It exalts Christ, and it brings comfort and peace and boldness to the believer. It was, not just written to that first group of Christians that John was living with and it was not just written for that last group of Christians that last generation that will be here on earth when Christ returns. It is written for every generation is written for every Christian. From the first coming of Christ to the second coming of Christ, the millennium is not a future time. It has to do with right now and the emphasis in this chapter. In chapter 20 is on Satan and his activity in Christ and his ultimate victory over Satan like .2 is the binding of Satan equipment verse three and threw them into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so they might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for little while if the binding of Satan. If that means that Satan is rendered inoperable that he cannot attack us that he cannot oppress us that he cannot influence us.

It is absolutely hands-off that he can't touch us anymore then what I'm just said is crazy, it can't make sense that can't be the way it is because you know and I know that Satan is alive and well and he is carrying out his his hope to kill, steal and destroy Satan right now.

Today we know what he's doing. He still temped in the alcoholic to go and take a drink. It'll be okay everything will be fine. He is tempting. The husband is unhappy in his marriage. Go ahead and have an adulterous affair that will be all right. It'll make you happy. He is tempting as he whispers into the ears of Christians you can afford to tie the tips. The teenage girl has by by saying to her, you need to go ahead and have an abortion that your only hope I out detention to a temps up husband who is totally depressed temped to go ahead and commit suicide. That's the best way out. He still encourages the science professor to mock God's truth in Genesis 1, he still puts fear in the hearts of God's children that we can't trust God in times of trial. In times of trouble. This passage in no way is denying that Satan is alive and well that he is very operable that he is still very much in the business of killing, stealing and destroying as Peter said he walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. So how should we view this when it says that Satan was bound during this thousand years or during the church age. How can we say that he is bound verse three says that Satan is bound that he might not deceive the nations any longer, and when did that happen that happened at the cross. It happened at the cross in the Old Testament time, there was only one nation who had the truth and that was Israel.

Israel had the word of God.

Israel had the true holy traditions elite Israel have the profits of the priest Israel had and all of this, they had God's word right before them. They had the light. The rest of the world was in darkness, the Gentile world had no truth.

They had no truth.

They had no like they had no hope until the cross and the cross changed everything. We share a few verses that back this up. John chapter 12 verse 31 through 33. Now is the judgment of this world.

Now the ruler of this world be cast out. And I when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. Jesus said that when he would be lifted up from the earth, and that means crucified that the ruler of this world who is Satan would be cast out, that were cast out is basically the same word that is used as bound in Revelation chapter 20 verse three.

So when Satan is cast at her when he is bound he what he what happens.

What happens is Jesus said I will draw all people to myself. He is bouncing the can't deceive the nations any longer, and Jesus drawls all people that did mean every person, but it means all kinds of people, people from every tribe, kindred tongue and nation will hear the gospel understand the gospel and come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior. Two more passages in Matthew 1228 to 29 but if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God is come upon you, or how can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the strong man then indeed he may plunder sales, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ bound Satan in his ability deceive the nations. He couldn't do it any longer. When Jesus died and was resurrected after that before he ascended, he gave this command to his disciples go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, the son of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.

And low I am with you always, even to the end of the earth on the day of Pentecost. After Jesus ascended on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to empower the church for what purpose to take the gospel to the four corners of the earth. And because Satan was bound bound at the cross, we were able to do that is a church and are still doing that very same thing today. This is also what Paul was alluding to in plot seems to verse 13 through 15 says and you were dead in your trespasses and the circumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in EM. As I said before Satan is binding does not mean that he's in operable or ineffective or not in influential or cannot suppress us were not saying that it all.

He is effectively doing much damage today. It just means that he can no longer hide the gospel from the Gentile world.

Joel Vicki gave the following illustration. If you go to someone's house ring the doorbell and are greeted by person holding a ferocious looking dog on a leash, you hardly dared enter the house. But when the person says it's all right. I've gotten that gives you enough confidence to enter in the same way the Lord Jesus says the it's all right. I've got Satan in the future are letting loose a little season, but right now of guiding now is the time to evangelize the world.

Now is the time to convert the Gentiles.

Now is the time to preach the gospel to every living creature, the devil is a frightening sight, but I've guiding so off you go before Lord's coming, the devil held sway of the nations before Jesus came. The Gentiles were in utter darkness, but now that Christ is died and risen again and poured out his spirit. Satan's power over the world is curtailed and defeated.

That is the binding of Satan. Highpoint number three is millennial glory, millennial glory. I want to close with some discernment with illustration by an millennial reformed pastor is from California and he was invited to Nigeria to preach to a very very persecuted Nigerian church, so he went and he went to to this church he got there early that morning before anybody got there. He just wanted to see everything and he watched as over a thousand Nigerian Christians came into this church, one by one and sat down. They sat down on backless peas. They had joy on their face. They had great anticipation in their hearts as they prepared themselves for worship. He said the following differences between his church and their church just, entered his mind and he said he thought about what those differences were like. He said this building that they were in was a Leica O ratty looking warehouse that was leaky look like it was going to fall in no stained-glass windows no air conditioning. No Patty Pease. He said they started singing in their music that signing was a different rhythm from the music that that he was used to. He said their services were long. Nobody had watcher is not a clock anywhere around. I didn't care how long we were there, but then he said as a service got started. The differences started fading. He realized that they were preaching from the same book.

It was different language.

It was the same book, God's Word, the Bible and he realizes they were worshiping the same God Jehovah God, the triune God the one God, who manifest himself in three persons of father the son and the Holy Spirit, and that he also noticed that when he mentioned the cross.

This people's eyes welled up with tears just like our eyes will up with tears. When we hear about the cross. These people were persecuted, many of them had spouses that had been martyred for their faith. Some of them right before their eyes. Many of them at houses that been burned down.

Many of them had children that had been taken stolen and taken to be slaves under the Moslems. All they had ever known was a persecuted Christianity, the prosperity gospel would not fly in that church. The naming claimant preachers would not last a minute in that church to come to Christ to Nigeria was to come to die to suffer and to experience pain says he prepared to preach. He asked himself this question. What kind of word can I bring to help these Nigerians. He said cannot say hey I can relate. You guys I because back when I was in the fourth grade.

I can remember telling the whole class that I was a Christian and I got mad at me and wouldn't let me play ring around the Rosie with him so I can relate to you and your persecution while what experience of persecution. Could any of us draw from that would help them and not demean the dignity and enormity of their suffering, so he decided to preach that morning on the very same passage that I'm preaching to you today on the millennium the thousand years, and he said to this. These people, the millennium is not some future Golden age.

This cannot happen after Christ returns. None.

He said the millennium is right now from the first coming of Christ to the second coming of Christ. So many preachers and use the book of Revelation and then use it to set dates and make silly speculations so many other preachers have used the book of Revelation to share with people. Don't worry about persecution Godzilla rapturous side of this mass and were not going to have to worry about suffering, were not going have to worry about persecution that can help the church in Nigeria. He didn't think so.

I don't think so either know we said this is a John's vision of the millennium is a word from God for every generation. And for every Christian. If you don't see that and if you don't embrace that, then you're not going to get the practical good of what John's giving us in this vision, folks. John's vision of the millennium, spoke to the Christians in Smyrna who were being burned at the stake. Years later, it spoke to the Puritans who were being thrown in prison and beaten years later it spoke to Elizabeth Elliott and she had experienced the martyrdom of her husband who was speared to death by alkyd Indians and this millennium is spirit still speaking to the Nigerian church today who is being terribly persecuted, even as I preach this message and what does it say say hey don't worry. Just don't worry about all this. You're going to be rapture layout. Don't worry about persecution here. It's your best life now is that with the millennium is no is is you are not suffering from note you may be persecuted. You might die for Jesus sake. But bless God. Satan will not win Jesus wins, Jesus wins and no matter what you're going through right now Satan is not going to prevail. Christ is going to prevail.

Christ is going to triumph.

Jesus said on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it puts if you die you will reign with Christ in glory. This world is not your home.

You are just passing through, so lift up your heads, don't be depressed.

Don't be defeated. Don't whine, don't expect the world to love you. Just remember this, Jesus wins, Jesus wins in all hail King stopping a man a man is pray. Heavenly father. What a glorious passage we have today in Lord we should be excited about this. Even if were going to persecution, even if terrible things are happening around us, even for experience suffering you're still on the throne.

You will always be on that throne and you will always win praise you Jesus, thank you for loving us. Thank you for the blood that saved us from our sins. Thank you for the glory that we get to revel in and help us Lord, that our dependence might be totally completely and assuredly in you and is in Jesus name I pray, amen

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