I believe that the thousand year reign was a literal thousand year interval between Judaea’s first century war with Rome and the first crusade, the Battle of Gog and Magog. The strength of this view is that it seems to accurately fulfill Biblical time statements as well as Biblical descriptions of the Battle of Gog and Magog found in Ezekiel 38, Ezekiel 39 and Revelation 20.
However, it is a common belief among Preterists that the millennium began during Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection and ended forty year later at the fall of Jerusalem (see Is Luke 21:22 Irrefutable Proof that All End Time Prophecies were Fulfilled in A.D. 70?). Proponents of the forty-year millennium often cite two verses to support this nonliteral use of one thousand. Both of these verses are not as compelling as one might initially think.
The first is Psalm 50:10: “[F]or every animal of the forest is mine [God’s], and the cattle on a thousand hills.” Proponents of the 40-year millennium then might ask, “Does God not own cattle on hill number 1001?” However, there is no mention of “cattle” in Psalm 50:10. In the original Hebrew, Psalm 50:10 actually reads, “[F]or every animal of the forest is mine, and the Behemoth on a thousand hills.” According to Jewish tradition laid out in 2 Esdras 6:49-51 and the Midrash, Behemoth was a beast who rested on a thousand hills:
Which one is it? Behemoth, who dwells upon a thousand mountains (Psalms 40). And Ben Lakish and Yohanan said: This is one beast, that grazes on a thousand mountain, and a thousand mountain grow for it all manners of food…. and that rabbi said, it is one beast that lies upon a thousand mountains, and a thousand mountains grow animals for it to eat every day[.] (Exodus Rabba)
On the sixth day, He took water, dirt and light, and created Behemoth on the thousand mountains. (Midrash Conen)
Then didst thou ordain two living creatures, the one thou calledst Enoch, and the other Leviathan; And didst separate the one from the other: for the seventh part, namely, where the water was gathered together, might not hold them both. Unto Enoch thou gavest one part, which was dried up the third day, that he should dwell in the same part, wherein are a thousand hills. (2 Esdras 6:49-51)
The Behemoth who sits “on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10) and “feeds on grass” (Job 40:15) with a “tail” “like a cedar” (Job 40:17) does not match any creature alive or extinct. This is because the Behemoth is mythological. Since Psalm 50:10 is not talking about cattle, but rather appears to be referring to a mythical creature we cannot make “a thousand” mean anything other than “one thousand” as the idea that the Behemoth sits on a thousand hills is an important part of its mythology. To ask if the Behemoth could sit on a thousand and one hills is a senseless question. The Behemoth is a myth and if the myth says this beast sits on a thousand hills, it sits one thousand hills. We cannot say the Behemoth sits on 1001 or 999 hills as in doing so we change the myth itself.
The second verse used to support the idea that the 1000 years of Revelation 20 is not literal is 2 Peter 3:8: “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” For proponents of a 40-year millennium to cite 2 Peter 3:8 to support a forty-year millennium is the height of inconsistency and hypocrisy. How can these Christians scoff at the futurist who uses this verse to distort time to bolster the notion of Jesus coming back 2000 years after His crucifixion when they are guilty of the same sin in Revelation 20?
The forty-year millennium violates the fundamental hermeneutic upon which Preterism is ultimately based. All Preterists, myself included, believe that timing determines the nature of a prophecy’s fulfillment. Thus the Preterist hermeneutic emphasizes and is founded upon a literal interpretation of time statements above all else. So while futurists try to explain away the imminent time statements in favor of a rigidly literal interpretation of the Parousia and resurrection, Preterists by and large interpret the time statements literally and often allegorize much of everything else like the Parousia and resurrection. (Of course, I am not one of these preterists. I believe that these predictions concerning the resurrection, the Parousia and much of everything else were fulfilled in a much more literal manner.) So if timing determines the nature of the fulfillment of prophecy, then why is the Preterist hermeneutic suddenly discarded in Revelation 20? How is it that the thousand year reign of Revelation 20 suddenly becomes a symbol of a forty-year interval in Revelation 20 if Preterism is rooted in the idea that timing determines the nature of prophecy?
Aside from the tenuous idea that a thousand years could symbolize forty, the thought that the author of Revelation would make such a substitution seems unthinkable. Forty is a Biblically significant number. The former Hebrew slaves wandered in the desert for forty years before reaching the Promised Land. Jesus also wandered in the desert for forty days after His baptism. Furthermore, the number forty appears to have symbolic significance pointing to the resurrection of the dead (Hebrews 3:16-4:11). Therefore, the fact that there truly was a forty-year period from the time of Jesus’ ministry until the resurrection of dead in A.D. 70 confirms Hebrews 3:16-4:11 and hints at the underlying symbolic significance of the forty years in which the former Hebrew slaves wandered in the wilderness before reaching the Promised Land as well as the forty days in which Jesus wandered in the wilderness. Thus one of the biggest problems with this view is the unthinkable idea that the author of Revelation would substitute forty, a highly symbolic number which points to the resurrection, for one thousand, a number with no obvious significance in the Bible. Why would the author of Revelation purposely obscure the time frame for the millennium if the millennium truly was a symbolically significant forty-year interval between Jesus’ ministry and the resurrection of the dead?
Additional evidence against the idea that the millennium is anything other than a literal thousand-year interval is implied by the fact Solomon’s temple was erected sometime between 970 and 931 B.C. and the final Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70. In other words, the Temple and Temple system in Jerusalem lasted almost precisely 1000 years! Remember that the Church is the new Temple of God (1 Cor 3:16). If Jerusalem’s physical Temple and the Temple system lasted almost exactly 1000 years, does it not seem more likely that the new spiritual Temple of God in Jerusalem would exist ANOTHER literal 1000 years rather than an incongruent forty? Recall that Jerusalem became almost exclusively Christian (the new Temple of God) during the 1000 years from the destruction of the last Temple in A.D. 70 until the conquest of Palestine by the Seljuk Turks in A.D. 1071.
Beyond the questionable idea that a thousand years would symbolize forty, one of the biggest problem with the belief in a forty-year millennium is that the prophecies concerning the Battle of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38, Ezekiel 39 and Revelation 20 did not transpire during the Jewish War. Though there have been various proposals for a historical fulfillment of the predictions concerning Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39 prior to A.D. 70 among preterists and other Christian commentators, these proposals are unconvincing and appear strained and fraught with problems. And it is for this reason that the predictions of Ezekiel 38 and 39 are almost universally believed to have not been fulfilled. This creates serious problems for the forty-year millennium view. First it leaves Ezekiel 38 and 39 unfulfilled thus implying that all Biblical prophecy was not fulfilled in A.D. 70. Or worse still if Ezekiel 38 and 39 were not fulfilled in the Crusades, one is virtually forced to concede that there is an error in the Bible.
In order to evade the above problems some full preterists might assume that Israel during its first-century war with Rome is also the Gog and Magog of Revelation 20 and Ezekiel 38 and 39. Proponents of this belief would assume that Jerusalem is spiritually called Gog and Magog in Revelation 20 just as Jerusalem is spiritually called Babylon in Revelation 17 and 18, and Egypt and Sodom in Revelation 11:8. Aside from the historical problems this interpretation raises in fitting the events of Ezekiel 38 and 39 into the siege of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, there is another problem with this view. Biblical scholars have long known that Gog and Magog is in Turkey. If the prophecies concerning Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39 were fulfilled in Jerusalem during its war with Rome in A.D. 70 and not in a literal Turkish Empire, then this is the first time in Revelation that Jerusalem is given a spiritual name for another city or nation where the Old Testament prophecies concerning that nation which are applied to Jerusalem in the Apocalypse were not originally fulfilled in that literal city or nation in the past. In other words, Jerusalem is called Egypt in Revelation 11:8 because she was afflicted with the plagues of Exodus throughout Revelation which were, of course, previously inflicted on literal Egypt in the Book of Exodus. Jerusalem is called Sodom in Revelation 11:8 because she was also punished with fire from heaven (Revelation 13:13) just as was literal Sodom in Genesis. Jerusalem is called Babylon for several reasons one of which is because Jerusalem also fell as a result of enemy soldiers crossing the Euphrates (Revelation 16:12). (See Revelation 17: A Preterist Commentary.) However, in Revelation 20 Jerusalem is presumably called Gog and Magog and yet the Old Testament prophecies concerning Gog and Magog were never fulfilled in a literal Turkish Empire in the past. Thus this is the first time Jerusalem is given a spiritual nickname in which there is no fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy concerning that literal nation in the past.
One might then be tempted to believe that Gog and Magog of Revelation 20 is the Roman army since it was the Romans who surrounded Jerusalem in A.D. 70 when they besieged the city in fulfillment of Luke 21:20: “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.” It was Gog who surrounded Jerusalem according to Revelation 20:9: “They [Gog and Magog] marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.” The problem with this interpretation is that the Jews, not the Romans, were devoured by fire from heaven (Revelation 13:13). In light of the above mentioned difficulties, I believe the forty-year millennium view should be discarded. But we shall not end here, let us also address what initially appear to be the most compelling arguments in favor of the forty year millennium.
Proponents of the forty year millennium believe that Satan was cast out of heaven at the cross. Thus Revelation 20:1-3 was fulfilled in which Satan was cast out of heaven and bound in the Abyss during Jesus’ death and resurrection. According to Revelation 20:1-3, this binding of Satan signaled the start of the millennium. In support of this interpretation, John 12:31-32 and Luke 10:18 are sometimes cited. Sometime before His passion, Jesus said, “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (John 12:31-32). Likewise after the disciples cheerfully reported that they were able to cast out demons in Jesus’ name, Jesus declared, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning” (Luke 10:18). When Jesus saw Satan fall from heaven in Luke 10:18, did Jesus behold a vision of the present or of the future?
In Luke 10:18 Jesus sees a vision of the future. However, the Bible is clear that Satan was NOT cast out of heaven at Jesus’ death and resurrection. Satan is still called the god of this world even after Jesus’s death and resurrection. 2 Corinthians 4:4 reads, “[T]he god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Also Romans 16:20 reads, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” In 2 Corinthians 4:4 and Romans 16:20 one can see that Satan was still in heaven after Jesus’ resurrection.
Ephesians 6:12 echoes the idea that Satan was not cast out of heaven after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Because Ephesians was written years after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, the fact that there were still forces of evil in the heavenly realms implies that Satan had still not yet been cast out of heaven at that time.
In light of 1 Corinthians 4:4, Romans 16:20 and Ephesians 6:12 it is clear that John 12:31-32 and Luke 10:18 are examples in which the Bible predicts the future in the present or past tense as is the case in Matthew 23:38 and Revelation 14:8. In Matthew 23:38 Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 in the present tense: “Behold, your house [the Temple] is being left to you desolate!” Similarly, in Revelation 14:8 an angel warns of the future fall of Babylon in the past tense: “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.”
2 Corinthians 4:4 also contradicts the forty-year millennium not only because it calls Satan the “god of this age,” but also because it indicates that Satan was still “blinding the minds of the unbelievers” during the interval between the crucifixion and the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70: “[T]he god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God [emphasis mine].” 2 Corinthians 4:4 directly contradicts Revelation 20:3 which explicitly states that during the millennium Satan was to be powerless to deceive the nations: “He [an angel] threw him [Satan] into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended [emphasis mine].”
What about the binding of Satan mentioned in Mark 3:23-27? Was Satan bound during Jesus’ earthly ministry as proponents of the forty-year millennium allege? Or was this binding in Mark 3:23-27 referring to the time Satan was to be cast out of heaven in Revelation 12:7-11 and the saints began to reign in heaven? The future casting of Satan out of heaven is the preferred interpretation since Satan’s house or kingdom was literally plundered at that time when the saints are explicitly said to seize the Devil’s kingdom after he was cast to the earth just as is stated in Mark 3:23-27.
The fact that the binding of Satan in Mark 3:23-27 refers to an event after Jesus’ ministry (Revelation 12:7-11) is made explicitly clear in Mark 4:15. Satan could not have been bound during Jesus’ ministry per the requirements set in Revelation 20:3. This point is made explicitly clear in the parable of the sower (Mark 4:15). In this parable Satan is actively deceiving people who received the teaching of Jesus and His apostles: “Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them (Mark 4:15).” As indicated in Revelation 20:3, Satan was supposed to be powerless to deceive during the millennium: “He threw him [Satan] into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended [emphasis mine].” (Rev 20:3) According to Mark 4:15 Satan was still deceiving people during the forty years between Jesus’ ministry and A.D. 70 in direct contradiction to the fact that Satan was supposed to be powerless to deceive during the millennium according to Rev 20:3. 1 Timothy 5:15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:9 also echo Mark 4:15 showing that Satan was still actively deceiving during the forty years he was supposedly powerless to do so. The future casting of Satan out of heaven predicted in Revelation 12:7-11 thus seems to be the binding of Satan mentioned in Mark 3:23-27 in light of Mark 4:15 and the fact that Satan’s house was literally plundered at that time as the saints are explicitly said to seize the Devil’s kingdom after Satan had been cast out of heaven.
So if Satan was not cast out of heaven at Jesus’ resurrection, then when did this happen? Revelation 12:7-9 describe this event:
And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
Interestingly, a vision of a war in heaven was witnessed in Iyyar of A.D. 66 at the very start of the Jewish War. Recording this event Tacitus writes, “In the sky appeared a vision of armies in conflict, of glittering armour” (Tacitus The Histories 5.13). If this vision recorded by Tacitus is to be believed, it appears that the war which resulted in Satan being cast out of heaven mentioned in Revelation 12:7-9 occurred in A.D. 66, not immediately after Jesus’ death and resurrection as proponents of the forty year millennium allege.
Advocates of a forty-year millennium sometimes cite verses like Revelation 1:5-6 and 5:50 as evidence that the reign of the saints began immediately after Jesus’ ascension into heaven sometime around A.D. 30. Revelation 1:5-6 reads, “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever!” Revelation 5:10 is similar: “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they [the saints] will reign on the earth.” Since Revelation 1:5-6 and 5:10 mention the reign of the saints in the present tense, does this mean that the thousand-year reign was in full swing during the forty years between Jesus’ ascension and A.D. 70? No. As mentioned above, the Bible often predicts the future in the present and past tense as is clearly exemplified in Matthew 23:38 and Revelation 14:8. Furthermore, notice that Revelation 5:10 says that the saints “will (future tense) reign on the earth” meaning that they were not currently reigning during Revelation’s composition. Similarly, Hebrews 2:8 directly contradicts the reign of the saints during the forty years between Christ’s resurrection and His parousia mentioned in Revelation 20:4: “In putting everything under them,[the saints] God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them [the saints].”1
The reason the saints are not said to reign in the forty years before A.D. 70 is because this reign was to occur at the second coming. Matthew 19:28 reads, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things [the new heaven and earth], when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Matthew 19:28 indicates that apostles “sit on twelve thrones” and thus begin to reign at the renewal of all things which is the new heaven and earth of Revelation 21 and 22. This reign thus begins in A.D. 70. The same message is conveyed in Matthew 25:31-34:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world [emphasis mine].”
In Matthew 25:31-34 it is clear that the saints begin to reign after the Parousia since this is when according to v. 34 the saints “take their inheritance” which is defined as “the kingdom prepared for you.” Here we clearly also see the saints receive the kingdom to which they will rule after the second coming, not before as many full preterists allege. 2 Timothy 2:12 and Revelation 3:21 also clearly state that the reign of the saints was future to those living from A.D. 30 to A.D. 70.
Then what about 1 Corinthians 15:25-26? 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 seems to suggest that Christ and His people reigned during the forty years between Jesus’ ministry and the resurrection of A.D. 70: “For he [Christ] must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” The fact that Christ was expected to reign until death, the last enemy, was to be destroyed appears to be an allusion to Christ reigning until the second resurrection of Revelation 20 when He hands His kingdom over to the Father. Though it appears to be true that Christ reigned during the aforementioned forty-year interval as is also suggested in Acts 2:29-36, nowhere do any of these verses say that the saints were also reigning at this time (Revelation 20:4-6) before Jesus conquered death in A.D. 70. As implied in Revelation 2:10; 2:26-28; 3:21 and Daniel 12:13 the saints do not appear to reign until after their death and subsequent resurrection to heaven at the end of the age. Thus the transferring of the kingdom that occurs after Jesus conquers death in 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 appears to point to the time in which Jesus would hand the kingdom over to the Father and then that kingdom would be placed under the authority of the saints as Jesus promised He would do in 1 Corinthians 6:3, and Revelation 2:10; 2:26-28; 12:9-12; 22:5. Let’s look at Revelation 2:26-28 in particular: “To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end [of the age], I will give authority over the nations—that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star.”
Now let us look at the “enemies” who are put under Jesus’ feet in 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 and how the defeat of these enemies again points to the saints beginning to reign at the completion of the end of the age. Psalm 110 tells us that the enemies the Anointed was expected to defeat are kings and their subjects. The enemies put under Jesus’ feet is also mentioned in Daniel 7. Here we see that Jesus’ enemy is the beast. In Daniel 7:26-27 we see beast’s “power” “taken away” and then “all the kingdoms under heaven” subsequently being “handed over to the holy people of the Most High”: “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High.” Notice that it is not until the defeat of the beast (around the time of the Parousia) that the reign of the saints begins. In Daniel 7:26-27 we see that that the millennial reign of the saints begins after the defeat of the beast at the Parousia. We see the same time indicators in Daniel 7:18 and 22. Proponents of the forty-year millennium have the reign of the saints ending at the death of the beast directly contradicting Daniel 7:18-22 and 26-27.
Confirming the fact that the saints did not reign during the forty-years between Jesus’ ascension and the resurrection of A.D. 70, Revelation 12:7-12 explicitly indicates that the reign of the saints would begin after Satan was cast out of heaven. And as explained above, Satan had not been cast out of heaven until the end of that forty-year interval sometime shortly before A.D. 70 (Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:12). It should also be noted that Revelation 11:15-19 indicates that the saints would begin to reign with Christ at the resurrection at the last trumpet. Echoing Revelation 11:15-19, 2 Timothy 2:17-18, quoted above, explicitly indicates that the general resurrection had not occurred prior to A.D. 70: “Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.”
Revelation 3:21 also confirms the fact that the saints did not begin to reign prior to A.D. 70. In this verse, the church at Laodicea at the time of Revelation’s composition sometime in the mid to late sixties is told that if they turn whole-heartedly to Jesus, they will (future tense) reign with Christ: “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.” If the church of Laodicea is promised that they might reign with Christ sometime after Revelation’s composition in the mid to late sixties, this fact certainly challenges the forty-year millennium view.
The fact that the saints were expected to reign after A.D. 70 is also implied in Daniel 2. In Daniel 2:34 a stone representing Jesus (Matthew 21:43-45) strikes the feet of a statue which is a mixture of iron, Rome, and clay, Israel (Jeremiah 18:6, Isaiah 64:8). Afterwards this rock becomes a mountain representing the kingdom of God (the reign of the saints, the church) and fills the whole earth (Daniel 2:35, 44). Notice that the establishment of the church/reign of the saints does not truly begin until Rome and Judaea were struck in A.D. 70.2
Thus we see that the saints are explicitly stated to not be ruling during the forty years between the crucifixion and the second coming (Hebrews 2:8, 2 Timothy 2:12, Revelation 3:21; 5:10). Rather we see the reign of the saints said to begin at the Parousia, judgment, general resurrection and death of the beast (Matthew 19:28; 25:31-34, Revelation 2:10; 2:26-28; 3:21; 12:9-12; 22:5; Daniel 2:34-44; 7:18-22, 26-27; 12:13) This transferring of the kingdom over to the saints at the conclusion of the eschaton then makes sense of 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 when Jesus is said to hand over the kingdom after defeating all His enemies.
What about the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22:1-8? In this parable the wedding between Christ and the Church mentioned in Revelation 21:2 occurs immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem. This means that the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21-22 was to occur immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in the first century. Rather than implying that the millennium is not a literal thousand year period, I believe that this parable implies that the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21 and 22 IS the millennial kingdom! This makes sense of the fact that the New Jerusalem is described in the image of the Christian church throughout Revelation 21 and 22. The fact that the church is called the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 and 22 only makes sense during the thousand years between the Jewish War and the Crusades. During this thousand year interval Jerusalem grew to become an almost exclusively Christian city. This thousand year reign of Christianity did not, of course, exist before the first century A.D. nor did it continue after the Crusades. The Christian domination of Jerusalem existed only in this thousand year period between the Jewish War and Crusades. Thus the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21 and 22 is the Millennial Kingdom!
Perhaps the biggest argument that the millennium cannot be literal is based on the idea that the Great White Throne of Judgment (Rev 20:11-15) was in A.D. 70. And this is certainly true! This event is expounded upon in Matthew 25 where Jesus comes in glory and sits on His throne and judges the righteous and wicked. This judgment scene no doubt occurs in A.D. 70. However, as I explain in my commentary on Revelation 21 and 22 the New Jerusalem IS the Millennium. And here we have the Great White Throne of Judgment (Rev 20:11-15) occurring in A.D. 70 immediately preceding the millennial reign (Rev 21 and 22) which also began in A.D. 70 thus seeming to bolster the Literal Millennial Reign Preterist view (see Revelation 20: A Preterist Commentary, Revelation 21: A Preterist Commentary and Revelation 22: A Preterist Commentary and Why Did the Disciples of the Apostles like Polycarp Teach a Future Resurrection Beyond A.D. 70?).3
- The subject here is the reign of the saints, not Christ, since the saints are said to not be reigning but Christ is said to be reigning now as noted in the following verse: “In putting everything under them, [or him] God left nothing that is not subject to them.[or him] Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.[or him] 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
- Steven Haukdahl, (7/31/2018). Proper Preterism Facebook group [Blog comment].
- One fact about the forty-year millennium that gives me some pause is the use of thousand in Psalm 105:8-11:
He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.”
In Psalm 105:8-11 God remembers the covenant He made with Abraham for a thousand generations. As is the case in the forty-year millennial view a generation is forty years, from A.D. 30 to A.D. 70. Assuming a thousand represents forty in a symbolic or numerological sense, then the thousand generations mentioned in Psalm 105:8 in which God remembers His covenant with Abraham is forty years multiplied by forty years or 1600 years. Interestingly, Abraham died in 1600 B.C. Thus the interval from the time in which God issued His covenant with Abraham to the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28:63 in Judaea’s first century war with Rome is very close to 1600 years: “Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess (Deuteronomy 28:63).”
Assuming a thousand represents forty, the fact that the thousand generations mentioned in Psalm 105:8-11 is very close to the interval between when God issued His covenant to Abraham and the end of the Jewish War could be interesting evidence in favor of the forty-year millennium view. However, it should be stated that God’s covenant with Abraham did not truly end in A.D. 70. As stated above, after the first and second Jewish revolts of the first and second century A.D., Christians grew to become the dominant demographic in what was once called Israel or Canaan. Galatians 3:29 reads, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” According to Galatians 3:29 Christian believers are heirs to the covenant God made with Abraham in Psalm 105:8-11. Thus this covenant God made with Abraham did not truly end in A.D. 70 but continued at least for another thousand years after Judaea’s first century war with Rome when Christians became the dominant religious group throughout the former land of Canaan.