The 1,000 year reign


#1

I am trying to fully fathom the 1,000 year reign(Revelation 20:1-6) being now, and not in the future, but I am stumbling over certain issues.
Verse 4 says, in part, “I saw the spirits of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and the word of God, those who had never worshipped the beast or its image nor accepted its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life again and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” The antichrist(beast), in my understanding, is yet to come. So, how can this thousand year reign be present tense, when people who will be in Heaven with Jesus for the time of this reign seem to be people of the future?
Also, if we are to view the devil as being chained up for a thousand years as being now, on the grounds that the Gospel is being spread, then will there be a time in the future, prior to the Second Coming of Christ, where the devil will be released(verse 3) and the Gospel not be able to spread? Where will the Catholic Church be at that time, if such a time exists? What Scriptures or early Church writings can be used to support the idea of such a time existing on Earth? Will infant Baptism cease to exist at that time? We are guaranteed that the gates of hell shall not prevail over the Church(Matthew 16:18.)
There are obvious flaws to the idea of a pre-tribulational rapture, and obvious flaws to the idea of a future 1,000 year reign(“He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,” not to set up an Earthly Kingdom, reign 1,000 years, and THEN judge the living and the dead.) So, no matter how I look at it, Revelation 20:1-6 has me confused. I realize that the Catholic position is that we are in the 1,000 year reign now, but can someone please explain my above questions? I am not trying to be antagonistic, but I just don’t get it. Thanks.


#2

I don’t believe your questions are antagonistic at all. The Apocalypse is a supremely difficult prophecy to understand. St. Dionysius of Alexandria confessed “The darkness of this book does not prevent one from being astonished at it. And even if I do not understand everything in it, that is only because of my incapability. I cannot be a judge of the truths which are contained in it or measure them with the poverty of my mind, being guided more by faith than by understanding. I find them only surpassing my understanding.” And St. Jerome famously quipped, “In it there are as many mysteries as words. But what am I saying? Every praise of this book will be beneath its worth.”

I wonder if St. Augustine’s reading might not assist you. That Holy Doctor does not limit his identification of the beast to the Antichrist. In fact, the Antichrist is yet to come when the beast is “unbound”. But it would be a whole treatise to address all your points and much simpler for you just to read Augustine for yourself.

The easiest way to get the drift of Augustine’s interpretation would be to read chapters 7-9 in Book 20 of his “City of God”. While recourse to St. Augustine, or any of the ancient exegetes, will not solve all difficulties, I do think you will be edified by their analyses.

May God bless you!

Before Reading the Holy Scriptures

COME, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful

and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.

Send forth Thy spirit and they shall be created.

And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Let Us Pray.

O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

After reading the Holy Scriptures

LET me not, 0 Lord, be puffed up with worldly wisdom, which passes away, but grant me that love which never abates, that I may not choose to know anything among men but Jesus, and Him crucified. (1 Cor. 13:8; 2:2.)

I pray Thee, loving Jesus that as Thou hast graciously given me to drink in with delight the words of Thy knowledge, so Thou would mercifully grant me to attain one day to Thee, the fountain of all Wisdom and to appear forever before Thy face. Amen.

(Prayer of St. Bede the Venerable.)


#3

Take a look at this book review.

As Sungenis explains it, the 3.5 years will come, and Christianity will continue during that time; though under much greater attack. After the 3.5 years, comes the 2nd coming, judgement, New Heaven and Earth, etc. There is not a prolonged period of time between.

Mark Wyatt
www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com


#4

Actually, and I was surprised to come across this,
even though the Augustinian view (amillenialism) is the prevailing view in the Catholic Church, it has never been solemnly defined as being the ONLY 100% correct view.

The Marian Movement of Priests believes that the 1,000 year reign may be a Eucharistic Reign of Jesus for a long time (1,000 years) preceded by a “first resurrection” of the bodies of the just.
They do not, however, believe that Jesus will come to earth in his body and rule from Jerusalem as premillenarian rapturists hold.

Jaypeeto4
+JMJ+


#5

I helps not to read it as literally as Fundamentalists are wont to do when it’s convenient for them to do so. 1,000 years didn’t mean “precisely one millennium” to Jews reading Daniel—how could it? That’s a LOOOOONG time by any measure.

Again, read David B. Currie’s “Rapture”—very thorough, very compelling.

To be a premillennialist is to torture Christ’s assurance that the Son of Man would return to judge the Sanhedrin within the lifetimes of some of the apostles present. This occurred when the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D.

Christians of the time clearly got this—that’s why they fled to the mountains before the Romans began slaughter in earnest.


#6

I’m by no means trying to be antagonistic. I’m just confused. When exactly did Jesus make this claim? What Scriptures can be used to support it?


#7

Well, a Catholic doesn’t have to absolutely beleive that the Millennium is now. For behold, the dragon now uses materialism as a false prophet, and yet, Christ is still reigning in heaven.

Secondly, the beast and false prophet can apply to any great age of sin in human history, from the Fall to the very end. Scripture is multi-layered. Personally, I don’t think Augustine’s amill is the best solution. It’s almost full allegory. But chiliasm, which is literal, is not even possible.

I suggest this, how about a solution that is PARTIALLY allegorical. So then we are living right now in Revelation 13, even though there is no literal antichrist. For behold, even though this is not the end of the world and the Big Guy AC is not here, again, whenever near total spiritual darkness encompasses the world, there is the “beast and false prophet.” So, in a sense., the modern atheists and relativists are those with the “mark.” They scoff at religion and say that secularism is the messianic promise. They say, “who is like the beast and who can wage war with it?” (What can compare to the promise of secularism and assumed utopia of undermining life and sex, playing god). But behold, the vials are coming, the Minor Chas. The world will be plunged into a dress rehearsal for the end of the world, being shown the lie for what it is. But when the consequences come, when man’s job is to feed the slop to the pigs in the great famine, they will ask, “how did I get into this? I know what I will do. I will go back to Father and say I am not worthy.”

So then, when they repent, all the Gospel will be restored, fully back the fullness of faith, the CC, and so then figuratively, Jesus will throw the beast and false prophet into the fire and the devil will be chained, because, humanity having experienced the consequences of sin and doctrinal error to the full, they will embrace the Gospel like never before. Hence, a spiritual resurrection of the faith of those who receieved not the “mark”, and reign of Christ not merely from heaven but on “earth”, because His grace will rest in most men’s hearts.

But behold, the dragon must come out a final time, for the further humanity journeys from the Minor Chas in history, the less their butt stings from the spanking, and they forget how bad it was. So in their final arrogant laxity, they will let the devil out of his prison, they will fall away a SECOND time, but this time they don’t have an excuse. They were shown once, and the world almost ended because of it. So the second falling away is the real end, when Revelation 13-16 gets played over again. After that, Jesus literally returns to judge the living and the dead and usher in the New Creation.

That’s just my take on things, but I’m not the Church. Currently, the question is still open, and admittedly, the Church has tended to not believe this and has preferred Augustine’s take.


#8

<<Actually, and I was surprised to come across this,
even though the Augustinian view (amillenialism) is the prevailing view in the Catholic Church, it has never been solemnly defined as being the ONLY 100% correct view.>>

This is incorrect.

Chiliasm (belief in an earthly millennium) was explicitly repudiated at the Council of Constantinople–the 2nd council. This is why “Whose Kingdom shall have no end” was inserted into the Creed.


#9

Well, now wait. YES, chiliasm is untenable. But you commit logical fallacy: the only other option besides chiliasm is amill. Not true. We KNOW that we cannot be chiliasts. What the person you quoted suggests is not the same as chiliasm. Although, admittedly, believing in a literal resurrection of the just prior to the end of time is quite nutty. That’s why I think my suggestion is far more plausible as an alternative to amill.


#10

Matthew 24:

25: Behold, I have told you before.
26: Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27: For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28: For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
29: Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31: And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32: Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
**34: Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. **


#11

That verse 24:34 is a tough one, but I see Matthew 24 as prophesizing the tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ. When he says, “this generation,” could he not possibly be referring to the generation that experiences the preceding events, as opposed to the generation that existed at the time he prophesized the events? That seems to be the more logical way to unterpret it. I have a tough time accepting that this has all been fulfilled before 70 A.D., in that there was no technical “Second Coming of Christ,” at that time, and these verses seem to be indicating a literal Second Coming of Christ. Our creed even says, “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” 70 A.D. was prior to the council of Nicea, yet the Nicean Creed speaks those words in the future tense.


#12

Christ was speaking of a time 30+ years in the future. Keep in mind that the apostles all believed Christ’s return to be imminent, largely because Christ spoke of it as imminent.

In the Olivet Discourse, Christ answers to separate questions. The second is what will happen at the end of time. The first describes what happened to the Temple.

The Temple has been destroyed and has not been rebuilt in over 2,000 years. Would Christ, who knew the future, not comment upon this? Of course he would, and he did.

The error in thinking that the Temple would be destroyed at the end of time is what causes Fundamentalists to believe that it will be somehow rebuilt. They essentially are trying to reset the clock back to conditions which existed in the 1st century. In this, they are no different than the Jews who presume the Messiah is yet to come, when he has already come.

It should also be noted that the Darbyist view that many Americans at least nominally hold to came VERY late—19th century. We should rightly be skeptical of such new “discoveries”, particularly when they depend on a colossal ignorance of history.

As noted, Christians at the time understood this prophecy and headed for the hills before the Romans came as a result.


#13

As noted, Christians at the time understood this prophecy and headed for the hills before the Romans came as a result.

What’s kinda fascinating is that Jesus said, When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that her desolating has drawn near and flee into the mountains.

Now, how could the Christians FLEE if the city was surrounded?
Simple.
The Romans SURROUNDED Jerusalem in 66 A.D. and the Christians took note of the situation. Then, as mysteriously as they had come, the Roman armies ended the seige and LEFT.
The Christians FLED Jerusalem and Judea immediately and remained in their sanctuaries of refuge, including Petra.
Four years later, the Romans came back, surrounded the city again, and this time utterly destroyed it, in 70 A.D.
The believers in Jesus took his prophecy at His word and
were out of the city and spared from the horrific carnage that took place in 70 A.D. which included the destruction of Herod’s
Temple of Jehovah on Mount Moriah.

Jaypeeto4
+JMJ+


#14

Since chiliasm doesn’t teach that Christ’s kingdom will end, this seems dubious. I find it hard to believe that something held by almost all the Fathers of the first few centuries could be considered heretical. The Catechism’s definition of “millenialism” seems to fit postmillenialism rather than premillenialism (premillenialists do not believe that the millenium will come as the result of the actions of the Church Militant). I do not see why a non-dispensationalist premillenialism (which does not claim that Christ’s kingdom is limited to the Millenium) is incompatible with Catholicism.

If the phrase in the Creed irejects premillenialism, it would also reject Augustinian amillenialism, since obviously the period of grace defined by St. Augustine will also end. Rather, the phrase appears to reject the idea that Christ’s kingdom is to be identified primarily with any temporary period, no matter which interpretation of Rev. 20 is adopted. I entirely agree with that. (Presumably the millenialism condemned by the Creed would hold that at the end of the millenium Christ will hand the kingdom over to the Father and will no longer reign.)

Edwin


#15

I’m not trying to be difficult, and I am TOTALLY against John Darby’s pretribulational rapture, but I am still having a difficult time viewing the events of Matthew 24 as having been past tense. Look at verses 29-31, in particular. That didn’t happen yet. Verse 2 did happen, however. Are you suggesting that the “great tribulation” has already happened? Again, I’m not trying to be argumentatitve, but trying to understand this.


#16

Yep, and the Christians in Jerusalem would have prayed that their flight would not be on the Sabbath. After all the gates of the city were closed on the Sabbath and there was no getting in or out.


#17

29-31 did happen. The Temple contained a representation of the heavens. The Jews certainly underwent a great tribulation during the wars with Rome—aside from the Temple being destroyed, I believe it was estimated that hundreds of thousands of Jews died.

In many ways, it was the end of the Jewish world, and the tribes certainly mourned it. Keep in mind that this is the event which led to the eclipse of Judaism by Christianity.


#18

Keep in mind that, as it’s already been stated, Jesus is answering two different questions. Look at the verse carefully.

Jesus left the temple area and was going away, when his disciples approached him to point out the temple buildings.
2
2 He said to them in reply, “**You see all these things, do you not? Amen, I say to you, there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” **3
As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, 3 the disciples approached him privately and said, “Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be of your coming, and of the end of the age?”

Now can you see the two different parts of the question? For the disciples this would have all been in the future. For us, 2,000 yrs removed, some of it is in the past and some of it is in the future.

Have you ever researched the Jewish/Roman war of 66/70 A.D.? I think it will help you deal with this better if you do. I have done some research on it. It was an extremely gruesome time for the Jews. Doing a little research on this war should help you understand why some of this has already come to pass. The destruction of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem would have made the Christians and Jews feel as if the stars were falling out of heaven. The world would have seemed very dark to them. Many of the Jews lost their lives during this war. Not just at the hands of the Romans but also at the hands of their fellow Jews.

I also want to second the recomendation for David Currie’s book “Rapture”. He walks you all the way though this stuff.


#19

I appreciate how you are all trying to help me on this, but I must admit that I’m still rather confused. I see the two part question in verse 3. Am I to say that verses 4-35 answer the first part, while verses 36-42 answer the second part? I see verse 31 as paralleling the events of 1 Thessalonians 4:16, using that trumpet blast correlation as showing how the “rapture” will take place after the tribulation, not before it. In what way did “the Son of Man come on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” in 70AD? I see that as indicating the future Second Coming of Christ, not a symbolic understanding of a past event. He needs to remain in Heaven until the time of universal restoration(Acts 3:21) Again, I am very open to truth, and not set on one particular view, but I hope you can all see where I am stumbling on accepting the 70 A.D. explanation for Matthew 24. Has the Catholic Church officially declared that these are past events, or is this merely the take of the author of the book you are recommending?


#20

There will be no Rapture. The Rapture is an error which started with Darby. Fundamentalists conceived of the Rapture to keep from implying a third coming of Christ—thus he comes on a cloud, but does not descend to Earth, while the faithful float up and meet him midair.

Christ was warning his disciples that they would endure the tribulation themselves. He cared for these men, after all, and knew that they would endure great suffering in bringing about his kingdom. By misinterpreting this as eschatological in the sense of it being the physical end of the universe, Fundamentalists worked it into the Rapture, which would spare the truly faithful the tribulation. Given that Christ repeatedly warns that the faithful will suffer greatly, the error ought to be obvious.

I suggest reading these passages without the Rapture baggage.

As noted above, the judgment of the Sanhedrin presages the Last Judgment, but is not the Last Judgment, when the world itself will become the Kingdom of God in its fullness, death will pass from us, etc.

Christ was asked two separate questions and answered two separate questions.


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