O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

     These last words of Christ in John 19:30 - "It is finished" - have been tossed back and forth on this site before in another post as to their exact import.  Traditionally, I too was taught that this was Christ's triumphant announcement from the cross that salvation's work was completed.  

     There's just one problem with that interpretation, which  some of you have also noted.  Paul declares most emphatically in I Cor. 15:16-17 that if Christ be not raised, our faith is vain and we are yet in our sins.  The legal provisions for our salvation were not wrapped up with Christ's death on the cross.  In real-time, they were finished when a bodily-resurrected Christ came near to the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:13-14) and did his high-priestly work by offering his own blood sacrifice on our behalf on a heavenly mercy seat in a heavenly temple (Hebrews 9:12).  To stop short of this complete process is to ignore the types laid out in the Mosaic law regarding the offering of sacrifices, and consequently renders them meaningless.  

     Now for the actual intent of this post.  I have come to the conclusion that this announcement with Christ's dying breath was intended to tell us that the literal-thousand-year millennium was closing down at that point in time.  Christ himself had given his disciples advance warning of this in John 12:31.  Speaking of his death which was a mere five days away, he said, "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out."  If you go to Revelation 12:9, you can see the actual details of this "casting out".  After an angelic conflict between Michael and his angels versus the Dragon/Old Serpent/Devil/Satan (pick your label of choice - they're all there) and his angels, they are cast out of heaven, no longer to have access there, once the shed blood of the Lamb overcomes them (Rev. 12:11).  "Now is come salvation", it says, once Christ's power to "take up his life again" had been manifested (Rev. 12:10 and John 10:18).  Not before then (i.e. at the crucifixion).  

     The "judgment of this world" Christ warned of in this John 12:31 verse comes to pass with the Rev. 12:12 judgment of those who inhabit the earth (land of Israel) and the sea (Gentile nations as well).  This judgment is defined as the devil (and his angels who were cast out of heaven with him) coming down to the earth for a  short time (33 AD - 70 AD) to persecute the church in great wrath (Rev. 12:13), and to deceive the nations (Rev. 20:8) - which is both the inhabiters of the earth and the sea being afflicted.  

     Jesus gives his disciples another warning on the night of the last supper, reminding them once more that "...the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me." (John 14:30).  Again, this refers to the very near post-millennium "coming" of the devil down to the earth for a "little season" (Rev. 20:3) which would last from 33 AD - 70 AD.  There is actually a symbolic reason for the darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour at which time Christ died.  The "power of darkness" (Luke 22:53) was about to be loosed on the world to wreak havoc.  

     I realize there are many whose concept of the millennium's time frame is a symbolic term only, and not a literal thousand years.  They have proposed, for one example, a 40-year period or less, closing with September 70 AD when the city finally falls.  After considering this proposal, I cannot reconcile this idea with how Rev. 20:3,7 presents it.  The thousand years are "fulfilled" and "expired" when Satan is loosed out of his prison. This has the strong connotation of an actual time clock, with the exact period of time ticking away until the alarm goes off - not a vague, figurative term which can be loosely applied to any symbolic amount of years whatever.  Is there anyone who would like to apply this same symbolic estimate principle to the expiration date on your package of hamburger?   Consider this also: if Satan is loosed for a short time after the millennium to incite the nations to battle, how can this happen if the millennium is wrapped up at the final 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem and it's temple?

     So, if the claim is made that a literal thousand years is intended, and that it's culmination is announced when Christ declares "It is finished", one would have to back up a thousand years prior to 33 AD to arrive at a terminus a quo.  That year would match up with the date which many have connected to Solomon's temple foundation being laid down (968/967 BC).  I have seen other dates assigned to this event, but for the moment, follow my pattern of logic here.  Please note my emphasis on the word foundation, because scripture puts a particular stress on the day, month, and regnal year for laying the foundation of Solomon's and Zerubbabel's temples.  God is using his highlighter pen.  He uses these two temples as foreshadowing, leading to the revelation of Christ as the real foundation and cornerstone of his own house.  Just after Pentecost, Peter is claiming that Christ has already become that cornerstone (Acts 4:11-12).  

     Here is how I see scripture dividing up the millennium into the beginning, middle, and ending, in simple terms.

                                                      Millennium beginning 

Solomon's temple foundation being laid (968/967 BC)  (II Chron. 3:1-2 and I Kings 6:1,37)  Solomon, meaning "peaceable", son of David, is a type of Christ, The Son Of David, the Prince of Peace.                                               

                                                      Millennium middle

 Zerubbabel's temple foundation being laid (536 BC)  (Habakkuk 3:2 "...revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.") (Ezra 3:8-11) ( Zech. 4:9 "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall finish it...")  Zerubbabel, in the genealogy of David, "chosen servant" of God, is ancestor to both Mary and Joseph.                                          

                                                       Millennium ending

 Christ, the true temple foundation being laid (33 AD) (I Cor. 3:11 "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.")  (I Peter 2:6 "...Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.")  (Acts 4:11-12)                                                      


 During this entire 1000 year period, from 968/967 BC - 33 AD, Satan's deception of the nations became limited (Rev. 20:3).  If "the entrance of thy words giveth light" (Psalms 119:130), and the prophets of the Old Testament all begin their messages with "The word of the LORD came to the prophet     X    ", I would say that the ministry of the prophets - both spoken and written - was a major means God used to dispel the darkness of ignorance among the world's nations.  Ever hear how far the wisdom of Solomon extended throughout the known world in his time?  All kings of the earth were said to have heard his wisdom which God had given him (I Kings 4:34, I Kings 10:24).  Ever hear of Mordecai's effect on the Persian empire in it's entirety once Haman's scheme to annihilate the Jews fell flat?  A mini revival of sorts.  (Esther 8:17, Esther 9:3-4)  Remember the decree by Darius after Daniel's deliverance from the lion's den: "Then King Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth...I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom, men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God..." (Dan. 6:25-227).  Nebuchadnezzar's very public acknowledgement of his personal humiliation for seven years at the hands of God (when he was given the heart of a beast) is also a testament to God's power for everyone in his empire to see.

     All these examples give indication of a broad-spread knowledge of the God of Israel going out through the nations during this period of history.  A knowledge of God isn't necessarily the equivalent of a Godly response to this knowledge, but it does mean that ignorance of God is dispelled.  The deception of the nations is curtailed by this means.  Satan is put on a "chain" so that his deception of the nations is limited until he is allowed his "little season" after 33 AD to practice wholesale deceit in the world - his chief occupation as the "Father of Lies".      

     So, how does one explain how the martyred souls of Rev. 20:4 manage to "live and reign with Christ the thousand years" under this literal-thousand-year proposal?  I would borrow the language of Romans 5:17 for an explanation.  "For if by one man's offense death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ."  Same type of living and reigning as described in Rev. 20:4.  "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him" (II Tim. 2:12).

     Look at it this way: the millennium was like a drop-in party going on from 968/967 BC to 33 AD.  During this thousand years, newly-martyred attendees were continually arriving at the door to join the celebrating souls already there.  You don't have to automatically presume that every one of these Rev. 20:4 martyrs are reigning from start to finish during this time - although some coming from King Solomon's temple era would have done so - they just become participants in the thousand-year drop-in party sometime during that bracket of time.

     Some of these martyrs toward the last were beheaded (John the Baptist, for example).  All of them "loved not their lives to the death" and were willing to surrender their lives for the word of God or for the testimony  of Jesus.  Read Stephen's words of condemnation to those about to stone him (Acts 7:51-52).  "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?  and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One."  Again, in II Chron. 36:16 - a condemnation of the people of Israel before the exile - "But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets..."  These slain and persecuted ones lived and reigned with Christ as souls in heaven during the millennium, but did not rise to live again in their resurrected bodies until the first resurrection, which followed the millennium's end at Christ's death.  

     And the timing of this first resurrection?  This, I believe, is the saints-only resurrection of Matthew 27:52-53 in 33 AD; those who were raised as flesh-and-bones bodies and were seen in Jerusalem by many. No unrighteous dead are included in this first resurrection, which is why there is a blanket statement that this "remnant (LOIPOS) of the dead" who have a  part in this  particular event are "blessed and holy" (Rev. 20:6).  I see no unrighteous exceptions being raised here to live again in this first 33 AD resurrection, but I do see it happening a little later on in a second resurrection event in 70 AD  of the just and the unjust (Acts 24:15, and Daniel 12:2).  Both of these first and second events I see including physically transformed bodies arising out of the dust.  Yeah, I said it.

     How else would Hymenaeus and Philetus get the idea that the resurrection was already past?  They were remembering the highly-visible 33 AD event, and they presumed that one was the sum total of all resurrection hopes that would occur.  They didn't realize it was only a small sample of another resurrection on an even larger scale that would occur in their near future.  As we can expect yet another third one in ours at history's end.  Yeah, I said that too.  

     One phase of the millennium I am certain I have never seen discussed elsewhere is the middle of it.  I stumbled onto this as I was poring over dates for the four decrees by the three Persian kings concerning the restoration of the Jerusalem temple and the revival of the people after the Babylonian exile.  It needs a separate blog post to do it justice, though, so I'll develop the idea in another post to follow. 

     Because I think it is not only the middle of the millennium, but the middle of history as well.



Views: 449

Comment by Patricia Watkins on November 25, 2014 at 6:11pm

Hi Doug,

Thank you for taking time to post a comment.  Let me offer an analogy that hopefully might help explain why a limited 1,000 year reign for the saints does not imply a limit on Christ's kingdom.   Great Britain has both a monarchy and a Parliament.  The individuals filling these positions of governance are occupying them on a temporary basis only, albeit for individuals in the case of the monarchy, for a longer duration.  The kingdom of Great Britain does not cease to exist with the turnover of it's governing powers, any more than the kingdom of Christ ceased to bear rule when a portion of it's souls that dwelled there and reigned with Christ were raised to live in a resurrected form on earth in 33 AD.   Or try this comparison: a university does not come to an end with each graduating class.

And the "restoration on the earth" question?  I don't want to exceed the language describing the characteristics of this 1,000 years, so I can't ascribe to an idea that includes a "restoration" on the earth.  The language used in Rev. 20 only describes how Satan's ability to deceive the nations is chained.  A "chain" is describing a tightly restricted ability to operate.  Satan's chief job description was to be a liar from the beginning.  To chain him was to curb his favorite activity of keeping the citizens of this world ignorant of God and his righteousness.  This is why I went into some detail giving examples from Solomon's temple foundation time onward until Christ's resurrection where the knowledge of God and the Hebrew faith is elevated to empire-wide awareness levels.  When you have the "head of gold", Nebuchadnezzar sending a decree to all within his realm where he extols the God of heaven and lifts him up as the ruler of all kings on the earth, you can't set up any better PR for the Almighty than that.   We have story after story from Solomon's time and forward showing how the knowledge of God and his laws going across the empires under the various world rulers became well known in every corner of the known world.  Daniel's major influence at court played a part in this effect.  The writings and sayings of the major and minor prophets who operated during this 1,000 years were also a major contribution in dispelling the ignorance of God and his laws.  As I said before, knowledge of God does not equal a godly reaction to it.  But the language of Rev. 20 does not call for or describe a world-wide godly reaction to Satan's deception being bound.   It's simply that the "times past of this ignorance that God winked at" were being phased out during this literal 1,000 years.  God could then reasonably call for all men everywhere to repent.

Comment by Doug Wilkinson on November 26, 2014 at 12:47pm

I'm not sure how the Bar Kokhba revolt is supposed to challenge my position. 


Comment by Doug Wilkinson on November 26, 2014 at 12:51pm


Jesus' resurrection is not part of what is described in Rev. 20 as the "first resurrection."  I suppose they are connected indirectly since if Jesus wasn't resurrected then neither could other people be later on.  But, he's not the subject of resurrection in that passage.  And, there there is nothing in that passage that implies that anyone participating in that resurrection was from a period before the 42 months of the Beast just before the Parousia.  The only people in the passage who participate are those who were beheaded for not taking the mark in the 42 months just before the Parousia. 


Comment by Doug Wilkinson on November 26, 2014 at 12:54pm

Other Doug,

If what you are saying is correct, you cannot be on board with the standard FP approach to the millennium.  In that system, the millennium definitely comes to an end by 66AD.  My proposal is that the "forever, forever and ever" reign of Daniel 7:18, 25 and Revelation 22:5 are actually the thousand year reign of the Saints from Rev. 20:4.  That allows it to be an open ended period of time starting at the resurrection and vindication of the saints at the Parousia.


Comment by Doug Wilkinson on November 26, 2014 at 12:56pm


One point on your response to the other Doug, the thousand year reign of the saints is not the reign of Christ per se.  He started reigning when at his session to the throne, presumably immediately after the ascension.  The reign of the saints is a different matter.  Per Daniel, it doesn't start until their vindication at the resurrection.


Comment by Stephens Bubble on November 27, 2015 at 4:51am


 I believe any resurrected saints mentioned here in Rev. 20 are some of the ones Paul is directly referring to in I Thess. 4:17 who are alive and remain until the 70 AD coming of Christ.  They are the true "left behind" ones who are caught up together in the clouds with their newly-resurrected fellow believers in 70 AD.  

I do not buy the notion propounded by many that any resurrected persons depicted in scripture just simply die again physically at a later date.   God doesn't do half-baked resurrections.  Once saved, always saved.  Once resurrected, always resurrected is the pattern in Romans 6 among other references.

So the man who was thrown into the grave of Elisha (approx 9th century BC) and was resurrected stuck around till 70AD............? Are you sure!

Comment by Patricia Watkins on November 27, 2015 at 8:54am

Hi Stephens Bubble,

Am I sure of this point?  Most definitely, if the words of Christ to Nicodemus have any reliability.  In John 2:13, we have Jesus stating most emphatically that "...NO MAN HATH ASCENDED UP TO HEAVEN, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven."  As of that point in time, no resurrected person had ascended to heaven as yet.  

It was critically necessary that Christ be THE FIRST to come before His Father in a resurrected body form in order to fulfill the title of "Firstbegotten From the Dead" (Rev. 1:5).  The entire symbolic type of dedicating the firstborn to the Lord under Mosaic law was because the firstborn was the one to "open the matrix" - symbolic of opening the path of access to heaven for the rest of the resurrected children of God to follow.  Christ fulfilled that symbolism to the letter.

To be firstbegotten, or firstborn MUST entail this appearing in the presence of the Father.  "...THIS DAY HAVE I BEGOTTEN THEE", in Psalms 2:7 is speaking of the day of resurrection and Christ's ascension to His Father.  And yes, the first ascension of Christ was on the same day of His resurrection.  The forty-days-later ascension from the Mount of Olives was not the first appearance of a resurrected Christ in Heaven.  

If you need two scripture witnesses to this point, here is another in Rev. 15:8.  The context is describing the sign in heaven introducing the seven angels with the seven vials, representing the complete, entire set of judgments that would be poured out on that generation.  The seven vials are handed over to the angels, "And the temple (in HEAVEN, as in v. 5) was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power, AND NO MAN WAS ABLE TO ENTER INTO THE TEMPLE, TILL THE SEVEN PLAGUES OF THE SEVEN ANGELS WERE FULFILLED".  The context surrounding Rev. 11:15-19, with the corresponding seven trumpets, presents the same idea, only with less specific language. 

As bizarre as this point may seem, no resurrected person, according to the John and Rev. passages was able to ascend into heaven and its temple before the last vial was poured out.  That would even include an Enoch and an Elijah, or the bodies of any other saints resurrected in the OT times or any saints resurrected by Christ and the apostles during Jesus' earthly ministry before His death.  If you are interested, I will respond with some proof concerning Enoch and Elijah's never ascending to heaven before AD 70, which might be better introduced as a subject in another post.  

Comment by Stephens Bubble on November 27, 2015 at 9:48am

Hi Patricia,

I felt Doug's argument was exemplary and sound right up to the point where......................he starts making it up. His personal belief of people raised from physical death, never die again, I don't find credible. If Doug is right Lazarus wouldn't have spent the rest of his life dodging a bullet.

I agree with your analysis of First Born From The Dead.............very sound, in the order and quality of Christ's Death and subsequent Ascension,.

  • I guess where we part company is that The Resurrection which The Prophets Patriarchs foretold was The Hope of Israel and Abraham. Ezekiel's vision is definitive in describing exactly what that hope was and how God was going to Resurrect it.  God speaks to people who are alive and in exile, who were speaking figuratively about their situation. Resurrection is about bringing that people back into The Land. Paul / Hebrews identifies that promised land as Christ Risen.

I just don't think the idea of a physical resurrection is very satisfying or scriptural for the following reasons:

  • Why would the physical body need to be resurrected / redemeed? It's not evil.
  • Heaven isn't a terrestrial's a State of Being. God is the ground of all being / Christ is The promised land.

People are so concerned as individuals that I feel they miss the point of the Corporate Nature of Christ. Because He lives..........I live also. There is no resurrection apart from Christ's. We are resurrected in Him and His Resurrection, at conversion, as you rightly point out through being Born Again of God's Spirit.


Comment by Patricia Watkins on November 27, 2015 at 12:18pm

Hi again Stephens Bubble,

It is definitely a minority opinion on this site, but I do hold to the physical resurrection of the human body - 3 of these resurrection events, as a matter of fact, as I have presented on other posts.   Lazarus would have been one of those who ascended to the Father in the AD 70 resurrection, as one of the "alive and remaining" saints who were caught up to heaven with the newly-resurrected saints in AD 70.   It explains the whole dilemma of the "rapture" of the church verse in I Thess. 4.  Nothing but resurrected people participated in it - NO LIVING PEOPLE WERE CHANGED OR TRANSLATED.  The language of 1 Cor 15 has been totally misunderstood.  Only the dead are spoken of as being changed to incorruption in the I Cor. 15 context.  Enoch is the lone example of translation that we have from OT times.  And even he had to wait until AD 70 to ascend to the Father's presence.  

I agree that Heaven is not a terrestrial state.  It is a celestial location, with the glorified body of Christ in residence.  Paul called it the third heaven.  Wherever Christ is, THAT LOCATION is our true promised land.  We have the "earnest of our inheritance" now by the inhabiting presence of the Comforter.  He is ANOTHER comforter than Christ (John 14:16) - I believe in Greek the earnest of the inheritance, (the Holy Spirit), is called the "arrabon".  It's the promissory note that we possess until the final redemption of our personal body at the end of human history.  Collectively, the whole house of Israel already experienced this redemption in AD 70.  Ezekiel's vision of the valley of the dry bones was not only a prophesy of the restoration of their nation to the land after the Babylonian exile, but also a prediction of a physical resurrection for the whole house of Israel as well.  In Isaiah 26 the prophet speaks of this resurrection out of the dust for his people as well as for himself personally.  "Together with MY DEAD BODY" they would arise, meaning that he expected to participate in this resurrection himself along with them.  

You have stated that there is no need to resurrect the human body, since it is not evil.  I agree that the flesh is not inherently evil, anymore than wine sitting in a bottle is evil, or the pixels that make up a pornographic image are evil, or the ink used on a piece of paper that makes a lying statement is something evil, etc. etc.  It is the use to which the particular item is subjected that makes the difference.  But this body of flesh, if purchased by God with the blood price of His Son, ultimately does not belong to me or anyone else but the Purchaser.  Are you saying that Christ would pay the ultimate price of His own blood for something, merely to discard it forever in the dust?  Who ever buys something and doesn't expect to have their purchased item given to them at some point?   Most Full Preterists claim that the planet will never be destroyed.  Why would the flesh of the purchased saints, made of the dust of this planet, be any less important to God than the globe itself?   The whole thrust of the argument in I Cor. 6:19-20 for sexual purity while in these bodies of flesh, is to stress what a profanity it is to misuse this body of flesh, purchased by God as His property, for fornication.  God cares what use is made of our fleshly forms, both now in earthly life, and in heaven's realm.  

The corporate nature of the "body of Christ" is in no way negated by the physical resurrection of the children of God.  These two realities can exist side by side in perfect harmony.  The one is a reflection of the other.  Futurists tend to downplay the corporate nature of Christ's body, while Full Preterists downplay or eliminate the physical aspect.  Neither position is correct, as I perceive scripture to present it.  

Comment by Doug on November 27, 2015 at 4:10pm

It sure is confusing being one of the two witnesses (the two Dougs) Umm. That's just a bad attempt at humor...;) But I do have problems following which Doug you all are addressing in your replies.

In any case, let me try to make my position clear using bullet points.

  • I believe the millennium started at Christ's ascension
  • I believe it ended sometime before 70AD because the persecution of the saints started just prior to that date, and in my opinion, was a part of the loosing of Satan, which occurs at the end of the millennium
  • I believe all prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD. 
  • I believe the "rapture" spoken of in 1 Thess. 4 occurred in 70AD. At that time, all saints from the OT, those who died after the ascension of Christ, and those who were alive in the flesh, went to be with Christ, and are even now in paradise with Him. 
  • I believe 1 Cor. 15 is speaking of the same event as 1 Thess. 4. 

Since I believe these things, it follows that I also have to account for the time after 70AD. So....

  • I believe the time since 70AD is the never-ending kingdom of Christ, into which I have been transferred. My body does not yet possess immortality, but my spirit does. 

Do I think I will receive some kind of "body" at my physical death? I am undecided on this, but since we see through a glass darkly, and when we meet Him, we shall be like Him, I am of the opinion we shall have some kind of body, because Jesus does! Being disembodied for eternity seems somehow less than the privilege that even the angels have, so I see no reason I cannot have a "Heavenly body"

Do us two witnesses a favor, OK? Call one of us "Doug W" and call me "other Doug" :)



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