The objective of this study is to examine the 1000 years of Revelation 20:1-6 (The Millennium) an exegetical and theological topic therefore the review will be extended beyond only the biblical in terms of research and will examine the views of other scholars in this area of inquiry.
The Blue Letter Bible states the following in the Book of Revelations, Chapter 20, Verses one through six:
"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years." (Blue Letter Bible, 2014)
Clearly, the angel that descends from heaven and holding the key of the abyss is clearly holding the key to hell and this angel takes hold of the dragon, also known as Lucifer or Satan and binds this evil being with a 'great chain' which is held in the hand of the angel. The dragon -- Lucifer -- Satan is thrown into the abyss by the angel and bound there securely for a period of One thousand years. This binding of the dragon in the abyss prevents him from deceiving those on the earth for this One thousand year period.
Next stated in the Bible in these verses in the Book of Revelation is that there are thrones and those sitting upon the thrones have been granted the power of judgment. It is next related that seen are those who did not worship either the beast or the image of the beast and who had not taken the mark of the beast on their head nor on their forehead and that these individuals "came to life and reigned with Christ" for the One thousand year period. However, it is related that the other dead did not "come to life until the thousand years was completed." (Blue Letter Bible, 2014) It is stated that this "is the first resurrection." (Blue Letter Bible, 2014) Finally, it is stated that whoever takes part in this first resurrection is both "blessed and holy" and that these individuals do not fear the power of the 'second death' and will be "priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years." (Blue Letter Bible, 2014)
I. Identification of Those Who Will Reign with God and Christ for One Thousand Years
Clearly, those who are stated to be both "blessed and holy" and to reign one thousand years with God and Christ are those who are living during the time of the Great Tribulation and who do not take the mark of the beast. Many believers hold that there will be no one to come out of the Great Tribulation however, the Bible clearly states otherwise and this passage in the Book of Revelations supports this idea. The mark of the beast is not instituted in the time of tribulation until the 'Great Tribulation' or the second half of the seven years of tribulation. While many believers hold that the Church of the Body of Christ has already been raptured from earth by the time of the institution of the mark of the beast, and while there is evidence in the Bible to support this belief, clearly there will be individuals come out of the Great Tribulation who are considered in the eyes of God and Christ as being both "blessed and holy" and fit to rule with God and Christ for the thousand year period when the dragon is restrained and bound in the abyss. Some believers who study this scripture hold that the individuals who are spoken of are none other than the Jews who come to believe in Christ and refuse to take the mark of the beast during the time of Great Tribulation.
II. Examination of Various Views
The work of Christianson (nd) states that John "does not specifically tell us…who is seated on the thrones, but from the scriptures in both the Old Testament and New Testament, it appears that it must be believers, the redeemed people of God." (p.3) Christianson cross references these verses in Revelations with three other verses in the New Testament including Revelations 2: 26 which states "To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations." As well, Christianson references Revelations 3:21 which states "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne." Lastly, Christianson references I Corinthians 6:2 where Paul writes to the Corinthians stating "do you not know that the saints will judge the world?" Christianson states that the Bible "teaches two resurrections" as follows: (1) the first resurrection or the physical resurrection of believers who will reign with Christ on earth for a literal 1000 years" stated to be inclusive of all believers including those who are resurrected during the Rapture of the church and to include the martyred Saints of the Tribulation as well as the Old Testament saints. This is referred to according to Christianson as the "resurrection into life" at which time the believer's body and soul are united and the believer's body is "changed in an instant into a glorified body like Christ's." (p. 5) Philippians 3:20-21 states that the believer's "Citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glories body." (Christianson,, p. 6) According to Christianson (nd) the second resurrection takes place "at the end of the millennium and is when all those who have died in sin" or died without Christ are raised to stands in judgment before God. (p. 6) The purpose of the 1000-year reign is set out in the Book of Micah in Chapter Four and verses one through three which states as follows:
"In the last days, the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in His paths. The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide."
According to the Book of Isaiah, chapter 40 and verse 5 "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it." Christianson states that the kingdom "will be characterized by righteousness, obedience, holiness, truth and the fullness of the Holy Spirit. There will be no more heresy or false religion," according to Zechariah 13: 2. (Christianson, p. 7) Christianson states that the Millennium also has the purpose of redeeming creation and asks one to imagine "the devastation left behind from the Tribulation period. The curse placed on Creation in Genesis 3, will be removed so that there will be abundant productivity, and animal creation will return to the way it was in the Garden of Eden." (Christianson, p. 7 referencing Isaiah 30: 23-26 and Isaiah 11: 6-9)
There are various views of the scripture of focus in this study and one of the views reported is that held by such as Oswald Allis, Louis Berkhof, Abraham Kuyper, Leon Morris, reformed theologians and the Roman Catholic Church and is known as Amillennialism. Ammillennialism holds that the bible makes a prediction of "a continuous parallel growth of good and evil in the world between the first coming of Christ and the second coming of Christ. The kingdom of God is now present in…