THE MILLENIAL REIGN OF CHRIST (CHILIASM) By A.R.Fausset

image of ancient crossThe despised doctrine of the future Millenial Rule of Christ Jesus from the throne of David in Jerusalem in a revived Jewish Kingdom based in Palestine ( as believed in by the Apostles and their earliest disciples) became despised precisely because of its counterfeiting by the heretic Cerinthus. It became scornfully referred to as “ Chiliasm”, and after the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., only a handful of Bishops such as Methodius of Olympus, were to find any degree of success in promulgating it… A.R. Fausset in his “ Bible Dictionary” had the following to say on the true Millenium:
“The millennium. The period of Christ’s coming reign with His saints over this earth, delivered from Satan’s presence. As Satan and His kingdom in successive stages sink, Christ and His kingdom rise (Revelation 19-20). Satan, having been foiled in his last desperate attempt to overthrow Christ’s kingdom by Antichrist or the beast, shall by the just law of necessary retributive consequence be bound immediately afterward and imprisoned in the bottomless pit a thousand years. On the same just principle they who have suffered for Christ, and not worshipped the God-opposed world power, shall come to life again and reign with Christ (2Ti 2:12), at His coming, a thousand years. Their resurrection is “the first resurrection.” “The rest of the dead live not again until the thousand years are finished: blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
Ten, the “world number”, raised to the third power, the “divine number”, expresses the world pervaded by God. Possibly the “thousand” may extend much longer than the literal number. So also (Phi 3:10.) Paul’s ambition was to “attain the resurrection from out of the rest of the dead” (exanastasis). So our Lord declares (Luk 20:35), “they who shall be accounted worthy to obtain the resurrection from the dead cannot die any more, for they are equal unto the angels, and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.” Again, to the apostles (Luk 22:18), “ye are they who have continued with Me in My temptations, and I appoint unto you a kingdom as My Father hath appointed unto Me, that ye may eat and drink with Me at My table, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Again (Mat 19:28), “ye that have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Those “beheaded (virtually or actually, literally, hatcheted) for Jesus and for the word of God” stand first; then they” who have not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands,” i.e. did not treat the world’s riches, ambitions, and pleasures as their portion. Jesus implies, in reply to the request of Zebedee’s two sons, that there are places of peculiar honour reserved by the Father for those who drink Christ’s bitter cup (Mat 20:22-23). Thus, “whosoever shall lose his life for Christ’s sake (in will or deed) shall save it” (Mar 8:35). Satan thought to destroy God’s people by persecutions (just as previously to destroy Christ, Revelation 12); but the church is not destroyed from the earth, but raised to rule over it; Satan himself is shut up for a thousand years in the “abyss” (” bottomless pit”), preparatory to the “lake of fire,” his final doom. As before, by Christ’s ascension, he ceased to be accuser of the brethren in heaven, so during the millennium he ceases to be seducer and persecutor on earth.
As long as he rules in the darkness of the world we live in an atmosphere tainted with evil physical and spiritual (Eph 2:2). Christ’s coming will purify the world (Mal 3:3). Sin will not wholly cease, for men shall be still in the flesh, and therefore death will come, but at long intervals, life being vastly prolonged as in the days of the patriarchs (Isa 65:20); but sin will not be that almost universal power that it is now. Satan will no longer seduce the flesh, nor be the “god” and “prince of this world” (Joh 14:30; 2Co 4:4), which now “lieth in the wicked one” (1Jo 5:19). The flesh, untempted from without, shall become more and more subject to the spirit. Christ with His saints, in transfigured bodies, will reign over men in the flesh. The millennial nations will be prepared for a higher state, as Adam would have been in paradise, had he never fallen (Rev 21:1-24; Rev 21:26).
This will be the manifestation of “the world (“age”, aion) to come” already set up invisibly in the saints in “this world” (Heb 2:5; Heb 5:5). As each seventh year was Israel’s year of remission, so of the world’s seven thousands the seventh shall be its sabbatism (Heb 4:9, margin). Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Cyprian, expected an earthly millennial kingdom; not until millennial views carnally confounded the state of the transfigured king-priests with that of the subject nations in the flesh, and the church itself sought a present visible kingdom with Rome as its center, instead of hoping for it only when Christ shall come, was the doctrine abandoned by the church and apostasy set in. Earth, not becoming transfigured until after the millennium, shall not be, during it, the meet home for the transfigured saints; but from heaven they with Christ rule the earth, the comparatively free communion between the heavenly and earthly churches being typified by Christ’s communion at short intervals with His disciples during the 40 days between His resurrection and ascension.
Old Testament prophecy everywhere anticipates Christ’s kingdom at Jerusalem: Jer 3:17; Isa 4:3; Isa 11:9; Isa 35:8; Isa 60:61; Isa 60:65-66; Ezekiel 37 to 48, etc., etc. He confirms His disciples’ expectation of it, but corrects their impatience to know the time (Act 1:6-8). The kingdom begins, not as the carnal Jews thought, from without, but from within, spiritually; then when Christ shall be manifested it shall be manifested outwardly (Col 3:4; 1Jo 3:2). The papacy blasphemously anticipates the visible headship which Christ shall then assume, “reigning as kings” without Christ (1Co 4:8).
“When Christianity became a worldly power under Constantine, the future hope was weakened by joy over present success” (Bengel); the church becoming a harlot ceased to be the bride going to meet her Bridegroom. The saints’ future priesthood unto God and Christ “in His temple” (Rev 1:6; Rev 5:10; Rev 7:15; Rev 20:6) is the ground of their kingship toward men. Men will be willing subjects of the transfigured priest-kings whose power is the attraction that wins the heart, not counteracted by devil or beast. Church and state will be coextensive; and the church and the world no longer in mutual repulsion. The distinction between them shall cease, for the church will be co-extensive with the world. The veil shall be taken off Israel first, then off all people, and the kingdoms of this world shall be the kingdoms of Christ (Rev 11:15; Isa 25:7). Christ’s glorious appearing, the church’s transfiguration, antichrist’s destruction, and Satan’s binding, will dispose the nations to embrace the gospel.
As a regeneration of elected individuals “taken out” from Jews and Gentiles (Act 15:14) goes on now, so a regeneration of nations then. As the church begins at Christ’s ascension, so the visible kingdom at His second advent. What the transfigured priest-kings shall be in heaven, that the Israelite priest-kings shall be on earth. A blessed chain of giving and receiving: God, Christ, the transfigured bride, i.e. the translated church, Israel, the world of nations. The outpouring of the Spirit on Israel (Zec 12:10) will usher in the new period of revelation, which has been silent so long as Israel, God’s chosen mediator of revelations, and of establishing His manifested kingdom on earth, has been in the background. God from the first, in dividing to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, set their bounds “according to the number of the children, of Israel” (Deu 32:8). Now is the time of preaching; then shall be the time of liturgy of “the great congregation” (Psa 22:25; Ezekiel 40 to 48; Zec 14:16-21; Isa 2:3).
Art and music will be the handmaids to spiritual worship, instead of drawing off the soul to sensuousness. Society will be pervaded by the Spirit of Christ. Earthly and heavenly glories shall be united in the twofold election: elect Israel in the flesh shall stand at the head of the earthly nations; the elect spiritual church, in the heavenly kingdom, shall reign over both. These elections are for the good of those to whom they minister respectively; compare, as to Israel’s mediating blessedness to the nations, Rom 11:12; Rom 11:15; Mic 5:7. The extent of rule (the “ten” or “five cities”) is proportioned to the degree of faithfulness, as the parable teaches (Luk 19:13; Luk 19:15; Luk 19:17; Luk 19:19); all vessels of glory are filled, but those of larger dimensions are of larger capacity for glory (2Ti 2:20-21; Isa 22:24).
Peter (2Pe 1:16-18) makes the transfiguration the earnest of Christ’s coming in glory (Matthew 17); it is the miniature specimen of the millennial kingdom: first, Christ in glory, then Moses a specimen of those raised from the dead at Christ’s coming, then Elijah a specimen of those who never taste death, but being found alive are transfigured in a moment (1Co 15:51-52); finally Peter, James, and John, the specimen of Israel and the nations in the flesh who shall desire the tabernacling among them of Christ and the transfigured saints: “Lord, it is good to be here,” etc. The privilege of our high calling in Christ is limited to the time of Satan’s reign; when he is bound there will be no scope for suffering for, and so no longer the reward of reigning with, Him (Rev 3:21; 1Co 6:2.).
Even during the millennium there is a separation between heaven and earth, humanity transfigured and humanity in the flesh. Hence, apostasy can take place at its close; out of the one element of evil in it, the flesh, man’s birthsin the only influence then preventing the saving of all souls. In the judgment on this, the world of nature is destroyed and renewed, as the world of history was before the millennium. Only then the new heaven and earth are perfected. The millennial heaven and earth, connected but separate, are but a foretaste of the everlasting state, when the upper and lower congregations shall be no longer separate and new Jerusalem shall descend from God out of heaven. The millennium shall be the last season of grace; for what can move him in whom the church’s visible glory, evil being circumscribed on all sides, evokes no longing for communion with the church’s King? As the history of nations ended with the church’s millennial manifestation in glory, so that of mankind in general shall end with the separation of the just from the wicked. (Auberlen, Daniel and Revelation.)
As “kings” the transfigured saints shall have subjects; as “priests” they shall have people to whom they shall mediatorially minister blessings from God, namely, the men on earth. The scene of the kingdom is not in, but “under, heaven”; on or over the earth (Rev 5:10; Dan 7:27). The kingdom shall be where the tares once were (Mat 13:41), i.e. on earth. “The meek shall inherit the earth”; like Caleb, alone faithful among the faithless, inheriting the very Mount Hebron on which his feet trod 40 years before (Mat 5:5; Num 14:23-24; Jos 14:9). It will be a time of Sabbath peace, uninterrupted by war (Heb 4:9; Isa 2:4; Zec 9:10; Hos 2:18). Even the savage animals shall lose their ferocity (Isa 11:6-9; Isa 65:25). Christ’s king-priesthood (Zec 6:13) shall be explained in the services of the glorious temple at Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40-48).
The marriage of the Lamb and bride, then begun in heaven, shall unfold the mysteries of the now obscure Song. The theocracy, or rule of God in Christ, shall supersede the misrule of earthly potentates who ruled for self. Finally, when the corrupt flesh and Satan shall have been cast out forever after the millennium, the general resurrection, judgment, and regeneration of our home shall follow.The same Spirit regenerates the believer’s soul now (Rom 8:11), his body at Christ’s coming, and his home (Psa 104:30; Rev 21:1) after the millennium. The earth, once baptized with water, shall be baptized with fire (2Pe 3:7; 2Pe 3:10-13). Earth and nature shall be regenerated, as the nations were previously in the millennium.
The saints not merely, as in it, reign from heaven over the earth; but the heavenly Jerusalem, having the glory of God, shall descend on earth, far eclipsing Israel’s Jerusalem in the millennium. The saints shall be God’s city and bride, God causing His glory to shine out through them, as the flame through a jasper colored lamp (Rev 21:10-11-23). “The nations of them which are saved,” namely, during the millennium (which will be the age of the regeneration of nations as this is the age of the regeneration of individual souls) “shall walk in the light of” the heavenly Jerusalem, i.e. the wife of the Lamb; for the elect church shall hold the primacy among the redeemed throughout eternity, because she alone shall have witnessed for Christ in the face of an opposing world and the prince of darkness (Rev 21:24).
In the primitive paradise there was but a garden with a solitary pair; but in the final paradise and the regenerated earth city and garden shall be combined, the perfect communion of saints with individual blessedness and perfection. Satan loosed no more; the saints under the blessed necessity of sinning no more; the groans of nature hushed (Rom 8:18-23); no more sea, literal or figurative (Dan 7:2-3; Isa 57:20; Rev 21:1; Rev 21:4); no more pain, crying, death. When Christ shall have accomplished the purpose of His mediatorial kingdom by bringing all things into subjection to the Father, God will be all in all. The unity of the Godhead will then be prominent, as His Trinity is now; “His name will be one,” and He will come then first into direct communion with His redeemed. Lord, hasten it in Thine own time (Zec 14:9; 1Co 15:24)……”

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