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The thousand-year reign of Christ

By Femi Aribisala
We are already over 2,000 years into the “millennial” reign of Christ

The scriptures tell us about the thousand-year reign of Christ. (Revelation 20:4-7). Is this something that has already taken place or something that will take place in the future? If it has already taken place, when did it start and when will it end?

Since it is already over two thousand years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, has his thousand-year reign already ended? But how could it have ended since believers are supposed to reign with him? Are we already reigning or are we yet to reign?

Questions, questions, and even more intriguing questions!

“Thy kingdom come”

Many Christians are still waiting for the kingdom of God to come. And yet, the bible reveals that some believers are already living in the kingdom of God. Paul says: “(God) has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.” (Colossians 1:13). This indicates believers are already in God’s kingdom.

Jesus says: “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5). So if we are truly born again, we can enter the kingdom of God. Moreover, we can enter the kingdom of God not when we die, but right now. Indeed, God wants us to leave this world right now while we are still here physically, and enter his kingdom spiritually.

Over 2,000 years ago, John the Baptist preached that the kingdom of God was “at hand.” Surely, something “at hand” over 2,000 years ago would have arrived since then. Some reason that the spiritual clock must have been stopped. But the truth is that many are simply unable to discern the signs of the times. Therefore, they fail to understand the kingdom dynamic whereby what is coming is already here.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well: “The hour is coming and now is.” (John 4:23). The spiritual abrogates time and space. By faith, everything is collapsed into “now” and “today.”

Temple of God

The kingdom of God is not going to be established at some future date when Christ is coming to establish a millennial reign. The kingdom of God was actually established among men over 2,000 years ago. Since then, believers have been entering into it. Take another look at what Jesus said: “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.” (Luke 16:16).

This confirms that things started changing dramatically with the ministry of John the Baptist. The kingdom then became wide open at Pentecost, when God started fashioning men into the heavenly mansions Jesus went to prepare in John 14. Through the presence of the in-dwelling Holy Spirit, God now dwells not only among men, but in men.

Thus, John’s prophecy has long been fulfilled: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3).

Behold your king

Jesus himself was born king of the kingdom of God that was established among men. The wise men from the east acknowledged this when he was barely two years old, asking: “Where is he that is born king of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2). But there was already a king on the throne called Herod. No! That king had been dethroned spiritually.

Is Jesus king already or will he be king in ages to come? Some Christians are waiting for him to come and establish his kingdom at the “Second Coming,” whereas Jesus has long established his kingdom and has long been acknowledged as king.

Long before Jesus was manifest in the flesh, Zechariah gave a prophecy: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; he is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9).

This prophecy was fulfilled over 2000 years ago according to the testimony of Matthew: “All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” (Matthew 21:4-5).

When Nathanael met Jesus, he said to him: “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel.” (John 1:49). When Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph, the multitude met him with palm branches, saying: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!’” (John 12:13). God even used the mouth of atheists to proclaim the kingship of Jesus. Thus, Pilate presented him to the Jews, saying: “Behold your king.” (John 19:14).

Jesus himself acknowledged the reality of his reign on his resurrection. He told his disciples: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18). If all authority had been given to Christ in heaven and on earth, then clearly his reign had already begun. Thus, Peter preached at Pentecost that Jesus was raised from the dead and exalted to sit on the throne, from where he will reign until all his enemies are made his footstool. (Acts 2:30-35).

Meaning of thousand

Don’t get confused, a “thousand-year” reign does not refer to a literal one thousand. If it did, it would contradict another scripture which states: “(Christ’s) power will never end; peace will last forever. He will rule David’s kingdom and make it grow strong. He will always rule with honesty and justice.” (Isaiah 9:7).

The scriptures are not written in Hebrew, Greek or English. They are written in spirit. Jesus’ words are “spirit and life.” (John 6:63). Therefore, it is necessary for believers to learn and understand the spiritual language of the scriptures.

When God says: “every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.” (Psalm 50:10), it does not mean he owns only the cattle on a literal 1,000 hills. All cattle on all hills are his. When Moses says God: “keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love him and keep his commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9), it does not mean his mercy runs out after a thousand generations. On the contrary, his mercy endures forever. (Psalm 118:1).

When the scriptures say God remembers his word for a thousand generations, it does not mean he becomes forgetful thereafter. Indeed, the same psalmist says God never forgets: “(God) remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations.” (Psalm 105:8). This shows “a thousand generations’ is another mode of expression for “forever.”

In none of these examples is the “thousand” literally 1,000. On the contrary, a thousand is a scriptural mode of expression denoting a highly extensive number. Therefore, when John talks of Christ reigning for “a thousand years,” it is the same as saying his kingdom will be unto the ages of the ages before he hands it over to God the Father. Therefore take note, child of God; we are already over 2,000 years into the “millennial” reign of Christ.


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