(Risen Christ, Gerard David)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth. Eschatology- the last things.
12/16- The Millennium
1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. 4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Calvin abridged: The chiliasts limited the reign of Christ to a thousand years. The Apocalypse from which they draw a pretext for their error does not support them. The number 1,000 does not apply to their eternal blessedness of the church but only the various disturbances awaiting the church while still on the earth. Scripture says there is no end to the blessedness of the elect or the punishment of the wicked (Mt. 25:41,46). If our blessedness is temporary then the Kingdom has an end too.
Thoughts: The thousand year reign has been a great debate in the church of America. I knew the Reformed and Bible Presbyterians split because of how they viewed when the millennium would occur. Calvin tended to be an amillenialist who believed the church’s reign on earth was a long period of time at the end of which God comes back. A thousand years is not 1,000 365 days and nights. It is a symbolic time period. There has to be some way in which we describe the interim period between Christ’s resurrection and his coming again. It is described by the kingdom’s reign. Jesus said the kingdom is at hand, but he also hinted that it wasn’t here in fullness- but would be when he came back at the end of history. Jesus himself didn’t speak of a thousand year reign distinguished from his spiritual kingdom that is “within you.”
Prayer: Lord, your kingdom is here, but your kingdom is not yet here. Reign in my life today, and help me to look for your complete reign to come.