For A Thousand Years


All the names and the numbers in Revelation are symbols based on historical facts. The names are easy. Jezebel, Antipas, Balaam… But we mathematical moderns have trouble taking numbers as symbols. We are only interested in descriptions, not relationships. In the Bible, symbols describe relationships. As David Chilton observes in The Days of Vengeance [PDF], the symbolic value of someone or something is not a description of its nature, but a description of its relationship to someone or something else. Hence, as Jordan observes, Satan is both a dragon and a serpent in Revelation 12. He is a serpent to the Woman and a dragon to her children.

The debate over certain numbers in Revelation is amazing. For the meaning of 666, see here.

The thousand years of Revelation 20 is to be understood in the same way. It’s no more tricksy than any allusion to the number 42 being the answer to life, the universe, and everything in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. You have to have read the book to “get it.” [1] As Peter Leithart illustrates in Deep Exegesis, the text, among other things, is a joke.

It was a thousand years from the offering of Isaac to the day David purchased the threshing floor of Aruanah. These events occurred on the same site. It was the end of mobile worship. James Jordan’s Bible chronology shows that from the completion of the construction of Solomon’s Temple to the destruction of Herod’s Temple, it was, again, a thousand years. It was the end of Temple worship.

So, based on these beginnings and endings, what does this number mean for the gospel age, governed from heaven by the Son of God and His ascended saints? Once all this has been pointed out, it ain’t rocket science.

[1] The answer “42″ was so funny because it was totally bereft of any meaning other than a scientific description.

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3 Responses to “For A Thousand Years”

  • Daniel Franzen Says:


    If you might be so kind as to answer the question you posed at the end of the post, I would be very much indebted to you (I still don’t get it…).

    “So, based on these beginnings and endings, what does this number mean for the gospel age, governed from heaven by the Son of God and His ascended saints?”


  • Mike Bull Says:

    Hi Daniel

    It means that the administration of this age is a complete unit, just as Tent worship was, and just as the Temple worship was that succeeded it. It also means that the current administration (at least as it stands) is temporary, awaiting further glorification — when God shall be all in all. Each administration was ‘absorbed’ by something more glorious. Even the 1000 years of Temple worship was split into two by the captivity, with Ezekiel’s Temple being more glorious than Solomon’s (it was made of flesh, ie. people).

    We now know this current age is not a historical thousand years, so the number is a symbol. It denotes the beginning and the end of the church as a ‘new’ priesthood to the nations, referring to this practice of God in the Old Testament.

    Hope that answers your question. If not, let me know. On the rule of the saints see:


  • Daniel Franzen Says:

    Thank you very much, Michael. I hope you are feeling better. God Bless.