Israel, Jerusalem, the 1000 Year Kingdom - Part 1

With all the hysteria surrounding the conflict in Israel, it has become increasingly difficult to discern truth from fiction. This is especially so concerning the religious implications that many people want to assign to current events. Countless voices – from our next-door neighbor to arrogant celebrities, pompous politicians, and media outlets – are all parroting the mantra, “Protect Israel!” Perhaps even more concerning, are all the panicky warnings that Jesus’ “thousand-year reign is imminent!” So, what are Christians to make of all of this? Can we discern the truth?

Fortunately, the truth on this matter is easily attainable from Scripture. But first, we need to understand that the root cause of all the mania is based upon a false doctrine called “Premillennialism.” Essentially, this doctrine asserts that: (a) since the Jews rejected Him, Jesus sat up a “plan B,” called the “church” until He would return again and establish His kingdom; (b) upon His return, there would be a “rapture” and a “tribulation” preceding the establishment of His throne in Jerusalem for “1000 years.” This erroneous teaching began to be propagated by denominational preachers around the mid-19th century and has since gained more popularity through movies and books, such as the “Left Behind” series.

The fallacious ideology became so widespread that it eventually inserted itself into American and international politics. This was evidenced in 1948 when the United Nations adopted Resolution 181 (also known as the Partition Resolution), which divided Palestine into two domains Jewish and Arab) establishing the State of Israel. Sadly, the mandate only increased tensions that already existed in the region and, at the same time, inserted a misguided, unscriptural creed – the false premillennialism doctrine – as its “justification.” This is what many politicians support.

In addition to all the confusion, there are traditional Jewish beliefs that clash with Muslim beliefs. In 1541, Ottoman Sultan Suleiman sealed the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem to “prevent the Jewish Messiah from gaining entrance to the Temple Mount.” This was based on Ezekiel 44:1-3, which states the gate facing east will remain shut until the “prince may sit in it to eat bread before the Lord. He shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate and shall go out by the same way.” Muslims even put a cemetery directly in front of the gate as an extra layer of precaution, believing that the Messiah, being a good Jew, would not walk through it and become unclean in doing so. So, for almost 500 years, the Jews and Muslims continue arguing, while still waiting for the Messiah to come. Evangelicals, who believe in premillennialism, have since adopted this tradition and applied to their “1000-year kingdom” doctrine. One website audaciously stated, “the eastern gate … will be part of the future millennial temple complex. It is yet to be built.”

It is sad that all the trepidation, vitriol, and violence could be resolved if people would just read their Bibles correctly! Simple interpretation methods reveal several important points that negate all those clashes and ideologies:

  • The “1000-year reign” (Rev 20:1-10) is figurative language, it is NOT literal! It is mentioned in the middle of other figurative descriptions, such as the “beasts, the old serpent, Gog and Magog, lake of fire, Book of Life.”
  • The word “rapture” is not found in the Bible and nowhere is this doctrine taught by the disciples.
  • The tribulation, the 1000 years, and the kingdom are all in existence NOW! The church and the kingdom are the same thing. Jesus is reigning now. (cf Rev 1:9, 2:9; Matt 16:18-19; Col 1:13;John 18:36)
  • Nowhere in Scripture does it say that Jesus will return to the earth and set up a kingdom. Instead, it clearly says, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first”. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. ( to be continued)