The Thousand Years: Where’s That Again?
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Adapted from a chart by Clarence Larkin. All Scripture references are from the Rapture Study Bible, co-authored by John Darby and Francisco Ribera, S.J., and C. I. Scofield.
The belief a “secret rapture” and a literal 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth is a new teaching popularized by John Darby around 1830. They teach two great resurrections: a resurrection of believers only at the “secret rapture,” then another resurrection, that of unbelievers, after Christ’s 1,000-year reign on earth. These teachings have no Biblical basis whatsoever.
Larkin’s chart cites several passages as proof: Daniel 12:1, Matthew 25:31-46 (The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats); Matthew 13:39-43 (The Parable of the Wheat and Tares or Wheat and Weeds); John 5:28-29; and Acts 24:15. A great majority of evangelicals believe this popular eschatological scheme, but they don’t even look at these verses. They just assume that these teachings are right because they cite so many Bible verses.
The Scripture references to all of the passages in the chart is hilarious, because they all contradict the two resurrections that Larkin is teaching. For example, in The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, Christ sits on his throne in heaven and judges all the nations. He separates all the people into sheep (believers) on his right and goats (unbelievers) on his left. Now, how can there be a 1,000-year-gap between the resurrections of these two kinds of people when they all appear before Christ on Judgment Day? This is the impossibility I’m illustrating here:
Here are the Scripture references from the English Standard Version. As you will notice, there is no mention anywhere of a millennial gap between resurrections:
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever (Daniel 12:2-3).
The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace … Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Matthew 13:39-43).
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24:29-31).
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left (Matthew 25:31-33).
Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment (John 5:28-29). Notice the parallel to Daniel 12:2.
having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust (Acts 24:15).
Here’s the parallelism between Matthew 24:30-31 and Matthew 25:31-32:
|Matthew 24:30-31||Matthew 25:31-32|
|Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man … with power and great glory (v 30).||When the Son of Man comes in his glory … then he will sit on his glorious throne (v 31).|
|And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (v 31).||… and all the angels with him … Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate … the sheep [elect] from the goats (vv 31-32).|
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