“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” Revelation 11:15
“They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4
“…the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:5
Here I am on a Friday morning, thinking about the Sunday sermon based on one of the most disputed passages in the whole Bible. Revelation 20 refers to the millennium, that period of one thousand years in which Satan is bound, Christ rules as King and Lord, and his people reign with him. The interpretations of this passage usually fall under the main categories of premillennialism, postmillennialism, amillennialism. Any good study Bible will give an overview of these positions in the introduction to Revelation. You can easily find a discussion of the millennial positions online.
I have 35 minutes to preach this text. There are a couple of approaches I can take. The seminar approach would outline for you the main interpretations of the passage and show the pros and cons of each one. Then I would tell you which one I believe to be the best interpretation and try to convince you to see it my way.
There are two problems with this approach. First, I would run out of time. If the interpretive issues related to Revelation 20 are enough to fill volumes and to justify entire conferences, how could I do justice to them in one sermon? Second, I may leave you informed but maybe not encouraged. It’s possible to know the details of the millennial views, but miss the point of the passage.
I have decided to take the sermon approach. Sermons do inform, so I will talk about millennial interpretations. But sermons are designed to get to the point and encourage the soul.
The point of Revelation 20 is that Jesus Christ reigns, and those who follow him will reign with him. According to Revelation (and the New Testament, and all the Bible), the rule of God and of his Son, Jesus Christ, is now and it will be forever. There are times when the rule of God is experienced by us in different degrees. There have been and will be events in history which show the rule of God more visibly. For instance, both the coming of Jesus Christ by birth through a virgin, and the miracles that he performed in his ministry, give visible evidence of the kingdom of God and the rule of the King. The resurrection of Jesus is an obvious sign of the reign of the King. At the return of Christ, it will be acknowledged by all (even those who do not worship him) that he reigns forever.
As we read Revelation 20 this weekend, I hope we will not miss the point. We may not all agree on exactly when, where, and how this millennial reign of Christ will be. But, we can all agree that it will be. And there’s more; if we follow the Lamb, we will reign with him.
Even before we gather on Sunday, I hope you will find encouragement from knowing that the future is one in which Jesus Christ reigns. No other power will rival his. And his reign will be complete goodness and glory (go ahead and read Revelation 22:1-5!). If you trust him and follow him, this is your future too. This is the point.