Many believe that Jesus will reign 1000 years when He returns (the doctrine of “millennialism”). In fact, the Bible says that, “they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him [Jesus] for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)

However, it’s just one verse. Could it be a figurative way to describe Jesus’ reign? Let’s consider its context and look at other uses in Scripture that may help us understand if Jesus will reign 1000 years.

How Scripture answers "Will Jesus reign 1000 years?"

By the time we get to the passage of Scripture that promoters of this “literal thousand year reign” doctrine stake their claim on1, Scripture has well established a figurative use for “a thousand years”2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15 (and not at all unlike many secular examples). Indeed, without the clouding lens of a presupposed doctrine that requires a certain interpretation, the Revelation 20 text is simply communicating to the reader a very long (everlasting2,3,4,7,11,12) and triumphal (complete2,3,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15) reign of Christ and the Saints.

While Revelation 20 makes a statement about a “one thousand year reign”, it should not be taken literally. To begin with, there is no Scriptural precedent to take it literally – in fact quite to the contrary. There is no other place in Scripture where “a thousand years” (or anything like it) is used literally2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15. We see “thousand” used figuratively in books of history2,7,14, poetry3,4,8,10,13, New Testament epistles12,15, other books of prophecy6,9 and other places in Revelation itself5.

In Revelation, we are reading “one thousand years” within the broader prophetic and highly figurative vision of John. Furthermore, to take “one thousand years” literally in Revelation 20 would be out of context for the rest of Scripture, being quite literally (no pun intended), the only instance.

Answer built on scripture-blocks below

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…and if you’re wondering more about what we’re doing and why, here are some links we hope can help explain it (and maybe even get you excited about contributing):

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