There is no reason to believe there will be a literal one thousand year reign on earth since there is no other place in scripture where “a thousand years” (or anything like it) is used literally2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16. We see “thousand” used figuratively in books of history2,7,14,16, poetry3,4,8,10,13, New Testament epistles12,15, other books of prophecy6,9 including in other places in Revelation5.
In Revelation, we are reading “one thousand years” within the broader prophetic and highly figurative vision of John. By the time we get to the passage of Scripture that promoters of this “literal one thousand year reign” doctrine stake their claim on1, Scripture has well established a figurative use for “a thousand years”2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16. Indeed, without the clouding lens of a presupposed doctrine that requires a certain interpretation – namely that Jesus will return to earth to reign one thousand years – the Revelation 20 text1 is simply communicating to the reader a very long (everlasting2,3,4,7,11,12) and triumphal (complete2,3,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16) future reign of Christ and the Saints at the judgment.