Home > Literalism, The 1,000 years > Pierre Jurieu on the 1,000 years

Pierre Jurieu on the 1,000 years

November 18, 2011

Chiliasm was supported by some of the early Christian Fathers, who constructed an analogy linking man’s history spanning six thousand years, with the six days of Creation. This tradition suggested that man’s history was to be completed by a thousand year Millennial reign, just as the six days of Creation in Genesis were followed by the sabbath day in which God rested.

Pierre Jurieu (1637–1713), Huguenot professor of theology and Hebrew at Sedan in northern France, argued that the future Millennium was a type of the eternal rest promised to the saints. He dismissed the idea that the sabbath day could be a type of the eternal rest, but claimed that it was a type of the seventh period of the Church.

Jurieu seems to have assumed that the days of Creation were literal days, implying that the seventh day also was limited to a literal day. This, he thought, made it unfit as a type for eternity; he believed a thousand years would be more suitable as a type for eternity, while the seventh day, he said, was a type of the Millennium.

Jurieu wrote: [1]

…the number seven is almost every where to be found. For what reason is it so? who sees not that this number signifies Completion and Perfection? and of what can it signify the Perfection , if not of the greatest work of God, that for which all his other works were wrought, that is, the Church? If then the 7th be every where sacred, why is not the seventh Period, reckoning from the creation of the World, also sacred, and a Period of perfection? It will be said, the number seven is sacred because of the seventh day, which was consecrated to the service of God: but why hath God chosen the seventh day to be holy, and a day of rest, for man? is it not plainly to signify, that the seventh day, or the seventh Period of the Church, shall be a time of Holiness, Tranquility, and Peace?

The seventh day, they farther tell us, was consecrated to Rest and Holiness; because God created the World in six days, and rested on the seventh. Behold, now we are at the Spring Head, and can rise no higher; but here also, we shall find an excellent Type of our seventh Period. ‘Tis here I would ask with boldness, Wherefore God created the World in six days, and rested on the seventh? Why did he not imploy five days, eight, ten, or twelve in the work of Creation, but precisely seven? Certainly, the infinite wisdom of God will not permit that he should do any thing without reason. Here is this reason, because he intended to hold the Church in an imperfect state for six Periods of Time, labouring in that great work for which he made all others, and causing it successively to pass through seven degrees.

We must not say that the Sabbath, the seventh day, on which God rested, was the image of that great Rest into which the Church is to be brought, after he shall have compleated it upon Earth; for the seventh Period ought to bear proportion to the other six; whereas Eternity hath none with Time, much less with one day. So that the seventh Period cannot be the Eternal Rest. It must be a Time that bears proportion to the six preceding Periods; As then after six days of labour, God finisht his work, by a day to which he affixt Holiness and Rest as its Characters, there must likewise be for the Church, after six days of sins and sufferings, one last day, that is to be distinguish by those two Seals, Peace and Holiness, upon Earth. Not but that the Sabbath is also a figure of the Eternal Rest; but ’tis because these thousand years of Peace and Holiness on Earth, shall be the image of that perfect Peace and Holiness which the Church shall injoy in Heaven; and so ’tis a mediate Type of the Eternal Rest. These thousand years, I confess, have no proportion with Eternity, but it is not to be a Type in the duration of the Time, but in respect of the state of Peace and Holiness, Images of the Coelestial Peace. So these thousand years may be Types of the Heavenly Glory: but the seventh day could not be the immediate Type, because of what was said before. Because the seventh day of the Creation is a Period of the same nature with the six preceding, and which by consequent ought to bear proportion to them.

It will be said, that ‘Tis easy to make these suppositions, but difficult to prove them. But I have a sure Method for the proof of this, when the several parts of a System support one another, even therein they are proved; in an Hypothesis that is false, there is alway some part inconsistent with itself. Now I will make it evident, that the seven days of the Creation, do perfectly answer to the seven Periods of the Church; that in every one of those days such works were wrought, which were exact Emblems of the Events which have happened, and of the things which were done, in every Period of the Church, answering to every day. If I make it evident, that in the six Periods of the duration of the Church which are past, we have seen those things which were painted out by the six days of the Creation; so that the first Period contains that which was figur’d by the work of the first day, the second Period that of the second, and so of the rest; if, I say, I can do this, methinks it will then be proved, that what was done in the seventh day of the Creation is the image of that which shall be done in our seventh Period of the Church. The parts of this System do admirably support one another, the System it self will be its own proof. This is that I am about to do, by giving here the full explication of this wonderfull Type of the Creation, in which we may say, that God hath concealed some of his greatest mysteries under an adorable obscurity, which hath never hitherto been perfectly cleared.

In his Olivet discourse, when Jesus said, “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day,” he implied we should seek to enter into the rest that the weekly sabbath day represents as a type and a shadow. He also said “flee to the mountains,” not literal ones, and not to save our own lives; the mountains he meant are those which represent God’s promises. When Jacob blessed his son Joseph, he said, “The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.” [Genesis 49:26] The blessings of Jacob were durable, like mountains, and high or lofty, as they were spiritual in nature.

I suggest we may consider the sabbath day of creation week to be the rest into which the saints aspire to enter; the creation continues, and the saints are part of God’s creation. Paul said, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” [Ephesians 2:10] James wrote: “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” [James 1:18]

The Millennium is not the goal of a Christian, but entering into God’s kingdom is the goal; the idea of a future Millennium distracts many Christians from their opportunity to reign with Christ in this present life, and enjoy the benefits of that.

References

1. Pierre Jurieu. The accomplishment of the Scripture prophecies, or, The approaching deliverance of the church. London. 1687. pp. 323-326.

 

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