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The thousand years and the temple

December 20, 2011

From the erection of the first temple by Solomon, to the destruction of the Herodian temple in 70 AD spans a little more than a thousand years. If the time for which Solomon’s temple lay in ruins is excluded, a temple was standing in Jerusalem for a little less than a thousand years. Perhaps John’s use of a thousand years in Revelation 20 is connected to the period in history when a literal temple of God, made with hands, stood in Jerusalem.

In the ministry of Jesus, the prophecy of Malachi was fulfilled:

Malachi 3:1
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

Jesus is the “messenger of the covenant,” and the Gospel accounts relate that he came to the temple and taught there, and cast out the merchants, who had turned it into a “den of thieves.” [Matthew 21:13]

In Discrete Millennialism, the thousand years represents the time that individual believers who have been figuratively “beheaded” reign with Christ, and when Satan is bound, and cast into a bottomless pit. They are each living stones in the spiritual temple. Peter said: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” [1 Peter 2:5] Because the literal temple remained for about a thousand years that seems quite suitable and fitting as a symbol of the time of a believer’s reign with Christ.

Paul said every believer is a temple of God, and the church is also called the temple of God. [Ephesians 2:20-21] Paul said, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” [1 Corinthians 3:16]

The thousand years for which a literal temple stood in Jerusalem may be considered a type and shadow of period for which each believer reigns with Christ, when they are kings and priests unto God. [Revelation 1:6]

Just as Jesus visited the temple at Jerusalem, and fulfilled Malachi’s prophecy, the prophets show that he will also come to his church by his Spirit, and also to every believer. [Ezekiel 43:5; Revelation 15:8]

For the earthly temples the thousand years ended in 70 AD, and about that time is when the abomination of desolation was set up in the spiritual temple, the church. Daniel said, “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.” The daily sacrifices ended when the temple was destroyed. Daniel also says this occurred “in the midst” of the 70th week. “In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.” [Daniel 9:27]

During the reign of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV, in the 2nd century BC,  the Jerusalem temple was made desolate and turned into a shrine of the Olympian Zeus. This was a type of the desolation of the church that occurs in the 70th week. In Daniel 9:27, something is to be poured out upon the desolate, that is, the church, and also upon that which causes the desolation. Daniel 9:24 indicates that the church will be anointed with the Spirit.