Is the Millennium of Revelation 20 in the Old Testament?
Revelation 20 is regarded with suspicion by some because they do not see the millennium mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. They would like to disregard or reject the millennium teaching altogether.
There are some serious problems with this idea. It is based on an incorrect concept that there must always be at least two or three witnesses to every teaching of the Bible. Rejecting the truth of the millennium also plays into the false theology that has the kingdom of God physically set up on earth immediately at the Second Coming.
And actually, it turns out that the concepts of the millennium are taught elsewhere. This page will examine Isaiah chapters 24 to 27 which, while not actually mentioning the millennium of Revelation 20 using that term, do include many of the same events. We will look at the relevant passages and compare them to the teaching on the millennium which can be read in detail here.
Let's look at the verses of Isaiah (shown in shaded boxes) that relate to the millennium of Revelation 20.
"Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left." (Isa 24:1-6)
In verse two, six pairs of people groups are mentioned:
This may be a way of saying everyone or, more likely, a way of saying that, under the circumstances all will be made equal. Think of natural disasters that destroy homes and whole communities. A rich person becomes just as much a refugee as a street person.
"The curse devoured the earth" is related to a passage in Malachi:
"And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Mal 4:6)
The verse is describing God's attempt to reconcile families which, of course, would be His wish. But does that mean that families are going to be in unison, united at the end? These verses seem to indicate that it often won't happen:
"And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. (Matt 10:21)
"For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law." (Matt 10:35)
While God can move on hearts to be united, he never forces the will. The fact that the curse does devour the earth points to a failure of the people to respond to God's ways.
The passage "the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left" points to the destruction of the lost at the Second Coming with only a remnant being saved. The word "left" is (Strong's H7604) which is also used of the flood:
"All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained (Strong's H7604) alive, and they that were with him in the ark." (Gen 7:22-23)
Some versions use the same word:
"... only Noah was left and those who were with him in the ark." (Gen 7:23, ESV)
The few that are left are the saved:
"Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." (1 Pet 3:20)
Note that the saved are the ones who are left in contrast to the misused terminology of the unbiblical rapture theory.
There are a few more verses that seem to connect (but less obviously) with events, perhaps not directly with the millennium, but with the end of the world.
"The city of confusion is broken down: every house is shut up, that no man may come in." (Isa 24:10)This could be connected with the fall of Babylon - "the city of confusion."
"When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done." (Isa 24:13)
This grape harvest could be connected to the allusions of a grape harvest at the end of the world. For example:
"And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." (Rev 19:15)
"From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously." (Isa 24:16)
This sounds rather like the laments of the merchants of the earth in Revelation, for example:
"And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:" (Rev 18:9-11)
The word translated as "alas" in verse 10 is most often translated as "woe."
The following verses, again, sound very much like what will be happening at the Second Coming bringing the earth to a state of chaos and destruction as the millennium is ushered in.
"And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again." (Isa 24:18-20)
This sounds like a pretty serious earthquake; like end-of-the-world language. The description of the seven last plagues also shows the total destruction of the earth at the Second Coming. It will not rise again until it is made new after the 1000 years.
The next verse points to two groups that will be punished.
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth." (Isa 24:21)
Other versions are more definitive about where this punishment is happening:
"In that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below." (Isa 24:21, RSV)
The powers in heavens are Satan and his angels.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Eph 6:12)
"Flesh and blood" is contrasted with another group in the verse above, the angels who do not have flesh and blood.
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;" (Heb 2:14)
"And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited." (Isa 24:22)
The punishment mentioned in Isa 24:21 also relates to Revelation 20 where Satan is bound by a chain for the 1000 years, which would certainly qualify as many "days." The word "visited" is the same original word translated as "punish" in verse 21. The original word used here is translated as "punish" 31 times in the KJV. Satan is punished at the start of the millennium by his imprisonment and meets his final punishment and ultimate destruction at the end of the millennium.
What is the pit?
"And they took him (Joseph), and cast him into a pit (Strong's H953): and the pit was empty, there was no water in it." (Gen 37:24)
The pit was likely an empty cistern. Joseph was alive and kept there temporarily until a decision was made what to do with him. Jeremiah was treated in a similar way:
"Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon (Strong's H953) there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire." (Jer 38:6)
While Isaiah does not specifically mention the recreation of the earth there are parallels with what happens just after the millennium in Revelation 21.
"Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously." (Isa 24:23)
Why would the moon be confounded and the sun ashamed? Because when the earth is made new and God establishes His throne here, the glory of the Lamb far outshines them:
"And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Rev 21:2)
"And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." (Rev 21:23)
Note that is says there is "no need of the sun" not that there is no sun. The brightness of the Lamb outshines that of the sun.
Here is another passage from Isaiah that can be related to Revelation 21.
"He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it." (Isa 25:8)
That is also parallel to the millennium and following events in Revelation 20 and 21.
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Rev 21:4)
This verse points to the end of Satan:
"In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea." (Isa 27:1)
The dragon is Satan himself:
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (Rev 12:9)In summary, we see that Isaiah 24 and following, while not mentioning a period of a thousand years or the term millennium (neither does Revelation 20), is describing the same events. The millennium does appear twice in the Bible discounting the attempts by some to deny it based on their understanding that there is only one witness.
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