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Millenialism, as such, postulates the return of Jesus Christ to this present earth to reign for a thousand, literal, years. The evidence for this is taken from the visionary mention in Revelation. This view has serious Gospel implications regarding an earthly reign and regarding the concept (held by some) of the re-instating of sacrifices on earth. The article to which I have linked, explains various historic forms of this doctrine.

Anti-Millenialism states that resurrected saints and saints remaining on earth, will be caught up from this present earth to Jesus Christ and there shall be new heavens and a new earth (once Judgment is effected). They say that the thousand years in Revelation is a symbolic figure and relates to the present rule of Christ over deceased saints in heaven and faithful saints on earth, in a reign of Spirit, not physical. Importantly, and importantly to my present question, they say that Jesus Christ shall never set foot, again, on this present earth.

There are implications to Jesus Christ returning to earth for a thousand years and re-instating an earthly reign : implications regarding the parables of Jesus, which express an immediacy and urgency regarding an everlasting Kingdom; and implications regarding the apostolic epistles which, again, express immediacy and urgency regarding a finality associated, immediately, with the return of Jesus Christ.

My question is, Why did Jesus Christ ascend, if only to descend again, thereafter, in order to establish an earthly kingdom ?

Why ascend at all ? Why not remain and reign on earth ?

What do those say who adhere to the Millenial system ?

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    @SijuGeorge I have heard about this. But I name the name of Jesus Christ my Lord. And I am not ashamed to do so. And Paul tells me that none is to put me under bondage to keep sabbaths. Colossians 2:16. I am entered into rest, by faith in Jesus Christ. (Though I prefer not to buy food or fuel on a sunday as I resepct it being a 'special day' in the UK - or, well, it used to be.)
    – Nigel J
    Sep 24 '20 at 12:38
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    They say that Jesus is coming back to teach the Gentiles keep the Jewish law and will reinstate the sacrificies so a christian should be circumcised to show that he really loves Yeshua. They say in Acts 21:18-24 James and Paul declared that Jewish customs should be followed by Christian Jews and the Gentiles were excempt only for a season so that they can have time to learn the Jewish law progressively and follow it. All these teachings are based on the premise that the Lord would come and reinstate the sacrifices Sep 24 '20 at 12:45
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    @SijuGeorge Do you have an internet address - an online link - to any website associated with these people you mention, Siju ?
    – Nigel J
    Sep 24 '20 at 12:56
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    Yes @NigelJ, I have links. Different groups teach different variations of these. Most of them point to Nehemiah Gordon. Kehilat Bethlechem & 119 ministries were ministries recommended to me with this document Sep 24 '20 at 13:01
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    Congratulations on making the 10,000 mark!
    – Ken Graham
    Sep 24 '20 at 16:55
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According to Ellis Skolfield:

The Greek word translated thousand, here and through the rest of Revelation 20, is χίλιοι, chilioi, an indefinite plural of χιλιάς chilias, one thousand.

His contention was that millennium should instead be rendered as "millennia", meaning two or more. He accepts a literal "millennium" period, but insists that the length was not set at a single thousand years.

Regardless of length, your question is "Why?"

The time we live in now is the time of preparation. God is preparing his church to be ready for his return.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)

If you read Ecclesiastes 3, you will see the many trials and phases that the church must go through before reaching full maturity:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2     a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
4     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7     a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8     a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

The above verses describe all the challenges that a child must go through to reach full maturity as an adult (at roughly age forty). They also apply to the church as the "Body of Christ" or "Bride of Christ".

As you can see, the last two times that the church must endure are a time for war and a time for peace. The time for war is Armageddon, the great battle in Revelation. The time for peace is the millennium.

When a person reaches full maturity, then they are ready for the great work of their life, whatever that may be. When the church reaches full maturity after the time of war, it will be ready for the great work of the church.

What is that great work? I am not sure and do not want to speculate. But it is to join the fully mature church to accomplish that great work that Christ is coming back. It is a work that we will be doing together.

UPDATE:

Why did Jesus ascend?

7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7)

Unless Jesus ascended, the Father and he (unless you are Eastern Orthodox, filioque and all) could not send the Holy Spirit.

Also, Jesus prayed in John 17 for those who would believe in him who had never met him. Then after he rose:

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

Jesus' prophetic words could not come true unless he went away. God is not a liar. If Jesus promises something, he has to do it. If there are to be believers who never see Jesus in the flesh but only hear about him from others, then he must leave.

Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
    Whose hands have gathered up the wind?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?
    Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is the name of his son?
    Surely you know!

5 “Every word of God is flawless;
    he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 Do not add to his words,
    or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. (Proverbs 30:4-6)

Ultimately, it all comes down to this: Jesus ascended into heaven in fulfilment of the scriptures. Jesus did it in obediance to the Father.

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  • My question, quite specifically, was : Why did Christ ascend ? Why did he not remain on earth ? My question is about Him. Not about the church.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 24 '20 at 16:25
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    Gotcha. Will edit. Sep 24 '20 at 18:47
  • @NigelJ He ascended that he may fill all things according to Ephesians 4:10. But I do not know what all things are! When He descended HE emptied HImself Philippians 2:7. I believe ascending and descending has more spiritual meaning than a mere change of physical location or elevation. I am just learning this so watching this thread eagerly :-) Sep 25 '20 at 6:02
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    @SijuGeorge Yes. 'filling all things' is by ascension. Which state (filling all) could only be diminished by a descent, to reign on the old earth. That state (filling all) is a precursor to final glory in new heavens and new earth !
    – Nigel J
    Sep 25 '20 at 6:17
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    @SijuGeorge 'Filling all things' is filling all in heaven and filling all on earth, surely. All that is in Christ, of course. Filling his body on earth (the fulness of God) and filling all those who sleep in Jesus and filling all his elect angels. Filling all that is in Him.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 25 '20 at 6:21
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In order to understand the answer, it's important to step back and take a bird's eye perspective of end-times views from scripture, and also different groups which have a distinct way or pattern of interpreting these passages.

As a rule, those who are Amillenialists or "Anti-Millenialists, [those who do not accept the scriptural doctrine of a Literal 1000 year reign] are mostly Calvinist/ Reformed who tend to allegorize most passages that deal with the Second Advent - the rapture, 7 year tribulation, and the events described in Revelation, such as the Anti-Christ, 2 witnesses, and judgments poured out on the earth.
This is directly connected to the view of replacement theology - which is also held by most Calvinists, that the church has replaced Israel. As a broad group, they teach that the nation of Israel does not have a special unique role in end-times, and because of this lens - they interpret many passages about end times as symbolic- and this is specifically the case with the 1000 year reign.
You have several questions here, which I will answer.

  • "Importantly, and importantly to my present question, they say that Jesus Christ shall never set foot, again, on this present earth.
  • My question is, Why did Jesus Christ ascend, if only to descend again, thereafter, in order to establish an earthly kingdom ?
  • Why ascend at all ? Why not remain and reign on earth ?
  • What do those say who adhere to the Millenial system ?"

First, those tho say Christ will not set foot on this present earth, for the most part, are only looking at the passages in Revelations- which they discount as being apocalyptic and therefore symbolic, while ignoring other passages from the Old Testament. Zechariah makes it clear that Christ does in fact set foot again on Earth, and he specifically mentions a real Mountain, and a real city. This shows the inconsistency and double standard of those who discount OT writers, because these are the same OT prophets who wrote specific prophecies about the Messiah. Zechariah 14:4. New International Version On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south."

Regarding your second question - Why ascend at all,- Why not remain and reign on earth - there are two very specific answers.

  1. Christ himself told the disciples that He was going to Heaven, and that he was going to prepare a place for them, in His Father's house, and that he would come again to get them, and **most importantly - he said that he would return in the same way he left.
    In this passage we see a very clear Jewish Idiom which comes from Hebrew weddings - The Groom goes and prepares a separate room on his father's house and at wedding, comes to get his bride. In a Hebrew wedding, the bride is literally caught up, lifted up on a litter, and hidden away for 7 days in the chuppah- [wedding chamber] where the marriage is consumated and then they returned together for the feast. This is the picture of the church which is the bride of Christ, being raptured, [word is from Latin Rapturo, and means 'caught up quickly, by force'] and hidden away for 7 years during the tribulation, which is also called "the time of Jacob's trouble".

Remember that Jacob is the original name for Israel, and this name is interchanged, Jacob and Israel multiple times and places in scripture.

Matthew 24 is known as the Olivet Discourse, in which he addresses his disciples about the events of the end times, including his return after the 7 year tribulation.
2. Another reason for Christ ascending is that there are two distinct events, which are often conflated, with two separate and distinct purposes.
The rapture is when Christ meets his bride- the Christians- in the air, and it's a wedding - referred to by Paul as the Day of Christ. This is fulfilled in the Feast of trumpets - which is understood by Jews and many Protestant denominations as the Wedding of the Messiah. At the Feast of trumpets, the door of heaven is opened, and this is seen in Revelation 4, with the trumpet.
At Day of Atonement, - the judgement or sentence is given out, and it is pictured in Joel, and Amos as a terrible day of wrath, and when the sun turns black and the moon turns to blood. Also, at day of Atonement, the door of heaven is closed. This corresponds to the Second Coming, when Christ returns to Earth, with his bride. This is referred to by multiple OT Prophets and Paul as the "Day of the Lord", - day of great calamity and judgment for those who rejected Christ and worship the beast and Anti-Christ and take his Mark. See Revelation chapter 20.

A very good overview and explanation of the purpose of the 1000 yr reign and the scriptures is here. https://www.compellingtruth.org/millennium.html

Those who adhere to the Millennial system, represents the majority of Protestants, who see the passages about the 1000 year reign as literal. This happens after the Tribulation.

Another very interesting and compelling reason for believing in the literal 1000 year reign is that we see this same pattern in the creation account. Six literal days of creation, followed by the 7th literal day of rest. Genesis is historical, not poetic or wisdom literature.
We have approx 2000 years from Adam to Abraham, 2000 years from Abraham to Christ, and approx 2000 years from Christ to now - which also is a reason why many end-times teachers believe that the second coming is very near.

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