With the year 2000 just around the corner, speculation regarding the Bible and the onset of the new millennium is well underway. This speculative teaching is based upon various interpretations of the books of Revelation, Daniel, and Ezekiel. Do these books, or any others in the Bible, make reference to the coming millennium? The short answer is no; they do not. However, let’s take a moment to understand why taking such a view of the scriptures is incorrect.
According to official time keepers of Greenwich, England, the official beginning of the millennium will be January 1, 2001. Here is why. Does the Millennium begin with the year 0 or the year 1? Most people agree the first year would be the year 1. So, begin counting at the year 1 and count forward one thousand years. The conclusion of the first millennium would be the year 1000 (not 999) and the beginning of the second millennium would be the year 1001. Counting forward another one thousand years concludes the second millennium on December 31, 2000. This is why the third millennium technically begins on January 1, 2001.
Second, our current system of counting years was not introduced until more than 500 years after Jesus’ birth. Until that time, years were determined according to the reign of various kings and world leaders. (The Bible accounts for years in this manner, e.g., Daniel 1:1, 2:1). A Catholic abbot named Dionysius Exiguus devised our current system. Exiguus wanted all men to reckon years according to the Saviour’s birth and not according to the reign of godless men. However, he erred in his calculations, missing the birth of Christ by four to six years. This error was not discovered for more than a thousand years, by which time Exiguus’ calendar was in use worldwide. Rather than create mass confusion, the current calendar was kept intact. In comparison to our current calendar system, Jesus was born in 4 – 6 B.C.! If the Bible predicted anything about the onset of the third millennium, the events should have begun between 1995 and 1997!
Third, the Bible was completed within 75 years of the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. If the Bible speaks concerning the millennium, why does it apply to the third millennium and not to the first or second? (By the way, “millennial fever” was also common at the close of the first millennium.) Cults and other millennial groups are creating serious problems in Israel and throughout the world. Some are planning terrorism to create chaos in hopes of hastening the second coming of Christ.
In recent history, men have assigned meaning to 20th-century events supposedly foretold in Revelation. For example: in World War I, the German Kaiser was identified as the beast (anti-Christ) of Revelation; in World War II it was Hitler; during the Cold War it was first Stalin and then Khrushchev. Other improperly identified individuals and events: the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948; the formation of the United Nations; the Israeli-Egyptian wars of the 60’s and 70’s; Desert Storm and Saddam Hussein; the introduction of the Euro (an attempt to singularize the European monetary system); and now it is the arrival of the year 2000. The Bible is God’s Word to all men in all places for all time. It is foolishness to attempt to designate current events to those revealed in sacred apocalyptic literature.
The Bible clearly teaches that no man knows the time of Jesus’ second coming. Jesus said the angels didn’t know (Matt. 24:36), and said that even He did not know (Mark 13:32). We are commanded to prepare ourselves and to be ready whenever the day comes. In the eyes of God, the year 2000, should it arrive, is no different from the year 1999, or any other year. Do not be deceived by those attempting to make themselves rich or famous by the spread of misinformation.
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