The Word of God is amazing. Throughout the scriptures, there is patterns and symmetry that prove that it is inspired. We can see God’s designs and patterns not only through types and parallels but also in numbers and the meaning of names of people and places. I believe these are part of the “deep things of God”:
1 Corinthians 2:7-10 (KJV) – “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
It is important to note that parallels and patterns should never be used to form doctrine. However, they should be used to support what has been revealed by God’s Spirit through the clear teaching of the Word.
Symbolism of the Number 1000
The number one thousand (1,000) symbolizes “immensity,” “fullness of quantity” or “multitude.” The number evokes a very long time according to most Bible passages. It is often used in scripture to specify an indefinite quantity. Many early Church fathers saw in the number 1,000, “the totality of the generations and the perfection of the life.” The number sometimes is used in a reference to paradise and everlasting happiness.
The Number 1000 Used in Scripture
The word “thousand” appears 521 times in the King James Version Bible. Below are some Bible passages that include the number 1,000:
* In Revelation 20:1 the devil is bound in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years.
* In Revelation 20:4 the saints reign with Christ 1,000 years.
* In Revelation 20:6 Satan is loosed from prison after the 1,000 years are up.
* In Mathew 5:41 requires Christians to walk two miles if compelled to walk a mile. It’s interesting to note that a Roman “mile” was made up of 1,000 paces (mille passuum) or steps (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers).
* In Amos 5:3, for its punishment, a city of 1000 men would be reduced to 100 men.
* In Isaiah 60:22 during the prophesied Messianic time there will be an increase from 1 to 1000. “A little one shall become one thousand”.
* Song of Songs 8:11 – The fruit of the vineyard of Solomon would cost 1000 shekels of silver.
* Psalms 84:10 – A day in the courts of the Lord is better than a 1000 days anywhere else.
* Psalms 105:8 – The covenant that God concludes with Abraham was valid for 1000 generations.
* 1 Kings 3:4 – On the altar of Gibeon Solomon offered 1000 “burnt offerings” to God asking Him for wisdom and understanding.
* 1 Samuel 18:13 – King Saul established David to be the chief of 1000 men.
* Judges 9:49 – A 1000 persons perished in the citadel of Shechem.
* Judges 15:16 – Samson killed 1000 men with the jawbone of a donkey.
* Genesis 20:16 – Abimelech gave Abraham 1000 pieces of silver in compensation for acting inappropriately towards Abraham’s wife, Sarah.
1000 in Reference to Time – People or Things
In scripture, the term “thousand,” when in reference to time, is always used symbolically. It represents any predetermined time that God chooses. In other cases, it is always used symbolically for a large number of people or things. For example in Psalms 50:10 we read – “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” Now don’t you think there are more than a thousand hills on earth? Is the passage implying that God does not own the cattle on hill one thousand and one? Of course not. What is being conveyed is that the Lord owns all the cattle on all the hills, not just on a thousand hills. Likewise, nobody can honestly interpret the following “thousands” as literal:
Job 9:3 (KJV) – “If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.”
Ecclesiastes 7:28 (KJV) – “…one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.”
Song of Solomon 4:4 (KJV) – “…whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.”
Daniel 5:1 (KJV) – “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.”
Daniel 7:10 (KJV) – “…thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.”
1000 in Reference to Time – Days, Years, and Generations
Deuteronomy 7:9 (KJV) – “…which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that…keep his commandments to a thousand generations;”
1 Chronicles 16:15 (KJV) – “Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations;”
Psalms 84:10 (KJV) – “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.”
Psalms 90:4 (KJV) – “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past,”
Psalms 105:8 (KJV) – “He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.”
Ecclesiastes 6:6 (KJV) – “Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?”
It should be obvious from the above that every occurrence of the word “thousand,” by itself, is not literal but symbolic. It represents a large number or extended period of time. Then, why is it when we go to the book of Revelation (the most symbolic book of them all), many interpret this thousand years as literal? Especially when there is no scriptural warrant for doing so? I am glad you asked. Let’s see what scripture reveals.
1000 Year Reign of Christ?
So where does the phrase “1000 Year Reign of Christ” appear in scripture? The answer is it does not appear in scripture. Neither will you find the word “millennium”? At least not in the King James Version Bible. Does this surprise you? Revelation 20:3-8 is the only passage in scripture that anyone can point to as referring to a “1000 year reign.” What endless variations of concocted fables have resulted! Clearly it does not contain the detail that they attribute to it.
First, it should be pointed out that scripture does not speak of “the thousand year reign of Christ.” Revelation 20:4 says, “…and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God,…and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Notice that it’s not Christ that reigns 1000 years! It’s those who were killed for God’s sake that reign with Christ 1000 years. There are nineteen (19) Bible verses that declare that Christ’s reign is forever. Revelation 11:15 is one of the nineteen: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
To illustrate, consider the phrase, “Jane Doe served with the governor for one year.” Does this mean the governor served for only one year? No, it does not. The governor could serve for many years. The point is not how long the governor served but how long Jane served with the governor. The governor isn’t the subject; it is speaking about how long Jane serves with him. Likewise, Revelation 20:4 is not about how long Jesus will reign, but how long others will reign with Jesus. There’s a big difference.
So what do the scriptures reveal about the number 1000? It is a number that typically signifies the idea of “immensity,” “fullness of quantity” or “multitude.” The number can represent a large number or extended period of time. This general interpretation applies both to the Old Testament as well as the New Testament.
Related articles: Numbers in Scripture – The Number 40