Reigning with Christ

I'm currently learning more about the WELS. And I like everything they believe and teach so far. My everyday question is this: what's the purpose of 1000 year reign of Christ?

It is good to read about your study of God’s word.

Your question addresses content from Revelation 20. We will want to keep in mind that Revelation 20 does not speak of a one-thousand-year reign of Christ. The chapter speaks of Christians reigning with Christ for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4, 6).

In the book of Revelation, numbers have symbolic meaning. That means that “a thousand years” in Revelation 20 means anything but one thousand years. The number ten and its multiples (for example, 100 and 1,000) represent “completeness.” Many biblical scholars understand the one-thousand-year period in Revelation 20 as representing the New Testament age.

This means that Revelation 20 speaks of Christians reigning with Christ during the New Testament age.

Consider what meaning this had for the first recipients of the book of Revelation (the Christians who belonged to the seven churches in Asia Minor listed in Revelation 2 and 3). Christians in the late first century A.D. were facing extreme persecution. Christians were being killed for their faith. Did that mean that those people had lost everything? Were they to be pitied? Not at all. Their deaths meant that their souls were in the presence of God in heaven. Their deaths seated them on symbolic thrones and they reigned during the New Testament age with Christ—the King whose reign is eternal (Psalm 146:10).

There are individuals and churches that teach Jesus will set up an earthly kingdom and reign over it for a period of 1,000 years. They seek to find support for this idea in Revelation 20. That chapter of the Bible does not teach that. No chapter of the Bible does. Revelation 20 describes martyred Christians reigning with the King of kings, Jesus Christ.

God bless your continued study of God’s word!