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Bulgakov. Christ the King Category: 1000 years World beyond the grave

1000 years
Devil is bound for a thousand years

1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. Luke 8:31. Rev 1:18.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 2 Peter 2:4. Jude 1:6. Rev 12:9.
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Dan 7:9,22. Dan 8:17. Matt 19:28. 1 Cor 6:2. 2 Tim 2:12. Rev 6:11.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Isa 61:6. Rev 1:6. Rev 21:7.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, Eze 38:2. Eze 39:1. Rev 16:14.

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Job 1:7. Job 2:2. Luke 22:31.
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. Acts 14:22.
10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 2 Cor 4:17.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Rom 13:12. 1 Thess 5:8.
12 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. John 12:31. John 14:30. Eph 2:2.

18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.

“By the thousand-year kingdom, Orthodox exegetes understand … period of time from the beginning of the grace-filled kingdom of the Church of Christ until the end of the world (Archpriest Oleg Davydenkov).

It turns out that during this period of time the devil is not at all bound if he “as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Is there some kind of problem? Serious problem.

By the thousand-year kingdom, Orthodox exegetes understand an indefinite but long period of time from the beginning of the grace-filled kingdom of the Church of Christ until the end of the world. Moreover, by the first resurrection we mean the spiritual rebirth of people into eternal life in Christ in the sacrament of baptism performed in the Church of Christ, which is also sometimes called the resurrection (see: Col. 3:1; Eph. 2:5–6, 5:14). The temporary release of the devil from prison for a short time means the appearance on earth of the Antichrist shortly before the end of the world, followed by the General and final judgment. The “second death” is the condemnation of sinners at the General Judgment, which will not affect those who have “participation in the first resurrection,” that is, spiritually reborn in Christ and purified by His grace in the Church. Such will not be condemned, but will enter the blessed life of the Kingdom of Christ.1376


1376 Saint Augustine, The City of God. Vol. IV. Bk. 20. Ch. 7; Macarius Bulgakov, Orthodox-dogmatic theology. Т. II. С. 493–494.

By the name of binding and imprisoning the devil, it is meant that the Lord … actually drove the devil out(Metr. Macarius Bulgakov).

How “Lord … actually drove the devil out,” when he, “the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Is there a problem again?

By the name of binding and imprisoning the devil, it is meant that the Lord, through his preaching, through his repeated experiences of casting out demons from people, and especially through his death, actually drove the devil out, bound the strong one (Matthew 12:29), stripped away his principles and powers, brought shame to shame by his boldness, defeating them on the cross (Col. 2:16). Under the name of the thousand-year kingdom of Christ we mean the entire indefinite period of time from the very beginning of the grace-filled kingdom of Christ on earth, or actually from the time when the faith of Christ became triumphant and dominant in the world under Constantine the Great until the end of the age, according to the Psalmist: I remember forever a covenant, a word, a commandment for a thousand generations (Ps. 105:8), the expression: for a thousand generations means indefinitely all future generations of men until the end of the world. Under the name of the first resurrection we mean the spiritual resurrection of people in Christianity, which begins through their conversion, justification and rebirth, according to the words: rise from sleep, and rise from the dead, and Christ will illuminate you (Eph. 5:14; John 5:24), and ends when the souls of true Christians move from real life, which was like death for them, into true life with Jesus Christ. Further, the release of the devil from prison for a short time in order to deceive tongues means the appearance on earth of the Antichrist shortly before the very end of the world. Finally, the judgment of all the living dead and retribution both to them and to the devil – this is a general, final judgment and the final retribution.2049


2049 Saint Augustine, The City of God. Vol. IV. Bk. 20. Ch. 7. For more details, see explanation to this chapter of the Apocalypse in Curs. S. Scripturae compl Vol. XXV, p. 1109–1122, Paris 1812.

Metr. Macarius Bulgakov
Православно-догматическое Богословие. Том 2
§ 267. б) Кончина благодатного царства Христова и начало царства славы; замечание о хилиазме или тысящелетии Христовом


16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 1 Tim 4:7. 1 Tim 6:20. Tit 1:14. Tit 3:9.
17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 1 Tim 1:20.
18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

And this opinion would not be objectionable, if it were believed that the joys of the saints in that Sabbath shall be spiritual, and consequent on the presence of God; for I myself, too, once held this opinion. But, as they assert that those who then rise again shall enjoy the leisure of immoderate carnal banquets, furnished with an amount of meat and drink such as not only to shock the feeling of the temperate, but even to surpass the measure of credulity itself, such assertions can be believed only by the carnal” (Saint Augustine).
The Millennial Kingdom was interpreted spiritually in the works of: Hieromartyr Papias of Hierapolis, St. Irenaeus of Lyons, St. Justin Martyr, St. Hippolytus of Rome, Tertullian, St. Methodius of Olympus, Commodian, Lactantius.
Sensual chiliasm, in turn, was developed by the Gnostic Cerinthos and Apollinaris of Laodicea. And no one forces us to concentrate only on the concept of the heretic Cerinthos and reject the spiritual interpretation of St. Papius of Hierapolis, St. Irenaeus of Lyons, St. Justin Martyr, St. Hippolytus of Rome, Tertullian and St. Methodius of Olympus.

The devil, then, is bound and shut up in the abyss that he may not seduce the nations from which the Church is gathered, and which he formerly seduced before the Church existed(Saint Augustine).
St. Peter means the Church, i.e. the nations of which the Church consists, when he says that “the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), and according to St. Peter it turns out that the devil is not bound and not imprisoned in the abyss, but walks like a roaring lion. Is there a problem again?

Book XX. Chapter VII

What is Written in the Revelation of John Regarding the Two Resurrections, and the Thousand Years, and What May Reasonably Be Held on These Points.

The evangelist John has spoken of these two resurrections in the book which is called the Apocalypse, but in such a way that some Christians do not understand the first of the two, and so construe the passage into ridiculous fancies. For the Apostle John says in the foresaid book, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven. … Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Those who, on the strength of this passage, have suspected that the first resurrection is future and bodily, have been moved, among other things, specially by the number of a thousand years, as if it were a fit thing that the saints should thus enjoy a kind of Sabbath-rest during that period, a holy leisure after the labors of the six thousand years since man was created, and was on account of his great sin dismissed from the blessedness of paradise into the woes of this mortal life, so that thus, as it is written, “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,2 Peter 3:8 there should follow on the completion of six thousand years, as of six days, a kind of seventh-day Sabbath in the succeeding thousand years; and that it is for this purpose the saints rise, viz., to celebrate this Sabbath. And this opinion would not be objectionable, if it were believed that the joys of the saints in that Sabbath shall be spiritual, and consequent on the presence of God; for I myself, too, once held this opinion. But, as they assert that those who then rise again shall enjoy the leisure of immoderate carnal banquets, furnished with an amount of meat and drink such as not only to shock the feeling of the temperate, but even to surpass the measure of credulity itself, such assertions can be believed only by the carnal. They who do believe them are called by the spiritual Chiliasts, which we may literally reproduce by the name Millenarians. It were a tedious process to refute these opinions point by point: we prefer proceeding to show how that passage of Scripture should be understood.

And he cast him into the abyss,” — i.e., cast the devil into the abyss. By the abyss is meant the countless multitude of the wicked whose hearts are unfathomably deep in malignity against the Church of God; not that the devil was not there before, but he is said to be cast in there, because, when prevented from harming believers, he takes more complete possession of the ungodly. For that man is more abundantly possessed by the devil who is not only alienated from God, but also gratuitously hates those who serve God. “And shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be fulfilled.” “Shut him up,” — i.e., prohibited him from going out, from doing what was forbidden. And the addition of "set a seal upon him” seems to me to mean that it was designed to keep it a secret who belonged to the devil's party and who did not. For in this world this is a secret, for we cannot tell whether even the man who seems to stand shall fall, or whether he who seems to lie shall rise again. But by the chain and prison-house of this interdict the devil is prohibited and restrained from seducing those nations which belong to Christ, but which he formerly seduced or held in subjection. For before the foundation of the world God chose to rescue these from the power of darkness, and to translate them into the kingdom of the Son of His love, as the apostle says. Colossians 1:13 For what Christian is not aware that he seduces nations even now, and draws them with himself to eternal punishment, but not those predestined to eternal life? And let no one be dismayed by the circumstance that the devil often seduces even those who have been regenerated in Christ, and begun to walk in God's way. For “the Lord knows them that are His,2 Timothy 2:19 and of these the devil seduces none to eternal damnation. For it is as God, from whom nothing is hid even of things future, that the Lord knows them; not as a man, who sees a man at the present time (if he can be said to see one whose heart he does not see), but does not see even himself so far as to be able to know what kind of person he is to be. The devil, then, is bound and shut up in the abyss that he may not seduce the nations from which the Church is gathered, and which he formerly seduced before the Church existed. For it is not said “that he should not seduce any man,” but “that he should not seduce the nations” — meaning, no doubt, those among which the Church exists — “till the thousand years should be fulfilled,” — i.e., either what remains of the sixth day which consists of a thousand years, or all the years which are to elapse till the end of the world.

Conclusion

The Millennium is not “the entire indefinite period of time from the very beginning of the grace-filled kingdom of Christ on earth, or actually from the time when the faith of Christ became triumphant and dominant in the world under Constantine the Great until the end of the age,” as Metropolitan Macarius Bulgakov asserts.

The millennium is a period of time on earth that has not yet happened, and then the devil will be bound (Rev 20:2) and will not as roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). In this time of grace, we will not need to wrestle against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:12), since the devil will be truly bound. But there has never been such a time in the history of the Church.

 

Published: March 1, 2024

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