John Piper On Jesus Returning: "It Could Happen Very, Very Soon"
Feb 22, 2017 by Will Maule
As Christians who trust in Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible, we are assured that King Jesus will be returning to the earth to make all things right. But is this going to happen soon? Biblical texts over the matter can be difficult to interpret, and many jump to irrational conclusions to try and predict the time and the hour of Christ's triumphant return.
Is it still going to be a thousand years until he comes back? This is the question one reader asked pastor John Piper, who delivered an excellent reply.
"There is one place in the Bible where this thousand years is spoken of explicitly. And let’s read it,because my guess is most people don’t see it in context very often. They just bandy these things about. So, let me read Revelation 20:1–6 and then try to answer his question," says Piper.
"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After thathe must be released for a little while.
Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection."
"Now, the question that divides Bible-believing Christians is how this one thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth followed by a complete revolution of things in the new heavens and the new earth, how that relates to the second coming of Christ," asserts Piper.
Will this entire millennium come before or after Jesus comes again? "Some say that one thousand years, the millennium, is a reference to the period of time where we are right now as Christ reigns in heaven today till he puts all of his enemies under his feet," explains Piper.
"Some others say that the one thousand years is a real period of lengthy glory in this age. We are not in it yet. It will come just before Christ comes so that the gospel triumphs in the world: the world is Christianized, by and large, peace and righteousness hold sway in the world, and then, after that, post that, Christ returns — this is Postmillennial."
But pastor John Piper himself would align with a third way. "Some say that the one thousand years happens after Christ comes again, or he comes pre, before the millennium — and that is why it is called Premillennialism. Then, after Christ comes to a very rebellious earth and establishes his reign, there is a long, long period of glorious rule of Christ on the earth."
So, John believes that Christ's return may not be 1000 years off at all. Instead, he believes it could be very soon indeed. "Christ could come very, very quickly. I pray he does. I have really good friends who hold all three of these positions. And so, I am not going to withhold my fellowship or friendship over these kinds of disagreements," he says.
"It could happen very, very soon. He (Jesus) doesn’t have to wait one thousand years."