An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 9 - Prophetic Truth - Page 56 of 223
It is only possible to speak of the Millennium, if we believe that the
term, 'a thousand years' means what it says, and is to be taken literally.
This being so, what are we to understand by the statement in Deuteronomy 7:9?
'The Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant
and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a
thousand generations'.
How are we to understand the language of David recorded in 1 Chronicles
'Be ye mindful always of His covenant; the word which He commanded to a
thousand generations'.
And yet once more, what did the Psalmist mean in Psalm 105:8?
'He hath remembered His covenant for ever, the word which He commanded
to a thousand generations'.
The usage of the word 'generation' in the Scriptures falls into three
groups or shades of meaning.
The primary meaning is that of offspring.  This is
its meaning in the genealogies that abound in the Old Testament.  In Hebrew
'the book of the generations' is sepher toledoth, and in the Greek, biblos
geneseos (Gen. 5:1, LXX; Matt. 1:1).
Arising out of this primary meaning comes a secondary sense,
namely a period of time.  This would not have been used rigidly, especially
when we observe that the natural length of human life has changed since the
days of the patriarchs.  Herodotus, the Greek historian, says, 'three
generations of men make an hundred years', and Clement of Alexandria citing
Homer says, 'two generations' covers the period of 'about sixty years old'.
It will be remembered that our Saviour's earthly life was just about a
'generation', He commencing His ministry at about 30 years of age (Luke
The word subsequently came to indicate some specific
characteristics such as 'an adulterous and sinful generation'.  When the
three Old Testament writers quoted above speak of 'a thousand generations',
they can mean nothing more or less than an exceedingly long period of time,
not necessarily 33,000 years, but sufficiently long to overlap the Millennium
to such an extent as to show that the thousand years' reign is but the
threshold to a period very much longer than the present history of man,
multiplied several times.  If this has even any element of truth in it, then
the Day of God, which follows the Day of the Lord (see article Day of the
Lord8) must be of great importance, and it is highly probable that many a
passage of the Old Testament that has been indiscriminately labelled
'Millennial' belongs to this subsequent period.  This will become at length
the kingdom which the Son of God will deliver up to the Father, after all
rule, authority and power have been put down (1 Cor. 15:24 -28).  Most
certain it is that the Millennial kingdom as it is (Rev. 20:8 -10) was not
ready to be thus delivered up to the Father.  The words, 'For He must reign'