The millennial Kingdom is the most revealed prophetic theme in the Bible. It is the fulfillment of the hundreds of verses concerning the rule of Messiah from Jerusalem. If you’re only beginning your study of the millennial kingdom, I would suggest starting with Revelation 20-21 and Isaiah 2, & 11. Of course, there are many more vital passages, but sometimes the overwhelming amount of information is just that, overwhelming. This can make beginning the study of the Word difficult. It’s an odd thing that most believers desire to be students of the Word but they don’t know where to begin, and so after some frustration, most give up. So, the above mentioned passages are a great starting point.
I’ve found the two most helpful keys to interpretation of prophetic scripture to be-
1) literal, or “face value“, interpretation. This means that the reader understands that God’s word was meant to be understood in a plain sense without loads of hidden meaning (obviously there are exceptions to this). If it says it’s symbolic, it’s symbolic; if it doesn’t say it’s symbolic – the reader can assume that it’s meant to be taken literally. Many times in scripture the angel will tell the original author what the symbols mean (see Dan 7 and Rev 17). This method lets the interpretation become congruent between the most learned scholar and the beginning student. The bible was written for the below average person (i.e. “untrained and uneducated men” Acts 4:13). If one must have a PHD in order to understand prophetic revelation – a serious error has occurred.
2.) Progressive revelation – this simply means that “revealed truth” throughout scripture builds upon itself, thereby revealing more and more truth throughout the following generations. Prophetic revelation “looks forward” not backward. For instance, if we interpret the reign of Jesus from Jerusalem in Isaiah 2 first; and then interpret the saints sitting on thrones in Rev. 20 – it is understood that saints will reign on the earth with Jesus. However, if use regressive revelation we would find that Jerusalem and Jesus ruling on earth are not specifically mentioned in Revelation 20. Therefore, one could deduce that Isaiah was only speaking of symbolic rule of Christ during the first century church and in the hearts of men. This is a serious error and causes not just 1 or 2 OT passages to loose their significance but 10’s of passages suddenly become volumes of misconstrued symbolism that have little to no future relevance. Many, through a poor interpretation of Heb. 8:13, attempt to discredit the Old Testament by saying it has “passed away”. To be clear, the Old Testament is not equivalent to the Mosaic Covenant. The revealed truth of the NT does not eliminate the truth of the old. Even justification by faith was not a completely new idea to the first Jewish believers in the church (see Gen. 15:6, Rom 4:1-5). The OT is the inspired word of God and works with the NT in harmony to reveal the eternal plans of God to redeem mankind and dwell with him forever. Jesus and the inspired writers of the New Testament did not use this method of regressive revelation to interpret scripture and reveal more truth. They built upon (looking forward) the understanding of the OT teachings of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms.
The Jews, that made up the majority of the initial church, had somewhat of an advantage over their fellow Gentile brothers who were coming in to “the Way” (Christianity) quite rapidly. A Jewish man or woman of that day would be quite familiar with the teachings of Moses, the psalms, Daniel, or Isaiah. More specifically, they would be well versed in OT covenants namely, the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants – which to the dismay of many, still retain significant future fulfillment. I believe this is one of the reasons that there were no Gentile authors of the inspired New Testament books. God used men who were going to build upon the revealed truth in the OT to establish the New Covenant (justification- grace through faith) and add to the revelation of the Second Coming and establishment of the Messianic Kingdom – namely through the book of Revelation.
In conclusion, we must, as students of the word, dilegently pour over the prophetic passages related to the end-times. We must take God “at His word” and not seek to “force” our interpretation upon the inspiration of scripture, but rather, let the scriptures speak for themselves and adjust our interpretation accordingly.