Q: I have a question regarding the 1000 year of Revelation.  I am confused since there are different opinions about it.  What makes the 1000 years of Revelation literal?

In scripture, the term “thousand,” when in reference to time, is always used symbolically of a predetermined time that God chooses. In other cases, it is always used symbolically for a large number of people or things.

A:  According to John's revelation, those who have a share in the "first resurrection" will rule with Christ for a thousand years. He says: "Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years." (Rev. 20:4, 6; ESV) Should the "thousand years" be understood as merely symbolic, since, as you point out, the number thousand "is always used symbolically of a predetermined time that God chooses"; or is it a literal time period of a thousand years? Is your question perhaps also prompted by the fact that no one has ever lived for a literal thousand years; and too, some view God's kingdom as merely a condition of the heart, saying that Jesus rules as King in their heart, rather than it being a real kingdom, or government? (Isaiah 9:6)

Consider first of all that the 1,000 year rule of Christ Jesus has a definite beginning and end―contrary to the Scriptures mentioning a thousand years that you quote as examples. In line with your reasoning, reflect for example on what the Scriptures call "day", which can refer to any time period; an age; stage; epoch; point; years; generation; or a lifetime―but which doesn't mean that it can never be a literal day of 24 hours. How would a person discern whether a twenty-four hour day is meant, such as at Mark 16:2 ("on the first day of the week"); or an unspecified period of time such as at Matthew 27:8 ("to this very day")? Look at the context!

Consider the following examples (from the King James Version):
Gen. 2:4; "in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,"
      Gen. 5:1-2; "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man,"
Gen. 7:13; "In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;"
      Deut. 4:32; "For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth,"
Psalms 20:1; "The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble;"
      Psalms 44:22; "Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter."
      Zeph. 1:7, 14-15; "Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand:. . .That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,
      John 8:56; "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad"

Looking at the above examples, we can discern the difference between the various meanings of "day" by considering the context!

Consider also the context of the Scripture in Revelation regarding the 1,000 year rule of God's kingdom. Jesus taught us to pray for God's kingdom to "come." (Matt. 6:10) When does God's kingdom come? Jesus said: "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory." (Matt. 25:31) Accordingly, there is a specific time when Jesus arrives and sits upon his throne of glory. That will be the beginning of his rule. (Compare Matt. 24:42, 44; 25:13; 1 Thess. 5:4; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Rev. 3:3) Will he rule for an unspecified period of time? The apostle Paul explains this further when he says: "Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be abolished is death." (1 Corinthians 15:24-26, ASV)

You see, according to Paul Jesus will rule as king in God's kingdom for a specific length of time, "until all enemies have been put under his feet"; that enemy includes the death we have inherited from Adam. This agrees with what Revelation chapter 21 reveals about Jesus' rule of a 1,000 years, and what God's kingdom will accomplish during that time. (Rev. 20:14-15; Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22)

Closely associated with the thousand year reign of Christ is the abyssing of Satan. That too is a specific period of time. The Devil is thrown into the abyss at the beginning of the thousand years and is released for a brief time at the end of the thousand years. (Revelation 20:1-2, 4,6) It says that "as soon as the thousand years have ended, Satan will be let loose out of his prison"; after which he will be hurled into the "lake of fire," the "second death" which signifies everlasting destruction. The 1,000 years of Satan's imprisonment is shown to have a specific start and end. That would not be the case of a figurative number as in the examples you have given. (Revelation 20:7-10, 13-15) Jesus nowhere tells us the actual "day and hour" of when he comes in his glory and sits upon his throne (that is why we need to keep awake, on the watch), but he did give specific signs that would identify the time of his arrival. (Chapters Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21)

Long ago, Daniel the prophet saw in vision the time when Jesus, as the "Son of man," receives the kingdom, rulership and dignity." But he saw more than just the Son of man become king; he also saw the "saints" or "holy ones" receive the kingdom, just as John also saw in his vision in Revelation 20:6. Daniel wrote: "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed... I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom." (Dan. 7:13-14, 22)

The "saints" are the "holy ones" who have a share in the first resurrection, and they will rule with Jesus for a literal thousand years, as John saw in his revelation, but which detail was not given to Daniel. (Dan. 12:4, 6, 9) Considering what the Bible says on the subject, there is no scriptural reason to doubt that the thousand years are literal and real. That means that all who survive the "great tribulation," along with the countless resurrected righteous and unrighteous ones who come out of the "memorial tombs," will live for the thousand years; longer than Adam had lived, a literal 930 years. (Gen. 5:5; John 5:28-29; Rev. 7:9, 14; 20:11-15; 21:3-4)