O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
I want to say first I am not opposed to a past millennium in fact if I could be convinced of it, it would be much cleaner eschatological paradigm. The text of the book of Revelation appears to mitigate against it. I have asked several FP with no exegetical response. So I post it here for some sound exegesis that would change my mind from what appears to be the obvious. Please for the sake of this exchange let us stay within the Text of Revelation and exegete this text before going outside the book to other books in the N.T. I do think Russell has done the best exposition of Rev. that I have seen. His one issue that to him was baffling was the rest of the dead 20:5 which will be addressed in my comments. Here is my issue there are several future tenses to Christ and the saints ruling over the nations. 3:21, 5:10, 12:5 Which says he is about to reign. ( I do not believe ch. 12 is a flashback see Russell here) 19:15 Christ will rule over the nation pointing to 20:1-4. These future tenses seem to demand that the events of Ch. 20 come after these references? Add to this that 19:21 speaks of the Rest being slain by the sword which is the same group as the Rest of the dead who lived not during the 1000 years 20:5 ( this solves Russell's dilemma. Same Greek word for the Rest in both places) This also shows that Ch. 20 follows 19 and is not speaking of the same time period. We also see the Beast and false prophet being thrown into the lack of fire in ch. 19 but Satan is only locked in the bottomless pit only to be thrown later into the lack of fire 20:10 where the beast and false prophet are already. I could go on but these are the major issue to seeing the events of Ch. 20 as starting after the fall of Jerusalem and not before. I do not see anything in Revelation that would undercut this obvious reading. I do see parallels to Ezekiel 38-39 in Rev. 19 but given the wider use of Gog and Magog in Jewish literature there is nothing demanding the the events about the loosing of Satan in Ch. 20 as being the same events as Ch. 19. Ezekiel 38-39 probably refers to events before the birth of Christ see Gary DeMar on this. I hope to seem some good exegetical responses to my issue. I am truly open to seeing the Millennium as a past event.
Yours in Christ Mark
Yes, this is the identical point brought up on another post where I was discussing the same verse. Read it very carefully, though. It has three descriptions of people who have died. I know you would all like Rev. 20:4 to read that these souls were beheaded for not worshiping the beast, or his image, or receiving his mark. But it doesn't say that. It says that John saw the souls of those beheaded on account of the testimony of Jesus, and beheaded on account of the word of God, (both of which can be descriptive of Old Testament martyrs up until Christ's death), and then John also saw those who did not do homage to the beast, nor his image, and did not receive the mark upon their forehead or upon their hand. Read this in the Interlinear, and you will see that these 3 objects of the preposition "of" in this sentence do not dictate that this last category of souls has been martyred for this particular offense. Diagram the sentence on paper if that helps. (I am so old-school, it's pathetic.) It doesn't even say that they must have suffered martyrdom - only that they have died, and that during their life they never gave their allegiance to the beast by worshiping or receiving his mark. The particular beast under discussion in Rev. 20:4 is the corporate beast of the Roman empire, not Nero. Emperor worship was a feature of the Roman empire beast from its foundation by Julius Caesar. This is not a literal mark put upon their flesh, and the "mark" itself did not spring into existence with Revelation 13:16,17.
In fact, if you want to be technical, remember the image Nebuchadnezzar had set up with the death penalty of the fiery furnace if the citizens did not comply with the worship demanded by the king? Nebuchadnezzar's empire was symbolized by a beast - a lion with eagle's wings in Daniel 7:4. Worship of "a beast and his image" does not originate with Revelation 13. I'm not saying that John had Nebuchadnezzar in mind as he wrote Rev. 20:4. I believe he had the fourth beast of Daniel 7 in mind - the Roman empire beast.
The wrong kind of allegiance to this Roman beast is what Jesus was condemning as he held up a coin with the image of Caesar on it, and instructed the crowd to "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's". Nero's face was not on that coin.
I still contend that the souls in Rev. 20:4 are referring to the Matthew 27:52-53 saints of the First Resurrection.
The problem is the Greek can be taken either way and scholars are divided weather it refers to one group or multiple? I think it functions as an analeptic interpolation referring back too. John does this often throughout the book see 1:2, 11:8, 12:13, 19:2. How can those who only died recently be sharing in the 1000 reign if it is about to end shortly. Like I said from the start lets exegete Rev. first. You have made some great points but have not dealt with the exegetical issues I raised. To divide shephareding and reigning is I think to beg the question also the Rest in 19:21 and 20:5 shows chronology. All of Revelation falls into things that must shortly come to pass not a millennium that started under Solomon?
More to add. The context of the book also shows those sharing in the first resurrection in 20:4 are the same group as 6:9 notice the two qualifies in 6:9 slain because of the Word of God and because of the Testimony 20:4 The testimony of Jesus and the word of God. Contextually this is the same group. Those under the altar and told to rest a little while to be vindicated until the full number of the martyrs are complete 6:9 they find their vindication in 20:4 showing the events of 20:4 ( the 1000 years ) take place after the events of 6:9. I can see why FP do not want to tackle an exegetic rendering of the Book of Revelation itself because it does not support a past millennium. Russell was the most honest preterist on this front. He let the exegetical chips fall where they would. He threw his arms up at what to do with the rest of the dead which is solved by connecting 19:21 and 20:5. To prove the past millennium by pulling text from the other parts of the sacred text is proof texting and not sound exegesis. One must interpret a book within itself before tying it to the rest of the cannon. The reason being many concepts are repeated but refer to different aspects of God's Revelation. I think the problem is that a FP starts with the assumption the Millennium is past and ends up making exegetical blunders to ignore the obvious flow of the book of Revelation.
Absolutely, the Rev. 20:4 saints and those in Rev. 6:9 are speaking of the same group. "The testimony of Jesus and the word of God" phrases link them together.
I have also come to the conclusion that the 144,000 Firstfruits described in Rev. 7:2-8 and Rev. 14:1-5 are this same group. (That means I believe that the Matthew 27:52-53 resurrected saints are identified as the 144,000 as well.) Whether you want to make that an exact number or a symbolic one can be optional. I think it may be pretty close to that number, but just rounded off, as the Jews used to do for some of their calendar computations. As Euripides has already mentioned, many numbers in Revelation are rounded off, or are symbolic. I just don't happen to agree that the millennium years are symbolic of a literal 40 years or whatever. Rev. 20:3,7 both talk of "fulfilled" and "expired" years, which has definite implications of a literal time clock with a literal number of years ticking down to the end of that period.
I find that I can't agree that Rev. 19:21's remnant and Rev. 20:4's remnant are the same, though. The same Greek word is used, but the context of 19:21 connects this remnant as a part of those deceived by the beast who have his mark and have worshipped his image. This would mean that the 20:4 remnant is not this same remnant back in 19:21, even if the same word happens to be used in both places. The story line really does break at this chapter division and shifts to another scenario.
Regarding your question in your previous post, "How can those who only died recently be sharing in the 1,000 yr reign if it is about to end shortly?" It isn't necessary that every soul in this Rev. 20:4 group reign from the start to the finish of this 1,000 yrs. Here's a comparison that may help illustrate my meaning: If an art teacher holds up a classic painting and says that the artist was a Renaissance painter, I am not to believe that this painter lived during the entire hundreds of years Renaissance period from start to finish. Just so with The Thousand Years saints. Their number was continually being added to during the entire Thousand Year period as they died for the testimony of Jesus and the word of God (as the Old Testament prophets were put to death through the centuries by the Jews), or refused to participate in the worship of the Roman beast up until the time of Christ's death and resurrection. If one of them died just before the end of this period and was added to the group, he or she still qualified as one of their number.
I appreciate that you would like to confine the exegesis of Revelation to itself and let John's words defend themselves. But it is not a mistake to link it with the rest of scripture. As Peter said just after the day of Pentecost (Acts 3:21,24), every single prophet who ever spoke or wrote had something to say about the latter days of that first century before the Parousia. To look for OT links to Revelation events is not cooking up imaginary theories - the links are there, and can aid our understanding.
I want to say I am thankful for your response many of your ideas are novel even from other FP writers like Ed Steven's. Just some quick thoughts.
1 There is no evidence that the saints of Matthew are the 144,000 in Rev. 7 & 14. The 144,000 where living Jews from the Land the Matthean saints are resurrected. I think it is a better link to the remnant of Romans 11:5
2. I did not say Rev. 19:21 & 20:4 but 20:5 Those is 20:4 did not receive the Mark of the beast and were raised but those in 19:21 had the mark of the beast and were slain in judgement and are seen as not coming to life for the 1000 years 20:5. Clearly the strongest argument that 20 come after 19.
3. Yes Revelation uses O.T. images but applying them to the current scene. I do not agree that Ch. 12 is a flashback to the birth of Christ but the woman is the persecuted Hebrew Christian Church in Judea. John is using the nativity as a backdrop to identify them as those who embraced the Messiah. See Russell here.
4. I do get your point about the reigning issue typical response I have often gotten from Ed Steven's. This does not seem to fit Rev 9:6 where they are not reigning yet but have to wait until the completion of the martyred ban which would start the Millennium. If the Millennium was is progress they would not have been told to wait for their vindication. The saints raised in Matthew were already vindicated because they were raised not under the altar. Study the concept of being under the altar of sacrifice. John's whole focus is on those going through the great tribulation as martyrs not O.T. saints. This is the context of the whole book.
5. I do not believe the kingdom ends after millennium it is just telling us there will be one last conflict put down quickly and the kingdom goes on forever. Like Russell the only part of Revelation that is future is one final loosing of Satan which John says is outside of his purview. That is why he does not connect the I Saw phrase to this event. Read Stuart Russell Parousia if you haven't. His exegesis makes the best sense I believe.
Today's work schedule for sewing won't give me enough time, but in the near future I intend to make a copy of some comments I submitted on another website - subject, the various references throughout scripture that describe the Matthew 27:52-53 saints, including how they could possibly be the very ones composing the 144,000 category in Revelation 7 & 14. I'll have to retype it, which might take a little time, since there are over a dozen points in scripture (and perhaps more that I haven't noticed) that speak of the identity and activities of this unique group from Matthew. Ed Stevens mentions a few of them on his site, but not all.
Yes, it was a little while back that I read Russell's book online, and it is well worth rereading for refreshing my memory. I even purchased a copy of the Parousia, along with some other preterist literature and sent them to a local inmate that I know. I just don't have a copy for myself. If you are like me, you really prefer to feel pages between your fingers.
I would be interested is seeing your connection of the 144,000 to Matthew 27:52-53.
Just another short note about your last statement here, that "all of Revelation falls into things that must shortly come to pass not a millennium that started under Solomon."
There are historical references in Revelation to ancient events of Israel's past, such as the "doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel..." in Rev. 2:14. And I believe you are on board with Rev. 12's woman giving birth to a male child who is caught up to God's throne as referring to Christ's incarnation and ascension, which was a past event.
It's true that the prophetic events listed in Revelation were soon to be fulfilled to that generation, but the vision of Christ in Rev. 1:19 says that John was to write "the things which thou hast seen (past), and the things which are (present), and the things which shall be (are about to be) hereafter." This allows for discussion across the spectrum of history, not just what was about to be prophetically fulfilled.
And I use the word "shepherd" instead of "reign" because the Interlinear in those places uses the word shepherd instead of reigning or ruling.
I think a better understanding of Rev. 1:19 is "What you have seen" Seeing Christ among the lamp-stands Holding the seven stars "Which are" Should be what they are i.e. what they signify. The greek are eisin is used in this sense throughout the book 1:20, 4:5, 5:6, 8, 7:13-14, 11:4, 14:4, 16:14, 17:9, 10,12,15 and then about the things that will shortly come to pass after these things.
Not at all engaging your questions (for I am not that well informed to even attempt), I am curious as to when you find the events of Rev 20:11f all the way to the new heaven and earth taking place.
Im just trying to understand your view more comprehensively.
Thank you for explaining your view so decisively. I thought to take this opportunity to just ask your opinion on the implications of The FP View and how they are addressed in Russell's view.
Thank you for the reference to Russell ( The stick he got for writing his book is frightening. )
Have a great week-end.