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
God Love you.
First I would say Russell was the most honest preterist I think who has written He did not appear to start out with a preconceived paradigm like modern FP do. Russell saw that the only way to make sense of the Millennium in Rev. was to see it starting after Ch. 19. This was the Vindication of those seen under the altar told to wait and those who where persecuted for not receiving the mark in ch. 13. Those FP who try to make those raised in Matthew 27:52-53 the begining of the millennium lack any correlation to those mentioned in Rev. 20. Matthew just does not give us any clue that that these were any part of the group John was describing in Rev. 20. John describes a group reigning that correspond to those he talks about throughout the book. Russell saw this and let the eschatological chips fall where they would. Russell's only flaw was the rest of the dead in 20:5 which he did not know what to do with because he saw Ch. 20:11-15 as a past event. I think the answer is that they are the same group as the rest who were killed in 19:21 and this would not conflict with 20:11-15 being at the parousia. Maybe the first have of 20:5 should be eliminated from the text due to the textual variant? if that is the case it also solve Russell's dilemma.
I think the millennium answers the question about the kingdom being taken from the Jews and given to those bearing the fruit of it. This is the time of the nations to experience the saving health from God. Just like throughout history God was actively involved it the affairs of men for His glory one day there will be a final conflict and end this is the reason for the loosing of Satan. This is consitent with the tenor of divine revelation throughout scripture and the meaning of the incarnation and resurrection of the new Adam. Those in my mind who try to make the history of this world go on forever or who say mankind will relocate to another place in the universe to survive forever in their current state of endless propagation is in my mind contrary to all the sacred text would have us understand.
To say Satan is only a O.C. problem is I believe naive. We see those all around who do not choose the good and often time becoming real evil in themselves. To say that the father of lies is not involved in those disobedient to the truth is not realistic. Satan is bound from deceiving the nations (a very specific binding) not from controlling the hearts of those in object rebellion from God. I think when we see Christ promising to build His church on a rock and giving of the keys as a fulfillment of this same type of imagery in the time of Solomon and he building a Temple on a rock and the office of the keys Isa. 22 we will have a better handle on seeing Rev. 20 correctly. When I saw that 1 cor. 15:25 corresponded to 1 kings 5:3. That David could not build the temple because his enemies were not under his feet. Then it clicked that at 70 Christ put his enemies under him (His Davidic Reign over Judea 30-70 A.D.) and His Solomonic reign over the nations (the Millennium) Just like Solomon had influence over the nations after he built the Temple cf Rev. 21-22 the new temple and the nations bringing their glory into it.
I see the fall of Jerusalem a micr-cosom of the very end. It is all over the Jewish writing that the Temple was a micr-cosmos. Reading the great theologians of the past like Athanasius, Augustine, Cassian, and Aquinas on see that though they may have not gotten all the preterist understanding correct they did see the micro-cosom paradigm. In my mind the FP view does not correspond to the revealed truth of scripture. I have wrestled with this for 30 years and Russell seems to make the most sense in these matters. The only issue I still have not pined down is the concept of resurrection at individual death which I lean towards. I know there will be a beatific vision for the righteous at death is this their complete glorification? I tend to think so but scripture does not seem to address this directly. I am currently working through 1 Cor. 15 for the thousandth time and it is intersting to me that Paul seems to refer to two groups Verse 12 the dead that some were denying resurrection to. (are they those we see in Daniel 12:1-3, John 5:28-29, Hebrews 11?) and those who have fallen asleep in Christ verse 18 some if not all martyrs? But they were not denying the resurrection of Christ. I tend to think they were a Christian Judaizing group causing this problem in Corinth?
Thank you for reply. I do see and agree with your evaluation of the chronology within visions seen by John, however I would just like to ask you to consider the following;
Terry would argue that there is a set of apocalyptic protocols and ground rules which govern the language and meaning the genre being used by John. He would say that Chapters 12 onwards are a restatement of the t previous visions, and they don't have a millennium.
The great thing about John's visions is that they have a structure that we can relate to; there as we would wish to "see" things perhaps, but reality, even spiritual reality is a lot messier, and there's the rub. What John gives us as a Millennium is his management of Jewish expectations of Messiah and the Jewish Martyrs place within them.
The millennium is symbolic of the future for those already experiencing hostility to Resurrection and The Gospels Triumph, and seemingly getting slaughtered in the process. The nature of the resurrection is also perhaps featured as lacking any physical aspect, but the big thing would be the Victory of Good over Evil at end. That The Gospel was to be preached prior to Christ's return and would bear fruit..........before The End is something we tend to discount.
I feel the very real danger is seeking to take aspects of a symbolic representation and applying them to what's happening on the ground now. Ward Fenley has a taken on 1 cor 15 which takes into account the tenses and grammer used by Paul and contends that Resurrection is Now.......The dead are rising........as a present reality in Paul's day and in the life of The Church. The statement of The Millennium as "This is the first Resurrection" warn us that we are on holy ground.
John interprets apocalyptic teaching as well as writing it and his interpretation of Genisis 3 should give us a hint that he regarded Cain as "the seed of the serpent" and Sin as the force within his destructive life. Whilst Satan as a created creature may feature large in deception and spiritual authority over the nations, Sin is the driving force of Evil.........(getting a bit carried away here) and so the question of Evil and its defeat or removal is still the big question and expectation of our religion.
The question as to whether the Millennium starts at which point to me detracts from the symbolic spiritual reality of what it's trying to say. I believe as Preterists we are accountable to other Christians to look at the fruit of our teaching and say.......................you know what, I'm going to have to submit to the fact that if my teaching is divisive or creates division or goes against apostolic tradition.............I'm going to have to re-think it. Preterism is what we make it, and is the only viable option in my view to get to a Theology of Mercy which doesn't privilege a political state or exclude a people. If the Millenium is about anything it is about The Gospel Triumphant and if our Gospel isn't effectual, we've got to ask ourselves whether we're running in vain because somehow we've lost something along the way.
Intersting thoughts. I have read Terry and think Russell does a better job. What this all comes down to is ones hermeneutic and unfortunately we do not have a consistent hermeneutic with preterits they are all over the map. I think Ward Fenley has had some interesting thoughts over the years but also some ideas that very good scholars would disagree with. Who has the right hermeneutic? FP love to camp out on present tenses when it suits them but often ignore the greek tense when it does not. Case in point Rev. 20:6 has a future tense. Having read Terry, Russell, Chilton, De Mar, King, Frost, Stevens, Fenley and a host of others over the years. I am convinced that Russell makes the most sense and really brings out John thoughts throughout the book. I do not follow Terry's view. Just like his view on 1 Cor. 15:23-25 is faulty. I take Russell's view that 1 Cor. 15:25 is 70 A.D. Terry does not. Terry also see's Rev. 20: 11-15 in the distant future see his biblical Hermeneutics page 486 again another weakness to his view. We all can fall into the trap of letting our hermeneutic drive our interpretation and not let the text itself drive our hermeneutic. I really believe Rev. is best interpreted as the beginning of the millennium falling into those things that are soon to come to pass. The loosing of Satan is outside of that time frame that is why John does not use the I Saw phrase to describe that event.
If Im understanding you correctly you place this final rebellion after the new heavens and earth. You have another lake of fire (Rev 20:10) after the AD70 one (Rev 20:15).
Is that how you see it playing out?
Here is your argument and exegesis which I found excellent.
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.
Mark I don't think any Preterist would disagree with any of the above. Very sound. However I do think your issue lies in the fact that....... although you hold to the End of The OC at 70AD you fail to acknowledge that Jesus commanded or prophesy that before the End The Gospel would be preached to every, Creature, Nation. Therefore I would ask you to consider your assertion below as the nub of the issue. Please convey from the text where in Rev 20 the reign of Christ begins over The Nations, especially the idea of the destruction of The Temple signalling the reign beginning over The Nations as such. I would argue that Christs reign is Universal from its inception and is without end.
I think your points are well made and the exegesis is sound up until this point. The fact that The Lake of Fire is a constant within the paradigm of Apocalyptic Genre for the Wicked ie There is no rest for the wicked shouldn't come as a surprise, whether talking of OC or the New Heavens and New Earth.
I would ask you to consider from the text the following;
Please note that John makes strong reference to the point that there is no more Sea..........this is not without reason.
I would argue that The Millennium is a device to describe completely The End of Covenant and this is the crucial point, is within it, to introduce The New Heavens and New Earth.............a new creation which echos Genesis' description of the creation of covenant. There the 7th day is depicted as following the 6th.............but is without Evening or Morning, depicting eternity or The Rest of God alluded to in the psalms and taught in Hebrews. Perhaps the New Heavens and New Earth...........the heavenly country and City of God.
Let's not get stuck in The Millennium.........the Old Covenant, but diligently labour to enter the promised land of Christ Himself.........who Isaiah witnesses as being given as a covenant to all peoples and nations.
Thanks for you input. I think you are making some assumption as to my thinking. I do not believe Christ reign ends. The loosing of Satan will and his demise will end human history just like the many judgements in history ended something like 70 A.D. ended the Temple. Satan does not take over to reign at the loosing he just gathers those evil ones outside the city 21:8-9 to try one last assault on Christ and his people.
The Gospel was preached to the whole world before the end primarily for two reasons. 1. To reach all Israel who were scattered among the nations. 2. To plant in the nations the Gospel so Christ could reign over them in the millennium.
The sea gave uptake dead of Israel. Rev. 20:11-15 is about the judgement of Israel primarily. This was the fulfillment of Daniel 12:1-3. Notice the three groups mentioned there. The righteous, the unrighteous and those who shine like the stars. See Rev 20 The righteous, the unrighteous 11-15 and those with a special place 20:4-6. John 5:28-29 is also about Israel as well as all the resurrection text in the N.T. in conjunction with the parousia. I am not saying there is not a reckoning for non Israelites at the same time but that is not the purpose of the text.
Things are different in the N.C.
1. No more waiting after death to enter God's presence.
2. There will be no end to this N.C. The world will end either naturally of by a final conflict between God and Satan which I believe will take place.
3. Life or judgement begin here in this life in relation to being joined to Christ and His Body the Church i.e. being inside the city verses outside Rev. 21-22. Those outside will have a future in the lake of fire.
4. There will not be an endless human history in the flesh but one day we will all enjoy heavenly glory together. This was the purpose for Adams allowance to fall. So that God could redeem man and lift man to a higher state. If Adam would not have sinned he would have enjoyed eternal natural happiness but God destined for supernatural happiness over the angels and Satan rebelled against that notion.
5. The purpose of the millennium is the time for the nations just like the O.C. was the time for Israel. In the O.C. many gentiles entered into the O.C. so to during the Millennium many of Israel will enter. A strange reversal don't you think? Just like many of Israel were cast out into outer darkness in 70 A.D. so to many of the nations at the very end will be see in the lake of fire. ( many may be already there at death. )
Two notes: Those gathered from the nations in Rev.7:9-12 as those of Israel where they had been scattered. The 144,000 were those of Israel found in the Land of Israel itself. See J. Massyngberde Ford.
I listened to Ward Fenely podcast of 1 Cor. 15 yesterday afternoon and one big issue is 2 Cor. 5:21 Christ became a sin-offering not sin for us. Look up how that greek word was used in the LXX. This really creates a heretical soteriology. This is where Calvin went horribly wrong.
Would just like to thank you for your ministry. I feel the whole discussion has clarified things for me and given a much more solid foundation on which to base further study. Very satisfying. Thank you.
Yes, of course your point that Christ must reign ( In the Millennium ) until every enemy has been put under his feet was for me that kind of Aha moment too, giving a natural end to The Millennial Reign, after Death itself has been swallowed up in Victory.
That in The New Heavens & Earth there isn't any Sea would mean that Dominion is denied to any Beast that cannot now emerge from it. Here's to the knowledge of God covering The Earth as the waters used to cover The Sea.
I do hope to catch-up on Russel and refer to this discussion for many years to come. All the best and God Bless You.
(With out engaging your true question again... :) )
Who do you find the beast and armies in Rev 19 to be? These were destroyed just before the beginning of the millennium.
Who do you find the Devil to be, who was bound before and released after the millennium?
I sometimes think of the beast as the same beast in Daniel and call it Rome, but surely Rome was not destroyed in AD70 or anytime soon afterwards. So who do you find the beast and devil to be?
Russell says the Beast is Nero and deputy in Judea. The armies being in the unseen realm. Gessius Florus goaded the Jews to revolt he also met with a violent death like Nero. I think we have to read these events in regards to the fall of Jerusalem and not Rome. The true unseen force is Satan or Lucifer. He has his human agents in the historical conflict leading to the fall of Jerusalem. Another key is after his loosing he surrounds the city but he not it is destroyed unlike the city of Jerusalem being destroyed in Chapters 17-19. Please read Stuart Russell book The Parousia if you haven't.
Where can I find the book?
But in the meanwhile what is answer to the Roman Empire existing way part AD70 yet in Revelation and in Daniel the statue was destroyed by the stone and the beast destroyed which seem to indicate an end to the beast's kingdom at the parousia?
Amazon has the book. There are a couple of ways to look at 70 A.D. and Rome. Fist older commentaries say Greece was the fourth empire not Rome and that Rome in Rev. is all four put together. Also after 70 there was no widespread persecution of Christians only pockets here and there. So because the Gospel had been proclaimed to the whole world before 70 it really neutralized the Roman beast and when she did fall what took its place was christendom. Remember many officials in the empire were converting. Nero was dead and Christ took his place.