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
Here are some observations from Scott Hahn as to the connection between John's 1000 years and the Davidic Kingdom that might be helpful.
The background of the millennium may be traced to the period of the Davidic covenant, which was established almost exactly 1000 years before the coming of Christ. This age began with David extending his rule over Israel and other nations (2 Sam 5-8) and with Solomon instructing the nations in the ways of righteousness (1 Kings 10:1-10, 2324). It is also a time when the faithful of Israel first experienced martyrdom for their faith (Dan 3:16-23; 2 Mac 7:1-42). The images in 20:1 also have links with Davidic traditions: the key recalls the key of David in 3:7; the pit of the netherworld was believed to be sealed off by the foundation stone of Solomon's Temple; and the chain that prevents deception may reflect the tradition that a chain hung in Solomon's courtroom and was used to verify the truthfulness of testimony given under oath. These and other features of the Davidic age prefigure the messianic age, during which Christ reigns over the Church and the world as the royal Davidic Messiah.
Hahn, Scott; Mitch, Curtis (2010-06-14). The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament (Kindle Locations 29171-29177). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.
They were not killed. They were "slain" by the word of God. This is a play on words
I do not think the text bears that out. We can not change the meaning of things in the sacred text to suit our paradigm. The Greek word is killed and is used that way consistently in Revelation. 2:3, 2:23, 6:8, 6:11, 9:5, 9:15, 9:18, 9:20, 11:5, 11:7, 11:13, 13:10 twice, 13:15, 19:21 added to this the birds gorging on their flesh. Of course that may be figurative coming from Ezekiel but it does emphasize they died. I guess this is the problem with developing a eschatological theology. Everyone seems to have his own interpretation to make his paradigm make sense. The key is letting the text say what it says within itself. Though I would love to hold to a past millennium I do not see it in the text itself. I agree with Russell in his book the parousia along with Jim Jordan that it must have started at the fall of Jerusalem. So many preterist come up with various theories to try to get around this like a 3.5 year millennium, a 40 year millennium, and old testament reference or like Simmons a dual millennium. I just remain unconvinced based on what I see exegetically.
Thus is not my own interpretation - I have read several commentaries on that book and this meaning fits with Preterist understanding.
May I add that only the OT were sacred texts as they were the "oracles of God". The NT is different as confirmed by the fact that we do not do everything for example that Paul writes about.
It was during the 40 year "millenium" that the "saints" or apostles reigned with Christ and fulfilled all those OT prophecies
Anyway I wish you all the best in understanding this book - the key of course is to pray and ask God to reveal to you the truth and give you understanding
God Bless you. Indeed David Chilton who was a close friend until his untimely death holds to this view in days of Vengences. Other preterist do not. I have been studying the sacred text for over 40 years and have been a preterist for 30. There is know one preterist paradigm so humility is a good thing for us all. As much as a past millennium would round out my preterism nicely I can't see it from the text especially a 30-70 meaning. Christ was reigning over the theocratic people the Jews from 30-70 many were His enemies that were put under His feet 1 Cor. 25 at the parousia when He began His reign and shepherding the nations Rev. 20 this is how David Chilton works out 19:21. This is really the complete fulfillment of the O.T. Prophets. Maybe we should take out the reference to the rest of the dead in 20:5 as the majority on manuscripts do? I do pray every day as I study and having 2 degrees in theology and scripture compel to keep studying. Thank you for your input.
Here's another take on 20:5: "They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. (This is the first resurrection. How fortunate and holy is the one who has a share in the first resurrection! The second death has no authority over these, but they will be priests to God and his Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.) When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison..." (Revelation 20:4-7; here v. 5b-6 is indicated as a digression)
Coming to life (from death) represents having a relationship and being in fellowship with God. Just as Adam "in that day you will surely die" didn't die but lost his close relationship with God
The millennial prediction (Rev. 20:2-7) seems to be referring to the relatively brief interval ( 66 years ) between the destruction of Jerusalem ( First Jewish–Roman War ) by Titus in AD70, and the destruction of Jerusalem ( Bar Kokhba Revolt ) by Hadrian in AD136. An interesting fact : The Jewish-Roman wars started in AD66 and ended in AD136. It lasted for 70 years.
And here let it be observed, once for all, that this chapter is not to be regarded as a continuous narration in point of time. The revelator relates parallel occurrences, and not consecutive ones. From verses 1—3, he describes a certain series of events. At verse 4, he goes back to first events, and traces another series, which is continued to the end of the 10th verse. At verse 11, he goes back again to first events At the first verse he says: "I saw an angel," icc. At verse 4, he goes back again to the same time, and commences in the same manner: "I saw thrones," &c. And at verse 11, we find him adopting anew the same form of speech, — "I saw a great white throne." These are not consecutive but simultaneous occurrences.
Revelation 20 :
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
Eusebius of Caesarea wrote that Christians ( the camp of the saints and the beloved city, the New / Heavenly / Spiritual Jerusalem ) were killed and suffered "all kinds of persecutions" at the hands of Jews when they refused to help Bar Kokhba against the Roman troops.
Justin, First Apology 31.5-6
For in the present war it is only the Christians whom Barchochebas, the leader of the rebellion of the Jews, commanded to be punished severely, if they did not deny Jesus as the Messiah and blaspheme him.
Hadrian, year 16: The Jews, who took up arms, devastated Palestine during the period in which the governor of the province was Tineus Rufus, to whom Hadrian sent an army in order to crush the rebels.
Hadrian, year 17: Cochebas, the duke of the Jewish sect, killed the Christians with all kinds of persecutions, when they refused to help him against the Roman troops.
Revelation 21 :
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Hadrian's proclamations sought to root out the nationalistic features within Judea's Jewish communities, which he saw as the cause of continuous rebellions. He prohibited the Torah law and the Hebrew calendar, and executed Judaic scholars. The sacred scroll was ceremonially burned on the Temple Mount. At the former Temple sanctuary, he installed two statues, one of Jupiter, another of himself. In an attempt to erase any memory of Judea or Ancient Israel, he wiped the name off the map and replaced it with Syria Palaestina. By destroying the association of Jews to Judea and forbidding the practice of Jewish faith, Hadrian aimed to root out a nation that inflicted heavy casualties on the Roman Empire. Similarly, he re-established Jerusalem, but now as the Roman pagan polis of Aelia Capitolina, and Jews were forbidden from entering it, except on the day of Tisha B'Av.
The Jews became a minority in Judea, remaining strong only in the Galilee, Bet Shean and the Golan. Hadrian's death in 138 CE marked a significant relief to the surviving Jewish communities of Judea. Rabbinic Judaism had already become a portable religion, centered around synagogues. In the aftermath of the defeat of Bar Kochba, the consolidation of Jewish settlement in Palestine became of major concern to the rabbinate. The Sages endeavoured to halt Jewish migration into diaspora, and even banned emigration from Palestine, branding those who settled outside its borders as idolaters.
According to the Mishnah (Taanit 4:6), five specific events occurred on the ninth of Av that warrant fasting:
1 The twelve spies sent by Moses to observe the land of Canaan returned from their mission. Only two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, brought a positive report, while the others spoke disparagingly about the land. The majority report caused the Children of Israel to cry, panic and despair of ever entering the "Promised Land". For this, they were punished by God that their generation would not enter the land. Because of the Israelites' lack of faith, God decreed that for all generations this date would become one of crying and misfortune for their descendants. (See Numbers 13; Numbers 14).
2 The First Temple built by King Solomon and the Kingdom of Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians led by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BCE (Anno Mundi [AM] 3175) after a two-year siege and the Judaeans were sent into the Babylonian exile. According to the Talmud in tractate Ta'anit, the destruction of the First Temple began on the Ninth of Av and the Temple continued to burn throughout the Tenth of Av.
3 The Second Temple built by Ezra and Nehemiah was destroyed by the Romans in August 70 CE (AM 3830), scattering the people of Judea and commencing the Jewish exile from the Holy Land.
4 The Romans crushed Bar Kokhba's revolt and destroyed the city of Betar, killing over 500,000 Jews, on July 8, 135 CE (Av 9, AM 3892).
5 Following the Bar Kokhba revolt, Roman commander Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the Temple and the surrounding area, in 135 CE.
Reply to stairway to Heaven; I only see a continuous narrative from 4 tom 20 I do see the I saw sections in 20-22 as concurrent except for the loosing of Satan which John does not use the I saw phrase for this section. I can not get my head around taking a 1000 years for a short time. The most straight forward reading is after the fall of Jerusalem their will be a reign over the nations which will end in one last assault of Christ and His Church (Ch. 21-22) not Jerusalem before eternity. John using the 1000 years of the Davidic covenant as a background for this period. I think Russell has the best handle on this.
Excellent exegesis. I guess we can all go with that then......................
Milton S. Terry also holds the same view as you on The Millennium beginning with sacking of Jerusalem and going on.......... for an indefinite period, and published his view in 1897.
Let The Peace of God lead you in your walk with Him.
Hi again Mark,
Just a couple more observations -
I have used the Rev. 12:5 verse before as one way to prove the early dating of Revelation (before AD 70) to my relations. For that pre-AD 70 generation, this was about to become true - Christ "is about to shepherd all nations with a rod of iron" after AD 70. Notice, though, the emphasis is not on the launching of a reign of Christ here, since Christ has always ruled over the nations in one sense. The emphasis is on a new kind of shepherding about to be done -with "a rod of iron" this time. This does not denote a cruel, despotic rule. Rather, it is set in contrast to Zechariah's shepherding staffs, "Beauty" and "Bands", being cut in half - illustrating a covenant being broken. This "rod of iron" is depicting an inflexible, unbreakable covenant, not a harsh, authoritarian treatment of His subjects about to be initiated. This is the unbreakable New Covenant, which extends to all nations.
Not all the references you have given are referring to this same, up-coming AD 70 style of reigning with a rod of iron. Those souls of Rev. 20:4 who "lived and reigned" with Christ during The Thousand Years did so from the foundation of Solomon's temple being laid until Christ's ascension. It's living in the same sense that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were said to be "living" when Moses spoke with God at the burning bush. Christ himself uses this in his argument with the Sadducees in Luke 20:37,38. And David refers to the afterlife in Psalms 26:13 as "the land of the living". The always-existing control of Christ over the nations did not start with these Rev. 20:4 saints, nor did it end with them. Those souls in Rev. 20:4 who "lived and reigned" are the same remnant in Rev. 20:5 who "lived again" (in an incorruptible, resurrected body this time) after Christ's resurrection. They are the Matthew 27:52,53 saints, raised along with Christ as the First Resurrection in AD 33. And once they are above ground, Satan is loosed for his short time before AD 70 to deceive the nations once more, and gather them to battle.
I not only see a parallel of this Revelation battle with Ezekiel 38-39, as you mention, I see Ezekiel prophetically describing the very event itself. I recently found the definition of Gog in Numbers 24:7 in the Septuagint. This is part of Balaam's prophecy, giving a blessing over Israel. "There shall come a man out of his seed, and he shall rule over many nations; and the kingdom of Gog shall be exalted, and his kingdom shall be increased. God led him out of Egypt; he has as it were the glory of a unicorn..."
So, if Israel itself is Gog, and the "4 corners of the earth" in Rev. 20:8 are merely speaking of the land of Israel's 4 dimensions, I see civil war conditions being described in Revelation 20:7-9. Civil war is also described in Ezekiel 38:21, " And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God; every man's sword shall be against his brother." Civil war in the AD 66-70 time is also described in Zechariah 14:14, with Judah (the lawgiver tribe) also fighting against Jerusalem. In fact, if it weren't for the various factions in Israel fighting against each other for supremacy, it would have taken the Romans much longer to accomplish the subjugation of Judea.
So, when I read of the battle combatants being gathered together from the breadth of the earth in Judea, many of them (certainly not all, but many) were the Israelites' own countrymen, each striving to attain the position of filling the "Messiah" role and gaining physical control of the habitable world, as they had been deceived into understanding the prophecy's intent. This is why Simon, John, and Eleazar, and others were each willing to shed so much of their fellow countrymen's blood in order to achieve the ultimate prize of conquering Rome and becoming the Messiah over the entire known world.
You also speak of trying to clear up chronological details that appear to conflict with each other in the various chapters you mention. If I remember correctly, Russell's "Parousia" portrayal of Revelation's construction is one of recapitulation - the seals, trumpets, and vial judgments are merely 3 repetitions of the same story, but with progressively more dramatic detail in each retelling. As a followup to these 3 presentations of Revelation's events from 3 different angles, I see Revelation 20 as a sort of "Cliff's Notes" version which covers the events described previously in Revelation. It hits the high spots, rather like a final book review. To look at Revelation as a simple linear chronology from start to finish creates unnecessary problems for anyone trying to make sense of it.