O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
So, I've been reading a bit through Revelation and trying to digest Full Preterist points on the Millennium. I came to an interesting reinforcement of one of Duncan McKenzie's points that I'd like to see some comment on. His primary point that the Millennium starting in 70AD is usually described through the saints receiving the First Resurrection. These saints are rewarded at the First Resurrection for not taking the "Mark of the Beast". So, he postulates that the initiation of the Millennium has to happen after the Parousia. The issue I ran into coincides with his point but is based on the Beast from the Sea.
I'm starting from the assumption that Duncan is correct in associating supernatural evil characters with Kingdoms (Prince of Persia, etc.) so that there is some overlap and you might call it corporate identity seen in the text (if you aren't on board with this, the following won't make much sense to you; if you haven't read his book it was pretty persuasive to me on this point).
It seems to me that the Beast from the Sea of Revelation 13 is a composite of the four beasts of Daniel 7 (Daniel shows it as four separate beasts, but Revelation combines them). And, we see later that the Beast from the Sea is the one on which the Mystery Whore of Babylon is riding. In Daniel 7, at the point of judgment a part of that beast (the fourth Beast per Daniel means it would be part of the Revelation beast) is thrown into the Lake of Fire while the rest of it has its authority taken away for a "period and a time" (Daniel 7:12 and possibly Isiah 24:21ff).
Per Daniel three of the beasts (the Lion, Bear, and Leopard Beasts which make up part of the composite Beast of the Sea in Revelation) continue for "a period and a time". But, if all prophecy ends at this point, then is the action of these Beasts when they come back on the scene a mystery (I've asked this before, but I don't think anyone but Davo has tried to explain it)?
If the fourth Beast of Daniel in chapter 7 is defined as the Roman Empire (so that we are talking about just nations and not any supernatural characters per Duncan's paradigm), how do we point in history to a sense in which Rome was
defeated in 70AD?
If, after the Millennium, Satan is thrown in the Lake of Fire where the False Prophet and Beast (Daniel's fourth Beast) already are (Rev.19), how could the False Prophet and Beast be thrown into the Lake of Fire at the end of the Millennium?
If the False Prophet and Beast (again, Daniel's fourth Beast) are thrown into the Lake of Fire at the judgment in Daniel 7 and Revelation 19, and then after the Millennium Satan is thrown in the Lake of Fire where the Beast and False Prophet already are, how can Satan be destroyed in the judgment of Daniel 7?
Doesn't this imply that the Lake of Fire continues over a long period of time (at least the Millennium)?
I have a few more similar questions, but I thought it might be interesting to start from here.
Perhaps thinking about Revelation stories concerning a covenant end instead of a physical end is more appropriate. John tells us there is no more Sea at the parousia, so how could we continue to have a Beast from the Sea continuing if the sea is no more? This is again covenant ending language and I think we tend to look for physical ramifications and evidence for everything when its not called for. Even the Jews were not completly destroyed as they reqrouped and had a council at AD90. The story is framed in covenant language and the issues that related to a physical Israel ended in AD70 forever along with those pesky beast bothering them. The reason is becasue the covenant is now from above in the Heavens and not from below on the Land. It's a spiritual Kingdom as Christ explains in Johns gospel and Paul in Romans 8. Christ told Pilate he had no need to fear an earthly army from His Kingdom.
I'm fairly comfortable with the conclusion that eschatology is about covenant transformation. But, that's a conclusion we derive at this point that must be measured against the text. And, the text says that certain things happen after 70AD. Might it be that the package from Abraham to 70AD was covenant transformation in one paradigm and that the portion of history before and after are part of a second package (I know this is obnoxious to BCS/CC, but I'm trying to be as objective as I can about what I'm seeing). In any case, the following are some additional questions and thoughts that relate to the Millennium:
My take on Daniel 2 is that the fall of the single statue of metal kingdoms, call it the "metal man," pertained not to the fall of the last kingdom (Rome), but to the end of God's kingdom being under the dominion of this-worldly empires. Since the marriage of the church (the bride) happened at the Destruction of Jerusalem, the was when the kingdom was consummated (Luke 19, at the return of the Son). This is important because the fall of the metal man statue happens when the rock (Christ) is thrown at the feet of the statue. Now the legs were represented by Rome, but the feet were iron and clay, Rome mixed with the Jews (the clay). When this alliance was destroyed, the whole statue fell.
Now, Daniel 7 is basically the same vision as Daniel 2, but with different imagery. The destruction of the little horn (likely the Herod's from my studies) is followed by the arrival of the Son of Man to take full control over the kingdom now that his enemies have been destroyed. Notice that Rev 11:15f is the fulfillment of this passage, and Rev 11 is about the destruction of Jerusalem.
The end of Rome is not what is in view but covenant transformation as Norm said. That to me answers your question about the fall of Rome in Daniel. It wasn't Rome, but the whole metal man statue which represented God's people under the dominion of four worldly empires. Christ broke the church/kingdom free from that yoke when he ended old covenant Israel and resurrected her into the new bride. What happens to Rome itself is not in view nor is the purpose of the prophecy, as Daniel 9 and 12 clearly point to the consummation being the shattering of the holy people and the end of the 70 weeks.
Regarding Revelation 20, I think part of the problem is reading the text chronologically or linearly not regarding the cyclical (repetitive nature of the whole book, and not taking what is difficult and filtering it within a framework that is simple. John said all the book contained things that are and things that are about to be. Part of the "about to be" is the end of the millennium.
Regarding the first resurrection, it's not so clear to me that the text is saying what you are proposing. While I agree those persecuted by the beast are in view, I'm not sure that this means their resurrection (the first one) was in AD70. But I also agree this text is the most challenging of all. It seems to me at this time that the chiastic structure of the text, and the verb tenses (aorist and future) are important.Though many events are seen in the aorist and they depict at times things past and also things future to John, it is interesting the the future verb creeps up here to describe the end of the thousand years and what will happen to those in the first resurrection (they will be priests and kings).
I haven't resolved it all, but I'm seeing the first resurrection as ongoing throughout the millennium of AD30 to AD70, but only the martyrs are in view in light of their theme in previous chapters particularly their blood which was at the hands of Babylon (Jerusalem). Since a 1,000 years are like yesterday or a watch in the night, it seems like this is all transpiring in a corporate sense (corporate always includes the individuals who make up the corporate) during that last watch of the 6th day of creation after the light had left (after Christ's ascension).
I think part of the problem is seeing the "First Resurrection" as a singular event in time instead of a process of the first fruits coming to life as they are baptized into Christ. Paul's epistles especially Romans 6 and Phil 3 may be strongly in play here. While Paul broadened out to all who believed as raising to newness of life, John's theme concerns the martyrs. But that doesn't force that they had their own singular resurrection event. It just shows that they were not lost (as though they had no hope) . However I do see the problems with this view too, because they are basically projected as ones who died physically from persecution yet lived. I know some translations say "they came to life" but actually it is "they lived." So that would maybe more mean that they never really died but continue to live after their physical death. The first resurrection then is for the saints in the millennium who come to believe in Christ. Even if they die, they will still live. But the dead ones of 1 Cor 15, those of the old covenant before Christ, they were still dead awaiting their resurrection.
John 8:51 NASB "Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death."
John 11:25-26 NASB Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, (26) and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Christ the first fruit, the first fruits (the 1st generation Christians), then the rest of the dead. All finished by AD70. That's how I see it.
As Duncan pointed out to me after pinging him again on this issue, Revelation 20:5 has a textual variant that solves quite bit of the problem with the "1st Resurrection" issue. After looking at his point again I think it's probably a good idea to start looking for another work to define "Protos". In the lexicon one of the optional definitions (though the theme is more along these lines no matter which of the words you choose) is "better", as in "better resurrection". I think this fits the theme of the passage better because the comparison seems to be to the unnamed "other resurrection" in which the people are in jeopardy of the Lake of Fire. In other words, if you are part of better resurrection you can't go to the Lake of Fire. If you are part of the other resurrection you might just do so unless you are in the Book of Life.
As far as Daniel 7 goes, how do you incorporate the three beasts who aren't judged in 70AD, but continue to live for a "season and a time", into your paradigm?
Doug, thanks for the info on Rev 20, when I have time to get back to it I plan to dig deeper into that text.
Regarding Dan. 7, if the little horn are the Herod's, their judgment and casting into the lake of fire is set as happening before the destruction of the fourth beast (which is all beasts in one, representing dominion over old covenant Israel from the Dan 2 picture) and before the coming of the ancient of days to give dominion to the saints, then there isn't a problem. It's important to notice that the dominion given to the saints happened at the DoJ in AD70 according to Rev 11 and the full preterist picture of Scripture. There was a season and time that the fourth beast had life even though dominion was taken away from it, which likely was the time from the destruction of the Herods until the final end at the Parousia and the kingdom delivery. I grant that it also looks like there was extended life of the fourth beast (though no dominion over the saints), but the question is, is the prolongation of "a season and a time" the distance between the fall of the Herods and the fall of Jerusalem, or is it from the Parousia until a few hundred years after that? In the text, it lends itself more that the lake of fire was ongoing for "times, time and a half a time" (the time period of the entire Roman Siege) and that first in this sequence the Herod's are tossed into the lake of fire (their dominion taken away), and then the beasts' dominion over the saints happened during that season at the end of the whole Parousia-Judgment event. Even if Daniel's vision looked past the Parousia to tell us that life existed in Rome past the Parousia, that doesn't disrupt the finality of what happened in AD70 - resurrection, dominion to the saints, and an ever-expanding kingdom filling the earth with fruit. However I am inclined to see it at occurring within season of the siege on Jerusalem.
But what you must realize is that the primary concern is NOT about the 4th beast, is it about he dominion given to the saints. That is the mid-point in the chiastic structure of the text, and it is a theme repeated several times in the text. The fourth beast is ancillary; the primary protagonist is the little horn which is set against the one like the son of man. James Jordan does some excellent work on Daniel which I believe overthrows attempts to read into the text more than intended. The fate of the fourth beast is not the important point; it is the dominion given to the saints, and that happened at the AD70 event. Daniel 7 certainly cannot be used to show any future eschatological event for the saints past AD70, since this "eschatology" (end) is solely about the end pertaining to the old covenant people and the glorious birthing of the new covenant people.
Doug, I never saw a reply back from you regarding my thoughts, and my answers to your questions. Did you have a chance to read them?
Amen, Norm, Amen!:)
Doug you said … “But, that's a conclusion we derive at this
point that must be measured against the text.
And, the text says that certain things happen after 70AD.”
That is the rub isn’t it Doug. Everyone says they are measuring it against
the text but everyone reads into the text first their own suppositions. If there is anything we Preterist have
learned about understanding the scripture is that the biblical text cannot be
taken out of the overall context of the overarching framework of the biblical
narrative. That is why we have so many
different literal applications such as a literal AD70 rapture is because we are
inclined to default back to a literal application when the going gets rough or
we may not have enough textual background info to properly understand what is
Ok, I’m going to give my suppositions about the biblical
narrative and illustrate how I work through scriptures. The language is simply
exotic at times but IMO it “always” falls within the scope of a messianic
coming and fulfillment. The narrative
story of the bible is that a faithful man adam was the beginning of a lineage
of people whom God revealed Himself to from humanity at large. Adam was the
forebear of Israel practically speaking and represents a people under the Law.
This law is the crux of the problem throughout the entirety of the scripture
and is the reason that a messiah deliverer is needed. Adam’s original purpose
was sidetracked by the lust of the flesh for the Law. Paul explicitly details
how this Law is Israel’s problem and how it is being changed from Pentecost to
the coming Parousia. Once the Law is relegated to the dust bin of history for
God’s people then God’s faith driven people are back on track in their
relationship with Him. The destruction
of the Temple and Jerusalem is the “sign” that this covenantal change has occurred
and then the status of those who remain will be changed in the twinkling of an
eye. This reflects back to the original change in the Garden when Adam and Eve’s
eyes were opened and they entered fully into the darkness of the Law and a
fallen covenant. There is nothing more to be accomplished for this overriding issue
once the matter has been rectified by the promised seed/messiah. There is no more status change needed because
Garden life is back in place and our walking with God through our mortal strength
is replaced with our walking with God through the Spirit that has come down
from on high. This is the simplicity of
the narrative and if one keeps their focus upon
interpreting the scriptures to meet this simple outline then we never
end up with all variations of exotic offshoots that trouble the church
You can effectively use this simple outline to test the
scriptures and their contextual application.
If it seems that there is a rogue scripture leading us to a different
conclusion then one need to step back and ask why this particular verse or
thought seems to be leading to a different conclusion. There is one thing that I find as a certainty
in scripture and that is its ability to stay within this construct of the
messianic change that is coming and will occur. In every situation I find that
there is a consistent answer if we dig deeply enough to grasp the context that
may not be obvious to those of us whom have not grown up in this overall Hebrew
prophetic narrative. We full Preterist are getting as close as anyone to seeing
this simple outline but we are constantly having to shed our tendency to fall
back on a hybrid reading of scripture when we really just haven’t completely
performed enough due diligence.
We are back in the Garden
with God now and it is eternal set upon the cornerstone that never needs
changing or tweaking. There are no more
prophetic comings as everything is in place for right living with God for each
and every person who seeks to know God. This will never change in my humble
opinion as we can’t improve or detract from what is set in place. So many
people think that since death and sin still abound that there is something more
to come. Well yes but that is whatever is
beyond post mortem for the faithful.
There is nothing to change in this physical world except to enter into
Garden life and walk through the Spirit putting on the full Image of God.
Norm, I appreciate your insight. I still think that full preterists try TOO HARD to make everything fit their narrative. We are seated in Heavenly Places, yes. I don't think that we are back in the garden - the scriptures give us no indication of that symbolic fulfillment (no language that I can think of assures us that we are back in the garden...until after we die perhaps). Now, the Tree of Life IS available to us...because it BROKE INTO our fallen world. But that is not the same as saying that we are back in the garden! That reduces us to a passive state. No the Tree of Life BROKE INTO our fallenness, and when we have Him inside of us...we too become active agents. History isn't over yet. God has a PURPOSE for history! This is something that tooooo many full preterists forget!!!
I think like a Postmillenial Protestant Historicist, with a few exceptions. God is a God for all times. Just as He prophecied for things in the Old, and warned them of things... so He does for us as well. Prophecy doesn't fail until we are like God, and see Him as He is, and see it all. Until then, we NEED the present grace of God. We need to be walking in the Spirit, filled with the Spirit...and yes, that comes with the gifts including the prophetic. I don't trust everything. But I do evaluate everything, with an openness to learning something that is OUTSIDE my present box!!!! This learning curve continually pushes me toward the attitude of an idealistic sort of Postmillenial Protestant Historicism.
Yes, we now have access to most if not all of the promises. That is available to us in Jesus. But then why are we still alive? To rescue as many people as possible to fill up eternity? I guess you can say that... That basically reduces this world to a perpetual trash heap that we are saving people from. This world is condemned...and we just need to get as many people out of here as possible. Give up trying to progress culturally, because 'this is not our home' right?
The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord. The kosmos-systems are not our home. But creation is the Lord's. And God has placed US in dominion over creation. Therefore: God's dream of His Story IS Progressively being fulfilled. The kosmos-systems are fallen & cannot be healed (Babylonian mindsets). But creation... can be healed. God heals, God resurrects. Not all shall die and be resurrected - some shall be changed. Jesus is physically returning in his flesh, as our eldest brother. He is a life-giving Spirit, but He is also the Son of Man.
America's Founding Fathers had a certain postmillenial hope, that was also coupled with Protestant Historicism (rejection of the Roman Catholic order). It helped them establish a country that isn't perfect...but was able to progress and right it's wrongs. (The eventual rejection of slavery was written into our own Declaration of Independence, on purpose. Because even America's Founding Fathers were not comfortable with it. They were looking forward to a day, dreaming of a day, when slavery would be abolished. They gave the abolishion movement AMMO TO USE in anticipation of that eventual victory...but they couldn't win that victory in their day, and have a 'united country' so in their minds: they did what they could. And God blessed it. It wasn't perfect...but it got better with time.) Why? Because they had CULTURAL VISION! Not the pleasant apathy that full preterism seems to generate.
We need to understand the 'now' and 'not yet'. Things already have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ (eternal kairos logic). But things are not yet expressed and learned IN TIME (chronological). Culturally speaking, mankind (even christians) are STILL LEARNING what was done at the cross and at the resurrection and at Pentecost. We are STILL LEARNING how to grow, stand our ground, know who we are, fellowship with God. Culturally, we are learning. The Book of Revelation EXPRESSES THIS TERRESTRIAL/CHRONOLOGICAL LEARNING CURVE!!! Just because prophecy has been fulfilled - does not mean that the rest of us have caught up to it. Paul saw the falling away beginning in his own time. People beginning to exalt themselves above the brotherhood, seeking money and authority. Paul saw it happening, and said that only a restrainer had to be taken out of the way before a 'man of sin' would be revealed. Early church fathers such as Iraeneus WROTE that the restrainer was the Roman Empire. When more freedoms were granted, and there was no longer a bulls eye on church leadership... the social pyramid was free to grow higher and stronger, resulting in the apex. The image of a man sitting on top of the world, claiming to have authority over everything we call God. Culturally, many christians were still too weak and too scattered. God gave the 'man of sin' the political power to overcome the saints, and silence their communications. However, the true Israel still triumphed. The Reformation, which is a continual movement - still going on today.
The logical conclusion of the Reformation (and the rejection of that Papal order) is the organic house church movement/theology. That is the return to New Covenant, New Testament brotherhood. But the institutional church doesn't want you to know that: so they rubber stamped both preterism and futurism in the COUNTER-Reformation in order to deflect accusation away from the Papacy-style centralized authority in the present! We're supposed to look to the future (futurism) or to the past (preterism) but forget about applying NT scriptural logic to the present. Nah! We can trust our authorities, as they exist, now! Sure! Forget about present fulfillments of scripture. Just be content with the way things are now. Always be content In Christ, yes. Be content with the kosmos-systems of the world?
America was one such step AWAY from the Papal order/Roman order. And we still have farther to go...not politically...but as the church of believers. History (even America) is about us, as we are about our Father's business.
No. It is finished (eternally, Kairos-logic), at the cross. But it is not all finished, chronologically. We HAVE our identity, from the cross, burial, resurrection, ascension, and we have the empowerment of the Spirit of God given at Pentecost. We didn't have to wait for AD70 for our identity. That's a farse!!! That was merely grace to the unbelieving Jews! Even the apostles wrestled with how much Jewish custom was mandatory - and they learned through discussion and the Spirit - how to stick close to Jesus. But their identity always was in Jesus, especially after Pentecost solidified them into a life-giving movement. They didn't wait until AD70 - and then say, "I guess we don't fit within the Judaic system anymore..."
No. Kairologically they understood their identity circa AD 30. And they witnessed to the Jews and Gentiles from then on. But CHRONOLOGICALLY the end didn't come until AD70, even though the end (purpose) had already been fulfilled in AD30. Get it? The Now and the Not Yet.
The Book of Revelation was given for the FUTURE edification of the church. Just as it's 'prequel' the book of Daniel was given for future generations. They even use the same language of symbols.
The Book of Revelation tells the story of how a bunch of scattered believers culturally overcome in the world - producing judgement upon it's systems - even as they have ALREADY overcome the world's problems IN THEIR HEARTS (though believing Jesus, and accepting His Victory!). We have victory, when we believe. And then when we grow in number, that victory becomes apparent - in history.
But belief can only be spread organically. It cannot be spread by force or by institutions that treat people as faceless masses or numbers to be processed. Belief must come through Personal relationship between people, and between people and God. That is the triumph of the church, in history.
Let me focus on one point of your post, the historicist approach to the storyline of Revelation. In order for historicism to be true, you should see the Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls being fulfilled in various generations throughout history. I've seen historicist presentations that basically talk about the Seals applying to the Roman invasion, the Trumpets applying to the Muslim sacking of the Byzantines, and the Bowls applying to the Reformation or possibly the French Revolution. Whether these bench marks are right or not, they seem to accurately represent the idea of progression throughout History of the sequence of judgment in Revelation.
Here's the problem: The text of Revelation 15, dealing with the initiation of the Bowl judgments, makes direct reference to the Song of Moses, which was a song designed to teach the curse against the apostate Israelites to future generations in anticipation that one day it would be executed. If you are not familiar with the Song of Moses, I can't emphasize enough how important it is to become intimately familiar with Deuteronomy 28-32. That section is the penalty clause to the covenant made with the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land. If that penalty clause is being executed in the Bowl judgments, then that means that those judgments couldn't have been applied after 70AD, when the Old Covenant ended for good.
I'm still not perfectly satisfied with what I've seen in preterism, but it does a better job than the other systems of integrating the master storyline of both the Old and New Testaments.
Thanks for the response.
If the Tree of Life is available to us then we “must” be back in the Garden. You simply can’t have it both ways with one foot in and one foot out of the Garden, it was all or nothing as the first Adam found out. That is the issue that I have outlined in my previous post where good folks get confused with the simple narrative story and bring a hybrid inclusion of physicality to it. Attempting to carry forth and prolong the New Exodus period from the Cross/resurrection, Pentecost to the Parousia of AD70 to 2000 years and counting IMO turns the Gospel story on its head and neglects its purpose of full Garden restoration.
I realize that the historical Hellenized church has approached it that way but the messianic church of the First century which understood fully the Preterist fulfillment did not IMO. I’m a student of that Hebrew period and not of the westernized Greek influenced fathers that begin to move us away from the Hebrew messianic narrative.
Ed, let me direct you to Paul’s narrative of life and death in Romans 5-8 where many scholars recognize that Paul is speaking as a corporate member of Adam’s/Israel’s body of sin and death taking the readers back to the original Garden. Paul explicitly makes the point that Garden life before the commandment to Adam was given meant “life” with God and it’s only through the introduction of Law that this opportunity to walk with God collapsed.
Rom 5: 13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.
Rom 7: 9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died.
However Paul categorically comes to the conclusion that this problem has been rectified and Garden life is being fully reestablished for the faithful man of God.
Rom 7:24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
In the next chapter of Romans 8 Paul outlines that perseverance is required for those first century Christians who are striving for the consummating time when the Law will be fully set aside with judgment upon Law, Temple, Priest and sacrificial system. We know from Josephus this occurred in AD70 just as Christ predicted.
If we read Paul contextually as he writes to his audience and don’t attempt to write ourselves into the story line then it is clear that these earliest Christians were looking forward to this Juridical declaration as “sons of God” again. If one usurps the language because they believe this issue that Paul is speaking toward goes on for countless ages then I’m afraid we have missed the original context. I understand it is easy to do but a first century messianic Hebrew understanding doesn’t mesh with the futurist approach past AD70.
Rom 8: 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.
The creation was the Garden story of Gen 2 & 3 where Eve is declared to be the mother of “all the Living” (spiritually alive, not biological). Christ has begun the process of crushing the serpents head, (destroying sin through law) and AD70 will see its consummation sign and finality.
Ed, I wholeheartedly disagree that full Preterism does not provide PURPOSE and in fact I would state that futurism derails that fulfilled purpose of God by telling people a distortion of the full gospel message. Futurism places their ultimate hope in a physical story line and often gets off track and focuses on a message that leaves the Gospel watered down. Postmillennialism is a caricature of what happened with the first century Jews and today’s dispensationalist who look for a physical Kingdom not realizing what Christ “real” spiritual mission was. Futurism continues the apostate Jewish approach to scripture in which they did not understand the language and did not have “eyes to see and ears to hear”. I realize that I’m being tough with my implications but I believe it is imperative to uphold the full Gospel as understood by the first Christians and not as watered down by the Hellenization of the church.