O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Recently a discussion was brought up by a good friend concerning Duncan and Doug W.’s Premillennial Preterism on a closed forum I belong to. I typically have to stay away from these detailed discussions because they require a lot of energy, thought and time to enter into intelligently. Against my better judgment I decided to enter in even though I don’t have the time and energy I used to be able to allocate to these issues. Partially this is because I’m not giving Duncan and Doug a fair hearing if I can’t commit myself seriously to their ideas in a discussion. So I will hang this warning out there that I’ll going to be doing the best I can by attempting to depend upon my past studies and some casual brushing up as I seek clarification and perhaps challenge some of their concepts here and there. But mostly I’m open to hear ideas.
Make no bones about it though that I truly respect and appreciate Duncan and Doug as brothers in Christ and as extremely serious students of the word. That’s about all that anyone can ask of people in these discussion.
I’m posting my response below to what I have briefly read and so expect errors from my possible misunderstandings of Duncan and Doug’s position. In fact the purpose of this post is to hopefully derive some clarification and allow for a little more robust discussion in which we can all become more enlightened. Keep in mind my presentation is in response to an invite to consider their ideas.
Here we go.
“I took a look at what Duncan and Doug W were presenting and I don't have a problem with Duncan's analysis of Rev 20:4 & 11-15 being a continuation of the first millennium Judgment scene. I don't think it materially really changes the way I understand Rev 20:7-10 though as it seems inconsequential to the end result from my present viewpoint that I laid out previously. (I’ve posted my first response below) I do question Duncan's usage of judgment occurring at the beginning of the millennium because that's a semantic inclusion that is problematic. Essentially Judgment ended at the conclusion of the millennium whether it begins earlier or not so it's kind of a semantic arguable issue in my mind to present it that way.
Here is what I'm referring to.
"Russell thus sees the description of the throne scene begun in Revelation 20:4 as being continued in Revelation 20:11. This would mean that these two sections are actually describing one throne scene (which happens at the beginning of the millennium, cf. Matt. 25:31-46), not two. Russell writes the following on this:" (my emphasis nv)
What I'm really interested in is how any of this changes the way you understand Rev 20:7-10 for Post AD70 application. I have made the case earlier that Judgment upon Israel is followed by judgment upon the Nations. I believe that is what Eze 37,38 & 39 present and I also believe that is what Isa 33,34 & 35 present as well by using different examples for National judgment illustrations. I also see Rev adhering to those standards of first judgment and completion upon Israel and then immediately following we have judgment upon the Nations. Rev 19 is a very good example of that pattern which affirms Israel's redemption and recognition; then the invitation to feast at the supper which sees the slaughter of the Nations through the "sharp sword". This sword is the word that comes from the "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" and is the Battle equipment being used. This is the same repeated sequence we see again in Rev 20:7-10 simply being repeated briefly. That is why since it has been fully completed through Israel's redemption that the Word is a sword that will forever defeat the enemies of God whomever the Nations may futility attempt to raise up to defeat God's Heavenly city. That is why Satan is loosed only for a little while to demonstrate that the Nations have no power because the New government resides in the Heavens and is eternal and never ending. The battle essentially is over before it begins.
Now I know I'm going to have a difficult time keeping folks away from a literal physical short battle that happened somewhere or that they think perhaps it is continual and ongoing and that nuanced discussion could be interesting. That is why I would be interested in seeing how Duncan and Doug wrestle with their conclusions and how you would work through it as well.
I would say I didn't grasp their difference amounting to much that changes anything except that Duncan may have outlined Rev 20 in a more substantial manner that is helpful. I also don't grasp the significant difference in what they are calling Premillennial Preterism because it doesn't seem clearly defined. If it means the Judgment is over by the time of the Parousia then it appears to be a limited difference without much consequence. Now if they postulate that National judgments are ongoing then that could be an interesting discussion. Since Duncan ascribes to 1948 and Doug doesn't understand corporate body view then I'm much more interested in how you are picturing things.
Here are some verses that reference the same language that is being used in Rev 19 & 20 for comparison.
Eze 38:21-22 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord GOD. Every man's sword will be against his brother. (22) With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur.
Eze 39:17-18 "As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field, 'Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. (18) You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth--of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan.
Rev 19: 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great." 19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
Rev 20:8-9 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. (9) And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them,
Isa 33:20-21 Behold Zion, the city of our appointed feasts! Your eyes will see Jerusalem, an untroubled habitation, an immovable tent, whose stakes will never be plucked up, nor will any of its cords be broken. (21) But there the LORD in majesty will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams, where no galley with oars can go, nor majestic ship can pass.
Isa 34:1 Draw near, O nations, to hear, and give attention, O peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that fills it; the world, and all that comes from it. … 6 The LORD has a sword; it is sated with blood; it is gorged with fat, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
Isa 35:8-9 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. (9) No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.
Here was my First response.
My AT&T thought on the following verses is that indeed the consummation has occurred at verse 6. There are a couple of possibilities in my mind so far. First I believe the 1000 years was the 40 year period until the Parousia and the loosing may be more symbolic than actual because after ad 70 the only city that could be surrounded would be the eternal Heavenly Jerusalem populated with post Parousia faithful. It's not a literal battle but a spiritual battle and the Battle has actually already been won and the Nations fate sealed through Christ victory over all flesh spiritually by what had already emerged.
The defeating of the Nations is a consequence of what transpired previously, notwithstanding Kurt Simmons trying to conjure up every possible physical scenario he could muster to say the Nations got their due as well. I believe they did but it didn't take prophetic physical fulfillment against Rome to accomplish it. The only possible alternative would be if we consider the following verses as an ongoing judgment against the Nations but I tend to rule that out because I see the white throne judgment immediately. So I tend to believe that war against the nations has been won because of what Christ had already accomplished just prior. This is just a cleaning up action against the Nations if you will that is not represented by any physical battle because how can you fight a physical battle against the Heavenly Jerusalem? You can't! The Nations can surround the camp of believers all day and they are not going to prevail. I think that is the reality that the writer may be presenting concerning Gog and Magog. They have no power over God's people. I think the physicalness of the story throws us off as we know there was no battles to fit the scenario and we can't wrap our minds around it like perhaps the Jews might have.
Rev 20:7-10 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison (8) and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. (9) And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, (10) and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Again this is my AT&T thoughts for the moment.
Essentially I was impressed with Duncan’t outline of Rev 20 and its comparison with Dan 7 and he may be and likely is correct. However I had already considered that as a possibility in Rev 20 because of the Nature of the way Rev tells the same story and themes sometimes in ways in which we consider to be out of sequence. You simply have to keep those options open for consideration when studying Revelation.
However the bottom line for me is that much of end time’s prophecy in the OT and its fulfillment in the NT are metaphorical to say the least. Anyone who is familiar with Ezekiel substantially realizes that even a literalist should have problems in making the land promises physical manifestations but they still do. However it never seems to amaze me how easy it is for even full Preterist who should know better to drift unconsciously back into a hybrid reading of the land fulfillment when they get a little confused. Let me point out that the more confusing a section is the more people tend to revert back to a default literal reading when they don’t tend to grasp the Hebrew mindset. That my friend is just human nature and reflects our tendency to fill the voids with something instead of just letting the fields of the mind lie fallow for a while. None of us tend to leave those fallow fields for fresh rain to fall on in due course; yours truly included.
What I’m concerned with and it may be completely unfounded is that I haven’t seen a robust description yet describing ongoing fulfillments occurring in this “Premillennial” time that we are apparently in as of now. My hunch will be that it is not going to be materially different than what most thoughtful full Preterist are already projecting to a degree. Also how is the judgment going to be different and have any significant consequences than what we find already laid out in scripture. Perhaps we are debating timing and it’s ramification ultimately which is always interesting but just like full Preterist there needs to be accompanying analysis of what all this means for faithful followers.
For those who have Max King’s book “The Cross and the Parousia” you might want to turn to it and freshen up a bit from pages 234 -245 especially the earlier and later sections. I’m going to quote the last paragraph to illustrate some of my thoughts that coalesce with Max’s.
Quote from page 246-247. … “The fact that the “last hour” adversaries (Gog and Magog) are gathered to battle from the four quarters of the earth does not rule out Judea as the source of this Satanic operation. Concerning the antichristian forces. John wrote. “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” (Rev. 20:9). Just as Gog and Magog are symbols of the “last hour” enemies of the church, the “camp of the saints” and the “beloved city” are terms borrowed from Jewish history to symbolize the new people of God on the face of the earth. Satan’s attempt to extirpate the heavenly Jerusalem and the universalized church was countered with a consuming fire from God out of heaven. In like manner, Paul expressed the defeat of the man of sin. “whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thess. 2:8). The weapons of John’s end-time episodes do not consisted of guns, bombs, tanks, missiles, etc., as found in many modern day interpretations. The artillery of John’s piece of eschatological history consisted of the “cross of Christ” and the “word of God,” with this banner of truth being carried by soldiers of Christ who “loved not their lives unto the death” (Rev 12:11).”
Most people likely don’t realize what Max was projecting or they forget it.(that book is hard) He is saying that Gog and Magog surrounding the “camp of the saints” are defeated by the “word of God” which is the Gospel account and the good News. Rev 20:7-8 is the short time after the end of the millennium judgment in which there are no physical battles but spiritual battles and God’s people will be the eternal victors. You can’t defeat the people who abide in the Heavenly City. People overlook this obvious point and simply don’t deal with it because they believe it must be a physical battle happening somewhere somehow someday. Again we revert back once again to the physical when we haven’t fully grasped the nuance of the spiritual story.
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