Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Revelation 20 and the 1,000 Years

The Premil vs. Amil Debate
The Pro A-Millennial Points
1.      Revelation is highly figurative; not to be taken literally.

2.      1000 years is too perfect a number to be taken literally.  It is a multiple of ten, which is often part of some symbolic reference (even number of perfection)

3.      The 1000 year millennium is only found in Revelation, and seems to contradict other passages which speak of a joint resurrection of the saved and the lost (as in Matthew 25, the sheep and the goats)

4.      Nowhere else is there any support that Satan will be bound, released, and bound again.  He has been bound partially by Christ at the first advent.

5.      2 Peter 3:10-13 describes the next event to be the coming of Christ and the reformulation of heaven and earth (new heavens and new earth), not a 1000 year delay after Christ returns.

6.      The 1000 years being the time between the two advents of Christ was supported by Augustine. 

7.      There is no separation in any other passage of the resurrection of the just and the unjust.  The resurrection of 20:4-5 is a spiritual resurrection of all.

8.      There is contextual indication that much of the entire book is figurative, even in the context of the 1000 year binding of Satan.  He is bound with a “great chain.” Is that a literal chain or figurative for some kind of spiritual restraint?

The Pro Pre-Millennial Counter-points

1.      Which parts do you take literally and which parts figuratively?  Did John write the book, or is his name to be taken figuratively?  What is the hermeneutic to decide which is literal and which is figurative? There is no contextual indication to take “1000 years” as a figure.

2.      To say the number 1000 is a number of perfection is to add it to the vast list of numbers said to represent perfection (adding it to the numbers 7, 40, 3, 12, 24)

3.      Even if one passage speaks plainly to a topic it is enough.  Reconciling seeming contradictions is the work of Biblical scholarship, not a reason to reject an interpretation (e.g. the conflict between James 2 and Romans 4).

4.      Satan is still active as indicated by Paul in 1 Thes 2:18.  He is still the “god of this world,” 2 Cor 4:4. His binding is yet future, indicated in Rev 20.
5.      The victory over Satan could not have taken place at Christ’s first advent because John wrote Revelation c. AD 91 and yet writes of “these things that must soon take place” (Rev 1:1).  The binding is future from his point in time.

6.      The study of the book is less important if the events all occurred in the past.

7.      Augustine took it as a literal 1000 years (although between the two advents).

8.      The 1000 years is not merely mentioned once, but six times, and other numbers where “thousand” is used in Revelation are best taken literally (e.g. Rev 7:4-8).  When used imprecisely it is found in the plural (e.g. 5:11).

9.      There is certainly a spiritual resurrection of the just (1 Cor 15), but not of the unjust. Just bodily resurrection.

10.  Satan is thrown into the lake of fire where the beast and false prophet already reside (20:10).  There must be a literal delay in Satan’s final judgment

11.  The mention of the “first resurrection” certainly implies that there is a second.  In what sense can this be taken figuratively?  What’s it a figure of?

12.  There is no metaphorical marker such as the use of “like” associated with the 1000 years (which John does use 26 other times in the book).

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