- Section II (Robert Morgan)
Hello John and all readers of this paper. I give thanks to God my savior who has benefitted me with knowledge of him and his gospel. I thank you John for giving me space to critique your paper; I am honored to be considered knowledgeable in theology. My purpose is to challenge John to understand and defend his eschatological belief that his study might be glorifying to God. I understand that he has adopted dispensational pre-millennialism as his belief. If I had to define my eschatology concerning the millennium I would be classified as a covenant Amillenilist. To define my view I believe Revelation 20 refers to our current situation as God’s elect with a focus on heaven. I have adopted a hermeneutic system called the historical-grammatical system; I also have accepted a minor form of typological interpretation which is very Christocentric. Now that you have been introduced to me let us examine comments John made in his report. I will mostly refer to the millennium as the messianic kingdom during this report, so let us begin!
John says the “…deciding factor is due to the Dispensational distinction of Israel and the Church while covenant Theologians mesh Israel and the church into one covenant…” I agree that this is the major issue separating our two views; so who is right? John says distinct, I say joined in one covenant. Obviously I believe I am right and let us turn to scripture to see why! Romans 2:28-29 “for no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the spirit, not by the letter…” Here Paul allows us to see that to be a real Jew it must be by the spirit. Some of physical Israel was not a part of spiritual Israel because they were not real Jews. A real Jew is the real child of Abraham and of promise. Romans 4:11“… the purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised. “A real Jew, whether circumcised or uncircumcised, must have faith in Jesus after the manner of Abraham the father of faith. True Israel is messianic Jews and messianic gentiles joined together as one people according to Romans chapter eleven. One day many fake Jews will put their faith in the messiah Jesus. My Point is that Israel is filled with real Jews only, whether they are Jew or gentile. Romans 15:8-13 shows how Jews’ and gentiles’ hope rest in Jesus and this unifies us as the children of Abraham (Romans 4:13-17; 9:6-8, 23-29; 1 Peter 1:2;2:5-10). Only those who have faith in Jesus are heirs to the promises of Abraham (Galatians 3:7-9, 14, 26-28); Galatians 3:29 “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” I have two reasons for sharing this doctrine, first: if gentiles have joined Jews as heirs to Abraham’s promise, as children of Abraham and as Real (spiritual Israel/Jews) than scripture concerning the effects of the Abrahamic covenant must be applied to gentiles. If there is a 7 year tribulation for Israel well you have joined Israel and will be a part of the tribulation too, if there is a kingdom, gentiles must share a part of that too. Secondly: many of the Romans verses written by Paul that quote the Old Testament (O.T) to prove gentile salvation originally referred to exiled Israel. Example Romans 9:24-26 quotes Hosea 2:23 which originally meant physical Israel but Paul uses typology to expand not change the meaning to spiritual Israel which is the inclusion of gentiles not the exclusion of Jews. Its typology because it’s original meaning “hid” some of God’s actual intention. We must understand that sometimes an O.T passage hides the complete idea; it is often a small glimpse of God’s complete picture. So I believe gentiles have joined Israel by being real or spiritual Jews, thus these truths force us to expand the prophecies concerning Israel’s eternal messianic Kingdom; The Kingdom is for the church/congregation/spiritual Israel which is Jews (remnant of Israel) and gentiles who follow the messiah.
I will now keep my attention on differences between John and I; a major difference is that I believe he has ignored history. We will both agree that after Israel’s great tribulation the messianic kingdom shall begin. So I will take a cry to you, John that the tribulation has occurred already for Israel in 70AD. Jesus said in Matthew 24 that the tribulation would happen in the apostles’ life-time. The temple was destroyed, abominations desolated the temple, men tried to make themselves a god over God’s people and places, the Jews were even scattered and suffered for nearly 1900 years. They still feel the effects of the tribulation even till this day. If the 70AD experience was the great tribulation than we must conclude that the messianic kingdom has begun!
The last major difference is despite the fact that we both claim to use historical-grammatical interpretation he ignores the context of the entire book of Revelation to the 1st century church. If written before 70AD, 85AD or 95AD the book is relevant historically to the 1st century church. He also ignores the literary style of the book. He says harsh words because I will employ a use of figurative interpretation to interpret a figurative book! Robertson Mcquilkin wrote a book called “Understanding and Applying the Bible.” In chapter 12 page 189 he writes a chapter concerning figurative language. He says “the bible was written by human beings, it must be treated as any other human communication in determining the meaning intended by the author.” He interprets literally and acknowledges that figurative language is in the bible and must be identified. He says “all speech about supersensible(s) is, and must be, metaphorical in the highest degree. Anyone who talks about things that cannot be seen, or touched, or heard, or the like, must inevitably talk as if they could be seen or touched or heard…” So John must use figurative language to interpret literally just as I do, if he keeps ignoring the context and literary style of Revelation he will force wrong meanings upon figurative words. I do not have the time to teach how to identify figurative language nor will I, because Revelation is mostly figurative and thus identifying literal statements is the challenge in that book.
Now if we turn our attention to Dear John we will see that he breaks a rule of hermeneutics that can’t be defined as allegory or literal interpretation. He employs the usage of random gaps of time in biblical prophecy; even when the language of the text does not allow gaps of time. Daniel 9 speaks of 69th and 70th week which he puts a gap between for theological presumptions not exegetical reasons. Also I’m sure he puts a gap of time in Matthew 24 dividing the destruction of temple from tribulation. Again in Revelation 4 there is a gap of 2000 years before the tribulation. He must put these gaps of time to save his theological systems presumptions. I was taught by many teachers both in church and now in school the dispensation view so I am very familiar although I reject it now.
Now since we have seen the major differences between John and I, we can see that our hermeneutic is the same and my use of typology or figurative interpretation is reconcilable with proper hermeneutics, while various gaps of time are not reconcilable having NO exegetical basis but only a theological bias. Let us turn our attention to the things said by John concerning eschatology. John said that just because the a-millennial view is simple does not make it true. Well of course John is correct but the fact that it is simple echoes its attempt to deal with the plain meaning of a text. Often in history heresies have occurred when people say too much or weigh to heavily about something not clearly outlined in scripture! Where the bible is silent remain silent and where the bible speaks we ought to speak. Turning our attention to Jesus person, heresy has always happened by trying to explain that Jesus is one with God the father and yet still 100% human! Monophysitism says the eternal logos joined the human Jesus. This concludes Jesus to be the human part, and Christ to be the divine joined in one body. We know that scripture does not teach this, but it is a nice logical guess trying to explain how one man can be both God and man! Apollonarianism suggest that Jesus was a man taken over by the divine Logos; this view is not even an incarnation of God so it denies a plain reading of John 1:14. But again we see a nice attempt to explain something unexplained in scripture. Next my personal favorite if I was going to believe heresy Docetism from the Greek word dokesis meaning to seem. This view attempts to say Jesus was God and only seemed to be a human, having a body and all. Docetism is a view about the person of Jesus that comes from an idea that is more concerned with the nature of the trinity. In fact it is called Sabellianism and it is alive today. This view says the persons of the trinity are modes/functions of the one God so denying distinct personalities of God. Finally I restate that these heresies come from many factors but one important one is attempting to explain things unexplained in scripture. They go beyond scripture and use philosophy to dictate their interpretation of scripture. My understanding differs from John’s because I do not impose my theological distictives on scripture. Dispensations have man made rules, definitions, divisions and ect. Gaps are placed at will of theologians, and description of Jesus messianic kingdom in Revelation chapter 20 is never simply what the text says.
John says that Christian history speaks volumes for my view with big names, yet he discredits me for trusting previous generations. I do not allow any man to dictate my belief whether dead or alive; but I do recognize the testimony of a doctrine. The history of a view does not prove nor disprove but it speaks about the testimony of the view. On the most important doctrine of Christianity Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 “Now brothers I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you…you are saved by it…that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, the to the 12. The he appeared to over 500 brothers at one time; most of them are still alive…then to James…he also appeared to me.” I chopped the verse up (but you can read it for yourself) so you can see that Paul assures them of the truth of the gospel first by saying it is affirmed by the scriptures, but even secondly by men who are eye witnesses. So although the scriptures are our one rule of faith and practice let us not so easily dismiss the testimony of witnesses from our Christian history! If the gospel truth can be confirmed by a man’s testimony (1 John 1:1-4) how much more, should we test an eschatological doctrine by its history? I say this just for information, without others testimony the scriptures are sufficient on their own to grant you faith in Jesus resurrection and any eschatological doctrine. Testimony is only a witness but should not be taken lightly at all!
John also cast doubt on us by quoting John Calvin concerning hermeneutics. I will admit covenant theology is very Christocentric. Luke 24:27 “and beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he (Jesus) interpreted to them in ALL the SCRIPTURES the things concerning himself.” According to John how dare Jesus use typology in his interpretation, this is a bad hermeneutic John claims but surely God in the flesh would have known never to interpret in that way; unless it was God’s intent all that time to speak of Jesus in ALL the SCRIPTURES. Jesus the messiah is the finale to Jewish and ought to be the finale to Christian eschatology and all theology; without this understanding we interpret contrary to the way Jesus intended for us to interpret.
John also says that my view never offers a satisfying explanation of Revelation 20. Interpretation is not to satisfy people; my view has been explained and maintained for centuries. It’s not our duty to teach something fancy: peace treaties, nuclear wars, anti-Christ, demon powers, anti-Semitism, animal slaughter, evil babies for Gog and Ma Gog or huge geographical disaster. These detailed accounts of our future sound the best, are the most popular, but contain the most chance of error. Every little detail we add to our “certain” view gives it more chance of error and if a little leaven leavens a whole lump, dispensational pre-millennialism should be very careful. I will take some time near the conclusion of this paper to brief speak on Revelation 20!
Let us turn our attention to John statements about his view. He says he holds a heavily consistent hermeneutic, “the foremost conviction is that Jesus is coming back…prior to a millennial kingdom”, a rapture, and 7 year tribulation. I call this heavy hermeneutic a BIG presupposition. Ask John for just one verse from the N.T that says “Jesus is coming back before his kingdom” he does not have one. He must interpret these ideas into scripture rather than starting with what scripture says concerning the kingdom. He defends his view by calling you to pay attention to the difference between God’s kingdom on earth and kingdom over the earth. This barely is a defense because yes there is a universal kingdom and a theocratic kingdom but neither is bound by a definition of location, nor the timing! Jews were expecting the messianic kingdom at the 1st arrival of the messiah. This is consistent with all covenant theology because we believe his messianic kingdom begun. The Davidic throne is in heaven, Acts 2:34-36 “David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, the Lord said to my Lord Sit at my right hand, sit until I make your enemies your footstool. Let all the house of Israel therefore know, for certain that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the messianic king and priest, the salvation of his people both Jew and gentile and he was glorified to this status at his ascension. He is not waiting to rule he is ruling, it seems uncompleted because it is UNTIL he makes enemies footstools. It is a progressive kingdom that conquers all its enemies, the last enemy being death. (1 Corinthians 15:26) Second Samuel 7 says an eternal Kingdom or throne of David. Let’s just speak of time. Eternal is forever! It cannot be fulfilled in a moment of time, say 1000 years. John you run into many crazy conclusions with your view because everything said about his kingdom is thrown into one temporal time period according to you guys. Example you speak so heavily about Ezekiel’s temple and animal sacrifices. Yet the prophets speak of the peace of nature even the new Testament does in Romans 8:22. Isaiah 11:6;65:25 describe the peace of creation but you disturb this peace and end of death with animal slaughter and bloodshed not because the bible says these two prophecies happen at the same time but because your theology says they happen at the same time. You attempt to fulfill eternal promises in a temporal time period which is impossible. Every promise of the O.T does not need to be pushed into Revelation 20, into a distant future 1000 years. I hold that his kingdom began with tribulation in 70AD and has been battling its enemies ever since. Prophecies are not fulfilled all at once but there is progress and purpose in his kingdom until its enemies are destroyed. Jesus kingdom is eternal and is not only in Revelation 20, but 21 and 22!
Lastly you say your view answers the tough question. What are these tough questions, ridiculous questions about babies’ sin nature causing Gog and Ma Gog or is David going to have a chair next to Jesus? So far your paper has shown that you have great skill in understanding systems but failed to lay a person’s interpretation next to an exegesis. Let us ask question about great tribulation and messianic kingdom. Matthew 24 says over and over again “you” to the disciples. Verses: 4, 6, 7,9,15,20,23,25 all speak to the disciples as his audience. Luke 21:32, Mark 13:30, Matthew 24:34 all say “this generation will not pass away until all has happened.” These great scriptures concerning the great tribulation are held within the context of 30-70AD; after the tribulation is the messianic Kingdom followed by the eternal state. If Jesus wanted to talk about a future generation he would have said so; Strong’s #1074 “genea” translated generation can only mean the people of a specific time. Strong’s #3778 haute is only used for something near in the scriptures, that is why it is translated THIS! Jesus could have said “that generation” or even “the generation” but he says “this generation” because it was going to happen to the apostles. The words are faithfully translated throughout the entire New Testament when it says: near, quickly, soon, at hand, upon you, and even this generation. For John to answer tough questions he ignores the definitions of simple, child-like words to even think the tribulation is 2000 years after Jesus said and even still yet future. This issue is often explained by asserting reasons for placing gaps. Like I have said their gaps are theologically needed, not energetically found. They would hate if it I said Genesis one must have time gaps because it is scientifically needed. How dare we impose on the text? I say dispensationalist have not yet answered the simplest questions.
Let me now turn to the “least important” text concerning the messianic kingdom but most controversial. Revelation chapter 20; backed by Revelation 1, 21 & 22! Chapter 2 and 3 is agreed upon as 1st century churches, representing truths of (let’s say) church age, and chapter 4-19 is the great tribulation, I propose it represents truths of all tribulations. Again I state the great tribulation already happened in 66-70 AD. It affected Jewish and Christian history more than any exile; you see its power in the 80’s & 90’s AD even until the 20th century! I believe ever since 1st century we have been living in Revelation 20; the kingdom has been conquering the nations of the world ever since. As I have stated Jesus our messianic king and high priest is enthroned in heaven over the nations. Revelation 1:5 “and from Jesus Messiah the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the RULER of the kings on earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood…” the apostle John opens with acknowledging the messiah’s kingdom as a current reality located in the heavens. Its authority reigns/rules on the earth, even over every king! Verse 6 says “and made us a KINGDOM, PRIESTS to his God and Father, to him is glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Jesus has a messianic kingdom that John and all 1st century saints saw themselves as current priest of, we too today serve his kingdom when living and when dead. He is the Lord of both living and dead! We could say we act as his vice-regents (images) or ambassadors here on earth, but ultimately he reigns supreme, we are simply a part of his kingdom. Every nation, king, person, and spirit is subject to his rule for he rose with all power in his hands. Chapter 1 of Revelation helps us understand the context of Chapter 20. Revelation 1:9 “ I, John, your brother and partner in THE TRIBULATION and THE KINGDOM and THE PATIENT ENDURANCE that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” Many things in, what I think, is the most important verse in the whole book contextually. John is brothers and partners with the saints in 3 things for a reason. First he is in the tribulation which refers to no doubt the last time periods of his own personal life; the death of his fellow apostles, the slaughter of many Jews, the destruction of his beloved city, even its great temple. The 2nd temple at that, John saw nothing but desolations before him. He is truthfully in tribulation greatly. Secondly he is also in the kingdom, he is a Jew so for him to say he is in the kingdom is the most glorious thing to be experiencing. The messiah’s kingdom was the hope of the Jewish nation, although many rejected Jesus many accepted him, and became priest of his messianic kingdom. John saw it as a current reality, begun by his messiah, ruled by his messiah, with a guaranteed victory at its summation. Lastly John was in patient endurance, suffering but still working faithfully in the kingdom. These 3 things: tribulation, kingdom, endurance are the emphasis and context of the book. John wants saints to understand the time they live in, how to overcome with faithful endurance and the future hopes of the messiah’s kingdom being victorious. These are all current situations of the 1st century church, we too live in these things but we are further ahead in its developments. They were coming through the great tribulation which is far behind us; we are triumphing in the kingdom although tribulation will always exist, and endurance will always be needed. Our brothers in other countries still suffer, even death for the faith today but the gospel is propelling thru kingdoms. Amen. John says that he is exiled because of the “word of God” and the “testimony of Jesus”. In short he shares and stands for the gospel. The gospel is our kingdoms greatest power. The gospel of Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; which destroys wickedness, lies and death; the tools of the kingdom of darkness. The gospel calls sinner out of darkness into the light, it also will always be what calls darkness to wage war! In summary Revelation is teaching concerning 3 current realities: the tribulation, the Kingdom, and patient endurance of the saints. We can learn from Revelation when we see that our current realities are the same.
Revelation 20 says very few things as statements that concern modern eschatology. Eschatology is to teach us how to model our lives, keep faith, grow in hope, and be patient for our eternity with Jesus. Nevertheless modern eschatology focuses on charts and predictions. For the sake of this report I will approach our modern eschatology and ask the following questions: what does Revelation not say about the messianic kingdom? When is the kingdom? What does say about Jesus messianic kingdom?
First, what is not said in Revelation 20 that’s unique to the dispensational theological system? The most important is it does not say the temple shall be rebuilt a 3rd time. All prophecies concerning the temples rebuilding or reconstruction were fulfilled in the book of Ezra/Nehemiah; also in 19BC Herod the Great fixed it up again. The 2nd temple was there during Jesus day and it was the very temple he said would be destroyed not rebuilt. Secondly the reinstitution of animal sacrifice is not mentioned. Priests are mentioned but when John used priest in the 1st chapter he did not intend to say he slaughtered animals for any purpose. Ezekiel’s temple is not spoken of nor is any purpose for it implied in the text. King David is not spoken of as being the king neither is his throne, kingdom, or his dynasty mentioned. Israel (entirety of physical Jews) is not mentioned as present let alone participant; their restoration to nationhood not even hinted in the text. Animal peace is not spoken of, nor nature being restored. Lastly no verse can even be interpreted as evil babies to wage Gog and Ma Gog, which is a ridiculous doctrine; although it is logically needed within the dispensational theological system. In Conclusion all the distinctive doctrines of dispensationalist find no plain appearance in Revelation 20. These ideas are not enforced exegetically with hermeneutics but only by their own theological insertions.
Well! Let us turn to ideas concerning the time of the messianic kingdom. The O.T declares eternality to promises concerning the messiah’s kingdom. When it begins it will last forever 2 Samuel 7:16! The messianic or Davidic kingdom is not 1000 years; the 1000 years is simply a period of time within the eternity of the messianic kingdom. Revelation makes it clear that it begins after the great tribulation. Christianity can all agree about this but the question should be when the tribulation was? Again I state history speaks here concerning 66-70 AD which agrees with Revelation 11:1-2 “Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, rise and measure the Temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for 42 months.” I believe the great tribulation has been fulfilled on Israel, just study the Jews history from 70AD till 20th century. If so the messianic kingdom began already as well, and it shall last for eternity. This means we must be living in Jesus messianic kingdom now; so what about the 1000 years? Well it could be a literal 1000 year time period of the messianic kingdom. Which I do not believe but this would mean we must ask has it ended, or are we now in it, or is it still yet future, the future view would deny context of Revelation; the now view, cannot be held by a literal understanding of 1000 because we are well past 1000 years since the great tribulation. So past would be the best conclusion which suggest the time of power for the Roman Catholic Church and Holy Roman Empire, up until around the year 1070-1100. I do not believe this either, for theological reasons, concluding that the Catholic Church was a good thing at almost any time in its history does not settle with me. Moving on to other ideas, it could have a biblical usage such as “faithful love to a 1000 generations” (Deuteronomy 5:10; Exodus 20:6; Psalm 105:8); the idea here is 1000 is pointing to a never ending existence. I take a Roman usage of the number 1000 when applied to kingdoms concerning Jesus messianic kingdom! In the Roman Empire 1000 years for a kingdom brought fear and dread upon people. For at the end of 1000 years a terrible event was surely thought to occur. We experienced something similar when the year 2000AD came. According to Earle E. Cairns author of “Christianity through the Centuries”, on page 90, he says “the year 250, when persecution became general and violent instead of local and spasmodic, was, according to the reckoning of the Romans about one thousand years after the founding of Rome. Since plague, famine, and civic unrest plagued the empire at this time, popular opinion ascribed these troubles to the presence of Christianity within the empire and to the consequent forsaking of other gods. There is always a good deal of superstition concerning the end of a millennium, and the Romans were no better in this regard than people in the middle ages just before 1000.” The Apostle John could have easily made his point, due to popular belief of the day, that the messiah’s kingdom will reign for some time but as all kingdoms will face an apocalyptic event; but unlike earthly kingdoms, God will rescue the kingdom from its enemies. Combining the biblical usage concerning never ending, and the roman superstition of devastating disaster we are able to see more of what John says about the first part of the messiah’s rule.
Now we have determined that the dispensational belief is not clearly seen in Revelation 20; that the 1st 1000 years of the messianic kingdom began after the tribulation; and that the kingdom’s 1000 year period is not literal, we may move to my beliefs concerning this text.
Verses 1-3: We see here that the clear picture of the text is that Satan is bound from deceiving the nations. For the majority of human history the world has worshiped idols. They ignored the truth of the one creator, created idols, and devised their own sinful standards of morality. (Romans 1) God first reveals himself to the nation Israel and for years, these people had the truth exclusively, in a way. Now since Jesus has come the truth of the gospel has been becoming global and the “grip” idolatry had on this world is destroyed. 1 Corinthians 10:20 “…they sacrifice to demons and not to God…” the world has worshiped Satan for years, and has built his kingdom; but now the kingdom of darkness is being destroyed and robbed. Jesus said his ability to cast out demons was because he had bound Satan in Matthew 12:29. Matthew 12:28 “ If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then The Kingdom of God has come to you.” These Jews would have known he speaks of the messiah’s kingdom which is greater than the kingdom of Satan! This part of the messianic kingdom during its 1000 year period is most important for us who labor here on the earth, warring against the kingdom of darkness, we know it is defeated. We know its deception hinders not the gospel because its leader is bound and his demons are cast out without him!
Verses 4-6: My favorite part of this text screams of the kingdom’s glory; even in death we reign victoriously. We see thrones, which like the rest of the book must be heavenly, with judges on them. The saints are the judges; just as 1 Corinthians 6:3 says “don’t you know that we will judge angels…”! We also see the “souls” of the killed witnesses of the gospel. Jesus told the apostles they would suffer for his name sake. John in chapter one already revealed that he and other saints are those who suffer for the testimony of Jesus and the word of God, therefore these in heaven are those who have already died. We see dead Christians rest, rule and reign with Jesus in heaven right now. They come to life and reign with Christ; they don’t soul sleep or skip over all time immediately. The question about this text is what does the first resurrection mean? I believe that it is paralleled with the 2nd death. Verse 6 “blessed and holy is the one who shares in the 1st resurrection! Over such the 2nd death has no power…” the text in Revelation 20:14 & 21:8 tell us the 2nd death is the lake of fire; it’s not a literal death but a description of the literal torments of sinner’s eternity. So is the 1st resurrection a description of our real life in heaven. Many verses speak of being awake in heaven but listen to this unique statement in 2 Corinthians 5:1 “ for we know that If the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” John can call it a physical resurrection because you gain a heavenly tent or body. Our existence in heaven is spectacular and remarkable; we will be bodily before his throne awaiting our complete glorification and resurrection. Many theologians call these interim bodies, but I simply call it the 1st resurrection. In this part of the messianic kingdom it is most important for those dead; they will be priest of God in heaven. The saints already there, and we who shall go one day offer sacrifice to God; I do not think it’s animals but is what Hebrews 13:15 says “ therefore, through him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name.” The end of verse 6 says “will reign with him for a thousand years…” the literary style of a revelation demands that we not attached literal meanings to this number 1000, and understand its reiteration not as declaring its literal numeric value but it is screaming its figurative meaning. 1000 years for a kingdom and then the end, this is common idea back than and best compliments the biblical usage of 1000.
Verse 7-10: first I must say I am a historicist not a preterist. I see prophecy being fulfilled literally once but its fulfillment serves as a picture of God’s plans for history. I will admit this is the most difficult part for me to interpret. I think both I, a historicist, and futurists have the most work to do on this passage. I will say this because I still believe this is pictured in history but mostly is still a future event from now. From these verse until the end of the book of Revelation, I believe is all still yet future. Simply Gog and Ma Gog represent the final enemies of God gathered by Satan himself to bring about an end to the kingdom of God. I do not think this is one event but may take time. We will see enemies over and over again against the gospel, and righteousness but they fail over and over again. Because they are weak but one day, which I think we are preparing for now, Satan will get his time again and that history has taught us will be at its greatest evil but the kingdom will be unified, both Jew and gentile. The beloved city and the camp of the saints are under attack; I am not a replacement theologian and I believe the Jews will convert as a majority to faith in the messiah which will bring the messiah’s kingdom to its greatest height and inevitably make it a target! Satan will try to destroy messianic Jews and gentiles but God shall rescue his kingdom.
Verse 11-15: I can shortly say this is the Judgment; one resurrection and judgment of the righteous and the wicked. If you interpret Revelation by cycles overlapping all the 7’s of judgments as one, and the 42 months as one this section of scripture would follow the various Jesus comings like in Revelation 19.
Lastly Revelation 21:2 “the holy city new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” After judgment Jews get Israel again, gentiles get the rest of the new heaven and Earth. Revelation 21:22 “and I saw NO temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” Ezekiel’s temple is huge but was only to picture the glory of God before man which shall really come one day; the sacrifices represent his lamb who shall forever be before us as savior and messiah king.
In summary many Christians differ in eschatology but as we can see the consummation of history is all about Jesus. Jesus will bring the end, and if we are wrong on details, oh well, because we have his gospel. I think I may be right about many things, first that we are united with Jews in the promises of Abraham. Secondly that Christianity needs to stand together because we have a war to wage, our weapons are not swords because we wrestle not against flesh and blood but spiritual wickedness in high places. Thirdly Jesus shall bring a glorious end to history with his messianic kingdom bringing mercy to those of faith and justice to those of evil!
- DON’T FORGET TO READ THE CONCLUSION (PART3/3)!