Revelation 20: Minority Views on the Millennium (Part 1)
Adam Maarschalk: March 20, 2010
Scripture text for this study: Revelation 20:1-15
The primary purpose of these next two posts is to acknowledge that there are some whose beliefs regarding the Millennium do not fit into the three well-known camps: premillennialism, amillennialism, and postmillennialism. In this post I would like to highlight three minority views on this subject which I am aware of:  the position of J. Stuart Russell (1816-1895) and Duncan McKenzie (and others) that the Millennium began in 70 AD and continues until now  Kenneth Gentry’s newest viewpoint on Revelation 20:4-6; what he calls “The Martyr’s Millennium,” and  the position of full-preterism, which does not see Revelation 20 as either a present (ongoing) or future reality, but as having been completely fulfilled in the past. This post covers the first two views. This post and the next are summed up by the following outline:
A. J. Stuart Russell & Duncan McKenzie: The Millennium Began in 70 AD
B. Kenneth Gentry: “The Martyr’s Millennium” (A Study of Revelation 20:4-6)
C. Full Preterism: One Thousand Years Represents Only 40 Years (30 AD—70 AD)
A. The Millennium Began in 70 AD
We now come to the viewpoint espoused well over a century ago by J. Stuart Russell (and perhaps before that by others) that the Millennium began in 70 AD following the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple. This is quite similar to amillennialism/postmillennialism which generally proposes that the reign of Christ began with His work on the cross. I haven’t read Russell’s writings on this particular matter, but I would imagine he drew his conclusions from at least the following texts:  Daniel 7:21-22, 27  Matthew 21:33-45.
In Daniel 7, the time comes for the saints to possess the kingdom after “the horn” makes war with the saints and prevails over them for a time (cf. Rev. 13:5-7). Most preterists (partial or full) would agree that this passage was fulfilled in the first century, in Nero’s day and shortly after. In Matthew 21 (The Parable of the Tenants), Jesus tells the Jewish religious leaders of His day that the kingdom of God would be taken away from them “and given to a people producing its fruits” (verse 43; cf. verse 41). This is linked to the stone (verse 44) crushing those who had been responsible for killing God’s servants and Son (verses 35-39; cf. Acts 2:22-23, 36; 5:30; 7:52; I Thess. 2:14-15), which many take to refer to God’s wrath poured out on apostate Israel in 70 AD. So it would seem from these texts that the kingdom was inaugurated (or “secured for God’s people,” as Kenneth Gentry says) at this point, even if the kingdom was present from the time of Christ’s ministry. Thought of this way, then, the “already but not yet” phase of God’s kingdom lasted for only 40 years rather than for about 2000 years (as postulated by many premillennialists).
Interestingly, Duncan McKenzie calls his view “The Postribulational (i.e. post AD 70) Beginning of the Millennium.” This is because he believes (as I do) that the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21; Rev. 7:14) took place from early 67 AD—mid 70 AD. Before quoting from McKenzie on his views regarding the Millennium, it will be helpful if I can clarify where he stands with regard to preterism. He stands with J. Stuart Russell (1816-1895), the writer of the classic book “The Parousia,”  whose position is as follows:
Where Russell’s position is different from full preterism is that it does not hold that all Bible prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70… The position of James Stuart Russell offers a third preterist option that is different from full preterism and traditional partial preterism. Russell’s position is essentially like the full preterist position (i.e. the one and only Second Coming, the judgment and the resurrection happened at AD 70, the resurrection having an ongoing fulfillment since AD 70. Russell’s position sees us as currently in the new heaven and earth, a symbol of the post AD 70 new covenant order). Where Russell’s position is different from full preterism is that it does not hold that all Bible prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70… Russell saw the millennium as beginning at AD 70, not ending at that time as full preterism necessitates. I believe that Russell was right and a wrong turn took place with the advent of full preterism. I say this because of my study of Daniel 7; I believe it lends support to Russell’s position. It should be noted that in Russell’s system there will be a future end to evil at the end of the millennium (Rev. 20:7-10); it sees Satan as defeated, just not disposed of yet.
Russell’s position is that what is being shown in Revelation 20 is not two separate throne scenes and judgments (one in Rev. 20:4 and one in 20:11-15) separated by the millennium, but one throne scene and judgment (composed of Revelation 20:4 and 11-15) with a digression of what will happen at the end of the millennium (Revelation 20:7-10) in between. Russell’s position is that John begins describing a throne scene judgment at the beginning of the millennium in Revelation 20:4. At 20:7-10 John digresses about what would happen at the end of the millennium, and then at 20:11 he takes up again the subject of the throne scene judgment he started in 20:4. Russell thus saw the description of the throne scene and judgment that is begun in Revelation 20:4 as being continued in Revelation 20:11. The two sections (Rev. 20:4 and 11-15) are thus describing one throne scene judgment (which happens at the beginning of the millennium), not two throne scene judgments (one at the beginning of the millennium and one at its end).
Russell spoke of Rev. 20:5-10 as a parenthesis and “the sole instance in the whole book of an excursion into distant futurity…matters still future and unfulfilled.” Here, McKenzie is even more clear regarding his own overall position on eschatology, i.e. what has and has not yet been fulfilled:
Like full preterists, I see AD 70 as the time of the Second Coming, resurrection and judgment (with the resurrection and judgment having an ongoing fulfillment since that time). Like partial preterists I see certain prophetic events that still await fulfillment (e.g., the destruction of Satan at the end of the millennium described in Revelation 20:7-10). While my position is much closer to full preterism, I strongly disagree with its premise that all biblical prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70.
Our approach is most similar to that of nineteenth-century theologian James Stuart Russell. Like full preterists, Russell saw AD 70 as the time of the Second Coming; unlike full preterists, Russell saw the Second Coming as the beginning of the millennium, not its end. I call this position “premillennial preterism.” It is premillennial in that it holds that Jesus returned right before (pre-) the millennium. Unlike futuristic premillennialism, however, it does not see the millennium as a literal 1000-year period. My position is preteristic because it holds that the one and only Second Coming occurred at the AD 70 end of the old covenant age. R. C. Sproul, in his book The Last Days according to Jesus, wrote favorably concerning Russell’s position and his attempt to answer the hard questions related to the New Testament’s teaching of a very soon (first century) Second Coming.
One may also follow the above link to view McKenzie’s arguments on why the Second Coming occurred (once and for all) in 70 AD, based on “the words of Jesus (as recorded by Matthew, Mark and Luke), Peter, Paul, James, John, Jude, and the author of Hebrews.” That discussion falls outside of the scope of our discussion here, but as McKenzie makes brief references (in what is to follow) to a past Second Coming I wanted to point this out for the sake of clarity. Let us now turn to McKenzie’s discussion of why the Millennium should be thought of as having its formal and official beginning in 70 AD. I have to admit that this is very well argued:
[Revelation 20:1-4] is the famous passage of the binding of Satan and the reign of Jesus and His people. On the surface this passage appears relatively simple; on closer inspection, however, it turns out to be one of the most difficult and debated passages in the Bible. One of the first matters to attend to in understanding the millennium is the question of how it fits in sequentially in relation to the rest of Revelation. Is the binding of Satan in Revelation 20:1 a continuation of the events of Revelation 19 (the AD 70 fall of Babylon and the Second Coming) or is there a recapitulation (a going back and restating of events that happened earlier)? Some say that there is a recapitulation here, that Revelation 20 is going back to the time of Pentecost (c. AD 30) or even the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (c. AD 26). My position is that Revelation 20 is a continuation of the (AD 70) events of Revelation 19, not a recapitulation to the time around AD 30.
In considering the sequence of Revelation 19-20, it is helpful to broaden one’s focus. Here is Revelation 19:11-20:4 without the chapter separation (chapter separations were not part of the original manuscript). For brevity I have left out Revelation 19:12-18 which is mostly a description of the One on the white horse (the Word of God, Rev. 19:13).
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True and in righteousness He judges and makes war…And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. Then I saw an angel coming down form heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
Notice the sequence in Revelation 19-20. The individual beast and false prophet (the one who made people take the mark of the beast, Rev. 13:11-18) are captured at the Second Coming in chapter 19 and put in the lake of fire. Satan is then taken and thrown in the abyss as the kingdom is established in chapter 20. Those who had lost their lives for not taking the mark of the beast (cf. Rev. 19:20; 13:15-16) are then resurrected in Revelation 20:4 at the beginning of the millennium. God was letting His first century audience know that the one who was faithful to Him to the point of death (cf. Rev. 2:10-11) would still get to participate in the soon coming millennial reign (Rev. 2:25-27; 3:21).
Notice the reference to the mark of the beast as a past event in both chapter 19 and 20. Revelation 20 is a continuation of the AD 70 narrative of the Second Coming, not a recapitulation to AD 30.
Rev. 19:20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.
Rev. 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
In Revelation 13:1-10 the seven churches were warned about the soon coming individual beast (cf. Rev. 17:18) that would overcome the saints. In Revelation 13:11-18 they were warned about his mark on the head and hand (cf. Rev. 14:8-11). These events of the tribulation were to happen in the forty-two month period (of AD 67-70) immediately preceding the Second Coming.
And he [the beast] was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months…It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation…[and] as many as would not worship the image of the beast [were] to be killed (Rev. 13:5, 7,15 brackets mine).
In Revelation 19 we are shown the defeat of the beast by the Second Coming. The saints that had been killed for not taking the beast’s mark are shown among those that come to life in chapter 20 as the millennium begins. Revelation 20 is thus a continuation of the AD 70 narrative of chapter 19; it is not a recapitulation back to AD 30. Again, one of the groups that come alive at the beginning of the millennium consists of those who had been killed for not taking the mark of the beast. They had gone through the great tribulation (cf. Rev. 7:9-17) and are being resurrected at AD 70 to participate in the millennium.
The sequence I have proposed above is shown in Daniel 7. 1. The Antichrist (the little eleventh horn, Dan. 7:19-20) overcomes the saints. 2. He is defeated by the coming of God. 3. The court is seated (thrones are put in place as the kingdom reign begins, Dan. 7:8-11) as the saints possess the kingdom.
I was watching; and  the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them,  until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and  the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. Dan. 7:21-22
Again, the same sequence that is shown in Daniel is shown in Revelation. 1. The Antichrist (the individual beast) overcomes the saints (Rev. 13:5-7). 2. He is defeated by the coming of God (Rev. 19:11-21). 3. The saints then possess the kingdom as the millennium begins (Rev. 20:4). This is a pre-millennial sequence; the Second Coming happens right before God’s people possess the kingdom of God. This was James Stuart Russell’s position; he considered any attempts to fit the millennium in before AD 70 to be “violent and unnatural.” [J.S. Russell, The Parousia (Baker, 1999), 514]. It is at the AD 70 coming of God that the saints inherited the kingdom. This explains why one of the groups that come alive at the beginning of the millennium consists of believers who had been killed for not taking the mark of the beast. The millennium began right after the great tribulation at the AD 70 Second Coming, not at AD 30. Again, it was at the coming of God (what the NT will show as the Second Coming) that God’s people possessed the kingdom of God (Dan. 7:21-22; cf. Rev. 19:11-20:4).
Now a full preterist can not accept what I have written here, at least not if he or she wants to stay a 100% full preterist. Full preterism necessitates that all Bible prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70. Thus full preterists have to reject an AD 70 beginning to the millennium; if the millennium did begin at AD 70 it means there is still prophecy yet to be fulfilled (e.g. Satan’s loosing from the abyss at the end of the millennium, Rev. 20:7-10). Full preterists are left with a choice of either accepting what I am saying about an AD 70 beginning of the millennium (which is not going to happen) or attempt to separate the millennial kingdom (which they see as being from around AD 26-30 to sometime before AD 70) from the saints possessing the kingdom at the AD 70 Second Coming (Dan. 7:21-22). Most full preterists (wanting to stay card carrying full prets.) will attempt the latter option (differentiating the beginning of the millennium from the saints possessing the kingdom at the AD 70 Second Coming). Again if a full preterist acknowledges the start of the millennium as being the same as the AD 70 coming of the kingdom (cf. Matt. 19:28; Rev. 20:4), then they violate their basic premise of all prophecy fulfilled by AD 70.
Comparing Daniel 7 with Revelation 20, it is impossible to make a legitimate case that the AD 70 establishment of the kingdom of God of Daniel 7 (vv. 19-27) and the millennium of Revelation 20 are speaking of two different reigns. Of the AD 70 establishment of the kingdom, Daniel 7:9-10 (NRSV) reads, [A] “As I watched, thrones were set in place…[B] The court sat in judgment” (brackets mine). Of the millennium, Revelation 20:4 (NRSV) reads, [A] “Then I saw thrones, and [B] those seated on them were given authority to judge.” I don’t see how one can make these to be two separate events, the first starting at AD 70 the second supposedly starting at AD 30. …
…For more on J.S. Russell’s position on the millennium see, http://planetpreterist.com/news-5017.html. For more on the Connection between the little horn of Daniel 7 and the beast of Revelation see, http://planetpreterist.com/news-2622.html.
Duncan McKenzie, in his book “The Antichrist and the Second Coming: A Preterist Examination” (Xulon Press: 2009) also sees the Great White Throne Judgment of Rev. 20:11-15 as beginning to be fulfilled in 70 AD (pp. 398-401):
Despite my disagreements with full preterism, I do agree with many of its conclusions. Let me begin with some of these points of agreement: I agree that the Second Advent happened at AD 70 and that this was when the resurrection and judgment began (it is ongoing from that time, cf. Rev. 14:8-13). According to the book of Daniel the resurrection was to begin at the end of the great tribulation; these events were to happen at the AD 70 shattering of the Jewish nation.
At that time [the time of the king of the North’s attack on Jerusalem, Dan. 11:40-45] Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt… Then I saw the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished (Daniel 12:1-2, 7; cf. 7:25-27).
The partial preterist attempt to separate the time of the great tribulation (which they say happened at AD 70) from the time of the resurrection (which they say will happen in the future) does not hold up to scrutiny. Consistent with Daniel 12:1-7, Revelation 11:15-18 also shows the resurrection beginning at the destruction of those who were destroying the Land [ten gen] of Israel. This happened at the AD 70 full establishment of the kingdom of God.
Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders, whosit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, “We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:15-18 NASB).
Partial preterists acknowledge that Revelation 11:15-18 is referring to the AD 70 destruction of Israel. Because the creeds do not teach an AD 70 resurrection, however, they maintain that the judgment of the dead in Revelation 11:18 (“and the time came for the dead to be judged…”) is not really the judgment of the dead! They claim this is just showing an AD 70 reward of the martyrs.
Daniel 7 likewise shows the judgment (and thus the resurrection) as beginning right after the tribulation. Consistent with Revelation 11:15-18, chapter 7 shows the judgment beginning at the AD 70 full establishment of God’s kingdom, at the time that the dominion of the little eleventh horn…is taken away:
I was considering the [ten] horns and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words. I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated and the books were opened. I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking: I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame (Daniel 7:8-11; underlined emphasis mine).
Thus he said: the fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings. He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever (Daniel 7:23-26; underlined emphasis mine).
Contrary to what [most] partial preterists teach, the judgment began at the AD 70 defeat of the little eleventh horn (cf. Matt. 16:27-28; 25:31-46). At this point it is usually assumed by full preterists that because the partial preterist position is shown to be wrong on these issues, full preterism is therefore shown to be correct. This is an error in logic, however; just because a given position is wrong on a number of issues, that does not mean an alternative position is necessarily right on all points. Daniel 7 cuts both ways. Not only does it show the resurrection and judgment beginning at AD 70, it also shows the millennium beginning at that time (i.e. thrones being put in place as the court is seated, vv. 9-10, 25-27; cf. Rev. 20:4). That the resurrection and the millennium began at AD 70 explains why it is that the martyrs of the beast are shown being resurrected at the beginning of the millennium: “I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witnesses to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image…And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years…” (Rev. 20:4).
This last statement by McKenzie is a very fitting transition into the next section.
B. Kenneth Gentry: “The Martyr’s Millennium”
The following information is taken from Kenneth Gentry’s newest book titled “Navigating the Book of Revelation: Special Studies on Important Issues,” published in 2009 by GoodBirth Ministries (Fountain Inn, SC). Gentry discusses Revelation 20:4-6 in chapter 14 (pp. 157-165). This book is a precursor to Gentry’s full-length, verse-by-verse commentary on the book of Revelation which is now nearing completion.
Under discussion in this section are only verses 4-6 of Revelation 20. Gentry says that he maintains “the Augustinian view” on Rev. 20:1-3, i.e. “that the thousand years is a symbolic time frame covering Christian history from the first century down to the end” (p. 157). From what I can see, Gentry maintains his postmillennial viewpoint on chapter 20, except for these three verses [Amillennialism overlaps quite a bit with postmillennialism, which is why I quoted Gentry several times in my posts titled “Revelation 20: Amillennial Viewpoint…”]. Gentry explains how his views on Rev. 20:4-6 have now changed (p. 158), and for the record I’m intrigued by what he has to say because some of it reflects my own musings on this passage (any underlining is mine):
First, I originally held that two groups were in view in Revelation 20:4. I held the common Augustinian view that the martyrs represent deceased Christians in heaven (the Church Triumphant) and the confessors represent the living saints on the earth (the Church Militant). And together these two groups picture all Christians throughout Church history. I no longer accept this interpretation.
Second, I also previously held that the fact that they “came to life and reigned with Christ” (Rev. 20:4c) portrayed the new birth experience, where the Christian arises from spiritual death to sit with Christ in heavenly places. I still believe this doctrinal position, for it is taught in various places in Scripture (see especially Eph. 2). But I do not believe this is a proper exegetical position here in Revelation 20. In other words, I now believe that this view is good theology but bad exegesis—if we draw it from Revelation 20.
Third, I previously held that “the rest of the dead” who “did not come to life until the thousand years were completed” (Rev. 20:5) pointed to the bodily resurrection of all men. As an orthodox Christian I do, of course, believe that John teaches a general resurrection of all men. He even teaches it in Revelation 20. But I now believe he holds off on that until verses 11-15.
Gentry, a little further on, makes a very interesting claim regarding parallels between the books of Ezekiel and Revelation. Having noticed numerous parallels myself between these two books, I’m even more inclined to look into this now that I’ve seen the direct correlations Gentry has proposed (p. 160):
John approaches Israel like Isaiah (see especially Isa. 1), Jeremiah (see especially Jer. 2-3), and Ezekiel (see especially Eze. 2-6, 16). In fact, he organizes his material around Ezekiel’s structure—which explains so many specific parallels to Ezekiel:
Eze. 1 = Rev. 1
Eze. 2 = Rev. 5 (10)
Eze. 9-10 = Rev. 7-8
Eze. 16, 23 = Rev. 17
Eze. 26-28 = Rev. 18
Eze. 38-39 = Rev. 19-20
Eze. 40-48 = Rev. 21-22 (11)
Gentry then examines Rev. 20:4, which reads, “Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the Word of God, and who had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Gentry comments (pp. 160-163),
Previously I held that this presents two separate groups, martyrs and confessors, which themselves represent all Christians in history, dead or living. As such I originally thought these groups portray the whole Christian Church throughout the Christian era. I now believe that John envisions only one group: deceased martyrs who did not worship the beast…
Not only are these enthroned ones deceased, but they are deceased under specific circumstances. They have been judicially killed: “beheaded” is a standard form of capital punishment well-known in the Roman Empire (cf. Matt. 14:10)… Furthermore, this imagery fits all the preceding story of Revelation, where the Jewish aristocracy is drunk on the blood of the saints (Rev. 17:6), as is the Roman beast (Rev. 13:7). This further confirms my redemptive-historical preterism and continues John’s concern for his audience, which is facing the very real prospect of death for their faith.
What is more, I now realize that structurally Revelation 20:4 is really the answer to the prayer of Revelation 6:9-11. In fact, it clearly repeats some of the same thoughts and words. Revelation 6:9-11 speaks of “the souls of those who had been slain.” These did not just fall over and die; they were slaughtered (esphagmenon, Rev. 6:9). They are crying out for God to avenge [ekdikeis] their blood on those who “dwell in the Land [tes ges]” (Rev. 6:10). Revelation 20:4 and 6:9 are doublets, based on replicated wording and strong parallels: Note:
And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the Word of God. I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the Word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained.
…I would argue that these two passages represent promise and fulfillment… The “souls” at the altar in Revelation 6:11 are told to “rest for a little while longer,” until others join them in a martyr’s death, being “killed even as they had been.” Since Christ’s judgment-coming against Israel in Revelation 19:11ff (cp. Rev. 6:12-17) results in the glory of Revelation 20:1-4, John appears to be stating that by A.D. 70 the martyrs will be vindicated within the promised time frame of “a little while” (chronon micron, Rev. 6:11; cp. Luke 18:7-8). Thus, their “coming to life” as fulfillment of the promise given to them (which is given to them while they already are in heaven, Rev. 6:11), appears to be an image of their vindication in the death of their opponents in A.D. 70 rather than at the very moment of their entering heaven. This is unique to John—whose work is unique in many respects.
Some of what Gentry is saying here reflects the misgivings I’ve had for a long time with some of the things I’ve heard about the Millennium. Gentry rightly points out that the text says that those who were to be seated on thrones and to reign during these thousand years were only those who  had been beheaded because of their righteous testimony and  did not worship the beast and his image. I’m not likely to be beheaded in my lifetime, and most believers throughout Church history were never beheaded either. Nor have the vast majority of believers in Church history been faced with the prospect of worshipping the beast and/or his image. Are we not then disqualified from sitting on these thrones? At the same time, though, not all of Jesus’ disciples or John’s faithful first century readers were beheaded either, though many of them were martyred by some means. Peter, for example, never gave his allegiance to Nero (whom I believe was the beast in the singular sense), but he was crucified upside down rather than beheaded. So is “beheading” used in the text to represent all forms of capital punishment at that time, with beheading being perhaps the most common form?
Also, does this have anything to do with the promise Jesus gave to Peter and His other disciples? “Truly, I say to you, in the new world [regeneration], when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:28). Likewise, in Luke 22:28-30 Jesus said to His disciples, “You are those who have stayed with Me in My trials, and I assign to you, as My Father assigned to Me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” At the same time, though, Paul in I Corinthians 6:2-3 says that “the saints will judge the world” and also “are to judge angels.” Paul’s use of “the saints” here seems to be wider than simply the twelve apostles.
In any case, Gentry’s conclusions on this passage (Rev. 20:4-6) are these (pp. 163-165):
Now all of this means that those who are on the thrones in the millennium are not living Christians. Nor are they simply deceased Christians. Nor are they Christians from all ages. They are deceased Christians in heaven, who are martyred in the first century. This is John’s point: Keep the faith! Withstand your oppressors! You will be greatly rewarded in heaven even if you die! Indeed, that is effectively how he introduces his book: “I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus” (Rev. 1:9).
Of course, heavenly reward awaits all Christians in all ages. But that is not John’s point here. We learn this extended truth from other Scriptures. Here in Revelation 20 he is speaking from a particular context in completing a long-running call to accept martyrdom rather than succumbing to the beast or the false prophet. Remember how Hebrews warns Jewish converts to Christ not to apostasize—especially since the old covenant is “obsolete and growing old” and “ready to disappear” (Heb. 8:13)? John is doing the same in Revelation, only more dramatically.
So then, my first two changes in my understanding of Revelation 20 are: I now see only one group in the vision; and that one group involves only the first century martyrs. Revelation 20:4-6 does not speak of the reign of the Church in history, nor does it prophesy a still-future political reign on earth. Though again: I do believe the Church reigns in history (I Cor. 3:21-23; Eph. 1:19-23), and that we are seated with Christ in heavenly places (e.g. Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1)… But John’s express teaching regards the first century persecuted Church and her two persecutors, Rome and Israel.
[“The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.” (Rev. 20:5)]
It does not seem that “the rest of the dead” are the unbelievers of all of history who stand before God on Judgment Day. They have not been mentioned yet. I do hold that all unbelievers will stand before God on Judgment Day. And, as I stated above, I believe John teaches that—in Revelation 20:11-15. But he does not teach this here in Revelation 20:5. Who are these “the rest of the dead” then? How are they related to John’s overarching story-line?
“The rest of the dead” are the other dead mentioned in the preceding context [Rev. 19:11-21]. Who did we last hear had died in John’s narrative? Revelation 19:19-21 answers this: “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat upon the horse, and against His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest [hoi lopoi] were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.”
“The rest” of the dead are the ones allied with the first-century beast and his false prophet, the ones responsible for executing the martyrs… John is encouraging his first century audience to withstand their assailants. Those enemies have a hollow victory: they will die and lie in the chains of darkness until the resurrection at the end of history. But the martyrs will not only enter heaven and eternal bliss, but after entering into heaven will be elevated and “come to life” and begin reigning in the presence of God and Christ.
Remember: Christ dies and is resurrected, then ascends into heaven and sits at God’s right hand in victory. And He is publically vindicated against His tormentors in A.D. 70. As Jesus warns the high priest and the Sanhedrin during His trial: “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt. 26:64; cp. Mark 9:1). Likewise, His faithful martyrs will also die, arise to new life, and experience heavenly vindication. Thus, they actually will live in the glory of triumph and heavenly vindication while their persecutors die in ignominy. This is John’s point. This fits everything he has been saying previously.
This passage [Rev. 20:4-6] is really not useful to the “millennial” debate.
In Part 2 we will look at one more minority view on the Millennium, and that is the full-preterist view.
All of our Revelation chapter-by-chapter studies, and any other posts related to the book of Revelation, can be found here.
All of our studies on Revelation 20 and the Millennium can be found here.
 Charles Spurgeon is one who highly esteemed Russell’s work, despite some reservations, saying: “Though the author’s theory is carried too far, it has so much of truth in it, and throws so much new light upon obscure portions of the Scriptures, and is accompanied with so much critical research and close reasoning, that it can be injurious to none and may be profitable to all” (Charles Spurgeon, The Sword and the Trowel, 1878 edition). This book has been reprinted in modern times by Baker House, and has gained the deep respect of R.C. Sproul and others of our day.
 When McKenzie says that “the resurrection [is] having an ongoing fulfillment since AD 70,” I believe what he means by this is that those who die in Christ experience their personal resurrection at that time along with their redeemed bodies. Todd Dennis, the founder of the highly resourceful Preterist Archive, even believes that the “coming” of Jesus to receive His own and take them to be where He is (John 14:1-3) takes place each and every time a follower of Christ passes from this life (Hebrews 9:27-28). The Bema Seat judgment (Romans 14:10-12; I Cor. 3:12-15; II Cor. 5:10) also takes place at this time, on an individual basis. This understanding is related to the words recorded in Rev. 14:13, saying, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
 In other words, for McKenzie (and Todd Dennis—see previous footnote) there is a future “resurrection of the dead” for every person living today. It’s only a past event for those who have already died. It’s future for everyone else, but will be experienced on an individual basis, not as a singular event on a given future Day. The “resurrection of the dead” and “judgment” was, however, a singular event (in 70 AD–in heaven) for those who had died prior to 70 AD.
24 thoughts on “Revelation 20: Minority Views on the Millennium (Part 1)”
Apologies,if to off topic,and if i have missed your view either in this post or another.You do believe that Jesus’ literal/bodily return is yet a future event,do you not?
You are correct. I believe that Jesus will return bodily in our future. I have to admit that at one point during the last year, I was nearly persuaded while reading some full-preterist articles that the one and only Second Coming took place in 70 AD. But in the end, I didn’t take that “plunge.” How about yourself?
I am soooo happy to hear this Adam!
Of course i believe that Jesus will return bodily in our future.What is faith,without the hope of his coming?
Great! At this point in your study of these things, are you able to list out the Scripture passages which speak of Christ’s future Second Coming versus the Scripture passages which speak of His coming in judgment upon apostate Israel in 70 AD?
I know when I was writing my term paper on 70 AD last year, I was initially quite surprised by this statement from Jonathan Edwards:
–Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), in his work titled “Miscellany #1199
So if Edwards believed in a future Second Coming, and I think I remember reading that he did, then he saw this as predicted elsewhere in the New Testament, but apparently not in the gospels.
I remember reading that David Lowman sees Revelation 20:9 as a picture of the Second Coming, the only reference in Revelation to this event.
There are not many (if any)passages of scripture that speak to Jesus’ second coming vs his coming in judgment against unbelieving Israel in 70AD are there?
I believe that Hebrews 9:28 may speak of his physical return,or possibly His appearing to those who are his,at their death?
Possibly but doubtful,Matthew 24:37.
Acts 1:11,his ascent back to Heaven and His return in like manner(maybe)
Revelation 20:9 Yes.
However,i cannot imagine that this could mean that Jesus and the saints are under attack and the Father has to rescue him,by sending fire.(another topic for another time perhaps) 😉
Which passages do you believe speak of his second coming?
I think you and I are very close to being on the same page on this. I know that I need to continue examining Scripture on these things, thinking them through, etc. At this point, I’m just going to think out loud in reply to your question…
Yes, it does seem hard to find passages clearly speaking of a visible and physical return of Christ which must be in our future. Like you, though, I believe that Revelation 20:9 indicates such a return (in keeping with the amillennial viewpoint). Add to that Acts 1:11, most likely. I John 3:2-3, I would think, does as well:
I’ve had the same thoughts as you regarding Hebrews 9:28, that it may (or may not) speak of His appearing to His saints each time one of us passes from this life. [How about I Corinthians 15:21-24?] In this light, Todd Dennis, the founder of the highly resourceful Preterist Archive, shares some interesting thoughts on both Hebrews 9:28 and John 14:1-3, here:
I don’t believe that Matthew 24:37 remains to be fulfilled. I tried to entertain Kenneth Gentry’s idea that Matthew 24:1-35 has been fulfilled, but not Matthew 24:36-25:46. In the end, I can’t uphold such a division.
Here is a partial list of passages I would say were fulfilled in 70 AD. Most of these are often understood by futurists to be, well, future. This list reflects my understanding right now anyway:
Matthew 10:23, 16:28, 24:30, 26:64 (and parallel passages in Mark and Luke); 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8, 2:8; James 5:7-9; 1 Peter 4:7; Revelation 1:7, 3:11, 19:11-16, 22:7, 22:12.
Adam i just wanted to say this
This is one area were Full Preterist “seem” to have an advantage over partial Preterist.We cannot provide one definitive passage of scripture that proves that that there is yet to be a second bodily coming of Christ.
I believe this is why many PP eventually or deny crossing over to the other side.Some PP just give ground to FP that really need not be given.With that being said,i have no problem conceding that there is truth to the Futurist position.
You have said so yourself,that there is no proof that Titus ever persecuted Christians.Nero is the one who persecuted Christians during his reign.Still,Dan 9:26 does not speak of Nero,it speaks of Titus.Nevertheless,why think of Titus as antichrist? Certainly those that died in the siege of Jerusalem would not have been called Saints.They were unbelievers.Now this does not mean that there were not Christians,who did not escape Jerusalem in time, and did perish in the siege.
Supposed pro Titus writings by Josephus,concerning the burning of the temple,does not mean that it was in his hands to cause or prevent it from being burned,he was only a tool.It was Jesus’ word,that that temple would be destroyed.
Why then would we ever believe that passages such as Daniel 7:21,22 and Revelation 13:7 were fulfilled by Titus,in AD70? The so called ‘beast of the abyss’ or ‘little horn’ or whoever someone said he was.
I do not believe like Dispensationalists or Futurists,yet they do have a point.There must still be future tribulation for the people of God.This in no way means that some antichrist will sit in a re-built temple in Jerusalem.I do not believe this at all.
No matter which version/translation one reads,nowhere is the word ‘sacrifice’ Hebrew/Aramaic 2077 found in Daniel,accept in 9:27.So the word cannot be speaking of a sin offering.It must mean something else,perhaps prayer and supplication.I do not know.
The point is,there is no reason to believe that these passages, Dan 8:11,11:31 and 12:11 speak of literal blood/animal sacrifices in a past or in a future rebuilt temple.Again,the words “daily sacrifice” mean something else.Something that is yet to take place.
I do not rule out a structure/Church or a place of worship,built in the future in Israel.I do not rule out a greater than the first Pentecost taking place in that location.In fact i think that this will happen some day,as part of the continued ‘gathering’ of the church.Jews/Israelis are not exempt from falling away,becoming apostate.The unprecedented ‘falling away’ will be a worldwide happening.
This structure/building will be built by Jewish/Israeli believers in Jesus (No CUFI folks will help).It will not be an affront to Christ,if there were not sacrificing of animals for sins or any other reason.Again,the word(s) sacrifice or daily sacrifice Hebrew/Aramaic 2077 is not found anywhere in Daniel,accept in 9:27
I do see what you mean about full preterists seeming to have that advantage.
Neither do I, as you know. Regarding a future tribulation, even though I believe that the Great Tribulation spoken of by Jesus (Matthew 24:21) and John (Revelation 7:14) has already taken place, my understanding of Revelation 20:7-10 (which you seem to share) leads me to believe that a widespread persecution of the body of Christ (“the camp of the saints and the beloved city”) will precede Christ’s return. Persecution is, of course, a daily reality for many believers around the world today. It’s also a normal expectation for all believers throughout the Church age (e.g. II Timothy 3:12).
The way I understand “sacrifice and offering” in Daniel 9:27 is that Jesus, the initiator of the New Covenant (“a strong covenant”), brought an end to (the legitimacy of) the sacrifices and offerings taking place in the temple (as the book of Hebrews so well argues).
The taking away of the daily sacrifice mentioned in Daniel 8:11, 11:31, and 12:11 I don’t see as future. Rather, they had to do with either the time period of Antiochus Epiphanes, or the events of 66-70 AD. The daily sacrifices in the temple were brought to a halt in 167 BC, only 10 days before Antiochus Epiphanes sacrificed a pig on the altar. In late 66 AD, one of the triggers points leading to the start of the Roman-Jewish War was the sudden refusal of the Jews (out of anger and rebellion) to offer a daily sacrifice for the Roman Emperor, Nero.
Excellent responses.I agree with you 1 John 3:2-3 does speak of Jesus’ physical return and the general resurrection.1 Corinthians 15:21-24 for sure! Even A-mills have to concede that this speaks of Jesus reigning on earth.
He must ‘come’ to order his Kingdom,so to deliver up the perfected church to the Father.Not for a literal 1000 years
but,for ‘a thousand years’ David Lowman once said that a thousand years,speaks of an indefinite period of time.
Yes i agree with you Adam that these were fulfilled in AD70.How do you see Zechariah 14 is it yet future? I have wondered about Daniel 12:1 also.I am not in agreement with Dispensationalists and many Futurists on the subject of ” God is not finished with Israel” Yet is it possible that there will be ‘great tribulation’ and rescue coming to a Remnant of believing Jews/Israelis in the future?
Todd Dennis’ article very thought provoking,i will have to read it again,but i think he is correct in his interpretation of Hebrews 9:28 and John 14:1-3 what about you?
I will read your answers in the morning,have a great night
No, I don’t see Zechariah 14 as yet future. I see it as having a past, as well as ongoing, fulfillment. Past – in that the siege and battle against earthly Jerusalem (verses 1-2) took place in 70 AD; Ongoing – in that the living waters (verse 8, etc.) are even now flowing out from the New Jerusalem. The best study I’ve seen on this chapter was written by our brother, Duncan:
I believe Daniel 12:1 has also already been fulfilled. It speaks of “a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time.” But at that time Daniel’s people “shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.” This coincides with:
 Jeremiah 30:7 (“Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.”)
 Matthew 24:21 (“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.”)
Yes, I do lean toward seeing Todd Dennis as correct in his interpretation of Hebrews 9:28 and John 14:1-3. Like you, I find his article very thought-provoking.
1.Zechariah 14 fulfilled in 70AD,i can see that.Not Daniel 12:1.Why would Micheal be sent to stand for unbelievers in 70AD? Moreover 12:2,3 speaks of the general resurrection and those who have labored to win souls,does it not?
2.Did you know that Daniel 12:11 speaks of apostasy? ” Shall be taken away ” is Hebrew/Aramaic # 5493.I do not see how it would be possible for those who have never believed to turn back/away from Jesus,do you?
3.Since the word ‘sacrifice’ is not found in any,not one,Hebrew/Aramaic transcript/manuscript of the book of Daniel,with the exception 9:27.Why is it italicized in one version,and written as though it belongs there,in all the other English translations?
See the Strong’s concordance for Dan 8:11,12,13-11:31 12:11
Thanks for your feedback once again. I’ll have to get back to you on this either Thursday night (unlikely), or Friday, at the earliest. I’m up way too late as it is, and I’ll be out all day tomorrow. But I’m definitely interested in looking at these things and more concerning Daniel 12…
Thanks for your patience in waiting for me to get back to you on the Daniel 12:1 question. I’m not quite sure I understand your question(s) related to Daniel 12:11, so I’ll limit my response to the questions regarding Daniel 12:1-3, which reads:
I agree that this speaks of a general resurrection. My short answer is to simply point to a very well-written article by David Curtis who, unlike you and me, happens to be a full preterist. I think he makes a lot of fantastic points in this article, though there are a couple things toward the end of it that I’m not sure I’m on board with. If you have the time to read it, I’ll be happy to know what you think:
Now to my longer answer… As mentioned earlier, I believe this passage must be understood in the context of first century events. The expression, “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time,” clearly mirrors what Jesus said in the Olivet Discourse: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Matthew 24:21; cf. Jeremiah 30:7). This was included among “all these things” which needed to take place within one generation of Jesus having prophesied them (Matt. 24:34), and history (the writings of Josephus, Eusebius, etc.) bears out that they did. Also Daniel was told that “when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished” (Daniel 12:7). To me, it’s clear that what took place in 70 accomplished this.
I like the questions that Jim McGuiggan, writing in 1978, asks about verse 2:
Of course, if you’ve read David Curtis’ article, you’ve seen that he asks the same exegetical questions (and more), but comes to the conclusion that in 70 AD the general resurrection of Old Testament saints took place and the resurrection of all believers after that time takes place on an ongoing basis whenever we pass from this life. John Walvoord, quite remarkably, has the Old Testament saints being raised 7 years AFTER the resurrection of the Church:
I remember, as I studied the book of Revelation recently, that there are two texts I didn’t adequately interact with, Rev. 11:18 and Rev. 14:13. These texts read,
As a partial-preterist who understands that a first-century fulfillment is in view here, how are these texts to be understood? The judgment of the dead had to have begun in the first century, and by implication a resurrection as well. Jesus even said elsewhere that this judgment was to take place within the lifetime of some of His disciples (e.g. Matthew 16:27-28).
Jay Rogers, a partial-preterist who works closely with Kenneth Gentry, tries to get around a first-century resurrection by saying that “those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake” refers primarily to spiritual conversion. I can’t, in good conscience, see it that way, but the rest of his commentary here I can agree with:
Regarding the deliverance of everyone “found written in the book,” James Farquharson shared similar thoughts:
As seen in this post (“Minority Views on the Millennium: Part 1”), Duncan McKenzie, who we’ve been interacting with on the II Thessalonians 2 page, agrees with David Curtis that the resurrection and judgment have been ongoing since 70 AD on an individual basis for all who die/have died in Christ since that time. This is one of those things I’m continuing to ponder (and that list of things to ponder seems to be growing). What do you think, at this point, on these things?
Thanks for getting back to me and of course for all of the information.You have been a gracious,patient and kind host.Thank you.I am going to continue to read your study on Revelation,it is fantastic,Adam! Preterism is complicated.So many views, answers,points and counter points.I rather for now think on the things that i believe have not yet come to pass.I hope that you believe too.See Isaiah 25:6-9 and ‘select’ Correlating New Testament passages to each verse…
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
“I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,
“I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations.
This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
It will be said on that day, Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
“Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;
Here is my two cents on Daniel 12:1-4 [from The Antichrist and the Second Coming]. It should be noted that this section starts off by saying “at that time.” It is not enough to explain Daniel 12, one has to be able to explain the last part of Daniel 11; I do that in my book. Here is a little excerpt from Daniel 11.
Mickelsen makes the following observations about how Daniel 11:40-44 fits Titus and the Romans far better than it does Antiochus IV:
Mickelsen (who is not a preterist, by the way) makes some very good points here . . . .
The Great Tribulation and the End
of the Age (Daniel 12:1-13)
Daniel 12 continues the narrative of chapter 11. Any question that a shift has occurred from Antiochus IV and the second century BC should be gone by now as we are being shown the time of the great tribulation and resurrection.
Again, the time of the end referred to in Daniel 11:36-12:13 is not the end of the world but the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (cf. 1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 1:1-2; 8:13, 9:26). The AD 70 destruction of the Temple was an unmistakable sign that the old covenant age was over. At this time the very foundation of the old covenant order (i.e., the sacrificial system) was gone (cf. Matt. 21:33-43).
This time of the end of the age was to be the time of the resurrection and judgment (Dan. 12:2-3). This corresponds to Daniel 7:8-11, which shows the judgment (the court seated and books opened, v. 10) beginning at the AD 70 defeat of the fourth beast and its little eleventh horn (Titus).
Daniel 7:23-27 reiterates the fact that the court was seated for the judgment at the time the dominion of the little eleventh horn was taken away.
Daniel 7 is perfectly consistent with Daniel 12; it shows the court being seated for the judgment (vv. 10, 26) right after the great tribulation.
Similarly, Revelation 11:15-18 agrees with Daniel 12; it also shows the resurrection and judgment as beginning right after the great tribulation (cf. Rev. 11:7-8). The judgment is shown as beginning at the full establishment of God’s kingdom at the AD 70 destruction of those who were destroying (i.e., ruining in a moral sense)1 the land of Israel.
Daniel 12 sheds light on Jesus’ statements that the generation listening to him would not pass away (Matt. 24:34) until the abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15; cf. Dan. 9:27, 12:11), great tribulation (Matt. 24:21; cf. Dan. 12:1), Second Coming (Matt. 24:30; cf. Dan. 7:21-22), and resurrection and judgment (Matt. 25:31-46; cf. Dan. 12:2-3) happened. According to the book of Daniel, “all these things” were to be completed by the AD 70 shattering of the Jewish nation at the end of the old covenant age (Dan. 12:7).
MANY OF THOSE WHO SLEEP IN THE DUST SHALL AWAKE
The Hebrew word translated as “many” in verse 2 (“and many of those who sleep in the dust shall awake”) carries the sense of all or multitudes (NIV). Baldwin writes the following on this:
Baldwin’s comments are consistent with what Jesus said regarding the resurrection. Jesus said that a time was coming when “all” who were in the grave would be resurrected, some to a resurrection of life and some to a resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29).
Partial preterists say that the abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15) and great tribulation (Matt. 24:21) took place just prior to Jesus’ judgment coming on Israel in AD 70. Most of them say, however, that the resurrection and judgment (Matt. 25:31-46; cf. Matt. 16:27-28) will happen at the Second Advent, which they see as being still future to us. Daniel 12 clearly shows that this separation of the great tribulation from the resurrection and judgment is not scriptural. Chapter 12 shows that all these things would culminate with the AD 70 shattering of the Jewish nation (v. 7; cf. Dan. 7:23-27). It should be noted that for believers the resurrection continues since AD 70, as we now receive our resurrected bodies at death (cf. Rev. 14:8-13). For nonbelievers the judgment also continues since AD 70, as they are judged and cast into the lake of fire at death. Thus, it is still “appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27).
Thanks. This is very helpful information, especially the section on the end of Daniel 11. What you’ve written here largely reflects what I’ve also come to believe regarding Daniel 12:1-4. Good stuff…
Seroled, I moved your comment here, as I believe this is where you meant for it to be (it was under the post titled “Revelation 20: Postmillennial Viewpoint”). I need to leave for work right now, but I’ll try to respond to your comment later tonight.
Have a good day at work.
Please if you will,respond to this comment ONLY when time allows.If you and Duncan are correct that Daniel 12:1-4 speaks of the Lord’s Coming in 70AD (Matt 16:27,28,Matt 24:30 and 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10) The great tribulation (Matthew 24:21 and Luke 21:20-28) The general resurrection and Judgment (John 5:28,29,Acts 24:15,Daniel 7:9 and Rev 20:4,11-15)
Then why in the world was the Apostle John left here on Earth to die in 95AD? According to Jesus’ words John was to sit on one of the 12 thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel(Matthew 19:28)Or is this yet a future event? Moreover,one can conclude that Jesus ‘meant’ that John was only to remain/tarry til he comes(John 21:22)Well,he came but left John.
According to 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 and 1 Cor 15:51,52 John should not have been left,he should have been changed,right? John also believed that he would see Jesus and ‘be as he is’ at his coming/Appearing (1 John 3:2)
We all believe that the book/letter of Revelation was written and circulated before the destruction of the temple.Some PP (not me) believe that 70AD was the beginning of the Millennium.If this were true then John was NOT with Jesus when he delivered up the kingdom to the Father,1 Cor 15:26.Nor did he partake in the feast(Matthew 8:11 and Isaiah 25:6)He did NOT drink the fruit of the vine with Christ as He promised(Mark 14:25)If these things are all past,then why was John the beloved excluded from them only partake of this ‘ongoing’ resurrection?
Sorry Adam i made a couple of mistakes in my ‘new’ comment and need to clarify other points.
I should not have used Matthew 24:30 to speak of Jesus’ second coming or final advent this passage refers to his ascension back to Heaven to receive his Kingdom (Daniel 7:13 and Matthew 26:64)
I would rather use/add Matthew 25:31-46 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1 with Matthew 16:27,28, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 as these passages pertain to Jesus’ Coming.
They refer to both the judgment of,and the ‘rewarding’ of the works of the living unjust at his coming.To the resurrection of the just and the unjust and of living saints being gathered/caught up and entering/inheriting the Kingdom of God.They also refer to the living saints being rewarded for faithful service at his coming.
I should have said that John was not with Jesus at the (supposed by some) beginning of the Millennium in 70AD,since he died sometime in 95AD.Which to me means that John may not have been with Jesus when he delivered up the Kingdom to the Father (1 Cor 15:24)
I do not see a difference but an agreement in what the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:20,21 and what the Apostle John says in 1 John 3:2.This is why i believe that the living Apostle John would/should have been caught up and changed according to 1 Cor 15:51,52 at Jesus’ coming or his (supposed by some) final advent in 70AD.
Adam do you see that if Daniel 12 has already been fulfilled,then Rev 19:11 and 20:7-10 is all that is left.However,this means that that Jesus would have to return a third time.I would rather believe that Preterism as a whole,partial/orthodox,Full/hyper or third view is flawed,then to take the plunge into a third coming of Christ or believe that his final advent took place in AD70.
What about you?
You’ve got my head spinning…LOL. I’m having trouble keeping up with you. :-)This is a very multi-faceted conversation, so I’m going to be selective here, at least for now. I’m not sold on the idea that Christ’s final advent took place in 70 AD. At this point, I’m willing to say that He came in judgment in 70 AD, according to the Old Testament understanding of God coming in judgment upon various nations in local judgments, but that Christ did not physically step foot upon the earth at that time.
I do see Revelation 20:7-10 as future and unfulfilled, but I believe Revelation 19:11 was fulfilled in the first century AD. This is David Lowman’s position as well, right? Did you differ with him on that point? Just curious… I’ll have to ponder more on why you’re saying that the fulfillment of Daniel 12 must indicate that Revelation 20:7-10 (and Rev. 19:11, in your mind) are the only passages left to be fulfilled.
Duncan, if you’re reading this, I have a related question that I’ve been meaning to ask you. I know that you do believe Christ’s final advent took place in 70 AD, and that Revelation 20:7-10 is all that is left to be fulfilled in the book of Revelation. My question is, what kind of a transition do you see happening for the saints who are alive when Satan’s armies surround the camp of the saints and God intervenes by sending down fire to consume them? Are they caught up to heaven to dwell with the Lord in the eternal state at this point, while the present heavens and earth are destroyed?
Seroled, several times you mentioned the apostle John, and what did or didn’t happen to him when the events of 70 AD took place, events which we have every reason to believe he outlived (i.e. because of the testimonies of early church writers). I don’t mean to leave those questions unaddressed, but perhaps the articles concerning I Thess. 4 which I linked to in my previous comment will somehow address them. I can try to come back to these questions at a later point. Perhaps Duncan has some thoughts as well. Concerning Matthew 19:28, and Jesus’ promise that the 12 disciples were to sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel, is it possible that this was their role in heaven after their own physical deaths?
COMMENT BY “SEROLED” (Moved by Admin)
Is this what you believe or are leaning towards?
That the general resurrection of all Saints (ie) Hebrews’ 11 hall of faith? Including those that were not mentioned there by name (ie) Shem,Job,Ruth,Hagar the mother of Esau,Daniel,Isaiah,Ezekie etc etc.Along with all of the dead in Christ after Pentecost,but only those who died before the destruction of the Temple in AD70?
Was this the ‘first’ resurrection,Rev 20:6? Not in the sense that there are two,but rather all of these died in faith and would not be cast into the lake of fire to suffer the second death?
Are the rest of the dead (Rev 20:5) believers POST AD70 who die yet partake in the ‘ongoing’ first resurrection? While those who’s names were/are not written in the book are judged and cast into the lake of fire?
Then regeneration/New birth (John 5:24,Ephesians 2:1)is not the first resurrection Rev 20:6?
Was there also a pre-tribulation rapture of the living saints (ie) the church of the Philadelphia?
Is this what the Apostle Paul wrote about in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18?
Jesus’ words to Peter(John 21:22)were literal then,John the last of the 12 did remain alive until his coming?
How do you see the phrase ‘on this mountain’ used in Isaiah 25:5,7 does this supper include believers from all the ages?
Let me begin by saying that Revelation 20 has got to be just about the most difficult chapter in the Bible to understand, and I’m certainly not done studying it. A number of the conclusions I’ve come to on this chapter are tentative.
Yes, I’m leaning toward the idea that a general resurrection took place in 70 AD, for Old Testament saints together with believers who died between Christ’s resurrection and 70 AD; and that since that time all have been experiencing resurrection and judgment upon death. So then the first resurrection is ongoing for believers who have died post-70 AD. This is what you’re asking, right?
Then again, if this position is true, what do I do with Revelation 20:5 (“The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended…”)? However “the rest of the dead” are to be identified, it sure sounds like they are to await their resurrection until after the 1000 years are completed. As you mentioned, amillennialism answers this question by making the first resurrection spiritual (new birth: Revelation 20:4-6) and the second resurrection (though no such term is explicitly mentioned in the text) to be a corporate and physical one in our future. Yet those who were to come to life and reign with Christ are said to have not worshiped the beast or its image, and this indicates that they lived prior to 70 AD when the beast was demanding such worship. Kenneth Gentry addressed this particular question, in the post above.
I’m probably not going to be able to adequately answer these questions tonight or anytime in the next few days. Number one: my brain is full. 🙂 For my university studies, when not working, I’ve been trying to write a couple of papers. This Friday I’m taking off for a 10-day trip to Ohio, where my family lives and where I’ll be assisting with a summer camp, and I’m trying to get as much done before then as possible. So I’ll do what I can here, but this will likely be a long-term discussion. And that’s a good thing, because it concerns a number of things on which I’m not yet settled. I appreciate the challenges and the sharpening.
You brought up the rapture, or at least the passage which is commonly said to refer to a catching away of believers in one corporate event (I Thessalonians 4:14-18). This is something I’ve slowly been looking into recently. I tried to separate this text from Matthew 24:30-31, i.e. to make them non-parallel texts. But I can’t. They’re definitely parallel, as one chart makes unmistakably clear (scroll down in this article, and you’ll see it toward the end):
I’m not convinced by every point made by David Curtis in that article, but there are a number of good points made and a lot to ponder on. Here are two more articles on the subject of “the rapture” which I’m (slowly) pondering on:
One of David Curtis’ points is that there is room in this text (I Thess. 4:13-18) for seeing the catching up to meet the Lord in the air as something which happens “from now on” (or rather “from then on”) for each believer if a general resurrection indeed occurred in 70 AD. If you’re able to read any or all of these articles, feel free to let me know what you think.
Regarding Isaiah 25:5-7, my inclination is to say that the feast “on this mountain” is a picture of the blessings available to all in this present New Covenant age. I haven’t really studied this passage out yet, though. What is your view on it?
I’m not sold on the idea that Christ’s final advent took place in 70 AD. At this point, I’m willing to say that He came in judgment in 70 AD, according to the Old Testament understanding of God coming in judgment upon various nations in local judgments, but that Christ did not physically step foot upon the earth at that time.’
I do not believe that Jesus’ final Advent took place at 70AD either,i too believe that his coming in judgment was according to the OT understanding.However,Daniel 12 does speak of the general resurrection and judgment of the just and the unjust and so i considered for a moment (only) that it could have been his second coming.
If the general resurrection and judgment took place in 70AD (as you and Duncan believe) Then Jesus does not have to physically or literally set foot on the earth or even reign on it (for any amount of time) for Rev 20:7-10 to be fulfilled in the future either,right? This is what i meant by that’s all that is left.We still have Hebrews 9:28 to look forward to 😉
‘I do see Revelation 20:7-10 as future and unfulfilled, but I believe Revelation 19:11 was fulfilled in the first century AD. This is David Lowman’s position as well, right? Did you differ with him on that point? Just curious… I’ll have to ponder more on why you’re saying that the fulfillment of Daniel 12 must indicate that Revelation 20:7-10 (and Rev. 19:11, in your mind) are the only passages left to be fulfilled.’
Adam,i had not heard of Preterism before reading David Lowman’s blog and have learned a great deal from him from.I see much truth in orthodox Preterism,and in David’s teachings,though am in lockstep with no one.For instance David infers the belief that Matthew 16:28 speaks of Jesus’ ascension or the sign of his receiving his kingdom,dominion,power and Glory,his being at the right hand of the Father (Dan 7:13,14) and not his physical return.
I do not separate that passage from say 1 Thess 4:13-17,2 Thessalonians 2:1 or Matt 25:31-46 because their must be resurrection in order for Jesus to reward ‘everyone’ for their works good or bad. Since i maintain the belief that the general resurrection and judgment will take place at Jesus literal return,that passage (in my mind)is left unfulfilled or at the least has a dual fulfillment ‘IF’ Dan 12:2,3 has already taken place.
Now speaking of Rev 11:19.Since i do believe in dual or greater fulfillment(s)though there is nothing definitive recorded in history of a world-wide persecution of the church.The ‘unprecedented’ coming persecution/tribulation has to come from within the body,and not from some anti-christ or other outside forces,but from apostates yet professing Christ.Who will have the spirit of lawlessness,therefore be under the influence of another master.
No,i do not believe that Satan can indwell fall-aways, as the Spirit indwells believers.I say that Satan will be found ‘seated’ on their throne of their hearts (minds) within the former temple of God,their bodies (2 Thessalonians 2:4) I believe that these folks are the army that Jesus makes war against (Rev 19:11)
So if the general resurrection,judgment,rewards etc etc is past(Dan 12)then what is left save destroying evil and casting it into the lake of fire where the beast and false prophet are?
‘My question is, what kind of a transition do you see happening for the saints who are alive when Satan’s armies surround the camp of the saints and God intervenes by sending down fire to consume them? Are they caught up to heaven to dwell with the Lord in the eternal state at this point, while the present heavens and earth are destroyed?’
I cannot say Adam,it would depend on if the fire is actually Christ himself.
Adam,my views of eschatology change and change again based on more or better information.I have considered all things written here by both you and Duncan including the articles.
Ps. sorry for the head spin-kindly put,thanks :-)i am known for off topic incoherent ramblings,thanks for putting up with me.
Oops,i accidentally copied and posted your question for Duncan in my comment,sorry about that Adam…
‘My question is, what kind of a transition do you see happening for the saints who are alive when Satan’s armies surround the camp of the saints and God intervenes by sending down fire to consume them? Are they caught up to heaven to dwell with the Lord in the eternal state at this point, while the present heavens and earth are destroyed?’