One of my Facebook friends, Maurice Perry, has also been blogging for the last three months. Maurice believes that the book of Revelation is about the Biblical covenants, and the transition from the old covenant to the new covenant. I believe the same (see “Echoes of Mount Sinai in the Book of Revelation”).
His article on this subject, “The Book of Revelation Is All About Covenant,” makes some great points about the judgments in the book of Revelation being covenantal, and fulfilling Jesus’ words (e.g. Matthew 23:29-38) against the rulers of the old covenant age:
“However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (I Corinthians 2:6-8).
Maurice also makes some great points about the main opposition to the church during the generation (roughly 30 AD – 70 AD) when the covenant periods were in transition. That opposition was the bondage of the old covenant and those who sought to impose it upon the new covenant community (Jesus’ followers). This particular opposing force was dealt a huge blow when the Jerusalem temple, the center of old covenant worship and ceremonies, was taken out of the way. I’ve highlighted some of these points in red, below. I’m still mulling over the topics of Satan and the lake of fire, which Maurice also brought up in this article. As always, your thoughts are welcome on these things:
Revelation is all about covenant. It’s a covenantal book. When you look at it that way, things become more simplistic. There were two covenants. One, old. One, new. One (the old) was preparing to vanish away, or be demolished (Hebrews 8:13), while the other (the new) was already in existence because men and women were pressing into it even during Jesus’ earthly ministry (Matt. 11:12, Luke 16:16)…
Revelation, a letter written to 7 churches to SIGNIFY to them things which would shortly come to pass (Rev. 1:1), is virtually entirely written in signs, symbols, metaphors and figurative language. If you read the book with a literal narrative, you will miss the entire meaning and focus.
The revealing of Jesus Christ as Messiah – judgment for the ones that had pierced him (Rev. 1:7) – salvation and deliverance for those 1st century saints that were being persecuted. Covenantally, it was judgment being released on those that killed the apostles and prophets (servants of God). This scenario is played out over, and over, and over and over again throughout Revelation using different imagery, symbols and idiomatic language each time the scenario is retold.
That being said, the majority of stuff in the letter cannot be taken literal. This includes hard things to be understood like “1000 years”, Satan being bound, and the Lake of Fire.
Long story short, Satan being bound for a “1000 years” is in reference to the time in which the gospel went forth relatively unhindered. This would be the gospel of the New Covenant. Remember, it’s all about covenant.
Satan was “loosed for a little while”, and this SIGNIFIED the time when the 1st century saints (who were preaching the gospel of the N.C.) were being persecuted, killed, imprisoned, etc – just as Jesus had previously told them (Matt. 24:9, Mark 13:9, Luke 21:12).
Satan’s main objective was to stop the spreading of the N.C by making the Hebrew Christians trip up and fall away and back into bondage, via the old covenant.
They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
It was Judaism, or the temple worship, and the pressure of the unbelieving Judaizers that caused many to fall away from the faith (in Jesus) and back into Judaism (bondage under the law). Thus, Jesus’ question-
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
So, what better way to put an end to [competition against] the New Covenant?
DESTROY the infrastructure of the Old Covenant. That would be the temple!
EVERYTHING in Jerusalem revolved around the temple – worship, politics, economics/commerce (thus, Jesus driving the money changers out!), etc…
When the temple was destroyed in 70 AD, the entire economy and way of life for the Jews was destroyed, and when it was destroyed, the main oppressor, or competition [against] the New Covenant was destroyed also (the Old Covenant had then vanished away).
Satan (which means adversary), who opposed God EVERY step of the way, from Genesis to Revelation, could not stop the ultimate plan of redemption for the entire world – the gospel message of faith in Jesus Christ. His last ditch effort to stop the spread of the gospel was with the persecuting of the saints (Rev. 12 – “chasing after the woman”, then “chasing after the woman’s seed”) through the unbelieving Judaizers. He (Satan) failed miserably!
Him (Satan) being thrown into the Lake of Fire is symbolic of his eternal covenantal judgment, and also symbolizes that he can no longer hinder the progression of the gospel of the kingdom, world without end (Eph. 3:21)
New heavens and New earth is spiritual and covenantal. Lake of Fire is spiritual and covenantal. Those that accept Jesus and the New Covenant enter into New heavens and New earth (which 1st century saints began entering – Hebrews 12:22), and those that reject Jesus and the New Covenant enter into the Lake of Fire, which is the 2nd death, which is representative of being cut off from communion with the Father forever.
Satan, being in the Lake of Fire, cannot plead His case with God. Unbelievers who enter the Lake of Fire will not be able to plead their cases. It’s covenantal judgment.
Satan, and demons HAVE NOT been annihilated. They still roam around the world. Thus, the continued need for deliverance ministry and salvation. But they are forever outside of the kingdom, or City of God.
The gates of the city are continuously open for those that are made righteous in Christ, but closed to those that are unbelievers:
14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
15For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
We see in Rev. 21:8 that the same people of Rev. 22:15 are said to experience the 2nd death:
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
So, being in the Lake of Fire, which is the 2nd death, is synonymous with being left outside of the gates of the city, which is a spiritual city, New Jerusalem, heavenly Jerusalem, Mount Zion, the city of God, the general assembly, the CHURCH of the first born! (Hebrews 12:22)
THE CHURCH IS NEW JERUSALEM!!! The kingdom is an everlasting kingdom… the church is an everlasting church!!!
Unto him be glory IN THE CHURCH by Christ Jesus THROUGHOUT ALL AGES, WORLD WITHOUT END. Amen.
Maurice Perry and his wife, Ericka, live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with their three daughters. In February 2014, Maurice published his first book, “Restoring Sanity in the Western Church.“
4 thoughts on “Maurice Perry: The Book of Revelation Is All About Covenant”
Then explain the thousand years. The thousand years is after Christ’s victory over apostate Judaism/Old Covenant types and shadows, but BEFORE Satan is cast into the Lake of Fire.
In fact, Satan is not cast into the Lake of Fire but rather into the abyss, and a seal is set upon him which identifies him for exactly who he is to the nations (ethnos). He cannot deceive them, those who follow him follow willingly. It is at the END of the thousand years (we know it’s not a literal thousand years, or we should) that he is released from the abyss and again permitted to deceive the nations. He becomes Gog to their Magog and immediately attacks the ‘camp of the saints’ and the ‘beloved city’ (obvious references to spiritual Israel, the church)
It is only AFTER Magog is burned up on the Last Day that satan is cast into the Lake of Fire.
Hi Ed. I wish I could explain the 1000 years, with confidence, but I’m not prepared to do that yet. Feel free to ask Maurice on his site, though, as he’s the one who wrote about it.
When you say that the 1000 years is “after Christ’s victory over apostate Judaism/Old Covenant types and shadows,” do you say that simply because Revelation 20 follows Revelation 19? I’ve definitely considered that view, and given it serious consideration, but I’m just wondering what brings you personally to that conclusion. I know that many see multiple recapitulations in the book of Revelation, re-tellings of the same sequence of events from different angles. And in the case of Rev. 19 and Rev. 20, we see the beast and the false prophet being thrown into the lake of fire in chapter 19, and Satan being thrown there in chapter 20.
It’s a tough subject. Revelation 20 still throws me for a loop. I agree that “the camp of the saints” and “the beloved city” are references to the church.
Aside from the statements about the 1000 years and Satan in this article, do you have any thoughts about the premise that Revelation is about the covenants?
It’s simpler than we think, if we don’t try to over-complicate it. everything in Revelation is from the Older Testament, on this we would agree.
We know historically the identities of all four beasts of Daniel: Babylon, Media Persia, Greece and the unnamed terrible one is Rome. The clues to how to define the 1000 years are contained in Isaiah 2 and also in Mt 24. One of the things Jesus mentioned to the disciples concerned the going forth of messengers to gather together (synagogue) the elect. Messengers are not always heavenly, sometimes they are earthly as well, and this is determined by context. In Mt 24, I am utterly convinced that Jesus meant EARTHLY messengers (the apostles and later the whole church) who gather together the elect from the four winds (the entire planet).
The very first order given by the Messianic King before he left to sit at the right hand of God was the command to ‘Go and teach all the nations to observe whatever He commanded…’ To do that, there must be a gathering together. So then, the 1000 years is the ingathering of the elect which Jesus stated would occur.
Isaiah 2:2 states: And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. During the 1000 years, the people of God (the beloved city) are exalted above all the other religions (described allegorically as mountains by the prophet), and the peoples flow to it. The millennium and the ‘church age’ are actually one and the same. It’s not that tough to figure out. God exalts the Church, because it is the Church that brings the Godpel to the nations. Those who are meant to be saved are brought in, again, the prophet describes this event as a flowing TO the mountain of the LORD.
The devil is given a mark which makes him obvious to the nations. Anyone who follows him does so of their own accord, they are not deceived, because Satan can no longer deceive them. So there is a separating of good and evil.
Those martyrs of the Neronian persecution reign with Christ during this time. They were the only ones capable of refusing the mark of the Beast: Emperor worship (specifically Nero). Since the Beast (Rome) and the false Prophet (the apostate Jewish leadership) are already in the Lake of Fire, none of the Believers after them are of this special class. The Beast and False prophet are in Gehenna and the Whore that rode it (the apostates of Israel) is scattered.
There are a number of opposites in Revelation 20. Gog is Satan, who leads Magog the rebellious nations after the 1000 years are fulfilled. The description of Magog is the opposite of Israel of the Older Testament: like the sands of seashore. Magog is the ‘anti-Israel’ if you will. As soon as Satan is released he begins his own ingathering of the godless and immediately they go to war with the righteous, who by this time are a ‘land of unwalled villages’ to use Ezekiel 38’s analogy. A land of unwalled villages allows anything in; it has no protection. Why? Because the falling away has occurred, sound doctrine is rejected, the salt has lost its savor and gets trampled by men. (If this sounds like our day and age, well, it IS.) All of the influence once exerted by the Church is gone because of apostasy. The apostasy is SO bad that only fiery intervention from heaven (the Last Day itself) ends it.
Hope this helps.
Adam, the reason you are having such a hard time with the 1000 years is because you hold to the hyperpreterists’ “spirit resurrection.” The resurrection of the dead is where hyperpreterism runs into a brick wall. If you haven’t done so yet, I would recommend doing a detailed study on the resurrection body. Paul tells us a lot about how our bodies will be at the resurrection in 1 Cor. 15 and Romans ch. 5-8 (these two passages have a lot of overlap).
The destruction of Jerusalem/the old heaven & earth marks the arrival of the New Jerusalem/the new heaven & earth. This is the event that triggers the beginning of the “thousand years.” The beast & the false prophet (Nero & the Jewish leaders of that time, the two persecuting beasts used by the dragon) being tossed into the fire is part of the judgment that ushers in the “millenium.” But Satan, the dragon, isn’t thrown into the fire with them. This is because unlike them, Satan isn’t done yet. He will be unleashed at the end of the millenium.
It is only at the end of the millenium Satan is at last cast into the fire, where the beast and the false prophet ALREADY are (Rev. 20:10).
I can see how people could think the thousand years was literal, and I can see how people think the thousand years is figurative for a long indefinite period of time (which is what I believe), but to say that the thousand years both began and ended in the first century? I’m unaware of anyone who takes that interpretation seriously who wasn’t first a hyperpreterist. And the only reason why hyperpreterists propose such an interpretation is because they simply NEED it to mean that. IMHO, the thousand years beginning and ending in the first century is clearly an “interpretation of desperation.”