The 1000 Years and the Two Wars of Revelation 20 (Long Island Conference Presentation)


The weekend of March 23-25, 2018 I had the privilege of participating for the third year in a row at the Blue Point Bible Conference in Long Island, New York. The theme of this conference, which was hosted by Pastor Michael Miano, was “Examining Crossroads: Biblical Controversies.” As always, it was a great weekend of fellowship. learning, discussion, and being challenged.

The topic I presented about is certainly a controversial one: the “1000 years” of Revelation 20. It wasn’t too long ago that I was saying this is among the most difficult chapters in the Bible to understand. So it seemed surreal to find myself giving a presentation about it. I still have things to learn about this passage, and I welcome any feedback from those who read this post and/or watch the video. Here’s the video, along with my written notes (this video can also be viewed here):

Introduction

Only 10 verses (Revelation 20:1-10) are devoted to this topic of the 1000 years, more often called “The Millennium.” Although this topic has very limited exposure in Scripture, it has formed the basis of three major schools of thought: Premillennialism, Amillennialism, and Post-Millennialism.

Whether justified or not, all kinds of Biblical passages have been cited as parallels to this brief text in Revelation 20. These include the wolf and lamb dwelling together (Isaiah 11), descriptions of animal sacrifices in Ezekiel 43, and more.

The following are some beliefs about the 1000 years:

  • They are in our future and haven’t yet begun.
  • They began about 2000 years ago and continue to this day.
  • They began in the first century and lasted for literally and exactly 1000 years.
  • They began and ended in the first century, lasting for about 40 years.
  • They began during the days of Solomon, lasting exactly 1000 years and ending just before AD 70.

I’d like to offer one more option for your consideration. I believe that the 1000 years covered a period of about 60 years between roughly AD 70 and AD 132, that is, between the First Great Revolt (AD 66 – 73) and the Second Great Revolt led by Simon Bar Kokhba (AD 132 – 135). There are six things I want to focus on in explaining why I believe this is the correct timing for this prophecy:

[1] Rev. 19:17 – 20:3 describes the capture of the beast, the false prophet, and Satan. Two of them are cast into the lake of fire. Satan is not;

[2] Why Satan was bound and sealed, and how he deceived the nations to war twice;

[3] The timing of Christ sitting on His throne with His saints (Rev. 20:4; Daniel 7:7-11, 7:23-27; Matthew 19:27-28, 25:31; Rev. 3:21);

[4] The identity of those who reigned with Christ, and the connection between Rev. 20:4 and Rev. 13;

[5] The persecution of the saints in the beloved city, Jerusalem (Rev. 20:9);

[6] How Satan joined the beast and the false prophet (who were already) in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).

Before examining these points more in depth, here’s the text we’re looking at:

“Then I saw an angel coming down from 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 worshiped 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. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:1-10, NKJV).

  1. The Capture of the Beast, the False Prophet, and Satan

Does Revelation 19 provide a direct setting for what we read in Revelation 20? In other words, do the events of Revelation 19 lead into the events of Revelation 20? Those who believe that the 1000 years ended before AD 70 would say they do not, but I believe they do. Of course, we should always keep in mind that originally there were no chapter divisions. Let’s take a quick look at the last three verses of Revelation 19. Here we see that the beast and the false prophet were captured and cast into the lake of fire, and their followers were killed and fed to the birds:

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” (Rev. 19:19-21).

I believe that the next three verses (Rev. 20:1-3) flow chronologically from this text. There we see that Satan was captured and sealed in a pit for 1000 years. In other words, these six verses (Rev. 19:19 – 20:3) are all about the capture of the major players in the war against Christ and the saints. It was Satan who gave his power, throne, and authority to the beast (Rev. 13:2) as he made war, and it was the beast who worked closely with the false prophet in that war (Rev. 13:11-17). I believe Revelation 19:17 – 20:3 describes the capture of the beast, the false prophet, and Satan in AD 70-73. This was then followed by the 1000 years (Rev. 20:4-6).

  1. Why Satan Was Sealed

Revelation 20:3 states that the purpose for sealing Satan in a pit for 1000 years was “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.” This phrase “no more” indicates that he had already been deceiving the nations for some time. In Revelation 12:9, we see the same thing:

So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

This is written in the present tense: “deceives.” So both Rev. 12:9 and Rev. 20:3 indicate that, when John received his visions around AD 65, Satan had been deceiving the nations for some time. This creates great difficulty for the view that the 1000 years ended around AD 66, which would mean that Satan had been bound and restrained from deceiving the nations prior to AD 66. Instead, we see in Rev. 12 and Rev. 20 that Satan had been deceiving the nations and he came down with great wrath (Rev. 12:9) and soon gave his power, throne, and authority to the beast (Rev. 13:2) who made war (Rev. 13:4-7).

A survey of the rest of the New Testament also does not seem to show that Satan was bound in a bottomless pit from AD 30-66. Instead he was “walking around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8). Believers who went astray could be delivered “to Satan for the destruction of the flesh” (I Cor. 5:5). As the god of that age, he had blinded many minds (II Cor. 4:4). He frequently transformed himself into an angel of light, and his ministers were deceiving people by pretending to be ministers of righteousness (II Cor. 11:13-15). Multiple times Satan hindered Paul from coming to the Thessalonians (I Thess. 2:18). And many had turned aside to follow Satan (I Tim. 5:15). In any case, it seems impossible to reconcile Satan being bound in a bottomless pit and freely walking around like a roaring lion at the same time.

In Romans 16:20, Paul wrote that “the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16:20). It’s said that the book of Romans was written during the winter of AD 57-58. This again sounds like a church that was fighting against the schemes of Satan. It also doesn’t sound like something Paul would say if Satan was presently bound in a bottomless pit at that time.

In Rev. 20:7-10, we see that after the 1000 years Satan would be released to once again deceive the nations just as he did before the 1000 years. This time, though, his time of deception would be brief. Rev. 20:3 calls it “a little while” or “a little season.” His purpose for deceiving them was “to gather them together to battle” (verse 8). Was that his purpose in deceiving the nations the first time as well? I think it was.

I personally believe that when Revelation 20:1-3 says that Satan would be bound “so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished,” this was especially a reference to how Satan had deceived the nations in preparation for the First Great Revolt of 66-73 AD. This deception was described in the first 19 chapters of Revelation. The nations he deceived to go to war during the First Great Revolt included Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Idumea, and Perea. He also deceived Jews throughout the diaspora who continued to take their marching orders from Jerusalem (Rev. 17:15).

In Rev. 20:1-3 John was told that Satan would be bound for a long time from continuing that deception, but that he would be loosed to do it again after the 1000 years (Rev. 20:3b, 7-10). I believe he was released just before the Second Great Revolt of AD 132 – 135). I believe that, just as he gave his power, throne and authority to the leaders of the First Great Revolt (i.e. the Zealots) from AD 66 – 73, he was released just in time to back the Second Great Revolt as well. Of course, both revolts ended in great failure for the Jews. In summary, I believe that Satan deceived the nations to war at the time of both great Jewish revolts; and that he gave his power, throne, and authority to the leaders of both great revolts.

  1. The Timing of Christ Sitting On His Throne with His Saints

Revelation 20:4 is not the first place in Scripture where we read about thrones being set in place for Jesus and His saints. Previous examples include Daniel 7:7-11 and 7:23-27, Matthew 19:27-28 and 25:31, and Revelation 3:21. These passages show thrones being set up when the beast is defeated, Jesus returns in judgment, and the saints receive the kingdom.

Daniel 7:7-11 shows that thrones were set in place at the time of the slaying and burning of Daniel’s fourth beast. As I’ve written elsewhere on this site, I believe the beast was captured and slain in AD 70. At this time “thrones were put in place” and “The court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9-10). This is again confirmed in Daniel 7:23-27 where it’s said that the fourth beast, 10 horns, and a little horn would persecute the saints for 3.5 years, change times and the law, and would be defeated. At this time the saints received the kingdom (verse 27) and a court was seated (verse 26).

In Matthew 19:27-28, we read this: “Then Peter answered and said to Him, ‘See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’”

In Matthew 25:31, this is what we read: “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory.”

In Revelation 3:21, Jesus says the following to the church at Laodicea: “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” This letter was delivered to the saints around AD 65, so it was still future to them.

The point in bringing up these five passages is this: How could the 1000 years end before AD 70 if that was the time when Jesus came with His angels and sat on the throne of His glory? On the other hand, these passages show the coming of Christ and the resurrection taking place first, and then the saints inheriting the kingdom and sitting with Christ on thrones with judgment committed to them. Sitting on thrones marked the beginning of the 1000 years, according to Revelation 20:4. This fits an AD 70 timeline but not an AD 30 timeline.

  1. The Identity of Those Who Reigned with Christ

In Revelation 20:4 we see the identity of the saints who reigned with Christ for 1000 years. There’s a bit of a difficulty at first because it says “they sat on them” (thrones) without first saying who “they” is. However, after this initial statement, special (even exclusive) attention is given to those who “had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands.” This description is taken directly from Revelation 13:11-17, where the second beast works closely with the first beast to make war on the saints for 42 months (AD 66-70).

This is probably the biggest reason why I cordially disagree with a number of other preterists who teach that the 1000 years began around AD 30. I feel they would need to demonstrate that the 42-month reign of the beast took place prior to AD 30 (and I’m not aware of anyone holding this position). I believe Revelation 20:4 clearly shows the 1000 years beginning after the beast’s reign, since the participants of the 1000 year reign are those who refused to worship him and take his mark.

This verse tells us that the way those saints were martyred was by being beheaded. On this site I’ve been developing a series explaining why I believe the beast was Israel, especially under the leadership of the Zealots. Josephus wrote quite a bit about the Zealots cutting the throats of those who wouldn’t follow their war agenda. Since they used swords, this very well could mean that they beheaded their enemies. The Zealots had the upper hand until the siege began in April AD 70. After this, they were hunted down and killed until the war ended in AD 73.

And I saw the souls of those… And they lived and reigned with Christ for 1000 years.”
AD 66-70 AD 70 – 132
Revelation 13 Revelation 20
he who kills with the sword” (Rev. 13:10); “He was granted power to…cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed” (Rev. 13:15) who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God” (Rev. 20:4)

 

and they worshiped the beast” (Rev. 13:4); “and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast” (Rev. 13:12; see also verse 15) who had not worshiped the beast or his image” (Rev. 20:4)
And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads…” (Rev. 13:16-17). and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands” (Rev. 20:4)

A few months ago, Doug Wilkinson gave what I thought was a good explanation for why Rev. 20:4 shows that the 1000 years couldn’t have begun before AD 70. He referenced “the common Full Preterist paradigm where the millennium is in the first century between the cross and the destruction of the temple” and added:

“In the Transmillennial FP position, the millennium ends before the mark of the beast is issued. And, since the martyrs of 20:4 were killed for not taking the mark, that means those martyrs aren’t killed until after the millennium. That means the only people who are explicitly said to be in the millennium are actually excluded from it” (Doug Wilkinson, Rethinking Eschatology Facebook group, November 22, 2017).

In summary, those who reigned with Christ for 1000 years were beheaded during the Jewish-Roman War of AD 66-73, having overcome the beast by refusing to worship him and take his mark. They were rewarded by reigning with Christ. This does not fit the idea of the 1000 years beginning in AD 30, but it does fit the idea of the 1000 years beginning around AD 70.

  1. Persecution of the Jerusalem Saints

Rev. 20:7-10 describes what happens after the 1000 years are over. In verse 9 we see that the deceived nations “surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city.” This language suggests a targeted persecution against Christians living in Jerusalem, and indeed that’s what happened during the Second Great Revolt led by Simon Bar Kokhba. Before looking at a quote about that, though, let’s look at the background of that war.

Following the First Great Revolt (AD 66-73), there was a period of relative peace in the region for about 60 years. Although Jerusalem lay in ruins, this period was marked by a Christian presence in the area. This relates to the well-known story about the followers of Christ who fled from Judea to Pella just before the Jewish-Roman War began in AD 66. The story of their flight was told by early church leaders including Eusebius (AD 263-339), Epiphanius (AD 315-403), and Remigius (AD 437-533) – and perhaps also by Josephus (Wars 2.14.2, 2.20.1). They obeyed the words of Jesus (Matthew 24:15-21, Mark 13:14-19, Luke 21:20-23) and were protected in the wilderness for 3.5 years (Revelation 12:14). See this post for more details on that story.

In the book, “The Secret Legacy of Jesus” (2009), Jeffrey Butz writes that a number of Christians returned from Pella and rebuilt a Christian meeting place where the Upper Room (Acts 1:12-14) had been (p. 146). According to Eusebius and Hegesippus (AD 110-180), the person who led them to Pella and then back to Jerusalem was Symeon the son of Clopas. Who was Symeon? He was the first cousin of Jesus (John 19:25). He was also the second bishop of Jerusalem, who was appointed to that position when the first bishop, James (Acts 15:13), was martyred in AD 62 (Antiquities 20:9.1). [In the video, I mistakenly said that his martyrdom was recorded in Acts 12, but I had the wrong James in mind when I said that.]

Beginning with Symeon, the cousin of Jesus, there were 14 bishops of the church in Jerusalem between the two Great Revolts. They were (1) Symeon, AD 62-107; martyred during the time of emperor Trajan (2) Justus (3) Zacchaeus (4) Tobias (5) Benjamin (6) John (7) Matthias (8) Philip (9) Seneca (10) Justus (11) Levi (12) Ephre (13) Joseph (14) Judas.

Symeon is mentioned in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3 as one of Christ’s brothers (and also referred to in I Corinthians 9:5). However, The Pulpit Commentary gives a good explanation for why he was believed to be Jesus’ cousin rather than His brother. See this recent post for more details about Symeon and this period of church history. Since it was Symeon who led most of the Christians from Jerusalem to Pella in AD 66, it makes sense that he continued as the bishop of the church in Jerusalem when many of them returned after the war.

The Jewish historian, Gedaliah Alon, wrote that the Roman emperor, Hadrian (AD 117-138), took notice of this church when he visited Jerusalem in AD 130:

“Another early Christian chronicler, Alexander the Monk, writing probably around the middle of the ninth century, says: ‘When (Hadrian) went to the Holy City and saw it in ruins, except for one small Christian church, he gave orders that the whole city be rebuilt, save for the temple. When the Jews heard of this they streamed thither from every direction, and before long the whole city was rebuilt. But once again an evil spirit entered into them and agitated them, and they rebelled against Rome. They set over themselves a commander called Bar Kokhba’” (“The Jews in Their Land in the Talmudic Age [AD 70-640], 1980, p. 446; quoting from Alexander Monachus, De Inventione Sanctae Crucis, p. 87, III, 4044-4045, published in 1620).

Notice the description of an evil spirit entering the Jews who crowded into the city. It was only two years after Hadrian’s visit and his order to rebuild Jerusalem that the Second Great Revolt began. The leader of the war, Simon Bar Kokhba, was a Zealot who claimed to be the Messiah. Robert Travers Herford (1860-1950), a British scholar of rabbinical literature, wrote:

“A century after the death of Jesus another man appeared, Simeon Bar Cocheba, who openly claimed to be the Messiah. He was a Zealot and most of the Pharisaic leaders did not admit his claim. But the greatest of them at the time, Rabbi Akiba, publicly hailed him as the Messiah” (Herford, Judaism in the New Testament Period [London: The Lindsey Press, 1928], p. 217).

The Jewish history site, Livius, says:

“According to the Christian church historian Eusebius (c.260-c.340), Simon claimed to be a luminary who had come down to the Jews from heaven (History of the church 4.6.2). On some of his coins and in his letters, he calls himself ‘Prince’ (Nasi), a word that had very strong messianic connotations (cf. Ezekiel 37.24-25 and several Qumran documents)… he was usually called Bar Kochba (son of the star), which again is a messianic claim. Some miracles were attributed to him: there were reports that he had been seen spewing out flames…

The revolt was clearly religious in nature. The rebels were convinced that this was the apocalyptic war that had been predicted by prophets like Daniel and Zechariah. Their coins show a star on top of and the Ark of the Covenant inside the Temple; the legend is written in archaic Hebrew letters. Some coins were struck with the legend ‘Eleazar the priest’, which strongly suggests that a new high priest was elected…

Simon was so successful, that the emperor Hadrian was obliged to dispatch his best generals to suppress the rebellion. Julius Severus, the governor of Britain, was one of them… Three legions were deployed… No less than seventeen auxiliary units are known to have fought in Palestine… New reinforcements were sent…. For the first time in more than a century, the Romans suffered from manpower shortage; two senators started to conscript Italian boys…

Very few Jews…survived. Fifty of their most important outposts and 985 better known villages were razed to the ground. 580,000 were killed in the various engagements or battles. As for the numbers who perished from starvation, disease or fire, that was impossible to establish… The Romans resorted to terrible atrocities to win the war. Bodies were left unburied for several years (text). There are three reports that children were wrapped in Torah scrolls and burned alive… When [the Romans] brought [Simon’s] head to the emperor Hadrian, he said: ‘If his God had not slain him, who could have overcome him?’”

Some of the coins that were minted under Simon’s rule depicted a Jewish temple and the words, “To the freedom of Jerusalem.” It was a repeat of the First Great Revolt. Simon “eventually mustered an army of almost 350,000. In the ancient world that was an enormous army, greater in number than the entire Roman army.” Even non-Jews joined him, hoping to overthrow the Roman Empire (source). This fact may be a fulfillment of Revelation 20:8, which says that the number of those who came to battle was “as the sand of the sea.”

Even though the emperor Hadrian did not permit the temple to be rebuilt along with the city of Jerusalem (AD 130-132), there’s evidence that a temple was rebuilt during the revolt (AD 132-135). Randall Price included seven pieces of evidence for this short-lived temple in his 1999 book, “The Coming Last Days Temple” (Source):

  1. A passage in the Sibylline Oracles (5:414-417, 420-422) may suggest this possibility.
  2. A Midrash (Exodus Rabbah 51:5) indicates that Hadrian entered the Holy of Holies which would not have been possible without a rebuilt temple.
  3. The seventh-century Byzantine historian known as Chronicum Paschale records that “Hadrian tore down the Temple of the Jews in Jerusalem” in his History of the Jews.
  4. A fourth-century Roman emperor Julian in his Fragment of a Letter to a Priest, in A.D. 362 records: “What have they [the Jews] to say about their own temple, which was overthrown three times and even now is not being raised up again?” [emphasis added]
  5. Coins minted by Bar Kokhba bear an image of the Holy Temple—an unusual practice for Jews if the Temple had not existed.
  6. Evidence of the resumption of the sacrificial system (Sanhedrin 11b) following the Second Temple’s destruction.
  7. Archaeological measurements of the elevated platform upon which the Dome of the Rock are said to indicate dimensions commensurate with the Messianic Temple of Ezekiel rather than the dimensions of the second Temple. Since Bar Kokhba was proclaimed as Messiah and Messiah was expected to build Ezekiel’s Temple, then perhaps the platform is the remains of the Temple of Bar Kokhba.

According to JewishHistory.org, Simon had the support of most Jewish Rabbis, unlike in the First Great Revolt. The most influential rabbi was Akiva ben Joseph:

“It was Rabbi Akiva who ascribed to Shimon bar Kochba the famous messianic verse: “A star will shoot forth from Jacob” (Numbers 24:17). That is how he got the name “Kochba,” which means “star.” In essence, Rabbi Akiva crowned him the Messiah. Rabbi Akiva was so widely respected among the people that if he saw in Shimon messianic qualities then the people immediately elevated him to the level of the Messiah. The helps us understand very well why the Christians would take no part in the war; it would have made one messiah too many.”

Justin Martyr (AD 100-165) gave the following account about the targeting of Christians in Jerusalem during the Second Great Revolt:

“During the recent Jewish War, Bar Cochba, the leader of the revolt of the Jews, had the order issued against Christians that, if they did not deny and defame Jesus Christ, they would be led away to suffer the most severe punishments” (Apol 1.31.6; Eusebius, HistEcc 4.8.4; quoted in Martin Hengel, The Zealots, p. 300).

There was apparently a new Sanhedrin court during the revolt, which had the authority to execute Christians who refused to blaspheme Christ, acknowledge Simon as king, and join his rebellion against Rome. A book titled, “Rabbi Akiva’s Messiah,” tells the stories of five Christian men who went on trial before this Sanhedrin and were executed for holding firm to their faith in Christ. Whatever the fire was that came down from God (Rev. 20:9), it seems clear that it devoured those who “surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city” in order to prevent the Jerusalem church from being entirely devoured. It seems this was accomplished when the Romans prevailed over Simon’s great army.

So the Second Great Revolt involved a brief revival of several things that had been mostly or entirely absent from Jewish history since the First Great Revolt:

  • The temple
  • A Sanhedrin
  • The Zealot movement
  • Persecution against Christians
  1. Satan Joins the Beast and False Prophet in the Lake of Fire

In Rev. 20:10 we read, “And the devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are…” The language used in this verse suggests that, when Satan was cast into the lake of fire, the beast and the false prophet were already there.

The beast and false prophet were key characters in the Jewish-Roman War, and were cast into the lake of fire during that war (Rev. 19:20). We can notice that the end of Rev. 19 does not record Satan being cast into the lake of fire along with them. Instead, at that time he was cast into the bottomless pit for “1000 years.” Then he led another disastrous war, and only then did he join the beast who he previously empowered (Rev. 12:9, 13:2).

The progression of this story (Rev. 19:17 – 20:10) and the language used in Rev. 20:10 fit well if the beast and false prophet were destroyed in the First Great Revolt (AD 66-73), Satan was sealed in the bottomless pit at the time of the First Great Revolt. Then 65 years later Satan was cast into the lake of fire after his final brief reign of deception during the Second Great Revolt.

Beast and False Prophet Satan
AD 70-73 Defeated and cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20) Bound in the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1-3)
AD 132 Released from his prison (Rev. 20:7)
AD 135 cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are” (Rev. 20:10)

A Final Thought

There’s a short passage in Rev. 10:1-4 which has puzzled many of us. John heard “seven thunders utter their voices,” but when he was about to write what they said a voice told him, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.” Did John hear details about the Second Great Revolt, but because that time was more than 65 years away, those details were sealed? I’m not sure, but it’s a thought. I’ll look forward to your feedback about this and anything else presented here.

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Here’s a 2-page PDF handout that I gave to those who attended the conference:

Why I Believe the 1000 Years Existed Between the Two Great Revolts

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25 thoughts on “The 1000 Years and the Two Wars of Revelation 20 (Long Island Conference Presentation)

  1. Since I first ran into preterism about 10 years ago I could tell that it was essentially correct. However, as you quoted above, certain elements of the traditional explanation didn’t seem to fit for me (I got that particular criticism from Duncan McKenzie, BTW). An AD70 beginning for the 1,000 year reign of the saints seems like an obvious conclusion from the comparison between Revelation 20 and Daniel 7. I’m excited to see some creative thinking applied to making the rest of it work. I think the differentiation between the harlot and the beast, and their obviously distinct destinies, is also very fertile ground. Also, the earliest preteristic thought in the church (specifically Eusebius’ theory, and possibly Origen’s) allowed for an early fulfillment of eschatology (for Eusebius, it was centered around the function of Constantine), though it didn’t require this by AD70. I’ve read elsewhere that there was a Bar Kochba theory, which I found intriguing, but never found a modern, coherent explanation for. I’m glad you are putting some effort into fleshing it out.

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    • Thank you, Doug. The conclusion from a comparison of Daniel 7 and Revelation 20 seems obvious to me too. I’m interested in knowing more about what you’re seeing in “the differentiation between the harlot and the beast, and their obviously distinct destinies.”

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  2. I had just read this past week the first word in Revelation 20 “then” so I agree it follows the events of chapter 19 (just like the first word in Matthew 25 is “then”) – this also fits satan being cast sometime later in to the lake of fire as you aptly point out. I guess my question would be what is meant by cast in to the lake of fire. Statements like Acts 10:38 “healing all that were oppressed of the devil” or in the gospel about the “daughter of Abraham whom satan had bound for 18 years” leads me to believe sickness comes from satan and the pit of hell. I see sickness still ravaging lives today along with other unthinkable works of darkness ( I take phone calls on my job of reports on abused children and elderly and hear horrible things daily). The son of God was manifest to destroy the works of the devil (1John 3:8), isn’t this ongoing yet today in people being saved, discipled and healed? Just interested in your take on works of darkness in our world today. It appears to me the work of Christ is ongoing today in these areas. Any thoughts you have are appreciated.

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    • Those are challenging thoughts, Chad. I think the lake of fire speaks of the finality of judgment, similar to how it was said in Isaiah 34:10 that Edom’s smoke would rise forever and its flames would never be quenched. “Satan” means adversary, and I acknowledge that there are adversaries in this world today. I believe the body of Christ has been given authority and every spiritual blessing in Christ in order to dispel those adversaries, and I personally want to walk in that reality to a higher degree.

      I agree with you that works of darkness are ongoing today, and also that the work of Christ is ongoing in overcoming those works. I don’t have too many easy answers for this and it’s something I need to study out further, especially from a preterist perspective.

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  3. Also, I wonder whether or not there is some room for a third Temple in the ancient record in line with the vocabulary that modern Dispensationalists have recognized, and that they are increasingly falling back on. It’s obvious that no one created a third fully built and ornate Temple in only two or three years in around AD130. But, as the Dispensationalists will point out (as their only hope for a Great Tribulation timeline would require), it’s possible that the vocabulary covering “temple” would allow for a “tabernacle”, just like they used in the desert. In other words, in modern times Dispensationalists have sort of punted on rebuilding a full-sized temple for the Great Tribulation period. Instead, they’ve noticed that the vocabulary would allow for a simple, though technically correct, tabernacle that would allow for the regular liturgical function (so they are trying to prepare one of those instead). I wonder whether or not the terminology in the historical reference to a third Temple might allow for a similar function since it’s not likely that they built a full-sized building in that short period (though I suppose they might have done so in a rudimentary manner).

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  4. One last thing (until the next thing), whether it’s Eusebius’ Constantine FP fulfillment or the Bar Kochba theory as means to explain and ancient non-AD70 preterist theory, the attempt to use the dating of Revelation against preterism is a waste of time. The anti-preterists have placed way too many eggs in that basket. I think it’s likely an early document as Gentry argues. But, if it’s later it only means that the fulfillment might be a bit later. It doesn’t mean that AD2018 futurism is plausible. What it really tells me, though, is that the anti-preterists are almost completely ignorant of early church history or eschatology. They really have no idea how vulnerable they are.

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  5. https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsIt seems pretty clear to me, Chad, that you’re correct – Satan is still at work in our day (and has been active without interruption through all the intervening centuries). For the full preterist view to be correct one must somehow limit “Satan” in Revelation 20 to being a symbol for a specific entity which saw its demise in the first or second century A.D. Unfortunately this interpretation leaves us with a very open question as to whether or how “Satan”, the demonic spiritual power of evil, will ever come to a full end. I see this as one of the greatest weaknesses of full preterism. In and of itself, full preterism provides us with no certain hope about God’s ultimate purposes. I personally believe that Paul foresaw a time when “all things” will be restored and reconciled in Christ and God will be “all in all”. But my sense is that this joyful vision of consummation is for a time yet distant in “the ages to come”. I believe this ultimate universal consummation is beyond the prophetic scope of the book of Revelation.

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  6. a very interesting proposal, Adam. It has plenty to commend itself however it raises issues as well as solving some.

    The flow of the text of Revelation is difficult, it is unclear what points are recapitulatory and which parts are chronological and where the breaks are.

    The best parts of your suggestion seem to be:
    1. The flow of the defeat of the beast and false prophet, and the binding of the dragon works very nicely to suggest that the dragon’s work is incomplete and that the 1000 years continues the same narration chronologically rather than it being a recapitulation. The absence of the beast and the false prophet until the the dragon joins them in the lake of fire after the 1000 years also supports this view well.
    2. The identification of those who reign with Christ in the 1000 years is also a powerful point against the idea that they are already dead and resurrected at the beginning of the 1000 years.
    3. The language of the passage does support two deceptions and two wars, with a long temporal gap.

    The identity, condition and activity of Satan are difficult to follow. In particular, is the casting down from heaven different from the binding of Satan? Under your interpretation, I think it would be yes. So the sequence is casting down from heaven, deception of the nations, inspiring the war, defeat at the war, binding for 1000 years, release, deceive the nations again, war again, final destruction/containment.

    The issues raised by this interpretation:

    Let’s start with the most direct, those directly embedded in the 1000 years themselves.

    The rest of the dead did not come to life until the 1000 years are ended (20:5)

    This is obviously problematic: who are these dead and what does it mean for them to come to life after the end of the 1000 years? The only resurrection at the end of the 1000 years is the resurrection of the nations to attack the camp of the saints. Are these the ‘rest of the dead’? It seems possible, as these are not the blessed and holy, so it could refer to the bad guys. But still problematic.

    And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them (20:7-9)

    This is also fairly obviously problematic. Gog and Magog are from Ez. 38-39, the resurrection of the unjust to attack the people of God. But there are plenty of allusions to Ez. 38-39 in earlier parts of the book that on your interpretation relate to the first war, not the second. Examples include: ‘great earthquake’ (Ez. 38:19 and Rev. 6:12; 11:13; 16:18), hailstones (Ez. 38:22; Rev. 8:7; 11:19; 16:21), devouring by birds (Ez. 39:4,17; Rev. 19:17,22), and the great sacrificial feast/supper (Ez. 39:17-20; Rev. 19:17-21). Are all these references coincidental, simply the re-use of war and defeat language? Don’t we have to put the fulfillment of Ez. 38-39 in the second war in the second century, based on the reference to Gog and Magog? But then we have to say that the language of Rev. 19:17-21 is simply coincidentally similar to Ez. 39:4,17-20.

    Now for some other issues:

    The parallel with 2 Thes 2 would be destroyed: it requires that the restraint of the man of lawlessness is not the same as the binding of Satan. This does not seem difficult, as the man of lawlessness is but one manifestation of Satan’s deception, and the man of lawlessness is distinguished from Satan in the text.

    The binding of the strong man in Mat 12 is not the binding of Satan in Rev. 20. This requires some explanation, since the context talks a lot about Satan.

    The crushing of Satan under the feet of the saints requires explanation also. It probably requires crushing underfoot to mean defeat in war rather than final extermination.

    The timing issues are significant because at least three of the elements of Rev. 20 and the 1000 years are described as present, namely Christ’s enthronement in Acts. 2 and the saints resurrection and being seated in heavenly places in Eph. 1-2, and the priesthood of believers in 1 Pet. 2:9.

    The short time or little while references are not, then, to the same thing. Satan was cast down and has a short time left. Satan is released after the 1000 for a short time, but not the same short time anymore. The martyrs were told to wait for a short time before their blood would be avenged, again, not the same short time as after the 1000 years. We end up with two short times, one for the suffering of the saints before their vindication, and another one at the end of the 1000 years.

    The entire book of Revelation is not immanent, most of it is, but some of it is after another generously-sized generation. The 1000 years becomes some kind of post-script to the drama of the contemporary and immanent events and their significance and meaning.

    What is the point and the meaning of tormenting the beast, false prophet and Satan forever remain rather mysterious, I can’t see any additional light shed on this from your proposal.

    The great white throne judgement needs to be addressed as to chronology. Is this after the 1000 years end? Death is defeated as the last enemy (1 Cor 15:26), but in 1 Cor. 15 it seems to be after Christ comes in his kingdom and destroys his enemies, but how long after perhaps isn’t clear. Dan 12 makes it seem clear that the book of life is consulted at the end of the tribulation. The judgement of the dead seems to happen immanently within the First Century (1 Pet. 4:5), but this seems to happen at the great white throne judgement that seems to follow the 1000 years.

    Overall it seems better to take your proposal as meaning that the 1000 years is something of a footnote to say that Satan would soon be contained, and that he would much engage in a final rebellion.

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    • David, I’d like to briefly address three of your main points.

      First, regarding the phrase in Rev. 20:5a, “But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished”. Few Christians today realize that this phrase has historically been suspect as to its origins. There is considerable manuscript evidence raising serious questions about its validity as part of the original text. I first became aware of this upon reading Duncan McKenzie’s commentaries. A year ago I took the time to do some of my own research on this, and I concluded that it is unwise to base any point of doctrine on this phrase because it is very likely spurious. I wrote a summary of my findings in a Word document which I’d be glad to email to anyone who is interested. Send inquiries to billcarsley@outlook.com.

      Second, the matter of Revelation’s use of imagery from Ezekiel 38-39. It is clearly true that imagery is drawn directly from Ezekiel both for Revelation 20:8 and for other earlier passages in Revelation. All (preterists) would agree that these earlier instances are in the context of events relating to the first Jewish rebellion and the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem. The use of Gog and Magog imagery in Rev. 20:8 would seem then, at first blush, to plausibly link this passage to A.D. 70 events as well. However it isn’t necessarily that simple. G. B. Caird makes the point in his commentary that by the time of Revelation’s writing there was already a long history, from Jewish intertestamental times, of employing the terms “Gog and Magog” in a generic and mythic sense representing all the evil nations generally. (see G. B. Caird, The Revelation of Saint John, p. 257). This being the case it would not necessarily be unusual for John to utilize Gog and Magog imagery even if it were not strictly tied to the primary intended time frame of the original prophecy. This factor must be considered, at least as a possibility, given the other strong contextual evidence for seeing two separate and distinct rebellions being presented.

      Third, I agree with full preterism that the chronology of the Great White Throne Judgement must be seen as fulfilled in A.D. 70. However, I also agree with Duncan McKenzie (who basically follows J. S. Russell’s line of thought) that the judgement scene in Rev. 20:4 and that of 20:11-13 both occurred at the same time in history. A close comparison of these two passages with the one judgement scene in Daniel 7:9-10 makes this clear. The first scene in verse 4 (beginning with “I saw thrones”) is interrupted by a parenthetical narrative in verses 5-10 regarding the thousand years. The same judgement scene is then picked up again with the words “Then I saw”, completing the full picture of the one judgement provided by Daniel. Recognizing this is, I believe, the key to understanding that both Revelation 20:4 and 20:11-15 are describing that one expected judgement of the “living and the dead” which Peter and Paul anticipated as imminent. This means that both judgement scenes were fulfilled concurrently in A.D. 70. Unfortunately, for differing reasons, this approach seems unacceptable to both futurists and full preterists.

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    • Thanks for your feedback, David. Yes, I see the casting down of Satan from heaven as different than his binding. I agree with the sequence that you laid out, except that I think he was already deceiving the nations the first time before he was cast out of heaven.

      As Bill said below, I’m also aware that Rev. 20:5 may very well have not been in the original text.

      I believe that Ezekiel 38-39 was fulfilled in the days of Esther. See this post for more on that idea:

      https://adammaarschalk.com/2010/04/05/revelation-20-four-views-of-gog-and-magog/

      So I don’t see Ezekiel 38-39 as being fulfilled during the First Great Revolt or the Second Great Revolt. Also I note that in Ezekiel 39 it was the enemies of the Jews who would be fed to the birds, but in Revelation 19 it was the Jews who were fed to the birds.

      To address a couple of the timing issues you brought up, it’s true that the saints were already seated in high places with Christ, but it’s also true that the dead in Christ wouldn’t be raised up until Christ’s coming (I Cor. 15:23, I Thess. 4:15-16); it’s true that Christ was already enthroned (Acts 2), but it’s also true that He would sit on the throne of His glory when He would come with His holy angels (Matthew 25:31). I don’t think I understand what you’re seeing in I Peter 2:9 in relation to the saints sitting on thrones of judgment.

      Yes, I see Satan’s short time in Rev. 12:12 as relating to the First Great Revolt, but his short time in Rev. 20:3, 7-9 as relating to the Second Great Revolt. Rev. 12:9 says that Satan was already deceiving the nations before he was cast down out of heaven and had a short time. Rev. 20:7-8 says that Satan was released from his prison and then he went out to deceive the nations (I would say for the second time). While in that prison, Satan wasn’t deceiving the nations because he was prevented from doing so (Rev. 20:3).

      I see the Great White Throne scene as taking place at the close of the First Great Revolt, not after the 1000 years. I think that Rev. 20:4 and Rev. 20:11 are roughly parallel in time. It’s the 1000 years and Satan’s final battle (Rev. 20:3-10) which I see as extending far beyond the First Great Revolt, but I think Rev. 20:11-15 comes back to explaining the aftermath of the First Great Revolt. I don’t think the two throne scenes (verses 4 and 11) are separated by the 1000 years.

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      • I’m not discounting the idea that Satan deceived the nations before the 1000 years. I still prefer the idea that the deception and power of Satan was bound in Christ’s personal ministry, but that at the end of that generation he ministered to would come rebellion, deception, lawlessness and desolation, but only for a short time, before the consummation.

        I read your post on Gog and Magog and whilst the Esther angle was interesting, I liked the approach of Kurt Simmons which takes Ezekiel as a whole as follows:
        ‘The three major themes of the OT prophets were 1) the coming judgment upon Israel and Judah in which they would be carried into captivity; 2) the restoration of the nation to the land; and 3) the kingdom of the Messiah. Although separated by several hundred years, prophecies about the return of the captivity and the nation’s political restoration were often woven together with prophecies about the kingdom of the Messiah and the spiritual restoration of man in Christ. In fact, the gathering together and return of the captivity under Zerubbabel became a type of the Messiah, who would gather together [true] Israel and lead them unto spiritual Zion and the heavenly Jerusalem.’

        The structure of Ezekiel as a book seems particularly clear in its divisions between judgement upon Israel, judgement upon the nations, and restoration of Israel in the messianic kingdom. So I think the book is fundamentally eschatological in its resurrection, regathering, reunification, Davidic kingdom, and temple promises. The second temple and the physical regathering and the Esther incident seem to be, as Simmons states, typological. However, your proposed interpretation takes them as physical and final accomplishments on an apparently stand-alone basis. For what it’s worth, I find the book of Esther to be the most awkward and difficult to stomach as a Christian pacifist / Christian anarchist!

        When we look at the specifics of Ez. 38-39 we see unmistakable eschatological elements such as the cleansing of the land, harking back to Deut. 32:43, e.g. Ez. 39:11-16. The burning of weapons of war likewise seems eschatological, and hearkens to Is. 2:1-5. We also see that Israel has already been regathered and resettled and is living without, apparently, swords and spears, and has been cleansed already (Ez. 38:8-16). This suggests that the context is that the restoration has already happened, and the targets of this war are already purified and holy under the true salvation of the Christ. This makes the context mismatch Esther which was before this time. Frankly, the people being saved here are unarmed and trust not in turning the power of the emperor against their enemies, rather they trust in a different kind of power, a power of peace and harmony and reconciliation. An imperial licence to take up arms and kill their enemies in the streets with impunity that we see in Esther does not reconcile with this.

        Furthermore, Ez. 38:17 specifically states that the war and the conflict it predicts was also predicted by the earlier prophets. This seems to suggest something more final and conclusive of redemption history than the Esther massacre. It also raises the question of which prior prophets spoke of this event, and where and how we understand their fulfillment — it should be in harmony with this prophecy, according to its own claims.

        The identity of the characters, the good guys and the bad guys is extremely important to interpretation. Are the ‘bad guys’ the Romans, the Jews, the gentiles, or who? And are the good guys the Christians, the Jews or who? The answer depends on the time we think the prophecy is about, but it also can determine the time when it was fulfilled. What I see in Revelation and the New Testament is that the Israel of the flesh who rejected Christ are the gentiles, and the Jews and Israelites are reunified and regathered into the new Israel, the restored remnant, with the ethnic gentiles grafted in too. Within this identity shift and clarification, if Ez. 38-39 is applicable to the First Century events, the gentiles are those gathered from the nations who come to Jerusalem in support of the Zealot rebellion. Interestingly enough, *after this* according to your recent work, the Christians return to Jerusalem and cleanse the city, you could say, as the prophecy mentioned.

        The nature of the reign of the saints with Christ in Rev. 20 is obviously extremely important. I think there are a few subtle distinctions that can help address at least some of the issues you raised with your interpretation.

        Let’s talk about the martyrs, whose blood is shed. There is a unity of martyrs from Abel onward (e.g. Mat. 23). Their blood cries out from the ground for vengeance and the answer to that prayer is specifically the avenging of their blood in Christ’s this generation at the desolation of the temple in Jerusalem. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed their blood. The guilt of the bloodshedders is covered, concealed and hidden. Yet the earth will not conceal that blood at the end, when it will be uncovered and revealed in the shedding of the blood of the bloodshedders. This language is obviously metaphorical. To God in heaven, their blood is not hidden, it continues to cry out. From heaven’s perspective, things are different, and those things that are revealed in heaven become revealed on earth in and through the repayment of Jerusalem for her guilt of shedding their blood.

        In what sense, then, do these dead martyrs come to life and reign with Christ? I think the answer is the judgement in heaven upon Jerusalem revealed to the prophets who spoke about it as being then-present, even before it would be manifested in visible judgement. For example Paul said ‘But God’s wrath has come upon them at last!’ in 1 Thes. 2:16. Jesus said specifically that this condemnation would come through the Holy Spirit:
        And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgement, because the ruler of this world is judged. (John 16:8-11)

        In the same way Jesus said that the kingdom already existed before it would be visibly manifested:
        Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

        And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. (Luke 17:20-24)

        The same thing can be seen in Luke 19:11-27 where the nobleman goes to heaven to receive his kingdom, and reigns in absence before coming back to earth in judgement.

        In summary, the kingdom comes from heaven to earth, from invisible to visible. The reign of the martyrs in with Christ is in heaven, not earth, and is manifested through the prophetic word of condemnation upon those guilty of shedding their blood and opposing his kingdom.

        I am not sure how to address the passages you quoted to show that the dead do not rise until Christ’s coming, however, I’ll try. The resurrection at Christ’s coming is said to be by the coming of the dead in Christ with him, and then the living saints join them both in the air. (1 Thes. 4:13-17). If we take this passage as referring to the vindication of the blood of the martyrs and the coming of Christ in judgement against Jerusalem in 70 A.D. then I guess that controls what it means for the living and for Christ: it is metaphorical language describing the significance and meaning of that event. So, in the same way, the dead in Christ coming with him and rising with him cannot be any less metaphorical. And if the living saints are already resurrected, and yet rise up in the air to meet Christ, then why can’t the dead saints rise in two ways or in two senses too? It does not seem to be one at the exclusion of the other, rather it is an initial resurrection and a consummated resurrection. Perhaps this can explain the ‘first resurrection’ reference after all.

        The reign of the living is a little bit different. God put Adam in the garden to reign over it. God invested mankind with government and the responsibility and power to reign over the earth. The reign of mankind over the earth is collective and dispersed, through the Law. Christ said he had all power in heaven and on earth, and he said to those on earth to go and make disciples, teaching them to obey his Law, and said that when two or three gather together in his name, heaven’s power is theirs. This is the reign of the living upon the earth. It is dispersed and dynamic, but it is also very practical and judicial. It is The Way. It is the ministry of reconciliation and peace, hence it is a kingdom of priests. The dead are never referred to as priests because they are dead they can do no ministry of reconciliation. They rise to live on through their examples of faith and through their spiritual children in the community of believers. The dead and the living are united in one body, but only the living minister and work presently. (1 Pet 2:9 is about this priesthood of the living, and not about enthronement which is not expressly mentioned in that text.)

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  7. If you compare this:
    Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field, ‘Assemble and come, gather from all round to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth—of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan. And you shall eat fat till you are filled, and drink blood till you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all kinds of warriors,’ declares the Lord God.

    to this:
    Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

    I don’t think you can call it an allusion, it is basically a quote. This means it really quite problematic to have Gog and Magog referenced as the key to the subsequent passage in Rev. 20 as if it referred to a different event.

    There is no mention of the beast or false prophet in Rev. 20, but there is no mention of Satan, the dragon or the devil in Rev. 19. It seems more like the same event described from two different perspectives: the angelic realm where Satan is, and the earth where the beast the the false prophet appear.

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  8. Adam–first thoughts after having read your views and and those of the commenters —wonderfully done, excellent interpretative postulation—i love it—been looking for ;your thoughts regarding the time between the 70 decimation and the bar kochba 135 period–your efforts beautifully brings these events into a comprehensive understanding–thanks for your efforts–again beautifully done
    lol
    billy in albuquerque (home schooled bible student)

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    • Thank you, William. Would you prefer that I call you Billy? Albuquerque is a place I hope I get a chance to visit one day. I plan to do more studying on the time period between the two revolts, as well as what happened during the Second Great Revolt. I have two books about the Bar Kokhba Revolt which I barely touched in preparing for this presentation, so I know there’s more to learn.

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  9. Adam, I am in full agreement with you and Doug (for the reasons you outline so well in this article) that the setting up of thrones and the beginning of the reign or the martyrs with Christ had to have been an A.D. 70 event. I also agree with you that the binding of Satan in Revelation 20 was most likely an A.D. 70 event (meaning that both events were essentially simultaneous, and together they marked the beginning of the thousand years). I also think you make a plausible case for the release of Satan in A.D. 132 which is well worth considering. Is it your understanding that the thousand year reign of the martyrs also ended in A.D. 132, thus making both the binding and the reign completely coterminous? Or do you see the millennial reign of the martyrs with Christ to be symbolic of something “everlasting” (as Daniel 7:14,26-27 would seem to suggest)? Do you think the millennial reign of the martyrs is meant to be something distinct from the everlasting reign of all the saints with Christ?

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    • The question of whether or not the reign of the saints is “forever” is important. I can’t see a scenario in which this reign isn’t synonymous with the Messianic kingdom reign. Does it last literally forever? Does aion or olam demand this? I think we can clearly say it isn’t replaced by another superior reign. But the timing is a tricky issue.

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    • Those are great questions, Bill. I’d have to say I’m not settled on an answer for them yet. It does almost seem that the martyrs were to reign only for those 1000 years, at least for the purpose to which they were elected to reign during that period. However, the text doesn’t say that they wouldn’t continue reigning once those 1000 years were finished.

      Without taking into account every other Biblical passage about the saints reigning, which is something I want to do, it makes me wonder if the martyrs were elected to reign for a specific purpose while all saints are elected to reign for purposes and for a time period (forever) which transcends that particular reign. I hope that makes sense. When it comes to reigning for a specific purpose, Matthew 19:28 definitely comes to mind: “So Jesus said to [the disciples], ‘Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'”

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      • Yes, the way you frame the issue does make sense to me, Adam. Like you, I’m not settled on what the best explanation is.

        Liked by 1 person

      • What does seem clear to me is that the “first resurrection” of martyrs in Rev. 20:4-5 is some kind of special resurrection specifically for the martyrs (possibly for only the tribulation martyrs, or possibly for all of the godly martyrs throughout human history). This is because the resurrection immediately following (according to our chronology), pictured in verses 11-15, is a universal resurrection which includes all who would be judged and found to be in the Book of Life. Logically, this would be the broader category of all the saints, those who throughout history had walked with God and were in a saving relationship with Him. it would presumably include faithful Christians who had died before A.D. 70, thus being the fulfillment of Paul’s discussion in 1 Thess. 4:13-18. It seems undeniable to me that this universal resurrection and judgement in A.D. 70 is that foreseen by Daniel (Daniel 12:1-3); it was predicted by Jesus in His preaching and parables and was anticipated by Peter and Paul as an imminent judgement of “the living and the dead”. My personal belief is that this judgement and resurrection experience has been ongoing since that time, occurring for each individual at the moment of physical death.

        It seems clear from Daniel chapter 7, as well as many other passages of Scripture, that the saints who share in Christ’s everlasting reign are not limited only to martyrs. So how exactly does the thousand year reign of the martyrs fit into this picture? Is the thousand year reign coterminous with the thousand years of Satan’s binding? Is it symbolic of an everlasting reign which all the saints will share in equally with them? I’m not sure. Fortunately I don’t think it’s essential that I be able to answer these questions definitively. The broader picture seems pretty clear.

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  10. Adam, I am very grateful for all of your work on this important subject and have read all of your articles with great interest. More than that, I found myself in agreement with the broad thrust of your work. I think this is the first time that I’ve not concurred with your conclusions. My main issue is with the idea of the ‘thousand years’ being a much shorter period of time.
    Like it or not, we are left with the phrase ‘a thousand years’.

    The wording and the style of language seems different to me than the famous messianic prophecy in Daniel where the Holy Spirit has been more specific by identifying time markers and time periods that lead right through history up to the passion of Christ. Here we just have ‘a thousand years’ thrown at us, so to speak, suggesting to me 1) a LONG time and 2) something certainly beyond the life & times horizons of those receiving the prophecy at the time.

    Looking at Rev. 20 verse 3: ” . . . to keep him from deceiving the nations any more until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be set free for a short time”. Notice “the thousand years” in juxtaposition to ”a short time”! The latter being something readers are expected to understand time-wise (perhaps a few months or a few years) whilst the former is presented like something out of scope of the present era. Accordingly I suggest that the gap between two revolts is not the period in question.

    Thanks again for this ongoing work. I have also appreciated the feedback above from other readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Adam,

    Appreciate the work you’re doing here. I tend to side with you on your explanations. What I’m struggling with for the 1000 years is saying it was only 60 or so years. I see your reasoning with the 1st and 2nd revolts of the Jews, but like I said reconciling 60 or so years with 1000 is tough to swallow.

    I find it hard to reconcile due to other time frames given. Daniels 70 week prophecy and other time frames in Revelation.

    Why state 1000 years as a time frame when it would be less than 100? To me that seems odd to communicate a time frame that way.

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