Notes on the Seven Churches (7)

“Searching the Seven Churches”

The way, the truth and the life!

Revelation Chapter Twenty – (Revelation Chapter 1 Verse 1)

It would seem to me that the positions of Post and Pre-millennialism do not fit the criteria of Scripture. Both, of course, have elements of truth in them. When we come to the third position, that of A-millennialism the term is oftentimes misunderstood. Some have taken it to mean that prefixed by the letter ‘a’ what is meant is that there is no millennium at all. The Bible, of course, teaches that there is a millennium. But it is the period of the New Testament age, that is, from the ascension and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ to his return in glory, this we believe is the true millennium. This is also the view of the early Christian creeds of the Christian church. It is also the view held by the most prominent and trusted theologians, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Kuyper, Bavinck, Berkhof, and Herman Hoeksema. It is also the position of the most excellent Reformed Confessions of the faith. The key to this millennium lies in the book of Revelation, chapter twenty, verses one to ten. One thing we must remember when we come to the book of Revelation is, that is is full of symbolism, highly figurative. Also, it is not always chronological. Anyone, as do the Pre-millennialists, who takes it absolutely literally, is faced with great difficulties, absurdities even. Over and over the book recapitulates events, we are given another view of the same period (Revelation 6:12-16; 16:15-19; 14:17-20). Satan is bound, hindered from deceiving the nations for the period of the thousand years, after that he is to be loosed (Revelation 20:1-3). John recall is seeing a vision, and he is shown a long period of time, but it is a vision! It is figurative. as are the numbers in the book of Revelation. Permit me to give you an example just for the time being, number twelve represents the church on earth, twelve compounded is one hundred and forty-four thousand, that’s the number of the elect on earth at any given time. The number seven is the full counsel of God in covenant. A thousand is ten compounded which gives you a thousand, i.e., the millennium, which is the full will of God. The ten commandments, the full summary of God’s law. The ten plagues of Egypt, the ten virgins in the gospel, ten times ten is a thousand, the fulness of the will of God. Of course, when it comes to Bible numerics you leave the planet with this too, it must be justified from Scripture.

So here in Revelation twenty we find Satan is bound for this thousand years, or curbed if you like. The gospel, the life, death and resurrection of Christ is as significant to Satan as it is to us (John 16:11; Revelation 12:7f). In the latter text we find the consequence of the former text in John, is that Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven, that was the judgment. We must always remember that Satan’s power is derived from God, he is not sovereign, he never was and never will be a free agent (Job 1). His desire has and is always the destruction of God’s work, the church in particular. He is still active, he is bound, curbed, but still roams, ‘the earth’ to which he was cast out, this is his only domain now (1Peter 5:8f). But he is curbed in this New Testament age, he is not able to fulfil his scheme, not yet. But afterwards, he will be released (Revelation 20:3). to do what? To deceive the nations whom he will use to do his will (Revelation 20:3), when vast throngs of peoples will come against the nations in which the church is found. But God will utterly destroy him and his hoards, With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgement with him, andI will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulphur. So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:22-23).

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2011)

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