Pre-Mill Defended and Post-mill and preterism exposed.

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Pre-Mill Defended

A Defense of Premillennialism
David D. Burns, M. Div.


You will find that Amill and post mill churches will not allow ANY OPEN DISCUSSIONS on this subject to search for the truth.

I found this out for a fact just recently.


I find much on the web that defends Postmillennial and Amillennial eschatology. Most of it is critical of Premillennialism. That's ok! I love those guys as brothers on the same team. I read their books and learn much from them. However, it's past time for Premillennialists to get in on the web debate as well. I plan on developing articles defending Premillennialism as well as critiques of both the Amillennial and Postmillennial views. A preliminary article is below.

If you have any scholarly articles written by Historic Premillennialists, present or past, please E-mail them to me with the source documented. If they are well defended I will see if they can be posted on the web. Articles by Progressive Dispensationalists are also welcome. If any of our Amiller or Postmiller friends would like to send me critiques of my articles they are welcome.

Let the debate begin! In good Christian love of course.

My Personal Note: I feel that Dispensation Theology is an error abandoning the world to Satan...and it has.



As the debate over the millennium of Revelation 20 continues between the Amillennial, Postmillennial, and Premillennial camps we must never forget that each camp consists of Godly men who do their best to work biblically with the evidence at hand. It is not that one camp has the truth while the others are heretics. The Scriptures do not give clear information regarding the time, nature, and purpose of the millennium. What we all agree upon is the visible and bodily return of the Lord Jesus Christ to reward the righteous, judge the wicked, and to bring in the fullness of God's Kingdom in the New Creation. What we disagree upon is the place that the millennium fits into this picture.
Stanley J. Grenz in his excellent book entitled, The Millennial Maze, has made some important observations regarding the millennial debate that needs to be remembered and humbly practiced by the church of Jesus Christ:

Throughout its history, the church as a whole has displayed true wisdom in consistently refusing to endow any one millennial view with the status of orthodoxy. Those within evangelicalism who are tempted to break fellowship with believers with whom they disagree on this matter or to make one millennial view a standard for congregational membership ought to take heed to the counsel of the Christian tradition at this point. . . .
As we live in the in-between time--the era between the two advent of Christ--we need to listen to each of the three major millennial views, for each voice comprises a dimension of "what the Spirit is saying to the churches." On the one hand, each speaks a word of caution. Historically the self perception of the people of God has been an important factor in determining which millennial view would predominate among them. We must be cautioned lest our eschatological view be nothing more than a reflection of the mood of the times in which we live.

On the other hand, beyond being a cautionary word each position sets forth a world view worthy of incorporation into life. In fact it is imperative for us as Christians to sense the heartbeat of these foundational theological moods. Each offers insight into the mind of the Spirit that transcends them all.(1)

With Amillennialist Grenz, I, a Premillennialist, wholeheartedly agree. Each system has a biblical emphasis that needs to be heard and incorporated into our overall theology. Amillennialism emphasizes the "nowness" or the present reality of our salvation in the Kingdom of God and reminds us that this salvation, being wholly from above, is not to be confused with anything in this present fallen world. Postmillennillism reminds us of our role in this world as citizens of God's Kingdom and challenges us be diligently about our father's business in the relentless advance of that Kingdom, because the victory is ours. Premillennialism reminds us that there is more to come and that one day the Kingdom of God will come in its fulness upon this fallen world. Consequently, there is a sense in which we should be Amillennial in our salvation, Postmillennial in our proclamation, and Premillennial in our expectation.

I will not stake my life upon my particular brand of millennialism, nor would I do so if I held to another view. The data is sparse and its meaning debatable. I grew up in churches that taught Dispensationalism, but I began moving away from this view in college even though the teaching was strictly dispensational. In seminary I embraced Amillennialism for a time until I became convinced of the literary and exegetical difficulties of that view. Since that time I have read most of the Postmillennial books. While their view is attractive and they make observations that need to be considered and incorporated into Premillennial thought, I see some significant biblical difficulties with the system they present. Consequently I am a Historic Premillennialist by default. In other words, while Premillennialism is not without its own difficulties, it has the least difficulties when all the information is considered.

If Revelation 20 was not in the Bible none of us would be millennialists of any sort. Consequently the burden of proof for any millennial system must be found initially in the book of Revelation. Once that is established other biblical as well as extra biblical information relating to the subject can be

The Revelation of John

To determine where the 1000 year period of Revelation 20 fits into redemptive history we must first of all briefly examine the literary progression of the book. First I will give a summary of the book and then I will analyze the literary flow.

The Apostle John, a fellow companion with the rest of the church "in the suffering and kingdom and patience endurance that are ours in Jesus" (1:9), is imprisoned on the isle of Patmos "because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus"(1:9). While there he receives from the Lord Jesus Christ a visionary revelation of what is now and what must soon take place (1:1,19; 4:1). Those who read the words of this prophecy aloud to the church gathered for worship are blessed. Blessed also are those who listen to the words and take heed (1:3). The time of judgment is near so the message is urgent. John is instructed to write down on a scroll what he sees and to deliver the revelation to the seven churches of Asia Minor (1:11).

On the Lord's Day John hears a loud voice. As he turns he sees one like "a son of man" holding seven stars and standing among seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven golden lampstands are the seven churches. To the seven churches John is to write both words of rebuke and encouragement. Each message challenges the Christians to "hear what the Spirit says to the churches" and promises a future reward "to him who overcomes" (1:7, 11, 17, 26-29; 3:5-6, 12-13, 21-22). Protection "from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth" (3:10) is also promised. As the book will reveal, overcoming and enduring to the end is essential because of the present suffering and the nearness of an intensification in the suffering. In both cases the persecution is brought upon the church by Satan, the adversary of God's people. Martyrdom will be the lot of many, if not the vast majority.

After this John is transported to another heavenly vision where he is shown "what must take place after this" (4:1). Here John sees the throne room of heaven . In the center of the room is a throne. Upon the throne in regal splendor sits the Lord God Almighty. Surrounding him are four living creatures and twenty four elders who are in continual worship before the lord. In the hand of the Lord God is a scroll "with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals" (4:5). John weeps because no one can be found who is worthy to open the scroll. Then one of the elders tells John not to weep because "the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals" (5:5). John looks and before him is a slain Lamb with seven horns and seven eyes standing at the center of the throne. The Lamb takes the scroll from the one who sits on the throne. Seeing this, the four living creatures and the twenty four elders fall down in worship before the Lamb. In their hands are are "golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints" (5:8). They sing a new song declaring that the Lamb alone is worthy to open the scroll because he was slain and with his blood men from every tribe, language, people, and nation were purchased for God and made to be "a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on earth" (5:10).

As the Lamb breaks open the seals John begins his visions of judgment. The seven seals prepare the observers for the greater judgments that are to come when the scroll is opened. The first four involve horses whose riders bring conquest, war, famine, and death. With the opening of the fifth seal the vision switches again to heaven where John sees beneath the altar those believers who have been martyred "because of the word of God and the testimony they maintained" (6:9). They cry out, "How long, Sovereign Lord, . . . until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" (6:10). God gives to each of them a white robe and they are told to wait a little longer until the full number of those who are to be killed has been fulfilled. When the sixth seal is broken the great day of God's wrath has come. The sun turns black, the moon turns blood red, and the stars fall from the sky. The sky recedes and every mountain and island is moved from its place. In fear all of mankind attempt to hide from "the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the lamb" (6:16).

The scene suddenly changes. John sees four angels standing at the four corners of the earth ready to harm the land, sea, and trees beginning with the sounding of the seven trumpets . They are told not to begin their destruction until the servants of God have a seal put on their foreheads. The number sealed is 144,000, with 12,000 from each tribe in Israel. They are that "portion of the church which consists of remnant Israel, and as firstfruits they are representative of the whole church, believing Jews and Gentiles (cf. 14:4; 21:12).

Immediately after this John sees before the throne of the Lamb a great numberless multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language. Of this group an elder says, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore, They are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. 16 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes" (7:14-17). The great multitude wearing white robes calls to mind the promises given to the churches regarding those who overcome (ch. 2-3, cf. 3:4-5, 18), those whom the Lamb purchased with his blood (5:9), the martyrs under the altar who are given white robes (6:9-11), as well as the 144,000 (7:1-8). These all now stand victorious before the Lamb.

The seventh seal is now opened. It brings a deafening silence. The calm before the storm. The Lamb slowly unrolls the scroll to reveal its contents. Everyone waits in anxious anticipation. The day of God's eschatological judgments is about to be revealed. What is to follow is an unfolding of the great day of God's wrath.

John sees an angel holding a golden censer containing the prayers of the saints. The angel takes the censor, fills it with fire from the altar, and hurls it on the earth. God is beginning to answer the cries of his people for judgment (cf. 5:8; 6:10). The first six trumpets follow one another with very little interruption. As the fourth trumpet ends, a series of three woes begin because of the trumpets yet to be sounded (8:13). Yet, it is noted in the fifth trumpet that God in his graciousness still gives mankind opportunity to turn from their wicked ways and follow him, but they do not: "The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood--idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts" (9:20-21). They vindicate the justness of God in his judgments. During the fifth trumpet those who have the seal of God in their foreheads are protected from the divine judgments (cf. 7:1-8).

An angel standing on the sea and land announces the soon coming of the seventh trumpet: "There will be no more delay! 7 But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets" (10:6-7). But before that vision comes John is instructed to measure the temple of God, the altar, and to count the worshippers there. He is not to measure the outer court because it has been given to the Gentiles who will trample on the holy city for forty-two months. During that period of time (now described as 1260 days) two witnesses prophesy and have the power to bring divine judgments upon the earth. At the conclusion of their ministry, the beast that comes from the Abyss kills them. For three and a half days their bodies lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively known as Sodom and Egypt. People from every people, tribe, language, and nation celebrate their deaths because their torment has ended. After the three and a half days, the two prophets are resurrected and received up into heaven in a cloud in full view of their enemies. At the same time an earthquake strikes, destroying a tenth of the city and killing 7000 inhabitants. As a result the terrified survivors give glory to God. This is the only time in the book of Revelation that the inhabitants of the earth respond to judgment by giving God the glory. The second woe is past, but a warning is given that the third is coming soon.

The seventh angel sounds his trumpet. With its sounding loud voices in heaven announce, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever" (11:15). At this the twenty four elders, who are seated on thrones before God, fall on their faces and worship his saying, "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great--and for destroying those who destroy the earth" (11:17-18). No longer do the elders have to describe the Lord Jesus as the one who is to come (cf. 1:4; 3:11; 22:20) because he has come and is now present. His eternal kingdom has taken control and reigns over all. The time has come for the consummation of his wrath, the judging of the dead, the rewarding of the the saints and prophets, and for destroying those who destroy the earth.

But now for the moment we must again be taken away to another series of visions. The visions will enable us to understand the events that lead up to the hellish divine judgments and the consummation of God's kingdom. The story is one of redemption, of a battle between two kingdoms, the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of the dragon.

In the first vision we are taken to the past. John sees a pregnant woman who is clothed with the sun. The moon is under her feet and a crown of twelve stars is on her head. As the woman is about to give birth an enormous red dragon with seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns appears. With his tail he sweeps one third of the stars out of the sky and flings them to earth. He stands ready to devour the child the second it is born. The child born is a son "who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter" (12:5). Before the dragon can kill the child he is quickly snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman symbolizes ideal Israel, the Old Covenant people of God as they were intended to be. The twelve stars represent the twelve tribes of Israel, already mentioned in the sealing of the 144,000 (cf. 7:1-8). The child born to rule with an iron scepter is the promised Messiah, the Lord Jesus. John will pick up on the iron scepter theme later in the book (cf. 2:26; 19:15). The woman now flees from the dragon to a place of divine protection in the desert. There she remains for 1260 days. But that isn't the end of the story. For the moment we must visit another scene from the past.

In the second vision we learn more about the history of the dragon. John witnesses the drama of a heavenly battle between Michael and his angels and the dragon and his angels. The dragon is defeated and hurled down to earth along with his angels. It is announced that the dragon is "that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray" (12:9). Upon his expulsion there is great rejoicing in heaven: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death" (12:10-11). But while the heavens rejoice, a woe is given to the inhabitants of the earth. The devil has come down in a great rage, because he knows that his time to reek havoc is limited by God to a short period. The vision now joins with the previous one. The dragon pursues the woman who has given birth, but she is given the wings of an eagle and escapes into the desert where God will protect her for "a time, times, and half a time" (12:13). In her escape the serpent attempts to drown her in a flood but fails. So enraged is the dragon at the woman that he goes off to make war with the rest of her offspring, "those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus" (12:17). They are the New Covenant people of God, the church, of which John and the believers of his day are representative (1:9; cf. 6:9; 20:4).

The strategy the dragon will use in his war against the woman's offspring is now to be unfolded.

As the dragon stands on the shore of the sea, a grotesque beast with ten horns and seven heads emerges from the sea. On each head there is a blasphemous name written, and on each horn there is a crown. The beast has the appearance of a leopard, but has the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion. The dragon gives the beast his power, his throne and great authority. John notices that one of the beast's heads appears to have suffered a mortal wound, but the wound had been healed. All who do not have their name written in the book of life that belongs to the Lamb slain before the creation of the world are amazed by the beast. They blindly follow the beast and worship both it and the dragon. The beast is given authority for forty-two months to blaspheme God, his dwelling place, and those who live in heaven. His authority extends over every tribe, people, language, and nation. During that time he is also given power to wage war against the saints and to conquer them. The Spirit warns that the period of the beasts aggression will be one of great hardship, including captivity and death. "This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints" (13:10).

As John looks he sees another beast coming out of the sea. The beast has two horns like a lamb, but he speaks like the dragon. This beast has all the power of the first beast and performs great miracles. Through his deception the inhabitants of the earth worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. He orders an idol to be set up in honor of the first beast. All who refuse to worship the graven image are killed. He also forces everyone to receive the mark of the beast in his right hand or forehead. The mark of the beast is his name or the number of his name, 666. It is man's number. No one can buy or sell unless he has the mark.

There now appears before John the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion with the 144,000 who have the name of the Lamb and his father's name written on their foreheads. Before the throne, the four living creatures, and the twenty four elders, they sing a new song. Only the 144,000 who were redeemed from the earth can learn the song. "They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb" (14:4).

Then in quick succession John sees three angels flying through the air, each with different messages. The first angel announces the eternal gospel to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He proclaims in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water" (14:7). The second angel announces, "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries" (14:8). The third angel announces, "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, 10 he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb" (14:10). To the faithful the angel says that his message "calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus" (14:12). A voice from heaven pronounces blessing upon those who die in the lord from now on.

John looks and before him seated on a cloud is one like "a son of man" wearing a crown of gold and holding a sharp sickle. An angel emerges from the temple in heaven calling loudly for the "son of man" to take his sickle and reap the earth, for the harvest is ripe. The "son of man" swings his sickle and harvests the earth. Another angel comes out of the temple who also has a sharp sickle. The angel in charge of the fire at the altar of God calls to the angel with the sickle and tells him to harvest the grapes from the earth's vine. He does so and throws them into the winepress of God's wrath. The grapes are trampled outside the city. Blood flows out of the winepress and rises as high as horses' bridles for 1,600 stadia.

Then John sees in heaven seven angels with the seven last plagues. They are called "last" because with them the wrath of God is completed. Beside a sea of glass mixed with fire stand "those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name" (15:2). They sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb, declaring that all nations will come and worship the Lord God Almighty. As the song ends, one of the four living creatures gives each of the seven angels a golden bowl filled with the wrath of God.

The seven angels pour out their bowls of wrath upon the earth in rapid succession. Since the bowls are the last of God's wrath, they are more intense than the seals or trumpets. They are poured out without limit. After the third bowl is poured out an angel announces that God is just in his judgments because mankind has shed the blood of God's saints and prophets. Bowls four and five hint that grace is still available, but everyone refuses to repent and glorify God. In the midst of the sixth bowl a warning and a blessing is given: "Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed" (16:15). Since the people of God are already gathered to Christ (15:2), the message serves as a reminder to the churches to whom John is writing that those who endure will not face God's wrath. The sixth bowl results in all the kings of the earth gathering their armies at Armageddon to do battle with God Almighty. With the pouring out of the seventh bowl comes the announcement, "It is done!" (16:17). A severe earthquake splits the great city Babylon into three parts and destroys all the cities of the nations. Upon Babylon God pours out the cup filled with the fury of his wrath. Men curse God because of the plague of hail that falls upon them. In the following vision John will learn about the history of Babylon the Great and why she has come face to face with God's wrath.

One of the seven bowl-angels tells John to come with him and see "the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries" (17:1-2). John is carried away into a desert where he sees a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that is covered with blasphemous names. The beast has seven heads and ten horns. This is the same beast we were introduced to in chapter 13 who emerged from the sea to be the instrument of Satan. The woman is dressed in royal attire of purple and scarlet that glitters with gold, precious stones, and pearls. In her hand she holds a cup full of abominations and her adulterous filth. On her forehead is a title written: "MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (17:5). The woman is "drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus" (17:6). The angel explains to John the mystery of the woman and the beast she rides. The beast "once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction" (17:8). The seven heads of the beast represent the seven hills upon which the woman sits. The seven heads are also seven kings, of which five have fallen, one is, and one is yet to come. The beast "who once was, and now is not", is an eighth king. He is one of the original seven kings and will be destroyed by God when he re-emerges. The ten horns of the beast represent ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who will for one hour along with the beast receive authority to rule. In alliance with the beast they will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will destroy them. With the Lamb "will be his called, chosen, and faithful followers" (17:14). The waters upon which the woman sits are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. The beast and ten kings will hate the prostitute and will destroy her in accordance with the sovereign purpose of God. The woman is "the great city that rules over the kings of the earth" (17:18). "In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth" (18:24). An angel announces the fate of the city shouting, "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great" (18:2). Another voice calls to the people of God saying, "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues" (18:4). The kings of the earth who committed adultery with her will morn over her destruction when they see the smoke of her burning. In one hour the city's great wealth as been brought to ruin. It is a time for rejoicing in heaven: "Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you" (18:20).

After this John hears the roar of a great multitude in heaven. They shout, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants" (19:1-2). Again they shout: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear" (19:6-8). John explains that the "fine linen" symbolizes the righteousness of the saints.

John looks and sees heaven standing open and before him on a white horse is a rider who is called True and Faithful: "With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (19:11-16). John again uses the statement "He will rule them with an iron scepter" (19:15) to show that the male son caught up to heaven in 12:5 is the same one who now returns with terrifying vengeance to pour out the full fury of God's wrath upon a beast-worshiping humanity. Accompanying him are "the armies of heaven" who are "dressed in fine linen, white and clean" (19:14). These are the people of God who have endured even unto death. They have already been described in like terms several times throughout the book (3:18; 6:11; 7:14; 19:8).

With the battle looming, an angel announces the defeat of those gathered against the heavenly army by inviting the vultures to gather for a great supper hosted by God. The meal will consist of the flesh of those massacred. John sees the foolish beast along with the kings of the earth and their armies gathering to do battle with with the rider on the white horse and his army. The beast and false prophet are captured and thrown into the lake of fire. The remaining armies are killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the white horse.

As the beast and false prophet were captured so also Satan is captured, but he is bound, and thrown into the Abyss where he will remain confined for a thousand years. This is to keep him from deceiving the nations as he had during his short time of 42 months or 1260 days after his expulsion from heaven (12:12; 13:5; 13:7,14; 19:20). Afterward he must be set free for a short time.

In heaven John sees "the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands" (20:4). They are resurrected as priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Christ a thousand years. Theirs is the first resurrection and over them the second death has no power. The rest of the dead are not resurrected until the thousand years are ended.

When the thousand years are ended, Satan is released and is allowed to again deceive the nations of the earth, Gog and Magog. He gathers them for battle. They march in hordes across the earth to the city that God loves, the camp of God's people. There they surround city, but before they can do harm fire comes down from heaven and consumes them. Satan is recaptured, but this time is thrown into the lake of fire, where the beast and false prophet have already been cast. There they are to be tormented for eternity.

The scene now changes and John sees the Lord sitting upon a great white throne. Before the throne are standing the dead of all the ages. The books are opened. Each person is judged according to his works as recorded in the books. Another book is opened, the book of life. If anyone's name is not found in the book of life, he is thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

Now comes the end of the present creation and the beginning of the new. John says, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first had passed away, and there was not longer any sea" (21:1). Coming down out of heaven is the Holy City, New Jerusalem, dressed as a bride ready to be married. A loud voice comes from the throne saying, "Now is the dwelling of God with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (21:3-4). But for the present that time has not yet come and there is still time to repent. He who is seated on the throne says, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death" (21:6-8).

An angel takes John to see the bride of the Lamb, the Holy City, Jerusalem. The city has twelve gates on which are written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The city also has twelve foundations on which are written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The twelve tribes and twelve foundations symbolize the completeness of the New Covenant people of God, the church, which consists of believers throughout history who have been made into one new man because of the finished work of Christ. The city is in the shape of a cube, symbolizing it as the holy of holies. Its former earthly counterpart was located in the innermost sanctum of the temple in the old Jerusalem. Yet, John does not see any temple in the city because "the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple" (21:22). Its gates are always open so the glory and honor of the nations can be brought into it. Nothing impure, nor anyone shameful or deceitful will ever enter the city. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life will be allowed entrance.

Flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb and through the center of the city is the river of the water of life. On each bank of the river is the tree of life whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. No longer is there any curse. The servants of God will serve him, see his face, and his name is written on their foreheads. They will reign with the Lord God for ever and ever.

The vision of "the things that must soon take place" (22:6) has come to an end. In closing the Lord again reminds the hearers that it is still not to late to become followers of the Lamb: "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. . . . The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life" (22:12-15,17).

Of Jesus' promise to come soon, John says, Amen. Come Lord Jesus (22:20). His benediction is that the grace of the Lord Jesus might be with God's people. Thus ends the revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to John.

Strong Stuff to refute POST POST TOASTIES

The Martyred Saints

Revelation 6:9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice,"How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.(NIV)

With the opening of the fifth seal John sees under the heavenly altar the souls of saints who have been martyred because of "the word of God and the testimony they had maintained." Revelation 20:4b makes it clear that this testimony relates to the Lord Jesus Christ: "And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God." They are Christians who were willing to die for the Lord Jesus Christ. The importance of this lies in the fact that the martyrdom occurs during the present New Covenant era of the Kingdom which Amillennialists and Postmillennialists equate with the Millennium. Yet the text makes clear that during the present age of the Kingdom the martyred saints have not yet entered the millennial period pictured in 20:4-6. In fact they cry out to God asking how long they need to wait until he judges the inhabitants of the earth and avenges their martyrdom (6:10). God's response is to give them white robes which symbolize their purity (cf. 3:18; 7:14; 19:8,14; 22:14) and to tell them that the time of judgment has not yet come. It seems rather clear that the martyrs are not yet resurrected. This does not occur until 20:4-6 which obviously relates to the same group yet is sequential to the event of 6:10. In 20:4-6 the martyrs are finally rewarded. The Millennium is the fulfillment of the cry of the martyrs for God to judge the inhabitants of the earth for their deaths. The resurrected martyrs share in those judgments as they reign and rule with Christ at his second coming (2:26-27; 19:14-15; 20:4). What is not clear is whether this 1000 year reign of the saints occurs on earth or in heaven. Certainly in symbolic fashion they return with Christ in judgment upon the nations (19:14). But the locale of the thousand year period is not indicated from the text. While 5:10 says, "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth," it is not clear whether this refers to the present enthronement and reign of the saints or the greater fulfillment of the eschaton. A similar statement in 1:5-6 refers to the present age of the Kingdom: "To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father . . . ."(NIV) It is certain that 22:5 refers to the future fully realized reign of the saints in the New Creation: "And they will reign for ever and ever." 3:21 as well refers to the eschatological enthronement of those who overcome: "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my father on his throne."

3. The Dragon

The presence of the dragon throughout the age of the church until his 1000 year imprisonment as presented in the book of Revelation is irrefutable proof that the Millennium is yet future and not concurrent with the church age. John’s vision of the dragon’s defeat and the subsequent fury that he unleashes upon the church, the New Covenant people of God, is found in Revelation 12. The remaining chapters of the book develop the dragon’s role as the persecutor of the saints.

As the vision opens John sees a pregnant woman in the heavens who has a crown of twelve stars upon her head, is clothed with the sun, and has the moon under her feet (12:1). She is about to give birth to a male child (12:2). The woman represents ideal or spiritual Israel, God’s Old Covenant chosen people as he intended them to be.(3) The male child is the long awaited and promised Messiah who is to rule all nations with an iron scepter (12:5a). A great red dragon waits in the heavens to devour the child as soon as it is born. But the dragon is not successful, for upon birth the child is snatched up to God (12:5b). The snatching up of the child represents the resurrected-ascended victory of Christ over sin, death, the cross, and the author of all evil, the dragon himself. As a result the dragon now finds himself and his angels embroiled in a heavenly war fighting against Michael and his angels. The dragon and his hosts are defeated and cast out of heaven down to the earth. The armies of heaven are able to overcome the dragon "by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony" (12:11)). The dragon is now identified as "that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan who leads the whole world astray"(12:9b) .

The dragon’s time on earth is divinely limited to a short time or 1260 days (12:6,12,14). His final doom is imminent, and he knows it. So he goes on a rampage. First he pursues the woman who has given birth. He attempts to destroy the woman by means of a flood but is again unsuccessful, for the woman is taken to the desert and protected by God for the 1260 days (12:6,14).(4) Enraged the dragon then turns to the rest of the woman’s offspring, "those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus" (12:17) . "Those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus" are indicated in the Apocalypse as the church, the New Covenant people of God . (5)

In order to carry out his persecution of the church the dragon gives power and authority to the beast (13:2). The beast symbolizes the anti-God authorities who rule the earth. All the inhabitants of the earth whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life worship the beast. The beast also blasphemes God and makes war against the saints. The time of the beasts reign is 42 months, thus equivalent to the length of the woman’s 1260 days of protection (12:6,14) and the dragons short time (12:12).

A second beast assists the first beast by performing wondrous signs and miracles, thus deceiving the inhabitants of the earth (13:11-14). Since the saints will face much persecution by the dragon, "this calls for patient endurance and faithfulness" on their part (13:10). Some will even face martyrdom because of their witness to the truth (6:9). Yet those who overcome the evil onslaughts of Satan, even at the expense of their lives, are promised an inheritance in God’s eternal Kingdom (2:7,11,17; 2:26; 3:5,12,21; 21:7).

In 6:10-12 we find that the judgment of those who martyred the saints is yet future. If that is so, then the judgment of the instigator who stands behind the beasts and the unregenerate inhabitants of the earth, Satan himself, remains yet future. Though his power is broken, he runs free and unchained on the earth, persecuting the saints and deceiving (13:14-planai; 19:20- eplanesev) the unsaved. It is not until he is removed from the earth and chained in the Abyss (20:1-3) that he is unable to persecute believers (20:4) or deceive the unsaved (20:3- planesei). At the close of his one thousand year imprisonment he is again set free for a short time (20:3) when he again deceives the nations (20:8- planesai), and gathers them to once again war against the saints (20:7-9). But this time his doom is final, for he is captured and thrown into the lake of fire from which he will never be released (20:10).

One can see plainly that the dragon’s scheme of deception runs through the current church age. His chaining for the thousand years is to prevent his deception for that specific time period. At the close of the Millennial period he is released for a short time and he immediately returns to deceiving the nations. It is impossible then, as the Amillennialists argue, for the Millennium to be concurrent with the present age because Satan is not presently chained to prevent deception as Revelation 20 requires. Therefore, the thousand year period is not to be equated with the age of the church, and it must be yet future.

4. The Beast

The book of Revelation presents two pictures of the beast. On the one hand John presents the beast as already present. John says that the seven heads of the beast represent seven kings of which five have already fallen and one presently reigns (17:7,9). On the other hand "the beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction" (17:8). This beast is an eighth king (17:11). He belongs to the seven but has not yet come on the scene. When he does, the world will marvel at him and worship him "because he once was, now is not, and yet will come" (17:8). In an earlier vision we have already been informed that one of the heads of the beast had been fatally wounded by the sword, but it had been healed (13:3,14). Thus, while the beast has but seven heads, there are eight separate reigns of kings with the eighth king being one of the seven resurrected. The ten horns are ten kings who receive their authority to rule during the reign of the eighth king-beast (17:12). If the rule of the eighth king-beast is yet future from John's perspective, then the forty-two months of his rule must also be future (13:5). Consequently the tribulation he brings upon the people of God is future and does not belong to the church of John's day. Yet, John identifies himself as "a companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance . . . because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus" (1:9). He also encourages the churches to endure patiently and to be overcomers (2:7,17,26; 3:11,21). As the book progress these themes merge with the eschatological visions of the persecution by the beast because John views himself and the church as being in tribulation and on the verge of Satan's final wrath, the Great Tribulation. That's why John encourages the church to read the words of the prophecy and to take its words seriously -- "because the time is near" (1:3).

The casting of Satan to earth is the immediate and direct result of Christ's victorious resurrection. The text makes this clear: His banishment occurs because Michael and his angels "overcame him by the blood of the Lamb" (12:11). Consequently, one is tempted to equate the wrath of Satan with the present age. Throughout the book Satan is pictured as active and deceitful during John's day (2:9, 13, 24; 3:9). While this is true, it does not do justice to John's vision. For John, the dragon's vengeful pursuit of the people of God in Revelation 12 is in its initial stages with his full blown rage coming any day.

When Satan is cast down to earth he is furious because he knows his time is short (12:12). The woman he pursues is protected from him for "a time, times, and half a time" (12:14) or 1260 days (12:6). In 11:2-3 the 1260 days are identified as forty-two months. Forty-two months is the time given for the reign of the eighth king-beast who is yet to come(13:5). There is no literary or logical reason not to equate these time periods. Consequently for John, Satan's reign of terror and the beast's reign in their final forms are yet future, yet impending. Because the dragon has been cast to the earth, John expects his final wrath against the church to begin any day. The actual presence of the beast reinforces John's belief. The beast is pictured as always having been the tool of Satan (13:1-2), it's just that the worst is yet to come.

The question for us to ask is whether this period of time is yet future for us who live at the dawn of a new millennium. The preterist interpreters equate the tribulation with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. This event did take approximately 42 months. However, why does John need to address the Christians of Asia Minor (ch. 1-3) as if the destruction of Jerusalem will directly affect them. The preterist interpretation on this issue makes the letter to the seven churches totally nonsensical and irrelevant. The persecution by the beast is presented as being directed against the New Covenant people of God (12:17-- "those who . . . hold to the testimony of Jesus"), not Old Covenant Israel. Furthermore it is presented as being universal in nature, not limited geographically to the land of Israel. However, this is not to deny that from an overall prophetic perspective, John is blending events of his day with the eschatological apocalypse. If Jerusalem's destruction is pictured, it is done elsewhere as Babylon the Fallen (16:17-19:3). However, it seems more likely that Babylon is a reference Rome, as the early church fathers took for granted.

The immediate tribulation John witnesses was fulfilled in the persecution of the church either under Nero and his immediate successors or under Domitian and his immediate successors. However, those tribulations as bad as they were do not do full justice to the picture of the universal persecution of the church presented in the book of Revelation and which John sees as imminent. Once again the prophetic perspective consists of a blending. In one breath John speaks of an immediate historical tribulation and the final tribulation at the end of the age. So intertwined are their presentations and similar their natures that the one cannot be separated from the other.