Seven Brief Points Which Prove The Full Preterist View of the Millennium of Revelation 20 is Exegetical and Orthodox
By: Michael J. Sullivan
1) Reformed Partial Preterist author Kenneth Gentry in his writings informs us that the book of Revelation is about things which were in the past, present, and things which were “about to be” fulfilled in John’s day (Rev. 1:19 YLT). Therefore, there is no exegetical evidence to support that Revelation 20 does not fall within these inspired time indicators. In fact even Gentry’s reformed peers understand that if one interpret the imminent time texts at the beginning and end to be referring to AD 70, then everything is fulfilled by AD 70, “But 1:3 and 22:10 are like bookends enclosing the whole prophecy of Revelation. The fulfillment of everything, not just a part, is near.” (Vern S. Poythress, THE RETURNING KING A GUIDE TO THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing Company, 2000) 34).
2) As G.K. Beale has reminded us, it is reformed and orthodox to believe that the thousand years is not just a symbolic number, but is one that does not have to be taken to describe a long time (ie. thousands of years etc…): “The primary point of the thousand years is probably not a figurative reference to a long time…” (Beale, G. K. (1999). The book of Revelation: A commentary on the Greek text. New International Greek Testament Commentary (1018). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.)
3). It has also been acknowledged by reformed theologians Such as Beale when approaching the millennium of Revelation 20, that many Rabbis believed that the period of Messiah was to be only a transitionary stage between “this age/world and the age/world to come.” These Rabbis (such as R. Adiba), understood this transition period to be forty years, based upon how long the Israelites were in the wilderness before inheriting the land (Beale, ibid., 1018-1019; see also, A. Cohen, Everyman’s TALMUD, 356). This type/anti-type understanding and same kind of “this generation” or “in a very little while” time frame of “another day” approaching in which the “better” heavenly land/city/resurrection would be inherited or take place is developed for us in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 3-4; 10:25, 37; 11—13:14YLT). And as we have noted from reformed Partial Preterists such as Joel McDurmon or Gary DeMar, it is within the realm of reformed orthodoxy to believe that Jesus’ and Paul’s “this age/world” was the OC age and that the “age/world to come” refers to a transition period between the OC age and the NC age (ie. between AD 30 – AD 70).
4). As the imminent time texts point to a fulfillment of Revelation 20, so does the recapitulation or parallel structure of Revelation point an AD 70 fulfillment for the millennium. Reformed Partial Preterists such as Keith Mathison, Kenneth Gentry and James Jordan correctly teach us that the content of Revelation 1-19 and 21-22 was fulfilled by AD 70 (at which time there was a judgment and resurrection of the dead and arrival of the new creation). And yet Amillennialists such as G.K. Beale, Robert Strimple and Simon Kistemaker correctly teach that Revelation 20:5-15 simply recapitulates these verses and themes or are paralleled to the same events related to the same judgment and consummation scenes depicted in chapters 1-19 and 21-22. We hold to both of these reformed and common sense “orthodox” positions in interpreting the book of Revelation and this becomes relevant in our discussion of the millennium of Revelation 20. Revelation 20 is not an isolated island standing away from the time texts or from the structure the book was written in.
5). In criticizing the Premillennial view which often seeks to isolate Revelation 20 from the rest of the NT, the Amillennial and Postmillennial views hold that Revelation 20 falls within the “already and not yet” of the “last days” period in the NT. Or this transition period can be found in the parable of the wheat and tares or the time frame leading up to the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25. But as we have seen, it is “orthodox” to believe the “last days” ended with the OC age in AD 70, and that harvest gathering and coming of Christ in Matthew 13 and Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled by AD 70 (cf. the writings of and combinations found in Gary DeMar, Joel McDurmon, Peter Leithart, Keith A. Mathison, etc…).
6). Consider the following:
a. if it is true that Matthew 24 – 25 cannot be divided and the coming of Christ and judgment in these chapters refer to AD 70 (Gary DeMar/Joel McDurmon and Keith Mathison or it is “possible” that they do ie. Kenneth Gentry) and…
b. if “John’s version of Matthew 24-25 is found in the book of Revelation” (Gary DeMar) and…
c. if it is true that Matthew 24:27-31—25:31ff. is descriptive of the one and end of the age Second Coming, judgment and resurrection event as is Rev. 20:5-15 (the classic Amillennial or creedal position) and…
d. if it is hermeneutically valid to “parallel” Matthew 24-25 material with the book of Revelation, then Partial Preterism along with the classic Amillennial view have some explaining to do in that their views form the “this generation” forty years millennial view of Full Preterism…
|Resurrection and judgment Matt. 24:30-31 (cf. Matt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3) Matt. 25:31-46 (cf. Matt. 16:27)||Resurrection and judgment Rev. 20:5-15|
|De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Matt. 24:29, 35 (cf. Matt. 5:17-18)||De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Rev. 20:11 (cf. Rev. 6:14; 16:20; 21:1)|
|Christ on throne to judge Matt. 25:31||God on throne to judge Rev. 20:11|
|Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Matt. 25:41-46||Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Rev. 20:10, 14-15|
7). Consider the following:
a. if the judgment (opening of the book), resurrection, time of the end of Daniel 12:1-4, 13 was fulfilled by AD 70 (Partial Preterism Kenneth Gentry and James Jordan) and…
b. if the judgment (opening of the book), resurrection, time of the end of Daniel 12:1-4, 13 is the same eschatological time of the end events as described for us in Revelation 20:5-15 (classic Amillennial view) and…
c. if “John in the book of Revelation picks up where Daniel leaves off” (Partial Preterism John Lightfoot, Gary DeMar, James Jordan) and “parallels” between Daniel 12 and Revelation 20 are hermeneutically valid to make (classic Amillennialism), then once again Partial Preterism along with classic Amillennialism have some explaining to do in that their views form the “this generation” forty years millennial view of Full Preterism…
|Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from eternal condemnation Dan. 12:1-2||Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from the lake of fire Rev. 20:12-15|
|This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead Dan. 12:1-2||This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead Rev. 20:5-15|
Therefore, the reader should be able to discern that the Full Preterist AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” millennial view is:
1). consistent with the teaching of Revelation itself,
2) falls within the “orthodox” views of the Reformed church,
3) is in line with the analogy of Scripture and
4) offers historical support from many Rabbis whom promoted a forty years transitional period between the two ages.
Our view on the millennium is both exegetically sound and orthodox. Finding support for the Full Preterist view of the millennium is not as difficult as many portray it – selah.