Revelation 19-20~A dip into eschatology ~ Day 119

Chapter 19 is such a victorious picture of Christ on his white horse (19:11)  I love it!  

It seems like everything is posed for a great battle (19:19)…but…no detail of fighting occurs….The reality is, the battle has already been won when Jesus rose from the dead!  
So, this is just a picture of the swift end of evil that will occur when Jesus returns to get his bride (19:9).

Then, in our reading, we come to chapter 20….the chapter that, to some, seems out of place. Others, who want to keep it in order, create a theology out of the order of events.  Thus, you have Christians holding different points of view on “eschatology” (the study of end-times).  But, let me make this clear, a Christ follower can hold a different view on end times from another Christian.  It does not determine who is the more righteous, true believer.  Both will be in heaven when all is said and done.  Right?!!  Amen!

But, here is the break down, just in case you are unfamiliar with the different views Christians may hold.  
Premillennialist think Christ will reign at his second coming, yet evil will not end until after a 1000 years. (They keep ch. 20 in order of sequence.)
Post-millennials and amillennial's think Christ’s coming is after the “millennial kingdom” (which is happening now). When he returns, evil will immediately end. The difference between post-millennial and amillennial is that the former optimistically thinks the world will get better before Christ’s second coming, because Christ’s current reign would cause that.  The latter is not so optimistic.  (They both read ch. 20 as a different view of the same ultimate end described in chs. 17 & 18.)
There you have it in a nutshell! 

Basically, ask yourself, do I read these chapters chronologically or do I read them like they are different views of the same event?  Well, as I have said several times since we arrived in Revelation, I am reading it through, this time, “according to literary, rather than strictly chronological patterns.”

So, imagine John is seeing a vision of Satan being “bound for a thousand years” as what symbolically occurred when Christ rose from the dead.  Satan’s other agents of evil are still on the scene working havoc, but Satan has been bound from those who have made Christ their king.
Then, it’s reasonable to see that the battle scene and defeat of Satan is so brief in 20:7-10 because John has already described the end defeat in more detail from other vantage points of the same battle (Chs. 17-19).  
And obviously, if Satan is released, it’s going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. (I guess I’m not as optimistic as the post-millennials! Hahaha!)

Anyway, I find this all very interesting…..don’t you?


Rapster J said…
Hmmm. I can see how there is a way to say that Satan has been symbolically "bound" by Jesus's resurrection, by saying Satan is bound from believers (those who have made Christ their king). For a symbolic thousand years. ie, we have the armor of God etc. But there are places where Paul says Satan is a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (did not qualify that it's only non-believers), he is always accusing us before God, he prevented Paul from going to Thess. etc. Doesn't sound very bound to me, even if you qualify bound as being kept from attacking believers. Plus Chapter 20 says he was bound and kept from deceiving the nations (not just believers). I haven't studied it as much as you, but seems a stretch at this point.
You make very good points and an amillennialist would agree that Satan is and has been prowling around.
The premillennialist thinks that Satan’s binding (20:1-3) entails his inability to “harm the race of man”

The interpretation that is made on the binding of Satan for an amillennialist would be this:
The writer John says, “He threw him into the Abyss, keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended.” (vs.3)
That is the purpose of his imprisonment=not to deceive the nations. Then, the purpose of his release is to deceive the nations and to gather them to battle (20:7).

This is how one amillennial put it: “Although Satan may and will do much in this present age (as the New Testament clearly indicate), there is one thing of which John assures us: Satan will never be permitted to incite and organize the unbelieving nations of the world in a final, catastrophic assault against the Church, until such a time as God is his providence so determines. That event, which the Lord will immediately terminate with the fiery breath of his mouth (Rev. 20:9), will come only at the end of this age.” (Sam Storms, Kingdom Come, pg. 440)

Also, it is important to remember the symbolism of the “abyss, the chain, the lock and the seal” (20:1 & 3). Most all schools of belief would admit that these are not truly literal “localized geo-spatial locations and physical/ literal locks and chains. These words are used as symbolic imagery to indicate Satan has been restricted from deceiving the nations during the millennium.

Now about that inability to deceive the nations…this is what amillennialists say about that:

“There is a sense in which prior to Christ’s first coming all “nations”, with the exception of Israel, were “deceived” by Satan and thus prevented from embracing the truth (with certain notable exceptions). The universal expansion and embrace of the gospel (Matt. 28:19) is the direct result of Satan’s incarceration.
The Gentiles (‘nations’) are portrayed as being in darkness with respect to the gospel, having been blinded (“deceived”) while under the dominion of Satan. However, as a result of Christ’s first coming, such deception no longer obtains. The nations or Gentiles may now receive the forgiveness of sins and the divine inheritance.”

All very interesting stuff!!

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