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The Gospel From Patmos
Everyday Insights For Living
From The Last Book Of The Bible
Daily Devotional
Monday, November 24, 2014

            I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the Abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, locked it, and sealed it over him in order that he might not deceive the nations any more until the thousand years were finished. After these things he must be released for a short time. Rev 20:1-3.



            Do the thousand years take place before or after the second coming of Jesus? There are three major views in response to this question. In the post-millennial view, Jesus comes after a thousand years of human progress. This view was popular in the Nineteenth Century when education and scientific progress made many believe that the world was getting better. It doesn’t, however, match the Bible’s prediction that things will be very difficult before the End (2 Thess 2:8-12; 1 Tim 4:1-5; Rev 13-19). It also doesn’t match the realities of today’s world.
            In the pre-millennial view, the millennium is a literal thousand years after the second coming of Jesus. In the a-millennial view, the millennium is not a literal period of a thousand years but a symbol for the whole Christian era from the cross to the second coming. The choice between these two may not make a huge difference from a devotional point of view.
            Our family pediatrician recently approached me with a fourth view of the millennium. He said, “I get a little tired of all these arguments about whether the millennium is “pre” or “post” or “a.” I’ve decided to develop a different approach.”
            “What’s that?” I asked.
            “I call is pan-millennialism! That means everything will pan out in the end!”
            Our pediatrician’s position may make a lot of sense. I believe, however, that John clearly intended the thousand years of our text to occur after the Second Coming. By the time the millennium begins, characters like Babylon and the beast have already passed off the scene (Revelation 19). The beginning of the millennium also comes after the Mark of the Beast and the forced worship of the Beast’s image (Rev 13:15-17; cf. Rev 20:4).
            So if the millennium begins with the cross (the a-millennial position) the events of Revelation 13-17 would have to have occurred before the cross. But I am aware of no serious scholar of Revelation who interprets the book in this way. I want to respect the kinds of theological arguments that godly people make for the a-millennial position. However, that position does not seem to flow from the narrative of Revelation itself.



            Lord, the arguments people have over the meaning of the Bible sometimes leave me confused and discouraged. Help me to trust that You will work it all out in the end.




 
 
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