NOTE: This is the first of three posts dealing with the Revelation. My goal in the first two is to pave the way for a third, in which we’ll look together at what may be the most difficult chapter in the whole Bible: Revelation 20, John’s vision of the 1000 year reign of Christ. As you’ll soon see, I like to think of the Revelation as the Grand Finale of All Scripture. I hope and pray these humble preludes will enable you to hear and enjoy that special music as never before.
The Revelation: Purpose and Literary Genre
At the beginning of our journey, we identified three fundamental flashpoints of controversy in the Great End Time Debate: The Kingdom of God, the Millennium, and the Consummation. Happily, our close study of the Kingdom supplied welcome insights into the other two.
For example, having learned that the Kingdom enters the world in two simple stages—the Kingdom of the Son (i.e., the heavenly, mediatorial reign of Christ) followed by the Kingdom of the Father (i.e., the glorious World to Come)—we realized that the thousand years of Revelation 20 cannot be a third, intermediate stage of the Kingdom sandwiched between the other two, as premillennarians assert.
Similarly, having learned that the two stages of the Kingdom are separated by a single Consummation at the Parousia of Christ, we realized that the Consummation cannot be fragmented into multiple comings, resurrections, and judgments, as premillennarians also assert.
Thus, our study of NT teaching about the Kingdom of God has gone far towards resolving the End Time Debate in favor of the classic amillennial view of Salvation History.
It remains, however, for us to probe Revelation 20 itself. If it does not describe a future millennial reign of Christ on earth, what exactly does it describe? If, as I have suggested along the way, it is actually speaking of the Kingdom of the Son, is there anything in the Revelation broadly, or in Revelation 20 itself, to support this view? Our purpose in the posts ahead is to find out.
Let us begin then by getting a feel for the Revelation as a whole. In particular, let us see if there is anything in the purpose, literary genre, and structure of the book that will help us better understand the Millennium of Revelation 20.
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