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Thread: The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

  1. #1
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    The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

    It's a fact widely acknowledged that Revelation contains more references to the Old Testament than any other New Testament book. Indeed, some scholars have found as many as 635 echoes and allusions in John's apocalypse. As a Jew who was thoroughly versed in the ancient Scriptures, it seems that John couldn't help but make associations with God's previous revelations as he himself was given the climactic vision of God's redemptive plan. Sometimes those associations seem to be less of a conscious action on John's part, and merely reflect the way his mind was furnished so entirely by Israel's sacred texts. But sometimes his allusions do reflect a conscious parallel, calling on an OT passage in order to say "This is that!" in some way or another.

    Whether conscious or unconscious, however, John's many echoes and allusions constitute our single greatest interpretive aid in understanding the way he, the seer, understood his own vision. If we want to see things through John's eyes and understand his vision the way he understood it, therefore, we should pay close attention to the many references he has left for us.

    And yet, curiously, this fact has been largely overlooked in the long and wearisome debate over the millennium. What should have been the interpreter's very first question has seldom been asked: What does John think about his extraordinary vision of a thousand-year reign? In fact, there is much to be learned from the passages John references in Revelation 20:1-10, and perhaps even more from the passages he does not. We find allusions to Isaiah 24:21-22, Genesis 3:13-15, and the LXX of Isaiah 27:1 in verses 1-3; allusions to Daniel 7:9-11, 26-27, and Exodus 19:6 in verses 4-6; and multiple allusions to Ezekiel 38-39 in verses 7-10. These several OT texts have a lot to tell us about how John himself understood his vision of the thousand-year reign.

    But the truly remarkable thing (and the point I would like to focus on here) is that we don't find a single allusion to any of the OT passages which have long been labeled "millennial" by chiliasts. Think of all the so-called "millennial" passages in the OT: like Isaiah 25, where God makes a feast for his people on mount Zion and wipes away the tears from every face; or Isaiah 65, where the Lord makes Jerusalem a place of rejoicing in a newly restored earth and makes the lifespan of his people like the days of a tree; or, perhaps most famously, Ezekiel 40-48, where Ezekiel sees a glorious new temple for the Lord dwell in when he returns, out of which flows a river of healing waters for the nations. Well, not only does John not allude to any of these supposedly "millennial" passages in his write-up of the millennium, but he ironically does allude to each of them in his description of the post-millennial and eternal new heavens and new earth.

    This presents a rather awkward problem for the premillennial scheme, since that interpretation of John's "thousand years" relies most heavily on those passages outside of Revelation 20 for its content. This problem can be broken down into two questions for further dialog: First, granted that Revelation 20 is the only passage in which a thousand-year reign is explicitly mentioned, why do none of the stereotypical "millennial" passages come to John's mind in his vision of the millennium? And, second, how do we account for the ironic presence of many such passages in John's portrait of the "new heavens and new earth" in chapters 21 and 22? Have premillennialists perhaps mislabeled those OT passages in order to fit a particular scheme, a scheme which is in fact foreign to the thinking of John himself?

    - Hitman


    "Test all things; hold fast what is good." - Advice from the Apostle Paul


  2. #2

    Re: The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

    The prophetic visions [O.T. and N.T.] are a direct inspiration from the Lord himself, and not generated by the prophets themselves as you seem to imply

    So all are God breathed and totally congruent .... all of them must be taken together and not just those selected

    The O.T. is replete with visions of the Lord's coming millennial kingdom on the earth which He will restore to His nation of a believing mortal remnant of Israel and rule over Himself in person .... this setting has nothing to do with His Church of today except that the immortal church will rule with Him during the period

    Prophecy is the Lord's doing and not just what John or others of the prophets thought about things .... if you don't get this fact, you will never understand the grand and comprehensive sweep of His intent with His nation of Israel [past, present, and future]

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    Re: The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

    If John was giving His impressions of the future from His own thoughts then the book of Revelation is not scripture, not the world of God.

    Since we Christians believe that it is a Revelation given to John by God then the OP's point about John being influenced by his thoughts on OT prophecy cannot be accepted.

    The 1000 Year Kingdom is clearly revealed in the Book of Revelation chapter 20. It matters not if it is only mentioned once. It is revealed and so it shall be.


    All Praise The Ancient Of Days

  4. #4

    Re: The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

    His millennial kingdom on earth is coming, like it or not .... the O.T. prophets saw it in the visions given and Revelation confirms it

    .... His plan and part of His overall objectives .... no doubt

  5. #5

    Re: The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

    The OP is pointing out that nowhere in the Old Testament do any Prophets refer to a 'one thousand year' period by that description...

    And that, most ironically, when premils look at certain passages and say 'that's the one thousand years', whereas the Revelation instead points at and says 'that's after the one thousand years'.

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    Re: The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post
    The OP is pointing out that nowhere in the Old Testament do any Prophets refer to a 'one thousand year' period by that description...

    And that, most ironically, when premils look at the passages they think are about the thousand years, they point at them and say 'that's the one thousand years', whereas the Revelation instead points at and says 'that's after the one thousand years'.
    But as already pointed out, the OT is filled with a promised time of the Messiah's ruling...regardless that the time frame is given or not given does not change that a period of time is spoken of.




  7. #7

    Re: The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

    It's not an issue of whether there is 'a promised time of the Messiah's ruling'.

    The issue is coherent exegesis, where the premil position takes passages of the OT and puts them in the thousand years, despite that anytime John does look back at those same passages, he's applying them to the period after the thousand years, not during. There's a disconnect between the premil position and John's visions.

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    Re: The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post
    It's not an issue of whether there is 'a promised time of the Messiah's ruling'.

    The issue is coherent exegesis, where the premil position takes passages of the OT and puts them in the thousand years, despite that anytime John does look back at those same passages, he's applying them to the period after the thousand years, not during. There's a disconnect between the premil position and John's visions.
    John does not specifically look back and note any particular OT passages...he just gives the prophecies. So, just as much in the NT sheds light on the OT, not all is specifically noted with a particular OT passage.

    Seeing Revelation 20 as shedding light on the OT passages regarding the Millennial kingdom is not a disconnect.




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    Re: The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

    I think a similar issue worth exploring is why those same passages, which John places to occur after the millennium, are elsewhere in the NT said to be perfectly fulfilled right now. This is where I feel my apostolic / missional view makes the most sense, and where already / not yet looks ridiculous.
    analyze. synthesize. repeat.

    *It is the next chapter of my life, whether I'm ready or not. My time here in these forums has come to its close. I bless you as I go!*

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    Re: The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nihil Obstat View Post
    I think a similar issue worth exploring is why those same passages, which John places to occur after the millennium, are elsewhere in the NT said to be perfectly fulfilled right now. This is where I feel my apostolic / missional view makes the most sense, and where already / not yet looks ridiculous.


    How about some examples then? Sort of hard to figure out where you're coming from if you give an opinion without actually proving your point.

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    Re: The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nihil Obstat View Post
    I think a similar issue worth exploring is why those same passages, which John places to occur after the millennium, are elsewhere in the NT said to be perfectly fulfilled right now. This is where I feel my apostolic / missional view makes the most sense, and where already / not yet looks ridiculous.
    imo, seeing our present time as a time when Millennial blessing is happening upon the earth could be considered "ridiculous". Paul, nor the anyone else claimed to be "reigning", they only claimed to be serving.

    All those who have in the past been martyred are not resurrected .."living again". We live in a time of many hardships in this mortal life...corrupt government and much violence and immorality....not to mention disease, famine, war, heartache....hardly seems like a "Millennial" with the Messiah "ruling with a rod of iron", and much temporal blessing upon the earth as a whole.




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    Re: The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post

    The issue is coherent exegesis, where the premil position takes passages of the OT and puts them in the thousand years, despite that anytime John does look back at those same passages, he's applying them to the period after the thousand years, not during.

    How about some example passages so that one can see where you're coming from? Not all premils see the same passages the same way. So it's difficult to tell which ones you might have in mind.

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    Re: The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

    Quote Originally Posted by quiet dove View Post
    . Paul, nor the anyone else claimed to be "reigning", they only claimed to be serving.
    Exactly! As a matter of fact I tend to see it as arrogant to see it otherwise. If Jesus was able to humble Himself and be a servant, then what makes us any better? We'll reign alright, just not yet.

  14. #14

    Re: The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

    Quote Originally Posted by divaD
    How about some example passages so that one can see where you're coming from? Not all premils see the same passages the same way. So it's difficult to tell which ones you might have in mind.
    Matt gave a few in the OP, third and fourth paragraphs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quiet Dove
    Paul, nor the anyone else claimed to be "reigning", they only claimed to be serving.
    John's vision of the thousand years doesn't define Christians as 'reigning' on their own, he defines their 'reign' as consisting of Christians sharing in the reign of Jesus (they don't reign on their own, they reign with him). If the promises of Revelation 2.26-27 and 3.21 are supposed to be fulfilled in the thousand years and beyond (which I think most of us agree on), this is precisely what Paul teaches is present for the Church (e.g. Ephesians 1.15-2.10, especially 2.5-7).

    Even post-millennial realities are taught as being present for the Church (compare Revelation 21.1-3 with 2 Corinthians 6.16-18, or Revelation 21.14 with Ephesians 2.19-22).

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    Re: The Old Testament in Revelation 20 (Why are there no "millennial" references?)

    Quote Originally Posted by quiet dove View Post
    imo, seeing our present time as a time when Millennial blessing is happening upon the earth could be considered "ridiculous". Paul, nor the anyone else claimed to be "reigning", they only claimed to be serving.

    All those who have in the past been martyred are not resurrected .."living again". We live in a time of many hardships in this mortal life...corrupt government and much violence and immorality....not to mention disease, famine, war, heartache....hardly seems like a "Millennial" with the Messiah "ruling with a rod of iron", and much temporal blessing upon the earth as a whole.
    Oh, I agree - which means you've misunderstood me. (I don't think I've spoken openly here about my apostolic / missional view, anyway.)
    analyze. synthesize. repeat.

    *It is the next chapter of my life, whether I'm ready or not. My time here in these forums has come to its close. I bless you as I go!*

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