CONTROVERSIAL IDEAS IN REVELATION
APPENDIX† A:† THE MILLENNIUM-† REVELATION† 20:1-10
††††††† Generally, there are three basic interpretations to the Millennium:† 1) Pre-
††† millennialism,† 2) amillennialism, and 3) postmillenniumism.
††† A.††† Premillennialism- basically this is the belief that Jesus will return again, before the
††††††† millennium, to begin a thousand year reign.† Within Premillennialism there are at
††††††† least two views about the 1,000 year reign.
††††††† 1. Historical Premillennialism believes that when Christ comes again, he is
††††††††††† going to reign in Jerusalem for a thousand years over the resurrected
††††††††††† martyrs and the faithful Christians.† They will help him adminster his
††††††††††† kingdom over all the world.† This coming of Jesus will follow what is
††††††††††† called by premillennialists the "Great Tribulation" and will be a kingdom
††††††††††† of justice, righteousness, and universal peace.† Some of the church leaders
††††††††††† in the second century accepted this idea, but many others were very much
††††††††††† against this interpretation.
††††††† 2. The Premillennialism of C. I. Schofield and J. N. Darby is the idea accepted
††††††††††† by the majority of the premillennialists of today.† According to this theory, in
††††††††††† God's original plan Jesus came to establish an earthly kingdom and reign over
††††††††††† the Jews as their Messiah, but he was rejected by them.† This caused a
††††††††††† change in God's plan, they say, so that He postponed His original idea.† Because
††††††††††† the Jews rejected Jesus, God decided to establish the Church.† They claim that
††††††††††† the Church was not a part of God's original plan and that there is no reference
††††††††††† to it in the O. T.† They believe the church was established to fill the time until
††††††††††† Israel would accept Jesus as Messiah.† When Israel accepts Jesus, He will
††††††††††† return and reign over them as God planned in the beginning.† When the church
††††††††††† era ends, Christ will return for the faithful.† Christ and the faithful will be over
††††††††††† the earth for seven years, invisible to the other inhabitants of the earth.† (This
††††††††††† time is called, by them, the Rapture.)† During this time there will be a great
††††††††††† tribulation.† At the end of three and a half years Christ will descend, with the
††††††††††† saints, to judge the nations (and the Antichrist), and to reign for 1000 years
††††††††††† on the earth.† He will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem, reigning over the
††††††††††† Jewish nation and extending His reign over all the world.† When this period of
††††††††††† 1000 years ends, Satan will be loosed and will lead a rebellion against the Lord
††††††††††† and Jerusalem.† The Lord will triumph and destroy Satan.† In that way the new
††††††††††† heaven and new earth will be established here on a renewed earth.
B.††† Postmillennialism - This interpretation was very prominent in the 18th and 19th centuries. According to this theory Christ will come after the millennium.
††††††† 1. Those that accept this interpretation also accept the Millennium in a figurative way.
††††††††††† They see the world gradually getting better with the spread of the gospel and the
††††††††††† conversion of the world to Christ.
††††††† 2. Satan will be bound by the gospel when the golden age comes and the knowledge
††††††††††† of God and His word will extend over the world.† This golden age will not necess-
††††††††††† arily be a literal 1000 years, but it will be a long and limited time.† It will be a time
††††††††††† of peace, spiritual life, and joy.† As it ends there will be short time of apostasy,
††††††††††† when Satan will be loosed.
††††††† 3. When Jesus comes the second time, there will be a general resurrection and the
††††††††††† judgment day.
††††††† 4. This interpretation sees the world as continually getting better.† It is hard to accept
††††††††††† today due to what has happened during this century:† world wars, opposition to
††††††††††† God, and many other evils.
C.††† Amillennialism - Those holding this point of view deny that Christ is going to reign in this world after His coming and before Judgment Day.† They deny that there will be a distinct age in church history called the "Millennium".
††††††† 1. Amillenialism equates the millennium with all the Christian Age (or at least a large
††††††††††† part of it) during which the redeemed from all the ages will reign with the Lord in
††††††††††† peace and joy, while Satan is bound.
††††††† 2. The millennium is taken as something symbolic, not a literal thousand years.
††††††† 3. It understands "Satan bound" as a limiting of his power through the death and
††††††††††† resurrection of Jesus - Rev. 12:9-11.† Matthew 12:28-29;† Mk. 3:27;† Lk. 11:20-22
††††††††††† Jn. 12:31-32; and Col. 2:15 are commentaries on Rev. 20:2.† Satan was defeated
††††††††††† completely by the Cross.
††††††† 4. There are other variations on this interpretation.
††††††† All of these interpretations present some problems in interpreting Rev. 20.† Neither Post-
millenialism nor Amillenialism require a change in God's plan for redeeming man, and for that reason they have not caused so much controversy and threats to peace in the Church as has Premillennialism.
APPENDIX† B:†† POPULAR VIEWPOINTS
††† It's very common today to try to relate current events with what Revelation says about the end times.† Ideas and predictions are developed about an immanent end, but these "Prophecies" don't come to pass and disappear within a short time.† Nevertheless, when these ideas appear, there are always a lot of people ready to believe them.† Wars, earthquakes, or the appearance of some infamous politician often bring about the publication of a new book that tries to relate such events to the end of the world.
††† The fact is that Revelation was written some 2,000 years ago particularly for Chrisitans of
that time.† The scene of that time was that of government persecution by Rome.† Many of the events spoken of in Revelation have already come to pass and will not necessarily occur again.† Those that see events of today as fulfilling those predicted in Revelation must twist the Biblical text to agree with today's events. †Instead of trying to understand what the text is saying, such people look first at the world and today's events and then look for such events in the Bible.† For that reason such people are always predicting the end of the world by misunderstanding what God wants to say in His word.
APPENDIX† C:† THE NUMBER† "666"
††† According to Rev. 13:18, the number 666 is the number of the beast as well as Man's number. Cf. Revelation 13:16; 14:9. In ancient times, numbers were used to speak of perfection or imperfection.† The number 777=perfection.† The number 666 could indicate something falling short of perfection.† In Rev. 13:8, the number 666 is the number of man; not of someone specific.† It's necessary to remember that the historical context is that of the Roman †Empire some 2,000 years ago!† Whatever the significance, the Christian doesn't need to fear the Beast; the Christian has defeated Him through the Lamb - Rev. 20:4-6
††† It isn't useful to try to understand 666 as representing only one man today, such as Saddam Hussein, because if that were the case, Revelation (especially the "666") would have had no significance for those of the first century.† The Roman Empire, or possibly the Roman Emperor, was easily understood in that time as the one with the number 666.†
††† The number 666 is also found in 1 Kings 10:14 and 2 Chron 9:13, and it is the number of talents of gold collected by Solomon yearly. Thus it could represent the power of wealth, which is mankindís substitution for trusting the power of God. As great as the power of wealth may be in this world, it falls far short of the riches we enjoy in Jesus Christ. All world rulers have trusted the power of wealth, and it has failed them. Jesus Christ has crushed them all beneath the iron scepter of His rule.