Amillenialism: Current state of Satan?

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Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Regarding the prophetic Scriptures being given us that we may know the times we are in, I’d like to quote something from Stuart Olyott’s great little commentary on Daniel, Dare To Stand Alone. The angel has been telling Daniel the visions of chapter 8:

A very good commentary.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
The example you gave from Galatians 1 where Christians were being lured away by false teaching pertained to a limited region, and not the mass of the church. Nor had the falling away been complete, and so Paul wrote to them to abort the work of the Judaizers.

The only difficulty one might have with the reasoning is that the "legalism" that entailed was a challenge in many physical places in the church as the new testament church was developing in the first century. I'm not sure it was an isolated, particular problem, though certainly it was acute at the time the apostle wrote. Nor was it clear the apostasy was not "complete" there- we only know that Christianity virtually disappeared from that region (central Turkey) over time.

It's difficult to say that as a proposition that things were not as bad then, were only locally confined. It appears the early church was constantly in peril (perhaps a corollary to our time).
You are amil, is that correct? Otherwise we would not be on the same page.

I am not firmly settled in a millennial position yet, enough has not been clear to me from Scripture (but have the sense of inevitably ending up amillennial, perhaps as GI Williamson has said, "an optimistic amillenialist or a non-utopian post millennialist").

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But here we are looking at both the quality and quantity of deception as regards entire nations, and not only entire nations, but the entire world of nations.

I'm not sure we can really differentiate our time in this way from say, the early Roman Empire, even World War I. I'm not sure we have that context.

---------- Post added at 01:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:47 PM ----------

The falling away today is of a different sort. It is affecting the Reformed churches, as well as the rest.

Not the true ones.

Isn't this the case of the seven churches in Revelation 3- strengthening and falling away going side-by-side in the various churches, and isn't this ongoing in the new testament age?

All that said, the perseverance and faithfulness, and discernment God has given you is both admired and respected, dear brother!
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thanks for your gracious words, Scott!

The problem with your using Galatians as an early example and equivalent of the apostasy that was later to occur on national and universal scales is the quantitative difference. Yes, the early church was beset from the outset with false doctrine seeking entrance.

Rev 20:3 says Satan was bound as respecting his ability to deceive the nations qua nations at the onset of the thousand years. Amil commentators agree that this was around the time of the Lord’s resurrection and ascension, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Have you a different timetable re the binding of Satan in this respect? So, yes, there was deception and falling away in the early church, but the issue the OP focuses on is the other end of the millennium. From a period where the nations qua nations were not deceived, Scripture says there will come a period where they will be, not only as nations individually, but “the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth” (Rev 20:8), or as Rev 16:14 puts the entities involved in the same event, “the kings of the earth and of the whole world” now being subject to the deceiving spirits, that is, the rulers and the people. The only equivalent of this massive desire of the nations to destroy the people of God was in the Old Testament times, as in the Babylonian and the Roman Empires. So bringing in the early church events is really not pertinent to happenings after the thousand years are finished.

I don’t think I would call G.I. amil. So perhaps it is that you are not amil at present, and are arguing against the classic view of that position. The amil view – and the question in the OP – pertains to a common understanding of the “thousand years” and the query is really about when the binding of Satan is loosed. As I said earlier, it isn’t really appropriate in this thread to debate the views, but rather the time of the loosing.

So when you say, “I'm not sure we can really differentiate our time in this way from say, the early Roman Empire, even World War I”, this seems to me a basic denial of the amil schema, for indeed we can – and exegetically must – differentiate those early periods from the time of the loosing. Now if you’re not amil you likely won’t agree – but you should realize this is an amil “in house” inquiry.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that the true Reformed churches will not apostatize, or rather, those elect members within them will not, as happened with the PCUSA and the forming of the PCA and OPC etc. when the saints came out of her.

In the seven Revelation churches there were regional churches that were indeed falling away, and the Lord was calling them to repent; and, yes, these churches were typical of conditions in the various ecclesiastical bodies throughout the N.T. age, and the Spirit ordered all the seven letters to be read to all the seven churches, and not to them only, but to “the churches” all, even unto our day.

In sum: we may very well be – and I think we surely are – in the period when Satan has been loosed for his grand purpose of deception of the rulers and people of the whole earth; not merely deception regarding the salvation of God in Christ (for this is the condition of all the unbelieving world anyway), but such deception as will cause them to seek to destroy all the churches and all the people of God from off the face of the earth.

How long this process of deception will take is not clear. Some say it started with the Russian revolution, some say the French, and others see it later in the 20th century. The important point is, the phenomena of states officially turning against the Christian faith, and the increase of these, first perhaps de facto, and then de jure.

I think it’s happening now, but cannot ascertain the timeframe of its coming to fruition. And so I watch, and pray.

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P.S. A story about G.I.: he told a young URC pastor and myself that we were “going to a Scottish restaurant for lunch” – guess where we went? McDonald’s!
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
The problem with your using Galatians as an early example and equivalent of the apostasy that was later to occur on national and universal scales is the quantitative difference.

Yes, but look how small the (universal) church was at the time of Galatia!
So bringing in the early church events is really not pertinent to happenings after the thousand years are finished.
unless one understands these to all be happenings between the two advents of our Lord.

In the seven Revelation churches there were regional churches that were indeed falling away, and the Lord was calling them to repent; and, yes, these churches were typical of conditions in the various ecclesiastical bodies throughout the N.T. age, and the Spirit ordered all the seven letters to be read to all the seven churches, and not to them only, but to “the churches” all, even unto our day.

Yes, this is the way I understand this- both actual churches at the time of writing, and types of churches through the church age.
I don’t think I would call G.I. amil

But, the esteemed author says "call me either optimistic amillennialist or non-utopian postmillennialist," and I take him to be in the main of reformed theology.:)

---------- Post added at 06:20 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:14 PM ----------

I think it’s happening now, but cannot ascertain the timeframe of its coming to fruition.

Perhaps so, but quoting from GI Williamson, The Westminster Confession for Study Classes, p. 345:

"Fifth, the great apostasy cannot be something in the distant future from the perspective of teh apostle, because he said that "the mystery of lwlessness: which causes this apostasy was laready at work inhis day (2Thess. 2:7-9, and see 1 John 2:18,22, and 4:3).

All to say, we have to be realistic (and very careful) in assessing the context of our time (goes for all of us), lest we overreach. That doesn't mean we ignore the bad we see working around us (and in ourselves), but it means we are humble in assessing it in terms of the purposes and plan of a sovereign Creator, whose ways are not our ways.

And whose ways are far, far above ours.

Blessings.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Scott, as I said in post 18 above,
I am answering according to the OP, and don’t wish to start a debate on this in relation to the other views – another thread can be for that, and I probably won’t participate as I’m busy packing to head back to the U.S., after 9 years away.​
Surely you must know that the view you are propounding – despite G.I. Williamson’s “call me either optimistic amillennialist or non-utopian postmillennialist” – is not classic amillennialism. Okay, in earlier times the amil view used to be subsumed within the postmil camp, but the terminology has changed and become much more specific with the development of current amil and postmil teaching. Amil is not postmil, and G.I.’s “optimistic amillennialist” is far from current Reformed Amillennialism. When I use the term Reformed Amillennialism I think of these authors, G.K. Beale, William Hendriksen, Kim Riddlebarger, Dennis E. Johnson, Arturo Azurdia, David Engelsma, Vern Poythress, Sam Waldron, etc. Williamson’s preterist approach excludes him from this camp from the start. See his, A Study of New Testament Eschatology, for example.

It’s not that I’m not up to discussing our respective views – that could be edifying – but that, as per my caveat entering this thread, I desire at this point only to answer the OP, which precludes engaging G.I.’s (and apparently your) postmil preterist position despite his calling it “optimistic” amil. I just don’t have the time (I give a lot of time and research when I write), and why should this thread be diverted from its focus anyway?
 
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Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Steve
It’s not that I’m not up to discussing our respective views – that could be edifying – but that, as per my caveat entering this thread, I desire at this point only to answer the OP, which precludes engaging G.I.’s (and apparently your) postmil preterist position despite his calling it “optimistic” amil. I just don’t have the time (I give a lot of time and research when I write), and why should this thread be diverted from its focus anyway?

I'll maybe start a thread on whether certain things - which haven't yet happened - have to happen before the final apostasy.
 

seajayrice

Puritan Board Sophomore
Welcome home Steve, although I am afraid you will miss the weather and maybe more. I enjoy your pithy eschatological observation and largely agree with your assessment. Truly, we are in the last days.
 

Gage Browning

Puritan Board Freshman
Whole nations as nations have been deceived and are being deceived.

The elect are not deceived, at least after their conversion.

Hey Richard,
Based on your comment, I'm curious how do you square Matt: 24:21-24 with your idea of the elect not being deceived...
Matt 24:21-24 "For then there will be great suffering 29 unlike anything that has happened 30 from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen. 24:22 And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 24:23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe him. 24:24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect."
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect."

Well it says that the elect aren't deceived, even by these very cogent signs and wonders.

Of course the elect can be deceived, look at e.g. David and Solomon, but not in such a way as to lose their eternal salvation.

I believe that Matthew 24:4-35 has primary reference to Christ's coming in judgment on Jerusalem in His providence in AD 70.

Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, 'Look, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out. If they say, 'Look, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matt 24:23-27, ESV)

Christ is here saying that He is not coming back in AD 70, because when He comes back in His Second Advent He will be seen by all like the lightning is seen. See e.g. Marcellus Kik, "An Eschatology of Victory" (Pand R).
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Some also indicate that Matthew 24:22, may indicate that the slaughter of the Jews in AD 70 was cut short in order to provide a number of Jews from whom a remnant could be saved.

But we know from Eusebius, that at a certain stage the Christians in Jerusalem - most (or all) who were Jewish - fled to Pella. So I assume the word "elect" in Matthew 24:22 doesn't refer to a proportion of Jews, but to the Christians that fled to Pella.

They had this warning from the Lord:

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand: ) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: ( Matt 24:15-16, KJV)

I don't know if the part in parenthesis "whoso readeth let him understand" was spoken by our Lord or placed there by Matthew under inspiration.

The "abomination of desolation" is expanded on by Luke:

And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. (Luke 21:20-21)
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
Blade- sorry to not reply sooner but I wanted to read the Babylon thread and all the links first. I never finished entirely but it is interesting and persuasive. I thought 9-11 was prophetic of what is to come- in one hour a center of global trade in ruins.

I think I've ended up that we will know Satan is unloosed when we see the man of lawlessness emerge with lying signs and wonders. I hope it isn't soon, but I can picture it happening within even a few years.
 

Gage Browning

Puritan Board Freshman
You know this thread got me to thinking: one of the things that helped move me out of dispensationalism, and a literalism approach to the Bible, was whether or not Satan was bound with "Spiritual Chains" or "Material Chains"...:rolleyes:
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
I think I've ended up that we will know Satan is unloosed when we see the man of lawlessness emerge with lying signs and wonders. I hope it isn't soon, but I can picture it happening within even a few years.

Humanism comes to mind.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I suppose a pertinent question regarding the OP – whether or not Satan has been loosed yet from his [spiritual] chains – is how long the deception of the nations by Satan which commenced under the sixth bowl (or vial) would take:

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. . . And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon (Rev 16:13, 14, 16).​

In Rev 20: we see another view of that “going forth”:

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go forth to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea (Rev 20:7, 8).​

How long will this process of deception take? Could it take decades? Half a century? Even this latter could be “a little season” compared to the twenty or so centuries he was bound. What would be involved in the “deceiving of the nations”? Two things basically, the utter delegitimizing of the Christian faith, and engendering a murderous hatred of Christians and the church. Given that there is a satanic power energizing the deception and working in the minds and hearts of unregenerate men and women, these dastardly goals will be accomplished. That the purpose of the final deception is the eradication of the church, note what is written:

And they [Gog and Magog / the nations] went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them (Rev 20:9).​

This is John’s way of typifying the people of God world-wide, and the universal attack upon them.

Also, it might be reckoned that the sorceries of Babylon, by which “all nations were deceived” (Rev 18:23), plays a great part in this. In post 25 above (of this thread) I reference two studies of Babylon in this respect, with links to them.

I frankly don’t know the time frame for the deception to fully take hold. Yes the “mystery of iniquity” was already working back when Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians, but it was restrained (2 Thess 2:7). Is the ending of that restraint related to the loosing of Satan? And is the strong delusion which shall take all those “who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (vv. 9-12) related to the deception of the nations in Revelation?

As Richard posited, are there things which must come before the final apostasy? May this great and last falling away be a long process – the undermining of the authority of Scripture, streams of false doctrine within the church undermining the foundations of many, false experiences of “the Spirit” – which will be capitalized on by an individual called by Paul “the man of sin [or lawlessness]”, and who shall fulfill the “falling away” of 2 Thess 2:3? I don’t think anything else is necessary for that to come about. Yes, the deception and apostatizing has been going on throughout the church age, but at the end both will be massive, as will the beginnings of that persecution which shall cause many to say, “Forget this! I didn’t bargain for this kind of grief!”

As the “abomination of desolation” of Matthew 24 was mentioned above, I’d like to enter this view from Kim Riddlebarger on “Prophetic Perspective and the Abomination of Desolation”, in his book, The Man of Sin. I post this as a brief antidote to preterist views, such as G.I Williamson’s mentioned above. To engage G.I.’s view fully would be a substantial Project, and I have no time for Projects at present – it is all I can do to get packed, and maintain my duties in the church till I am relieved.

And since Matthew 24 is being brought up, here is a post as regards understanding the word “generations” in Matthew 24:34, which often comes up in these discussions.

But remember, this thread – ultimately and essentially – is about Rev 20’s binding and loosing of Satan. It is important to stay focused, and not wander to the four winds!
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
I post this as a brief antidote to preterist views, such as G.I Williamson’s mentioned above. To engage G.I.’s view fully would be a substantial Project, and I have no time for Projects at present – it is all I can do to get packed, and maintain my duties in the church till I am relieved.

Not aware of any evidence the esteemed author is what is called "preterist" or considers himself that at all.

What is your basis for claiming that?
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Quote from Steve
I suppose a pertinent question regarding the OP – whether or not Satan has been loosed yet from his [spiritual] chains – is how long the deception of the nations by Satan which commenced under the sixth bowl (or vial) would take:

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. . . And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon (Rev 16:13, 14, 16).

In Rev 20: we see another view of that “going forth”:

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go forth to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea (Rev 20:7, 8).

How long will this process of deception take? Could it take decades? Half a century? Even this latter could be “a little season” compared to the twenty or so centuries he was bound. What would be involved in the “deceiving of the nations”? Two things basically, the utter delegitimizing of the Christian faith, and engendering a murderous hatred of Christians and the church. Given that there is a satanic power energizing the deception and working in the minds and hearts of unregenerate men and women, these dastardly goals will be accomplished. That the purpose of the final deception is the eradication of the church, note what is written:

And they [Gog and Magog / the nations] went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them (Rev 20:9).

This is John’s way of typifying the people of God world-wide, and the universal attack upon them.

Yes. Your version of amillennialism seems to identify the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19) and the Gog and Magog attack(Revelation 20) as being the same thing. This would merit another thread, but is this the standard position among the amillennial expositors e.g. Beale, Hendriksen, Riddlebarger?
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Scott, in post 36 I gave a link to G.I.’s booklet, A Study of New Testament Eschatology, which is posted on preteristsite.com. Why don’t you start another thread if you wish to pursue this diversion?

Yes, Richard, I believe it is “the standard position among the amillennial expositors”. Feel free to do other threads, it’s just weird that answering a very focused question in the OP gives rise to all these extraneous issues, which are not related, save to those who wish to dispute the position underlying the OP’s question.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Why don’t you start another thread if you wish to pursue this diversion?

Scott, in post 36 I gave a link to G.I.’s booklet, A Study of New Testament Eschatology, which is posted on preteristsite.com. Why don’t you start another thread if you wish to pursue this diversion?

Not intending to debate "preterism," only your post brought that up.:)

We would know that just because a web site with a certain name references one work of an author, does not make the author a "preterist," as has been asserted.

"Preterism" is serious error, and there is not sufficient evidence to assert that the esteemed author is of that view.

The esteemed author does not represent himself as "preterist," and as you imply, even if he did, his public position is not really even related to the points being made.



:)
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Hi! Does Amillenialism believe that Satan is currently bound as described in Rev 20:2 or does it believe that it is currently the time that Satan is released from the pit for a short time as described in Rev 20:7, before he is cast into lake of fire? Or are both positions promoted by various theologians? If so, which position is most predominant?

All idealists maintain that the 1000 years is qualitative, not quantitative, and that it describes the perfect quality of the period between the ascension of Christ and His second coming. Regrettably, some idealists then suppose the loosing of Satan follows after this perfect period of time, and posit an end time Armageddon. But such a supposition contradicts their view that the 1000 years is qualitative rather than quantitative. A consistent idealist approach would insist that the loosing of Satan is in fact descriptive of the activity of Satan in the same period of time but looked at from another perspective. From one point of view Satan is bound so that he cannot deceive the nations. From another point of view he is active in stirring up the nations to prepare for the war of the ages.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Scott, that’s the trouble with the designation “preterist” – it can mean anything from full preterist to partial, and those in various degrees. Nor did I say that of G.I. because of the site his work was on, but because in the work he says that the prophecy of the Olivet discourse in Matt 24 refers to the destruction of Jerusalem exclusively, and is not applicable to end times events. Years ago G.I. had given me the booklet in hardcopy. Sorry if I sounded like I was saying he is in the heretical camp. I wouldn’t malign him, especially as he is a friend.


Hello Matthew! So we meet here again on this turf; I remember that last time we opted to call it a draw (http://www.puritanboard.com/f46/undecided-particular-view-eschatology-58793/). I’d rather not repeat that discussion here, but suffice it to say that I don’t think it accurate to assert that the thousand years is only qualitative, for it does refer to a distinct time-period, that being the ascension of Christ till the unloosing of Satan, preparatory to the deceiving and gathering of the nations to battle against the people of God, which is to battle against God Himself.

I don’t quite understand your view. Are you saying that Armageddon is an age-long event, rather than a climactic one at the end? And that Satan is simultaneously both bound and loosed, depending on how one looks at it?

I hold that the view I posit represents the consistent idealist / amillennial, and I don’t know what I would call yours!

Consistent idealists / amillennialists (in the world that I live in) hold that the thousand years is qualitative in the sense that it describes the full period of Christ’s reign from the heavens while the devil remains bound – much as Psalm 50:10’s “cattle upon a thousand hills” refers to all the hills and all the world – and at the same time it is quantitative in that a distinct, actual period of time is meant. We hold that the end of the time period inaugurates a phase of time during which the Lord uses the malevolence of the loosed devil to gather His enemies to battle. This fiery trial will purify the church as gold is purified. True, this purification has been going on throughout the ages, but at the end it will affect the universal church.
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I don’t quite understand your view. Are you saying that Armageddon is an age-long event, rather than a climactic one at the end? And that Satan is simultaneously both bound and loosed, depending on how one looks at it?

I hold that the view I posit represents the consistent idealist / amillennial, and I don’t know what I would call yours!

Recapitulation is an accepted art of narrative. It relates successively things that occur side by side. Idealists already appeal to it in order to show that chapter 20 is not sequential to the Advent of chapter 19. That it is required in this place has already been explained by reference to the perfect quality of the number 1000. It is also required by the fact that in the parallelism of the visions of Revelation there must be a counterpart to the activity of Satan through the ages. To suggest that there is to be a subsequent period in which Christ does not reign with the saints or that the gospel does not continue to reap its harvest prior to His return is not consistent with biblical eschatology or the idealist scheme.

The well respected idealist commentator on Revelation, William Milligan, might help give clarity to the point:

Thus also we may comprehend what is meant by the loosing of Satan. There is no point in the future at which he is to be loosed. He has been already loosed. Hardly was he completely conquered for the saints before he was loosed for the world. He was loosed as a great adversary who, however he may persecute the children of God, cannot touch their inner life, and who can only "deceive the nations,"—the nations that have despised and rejected Christ. He has never been really absent from the earth. He has gone about continually, "knowing that he hath but a short time." But he is unable to hurt those who are kept in the hollow of the Lord’s hand. No doubt he tries it. That is the meaning of the description extending from the seventh to the ninth verse of this chapter, -the meaning of the war which Satan carries on against the camp of the saints and the beloved city when the thousand years are finished. In other words, no sooner was Satan, as regards the saints, completely bound than, as regards the world, he was loosed; and from that hour, through all the past history of Christianity, he has been stirring up the world against the Church: he has been summoning the nations that are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the war. They war, but they do not conquer, until at last fire comes down out of heaven and devours them. "The devil that deceived them is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."

The whole picture of the thousand years is in its main features—in the binding of Satan, in the security and blessedness of the righteous, and in the loosing of Satan for the war—a striking parallel to the scenes in chap. 12 of this book. There Michael and his angels contended with the deviland his angels; and the latter "prevailed not," but were cast out of heaven into the earth, so that the inhabitants of heaven are for ever safe from them. There the man-child who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, and from the thought of whom it is impossible to separate the thought of those who are one with Him, is caught up unto God and unto His throne. Finally, there also the dragon, though unable really to hurt the saints, "the rest of the woman’s seed," makes war upon them, but without result. Of this scene the picture which we have been considering is at once a repetition and a fuller development; and, when we call to mind the peculiarities marking the structure of the Apocalypse, we seem in this fact alone to have no slight evidence of the correctness of the interpretation now proposed.
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
Riddlebarger would agree with the parallelism, but even he has a final unloosing and war. I don't see any problem with that if you hold to a literal final second coming of Jesus too.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Very interesting, your quote from Milligan, Matthew. I’ve downloaded a pdf version of his book and will be looking it over.

I see now there are radically differing camps in the idealist sector. I was not familiar with Milligan. Recapitulation, or as Hendriksen calls it, parallelism – “progressive parallelism”, actually – is common to all the idealist / amillennialist views. In a nutshell, that being that the several sections of Revelation – Hendriksen lists seven – all “are parallel and each spans the entire new dispensation, from the first to the second coming of Christ.” (More Than Conquerors, p. 22)

He then says, “The seven sections of the Apocalypse are arranged in an ascending, climactic order. There is progress in eschatological emphasis. The final judgment is first announced, then introduced and finally described. Similarly, the new heaven and earth are described more fully in the final section than in those which precede it.” (Ibid., p. 36)

This parallelism or recapitulation does not preclude progress in the content of the visions, or perhaps growing intensity toward the end of the Christian dispensation leading to the final climactic and cataclysmic rebellion and divine judgment on it, after which we see the reward of the faithful in its fullest depiction, although it has been pictured all through the book.

I don’t really see where your view differs from postmillennialism, Matthew. You may talk about “optimistic amillennialism” but I don’t see it.

It seems Milligan was a pioneer in the modern idealist view, but the amillennialists / idealists of more recent times – Beale, Hendriksen, Poythress, D.E. Johnson, Riddlebarger, etc – have a more nuanced understanding, and, to my thinking, greater fidelity to the Biblical data.

To be continued – bedtime for me now!

(Pardon me, please, if I don’t answer quickly, as I’m preparing to pack for my move, and can’t – for now – devote as much time as I’d love to do (this being so important a topic.)
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I don’t really see where your view differs from postmillennialism, Matthew. You may talk about “optimistic amillennialism” but I don’t see it.

For one, there is no future millennium. That millennium is now. To take an example from Scottish history -- Christ is reigning when the nation is entering into covenant with God and He is still reigning when the nation is shedding the blood of faithful martyrs thirty years later. For another, the consistent idealist view gives greater exegetical weight to the antithesis, or parallel intensification of good and evil. See, for example, Hoekema's Bible and the Future, p. 180. Your interpretation requires a successive antithesis whereas the consistent idealist has underlined the fact that it is parallel in history.

Concerning optimism in the realised millennium approach, the optimism is in the Scripture itself. It is important to let the Scripture speak and not to allow one's own pessimism to dampen the spirits of fellow workmen.
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Okay, I read p. 180 in Hoekema’s book, and I’ll have to clear you of the postmil charge! Though it does seem to me you hold to a major postmil distinctive, that being in the scales the antithesis will tip in the favor of good heavily outweighing the evil, the nations becoming increasingly “Christianized” as you call it.

I notice also in Hoekema’s The Bible and the Future – on that very page 180! – he says, “The New Testament gives indications of the continuing strength of that ‘kingdom of evil’ until the end of the world when it speaks about the great tribulation, the final apostasy, and the appearance of a personal antichrist. To suppose, therefore, that before Christ’s return evil ‘will be reduced to negligible proportions’ would seem to be a romantic oversimplification of history not warranted by the biblical data.”

On page 174 he says, “[The amillennialist] also looks for an intensified form of tribulation and apostasy as well as for the appearance of a personal antichrist before the Second Coming.”

When you talk, Matthew, about “the antithesis, or parallel intensification of good and evil”, I would agree, but this certainly does not necessarily mean that in the world – that is, according to the appearance – the intensification of good will be seen to overcome the evil. When Paul says,

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us (Rom 8:36, 37)​

his optimism shines glorious even in the supposed darkness of tribulation and death! So, to see persecution mounting toward the end is not “pessimistic” at all. We do not see our Lord’s death through “pessimistic” eyes (though the disciples did, initially), though it was a terrible death, and to appearances did look bad. It was in truth God’s glorious victory, and the salvation of His people.

When Milligan says, “Thus also we may comprehend what is meant by the loosing of Satan. There is no point in the future at which he is to be loosed. He has been already loosed &etc”, there is some truth in this, as we know Satan is loosed to the extent of being able to persecute the saints and deceive the ungodly, but Milligan negates a loosing “when the thousand years are expired” (Rev 20:7), and a massive summoning of the nations / Gog and Magog through deception “to battle” (v. 8) the camp of the saints and their God (v. 9), when the Son of God shall return and destroy them. Perhaps this is where the old saw about the amils “spiritualizing” too many things came from! But he illegitimately (erroneously) spiritualizes things we legitimately discern to be symbolic, and interpret rightly. Yet he is more on the money than the post or pre mils.

The view I posit in no way negates the concept of recapitulation (parallelism), it but views it slightly differently.

While one thousand is indeed a number of perfection, it need not preclude a subsequent “little season” in which the Lord shall execute vengeance upon the attackers of His people, in one final display of the glory of His majesty and might to the world.

You stated,

To suggest that there is to be a subsequent period in which Christ does not reign with the saints or that the gospel does not continue to reap its harvest prior to His return is not consistent with biblical eschatology or the idealist scheme.​

When the Lord returns “to tread the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev 19:14) He indeed still reigns with His saints, but the time of the gospel harvest is finished. It is the day of vengeance long cried for by martyrs (Rev 6:10), and shown in the remainder of that chapter.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
When the Lord returns “to tread the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev 19:14) He indeed still reigns with His saints, but the time of the gospel harvest is finished. It is the day of vengeance long cried for by martyrs (Rev 6:10), and shown in the remainder of that chapter.

According to your scheme the Lord returns after the loosing of Satan and the gathering of the nations to war against the saints, and this loosing is after the 1000 years. You thus have a period of earthly history in which the Lord is not reigning with the saints and the gospel is not reaping its harvest, that is, a period subsequent to the millennium of vv. 1-6. Like the premillennialist you have created a black hole in the continuum of biblical eschatology.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Matthew, you keep asserting – without substantiation, it seems to me – that when the Lord goes forth to war in the final cataclysm He no longer reigns. Of course He reigns, and that even when He is subduing all his enemies. He reigned before the thousand years, and He reigns after (we view that period differently). He reigns eternally. When the last of the elect is called and brought into the fold the reaping of the gospel harvest is over. There is an end to the day of grace through the gospel, and a beginning of the day of vengeance. I do not accept your imposing the thousand years in the manner you do upon the idealist / amillennialist view of the more recent commentators, for it is not valid. There is no “black hole in the continuum of biblical eschatology” in reality, only according to your view, which I do not acknowledge.

Matthew, can we wind this down? I’m in the process of moving. What say we each have one more post? You may go last if you wish.
 

ryanhamre

Puritan Board Freshman
Well it says that the elect aren't deceived, even by these very cogent signs and wonders.

Of course the elect can be deceived, look at e.g. David and Solomon, but not in such a way as to lose their eternal salvation.

Can you clarify your statement? At the surface, it seems to come in conflict with 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12

2 Thessalonians 2:8–12

Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.​

God bless.
 
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