Historic Premillennialism - Hamilton

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Puritan Board Doctor
Source: http://mydigitalseminary.com/historic-premillennialism-james-hamilton/

What would you see as some distinctive aspect(s) of your view (Historic Premillennialism)?

People seem most surprised by my willingness to grant that many, many things in Revelation are probably symbolic (even a round number like 1,000 years). My contention is that we should interpret the symbols in Revelation self-referentially, that is, against each other.

In Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Churches I have a table on all the references to time in Revelation (p. 369), and another that proposes “Revelation’s Symbolic Timeline” (p. 371). My contention is that in the symbolic timeline of the story of the world set forth in Revelation, there is a 1,000 year reign of Jesus the Messiah on earth after his return and prior to the final rebellion and the great white throne judgment. Amilleniallists are right that these things are symbolic, but they are wrong to flatten out the symbols so that all the symbols signify the same thing. The three and a half year period in Revelation 11–13 is not the same symbol as the thousand year period in Revelation 20

The other thing that I think surprises people is my suggestion that the flow of events John puts forth in Revelation 19–22 perfectly matches the flow of events that Ezekiel puts forth in Ezekiel 36–48

The return from exile and resurrection from the dead in Ezekiel 36–37 is symbolically and typologically fulfilled when Christ comes on the white horse to conquer his enemies in Revelation 19 (a new Joshua taking the land), and then the dead are raised in Revelation 20.

The end of Ezekiel 37 speaks of David reigning over the people who have experienced the new exodus and return from exile, and then Ezekiel 38:8 and 11 describe Gog of Magog going against “the land that is restored from war, the land whose people were gathered from many peoples . . . the land of unwalled villages.” I would suggest that this is exactly what John is describing in the reign of Christ in Revelation 20:4–6. The land is restored after the new exodus and return from exile. The villages are unwalled because Christ reigns and there are no threats.

When Ezekiel describes the Lord putting a hook in the jaws of Gog of Magog in Ezekiel 38:4, I think Ezekiel means his audience to recall the way the Lord put hooks in the jaws of Leviathan in Job 41:2, and I think Leviathan is a symbol of Satan (cf. Job 1–2). So in Revelation 20:7-10 John depicts the fulfillment of the Ezekiel 38 attack by Gog of Magog on those who have been raised from the dead (Ezek 37:1–14; Rev 20:4–6) and experienced the fulfillment of the new exodus and return from exile to the land in which David’s seed reigns (Ezek 37:24; Rev 20:4–6).

After the destruction of Gog of Magog (Ezek 38:16–39:24), the new creation is a new temple in Revelation 21–22, and I think that John has rightly interpreted Ezekiel 40–48. Thus, the temple in Ezekiel 40–48 is the same thing that Isaiah is talking about when he speaks of a new heaven and new earth. The temple symbolizes creation. The new temple is the new creation.

The flow of events in Revelation 19–22 is the same flow of events depicted in Ezekiel 36–48.

James M. Hamilton Jr. (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of biblical theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and preaching pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church. He is the author of God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment and the Revelation volume in the Preaching the Word commentary series.
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