Satan Released - an amillennial view

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reformedman

Puritan Board Freshman
I wonder if an amillenialist would mind helping me out with a question.
I am listening to Kim Riddlebarger's messages, a series of messages called Amillenialism 101.
In studying these things I decided to approach the study by listening to all the messages one time through and then going back to scrutinize each message no matter how long it would take. I have been listening to the first message over and over again and there are a few things that I guess he doesn't clarify or only gives the negative to the premil or neglects to state the affirmative to the amil position.
At one point he touches on Rev 20. As I was listening he gives the negative to the premil and how flesh and blood cannot be in the kingdom as demonstrated by the verses but then he goes into Rev 20 and I am reading the bible as he speaks defending a figurative view which is fine but he doesn't explain how he reconciles verse 3.
Would you please explain how after the 1000 years, Satan will be released again?
If the 1000 years is man's life on earth; the time which started at the ressurection of Christ upto the end of the age. That after this age, that Satan will be released.

Here is the portion in KJV
Rev 20:1-6
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a[a] thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

If this kingdom is the current millenial figurative thousand year which we are living in, it doesn't seem that Satan needs to be released because right after this kingdom is the judgment.
But if by kingdom he means the future eternal age, it makes even less sense.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
The purpose of Satan's release has a "dividing" purpose. It is to sharpen the separation between those who go to his side, and those who cleave to Christ. Whenever (in history) we've seen the converting power of the gospel muted; or we've seen it preached powerfully only to be confronted with murderous hate, and no conversion; we are seeing pre-manifestations of Satan's final release. "Who is on the Lord's side," is the plainer question to answer, against the contrasting powers of darkness.

Christ in his gospel, and gospel-ministry, restrains Satan in the present age. In the end of the age, there will be no question where the lines are drawn, who is on whose side. All during the present time, the wheat and the tares grow side-by-side. Fruitless plants grow up even in the church. We cannot always tell who belongs in, and who amid the church will hear those terrible words, "Depart from me, you workers of iniquity; I never knew you." Or "How came you hence, without a wedding garment?"

But in the end, all that confusion will be eliminated. The last confrontation will not be noteworthy for the false-flags and insurgents.

:2cents:
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
As a postmillennialist, I find Satan's release and the final apostasy to be evidence of how great the success and flourishing of the Gospel will be, because there has to be something to fall away from, which you don't have with amillennialism. With amillennialism, there is nothing in particular to fall away from.

7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

8 And shall go out 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.

The final release of Satan and his success in deceiving the nations, also is a final demonstration of the incorrigibility of Satan and his demonic hosts, and the incorrigibility of mankind without God's grace. :2cents:
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
I tend to interpret it as increased deception prior to Christ second coming. The number 1000 is often used as a symbol for fullness, therefore when the fullness of the time that God has decreed for Satan to be bound (since God does limit Satan in what he allows him to do, sometime more than others, during Christ reign on earth which is now) he will loose him for a little season meaning a global increase in ungodliness and deception including within his own church. I believe this is what Paul was refering to in 2 Thessalonians.

2 Thessalonians 2
King James Version (KJV)

1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

I believe God is the one who withholds (letteth) iniquity until he remove his protection (figurativaly not completely, God will never remove his protection from his church) then the "mystery of iniquity" will be complete and then he will return.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Frank, the significance of Rev 20:2-3 where Satan is said to be bound is understood by the amillennial school to refer to his ability to deceive the nations as nations. During the "thousand" years of this binding the nations were no longer under satanic thrall due to the gospel being preached in them in the power of Christ’s resurrection. In the old dispensation salvation was generally confined within the precincts of Israel, whereas in the new it went forth through all the world. The "thousand" is a symbolic number meaning completeness, fulness, as in Ps 50:10's "the cattle upon a thousand hills" are the LORD's, that is to say, not only on a thousand hills, but the cattle in all the world are His. The "thousand" of Revelation 20 would pertain, I think, to the full extent of the Gospel administration.

So while the nations, having the Gospel during the period of Satan's binding (he cannot stop the spread of the gospel – not even by killing the messengers of it) are freed from deception, when that "millennial" period is finished the nations will once again be brought into the bondage of deception. That is often understood to mean that the Gospel of Christ, and those who proclaim it (be they lay or cleric), will be outlawed – officially deemed invalid, negligible, criminal – and Satan will once again seek to establish his own kingdom in the earth. This period, although short, will be a time of great persecution and affliction for true Christians and their churches. This loosing of Satan is by the hand of the sovereign Lord. As Pastor Bruce indicated above, one purpose of this will be to separate the wheat from the chaff and tares. Another, related purpose, will be to purify the church and its true citizens through severe affliction – which only the faithful will endure.

The church – especially in the West – has gotten soft and lazy, and has partially succumbed to the allurements of Babylon's (the world's) pleasures, goods, and diverting entertainments. We sort of resist keeping in mind what our brethren (including sisters!) are presently going through in many other parts of the world – in the Communist, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Atheistic, Animistic (as in Africa), etc nations – and I won't delineate the horrors they endure for love and loyalty to Christ and His church for the sake of tender sensibilities here at PB, but I will say that we mistakenly believe such extreme and terrible suffering will not come our way, as though the white wise and wealthy West ("after all, we are – and are among – the civilized of the earth") will be exempted from the fiery trial Peter said we should not think strange when it tries us (1 Pet 4:12; 1:7). It's coming, and we should prepare our souls to stand fast therein.

But even though – during the thousand year period – the nations as such are not deceived, the demonic legions still deceive individuals and groups, as much as they ever have. More and more, however, we see governments turning against Christ and His faith. In 2 Thess 2:3-12 (as noted above by Etienne) we see that he who restrains the power of iniquity will cease restraining it, and then shall be seen what is written in Revelation 20:7-9, those who are of Satan's kingdom shall surround – in the four quarters of the earth – the camp of the saints and the beloved city (those whose citizenship is in the heavenly Zion) and shall make universal war on the saints and overcome them (as seen symbolically in Rev 11:7, and more clearly in 13:7). It is at this point, when the camp of the saints is overcome – the surviving church now underground and no longer “visible” – that the Lord will return with vengeance for the suffering inflicted on His beloved wife. This overcoming of the church can also be seen in Rev 11:7-10, and its being resurrected and called to Christ’s side upon His return can be seen in verses 11 and 12.

Riddlebarger has written a good book (with more detailed explanations) on the Amil view, A Case for Amillennialism, and also The Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth About the Antichrist. Good commentaries on Revelation would include G.K. Beale's (consider also his related book, 1-2 Thessalonians, by IVP). Others of excellence are Dennis E. Johnson, William Hendriksen, Poythress, Herman Hoeksema (with reservations), Arturo Azurdia (81 MP3 sermons), Stephen Smalley, Stuart Olyott (on Daniel, which is related), Simon Kistemaker, and RCH Lenski.

I hope this is of help.
 

heartoflesh

Puritan Board Junior
That was excellent, Steve. Thanks!

Now if you could just help me make sense of "the first resurrection" I would really appreciate it.
 
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Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
I tend to interpret it as increased deception prior to Christ second coming. The number 1000 is often used as a symbol for fullness, therefore when the fullness of the time that God has decreed for Satan to be bound (since God does limit Satan in what he allows him to do, sometime more than others, during Christ reign on earth which is now) he will loose him for a little season meaning a global increase in ungodliness and deception including within his own church. I believe this is what Paul was refering to in 2 Thessalonians.

2 Thessalonians 2
King James Version (KJV)

1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

I believe God is the one who withholds (letteth) iniquity until he remove his protection (figurativaly not completely, God will never remove his protection from his church) then the "mystery of iniquity" will be complete and then he will return.

I tend to believe that the Man of Sin, refers to the Antichristian Papacy.


as increased deception prior to Christ second coming.
There have been oodles of deception both within and outside the visible Church over the centuries. The Apostle seems to be saying that one of the greatest apostasies and deceptions was developing in his day, that of Romanism.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: (II Thess 2:7)

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.(II Thess 2:6)

Once pagan Rome was removed, papal Rome was revealed.


Steve
but I will say that we mistakenly believe such extreme and terrible suffering will not come our way, as though the white wise and wealthy West ("after all, we are – and are among – the civilized of the earth") will be exempted from the fiery trial Peter said we should not think strange when it tries us (1 Pet 4:12; 1:7). It's coming, and we should prepare our souls to stand fast therein.

As a postmillennialist I wouldn't be at all surprised if physical and state-sponsored persecution of Christians overtook the West in the near future.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Does classic amillenialism hold there will be a great apostasy at the end (right before the second coming)?

Does this have anything to do with Satan being unleased, or is this a relative assessment of the age (between the first and second comings)?
 

heartoflesh

Puritan Board Junior
Does classic amillenialism hold there will be a great apostasy at the end (right before the second coming)?

Does this have anything to do with Satan being unleased, or is this a relative assessment of the age (between the first and second comings)?

Yes. According to Amillennialism Satan's being "bound" primarily prevents the nations from coming together as a united force against the church. Thus far they have been restrained from doing so, but when this restraint is removed then we will have the battle of Armegeddon. To quote above from Steve...

More and more, however, we see governments turning against Christ and His faith. In 2 Thess 2:3-12 (as noted above by Etienne) we see that he who restrains the power of iniquity will cease restraining it, and then shall be seen what is written in Revelation 20:7-9, those who are of Satan's kingdom shall surround – in the four quarters of the earth – the camp of the saints and the beloved city (those whose citizenship is in the heavenly Zion) and shall make universal war on the saints and overcome them (as seen symbolically in Rev 11:7, and more clearly in 13:7). It is at this point, when the camp of the saints is overcome – the surviving church now underground and no longer “visible” – that the Lord will return with vengeance for the suffering inflicted on His beloved wife. This overcoming of the church can also be seen in Rev 11:7-10, and its being resurrected and called to Christ’s side upon His return can be seen in verses 11 and 12.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
I thought a literal battle of Armageddon was part and parcel of modern dispensational premillennialism.

Are you saying classic amillennialism holds that there will be a physical war at the time of Christ's coming (before general resurrection of the just and unjust)?
 

heartoflesh

Puritan Board Junior
I thought a literal battle of Armageddon was part and parcel of modern dispensational premillennialism.

Are you saying classic amillennialism holds that there will be a physical war at the time of Christ's coming (before general resurrection of the just and unjust)?

I'm going to try to answer this without running upstairs to check G.K. Beale or Dennis Johnson! I don't think a literal battle is in view--not a literal camp containing all of the saints which the nations then surround. Here is the passage...

[20:7] And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison [8] and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. [9] And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, [10] and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

I think it is symbolic of the final assault on the church, the nations united under Satan, and their quick and sudden destruction. I probably should have said Gog and Magog as mentioned in this passage instead of Armegeddon. Unless they are the same? Time to run upstairs...
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
A couple of quick comments. Richard, I think the OP asked for an amil explanation.

Rick, the first resurrection pertains to what is said in Eph 2:5 "[God,] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved), 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." It is a spiritual resurrection by virtue of our being united to Christ in His death and resurrection (Rom 6:3-5). Col 3:1-4 says the same: "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."

Scott, yes a good number of contemporary amil teachers (most of those I listed earlier) hold to an accelerated apostatizing at the end (per 2 Thess 2 and elsewhere). And yes, it does have to do with Satan's loosing, for it will be very costly for the true church in those days, and many professing will not be willing to pay the price. There has also been apostatizing through the church age, but at the end it will get huge.

The great battle at the end (in Rev 20), seen also in Rev 19, Rev 17, Rev 16, Rev 11, will not be like the Armageddon of dispensationalism, pretty much localized in Palestine, but is symbolically shown to be universal and against the Lord by the killing of His people world-wide, in an attempt to utterly exterminate the church. Into this battle against the Bride, when it seems she is dead (but
she overcomes through death, as her Groom did) He will come back with vengeance. Rev 19 shows this more clearly/fully than some other texts. Beale, Johnson, Hendriksen, Azurdia and others see this as what is symbolically called Armageddon (cf Rev 16:16) – it is quite different than the dispie view.
 

reformedman

Puritan Board Freshman
A couple of quick comments. Richard, I think the OP asked for an amil explanation.


Sorry everyone, I was not asking for an explanation. Most of the responses were explanations or definitions of the occurences. Response #3 seems to deal closest with the question I had which I know I didn't ask coherently. I will try again since I do not agree with the postmil concept of #3.

As amils we believe that we are living in the 1000 year era. During our 1000 year era Satan is bound. The only thing we are waiting for now is the end when we will be united with Christ. The only thing Satan is waiting for during our era is the day when he will be destroyed. Therefore, how is it that Rev 20 verses 1 and 2 which describe Satan being bound, he is then released for a little time and then destroyed after.

That little while is my question. If he is bound right now, when and why will he be released for a 'little while' before he is then bound and judged again?

But after these things he must be released for a little while.

The Postmil of #3 gave a reasonable answer in defense of this, but I find faults in the postmil construction in many other areas so I am definitely not a postmil, I would like the amil perspective if possible.

Thank you and again sorry for lack of clarity.
 

reformedman

Puritan Board Freshman
Contramundum, after reading your post again, it seems you are saying that he is released during the judgment?
If this is what you meant, I can see your point as Satan is publicly shown to be judged in front of the great judgment in the end, but I find three problems with this:
1. This really isn't a 'release' as he is bound during our era and then brought in still bound to be before the throne and finally bound in torment forever. He was never really 'released'.
2. Released gives the impression of returning to a condition of liberty which he had sometime before he was bound. It seems to convey implicitly that whatever capactities he had before he was bound will be returned to him. That he will operate the same way he did before being bound.
3. The term, 'for a little while' seems to imply that this is not only for the time of judgment but instead, for a time. This is my assumption I know, but it seems redundant to say that he is released for judgment, while using the added '...for a little while'. To me it seems that this is not only for judgment.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
I heard a Pastor (teaching elder) last week explain concisely that the Book of Revelation begins with a letter to the seven churches in Asia Minor, real churches and yet types of church that will exist until our Lord returns. The rest, he said, is a exhortation and comfort of what happens to the church (universal) in between the first and second comings of Christ. What to expect to those churches that were hurting, facing difficulties, seeing some churches fall away, etc.

That made good sense.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Graduate
I heard a Pastor (teaching elder) last week explain concisely that the Book of Revelation begins with a letter to the seven churches in Asia Minor, real churches and yet types of church that will exist until our Lord returns. The rest, he said, is a exhortation and comfort of what happens to the church (universal) in between the first and second comings of Christ. What to expect to those churches that were hurting, facing difficulties, seeing some churches fall away, etc.

That made good sense.

I've always heard this to and it's a good interpretation. I can't think of any church's conditions other than those 7.
 

heartoflesh

Puritan Board Junior
That little while is my question. If he is bound right now, when and why will he be released for a 'little while' before he is then bound and judged again?

The "when" is at the end of the 1000 years, or whatever amount of time that is symbolic of.

The "why" is so he can "deceive the nations.... to gather them for battle".

The purpose for this is answered in Bruce's post #2.

The purpose of Satan's release has a "dividing" purpose. It is to sharpen the separation between those who go to his side, and those who cleave to Christ.
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
As amils we believe that we are living in the 1000 year era. During our 1000 year era Satan is bound. The only thing we are waiting for now is the end when we will be united with Christ. The only thing Satan is waiting for during our era is the day when he will be destroyed. Therefore, how is it that Rev 20 verses 1 and 2 which describe Satan being bound, he is then released for a little time and then destroyed after.

That little while is my question. If he is bound right now, when and why will he be released for a 'little while' before he is then bound and judged again?

As for the "when" we do not know for sure but the way thing are progressing it could be soon, unless God intervenes and delay it. The "Why" Rick and Rev. Buchanan gave good answers. I also believe Steve gave great descrition of what this loosing means. I'm not sure what you mean by "bound again" before the judgment, Christ will return while he is loose and will judge (and sentence) him immediately along with those who are with him, no need to bound him again. Christ's presence and glory will have the effect of stopping them in their track and forcing them to kneel before him but this is not "binding" per se.
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
As a postmillennialist, I find Satan's release and the final apostasy to be evidence of how great the success and flourishing of the Gospel will be, because there has to be something to fall away from, which you don't have with amillennialism. With amillennialism, there is nothing in particular to fall away from.

I'm not sure what you mean by saying the Amil position have nothing to fall away from? Do you not recognise God's grace, providence and protection at work in his church today and since his first coming? Even if there was times of tribulation and persecutions (even still today) there always were places and nations who were favorable and protecting God's church. Do you not believe that things can get worst? (by this I mean globaly, I do recognise the atrocities that have been commited againt God's saints in the past in various places and I'm certainly no trying to minimize it, but even in the mist of these attrocities there was always faithfull remnant who were somehow protected from being completely overtaken). Already we see around the world less an less tolerations against true orthodox believers and we see growing deception and compromise within the church (on a Global scale). Do you believe Satan is loose today and will only be bound in the future? if so how do you interpret Matthew 12:24-32. Verse 28 specifically specify that Jesus was talking in the present tense.

I tend to believe that the Man of Sin, refers to the Antichristian Papacy.

I would agree with that assessment


There have been oodles of deception both within and outside the visible Church over the centuries. The Apostle seems to be saying that one of the greatest apostasies and deceptions was developing in his day, that of Romanism.


Once pagan Rome was removed, papal Rome was revealed.

They way I understand it Rome is Rome, I don't really see a sharp distiction between Pagan or Papal Rome as you would (Papal Rome is just as pagan and blasphemous as Ancient Rome)
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Contramundum, after reading your post again, it seems you are saying that he is released during the judgment?
If this is what you meant, I can see your point as Satan is publicly shown to be judged in front of the great judgment in the end, but I find three problems with this:
1. This really isn't a 'release' as he is bound during our era and then brought in still bound to be before the throne and finally bound in torment forever. He was never really 'released'.
2. Released gives the impression of returning to a condition of liberty which he had sometime before he was bound. It seems to convey implicitly that whatever capactities he had before he was bound will be returned to him. That he will operate the same way he did before being bound.
3. The term, 'for a little while' seems to imply that this is not only for the time of judgment but instead, for a time. This is my assumption I know, but it seems redundant to say that he is released for judgment, while using the added '...for a little while'. To me it seems that this is not only for judgment.

Frank,
Apparently I'm not clear, or not getting through.

No, I'm not saying he is released during the judgment. But I am saying that the closer we get to the end, the fewer people will be being saved. I'm saying that in the end of the world, the days of grace are drawing to an end. "The love of many will grow cold," Mt.24:12. Like the pan on the stove, when the burner is turned off: the bubbles keep forming for a while, the water keeps moving, but the whole thing is growing cold. Why? Because the Spirit of God is being withdrawn from his soul-winning work. He's not withdrawn from believers (as a gift taken back); but as the agent of regeneration, his work is basically done. I don't think his work will disappear overnight, but the apparent efficacy of his labors will ebb.

This, I say, is simply in keeping with our understanding that ALL the elect will be saved, and then comes the end. The reason Satan is bound is so that he cannot deceive the nations, and so the Spirit moves (through the gospel and gospel ministers) and plunders the nations of his chosen ones. Late in the game, there will be stragglers over the goal-line; but there comes a time in history when the roll has been called, to the last name. The effectual call is not man's work, but Holy Spirit's. And I don't think that a true picture of the end is that of a great revival sweeping people into the kingdom of God, just as everything comes apart at the seams. I think his work trails off, and ends at some point.

And if Holy Spirit is being withdrawn from the work of raiding the strong man's house, then the gospel and gospel ministers can still be present, and doing their work; but it and they will not longer be as "effective" in the sense of plucking brands from the fire. Because the Spirit will then be just "picking off" his last remnants, of those whose names were written in the Lamb's book of life from all eternity. And as Holy Spirit settles in exclusively with the church, to brace and uphold her, that she is able to endure in the world's final hours, he simultaneously releases he who was bound.

I hope that clarifies what I mean.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
As a postmillennialist, I find Satan's release and the final apostasy to be evidence of how great the success and flourishing of the Gospel will be, because there has to be something to fall away from, which you don't have with amillennialism. With amillennialism, there is nothing in particular to fall away from.

I'm not sure what you mean by saying the Amil position have nothing to fall away from? Do you not recognise God's grace, providence and protection at work in his church today and since his first coming? Even if there was times of tribulation and persecutions (even still today) there always were places and nations who were favorable and protecting God's church. Do you not believe that things can get worst? (by this I mean globaly, I do recognise the atrocities that have been commited againt God's saints in the past in various places and I'm certainly no trying to minimize it, but even in the mist of these attrocities there was always faithfull remnant who were somehow protected from being completely overtaken). Already we see around the world less an less tolerations against true orthodox believers and we see growing deception and compromise within the church (on a Global scale). Do you believe Satan is loose today and will only be bound in the future? if so how do you interpret Matthew 12:24-32. Verse 28 specifically specify that Jesus was talking in the present tense.

I tend to believe that the Man of Sin, refers to the Antichristian Papacy.

I would agree with that assessment


There have been oodles of deception both within and outside the visible Church over the centuries. The Apostle seems to be saying that one of the greatest apostasies and deceptions was developing in his day, that of Romanism.


Once pagan Rome was removed, papal Rome was revealed.

They way I understand it Rome is Rome, I don't really see a sharp distiction between Pagan or Papal Rome as you would (Papal Rome is just as pagan and blasphemous as Ancient Rome)

Do you not believe that things can get worst?

Things can get worse, but they can also get better.

There is progress in the growth and extent of Christ's Church and the spread of the Gospel in connection with the binding of Satan, as, e.g., the Parables of the Leaven and the Mustard Seed also teach us.

1.And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan

2.and bound him for a thousand years,

3.and threw him into the pit

4.and shut it and sealed it over him

5.so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended.

6.After that he must be released for a little while. (Rev 20, ESV)

That isn't incompatible with things getting worse just now or at points in the future, even a long and intensive and extensive period of persecution in Great Britain and the USA. As has already been said, things are already very bad for our brothers in many countries.

there was always faithful remnant who were somehow protected from being completely overtaken)

There will also be a faithful remnant when Satan is released at the end.
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
There will also be a faithful remnant when Satan is released at the end.

Yes of course but the Church (as an earthly institution) will suffer greatly. I tend to agree with what Steve wrote in post #5

So while the nations, having the Gospel during the period of Satan's binding (he cannot stop the spread of the gospel – not even by killing the messengers of it) are freed from deception, when that "millennial" period is finished the nations will once again be brought into the bondage of deception. That is often understood to mean that the Gospel of Christ, and those who proclaim it (be they lay or cleric), will be outlawed – officially deemed invalid, negligible, criminal – and Satan will once again seek to establish his own kingdom in the earth. This period, although short, will be a time of great persecution and affliction for true Christians and their churches. This loosing of Satan is by the hand of the sovereign Lord. As Pastor Bruce indicated above, one purpose of this will be to separate the wheat from the chaff and tares. Another, related purpose, will be to purify the church and its true citizens through severe affliction – which only the faithful will endure.

I believe we have similar view on what will happen during Satan's release but we might disagree on what the parable of the leaven and the mustard seed mean. The Kingdom of God is eternal therefore I believe the parable span the entire reign of Christ and not only a specific time in the future where it will be fully leavened (meaning most of the people in the world at that specific time will be converted). The the Kingdom being "leavened" means there are believers being added to the kingdom, once that works is done then Satan will be released. Since the kingdom is eternal the saint of past centuries are also counted therefore as long as there are sheep being added to the fold the kingdom is being "leavened".
 
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Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Very helpful discussion, all.

Richard, can you clarify a bit on the difference between "amill" and "postmill" right before our Lord's return?

Also, is what is sometimes called "optimistic" amill similar to premill or is the former an invention by those who don't really understand (like "new" Calvinism)?:)
 
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Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
One must first determine what Satan is released from.
What is Satan "Bound to explicitly" ? ?
and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished.

It seems to me that he is only "Bound" regarding "deception of the nations"
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Benjamin, that’s right – Satan is bound during the millennial period only as regards deceiving the nations. He is released from this binding after that period so as to specifically mobilize entire nations – all the nations – and their governments. So while he is bound in the abyss (I assume this means he is more or less restricted to his hell-domain as far as ability to be active in a major way among humankind) his activity among men is enormously restricted. When loosed, and all of unregenerate mankind is mobilized in satanic rage and intelligence to destroy the world-wide Bride of Christ, it will be seen what a major shift in his abilities this portends.

Scott, there is some slight similarity between the amil and premil right before the Lord’s return, although it really is more similar before the premil’s rapture which precedes the alleged return of Jesus to dwell in and reign from earthly Jerusalem during their erroneous take on the allegedly literal 1,000 years. Before the rapture: some premils have the rapture occurring before the great tribulation, and some have it “pre-wrath”, meaning right before the 7 bowl/vial judgments but after some terrible earlier tribulation (i.e., the saints go through tribulation). The amils have a period of relatively brief but lethally intense tribulation right before they are brought up to heaven to be with the Lord. I hesitate to call the amil’s “being brought up to heaven to be with the Lord” a rapture, as I like to keep a clear distinction between the two schools in this. The amils envision tribulation all through the millennial period of the gospel presentation, although they see it exponentially accelerate at the end.

Revelation 11:3 through 12 shows the church’s history during the “1,000 years”, bearing witness in the world, and when its witness is finished (the end of the gospel “millennium”) war is made against it and it is overcome (to all appearances) by the beast. The satanically-inspired worldlings rejoice at seeing the effective slaughter of the saints, and gloat – disdainfully leaving their bodies unburied – until, after 3 days (I think symbolically a very short time, for it will likely take longer than three days to kill them all) the Spirit of life enters them and they are resurrected! And they remain standing on the earth for a very brief period until the Lord says to them with a shout, “Come up here!” When the killers see those whom they have just butchered come alive again (now with glorified bodies!) terror will strike them through. And the resurrection of the just will continue at the shout of the Lord – they shall go to meet Him in the air. So you can see there is some similarity. There will be an antichrist / beast leading the nations – both schools agree – and a calling to heaven of the saints after tribulation – agreement again.

But there will be no 1,000 year reign of Jesus from Jerusalem, rather He will sit on the great white throne of judgment (Rev 20:11ff; Matt 25:31ff) after His return to judge the antichrist and false prophet and the wicked of earth.

In G.K. Beale’s excellent lecture (or is it a sermon?) on Rev 11 and the two witnesses, he shows how this happens; this downloadable mp3 is outstanding: “Two Witnesses in Revelation”. He also gives a compelling presentation of the amil interpretive method in the lecture.

In the amil view, this is what there is to fall away from: The churches are filled with many who profess faith, love, and obedience to Jesus Christ. Just look at America; all sorts of churches, from mainline to charismatic / Pentecostal to various shades of Baptists, various shades of P&R, Catholics, EO, Episcopal, Amish / Bruderhoff / Mennonite, various shades of Wesleyan, emergent, etc etc.

When the decree comes down from the higher powers – the various levels of the civil magistrate – that, due to egregious wickedness regularly coming forth from the churches against the state and its citizens, all churches must now disband, and all citizens must sign affirmations of complete disassociation from all Christian organizations, on pain of incarceration, inability to buy and sell (the computers will have your number – new smart IDs on the way), to own or rent property. Well, this will surely rub the believers the wrong way (with some of them likely violently revolting), and the decree will then be intensified. Think of the decree that came forth from King Ahasuerus, after he was tricked into it by Haman the Agagite, giving the order to destroy all the Jews everywhere in his vast empire, and to help themselves to their spoil afterwards (Esther 3:12-15). There are many Agagites in this day just waiting for their moment.

So the falling away will be from professing Christ as Lord and Savior and from membership in His church. I think, given the criminalizing of the faith and those who will loyally hold to it, vast multitudes will say, “Hey, I didn’t bargain for this; I’m no criminal; nor am I a fruitcake fanatic. I’ll just believe what I believe secretly, denying this Christ and His out-of-control people to any who ask, and get on with my life.” So there is much to fall away from in the amil view!
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Very helpful discussion, all.

Richard, can you clarify a bit on the difference between "amill" and "premill" right before our Lord's return?

Also, is what is sometimes called "optimistic" amill similar to premill or is the former an invention by those who don't really understand (like "new" Calvinism)?:)

I assume you mean postmil rather than premil. Steve has explained the amil view of the falling away. The postmil view is that the world will be progressively converted to Christ and Christianised, and there will be a long period of Christian dominance, before there is a final apostasy.

Some of the older postmillennialists tended to speak of the millennium as dating from certain events such as the national conversion of the Jews. Most modern postmillennialists identify the millennium with the whole interadventual age, and some call themselves "optimistic amillennialists".

Benjamin
One must first determine what Satan is released from.
What is Satan "Bound to explicitly" ? ?
Originally Posted by reformedman
and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished.
It seems to me that he is only "Bound" regarding "deception of the nations"
Many nations have been - and are - largely deceived over the past 2,000 years.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Richard, you said, “Many nations have been - and are - largely deceived over the past 2,000 years.”

If we look at it compared to what the situation with the nations was before the coming into the world of Christ, and His resurrection victory over the powers of darkness – through the preaching of the everlasting gospel – then we see a vast change with regard to the nations. The nations were lit from within with the light of God in Christ; a number of times actual Christian rulers governed nations, and sought to lead them in the ways of righteousness.

In ancient times – B.C. – all the nations save Israel were in the thrall of Satan: in darkness and under the shadow of death (Matt 4:16). Satan’s hold over the nations was broken by the preaching of the Gospel of Christ; some nations called themselves “Christian nations”.

Okay, there remained deception in many areas; illumination and godliness were but partial. But one could find the people of God in nations all over the world, and ofttimes they were free to worship. Yes, even during the Messianic age there were bitter enemies against God’s people, but as the saying went, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church”, and the church often prospered even in dire tribulation.

Now things are growing dark once again, as once-Christian governments (loosely speaking) seek to clamp down on the churches. In your own Scotland this is coming to pass! It’s like there is a slow hand moving toward the throat of the Christian body; ever so slowly it seeks to get its stranglehold. You say, that this will pass, and things will change for the better? I will say, that you postmil optimists do much good in leavening society with justice and mercy – I see Tim Keller and his influence here in the states and abroad (despite his dangerous failures in doctrine and practice) – but the mystery of iniquity will roar over your works like a flood when the preaching of the gospel is outlawed, drowning them, and they will not arise again, for the strong delusion that shall take hold of the world shall usher in the man of sin (cf 2 Thess 2:3-12) and there will not be a recovery until the church is crushed under the beast’s iron boot, and the Lord shows up in furious vengeance to put an end to it all, and it shall be seen as true, and applicable to our time especially, the words of Paul in Romans 8,


35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.​

For death shall not harm us, neither famine nor pain, and through death we shall conquer death, even as our Lord. I fear, Richard, the postmil optimism is a lulling dream that disarms those who should be preparing for ill times. For ill times that shall increase in intensity till the Lord returns.

The slow hand that seeks to throttle the body of Christ in your kingdom, I think will seek a swift assault here in my sleeping domain. Sleeping in the intoxicating wine of the Babylon whore.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
The slow hand that seeks to throttle the body of Christ in your kingdom, I think will seek a swift assault here in my sleeping domain. Sleeping in the intoxicating wine of the Babylon whore.

Even on amil premises, Steve, how are you so sure that we are entering the final apostasy? This could be another apostasy long before the final one?

For death shall not harm us, neither famine nor pain, and through death we shall conquer death, even as our Lord. I fear, Richard, the postmil optimism is a lulling dream that disarms those who should be preparing for ill times. For ill times that shall increase in intensity till the Lord returns.

I agree if postmil was preached the wrong way i.e. if it's not pointed out that according to the postmil view there may be many years - even centuries - of persecution in various parts of the world, including the West, before better days come all over the world. Maybe I have a more nuanced postmillennialism than some (?)

I don't know how decisive or central one's millennial view is in preparing someone for persecution. Some amils and premils may be better prepared spiritually for persecution than some postmils, and vice versa. It no doubt has some influence.

Now things are growing dark once again, as once-Christian governments (loosely speaking) seek to clamp down on the churches. In your own Scotland this is coming to pass! It’s like there is a slow hand moving toward the throat of the Christian body; ever so slowly it seeks to get its stranglehold.

I don't have any illusions that we may well face state sponsored physical persecution in the West in my lifetime. Indeed there have been some incidents already, particularly in connection with the "gay" issue.

Thank you for your encouraging Scripture references.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Richard, you said, "Even on amil premises, Steve, how are you so sure that we are entering the final apostasy?"

That surely is a legit question! I'm not absolutely sure, although the confluence of certain events worldwide – on so many fronts – leads me to think it may be near. I'll be doing a thread or two on just this in a little while – to lay out the vision I have of it.

That we are on the verge of a financial collapse
– you folks in the UK and EU, and we in the US – is one aspect, which shall usher in the heavy hand of governments to control societal chaos; the increasing antipathy of gov'ts and peoples to the Christian worldview and faith; related to the last: the rejection of former national embracings of Christian faith and the emergence of strong legal/political agendas against it; the obvious greatly increasing worldliness of the churches, even among the Presbyterian and Reformed; the armed anti-government views of many church members in the US, which is a time-bomb; the growing crystallization of the identity of Revelation's Babylon (although your being postmil will have a different take); the development of various weapons systems, with accompanying "asymmetrical warfare" strategies, and the hatred of many nations toward the US – all these bespeak developments that appear to be moving to a climax, and not one of the many minor climaxes (although tumultuous in themselves) history has shown throughout the church age, but a climax "of Biblical proportions", as the saying goes, one that the only means of recovery from will necessitate the appearing of the Lord from Heaven to exact justice and vengeance in the protecting of His suffering people.

Now I said all this in response to your "even on amil premises" qualification, as I know your postmil premises will not concur with my views. I do indeed think you have a more nuanced view than many of your school, so that our views are not entirely alien
– though I think your "many centuries" of ill and good to come, and a far-off final bettering of the world before the end, is refuted by the New Testament teaching.
 
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