Thursday, April 20, 2006

Amillennialism, Fifth and Final Post

OK, so what do we do with the first six verses of Revelation 20?

The biggest clue, to me at least, is the binding of Satan. The usual method of understanding this verse unfolds as follows: "Hmmm... what would the world be like if Satan were bound? [Insert utopian fantasy here]. But the world doesn't look like that, so I guess the binding of Satan must happen during the millennium."

Side note: In Dispensational hermeneutics, the "millennium" is the catch-all category into which we stick all prophecies that are not fulfilled to one's liking.

But if we compare Scripture with Scripture -- more specifically, Revelation 20:2 with Matthew 12:29 -- we will see that the binding of Satan occurs as the result of Christ's inauguration of the kingdom at his first coming. Then when you factor in Paul's statements about Satan being "disarmed" (Col. 2:15), and John's claim that Christ has "destroyed the works of the devil" (I John 3:8), it becomes clear that, by his death and resurrection, the Seed of the woman dealt the coup de grĂ¢ce to "that old serpent, who is the devil and Satan." The "thousand years," therefore, are concurrent with the devil's binding.

"But it has been almost two thousand years! Why does John say 'a thousand'?"

Because Revelation is an apocalyptic book, and that's how apocalyptic books say things. In fact, a careful reader of this prophecy would be hard pressed to find even one number that is used in a non-symbolical way.

Does God have seven Spirits? Did the church of Philadelphia experience a trial that lasted sixty minutes? Does Jesus have seven eyes?

The sooner we begin reading Revelation according to its genre rather than trying to force it into a straitjacket more suited to a book like Romans, the sooner we'll be able to get past all the cloak-and-dagger, Missleresque, woodenly literal weirdness and actually get the book's point:

"And the God of peace shall crush Satan under your feet shortly."