*Editors Note: Brandon Smith will be live-blogging this event.
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PLEASE NOTE:The positions expressed in this conference are the views of each individual presenter for the sake of intellectual and biblical discussion and do not necessarily reflect the views of Criswell College.
Dr. Don Preston, Preterist
The avenging of the martyrs is the key point of Revelation 20.
The vindication of the martyrs is the pervasive motif of Revelation and the totality of Scripture (Rev. 6, Rev. 12, Rev. 16-19).
Revelation is 20 is a reiteration of the martyr theme of Revelation chapters.
The motif of martyr vindication is tied to Old Covenant Israel. Until Gods covenant with Israel was fulfilled, it would remain valid. The millennium and the end are tied together by this.
Most eschatologies fail to properly tie the millennium and martyr vindication.
The resurrection of Rev. 20 is the resurrection of 1 Cor. 15. Paul said there is one hope.
A.D. 70 was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
Paul quotes from Deuteronomy more than any other texts. He ties his eschatology to Jewish presecution and martyr vindication.
Isa. 26-27 predicts the rejection of Old Covenant Israel, not the Church.
Dan. 12 is about the vindication of the martyrs. Rev. 20 directly references Dan. 12. and refers to the millenniumfulfilled in A.D. 70.
Israel is the persecuting power in the Old Testament, not a Gentile future power. Vindication is posited in Israels last days.
Jesus teaching on martyr vindication in the 7 Woes. He says, Assuredly, all these things will come upon this generation.
In Matt. 21 and 22, Luke 13, and Luke 18 Jesus poses the question, Will God not avenge his servants? He will avenge them speedily. He refers to imminent occurence.
Clearly, Jesus could not give the Thessalonians vindication if they are not there at the time of his coming.
Paul said that his gospel was for Israel martyr vindication, just like Isa. 26-27.
The measure of sin and suffering and the killing of the apostles and prophetsis central to Revelation. This definitively delimits the end of the millennium to the first century.
Jesus said that Old Covenant Jerusalem would kill him and his apostles and that they would be judged in his generation.
The identity of Babylon the Harlot in Revelation was labeled as an evil that age.
The Harlot killed the apostles and prophets of Jesus. A direct echo of Matt. 23. Judgment was near.
Jesus clearly posited that the vindication of the martyrs was imminent, at A.D. 70.
Dr. H. Wayne House, Traditional Dispensationalist
Orthodox Christians agree that Jesus return in a personal, visible,and bodily manner.
He will appear a second time.
Premillennialism came from John and his apostles.
We dont needRev. 20 as a basis for Premillennialism, though its nice to have.
Premillennialism refers to the coming of Christ prior to a period of time in which judgment occurs.
John the apostle emphasizes a period of 1,000 years, not just a figurative period of time.
The early church read the prophets and thought that what they said would occur literally.
When you comeup with words and statements, are you interpreting according to the Oldand New Testaments? They complement each other.
Full blessings were unconditionally promised to Abrahams descendants and theres no point in going to the New Testament and taking away from what is said in the Old Testament.
Jesus comes as the Son of David, and as such he is the fulfilling of Old Testament prophecies about Davids son. These refer to a physical reign of Israel, not just some out there spiritual reign.
When Paul says that Israel would come in after the fullness of Gentiles, I take that literally. TheGentiles would be able to participate in blessingsafterward.
God created in the world and executes his plan in this world.
Jesus is doing his Davidic work right now.
Details and fulfillment of prophecy must be corresponding. Fulfillment could nothappen without all factors to come true. There must be a future earthly kingdom as told by the Old Testament prophets.
What happened in Genesiswhen God was reigningtheocratically? Sin came andthings changed. Because of this,in Gen. 3 the firstgospel is told.There is a correlation between Gods purposesthenanda future kingdom. God brings a physical and spiritual reclaimation to what was lost in Gen. 3.
Just because I get blessing doesnt mean that I get a single ounce of land.
Rev. 6-20 show a future view of Gods return and victorious reign. It is a chronological description of the return of Gods theocratic rule.
God provides a bliss for a millennium while Satan is bound.
A future kingdom age is shown as a God-established kingdom where all other kingdoms are destroyed.
The millennial kingdom will somehow melt into theNew Heavens and New Earth where only righteousness dwells.
Christ returns for the Church, there is a judgment seat where the Church will be evaluated, and there will be a marriage supperwith the Lamb that very well maygointo themillennial reign.
Jesus will literally place his feet on Mount Olive.
Why should I move to a new hermeneutic from the first coming as the second? It makes sense to handle both the same way.
Dr. Kenneth H. Gentry, Postmillennialist
There is only one passagethat speaks on the millennium in the most figurative book in the Bible, and it alsospeaks of women standing on the moon and multi-headed animals.
I see Rev. 20 as important to the narrative of the book that it is in, but not soimportant to eschatology.
Revelation is tied to the first century.
If you want to understand Revelation, read the first 3 verses of the bookand dont jump into Rev. 6.
Rev. 20 focuses on martyrs in the first century, and I believe that the Beast is Nero.
Christ will return after millennial conditions prevail on Earth.
Christ establishes the Kingdom in the first century and we are in that now. He confronted Satan and defeated him at the cross, resurrection, and ascension. He then gives the Great Commandment and will bless the Kingdom with growth over time and will penetrate all areas of life. The majority of the world will be converted and Christ will return bodily and physically.
Christ won the battle in history and the implications become more and more felt in society. We teach an eschatology of earthly victory.
We believe that things will grow better and better and we are the only system that is historically optimistic. The gospel that Jesus has given you is not a vain labor and will conquer in history.
The Great Commission calls us so to go and secure the mission to the nations.
Christ initiated the last days of Isa. 2.
According to Joel 2, the last days have come with Christ.
The last days concept began with the first coming of Christ, established by the New Covenant, and we will continue until the last day when the resurrection comes. The whole millennium and Kingdom covers the entirety of the last days.
Christians have received a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. The New Testament expands the concept of the temple to the body of Christ. This will lead to a worldwide victory by the Church.
The Great Commissionis informed bythe concept of Isa. 2 about teaching disciples. A full-blownbureaucratic Kingdom will not be brought to earth. The millennium is now and the Kingdom is present. It will gain the victory in the world. It is the marching orders after Christ conquers Satan.
Christ affirms that he has all authority. What else do we need to get the job done?
Christs death is the seed to the fruit of the Kingdom. He says that the time is now, not some thousand years in the future.
Before Christ, the knowledge of God was limited by and large to Israel. Before Christ, God allowed Satans dominion of the world as he was called the Ruler of the World. The dramatic, redemptive event of history that took the rule from Satan is the keyNew Testament theme.
By casting out demons, Christ was defeating Satan. Christ came into the world to destroy the works of the devil. Christs victory over Satan began int he first century.
God sent his Son into the world and commissioned Christians to take the gospel to the world. This is our hope.
Dr. Craig Blaising, Progressive Dispensationalist
Progressive dispensationalism sees the eschatological Kingdom in Scripture as holistic. The Kingdom that Dan. 2 pulls in aMessianic prophecy; its not a mere political thing or a mere spiritual thing.
The Kingdom will come into order on the Earth and will involve the nations, but there is a unity by the Holy Spirit. The Old Covenant promise of a New Covenant involves the Gentiles.
Christs ruling of the Kingdom involves Israel and fulfills their promises. The Gentile reality has superceded Israels political promises. The fulfillment of Christ extends to the nations and to the individual lives of Jews and Gentiles. This comes into reality in phases.
Progression means that God only chooses to manifest certain things. He is choosing to manifest the spiritual reality that makes shalom with one another. The Kingdom is not established as a political reality until Christ comes.
The new creation language in Isa. 65 is a Kingdom reference. He is talking about the Kingdom envisioned elsewhere in Scripture, but also has a mortalindication of death. Isa. 25 is also great, but not mortal. God doesnt explain but there is an interval of time; stages are possible.
Many prophecies allow for more revelation to clarify them later.
You cannot solve the millennium issue without Rev. 20. It is hard to understand, but there is a pattern of intertextual allusions that goback to Scripture.
Satan is locked away and thrown into a pit; he is sealed away and cannot hurt anybody. He is the released to deceive the nations again. In between, martyrs and others come to life and reign with Christ for 1,000 years. Within the context, there is a bodily resurrection. We have two comings to life before and after the millennium.
We have the coming of Jesus and a sequence of events that are undoubtedly future- they could not refer to something that has already happened.
Dr. Gregory K. Beale, Amillennialist
I believe ina millenniumthat will be staggered in a spiritual and physical way.
I might call myself an ironic Postmillennialist. I do think that the Kingdom is always advancing, just not always visibly.
You have to believe in a final physical resurrection. I also see a future destruction of the earth. There are several theological problems with everything ending in A.D. 70.
Rev. 20 goes back before the final judgment at the end of Rev. 19.
Why is Satan bound? Rev. 20:7 says that he is bound so that he cannot bring a worldwidewar against the Church.
In Rev. 20, you have ands that designate sequences of events and things that happen at the same time.
Satan can only work within the sphere that he is placed and because he is not omniscient, he wants to wreak havoc all he can because he doesnt know when the time is coming.
Rev. 12 and Rev. 20 explain one another intalking about Christs first coming.
The word throne is used 46 times in Revelation, but is never once about a literal throne on Earth. The burden of proof is on the one to prove otherwise.
Only people that have been raised over the second death can truly rest because they cannot be harmed by physical or spiritual death.
You interpret the unclear texts by the clear ones.
The difference between my view and Blomberg/Blaising is onlyRom. 11 and Rev. 20.
Im much more concerned with the already than the consummation.
If the first and second death are different in kind, then that opens the door to the two resurrections being different in kind. There can be a spiritual and physical resurrection to life.
We are in the likeness of Christs resurrection not just later but now. The language of physical and spiritual life are used together often.
Dr. Craig L. Blomberg, Historical Premillennialist
God created this world completely good. God will not leave his purposes for this world without vindication, but will recreate Eden.
Ido have to know that the 21st century is the last one. We cannot know that and God said that we cannot know that.
George Ladd said that he would be an Amillennialist if it werent for Rev. 20.
I fear for Western Christianity when over and over again I see that many people are only pre-tribulational is because they cant imagine suffering, but the 2/3 world looks at us and weeps because theyve already experienced it.
1 Thess. 4:17 is not a pre-tribulational rapturebut a meeting with him as his welcoming party; the Thessalonians wouldnt understand it any other way.
Rev. 7 speaks of people coming out of a rapture. Normally, when you come out of something it means that youve been in it.
But doesnt Left Behind say that were left behind? The man taken from the field and the woman taken from grinding are taken away in judgment.
Jesus prays in John 17:15 that God not take them out of the world but that he protects them from the evil one. Implication: theyre still in the world.
Christ and his armies almost entirely destroy the enemies; there is no major war.
The two pervasiveviews in church history have been my view and Amillennialism.
Preserve the doctrine of the millennium without details that we arent privy to.