“The two competing major solutions should be summarized briefly, even at the risk of oversimplification. The first one that developed in Christian history usually goes by the names millennialism (Latin mille, “thousand,” and annus, “year”) as well as premillennialism. In this solution, the return of Christ will be followed by the visible, earthly kingdom of Christ and his people on earth that lasts numerous 365-day years, probably a thousand. After this, there will be one final battle in which the last human rebels will be crushed, the devil will finally be cast into eternal torment, the final judgment of humanity will occur, and at last there will be a new heaven and new earth. Chapter 20 is a central point in this view, especially the perceived literary unity between the closing verses of chapter 19 and 20:1–3, where the “demonic trinity” meets its judgment. This solution faded into obscurity for more than a thousand years of Christian history but has reemerged in the past two centuries in several forms.
The second major solution was urged by Augustine in the early medieval period. It completely dominated Christian thinking both throughout the Middle Ages and throughout the Reformation era. It still finds many devout, Bible-believing proponents, and is usually called amillennialism. In this solution, the return of Christ described in Revelation 19 is preceded by the invisible, spiritual kingdom of Christ and his people that lasts throughout the period between his First and Second comings. After this, there will be one final battle in which the last human rebels will be crushed, the devil will finally be cast into eternal torment, the final judgment of humans will occur, and at last there will be a new heaven and new earth.
Bitter theological battles have been fought over which view is correct. The more this writer has studied Revelation and the rest of Scripture on the millennial question, the more difficult it has been to decide. Both views have strengths. Both views have weaknesses…” – Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 367–368.
Continue reading “What Happens Next? Revelation 20: The Millennium; The Great White Throne”
8 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
- After the intermission of chapter 7, we return to the opening of the 7 seals mentioned back in chapter 5.
- John’s report of the events continues from a heavenly perspective.
- Chapter 8 is largely a display of God’s judgment on sin through a series of trumpet blasts.
- “When the Lamb” – John reminds us briefly of what was stated in 5.6-10, that Christ is the only one worthy to open the seals.
- “silence in heaven for about half an hour” – until now, John’s description of heavenly events largely revolves around continual worship of the godhead…”day and night they never stop, saying, ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was , who is, and who is to come” (4.8). This is no doubt a signal that something big is about to happen.
- The opening of the 7th seal is really the continuing of the unfolding of the judgment scroll of chapter 5. A telescoping of sorts.
- “What he sees and hears better described as angels blowing trumpets rather than as reading the contents of a scroll. Another way to think about this is that the seven trumpet judgments (and seven bowl judgments of chapter 16) are what is written on the scroll. After the seventh seal is broken, the scroll unrolls to reveal its contents.” – Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 142.
Continue reading “What Happens Next? Revelation 8, The 7th Seal/4 Trumpet Blasts”
- After visions of the worship of God and the worthiness of Christ in the previous two chapters, we are now drawn down to see the rebellion of the earth.
- Revelation contains 3 different series of God’s judgments – the seals, the trumpets, and the bowls. – John Phillips has said:
- The seals – the world is ruined by man
- The trumpets – the world is ruined by Satan
- The bowls – the world is rescued by God (Exploring Revelation, 95)
- Chapter six contains six of the seven seals mentioned earlier in chapter 5.2. If you remember, the seals are representative of God’s judgment, thus in this chapter, we will begin to see and understand what that looks like.
- As a reminder, depending on one’s end times view, some may see these as specific future events and others may see these as general descriptions which happen throughout the course of history until the return of Christ. Regardless, many of the conclusions of these seals have large agreement among various scholars.
- The seals seem to progressively increase in intensity as the Holy Spirit’s restraint is removed from the earth.
Continue reading “What Happens Next? Revelation 6: Six Seals of Seven”