Millennial Mysteries

Christ Covenant Church
Jon Marq Toombs
Text: Revelation 20
21 May 2017
Sixth Sunday of Easter

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[ sketch notes ]

Intro –

Bruce Metzger – “The account in these few verses, in spite of their brevity, is one of the most impressive descriptions of the Last Judgment ever written. John’s vision presents these truths better than any reasoned argument could ever do. The opening of the books suggests that our earthly lives are important and meaningful, and are taken into account at the end. But the consultation of the book of life shows that our eternal destiny is determined by God’s decision, by God’s grace, by God’s amazing goodness.” (97)

A THOUSAND YEARS: ALL THE SPACE-TIME HISTORY FROM THE FIRST COMING OF CHRIST TO THE SECOND (AND LAST) COMING OF CHRIST

20 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. 

Three Major Millenial Views: Pre-, A-, Post-millenial. (I am somewhere between an optimistic amill and a wannabe postmill.)

Alternative Millennial Views: Pro-millennial (whatever it is I’m all for it) and Pan-millennial (no matter what it’ll all pan out). Notes on Revelation 20. 🙂

1000 figural not literal. Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8 = time is relative to God 1000 is like 1 day. 1000 years means “an extensive period of time” / a long time, but not eternal

symbolic vs historic = artistic vs scientific interpretation

We have seen this movie before. This vision is the bookend of the vision we saw in Revelation 12. There the dragon was cast out of heaven and down to the earth. Here, after wreaking havoc on the earth with its two beasts and the Great Whore, he is now chained and cast down into the abyss (cp Rev. 17:8).

Satan Bound with a Chain = no more free range on earth; no longer deceive the elect among the nations; not able to deceive the nations against Christ.

The point here is that the dragon was sentenced to prison for an extensive length of time; a long time by our standards, but a short time by God’s standards. Why?

So that the church may participate in the mission of God and carry the gospel to the nations, tribes, languages, and people of the world.

Cornelis P. Venema on the thousand years says — “We have a representation of that period of history between the time of Christ’s first coming and his return at the end of age, in which Satan has been bound so as no longer to be able to deceive the nations. The millennium is now, the period in which Christ’s kingdom is advancing by his Spirit and Word and the nations are being discipled. This period is not a literal period of one thousand years, but the entire period, perfect, complete and extensive, between the first and second comings of Christ. Compared to the vast expanse and power of the kingdom of Christ, the period of Satan’s rebellion at the end of the age prior to Christ’s return, will be pathetically small and limited in scope.”

inaugurated millenialsim = the millennium was inaugurated through the incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. “already/not yet”

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

The thrones are the thrones of the twenty-four elders, the apostles and prophets, which are set around the throne of God and the Lamb (4:4; 11:16; cp Psalm 122:5; Daniel 7:9).

These are the people in white robes who overcame the world, the flesh, and the devil by faith in Jesus Christ, his word, and blood (12); who were slaughtered by the dragon and martyred for the Faith (12); who were praying under the altar (6) and praising around the throne (7); who stood with the Lamb on the mountain and worshiped God (14); who consecrated themselves to God and remained undefiled (16); who were dressed as a bride for the wedding feast (19); who rode into battle behind the Rider on the white horse (19).

The point here is that all those who suffered and sacrificed their lives for the sake of Christ are safe and secure in the presence of Christ. There they currently serve as priests and kings until Jesus comes again at the end of all things.

THE END OF HISTORY (IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT):

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 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. 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.

After he serves his prison sentence the dragon will be released for a short time. In that short time he will set out to deceive the nations into gathering for war against Christ and the church.

Poythress – Gog and Magog = Satan’s mustering of all the nations in a united show of force in order to oppose Christ and the Church at the end of all things.

Beale – recapitulation of war and judgment visions seen in chs. 12, 14, 15, 16, 19. Another way of describing and emphaszing in summary form what has already been described and explained.

Gog and Magog = Ezekiel 38-39 cp Revelation 16:14; 19:19; 20:8; Zechariah 14:2; Isaiah 11:4; Psalm 2:8

JMT – Gog and Magog = land beast and sea beast [corrupt politics and counterfeit religion] mustered by satan against Christ and the Church per chs 13-19. Satan = the dragon ch 12, 20

The point is this: at the end of all things, the world, the flesh, and the devil will be crushed and conquered once for all by God, for his glory and our good.

fire consumed them = OT enemies surrounding the city of God — eyes to see / more with us than with them 2 Kings 6:17 (blindness); 19:35 (angel)

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

The Holy Judgment of God — everyone and everything will appear before the throne of judgment to give an account for all their thoughts, words, and deeds.

Book of Deeds = Book of Death

Book of Life = contains all the names of all the sinners that Jesus came into the world to save / ransom and redeem with his blood.

All the enemies of God (whether dragon or beasts or whores or kings or unbelievers or Death and Hades) are thrown into the lake of fire.

Only the followers of the Lamb, whose names are in the Book of Life, will be saved from the lake of fire.

Craig Koester – “Many readers find it unnerving to find John speaking about God writing people’s names in the book of life from the foundation of the world. Those who take John seriously naturally want to know, “Is my name included in God’s book?” Revelation does not list the names that are in the book of life, but it does give readers enough information to know that the comments about the book of life are designed to encourage faithfulness, not despair. John’s counsel can summarized this way: Trust that the Lamb, who died to liberate people from “every tribe and language and people and nation” for life with God (5:9-10), also died for you. Trust that God wants you to put this faith into practice — then leave matters concerning the final judgment in God’s hands.” (Craig Koester, Revelation and the End of All Things, 191)

Pastoral Prayer – Psalm 69

O Lord, answer us for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to us. 7 Hide not your face from your servants, for we are in distress; make haste to answer us. 18 Draw near to our souls, redeem us; ransom us because of our enemies! 24 Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them. 25 May their camp be a desolation; let no one dwell in their tents. 27 Add to them punishment upon punishment; may they have no acquittal from you. 28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous. 29 But we are afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set us on high! 30  We will praise the name of God with a song; we will magnify him with thanksgiving. 31 This will please the Lord more than [a big fat sacrifice]. 32 When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive. 33 For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners. 34 Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them. 35 For God will save Zion and build up the cities of [the promised land], and people shall dwell there and possess it; 36  the offspring of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall dwell in it.

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