It’s a fairly formidable task to come to a conclusion on a Bible verse that there simply isn’t an answer for. What I am referencing is Revelation Chapter 20: 1-6 in which we see a picture of Satan being thrown into an abyss for a thousand years and Christ ruling over the earth. As I dissected the research paper directions for this assignment I dove into the process of learning about each of the views that scholars would contend for. There were several and each of them fairly complex. Very early on in the assignment I easily came to one conclusion; this wasn’t going to be easy. This assignment certainly is not for the faint of heart and cannot be answered by looking at a few verses and then reaching a conclusion. If it were that easy then there would be no debate over the meaning of this eschatological (end times) passage. Simply stated here is the topic; what is the meaning of Revelation Chapter 20? Should we regard the thousand years that is referenced in the chapter as symbolical or literal? Certainly, it has sparked an interesting debate but how should we view this span of time taught to us by the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos? Opposing views that mainstream Christians hold today help us to get to the heart of that very question. There are a few questions we must explore to fully grasp the topic; (1) what are the three main views that believers hold today, (2) what happens during the millennium, (3) how long is it, (4) who will be there (and what is the relationship of Israel and the church to the millennial kingdom), and finally (5) when does it occur in relation to the Second Coming of Christ.
VARIOUS ESCHATOLOGICAL VIEWS
Three views have dominated the discussion when attempting to understand Revelation 20:1-6. The three views that are being widely taught today are known as; (1) Premillennialism, (2) Postmillennialism, and (3) A-millennialism. This paper will attempt to break down each of the three while considering their strengths and weaknesses. As each point is made relevant, I will expound upon my own conclusion. Let’s begin this journey together.
The preeminent position held today by most Christians is known as Premillennialism. Found within popular culture there have been a series of books labeled “Left Behind,” in which the main character witnesses the Second coming of Christ after experiencing the Tribulation. It is this view that these immensely popular books espouse. Premillennialism teaches the Second Coming inaugurates the 1,000 year reign of Christ here on earth. It is the stance on which we take Revelation 20:1-6 in a literal sense. To save time I will categorically state my own view; I’m unmistakably a Premillennialist. There is just no way around it. However, what is the scholarly position behind it?
There are five sequential facts that a Premillennialist would argue for: (1) the binding of Satan we witness in Revelation 20 has yet to occur. It will occur when Jesus Christ...