The Staunch Calvinist

"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God." - Jonathan Edwards


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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 31: Of the State of Man after Death and Of the Resurrection of the Dead - Commentary

... stand before God in the Final Judgment after which comes the New Heavens and New Earth, although some believe that the New Heavens and New Earth start with the Millennium. According to Premillennial eschatology, the following things are to be expected:

  1. The Evangelization of All Nations.
  2. The Great Tribulation and Antichrist (Man of Sin).
  3. The Conversion and Restoration of Israel.
  4. The Second Coming:
    1. The Rapture
      1. The resurrection of all dead saints.
      2. Transformation of living believers.
    2. Destruction of Antichrist.
    3. The Binding Of Satan.
    4. The inauguration of the thousand year reign of Christ.
  5. The Millennium.
  6. Apostasy at the end of the Millennium.
    1. Satan being loosed and leading rebellion against Christ.
    2. Satan and the wicked being destroyed.
  7. The Resurrection of the wicked.
  8. The Final Judgment.
  9. The New Heavens and New Earth.

The following is a diagram of Premillennialism:

Premillennial Problems

I believe that Premillennialism is not supported by the statement of the Confession here and in the following paragraph. Moreover, there is no Confessional support for Premillennialism in any of the major Creeds and Confessions of Christianity. Paragraph 2 (the current) speaks of the Rapture, i.e., the resurrection of dead saints and the transformation of living believers as happening “at the last day”. But clearly, in Premillennialism, the last day is separated from the Rapture by at least a thousand ­­years! Actually, the Confession in this paragraph does not speak of the resurrection of the saints, rather, “all the dead shall be raised up”, this is the General Resurrection. But Premillennialism knows of two resurrections: (1) the resurrection of all saints at the Rapture and  (2) the resurrection of the wicked prior to the Final Judgment. These two resurrections are separated by at least a thousand years. There is also no mention of any Millennium in the Confession or of separate resurrections, rather, the resurrection of all people is said to happen at the last day. This is the Confessional problem of (Classic) Premillennialism.

As to the biblical problems, it must be first of all noted that the Millennium is spoken of nowhere in the Bible except in Revelation 20. In the Old Testament prophecies which are often appealed to, including Isaiah 2, 4, 65, nowhere do we get the idea that the Kingdom will be temporary. Most importantly, a literal reading of Revelation 20 is problematic, because the book of Revelation is clearly and by its own admission a symbolical book (Rev. 1:1 KJV “signified”). Numbers are everywhere used in a symbolical way, so, how do we justify making the number thousand to be literal? Amazingly, all the great things which Premillenniarians expect to happen in the Millennium, are nowhere mentioned in Revelation 20. For example: the restoration and conversion of the Jews; peace and prosperity; Christ reigning from the earth; glorified bodies inhabiting the earth together with fleshly bodies; a decreased influence of sin and death. These things are simply not mentioned in Revelation 20. All these things come from a literal reading of Old Testament prophecies, although they are nowhere said to be limited to a thousand years in the Old Testament, but the Premillennialist interprets them in this way. For more on Revelation 20 and its interpretation, see below.

Premillenniarians argue that the binding of Satan must have such an effect so as to decrease his influence upon the earth, and therefore...

Review of Dean Davis' The High King of Heaven on Amillennialism

...lowed by the sovereign hand of God to afflict the saints, but He is not allowed to gather the whole world against them and try to destroy them.

The coming of Christ did indeed bound Satan:

Matt 12:28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Matt 12:29 Or how can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.

The fact that souls were being saved and the sick were being healed was a demonstration of the Lord Jesus binding Satan (strong man) and plundering his house (2Cor 4:4).

The Binding Of Satan is also seen in the fact that the New Covenant people of God are not only believing Jews, but also believing Gentiles. Israel in Old Testament times was the only nation which had the light of God. The other nations were indeed deceived and blinded by Satan to worship idols, which are demons. But now, while Satan is being bound the nations are for us to conquer for Christ. It does not mean that all will receive the Gospel, but it does mean that God has His elect in every corner of the world (Rev 5:9).

The fact of the Gentiles coming to Christ (Jn 12:20-21) and The Binding Of Satan is seen from John 12.

 John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. John 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

There is a direct parallel between John 12:31 and Rev 20:3 (also Rev 12:9) where Satan is being cast out.

Notice also the fact that because Satan is now bound, Christ will call all His people to Himself.

Therefore, it is a misreading of the text to assume The Binding Of Satan means rendering Satan incapable of doing anything.

The 1000 years

The next question is well, what about the 1000 years?

As all numbers in Revelation, they are to be interpreted symbolically.

10 is the number of completion, multiplied 3 times (the number of the Trinity, perfection). It is; the time where the Triune God works in Salvation History for His glory.

The 1000 years are a symbolic number of a very long time, from the Cross to the Parousia. The 1000 years is being looked on from the angle of Gospel proclamation and success, because Satan is bound we can go for the nations.

Other times we read in Revelation about 3,5 years, these are the time of persecution and they also represent the entire Era of Proclamation. Now you may, say come on. How can this be? Well, it depends from which angle we look at it. The 1000 years is great and huge number in the context of The Binding Of Satan and thus going for the nations. Gospel success.

But the 3,5 years are the time of persecution. 3,5 is a broken seven. 7 is the number of completeness and perfection. 3,5 is imperfect time of the persecution from the world. 3,5 years is also how long the Woman is to be nourished, time reminds us of Elisha when he in the wilderness in utter dependence on God (James 5:17; 1Kings 18). It also reminds us of the Jewish persecution in the time of the Maccabees and Antiochus Epiphanes IV.

Both 3,5 and 1000 years represent the Church Era, but it depends from which angle we look at it. If we look at it from the angle of persecution, it seems of imperfect and incomplete. But if we look at the 1000 years in the context of Satan’s binding it seems so huge and assures us of Gospel success. Let us not forget that many, if not...

Extensive review of Jonathan Menn's Biblical Eschatology

...the book, in Revelation 22:16 our Lord says again, “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches”. Not only a few chapters, but the whole book concerns the church.

Revelation 20

After this survey, he moves to consider the major ideas and sections (pp. 262-326). As this review has already been very long, I will consider his view on Revelation 20 and the reign of the saints. The longer discussion is located in appendix 2 “The Millennium: An Amillennial Synthesis of the Biblical Data” (pp. 367-390).

Revelation 20 is divided in four paragraphs or subsections (p. 303):

  1. The Binding Of Satan (Rev. 20:1-3)
  2. The reign of the saints (Rev. 20:4-6)
  3. The final destruction of Satan and his forces (Rev. 20:7-10)
  4. The last judgment (Rev. 20:11-15)

(1) We must first of all recognize the use of symbol language to describe The Binding Of Satan. He is not a dragon who is bound in some physical place with a physical chain. Passages such as Matthew 12:29 (where the same word for binding is used) and John 12:31 (where the same word for “cast out” or “threw him” is used) indicate that The Binding Of Satan occurred at the first coming of Christ. His binding is a limitation on his powers and is connected with what he will do after he is released. He is kept from achieving worldwide persecution and destruction of the church. The Binding Of Satan is paralleled in Revelation 12:7-12 and 2 Thessalonians 2:6-12 (pp. 305-306, 309).

(2) Premillennialists take that the reign and resurrection of the saints in Revelation 20:4-6 is of a physical kind and for a literal thousand years. Amillennialists, on the other hand, contend that the thousand years is the current time (the church age) until Christ comes back. As to the nature of the resurrection, they ‘contend that the “first resurrection” refers to Christians’ new life in and union with Christ, Christ’s resurrection in which believers spiritually participate, or the Christians’ translation to heaven upon their physical death.’ (p. 310) I show in my book that the most prominent amillennial interpretation of the nature of the resurrection is the entrance of the believers into heaven (Simon Wartanian, A Layman’s Systematic and Biblical Exposition of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith: Vol. II [Creative Space KDP, 2021], p. 513, expanded version of this article):

  1. The saints’ share in the resurrection of Christ (Sam Waldron);
  2. Regeneration (Kim Riddlebarger, A Case For Amillennialism, pp. 247-249, though he mixes views 2 and 3; Robert L. Reymond, A New Systematic Theology, p. 1063; James P. Boyce, Abstract of Systematic Theology, pp. 458-461);
  3. Entering heaven (Herman Hoeksema; Anthony Hoekema, Bible and The Future, pp. 232-237; William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors, pp. 191-192; G. K. Beale, Revelation: A Shorter Commentary, pp. 438-445; Dean Davis, The High King of Heave