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Understanding the second coming of Christ in Rev 20

How many resurrections occur in Rev 20 and who participates in each? When do they occur, and what happens to the people who are resurrected?

How would each resurrection be understood in the following positon and the different practical implications?

a. Pre-, and post-millennial interpretation of Christ's return.
b. Christ returns after/at the conclusion of the 1,000 year reign.

Solution Preview

Rev 20 comes with turning points that gave rise to three major theological perspectives: postmillennialism, amillennialism and premillennialism. They hinge on how to properly understand the 1,000 year period of Christ's rule described in Rev 20:1-10. Let us take a look at the passage before discussing the above perspectives.
A. Satan bound for a thousand years (20:1-3)
B. The reign of Christ (20:4-6)
This is described as the first resurrection.
C. The final destruction of Satan (20:7-10)
His fate is to endure ceaseless torture.
D. The last judgment (20:11-15)
The present natural world disappears and the second resurrection takes place as death and Hades are cast into the destroying fire.

In the above text we have the vision of John: the binding of the Satan and the question of a thousand years. There are two primary ways of understanding the binding of Satan described in Rev 20:1-3. Some think it refers to the results of Christ's death and resurrection that has already restricted the devil's power to deceive (Beasley-Murray, G.R., The Book of Revelation, Michigan 1974; Hughes, P.E., The Book of Revelation, Illinois 1990). Ideas similar to the ones we have in Jn 12:31 and Col 2:15. Others associate Satan's binding with the beginning of a future age of peace and prosperity (Walvoord, J.F., The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Illinois 1981; Thomas, R.L., Revelation 8-22: An Exegetical Commentary, Illinois 1995). Ideas similar to ones we have in 1 Thess 2:18 and 1 Pet 5:8.
There are also differences in opinion concerning the reference to 1,000 years in Revelation 20:2. Experts call it the millennium, a word derived from Latin term mille which means one thousand. The one thousand years is mentioned several times in the passage (vv. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Some think John referred to a literal period of 1,000 years in which Christ will reign on earth (e.g. Maller, E., "Micro-structural Analysis of Revelation 20", in Andrews University Seminary Studies, vol. 37, no. 2 [1999]: 249-250). Others think the Apostle was speaking metaphorically about an indefinite interval in which Christ rules from either heaven or earth (e.g. B.J. Lefrois, "Eschatological Interpretation of the Apocalypse", in Catholic Biblical ...

Solution Summary

The reading of the complicated Revelation 20 gave rise to three major theological perspectives: postmillennialism, amillennialism and premillenniasm. The views of each group depend on how to properly understand the 1,000 year period of Christ's rule described in Rev 20:1-10. Basically, whether and when is the second coming of Jesus Christ. This solution discussed the biblical passage involved and also the main points of the said groups.
Undoubtedly, each group has its merits and demerits and also valuable contribution on how eschatological texts in the Hebrew Scriptures are understood. In as much as Rev 20:1-10, like most of the Apocalypse, employs language that could, at least in principle, have multiple valid fulfilments and levels of application, the Christological focus of the book remains clear: the complete victory of the Messiah which will bring about the final defeat of Satan; the Saviour will watch over His people even in their most traumatic tribulations and the vindication of the saints at the Parousia of Christ.

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