AN INTRODUCTION TO REVELATON CHAPTER 20

I must admit Revelation 20 has caused great controversy among many sincere believers, and so i approach this chapter with much prayer. Chapter 20 is obviously related to chapters 19, 21, and 22. I personally see it as being in chronological order although some sections of the book have not been in chronological order. The reason i think it has caused so much controversy is because it introduces two brand-new truths that seem to contradict other passages of Scriptures. Those two truths found uniquely Revelation 20 are, the idea of the temporal reign of Christ in the Millenium, and a two-stage resurrection. Of course that seems to contradict an eternal reign of Christ that we’ve seen from other passages and that judgement and resurrection. Another reason this has caused so much trouble is because there are some very ambiguous elements here: the area and the extent of Satan’s binding; how many groups there are in verse 4?, and exactly who is involved in the first resurrection?; the who? where? and what? concerning the reign of Christ mentionedin verse 6; where the nations come from in verse 7 (because i thought they were all destroyed in the last chapter with the beast?; the meaning and location of the Beloved City; and who is involved in the White Throne judgement, and how does this relate to Matthew 25:31ff? It must be emphasized that the Millenial reign is not the same as the Kingdom of God. It is not also the same as the New Age or the Messianic age, because these other two seem to be eternal, and the Millenial reign is limited in time. I want to say right up front that i believe that this is the authoritative Word of God, and i believe that God was trying to communicate truth to us through this passage, but the real question is, what is the content and purpose of this revelatory section? Is it to give us specific chronological details about the end of the age? Or is it to give us a spiritual insight into the spiritual struggle of every age? Also, i want to to say the anount of writing and controversy this chapter has caused far outweighs its place in the scheme of John’s over-all writing. The Thousand-year reign has borne too much weight; it is not the major emphasis of the book of the Revelation, neither is the Second Coming of Christ. The sovereignty of God in history is the emphasis! Both are true and revelatory, but they are not the irreducible minimums of the Christian faith, and so we should not treat them as that. I believe in the personal, physical bodily return of Jesus Christ, but i’m not sure the 19th chapter of Revelation is the only information we have about that, as there are some other passages to that effect. I certainly believe that there is a New Testament emphasis that the Saints will reign with Christ, but i’m not sure that is fulfilled completely in this concept of the Thousand-year reign which seems to involve only the martyrs

(TO BE CONTINUED)