Which text should interpret which text? Peter or the Revelation? Parables or the Revelation?
Tim Conway(www.illbehonest.com/) would have you use parables (the ten virgins) to interpret Revelation 20, which came after, rather than use the later to clarify the former and harmonize the two texts.
Rick Wiles(www.trunews.com/ 20191211) falls into the same trap. He says that the millennium “is not a biblical concept” and other than Revelation 20 “is not anywhere else in the Bible” . . . He continues, “The apostle Peter said that the entire earth and heavens, the entire universe will melt with fervent heat when Christ comes back. If it melts when He comes back, how can it be here for a thousand years? One, either Peter was wrong or the millennium theology is wrong, which one is it? The millennium theology is wrong. So, the problem is not that Revelation 20 is incorrect, it is the interpretation is incorrect. It was all built by John Nelson Darby and Cyrus Scofield and a whole bunch of heretics.”
I would ask, If the Millennium is not a biblical concept Rick, where did you get it from? You admit, erroneously that, “other than Revelation 20 it “is not anywhere else in the Bible.” But you say that interpreting it as it is explicitly and literally expressed in that chapter is wrong theology. First of all, it is not “theology” – it is eschatology. And when you call someone a heretic for taking the Bible literally, for not agreeing with your figurative interpretation of eschatology, congratulations, you have escalated yourself to the height of the Papal chair! Perhaps you were carried away in the moment and got a little careless as did your cohort who said that Millennial doctrine “didn’t exist for 1800 years in the church.” You said, “Right.”
However, the “millennium is, nevertheless, older than the Christian Church; for the belief in a period of one thousand years at the end of time as a preliminary to the resurrection of the dead was held in Phariseeism …the world is to exist unchanged for 6,000 years, and that at the beginning of the Sabbatical or seventh millennium the son of God will appear.”(www.jewishencyclopedia.com/) And Chiliasm was the predominant belief through the fourth century in the Pagan Rome era church. From the first century the church held to an imminent return of Christ followed by His millennial reign until about the fifth century when the Roman Empire embraced Christianity as the State Religion.
“Chiliasm is the ancient name for what today is known as premillennialism, the belief that when Jesus Christ returns he will not execute the last judgment at once, but will first set up on earth a temporary kingdom, where resurrected saints will rule with him over non-resurrected subjects for a thousand years of peace and righteousness. To say that the Church “rejected chiliasm” may sound bizarre today, when premillennialism is the best known eschatology in Evangelicalism…
But how are we to view the Church’s earliest period up until the first decisive rejection of chiliasm in the Church? By most accounts this was the heyday of chiliastic belief in the Church. Many modern apologists for premillennialism allege that before the time of Augustine chiliasm was the dominant, if not the “universal” eschatology of the Church, preserving the faith of the apostles. Some form of chiliasm was certainly defended by such notable names as Justin Martyr and Irenaeus of Lyons in the second century and Tertullian of Carthage in the third.”(Dr. Charles E. Hill)
The point is, despite what Rick and Doc have said, Premillennialism has been around for all of church history, though it was interrupted for nearly 1000 years, almost absent from the 6th to the 16th centuries. Also, Premillennialism is not inseverably linked to Dispensational Futurism any more than is the resurrection of the dead or the Second Coming of Christ. Premillennialism preceded it, and I am sure will follow it when it is left behind. To intimate that they are inseverable degrades the amillennial argument to a specious support.
Now for the exposition of Ricks erroneous claim that, other than Revelation 20 the Millennium “is not anywhere else in the Bible.” I now turn to the very proof text that he used to disprove premillennialism:
II Pe 3:7-13
v.7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Peter opens by informing us that “last days scoffers” are “willingly ignorant.” So, I surmise that when he next tells us to “be not ignorant of this one thing”, that it is very important to understand that which follows. If the day in context is symbolic for a thousand years, then interpreting this rare prophecy by Peter, using Revelation chapter 20, completely harmonizes the two texts together and satisfies the doctrine of Progressive Revelation.
v.9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
If the day of the Lord here, is a thousand years day, then all of the things listed in this prophecy are not confined to a single day! But in reality, span a thousand years.
v.11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
According to this text, that earthly kingdom which the Jews believed was promised, which the disciples explicitly asked Jesus about, which is plainly stated in the Revelation of John, is not an error to be rejected. All of the things listed here in II Peter and else-ware in the Gospels and epistles, find their place in the chronology of the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ revealed in Rev. chapter 20: The Day of the Lord! We are required to harmonize that which is vague or simple with that which is more complete. We understand that which came first by that which came later, not vice versa.
©2019 Nicklas Arthur – All rights reserved.