Reigning with Christ: Revelation 20:1-6 and the Question of the Millennium -- By: Donald Garlington

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 06:2 (Spring 1997)
Article: Reigning with Christ: Revelation 20:1-6 and the Question of the Millennium
Author: Donald Garlington


Reigning with Christ: Revelation 20:1-6 and the Question of the Millennium

Donald Garlington

A. A. Hoekema begins his masterful monograph on biblical eschatology with the observation:

Properly to understand biblical eschatology, we must see it as an integral aspect of all of biblical revelation. Eschatology must not be thought of as something which is found only in, say, such Bible books as Daniel and Revelation, but as dominating and permeating the entire message of the Bible. 1

Hoekema then approvingly quotes Jurgen Moltmann:

Christianity is eschatology, is hope, forward looking and forward moving.... The eschatological is not one element of Christianity, but it is the medium of the Christian faith as such, the key in which everything in it is set.... Hence eschatology cannot really be only a part of Christian doctrine. Rather, the eschatological outlook is characteristic of all Christian proclamation, and of every Christian existence and of the whole Church. 2

G. E. Ladd has likewise affirmed: “To understand the significance of the second coming of Christ in the New Testament, one needs an over-all view of the basic nature of biblical theology.” 3

Although Hoekema and Ladd have arrived at different conclusions respecting the “Millennium” of Revelation 20, they are in accord—and rightly so—that one’s convictions about future eschatology will depend on one’s perception of eschatology as the present fulfillment of the Old Testament. In other words, it is the “Already” which defines and delineates the “Not Yet” of the eschatological timetable. Accordingly, a sketch of the Bible’s outlook on

things to come is imperative in order to understand the specific question of the reign of Christ and His saints as depicted in Revelation 20:1–6. It is especially important that we have a grasp of the whole before descending to particulars, lest we incur the rightful criticism of R. H. Mounce:

Judging from the amount of attention given by many writers to the first ten verses of chapter 20, one would judge it to be the single most important segment of the book of Revelation. The tendency of many interpreters at this point is to become apologists for a particular view of the millennium. 4

An Overview of Biblical...
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