Progression versus Recapitulation in Revelation 20:1–6 -- By: Charles E. Powell

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 163:649 (Jan 2006)
Article: Progression versus Recapitulation in Revelation 20:1–6
Author: Charles E. Powell


Progression versus Recapitulation in Revelation 20:1–6

Charles E. Powell

Charles E. Powell is Pastor, Forest Lake Bible Church, Niceville, Florida.

Revelation 20:1–6 is perhaps the most controversial passage in the Book of Revelation. Interpretation has traditionally been divided into three perspectives: amillennial, premillennial, and postmillennial. In recent years several writers have argued for what they call a preconsummationist perspective on this passage.1 In this view the events in verses 1–6 will occur before the return of Christ to the earth. Most preconsummationists have adopted a recapitulational view of the passage, an approach usually associated with amillennialism.2

This preconsummationist-recapitulational-amillennial view includes the following tenets. (1) The binding of Satan represents Christ’s victory over the powers of darkness accomplished at the cross. (2) The one thousand years are symbolic of a long, indeterminate

period corresponding to the age of the church. (3) At the end of the present age Satan will be loosed briefly to wreak havoc and to persecute the church. (4) The fire coming from heaven to consume the wicked is symbolic of Christ’s second coming. (5) A general resurrection and the judgment of the wicked and the righteous will occur at Christ’s coming, followed by the creation of the new heavens and a new earth.3

The alternate position has been called postconsummationism. In this view the events in verses 1–6 follow the second coming of Christ depicted in 19:11–21. Thus it involves chronological progression between the two passages. This view is essentially premillennial. The postconsummationist-progressive-premillennial viewpoint holds these four tenets. (1) The binding of Satan is yet future; it will take place when Christ returns. (2) The one thousand years are a literal period in which Christ will reign on the earth from Jerusalem with His people. (3) Satan will be loosed for a brief period at the end of the millennium, and this will be followed by the resurrection and judgment of the wicked at the Great White Throne. (4) The new heavens and the new earth will be created after the millennium, that is, a thousand years after Christ’s second coming.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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