Armageddon the OT Background to the Battle for the Cosmic Mountain

This series of posts will address the term “Armageddon” from a Hebrew Bible perspective as it applies to Christian eschatology. This presentation was originally a research paper for an Old Testament seminary course under Dr Micheal Heiser who was very helpful and influential in my research. I am going to publish it here in a series of  four posts. First, will be a summary and overview of the Old Testament use of the “Day of the Lord” terminology. This naturally leads to the term “Armageddon” because of the book of Revelation’s detailed exposition of the Day of the Lord. Solutions to the meaning of the cryptic term will be offered on the basis of plausible Hebrew transliterations as well as contextual and geographical coherence. Then the relationship to the cosmic mountain and Antichrist figure will be explored. Finally, the battle itself will be examined and a novel solution offered in light of the Ezekiel 38 and 39 descriptions of an end time war. This presentation will demonstrate that while the topic is enigmatic, the Hebrew background to the term Armageddon reveals a confrontation over the divine mountain and a more defined picture of the prophetic scenario.


The Day of the Lord is a key theme found in the Old Testament prophetic books. It carries a context of future judgment and foreboding darkness. However, one should not read all of the passages into our future, as some have come and gone. The first appears in Amos and is speaking of the coming Assyrian invasion of the Northern Kingdom (Amos 5:18-20). Zephaniah uses the term to refer to the imminent Babylonian invasion of Judah (Zeph. 1:7, 14). Nevertheless, other passages do refer to a time of ultimate judgment upon the nations and indicate a much wider scope (Eze. 30:3; Joel 3:14; Oba. 15). Most germane to the task here are instances when the prophet seems to speak of an eschatological Day of the Lord (Mal 4:5; Joel 3:2). Even more, the New Testament authors Peter and Paul appropriated the term for the future return of Christ (2 Pet 3:10; 1 Cor. 1:8). Accordingly, we can connect the Day of the Lord to the tribulation and the battle of Armageddon.

The day is to be understood in a broad and a narrow sense.[1] The broad sense encompasses a span of time known in the Hebrew Bible as “the time of Jacob’s distress” (Jer. 30:7) and also in Daniel as “a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time” (Da 12:1). Jesus referred to it as the “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21; Rev.7:14) just prior to his return. A time described by him in Matthew’s gospel (24:15-28) and in detail through John with the trumpet and bowl judgments found in the book of Revelation. Prior to Armageddon, a substantial part of the broad Day of the Lord’s judgments have occurred concurrent with the trumpets and bowls. Then armies of the nations will only begin to be gathered by the demonic hordes to Armageddon after the sixth bowl is poured out (Rev. 16:12–16). The Hebrew Bible supplies more detail.

Joel 3:9–16 and Zechariah 14:1–5 both indicate that after the armies of the nations have gathered in Israel, then a specific day will come, e.g. the “Day of the Lord is near” (Joel 3:14) and “a day is coming for the Lord” (Zech. 14:1).  It is apparent that this narrow Day of the Lord will not take place until the armies have gathered in Israel by the miraculous sign working demonic pack (Rev 16:14).  Thus, this special day will be within the broad Day of the Lord but utterly distinct. Both Joel 3 and Zechariah 14 indicate that their Day of the Lord will be the specific day when the Lord comes to fight against and destroy the armies gathered in Israel. Also, Jesus revealed to John that this will be when he returns to the earth (Rev. 19:11–21). Thus, the narrow Day of Joel 3 and Zechariah 14 will be the day on which Christ comes to the earth for the battle of Armageddon.

The prophecy of Zechariah 14 gives us specific details about this future day. At the end of the Tribulation, during the battle of Armageddon and after it, the following will occur. First, the nations of the earth will surround Jerusalem (v.2). Second, Jerusalem will be captured, plundered, and women raped (v.2b). Third, a remnant will flee via a valley created by an earthquake (v.5a).  Fourth, Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives as was promised by the angel after the ascension (Acts 1:11; Zech. 14: 4). Fifth, he comes with an Angelic army to fight the nations (Zech. 14:5b).  Revelation 19 parallels this section and indicates that “From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, “(Re 19:15a). Furthermore, the text describes a horrible plague cursed upon the combatants (Zech. 14:12). Finally, the Lord will be King and the whole world will worship him (v.16).

What is central to this presentation is that these events are unanimously purported to occur in Jerusalem near Mount Zion. According to Biblical scholar Charles Torrey, “In Hebrew eschatology Jerusalem was the center of all the predicted gatherings, whether of the people of God or of the heathen nations.”[2] The Hebrew Bible is unequivocal in its testimony.  Joel 2:32 proclaims that “in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape…” Obadiah 21 describes the culmination with “Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.” Isaiah 24:23 declares “Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders.” With this prophetic unanimity, one wonders why Armageddon is typically located on the plain of Megiddo.

to be continued by part 2: Armageddon in Revelation 16:16

[1]Renald E Showers, Maranatha Our Lord, Come! (Bellmawr, New Jersey: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., 1995),

[2] Charles C. Torrey, “Armageddon,” Harvard Theological Review 31, 3 (1938):  246.


Why Eschatology Matters Part IV: Premillennialism

continued from Why Eschatology Matters Part IV

I. Pre-millennial View: This is the view that the parousia (second coming) occurs at the conclusion of the Church age and Christ rules from Jerusalem for a literal millennium.[1] Adherents, myself included, argue that a consistent literal interpretation of the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants, predictions by the prophets and the announcement of the kingdom of heaven by John the Baptist and Jesus unavoidably lead to premillennialism.[2] It was the accepted view of the early church fathers up to early Augustine, who later erroneously discarded the view due to a personal prejudice against a particular belief (cited under amillennial).[3] Later post reformation teachers of the Lutheran, Reformed, and Puritan traditions like Jonathan Edwards, John Gill and Charles Spurgeon rediscovered premillennialism.[4] Today it is widely held by protestant evangelicals.

A. Basic Premises:

i. Millennium: A straight forward one thousand years as the text in Revelation chapter 20:1-6 says. The idea of a thousand year reign may also be supported by passages such as Acts 3:19–21 and 1 Corinthians 15:23–26, which speak of a future restoration and reign of Christ.[5]

ii. Resurrection: There are two resurrections the first are believers at the beginning of the millennium and the second at its conclusion for the great white throne judgment.[6]

iii. The Binding of Satan: Jesus Christ binds Satan upon his return. Dr. John Walvoord comments, “The passage makes clear that Satan is not simply restricted, as some would teach, but he is totally inactive in the Millennium.”[7] This point is simply not explained by any other view.

iv. The reign of Christ: While Christ is spiritually active in the lives of believers today his literally earthly reign will commence upon his arrival. He will rule from Jerusalem on the throne of David as promised in the New (Lk. 1:32) and Old Testaments (Zech. 14:9).

v. The Kingdom of God: The kingdom is here and also not yet. In Matthew 13:11, Jesus instituted a spiritual kingdom until His second coming, when He will initiate the anticipated messianic kingdom.[8]

vi. Israel: God will restore national Israel and fulfill all of His unconditional promises. At the end of the Tribulation, before the beginning of the Millennium, when Jesus is finally accepted by Israel, “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26).[9]

vii. Hermeneutic: A ‘literal’ interpretation means the understanding which any normal person would conclude. Premillennialism is rooted in a historical-grammatical interpretation of prophecy. The historical-grammatical method involves giving each word the same meaning it would have in normal usage.[10] (i.e. Israel means national Israel and thousand means 1,000).

B. Points of Strength:

i. The early church was indisputably premillennial, including: Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Lactantius and Irenaeus. Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp who had direct contact with John, the author of the Apocalypse.[11] Their familiarity with the Apostle makes it hard to imagine why anyone would diverge from their understanding. Irenaeus wrote extensively on the literal future Messianic kingdom, a brief excerpt being, “The predicted blessing, therefore, belongs unquestionably to the times of the kingdom, when the righteous shall bear rule upon their rising from the dead.”[12]

ii. Stated as a weakness in the opposing views, the fact that the New Testament explicitly teaches that Satan is alive and well on planet earth (1 Jn. 5:19, 2 Cor. 4:4, 2 Cor.4:3-4, Eph. 2:2, 2 Cor. 11:14, 1 Pet. 5:8). The argument seems overwhelming that Satan’s current imprisonment is absurd. Anyone who tries to advance the Gospel knows that Satanic opposition is very real.

iii. In the New Testament, the Angel Gabriel promised Mary that Jesus would sit upon the throne of David (Lk. 1:32-33). At that time there was no Israelite throne to sit on, even Herod was a vassal and this promised event has not yet occurred. Because God always keeps his promises it follows that this will be actualized.

iv. In Romans 9, 10, and 11 Paul’s purpose was to explain Israel’s future. If you simply read that sequence of chapters, replacement theology is absurd. The gentile church is clearly described as “grafted into” not replacing Israel.  Paul makes it abundantly clear in Rom. 11:29 that their election is irrevocable.

C. Points of Weakness:

i. The final releasing of Satan at the end of the millennium and subsequent apostasy after the millennium kingdom is difficult to explain. Yet Revelation 20 clearly predicts it.

ii. The millennium population of humans in a non-translated state must be rationalized by believers that come to faith during the tribulation.

iii. Satan was defeated at the cross. Why does he still have dominion on earth?

iv. The ambiguity about the timing of the rapture is problematic.


Premillennial eschatology not only offers a real hope for the world’s future through its anticipation of the personal earthly reign of Jesus Christ  for one thousand years, it also provides for the literal fulfillment of God’s covenant promises to Israel and Mary in the New Testament. Concerning the kingdom Missler argues,

There are at least 318 references in 216 chapters of the New Testament. And 23 of its 27 books give prominence to the event. The early church looked longingly for His promised return as their “Blessed Hope” to rid a desperate world of its evil rulers.[13]

In contrast, those promises are given only a vague fulfillment in amillennial and postmillennial eschatology, a psuedo-fulfillment that only weakens our faith in the promises of the Bible. God promised a real space time kingdom headquartered in Jerusalem. God does not lie. It is dangerous when one’s theological constructs impute the character of God.  It’s fascinating how contrary supersessionism is to God’s sovereign election. If it is true, it means that God’s elect nation lost their election. That sounds suspiciously like Arminiainism. Isn’t it ironic that most reformed denominations embrace it? They need not. Jesus in Luke 19:42 and Paul in Romans 11:25 explain that Israel is blinded nationally for the church age. Temporarily blinded not replaced. We are grafted in. National Israel has a future as the spiritual leadership of the world (Zech 8:23).

I find the amillennial and postmillennial views both to be incoherent. They are inconsistent with reality and the biblical text. I can evidence both points in that Satan’s deceptions have not been restrained. The numerous biblical proof texts have been cited throughout this series and the nations are demonstrably being deceived. The U.S. Center for World Missions estimates that Christianity’s is growing at about 2.3% annually, approximately equal to the growth rate of the world’s population. Islam is growing faster: about 2.9% and is thus Islam will surpass Christianity as the world’s main religion by 2023.[14] Whether this is completely accurate is immaterial to the point that the world is full of false religion and unbelief. Jesus warned of widespread deception and we certainly do see it today.

I sincerely cannot believe a person can read the bible without outside influence and come to a conclusion other than premillennialism. Just read Revelation 20, that is clear and literal 1000 year kingdom. The alternate views are imposed on the text for external reasons. Of course sincere Christians maintain these views but I just do not find their rationale compelling. To embrace allegory over literal meaning requires a more persuasive theological and exegetical basis than the arguments offered. I have demonstrated that Augustine’s basis was quite shallow and had nothing to do with exegesis. I think those views stand on mere stubborn tradition. While the reformers did a great service in the areas of soteriology and ecclesiology they were duly occupied and failed to correct eschatology back to the apostolic intention. The early church, which had intimate contact with John the author of the Apocalypse were verifiably premillennial. I find that decisive. Finally, no matter what one’s millennial position, true Christians all look forward to the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

θά, μαράνα θά

[1] Ed Hindson, Revelation, 89.

[2]Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology, Volume Four: Church, Last Things (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2005), 553.

[3] Geisler, Systematic Theology, 567.

[4]Geisler, Systematic Theology, 572.

[5]Elwell and Comfort, 896.

[6] Edward Hindson. Revelation: Unlocking the Future, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002), 203.

[7] John F. Walvoord, The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, Includes Indexes. (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1990), 625.

[8] Geisler, Systematic Theology, 556.

[9] Geisler, Systematic Theology, 556.

[10] Geisler, Systematic Theology, 416.

[11] David Noel Freedman, The Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1996, c1992), 3:457.

[12] Quoted in Geisler, Systematic Theology, 569.

[13] Chuck and Nancy Missler. The Kingdom, Power and Glory: The Overcomer’s Handbook. Coeur d’Alene, ID: The King’s Highway Ministries. 2009. 100.

[14] Unattributed. “Growth Rate of Christianity & Islam” Religious Tolerance ORG, (accessed 06/10/2010).

Why Eschatology Matters Part IV: Postmillennialism

continued from Why Eschatology Matters Part IV

II. Post-millennial View: The belief that Christ will physically return to the earth only after a non-literal millennium is completed. Postmillennialism is quite optimistic about the end times in that he essential idea is that the church will exercise a transformational positive social influence in history.[1] Thus, the world is allegedly improving morally and spiritually every year. This may have seemed to be so historically, as many of the reformers, early-American colonists and puritans shared this view. Most theologians have abandoned it in the twentieth century after the two world wars and subsequent nuclear age anxiety. Today this view has been appropriated by the charismatic movement and provides the impetus for dominion or “kingdom now” theology. Dominionists believe they have a mandate to impose the kingdom by earthly means. They even believe it is their responsibility to initiate the second coming of Christ.[2]

A. Basic Premises:

i. Millennium: Literally “after the thousand years.” Some suppose the era of peace is still in the future but the majority holds that it began with the first advent of Christ and is continuing until the gospel conquers the world. The word thousand is considered symbolic of a long period of time.

ii. Resurrection: This view also maintains that there is only one resurrection much like their amillennial counterparts. They employ the same strategy of spiritualization to Revelation 20:4-5.

iii. The Binding of Satan: Satan is currently bound by the power of gospel and cannot deceive the nations.[3]

iv. The Reign of Christ: Christ reigns now in the hearts of believers. Yet, Christians are to conquer the unbelieving world through the spread of the gospel, in the power of the Holy Spirit. However, there is a disturbing trend leaning toward the emphasis of nonspiritual means.

v. The Kingdom of God: The Kingdom is manifested now in the church and increasing in its positive influence over the earth. There is a popular movement today to reclaim the “seven mountains of culture” that is derivative of this idea.[4] Even more strident, Dominionists think they are to accomplish this by military or legal force if necessary.

vi. Israel: They argue that the New Testament church became the “Israel of God” of which Paul speaks in Galatians 6:16.[5] They use the same arguments for supersessionism as the amillennialist in that God’s Old Testament covenants were conditional and no longer binding. See Micah 4:8 vs. Replacement Theology.

vii. Hermeneutic: A very similar approach to the amillennialist is used. Prophecy is understood to be preponderantly symbolic and open to allegorical interpretation. For example, “Israel” now means the church and the word “thousand” simply means an indeterminate long period of time.

B. Points of Strength:

i. Postmillennialism’s greatest strength is its optimism regarding the kingdom of God and its ability to transform the nations of the earth before Christ returns.[6]

ii. The bible promises universal gospel proclamation (Matt. 28:18–20).

iii. They also argue that the word “thousand” is used symbolically in scripture (cf. 1 Chron. 16:15; Ps. 50:10).

C. Points of Weakness:

i. Again a simple reading of the biblical text does not lead to this conclusion. The postmillennial interpretation of Rev. 19-20 seems arbitrarily imposed upon the text.

ii. Jesus clearly taught that “many will fall away”, “lawlessness will be increased” and that “the love of many will grow cold” at the time world evangelization is completed (Matt 24:10-14). In the parable of the Tares in Mt. 13:36-43, Jesus taught that evil people will continue to exist alongside of God’s redeemed people until the time of harvest. The clear implication of this parable is that Satan’s kingdom will continue to exist and expand as long as God’s kingdom grows, until Christ returns.

iii. The Apostles taught increasing apostasy toward the end of the age (2 Thess. 2:3-4, 1 Tim. 4:1,2 Tim. 3:1-5, 2 Tim 4:3-4, 2 Pet. 3:3).

iv. As explained under amillennial weakness ii, the two resurrections of Rev. 20:5 and Rev. 20:13 are described as are bodily and distinct.

v. As stated under amillennialism, the word “thousand” is used literally in the vast majority of its occurrences in the biblical text. The fact that it is repeated 5 times in Revelation 20:1-6 should give pause.

vi. History and current events do not support the idea that things are getting better for Christians. In fact, quite the opposite is true. According to the World Evangelical Alliance, over 200 million Christians in at least 60 countries are denied basic human rights solely because of their faith. David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, and Peter F. Crossing in their 2009 report in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research (Vol. 33, No. 1: 32) estimate that if current trends continue, by 2025, an average of 210,000 Christians will be martyred annually.[7]

vii. Postmillennialism undermines the NT emphasis on the church’s imminent expectation of Christ’s return.  It undermines the essential element of watchfulness to the NT church. See 1 Cor. 16:22; Rom. 13:11-12; Phil. 4:5; Jas. 5:8; 1 Pt. 4:7; 1 Jn. 2:18; Rev. 1:3; 22:20.

viii. The OT identifies the “golden age” with the New Heavens and New Earth which come only after the millennium of Rev. 20 (Rev. 21-22).

ix. Scripture never teaches the progressive and eventual wholesale reconstruction of society (i.e. 7 mountains of culture) according to Christian principles prior to Christ’s return.

x. The Bible teaches that when Jesus returns, he is at war. The idea that he returns to receive a kingdom accomplished by the church is simply incoherent.  “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.” (1 Co 15:24, Zec. 14:3, 2 Thes. 2:8, Rev. 19:15)

xi. Postmillennialism minimizes one of the primary experiences that will characterize the church and all Christians throughout this present age, suffering with Christ (2 Tim 2:3, 1 Pet. 4:13, 2 Thes.1:5, Rev.6:10). For instance, Romans 8:18-25 speaks of creation groaning for redemption, and that we “wait for it with patience” not take it by political means or force. To the contrary, much like Christ at His first coming, the church actually wins by losing…

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height
nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the
love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Ro 8:36-39)

Next up Premillennialism

[1]Sproul, The Last Days, 9.
[2]Walter A. Elwell and Philip Wesley Comfort, Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Tyndale reference library (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 896.
[3] Hindson, Revelation, 86.
[4] Os Hillman. Reclaiming the 7 Mountains of Culture. 2010. (accessed 06 11, 2010).
[5]Sproul, The Last Days, 9.
[6]Geisler, Systematic Theology, 550.
[7]Unattributed. How Many Christians Killed for their Faith Every Year. (accessed 06/10/2010).

Why Eschatology Matters Part IV: Amillennialism

continued from Why Eschatology Matters Part IV

I. Amillennial View: The Amillennial view can be traced back as far as the Alexandrian school when early church father Origen (AD 185-254) was the first to allegorize “reigning with Christ” to mean the spiritual growth of the soul. Origen’s penchant for allegory led him to views that today are considered heretical.[1] This influenced Augustine who once held the premillennial view but was disgusted by speculations about celebratory feasting during the millennium that he viewed as carnal. Augustine wrote,

“for I myself, too, once held this opinion [premillennialism].  But, as they assert that those who then rise again shall enjoy the leisure of immoderate carnal banquets, furnished with an amount of meat and drink such as not only to shock the feeling of the temperate, but even to surpass the measure of credulity itself, such assertions can be believed only by the carnal.” [2]

Also a North African Donatist, Tyconius, who favored Origen’s allegorical hermeneutic, influenced Augustine to change his view to a spiritualized one. Soon Augustine’s view was widely adopted by the Roman Catholic Church and was subsequently retained by reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin.[3] Today it is still the majority view of the mainline denominations.[4]

A. Basic Premises:

i. Millennium: The prefix a- indicates a straightforward negation. However, they actually do believe a millennium exists, just that it is now. The millennium is symbolic of the church age and is said to be fulfilled spiritually not literally.[5] Augustine popularized the idea that the millennium began with the incarnation and is fully realized by the church. Proponents disagree amongst themselves as to where this Millennium is located. Some believe it is now on earth in the church while others believe it is now in heaven.[6]

ii. Resurrection: The majority contend that there is only one physical resurrection of the righteous and the wicked. The “first resurrection” of Revelation 20 is understood as a spiritual in the sense that believer’s souls will go to heaven to reign with Christ spiritually.[7] The second is understood as physical and all are then judged.

iii. The Binding of Satan: They understand this as being in effect during the period between the first and second comings of Christ.[8]Accordingly, Satan is currently chained and cannot deceive the nations. Most believe that there will be a rebellion as Satan is released just prior to Christ’s return[9] Thus, the world will get worse not better. In this way they agree more with premillennialists than postmillennialists.

iv. The Reign of Christ: Christ is reigning now in the hearts of believers, they influence the culture by living out their faith.[10] He will return and judge the world and then start over with a new heavens and earth.

v. The Kingdom of God: The kingdom of God is present now in the world as Christ is ruling believers through the Spirit and his word. They also look forward to a future, the new heaven and new earth.[11]

vi. Israel: The Abrahamic and Davidic covenants were conditional and demand no future fulfillment. The church has replaced Israel as spiritual Israel. Thus there is no prophetic future for national Israel.[12]

vii. Hermeneutic: The necessary theory of interpretation is reminiscent of the Alexandrian tradition that prophecy is symbolic and need not be taken literally. A passage’s basic sense can be taken spiritually or even mystically. However, the lines are not so clearly defined as Dr. Norman Geisler explains,

Again, it complicates matters that even those who allegorize certain prophetic passages claim adherence to the historical-grammatical method of interpretation. (Some do admit to enhancing and expanding it to include an allegorical, symbolical, or typological understanding of certain texts.) The issue, then, boils down to the understanding and/or application (rather than the name) of the method of interpreting (hermeneutics).[13]

B. Points of Strength:

i. The millennium is only found in Revelation 20, which being a book of apocalyptic imagery, can justifiably be interpreted symbolically.[14]

ii. It is a long standing tradition in many denominations.

iii. The view tacitly acknowledges that the world is not getting better and better.[15] This agrees with historical reality.

iv. In the Bible, the word “thousand” is occasionally used symbolically (cf. 1 Chron. 16:15; Ps. 50:10).[16] This provides a rationale for their interpretation of “thousand” as an indefinite period.

v. Because the sheep and goat judgment in Matt 25:3 is interpreted as the same event as the great white throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). They avoid the perceived conflict when Jesus teaches that judgment takes place at his return.

vi. They avoid explaining how people enter the kingdom in natural bodies.

vii. According to Riddlebarger, “Its understanding that imminent return of Christ is the consummation of all things and marks the fullness of both the kingdom of God and the age to come.”[17]

C. Points of Weakness:

i. It is hard to imagine how one could come to this conclusion by reading the book of Revelation alone. This view appears imposed upon the plain meaning of the text.

ii. The New Testament overwhelmingly teaches that Satan is actively opposing the church (1 Cor. 7:5, 2 Cor. 4:4, 2 Cor. 2:11, 2 Cor. 11:14, Eph. 2:2, Jms. 4:7, 1 Tim 1:20, 1 Pt. 5:8) and in fact “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 Jn. 5:19b, ESV)

iii. It interprets the two resurrections of Revelation 20 differently, one spiritual (Rev.20:4) and one physical (Rev.20:5). However the same Greek word, zao, for “came to life” is used for both. Additionally, the passage itself does not indicate that the writer intended a difference of meaning.[18] Verses five and six directly contradict the notion that the first resurrection is anything but bodily physical resurrection of believers.

iv. There were no chapter divisions in the original manuscript and chapter 20 begins with the Greek preposition kai having causal and copulative relation to Christ’s parousia in chapter 19.[19] For instance, the binding of Satan is inextricably chronologically connected to Christ’s return.

v. Even though the word “thousand” is used occasionally as a long period (e.g. 1 Chron 16:15), it appears over one hundred times and only a few are non-literal, and those are hyperbole not allegory.[20]

vi. The church does not have 12 tribes and in Luke 22:30 Jesus makes clear that National Israel will not only be present in the future kingdom but that they will also retain tribal identity. If the church is now “spiritual Israel” and God was finished with National Israel this simply would not follow. Also note that the 144,000 in Revelation are chosen from the 12 tribes, again ruling out the church.

Next up Postmillennialism

[1]David Noel Freedman, The Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1996, c1992), 4:834.

[2]Augustine. City of God, Book 20, chapter 7.

[3]Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology, Volume Four: Church, Last Things (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2005), 548.

[4]John F. Walvoord, The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, Includes Indexes. (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1990), 624.

[5] Edward Hindson. Revelation: Unlocking the Future, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002), 86.

[6]Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Israelology : The Missing Link in Systematic Theology, Previous Ed.: 1993., Rev. ed. (Tustin, Calif.: Ariel Ministries, 1994), 123.

[7]Geisler, Systematic Theology, 549.

[8]R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000, c1998) ch. 9.

[9]Fruchtenbaum, Israelology, 128.

[10]Sproul, The Last Days, 9.

[11]Sproul, The Last Days, 9.

[12]Hindson, Revelation, 86.

[13] Geisler, Systematic Theology, 413.

[14]Fruchtenbaum, Israelology, 135.

[15]Fruchtenbaum, Israelology, 126.

[16]Geisler, Systematic Theology, 550.

[17] Kim Riddlebarger, ( accessed 07/04/2010.

[18]Walter A. Elwell and Philip Wesley Comfort, Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Tyndale reference library (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 896.

[19]James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order., electronic ed. (Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996), G2532.

[20]Geisler, Systematic Theology, 558.

Why Eschatology Matters Part Four


continued from Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Christians of all denominations routinely implore “thy kingdom come” without giving it a second thought. It follows that if one is still asking for something to come, then it cannot be fully present. Even so, the expectation for a literal millennial reign of Christ on earth is perhaps the most controversial subject in eschatology. It is inescapable that the bible plainly proclaims it. Revelation 20:1-6 speaks of a one thousand year period when believers reign with the Lord Jesus after his return.

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

This plain sense view is also called “chiliasm” from the Greek word chilioi for thousand. Although the word “thousand” is used six times in Revelation chapter 20, the duration is a major point of contention. There is an acknowledged history of allegorical interpretation deeply entrenched in ecclesiastic tradition. Because of this, the majority of the denominational church denies a literal millennium.[1] There are three principle views concerning the millennium promised by God in Revelation chapter twenty: Premillennial (divided into pre & post tribulational positions on the chart below), Postmillennial, and Amillennial.

My next post will outline the Amillennial view and its theological implications.

[1]John F. Walvoord, The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, Includes Indexes. (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1990), 624.