Premillennialism on Revelation 20:1–6

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Inevitably, when the discussion of premill versus amill is broached, the text “Revelation 20:1-6” is invoked. This is unfortunate because that is not where the passage begins, so the amill proponent (and sadly the premill can do this as well) dives right in the middle of the context. The immediate passage begins back in Revelation 19:11. In other words the passage under consideration should not be “Revelation 20:1-6” but rather “Revelation 19:11-20:10.” Chapter breaks are not inspired. And in this case, the “chapter 20” break is bifurcating the whole passage giving the impression that the subject begins at chapter 20:1. This is one of the causes of confusion regarding the millennial debate.

This passage includes the destiny of the “three enemies of God” — the Beast, False prophet, and then the Dragon, Satan. It is essential to note that the event that precedes this destiny of the enemies of God is the victory of Christ and the armies of heaven over the nations (vv. 11-18) Then the result of this victory of what follows after is the doom and destiny of the three enemies of God.

So here is the outworking of this text: Christ and the armies of heaven have victory over the nations; the result of this is that both the beast and false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire; then, rather than Satan being thrown in the lake of fire along with the beast and false prophet, his doom is delayed one thousand years for the purpose of not deceiving the nations. So for the amillennialist to place the starting point of the one thousand years at Christ’s first Coming is simply unintelligible and unwarranted to the text.

Speaking of the nations, it should be observed carefully that v. 15 states that the “nations” were struck down, and to assure that the nations do not rise up again, it is said that the purpose of Satan being bound for a thousand years is “to keep him from deceiving the nations.” Do you see the reasoning there? The amill has it backwards, they claim that Satan is bound before Christ and the armies of heaven strike down the nations. That is an absurd and tortured reading of the text. The nations are struck down by Christ and the armies, and to assure that they do not rise up again during the one thousand years, Satan is bound.

This is clearly all in the context of the result of God’s judgment at his second coming. To read or infer that Satan’s binding happens at Christ’s first coming is demonstrably indicative of Tradition and is not handling the context rightly. Further, in this entire passage, the Greek has a set of consecutive “kais” (ands). In other words, there is no indication of an interruption in this text. The destiny of the three enemies of God are to be viewed as a unit, not to be disconnected with lifting the binding of Satan from the text and placing it at Christ’s first coming.

So the next time you are in a discussion with an amill and they begin the discussion at Revelation 20:1 challenge them and insist that they back up to where the context begins, which is in verse 19:11 with the victory over the nations and the two previous enemies of God.

Context, Context, Context.

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