Today, I am headed to this year’s annual meeting of The Evangelical Theological Society in Fort Worth, TX.
I am co-presenting a paper with Michael J. Svigel, Department Chair and Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. Here is our abstract.
Who Sat on the Thrones in Revelation 20:4? Ἐκάθισαν and Its Implications
The identity of those seated on thrones in 20:4 (ἐκάθισαν) has been a perplexing question for more than a few interpreters. But the participant in the encoded subject of the active, indicative verb ἐκάθισαν is rarely considered for an antecedent in the co-text of Rev 19. There have been proposals by interpreters, which, in our view, have not been satisfactory. It is proposed in this paper that the identity of those seated in 20:4 is found in the anaphoric reference of the “armies of heaven” mentioned in Rev 19:14, 19. In our opinion, there are three general reasons why an anaphoric reference in Rev 19 has not been considered: (1) The chapter break at 20:1 unconsciously influences interpreters; (2) Theological presuppositions hinder interpreters from considering a referent in Rev 19; (3) Interpreters have assumed that those sitting on the thrones have always been sitting on thrones, usually construed as the twenty-four elders sitting on twenty-four thrones (Rev 4:4). This paper identifies linguistic links between 19:11–21 and 20:4, including the larger discourse of the book of Revelation. If this proposal is correct, there are implications for the millennial debate. Most significantly, this undermines the non-sequential, recapitulation framework (e.g. amillennialism). In other words, the proposal situates the event of ἐκάθισαν within the Parousia setting of Rev 19 and not the pre-Parousia of the interadvent period. It therefore signals a cohesive and sequential message where the armies of heaven, who accompany Christ into battle, are the ones who also accompany him sitting on thrones and co-reigning with him during the thousand years kingdom.