Kingdom, Hope and the End of the World
Most confusion surrounds the idea of the millennial reign of Christ in Revelation 20. Despite the antiquity of understanding this as a literal period, such a a reading taking this number (1,000) as literal alone of all the many numbers in Revelation, contradicts the overall eschatology of the book, makes Jesus return twice (or three times) in contradiction to eschatology elsewhere in the New Testament, and ignores its literary context. Revelation 19-21 contains seven unnumbered visions, each introduced by ‘And I saw ...’ (19:11, 17, 19; 20:1, 4, 11; 21:1) and, given that other visions offer different aspects of the same reality, rather than a sequence of events, these are most naturally understood as seven ways of understanding the final victory of Jesus. This includes the claims that justice will conquer (19:11), the word of God will prevail (19:15), that deception will die (19:20; 20:10), the saints will be vindicated (20:4), the heavens and earth will be remade (20:11; 21:1), that death will be no more (20:14; 21:4) and that God will finally and unmistakably be present with his people (21:3; 21:16).
He also earths eschatology in pastoral practice, with a helpful fifth chapter addressing issues that come up all the time in local church life:
- End-times Speculation
- Israel and the Land
- Suffering, Healing and Answer to Prayer
- Social Reform and Transhumanism
- Death and Post-mortem Destiny
The whole booklet is well worth a look. You can get hold of it here.