Tuesday, January 24, 2012
The Meaning of the Millennium
This [the depictions of the defeat of the beast and victory of Christ] shows that the theological point of the millennium is solely to demonstrate the triumph of the martyrs: that those whom the beast put to death are those who will truly live - eschatologically, and that those who contested his right to rule and suffered for it are those who will in the end rule as universally as he - and for much longer: a thousand years! Finally, to demonstrate that their triumph in Christ's kingdom is not one which evil can again reverse, that it is God's last word for good against evil, the devil is given a last chance to deceive the nations again (20:7-8). But it is no re-run of the rule of the beast. The citadel of the saints proves impregnable (20:9).
Richard Bauckham. The Theology of the Book of Revelation (New Testament Theology) (Kindle Locations 1355-1359). Kindle Edition.
The millennium becomes incomprehensible once we take the image literally. But there is no more need to take it literally than to suppose that the sequences of judgments (the seal-openings, the trumpets, the bowls) are literal predictions. John no doubt expected there to be judgments, but his descriptions of them are imaginative schemes designed to depict the meaning of the judgments. John expected the martyrs to be vindicated, but the millennium depicts the meaning, rather than predicting the manner of their vindication.
Richard Bauckham. The Theology of the Book of Revelation (New Testament Theology) (Kindle Locations 1366-1368). Kindle Edition.