Satan’s Little Season

>
> Ron Nelson wrote:
>
> Ron Nelson to James J.
>
> I do not believe in Pre-millenialim, but I do believe that “Satan will
> be loosed for a season,” (Revelation), which will be the spread of
> Islam.
>

Ron, nice to meet you also. Thank you for your remarks. I appreciate
your interest in these things.

I think that in your feeling the need to make a disclaimer regarding
premillennialism you have illustrated the quandary in which brethren find
themselves as they attempt to understand Revelation. Foy Wallace rendered
premillennialism politically incorrect in the 30s and yet aspects of it,
such as a final apocryphal battle, seemed the clear import of scripture
(Rev 16:16, 19:19). After Foy Wallace’s expose of premillennialism
brethren were at loggerheads to explain the import of many of the visions
in the Revelation. Because no one wanted to get branded as
“premillennial”, but yet found the alternative explanations arbitrary and
inconsistent, there was no satisfactory alternative. Mostly brethren have
thrown up their hands in despair and have decided the book is
incomprehensible. I propose a solution that is consistent,
comprehensible, and founded upon sound principles of good Bible
hermeneutics.

There is a solution to the quandary that satisfies all the constraints
posed by the text in Revelation. It is possible to recognize that Jesus
is presently reigning and still acknowledge the obvious import suggested
by John’s description of the horrors at the end of the world and the
blessings of the new earth. I propose a solution that provides for Jesus
being now upon the throne and yet provides a Bible rooted interpretation
of the apocryphal figures that maintains obvious meaning of passages such
as Rev 16:16. It is founded upon the sound principle of hermeneutics that
requires that we must take a text literally unless the context demands
otherwise. It further requires that figures be interpreted in light of a
Bible key (e.g. Rev 1:20, 17:9-10, Dan 7:24).

The solution to the quandary is to understand that the Millennium is
presently occurring or has already occurred (ca. AD 344-1344). We know
from scripture that Jesus is ruling on God’s throne in heaven (Rev 3:21,
Acts 2:36) where He will rule until the Second Coming and the resurrection
(I Cor 15:25). Foy Wallace correctly argued that since Christ is reigning
now, any notion of a 1000 year reign of Christ at some future date must be
at once dismissed. To this I whole heartedly agree. We must, however,
reconcile the temporary reign of Christ with His eternal reign.

The Bible makes it clear that in the future that Christ gives up His
temporary seat (Acts 2:34-35, I Cor 15:24) by the right hand of God (I Cor
15:28) to assume His eternal seat on the throne of David (Lk 1:32, Eph
1:21, Ezek 37:24-26). The premillennialists ignore the present reign of
Christ upon His Father’s throne, and confuse the eternal reign of Christ
on the new earth of the future (II Pet 3:13, Isa 65:17, 66:22) with his
thousand year reign of Rev 20:4 that has already occurred.

Let me anticipate an objection to the claim that Christ’s 1000 year reign
has already occurred with the following remarks. Those of us who hold
that Christ is reigning now must cope with the fact that the Devil is said
to be released prior to the Second Coming, but after the Millennium is
over, and during this time Christ is still reigning on the Father’s throne
in heaven. It is clear that for a period of time that the Devil will be
loose, but Christ is still reigning, for He must reign until He comes
again (I Cor 15:24) and raises the dead to destroy death (I Cor 15:25-26).
How is it that Christ is still reigning after the Millennium, but the 1000
year reign is over? I believe the solution to that problem is that it is
the reign of those reigning with him (Rev 20:4) that ends when Satan is
released. Even after the Devil’s release Christ’s reign must continue
until He returns to earth and destroys death (I Cor 15:25-26), but those
in heaven who ruled with Him are no longer reigning with Him due to Satan
being released who then interferes with their responsibilities.

We also recognize that the text in Rev 20:3-4 does not imply that Jesus
returns the moment Satan is released, and the release of the Devil does
not mean the end of the reign of Christ, for He must reign until the last
enemy, death, is placed under His feet at the Resurrection (I Cor 15:25).
Since the Millennium ends prior to Christ’s second coming, there is no
logical problem with taking the Millennium to be a literal 1000 year
period from AD 344-1344. Even if you take Christ’s 1000 year reign to be
symbolic, you must cope with the fact that the Devil is released prior to
the Second Coming and the Resurrection.

What then does it mean to loose the Devil? The loosing of the Devil means
the opposite of what the binding of the Devil meant, and the binding of
Satan meant that demons were cast out of people and cast into the Abyss
(Mk 3:27, Lk 8:31). If the binding of Satan meant the gradual
imprisonment of Satan’s minions before the Millennium began, then the
loosing of Satan means the gradual loosing of Satan’s minions after it is
over.

If we understand that Christ will abdicate His present rule on God’s
throne in favor of the Father (I Cor 15:24, 28), then it leaves us free to
actually understand the sense of the scriptures regarding the wonderful
earth of the future in a literal sense. By placing Christ upon His throne
(the throne of David) for eternity in the literal new earth, we at once
dispose of the difficulties we encounter in trying to explain the
“symbols” of Isa 11:4ff, 35:7-9, 65:25, Rev 21:2, etc., for they are
literal descriptions of actual events, and not symbolic at all.

Some of the major objections that have long been raised with respect to a
literal future earth need here to be noticed. There are mainly two:

1) The earth will be burned up
2) Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven

As to the first objection, even if the earth were to be burned to gas, it
would not prevent God from creating a new one, as He promised to do (Isa
66:22). Peter, a First Century Christian, though he was an apostle in the
church of Christ, was still looking forward to the fulfillment of God’s
promise by Isaiah (II Pet 3:13). The apostle’s view was that the new
heavens and new earth were a literal place that God would bring to
fruition following the Second Coming and the end of the world.

The second objection springs from an unwarranted interpretation of I Cor
15:50. The passage says, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of
God”. The interpretation is that nothing material can enter the eternal
kingdom that is to come (I Cor 6:9). That view is without warrant,
however, for the one and only thing that I Cor 15:50 prevents from
entering heaven is “flesh and blood”. What is “flesh and blood”? Gal
1:6, Mt 16:17, Heb 2:14, et al. all show that the term refers to the
present existence of man in his physical body. Therefore I Cor 15:50 only
prevents man in his present form from entering heaven. The objection then
is easily overcome by reading Paul’s clear and unequivocal statement that
while our bodies are raised (Rom 8:11, I Cor 6:14, 15:20-22, II Cor 4:14),
they will all be changed (I Cor 15:52, Php 3:21). If our risen bodies are
changed, they are no longer the same as they are now. However, they are
now flesh and blood. Therefore, in the resurrection, we have literal
bodies that are changed from flesh and blood and are therefore no longer
under the prohibition of I Cor 15:50. There is therefore no restriction
provided by 1 Cor 15:50 against our material resurrected bodies from
entering the eternal kingdom because their composition is not flesh and
blood.

The foundation of Christianity is the physical resurrection of Christ (I
Cor 15:12-19). He was raised in a material body (Lk 24:39), and that
risen body is eternal. “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead
dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him” (Rom 6:9). The fact
of Jesus’ literal, physical resurrection and His eternal life is the
bedrock upon which rests our own hope of resurrection and eternal life (I
Cor 15:12-19). The very meaning “resurrection” involves the reanimation
of a physical body by the spirit (Jas 2:26, Rom 8:11, 23, I Thes 4:16,
5:23). We know that the composition of our resurrected bodies will be
physical because our resurrected bodies will be like Christ’s resurrected
body (Php 3:21), and his body was flesh and bones (Lk 24:39).

When Christ arose in a physical body, he ate and drank with the apostles
(Lk 24:42, I Jn 1:1). When He ascended up into heaven He had a physical
body (Acts 1:9). When He was seated at the right hand of God He had a
physical body. We know Christ had a physical body in heaven for Paul was
an eyewitness of the resurrected Christ (I Cor 15:8, II Cor 11:5), but
Paul did not see Christ until years after Christ ascended back to the
Father. If Paul was an eyewitness, what did he see, a spirit? If he did
not see the risen material body of Christ, then he cannot be an apostle.
An apostle must be an eyewitness of the resurrection. If Jesus did not
see the risen body of Christ, he cannot be an apostle (Acts 1:22), he is a
liar (I Cor 15:8), and he is inferior to the others who actually saw
Christ risen from the dead (II Cor 11:5).

If Christ’s body was disposed of as He rose back to heaven in Acts 1 due
to a prohibition springing from I Cor 15:52 that prevents anything
physical from entering heaven, then we have the following result.
Christ’s spirit entered heaven where it is seated on the right hand of God
(Acts 2:33). His body, however, went somewhere else apart from His
spirit. James calls the condition where the body is apart from the spirit
“death” (Jas 2:26). That theory of the separation of Jesus’ body from His
spirit at His ascension therefore says that Jesus died again when He
ascended back to the Father. Such cannot possibly be true, for it is
impossible that Christ would ever die again (Rom 6:9, Heb 7:16, 25, Rev
1:18). If Jesus did not die, He is in His body, for that was His
condition upon the resurrection. Any change that would render His body
immaterial would also render Paul’s witness meaningless, for the apostles
were eyewitnesses of the risen physical body of Christ (II Pet 1:16, Lk
1:2, Acts 26:16).

About James Johnson

Bible student for 60 years. Preacher of the gospel for over 40 years. Author of commentary on Revelation, All Power to the Lamb. Married with children. Worked in aerospace and computer engineering for over 40 years.
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