PUBLISHED 23RD FEBRUARY 2017
In the previous post we noted that there were two commonly held interpretations of Daniel’s seventy weeks. One of these two views dovetails completely with one of the four views of Revelation (chapters 4-19). For those who hold to the ‘traditional’ view of Daniel’s seventy weeks they will hold one of three alternate views of Revelation (chapters 4-19). Today we are are going to consider the next chapter of Revelation – chapter 20 – which refers to (uniquely in The Bible) a period of time known as The Millennium. Once again there is a direct interpretive link between something in Daniel (chapter 2) and this portion of Revelation (chapter 20). This time I refer to ‘The Rock’ (cut without hands) that smashes into the feet of that previously mentioned statue. There are two views concerning the timing of The Rock – i.e. the time in history that is in view when it comes and strikes the statue’s feet. One of these views will lead to two possible (albeit, similar) understandings of the meaning and nature of ‘The Millennium’ and a second view of the timing of The Rock will lead to a third way to understand the Millennium period.
(PLEASE NOTE: As with all previously offered interpretations there are all kinds of variations WITHIN these schemes but I am trying to keep things as simple as possible. If you think I have misunderstood or omitted anything fundamental in any of my simplistic interpretations please do email me and let me know).
The Legs, The Feet & The Rock – View One
The legs, feet and toes of the statue represent the Roman Empire – as it is classically understood. I.E. It all combines to give an overall snapshot of the historic, imperial Roman Empire – being mostly strong but in various places or at later stages somewhat fragmented. The Rock is Christ AT HIS FIRST COMING. From the time of Jesus’ baptism and ministry He began to build His Kingdom here on earth and He is continuing to do so today – The Kingdom of God is within us – it is a spiritual kingdom.
The Legs, The Feet & The Rock – View Two
The legs are the historic imperial Roman Empire (just as in view one) but the feet and toes represent something that is ‘partly’ from that empire – some kind of later ‘extension’ to it / ‘continuation’ of it. We’ll explore what that may or may not be a little later but suffice to say for now, whatever exactly the feet and toes represent it is considered to be part of our world today. The Rock is Christ AT HIS SECOND COMING. The Kingdom is therefore a more literal/outward kingdom – as yet, still to come (maybe soon!).
Linking The Above To Revelation 20 & The Millennium
I am hoping that this next part will be easy to grasp even though it is going to require some long words! View one above leads to two different (yet similar) ‘Millennial’ outlooks. View two above couples with a third view of The Millennium.
(The Rock is Christ AT HIS FIRST COMING)
The belief that The Kingdom of God is growing and will continue to grow ‘successfully’ and eventually everyone in the world will become a Christian – or at least live quietly and acceptingly under Christian ‘rule’ and world dominance. There will be a 1000 years – either literally or this is figurative of an undefined period of time – where ‘world peace’ and respect for The Lord and His Christ will prevail, after which time Jesus will return – hence ‘POST’-Millennial – He comes AFTER The Millennium.
(The Rock is Christ AT HIS FIRST COMING)
The ‘A’ in A-Millennial means ‘without’ – like ‘Atheist’ means literally ‘without God’. The A-Millennial view is very similar in many ways to the above Post-Millennial view except it does not necessarily anticipate a ‘glorious’ period of Christian growth and dominance in the world prior to Christ’s return. The ‘Kingdom’ is still seen as being a ‘spiritual’ kingdom – that began to be established at Christ’s first coming and as with the Post-Millennial view it does not expect there to be a literal, ‘physical kingdom’ at any time. The ‘Millennium’ in Revelation chapter 20 is simply figurative of ‘The Church age’.
(The Rock is Christ AT HIS SECOND COMING)
PreMillennialism is, in simple summary, a more literal, physical understanding of The Kingdom of God. Whilst there is acknowledgement of The Kingdom being here and growing spiritually it views the Rock in Daniel 2 as being Christ at His second coming – when He physically returns to earth – literally stands on the mount of Olives, enters Jerusalem and begins direct rulership and governance of the entire earth from this location. He therefore comes and establishes His Kingdom rule for literally 1000 years – at the end of which there are a few final events that culminate in the new earth being formed.
To my mind, all three above ‘proposals’ are entirely rational positions to hold. There are strengths and weaknesses in all these views. There is both sound logic and persuasive Scriptural grounds for holding any of these views. There are good and Godly men, both past and present, who take these differing positions. My above summaries are not designed to provide enough detail for anyone to come to any kind of conclusion about these matters. You have a lot of serious research to do if you want to arrive honourably at a firm conclusion on this. I do of course have my view about this, as with previous ‘options’ I have presented to the reader. In my next article I will talk more about how I see those feet of iron and clay and you will begin to see how this all relates back to my earlier posts of current day ‘politics’ – Brexit, Trump and the world events that seem to be falling into place!