· Amillennialist. This view says there will be no future 1000-year reign; they believe we are under the millennium now—a realized millennialism. Amillennialist are divided in two camps. First, those who uphold the Augustinian view that all the promises of the kingdom is the church and the present age (e.g. Berkhof). The passage is symbolic and not literal. Second, view this as a picture not of a time-period but a state of saints in heaven (e.g. Warfield, Sam Storms). Both views require spiritualization of Revelation 20.
· Postmillennialist. This view holds that Christ will return after the 1000-year period, which may be literal or indicates a long period of time. This period will be marked by spiritual renewal and peace. However, this view has lost favor in the twentieth century.
· Premillennialist. This holds that Christ will return after the Tribulation and before the 1000-year reign. It lets the customary ordinary language of the passage speak for itself. It holds to the literal 1000-year reign of Christ here on earth. The author holds this view.
Revelation 20 continues the motif of Christ as Victor/Messiah at His second coming. “Then I saw thrones,” designate another stage or event being revealed. This paragraph clearly identifies that this event happens during the 1000-year captivity of Satan. The thousand years are associated with two main events: the captivity of Satan (20:2), and the reign of Christ (4). Pentecost observes:
“It is evident that there can and will be no earthly theocratic kingdom apart from the personal manifested presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. This whole age depends upon His return to the earth as promised. All that exists in the millennium has its origin in the King who is revealed.”
This rule is the beginning of the fulfillment of the promise given to Mary (Luke 1:32-33), as well as the answer to what is commonly called the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:10). Its features will include:
· A glorious government (Isa. 9:6; 11:4; Psa. 2:9; 45:4; 72:4).
· A glorious inheritance of the promised land to Israel (Gen. 17:8; Dan 11:16, 41; 8:9).
· A glorious righteousness throughout the kingdom (Mal. 4:2; Isa. 26:2; Psa. 96:10).
· A glorious kingdom in which Christ rules (Psa. 72; Isa. 9:7; 11:10; Zech. 3:10).
This all happens in this 1000-year period, while Satan is bound.
In Revelation 20:4-6 the following events will take place during this time:
Various views are taken as to who sits upon the thrones:· A heavenly tribunal made up of the 24 elders (Rev. 4:4, 11:16). They are said to reign on the earth (Rev. 5:10).
· Some view these as the 144,000. These 144,000 are sealed, thus protected from death during this period.
· The martyrs who now are vindicated (Rev.6:9-11; 16:6; 18:20, 24; 19:2). This would include the Twelve (all who were martyred, save one, John). See Luke 22:28-30. Bullinger sees the throne as Christ on the Davidic Throne, along with the twelve thrones of the Apostles.
· The saints of all time (Daniel 7:18; Luke 22:30; 1 Cor. 6:2-3). This seems to be the popular view.
There is no easy or sure identification that can be made. In light of this, Mounce says that silence about the occupants of the thrones, it may be wise not to go beyond a heavenly court (Dan 7:26). If we had only this verse in the Bible about who is in the kingdom maybe speculation would be unwarranted. However, there are a number of texts that cannot be overlooked. The major ones are:
· Daniel 7:18. It plainly declares that the saints of God will receive the kingdom. This is somewhat a generic statement. However, it does state that saints will be part of the kingdom. This passage is best understood as a reference to Old Testament saints of Israel.
· Matthew 19:28. This is addressed especially to the Twelve, who will sit on twelve thrones in the kingdom (regeneration). Their responsibility will be to judge Israel.
· 1 Corinthians 6:2-3. This is addressed to the church the body of Christ. It clearly teaches we are to be judges of the world and angels. Our judgment of the world should not be downplayed. One of the responsibilities of the body of Christ is to judge the world (not just angels, which some tend to overemphasize). Paul does not identify when this will happen. Some feel that this takes place in heaven, not on earth and is not the same as the judgment of Revelation 20.
· Revelation 2:26-26; 3:21; 5:10 These verses indicate it is the Tribulation saints. Revelation 20:4 speaks of the martyrs who were killed because they stood faithful to the Lord during this time. Some feel this is a separate group from the enthroned saints. Contextually we should not go beyond what the text says.
However, it must be pointed out nowhere in the immediate context those who sit on these thrones are identified. There are a number of possibilities and opinions, but there is no certainty that can be gleaned from this text. No wonder it has been said that the passage is complicated by a lack of specificity.
What is clear is that judgment “was given to them” (20:4). This phrase brings out two points:
- God is the origin of the action of giving, they are only the receivers of the action.
- The authorization is not ceremonial, but real judicial action.
There are four resurrections recorded in the New Testament:
- Resurrection of Christ from the tomb (Mark 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-9).
- The Rapture which includes a resurrection of the saints of the church, the body of Christ (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:50-57). This takes place before the tribulation.
- The first resurrection (Rev. 20:4). Takes place at the end of the tribulation. This of necessity includes the Old Testament and tribulational saints and martyrs. Walvoord observes, “The first resurrection therefore becomes the resurrection of all the righteous in contrast to the final resurrection which is the resurrection of the wicked.”
- The second resurrection (Rev. 20:5). Takes place after the 1000-year reign of Christ on earth.
- The immediate context demands it.
- The context of the book requires it.
- The term itself is used mostly of physical resurrection, but not exclusively. Revelation 20:4 confirms it is physical, for the dead come to life and rule with Christ in the earthly kingdom. They are never called spirits, but spoken of as saints.
- This view of literal resurrection goes back to the earliest interpreters, and the New Testament itself. In the New Testament salvation is not full until their bodies are resurrected and their souls and bodies are united (cf. 1 Cor. 15:52-54).
 Amillennialist include: Henry Swete; Benjamin Warfield, William Hendriksen; R.C.H. Lenski; Louis Berkhof, Leon Morris; G.K. Beale; and Philip Edgcumbe Hughes.
 Postmillennialist include: Augustine; Loraine Boettner; Albert Barnes; Charles Hodge; A.H. Strong; David Chilton, and John Jefferson Davis.
 Premillennialist include: Irenaeus; R.H. Charles; John F. Walvoord; Alva J. McClain; G.B. Caird; F.F. Bruce; David E. Aune; Merrill C Tenney; C.R. Stam, J. Dwight Pentecost; and Robert H. Mounce.
 The 1000-years are mentioned five times in the first 6 verses of Revelation 20. e
 J. Dwight Pentecost, THINGS TO COME, [Grand Rapids MI, Zondervan, 1969], 478.
 John F. Walvoord, THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST, [Chicago, Moody Press, 1966], 296. Tony Garland, A TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST, Volume 2, [www.spirit&truth. Org], 113.
 William Root, COMMENTS ON COMING THINGS: A Dispensational Look at the Book of Revelation, [Grand Rapids, Published by author, 1972], 133.
 E.W. Bullinger, THE APOCALYPSE, [London, Bagster & Sons, 1972 reprint], 614. There is some confusion by Bullinger because he also included the seven angelic assessors (Matt. 25:31).
 Robert H. Mounce, NICNT: THE BOOK OF REVELATION Revised, [Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1998], 365.
 Harry Bultema, COMMENTARY ON DANIEL, [Grand Rapids, Kregel, 1988], 227. Phillip Newell, DANIEL, [Chicago, Moody Press, 1962], 108.
 C.R. Stam, 1 CORINTHIANS, [Chicago, Berean Bible Society, 1988], 114.
 David J. Macleod, “The Fourth ‘Last Things:’ The Millennial Kingdom of Christ,” BIBLIOTHECA SACRA, January-March 2000, 54-55.
 John F. Walvoord, REVELATION, 296.
 John F. Walvoord, THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM, [Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1959], 279.
 David J. MacLeod, “The Millennial Kingdom of Christ,” 58-59.
 John F. Walvoord, MILLENIAL KINGDOM, 297.