Ojections to Transmillennialism

and other Millennium Models


The millennia of Revelation are an extremely challenging symbol to understand. The millennial model most popularly embraced by Preterists today is that of Max King, which states that there is but one millennium, and that it represents the “transition period” between the two covenants.  We here offer objections to the model held by the probable majority of Preterists. 

The Transmillennial Model is a Single Millennium Model

King’s model calls for a single millennial period.  Yet, King himself described two millennia in Revelation twenty: 

“These two one thousand years periods are like the North and South Poles – the distance of the North pole from the equator is also the distance of the south Pole from the equator. The opposite or extreme points, the binding of the Satan and the reigning of the Saints, were reached in the middle of the seventieth week.” (Max R. King, The Spirit of Prophecy (Warren OH, 1971), p. 347

So, King clearly saw two opposing one thousand years periods in the text.  There is a thousand year binding of the dragon, and there is a thousand year reign of the saints, just as unique as the North Pole is from the South Pole.  King, however, failed to follow up on this observation, and reverted to the single millennium model, defining the reign of the saints by the binding of the dragon.  But the single millennium model makes no sense at all.  The dragon is loosed before the general resurrection, to begin the battle of Gog and Magog (Rev. 20:7-11).  But the reign of the saints – the first resurrection - does not end until the 2nd, general resurrection when the souls were delivered from Hades.  Thus, the “thousand year” periods do not match!  The one begins and ends before the other starts.  If they do not match, then they cannot possibly be the same period, nor can the reign of the saints be defined by the binding of the dragon. 

The Transmillennial Model Makes the Bottomless Pit in Rev. 20 Incongruous with its Usage elsewhere in Revelation

According to King (which he borrows from Augustine), the keys of the bottomless pit in Rev. 20 are the cross and gospel of Christ – Preaching the gospel binds the dragon.  It binds the dragon because when the truth is preached allegedly he cannot deceive.  This of course is not true; the gospel is preached today, but billions of people are deceived.  But let us assume for purposes of argument that preaching the gospel somehow binds the dragon. If the keys are the cross and gospel in chapter 20, what are they in chapter 9?  In Chapter Nine the abomination of desolation rises out of the bottomless pit when a fallen star or angel who has the keys of the bottomless pit, releases them.  All Preterists agree that the invasion of the locust army is the Roman invasion of Palestine.  All remark that the five months the locusts are given to torment men corresponds with the length of the siege of Jerusalem.  They are likened to scorpions, corresponding to the name given the Roman catapults used during the siege.  But if the keys of the bottomless pit in Rev. 9 symbolize power over the Roman empire and its legions, how can they represent the cross and gospel of Christ in Rev. 20? 

The angel who has the keys and releases the locusts in Rev. 9 is said to be their “king.”  Chapter 17says there are seven kings – five were fallen, one is and another was yet to come.  (Rev. 17:10)  The one who “is” when John wrote was Nero, the 6th emperor.  Nero held the keys of the Roman empire and it fell to him to command the legions of Rome and loose its armies.  If an emperor of Rome holds the keys in Rev. 9, their possessor in Rev. 20 is almost surely an emperor also; to wit: Claudius.  By no stretch of the furthest imagination can the keys be interpreted as the cross and gospel of Christ. 

Makes Language of Martyrdom Language of Regeneration

The language of the first resurrection speaks of those martyred under the dragon and the beast.  To make beheading and martyrdom a symbol for regeneration – for repentance & baptism - is hard to grasp and stretches the language of the passage further than it is wont to go.  Revelation was written to the church standing upon the threshold of the eschatological crisis called the great tribulation, when the church would suffer near universal martyrdom.  The point of the imagery is to comfort the church by assuring them God had prepared a place of rest for them pending the general resurrection.  Paul spoke to this same issue in I Thess. 4:13, when he said he would not have the Thessalonians ignorant concerning them that had fallen asleep, that “ye sorrow not, even as other which have no hope.”  Likewise, Rev. 14:13 pronounces a blessing upon those that would suffer martyrdom under the beast, saying, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”  Those that died in the Lord are the same as those portrayed living and reigning with Christ in Rev. 20:3-6.   It is nonsensical to say that Rev. 20 is describing regeneration. 

Applies Language and Time-Models of the Spiritual Realm to Earth

The symbolism of the dragon being bound in the “bottomless pit” is universally agreed to represent Hades Tartarus or Hell.  I know of no one who contradicts this.  Thus, all concur that Hades or Hell is in view in Rev. 20:1-3.  It is an undeniable fact that Greeks and Romans believed that the souls in Hades were raised/born anew after 1,000 years, which corroborates this view.  Thus, the 1,000 years speak to the time during which the dragon was “dead” in Hades Tartarus.  Similarly, the souls under the altar in v. 4 are almost universally agreed to be in the spiritual realm, or interim place of the dead.  No one went to heaven (except Christ) before the general resurrection.  Hence, Hades Paradise is the ONLY place these souls can be.  Since, it is an undeniable fact that the Greeks and Romans believed souls were in Hades 1,000 years, this interpretation is fully corroborated.  The whole chapter is thus involved in the resurrection from Hades.  The dragon was symbolically bound in Hades Tartarus and would rise again to persecute the church. The souls of the martyrs are in Hades Paradise and will rise from there at the general resurrection depicted in vv. 11-15.  

Despite the overarching theme of “resurrection from Hades” that pervades the chapter, the Transmillennial view imports living saints into the text.  It says that some of those depicted in v. 4 are actually the church on earth.  Proponents of this view point to language of regeneration in passages like Eph. 2:1, 2, 6, in which those “dead in sins” are “raised up” and made to “sit together” with Christ in heavenly places.  The problem with applying this language to Rev. 20:4 is that Ephesians places those “raised up” in heaven, not Hades (Eph. 1:20; 2:6). Moreover, it says we are seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  In other words, Paul is not saying the saints on earth are actually in heaven (an obvious fact that needed no clarification!). What he is saying is that Jesus’ humanity means that in his ascension to the right hand of God, all believers are represented there by him.  Jesus is there, and we appear before the throne by and through him.  More to the point, however, there simply is no contextual justification for importing issues and concepts of regeneration from sin into a passage about martyrdom under the beast, or a chapter whose pervading theme is resurrection from Hades. 

Transmillennial Model Assumes the Dragon is a Supernatural, Demonic Being

Augustinian Postmillennialism and King’s Transmillennialism both assume that the dragon of Reveleation is a supernatural, semi-omnipotent, omnipresent, demonic being.  Yet, Revelation is a book of symbols.  The dragon in Revelation is not a demonic being, but Leviathan, a symbol for the world civil power at war with Christ and his church.  In the OT the dragon variously symbolized Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon (Isa. 14:29; 51:9; Ezek. 29:3).  In Revelation, the dragon is Imperial Rome; its seven heads and ten horns represent the division of empire’s political powers.  The seven heads are the seven emperors that reigned unto the final consummation: Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, and Galba.  Nero was reigning when Revelation was written.  (Rev. 17:10)  The ten horns are the ten senatorial provinces created by Augustus in 27 BC. Interpreting the symbols in reference to a demonic being deprives the book of sense and renders it unintelligible. All agree that the beast, false prophet, and harlot are symbols for world civil powers and political movements.  Why should the dragon be any different?  Rev. 20:10 has the dragon thrown into the lake of fire, Gehenna, the second death.  Yet, the same fate was suffered by the Harlot, the false prophet, and the beast (Rev. 19:20, 21). If the former describe the fall of political powers aligned against God, what basis is there for interpreting the dragon and its destruction differently? 

The Saints do not Start Reigning until the Dragon is Loosed

This is the most obvious error of the traditional interpretation.  A prisoner bound in prison cannot attack or harm those outside.  Thus, in order for the martyrs to come under attack and die, the dragon must first be loosed!  This clearly prevents the reign of the martyrs from being simultaneous with the binding of the dragon.  The better view, therefore, is that it is at the point where the dragon is loosed that the persecution under Nero began and the martyrs died and thus entered into their 1,000-year Hadean reign. The dragon and beast received a mortal wound in the persecution that collapsed in chapter twelve.  They went to Hades Tartarus (symbolically) where they were bound until the time the wound healed, and they revived to persecute the church anew under Nero. Those beheaded for not receiving the mark of the beast are those that die under Nero’s persecution, which means that their reign follows the loosing of the dragon.

The Transmillennial Model Assumes Facts not in Evidence

The idea that there was a “transition” between two covenants is a mistake.  The Old Testament ended at the cross. Period.  There is not a single verse that can be brought forward to contradict this. The Mosaic Age may have lingered on, and the teaching and traditions of the church and gospel have been gradually revealed until full, but the legal validity of the Old Law and its institutions died when the New Testament came into force at Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Thus, the very notion underlying “transmillennialism” is erroneous.  How can the millennium represent a transition period that did not exist? 

Rabbinic Teaching Not Source of Millennial Imagery

Another variation upon the millennium interprets it as pointing to the “reign of the Messiah.”  This view asserts that the source of the imagery is Rabbinic and Psuedo-epigraphical, and that these sources taught that the Messiah would reign alternately 40 years and 1000 years.  But the Gentiles churches of Asia to whom the Apocalypse was addressed would not have been familiar with Rabbinic sources, and the Jews themselves rejected the Pseudo-epigrapha as profane forgeries.  Thus, it is highly improbable that the Gentiles of Asia Minor could be expected to understand John’s imagery based upon such highly obscure and questionable sources.  Besides, Rabbinic notions about the Messiah were notoriously false, and led the Jews to crucify the Lord.  Was the Lord to reign only 40 years, or even 1,000 years? No.  His reign is forever (Isa. 9:7; Rev. 11:15).  Hence, the 1,000 = 40 years model is erroneous upon its face in limiting the eternal reign of Christ.  

The saints in Rev. 20:4 are dead; they are martyrs in Hades where they are waiting the general resurrection.  They are victorious in death and thus live and reign with Christ for the 1,000 year period which symbolized the spiritual state of the intermediate realm. 


These are a few of the more obvious objections to the majority view presently espoused among Preterists.


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