You are hereJohn Wesley's Bimillennialism

John Wesley's Bimillennialism

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By Virgil - Posted on 27 May 2004

Below are the relevent portions of John Wesely's commentary on Rev. 20:1-7 and the enigmatic "millennia." As will be seen, Wesley held firmly to two distinct "thousand-year" periods, not one like most modern exegetes. Other scholars agreed, including John Owens, the Puritan theologian, and J.W. Bengel, the Greek scholar. As these other quotes become available, we will post them. As Wesley's comments and my debate with Mr. Frost show, Bimillennialism is neither novel or frivolous. Indeed, we doubt it can be successfully refuted.The implications of a two millennia approach to Revelation twenty are enormous and difficult to overstate. If correct, virtually every other system of eschatology presently embraced is then false, including Pre -, Post -, A -, and Trans - millennialism. Let me repeat that: If Bimillennialism is correct, then every other system of eschatology presently taught or embraced is false. Think of it!

Surely it behooves all Preterists to prayerfully give themselves to study of this issue with open hearts and minds for, if true, it could be the most far reaching development in eschatology since the Preterist movement itself. Of couse, it is not necessary to agree with Wesley's exegegis; we offer them there merely to show that other have viewed two millennia in Rev. 20:1-7 other than myself. It doesn't prove it is correct, it merely proves it is neither new nor frivolous. Here are Wesley's comments:

Verse 4

[4] And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

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"A thousand years — It must be observed, that two distinct thousand years are mentioned throughout this whole passage. Each is mentioned thrice; the thousand wherein Satan is bound, verses 2, 3, 7; Revelation 20:2; 3,7, the thousand wherein the saints shall reign, verses 4-6. Revelation 20:4-6 The former end before the end of the world; the latter reach to the general resurrection. So that the beginning and end of the former thousand is before the beginning and end of the latter. Therefore as in the second verse, Revelation 20:2 at the first mention of the former; so in the fourth verse, Revelation 20:2 at the first mention of the latter, it is only said, a thousand years; in the other places, "the thousand," verses 3, 5, 7, Revelation 20:3,5,7 that is, the thousand mentioned before. During the former, the promises concerning the flourishing state of the church, Revelation 10:7, shall be fulfilled; during the latter, while the saints reign with Christ in heaven, men on earth will be careless and secure."

Verse 5

[5] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

The rest of the dead lived not till the thousand years — Mentioned, verse 4.
Were ended — The thousand years during which Satan is bound both begin and end much sooner. The small time, and the second thousand years, begin at the same point, immediately after the first thousand. But neither the beginning of the first nor of the second thousand will be known to the men upon earth, as both the imprisonment of Satan and his loosing are transacted in the invisible world. By observing these two distinct thousand years, many difficulties are avoided. There is room enough for the fulfilling of all the prophecies, and those which before seemed to clash are reconciled; particularly those which speak, on the one hand, of a most flourishing state of the church as yet to come; and, on the other, of the fatal security of men in the last days of the world."

Kurt Simmons

Bimillennial Preterist Assoc.
www.preteristcentral.com

DavidTimm's picture

"If Bimillennialism is correct, then every other system of eschatology presently taught or embraced is false. Think of it!"

Kurt, with all respect, this statement could have any other millennial view listed other then "bimillennialism" and still be correct.

David

Malachi's picture

David,

Naturally what you say is true, but I think what Mr. Simmons is saying is that all other systems, being based upon the common assumption of a single "thousand years," are left to fight it out amongst themselves whose interpretation of the time and nature of the "millennium" is superior. On the other hand, here comes Simmons, Wesley, Owens, and Bengel with the rather startling revelation that in fact there are two one thousand year periods, making the arguments of the others concerning the time and nature of the millennium redundant and irrelevant. Thus, while the others are arguing about the meaning and interpretation of symbols, the two millennia view takes them out of the game without ever entering into a discussion of the symbols involved in the text.

I do believe that is the point Mr. Simmons is driving at.

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