Questions on the Millennium and Revelation 20

I received the post below from one of our regular visitors and viewers of our YouTube videos. “Charles” asks some good questions, so take a look!

Don K

<<Charles, very good to hear from you. I will put my responses to your questions in the appropriate places below.

Hope to see you at the debate in July! This is going to be great!

Don K.

From: Charles *****
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 8:08 PM
To: Don Preston
Subject: couple of questions

Hi, Don. Got more quick questions:

  1. Re Rev 20 20:4-6, is it (in your opinion) a fair comparison to compare the 1st resurrection to the new birth of which Jesus speaks in John 3?

Response: Well, I am not so much convinced that it refers specifically to the new birth of John 3 as it does to the initiation of the millennium during Jesus’ ministry, and the binding of Satan through that ministry. See Matthew 12:43-45- cf. Luke 10:18f. Jesus unequivocally stated that “the hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of Man…”

Now, this certainly refers to receiving Christ by faith (so I am not denying that), but, I think there are wider concepts at work as well. With this in mind, we have a right to ask for the evidence to divorce these references to “resurrection” from Revelation, especially when John was the author of both the gospel, in which the “now is” of resurrection is affirmed, and  Revelation 20. Personally, I do not see the evidence for such a dichotomy.

At stake of course, is the issue of the millennium, and I am currently working on a major project for presentation at a seminar later this year. Some of the other presenters are some of the most recognized names in evangelical scholarship today. This is a very exciting opportunity, and I believe that the material I will present will bring the preterist view of the millennium to a wider audience than ever. Be watching for that formal announcement.

Response: I am aware that there are those who build a great deal of their case on the millennium on the claim that v. 5 is missing in some of the ancient MSS. And, to be sure, it is missing from some. However, I have a friend that is a textual critic, who works with the ancient Greek MSSs virtually every day. I asked him how strong the evidence is for the omission of v. 5. After noting some of the MSS in which v. 5 is missing, he then lists the evidence for the inclusion and concludes: “In the end Don, the vast majority include the clause as does the Greek Orthodox text.”  (My emphasis).

Based on his “hands on” experience and knowledge of the MSS evidence, I will take this as definitive refutation of those who build their case on the omission.

It is bothersome to me personally when people, well intentioned people to be sure, build doctrines on questionable textual evidence and claims. It seems to me that we need extremely strong—not just some— textual evidence for our theology. Thus, to build a theological doctrine based on a questionable claim about some MSSs omitting a given phrase seems unwarranted to me.

Hope this helps! Hope to see you in July!

For HIs Truth, and In His Grace,

Don K. Preston>>