Debate on the Millennium: Did the Millennium Begin in AD 70?
I recently had a FaceBook written debate with a man by the name of Jonathan Campanik. Mr. Campanik affirmed that the Millennium of Revelation 20 began in AD 70, with the Lord’s coming in judgement of Old Covenant Jerusalem. I deny that, and believe the evidence is clear that the Millennium began well before AD 70. I want to share the debate with our visitors, so, here is the first affirmative by Jonathan Campanik.
Jonathan Companik’s First Affirmative
FaceBook Debate Between Jonathan Companik and Full Preterist Author Don K. Preston on the Millennium
The two positions taken in this discussion are as follows:
Don Preston: The Millennium of Revelation 20 is symbolic of the (roughly) 40 year transition period between the Cross (30 AD) and Parousia (70 AD), when the second temple was destroyed by Rome (Titus). Since Satan is released for a “short time” (Rev. 20:3) at the terminus of the millennial rule of the saints, I would assume this time would correspond to the three-and-half-year tribulation period during which time Titus laid siege to Jerusalem, in which case the duration of the Millennium (strictly speaking) would be from around 26-30 A.D. to 66 A.D.
Jonathan Companik: The Millennium begins (not ends) in AD 70 to inaugurate the fulness of the New Covenant, that heavenly city corresponding to the free woman (Sarah) in Galatians 4. The Millennium is the Church Age or New Covenant age prior to the (future) second resurrection, as contrasted with the “first resurrection” of Rev. 20:4-6, which launched the Millennial rule of the martyrs who came through the tribulation.
Don has asked me to start this off by presenting a few points I find compelling and decisive in terms of proving a 70 AD start to the millennial period. Here are my opening points:
A. The Wars of Rev. 16/19 and Rev. 20 Are Different Conflicts (Dkp– Wow!!)
– The former is led by the beast and false prophet (Rev. 19:19-20); the latter is led by Satan himself (Rev. 20:7-10).
– The beast and false prophet, after the conflict in AD 70, are “cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 19:20); the latter is sent into the abyss for a (symbolic) “thousand years” (Rev. 20:1-3).
– Satan is “cast into the lake of fire” (20:10) after the “thousand years were finished” (20:3), where “the beast and the false prophet [already] are” (20:10).
B. Rev. 19:11-20:4 Is A Continuous Narrative
Rev. 20:1-4 is not a recapitulation back to ca. AD 30., but follows in chronological sequence from the battle in Rev. 19. The martyrs who “had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands” (Rev. 20:4) “lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (20:4, idem).
Rev. 19:11-20:4 strictly parallels Dan. 7:21-22, in which thrones are set up and the saints begin to possess the kingdom right after going through the tribulation, and right after God defeats the little horn (Titus).
A specific comparison of Rev. 19:20 and 20:4 establishes the unity of the narrative by showing that the timing of the saints’ possessing the kingdom (in both verses, those who did not receive the mark of the beast) corresponds with the destruction of the beast and false prophet in 70 AD.
C. Israel (Gog & Magog)
While there is very similar language and imagery between Ezekiel 38-39 and Rev. 20 with regard to Gog and Magog, they are not the same battle. In Ezekiel, the war is against Gog from Magog. In Rev. 20, Gog and Magog come against the Church and surround “the camp of the saints and the beloved city” [earthly New Jerusalem] (Rev. 20:8-9).
Also, the Gog and Magog war of Rev. 20 happens after the physical re-gathering of a Jewish national state, and after its conversion (cf. Ezek. 39:21-29), not after Jerusalem’s destruction.
D. The Three-Stage Demise of Satan
1. Satan is cast out of Heaven to Earth (unbound) ca. 30 AD. at the Ascension of Christ (Rev. 12:8-10).
2. Satan is cast into the abyss (“bound”) in 70 AD for a “thousand years” (Rev. 20:2).
3. Satan is “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and false prophet are” (Rev. 20:10) after the Millennium.
Note that the short time Satan has in Rev. 12 happens right after he is cast from heaven to earth (vv.8-10), whereas the short time he has in 20:3 happens right after his release from the abyss (vv.7-10). Two very different things. ???
E. Why Full Preterists Cannot Agree on the Timing of Satan’s Release
Full preterists have to be able to account for the (post-millennial) “short time” of Satan’s release. This is a huge bone of contention in full preterist circles precisely because it is an unsolvable dilemma given their placement of the thousand year reign as somehow beginning in ca. 30 AD.
Here are the two full preterist positions and their respective contradictions:
1. The millennium ended in ca. 66/67 AD, and the “short time” of Satan’s release corresponds with the three-and-a-half year tribulation terminating with the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70.
Problem: The martyrs who came through the tribulation are said to rule during the millennium (Rev. 20:4). So, even if they don’t rule for the entire duration of the millennium (as full preterists aver), they had to at least rule during some portion of its duration. But this is impossible if the millennium ended around 66/67 AD, shortly before the martyrs begin to possess the kingdom!
2. (Dkp- XXX) The Millennium ended in AD 70 with the destruction of the second temple, and the “short time” of Satan’s release coincides with the subsequent three years, terminating more or less with the sack of Masada in AD 73.
Problem: Seventy Weeks are “determined” for the “holy city” (Jerusalem) in Daniel 9:24-27 to “finish sin, to set an end to sin, to wipe out lawlessness, to atone for wrongdoings, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Holy of Holies.” (Dan. 9:24).
First, all prophecy concerning the Jews and their “holy city” (Jerusalem) is given 70 weeks, which came to an end in 70 AD.
Second, 70 weeks were given them to anoint the Holy of Holies, a reference to the second temple which was destroyed in 70 AD.
The gymnastics which must be done to maintain the millennium began in AD 30 is too absurd and contradictory to be taken seriously. It betrays a huge bias and preconception in favor of the full preterist position, which is both wholly eisegetical and altogether illogical. The Millennium began in AD 70 when the saints possessed the Kingdom, which fits with the sequence of Rev. 19-20 and their parallel verses in Daniel 7. This is also consistent with the three-stage view of Satan’s demise as demonstrated from Rev. 12 and 20, not to mention specific information found in Ezekiel 39 concerning the (subsequent) history of national Israel.