Beale: A Response to the Premillennial Interpretation of Revelation 20:1-6 – Part 9 of 11

9. Problematic OT passages that are considered by some to support premillennialism.

Some premillennialists have proposed that at least three OT passages offer significant support for a premillennial view of Rev. 20:1-6. Because of lack of space, the following interpretative perspectives can only be presented in the form of very brief sketches that require further elaboration, especially with respect to the amillennial views proposed.

First, Isa. 24:21-22:

21a So it will happen in that day,
21b that the LORD will punish the host of heaven on high, and the kings of the earth on earth.
22a They will be gathered together like prisoners in the dungeon,
22b and will be confined in prison;
22c and after many days they will be punished.
23 Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, for the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and His glory will be before His elders.

Many premillennialists regard this passage as predicting an absolute binding of Satan (in v.22a-b), which is also described in Rev. 20:1-3. However, the amillennial view can affirm any of the following three interpretations of the passage, none of which demand an absolute binding of the devil in Rev. 20:1-3.

First, the “confinement” predicted by Isa. 24:21-22 is qualified in Rev. 20:1-8 as a binding with respect to only Satan’s ability to deceive all the nations to gather against the church universal and to try to extinguish it.

Or, second, v.22c (“and after many days they will be punished”) is a recapitulation of v.21a (“So it will happen in that day”) and thus also of vv. 21b-22b. This would reflect a typical use of recapitulation with such time designations among the prophets (e.g., Jer. 31:31,”days are coming,” and 31:33, “after those days,” which refer to the same time). These verses are then about the final judgment at the very end of earth history. Thus v.23 is about the eternal new heavens and earth.

Or, third, v.21 was inaugurated at Christ’s first coming and then v.22a-b occurs during the church age and v.22c at the consummation, as does v.23.

-G. K. Beale with David Campbell, Revelation: A Shorter Commentary, 446.

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