+ 70-1070AD

70-1070AD Blessed & Holy Ones resurrected at start of Last Day, Rest of Dead resurrected at its end

Since the 30-70AD age is likened to the 40-year Exodus,
the 70-1070AD Millennium is likened to the age of Possessing the Promised Land during Joshua, Judges & Kings.

Beginning with the Lord's Return around 70AD:

John 6:39-40, John 6:44, John 6:53-54 ~preached around 29AD by Jesus Christ
39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the Last Day.
40 And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the Last Day.
44 No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the Last Day.
53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the Last Day.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 ~penned around 51AD by Christ's Apostle Paul to the Christians at Thessalonica
For the Lord himself shall [future, after 51AD] descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the Dead in Christ shall [future, after 51AD] RISE FIRST:

Revelation 20:4-6
And I foresaw 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. 5 (But THE REST OF THE DEAD lived not again until the thousand years were finished). This is the FIRST RESURRECTION. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the FIRST RESURRECTION: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

2 Peter 3:8
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that ONE DAY IS WITH THE LORD AS A THOUSAND YEARS, and a thousand years as one day.

The Dead in Christ = 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.
The Rest of the Dead = the souls of everyone else who had died.

Christ raised up first HIS MARTYRS from the Nero-Beast Tribulation (the Dead in Christ) at the start of the Last Day.
And THE REST OF THE DEAD were raised up at the end of the Last Day to their sentence of Judgment.

Martin Luther claimed he was living during the period of Satan's Release AFTER the 1000 year Millennium of the Middle Age

(Excerpts from Schaff's History of the Church, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved. Notable portions highlighted in yellow, comments by ProphecyHistory.com in italics with light blue highlighting). (MILLENNIUM : Latin MILLE, thousand + Latin ANNUS, year)

Anti-chiliasm's triumph over Chiliasm: the expectation, then realization of the 1000 Year Millennium during the Middle Age

"Another important division of historical interpreters is into Post-Millennarians and Pre-Millennarians, according as the millennium predicted in Revelation 20 is regarded as part or future. Augustin committed the radical error of dating the millennium from the time of the Apocalypse or the beginning of the Christian era (although the seer mentioned it near the end of his book), and his view had great influence; hence the wide expectation of the end of the world at the close of the first millennium of the Christian church. Other post-millennarian interpreters date the millennium from the triumph of Christianity over paganism in Rome at the accession of Constantine the Great (311);"

(Excerpted from Schaff's History of the Church, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

["Radical error" or not is open to debate. (Philip Schaff went on to embrace historical Preterism, noting his own change of doctrinal position in later editions of this work.) But without argument, St. Augustin dated Rev 20:1-10’s “1000 Years” from the time of the writing of Revelation ("The Apocalypse" in Latin) or the beginning of the Christian era to the end of the first millennium of the Christian church. This view was so widely held during the Middle Age that there was wide expectation of the end of the world at 1000AD, the close of the first millennium of the Christian church. I agree with St. Augustin, (354-430AD), that he was living during the 1000-year Millennium of Rev 20:1-10.~jwr

"Luther struck the key-note of this anti-popery exegesis. He had at first a very low opinion of the Apocalypse, and would not recognize it as apostolic or prophetic (1522), but afterward he utilized for polemic purposes (in a preface to his edition of the N. T. of 1530). He [Martin Luther] dated the one thousand years (Revelation 20:7) with Augustin from the composition of the book, and the six hundred and sixty-six years from Gregory VII., as the supposed founder of the papacy, and understood Gog and Magog to mean the unspeakable Turks and the Jews. As Gregory VII. was elected pope 1073, the anti-Christian era ought to have come to an end A.D. 1739; but that year passed off without any change in the history of the papacy."
(Excerpted from Schaff's History of the Church, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Martin Luther, following Augustin, Rev 20:1-10’s “1000 Years” from “the composition of the book [of Revelation] to the year 1073AD, when Gregory VII was elected Pope. Luther then expected an anti-Christian era (Rev 20:3 & Rev 20:7-9 period of Satan’s release) to expend from 1073AD to 666 years later. I do not see how Luther got 666 years for the period of Satan's release, but I can see how he might calculate 1073AD to be the end of the 1000 Year Millennium - that makes Augustin and Luther's Millennium from that last great defeat at Masada in 73AD to a literal 1000 years later when Gregory VII became Pope, greatly extending papal claims, launching the Crusades, which in turn provoked foreign invaders, who brought Black Death Plague with them, etc., inaugurating the Dark Age that ended with the heavenly fires of the Reformation/Rennaissance/Discovery of the New World/Modern Era. I agree with Martin Luther, (1483-1546AD), that he was living in the period that followed Rev 20:1-10's "1000 years." ~jwr

MILLENNIUM : Latin MILLE, thousand + Latin ANNUS, year

§ 158. Chiliasm.

The most striking point in the eschatology of the ante-Nicene age is the prominent chiliasm, or millennarianism, that is the belief of a visible reign of Christ in glory on earth with the risen saints for a thousand years, before the general resurrection and judgment. 227 It was indeed not the doctrine of the church embodied in any creed or form of devotion, but a widely current opinion of distinguished teachers, such as Barnabas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Methodius, and Lactantius; while Caius, Origen, Dionysius the Great, Eusebius (as afterwards Jerome and Augustin) opposed it.

[They opposed it because, by the time they came along, the time for expecting it had passed and they preached that it had already come, being presently enjoyed in their own times]~jwr

The Jewish chiliasm rested on a carnal misapprehension of the Messianic kingdom, a literal interpretation of prophetic figures, and an overestimate of the importance of the Jewish people and the holy city as the centre of that kingdom. It was developed shortly before and after Christ in the apocalyptic literature, as the Book of Enoch, the Apocalypse of Baruch, 4th Esdras, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and the Sibylline Books. It was adopted by the heretical sect of the Ebionites, and the Gnostic Cerinthus. 228
The Christian chiliasm is the Jewish chiliasm spiritualized and fixed upon the second, instead of the first, coming of Christ. It distinguishes, moreover, two resurrections, one before and another after the millennium, and makes the millennial reign of Christ only a prelude to his eternal reign in heaven, from which it is separated by a short interregnum of Satan. The millennium is expected to come not as the legitimate result of a historical process but as a sudden supernatural revelation.
The advocates of this theory appeal to the certain promises of the Lord, 229 but particularly to the hieroglyphic passage of the Apocalypse, which teaches a millennial reign of Christ upon this earth after the first resurrection and before the creation of the new heavens and the new earth. 230
In connection with this the general expectation prevailed that the return of the Lord was near, though uncertain and unascertainable as to its day and hour, so that believers may be always ready for it. 231 This hope, through the whole age of persecution, was a copious fountain of encouragement and comfort under the pains of that martyrdom which sowed in blood the seed of a bountiful harvest for the church.
Among the Apostolic Fathers Barnabas is the first and the only one who expressly teaches a pre-millennial reign of Christ on earth. He considers the Mosaic history of the creation a type of six ages of labor for the world, each lasting a thousand years, and of a millennium of rest; since with God "one day is as a thousand years." The millennial Sabbath on earth will be followed by an eighth and eternal day in a new world, of which the Lord's Day (called by Barnabas "the eighth day") is the type. 232
Papias of Hierapolis, …
Justin Martyr represents the transition from the Jewish Christian to the Gentile Christian chiliasm. He speaks repeatedly of the second parousia of Christ in the clouds of heaven, surrounded by the holy angels. It will be preceded by the near manifestation of the man of sin (‎a&nqrwpo$ th=$ a)nomi/a$‎) who speaks blasphemies against the most high God, and will rule three and a half years. He is preceded by heresies and false prophets. 234 Christ will then raise the patriarchs, prophets, and pious Jews, establish the millennium, restore Jerusalem, and reign there in the midst of his saints; after which the second and general resurrection and judgment of the world will take place. He regarded this expectation of the earthly perfection of Christ's kingdom as the key-stone of pure doctrine, but adds that many pure and devout Christians of his day did not share this opinion. 235 After the millennium the world will be annihilated, or transformed. 236 In his two Apologies, Justin teaches the usual view of the general resurrection and judgment, and makes no mention of the millennium, but does not exclude it. 237 The other Greek Apologists are silent on the subject, and cannot be quoted either for or against chiliasm.
Irenaeus, …
Tertullian was an enthusiastic Chiliast, and pointed not only to the Apocalypse, but also to the predictions of the Montanist prophets. 239 But the Montanists substituted Pepuza in Phrygia for Jerusalem, as the centre of Christ's reign, and ran into fanatical excesses, which brought chiliasm into discredit, and resulted in its condemnation by several synods in Asia Minor. 240
After Tertullian, and independently of Montanism, chiliasm was taught by Commodian towards the close of the third century, 241 Lactantius, 242 and Victorinus of Petau, 243 at the beginning of the fourth. Its last distinguished advocates in the East were Methodius (d., a martyr, 311), the opponent of Origen, 244 and Apollinaris of Laodicea in Syria.

We now turn to the anti-Chiliasts. The opposition began during the Montanist movement in Asia Minor. Caius of Rome attacked both Chiliasm and Montanism, and traced the former to the hated heretic Cerinthus. 245 The Roman church seems never to have sympathized with either, and prepared itself for a comfortable settlement and normal development in this world. In Alexandria, Origen opposed chiliasm as a Jewish dream, and spiritualized the symbolical language of the prophets. 246 His distinguished pupil, Dionysius the Great (d. about 264), checked the chiliastic movement when it was revived by Nepos in Egypt, and wrote an elaborate work against it, which is lost. He denied the Apocalypse to the apostle John, and ascribed it to a presbyter of that name. Eusebius inclined to the same view.

But the crushing blow [to Chiliasm] came from the great change in the social condition and prospects of the church in the Nicene age. After Christianity, contrary to all expectation, triumphed in the Roman empire, and was embraced by the Caesars themselves, the millennial reign, instead of being anxiously waited and prayed for, began to be dated either from the first appearance of Christ, or from the conversion of Constantine and the downfall of paganism, and to be regarded as realized in the glory of the dominant imperial state-church. Augustin, who himself had formerly entertained chiliastic hopes, framed the new theory which reflected the social change, and was generally accepted. The apocalyptic millennium he understood to be the present reign of Christ in the Catholic church, and the first resurrection, the translation of the martyrs and saints to heaven, where they participate in Christ's reign. 248 It was consistent with this theory that towards the close of the first millennium of the Christian era there was a wide-spread expectation in Western Europe that the final judgment was at hand.

From the time of Constantine and Augustin chiliasm took its place among the heresies and was rejected subsequently even by the Protestant reformers as a Jewish dream. But it was revived from time to time as an article of faith and hope by pious individuals and whole sects, often in connection with historic pessimism, with distrust in mission work, as carried on by human agencies, with literal interpretations of prophecy, and with peculiar notions about Antichrist, the conversion and restoration of the Jews, their return to the Holy Land, and also with abortive attempts to calculate "the times and seasons" of the Second Advent, which "the Father hath put in his own power" (Acts 1:7), and did not choose to reveal to his own Son in the days of his flesh. ...

["From the time of Constantine and Augustin chiliasm took its place among the heresies..." Chiliasm was the expectation that the 1000 Year Millennium was still future rather than a present reality. And that expectation suddenly died when the reality of Constantine's victory took there breath away, compelling them to wake up to the fact that they were already living in the 1000 Year Millennium. And the continued expectation of a future millennium, chiliasm, "took its place among the heresies." Hallelujah!]

203. Victorinus of Petau.
Victorinus, …
1. The fragment on the Creation of the World is a series of notes on the account of creation, probably a part of the commentary on Genesis mentioned by Jerome. The days are taken liberally. The creation of angels and archangels preceded the creation of man, as light was made before the sky and the earth. The seven days typify seven millennia; the seventh is the millennial sabbath, when Christ will reign on earth with his elect. It is the same chiliastic notion which we found in the Epistle of Barnabas, with the same opposition to Jewish sabbatarianism. Victorinus compares the seven days with the seven eyes of the Lord (Zechariah 4:10), the seven heavens (comp. Psalms 33:6), the seven spirits that dwelt in Christ (Isaiah 11:2,3), and the seven stages of his humanity: his nativity, infancy, boyhood, youth, young-manhood, mature age, death. This is a fair specimen of these allegorical plays of a pious imagination.
2. The scholia on the Apocalypse of John are not without interest for the history of the interpretation of this mysterious book. 404 But they are not free from later interpolations of the fifth or sixth century. The author assigns the Apocalypse to the reign of Domitian (herein agreeing with Irenaeus), and combines the historical and allegorical methods of interpretation. He also regards the visions in part as synchronous rather than successive. He comments only on the more difficult passages. 405 We select the most striking points.
The woman in ch. 12 is the ancient church of the prophets and apostles; the dragon is the devil. The woman sitting on the seven hills (in ch. 17), is the city of Rome. The beast from the abyss is the Roman empire; Domitian is counted as the sixth, Nerva as the seventh, and Nero revived as the eighth Roman King. 406 The number 666 (13:18) means in Greek Teitan 407 (this is the explanation preferred by Irenaeus), in Latin Diclux. Both names signify Antichrist, according to the numerical value of the Greek and Roman letters. But Diclux has this meaning by contrast, for Antichrist, "although he is cut off from the supernal light, yet transforms himself into an angel of light, daring to call himself light." 408 To this curious explanation is added, evidently by a much later hand, an application of the mystic number to the Vandal king Genseric (‎gensh/riko$‎) who in the fifth century laid waste the Catholic church of North Africa and sacked the city of Rome.
The exposition of ch. 20:1-6 is not so strongly chiliastic, as the corresponding passage in the Commentary on Genesis, and hence some have denied the identity of authorship. The first resurrection is explained spiritually with reference to Colossians 3:1, and the author leaves it optional to understand the thousand years as endless or as limited. Then he goes on to allegorize about the numbers: ten signifies the decalogue, and hundred the crown of virginity; for he who keeps the vow of virginity completely, and fulfils the precepts of the decalogue, and destroys the impure thoughts within the retirement of his own heart, is the true priest of Christ, and reigns with him; and "truly in his case the devil is bound." At the close of the notes on ch. 22, the author rejects the crude and sensual chiliasm of the heretic Cerinthus. "For the kingdom of Christ," he says, "is now eternal in the saints, although the glory of the saints shall be manifested after the resurrection." This looks like a later addition, and intimates the change which Constantine's reign produced in the mind of the church as regards the millennium. Henceforth it was dated from the incarnation of Christ.
(Excerpts from Schaff's History of the Church, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

272-337AD Roman Emperor Constantine: the first Christian world leader

From: http://preteristarchive.com/Theo-Political_Empire/Roman/StudyArchive/constantine_preterist.html

Constantine the.. Preterist!

Constantine I The Great, Emperor
Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus

"This remarkable event (the Edict of Milan) was regarded by Christians of that time, and by Constantine himself, as the fulfillment of the very prophecy before us. (Revelation 20:2)"

Eusebius Pamphilius: Oration in Praise of Constantine "I am filled with wonder at the intellectual greatness of the emperor, who as if by divine inspiration thus expressed what the prophets had foretold concerning this monster"

First Christian ruler of the Roman Empire

"imitate without delay the example of (your) sovereign, and embrace the divine truth of Christianity"

Constantine I came to the throne when his father, Constantius, died in 306. After defeating his rivals, Constantine became the sole ruler of the Roman Empire in 324, and is credited with social and economic reforms that significantly influenced medieval society. In 313 his Edict of Milan legally ended pagan persecution of Christians, and in 325 he used imperial power to bring unity to the church at the Council of Nicea. He also moved the capital of his empire to Byzantium, renaming it Constantinople in 330. Constantine's embrace of Christianity eventually led him to be baptized in 337.

Eusebius Pamphilius
Chapter III.--Of his Picture surmounted by a Cross and having beneath it a Dragon.

And besides this, he caused to be painted on a lofty tablet, and set up in the front of the portico of his palace, so as to be visible to all, a representation of the salutary sign placed above his head, and below it that hateful and savage adversary of mankind, who by means of the tyranny of the ungodly had wasted the Church of God, falling headlong, under the form of a dragon, to the abyss of destruction. For the sacred oracles in the books of God's prophets have described him as a dragon and a crooked serpent; [Especially the book of Revelation, and Isaiah] and for this reason the emperor thus publicly displayed a painted resemblance of the dragon beneath his own and his children's feet, stricken through with a dart, and cast headlong into the depths of the sea.

In this manner he intended to represent the secret adversary of the human race, and to indicate that he was consigned to the gulf of perdition by virtue of the salutary trophy placed above his head. This allegory, then, was thus conveyed by means of the colors of a picture: and I am filled with wonder at the intellectual greatness of the emperor, who as if by divine inspiration thus expressed what the prophets had foretold concerning this monster, saying that "God would bring his great and strong and terrible sword against the dragon, the flying serpent; and would destroy the dragon that was in the sea." [Isa. xxvii.] This it was of which the emperor gave a true and faithful representation in the picture above described." (Oration in Praise of Constantine)

Isaiah 27:1
"In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea."

Revelation 12:3
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. 7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

Revelation 13
2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

Revelation 20:2
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

Preterist Commentaries By Historicist / Continuists

Jonathan Edwards
"This revolution was the greatest revolution and change in the face of things that ever came to pass in the world since the flood. Satan, the prince of darkness, that king and god of the heathen world, was cast out. The roaring lion was conquered by the Lamb of God in the strongest dominion that ever he had, even the Roman Empire." (Work of Redemption, Period 3, Section 2)

William S. Urmy in "Christ Came Again"

Israel P. Warren in "The Parousia"


Numismatic Chronicle - Constantine (1877 PDF)
"The type of these pieces and the inscription indicate how the "public hope" was centered in the triumph of the Christian religion over the adversary of mankind -- "the great dragon, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan" (Rev. xii. 9 ; xx. 2), and Eusebius tells us how Constantine I had a picture painted of the dragon -- the flying serpent -- beneath his own and his children's feet, pierced through the middle with a dart, and cast into the depths of the sea."

Old coins and their contribution. Considerable disparity exists among historians about the time of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity and about the details of his momentous vision. There is also debate as to whether history can be deduced from the study of old coins or numismatics in general. It appears that in all three cases, the ultimate judgment must rest with each student, depending upon the degree of penetration and the quality of study applied. Verifiable facts -- the external evidence -- do not always explain the meaning of historical events or their internal significance. The interpretation of history is often a subjective involvement, as historians tend to provide their own understanding and interpretations.

An exemplary case of historical interpretation based on ancient coinage and existing literature is the following essay by the distinguished Constantinian Knight Commander, Craig Peter Barclay, M.A., M.Litt. The author has served as Keeper of Numismatics at the Yorkshire Museum in York, U.K. and has previously held curatorial positions at the Royal Mint and University of Aberdeen.


Hoc Signo Victor Eris: By
Craig Barclay

In a world without newspapers and television, the circulating coinage provided a potent means for ruling authorities to disseminate political and religious propaganda. Few such authorities have been more conscious of the potential value of this medium than the Roman emperors, and it can be argued that none of those made more effective use of it than Constantine the Great.

As the first emperor to embrace the Christian faith, we might expect that Constantine’s religious convictions would figure prominently on the coinage of his reign. The degree to which this was actually the case has provoked great deal of scholarly argument and, in so doing, has provided a number of fascinating insights into the development of religious symbolism in the fledgling Christian Empire.


As Andrew Alfoldi has rightly observed (p. 41), ‘The coin types of the period are, in every case, mere feeble copies of those great works of art that have not come down to us.’ Nevertheless, he would contend, they have also provided us with ‘absolute proof that the Emperor embraced the Christian cause with a suddenness that surprised all but his most intimate colleagues.’ (Alfoldi, pp. 1-2)

(Fig. 1) Constantine the Great; bronze follis; AD 337-40

A more recent scholar, Andrew Burnett, however argues that representations of pagan gods only disappear from Constantine’s coinage after AD 318 and, even then, the designs that replaced them were primarily religiously neutral in content. ‘The only explicitly Christian coin designs were the representations of the emperor in an attitude of prayer, and a very rare design used by the mint of Constantinople in about 327, showing a banner with a chi-rho monogram spearing a serpent, representing his enemy Licinius.’ (Burnett, p. 145)

Clearly the nature and significance of the designs used by Constantine on his coinage are open to more than one interpretation. We must accordingly address the complex question: ‘Can we see the Christian faith of Constantine the Great reflected in his coinage?’

Sol Invictus

Flavius Valerius Constantinus was born in about AD 285 at Naissus in Serbia, the son of the Tetrarch Constantius I and his wife, the Empress Helena. After spending his early years as an effective hostage at the courts of Diocletian and his successor Galerius, Constantine escaped to the west, joining his father in York shortly before the latter’s death on 25 July AD 306. Proclaimed emperor by the army at York, Constantine spent the next eighteen years disposing of his rivals for control of the empire through an elaborate series of shifting political alliances and military campaigns.

During the early part of his reign representations of first Mars and then, from AD 310, Apollo-Sol dominated Constantine’s coinage. Mars had been intimately associated with the Tetrarchy, and Constantine’s use of this symbolism served to emphasise the legitimacy of his rule. After his breach with his father’s old colleague Maximian in AD 309-10, Constantine began to claim legitimate descent from the third-century emperor Claudius Gothicus. Gothicus had claimed the divine protection of the Apollo-Sol . As Burnett notes (pp. 143-44), in AD 310 Constantine experienced a vision in which Apollo-Sol appeared to him with omens of success. ‘Thereafter his coinage was dominated for several years by "his companion the unconquered Sol", SOLI INVICTO COMITI.’

(Fig. 2) Constantine the Great; bronze follis; AD 316-17

According to Lactantius, just prior to the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in AD 312, Constantine experienced a dream-vision urging him to trust the fate of his army to the Christian God, and to place the symbol of the monogrammatic cross on the shields of his army. In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius’s account of Constantine’s vision differs slightly, claiming that Constantine experienced a vision at the beginning of his military campaign wherein the symbol of the cross appeared on the face of the sun, accompanied by the Greek words, ‘In this sign conquer’. Subsequently, Eusebius tells us, Constantine experienced a second vision, in which he was urged to use the Christian sign to protect himself from his foes. In response to this latter vision, Constantine had a labarum or standard produced, bearing the name of Christ in the form of a monogram of the Greek letters X and P (the Chi-Rho).

Whatever the detail, Constantine duly placed his trust in the Cross and duly defeated his imperial rival, Maxentius, on the outskirts of Rome itself. Nevertheless, in the wake of this great victory, no immediate change took place in the basic design of the coinage, with issues celebrating Sol Invictus continuing to form the bulk of the circulating medium. Indeed, as Vermeule (p. 180) explains, even in AD 313, on the very eve of the Edict of Toleration, Constantine was still portrayed on huge gold medallions in the company of Sol Invictus and bearing a shield decorated with a representation he sun-god’s chariot.

Nevertheless, after the final defeat of Licinius, the pagan gods disappeared from the coinage of Constantine, their place being taken by religiously neutral images. The question might be asked as to why Constantine did at last begin to make extensive use of specifically Christian images at this time but, as Runciman (p. 17) bluntly reminds us, ‘The earliest Christians took little interest in art.’

Accordingly, during the early 4th century AD, there were few artistic motifs available that could be relied upon to convey a specifically Christian message. Even the Chi-Rho, which is today universally recognised as a Christian sign, could be misinterpreted, Bruun (p. 61) reminding us that, ‘The sign, at the moment of its creation, was ambiguous. In essence it was a monogram composed of the Greek letters X and P, and, while the monogrammatic combination of these two letters was by no means unusual in pre-Constantinian times, the occurrence of X P with a clearly Christian significance is exceedingly rare.’ The potential significance of the sign would initially have been lost on the non Greek-speaking population of the empire, who might more readily have interpreted the sign as being linked to Solar or Mithraic worship.

Such initial ambiguities notwithstanding, there can be no doubt that Constantine saw his victorious sign as being an explicitly Christian symbol nor that, in the wake of the writings of Eusebius and Lactantius, its religious meaning came rapidly to be universally recognised. Constantine made only sparing use of the Chi-Rho on his coins, confining its use to a few scarce issues only. Following his death however, this most powerful symbol came to be used increasingly frequently, both as a means of celebrating the religious convictions of the succeeding emperors, and as a means of affirming the legitimacy of their succession from Constantine.

(Fig. 3) Eudoxia; gold solidus; AD 397-402

Although also adopted by Constantine’s sons, the most prominent early use of the Chi-Rho occurred during the reign of the usurper Magnentius (AD 350-53), who struck large bronze double centenionales decorated with a large Christogram flanked by the Greek letters alpha and omega. Thereafter the symbol appeared time after time on the coinages of both the western and eastern empires, its position as the primary symbol of the new state religion only gradually being superseded by the plain, unadorned Cross.

Constantinus Orans

As the image of the emperor most commonly seen by the public, the portrait of the emperor reproduced on the imperial coinage was considered to be of the utmost importance. Constantine’s coinage portraits break away from the traditions of the previous two centuries, calling upon both earlier Imperial and Greek precedents for inspiration. The Imperial beard, which had been sported by almost all emperors since the beginning of the second century, was abandoned and replaced by a clean shaven image. Likewise, the laurel wreath or solar crown which had dominated the coinages of the second and third centuries were dropped in favour of an eastern diadem, or, less frequently, a military helmet.

(Fig. 4) Constantine the Great; gold solidus; AD 326

One particular version of the new imperial image has attracted particular attention. Eusebius (4.15) was quite explicit in his statement that Constantine was portrayed on his coinage in an attitude of prayer: ‘He directed his likeness to be stamped on a gold coin with his eyes uplifted in the posture of prayer to God … this coin was current through the Roman world and was a sign of the power of divine faith.’ Burnett recognises this passage as important evidence implying ‘that important members of the higher social classes noticed coin designs’, adding that ‘There can hardly be any doubt that Eusebius had seen the coins in question’.

(Fig. 5) Constantine the Great; gold solidus; AD 326-27

Not all authors have accepted these coins as representing the emperor’s devotion to the Christian faith and, as L’Orange has pointed out (1947, p.34), the ‘heaven-gazing’ coin portraits of Constantine have been the subject of numerous interpretations, including an argument that it should be interpreted as a representation of the Sol-emperor Constantine fixing his gaze upon the goddess Luna. L’Orange (1947, p.94) would consequently argue that, ‘Constantine as Christian orant is, therefore, an arbitrary interpretation of his heavenward-looking portrait. This does not however alter the fact that the type became for Christians, perhaps owing to the very weight of Eusebius’ authority, an expression of Constantine’s inspired relation to their own God, a representation of the Christ-emperor.’

This argument has in part been fuelled by the undoubted fact that the so-called Constantinus orans portrait type is ultimately derived from pagan prototypes first seen during the reign of the Hellenic monarch Alexander the Great (Toynbee, p. 148). Bruun (p. 33), who does not accept that the coin type bears any specific Christian significance, nevertheless concedes that the heavenward-gazing portraits of Constantine recall ‘portraits of the Hellenistic ruler, whose heavenward look expresses the inner contact between the emperor and the heavenly powers.’

Most however have been more than content to recognise the Christian spirituality of these most beautiful images. The heavenward-gazing portrait is not peculiar to the coinage and Alfoldi (p. 34) recalls that ‘Apart from the monogram of salvation, the statues, paintings, and coin-types displayed, throughout the Empire, the gaze of the "most religious Majesty", directed heavenward’. The same point has been effectively argued by L’Orange (1965, pp. 123-24), who noted in writing of a colossal head of Constantine from the Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome that ‘The eyes, being supernaturally large and wide-open and framed by the accentuated concentric curves of the deepcut lids and brows, express more clearly than ever the transcendence of the ruler’s personality. In this gaze he travels far beyond his physical surroundings and attains his goal in a higher sphere, in contact and identity with the governing powers. Providence in person, the irresistible controller of fate, fatorum arbiter, rises before us, with all the future on his knees.’

Yet another distinguished scholar likewise observes that, ‘Long before his formal conversion to Christianity Constantine had associated himself with purely Christian policy, and his finer portrait show the upward-tilted head of the man with his mind on the heavens, or the facing head, dazzling within its halo, of the world’s half-Christian master.’ (Sutherland, p. 103). Irrespective of the pagan origins of the orant portrait it had, through its adoption by Constantine, come to express a wholly new significance. ‘The outward forms of expression remain very much as before … But the inner meaning has completely changed. The pagan Emperor was never clearly distinguished in nature from the deity whose vice-regent he was: hence the divine attributes and all his pomp and state. The maiestas of the Christian Emperor, the "vicarius Dei", is wholly derivative: between him and his God there is a fixed and impassable gulf, that between the creature and his Creator, which God-given Grace alone can bridge.’ (Toynbee, p. 149)

It is significant that the orant portrait was used not only on coins of Constantine himself, but also on coins struck during his reign in the names of is appointed successors (L’Orange 1947, p. 91). After his death in AD 337 however, Constantine’s sons made only very limited use of the highly distinctive portrait, perhaps regarding it as being a reflection of their father’s personal relationship with his God.

If the orant portrait did not long survive the death of Constantine, other stylistic elements of his coin portraits did. From this point onwards the imperial image reproduced on the coinage ceased to attempt accurately to reproduce the actual features of the living monarch. Instead the portraits became mere ciphers, representing a stylised rather than personal image of imperial majesty. All of these images nevertheless borrowed heavily from Constantinian prototypes adopting, for example, the eastern diadem and clean-shaven features of the first Christian emperor. Indeed, the clean shaven portrait came so closely to be associated with the new faith that when the pagan emperor Julian the Apostate (AD 360-63) briefly gained the throne, he swiftly adopted a bearded portrait in order to disassociate himself from his Christian predecessors. With Julian’s death, shaven portraits once again became the norm, remaining so until long after the fall of Rome.


Alfoldi (p. 27), in arguing that Constantine’s religious policy was not based on ‘conscious ambiguity’, states that the appearance of the Chi-Rho on Constantine’s helmet ‘on issues of coins from all quarters, soon after the defeat of Maxentius, loudly and unmistakably claimed where Constantine stood.’ He further asserts that, ‘We can prove beyond a doubt, by the evidence of coin types appearing soon after, that Constantine caused the monogram of Christ to be inscribed on his helmet before the decisive battle with Maxentius’. (Alfoldi, p. 17)

Alfoldi (pp. 39-40) further states, in defence of the significance of the Chi-Rho that, ‘Eusebius knows that Constantine not only bore the Christian symbol on his helmet in the fight against Maxentius, but continued to wear it in his golden, bejewelled helmet of state. When … the representation of this helmet, that was new in its pattern, soon appears on the coins, we cannot possibly regard it as a mere sign of zeal on the part of Christian subordinates. The tiniest detail of the imperial dress was the subject of a symbolism that defined rank, that was hallowed by tradition and regulated by precise rules. Anyone who irresponsibly tampered with it would have incurred the severest penalties. Especially would this have been the case if anyone, without imperial authority, had provided the head-gear of the Emperor with a sign of such serious political importance as that attached to the monogram of Christ’.

A very similar position has been adopted by Voght (p. 90), who explains that, ‘we have other witnesses to the piety of the new ruler of Rome and from these we learn that Constantine gave public expression to his gratitude to his divine patron. The magnificent silver medallion, whose obverse and reverse depict the conquest and liberation of the city, was probably struck at the mint of Ticinum (near modern Milan) as early as 313: and on the obverse the monogram appears, on the crested plume of Constantine’s helmet. In a prestige issue of this type, the incorporation of the Christ-monogram into the portrait of the emperor could only have been done on the highest authority.’

Burnett (p. 146) similarly draws attention to the same silver medallion (actually struck at Rome or Aquileia in AD 315) and a series of small bronze coins struck at Siscia in c. AD 320. On all of these, the emperor is clearly portrayed with the Chi-Rho symbol prominently displayed on his helmet. ‘It is indeed hard to disassociate them from Eusebius’s explicit statement that Constantine placed the Chi-Rho on his helmet, but the very occasional nature of its appearance on coins should make us cautious about making too much of this. On coins issued in about 322 at Trier, for instance, the chi-rho appears as the decoration on the shield held by Constantine’s son Crispus; but it happened on only one die and must represent the personal choice of a die engraver, as the other shields for the same group of coins have different sorts of decoration on the shields.’

Even Bruun (p. 63), who is dismissive of the appearance of the Christogram on some Victoriae laetae princ perp coins of Siscia (describing them as ‘engraver’s slips’), accepts the symbolic significance of the use of the same symbol on the silver medallions of AD 315, writing that, ‘The silver multiples with their facing portraits represent an altogether different case. The Chi-Rho is here set in a badge just below the root of the crest. The official character of the badge has recently been demonstrated in a convincing manner. No doubt, therefore, persists about the meaning of the new emblem: the emperor has adopted his own victorious sign as a symbol of power.’


The mint of Constantinople was in operation by AD 327, some three years before the formal dedication of the city. A series of bronze coins of that year celebrate the defeat of Licinius. The reverse of this issue bears the legend Spes Publica, and portrays a serpent being pierced by a Chi-Rho topped labarum.

For Alfoldi (p. 39), ‘The spectacle of the Christian monogram on works of art and coin-types, the blaze of the initials of Christ on the labarum, the new imperial banner, were all propaganda in the modern sense’. Even Bruun (p. 64), whilst generally dismissive of the existence of Christian symbols on the coinage of Constantine, is forced to concede that ‘The problem of the labarum piercing the dragon on the Constantinopolitan Spes publica bronzes remains.’

Whilst rarely used during Constantine’s reign, the Christian labarum becomes a frequent and recurrent feature of the coinage following his death, normally being closely associated with a representation of a victorious emperor. One particular issue, struck at Siscia in AD 350, makes specific reference to Constantine’s vision, bearing the labarum accompanied by the legend Hoc Signo Victor Eris - ‘In this sign shalt thou conquer’.

(Fig. 6) Constantius II; bronze coin of Siscia; AD 350


During the Roman period coins were struck at a large number of mints situated throughout the empire. As a quality-control mechanism, the coins struck by each of these mints were required to bear distinctive mintmarks, identifying their place of manufacture. The decision to use the Chi-Rho or other apparently Christian symbols as mintmarks on some of Constantine’s coins is dismissed by Bruun (p. 62) as being the responsibility of procurators or, in one case, the rationalis summarum. Approval to use these symbols was given ‘very far from the emperor and court and comes sacrarum largitionum.’

Burnett (pp. 145-46) likewise acknowledges that the Chi-Rho appears on a number of issues of coins ‘as one of the stock symbols used for mint-marks’, but - like Bruun - argues that its use is more likely to reflect the rise of Christian administrators to positions of authority in Constantine’s regime rather than an official policy decision. Even if not centrally authorised, the first use of Christian mintmarks can accordingly be seen to be of the greatest significance, illustrating as it does the shift in the status of Christians within the machinery of the Roman state. Not surprisingly, in the years that followed, the choice of both the Chi-Rho and the plain Cross came increasingly to form a key element of the privy marks adopted by the empire’s numerous mints.


On 17 May AD 330 Constantine dedicated his new eastern capital of Constantinople. Alfoldi (p. 110) draws attention to ‘the small bronze coins and medallions, issued in mass, on which the sceptre of the "Tyche", the goddess who personifies the city, is shown the globe of Christ - which means to say that the new capital is the ideal centre of the Christian world-empire.’ As Alfoldi (p. 116) explains, ‘On the shoulder of the personification of the New Rome is shown the globe of the world, set on the cross of Christ, symbolising the new capital of Christendom.’

Bruun (p. 63) is dismissive of Alfoldi’s interpretation of the supposed ‘cross-sceptre’ carried by the personification of Constantinopolis. On the basis of an examination of related issues, he argues convincingly that the ‘globe’ is no more than the globular end of a reversed spear, and that the cross-bar seen on many coins is in fact merely a two-dimensional representation of what was, in reality, a three-dimensional disc. Bruun accordingly contends that these issues convey no intended Christian significance.

(Fig. 7) Valentinian III; gold solidus; AD 455

Nevertheless, the supposed cross-sceptre was subsequently perceived by many to have possessed a Christian significance and, its original neutral status notwithstanding, it came to serve as a symbol of the Church in its own right. On the coinage, this survival is well demonstrated by an issue of large bronzes struck in the name of Valentinian II at Rome in AD 378-83. On these rare coins the emperor is portrayed bearing a cross sceptre tipped with a globular Chi-Rho, whilst on other later issues, the cross-sceptre is shown in a greatly simplified form.

Divus Constantinus

After his death in AD 337, Constantine was deified by the Senate, his sons issuing commemorative coins in his name in the traditional style. Eusebius (4.37) records that, "A coin … (had) on one side a figure of our blessed prince, with head closely veiled; the reverse showed him sitting as a charioteer drawn by four horses, with a hand stretched downward from above to receive him up to heaven".

(Fig. 8) Constantine the Great; posthumous bronze coin; AD 337-40

Burnett (p. 146) observes that the iconography of his metamorphosis, as represented on the coins struck to commemorate it, was Christianised: ‘Previous emperors had ridden up to heaven in a chariot; Constantine was received by the manus dei. The "hand of God" was, with the Chi-Rho monogram, one of the most important Christian symbols to appear on the coinage of the late empire.’ By way of illustration, a very similar image to that appearing on the coins of the deified Constantine may be observed on one of the panels of the early 5th century door of the Church of S. Sabina in Rome. There the Ascension of Elijah is portrayed, the prophet being conveyed heavenwards in a chariot with the divine assistance of an angel. The manus dei also appears on many coins, frequently crowning the emperor or his consort with a diadem or laurel wreath.

(Fig. 9) Galla Palacidia; gold solidus; AD 426-30


Whilst there can be little dispute that the Coinage of Constantine the Great did indeed express his religious convictions, it is equally true that it was not exceptionally rich in Christian symbolism. As Bruun (p. 64) reminds us however, ‘There was no independently Christian artistic tradition. The Christian ideas now about to conquer the State had to employ old means to express new conceptions.’

(Fig. 10) Honorius; gold solidus; AD 422

Constantine was nevertheless recognised by his contemporaries and near-contemporaries as the first Christian emperor, and through the writings of Eusebius, certain elements of his coinage came inextricably to be associated with the triumphant faith. As Bruun correctly records, ‘The victor is the official interpreter of history, and Christianity was the true victor of the Milvian Bridge and Chrysopolis. Thus Constantine’s victorious sign, his helmet, his seeming cross-sceptre and the aura around his head were adopted by posterity as Christian symbols, Christian signs of power.’ The Cross truly had triumphed.

(Fig. 11) Valentinian III; gold tremissis; AD 425-55


Alfoldi, A. (1948) The Conversion of Constantine and Pagan Rome, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bowder, D. (ed.) (1980) Who Was Who in the Roman World, Oxford: Phaidon.

Bruun, P. (1966) The Roman Imperial Coinage Vol. VII: Constantine and Licinius AD 313-337, London: Spink

Burnett, A. (1987) Coinage in the Roman World, London: Seaby.

Carson, R.A.G. (1981) Principal Coins of the Romans Vol. III: The Dominate, AD 294-498, London: British Museum Press.

L’Orange, H.P. (1947) Apotheosis in Ancient Portraiture, Oslo: Aschehoug.

L’Orange, H.P. (1965) Art Forms and Public Life in the late Roman Empire, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Parker, H.M.D. & Warmington, B.H. (1958) A History of the Roman World AD 138 to 337 (2nd ed.), London: Methuen.

Runciman, S. (1975) Byzantium: Style and Civilisation, London: Penguin.

Sutherland, C.H.V. (1955) Art in Coinage: The Aesthetics of Money from Greece to the Present Day, London: Batsford.

Toynbee, J.M.C. (1947) ‘Ruler Apotheosis in Ancient Rome’, Numismatic Chronicle.

Vermeule, C. (1978) ‘The Imperial Shield as a Mirror of Roman Art on Medallions and Coins’ in Carson, C. & Kraay, C.M. (eds.) Scripta Nummaria Romana: Essays Presented to Humphrey Sutherland, London: Spink.

Voght, J. (1965) The Decline of Rome: The Metamorphosis of Ancient Civilisation, London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson.

Christian Symbolism on the Coinage of Constantine the Great

70-1070AD Premillenial Preterism

By Duncan McKenzie, Ph.D. (Duncan@peoplepc.com)

From: http://www.preteristarchive.com/PartialPreterism/mckenzie-duncan_pp_05.html

Anybody who has been around preterism for any length of time may be thinking “Oh great just what we need another brand of preterism!” In this article I will not be offering another brand or form of preterism but highlighting an existing form that isn’t discussed much. The form of preterism I will be discussing is James Stuart Russell’s premillennial preterism. Simply stated Russell’s position was that the one and only Second Coming (the Parousia) happened in AD 70. Russell saw the Second Coming as beginning the millennium in AD 70 (not ending it at that time as full preterists teach); this made him a premillennialist.

Premillennial Preterism at first sounds like an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, (something like “thunderous silence”). The reason for this is because we usually associate premillennialism with futurism. For example Hal Lindsey, who is a futurist, is a premillennialist. The term “premillennial,” however, simply speaks of the sequence of the Second Coming and the millennium it doesn’t address their timing. A premillennialist believes that Jesus returns before (pre) the millennium. A premillennial futurist like Lindsey believes Jesus will return in the future to begin the millennium. A premillennial preterist like Russell believes that Jesus returned in past (AD 70) and started the millennium at that time.
James Stuart Russell, the author of the classic preterist work The Parousia (1878) was a premillennial preterist. His position falls in-between current day full preterism and traditional partial preterism (I use the term “traditional partial preterism” to distinguish it from Russell’s premillennial preterism, which, while technically partial preterism, is much closer to full preterism). Full preterism could be classified as either amillennial or postmillennial, it says that Jesus’ Second Coming occurred at the end of the millennium in AD 70. Because full preterists believe all prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70 they are forced to fit the millennium in before AD 70. Their usual solution is to say the millennium was the 40-year period between AD 30 and AD 70. Actually, full preterists have to cut the millennium down from 40 years to make it fit before AD 70. Revelation 20:7-10 says that after the 1000 years of the millennium are ended Satan is released from the abyss to deceive the nations and gather them together for a massive invasion of Jerusalem. One has to fit this time at the end of the millennium in before AD 70 also. If one starts the millennium at AD 30 he or she has to subtract the period at its end (when Satan is loosed) from the 40 years to determine the actual length of the “1,000 year” reign.
Traditional partial preterists maintain that AD 70 was a coming of Jesus in judgment on Israel, but believe that the “real” Second Coming is to happen in the future. Again Russell’s position is in between full preterism and traditional partial preterism. Like full preterists Russell believed that AD 70 was the time of the one and only Second Coming, like partial preterists he didn’t believe that all the prophecy in the Bible was fulfilled at that time. Since the definition of a full preterist is one who believes that all prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70, technically Russell was a partial preterist. Instead of believing that the Second Coming in AD 70 ended the millennium (as full preterists do), Russell saw the Second Coming as beginning the millennium. To simply call Russell’s position either full preterism or partial preterism does not adequately describe his position; this is why I am proposing the term “premillennial preterism.” Premillennial preterism is the position I ascribe to and neither the label of full preterist or partial preterist really fit it (although it is much closer to full preterism then it is to traditional partial preterism).

Russell’s position on the book of Revelation was that all of it was fulfilled around AD 70 except for Revelation 20:5-10. Russell saw Revelation 20:5-10 as forming a parenthesis of future things. Below is Revelation 20:4-11, I have highlighted Russell’s proposed parenthesis of verses 5-10.

Revelation 20:4-11

4. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. 7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
11. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them
John, being shown the beginning of the millennium in verse 4 (which was about to start) is briefly enlightened of about what will happen at its end (Rev. 20:5-10). At Revelation 20:11 (to the end of Revelation) John goes back to describing events that were about to happen. Notice how John breaks from “I saw” in verse 4 and returns to “I saw” at verse 11. Russell said that John was relating vision (of things that were about to happen) with the “I saw” in verse 4. At verse 5 he breaks into prophecy of future events at the end of the millennium. At verse 11 he returns to vision again using “I saw”. Thus the judgment at verse 11 is not a separate judgment but a continuation of the description of the judgment John started at verse 4.
Notice that the judgment committed to God’s people in Rev. 20:4 (“and judgment was committed to them”) is something that has been promised to the believers at the judgment at Jesus’ Second Coming (which full preterists correctly say was AD 70).
“Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” 1 Cor. 6:2.
The judgment committed to God’s people in Revelation 20:4 is the judgment that Paul was telling his readers they would participate in the future (at the judgment at the Second Coming in AD 70). To say millennium of Revelation 20:4 is talking about AD 30 doesn’t fit the judgment that is shown being committed to believer.
Russell gave the following connection between the judgment given to God’s people in Rev. 20:4 and the judgment promised to the disciples.
We further observe that there is a manifest allusion in this passage [Rev. 20:4] to the promise of our Lord to His disciples, ‘Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel’ (Matt 19:28). That period has now arrived. The regeneration, when the kingdom of the Messiah was to come, is now regarded as present and the disciples are glorified with their glorified Master…The Parousia 519-520 emphasis mine
In an attempt to show that the millennium began at AD 30 there are those in both the full and partial preterist camps that say the “regeneration” began at AD 30. Matthew 25:31 dispels this notion. Jesus had said in Matt. 19:28 that the regeneration would be at the time when He would “sit on the throne of His Glory.” Matthew 25:31 puts this time when Jesus sits on the throne of His glory at the Second Coming in AD 70.
Matthew 25:31
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. emphasis mine
This fits an AD 70 beginning to the millennium. Jesus promised his followers the power of judgment in the regeneration when he would sit on the throne of His glory (Matt 19:28). Matt. 25:31 puts this time of Jesus sitting on His throne of glory as being at the Second Coming. For full preterists this is an AD 70 event not an AD 30 event. The millennium (Rev. 20:4) shows this AD 70 event of judgment being given to believers (Paul included all believers as participating in the judgment of the world at the Second Coming 1 Cor. 6:2).
Traditional partial preterists put Matt. 25:31 in the future at what they see as the final Parousia. Logically then they should put the regeneration in the future although many of them also seem to want to put the regeneration at AD 30 (at least that is what David Chilton taught when he was a traditional partial preterist. David Chilton The Days of Vengeance (PDF) 509 &510 Chilton became a full preterist shortly before he died in 1997). Again the regeneration was when Jesus was to sit on the throne of His glory (Matt. 19:28), which was to happen at the Second Coming (Matt.25:31). Whenever one wants to make the Second Coming is when they should be saying the regeneration was or will be (of course the correct answer is that the regeneration was in AD 70 at the Second Coming of Jesus).
Revelation 21:4&5 show the regeneration.
4. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
5. “Then He who sat on the throne said “Behold, I make all things new.…”
Full preterists correctly say that the Rev. 21:5 regeneration is an AD 70 event, they are inconsistent when they try to put the Matt 19:28 regeneration (when authority and judgment were promised to the disciples) back to AD 30 to try to try and make the millennium start in AD 30. That would make two different regenerations (which is about as consistent as traditional partial preterists making two different Parousias).
In Russell’s mind the millennium was a near event in terms of its beginning but the end of it would be in the distant future from when John wrote. When Max King came along in the early 70’s he put forth the proposition that all prophecy (including the millennium) was fulfilled by AD 70. This was the birth of modern day full preterism. A fundamental shift occurred at this time from Russell’s premillennial preterism to full preterism. Again the full preterist position is that the millennium (and the season at its end) was from around AD 30-70, and that the Second Coming in AD 70 occurred at its end. It is this shift that Max King made away from Russell’s position that I am seeking to highlight. I personally believe it was a mistake but either way people need to be more aware of it (so they can make up their own minds). Let me interject here that even though I disagree with full preterists they are obviously my brothers and sisters in Christ. Max King appears from his writings to clearly be a fellow believer who is searching for the truth just as I am. I have some disagreements with his position but I am not questioning his character as a person or his commitment as a Christian. As I have said my position is much closer to full preterism than traditional partial preterism. Of course the final authority is not Russell or King but Scripture, all conservative (Bible believing) preterists agree on this.
Russell said the following about those who in his day (the mid to late 1800’s) were trying to fit the millennium in before AD 70 (which is what full preterists propose).
Some interpreters indeed attempt to get over the difficulty [of the end of the millennium not being one of the things that were at hand when John wrote] by supposing that the thousand years, being a symbolic number, may represent a period of very short duration, and so bring the whole within the prescribed apocalyptic limits [of AD 70]; but this method of interpretation appears to us so violent and unnatural that we cannot hesitate to reject it. The act of binding and shutting up the dragon does indeed come within the ‘shortly’ of apocalyptic statement, for it is coincident, or nearly so, with the judgment of the harlot and the beast; but the term of the dragon’s imprisonment is distinctly stated to be for a thousand years, and thus must necessarily pass entirely beyond the field of vision so strictly and constantly limited by the book itself. We believe, however, that this is the solitary example which the whole book contains of this excursion beyond the limits of ‘shortly;’ and we agree with [Moses] Stuart that no reasonable difficulty can be made on account of this single exception to the rule. We shall also find as we proceed that the events referred to as taking place after the termination of the thousand years are predicted as in a prophecy, and not represented as in a vision. Indeed the passage, chap. 20:5-10, seems evidently introduced parenthetically, interrupting the continuity of the narrative, which is again resumed, as we shall see, at ver. 11. James Stuart Russell, The Parousia pg. 514 emphasis mine
Russell was saying that John started describing the judgment at the beginning of the millennium (AD 70) in verse 4. He breaks into prophecy about what will happen at the end of the millennium in verses 5-10 and then returns to describing the judgment at the beginning of the millennium in verse 11. Russell’s position is thus in agreement with full preterists over most things (the Second Coming and judgment were in AD 70, we are currently in the New Jerusalem etc.). The disagreement between Russell’s position and full preterism would be over Revelation 20:5-10 and the idea that all prophecy had to be fulfilled by AD 70. Thus Russell saw Satan as still on the scene after AD 70, though limited in his ability to deceive the nations (the meaning of the symbol of Satan being bound and put in the bottomless pit as he was not bound with a literal chain and put in a pit in the earth at AD 70). In contrast full preterists see Satan as being eternally off the scene, confined to his final place of judgment (the lake of fire) in AD 70.
That Russell, the father (grandfather?) of modern preterism considered trying to fit the millennium in before AD 70 “violent and unnatural” should not be taken lightly (it is usually ignored or brushed aside by full preterists as they embrace Russell as one of their own). This is a strong condemnation of the full preterism’s premise that all prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70.
The full preterist proposition of starting the millennium at or around AD 30 runs into a very big problem right off the bat. Consider the millennium verse of Revelation 20:4.
Rev. 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. The I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. emphasis mine
One of the groups that enter the millennium consists of martyrs who had not worshipped the beast or his image. These believers had overcome the beast at the cost of their lives Cf. Rev. 12:11. The beast was to be an eighth king (Rev. 17:11) he was to come after Nero (AD 54-68) who all preterists agree was the sixth king (the one ruling when Revelation was written, Rev. 17:10). The beast was to be destroyed at the Second Coming in AD 70 (Rev. 19:11-21). Whoever one wants to say the beast was (I am not going into his identity here) he existed around the time of AD 70 as he fights against Jesus at the Second Coming (Rev. 19:11-21). The mark of the beast is discussed in Revelation chapter 13. John was warning his readers not to take it. The millennium was being held out as a reward to those who would face the beast, some of them would be killed in the process of resisting him. Now to say the millennium started around AD 30 means that some of those coming alive at that time (AD 30) had been martyred by the beast. This just doesn’t fit the timing of Revelation. One would have to come up with a pre-AD 30 beast (and remember the beast was to be an eighth king that was to come after Nero! {54-68} Rev. 17:11). Even if one comes up with a pre-AD 30 beast, why were Christians being warned about him some 35 years after the fact? (Revelation was probably written around AD 65). If the mark of the beast were a pre AD 30 phenomenon then Jesus should have been warning about it in AD 30 instead of John warning about it in AD 65. Again, the people who come alive for the millennium had overcome the beast, this fits an AD 70 beginning to the millennium not an AD 30 beginning.
At this point some would say that at times in Revelation the beast refers to a person and at times it refers to the Roman Empire, thus a pre AD 30 mark of the beast could refer to the general worship of the emperor. It is true that at times the beast speaks of an individual and at other times the kingdom which he was a part of is stressed (consider Rev. 12:3 where it is the dragon with 7 heads and 10 horns not the beast) but the mark of the beast (which those who enter the millennium hadn’t taken) refers to a specific man. He was to be an eighth king, who was to come after the sixth king who was Nero (AD 54-68) Rev. 17:10&11. Revelation chapter 13 makes this point.
Revelation 13:16-18
16. He [the land beast, a.k.a. the false prophet Cf. Rev. 19:20] causes all, both small and great rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,
17. and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18. Here is wisdom, Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. emphasis mine
The (sea) beast and the land beast of Revelation 13 represent specific persons (the land beast was from the “land” of Israel. He is the one who enforces the sea beast’s mark. The sea beast of Rev.13 is “the beast,” the land beast is later referred to as the “false prophet,” Rev. 19:20). In Revelation 19:19-20 the beast and false prophet fight against Jesus at the AD 70 Second Coming and are thrown into the lake of fire at that time. I don’t think anybody would want to take the position that this was referring to the Roman Empire being thrown into the lake of fire at AD 70. To try and say that the mark of the beast was simply worshipping the Roman Empire (so one can say the mark of the beast was a pre AD 30 phenomenon and thus say the millennium started at AD 30) is illegitimate. It is an attempt to avoid the clear AD 70 implications of those who enter the millennium, they “had not received his [the beast’s] mark on their foreheads or on their hands” Rev. 20.4. Again, the mark of the beast had to do with a specific ruler (“Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man”). One cannot legitimately make the beast (who was an eighth king that was to come after Nero (AD 54-68) who was the sixth king Rev. 17:10&11) and his mark a pre AD 30 phenomenon.
In Revelation chapter 14 John saw three angels. The first had the everlasting gospel to preach to every inhabitant of the earth (Rev. 14:6). This was something Jesus said had to happen by the Second Coming (AD 70) Matt. 24:14; cf. Col. 1:5&6. The second angel proclaims that Babylon (Jerusalem) is fallen (Rev. 14:8), again an AD 70 event. The third angel proclaims
Revelation 14:9 “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation…”
Again this is an AD 70 event as the beast was to come after Nero {AD 54-68} (the sixth king Rev. 17:10&11) and fights against Jesus at the Second Coming (Rev. 19:11-21). The very next thing John sees in Revelation chapter 14 (vs.14-16) is One like the Son of Man on a cloud reaping the harvest of souls from the earth (the Second Coming). These are all AD 70 events. To try and make the third angel’s pronouncement about the mark of the beast speak of the time around AD 30 is, as Russell said, doing violence to Scripture but that is what one has to do to fit the millennium in before AD 70. Of course another option for full preterists would be to come up with two beasts, one pre AD 30 and one around the time of AD 70, but this is absurd.
One of the underlying problems here is that full preterists use verses like Luke 21:22 to establish a higher order interpretive principle, what I call a “meta-hermeneutic.” Full preterists interpret Luke 21:22 (“For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled”) as saying that all prophecy in the Bible was to be fulfilled by AD 70. If this is true (which it isn’t) then the millennium must fit in before AD 70 even though the context of Revelation clearly doesn’t allow for it. In my article “Was All the Prophecy in the Bible Fulfilled by AD 70” (on the partial preterism section of the Preterist Archive under my name) I examine Luke 21:22. In that article I argue that a meta-hermeneutic (a higher order interpretive principle), because it forms the basis for how one interprets Scripture, needs to be examined very carefully and be very solid. I argue that when one examines Luke 21:22 in terms of it meaning that all the prophecy in the Bible was to be fulfilled by AD 70 that meaning does not hold up. The importance of full preterists reexamining Luke 21:22 cannot be overemphasized, it is a linchpin in their “all fulfilled by AD 70” foundation of full preterism. This hermeneutic constraint (that all Bible prophecy must be fulfilled by AD 70) is what makes full preterists feel they need to fit the millennium in before AD 70. Again see my article.
Another difference between full preterism and Russell’s premillennial preterism centers on the current location of Satan. Full preterists teach that Satan was banished to the abyss in AD 30 (at what they see as the beginning of the millennium) and then to his final place of torment, (the lake of fire), in AD 70. Full preterists thus take the position that evil was dealt with as fully as it ever will be in AD 70. This means evil will have no final end or if it does Scripture doesn’t address it. Full preterists believe that Satan was put in his final place of torment in AD 70 and evil continues to live on the earth for eternity; they say that evil still exists because it lives on in men’s hearts. This explanation of why evil is still around even though Satan is supposed to be in his final place of torment may satisfy full preterists but I don’t think it satisfies anyone else. The overwhelming majority of Christians would have a big problem with the full preterist contention that evil is to continue into eternity with no final end. Premillennial preterism says that Satan was bound or limited in his ability to deceive the nations at AD 70 and still awaits his final destruction. This explains why evil is still around, it also says that at a point in the future evil will be permanently banished from the universe (in the lake of fire, Rev. 20:10).
Russell said the following about the time at the end of the millennium (Rev. 20:7-10) when Satan is released before being put in his final place of confinement (the lake of fire).
“We must consequently regard this prediction of the loosing of Satan, and the events which follow, as still future, and therefore unfulfilled. We know of nothing recorded in history which can be adduced as in any way a probable fulfilment of this prophecy. Wetstein has hazarded the hypothesis that possibly it may symbolise (sic) the Jewish revolt under Barcochebas, [the Bar Kosiba War, 132-135 AD] in the reign of Hadrian; but the suggestion is too extravagant to be entertained for a moment.
There is an evident connection between this prophecy and the vision in Ezekiel concerning Gog and Magog (chaps. 38&39), which is equally mysterious and obscure. In both the scene of conflict is laid in the same place, the land of Israel; and in both the enemies of God meet with a signal and disastrous overthrow.”
Notice that Russell (unlike full preterists) puts the final destruction of Satan in the future. Russell was not working under the full preterist meta-hermeneutic that all prophecy had to be fulfilled by AD 70. When Russell was writing in 1878 there was no Israel and it didn’t appear there ever would be again. An invasion of the land of Israel is less “mysterious” in our day now that there is an Israel (after the flesh) to invade. See my article “A New Preterist Perspective” for my views on Israel and Gog and Magog (In a nutshell, I look for peace to come to the nation of Israel as Ezek. 38:8-11 says Israel would be dwelling in unwalled villages when the Gog and Magog attack happens, this would indicate her being at peace. How or exactly when this peace will happen I am not sure but it is coming. When peace finally does come to Israel then begin to keep an eye on Russia, as those are the conditions for the Gog and Magog invasion. Again see my article for more details).
Full preterists tend to spiritualize the Gog and Magog invasion (Rev. 20:7-10) and put it right before AD 70. Because of this are almost forced to say it is the same war as in Revelation 19:11-21. Notice some critical differences between the two wars, however. The Rev. 19 war features the beast and false prophet. In the Gog and Magog war they are absent. At the end of the Rev. 19 war the beast and false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20). At the end of the Gog and Magog war Satan is thrown into the lake of fire where the beast and false prophet already are (Rev 20:10). This puts the Gog and Magog war after the Rev. 19 war. It explains why the beast and false prophet are not mentioned in the Gog and Magog war as that war happens after the Rev. 19 war (when they were put in the lake of fire). Since full preterists (correctly) put the Rev. 19 war at AD 70 there is no room for another major war (Gog and Magog) after it but before AD 70. Thus to end the millennium (which is when the Gog and Magog invasion happens) at AD 70 doesn’t fit.
To me the natural sequence of Revelation chapters 19 and 20 is the following. The Revelation 19:11-21 war happens at the one and only Parousia in AD 70. The beast and false prophet were put into the lake of fire at that time (Rev. 19:20) and Satan was bound for the millennium (Rev. 20:1). (Those who want the millennium to start at AD 30 say that at Revelation 20 the scenario goes back to AD 30, this is what is known as a “recapitulation.” I believe Revelation has recapitulations I just don’t see one at Rev. 20. I see Rev. 20 as continuing the description of what happens after the Second Coming which has been described in Rev. 19:11-21.) At the end of the millennium (which I believe we are in) Satan is loosed and gathers the nations for the Gog and Magog invasion. He is of course defeated (he didn’t have a chance, he was defeated at the cross) and then is thrown into the lake of fire where the beast and false prophet are waiting for him (Rev. 20:10). The full preterist position says the Satan, the beast and false prophet were all thrown into the lake of fire at the same time (AD 70). That is just not what Revelation 19 and 20 show.
It should be clear that while the similarities between full preterism and premillennial preterism are many, the differences are important. Among other things these differences affect how we should be living now. If Satan is still around (even though bound or limited) it would mean our reigning with Jesus should be more active then if he is totally off the scene for eternity. It is my belief that we are living in the time at the end of the millennium when Satan is loosed to deceive the world (see my article on the Preterist Archive, “A New Preterist Perspective”). I believe this is why we have seen such a rise of evil in the world in the last half of the 20th century. Spiritually speaking this is our world (the Christian’s); we need to be more active in our rule by prayer (corporate and individual) and sharing the good news of the Bible. Jesus won all power and authority in heaven and on earth at the cross (Matt. 28:18). That authority was fully transferred to His people at the Second Coming (the kingdom coming with power (Matt. 16:28; Mark 8:31& 9:1; Rev. 2:26) this was the beginning of the millennium. Pre-millennial futurists put the millennium in the future, full preterists put it in the past. The outcome of both of these positions is the same, inactivity. When is the last time you saw a full preterist article calling for more prayer? . Come to think of it when is the last time you saw any preterist article (full or partial) calling for more prayer? I am not saying they are not out there I just haven’t seen any. We need to be applying the authority that preterism (both full and partial) teaches we have. This authority is primarily implemented through prayer; the Christian army advances on its knees. Spiritually speaking this world is the Christians but just as the Children of Israel had to possess the Promised Land (which I am equating with entering the millennium in AD 70) we have to possess this world. When the children of Israel entered the Promised Land they were told “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you” Joshua 1:3. I believe that is how it is for the Christian today, spiritually speaking this is our world but we need to be possessing it (by prayer and sharing God’s word). By the way the Children of Israel possessed the Promise Land by the sword, we turn the sword into a plowshare; we possess with the plowing (sowing God’s word) and reaping (“They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks” Isaiah 2:4). Again the primacy of prayer in our rule with Jesus over the nations cannot be over emphasized.
Revelation 2:25-27 says that at AD 70, believers (at the church at Thyatira) would be given authority over the nations (while full prets. and partial prets. would disagree over which Coming of Jesus this is referring to I think both would agree the reference is to AD 70).
25. But hold fast what you have till I come.
26. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end to him I will give power over the nations
27. He shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ as I also have received from My Father.
The “end” referred to in Rev. 2:26 is not the end of the world but the AD 70 end of the Old Covenant age Cf. Heb. 9:26; 1 Cor. 10:11, I think both full and partial preterists would agree on that also.
Revelation 3:20 & 21 also speaks of believers (at the church of Laodicea) sharing in Christ’s reign at His AD 70 Coming.
20. Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
21. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Again while full and partial preterists would disagree over whether these references (Rev. 2:26 & 3:21) to believers sharing in Jesus’ reign are speaking of the Second Coming or a judgment coming of Jesus on Israel both would agree that the time of the references is to AD 70. It is my position that these promises (given to those who overcome) of sharing in Christ’s AD 70 reign speak of the same sharing of Jesus’ reign that those who enter the millennium participate in (Rev. 20:4). Again the promises of Rev. 2:26 and 3:21 of sharing in Jesus’ authority and reign over the nations are clearly (to a preterist) AD 70 promises. Again I believe these promises corresponded to the AD 70 beginning of the millennium when judgment and authority were to be given to God’s people as they shared in Jesus’ reign. The millennial reign was being held out as a reward to those who stayed faithful to Jesus until his AD 70 (Second) Coming. “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.” 2 Timothy2:12. Timothy, writing around AD 66, considered believers sharing in Jesus’ reign (the millennium) as a near but future event. If believers endured (to the Second Coming in AD 70) they would reign with Christ, this was the millennium (And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years Rev. 20:4).
The things being promised to the seven churches (Rev. 2:1 to 3:22) in AD 65 (which is approximately when Revelation was written) were the blessings that were to be available at the Second Coming in AD 70. Towards the end of Revelation God reminds the hearers of the book of these promises (that were to happen at AD 70) that He had made to the overcomers in the seven churches (“He who overcomes will inherit these things…” Rev. 21:7 NASB). Again the reference of Revelation 21:7 is to the promises made to the seven churches at the beginning of the book (Rev. 2:1 to 3:22). These promises were made to those who would overcome, that is, those who would stay faithful to Jesus up to His AD 70 Second Coming. The believers of the seven churches were being told about the AD 70 promises so as to provide encouragement and incentive for them to remain faithful until that time (AD 70).
The believers at the church of Ephesus had been promised access to the tree of life. (“To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God” Rev. 2:7). We see the tree of life in Rev. 22:2, to a full preterist access to the tree of life (which was in the New Jerusalem) was a clearly a promise that would have an AD 70 fulfillment.
The believers at the church at Pergamos were promised a new name (“To him who overcomes I will give… him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” Rev. 2:17). This secret name corresponded to the secret name which Jesus had at His Second Coming (“He [Jesus] had a name that no one knew but Himself” Rev. 19:12). Again the promise given to the believers of having a new name was to have an AD 70 fulfillment. By the way the promise of a new name for the believer was not a promise of a new moniker, rather it was a promise of something new about their essence and/or position Cf. Gen.17:5. The point I want to make here is that this promise of a secret name was to have an AD 70 fulfillment just as we see Jesus with a secret name at His AD 70 Coming.
The believers at the church of Sardis were promised that they wouldn’t have their name blotted out of the book of life (“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life…” Rev. 3:5). The book of life speaks of one receiving eternal life at the judgment (Rev. 20:12), again to a full preterist the judgment in Rev. 20:12 is at AD 70, again a clear AD 70 promise.
The believers at the church of Philadelphia were promised a part in the New Jerusalem (“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name”. Rev. 3:12). Again full preterists correctly say that the blessedness of the New Jerusalem coming down to earth was an AD 70 event (Rev. 21:2).
The pattern of the promises given to the seven churches involved telling about the wonderful things that were going to happen at the AD 70 Second Coming and offering them as incentives to those who would stay faithful until that Coming. These AD 70 incentives were being held out to the seven churches because the believers of those churches would have to face the difficult times talked of in Revelation (persecution, the great tribulation, the mark of the beast etc.). Now consider the AD 70 incentives made to the churches at Smyrna, Thyatira and Laodicea, they were all promises that related to participating in the millennium. Remember the pattern of the promises offered to the seven churches was to present the blessings that would be available to those who stayed faithful until Jesus’ Coming in AD 70, this makes the millennial promises (and hence the millennium) AD 70 events.
The believers at the church of Smyrna were promised not to be hurt by the Second death (“He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second” death Rev. 2:11). This promise is fulfilled in those who come alive for the millennium (“over such the second death has no power but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years” Rev. 20:6. The incentive offered to the church of Smyrna was to have an AD 70 fulfillment. This AD 70 incentive was to be fulfilled at the beginning of the millennium, that puts the millennium’s beginning at AD 70. If the millennium began in AD 30 then Jesus was promising the believers at Smyrna something they already had.
The believers at the church of Laodicea were promised to sit on Jesus’ throne, that is, they would share in His rule (“to him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” Rev. 3:21). This AD 70 promise was a reference to believers sharing in Jesus’ rule, again this was to be fulfilled at the beginning of the millennium (“And I saw thrones and they sat on them and judgment was committed to them…and they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” Rev. 20:4). Again the AD 70 promise to believers to share in Jesus’ rule was to be fulfilled at the AD 70 beginning to the millennium. If the millennium started at AD 30 Jesus was again promising something to believers that they already had, which would not be much of an incentive.
The believers at the church of Thyatira were also promised to share in Jesus’ AD 70 rule (“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations- He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels- as I also have received from My Father.” Rev. 2:26&27). Again the “end” referred to here is the AD 70 end of the Old Covenant age. Cf. Matt. 13:36-50 (note the old King James Version mistranslated the Greek aion (which means age) in Matt. 13:36-50 as “world” the newer translations correct this mistake). The promise to believers at the church of Thyatira (which was to be fulfilled in AD 70) was of sharing in Jesus’ messianic rule. That promise was to be fulfilled in those who participate in the millennium {again indicating an AD 70 beginning of the millennium} (“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Rev. 20:6). Again, if the millennium began in AD 30 then Jesus’ promise to share in his messianic reign over the nations made little sense, as it would have been something the believers at Thyatira already had.
As I have said, the promises made to the seven churches were being given as incentives to encourage them to remain faithful to Jesus through the difficult times that were coming (between the writing of Revelation around AD 65 and the Second Coming in AD 70). These promises were to have an AD 70 fulfillment. In effect Jesus was saying, remain faithful to Me until My AD 70 Coming and these are the rewards you will get. To me the fact that three of the seven churches (Smyrna, Thyatira and Laodicea) were being offered AD 70 incentives that related to them entering the millennium is a clear indication of the millennium beginning in AD 70.
While I agree with full preterists that AD 30-70 was a transition period, I disagree with them that it was the time of the believers sharing in the millennial reign of Jesus. AD 30-70 was the “already but not yet” of the kingdom. With the ministry of Jesus the kingdom of God was in the midst of His hearers (Luke 17:21 NASB). The kingdom would come with full power (the millennium) in the lifetime (AD 70) of some of those listening to Jesus (Mark 8:38&9; Luke 9:27). This AD 70 coming of the kingdom with power, when believers would rule with Jesus (the millennium) can be seen in the following parable.
Luke 19:11-27
11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. 12 Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.' 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.' 15 And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.' 17 And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.' 18 And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.' 19 Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.' 20 Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.' 22 And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?' 24 And he said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.' 25 (But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.') 26 For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.' "
Notice that this parable was told because the hearers of Jesus thought the kingdom of God was just about to come (what I would call an expectation of an AD 30 millennium). The kingdom of God would come (with full power) when the nobleman returned from the far country after receiving his kingdom (the Second Coming in AD 70). Notice the events that happen when this nobleman returns ( again symbolic of the Second Coming) there is the judgment of both the nobleman’s followers and the people who didn’t want the nobleman to rule over them (the Jews that rejected Jesus). The people who rejected the nobleman (the Jews who rejected Jesus) are destroyed at this point. A full preterist would correctly say these events are AD 70 events. This AD 70 beginning of the implementation of the nobleman’s rule when he returned from a far country was the AD 70 beginning of the millennium at the Second Coming Cf. 2 Timothy 4:1. Notice that this is the point that the servants share in the nobleman’s rule (“Well done good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities” Luke 19:17). This sharing in the rule of the nobleman’s (Jesus’) kingdom is what the millennium is all about (“And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” Rev. 20:4). To try and make the millennium start at AD 30 goes against meaning of the parable of the nobleman. There would be a delay of the full implementation of the kingdom. The kingdom was to come with full power at the Second Coming in AD 70 (Mark 8:38 & 9:1; Luke 9:27) that was the time that believer would share in Jesus’ rule, that was the beginning of the millennium. The followers of the nobleman would share in his rule at the time when the nobleman destroyed those who didn’t want him to rule over them (the Jews, “we have no king but Caesar” John 19:15). This was at the destruction of the Jewish nation at AD 70.
Traditional partial preterists have some trouble with this parable of the nobleman. They would probably say the nobleman’s coming and destroying the subjects that didn’t want him to rule over them was Jesus’ AD 70 coming in judgment on the Jews. That the judgment of the nobleman’s followers also happens at this time presents a real problem for their position as they say that that judgment is to happen at a future coming of Jesus. Look at the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 (which traditional partial preterists say should happen in the future) it is essentially the same as the one in Luke 19:11-27. Traditional partial preterists want to put Israel’s judgment at the AD 70 Parousia and the believers judgment at a future Parousia; the parable of the nobleman puts them at the same time (at the one and only Parousia at AD 70).
Again I agree with full preterists that AD 30-70 was a transition period, I even agree with them on most of the particulars of this period; I just disagree that this transition period was the millennium. The picture of the transition period of AD 30-70 was that of the wilderness journey of Israel. Jesus’ death on the cross in AD 30 fulfilled the feast of Passover. Just as the death of the Passover lamb set in motion the events that set the Children of Israel free from the bondage of Egypt, so Jesus’ death set believers free from the bondage of Satan’s kingdom (Heb. 2:14&15). Just as the children of Israel would spend 40 years in the wilderness before they reached the Promised Land so the first Christians would go through a 40-year wilderness journey before they entered the millennium. The millennium corresponded not to the 40-year wilderness journey but to entering the Promised Land. The writers of Hebrews (who I believe was Paul) used the analogy of Israel’s wilderness journey in speaking to his audience. He warned them not to fall in the wilderness as some of the children of Israel did (Hebrews 4:11). Paul uses the wilderness parallel in 1 Corinthians 10, he warns his readers of how many of the children of Israel were laid low in the wilderness, not making it to the Promised Land (1 Cor. 10:5&6). In 1 Corinthians 9:27 Paul says he even he was careful that after preaching to others that he should not be disqualified. This brings up a very important difference between the transition period of AD 30-70 and the millennium. Those that lived in the transition period (AD 30-70) could lose their salvation, those in the millennium can not (“over such the second death has no power” Rev. 20:6). Paul (during the transition period) said to his hearers “we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.” Heb. 3:14. Again the end is the end of the age, the Second Coming at AD 70. Paul was telling his hearers they were partakers of Christ if they were steadfast to the end Cf. Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:35-39. Consider how one of Jesus’ servants (the unprofitable one) is thrown into outer darkness at the Second Coming (Matt. 25:30). This need of staying faithful to the AD 70 end of the age was why God was constantly telling the seven churches that it was the one who overcame that would receive the promised blessings (Rev. 21:7). One of these promised AD 70 blessings was access to the tree of life (Rev. 2:7; 22:2). The promises to the churches Sardis (Rev. 3:5) and Smyrna (Rev. 2:11) highlight the point that one could lose his or her salvation during the AD 30-70 transition period.
Rev. 3:5 “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life.”
Rev. 2:11 “He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”
The clear implication of these two promises is that those of the seven churches that didn’t overcome could have their names blotted out from the book of life and could be hurt by the second death (the lake of fire, Rev. 21:8) otherwise the promises are meaningless. The promise of Rev. 2:11 was that those who overcome and remain faithful to the AD 70 Coming (even if that faithfulness costs them their lives) would not be hurt by the second death. This AD 70 promise to the church of Smyrna made around AD 65 is fulfilled in those who come alive for the millennium.
Rev. 2:11 He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.
Rev. 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priest of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
What was a future promise in AD 65 (of an AD 70 blessing) is a fulfilled promise for those who enter the millennium. Again that makes the millennium an AD 70 event not an AD 30 event.
Again believers during the transition period (AD 30-70) could lose their salvation (fall in the wilderness so to speak) those coming alive for the millennium could not. This fits the millennium beginning in AD 70 not AD 30. I praise God that we who are born again after AD 70 are among those who have access to the tree of life and can’t be hurt by the second death! I believe that Revelation 14:13 describes the blessedness of those born again after AD 70.
Rev. 14:13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on” Yes says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors and their works follow them.
The “rest” that Paul had told his readers was coming (and exhorted them to be diligent to enter) at the Second Coming (Hebrews 4:1-11) has come in Revelation 13:14. Again we who are born after AD 70 (born into the millennium so to speak) are born into this rest, to this I say praise the Lord! Again those who enter the millennium receive a secure salvation as they can not be hurt by the second death (the lake of fire, Rev. 21:8), this fits an AD 70 beginning of the millennium not an AD 30 beginning.
I believe that the “1,000 years” of the millennium (Rev. 20:4) is symbolic of the Day of the Lord (“with the Lord one day is as a thousand years…” 2 Peter 3:8). The Day of the Lord was something that Peter saw as being very close but in the future from when he wrote 2 Peter (probably in the mid AD 60’s.). The Day of the Lord (which a 1,000 years would be a fitting symbol of) was to start at the Second Coming in AD 70 (2 Peter 3:10-13) this was the beginning of the “1000 years” of the millennium.
Full preterists try to make the millennium 40 years. One problem with this is that by far the most common symbolic use of the number 40 in the Bible is that of a time of trial and testing (in the Flood it rained for 40 days, the Children of Israel were 40 years in the wilderness, Jesus tested in the wilderness for 40 days, 40 minus 1 lashes {2 Cor. 11:24, the “minus 1” was so the punishment didn’t mistakenly go over 40} etc.)
“The period of forty days or years is an important one in Scripture and in Jewish tradition. As the church fathers observed, it is most often associated with hardship, affliction and punishment.” Leland Ryken ,et al, Dictionary of Biblical Imagery 305
A time associated with hardship, affliction and punishment is hardly a fitting symbol for the millennium. Those coming alive for the millennium are said to be “blessed” (Rev. 20:6). Forty years is not a very good number to represent a blessed period. Those entering the millennium had just come through the 40 years of testing (the wilderness transition period AD 30-70), the blessed period (the millennium) was to start at AD 70. Added to this, it is difficult to make the millennium last 40 years if one starts it in AD 30. One has to fit the “1,000 year” reign and the time Satan is released from the abyss at the end of the 1,000 years (Rev. 20:7-10) into the 40 year period. That makes the millennium less than forty years. Even if one somehow gets around this (by trying to start the millennium before AD 30 or making the time when Satan is loosed at its end extraordinarily short) and makes the millennium 40 years, as I said the number 40 is a lousy symbol for a blessed period such as the millennium. If one is going to say the 1,000 years of the millennium is a symbolic number (which I believe it is) one has to say what the 1000 years are symbolic of. As I have said I believe the 1000 years of the millennium are symbolic of the Day of the Lord (“with the Lord one day is as a thousand years…” 2 Peter 3:8). The Day of the Lord was to start at the Second Coming in AD 70 (2 Peter 3:8-13). I am not sure what full preterists would say the 1000 years of the millennium are symbolic of (some say it is symbolic of 40 which they connect with King David’s reign, but that doesn’t make sense).
I could write more, like, why did Peter say in the early 60’s AD that the devil was walking about like a roaring lion? That doesn’t sound like he was bound and in the abyss to me. Why does Paul (writing around 55 or 56 AD) refer to the devil as “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4) again that doesn’t sound very bound. Again I could write more but I think I have written enough for now.
To summarize: James Stuart Russell’s position was that the millennium began at AD 70 at the one and only Parousia. In the early 1970’s a shift occurred away from Russell’s premillennial preterism to full preterism. This shift was subsequently buried. I have endeavored to offer some reasons why I think this shift from Russell’s premillennial preterism to full preterism has resulted in some mistakes and needs to be reexamined. I have called for the use of the term “premillennial preterism” to differentiate Russell’s position from full preterism and traditional partial preterism. Like the full preterists Russell saw AD 70 as the time of the one and only Second Coming (the Parousia), like the partial preterists he did not see all the prophecy in the Bible as fulfilled at that time. Premillennial preterism agrees with the most of the tenants of full preterism (AD 70 was the time of the Second Coming, resurrection and judgment, we are currently in the New Jerusalem etc.). The main disagreement between premillennial preterism and full preterism is with the hermeneutic constraint of full preterists that all the prophecy in the Bible had to have been fulfilled by AD 70 and the outgrowth of this, that the millennium had to have ended by AD 70. Full preterists usually embrace Russell, they are not as enthusiastic about me when I elaborate on his position.
Russell’s book The Parousia should be required reading for any preterist. If one would like to read more of my thoughts I have the following articles on the partial preterist section of the Preterist Archive. (Russell can be found on the full preterist section of the Preterist Archive, while I am on the partial preterist section. This highlights the fact that premillennial preterism falls somewhere between the classifications of full preterism and traditional partial preterism). My articles are the following.
A New Preterist Perspective” In this article I discuss Israel, Gog and Magog and where I think we are now.
Revelation Chapter 12” In this article I discuss how Rev. 12 shows Satan being thrown to the earth when God’s people entered the wilderness period at AD 30 (not into the abyss at that time as the full preterist position would predict).
Was All The Prophecy In The Bible Fulfilled By AD 70?” In this article I examine Luke 21:22, one of the foundations of the “all fulfilled by AD 70” hermeneutic constraint of full preterism.
Revelation Book Of The Covenant Curses Of Leviticus And Deuteronomy.” In this article I look at the covenant curses of Leviticus and Deuteronomy and how they provide the background for many of the images in the Book of Revelation. One interesting thing God said was that after he had brought all the covenant curses on Israel and scattered them to the nations (which happened in AD 70) he would bring them back to the Land, even if it meant gathering them from the farthest parts under heaven (Deut. 30:1-10).
I am currently working on a book on the Antichrist/Beast. I have written 250 pages and have about 100 more pages to go. In the book I offer a different candidate for the beast than Nero. I am not going into the identity of my candidate right now but trust me the book will be a revelation (excuse the pun). By the way I am looking for a publisher if there are any out there.
Duncan McKenzie

70AD-ONGOING The Resurrection of the Just

"The Resurrection of the Just and the Unjust"
by Thomas K. Burk


The chief function of prophecy is not to predict the future, but to bear testimony of the validity of Jesus as mankind's Messiah, and to call the redeemed in Christ into harmony with Jesus' New Covenant.