Revelation 20 & Universalism

I know you are busy, but could you take just a brief moment and fill me in on
  • [Part A] how you view the Rev. 20 passage and
  • [Part B] how a wrong view there can open the door to universalism.
Being slow of mind, it will help me to get up to speed. So thanks so much for doing this. Don't take a lot of time, just a brief response. ~WH
 
The above is a reasonable 2-part question. What follows is my 2-part answer.
 
[Part A] How I view the Rev 20 passage can be found at: LINK
 
[Part B] How the wrong view Rev 20, "Rev 20 was all fulfilled by 70 AD," leads to Universalism:
  1.    Revelation 20:4 describes the coming to life of the souls of those slain for their witness for Jesus and for rejecting the mark of the Beast. This is the first of two groups of souls resurrected from the dead in Rev 20:4-6. Since the participants of this first resurrection are declared blessed and holy, we may justly call this, "The Blessed & Holy Resurrection." Its participants are rewarded by reigning with Christ for a thousand years and are granted immunity from the anticipated Second Death.
  2.    Revelation 20:5 describes the coming to life of "the rest of the dead" at the end of the thousand years. We may call this, "The Resurrection of the Rest of the Dead."
  3.    Whether one understands the term "thousand years" to mean 1000 years, 1000 hours, or a 1000 seconds, it is still describing a span of time with the aforementioned events marking its starting and ending points.
  4.    When this span of time is made to terminate at 70AD, the starting point is made to be some time before the disappearance of the New Testament writers. This forces the Blessed & Holy Resurrection (Rev 20:4) to become an experience already available to the New Testament writers while yet in their mortal-natural bodies of flesh, (error of Hymenaeus, 2 Timothy 2:18). To accommodate this, the "come to life" of Revelation 20:4 is made to mean "come to covenant life."
  5.    Someone who buys into point 4) then reads Revelation 20:5a and sees that "the Rest of the Dead" eventually "came to covenant life" with the same grammar and vocabulary by which the Blessed & Holy of Revelation 20:4 "come to covenant life" a thousand years earlier.
  6.    He concludes, then, that whether one dies as a Blessed & Holy witness for Jesus (Rev 20:4) or as the Rest of the Dead (Rev 20:5), his final stance with God is the same: he still "comes to covenant life." That belief is commonly known as Universalism.
Summary: "Full" Preterism (Covenant Eschatology) interprets the word "covenant" into the Text of Rev 20:4-6 to make the Blessed & Holy Resurrection (first resurrection, Rev 20:4) precede Christ's Return by decades so that the Resurrection of the Rest of the Dead (Rev 20:5a) may occur at the moment of Christ's Return. Consistently applied, this addition to the Text forms the basis for "Full" Preterist Universalism.

Revelation 20:4-5 ~foreseen around 63AD in the predictive vision given to the exiled Apostle John of "things shortly to come to pass," Rev 1:1 & Rev 4:1
And I foresaw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I foresaw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to convenantal life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to convenantal life until the thousand years were completed.
NASB

Comments

Hi John,  :)

Those who took part in "the first resurrection" were "blessed and holy" (Rev. 20:4-6).  The implication is that not everyone who took part in the subsequent resurrection was blessed and holy.  Rev. 20:12-15 confirms that not everyone who partook of the latter resurrection was blessed and holy.
In the Received Text, "the same vocabulary" is not used.  In Rev. 20:4, the Greek word is zao (lived).  In Rev. 20:5, the Greek word is anazao (lived again).  But even if we go with the Alexandrian textbase, which uses the same word in both verses, the fact that those who took part in "the first resurrection" and those who made up "the rest of the dead" both had "life" ("zao") does not necessarily mean that they both had the same kind of life.  In Rev. 13:14, the beast also "came to life" ("same vocabulary": zao).  In Rev. 16:3, every soul that had "life" died ("same vocabulary": zao).  In Rev. 19:20, the beast and the false prophet were both cast "alive" into the lake of fire ("same vocabulary": zao).  These instances of "life" (zao) in the book of Revelation do not mean the same kind of life.  Therefore no conclusion can be drawn from the mere repetition of the word in Rev. 20:4 and 5. 
"Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice [the gospel] of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live [the first resurrection]. (Jn. 5:25)

"Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs [the rest of the dead] shall hear His voice, and shall come forth [i.e., shall live]; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment" (Jn. 5:28,29).

DG

 

[DG] Those who took part in "the first resurrection" were "blessed and holy" (Rev. 20:4-6). The implication is that not everyone who took part in the subsequent resurrection was blessed and holy.  Rev 20:12-15 confirms that not everyone who partook of the latter resurrection was blessed and holy.
 
[ProphecyHistory.com] Agreed. You are buttressing my point all the more here, DG.  Thank you.  Firstly, you just identified Rev 20:4 and Rev 20:5 as "resurrections;" resurrections of two different groups of souls. You state my case that Rev 20:5's resurrection of "the rest of the dead" CANNOT be equated with "coming to covenant life."  Therefore, I say, Rev 20:4's resurrection of the dead in Christ CANNOT be "coming to covenant life," either.  As I demonstrated, the tightly bound pair of verses Rev 20:4 & Rev 20:5 employ the same grammar and vocabulary to describe what occurs to the two groups of souls.  If "zao" means "come to covenant life" in v4, it must mean the same in v5.  And if it cannot mean "come to covenant life" in v5, then it cannot mean "come to covenant life" in v4.  It is just that plain & simple.
 
[DG] In the Received Text, "the same vocabulary" is not used. In Rev. 20:4, the Greek word is zao (lived). In Rev. 20:5, the Greek word is ana-zao (lived again).
 
[ProphecyHistory.com] This is grasping, especially noteworthy since 30-70AD Millennialism ("Full" Preterism) relies heavily upon associating similarly worded passages to make its claims. By your own posting, "lived" (zao) of Textus Receptus' Rev 20:4 is identical with Textus Receptus' Rev 20:5's "lived,"  (zao).  Still, you try to obscure this identity by the Greek's use of a prefix ("ana-") where English uses a separate word, "again."
 
The bond between this pair of verses is tightened all the more when we hold in view the actual passage "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 [Nero], neither had received his mark upon their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were fininshed."   Verse 5's use of the word "But..." communicates that the notable difference between these two events was the timing, (a thosand years later), and no other thing. It is grasping to say that v4 is using "lived (zao)" to say "they came to covenant life" but v5 is using "lived again (ana-zao)" to say an altogether unrelated thing.  He who attempts that folly forfeits credibility on his other attempts to associate Scriptures.
 
[DG] But even if we go with the Alexandrian textbase, which uses the same word in both verses, ...
 
[ProphecyHistory.com] A second weighty admission of fact on your part. You just said that the earliest major Text base in our possession, a Text base upon which many Bible scholars hold in such esteem as to prefer it for Bible translations, agrees with what I wrote about how Rev 20:4's Resurrection of the souls of Christian martrys from the Tribulation employs the same vocabulary and grammar to describe Rev 20:5's Resurrection of "the rest of the dead." You are conceding much more ground than you imagine to be gaining.  And the Majority Text employs the same word "came to life" in both Rev 20:4 & 5, as well.
 
[DG] ...the fact that those who took part in "the first resurrection" and those who made up "the rest of the dead" both had "life" ("zao") does not necessarily mean that they both had the same kind of life....
 
[ProphecyHistory.com] A third admission of fact: both the Just of Rev 20:4 and Rev 20:5's "the rest of the dead" both came to have "life" (zao). Again, you are straining to veer away from the plain words of the Text. You are trying to find a way to say that a pair of adjacent verses in a passage, employing the same vocabulary about the same subject (resurrection of the souls of Saints and "the rest of the dead") are talking about coming to unrelated kinds of life (zao). That is not credible, especially when one recalls what great lengths 30-70AD Millennialism ("Full" Preterism) goes to make its points by associating similarly worded passages.
 
[DG] In Rev. 13:14, the beast also "came to life" ("same vocabulary": zao). In Rev. 16:3, every soul that had "life" died ("same vocabulary": zao). In Rev. 19:20, the beast and the false prophet were both cast "alive" into the lake of fire ("same vocabulary": zao). These instances of "life" (zao) in the book of Revelation do not mean the same kind of life.
 
[ProphecyHistory.com] False. They ALL easily mean the same kind of life (zao): "animate its own body."  So can Rev 20:5. Further, we know that not a one of those mentioned verses can possibly be equated with "having covenant life," as you teach for Rev 20:4. So why do you make such a strained effort to defend this one stand alone (Rev 20:4) to represent "coming to covenant life" ?
 
[DG] Therefore no conclusion can be drawn from the mere repetition of the word in Rev. 20:4 and 5.
 
[ProphecyHistory.com] Baloney. Once again, you have just conceded another piece of my argument: you just admitted that Rev 20:4 and Rev 20:5 repeat the same word to describe the action upon these two groups of souls. But you insist upon a false conclusion based upon strained, self-refuting arguments.  Meanwhile, a host of truly credible arguments out there against 30- 70AD Millennialism's ("Full" Preterism's) word-associations falls on deaf ears.
 
[DG] "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice [the gospel] of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live [the first resurrection]. (Jn. 5:25)
 
"Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs [the rest of the dead] shall hear His voice, and shall come forth [i.e., shall live]; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment" (Jn. 5:28,29).
 
[ProphecyHistory.com] DG, If you cannot admit the plain connection between two adjacent verses (Rev 20:4 & Rev 20:5) from the same passage (Rev 20:4-6) that employ the same vocabulary ("zao") to talk about the same process ("resurrection"), then you weild zero credibility to make any other connection, whether correctly or otherwise.
 
Let us remember how WH's question limited the scope to a brief treatment of Rev 20. "Could you take just a brief moment and fill me in on how you view the Rev. 20 passage and how a wrong view there can open the door to universalism?" Why not keep the focus on demonstrating the relationships between the contiguous verses of the Text in question, (Rev 20), before attempting associations with more distant passages?
 
Nevertheless, since you associate the first resurrection of the Rev 20:4-6 passage with the Resurrection of Life and the resurrection of "the rest of the dead" with the Resurrection of Judgment, then surely it is obvious to you that the Resurrection Paul and the Apostles eagerly anticipated was the first Resurrection, the Resurrection of Life (rather than the Resurrection of Judgment).  Therefore, the Resurrection of Life was NOT in their pasts, the Resurrection of Life was NOT their coming to covenant life in Christ.  The Resurrection of Life was what they were looking forward to at Christ's Return - the quickening-transformation of their mortal-natural bodies. So we conclude that the "1000 years" of Rev 20:1-7 began sometime AFTER the New Testament was written, not before.
 
"Full" Preterism & Covenant Eschatology and DG are wrong to teach a Millennium that begins before 2 Tim 2:18 was written.  In so doing they teach that the first Resurrection of Rev 20:4-6 occurred before 2 Tim 2:18 was written and overthrow the faith of some, just like the cancerous teaching of Hymenaeus & Philetus.  It has been shown here once again to be the basis for Universalism-Lawlessness.