A Brief Response to Sam’s “Thrones” Argument

Sam’s arguments seem to go like this: since this text (or this word) means x, this other text (or word) can’t mean y. I’m not finding x and y to be mutually exclusive.

Justin has presented another of Sam’s arguments, which Sam concludes as follows:

In summary, when we look at all other relevant occurrences of thronos, whether inside or outside the book of Revelation, they are without exception heavenly. There is nothing to suggest that they pertain to a millennial earth, either in location or character.

Again I have a brief and simple response. The end of Revelation 20:6 reads, “they will be priests of God and of Christ and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” Compare this with Revelation 5:10, “and you made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth.” Could “they will reign upon the earth” in Revelation 5:10 “pertain to a millennial earth . . . in location and character” (Sam’s words) when we read in Revelation 20:6 that these resurrected people “will be priests” and “they will reign for a thousand years“?

In Revelation 20:4-5 people who have been beheaded–physically killed–experience “resurrection,” which, in the words of N. T. Wright, refers to physical life after life after death. If it doesn’t mean that, Wright says the usage of the word is strained to the breaking point. Then these resurrected people are made priests and reign with Christ for a thousand years (Rev 20:6) which looks like the realization of what was predicted in Revelation 5:10, where those Christ redeemed from all nations (5:9) are a kingdom and priests and reign on earth (5:10).

I quickly glanced through the uses of “throne/s” in Revelation, and here’s what I would say: you have the throne of God in heaven, the thrones of the 24 elders, and the throne of Satan and the beast. So the throne of God and the thrones of the elders are in heaven. Fine, but the church in Pergamum lives “where Satan’s throne is” (Rev 2:13), and in Revelation 13:2 the dragon gives his throne to the beast. Let’s grant, too, that the throne of Satan that he gives to the dragon is a symbol of his authority. Even as a symbol, it refers to authority Satan exercises where that church in Pergamum dwells, which is on earth (2:13). The same holds when Satan gives his authority to the beast (13:2). Note, too, that Satan uses the beast to deceive the nations with his faked crucifixion and resurrection (the healing of the mortal wound to one of his heads) in Revelation 13:1-8, and compare that with the way that Revelation 20:3 says Satan will not deceive the nations during the thousand years (see esp. Rev 13:7 and 20:3).

Is it that hard to imagine Satan’s authority being taken away from him (Rev 20:1-3) and that authority, symbolized by thrones, being exercised by Christ and the resurrected saints on earth for a thousand years?

I don’t see how the use of the word “thrones” argues against the premillennial position.

10 Responses to A Brief Response to Sam’s “Thrones” Argument

  1. Werner October 8, 2009 at 7:28 am #

    I watched the debate. And I am truly puzzled by this ‘thrones’ argument. I cannot see the parallel that Storms is attempting to draw with ‘anastasis’. And how is it an argument to say that because term ‘a’ is used consistently in one way (which it obviously isn’t) therefore term ‘b’ must also mean the same thing consistently?

  2. Garrett Wishall October 9, 2009 at 8:00 am #

    Could reigning on the earth in Rev. 5:10 be a reference to the new creation?

    • Jim Hamilton October 9, 2009 at 8:09 am #

      Sure, and the NA 27 lists 5:10 in the margin next to 22:5.

      Does reigning forever and ever in the new heaven and new earth (21:1; 22:5) exclude reigning for a thousand years on earth during the millenium (20:6)?

      It would seem to me that if we operate by amillennial hermeneutical principles, we have just as much warrant for equating the millennium with the new heaven and new earth as we do for equating it with the present.

      By amillennial standards, what would nullify that suggestion?

      JMH

      • Rusty Osborne October 18, 2009 at 8:24 pm #

        To jump in here, it does seem like reigning forever in the new creation and reigning during the millennium are different. If we chronologically follow the flow through Rev. 20 into chapter 21, the creation of the new heavens and earth follows the great white throne of judgement and the cataclysmic destruction of Death, Hades and all whose names are not written in the book of life. It seems difficult to overlook this dramatic transition and say that the millennial kingdom can be considered part of the new heaven and earth. Taking the millennial kingdom to be understood as part of the new creation, takes quite a bit of the “newness” out of 21:1. If this is the case, arguing from 5:10 is not quite so persuasive.

  3. Brad Spencer October 9, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    Questions about Rev. 20:5. In reference to the “rest of the dead” (those not reigning with Christ during the 1000 year reign) who are not resurrected until after the 1000 years are ended – who exactly are they? Could these be “the rest” who were slain in 19:21? If so, then wouldn’t this answer Sam Storms question concerning where the nations come from that Satan deceives after being released in 21:7-8? Prior to this there is deception was from the beast and the false prophet, and in chapter 21 Satan himself is released to deceive them.

    • Jim Hamilton October 9, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

      It looks like the resurrection of the unrighteous happens after the rebellion of 20:7-10, see 20:11-13.

      Blessings!

      JMH

  4. Jeremy Sells October 17, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    I enjoyed the debate and the Christ-like spirit in which it was conducted.

    My questions are:
    In Matt 19:28 ESV, “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

    As you know “new world” literally means regeneration. Does this not speak of the same time in which Peter addresses in 2 Peter 3:10-13? Therefore wouldn’t the thrones in Matt 19:28 occur after
    the regeneration/new heavens and new earth? Thus putting it after any “millennial” period?

    Blessings!

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  1. Making Sense of the Millennium – The Gospel Coalition Blog - October 9, 2009

    […] Taylor got the conversation going here and here. Jim Hamilton kept it moving here and here. Now Kevin DeYoung weighs in here and here. Categories: Noteworthy Tags: […]

  2. Historic Premillennialism: An Interview with Jim Hamilton - August 1, 2013

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