So I’m sitting in church on New Year’s Day and my friend C. T. Eldridge gets up to do the New Testament reading. The reading is Revelation 15, and these words jumped out at me:
“Then I saw another sign in heaven . . . And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire–and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass . . .” (Rev 15:1–2).
Why is this another reason to be pre-mil? Because of the way it fits with everything else in Revelation, but before I go into that, consider how the amillennial interpretations won’t work. The amil explanations I have in mind are what is sometimes said of Revelation 20:4,
“Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
Amillers will say that this is a reference to these people coming to life in the presence of God. That view fails because back in Revelation 15:1–2 they’re already alive in the presence of God. Another amil attempt to explain this is that it refers to regeneration, which won’t work because we’re dealing with people who have been “beheaded for the testimony of Jesus,” which means that they were already born again believers before they got beheaded.
Some amillers will say that Satan’s inability to deceive the nations in Revelation 20:3 just means that the gospel can go to the nations, but that fails to fit everything in the book together. What I mean is this:
Satan is deceiving the nations in Revelation 13:14, which is when this “image of the beast” and the mark “on the right hand or the forehead” with “the number of its name” first became an issue (Rev 13:15–18). It’s here, too, that the beast is killing Christians (Rev 13:7), and it’s here that the Christians are “conquering” the beast by not loving “their lives even unto death” (Rev 12:11). Revelation 13, 15, and 20 all mention the beast, the mark, and the number of the beast’s name.
So the beast is deceiving the nations in Revelation 13 when the Christians who come to life in Revelation 20:4 were being put to death. Moreover, those same Christians are already alive in heaven with God in Revelation 15:1–2 (note how they are “in heaven” and “standing beside the sea of glass”).
Thus, the depiction of the saints there in Revelation 15:1–2 is one more reason to be premillennial.