Revelation Part 4: The Millennium (Addendum)

[PART 4]
     I’ve been thinking about my Revelation
article lately, and I thought it appropriate to tack on one more point that I
believe further seals the deal on the timing of the millennium. It has to do
with Revelation 20:9.

“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” (Revelation 20:9).

     If we can identify the “beloved city” then
we can identify “the war” that takes place in the “little while” loosing of
Satan following the millennium. This is the only place in the entirety of the
New Testament that the phrase “beloved city” is used when considering the Greek
terms; however, we can easily determine who this city is by calling into question
how many cities God loves. Basically, it falls down to two options and two holy
cities: the old Jerusalem or the new Jerusalem – that is, the Jerusalem where
the temple stood for around 400 years, was destroyed, rebuilt, and stood for
another 500 or so, or the Jerusalem that Paul said was our mother above: the
church. Has God loved both of these cities in the course of redemption history?
I would say so. Notice these words of Jesus: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the
one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I
wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her
wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37). Now as He drew near, He saw
the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially
in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden
from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an
embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level
you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in
you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your
visitation.” (Luke 19:41-44).

     Jesus loved that old city, but He knew the
day was coming when it would be destroyed (see Matthew 24:1ff). He loves the
church now, of course, and He calls it His bride (Revelation 21:1ff). Unlike the
old Jerusalem, the church will never pass away (Isaiah 9:7). Now, turning our
attention back to Revelation 20, consider this: If the New Jerusalem does not
come down out of Heaven until after the judgement scene of Revelation 20 and
after the old heavens and earth pass away, how can it be possible that the beloved
city in Revelation 20 is the “new Jerusalem” of Revelation 21:2?  The beloved city is no different than the “holy
city” Jerusalem that stood in contrast to the Jerusalem above (Revelation 11:2;
cf. Galatians 4:21ff, esp. 25-26). And, truly, it was destroyed and not one
stone of the temple was left upon another when the Lord came in the clouds to
judge that old world in AD70 (Matthew 24:29-31, 34).

[PART 5]

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