Stephen Whitsett BA
Giving an orthodox apologetic answer for Preterism / Dispensationalism
My Case for Middleism then begins as follows with the first principle.
1.) As Mathew 23 states, “35so that on you may come all the righteous bloodshed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation”. History records the fulfillment of these “days of vengeance” in 70 AD, with in that generation. Secondly Luke, the parallel to Mathew 24 states in clear terms, “ 24They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” to fulfill the decree of judgment against Jerusalem. This type of judgment cannot happen again
Zechariah 14 “11 And it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction. Jerusalem shall dwell in security.” The context of this statement follows after 70 AD.
15“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Mathew 24. Fulfilled in 70 AD.
The destruction of Jerusalem IS not also the Return or fulfillment of any other prophecy of Revelation. Revelation being written after 70 AD cannot be about 70 AD nor can its prophecies be fulfilled in 70 AD.
Revelation importance to understanding end times becomes paramount in the light of recorded history. I hold to one supreme logical principle concerning the interpretation of Revelation.
1.) Revelation being the ONLY complete discussion of end time event, what is taught in the other epistles must be harmonized with Revelation as no epistles covers the details of the return, judgment, Millennium, or the New Heaven and Earth as a whole but comments and teaches in parts. In essence Revelation becomes the “blueprint”. Hermeneutic rule: Scriptures cannot contradict.
In Revelation 1.1, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ which gave to him God to show to the bond servants of Him what things is necessary to take place in quickness he signified having sent through the angel of him to the servant of him John.”
The preceding verse is the literal Greek transliteration of the verse. “The things (he is being shown) it is necessary to take place IN Quickness” meaning it is necessary for the Revelation vision and the events described therein to take place quickly, not to happen right away but the idea is the Revelation events will happen or unfold, transpire with quickness.
We see this confirmed in Revelation 13, “5And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months” or three and a half years. The two witnesses of Revelation 11, only prophecy for forty two months. In Chapter nine, in the fifth trumpet the locust only torment the men of the earth for five months. Even in Daniels seventieth week if one believes we are dealing with the half week we are still speaking of three and half years. The seals and trumpets are judgments of God against man. NOT a progression of judgments over two thousand years for those “time” issues alone that John reveals. We also know satan time is short, (Rev 12.12)
IS two thousand years considered “short” to God with the comparison of all history prior to 70 AD? Yes, but we are dealing with the events of revelation happening in quickness. With the established fact the “beast” system is established and operates for only three and half years we understand it comes to an end when Christ returns. 2 Thessalonians 2 states, “ 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.”
In this verse and by his appearance at His coming four things are established.
1.) Christ will appear a visible manifestation of glory and power. (Epiphaneia)
2.) This is Christ’s coming (parousia) a second time and appearing to all men.
3.) The lawless one will be “exposed” for the lie he is or revealed for the “sham” that he is in claiming he is “God”.
4.) At Christ coming the beast is killed. Revelation 19, confirms this “20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet… These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.”
There is a battle that takes place; at his return, Rev 19.19“And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.” It states specifically this army gathers to make war against the rider, (Christ) and his army. From I Corinthians 15 and I Thessalonians 4 when Christ returns there are two other things that happen. The resurrection of the dead and those who are alive in Christ are changed. We have no reason to believe this change of becoming immortal and imperishable happens only to a select view as Paul teaches to the churches it will be of all those who are in Christ throughout the world, not just in Jerusalem or the Roman empire. These together meet him in the air, the word meet implies a meeting, a joining up, and the context of both verses and Revelation 19 tells us Christ destination is to earth. This also is confirmed by prophecy.
Zechariah 14, “3 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. 4On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east,… Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him… 9And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one… 16Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths.”
Since the resurrection and the “change” is of every person who is in Christ, what remains are mortal men. Zechariah is specific to tell us men do survive, and not all men are killed and destroyed. This also confirmed that at the end of the Millennium when satan is loosed he will deceive the nations and gather another untold thousands to march across the broad plain of the earth to surround Jerusalem, the camp of the saints, the city he loves, this when the fire comes down. Resurrected saints, “those who were beheaded and come back to life” cannot be deceived; they have all ready received the promise of full salvation, the hope that lies within them, the redemption of the body. (Romans 8.23
Revelation 20 makes the distinction that in the first battle the beast and false prophet are thrown into the lake or fire, before the Millennium, the first resurrection happens BEFORE the millennium, and after this second battle satan is thrown into the lake of fire, where the beast and false prophet are.(past tense). As we have defined Resurrection, (anastasis nekron) dead bodies coming back to life, Revelation 20 tells us the first resurrection happens before the millennium.
“10 I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God,… they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years… This is the first resurrection.”
The first resurrection happens at Christ returns as the dead in Christ rise first, and meet him in the air. As Zechariah 14 and other old testament prophecies tell us Christ returns to earth to rule and reign over the nations. It says he “rules them with a rod of iron”. A friendly observation; The Christians are with Christ living with him in the city he loves, Zion hill. They cannot be deceived when satan is released. Christians do not need to be ruled with a rod of iron, nor can they be deceived, nor will they gather to surround Jerusalem with satan army. This is clearly the survivors of the tribulation.
In our understanding then of the millennium we know two things become true of the time frame. As all other “time statements” in Revelation are a set time spoken in literal terms. The beast rules for forty two months, not forty two weeks, not forty years, or even forty two thousand years.
The first thing is we know Jesus descends from heaven “himself” (I Thess 4.16 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command,) and his Zech 14.4, “Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him [we meet him in the air]… On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east,… 9And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one”.
His appearing the second time according to Old Testament prophecy is to rule over the nations during this millennial time period. This is also confirmed by two statements;, I Thess 14.4Open in Logos Bible Software (if available), “…God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep… will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”
Secondly, Revelation 20.9, “surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city,” Logic dictates that when CHRIST COMES we are gathered to him, this again is of every saint who was dead and now alive, and every saint who “changed in the twinkling of an eye” because he rules from Jerusalem, the camp of the saints, the city he loves is Jerusalem the place in which he rules the nations with “a rod of Iron”. His return is physical to earth where he will rule on David’s throne.
His ruling over the nations cannot be again Him in heaven and his saints again left on earth without him during these thousand years. The saints have been resurrected and are ever with him in his “personal bodily presence” on earth. There is no scriptures that teach when Christ returns to earth he leaves us here and goes back to heaven.
This idea is refuted in the simple understanding that at the end of the Millennium Christ will ascend back to his father’s throne to judge in the Great White Throne judgment. Daniel 7, “9“As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; …. and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened…
-And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.- and behold, with the clouds of heaven, there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.”
Clearly we have a picture here of the Great White Throne Judgment taking place (Rev 20.12Open in Logos Bible Software (if available), “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.” In order for Christ to come into his father’s presence and be presented before him means he was not present before but “absent”, he was on earth with His saints ruling the nations from. This description is the number one reason why the millennium is a set time frame, and a real time frame, not an imagined “spiritual” time frame, Christ rules on earth from Jerusalem.
Secondly this time frame is marked by the fact satan is bound in chains, thrown into a pit, and a seal placed over the top. Then Revelation 20 says, “7And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth,”
From the language we cannot argue it’s just his “authority” that is bound but he himself is restrained from roaming the earth, a prison restricts the freedom of the person as his prison during this time is a pit, where it is sealed shut. We know satan is currently still an active force in deceiving the nations. He is free to roam the earth as the “prince of the power of the air” therefore the church age cannot be the “Millennium Reign”. At the end of the Millennium satan being released gathers an army, (not the Roman army) this becomes a second army the first was destroyed at his coming. This army is destroyed by fire as the whole world of the ungodly is also destroyed at this time. (2 Peter 3)
In an instant all who ever lived stand before the throne, we who were resurrected or changed have been judged and found to be in Christ. The judgment then is for the “rest of the dead” those that are not in Christ, and the final separation begins and people are sent to their eternal reward with Christ or to eternal punishment that does not end. What follows is His “temple” the “bride of Christ” the saints descend again to remade renewed, refashioned, redeemed, restored creation, free from the curse and back to its original created state where we will then live with him, GOD, face to face. Death has ended as sickness, disease, and pain and sorrow are no more.
Middleism is simply 70 AD is fulfillment of the “days of Vengeance” on Jerusalem, and His Return, the Millennium, the great White throne, and the new heaven and earth are all, each. a literal event to take place in our future in a set time frame established by God, " a time and a season for everything under heaven and earth".