Premill Basis in Rev 20 Questioned

From: Paul Dixon - Ladd Hill Bible Church (
Date: Sun Mar 16 1997 - 21:20:37 EST

Henry Alford's comments on Rev. 20 have been quoted by most subsequent
premillennialists as the final reason for a premillennial interpretation
of that passage. In fact, had it not been for this reason it appears G.
Ladd, a well-known historic premillennialist, would have been amillennial.
The quote from Alford:

As regards the text itself, no legitimate treatment of it will extort
what is known as the spiritual interpretation now in fashion. If, in a
passage where two resurrections are mentioned, where certain PSYCHAI
EZHSAN (me: soul lived or souls came alive) at the first, and the rest of
the VEKPOI EZHSAN (me: dead lived or came to life) only after a specified
period after that first, - if in such a passage the firs resurrection may
be understood to mean spiritual rising with Christ, while the second means
literal rising from the grave; - then there is an end of all significance
in language, and scripture is wiped out as a definite testimony to any
thing. (end quote)

The text, however, does not mention two resurrections. What it does
mention and contrast are not the two resurrections, but the first
resurrection (v. 6) and the second death (v. 6). The second resurrection
and the first death are not stated, but are assumed. Thus, if any
parallel is to be taken, it must be between the first resurrection and the
second death. What the text simply says about these two is that the one
who has part in the first resurrection will not have part in the second
death. No more and no less.

Part of the problem comes from an assumption made from verse 5. It is
erroneously assumed that at the end of the 1000 years the rest of the dead
come to life and reign with Christ. But, the text does not say this, and
AXPI does not require it. AXPI (often translated "until") does not imply
that at the end of the 1000 years the dead do come alive. Compare usages
in Rom. 5:13, 1 Cor 4:11, Rev 2:26, and 7:17 where AXPI certainly does not
imply that after the designated period of time the negation or opposite
situation goes into effect. For example, in Rom 5:13 it says, until the
law sin was in the world. Does this mean that after the law sin was not
in the world?

The meaning seems only that throughout the 1000 year time period the rest
of the dead did not live (the constative aorist here is natural and
preferred over the ingressive 'came to life,' especially if the ingressive
suggests they came to life after the 1000 years).

Paul S. Dixon, pastor
Ladd Hill Bible Church "Negative Inference Fallacies.." /nif.htm
Wilsonville, Oregon "Evangelism of Christ ... /evangelism.htm
                        "Evil Restraint in 2 Thess 2:6" /restrainer.htm

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