Whereas amillennialism and postmillennialism have historically had great difficulty providing a coherent and plausible account of the internal literary workings of Rev. 19:11–20:10, historic premillennialism has faced every bit as much difficulty explaining how its “mixed age” reading of Rev. 20:1-10 can be reconciled with the promises to believers elsewhere in Revelation and with other eschatological expectations expressed both in Revelation and throughout the New Testament.
An interpretive option that is only rarely seen nowadays is to stay with a premillennial interpretive approach but understand that the millennium has the new creation as its setting. This approach neutralizes the most troublesome difficulties of premillennialism but raises a whole new crop of questions and interpretive challenges.
This essay will begin in Chapter 1 with an exposition of Rev. 19:5–21:8, which will demonstrate the naturalness and interpretive power of the view that I have given the name “new creation millennialism.” Chapters 2 and 3 will lay out the insuperable difficulties that are faced by historic premillennialism and amillennialism, respectively. Chapter 4 will present a rebuttal to key amillennial arguments against the possibility of a premillennial reading of Rev. 20:1-10. The Conclusion will sum up the gains made by the “new creation millennialism” approach and offer some theological reflections.
Readers should be aware that I have not composed New Creation Millennialism to be a full-scale scholarly offering. Think of it instead as an economical presentation of the main elements of a case. I have intentionally privileged conciseness over comprehensiveness, in the hope that a broader range of readers will find it accessible. For those who desire an in-depth technical literary-critical discussion and interaction with the views of Revelation scholars, I recommend my well-known monograph, After the Thousand Years: Resurrection and Judgment in Revelation 20.
Praise for New Creation Millennialism
“Provocative … meticulous … an indespensable resource for anyone thinking, preaching, and teaching about New Testament prophecy in general and about the millenium in particular.”
About the Author
J. Webb Mealy is trained as a scholar of New Testament and biblical studies and discovered his passion for biblical translation as an undergraduate at Westmont College, where he translated the Gospel of John. After completing undergraduate degrees in Religious Studies and Philosophy at Westmont, an MA in Humanities at Western Kentucky University, and a PhD in biblical Studies (emphasis in New Testament) at the University of Sheffield in England, he became Senior Biblical Studies Editor at Sheffield Academic Press, which during his tenure was the leading academic biblical studies publishing house in the world. There he commissioned three series and numerous individual titles, and edited numerous articles and technical books involving biblical Greek. In 1995 he left Sheffield in order to participate in the development of an experimental Christian community in Oakland, California. Since then, Webb has focused on translating the New Testament, writing on theology and biblical intepretation, teaching Christian lay people, and building spiritual community.