September 9, 2014

Revelation 6 and Amillennialism

by Matt Waymeyer

kingdom_comeIs Revelation 6:9–11 a proof text for amillennialism?

A few months ago, Sam Storms wrote a blog article explaining that, unlike many of his fellow amillennialists, he came to embrace amillennialism because of Revelation 20, not in spite of it. According to Storms, the evidence in Revelation 20 is altogether persuasive that the millennial reign of the saints is “a reference to the experience of co-regency on the part of those believers who are now in the intermediate state with Christ.” For this reason, in contrast to the premillennial view that the thousand years of Revelation 20 will take place after the Second Coming, Storms believes “the millennium is a current phenomenon, in heaven, spanning the age between the two advents of Jesus Christ.”

In the remainder of the article, Storms offers ten reasons why Revelation 20 itself persuades him that amillennialism is true, all of which were also articulated in his recent book, Kingdom Come. In the fifth reason, Storms appeals to “the obvious parallel” between Revelation 20:1–6 and Revelation 6:9–11 (also see Kingdom Come, 457–58).

According to Storms, a careful comparison between the two passages reveals that they are clearly describing the same experience of martyred saints in the intermediate state:

Rev_6_20_Chart

Because of these parallels, Storms says it “seems beyond reasonable doubt” that these two visions are describing the same experience of the martyrs and therefore that Revelation 20:4–6 must portray life in the intermediate state, which is the amillennial view.

The problem with this argument is that the similarities listed by Storms merely prove that both visions refer to the same group of individuals, not that both visions describe the same experience of those individuals. In fact, John identifies the martyrs and what led to their deaths in Revelation 6:9 and 20:4a, but he does not describe the experience of these martyrs until Revelation 6:10–11 and 20:4b. For this reason, if Storms wants to demonstrate that Revelation 6:9–11 and 20:4 describe the same experience of these martyrs in the intermediate state, he must show clear parallels between Revelation 6:10–11 and 20:4b. But these are the very parts of the passages he ignores in his comparison.

The two visions are obviously related to one another, but their relationship is one of progression rather than simple identity (J. Ramsey Michaels, “The First Resurrection,” 107). More specifically, the progression from Revelation 6:9–11 to 20:4–6 is such that if the former refers to the intermediate state (as it clearly does), then the latter must refer to a subsequent stage in the experience of the martyred saints (Michaels, 107–08). In Revelation 6:10–11 the martyrs cry out to the Lord to avenge their blood because of the ongoing martyrdom of the saints (v. 10). In response to their anguished pleas, they are given white robes and told to wait until the full number of martyrs has been slain (v. 11), with the implied promise that vindication will come when this number has been reached. This is indeed the intermediate state.

In Revelation 20:4b, however, their number is now complete (cf. Rev 13:15; 18:24) and their prayers for vindication have been answered, for the Lord has returned in judgment (Rev 19:11–21). The wait for divine vengeance described in 6:9–11 is now over, and the entire group of martyrs comes to life and reigns with Christ for a thousand years (Rev 20:4). This distinction between the two passages is reflected in the fact that the experience of the martyred saints in Revelation 6:9–11 lasts for a short time (“a little while longer” in v. 11), whereas the experience of the martyred saints in Revelation 20:4–6 lasts for a long time (“a thousand years” in v. 4) (William J. Webb, “Revelation 20,” 32). The two passages are clearly not describing the same experience or period of time.

Storms and other amillennialists may disagree with this reading of the Book of Revelation, but the consistency of this progression between the two passages demonstrates the compatibility of Revelation 6:9–11 with the premillennial view of Revelation 20:4–6. In doing so, it also demonstrates that Revelation 6:9–11 fails to provide compelling evidence that Revelation 20:4–6 describes life in the intermediate state. Storms may claim to be an amillennialist because of Revelation 20, but Revelation 6:9–11 provides no support for his argument.

Matt Waymeyer

Posts

Matt teaches hermeneutics and Greek at The Expositor's Bible Seminary in Jupiter, FL.
  • Jeff Schlottmann

    Where do amillenialists place the tribulation in the 2000 years?

    • Paul Abeyta

      Depends who you ask, but pretty much throughout the current age, with an increase or focus of tribulation closer to the parousia. Also, Christ’s return is post-tribulation of course.

    • elainebitt

      Most would say it started after the resurrection. At least all that I have met believe since then we are in the tribulation. They don’t make a distinction between the tribulation/trials that we go through as Christians in our walk, and the “great” tribulation (the second half of the 7 years).

      • Jeff Schlottmann

        So they think they 7 Years is still going on 2000 years later? There should be record of some of thethose events if that were the case.

        • elainebitt

          Exactly. Because they do not see a “great” tribulation, only trials that Christians have throughout their Christian walk.

  • g

    While this subject is dealing with Rev. 6 in particular, I’ve not heard any debate regarding the place of amillenialism in church history. What I mean is this:

    We know that Jude 3 indicates that the Christian faith has been given “once for all”, meaning that at the close of the Apostolic era, the entire body of Christian belief and teaching had been communicated by Christ through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the Apostles’ teaching and had been written down in the form of the New Testament. The idea of “once for all” is clear that it is complete, that it is unchanging, and that it is inviolate.

    We also know from the science of history that we can identify when new thoughts, ideas, and methods arise. An example is our ability to identify a distinct period of Rationalism in recent history starting around 1600 A.D and lasting until roughly 1800 A.D. And we can observe that period give way to the thought process of Romanticism, and so on.

    Building on that, we can observe two things regarding amillenialism:

    a) We can observe a new allegorical hermeneutic, not previously seen in the Church, that arose with the advent of Clement of Alexandria, and we can trace how he arrived at that hermeneutic starting with Plato, through Philo, and arriving at Clement of Alexandria.

    b) We can observe that amillenialism didn’t arrive on the scene until folks like Clement of Alexandria, Augustine, etc., made it the predominant eschatology. So, amillenialism was brought about at least 100 years after the Apostles’ teaching was complete, and more likely 200-300 year later.

    So, taking those two things into account, since amillenialism is a “new” doctrine that is outside the body of the Apostles’ teaching, and therefore is not part of the complete body of faith that was given once for all, should it not rather be rejected as an aberrant teaching that is outside the bounds of Christian teaching?

    I’ve never really heard anyone comment on this line of reasoning, and so would be curious for feedback…

    • Paul Abeyta

      I can’t imagine this line of thinking being very helpful. Do any of the creeds mention a clear decision either way? The Apostles Creed simply notes that Christ is returning.

      I know that Justin Martyr advocated for premillennialism, but to say that a postmillennial return of Christ was no where to be found in the early church may be too strong of a statement to say. Even more, all postmillennials (a-millennials being pessimistic post mills) look to Biblical support for their position – hence the Apostles teaching.

      • chrisleduc1

        Paul, you said “. . . but to say that a postmillennial return of Christ was no where to be found in the early church may be too strong of a statement to say.”
        Who is the earliest church father who held a postmillennial or amillennial view?
        Papias, who was a contemporary of the Apostle John in Asia Minor, at the church or Smyrna (Rev 2) is a late first century/early second century proponent of a literal future millennium. Thats pretty early and pretty close to apostolic times…

        • Paul Abeyta

          Are you citing Papias himself or quoting what another church father said about him?

          In my post, I was interacting with the OP, as I don’t really care all that about the positions of the church fathers, but am open to reading what they thought about the Biblical text. So being able to have “so and so in my corner”, isn’t a big deal to me.

          That said, I know there is a quote from Berkhof in ‘The History of Christian Doctrines’ in which he states that the it was a very limited number of church fathers who held to a future chiliastic reign of Christ.

          Anyways, the reason that I was thinking he may be making “too strong of a statement” is because we don’t have a whole lot of documents from the church fathers and a lot of their doctrine changed over time.

          But to comply with you – Ignatius (c. 30 – 110 AD) wrote in “The Epistle to the Magnesians – “He also died, and rose again and ascended into heavens to him that sent him and is sat down at his right hand, and shall come at the end of the world, with his Father’s glory, to judge the living and the dead, and to render to everyone according to his works.”

          Sounds like a post/amill advocate.

          • chrisleduc1

            Paul, “g” made the argument that amillennialism was not present until the allegorization of Clement and Origen.

            You asked if the creeds stated anything one way or the other, which as we know, they really don’t. You are the one who initially asked for creeds as evidence of early belief. So what I provided was one of the earliest examples that was clearly understood to be a non-amillennial belief.

            Now, what you have said is true – limited writings, doctrine changing, etc. But what very clearly do have is evidence that the earliest of believers after the Apostles were not amillenial.

            Your quote from Ignatius really has nothing about amillennialism there. It is such a vague and inexact general statement that it can be made to say anything. There really are no specifics there. Actually, it fits very nicely with Professor Waymeyer’s interpretation of Revelation.

            If you prefer to place the authority on something greater than the fathers, such as the Bible, as do I, then I would point to Acts 1:3-7 which clearly states that Jesus spent 40 days talking privately with the disciples about the kingdom. Then just prior to His ascension, the only question that He had not answered was: “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” The fact of an earthly kingdom for Israel was established and confirmed clearly for the disciples over those 40 days, and the only unclear point left was “when.” Jesus’ reply was simply, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.”

            Now I want to be careful here because I don’t want to denigrate Jesus. I find it hard to believe that Jesus taught His disciples for 40 days that everything Israel had believed about a future, literal, earthly kingdom was wrong, and that He taught them what we call amillennialism for those 40 days, and yet at the end of the teaching, they go back to asking when the kingdom is coming to Israel. That’s quite hard for me to believe. Especially after Luke just summarized this time period prior to Jesus ascension, in Luke 24, by saying “Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”

            Luke has already told us that Jesus showed them how the Scriptures testified of Him, ever since Moses. Luke tell us that He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures (which they clearly did understand now based on the sermons in Acts [and the promise fulfilled on Pentecost was power, not new understanding, as Luke has already told us that Jesus opened their minds to understand before the ascension] ) and so I find it extremely hard to believe that as we pick up the story in Acts, after knowing what we know from Luke 24 (He had opened their minds), that Jesus teaches His disciples about the (amillennial) kingdom for 40 days, and yet they still have it wrong. I just can buy it. If one can pull that (Jesus teaching amillennialism) out of that text, then I guess we can make them (the texts) say just about anything we want…

            If you’d like some other really good scriptural evidence for an earthly, literal, millennial kingdom for Israel, throughout the entire Bible, from beginning to end, including Jesus and the Apostles after Him, I recommend the following sermon series to you. It’s excellent and extremely comprehensive! If you really want to say that you’ve heard and weighed the best arguments for premillennialism, then this is your opportunity.
            http://www.gty.org/resources/sermon-series/300/why-every-calvinist-should-be-a-premillennialist

          • chrisleduc1

            By the way Paul, what do you think of Berkhoff’s book? Ive had it sitting on the shelf for a year or so and just haven’t been able to get to it, so Im curious about your impression. Thanks!

          • chrisleduc1

            Paul, OK, a third reply to you. After asking your thoughts on Berkhof’s book I decided to pick it up myself. Page 68 he states, in regards to the doctrine of the future,
            “The Anti-gnostic fathers in general championed the doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh, and based it on the resurrection of Christ and on the indwelling of the Spirit. The end will come when the devil has succeeded in giving the entire apostate throng a new head in Antichrist. Then Christ will appear, and the six thousand years of the world will be followed by the first resurrection and the sabbatic rest of the millennium. In Palestine believers will enjoy the riches of the land. After the millennium there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and the blessed will live in graded order in the mansions prepared for them.”

            Berkhof seems to be indicating the the amill position, if it existed, was not the norm. While he says “in general” he offers not a single other position. Nothing at all…

    • Mark Murnan

      Would you take the position that dispensationalism would likewise be a “new doctrine” and therefore not a part of the “complete body of faith”? I, too, am new to the discussion, and exploring amillenialism after being a “default dispensationalist” for many years.

      • elainebitt

        The only problem is, Dispensationalism is not opposed (as in contrast) to Amillennianism or Postmillennianism. Dispensationalist is opposed to Covenant Theology. Both are systems of theology. Both were systematized about 100-200 years of each other – CT being the earliest.

        Premilleniannism is what can be compared to amill and postmill. They are included in the same category: the view of the millennium. Premil is what the early church believed, until Augustine. – There is a very helpful series of posts here on TCG on the issue, by Nathan Busenitz, if I am not mistaken.

        • Mark Murnan

          Thanks, Elaine. I’ll find the posts and check them out.

        • Paul Abeyta

          Well there is a difference between Historic Premillennialism and Dispensational Premillennialism.

          • elainebitt

            Yes, there is, an important different at that.
            But usually when people say “premillennianism” they are referring to dispensational premillennianism.

            Unless, of course, it’s a conversation between only the Covenantalists. Which could be misleading to people listening/watching. hmm… where have we seen that? 😉

          • Paul Abeyta

            I get what you are saying, but I was making the point that Mark’s comment was valid in some way because it seemed like he meant dispensational premillennialism since he contrasted it with amill and because dispensationalism does modify the premill position, giving precedence to his comment to “g”.

  • Paul Abeyta

    Matt,
    I’m a little confused by part of your essay, which I think is the thrust of your point in advocating for a discontinuity between the two texts in view –

    “This distinction between the two passages is reflected in the fact that the experience of the martyred saints in Revelation 6:9–11 lasts for a short time (“a little while longer” in v. 11), whereas the experience of the martyred saints in Revelation 20:4–6 lasts for a long time (“a thousand years” in v. 4) (William J. Webb, “Revelation 20,” 32).”

    Earlier in your essay you write that Rev 6:9-11 is speaking of the intermediate state (in agreement with Storms) but you part ways there because Storms sees Rev 20:4-6 as the intermediate state as well – and you see it as future.

    I get that progressive dispensationalism boasts a “literal hermeneutic” but that would seem to fail here and confuse the point that you are making about the times being different – thereby making the passages speaking of different things.

    You note that Rev. 6:9-11 lasts for “a short time” (citing “a little while longer”) but the experience is a long time in Rev. 20:4-6 (citing “a thousand years”).

    Well, if the intermediate state is now – and Revelation was written around 70 A.D., then this “short time” is pressing on towards 2000 years. But the “long time” that you see as future and a literal 1000 years, would then be in fact shorter than the time in the intermediate state. Therefore, could they be describing the experience/period of time?

    Thanks for your help brother.

    • Matt Waymeyer

      Great question, Paul. Revelation 6:9-11 takes place during the intermediate state, but it does not cover the entirety of the present age. In fact, the event described in this passage is yet future, not having taken place yet. More specifically, it will take place during the seven-year tribulation and it describes the pleas of those who will be martyred earlier in that period. So the “little while longer” in verse 11 is less than seven years in length, in contrast to the millennial reign of Christ, which is a thousand years.

      • Paul Abeyta

        Okay, thanks for clearing that up.

  • tovlogos

    A tidy bit of exegesis, Matt —

    “if Storms wants to demonstrate thatRevelation 6:9–11 and 20:4 describe the same experience of these martyrs in the intermediate state, he must show clear parallels between Revelation 6:10–11 and 20:4b. But these are the very parts of the passages he ignores in his comparison.” This is basic exegesis; not an academic mind twister. Applying hermeneutics to such a loose base could lead to bazaar conclusions.

    “Storms may claim to be an amillennialist because of Revelation 20, but Revelation 6:9–11 provides no support for his argument.”

    You have demonstrated this conclusion. I agree; notwithstanding, I have never read an attempt at a persuasive position on amillennialism, with which I have agreed.

  • Dan Phillips

    It seems as if, with Storms, the vehemence of his insistence on a personal opinion is in direct disproportion to its correctness.

  • MC

    Storms’ parallelism-derived conclusions from Rev 6:9 and 20:4a are almost as convincing as the conclusions of paedobaptists from Acts 2:39 and Gen 17:10 [insert big smiley-face and wink here]

  • Kyle

    I am not surprised Mr. Waymeyer finds support for the distinction of the two passages based on his way of reading the book (a linear progression). It would be more defeating to an amillennial position to show its inconstancy according to his [Storm’s] own hermenuetic of Revelation, not according to a premillennial hermeneutic.

    Just seems circular to say, “Storms has these two passages wrong because he does not view them as a premill does.”

  • 4Commencefiring4

    It would be helpful to know, if Storms is wrong:

    What, exactly, is the purpose of the millennium? It doesn’t fulfill any promises, and it’s a peculiar period of time in which we’re supposed to have a number of different people living together under Christ’s earthly rule:

    1. People who became saved during the tribulation but keep their natural bodies when Christ comes and sets up the Kingdom.
    2. People who are born during the Millennium who remain unsaved. Some will live out their lives and die unsaved, as they do now, and some will be born near enough to the end of the Millennium to take part in the final rebellion.
    3. People who, in their spirits, were already in heaven at the Rapture and who would therefore come to Earth with Him at the Second Advent, coming with their resurrected bodies that they received back from the grave at the Rapture.
    4. People who become saved during the Millennium. They maintain their natural bodies, too.
    5. Anyone I’m forgetting?

    In any case, this is an amalgamation of people nowhere described in Revelation–or anywhere else, as far as I’m aware. Some walk about in their glorified bodies, some are saved and with their unglorified bodies, some are unsaved, and finally some pick up the check.

    But for 1,000 years, all these different folks must go annually to a renewed temple in Jerusalem to sacrifice animals and celebrate the Feast of Booths (Zechariah 14)? All very odd sounding to me.

    Again, to what end would any of this take place?

    • You wrote:
      “What, exactly, is the purpose of the millennium? It doesn’t fulfill any promises”

      Huh?

      • 4Commencefiring4

        What promises? Some would posit that God somehow still owes Israel His promise of the land, despite having given it to them in complete fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant: Joshua 21:43–45. The only other aspect of that promise (Gen 12 & 17) was that He would give it to Abe AND his seed FOREVER. 1,000 years doesn’t get it.

        As for the Davidic Covenant, again, same problem: God would seat a descendant of David on his throne FOREVER, not just for ten centuries.

        The millennium–as popularly depicted–does nothing for either one, so what else is left? What’s the object of the exercise? Sin still exists then, Satan is still on deck waiting to mount a huge fight, death remains a reality, Christ is still not done with His enemy. It’s a long drawn out wait just to get to the eternal state, with nothing accomplished that wouldn’t be accomplished by just going straight there from this age.

        I’d really like to hear someone make sense of this period with all the cast of characters I listed, and I even forgot to list the one group that’s actually specified in Scripture as being the ones there: the “SOULS of those who had been beheaded…”, who Revelation says come to life and live with Christ 1,000 years. I’m not sure how we’ll know they’re there, being just the souls of these martyred believers and all. But I should have included them nonetheless.

        So you’re right: Huh?

        • Jerod

          Um, I think you forgot to read the entire Old Testament. The kingdom is there my friend, and addresses all of the questions you posed–literally all of them. But I’m not under the impression that you actually want answers to them.

          • Jerod

            Woops, by “the kingdom is there” I of course mean, the future reign and kingdom of the Messiah on this planet is clearly and meticulously described.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            I see. So the Millennium is all about the glory of Israel? Funny how they aren’t so much as mentioned in this single N.T. passage (Rev 20) about this allegedly glorious period in their honor. No mention of Jews, Israel, a temple, sacrifices, covenants, land, etc. Not word one. I guess we’re supposed to see the O.T.’s promises in that chapter.

            Sort of like telling me, after I looked forward to tickets to a Broadway show for Christmas, that the tickets from you for a scenic Northwest passage train trip met my expectations. Nice gesture, but what about the show?

          • RGSCT

            Ezek 36:22-38 Tells of a gathering of the house of Israel
            into their own land where the Lord will cleanse them from their iniquities and rebuild waste places for His name’s sake not their glory. Because you fail to see this as yet future it is you who has pulled the switcheroo.

            Rom 9:4 “They are Israelites, and to them belong the
            adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.”

            There is no need for God to repeat the promises in Revelation
            20 if we have followed exhortation to study the OT.

        • All right. I’m taking a deep breath, and counting to ten….
          Before I respond, one question: the promises often referenced by premils (such as the promises in the 2nd half of Isaiah, the last 6 chapters of Ezek., Haggai 2, etc.–those promises–)are you saying they were fulfilled in Joshua 21?

          • 4Commencefiring4

            What I’m saying is that Rev 20–the sole passage offered in all of Scripture as being the fulfillment of these and other O.T. passages–bears no resemblance whatsoever to anything remotely reminiscent of Isaiah, Haggai, Ezek., etc., and everyone knows it. To cite it as a fulfillment of these things when there’s no correlation between its language, images, references, or import makes it passing strange that it would be called the fulfillment of them.

            Other prophecies are clear to see fulfillment: the ones in the O.T. regarding Christ’s first coming are clear enough; many are even quoted in the N.T. so the reader will see it. But this one isn’t even in the starting gate.

            Rev 20 mentions Satan being bound, souls coming to life and reigning, two resurrections, a Beast, etc, none of which remind us of anything in Ezekiel or Haggai or Isaiah. Those O.T. books, on the other hand, mention temples and sacrifices and Israel, yet none of that is in Revelation 20. It’s like they’re talking about two completely different things…which is usually the conclusion we prefer when two passages don’t mention the same subjects.

            Absent someone telling me Rev 20 is supposed to have something to do with the O.T. and Israel, you’d have to forgive me for not seeing it.

          • Greg

            Just one thought 4Commencefiring4:

            You said: “Other prophecies are clear to see fulfillment: the ones in the O.T. regarding Christ’s first coming are clear enough.”

            The prophecies regarding Jesus’ first coming were not clear for the most religious people of His day. They missed every prophecy of the OT concerning His first coming. You can claim now, as you do, that the prophecies are clear because you are looking in hindsight. However, when a prophecy is future it’s going to be harder to nail down with absolute clarity.

            So just because YOU don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not the truth.

            From there I leave it in Cripplegate’s worthy hands.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            Point taken. But pretend you’re the proverbial Man From Mars (not Mars Hill!) who knows nothing in advance.

            Now read Revelation 20. In fact, read the whole book and tell me honestly that you can see fulfillment of an O.T. prediction about Israel, and I’ll buy you a car.

            There’s references in Revelation to events past, like the cross, and ones for the future, like a red dragon that sweeps away stars. But any recognition of a passage in Revelation and an O.T. prediction requires a glasses prescription that’s too strong for me.

          • chrisleduc1

            Daniel 12

          • chrisleduc1

            “But any recognition of a passage in Revelation and an O.T. prediction requires a glasses prescription that’s too strong for me.”

            Nope, just gotta wipe off the ones you’ve got 🙂

            PS 86:9, PS 72, IS 66 -> Rev 21, 15:4

          • chrisleduc1

            “Now read Revelation 20. In fact, read the whole book and tell me honestly that you can see fulfillment of an O.T. prediction about Israel, and I’ll buy you a car.”

            How about Isaiah 9:7

            “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”

            Im pretty sure that the “throne of David” is a literal earthly throne, and his kingdom is a literal earthly kingdom. The throne of David was NEVER a spiritual throne.

            The angel who spoke to Mary affirmed this promise as well in Luke 1:

            “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

            Let me know where I can pick up my car! I can fly to you if needed 🙂

          • 4Commencefiring4

            Re: Isaiah 9:7–“from this time forth and forevermore.” (Similar in Luke):

            We can debate just exactly when “this time” begins, but whenever it is, we must also accept that whatever kingdom is begun, it will NEVER END. The millennium ends after ten centuries, and with it any literal “house of Jacob.” The entire earth and its works will then be burned up, and a new earth and heaven created, erasing any vestiges or memories of the old creation. The new earth–the only future entity that DOES last forever–picks up from there.

            So I see any “millennium” as superfluous, a temporary and very imperfect weigh station on the road to real Divine glory and majesty in the eternal state where no death exists any longer and Christ is victorious over His enemies forevermore. So to what end do we need to go through a temporary stop-gap that still has death, sin, inexplicable temple sacrifices, Satan (eventually), and war?

            If that’s what you’re waiting for, I have good news for you: As Peter says, “We are waiting for a new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness.” There’s a FAR better time coming that really hits on all cylinders, and it’s called the new earth. Christ reigns over everything, there’s no longer any sin or death, everyone has a glorified body that will never see corruption, and best of all, everything is eternal, just like the prophecies required. No more interruptions to put down rebellions. Our perpetual enemy has been removed forever.

            It’s really quite something. I highly recommend it.

          • chrisleduc1

            I appreciate the comments, however you conveniently completely side-stepped the thrust of my point. We can talk about “this time” sure, but what’s important for this discussion is determining what the throne of David is.

            To be fair and respond to your comment – you make a leap in logic that the text does not support. You said:

            “We can debate just exactly when “this time” begins, but whenever it is, we must also accept that whatever kingdom is begun, it will NEVER END. The millennium ends after ten centuries, and with it any literal house of Jacob.

            …. So I see any “millennium” as superfluous, a temporary and very imperfect weigh station on the road to real Divine glory and majesty in the eternal state where no death exists any longer and Christ is victorious over His enemies forevermore.”

            Here are some of the problems with what you are saying.

            1. Just because the millennium ends, that does not mean the rule of Him sitting on the throne of David ends. As a matter of fact, the text of Rev 20 makes absolutely no indication that the reign ends, as you seem to suggest. You are performing some eisegesis here to make it say what you want it to say and keep it from saying what it does in fact say.

            The text in 19:11,15 indicate that this is EXACTLY what was talked about it Isaiah 9:7. If you really want to talk about when this time begins, well, it’s right there in rev 19. 19 makes it clear that He is judging in righteousness (19:11, Is 9;7) and that He rules the nations with a rod of iron (19;15, Is 9;7). That’s what kings do, rule and judge. That’s what Jesus is doing. Exactly what is promised in Isaiah is happening in Rev 19. Matter of fact, the name on His robe and thigh when He comes back, just to make sure nobody mistakes who or what He is, is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” So clearly, this is THE King coming. And He is ruling. Then, to then say that just because the millennium ends, that His rule ends is complete eisegesis! Especially considering that just the opposite is true per the text – Satan is released and as he leads a rebellion it is quickly crushed, eternally! But you see that Jesus’ rule ended after the Millennium? I invite you to re-read Rev 19, because His rule does NOT end after 1000 years, it continues! Hallelujah!

            2.Then your eisegesis goes even further as you say “The millennium ends after ten centuries, and with it any literal “house of Jacob.The entire earth and its works will then be burned up, and a new earth and heaven created, erasing any vestiges or memories of the old creation.”

            But thats just not at all true! The problem you now have is that in Rev 20 and Rev 21, nations still exist! There is still a distinction between people groups. The text is clear. But you are asserting that there is no house of Jacob, even though there are other nations… If you want to start allegorizing the text now to the point of even allegorizing “nations” to mean something completely new in Revelation that it never meant up until this supposed point, Im not even sure what to say about that, other than: eisegesis.

            Now back to my original point, if you would care to address it…

            What did Isaiah did mean he said throne of David?

            What did his audience understand the throne of David to be?

            In Luke 1, what was the throne the angel was referring to?

            What did Mary understand the throne to be?

          • The nesting of comments has run its course. But your (4commencing4) comments are sort of all over the place here:
            1. No promises are fulfiflled in millenium.
            2. All promises premils talk about are fulfilled in Josh
            3. Those other promises (Ezek, Isa, etc) are not fulfilled in Rev 21.
            So, this thread is not the thread for an all night millennium debate…but as I wade through your comments, it seems like you are saying that you don’t see Ezek/Isa fulfilled in Joshua, or in Rev 21. And in addition to all those promises, you also still have the descriptions in Rev 21 as promises to fulfill. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not sure at all what you mean by the “no promises left” line of reasoning. Maybe ask the question again as its own comment to get us out of this thread?

  • 4Commencefiring4

    Jesse asks below that I start a new thread of discussion re: millennium and what it’s fulfilling…if anything.

    Let’s consider what we (I?) hear on the street about this period of time. Bear with me in a little skepticism.

    It’s supposed to be–if I understand this view correctly–the days of the long promised “kingdom” that the disciples asked Jesus about right up until He departed (and about which He more or less told them it wasn’t their business); the time when God will finally set up the glorious temple that Isaiah described in such exquisite detail; when God’s real intent and purpose for the ages will see its completion and, most importantly, when the nation of Israel will finally come into her own as God’s “real” chosen people and the blessed recipient of everything He had meant for them from the outset (if only they hadn’t spurned His gracious overtures repeatedly until He instead decided to establish the Church and take a 2,000+ year detour). This notion has been called the “parenthesis theory” or “postponement theory”–as though the Church Age was little more than a pause in the “real” redemption plan of God; perhaps the terms are familiar?)

    Well, if I were part of Israel when all that went down, I’d be getting on my dancing shoes, that’s a fact. What’s not to love about that?

    So if that’s the long and short of it, seems to me we have some issues. And the main one is: Just who is getting party favors here, and why? Sounds to me like His old rebellious child, Israel, has a Golden Ticket during this age. And, unlike in prior years, they are all playing nice for some reason; perhaps 2,000 years of being “replaced” by the Church (so the theory goes) had its intended purpose: to make them jealous and desirous of a real relationship with God.

    Well, it would appear to have worked, as all is forgiven, there’s a new improved temple for them to enjoy, they’re back to their original ceremonial sacrifices again, the priests have their old jobs back. Life is shweet. Pass the motzo balls, Moshe.

    Meanwhile, what’s become of us–the Church–during this era? You remember the Church, right? That called-out Body to Whom Christ was sent from heaven and for whom He died to save according to the eternal plan of God? Those who were bought with a price? The so-called “elect” of God (or so we thought)? What is the Church doing while Israel is busy going to the temple yearly in Jerusalem to again sacrifice animals? Are we to just hold their coats while they are elevated to a place they’ve never known before? Is the Church to be set on a back burner for 1,000 years while Israel is given hosannas and fulfillment of O.T. promises of returning glory? Can this really be what is believed? Seems to me there’s no other conclusion we can come to.

    Many say Israel will all have been saved prior to all this when Christ came back to set all this up, so they and the Church will all be one happy family sacrificing animals in the temple. (Just why any sacrifices would be made is not clear, being as how Christ died once for all to make atonement for sin, but that’s a separate issue).

    The population of the millennium, as I mentioned before, will apparently be made up of the natural-bodied (i.e., corruptible flesh) who will be born during its duration or who will became saved when Christ returns (Israel being the chief example), all of whom will be subject to death at some point (some will be believers, some not); the resurrected or glorified-bodied who will have been taken up at the Rapture and returned to earth at the start of the millennium, all of whom will never die again; and “souls” who “came to life” and will reign with Christ during this time. An eclectic group, you must admit; but let’s move on.

    Anyhow, all this comes to an end–so I understand–when, after 1,000 years of all this getting along with folks who might be quite different than you on a number of planes, Satan–fresh from his binding in chains–forms a sort of “coalition of the willing” to fight against Christ. Of course, Christ is victorious (He’s known for that sort of thing), removes Satan and his minions into the lake of fire, judges the unsaved (both those who were born in the millennium and never trusted Christ, as well as all those of prior generations of unsaved people), remakes the heavens and earth, and we all go into the eternal state where, let’s all hope, there’s no more “Church vs Israel” to think about.

    Whew. That’s an exciting read any way you slice it. But, like I say, there are issues.

    • chrisleduc1

      “It’s supposed to be–if I understand this view correctly–the days of the long promised “kingdom” that the disciples asked Jesus about right up until He departed (and about which He more or less told them it wasn’t their business); ”

      Well, that’s quite a misrepresentation of the text! I’m a bit surprised…

      Actually the text is pretty clear:

      Acts 1:3 “To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.”

      Seems pretty clear, that it WAS their business, so He taught them about it for 40 days.

      The part that was NOT their business was the timing of the kingdom:

      Acts 1:6-7 “So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs whichthe Father has fixed by His own authority;”

      So were you intentionally misrepresenting the text and arguments, or were you just not familiar with the text?

      • 4Commencefiring4

        I think it’s you who is not familiar with the text:

        The “kingdom of God” in Acts 1:3 was the same “kingdom of God” He had been preaching about since His ministry began–the same kingdom that we enter into upon repentance and receiving eternal life, the same kingdom that we were transferred into from the dominion of darkness, the same “not of this world” kingdom that Christ spoke of when questioned in His trial, etc. It’s a very real kingdom, but not a political, visible one. You are in this kingdom today, as I am. It’s here, now. He taught the disciples about that kingdom for not just those 40 days, but for three years prior, too.

        The “kingdom” the disciples were still asking about in Acts 1:7 was a visible, literal, material one–the one they had expected Jesus to establish in their lifetimes which would overthrow Rome, etc. They still–even at that late date–didn’t get it. They were thinking politics; He was thinking Power and Righteousness.

        Thanks for the chance to clear that up.

        • chrisleduc1

          So you believe that even after Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures (Lk 24:45) and then taught them about the kingdom (i.e. the kingdom we are now part of) and yet even after opening their minds, and teaching them for 40 days, He either forget to tell them that the kingdom they (and all of Israel) had expected was not really an earthly kingdom for Israel, or He taught them so poorly that they still thought that Israel had a coming kingdom on earth?

          And then, after they demonstrate that He just wasted the last 40 days because they still do not understand what the kingdom really is, He then leaves them in their error, and not only that, He actually perpetuates their error by not correcting them, but rather just tells them that the timing of that kingdom is not for them to know, insinuating that they are still understanding the kingdom correctly, when according to you, the kingdom they were expecting and were being taught about was already established?

          So after 40 days of teaching about the kingdom that they were already a part of, they still wrongly thought He was talking about an earthly kingdom and He didn’t take the opportunity to correct them?

          Im sorry that I repeated myself twice there, but I wanted to make sure I am understating what you are saying correctly, as it’s honestly so outlandish I’m having trouble believing that you actually believe it. No disrespect intended but its really quite a swipe at Jesus’ ability to clearly teach doctrine to those whom He has supernaturally enabled to understand doctrine, and quite a swipe at His desire that His Apostles have correct doctrine…

          • That’s well-said, Chris.

            I just wanted to pipe in to note that Matt gives his explanation of Acts 1:6-7 here.

          • chrisleduc1

            Thanks for the link Mike! I’ve not seen this as Im a new comer here.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            There were so many other times during His ministry when His disciples couldn’t get their heads around what He was really saying that it doesn’t surprise me that we just have another one here. They were said to have “received no insight from the incident with the loaves and fish” when they were in the boat and He had warned them of not adopting the “leaven of the Pharisees.” And the parables often stumped them enough so that they asked for some private explanations.

            Christ had already mourned over Jerusalem (“Your house is being left to you desolate”), and the Olivet Discourse was not encouraging for Israel, either. I know of no time He spoke of a future glory for the Jews. You can theorize that during those 40 days of instruction, He introduced the idea of a coming Golden Age for the nation that had just crucified Him, but that’s a tough case to make…unless you have more Gospel chapters than I have.

            But let’s make this simple: I try, as often as it occurs, to understand difficult passages in light of easy ones, not the other way around. So let’s take some plain statements by Jesus about His coming and see if we can determine a few basic things.

            “When the Son of Man comes, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.”

            “AHA!”, you say. “See there? That’s the kingdom centered in Jerusalem! He’s seated on the throne from which He will rule the world for 1,000 years! The millennium is beginning. Case closed.”

            Well, not so fast. Let’s keep reading, shall we?

            “And the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. And He will place the sheep on His right, but the goats He will place on His left.”

            Hmm. So far, nothing about getting a millennium under way. But let’s keep reading. Maybe it’s coming.

            Then what happens? He commends the sheep for their deeds, condemns the goats for theirs, and now here’s the most important part:

            “And these [goats] shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous [sheep] into eternal life.” Well, that’s a problem. What we just read is a description of Judgment Day. The sheep and goats are sent to ETERNAL DESTINATIONS. The sheep go into eternal life, (which is not the same as the millennium), and the goats are sent to eternal damnation.

            And all this takes place WHEN? “When the Son of Man comes…”, not 1,000 years later.

            So if you’re looking for a millennium, I’m not sure when you’re expecting it. “When the Son of Man comes”, I think that’s pretty much the end of history.

          • chrisleduc1

            “There were so many other times during His ministry when His disciples couldn’t get their heads around what He was really saying . . . ”

            Yes, however those were all before His death burial and resurrection. And before the Holy Spirit makes it clear that He “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”

            “They were said to have “received no insight from the incident with the loaves and fish” when they were in the boat and He had warned them of not adopting the “leaven of the Pharisees.”

            And yet He corrected them once they made it clear that they didn’t understand!

            “And the parables often stumped them enough so that they asked for some private explanations.”

            And guess what, He gave them private interpretation, because “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.” Yet you want to assert that they were fundamentally wrong about the most essential nature of the kingdom, ever after He taught them, and even after He opened the minds to understand the scriptures? You’re not serious are you?

            “. . . the Olivet Discourse was not encouraging for Israel, either. I know of no time He spoke of a future glory for the Jews.”

            I suggest you re-read the Olivet then. Luke 21:24 makes it clear that this is not the end of Jerusalem. “Jerusalem will be trampled under foot UNTIL THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES are fulfilled.” Paul even talks about the same thing, and he explicitly says that he does not want you to be wise in your own estimation: “a partial hardening has happened to Israel, UNTIL THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES HAS COME IN, and so all Israel will be saved.”

            ” “When the Son of Man comes”, I think that’s pretty much the end of history.”

            You are free to think that, but Rev 19 and 20 say otherwise. Paul and Jesus both talk about the times of the gentiles come to an end. He warns against being wise in your own estimation. Im going to submit my opinions to Scripture, you do as you want.

          • Guest

            By making this olivet discourse the standard by which to judge the end times, you seem to be indicating that this is the exhaustive teaching on the exact events and their timing. Is that what you are intending? Surely you know that no single passage or discourse is exhaustive and that truths about things are spread throughout the Bible, right?

            You have made it absolutely clear that because Jesus does not mention a millennium here, that it will not happen. Well, based on your logic,then there is no resurrection either, right? – since it is not mentioned here either?

            Is that how your hermeneutics work – you pick a text, make it the exhaustive text for your given doctrine, only what is said there matters and then you ignore all the other texts that speak on the same doctrine and just throw out things they add to the doctrine that were not in your exhaustive text? You can say no, but that exactly what you are doing here.

          • chrisleduc1

            Not sure why my post showed as a guest positing directed to myself…? it was directed at 4commence

          • chrisleduc1

            By making this olivet discourse the standard by which to judge the end times, you seem to be indicating that this is the exhaustive teaching on the exact events and their timing. Is that what you are intending? Surely you know that no single passage or discourse is exhaustive and that truths about things are spread throughout the Bible, right?

            You have made it absolutely clear that because Jesus does not mention a millennium here, that it will not happen. Well, based on your logic,then there is no resurrection either, right? – since it is not mentioned here either?

            Is that how your hermeneutics work – you pick a text, make it the exhaustive text for your given doctrine, only what is said there matters and then you ignore all the other texts that speak on the same doctrine and just throw out things they add to the doctrine that were not in your exhaustive text? You can say no, but that exactly what you are doing here.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            It’s not that He doesn’t mention the millennium in the Olivet Discourse that stands in the way of my accepting it; it’s that what He does say precludes it: He specifically says, “When the Son of Man comes…” He’s going to judge “all the nations” and assign each person to his eternal destiny–right then and there. There’s no time for 1,000 years of additional history first.

            If you would posit that He just skipped over that part, I’d have to ask you to please find it in these words–“…then [when He comes] He will sit….and the nations will be gathered…and He will say to them…and these shall go away into eternal life…”

            It’s not there, there’s not time for it, and I can’t stretch His words enough to cram it in. When He comes, it’s the end of history. I can read.

          • chrisleduc1

            Have you read any commentaries on this part of Scripture that you find problematic for my position? One of the ways that I am sure that someone is being both intellectually honest, and has truly considered the viewpoint of brothers who disagree, in order to fully understand both them and his own conclusions, is when someone who disagrees with me can say something along the lines of – I’ve read the commentaries that give your explanation for your reading of the text, and I don’t find them convincing and here is why…

            My point is, this has been written about at length and so Im not going to take the time to go over it if you haven’t bothered to really understand the matter. Ive already pointed out that this is NOT the exhaustive text on the end times, and that there ARE other texts that speak about the end times, and yet you want to continue to point to this text as the standard. And Ive pointe out that by your hermeneutical approach, then there also is no resurrection. It’s quite simple to see the flaw there. But it’s been said, “the only bar against the truth is the presupposition that you already possess it.”

            And just to add one final point to your problematic interpretation. If you will note in Mt 24:9, Jesus uses the word “immediately.” He wants to be sure the exact timing and chronology is understood. But what’s interesting is that in the final section where you you keep quoting from there in 24:46, the word “immediately” is not used. However you keep trying to insert it into the chronology in oder to support your position i.e. eisegesis. Jesus DOES NOT say “these will IMMEDIATELY go into into the lake of fire, and the righteous will go immediately into the new heavens and new earth”! Thats not what the text says. The text is just a simple statement of fact that the accursed ones will in fact go to hell and the righteous will have eternal life. But you keep trying to twist it. Matter of fact, it does not even talk about the new heavens and earth – you are just completely inserting that into the text! Just like you are inserting “immediately” into the text. It just says eternal life which you are now trying to equate with the new heavens and earth!

            Finally, you point Jesus mentions that He will judge all the nations when He comes. But nowhere in the text is there a mentioned of a resurrection, or the book of life or the book of remembrance or any books. So are you saying that since the text does not mentioned the resurrection here, there is no resurrection? To quote you if I may: “If you would posit that He just skipped over that part, I’d have to ask you to please find it in these words–“…then [when He comes] He will sit….and the nations will be gathered…and He will say to them…and these shall go away into eternal life…”” Please go ahead, find the resurrection in those words and show to me, like you are asking me to do with the millennium.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            Have I read contrary position commentaries? Uh, yeah. I’ll go you one better: For the first 20 years of my new life in Christ, I would have agreed with you on all this. But that was a long time ago now. I’ll spare you.

            As to the idea that my approach would also exclude the resurrection because it’s not mentioned either in Matt 24, I would answer: 1) The resurrection doesn’t need 1,000 years to accomplish. And 2) Jesus clearly speaks of the resurrection in other places.

            But to try to insert an entire age lasting ten centuries between the word “throne” and the word “and” in His discussion of His return and judgment (“…sit on His glorious throne [ ] and all the nations will be gathered before Him…”) would qualify as a “gap theory” that’s just as much a stretch as trying to stuff eons of time between Gen 1:1 and 1:2.

            But again, thanks for the back and forth. I tried dispensationalism for a long time, and finally decided it called for too many different resurrections, judgments, and twists and turns to make sense. That, and the insistence in DP that the division between Israel and the Church is sacrosanct–even going so far as to insist that the “wall of separation” between Jew and Gentile, which was removed by the New Covenant, is essentially reconstituted in the Millennium. The very history of redemption, too, is stood on its head as we go from our age of a completed sacrifice of Christ, back to ceremonial animal sacrifices in a Millennial temple. What sense does that make?

            I concluded then, as I do now, that God is all about eternal redemption and rebirth and a relationship with His people (Jew and Gentile alike), and not temples and territory and temporary half-paradises.

            But you may disagree. 🙂

          • 4Commencefiring4

            “The times of the Gentiles” is, essentially, the span of history. “The Gentiles” is “the nations”, translated as such elsewhere. In other words, Jerusalem will be put down until the nations are no more, until the end of history.

            Again, find somewhere where Jesus promises a glorious future for Israel that brings to mind anything approaching millennial teaching. As I read His words, it’s all going to be rather simple: He’s coming again, it’ll be Judgment Day, and we’re done here. Next stop, eternal state.

          • chrisleduc1

            “Again, find somewhere where Jesus promises a glorious future for Israel that brings to mind anything approaching millennial teaching. As I read His words, it’s all going to be rather simple: ”

            I don’t mean to be flippant or rude when I say – you do know that Jesus is the God of the Old Testament, right? That is to say that because Jesus did not talk about something during His earthly ministry, that does not mean He never revealed anything about the topic.

            Based on the reasoning you just put forth only what Jesus said in His earthly ministry is authoritative and exhaustive and therefore, by implicition, whatever Jesus did NOT address explicitly in His earthly ministry was never addressed or is of no importance, or does not pertain to us. That’s the logical conclusion of what you are saying.

            But the problem is, it’s just flat out wrong! EVERYTHING revealed in the Old Testament is from God, i.e. Jesus, (i.e. before Abraham was, I AM) and of course you know that the OT talks quite a bit about the earthly reign of the Messiah. If you can find it in the OT, then it was already spoken about and may not need to have been further elaborated on!

            Since ALL of the prophecies that have thus far found fulfillment for Israel have had LITERAL fulfillments, and because ALL the prophecies about Messiah’s first coming were filled LITERALLY, I am going to bank on the fact, i.e. I am going to have faith in the fact, that whatever God promised in the OT, will LITERALLY be fulfilled in the due course of time. An earthly kingdom was promised, an earthly kingdom is prophesied in Revelation, and just because Jesus did not mention the details of it in one address does not be it is null and void – just like the fact that the OT does not give explicit details of the difference between the first and second comings does not mean there is not a first and second coming. If you want to argue and allegorize away the explicit promises God made literally throughout the entire OT, that’s your choice.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            See my answer immediately above: The issue for me isn’t that He EXCLUDED anything in His message, it’s what He INCLUDED in it. And what He included EXCLUDES an awful lot of what you’re expecting to happen.

            But really–I think we’ve beat this horse to death. I’ll be happy to wait and see what happens, if I’m even around for it.

        • RGSCT

          The answer Jesus gave His disciple’s in Acts 1:7 is the same
          end time construct found in 1 Thes 5:1. Is Paul expecting the Thessalonians to think of the Day of the Lord in a way not described in the OT the same way Jesus expected His disciples to think of a Kingdom not described in the OT?

        • Dwayne

          Professor Waymeyer explains this passage elsewhere on thecripplegate in classic Matt style – biblical, simple, clear, and convincing – http://thecripplegate.com/acts-16-7-and-the-restoration-of-israel/
          Before responding further, please give it a read. Jesus answer to His disciples clearly acknowledges the fact of a future kingdom to be restored to Israel with the unknown element being “when”, not “if”.

          • chrisleduc1

            Thanks for the link. Certainly he can explain it much more clearly succinctly and clearly than I.

        • chrisleduc1

          Also, Would you mind sharing with me your understanding of what Jesus meant in the olivet discourse when Jesus said

          “So you also, when you see these things (everything previously described in the olivet discourse) happening, fnrecognize that the kingdom of God is near.”

          What exactly is the “kingdom of God” that is near, that Jesus is referring to here?

          Ill show my cards and tell you that I understand it to be the earthly kingdom promised in the OT that He is just about to come and set up – kind of just like what He just got done describing in parable the day before (I think it was) when he told them the parable in Luke 19:11 regarding a king leaving to get a kingdom and coming back.

          Again, Id love to know what kingdom you think it is that is near in the olivet discourse. If its the kingdom you have already explained i.e. the kingdom that is already here, then why is is it “near” only now at this point in the chronology of the events being described, and yet it is at the same time already here as you are saying? Did Jesus get His kingdoms confused? Maybe He forgot that, at that chronological point being described in the discourse, the kingdom was in fact ALREADY here, and He was just mistaken? Id love to hear your thoughts.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            The kingdom of God is wherever He rules, whether in our hearts as believers (“The kingdom of God is within you”) or over the entire created order. By “the kingdom of God is near” means, to me, that Christ will display His authority openly as Judge and Savior of the world. You think it means for 1,000 years, but I have a more expansive view and think of it as forever, i.e., the eternal state. I don’t need a millennium for His kingdom to be on display; we’ll have eternity to witness that. Why not cut to the chase?

            “The kingdom is not coming with signs to be observed…” would seem to mean that this kingdom is not a political, material, visible one. It’s the rule of God over His creation.

  • Pingback: Understanding The Millennium (1000 Years Reign) Part 3 | When is Jesus Coming Back?()