PMW 2021-009 by Milton S. Terry
Milton Terry (1840–1914) has many valuable insights into the Book of Revelation, some of which highlight his postmillennialism. In this and the next few articles, I will be highlighting some of these. Interestingly, though he rightly notes Revelation’s focus on first-century events, he also recognizes a few brief glances into the distant future (as do I!).
I will be citing the Revelation commentary section of his Biblical Apocalyptics as providing interesting and important insights for postmillennialists. Once it is introduced, all of the following material will be a direct citation from his book, although I have broken it into smaller paragraphs. Older writers (from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) apparently saw no need for a paragraph ever to end! And writers even older than Terry, such as John Gill (1697–1771), saw no need for a sentence to end — especially since they enjoyed the use of the semi-colon. Fortunately, they did not follow first century practice of not even having spacing between words so that a word itself would never end!
(DVDs by Ken Gentry)
Twenty-four careful, down-to-earth lectures provide a basic introduction to and survey of the entire Book of Revelation. Professionally produced lectures of 30-35 minutes length.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
But now, let us listen to Terry’s commentary on Revelation (Biblical Apocalyptics, p. 443):
THE MILLENNIAL CONFLICT AND TRIUMPH. 19:11–21:8
In this section of the book we have a series of seven visions, each beginning with the words kai eidon, “and I saw.” It opens with the picture of a heavenly Conqueror going forth, in company with white-robed armies, to smite the nations with the sword of his mouth and after a series of wonderful victories it concludes with the picture of a new heaven and a new earth, from which all evil-doers are cast out. From the seer’s point of view it is an apocalyptic outlook into the Messianic era, the millennial age, during which “the law shall go forth out of Zion and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem” (Micah 4:2; Isaiah 2:3).
While disclosing an ideal outline of future Messianic triumphs the prophet does not transcend the main purpose of his book, which is “to show the things which must shortly come to pass” (1:1). That purpose is accomplished when he depicts the overthrow of Judaism, the end of the old temple dispensation and the consequent opening of the new era, the Messianic age, which is destined, according to the prophets, to make all things new. His task is complete when he shows forth the beginning of the new age and a visional outline of what that age will bring.
He furnishes no “continuous historical” record of the progress of Christianity in the Roman empire. We should no more look in the prophecies of this book for a syllabus of the petty feuds of mediæval Europe than for an account of modern missions in India, China and Japan. Too long have false presumptions led men to search in apocalyptic pictures for predictions of such events as the French Revolution, the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Protestant Reformation and the Wars of the Roses. One might as well expect to find in scripture predictions of the discovery of America and the invention of the steam engine and the electric telegraph. The mind that gives itself to discover such things in biblical prophecy misapprehends the mind of the Spirit. The fallacy of such procedures in exegesis lies in a total misconception of the nature and scope of apocalyptic writing.
[Biblical Apocalyptics, p.444]
19:11. I saw the heaven opened — Compare the language of Ezekiel 1:1. We are about to have a new apocalyptic picture of the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven (1:7), but it is the picture of an æonic struggle upon which he sets out, not a single historical event to which one can point and say, Lo here! or, Lo there!
The Book of Revelation Made Easy
(by Ken Gentry)
Helpful introduction to Revelation presenting keys for interpreting. Also provides studies of basic issues in Revelation’s story-line.|
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
A white horse — The symbol of victorious procession here as in 6:2, but he that sat thereon is not the same as the rider on the white horse in the earlier vision. His title of faithful and true is sufficient to designate him as the Christ of 1:5 and 3:14 and the additional statement that in righteousness he judges and makes war, appropriated from Psalm 96:13; Isaiah 32:1; Jeremiah 23:5,6, shows that he is no other than the Messiah of Old Testament prophecy.
[Biblical Apocalyptics, p. 445]
The foregoing vision (verses 11–16) is a most sublime apocalypse of the conquering Messiah, who “must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25). The struggle may consume a million years. The details and chronology of its age-long history no prophet has foretold, but this unrivaled portraiture presents the conquering King, with his names, his insignia and his works.