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Dr. T. P. Stafford
(On Revelation 20)
"The idea of a civil government on earth for a thousand years is not found in a single utterance of Jesus, Paul or Peter; much less that Christ is going to 'set it up' when He returns."
"Some years ago I thought out for myself this interpretation and the proof just cited. I thought I could claim originality for it. But to my chagrin I discovered the other day that Augustine made the same interpretation supported by the same words of Jesus (City of God, 20, 7). I cannot therefore, claim originality for the interpretation; but there is more assurance that it is sound."
(On The Nature of the Resurrection)
"That Christians sit upon thrones as Christ does, (or that they reign as Christ does) is a common conception in the N. T. Christ sits upon a spiritual throne and so do they. Christ reigns by moral and spiritual influence, and so do they. This is not something that is yet to be. This has been going on since the death and the exaltation of Christ, which was His enthronement. He Himself originated both the thought and also this use of the imagery, it seems (Mat. 19:28). As Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have prominence in the kingdom of God, so have the apostles. In that sense they sit on thrones and reign. And in the same sense all Christians sit on thrones and reign Paul the thirteenth apostle reigns as do the others. Jesus said to His disciples: 'Ye are the salt of the earth.' We all understand that statement. Well, that is reigning morally and spiritually. That kind of reigning will satisfy every Christian that is not ambitious and mean. Every moral and spiritual blessing that has come to the world in nineteen centuries has come from Christ and His people. That is reigning. Every cleansing fire that has burned out the impurities of society has come from Christ and His people. That is the dispensing of judgment. All seriously-minded and thoughtful people know that the only hope of the world is the gospel of Christ, which His real followers, and they only, proclaim. That is world-dominion; the only sort that we, as Christians, should desire. So Jesus says, 'He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame and sat down with my Father in His throne (Ren 3:21). It is in this book of Revelation that God's people are described as 'a kingdom and priests' (5:10). So also in the passage we are dealing with it is written: 'They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him' (cf. 1 Pet. 2:9)."
"The king business, like the priest business, belongs to the tutelage of the race. It is a thing of the past, not of the future. And yet many associate the golden age of the world with actual kings [such as we are acquainted with] and thrones and all the accompanying regalia and paraphernalia. . . . Imagine me, for example, sitting on a literal throne somewhere, say on the Mount of Olives! But every other Christian is sitting on a little throne too. There would not be room enough on the Mount of Olives, or indeed in all Palestine, to plant our thrones. There we all sit, with shining crowns, flourishing our golden sceptres, and not a subject to black our boots. I abdicate my throne right now."
"It must for two reasons be the latter: "The first reason is that the complete stripping of Satan of his power follows in our text (Rev. XX) immediately after this limitation of his power. The severer and the final judgment and punishment are described in verse 10. The preceding binding of Satan was therefore something less than a complete taking-away of his power. "The second reason is that Christ Himself, when He was on earth, bound Satan. He said so: 'How can one enter into the strong man's house, and seize his goods,' He asked, 'except he first bind the strong man?' (Mat. 12:29). The strong man is Satan. The stronger than he, who binds him, is Jesus. "But Satan is not so bound as to have no power at all. It is a limiting of his power, a circumscribing of his influence and activities that is meant."
(On the Figurative Language of Revelation)
'The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven candlesticks are the seven churches' (1:20). The Smyrna church is to have tribulation 'ten days' (2:10), which can hardly be taken with mathematical exactness. Satan's throne is said to be in Pergamum, that is, some great evil was there (2:13). 'The sword of my mouth,' a figure that occurs several times, means the truth of Christ (2:16. cf. 19:15, 21). 'Hidden manna' and white stone' stands for salvation or spiritual fellowship with Christ (2:17)......... Key of David' means the power of David; and 'David' here is not David, but David's Son, that is, the Son of God (3:17). 'Pillar in the temple of my God' means place of influence in the kingdom (3:12). Neither a literal (or material) pillar or temple is to be thought of. 'Door' does not mean door, but something spiritual analogous thereto. . . . . The robes of the saints are said to be made 'white in the blood of the Lamb' (7:14) ; but actual blood does not make garments white, and 'robes' here does not mean robes but souls, hearts, lives. . . . Some are to be 'tormented five months' (9:5, 10) ; but certainly 'five months' does not mean that measure of time." And so on, giving several more pages of illustrations, without exhausting the instances contained in the Book.
(On The Second Death)
"If then eternal punishment is the second death, it follows that, in the conception of John as well as according to Biblical history, the first death is the banishment and punishment that came upon the race on account of the first sin: 'In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die' (Gen. 2:17). John chose not to consider in this connection physical death, or else he counted it a part of the curse of the first death, which it is."
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