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Easter Saturday and the Millennium

A careful reading of the Book of Revelation suggests Christians should see themselves as living in Easter Saturday - caught in the tension between crucifixion and resurrection.

The imagery of the millennium and the subsequent release of Satan (20.1–7) can be understood as a parallel to the Easter story, with faithful Christians waiting in the space of Easter Saturday, hopefully anticipating new life, but living still with the present pain of Friday’s grief and horror.

In its invitation to identify with Jesus, Revelation encourages its readers to interpret their own lives according to the lived example of Jesus himself, with the events of the cross becoming real in their lives. For example some of John’s original readers, facing persecution from the Roman Empire, may have found themselves suffering the betrayal of Maundy Thursday, or the fear of Good Friday morning, or they may have seen the threat of martyrdom reflected in the suffering of Jesus on the cross.

But primarily Revelation locates faithful Christians on Easter Saturday: the martyrs have departed the present life of suffering and gone to vindication, and Satan’s hold on the world has been broken through the sacrificial deaths of both Jesus and the martyrs. However, in the present experience of the book's readers, Satan is still loose in the world making war on the dwelling places of the saints.

In this way, the fusion of the Easter weekend and the Millennium can be seen as offering a helpful paradigm for understanding the lived Christian experience of hopeful, faithful waiting in the time between crucifixion and resurrection.

By Simon Woodman

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