Thursday, December 02, 2004

Wright on the Millennium 

Paul does not often speak of the coming 'reign' of those belong to Jesus (a theme we come across in other early Christian texts such as Revelation 20.4, 6; 22.5). But here, as for instance in 1 Corinthians 6.2, it is quite clear. The 'kingdom of God', that is, God's sovereign and saving rule over the world, is presently exercised through the risen Lord Jesus. But it will be exercised in the future, so it seems, through the fully redeemed human beings, those marked out in the present by God's gift of the status of 'being in the right', of covenant membership. [Paul For Everyone: Romans Part 1, p.92]
Wright has spilt a lot of ink on the subject of the Millennium, whilst never really engaging with many of the questions that are raised about it. Even when commenting on Revelation 20 in The Resurrection of the Son of God he manages to avoid really addressing the 'millennium question' ('whether this takes place in a 'millennium' more or less coterminous with the time of the church, or in a literal thousand-year period yet to come, does not at present concern us...'). When asked the 'millennium question' from the Wrightsaid list he says that, given the choice between 'post' and 'pre', he would be 'post', although he doesn't particularly consider himself to be 'post'. Even on the subject of the dating of Revelation Wright is vague, saying that he believes that it was written sometime in the last third of the first century. That could be before or after the Fall of Jerusalem. The passage I have quoted above seems to reveal a bit more about Wright's own position. Whilst he could be suggesting that Revelation 20:4 is merely future from Paul's perspective, he seems to be going further than that and suggesting that it is future from our perspective too. I'm sure that there is some passage in his writings where Wright has really been forthcoming on this question and I have just forgotten about it. If anyone could help me on this, I would very much appreciate it. Otherwise I will just have to wait until February 2005. However, there is still a chance that Wright will continue to hold his millennial cards close to his chest.

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