Author Topic: Orthodox understanding of End Times  (Read 12036 times)

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Offline cothrige

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Orthodox understanding of End Times
« on: September 07, 2005, 11:15:51 PM »
Hello all,

I recently found myself reading an article online preaching about the rapture and how the Whore of Babylon is the Roman Catholic Church.  Most of it was patently absurd of course, but I found myself curious about some of the specific imagery.  As a Roman Catholic myself I have to admit that I have spent next to no time reading the Apocalypse, and certainly haven't worried too much about what is meant by this or that reference.  But, my curiosity piqued, I began digging for some more reliable info.  Unfortunately I found next to nothing.  Apparently I am not alone in the Roman Church in basically ignoring these issues.

So, in keeping with a habit of mine, I decided to see if the Orthodox, whose opinions in matters biblical and patristic I hold highest, had any firm ideas historically about these symbols and references.  However, I could find nothing to speak of, mostly I think because a google search of "orthodox church revelation" or some such returns too much to sort through.  By the way, the same problem shows up here in the search utility, and so I could not be sure I am not asking a question which has already been discussed to death.  I am sorry if I am.

But, after all this, I am wondering if someone here will help fill me in on how the Orthodox approach this particular topic and specifically the Apocalypse?  For instance, how are things such as the harlot, 144,000, beast, and so on interpreted?  And is there a basic school of interpretation favored in Orthodoxy, i.e. preterism, historicism, etc?  And have any views been specifically condemned, as I assume chiliasm has been?

I hope that perhaps somebody here can enlighten me a bit on the Orthodox, and if the normal trend is trusted, more historical and patristic reading of these prophecies.  Many thanks in advance for the help.

Patrick


Offline PhosZoe

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2005, 10:50:15 AM »
You might want to start with this article.

http://www.orthodoxonline.com/leftbehind.htm

Offline donkeyhotay

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2005, 11:36:06 AM »
The word you want to toss into your searches is "eschatology".

This article will explain the main different eschatological views held by different Christians.  Although it uses the word "Orthodox" in its title, I would read that as "Orthodox" with a small "o".

You will find that the early Church Fathers were Covenantal Premillennialists, and many Orthodox (who study such things) hold to this view today.  It differs from Dispensational Premillennialism largely in that it does not hold to a pre-tribulational rapture.  This view is (I think) also sometimes known as "Historic" Premillennialism.

Agustine promoted the theory of Amillennialism and some Orthodox hold to this view all or in part, or in some combination with Covenantal Premillennialism. Amillennialism is the nominal view of the RCC, Anglican, and original Reformed traditions (Luther, Calvin), though of course some of the reformation groups that originally held to the Amillennial view now embrace Dispensational Postmillennialism.

Ultimately, most Orthodox are not interested in eschatology apart from always being ready for Christ's return.  The "mechanics", if you will, of eschatology are a secondary issue.

Edit: Personally, I think both Covenantal Premillennialism and Amillennialism hold merit, but I think only God knows His plans for the future.   
« Last Edit: September 08, 2005, 11:42:41 AM by donkeyhotay »
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Offline cothrige

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2005, 08:37:30 AM »
Many thanks for the links.  I will check them out.

And very fascinating about "covenantal premillenialism."  I am surprised that the Orthodox would be so comfortable with a literal millenium.  We Catholics tend to view the millenium in the Church age and one will often hear the Nicene Creed's affirmation of "his kingdom will have no end" as having been a denial of any possible literal millenium.  Of course, that is when anything is said at all on the subject, which is not often.  As in your case, I suppose we are not so interested in the mechanics either, but when reading some specific theory with all of these detailed interpretations for every comment in the texts I do become curious about what has been generally accepted.  I will certainly peruse the file and page and see what I can learn.

Many thanks,

Patrick

Offline donkeyhotay

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2005, 11:55:15 AM »
Quote
I am surprised that the Orthodox would be so comfortable with a literal millenium.

I'd like to stress that this is probably not the case now, in modern times, and I don't know that anyone knows for sure that the millennial view was the majority view among the early fathers.  Eschatology (at least that part that deals with the future of the world) holds little interest with most Orthodox.  The Orthodox focus is on eschatology as it affects the individual, or as I've seen it put: "The world ends for some people every day in the form of physical death."

At any rate, Orthodox views on eschatology are as rare as hen's teeth online. I have had several books recommended to me: Ultimate Things: An Orthodox Christian Perspective on the End,  and A Rumor Of War: Christ ’s Millennial Reign and the Rapture of His Church both by Dennis Engleman; The Hope of the Early Church: A Handbook of Patristic Eschatology by Brian E. Daley; Regnum Caelorum: Patterns of Millennial Thought in Early Christianity by Charles E. Hill.

I have not read any of these, unfortunately, so I couldn't recommend any one over another.


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Offline sojourner

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2005, 10:05:29 PM »
cothridge,

It is not suprising that you didn't find much. The topic is not really addressed directly and has apparently not been an issue since Iraneous view of chilism.
I have read the book by Dennis Engleman, "A Rumor of War" as well as "A Second Look at the Second Coming" by T.L. Frazier.
In each case they don't necessarily present an Orthodox view as it is typically Orthodox by being apophatic. What it is not. Most spend the chapters refuting all the modern notions regarding most of the views.
Since at some point in the early twentieth century millennialism was married to dispensationalism, another book I found quite enlightening regarding the prophecy of Isreal is, "Exploding the Israel Deception" by Steve Wohlberg.
The latter is not written by an Orthodox author, but by a Jewish Believer.
I found them all to be excellent, balanced and quite informative.

Offline icxn

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2005, 10:34:03 PM »
I would also recommend the following from St. Symeon the New Theologian:

http://sgpm.goarch.org/Monastery/index.php?p=46

- EDIT -

... and let me say this only, The End Times has been fulfilled for the Saints.

icxn
« Last Edit: September 11, 2005, 10:42:31 PM by icxn »

Offline cothrige

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2005, 08:28:36 AM »
I am intrigued by what you are calling the "prophecy of Israel" sojourner.  Would you be able to elaborate on which prophecy you mean specifically.  Just curious since the title of that book sounds so, well, explosive.

Patrick

Offline Innocent

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2005, 08:59:46 AM »
You might want to start with this article.

http://www.orthodoxonline.com/leftbehind.htm

Great link. The rapture has always been something I avoided even when I was RC.

Offline donkeyhotay

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2005, 11:56:09 AM »
Quote
Dispensational Postmillennialism

Sorry, this should read Dispensational Premillennialism.

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Offline amnesiac99

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2005, 03:52:50 PM »
You might find this link interesting: http://www.receive.org/index.php?menu=3&submenu=23&id=17
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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2005, 05:03:29 PM »
I would also like to urge whoever it was who suggested that the Orthodox view is somehow premillennialist to check out the canons from the Second Ecumenical Council. Premillennialism certainly was posited by many, but was rejected as heresy by the Council of Constantinople in 381. This, and multiple talks I've heard given by prominent Orthodox scholars and theologians, leads me to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church rejects, and has always rejected, any form of premillennialism. I think you're correct that most Orthodox are not terribly interested in these issues, as our focus is much more sacramental and spiritual, but there is a definite Orthodox position.
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Offline donkeyhotay

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2005, 11:17:23 PM »
I would also like to urge whoever it was who suggested that the Orthodox view is somehow premillennialist to check out the canons from the Second Ecumenical Council. Premillennialism certainly was posited by many, but was rejected as heresy by the Council of Constantinople in 381. This, and multiple talks I've heard given by prominent Orthodox scholars and theologians, leads me to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church rejects, and has always rejected, any form of premillennialism. I think you're correct that most Orthodox are not terribly interested in these issues, as our focus is much more sacramental and spiritual, but there is a definite Orthodox position.

Hmmm.  I thought it was rejected by the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431. 
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2005, 07:28:20 AM »
I'd like to stress that this is probably not the case now, in modern times, and I don't know that anyone knows for sure that the millennial view was the majority view among the early fathers. Eschatology (at least that part that deals with the future of the world) holds little interest with most Orthodox. The Orthodox focus is on eschatology as it affects the individual, or as I've seen it put: "The world ends for some people every day in the form of physical death."

At any rate, Orthodox views on eschatology are as rare as hen's teeth online. I have had several books recommended to me: Ultimate Things: An Orthodox Christian Perspective on the End, and A Rumor Of War: Christ ’s Millennial Reign and the Rapture of His Church both by Dennis Engleman; The Hope of the Early Church: A Handbook of Patristic Eschatology by Brian E. Daley; Regnum Caelorum: Patterns of Millennial Thought in Early Christianity by Charles E. Hill.

I have not read any of these, unfortunately, so I couldn't recommend any one over another.

I wouldn't say that Orthodox views on eschatology are rare, per se, but rather that Orthodx views on the eschaton are hard to find.  Many Orthodox theologians incorporate eschatology into their works, since our Church is an eschatological Church.  Thus, you will find eschatology woven into everything from ecclesiology to sacramental theology to Hagiology.  There is a definite focus in the writings of the Church fathers on transforming where we are and who we are into beings of the Kingdom of God.

Now, I'm no expert on matters of the eschaton proper, so you'll have to ask others for books regarding the Apocalypse/end times.  Of course, I'm no expert on eschatology, either; I've just had a bit more exposure to it than to books on the end times.
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Offline MCE

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2016, 11:34:55 PM »
I would also like to urge whoever it was who suggested that the Orthodox view is somehow premillennialist to check out the canons from the Second Ecumenical Council. Premillennialism certainly was posited by many, but was rejected as heresy by the Council of Constantinople in 381. This, and multiple talks I've heard given by prominent Orthodox scholars and theologians, leads me to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church rejects, and has always rejected, any form of premillennialism. I think you're correct that most Orthodox are not terribly interested in these issues, as our focus is much more sacramental and spiritual, but there is a definite Orthodox position.

Actually the only thing rejected was the idea of a thousand year limit to Christ's reign, which is wny in the Creed it says "of His kingdom there shall be no end." The protestant eschatologists talk of a "thousand year reign of Christ," but Revelation does not say this. It says that the first thousand years of that eternal reign, the devil is bound and unable to tempt the nations. since he tempts believers and unbelievers alike, it follows that the binding done by Christ during the time Christ was dead and visited all the unseen realms, was more of a serious crippling. After the thousand years the devil is allowed to tempt mankind one more time, a revolt occurs which is put down and the devil is thrown into the lake of fire where the antichrist and the false prophet already are by then.

The amillennial idea is that while Christ will come back physically, He will simply destroy the earth and judge all who are resurrected for this, a future on earth for the blessed is not emphasized. Revelation and Daniel and hints in other Prophets point to a blessed and immortal and indestructible state on earth. (Paul speaking of a "spiritual body" is speaking of a supernatural body, since it will be like Jesus' Body after the Resurrection, which was very physical with flesh and bones yet also supernatural.

And, this amillennialism holds that the thousand years is symbolic and Christ rules on earth through the Church. While of course we have a foretaste of His rule, this is not all there is to it.
Paul speaks of us awaiting the redemption of our bodies, the resurrection of the dead. So we
have part of the kingdom of Heaven now, and fullness of it later.

Origenists started the idea that a physical resurrection was too material and gross for their tastes, and Montanism which exploited Revelation got that Book a bad reputation so that some even doubted it was legitimate.

dispensationalism posits extreme demarcations between eras and is very mechanistic, and is the basis for the pre trib rapture nonsense.

some had the idea that after a thousand years Christ would give the rule over to The Father, and no longer reign. But The Father has been the monarch and source of the Son and The Holy Spirit therefore king all along. Taking a direct role on earth would not mean that Christ would not continue to be king also even if only a secondary king so to speak.

Origenism infected some Patristic writers, so that St. Gregory of Nyssa believed the apokatastasis or restoration of all things or universal salvation of all and damnation of none. St. John Chrysostom I think is the transit point for the idea that the coats or tunics of skin that God gave Adam and Eve were the densely physical bodies we have now, and that originally they were etheric. Such ideas were condemned in the I think 15 anathemas against Origen, and though Adam and Eve aren't mentioned the idea that heavenly bodies only became physical as we see them now when they stopped contemplating God was condemned and if it doesn't fly with them it doesn't fly with us. St. Epiphanius in the Panarion denounced this idea about adam and Eve as "nonsense," so it was no part of normal ORthodox thought in his time. And he blamed it on Origen.

Offline LenInSebastopol

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2016, 09:52:30 PM »
In a nutshell, thanks, MCE.
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Offline Cyprian700

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2016, 01:47:35 PM »
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (+386)

Catechetical Lecture XV

18. Guard thyself then, O man; thou hast the signs of Antichrist; and remember them not only thyself, but impart them also freely to all. If thou hast a child according to the flesh, admonish him of this now; if thou hast begotten one through catechizing, put him also on his guard, lest he receive the false one as the True. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work. I fear these wars of the nations; I fear the schisms of the Churches; I fear the mutual hatred of the brethren. But enough on this subject; only God forbid that it should be fulfilled in our days; nevertheless, let us be on our guard. And thus much concerning Antichrist.

Eschatology is very important in the Orthodox Church.  The general apathy that is seen with regards to eschatological study is a sign of the times and is indicative of the indifference and general luke-warmness that pervades Christianity in our day.  That very few Orthodox Christians concern themselves with study of the last times is one of the indications that Antichrist is at hand.

There are a number of Orthodox commentaries on the Apocalypse by the saints.  It is best to read their commentaries rather than these modern books, not written by saints, which only attempt to summarize their teachings.

There are some well-known commentaries on the Apocalypse that have been translated into English:

St. Andrew of Caesarea's commentary can be read here
http://theses.ulaval.ca/archimede/meta/25095

St. Bede provided a commentary on the Apocalypse in the 8th century.  It can be read here:
http://www.ecatholic2000.com/bede/untitled-31.shtml

St. Victorinus - Commentary on the Apocalypse can be read here:
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0712.htm

Closer to our times is this one written in 1946 by Archimandrite Panteleimon, founder and abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville:

A Ray of Light -  Instructions in Piety and the State of the World At the End of Time
http://bookstore.jordanville.org/9780884650478




Offline Rohzek

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2016, 05:01:52 PM »
If I recall correctly, the commentary by Victorianus, at least the one linked, was the one that was embellished by Jerome. Jerome felt that Victorianus endorse too much millenarianism or was too chiliastic, so he "corrected" it. As a result, there were two textual traditions of Victorianus' text throughout the Middle Ages. Eventually, the original version died out and was lost. However, it was found again in the 20th century and has since been republished.
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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2016, 06:18:07 PM »
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (+386)

Catechetical Lecture XV

18. Guard thyself then, O man; thou hast the signs of Antichrist; and remember them not only thyself, but impart them also freely to all. If thou hast a child according to the flesh, admonish him of this now; if thou hast begotten one through catechizing, put him also on his guard, lest he receive the false one as the True. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work. I fear these wars of the nations; I fear the schisms of the Churches; I fear the mutual hatred of the brethren. But enough on this subject; only God forbid that it should be fulfilled in our days; nevertheless, let us be on our guard. And thus much concerning Antichrist.

Emphasis mine.

The fact that St. Cyril was making the same laments in the 4th Century that Christians make today should tell you something. Isn't it enough to be watchful because one does not know the hour of one's own death? Why do we also need to fear some future boogeyman who can kill the body but can't kill the soul?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2016, 06:19:36 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2016, 04:03:06 PM »
Orthodoxy definitely has eschatology, it permeates everything in the liturgy and spirituality.  BUT... it doesn't neatly fit into Evangelical Protestant categories.  And Evangelical Protestants have tended to dominate speculation into the Apocalypse, at least culturally in the US and Europe.

Orthodox, like Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterians, and Lutherans... seem to be amillenialist as the orthodox position.  The millennium is interpreted allegorically.

Now about the assertion that "Christ will Destroy the Earth"- I'm not sure most mainline Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic Christians would describe it that way.  The whole world will be redeemed (even if perhaps cleansed by fire, whether this is literal or figurative, who knows...), that is the eschatological promise most of us understand.  Consequently, His Holiness Bartholomew sees a lot of value in supporting environmentalism, as do many Protestants and Catholics.  Especially for the Orthodox, the significance of Christ's redemption is cosmic in scale, and is not merely a matter of redeeming individual souls.

I think it's a case of "both-and".  There is a tension between the Kingdom of God being real and immanent right now, that the New Heavens and New Earth represent a present reality, but also an understanding that it is not yet fulfilled.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 04:11:43 PM by Daedelus1138 »

Offline SeanG

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Re: Orthodox understanding of End Times
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2016, 01:29:20 AM »
I have been doing a great deal of study, especially about the end times. My Orthodox Priest says any sort of rapture is a heresy one which can not be forgiven if you consider it true. It also comes with the St Augustine’s view of Rev 20 and they say the 1000 year reign which is allegorical and started with Christ’s crucifixion (the ruler of this world being bound, in John) and ended with the murder of the Czar who was head of the Orthodox church.

I agree the reason for the attack was to wipe out Orthodoxy, Albert Pike in a letter about the agenda said so. The freemasons who I know about (since my parents were part of that sick satanic group). Freemasonry / Illuminati has always worked to destroy all Christianity especially the Orthodox.

Further reading of the book “Ultimate Things” giving an Orthodox perspective, says Satan was set free at that time (when the Czar was killed in the revolution). They also indicated that at that time the restrainer who restrains was taken away (they say this was the Czar the head of the Orthodox Church at the time) and we live today without the benefit of the Holy Spirit. They say it is not in any Orthodox monastery or church. Only in a very few “Catacomb Churches” will the real church be found with the Holy Spirit.

The implications of the official Orthodox view are substantial.
1st being that most are practicing their faith in vain and the vast majority are unsaved period.
2nd St Augustine basically said that the church replaced Israel and that was accepted during the 2nd ecumenical counsel. Meaning God is done with Israel . The only Israelites that will be saved are the 144,000 who will be protected from Gods wrath.
3rd Yes, the Christians have and will endure persecution, but I have been told that we will also endure all of Gods Wrath and we rightly deserve it. I thought Paul as well as old testament writers, I read that the Church was to be protected from Gods Wrath.

The promise of not enduring Gods Wrath is part of the reasoning for a Pre-Tribulation Harpazo (rapture) (BTW it is the word Paul uses in the Greek which says a nonvoluntary snatching away. There is much  more scriptural support than what is mentioned in the rebuttals. Further, it was discussed in much older documents St. Irenaeus of Lyons: Against the Heresies in book V chapter 25 I think. It is not a defense of it the statement just presumes the church will be taken out of the way. Ephraem of Nisibis as well in recently translated documents and he was Eastern Orthodox and not heretical.  He was well-known for his poetry, exegetical and theological writings, and many of the hymns of the early Byzantine church. So popular were his works that in the fifth and sixth centuries he was adopted by several Christian communities as a spiritual leader and role model.
This sermon is deemed to be one of the most interesting apocalyptic texts of the early Middle Ages. The translation of the sermon includes the following segment:
"For all the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins."

Further, If we do not agree with the Churches view, all of it, then any baptism you have had, chrismation, confession, and communion are invalid and further you have committed the unpardonable sin and are Damned forever no matter how much you love Christ. This according to the priest I asked who said to put the question ou of my mind. It is said that even considering the question of when He might come is the unpardonable sin.

Meaning that my thinking about the idea and reading and considering the scriptures has guaranteed my place in Hell. Although conversation on this blog might condemn us. However, I don't think that studying and considering it is unpardonable. It might be why not much is written about it.

I think while Saint Augustine did a great job getting rid of many heresies, I think the a-millennial view requires allegorizing too much. So much so that many things lose their meaning and it becomes, whatever the Council says it is. In fact, if that is truly the case there is no reason to read your bible lest you question a view of the Church and lose salvation.

I don’t think even many Orthodox Priests will agree with this but some do. I can see why you need the Church to help understand the bible, but I think what the church says needs to line up with Scripture. Otherwise, many people can get mislead they way the Orthodox church says the roman catholic church has been lead astray by the pope.

Lastly, in the creed, it says His kingdom shall have no end do not rule out his rule for a time on earth and an additional testing of people with his rule continuing forever. God is in charge now and always has been and always will be. It is us who are being tested and asked to join His Kingdom where ever it is on earth and in Heaven.

Rev 20 does not imply any end to the Kingdom of Christ and the intent it seems to me is clear. It does not make sense to me to say that it started at the crucifixion. While Satan was bound, Jesus says so. It doesn't mean that this is Rev 20.

Doing that raises more questions which, if you stick to that position, more things have to get allegorized away. IMHO It is better to say what Eusebius said. He did not understand it (Revelation all of it), but may it is not for him to understand but someone in the distant future. They (church fathers) did not focus on it or obsess about it because it is a minor thing. Focusing on Christ and your walk with Him was number 1 and still is. Yeah keep watch for the signs, but take care of following Him first since everything else will be in place if you do that. The  Orthodox focus on being clean and confessing and doing good works primarily. I know not all of them believe in the stated eschatological views.

the 4th Problem I see that a millennialism brings is the notion of replacement theology. In allegorizing, one has to deal the with the direct promises made to Israel. The promises made to Mary, Abraham, Jacob, Issac that are unconditional become a problem. The solution fo Augustine was to replace Israel with the church. It implies God is done with Israel, with the exception of the 144,000 in Revelation. Further, the reason for the Great Tribulation goes away. The reason for it is to drive Israel to seek Jesus (corporately to the wall so that in their affliction they will acknowledge their offense and seek Him earnestly).

I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction, they will seek me earnestly. -Hosea 5:15
To "return," He must have left His place! The offense referred to is singular and specific: their rejection of Him. In "their affliction" they will ultimately repent and He will respond.
The Great Tribulation also involves more than the wrath of the world or the wrath of Satan: it involves the indignation and wrath of God. In contrast, the Church has been promised:
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,-1 Thessalonians 5:9
And,
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. -Romans 5:9

And, specifically,
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour [time] of temptation [trial], which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.-Revelation 3:10
Peter also emphasizes,
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: -2 Peter 2:9
Here, Peter is using the judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah "as an example," as Jesus also did, in which the prior removal of Lot was a precondition before the angels could do their work.

The complete study of this issue involves the careful and diligent study of both the Church (ecclesiology) as well as the eschatology (end time aspects) of the Great Tribulation, which, of course, far exceeds the focus of this post. It requires precise definitions of the terms used, and great care to understand how each of the elements of the revealed truth and how they relate to each other.

Further,
the fundamental doctrine of imminence has to be forfeited with any view that requires the Great Tribulation - or any other precedent event - to occur prior to the Rapture (or coming of Christ). The doctrine of Imminence has been held in the Eastern Orthodox Church and indeed in all Churches Orthodox and otherwise.

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. -Luke 21:36

Are you going to escape these things that shall come to pass? If so, how? Or are you relying on the notion that the Lord is "delaying His coming?" or that we along with all the world must first endure the birth pangs and then the revealing of the Anti-Christ (when he is 30 something) and once prominent on the world stage, there is an agreement with Israel to agree to and also a building of a temple and then 3.1/2 ( or whenever since no times can be definite in the allegorical view), then another 3 1/2 years or so along with some really horrible things happening, then after all this, Jesus comes in Glory, which he will.

The a-millennial and necessary allegorical hermeneutics, make a doctrine of Imminence kinda illogical. it is said that God is not the author of confusion.
1 Corinthians 14:33New King James Version (NKJV)

33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

If the Church is not taken out of the way (Harpazo) as Paul says, then there is really no reason for this in the presence of the church IMHO. If however, the church was taken and is with the Lord (the 24 Elders and company who are there before the opening of the seals), things fall into place. The Jews can't run to the Church (in this view, they missed the opportunity to do that while the Church was here and now they are dealing with the anti-Christ and earnestly need the help of the true Christ. The holocaust took 1 out of 3 Jews and the Great Tribulation will take 2 out of 3 before the acknowledge What they did and accept Jesus.

I do not agree with many things the protestants assert I think that the pre-trib harpazo makes sense and the narrative in Revelation makes sense along with the subtle technology statements. http://khouse.org who is a nondenominational Christian think tank  presents a good solid case for the view. That said there is way too much focus on it in the mega churches and many protestant denominations. Satan is using them to distract people and lead them away and promotes the date setters and rapture-itis . He can break people's faith with false prophets and leaders being wrong time and again and atheists, in turn, hold them up as idiots and say Christian faith is idiotic.

I do apologetic work and have led some to Orthodoxy including some atheists. One of the things I have to address is hermeneutics and people's lack of ecclesiology knowledge.

A further problem is many in the West and in the Eastern Church is a lack of understanding Prophies and that Pattern is Prolog. It is not just prediction and fulfillment. You can understand types and patterns that are fulfilling in our time. If you understand Jewish customs as well you can see these patterns emerge. Dr Ivan Panin (who is orthodox) did great work in recognizing mathematical patterns in the text that are statistically orthogonal ( see http://www.bereanpublishers.com/bible-numerics-the-works-of-ivan-panin/ for his book and you can download most of them for free and no it is not about bible codes!). God has use patterns and typological patterns all through the bible. On this issue, the Jewish wedding is a model for the coming of Christ for his Bride. Saint Paul goes into detail about that and then throws an ellipsis and says I speak of Christ and his Church. It points to a pattern we should be paying attention to.

With all due respect to the Councils and to the Priests, Bishops, Monks and the Church, this position could be a very dangerous presumption. IMHO I think it is important to reconsider it. Doing so will not alter or be in conflict with the creed and the core doctrine of the Church. I think it is good for us to study diligently and have a robust debate as well. Certainly, the laity of which I am a member should be reading church history and the Doctrines of the church and the Bible if for nothing else to defend the faith.

I think we can run into serious danger if we dismiss things out of hand before an investigation of the matter. That is in the wisdom os Soloman. We should also examine our preconceptions as well. As well meaning and filled with the Holy Spirit as the church fathers were, we should be able to go back read and examine opinion and see if these be true as Paul complements the Bereans in doing. Those people were not just Priests or monks, they were lay people checking verifying and correcting.

Forgive the lengthy post but I think it deserves more than a few words and not dismissing a view as just plain nonsense or crazy. For the record
I am Orthodox and not protestant for the very reasons of thier theology being lacking etc.