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Views of the Millennium Evaluated

- by Rhett Totten, MDiv - (c) 2005

The meaning of the word "millennium" is "one thousand years," derived from the Latin "mille" (thousand) "annum" (years). The only place in the Bible where the millennium is explicitly mentioned, is in the Revelation chapter 20. There it states that an angel from heaven seized the devil "and bound him for a thousand years." The angel then threw the devil "into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended." Finally we read that people who had not worshiped the "beast" (the Antichrist), and had not received his mark "came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended)" (Rev. 20:2-6 (NIV)
--The millennium may or may not be exactly 1000 years, since the Bible does occasionally use "round" numbers, so, we won't belabor that particular issue of the precise number in this article.

THREE VIEWS

Down through the history of Christianity, three main views of the millennium have been held, with "Premillennialism" being the earliest and generally most predominate view ---followed by "Amillennialism" of secondary influence, and distantly trailed by "Postmillennialism" having comparatively minor and temporary force.

1.) A-Millennialism teaches that there really is no future millennium -- (hence the prefix "A-" meaning "No" millennium), but that we are currently living in the millennium, at the end of which, Christ will return in his Second Coming, and then comes the final judgment. In this view, it is emphasized that Christian believers have been spiritually "raised" in Christ, and Christ now "reigns" in their hearts through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

2. Post-Millennialism is somewhat similar to the A-mill position (but with a happy face), in that it says that Christ will come "after" (post-) the millennium. ---The Post-mill position posits that the current church age will gradually merge into a millennial age of "peace and righteousness" which will result from growing christian influences on all the societies on earth. In this schema, an overwhelming proportion of mankind will become Christian, and then at the end of the millennium, Christ will return and resurrect all mankind, and the final judgment will take place, and finally the eternal state will begin.

3.) Pre-Millennialism holds that after the end of this current age, Christ will come bodily in his glorious 2nd Coming to earth, at which time the dead in Christ will be resurrected (raised) from the dead, and Christ will set up his earthly kindgdom --aided in his rule by raised believers-- and that reign of Christ will last for 1000 years (maybe exactly, or more or less).

The Dominant View: Pre-Millennialism

A somewhat deliberate perusal of the main passage (Rev.20:2-5) should make it quite apparent that the pre-millennial position is the one which flows most naturally and straight-forwardly out of scripture, with the least interpretive gymnastics being performed on the text. The reader ...

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