bible refs

The Millennium

There is much disagreement on the millennium, so just what is it? The word millennium means one thousand and in the Bible it is referring to the physical one thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ over the nation of Israel. Even though the word millennium isn't mentioned in the Bible the one thousand-year reign is mentioned six times in Revelation chapter 20. The millennium, the physical reign of Christ, will be the fulfillment of the many promises in the Old Testament of a coming kingdom of peace and righteousness. It is a time when Christ will be king over ethnic Israel and will rule over all the nations.

Premillennialism

This view of the physical reign of Christ for a millennium was called chiliasm in the early church, today it is known as premillennialism, and was the view of the church for the first few centuries. Then in the third century opposing views began to become popular which were called amillenialism and postmillennialism. Premillennialism takes the passages about the coming kingdom as literal. Amillenialism takes these same passages says the kingdom is now. Then postmillennialism believes that Christ must return before the kingdom can come. There are two views of premillennialism, dispensational premillennialism and historical premillennialism.

Premillennialism is based on a grammatical, historical, and literal interpretation of Scriptures. From Genesis until today all prophecy has been fulfilled literally. There is no indication in the Bible that this should not continue to be true.

Dispensational Premillennialism

There are two views of premillennialism, the dispensational and the historical. Dispensational premillennialism is based on a literal method of biblical interpretation. Using this method it can be seen that Jesus will literally return to the earth before the millennium begins. It can also be seen that Jesus himself will rule over His kingdom as king during this one thousand year period. The Abrahamic Covenant will be fulfilled literally and is unconditional.

Dispensational premillennialists hold that the second coming of Christ is preceded by the “Tribulation”, a seven year period where the Anti-Christ will be active. The tribulation will be a time of an outpouring of God's wrath on all mankind. However, the nation of Israel will be saved, Revelation 11:26, and Jesus will be their king forever, Revelation 11:15. Christ will return physically after the tribulation and before the millennium. Israel will be fully restored to her land with Christ reigning over her for a period of one thousand years, Revelation 20:4.

Christians, who were raptured before the tribulation, 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 3:6, will now have their glorified bodies and will reign with Christ, Revelation 20:6. The rapture is the coming of Christ in the air for His people. The second coming after the tribulation will be a physical return to the earth itself. At the end of this thousand-year reign Jesus will put down the final rebellion of Satan, Revelation 20:7-10. After this there will be the judgment of the Great White Throne where the lost will be sentenced to the second death, the lake of fire, Revelation 20:11-15. Then comes the new heaven and the new earth, Revelation 21:1-2.

Historical Premillennialism

The historical view teaches that the New Testament reinterprets the Old Testament. They, like the amillennials believe that the church replaced Israel and that all the prophecies promised to Israel are now transferred to the church. The church now fills the place in the New Testament that Israel had in the Old Testament.

Historical premillennialists could also be called post-tribulation premillennialism which is a view that the second coming of Christ will be before the thousand year reign of Christ but after the tribulation. They also believe in the salvation of the Jews but only through the church so they believe in the salvation of Israel but not in the restoration of Israel. They do not believe in the salvation of Israel as a national entity. Dispensational premillennialism believes in the salvation of ethnic Israel as a nation and the restoration of Israel as a nation under Jesus Christ as king. Dispensationalists believe the millennium is the time that God will fulfill the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New covenants with Israel and the nations.

They believe that at the rapture believer's will meet the Lord in the clouds and go immediately into the millennial reign. Instead of believing in an imminent return of Christ they believe the rise of the beast and the false prophet must take place before the coming of Christ. The coming of Christ will bring the resurrection and the rapture and then the millennial reign of Christ.

Amillennialism

Amillenialism goes back to Augustine and Origen in the third and fourth centuries. The word amillennial means no millennium. This interpretation of Scriptures continued it's increase and was continued in the Roman Catholic Church. Amillennialism is still the view of the Roman Catholic Church and during the reformation many of the protestant churches retained this view.

The amillennial view denies the literal reign of Christ on the earth and views the church as replacing Israel, with Israel having no future in God's plans and the church inheriting all the blessings God promised Israel. Amillenialism claims the reign of Christ began with the first coming of Christ and will end with His second coming. During the reign of Christ it is taught that Satan is bound at this first coming of Christ. Therefore, there will be no more millennium than there is now and the eternal state begins after the second coming of Christ. The word millennium is said to be just a long period of time.

Some amillennials believe the millennium is being fulfilled now on earth. Thus the kingdom prophecies are fulfilled and this determines the true meaning of a large portion of Scriptures in relation to the present age. Other amillennials believe that the millennium will be fulfilled in heaven by the saints in heaven. Thus, the millennium would be fulfilled in a spiritual sense with the kingdom promise pertaining to the saints in heaven and not to us here on earth. Some amillennials believe that the second coming of Christ is followed by the eternal state while others spiritualize, not only the millennium, but the second coming.

This view has resulted in much anti-Semitism down through the years and continues today. Additional information about amillennialism can be found at Amillennialism

Postmillennialism

Postmillennialism teaches that the world will get better and better with time as the Gospel is preached. It is believe that the whole world will become Christians prior to the second coming of Christ. In this view the second coming of Christ occurs after the millennium. It also teaches that the church has replaced Israel and there will be no restoration of the nation of Israel. Augustine also believed the second coming of Christ would be after the millennium.



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