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Millennial Theories!!

aymon de albatrus

Out of various erudite Christian Theologians three theories have been presented regarding the Thousand years spoken in Revelation-20:

“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,” (Rev 20:1-7)


Basically the three theories are:

PRE-millennial, A and B,

A = Tribulation is before the thousand years, Second coming soon after and Judgement at the end of the 1000 years

B = The believers (true church) will be ruptured with the Second coming of Christ, then Tribulation, after that the second (third) coming with believers, at the end of 1000 years the Judgement

 

POST-millennial:

Eventually the millennium and then at the end the Second coming and Judgement

 

A-millennial:

The millennium is the symbolic time between Christ ascension and His Second coming, then Judgement.

The term “Millennium” comes from the Latin mille = thousand + annus = year. It is commonly used to denote the thousand year reign of Christ on earth as per: Rev 20:6-7.

Throughout the Christian era the concept of Millennium has been a source of major controversy with one scheme being en-vogue for a period and the other in a different period. For example Postmillennialism was top in the eighteen century, whilst Premillennialism is very much accepted in our days. Amillennialism was on during the Reformation. In this brief exposition we do not intend giving a technical exhaustive dissertation of each system, for it is a complex study well beyond me, but I glean that NO system covers all the aspect of the concept and so it is a matter of one’s mind-set which system one takes. Indeed some learned and inspired scholars and expositors did well in staying away from commenting on the book of Revelation, such giants as Calvin, for example. Methinks it may be a case of the full truth being shut until the time the Lord fully opens the eyes of His people.

In a nutshell then, basically, a superficial description of the three theories:

PREMILLENNIALISM: The Premillennial has two alternatives for in one it introduces the concept of Rupture [the church, the believers alive on earth will be taken by Christ to a special place to escape the Tribulation (terrible things to happen for 3 ˝ years, some say 7 years, on the earth before 1000 year Millenium)]. This approach has the problem that it has two second comings of Christ.

This end-times theology is the belief that Christ will literally and physically be on the earth for His millennial reign, at His second coming. The doctrine is called premillennialism because it holds that Christ’s physical return to earth will occur prior to the inauguration of the millennium. Premillennialism is largely based upon a literal interpretation of Revelation 20:1-6 in the New Testament which describes Christ’s coming to the earth and subsequent reign at the end of an apocalyptic period of Tribulation. It views this future age as a time of fulfilment for the prophetic hope of God’s people as given in the Old Testament.

The premillennialism view takes its name from its assertion that Christ will return prior to this thousand-year period. There are two major forms of premillennialism: Historic and Dispensational. Both versions believe that Christ's return will be preceded by a seven-year tribulation that will mark the beginning of his one thousand year earthly reign, though not all historic premillennialists believe this is a literal seven years. They also believe that at Christ's return believers will be resurrected and Satan will be bound. The millennium will then consist of a golden age of Christ's reign. At the end of the millennium, Satan will be released to lead a last rebellion against Christ, and this rebellion will be crushed. Then will follow the general resurrection of the rest of mankind, and the final judgment, followed by the New Heavens and the New Earth. The Dispensational system anticipates that those raptured prior to the tribulation will reign with Christ over the millennial population. The Dispensational premillennialism sees the re-establishment of temple worship and animal sacrifices which is rather unlikely.

POSTMILLENNIALISM: This theory is an interpretation of chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation which sees Christ's second coming as occurring after (Latin post) the "Millennium", a Golden Age or era of Christian prosperity and dominance. The term includes several similar views of the end times, and it stands in contrast to premillennialism and, to a lesser extent, to amillennialism.

There are also two major kinds of postmillennialism. One kind teaches that the millennium is a literal one thousand years, more specifically, the last one thousand years before Christ returns. The other kind of postmillennialism teaches that the millennium is not a literal one thousand years, and that it spans the entire period between the first and second advents of Christ, somewhat similar to the a-millennial view.

All versions of postmillennialism share the belief that there will be only one bodily resurrection, and that this will occur when Christ returns. At Christ's return, all Christ's enemies will be finally defeated, the final judgment will take place, and the New Heavens and New Earth will be created. The distinctive mark of postmillennialism is that prior to Christ's return the gospel will progress and triumph more and more, so that the world will be largely Christianised prior to Christ's return. Things will get better and better for the gospel and the church until Christ returns.

A-MILLENNIALISM: The "thousand years" are not taken literally but as a long age between Christ's first and second comings; the millennial reign of Christ as pictured in the book of Revelation is viewed as Christ reigning (now) in this long period at the right hand of the Father. Amillennialism tends to believe society will, through growing rebellion, continue to deteriorate, while Postmillennialism believes the Church will influence the world producing greater righteousness

The amillennial view holds that the thousand years mentioned in Revelation-20 is a symbolic number, not a literal description; that the millennium has already begun and is identical with the current church age. Amillennialism holds that while Christ's reign during the millennium is spiritual in nature, at the end of the church age, Christ will return in final judgment and establish a permanent physical reign.

Most amillennialists do believe in the literal fulfilment of Biblical prophecies; they simply disagree with the 1,000 years Millennialists about how or when these prophecies will be fulfilled.

The Amillennium is somewhat similar to Postmillennium in that it teaches that Christ will return after the “millennium”. Amillennialism designates the idea that there is no literal millennium, that is, the idea that the reign of Christ is longer than a literal one thousand years, for its “millennium” is the entire period between the first and second advents of Christ. As mentioned above, one type of postmillennialism is practically identical to amillennialism in this respect. What distinguishes amillennialism from this type of postmillennialism is the nature of the development of the kingdom of God during the millennium. Amillennialism predicts that before the coming of Christ things will get worse and pretty bad on earth, whilst the Postmillennialism foresees a golden age for the church. Certainly what we see that these days on the earth all around us, do not favour a “golden age” view for the Church.

CONCLUSION:

Seems to me that there are quite a few differing views on the concept of “Millennium” and none has the full description of the concept and for sure no one has the dating correct for the OT uses Lunar years whilst we use Solar years and then there is different leap years. Therefore we will not know the day or hour for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, because, even for no other reason, we do not know when the leap month will be applied. Besides our Lord told us that only God knows the date: “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Mat 24:36)

The reason for Jesus to reign on earth (when He is already reigning) does not make much sense to me, besides this theory needs two second comings of Christ. The other theory that predicts a golden age for the church is not borne out by the situation on earth and we know that for things to go bad, the only thing that good men need doing is NOTHING. And that is exactly what “good men” are doing now, following the ways of the world through democracy.

So considering the uncertainties in every one of these theories, it is clear to me that our time may be better spent in dedicating ourselves to cultivate holiness (Heb 12:14) and to be ready ANYTIME for the Lord’s second coming. Come Lord, come quickly, AMEN.