Millennial Views An Overview
Millennial Views – An Overview
by John C. Darrow
Millennium is a Latin term meaning “thousand years”.
The Old Testament speaks often of the Age to Come, in which a New Covenant would be made between God and man, and God’s Spirit would live in men’s hearts. (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:25-27). Messiah is to reign then (Dan. 7:13-14).
In the New Testament, Revelation chapter 20 speaks of Satan being bound for “a thousand years”, then loosed afterwards. At the beginning of this thousand years, the righteous dead are raised and reign with Christ. The rest of the dead are raised at the end of the 1000 years.
Several approaches are taken to the details. The Amillennial view (“no millennium”) sees the Age to Come and the Millennium as present now, with Christ reigning in the hearts of those who are saved. The 1000 years is representative of some long period of time, the Church Age, just as God’s ownership of “the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10) is not limited to a literal 1000 hills. Christians have passed from death to life (Jn. 5:24), and are seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). The “first resurrection” in Rev. 20 is this spiritual resurrection of believers, with a physical resurrection of all when Christ returns, with judgment and spiritual death the fate of unbelievers at that point.
The Postmillennial view (“after the millennium”) emphasizes that God means the Gospel to be successful in bringing people to Him and transforming their lives, and through them, society. At some point, earth will be actually to a large degree acknowledging Christ as Lord. In this Millennium, Christ rules through the Gospel.
Premillennialism (“before the millennium”) sees Christ returning to set up His Kingdom. Christians are physically raised at that point, while unbelievers are not raised until 1000 years later. There are various subdivisions within this view, with one of the major differences being whether Old Testament believers, such as Abraham, are physically raised along with Christians before the millennium, or raised at the end of the millennium. The theological difference revolves around whether Old Testament and New Testament believers are all seen as one people of God, all saved by faith in God’s provision, or whether Old Testament believers are a separate people of God from the Church.