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A Beginning of Global Governance - #1 in a series
Prophetic Signs that we are in the End Times
The Earth Charter's Spiritual Agenda - #2 in a Series
The New Age Influence at the United Nations - #3 in a Series
Jesus is the Messiah Prophesied in the Old Testament
Like a Thief in the Night - The Rapture of the Church
The Coming War of Gog and Magog, an Islamic Invasion?
Muslim, Jewish, and Christian Prophecy Comparison
The Millennial Kingdom
There will be False Christs
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The Millennial Kingdom

Contender Ministries                                               Printer Friendly Version


Millennium – it’s simply a word derived from Latin that means “one thousand years.”   Yet this simple word with the simple meaning becomes something much more in the context of the Millennial Kingdom, or the Millennial Reign of Christ.  And from that point, different interpretations of the thousand-year reign of Christ have resulted in more “-isms” than most of us care to think about: premillennialism, postmillennialism, amillennialism, and preterism.  Let’s examine each of these beliefs and let the scriptures support what they may. 

Biblically, the millennium refers to a thousand-year reign of Christ on earth.  While some of the Old Testament prophets mention this era, it is mentioned with most clarity in the twentieth chapter of Revelation.  Here, John says: 

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 upon 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 upon them, and judgment was given unto 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 upon 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 hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

 – Revelation 20:1-6


The earliest interpretation of the millennial reign of Christ is that of premillennialism.  This belief holds that after a period of tribulation, Christ will return to physically establish His Kingdom on Earth for a period of one thousand years.  During this time, Satan will be bound and unable to deceive people.  After the millennium, Satan will be set free for a time, but his rebellion will be quickly vanquished.  The premillennialist believes that this Kingdom is yet to come.   

There are two subsets to premillennialism.  Historic Premillenialism places the rapture of the church and the start of the millennium together as part of the same event.  This is also known as a post-tribulation rapture, and contends that believers must endure the seven-year tribulation prior to the glorious reappearance of Jesus Christ.  Dispensational Premillennialism is the belief in a pre-tribulation rapture of the church, followed by seven years of tribulation, and finally, the glorious reappearance of Christ and the start of His millennial reign.   

The premillennial view adheres to a literal interpretation of the Bible.  As previously mentioned, this is the oldest known interpretation of the millennial Kingdom.  For the first two centuries, premillennialism was the accepted view of the church.  Papias was a companion of Polycarp, who was discipled by John, the author of revelation.  Papias believed in the literal earthly premillennial doctrine.  Other second and third century scholars who held to this belief included Irenaus, Appolinarius, Victorinus, Tertullian, and Lactantius.   


The amillennialist does not accept the literal interpretation of Revelation 20.  The thousand years is figurative, and shouldn’t be taken literally.  The millennium is a spiritual representation of the church age, in which we are now living.  This view holds that Satan was bound at the first coming of Christ.  The good in the world comprises the kingdom of Christ, and the evil in the world is part of Satan’s kingdom.  The kingdom of Christ is the church itself.  This view was first proposed by St. Augustine in the fourth century, and has been the favored position of the Roman Catholic church ever since.  It is also a view that is common among reform protestant denominations.  The amillennialist holds that Christ will reign through his church until His second coming, which will mark – not the millennial reign – but the beginning of eternity for believers.   


In this view, Christ’s reign begins somewhere between the first and second coming, but it arrives in degrees.  Like amillennialism, postmillennialism denies a literal interpretation of Revelation 20.  They believe the thousand-year reign of Christ is figurative, and represents a time when He reigns through the hearts of believers.  The kingdom is brought in gradually through evangelism.   

Developed in the 16th century, this view holds that conditions will gradually improve over time, evolving into a world that has become “Christianized”, and ready for the second coming of Christ.  Postmillennialism has become all but extinct as the result of two world wars, the Great Depression, and the unabated moral decay in the world.  Conditions are definitely not improving.   


Preterism often goes hand in hand with postmillennialism, and holds that the bulk of the prophecies in Revelation were fulfilled with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  The preterist does believe in a final judgment following a metaphorical millennial kingdom, but believes that all other prophecy has been fulfilled.  This is the “been there, done that” view of Revelation.   

Preterism has some sever flaws.  First, most biblical scholars believe that John wrote Revelation around 95 A.D.  How can he then prophecy about something that took place in 70 A.D.?  When was the mark of the beast implemented (Revelation 13:16-17)?  When did the Euphrates River dry up (Revelation 16:12)?  Why is there no record of 100-pound hailstones falling from the sky (Revelation 16:21)?  Why was Israel dispersed for nearly two thousand years, and reborn as an independent nation in 1948?  These questions cannot be answered with any intellectual honesty while adhering to the preterist view. 

On the basis of scripture, I contend that the premillennialist view is the only one mentioned that can pass the intellectual muster.  The following list explains this contention: 

  • Only the premillennialist view takes a literal interpretation of Revelation 20.  While the Bible does speak allegorically at times, it is pretty clear when it is doing so.  If a passage can be taken literally, it should be.  One thousand years is mentioned specifically in vs 1-7.  Other mentions of time in Revelation are specific (ten days - Rev.2:10; forty-two months – Rev. 11:2, 13:5), or otherwise vaguely noted (a little while – Rev. 6:11; a short time – Rev. 12:12). 
  • Postmillennialism and amillennialism consider us to currently be in an allegorical millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ.  Isaiah drew a mental picture for us when he described what life would be like during the millennial kingdom.  In Isaiah 11:6-9 he says tells us, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.  The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.  The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.  They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”  This is a vision of an Eden-like utopia.  How can anyone look at the world in which we live and describe it in these words?  How can anyone think that Satan is in chains, and not running amok in this evil world?

The world in which we live is not the world as God created it.  God created a world much like Isaiah described above.  But man chose sinful rebellion and was cast out of that utopia.  The millennial kingdom will provide our Lord and Savior, the Messiah Jesus Christ, with an opportunity to reign over a world that will be as it was meant to be.  Satan will be bound and unable to exercise his influence over God’s creation.  The blood of the martyrs will have been avenged, and the saints will be joined with our savior, in a preview of Heaven to come.  In Revelation 22:20, Jesus said, “I am coming soon.”  Let me close with the words John used in response to that promise, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”