Purpose of this Session
There are various views of the Millennial reign of Christ.
A basic teaching of amillennialism holds that the kingdom began with Christ’s first coming and will continue until His Second Coming. They teach that there is no 1000 year kingdom on earth when Christ will reign supreme. They use an allegorical system of interpretation of prophetic events. The Olivet Discourse and the majority of the book of Revelation are viewed as past historical events or are spiritualized out of existence. They do believe in a Second Coming of Christ for His own, which takes place at the end, which is immediately followed by the judgement of the wicked and the cross over into eternity. They believe that conditions in this world will continue to deteriorate up until the time of the second coming of Christ.
The origin of amillennialism can be traced back to one of the early church fathers, namely Augustine (354-430 AD). However, another church father, Origin (185-254 AD) from Alexandria, Egypt, who was somewhat influenced by Greek philosophy, taught that the kingdom was not physical but spiritual. It is worth noting that apart from these two, all the other church fathers were premillennial (see below) in their views.
Postmillenialism has its roots in England and was first taught by Unitarian minister Daniel Whitby (1638-1726).
This view holds that Christ will return at the end of the millennium. They do not consider the 1000 years in Revelation 20 to be a literal period of 1000 years, but merely symbolic of a long period of time.
Loraine Boettner, a postmillennialist, in his book “The Millennium” states,
“The millennium to which the postmillennialist looks forward is thus a golden age of spiritual prosperity during this present dispensation, that is, the Church age. This is to be brought about through forces now active in the world….The changed character of individuals will be reflected in an uplifted social, economic, political and cultural life of mankind. The world at large will enjoy a state of righteousness which up until now has been seen only in relatively small and isolated groups: for example, some family circles, and some local church groups and kindred organizations. This does not mean there will be a time on earth when every person will be a Christian or that all sin will be abolished. But it does mean that evil in all its many forms eventually will be reduced to negligible proportions, that Christian principles will be the rule, not the exception, and that Christ will return to a truly Christianized world."
There is a new form of postmillennialism known as "Reconstuctionism" which teaches how the world will eventually be Christianized. David Chilton writes in his book, "Paradise Restored", "Our goal is world dominion under Christ's Lordship, a world takeover if you will; but our strategy begins with reformation, reconstruction of the church. From that will flow social and political reconstruction, indeed a flowering of Christian civilization."
There are other similar forms of postmillennialism such as ‘Dominion Theology’ and ‘Kingdom Now Theology’.
Although there is certainly a mandate for Christians to take spiritual dominion and bring Christ’s influence to their sphere of influence, the idea that a fully or even substantially Christianised world will meet Christ at His coming does not find much support in Scripture. As we noted elsewhere in the notes for this module, the prophetic words of Jesus Himself paint a picture of increasing trouble in the world, in the midst of which His people will shine as a light. He does not however suggest a paradise on earth preceding his coming, but a season of unprecedented tribulation.
This view is the view of the early church fathers, which takes a literal approach to the Scriptures. It teaches that after the seventieth week of Daniel (Daniel 9:27, and the 70 weeks prophecy) is completed, Christ will establish His kingdom here on earth and reign for 1000 years. Premillennialists have various views on the timing of the Rapture, but they all place that momentous event before the 1000-year reign of Christ and His kingdom.
What will the Millennium be like?
Sometimes we can be so academic about the end times, seeking to place events in a timeframe and figure out the minutiae of Biblical prophecy, that we fail to embrace the deep flowing river of general and undisputable revelation concerning the coming of Christ and His Kingdom on earth.
As with other future events, details of the millennium may be unclear on some points, but several things are clearly prophesied that every believer should digest and look forward to with great joy and anticipation.
These characteristics of the Millennium include (adapted from a similar list cited in Willmington’s Guide To The Bible, pp853-854):
A. Peace and Freedom from oppression.
War will cease under the universal reign of Christ, and prosperity will characterise His rule. There will be no social, political or religious oppression.
Isa. 2:4; 9:4-7; 11:6-9; 32:17, 18; 33:5, 6; 54:13; 55:12; 60:18; 65:25; 66:12; Ezek. 28:26; 34:25, 28; Hosea 2:18; Micah 4:2, 3; Zech. 9:10; Isa. 14:3-6; 42:6, 7; 49:8, 9; Zech. 9:11, 12
The fullness of joy will be a distinctive mark of the age
Isa. 9:3, 4; 12:3-6; 14:7, 8; 25:8, 9; 30:29; 42:1, 10-12; 52:9; 60:15; 61:7, 10; 65:18, 19; 66:10-14; Jer. 30:18, 19; 31:13, 14; Zeph. 3:14-17; Zech. 8:18, 19; 10:6, 7
The Millennial kingdom will be a holy Kingdom throughout.
Isa. 1:26, 27; 4:3, 4; 29:18-23; 31:6, 7; 35:8, 9; 52:1; 60:21; 61:10; Jer. 31:23; Ezek. 36:24-31; 37:23, 24; 43:7-12; 45:1; Joel 3:21; Zeph. 3:11, 13; Zech. 8:3; 13:1, 2; 14:20, 21
Christ’s Kingdom will be glorious and God’s glory will be manifested in fullness during His reign. God’s manifest presence will be evident everywhere during Christ’s reign
Isa. 4:2; 24:23; 35:2; 40:5; 60:1-9; Ezek. 37:27, 28; Zech. 2:2, 10-13; Rev. 21:3
The inhabitants of Christ’s Kingdom will know the comfort and security of their King.
Isa. 12:1, 2; 29:22, 23; 30:26; 40:1, 2; 49:13; 51:3; 61:3-7; 66:13, 14; Jer. 31:23-25; Zeph. 3:18-20; Zech. 9:11, 12; Rev. 21:4
The Kingdom will know absolute and perfect justice and law
Isa. 9:7; 11:5; 32:16; 42:1-4; 65:21-23; Jer. 23:5; 31:23, 29, 30
G. Full knowledge and instruction.
The ministry of the King will bring His subjects into a place of mature understanding. His instruction will be heard by all.
Isa. 11:1, 2, 9; 41:19, 20; 54:13; Hab. 2:14, Isa. 2:2, 3; 12:3-6; 25:9; 29:17-24; 30:20, 21; 32:3, 4; 49:10; 52:8; Jer. 3:14, 15; 23:1-4; Micah 4:2).
H. The removal of the curse.
The original curse upon the earth will be reversed and abundance and productivity will again be manifest in nature. Even the animals will no longer be ferocious or venomous.
There will be no poverty and prosperity and abundance will abound. Every need will be provided.
Isa. 11:6-9; 35:9; 65:25; Isa. 4:1; 30:23-25; 35:1, 2, 7; 62:8, 9; 65:21-23; Jer. 31:5, 12; Ezek. 34:26; 36:29, 30; Joel 2:21-27; Amos 9:13, 14; Micah 4:1, 4; Zech. 8:11, 12; 9:16, 17
I. Sickness removed.
Healing and wholeness will be throughout the entire Kingdom.
Isa. 33:24; Jer. 30:17; Ezek. 34:16; Isa. 29:17-19; 35:3-6; 61:1, 2; Jer. 31:8; Micah 4:6, 7; Zeph. 3:19
J. Unified Worship.
All nations will worship God and His Son.
Isa. 45:23; 52:1, 7-10; 66:17-23; Zeph. 3:9; Zech. 8:23; 9:7; 13:2; 14:16; Mal. 1:11; Rev. 5:9-14
Revelation 20-21 - The final chapter of time
At the conclusion of the millennium (a one thousand year period) satan will be loosed for a short season before the final judgement of all spirits and all people. Unbelievably, some will choose to follow the deceiver to his final awful destination.
After this final event and judgement this old earth and heaven will pass away, and be completely recreated. There will be a new heaven and a new earth as we step with Christ into eternity.