What is the Millennium?2
THE 1000 YEARS OF REVELATION 20:1-6
There has been great confusion on eschatology, or the theological study of future events, since the early church. The millennium, or the 1000 years, in Revelation 20:1-6 has not escaped this confusion. To develop the understanding of the topics under discussion in this paper, the main passage under consideration reads as follows in the New King James Version (NKJV): Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over 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.
Through history, scholars have not been able to agree on one interpretation of the millennium, the outcome intended of this paper is to provide the reader with adequate understanding of the interpretive issues of this passage. Through a review of the main elements of this difficult passage and the three main interpretive views that are supported today, the reader will be guided to reach his or her own conclusion on many of the issues that are in question. What is the Millennium?
The word millennium comes from two Latin words, Mille, meaning “thousand,” and annum, meaning “year.” Simply put, “one thousand years,” but unfortunately that is where the simplicity ends. Now that we have a basis of a thousand years the question then becomes when does this thousand years fall into our past history, or is it to be some future event? This paper will consider the three major views which are post-millennialism, amillennialism, and premillennialism. All three of these views in this paper are not only based upon the timing of the return of Jesus Christ to the earth but they also incorporate much more than just the arrangement of the events that surround His coming back. Post-Millennialism
One interpretive view is that of the post-millennialism. With the prefix of “Post,” this view is supportive of Jesus Christ returning to earth after the 1000 years. One major problem with the postmillennialist view is that the thousand years is not taken literally. In that the “thousand years” is used figuratively as a nondescript amount of time. Postmillennialists interpret the key text in Revelation 20 as that the Kingdom of Christ originally began in the first century with the preaching of the Gospel. Through the subsequent preaching and power of the Gospel the postmillennialist believes that the world has become and is becoming a better place. This view is often seen as the “optimistic” view of the millennium. In retrospect when looking at Christian history, this view must have gained credence with the advent of Christianity becoming the predominant religion of the Roman Empire under the Emperor Constantine. Many attribute the postmillennialist view with that of Augustine in the fourth century. The problem with this view is that Augustine...