Q: #163. Can you explain the 3 views of the Millennium?
By: Steve Shirley
A: There are actually 4 views. They are called: Premillennialism (2 views within this called Dispensational vs Historical), Postmillennialism, and Amillennialism. Let me summarize each view.
Common point of view:
A 7 year period of tribulation on Earth will be followed by Christ's 2nd coming, after which He will set up an Earthly kingdom from a New Jerusalem. Christ will physically rule, along with those who were raptured either prior to, during, or after the Tribulation, over those who came through the Tribulation for 1000 years (a millennium).
Different points of view:
Dispensational Premillennialism holds that:
#1. Israel and the "church" are separate with 2 individual redemptive plans.
#2. The "church" is hardly mentioned in Old Testament prophecy.
#3. There are a number of resurrections: at least 2 for the righteous and 1 for the wicked.
#4. All of time is (generally) divided into 7 dispensations.
#5. A strictly literal interpretation of Old Testament prophecy and Revelation.
#6. A pre-tribulational view of the rapture is generally held.
#7. First came into existence in the 1800's.
Historical Premillennialism holds that:
#1. There is no distinction between Israel and the "church." The "church" is the fulfillment of Israel.
#2. The "church" is foretold in Old Testament prophecy.
#3. There are two separate resurrections: the righteous are raised before the Millennium and the wicked afterwards.
#4. There are no specific divisions of time in the Bible.
#5. Old Testament prophecy and Revelation are not always viewed literally.
#6. The pre-tribulational view of the rapture is rarely held.
#7. Has been in existence since app. 165 A.D.
The Millennium is not viewed as a literal 1000 years, but rather, an era which will last for a long time. During this era, it is taught that the world will become better and better through the gradual spreading of the Gospel until finally the whole world becomes Christian. This will also be a time of great prosperity and peace. After this occurs, Christ will physically return for His 2nd coming and claim His kingdom. He will then judge the wicked and enter into eternity with the "church."
Postmillennialism believes there will be only one resurrection of the righteous and the wicked at the same time at the 2nd coming of Jesus.
The "church" is the fulfillment of Israel (similar to Historical Premillennialism).
Old Testament prophecy and Revelation are not viewed literally.
There will be no future 7 year Tribulation.
There will be no literal Millennium or 1000 years ("a" means no). The Millennium described in prophecy is simply a long period of time between Christ's 1st coming and 2nd coming. It began at Pentecost, after Christ's resurrection, and will continue until the end of the "church" age. When Christ returns at His 2nd coming, He will resurrect and judge all men and then the Earth will be destroyed and history will end. Believers may spend eternity either in Heaven or a totally new Earth.
Amillennialism teaches that Christ is already reigning over everything, including Satan, through His death on the cross and resurrection.
It is believed that there will only be one resurrection of the righteous and the wicked at the same time at the 2nd coming of Jesus (similar to Postmillennialism).
The "church" is the fulfillment of Israel (similar to Postmillennialism and Historical Premillennialism).
Old Testament prophecy and Revelation are generally viewed symbolically but may be viewed literally depending on the context.
There will be no future 7 year Tribulation, just a time of severe tribulation.