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Pre-Millennial (The One Thousand Years)

Literally, millennium refers to a period of time equal to 1000 years; this time interval can have beginning from any date. However, in the study of end time doctrines (i. e. , eschatology) the millennium has got a far reaching meaning. According to the book of Revelation, (20: 1-6), millennium is vividly described as a period of 1000 years of the rule of Jesus Christ over the earth.

At the beginning of this time, the devil and his lieutenants will be bound by chains and thrown into the abyss of great fire, this will mark the beginning of a period of peace and rejoicing on the entire earth for those who those who were beheaded by the devil during his reign, because they never worshiped the devil and his symbols and because they never allowed themselves to bear the marks of the beasts in their foreheads. At the very end of 1000 years the devil will be released into the earth in order to organize a ‘strong’ army against the Lord.

The Lord, will show His Might by destroying the army and then the final judgment will take place with the new heaven and new earth being made. This forms the pre-millennial view of the second coming of God and Savior, Jesus Christ. As it will be described in this paper later on, the pre-millennial, pre-tribulation eschatology is widely held in modern times. However, there seems to be no consensus among the Christians on the right eschatological framework that best explains the scriptures as held in Rev.

20:1-6, on this end, there exists three eschatological interpretations that describes the second coming of God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, one thing is strikingly common across these three eschatological interpretations: they represent one group or another, (i. e. , monolithic), and that, virtually all Christians hold the believe that, God and Savior, Jesus Christ will one day descent on the earth. Apparently, the purpose of this paper is to dig deep into the scripture in order to put forth a solid support of the pre-millennial view as put forth by Rev.

20:1-6. To this end, the paper will briefly visit the opposing views in order to form a clear scriptural distinction. ? Opposing Views Certainly, no one is sure on the exact time of the second coming of God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Christ, in the book of Acts contends, “it is not for you to know the times or the seasons. ” (Acts1:7) The books of (Mathew 24: and Isaiah 11:19), try to explain this though in parables. It is this uncertainty that underlies the whole issue of the second coming of the Lord that forms the basis of the three eschatological interpretations.

Based on Revelation chapter 20, there are other two views that seems to oppose the pre-millennial view point, these two views are; postmillennialism and amillennialism. • The Nature of the Millennium Postmillennialism: According to Zoba, around the period of 19th century, the great Christian thinker, Augustine rejected the literal and materialistic notions behind chiliasm. He contended that, the church was enough indicator of the presence of the kingdom of God.

To him, the period between the Pentecost and the return of Christ was real millennium, a period that was marked by massive uprooting of satanic seeds across the whole world before Christ return. Zoba’s reasoning can be pointed to be the first of its kind in regards to the doctrine of postmillennialism, though it later changed to a-millennialism towards the end of first millennium A. D. [Zoba (1995)] • The Timing of the Millennium On the other hand, Gentry, Kenneth, postmillennialist writer, Christ’s second coming is perceived to occur after the one thousand years as described in Rev.

20 and which will be ushered in by the church. His work shows that there are two other subdivisions in the broad postmillennial view based on the influence of messianic revival missions whose main mission to prepare the Christians for the establishment of the theocratic kingdom of 1000 years followed by the coming of Christ. [Gentry (2003)] The two postmillennial subdivisions are; • The Duration of the Millennium Revivalist Postmillennialism: according to this view, the millennium is a representation of an indefinable period of time.

However, this period is characterized a not-so-fast growth (steady) of the Christian revival, which will sprout up and spread its wings to all the corners of the world. The ultimate goal will be the timeless return of the messiah. Re-constructionist Postmillennialism: this is a period that is characterized by a rapid increase in the church influence across the corners of the world, a phenomenon that will be brought by successful aggressive evangelism and subsequent expansion.

This will culminate into the establishment of the theocratic kingdom of 1000 years, after which, the Christ will descent again from heaven. • Occupants of the Millennial Kingdom A-millennialism: According to a-millennial view there does not exist a definite period of time i. e. the thousand years between Christ’s first and the waited second coming is a hoax. The millennium which the book of Revelation talks about is viewed by holders of a-millennial perspective as the reigning of Christ right on the right-hand side of His father.

The verdict here is a blurred line between a-millennialism and revivalist postmillennialism, though they both are based on very different notions, a-millennialism holds that the society will, deteriorate the more, will grow more rebellious, and father away from the basic Christian teachings, while postmillennialism holds that the church will be very influential in the creation of righteous Christians. [Riddlebarger (2003)] • The Relationship of Israel and the Church to the Millennial Kingdom

The first opponent to pre-millennialism as a Christian doctrine was noted on Marcion, his views considered are considered to have been a heretic by most scholars. His stand was vocal and he asserted that, the use of Old Testament and most of New Testament books which were not scripted by Apostle Paul was not in order. He just did not believe in reincarnation and therefore there was nothing like the second coming of Jesus, he expected the majority of mankind to be lost. In one sentence, his doctrine was purely unchristian, he alienated Christians against the doctrine of God and Christ, and that the laws given in the Old Testament were void.

[Brown (1988)] Another known scholar who opposed pre-millennialism was Origon in the third century. He openly criticized pre-millennial doctrine in his allegorical interpretation which can be said to be a-millennial in nature. Nevertheless, some of his theological spiritualization prophesied the second coming as scripted in the New Testament. For instance, in his Commentary on Mathew he taught that “Christ’s return was a sign of His disclosure of Himself and His deity to all humanity in such a way that all might partake of His glory to the degree that each individual’s actions warrant (Commentary on Mathew 12:30).

” His teachings were so staunch that only few people followed it, though it came to gain substantial acceptance during the period after Constantine. [Larry (1969)] Many early reformers were opponents of pre-millennialism and upheld the doctrines of a-millennialism. Augustine’s teaching laid the eschatological ground during the middle ages, in what can be said to be a practical abandonment of pre-millennialism for a-millennialism. His arguments were not futuristic per se and hence the shift of eschatological view point.

However, his teachings recognized the theological kingdom term’s eschatological function. The Anglican Church for instance, staunchly refuted the doctrines of pre-millennialism in their document called Anglican Articles. For instance, Section 41 of the original Anglican Articles drawn by Crammer described the millennium as a fable of Jewish dotage, though it was not included during the revision of the articles at a later date during the Elizabethan era. Similarly, the Lutherans objected to chiliasm in their The Augsburg Confession.

Art XVII, lamented what he called the “scattering of Jewish opinions…,” that held, “…before the resurrection of the dead, the godly shall occupy the kingdom of the world, the wicked being everywhere suppressed. ” [Schaff, n. d. ] ? My Own View The book of Revelation is not prophetic neither is it historic, though its scriptures are bent on a specific future, a future full of tribulations. Tribulations inflicted by the devil but that will be brought to an end at the second coming that will confirm the Holy realm for a period of 1000 years – millennial. • The Timing of the Millennium

According to Walvoord, pre-millennial is the eschatological system which literally and consistently adheres to the scripture as described by Revelation 20, it therefore represents the eschatological hope of the early church. It also gives clear distinction between the Israel and the church and their respective programs. As such therefore, it is characterized by a several essential striking features. The view contends that a rapture, the seizure of the church out of the world at an unknown time (Thessalonians 4; 13-18). This will culminate into a series of events that will subsequently see the ascendancy of the Antichrist, to power.

The antichrist will rule the world ruthlessly for a period of seven years as described in the book of Daniel. The seven years being the final “week” of years in the angelic message to Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27) Revelation 19:15, calls it, “the time of the great tribulation to come on the earth as Christ treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God. ” • The Occupants of the Millennial Kingdom However, according to the scriptures in (Zechariah 14; Revelation 19:11-16), the rule of the antichrist will be put to an end at the descent of Christ at His Second Coming to the Mount of Olives with the church.

The victorious battle of Armageddon will culminate into a grand inauguration of a thousand year reign (the millennium). During this period there will be feasting and all sorts of happy life, there will also be the spiritual birth of Israel, and the Jewish people will acknowledge Christ as their Messiah. The end of the millennium will see the release of the devil, but only for a moment. (Revelation 20:7-8) Then heaven and earth will give room for the new heaven and new earth. At this very moment the final judgment shall begin and the devil will be sentenced to eternal condemnation.

(Revelation 20: 10-21:1) Contrary to what many holds, the concept of a ‘temporarily’ messianic kingdom at the coming of the Messiah was not conceived by Christianity. An interpretation of the apocalyptic literature of the early Judaism explains this. It offers a clear distinction between the current age and the age to come (millennium), though based on the context of the nation of Israel, the literature shows that the age to come was viewed as a nationalistic golden age that would put the Old Testament prophecies to reality. [Bailey (1934)] According to R. H.

Charles in his commentary on the Book of Revelation, he indicates that Jewish eschatology is responsible for the concept of temporary messianic reign that is a precedent to the eternal kingdom. [Charles (1920)] • The Nature of the Millennium The concept of pre-millennialism and its history does not have a far reaching date. This is confirmed by a co-founder of the Christian Revival Crusade, Thomas Foster work. He indicates that Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus back in 1539. His and colleagues core goal was to use any means at their disposal to bring back Protestants into the fold of Rome.

The society attracted the services of a Spanish priest, Francisco Ribera, who later on wrote a commentary on the book of Revelation in 1585 A. D. His thesis was Pre-millennialism and was inserted in the Vulgate Bible as a strategy to counter the Protestant Reformers whose view portrayed the Papacy as the Antichrist, and the Catholic Church in general as the Babylon that is described in Revelation 18:5. At around 1841, John Nelson Darby formed the Plymouth Brethren that helped in preaching the Roman Catholic message on the Revelation.

This led to the referring of John Nelson Derby as the founder of Pre-millennialism. His ministry and faith were purely based on chiliasm, chiliasm that according to Greek was a term denoting 1000. [Foster, (1983)] Pre-millennialism underwent a hard time at the face of the protestant Reformers, for instance during the fourth century it was virtually rejected by many reformers. However, John Nelson Darby came to its rebirth in the late 1950s through the doctrine of dispensational pre-millennialism.

Similarly, Cyrus Scoffield contributed greatly in the rebirth of pre-millennialism with the publication of his Reference Bible that later on was used by the Protestants. [Zoba (1995)] • The Duration of the Millennium In description of the rapture and the subsequent tribulation period and the judgment and other events that shall follow afterwards, the pre-millennial view interprets the book of Revelation from chapter 4 onwards. Willmington compares the judgment day with a large Olympic arena. “In the large Olympic arenas, there was an elevated seat on which the judge of the contest sat.

After the contests were over, the successful competitors would assemble before the bema to receive their rewards or crowns. The bema was not a judicial bench where someone was condemned; it was a reward seat. Likewise, the judgment seat of Christ is not a judicial bench…” [Wilmington, n. d] • The relationship of Israel and the Church to the Millennial Kingdom One striking feature with the pre-millennial view is the rapture, or the catching up of the church at a future and unknown date, to be with Jesus in the air.

This period will be followed closely by the seven year tribulation, synonymous to Daniels heptads (Daniel 9:24-27), a preserve for the people of Israel and the Jewish people. The Antichrist who will rule the seven years will begin by uniting the Israelites and the Muslims (Daniel 9:27) Yet while this will be going on, a great destruction will suddenly befall the earth (1Thessalonians 5:3), this will make the Antichrist to break the peace seeking mission in the Middle East and opt for brutality until the end of the seven year period. (Daniel 9:27; Mathew 24: 15)

In the Bible it is identified by far many scriptures using different names such as time of trouble, the great tribulation, etc. , (Daniel 12:1; Jeremiah 30:4-7; Mathew 24:21; Revelation 2; 22; 7:14) The wrath will be targeted to the world (Revelation 3:10) and will be a litmus test to those dwell in the earth, specifically the nation of Israel (Daniel 11:35; Zechariah 13:8-9). ? Conclusions As it is boldly explained in the paper, one thing is certainly clear, that the pre-millennialism view is rich of supporting scriptures from the Bible.

However, while this is obvious, some people did not lack avenues to put forth their resentments. For instance, Croucher contends that, the pre-millennialism view deprives the book of Revelation of all its value for the early Christians in particular and the generations to come in general their rights. Though if even if pre-millennialism view is faulty, it is so because it is too literal rather than figurative as with the case of postmillennialism, as it were, pre-millennialism is by far the only view that literally interprets the Old and New Testaments in regards to the literature concerning tribulation.

Again, it is by far the only view that amicably jungles the unity of Daniels Seventieth heptad and the relationship between Israel and the church. [Walvoord (1979)] To the nation of Israel and the church the lesson that is taught by the millennial kingdom is straight forward, that there is very little earthly time remaining and that the evil is on the leash. They should therefore abstain from social and political and other forms of evils, they ought to be concerned with the saving of the souls. The dispensationalist pre-millennialism holds this.

The world has become a worse in many respects chiefly because of faulty theology that depicts the world as a worse place. The destiny of the nation of Israel and the church lies not in anywhere else but in the obedience to the word of God. Of importance is that every person must make sure that he or she is like the faithful and the wise servant who ran his masters household diligently while waiting for his return (Mathew 24:45-46). Just like J. I. Parker asserted that, Christians must live “packed up and ready to go and packed up and ready to wait”.

[Zoba, (1995)] ? Bibliography: Bailey, J. W. “The Temporary Messianic Reign in the Literature of Early Judaism. ” Journal of Biblical Literature. (1934), accessed on April 10, 2009 Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1998, accessed on April 10, 2009 Charles, R. H. Revelation, Volume 2: 15-21. International Critical Commentary. (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, (1920), accessed on April 10, 2009 Croucher, R. What are we waiting for?

John Mark Ministries, Melbourne, n. d. , accessed on April 10, 2009 Foster, T. Amazing Book of Revelation Explained! Crusade Center, Victoria. (1983), accessed on April 10, 2009 Gentry, Kenneth. Thine is the Kingdom: A Study of the Postmillennialism Hope. Vallecito, CA: Chalcedon Foundation, 2003, accessed on April 10, 2009 Larry V. Crutchfield. “Origen” in Dictionary of Pre-millennial Theology, ed. Mal Couch (Grand Rapids: Kregel), (1996), accessed on April 10, 2009 Phillip Schaff. History of the Christian Church, Vol.

2 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, n. d. ) Riddlebarger, Kim. A Case for A-millennialism: Understanding the End Times. (ISBN 0-8010-6435-X Paperback: 1903-02020) Baker Book House (2003), accessed on April 10, 2009 Walvoord, J. The rapture Question, Zondervan, Michigan, 1978, accessed on April 10, 2009 Willmington, Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible, Pacific College Study Series, Melbourne, n. d. , accessed on April 10, 2009 Zoba, W. “Future Tense,” Christianity Today, Vol. 39, No. 11 (1995), accessed on April 10, 2009

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