The Millennium is a belief held by most Christians all over the world. This is in accordance with the book of Revelations chapter 20 that describes the Millennium hence giving rise to various interpretations and understandings. The belief states that there would be a golden age of a thousand years on earth before the final judgment and eternal life thereafter. With this belief, Christians hold the view that Christ would rule the earth for about 1000 years after, which there would be a judgment of individuals according to their sins. In fact, some Christians hold the belief that, between the Millennium and the end of the world, there would be a period of war with Satan before the final judgment. Three most common understandings of Millennialism that exist include premillennialism, postmillennialism, and amillennialism. These various understandings lead to long periods of repentance in readiness for the final judgment.
This paper explicates millennialism and its existing understandings.
Pre-millennialism is a belief that is inclined on the view that Christ would come to take His church, which includes both the living and the dead before a seven-year period of immense tribulations. Believers hold that each individual should always be prepared by repenting their sins in order to be in the final journey to heaven with Christ. According to believers of premillennialism, Christ would come to earth and establish a 1000- year kingdom on earth with its headquarters in Jerusalem. According to Rall (2010), both traditional and dispensational pre-millennialists agree that Christ would come before the actual millennium and literary take His people to heaven after the 1000- year reign. In addition, believers assert that after the 1000 years Satan, who had been initially bound by the strong powers of Christ, will be released to different nations with the aim of misleading individuals and make up an army that would fight against Christ.
Those who believe in premillennialism assert that immediately before the time of the great tribulation, there would be the rising of all the deceased saints. Christy would combine both the living and the individuals who would have risen from the dead hence judging them appropriately. This constitutes the great rapture that most individuals believe would be dramatic as these events unfold. According to the belief, the time of the great tribulation would be characterized by 3-and –half years of immense suffering under the leadership of an Anti-Christ personality. Rall (2010) points out that individuals would be subjected to different forms of suffering, and they would have no defense in their lives. It is also held that the Anti-Christ would establish a world church that would be dominant in all places. The tribulation would then be succeeded by the coming of Christ who would eventually judge various individuals according to the nature of their actions. The judgment would lead to the millennial period where Christ would establish a political reign all over the earth that would ensure that there is peace in all nations.
The premillennialism belief affects the faith of Christian faith to a significant measure. It leads to greater sacrifice and repentance among Christians as they anxiously wait for the rapture. Individuals’ faith would be gradually strengthened as they gain the desire and hope of going to heaven with Christ. The principal effect on the faith of Christians is hope and belief that emanates from repentance hence the cleansing of individuals in readiness for the rapture and the coming of Christ. This leads to prepared minds among the believers of premillennialism.
Amillennialism is another vital belief existing among Christians depending on their interpretations. This belief is based on the rejection of assertion that Christ would establish a kingdom and rule over the earth for one thousand years. This means that amillenialists do not believe in the existence of any millennium because as it is not possible for Christ to rule the world for over one thousand years according to them. The belief teachers about God and His Kingdom in heaven but does not support the assertion that Christ would establish a physical kingdom on earth. Riddlebarger (2003) reports that millennialism does not agree with some sections of Revelation 20 that emphasize on the formation of an empire by Christ and political leadership that is full of peace. Amillenialism believers propound that Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, who is God from where He reigns. This means that Jesus Christ rules the world from heaven instead of coming to establish a physical kingdom. Believers assert that Jesus is the son of God who had been sent to save the earth and finally killed by those individuals that perceived Him a blasphemous being.
Amillennialism holds the view that Christ has already bound Satan, and this does not have to wait until the end of 1000 years. In line with this, the believers hold that Jesus Christ would always take care of the church at all times. He is the recognized leader of the church for now and ever until the time of Ascension. This is according to His promise to disciples. This eliminates the belief that an Anti-Christ would rule over the earth and cause instability by establishing a global church. Amillennialists are pessimistic about the end times as they hold that no one can predetermine the exact time.
This belief further holds that the coming of Christ would be a two-part event. According to Riddlebarger (2003), the first part of the coming of the Kingdom Of God, happened at the first time Christ came to earth and was rejected by individuals. He was subjected to immense suffering and put to death. His rise from the dead and ascension into heaven is indicative of His dominance over Satan. In line with this, amillennialists assert that Christians should be always ready to suffer as Christ did because that is the nature of the world. The second part of the coming is the final opening up of the eyes of Christians. They would be able to see the Kingdom of God by both faith and eyes. All this would be witnessed by glory in heaven.
This belief is vital to the faith of Christians; it strengthens their faith as it keeps them in a prayerful state at each time. Their faith grows stronger even as they experience sufferings in the world because they would have victory in heaven.
Postmillennialism refers to a belief that is line with Revelation 20. The belief points out that the second coming of Christ would occur at any time after the millennium. According to postmillennialists, this period is believed to have already begun and individuals are gradually moving towards the end of the world. The belief holds that Satan would be gradually eliminated from the earth through continuous prayers and religious meetings among Christians. Fenemore & Simmons (2010) asserts that it is an optimistic belief that emphasizes on continuous prayers and sacrifices among individuals hence leading to a preparation for the eventual coming of Christ. It further postulates that the good would always dominate over the bad because of the continuous spread of the word of God and emphasis on the word of God. It is also understood that not all individuals would necessarily convert into Christianity.
According to the belief, there is a progressive development and growth in righteousness and faith as most Christians struggle to fight for Christ in the world. It is also asserted that Jesus Christ could come at any time, but no one is not able to predict this. Thus, individuals should always be ready for anything. They should set themselves ready for the coming of Christ because He would come without giving initial information. Individuals should focus on building their faith in order to be ready to receive Christ. Fenemore & Simmons (2010) reports that emphasizes that Jesus Christ would return the world at the point most of the individuals would have adopted the word and Christ. Therefore, postmillennialism is in line with the Book of Revelation and it emphasizes on continued prayer in order to ensure that Jesus Christ saves the world.
This belief prepares the faith of Christians as they wait for the eventual coming of Christ at any point of their lives. Thus, they continuously seek spiritual renewal and strengthen their faith with the word of God.
In conclusion, millennialism is a belief that has given rise to various interpretations and understandings. Various sections of religious groups would differ in the understanding of these various terms hence different meanings and beliefs. A millennium is believed to be a period made up of 1000 years in which Christ rules over the world. Millennialism further gives rise to other beliefs that include premillennialism, amillennialism, and postmillennialism. Premillennialism refers to the belief that asserts that Christ would come to take His Church before the Millennium. It propounds that there would be a great rapture that would be witnessed by the rising of the dead and the final judgment by Jesus Christ. Amillennialism is another vital belief that emphasizes that there is no millennialism. It does not support the idea that Christ would physically establish His Kingdom on earth but would rule the world from the right hand of His Father, God. Postmillennialism asserts that individuals are already living past the millennium age and need to work hard in prayer and dedication to God.