Another word related to the end times such as rapture is the word “Millennium.” Often preachers refer to it as The Millennium. This word literally means one thousand years. Eschatology, or the study of the end times, refers to a one thousand year period in which Christ will return and reign on earth (Revelation 20:4).
This word does not appear in the Bible for exactly the same reason that “rapture” does not appear. It also is a Latin translation of the Greek word found in the New Testament. Revelation 20:2 introduces the word “kilia” to refer to the period of Christ’s reign. You will recognize the word as a part of many English words that refer to measurement. The slang term “kilo,” short for kilogram, means one thousand grams. A kilometer is one thousand meters. Therefore, kilia refers to a thousand-year period of time in Revelation 20:3.
The Latin Vulgate used the word millennium to translate it. It comes from the Latin “mille,” meaning one thousand, and “annus” meaning year, as in the word “annual.” Hence, millennium refers to one thousand years.
A Short Course in Millennial Studies
Theologians have written many volumes about the Millennial Period, which are beyond the scope of this column. Nevertheless, let me give you a brief summary. Theologians teach three basic views about the Millennium as it relates to the coming of Christ:
Amillennial—“a,” meaning “not,” means that there is no literal thousand-year period. Supposedly it refers to an indefinite period.
Post-millennial—This view states that Christianity will improve the world, progressively making it a better place until Christ returns. This view was popular until about 1914 when World War I broke out, although some people still hold to it.
Pre-millennial—This view holds that the world will not, nor cannot, improve until Christ returns to establish his earthly kingdom. This view seems to follow Revelation 20:1-7 more closely than the other views.
Another broader term, called the Preterist view, believes that all the prophecies of Revelation and many from Matthew 24 have already happened by the end of the first century.
Why I hold to the Pre-Millennial View
Taking the amilliennial view would rob the words of the passage of their meaning. Why specify a thousand years if it did not mean a thousand years. Another word would have better indicated an indefinite period of time.
The post-millennial view has been invalidated by history. While the world has experienced scientific and technological breakthroughs in the last two centuries, the world is far from the utopia that theologians envisioned its becoming in the nineteenth century.
The preterist view also fails to hold up to the words of scripture. To this point, we have not seen Satan chained and cast into the Abyss. If anything, he and his minions seem to be very active in today’s world.
Therefore I hold to a pre-millennial view. Christ will come to establish his kingdom on earth for a thousand years. Then what? Satan is released from his prison. He will deceive the nations, round up armies, and lead them against Christ one last time. He never learns. After a thousand years of unparalleled peace and prosperity on earth, mankind will one more time try to overthrow God’s rule in the world.
Christ will crush this final rebellion. Satan will be cast into the lake of fire along with the Beast and the False Prophet who have already been there a thousand years. They will be “tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10)
The Great White Throne Judgment will then take place (20:11-15). Everyone whose name was not written in the Lamb’s Book of life will be cast into the lake of fire to spend eternity. “And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night” (Rev. 14:11)
Finally, this universe will pass away and God will create a new heaven and a new earth (21: 1; see also Isaiah 65:17). Then heaven and earth will be united, and Revelation 21:3 says, “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.’” Notice that God will dwell with mankind on the new earth. Think of it! God will be with us. That will be heaven on earth and, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (verse 4).
You become a part of that new creation now by becoming a new creation through faith in Christ alone. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
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