There are diverse opinions concerning the thousand years of peace (Millennium) described in Revelation and the events associated with it. Some interpret a literal, future, thousand-year time period in which Christ will rule over the Earth, a time which will be characterized by peace and harmony. Others understand a literal age of peace, but think the “thousand years” is a figure of speech. Still others see the Millennium as symbolic of a spiritual ideal, with no corresponding earthly condition. All of these positions fall into the category of millennialism, a broad term which includes any and all ideas relating to the millennium of Biblical prophecy.
In a nutshell, here are some very basic definitions of the positions regarding the millennium.
There are three definitions, any one of which could describe the views of the premillenialist:
Pretribulationists believe that the second coming will be in two stages separated by a seven-year period of tribulation. At the beginning of the tribulation, true Christians will rise to meet the Lord in the air.
Midtribulationists believe that the Rapture will take place at the halfway point of the seven-year tribulation, i.e. after 3½ years. This event begins the second, most intense part of the tribulation.
Posttribulationists hold that Christ will not return until the end of the tribulation. Christians, rather than being raptured at the beginning of the tribulation, or halfway through, will live through it
Postmillennialists do not believe in a premillennial appearance of Christ. The postmillennial position is that the millennium began at the inauguration of Christ’s kingdom reign when he ascended to his heavenly throne. Christ will appear at the end of the millennium to lead his people into the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem.
Amillennialists do not believe in a literal Millennium. The “thousand years” is an expression, a way of referring to the entire period from the first coming of Christ, two thousand years ago, until the future second coming. The Second Coming will be a natural culmination of the process of world evangelization, rather than a revolutionary event that brings sudden and dramatic change.
We will place more polls in the near future which will deal with other aspects of Christian eschatology (an understanding or study of the end times and the destiny of man according to Bible prophecy).
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