By Nathan Jones
What are the main views concerning Jesus Christ's Millennial Kingdom?
On June 18, 2014, I was interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we discuss the different views concerning the Millennial Kingdom and a little on what life will be like during Christ's thousand year reign. The first half of the discussion is in English, while the second half is translated into Spanish.
Views on the Millennial Kingdom
Vic: Today's subject is going to be about the Millennium. I'd like to start off by reading 2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation 20:4-6. Nathan, could you read those passages for us?
Nate: Sure, Pastor Vic. Second Peter 3:13 is actually quite parallel to Isaiah 65, which I hope we can also get into because it talks a lot about the Millennial Kingdom. Second Peter 3:13 reads, "But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new Heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells."
Revelation 20:4-6 says, "And I saw thrones in which were seated those who were given authority to judge, and I saw the souls of those beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the Word of God. They had not worshipped the beast, or its image and not received its mark on their forehead or hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years was ended, this was the first resurrection. Blessed and Holy are those who share in the first resurrection, the second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for thousand years."
Vic: Those are excellent passages. We did a few programs earlier this month where we talked about the Day of the Lord, but we never got to talk about the Millennium and about what will be happening during that time. Could you explain the different views on the Millennium?
Nate: Sure. We talked about the Tribulation previously and about how it would be seven years of judgment coming on this earth, how God is going to deal with the corruption of human society, and how Jesus is going to come back at the end of those seven years to defeat Satan. We read in Revelation 20 that Satan is cast into a deep pit while his demons are likely sent ahead to Hell. So, during the Millennial Kingdom people will be sinning on their own without Satan there to tempt them along.
And we also read in Revelation 20 where it says it over and over that Jesus is going to set up his kingdom here on earth to rule and reign for a thousand years. This will really be an amazing time period.
We read so much in Bible prophecy about how terrible the future is going to be. It makes people scared of Bible prophecy because they get caught up thinking about the seven-year Tribulation. They forget that the real joy of Bible prophecy is knowing that Jesus Christ is coming back to set up His Kingdom. And, what an amazing Kingdom it will be!
Vic: That's awesome! I'm really glad that you mentioned the fact that Satan and his demons will be locked up, because that will be a time when people won't be able to say anymore, "The Devil made me do it."
Nate: You're right. Neither Satan nor his demons will be there during the Millennial Kingdom. It will be utopia—the perfect society—that humanity has been longing for. The 1,000 years will finally be made true when the Prince of Peace comes to bring peace upon this world.
You did ask me what other views say about the Millennial Kingdom. First, let me tell you where we get the word Millennial. It comes from millennium which means "thousand years". That then is where we get the title "Millennial Kingdom".
There may be lots of views about the Millennium, but just because they're out there doesn't make them all right. There can only be one view that's right, and that's the view of the Bible.
Historic Premillennialism — Some people take the view that is called Historic Premillennialism. That would be the view of the early Church Fathers. That's the idea that the Church would be here for a certain amount of time called the Church Age, or the Age of Grace, then the seven-year Tribulation would come. At the end of that seven-year Tribulation, Jesus would come back to set up His Kingdom for a thousand years. After the thousand years, we would enter the eternal state.
Historic Premillennialism is pretty much the view that people held for the first 300 years of Church history. They didn't think or write too much about the Rapture, so we don't really know what the Church Fathers taught in the way of the Church being raptured, or taken up off this earth before the Tribulation comes. The Historic Pre-Millennial view puts the Rapture at the end of the Tribulation when Jesus comes, which would be called a Post-Trib Rapture view today.
Amillennialism — Then there's view called Amillennialism. "A" means "non or not," so "not a millennium."
This view came about when people started spiritualizing the meaning of the Bible, especially back in Origin and Constantine's time. The view was brought into prominence by Augustine and the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD.
They got so tired of waiting for Jesus that they decided there couldn't be a literal thousand year Kingdom coming after all. They thought we must be in the Kingdom right now, so it's not a literal 1,000 years. Thousand just means a general time period. Eventually Jesus will come back and we will all go to Heaven and that's all there is to it. So, they spiritualized the thousand years to mean absolutely nothing.
Post-Millennialism — Another view is Post-Millennialism, which was started in the 17th Century by Daniel Whitby. He believed that the Church was going to usher in a golden age, a thousand year kingdom of the Church, but not necessarily a kingdom for Jesus. No, the Church after it conquered the world for Christ would usher in Jesus, then was going to hand the evangelized world over to Jesus when He came back. Then we'd all go to Heaven.
The teaching had a huge impetus towards mission work back in the 17-1800's. I don't agree with the view that the Church is taking over the world and the earth is getting better and better. Just turn on the news and you'll see all the terrible things happening today. You'll realize that Post-millennialism makes no sense whatsoever.
Modern Pre-millennialism — The view today, which I hold as well, is called Modern Pre-millennialism. It's the idea that we are living in the Church Age now and that Jesus will come back to Rapture the Church and take them to Heaven, which will be the event which ends the Church Age. Then there will be a seven-year Tribulation period on the earth. At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus will come back, He'll defeat evil, He'll set up His Kingdom for a thousand years, and at the end of the thousand years we'll move into the eternal state. That is Modern Pre-Millennialism.
These are four main views.
Vic: Yes, you and I hold to the Pre-Tribulational Rapture, Pre-Millennial view.
In the second part of Pastor Vic and my discussion on the views of the Millennial Kingdom, we'll look a little at how wonderful life will be like during that time.