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MILLENNIUM, a Lat. word meaning a “thousand years,” referring in the Bible to the “thousand years” mentioned six times in Revelation 20. There it is described as a period of time following the Second Coming of Christ to the earth, and the destruction of the enemies of God (Rev 19). The thousand years begin with the binding and confinement of Satan in the “bottomless pit” (20:1-3), the resurrection and reward of the martyred dead of the period immediately preceding (20:4), and the beginning of the reign of Christ on earth as King of kings and Lord of lords in Jerusalem. The millennium ends when Satan is loosed and organizes a rebellion against Christ which is crushed by fiery destruction from heaven (20:9). The casting of Satan into the lake of fire, the resurrection and judgment of the wicked dead, and the creation of a new heaven and earth follow the millennium.

Premillenarians understand these prophecies of the millennium as subject to future fulfillment in keeping with many OT passages picturing a kingdom of righteousness and peace on earth ruled over by the son of David. Postmillenarians hold that the millennium will be fulfilled somewhat symbolically during the last one thousand years of this present age, when Christ will reign spiritually in His Church. Amillenarians following a literal interpretation begin the millennium at the first advent of Christ, and find its fulfillment either in the reign of Christ spiritually in the hearts of believers on earth, or in the intermediate state after death. Contemporary liberals are generally amillennial; conservatives are divided between amillennial and premillennial interpretation. Postmillennialism, popular in the 19th cent., is held by a few contemporary interpreters. See also Apocalyptic Literature.


Postmillennial: D. Brown, Christ’s Second Coming: Will It Be Premillennial? (1919); J. H. Snowden, The Coming of the Lord: Will It Be Premillennial? (1919); L. Boettner, The Millennium (1957). Amillennial: F. E. Hamilton, The Basis of Millennial Faith (1942); G. L. Murray, Millennial Studies: A Search for Truth (1948). Premillennial: N. West, ed., Premillennial Essays of the Prophetic Conference Held in the Church of Holy Trinity, N.Y.C. (1879); N. West, The Thousand Years in Both Testaments (1880); W. E. Blackstone, Jesus Is Coming (1917); D. H. Kromminga, The Millennium in The Church (1945); C. Feinberg, Premillennialism or Amillennialism? (Second Ed., 1954); Antimillennial: S. J. Case, The Millennial Hope (1918); W. Masselink, Why Thousand Years? (4th Ed., 1930).

See also

  • Kingdom of God