23. What is Amillennialism?
“Amillennialism” comes from a term that means, literally, “no thousand years”. Thus, it is essentially a way of interpreting Revelation 20, which six times mentions a period of a thousand years, during which Satan is bound and believers reign with Christ. Amillennialists believe that there will be no future thousand-year period of time when the Kingdom of God will be visibly flourishing in the world, and the whole earth will be fruitful and at peace. Speaking symbollically like the rest of Revelation, the millennium is simply a figurative way of speaking of a long period of time that is taking place after Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God with his resurrection. Amillennialists believe Revelation 20 is one of a series of visions, each of which describes the entire period of time between Christ's first and second comings in a different manner. The millennial Kingdom is taking place now, for Satan has been bound by Christ's work on the cross, so that he can no longer hold all the nations in deception; and believers, who seem to be persecuted and afflicted, are really reigning with Christ, and causing his Kingdom, which does not now come visibly, to spread to every corner of the earth. There is a difference of opinion in amillennial interpretation over whether those who reign with Christ are believers who are still alive, or those who have died in the Lord, and are now in his presence.
Some amillennialists object to the term “amillennialism,” because they do not properly believe that there is no millenium, they just believe that the millennium spoken of in Revelation 20 is taking place now (figuratively), and thus there will be no future golden age of the Kingdom, prior to Christ's coming and ushering in the eternal state. Amillennialists also believe that Revealtion 20 is more fully understood when reading John chapter 5 (John being the same author as Revelation). Two resurrections are also spoken of in this passage (one spiritual and one physical at the end of the age). It reveals that when Christ returns to judge the earth, the resurrection of the wicked and the righteous occur simultaneously. This contrasts sharply with premillennialism which asserts that there is a one thousand year seperation between the resurrection of the righteous and thw wicked, which John 5 excludes the possibility of. Amillennialism is really the most simple of the various eschatologies as it affirms that Jesus will soon return to judge the living and the dead and then comes the resurrection, or the eternal state, which Christ will reign on the new earth.
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