Amillenialism

Amillennialism  The term amillennialism refers to a view in Christian end-times theology named for its rejection of the theory that Jesus Christ will have a thousand-year long, physical reign on the earth. This is in opposition to premillennial and some postmillennial interpretations of chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation.

In contrast, the amillennial view holds that the thousand years mentioned in Revelation 20 is a symbolic number, not a literal description; that the millennium has already begun and is identical with the current church age, (or more rarely, that it ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 — see Preterism). Amillennialism holds that while Christ's reign during the millennium is only spiritual in nature, at the end of the church age, Christ will return in final judgment and establish a permanent physical reign.

Beliefs

Amillennialism teaches that the Kingdom of God will not be physically established on earth throughout the "millennium", but rather

  • that Jesus is presently reigning from heaven, seated at the right hand of God the Father,
  • that Jesus also is and will remain with the church until the end of the world, as he promised at the Ascension,
  • that at Pentecost, the millennium began, as is shown by Peter using the prophecies of Joel, about the coming of the kingdom, to explain what was happening,
  • and that, therefore the Church and its spread of the good news is Christ's Kingdom.

Amillennialists cite scripture references to the kingdom not being a physical realm: Matthew 12:28, where Jesus cites his driving out of demons as evidence that the kingdom of God had come upon them; Luke 17:20-21, where Jesus warns that the coming of the kingdom of God can not be observed, and that it is among them; and Romans 14:17, where Paul speaks of the kingdom of God being in terms of the Christians' actions.

In particular, they regard the thousand year period as a figurative expression of Christ's reign being perfectly completed, as the "thousand hills" referred to in Psalm 50:10, the hills on which God owns the cattle, are all hills, and the "thousand generations" in 1 Chronicles 16:15, the generations for which God will be faithful, refer to all generations. (Some postmillennialists and nearly all premillennialists hold that the word millennium should be taken to refer to a literal thousand-year period.)

Amillennialism also teaches that the binding of Satan described in Revelation has already occurred; he has been prevented from "deceiving the nations" by preventing the spread of the gospel. This is the first binding he will suffer in history, after his fall from heaven: the forces of Satan will not be gradually pushed back by the Kingdom of God as history progresses but will remain just as active as always up until the second coming of Christ, and therefore good and evil will remain mixed in strength throughout history and even in the church, according to the amillennial understanding of the Parable of the Wheat and Tares.

Amillennialism is sometimes associated with Idealism as both teach a symbolic interpretation of many of the prophecies of the Bible and especially the Book of Revelation. However, many amillennialists do believe in the literal fulfillment of Biblical prophecies; they simply disagree with Millennialists about how or when these prophecies will be fulfilled.

Origin of the term

 Until the early twentieth century the term “amillennial” did not exist. Amillennialism was originally classified and placed under the term “postmillennialism.” But after World War I and the onset of pessimism within our culture, “amillennialism” came into its own and worked its way out from under the “postmillennial” umbrella. The following features will show why it is not properly a part of the postmillennial view.

1. The Church Age is the kingdom which the Old Testament prophets predict. God expands his people from the one nation of Israel in the Old Testament to the universal Christian church of the New Testament, making this phase of God’s people the “Israel of God” (Gal 6:16).

2. Christ binds Satan during his earthly ministry at his first coming. His binding prevents Satan from stopping gospel proclamation. This allows for multitudes of sinners to convert to Christ and insures some restraint upon evil.

3. Christ rules spiritually in the hearts of believers. We may expect occasional, short-lived influences of Christianity on culture and society, especially when Christians live out the implications of their faith.

4. History will gradually worsen as evil’s growth accelerates toward the end. This will culminate in the great tribulation, with the arising of a personal Antichrist.

5. Christ will return to end history, resurrect all men, and conduct the Final Judgment, and establish the eternal order. The eternal destiny of the redeemed may be either in heaven or in a totally renovated new earth.

Passive view of cultural redemption

Because amillenialists believe the Kingdom of God is relegated to the spiritual dimension of human life, most of its advocates focus mainly on getting people into the Kingdom through salvation or personal redemption. They do not believe the Kingdom of God addresses issues within this life so they do not focus energies on cultural redemption. This results in a culturally passive Christian that focuses mainly on the spiritual dimension of life (preaching, prayer, worship) and have little interaction with the culture around them. 

The author of this site, as well as many other Christian leaders, do not believe this is a scriptural view of God's Kingdom and his rein. In contrast to this view is the belief that the lordship of Christ extends to all areas of life and includes everything found within culture. Elements such as politics, law, government, education, science, scholastics, and the arts all belong under the rein and influence of the Gospel. This is known as a holistic worldview.   

To relegate the Gospel strictly to the spiritual dimension of life is actually a dualistic Gospel message that is more in line with the Gnostic gospel that the Apostle Paul had to address in the early church. The Gnostics taught that the Christian life only dealt with the spiritual dimension of life and that what you did with your body had no influence on your Christian life. The result of this heretical belief entering the churches was Christians living immoral lifestyles with their bodies, such as sexually loose and perverted lifestyles. 

The Apostle Paul realized that this dualistic view of the Gospel would destroy the churches if the false teaching was not addressed. Today we face the same dilemma. Many Christian leaders teach that the Christian life and the rule of God's kingdom only addresses the "spiritual" life. As a result, the culture gets turned over to the pagans to rule according to their own preferences with no reference to Biblical standards of conduct. The result has been a breakdown of our culture here in America. Many Christians have failed to accept their role as salt within the culture due to a distorted dualistic view of the rein of the God's kingdom. Many amillenialists have fallen into this error.

This web site seeks to address this mistaken notion and to get Christians back into the contest for the control of this world. We believe that Christians have foolishly turned over the culture to the pagans due to a mistaken view of Bible interpretation. The Kingdom of God rules over all facets of life. We are called to be both the salt and light of the world. This involves both sharing the Gospel and acting as the salt influence that extends the rein of God's kingdom into all of the world.