Things: Millennium and End Time Events
78. How does the Bible
describe the millennium? When will it occur?
a. Latin millennium means
"thousand years" (Rev 20:2-5). It refers to a period of perfect peace and
righteousness on earth when Jesus will reign.
b. 3 theological viewpoints regarding
(1) Premillennialism: second coming
of Christ will occur before a millennium of 1000 years. This is held by
(2) Postmillennialism: second coming
will occur after a millennium of 1000 years.
(3) Amillennialism: There is no
future millennium. The present Church Age is the millennium.
(1) Sequence of events: (see next
(2) There are two different schools
within premillennialism about the timing of rapture:
(a) Classical (or historical)
premillennialism: the rapture will occur at the end of the tribulation
(posttribulational rapture). They will immediately come back to the earth
(b) Dispensational premillennialism:
the rapture will occur before the tribulation (a secret return of Christ).
They will enjoy 7 years of celebrations in the air where there will be
a judgment of believers for rewards. After 7 years of tribulation on earth,
all believers and Christ will come back to the earth (a public return of
(3) Biblical support for premillennialism:
(a) There are some OT and NT passages
describing a future period far greater than the present age yet not a perfect
world like the new creation. This is probably the millennium (Ps 72:8-14;
Isa 11:2-9; 65:20; Zec 14:6-21; 45-48; Zec 14:5-17; 1Co 15:23-25; Rev 2:26-27;
(b) As an argument against amillennialism,
the imprisonment of Satan in Rev 20:1-3 implies a far greater restriction
than anything in the present age, this is a proof that the millennium is
not what we now witness in this world.
(c) There are NT passages that refer
to believers reigning with Christ over the earth (Lk 19:17,19; Rev 2:26-27;
(1) Sequence of events:
(2) Biblical support for postmillennialism:
(a) Since Christ has all authority
in heaven and on earth, and since He promises to be with us in the fulfilment
of the Great Commission (Mt 28:18-20), we would expect that the gospel
would eventually triumph in the whole world. Objection: Christ may
not use the full extent of His authority to bring about the numerical growth
of the church.
The progress of the gospel and the
growth of the church will gradually increase, so that a large proportion
of the world’s population will be Christians. With significant Christian
influences on society, a millennial age of peace and righteousness will
occur on the earth.
At the end of this period, Christ will
return to earth. There will be a resurrection of both believers and unbelievers.
All believers (including those still living) will receive glorified indestructible
bodies. Judgment will then occur, followed by the new creation.
(b) The parables on the gradual
growth of the kingdom (Mt 13:31-33) indicate that it eventually will fill
the earth with its influence. Objection: The parables do not indicate
the growth will extend to the whole world. The Bible indicates that only
"few" will be saved (Mt 7:13-14).
(c) The church is growing and spreading
throughout the world, even at the same time it is persecuted and oppressed.
Objection: The world is clearly becoming more evil with the decline
of morality, even among Christians.
(1) Sequence of events:
(2) Biblical support for amillennialism:
(a) There is only one passage
in the whole Bible about the millennium. Some passages describe the breaking
of Satan’s power in the present age (Mt 12:28-29; Lk 10:18). Objection:
There are hints of a future earthly millennium in other passages (see above).
The millennium described in Rev 20:1-10
is the present church age. This is an age in which Satan’s influence over
the nations has been greatly reduced by God’s salvation. Those who are
said to be reigning with Christ in the millennium are Christians who have
died and are already reigning with Christ in heaven.
The present church age will continue
until Christ returns. There will be a resurrection of both believers and
unbelievers. All believers (including those still living) will receive
glorified indestructible bodies. Judgment will then occur, followed by
the new creation.
(b) The Bible teaches only one resurrection
(Jn 5:28-29; Ac 24:15; Dan 12:2). Objection: There are other passages
about first and later resurrections (Rev 20:4-6,13).
(c) There is no convincing purpose
for a millennium. Objection: It is possibly to vindicate God’s righteousness,
showing that rebellious nature of man is not due to evil society or bad
environment. There may be other reasons that we cannot imagine.
79. What is
the sequence of events at the end time?
The exact sequence of events depends
one’s position on millennialism. The 3 millennial viewpoints differ on
the nature and timing of the millennium, the rapture, and the judgment.
The following sequence is based on
classical (posttribulational) premillennialism.
signs preceding the second coming
Tribulation (7 seals, 7 trumpets)
midpoint of Tribulation period: rebellion
of the Antichrist (Dan 9:27; 7:25)
Great Tribulation (7 bowls)
resurrection of all dead believers
gathering all living believers with
the voice of the archangel and loud trumpet call (Mt 24:31; 1Th 4:16)
Rapture (Mt 24:31,40-41; 1Th
4:17) – Dead believers will be resurrected and living believers will be
transformed. All of them will receive glorified indestructible bodies (1Co
15:52) and will be caught up in the air to join Christ
wedding of the Lamb: Jesus as the groom
and the Church as the bride (Rev 19:1-9)
Second Coming of Christ (Rev
19:11-16) – Christ and His Church descended to earth
Battle of Armageddon (Zec 14:1-8; Rev
16:14-16; 19:19-21): the invasion of Israel by foreign armies which will
be defeated by God
imprisonment of Satan
Millennium (Rev 20:3-6) – 1000-year
kingdom established by Christ on earth; many (but not all) of the unbelievers
still on earth will turn to Christ and be saved; Jesus will reign with
believers in perfect righteousness and there will be peace on earth.
temporary release of Satan (Rev 20:7)
rebellion of Gog and Magog (Eze 38;
Rev 20:8-9) – Satan join forces with many unbelievers to battle against
Satan defeated (Rev 20:10)
resurrection of unbelievers (Rev 20:12-13)
Judgment Day at the Great White
Throne (Rev 20:11-14)
second death of unbelievers (Rev 20:15)