theories are based upon the millennium. The word
millennium is derived from two Latin words: mille, meaning “a
and annus, meaning “year.” Therefore, millennium means a
Its English equivalent, “a thousand years,” is found six times in
20:1-7. If you will open your Bible and read that passage you will know
there is to know about the millennium.
There are many
questions that make this a controversial
subject. The effort on the part of men to answer these questions is
accounts for the controversy surrounding this subject. People have
interpretations of Revelation 20:1-7, hence different ideas about the
millennium have arisen. With our entrance into a new century and
such theories are on many people’s minds. In this article I wish to
take a look
at one of the most popular of those theories.
is a general term denoting belief
in the millennium. Papias (c. 60-130) of Hierapolis in Asia Minor
millennial views, believing that there would be a period of a thousand
after the resurrection of Christ during which the kingdom of Christ
set up in a material fashion. When the millennium did not occur with
resurrection some began to rethink the event that would initiate its
It was decided that perhaps the return of Christ would be that event.
Amillennialism denotes the view that there will
be no millennium. An amillennialist may be one who does not believe the
Bible—period. He may be a modernist who does not believe in the return
Christ. Or, he may be the Bible believer who feels that the Book of
is largely symbolic and that Revelation 20:1-7 is a figurative
of something that happened under the Roman Empire.
Postmillennialism teaches that Jesus Christ will
return after the millennium. This theory holds that Christ will conquer
through the spread of the Gospel by which the world will be converted.
will then be a thousand-year period of peace and righteousness on the
Afterward, Christ is to return and time will be no more. There were
disciples of this doctrine among religious thinkers in the nineteenth
(See Restoration Reachbacks).
Premillennialism is the view that Jesus Christ
will return to earth prior to the millennium; that he will, when he
inaugurate the millennial reign in Jerusalem.
Dispensational Premillennialism is by far the
most widely accepted view among people today who espouse millennial
Since the late 1800’s, the exponents of this view went beyond typical
(historical) premillennialism. The new premillennialism came to the
States about 1875 after thriving in England among the Plymouth
religious body originated by J.N. Darby in 1830. Darby named the new
dispensationalism because the theory called for a division of history
dispensations. This is the view that is freely advanced by
charismatic preachers, self-styled prophets and popular religious
today (See Interesting Inquiries, by John T. Polk, II).
Format of Dispensational Premillennialism
premillennialists do not agree on all the
points of their theories, here is the basic format of the
Jesus Christ came
world in order to fulfill Old Testament prophecies and to establish an
The divine plan,
however, was thwarted in Jesus’
unanticipated rejection by his subjects, and his crucifixion.
prophecies were then put on hold (i.e.,
since they were not fulfilled); Jesus is supposed to return, at which
will establish the kingdom as he had originally planned, but had failed
initially in so doing.
The Lord set up
the church as a substitute for the
kingdom due to his rejection by the Jews.
The return of
Jesus will be both secret and silent.
This is called the “Rapture,” when he will come for his saints. He is
the sainted living and dead away in a rapturous disappearing act, but
who are “left behind,” life will go on as usual. The “raptured” are to
the Lord somewhere for seven years.
This seven years
will mark the “Tribulation” with a
world populated entirely by unbelievers. The first half of this period
see a revival of the Jewish nation and its repossession of the “Holy
last three and one half years is to be a period of “Great Tribulation,”
the world has never seen.
Jesus is to return
again at the end of the Tribulation,
and, in the Battle of Armageddon, eliminate his enemies so that his
reign may begin with a world populated entirely of believers. This is
to be the
“Second Coming” when the Lord comes with his saints. At this point the
awaited “King of the Jews” now assumes his rightful place on David’s
where he will begin his millennial reign.
At the end of the
thousand years Jesus is supposed to
deliver up the kingdom to God; there will be the judgment and then
The danger of
the dispensational theory and the Left
Behind theology is that they falsify both the promises of God in
Testament and the preaching of Jesus Christ. Such denies that Christ is
currently reigning as King of kings on God’s right hand (1 Timothy
Peter 3:22). It also perpetuates the same materialistic view of the
that led the Jews to crucify Christ.