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PreMillennialism & Amillennialism

Revelation Bible Study Notes & Aids

The Thousand Years

Revelation 20:1  Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit[a] and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand yearsand threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand yearsThe rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

Premillennialism Defined

John F. Walvoord a leading proponent, defines Premillennialism as “an interpretation that the Second Coming of Christ will occur before His literal reign of one thousand years on earth.” After His victorious intervention into history, Christ will personally reign from Jerusalem producing a time of peace, prosperity and righteousness. Premillennialists see the present era as the Church Age, which is a separate and distinct work in God’s plan from that of Israel. Christ’s redemptive work is the only basis for salvation regardless of the period of time a believer lives under.

Premillennialism is the teaching concerning the end times (eschatology).  It says that there is a future millennium (1000 years as mentioned in Revelation 20) where Christ will rule and reign over the earth. 

  • At the beginning of the millennium Satan and his angels will be bound and peace will exist on the entire earth.  
  • At the end of the 1000 years Satan will be released in order to raise an army against Jesus.  
  • Jesus will destroy them, and then the final judgment will take place with the new heavens and the new earth being made.

The basic remaining timeline of God in human affairs for a Premillennialist* is:

  • The Rapture of the Church
  • The Tribulation for 7 Years (with the last 3.5 years being The Great Tribulation)
  • The Battle of Armageddon
  • The Second Coming Of Jesus
  • Jesus Rules the World from David’s Throne for 1000 Years
  • Satan’s Final Rebellion (which Jesus decimates with just a word)
  • Satan and the Demons are cast in the Lake of Fire Forever
  • The Earth and Heavens are dissolved in fire and re-created anew
  • The Great White Throne Judgment
  • Eternity Begins

*There are differing views on when the Rapture occurs; I’ll not address that here. I’ve stated the timeline I believe.

Amillennialism Defined

Amillennialism is described by Floyd E. Hamilton as a view “that Christ’s millennial kingdom extends from His Resurrection from the tomb to the time of His Second Coming on the clouds at the end of this age”. At no time will Christ reign on the earth in Jerusalem. “On earth, Christ’s kingdom ‘is not of this world,’ but He reigns especially in the hearts of His people on earth, . . . for a ‘thousand years,’ the perfect, complete time between the two comings of Christ.” After the Second Coming of Christ, believers from all of history will enter into heaven for eternity immediately following the final and single judgment of all mankind.

Amillennialism teaches there is no literal 1000-year reign of Christ as referenced in Revelation 20.  

  • It sees the 1000-year period spoken of in Revelation 20 as figurative.  
  • Instead, it teaches that we are in the millennium now, and that at the return of Christ (1 Thess. 4:16 – 5:2) there will be the final judgment and the heavens and the earth will then be destroyed and remade (2 Pet. 3:10).

The basic remaining timeline of God in human affairs for an Amillennialist is:

  • We are living in the Millennial Kingdom now which is spiritual, Christ is reigning from Heaven
  • The Second Coming
  • Satan and the Demons are cast in the Lake of Fire Forever
  • The Earth and Heavens are dissolved in fire and re-created anew
  • The Great White Throne Judgment
  • Eternity Begins

The ESV® Bible (The Holy BibleEnglish Standard Version®) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Biblecopyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.