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THEOLOGY > Future > The Millennium > The MIllennial Concept  


THE MILLENNIAL CONCEPT

The Millennial concept is based on Rev. 20:1-10, where reference is made six times to a thousand years:

He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand (chilia) years (v. 2);

So that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand (chilia) years were ended (v. 3);

They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand (chilia) years (v. 4);

The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand (chilia) years were ended (v. 5);

They will reign with Him for a thousand (chilia) years (v. 6);

And when the thousand (chilia) years are ended (v. 7).

These thousand years constitute the Millennium. The word itself is created by joining two Latin words, mille, meaning “thousand” and annus, meaning “year.” The word “millennium,” therefore, speaks of “one-thousand years.”

Chilias appears six times in the above verses and means “one-thousand.” In its transliterated form it provides us with the word, “chiliasm,” which is a synonym for the word “Millennialism,” and is used by some modern writers, but especially by writers of an earlier period.

Related to the quest for proper interpretation is the question of symbolism. While there is abundant symbolism in the book of Revelation, it is imperative to realize that the book is not a symbolic book; however, it is a book with symbol in it. And behind the symbolism is literal truth. The symbolism is not without significance, because there is a concrete meaning to the texts; and the burden of the interpreter is to discover the truth that is conveyed by the symbol. For example, how are the thousand years to be understood?

At least three interpretations of these years have been advanced: Premillennialism, Amillennialism, and Postmillennialism (see: Three Millennial Views). Basic to the question of proper interpretation is the position taken on the nature of the one thousand years, whether the period is literal or symbolic, whether the years are totally future or simply synonymous with the current age. The following questions are related to the Millennium:

            Are the thousand years to be interpreted literally or symbolically?

            Is it possible for the thousand years to be an extended and lengthy period
            without being exactly a thousand years?

            How is Satan bound, with a literal chain?

            What does the binding of Satan actually mean?

            Is the binding of Satan in Revelation related to the binding of Satan in the Gospels?

            Who is to be raised in the two resurrections that are predicted in connection
            with the Millennium, one before the period and one after?

            Who will be raised at the beginning of the Millennium, only saints from the Tribulation
            or all saints?

            Will believers with heavenly bodies be on the earth and live with occupants
            on the earth who still have their earthly bodies?

            Exactly what is the character of the reigning of believers with Christ?

            Will children be born during the Millennium?

            Will life expectancy be increased during the Millennium?

            Will individuals be saved during the Millennium?

            If individuals will be saved during the Millennium, then what about the popular belief
            that no one will be saved after the Second Coming of Christ?

            Is Ch. 20 a continuation of Ch. 19, or is this an improper chronology?

            Should I Thess. 4:13-18 be equated with Rev. 19:11-16?

            How is the Millennium related to the Kingdom of God?

Passages in both Testaments relate to the Millennium:

               Ps. 72
               Isa. 2; 11-12; 9; 11; 30; 35; 45; 65-66
               Jer. 3:17; 30-33
               Dan. 2; 7:9, 22; 9; 11-12
               Ezek. 36-37; 38-39; 40-48
               Joel 2-3
               Zech. 14

               Matt. 5:5; 19:28
               Acts 3:19-21
               I Cor. 15:23-28
               II Tim. 2:12
               Rev. 2:26-27; 12:5-6; 19:15; 20


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