Revelation 20: 1-6 is the one passage of the Bible that directly speaks of the Millennium, which means a thousand years and refers to the reign of Christ. The interpretations of this scripture vary and can be expressed from three different prospectives, which include the views of premillennialism, postmillennialism and millennialism. The scripture, as documented in the King James Version of the New Testaments states: 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.
20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
It is believed the writing of Revelation occurred somewhere between 90-95AD, and that John was the author. It is here that John sees the angel coming from heaven with the keys to the bottomless pit. Satan whom is referred to as the dragon is imprisoned for a thousand years in the pit. During this time Satan can no longer influence or deceive people or nations. After the thousand years, Satan is released, however powerless. John sees thrones, and people reigning as priest. He sees the martyred come to life because of their faith and preaching the word of God. “Death holds no power or authority over those whose faith is in Christ. Those who are his do not need to fear death, for life in Christ is eternal”. It is important we recognize that the book of Revelation is “apocalyptic literature”. This type of literature was born in a great time of oppression. The apocalyptic looked forward to the time when God would bring a violent end to history that would mean the triumph of right and final judgment of evil. The view held by most is the premillennalism. It emphasizes that the second coming of Christ will precede the Millennium. According to Henry Virkler, “He Christ will descend to earth and set up a literal 1000 year earthly kingdom with its headquarters in Jerusalem”. There is in disagreement even among the premillilenalist upon the details; however they all agree that the second coming of Christ will precede the millennium.
Postmillennialism supports the idea that through evangelism, Christ will reach the world. We will endure a period in which there will be joy and peace because of our obedience to God. Christ will return to earth at the end of the millennium; however they do not believe everyone will be a Christian, but that the society as a whole will be Christian. Amellenialism refers to the time between the first and second coming of Christ. During this time Christ will rule in men’s hearts. The second coming of Christ marks the end of this period, and Christ will never have an earthly rule. The amillennial and postmillennial both believe Christ will return after the millennium. The major difference in the views of the two is that postmillennialist hold to the belief that Christianity will spread across the globe and we will endure a time of peace. The Amillennialist would differ by stating Christianity will experience a time of universal peace, rather peace within the hearts of men. Objections against the premillillennial view deals directly with its inconsistencies with the rest of the scripture. Hodges states, “The Bible teaches that when Christ comes all nations shall appear for judgment.
This theory teaches us that the final judgment will not occur until after the millennium.” Hodges also implies that the scriptures teach us that the second coming of Christ” without sin unto salvation, then the church shall enter its everlasting state of exaltation and glory.” The premillennialist objects to other positions as well. Their main objection is that they do not think others take the scripture literally enough. They believe others put too much focus on symbols. The amillennialist strongest position against the postmillennialist deals with the parable of wheat and tares found in the book of Matthews. Jesus paints a picture of believers and non-believers growing up in a world together. They believe this proves that the church will not overtake the world, but will grow alongside it. The intent of the writing the book of Revelation by John may not have been as much about helping us understands what will occur during the end of time, but more about encouraging the church to be aware of the persecution it would face. Resolve will be found in the coming of Christ and that as believers we should live our lives accordingly. The events to occur are not as relevant as the gospel about how to enter heaven. It is not important which view we may decide to support because regardless of the view we choose people can be saved without either. The important thing to acknowledge is that Christ will return and there will be a judgment. The believers will be rewarded with an eternity with God.