MILLENNIUM--A thousand years; found in Rev, 20:2-7 six times (Latin: milus = thousand and annum = years).
Amillennialism- Amillennialists generally agree that there is no literal millennial reign of Christ prior to the end-time resurrection, judgment and eternal state. Christ's millennial kingdom exists only in a symbolic or a spiritual sense, extending from His resurrection from the tomb to the time of His second coming (parousia). The parousia too is vague and in some distant future, if at all. There is reason to believe however, that earlier amillennialists may have looked to 1000 A.D. as the time for Christ's second advent.
There is no general agreement as to the relation of the seven year tribulation period (Daniel's seventieth week) to this view. Often, however it is identified with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. D. beginning the trouble of Israel.
It's error is with an allegorical system of interpretation. It's architect was begun in the forth century A. D. by the Catholic theologian Augustine using Origens allegorizing method of interpretation. Amillennialism was the predominant view for Christendom from the end of the apostolic age until the eighteenth century when the literal method of interpreting scripture, which began to be revived after the Reformation, was applied to eschatology.
It's danger is Israel is no longer Israel, a thousand years, no longer meant a literal thousand years, thereby aiding in the emerging Catholic anti-Semitic mood of its day by allocating to the Jews all the divine cursing and allowing the idea the church was now the new Israel with all her blessings. Martin Luther even still held to this basic premise.
Postmillennialism- Postmillennialism was originated by Daniel Whitby, a Unitarian minister in the seventeenth century. Whitby believed that the gospel would spread throughout the whole world having a purifying effect and thereby making the world better and better. Man, through this effect of the gospel and his own efforts, would himself bring in Christ's thousand year kingdom. World War I was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Optimism faded quickly, however, as did this view with the arrival of the two world wars
. The postmillennialist view of the seven year tribulation period in relation to a non-literal millennium is vague as to a single specific teaching, however, some regard the tribulation period as any time of trouble, now largely past or associated with the apostolic period.
However, recently a neo-postmillennialism is re-emerging. Closely aligned with theonomy (God + law), adherents believe the kingdom now is to exist ( or already exists) in fulfillment of the prophecies in this present age as an actual reign of the church over all of society.Thus, adherents of this view also have transferred to the church all of Israel's covenants and blessings concerning a global theocratic kingdom, and have made the time of their fulfillment to be before Christ's parousia rather that after it.
Reconstructionism as a modern movement, predominantly found in some Southern Baptist churches, holds to this view; as do some Pentecostal churches in what they refer to as "kingdom now" or "dominion theology".
All these above millennial views stem from, or are a form of what may be more familiarly known as covenant (reformer) theology. Covenant theology, for the most part, is hostile to the now more popular theologies of dispensationalism and vise-versa. However, covenant theology is often found, in varying forms and degrees, as a very strange bedfellow indeed, with our modern dispensational theologies. An interesting dichotomy that we will have to leave to the more discerning.
Premillennialism- The premillennial view is the only literal and chronological exegesis offered that does not force or take out of context the scriptural texts of the bible. The premillennial view states that Christ will return to earth before the millennium begins to Himself establish and reign through it. Premillennnialists hold to the dispensational view that the seven year tribulation period (Daniel's 70th week) is yet to come in the near future and just precedes the millennium.
This view was held during the apostolic and early church era and has since been revived during the present Protestant era. John Nelson Darby is credited to the rediscovery of this view in the 1830's. The Scofield Bible of the early 1900's popularized it here in the United States. The Dallas Theological Seminary, the Moody Bible Institute, among others, are the primary propagators of dispensational premillennial theology today. There is perhaps worth mentioning a "historical" premillennial view left over from the post reformation that the Pope or Napoleon Bonaparte was the infamous antichrist and much of Daniel's 70th week has already been fulfilled with the exception of the parousia. This view is still held by many smaller churches today and doesn't have any biblical or historical basis, as the past "antichrists" never fulfilled their prophecies.
The day of the Lord is a seemingly ambiguous phrase, yet it is used at least fifty times in the old and new testament. The term "that day" as an allusion to the day of the Lord is used literally hundreds of times in the bible. For all the biblical references and commentaries, etc. to the day of the Lord it remains to be the least understood and most misunderstood phrase of the entire bible. Yet the bible itself clearly defines this phrase, its meaning and its true place in Gods plan in eschatology. Perhaps one of the clearest and most complete definitions found in the bible is in chapters one and two of the book of Zephaniah. I will only quote a few verses here:
Clearly we see that the day of the Lord is God's complete judgment on the entire inhabited earth. Since there is no history of this fiery judgment, then we must conclude that it is yet future if we are to take God's word literally. Although allegorical in part, we must be careful not to allegoricalize its meaning away. It is its meaning that is to be taken literally. A fiery and terrifying wrath of such magnitude can only be imagined, and greatly respected (feared), unless it is experienced. So, allegory plays its part in aiding the imagination in coming to grips with an inexperienced reality.
This period of time in the future in which God judges the earth, just prior to establishing His millennial kingdom, is associated with a characteristic sign in the book of Joel.:
So, we see that the sun turns dark, the moon turns a dark red and the stars greatly dim from view just prior or before the day of the Lord. Several other similar biblical references confirm this fact:
"For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 5:9 NASB). And we are "to wait for His Son...,Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10 NASB). "But wrath has come upon them to the utmost" (1 Thess. 2:16b NASB).
"Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and the end of the age?" (Matt. 24:3 NASB).
There has been over a century of debate to Jesus' response to His disciples' question as to the timing of the rapture. The result has been several differing views of the tribulation period (Daniel's 70th week), which has divided the premillennial camp and confused the church. But if we take the logical, simple chronological order of the twenty-forth chapter of the gospel according to Matthew, then there can clearly be only one meaning to Jesus' answer:
We can also see and confirm this pre-wrath rapture view with the same logical, yet simple chronological order of the seven seals from the book of Revelation:
Thus we see a clear comparison of Matthew chapter twenty-four and the seven seals from the book of Revelation as illustrated by E. W. Bullinger in The Companion Bible.
The Pre-Wrath Rapture view is not for the faint of heart who feel that the church shouldn't go through any tribulation (which we know the bible doesn't teach in numerous references to the opposite), but are raptured out prior to anything "bad" happening. I'm afraid for many Christians that this would mean a feet first rapture as they were still holding on to the world's affections. For the rest of us this still poses a problem to our hearts in that we must continually re-examine our priorities in the light of all truth, testing ourselves (2 Cor. 13:5) and our theologies (Acts 17:11).
"And the rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights. On the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark,..." (Gen. 7:12, 13 NASB). "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it shall be also in the days of the Son of Man: ...,until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: ...on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. On that day, ...one will be taken and the other will be left." (Luke 17:26-36).
We can clearly see here, with Jesus' own words, that the rapture is exactly coordinated with Jesus' return on the day of the Lord, on the very same day. For those who would argue that "they" are taken to judgment and not in rapture; then consider Strong's own definition of the Greek word taken: paralambano- to receive near, i.e., associate with oneself (in any familiar or intimate act or relation). There therefore can be no argument as to the true meaning of these verses.
Some, however, have consistently and erroneously misused Paul's words in the first epistle to the Thessalonians to try and justify a secret pre-tribulation rapture, "as a thief in the night". And also consistently quote out of context by leaving out: "But you, brethren, are not in the darkness, that the day should overtake you, like a thief" (1Thess. 5:2, 4).
Finally, on Christ's appearing (epiphany) and His coming (parousia), a quote from Dave MacPherson's The Incredible Cover-Up: "Referring to this article entitled 'On the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Gathering of His Elect', Rowdon's The Origins of the Brethren (1967c.), pp. 30-31, points out that, interestingly enough, later Brethren writers completely reversed these terms; to them the parousia was the rapture and the epiphany Christ's return to earth. One might ask: are there really two stages to the Lord's return if such terms are so evidently interchangeable?" (Chapter 5, Notes # 4). Again we clearly see that any view other than, as the holy scriptures state, the rapture happening on the very same day of the Lord is a fantasy of human invention.