The Millennium is the thousand year period when Jesus will reign on earth. Although Jesus reigns in our hearts now, the millennium period is when Jesus will reign over the nations. The kingdom is now but also to come. In the third century, Origen began to present the kingdom as an event that would take place not in space or time but only in the souls of believers. Origen substituted the collective reign on earth in the future with an eschatology of the individual soul.

Looking forward to the millennial kingdom on earth is called chiliasm. When Christianity became the dominant force in religion in the West and the official religion of the Roman Empire, opposition to chiliasm became emphatic. We that believe in a millennium to come are called pre-millennial or futurists; those that believe that we are in the millennium now are called a-millennial. Post-millennialists believe that Christians will bring in a period of peace for a thousand years and then the second coming at the end. There are other shades of millenial thought but this is not an issue to divide us however, no one knows for sure. There are even pan-millennialists that believe that everything will pan out in the end regardless.

The conservative, ecclesiastical form represented by Augustine, had also removed the idea of the 1000 year reign of Christ by assuming that it is fulfilled in the Christian church but there are problems with the a-millennial interpretation. Augustine had written in his "City of God" that the book of Revelation was to be understood as a spiritual allegory; as for the millennium, that had begun with the birth of Christianity and was fully realized with the church. The obvious problem is that the Apocalypse was written some years after the church was firmly established. Preterest thinking disagrees, but without historical foundation. Augustine's opinion became orthodox doctrine however. By doing so, the church had given up the true ideal of the gospel of the kingdom.

There has been discussion on what we might think that the millennium will be but it is based upon conjecture from our understanding of the Bible and not from the scriptures themselves as to a millennium to come. Unless there is one that can point to a scripture in the Bible that proves that there is a thousand year period to come in the future, there aren't any. There are scriptures that point to a millennium period of a thousand years. There are many scriptures that point to a time of peace and an earthly kingdom where Jesus will rule. There are others that speak of the resurrections and different events to happen that will be between this thousand years period. I have not found any and no one else has come forward either that can point to a single scripture that absolutely proves a pre-millennial position.

Although we know that there is a thousand year period, the Bible leaves it open as to when exactly that is so we must give latitude to those with other viewpoints. If we are to spiritualize events in the past present or future as to what may come to pass or has already been fulfilled, we could come up with any combination of millennial interpretations. For me and I know for most of us here, we will remain pre-millennial but does it really matter? No, because we are part of a restoration that precludes any thinking one way or another. As long as we know that there will be a remnant that God has called to the restitution of all things and we are a part of that, whatever follows that process is not important. It may be important in the long run as to what will really happen but that is part of God's plan that has nothing to do with what we are doing, it comes later or not at all depending on His viewpoint, not ours.

We may disagree with the events to come but that is not important either. The important thing is that we are doing something together that will glorify Jesus in the kingdom that we are a part of right now. As long as we love each other and come together as one then we are fulfilling the prayer of Jesus no matter what we think on these things. I have had to come a long way for me to accept this for many things but our millennial positions has not been one of them. To divide over this issue will identify those that are not a part of what Jesus is doing through us in bringing us together.

The earth will be populated during the millennium. Will this be flesh and blood? The prophecies of Isaiah suggest precisely this. We know that our swords have never yet been beaten into plowshares, so an a-millennial interpretation makes no sense; neither has the lion laid down with the lamb with children leading them. On the other hand, there will be a resurrection at the end of the millennium; Gog and Magog are again loosed to make war after no war is to be learned.

During this time, the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord. It will be a new earth, there will be no sea, all tears shall be wiped away, suckling children will play with snakes, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the desert will bloom, the wilderness blossom and the parched land sprout pools. We will live in the houses that we ourselves have built, not others, we will eat the fruit from our own vineyards, each under our own vine and fig tree. No more hunger or thirst, the Lamb shall feed them and they will drink of the fountain of living waters. Do these pertain to flesh and blood? Are not these things yet to come? No more violence or oppression, nor more darkness, the Lord Himself will be our light. Are we to spiritualize these things as to the Christian era? Are we to preach a heaven and hell and ignore the kingdom to come, should not the gospel of the kingdom include the millennium?

The Book of Revelation encouraged Christians to see themselves as the Chosen People of the Lord. The gospel of the kingdom provided a present and a future hope, we were chosen both to prepare the way for and inherit the millennium.

For myself, I still believe that there will be a thousand year reign of peace to come after the tribulation period but I could be all wrong. I will also belief that Jesus reigns in my heart already and I do not have to wait. Whether it is in the future or not is not important at this point and it does not matter how we believe it will come or not come. We must love each other unconditionally regardless of our views on these things. What we do know and of supreme importance is that we are in God's kingdom now; the Kingdom of God is within us and has been since Jesus came the first time. We may not know what will happen when Jesus comes for us again or when it will be but we do believe that He will come again.

The tension between these two forms of historical interpretation has become important for church history, the prophetic fulfillment on one hand and the apocalyptic on the other. The scriptures speak of a new heaven and a new earth in which all the old things have passed away and all have become new but we see this in Rev. 20 and 21 at the end of the millennium, not during. The church age is new but then would not fulfill a third day to come interpretation. A non-historical element penetrated into the Christian interpretation of history through the elimination of chiliasm that denies the idea of progressive revelation and spiritual maturity of the church. This false element was strong enough to denigrate historical progress with the struggle for social justice and separated the individual destiny from that of the whole.

The Epistle of Barnabas, mentioned a belief that was widely held at the time that, even as there had been 2000 years from Adam to Abraham, and 2000 years from Abraham to Christ, so there would be 2000 years for the Christian era, and then would come the millennium even as the 6 days of creation were followed by the day of rest. Barnabas: "He finished them on the 7th day and he rested on the 7th day. Consider, my children, what that signifies, he finished them in six days. The meaning of it is this; that in 6000 years the Lord God will bring all things to an end. And what is that he says, And he rested the seventh day:. that when his son shall come, and abolish the season of the Wicked One, and judge the ungodly; and shall change the sun and the moon, and the stars; then he shall gloriously rest in that 7th day." I worked out the Genesis genealogies years ago in Bible College and it does add up to six thousand years from Eden to now. Seven is the number of completion and it would follow that we would need another one to complete an imperfect six. Just as God rested on the seventh day, a sabbath rest for man awaits.

For, behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind... And they shall build houses, and inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock..
The idea that these things have happened already is hard to believe. We are certainly not living in an era of peace and justice. Peter wrote:
Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. Wherefore beloved, seeing that you look for such things, be diligent that you may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. And my people will dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

[06, 58, 95, 281, Isaiah, II Peter, The millennium was part of the end-time discussion on the latter rain list]

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