Everyone is talking about it. We are about to enter a new Millennium. What will happen? Is this the long awaited end of man’s existence on earth? Will Christ return to establish His Kingdom on earth? Will there be a so-called Rapture, a thousand year reign of Christ on earth, will the man of lawlessness finally be revealed? Will Christians escape the great tribulation? Everyone wants to know.
There are basically three views of the end times, Postmillennialism, Amillennialism, and Premillennialism. All three views hold in common that the Scriptures are the Word of God and are authoritative. Each believes that the death of Christ was the necessary sacrifice to satisfy divine justice and is the only ground for the salvation of man. Each believes that there will be a future coming of Christ. The differences between the three views relate primarily to the time and purpose of Christ’s coming and the kind of kingdom that is to be established at His coming.
The word millennium is derived from two Latin words, mille, meaning thousand, and annum, meaning year. Therefore the literal meaning of the word millennium is a thousand years. The prefixes Post-, A-, and Pre-, designate the particular view held regarding the thousand years.
Premillennialists take the word literally, holding that Christ returns to earth before he establishes His kingdom, which will continue for precisely one thousand years.
Postmillennialists and Amillennialists take the word figuratively as indicating an indefinitely long period of time in which Christ rules in his spiritual Kingdom.
Postmillennialists believe that Christ will return after the Millennium.
Amillennialists do not believe that there is a Millennium at all in the generally accepted sense of the term. Amillennialists and Postmillennialists both agree that the kingdom that Jesus had in mind was a spiritual kingdom, the church of Christ.