[serialposts]So what is amillenialism?

The amillennialist believes essentially that there is not a literal thousand year reign of Christ on earth.  The “a” in amillennialism signifies the belief that there is not a millennium (as understood in the previous two positions).

The amillennialist suggests that the world will be a mix of good and evil until the second coming of Christ.  At His coming there will be one bodily resurrection.  Then, after judgment, Christians will enter into an eternal blessedness with God.

Louis Berkhof states that the amillennialist “is firmly convinced that the Bible favors the idea that the present dispensation of the Kingdom of God will be followed immediately by the Kingdom of God in its comsummate and eternal form” (Systematic Theology, 708).

Therefore, the position of the amillennialist is shaped by their understanding of Biblical interpretation.

Stan Grenz clarifies this hermeneutic.  He writes, “The amillennial hermeneutic includes two chief principles: the primacy of the New Testament over the Old and the primacy of clear texts over symbolic” (Millennial Maze, 153).

This suggests that the general teaching of Christ in the Gospels and the teachings of Paul both point toward a return of Christ and one bodily resurrection.

In regards to Revelation 20, amillennialist point out that the letter was written in order to encourage the believers who were being persecuted in the time the letter was written.  Also, because the letter was written in an apocalypse genre the symbolism and imagery should be kept as symbolism and imagery.

Amillennialist would argue that keeping these features intact is the true “literal” reading of the Revelation.  Therefore, the one thousand years mentioned in Revelation 20 is symbolic of the triumph of Christ, which was meant to encourage the believers who were being martyred.

For amillennialists, the mention of the two resurrections in Revelation 20 is not to be interpreted as two bodily resurrections.  The first, is a spiritual resurrection and the second is the one (and only) bodily resurrection.

Therefore, the amillennialist position suggests that there is not a literal millennium because Revelation 20 is meant to be interpreted by keeping it in its historic context and symbolic imagery.  This means that the second coming of Christ can occur at any given time.

understanding the millennium [part three]: amillennialism

by Mark Lafler time to read: 2 min
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