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Amillennialism

The word "amillennialism" means literally "no millennium." Strictly speaking it is not the case that amillennialism teaches no millennium at all. The truth is that amillennialism does not believe in a literal future thousand years.

Amillennialism teaches that the millennium of Rev. 20 is the whole New Testament age from the first coming of Christ to the end of the world. The thousand years of Revelation 20 is, therefore, understood symbolically rather than literally.

This teaching is based first of all on the fact that numbers in Scripture, including the number 1000, are often symbolic rather than literal. A good example is Psalm 50:10, where Scripture certainly does not mean literally and only "a thousand hills" but "all hills."

Since the binding of Satan is one of the chief features of this thousand year period (Rev. 20:1-3), amillennialism teaches that Satan is bound throughout the NT age, not completely bound, but bound only "that he should deceive the nations no more" (Rev. 20:3). He is bound, in other words, only in that he cannot prevent the gospel from being preached and having its fruit in the conversion of the gentile nations.

That Satan was bound at the time of Christ's first coming is clear from Matt. 12:29. There, in a clear reference to Satan, Jesus uses the same word as in Revelation 20:2, and speaks in connection with this "binding of the strong man" of the coming of the kingdom through the gathering of the Gentiles by the preaching of the gospel (Matt. 12:14-21, 28-30), just as does Revelation 20.

Amillennialism, therefore, does not look for a millennium yet to come, but believes that we are in the middle of the millennium now, and that when the millennium is finished, the end of the world will have arrived. This NT age is the last age of the world.

Amillennialism does not, therefore expect a rapture 1000 years before the end, nor a coming of Christ 1000 years before the end, nor does it expect that the great tribulation will take place 1000 years before the end of the world. Rather it teaches that all these events will take place at the end, and will be followed by the eternal state.

I Cor. 15:51-52 identifies the trump that shall sound at the rapture as the last, and I Thess. 4:17 tells us that when the rapture comes we shall "ever be with the Lord," a synonym in Scripture for the eternal state of heavenly glory. Likewise, in Matt. 24:29ff., the great tribulation is immediately followed by the trumpet that announces Christ's coming, the actual appearing of Christ on the clouds, and the gathering of His elect.

Amillennialism also does not teach a period of unprecedented peace and prosperity for the church before the end, but takes seriously the Biblical truth that the great tribulation of the church shall precede the end of all things - that in those last days "grievous times shall come" (II Tim. 3:1), times in which "evil men shall wax worse and worse" (vs. 13).

Because of this, some accuse amillennialism of pessimism. It is not pessimistic, though. Amillennialists believe that Christ rules, and that with sovereign power He causes all things to work together, even these grievous things, for the good of His own.

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Additional Info

  • Volume: 8
  • Issue: 1
Hanko, Ronald

Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)

Ordained: November 1979

Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002; Emeritus October 15, 2017

Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/

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