Thursday, 26 August 2010

What's The Deal With The Millennium?

What's the deal with "the Millennium"? 
Written by Dr Andrew Corbett, President of ICI Theological College Australia, and author of the popular commentary on the Book of Revelation- The Most Embarrassing Book In The Bible, Lecturer In Hermeneutics, Tabor College Tasmania [August 26th 2010]
Where is human history going? Many people believe that the Bible has not only accurately predicted human history to this point, but that it predicts a coming 'Golden Age'. This possibly impending event is called: "The Millennium". But there are very devout Bible readers who think this kind of reading of Scripture is actually a gross misreading of the Bible, and that what the Bible really says about the future may surprise - and even shock people today.
The "Millennium" is the touchstone for how people label themselves when it comes to interpretting Bible prophecy. Depending on how they regard the Millennium, they will classify themselves either as, (i) Premillennial; (ii) Amillennial; or, (iii) Post-Millennial. Within these Millennial categories there are people who take a "fundamentalist" view, generally known as "Dispensationalists" and there are others who take a "Reformed" view, generally known as "Historicists", or the position I will argue for- "Preterist".
The term "Millennium" doesn't actually occur in the Scriptures. But like many things that the Bible teaches, we shouldn't be hung up on terms because there are many Biblical truths which do not employ the terms we have identified them with. That is, there are things that the Bible teaches which it doesn't say with the terms we have given them. For example, the Bible does not say that God loves you, but it does teach it. The expression, The Millennium, means 1,000 years. It is based on a reference in Revelation 20.
Rev. 20:2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
Rev. 20:3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.
Rev. 20:4 ¶ Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Most commentators agree that this is a reference to "the Kingdom" which Christ repeatedly referred to. For those who think that this Kingdom will be an earthly, physical Kingdom, it is yet to come. This view is called Premillennialism. Most proponents of Premillennialism take the view that the Bible should be taken quite literally when it refers to Christ reigning "for a thousand years." Premillennialists are critical of any other views regarding the reference to the one thousand year reign of Christ. Added to this, they state, there are Old Testament prophecies which speak of God ruling on earth in a Kingdom for a long time.
Isa. 11:10 ¶ In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
This idea that Christ will return and establish a literal one thousand year reign from Jerusalem also incorporates the notion that God will re-establish Israel as a nation with reclamation of its Biblical boundaries in preparation for this impending earthly reign of Christ. Appeals are made to Old Testament prophecies which speak of the restoration of Israel to a glorious national state with Jewish people being drawn back to the Land of Israel to repopulate the Promised Land. This view has been by far the most popular view over the last century or so. It has been the seedbed of the rise of modern Zionism and for this reason has been very supportive of the State of Israel....[read the full article]

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