THE MILLENNIUM. The term millennium is the Latin equivalent of the 1,000 years in chapter 20. Three views of the Millennium have been advocated.
POSTMILLENNIAL VIEW. Not all, who hold this view, agree that the return of Christ would be after the Millennium. This view usually interprets the Millennium as figurative; to denote the period of the Gospel’s gradual triumph over the nations until a reign of peace results, which will endure until Christ, comes at the end of history in final judgment.
AMILLENNIAL VIEW. Amillennialists interpret the thousand years as a highly figurative designation and they see no ground for expecting a literal Millennium as a definite time. Its advocates view the Millennium as representative of the blessedness of Christian experience now, or that it possibly represents the intermediate state of the blessed dead. They see no prospect of the conversion of the whole world through the preaching of the Gospel but rather that an increase of lawlessness may be expected as the end of the world approaches. Christ may return at any time, and that return will usher in the final judgment and the eternal state without a literal thousand-year reign.
PREMILLENNIAL VIEW accepts the thousand years as a definite chronological period and holds that Christ will return to earth personally in glory to initiate His one thousand year reign on the earth. The righteous dead will be raised and rule with Him during the Millennium. The surviving saints of the Tribulation Period will enter the Millennial Kingdom in mortal bodies and repopulate the earth. This view holds that there are two stages to the second advent of Christ.
1. The Rapture—Christ’s coming in the air for the church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
2. The Revelation—Christ’s coming to earth to judge and to reign on David’s throne in Jerusalem for one thousand years (Revelation 19:11-6).
Premillennialists are not agreed on the time of the Rapture in relation to the Tribulation.