Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Lesson 8: Amillennialism: A Golden Age Beyond Time (part 3)

Amillennial Interpretation of the Millennium

Amillennialists are not happy with the name "amillennialism". It is not the millennium that they deny, but rather a literal earthly kingdom or a literal 1000 years. Many prefer names such as inaugurated millennialism or realized millennialism. Exactly what the millennium is, however, is fodder for amillennial in-house debate.

The most widely held view interprets the thousand years to the spiritual reign and blessedness enjoyed by the saints in heaven during the intermediate state.222 This is the newer and dominant position.

An older (Augustinian) view sees the millennium of Revelation 20 as symbolizing not dead saints in heaven but the spiritual reign of believers on earth. It symbolizes the victory now enjoyed by believers and the church.

Amillennial View of Christ’s Return

Amillennialism is both the simplest and most catastrophic of the viewpoints. There is no intervening period between this age and the eternal. This age ends in the twinkling of an eye when Christ returns. Grenz describes what that will be like from an amillennialist's perspective:
At the Lord's return, a conglomeration of events will occur, which complete his redemptive work. This includes Christ’s victory over the forces of the antichrist, the general resurrection, the judgment and the transformation of creation into the eternal state. For the saint of all ages, resurrection will mean that they, together with believers on the earth, meet the descending Lord and enter into the eternal kingdom of the new heaven and new earth. For the wicked, resurrection facilitates their appearance—together with the wicked on the earth—before their judge, followed by banishment into eternal condemnation. 223

Another description is from William E. Cox:
When the trumpet sounds, things will take place simultaneously. Our Lord will begin his descent to the earth, the brightness of this event will put down Satan, and all the graves will be opened…All the saints will go together to meet the Lord and to escort Him to the earth. …The unsaved … will be forced to bow the knee and acknowledge that this is of a certainty the Christ… They will see the suffering Servant reigning now as Judge of the quick and the dead, and they will seek a place of hiding but will find none. 224

Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. (Rev. 1:7)

222 Grenz, Millennial Maze, p. 151.
223 Ibid., p. 152.
224 William E. Cox, These Last Days, pp. 80-81.

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