The Three Views of Yeshua’s Millennial Rule

The End Times

In my last post, we continued our practice of summarizing the Four Views from the previous segment in our exploration of the Revelation of Yeshua to Yochanan and introduced The Three Views of the Millennial Rule of Yeshua.  In this post, I want to dig a little deeper into those Three Views before examing Chapter 20.

Henry H. Halley defines the Three Views as: [1]

Amillennialism:   This approach suggests that the millennium represents the current reign of the redeemed saints with Christ in heaven. It is thought that the present-day form of God’s kingdom will be followed by Christ’s return, a general resurrection, and the final White Throne Judgment. After this, Christ will continue to reign over the perfect new heaven and new earth for an eternity. In this approach, the 1000 years is figurative and represents an eternal amount of time.

Premillennialism:  This approach (which is the main approach used in his commentary) suggests that the present form of God’s kingdom is rapidly approaching the glorious return of Christ, which will occur after a seven-year period of tribulation. With Christ’s return, Satan will be bound in the Abyss, and the first resurrection will occur. All the redeemed saints in heaven will return to the earth with Christ to reign with Him for a literal 1000 years. This millennial period will be characterized predominately by peace – at least initially. As the millennial period progresses, the earth will become repopulated with people who have free will. Over time, people’s self-confidence and pride will harden their hearts. God will loose Satan for a short time at the end of the 1000 years. Satan will make one last effort to war with God. God will strike Satan and all who have joined to fight Him with a fire that devours them. God will throw Satan into the lake of burning sulfur to be tormented eternally. This is followed by the White Throne Judgment and a second resurrection of the millennial-age saints. Finally, God will establish a new heaven and new earth, where He will dwell with His people forever.

Postmillennialism:  This approach assumes that eventually the world will be evangelized – in other words, all the world’s people will accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. This will result in a long period of world peace called the Millennium. This glorious period of time will be followed by Christ’s second coming, the resurrection of the dead, the White Throne Judgment and the establishment of an eternal new heaven and new earth.

David Stern has some interesting insights from a Messianic Jewish perspective: [2]

Premillennialism alone expects a future Millennium in which the Messiah himself will rule on earth, and I share this opinion. But I also agree with Lance Lambert, a Messianic Jew living in Jerusalem, who writes:

“It is my belief that there will be a millennium. It would not alter my faith or joy in the Lord if there were no such period. I find myself unable to hold such a conviction in an argumentative or hotly dogmatic spirit. If we are honest, both views present us with problems which are not easily answered. The vital need is to be ready for the Lord’s coming and for all that will follow it.” (Till the Day Dawns, Eastbourne: Kingsway Publications, 1982, p. 160)

A millennium of sorts appears in the lengthy collection of opinions about Messianic times found in Chapter 11 of Babylonian Talmud tractate Sanhedrin:

“Rav Kattina said, ‘The world will exist for six thousand years, then for one thousand years it will lie desolate….'” (Sanhedrin 97a)  This passage and a related one are quoted fully and discussed in 2 Kefa 3:3-9.

Likewise, although the events leading up to the Messianic Age are described differently in the Zohar (the central text of Jewish mysticism compiled in the 13th century), it tells us:

 “Happy are those left alive at the end of the sixth millennium to enter into [the millennium of] the Shabbat.” (Zohar 1:119a) Compare this with Messianic Jews (Hebrews) 4:1-11.

Steve Gregg has these additional insights regarding the Three Views: [3]

Each of the Three Views can present an impressive exegetical argument in its defense, each has been advocated by remarkable conservative scholars, and each has enjoyed its own period of prominence in the thinking of the Western church.

Among Premillennialists, there are two significant varieties:  the dispensational and the historic.  The critical departure between these two groups is that the former believe in a special status for the nation of Israel in the redemptive work of God in the End Times, resulting in a restored millennial Temple in Jerusalem complete with Levitical priests and animal sacrifices.  The Historic Premillennialists see the church, rather than ethnic Israel as prominent in the millennial period.  Dispensationalist also believe that the Rapture occurs seven years before the start of the Millennium, whereas others see the Rapture of the church simultaneously with the Second Coming of Yeshua.

Postmilennialists find in Chapter 20 a consummation of history in the 1,000-year reign of Yeshua on earth. Peace will be restored through the agency of the Word of God and the Ruach.

Amillennialists take their name from the denial that there will be a unique golden age of literally 1,000 years, either before or after the Second Coming of Yeshua.  Chapter 20 is understood symbolically or spiritually.  The time frame is seen to be the whole time between Yeshua’s First and Second Coming.

In my next post, we’ll dig into the content of Chapter 20.

Click here for PDF version.

[1] Halley’s Bible Handbook: Deluxe Edition.

[2] Jewish New Testament Commentary by David Stern.

[3] Material in this post is taken from “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated” by Steve Gregg. Notations in brackets, if any, are my comments.

Summary of Revelation Chapters 17-19

The End Times

In my last post, we explored Revelation 19:11-21 ~ The Rider on the White Horse ~ Part 3.  In this post, we continue our practice of summarizing the Four Views from the previous segment in our exploration of the Revelation of Yeshua to Yochanan and an introduction to the Millenial Rule of Yeshua.

Summary of Revelation Chapters 17-19 [1]

These chapters describe the conclusion of the careers of Yeshua’s earthly enemies, the Anti-Messiah and the False Prophet.

Historicist Approach:

Historicists see this segment as a protracted celebration of the future downfall of papal Rome.  Yeshua is seen riding forth in victory, making further conquests through His Word throughout the world.

Preterist Approach: 

On Preterist suppositions, Bavel maybe Rome, the imperial city, which was to be sacked and destroyed by its subject nations. Otherwise, Bavel represents apostate Jerusalem, sacked and burned by the Romans.  The choice between these options rests upon the decision whether the second half of Revelation has turned attention from the fall of Jerusalem to the fall of Rome. There is no consensus on this point.

Futurist Approach:

Futurists differ as to the identity of Bavel.  It may be the ancient Bavel in Iraq, or ancient Rome revived in the last days. It may represent the Roman Catholic Church or some world council of churches that have defected from Yeshua and persecuted His followers.  Regardless of the exact identification, these chapters exult in the corrupt system’s demise and foresee the victorious return of Yeshua from heaven in Chapter 19.

Idealist Approach:

The Idealist interpretation sees Bavel as the seductive world system, described in terms reminiscent of Rome, its chief expression of Yochanan’s day.  This system seeks both to seduce and to persecute the Kehilah but will succumb to the power of Yeshua either at His Second Coming or gradually through the progress of the Besorah.

Summary of Revelation Chapters 20 ~ The Millennium[2]

What is the meaning of the “1,000 Years”?   When do these events occur?

Our study of Revelation to this point has taken the form of comparison of the Four Views in interpreting the events prophesied in Chapters 4 through 19.  Those views were based on entirely different assumptions as to the time frame, geographical extent, and the duration of the judgments depicted as seals, trumpets, and bowls of wrath.

For many readers, however, the most interesting question to be resolved in the book of Revelation concerns the meaning of the final chapters, and particularly chapter 20.  Unfortunately, the Four Views cannot be applied to these final chapters.  The interpretation of these final chapters comprises what is arguably the chief controversy in eschatological studies, if not in all evangelical theology.  Consequently, we will switch gears and examine Three ViewsPremillennial, Amillennial and Postmillennial Approach.  A summary of those views is:

Premillennial Approach:

  • The binding of HaSatan is yet future. It will take place when Yeshua returns.
  • The 1,000 years are a literal period during which Yeshua will reign on earth from Jerusalem, with His people.
  • The loosing of HaSatan will bring the Millennium to its climax, followed by the resurrection and judgment of the wicked at the Great White Throne.
  • The new heavens and new earth will be created after the Millennium, i.e., 1,000 years after Yeshua’s Second Coming.

Amillennial Approach:

  • The binding of HaSatan represents the victory of Yeshua over the powers of darkness accomplished on the execution stake.
  • The 1,000 years is symbolic of an extended, indeterminate period, corresponding to the age of the Kehillah (now).
  • HaSatan will be loosed briefly to wreak havoc and to persecute the Kehilah at the end of the present age.
  • The fire coming from heaven and consuming the wicked is symbolic of Yeshua’s Second Coming.
  • The general resurrection and judgment of the evil and the good will occur at Yeshua’s Coming, followed by the creation of new heavens and a new earth.

Postmillennial Approach:

  • Some interpret the chapter essentially as do the Amillennialists, but with an added note of optimism about the success of the Besorah in the present age.
  • Others see the binding of HaSatan to represent a future point in time when the successful preaching of the Besorah will efficiently have reduced HaSatan’s influence to nothing.

In my next post, we’ll dig a little deeper into the Premillennial, Amillennial and Postmillennial Approach before actually delving into the content of Chapter 20.

Click here for PDF version.

[1] Material in this post is taken from “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated” by Steve Gregg. Notations in brackets, if any, are my comments.

[2] Ibid.