Within the study of eschatology is the debate about when will Jesus come again. There are three main interpretations of the Bible here known as amillennialism, postmillennialism, and premillennialism. These beliefs all stem from Revelation 20 where Jesus’ Second Coming and the Millennium is discussed in some detail.
What is premillennialism? This is the belief that Jesus will physically come again (the Second Coming) before (“pre” means before in Latin) the ushering in of the Millennium spoken about in the book of Revelation (Revelation 20:1-6). Jesus comes, the Millennium begins, giving unbelievers a chance to turn to God, Satan in bound and then he’ll lead a final revolt, then the judgment occurs.
Amillennialism (“a” means no in Greek) is the belief that the book of Revelation is figurative and the time frame is indeterminate. Revelation 20 refers to the church age during which Satan’s power over the nations is restrained so the gospel can reach more people. This belief holds that we are already in the church age, waiting for Christ to come and judge, and therefore Christ’s reign is in heaven and not here on earth.
Postmillennialists (“post” means after in Latin) see the millennium as a future period when truth will be revealed and accepted by the majority of people. They believe in the literal 1000 year period or Golden Age but unlike the premillennialists, they believe the church, man, and nations will all eventually turn to Christ first and only when the majority of the world is ready for Christ will he return physically to earth and judge mankind and usher in the New World Order. They believe the 1000 years has not begun yet.
Did you catch the key difference between the postmillennialists and the premillennialists? Postmillennialists believe man will convert people and reference Matthew 28:19-20 (the Great Commission). Premillennialists believe Jesus himself will come and convert the majority of mankind to him.
In sum, amillennialists don’t believe in a physical coming of Jesus. Postmillennialists and premillennialists believe Jesus will physically come to usher in his kingdom–the debate is in the details of when as well as the actual 1000 year period itself.
All agree that this world will end and Jesus will establish an eternal kingdom here on earth. The debate is over how and when. Again, does it matter? We can hold onto the hope and the truth that there will be a time when Jesus will reign. For now, he reigns in our hearts.
This is at the end of our study but it’s good to have this idea in your head now and be thinking on it as we go along. Perhaps there will be clues elsewhere.
To me, this is just plain interesting. I love how God doesn’t make it clear because I believe the details don’t matter to Him. He wants us. Always has. Always will. As long as we’re secure in Him, the rest is merely fodder for the soul.