“Searching the Seven Churches”
What’s a Millennium? – (Revelation Chapter 1 Verse 1)
In searching out what lies in the book of Revelation regarding the ‘Seven Churches’ as we’ve come to known them, we need to look at the context, the setting first. The book of Revelation of course deals with aspects of God’s promise yet to be fulfilled. The return of Christ, the resurrection, the last judgment, and the renewal of all things. Before we come to the actual text of these early chapters of Revelation, we need to consider the main interpretations of the book of Revelation that are held by the church today, generally speaking, in terms of eschatology. There are three basic positions, A-millennial, Post-millennial, and Pre-millennial. They can’t all be right, only one can be, we need to understand which one that is for ourselves. The word millennial or millennium comes from the Latin word mille which simply means 1000, add annum, year to it and you have the word found six times in Revelation chapter 20. It is both a difficult and symbolical part of the word of God. The Premillennial they take this figure to be literal when Christ comes he will reign for 1000 years. The Post-millennial takes the figure to be symbolic, a long age in which the world will be Christianised before Christ’s return. The A-millennial also takes the figure to be symbolical, being the whole of the New Testament age, from Christ’s ascension to his return in glory.
This isn’t a commentary, they are only notes. Therefore, this mustn’t be taken as exhaustive by any means. As we look at each of these three positions held by Christians, it is only in general terms, and must be understood that within each of the positions there are varying takes. So first we come to the Post-millennial position. This views that the kingdom of God will spread through the entire world, by the preaching of God’s word and the operations of the Spirit of God. Thus extending an age of righteousness and peace to all. It is a view held by many saints and was, of course, the view held mostly by the Puritans. For a more thorough understanding of the positions, I commend Lorraine Boettner’s excellent classic work on the subject. But as we examine these positions we must examine their implications and the position that they take in the light God’s word. In the glorious age of the millennium as the Postposition holds there is to be a massive influx of souls, where most people will be saved (Psalm 97:5; Malachi 1:11; Acts 13:47). From that perspective alone the Christians heart would wish that to be so. Although such brethren are not universalists, they would see this age of the millennium as being an age of almost universal salvation (John 1:29; John 3:16; Matthew 28:18ff). This they hold is Christ’s ability and authority to Christianise the world, a time in which the number of the redeemed will outnumber that of the lost.
(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2011)