Two guard rails of Bible prophecy
In the essentials unity, in the non-essentials flexibility, in all things love
Defining the Millennium and its major positions
Premillennialism - This is by far the most familiar to many readers. Those who hold to this teach that, when Christ returns, He will set up a literal earthly kingdom for 1,000 years, followed by a brief loosing of Satan to deceive the nations, the Great white throne judgment and then the bringing in of the "New Heavens and New Earth". Pre-millennialists draw their conclusions by combining the "earthly" descriptions of Christ's return in the Old Testament and Matthew 24, as well as the term "1,000 years" in Revelation 20.
Among the strengths of the Pre-millennial position is first of all its longevity, being the longest held view in the history of the church. Biblically this position is able to handle the many "earth-bound" descriptions of the coming kingdom seen in the Old and New Testaments as well as giving room for the future restoration of Israel at Christ's return. Many Pre-millennialists (not all) will also point out that the promises of God to Abraham and David of the Savior and King coming through their bloodlines were and are to be fulfilled in both a heavenly and earthly way. Some of the weaknesses of the position are that in a literal Millennium, there is a mixture of both resurrected saints and people born who are living in unressurected bodies. Others have pointed out that many of the disciples' desire for an earthly manifestation of Christ's kingdom was seemingly dismissed by Jesus when he emphasized the coming Kingdom's predominately "spiritual" and "unseen" characteristics.
More could be said, however we will only offer thumbnail sketches of these major positions. The aim right now is to introduce the reader to the major viewpoints in Bible Prophecy, so as to encourage further study of scripture. In tomorrow's blog we will look at two other positions on the Millennium.