I once heard someone define the millennium as the thousand years during which Christians fight over the proper interpretation of the End Times.
Christians have been fighting over the proper interpretation of the events leading up to the End Times for two thousand years. Moreover, as I mentioned last Sunday far more intelligent people than myself, have differences in how all of this is going to work out. So I don’t expect to come up with the definitive answer.
I also mentioned that there are some cautions that we need to take when we study the End Times.
First: Be careful to approach this text with awe and mystery, not just curiosity. I’m not suggesting that curiosity is wrong. I am saying that curiosity without awe and mystery makes the Bible more of a handbook on future events and less of the revelation of God.
Often it has been the case of people who study the book of Revelation, to try to figure out the end of the world. They forget that when the smoke of history clears, Revelation’s message is one person standing victorious: Jesus Christ.
The last book of the Bible is not “the revelation of future events”; it is “the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:1).
Second: Believing in the Second Coming of Christ is foundational to the Christian faith. Everything beyond that is an “intramural” discussion.
When studying the End Times, we need to be sure that we keep that which is essential a priority. Otherwise, we spend too much time on the wrong things and not enough time on the right things.
I would also like to define some terms and different views on the End Times before we continue in the book of Matthew 24 and 25.
The word millennium refers to the “thousand years” mentioned in Revelation 20.
There are three main views of the millennium held within the church today: Pre-millennialism, Amillennialism, and Postmillennialism.
The first view is pre-millennialism which states that Jesus is going to return before the millennial reign described in Revelation 20:4-5. This view takes a literal interpretation and a chronological view of the book of Revelation and believes that the tribulation and Jesus’s coming will happen before the millennium.
There are three branches of this view:
1) Post-tribulational rapture.
2) Mid-trib rapture.
3) Pre-trib rapture. This is the view that is described in the fictional Left Behind series.
Amillennialism is still a fairly popular view, especially among Reformed churches. It teaches that there is no literal thousand-year reign of Christ; that the 1000 years is allegorical. They would say that we are in the millennium right now and that Jesus is reigning now from heaven from a spiritual Jerusalem.
Next, there is postmillennialism which believes that the world will gradually become a better and godlier place as God builds His kingdom here. This perspective culminates in Jesus’s millennial reign in Jerusalem. The view was much more popular in the late 1800s when people had an optimistic view of humanity. However, the two World Wars at the beginning of the 20th century impacted the popularity of this view.
All of us should take the time to understand the views of those with whom we differ and understand the biblical arguments they use. We may not agree yet, and I doubt if there will ever be a consensus. However, despite the disagreements, we can rejoice that we all agree that Jesus has risen. He has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, and He is returning again.
As always there will be a band of prayers,
praying for the service and the church at 9:00 am.
If you are able, join us,
if you aren’t, pray for one another on your way to church.
See you Sunday.
River Valley Community Church | 888 S. Edgelawn Dr., Unit 1749, Aurora, IL 60506