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AMILLENNIALISM: A SHORT DEFINITION

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. —  March 1, 2012 — 2 Comments

The term “amillennial” derives from a (which means “no”) and mille (“thousand”) and annum (which means “years”). The amillennial view denies a literal thousand year reign of Christ on earth or even any millennial-type conditions dominating on earth in the pre-consummation order.

Amillennialists hold that Christ established his kingdom in the first century as a spiritual-redemptive reality. The Church is the focal point of Christ’s redemptive kingdom. It will grow and win many converts to Christ and serve as his witness to the world. The present age is the “millennium,” which is a symbolic value picturing a long period of time. However, Christ’s kingdom will never achieve a majority status in the world and will eventually decline into apostasy as history collapses into the chaos of the great tribulation, opening the door to the Antichrist. Christ will then return to destroy his enemies, resurrect the dead, judge all men, and establish the eternal order.

Thus, this view is pessimistic. As Cornelis Venema expresses it: “amillennialists believe that the biblical descriptions of the inter-advental period suggests that the world’s opposition to Christ and the gospel will endure, even becoming more intense as the present period of history draws to a close.”1 Contemporary defenses of amillennialism can be found in the following books:

Kim Riddlebarger, A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003).
Cornelis P. Venema, The Promise of the Future (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2000).

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Footnote

1 Cornelis Venema, The Promise of the Future (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2000), 239; cp. 141, 156, 242.

 

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Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

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Ken is a Presbyterian pastor and the author or co-author of over thirty books, most on eschatology. He has been married since 1971, and has three children and several grandchildren. He is a graduate of Tennessee Temple University (B.A., 1973), Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1977), and Whitefield Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1986; Th.D., 1988). He currently pastors Living Hope Presbyterian Church (affiliated with the RPCGA) in Greer, SC. Much of his writing is in the field of eschatology, including his 600 page book, He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology and his 400 page, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (his Th.D. dissertation). He contributed chapters to two Zondervan CounterPoints books on eschatological issues: Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (edited by Darrell L. Bock) and Four Views on the Book of Revelation (edited by C. Marvin Pate). He also debated Thomas D. Ice in Kregel's The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? His books have been published by American Vision, Baker, Zondervan, Kregel, P & R, Greenhaven Press, Nordskog, Wipf & Stock, and several other publishers. He has published scores of articles in such publications as Tabletalk, Westminster Theological Journal, Evangelical Theological Society Journal, Banner of Truth, Christianity Today, Antithesis, Contra Mundum, and others. He has spoken at over 80 conferences in America, the Caribbean, and Australia. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and a Church Council Committee member of Coalition on Revival.

2 responses to AMILLENNIALISM: A SHORT DEFINITION

  1. Thanks for the post.

    So pretty much, amillennialists are postmillennialists in that both see Christ returning after the “millennium. However, they disagree on what is going to take place in the millennium.
    Is this correct?
    Thanks

    • Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. March 5, 2012 at 6:30

      Before 1900 those who were amillennial and those who were postmillennial were all called “postmillennial,” because of what you noticed: Christ will not return until after the millennium. But postmillennialism, as such, is optimistic regarding the flow of history, trusting that the majority of men and nations will become Christians. Whereas amillennialists say this will not happen, but warn that he can expect things to gradually get worse before the end.

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