Aug 30

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Just say the word “millennialism” and the debate is on! Then, add a “pre,” or a “post” to it and the debate intensifies! Just what is there about this word that may turn faces red? It is not the root word, “millennial,” as it just means: “denoting or relating to a period of a thousand years. “Today the word “millennial” has taken on a new meaning, “Millennial Generation,“ that has nothing to do with our subject, but it interesting nevertheless. These words are used to refer to those now ranging in age from 18 to 33. Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe wrote about the “Millennials in Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069” and Journalist Bruce Horovitz gave them credit for first using the two words. In 1987 they coined the term “around the time children born in 1982 were entering preschool.”
The word “millennial” means: a period of a thousand years. In and of itself this produces no debate; however, when used in a religious context, it has been at the heart of a number of teachings; thus, debates through the years. The word is used to refer to a “Golden Age or Paradise on Earth in which ‘Christ will reign’ for 1000 years.” In this article we will look only at the basic teaching. In other articles, we will examine the teachings when “pre” or “post” is added to the word “millennial;” as in “pre-millennialism” and “post-millennialism.”
Just what did the inspired writers of the New Testament write about “millennialism?” First, it is necessary to know if the word or term “millennial” appears in the New Testament. Here is the only context which has the words “a thousand years:”
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. (2) And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (3) And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. (4) And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (5) But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. (6) Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (7) And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, (8) And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea” (Rev. 20:1-8).
The first thing a person needs to know about the “Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:1) is that it was written in HIGHLY figurative terms. Notice in verse one the words the “angel,” “having the key of the bottomless pit.” Is the “key” a literal “key,” or is it a figurative “key?” Is the “bottomless pit” literal or figurative? How do you have a literal “bottomless pit?” Then the “angel” had “a great chain in his hand.” Are these words to be taken literally or figuratively? Consider what the “angel” did with this “great chain,” and “bound him a thousand years.” Just how does an “angel” which is a spiritual being, bind Satan, who is also a “spiritual” being” with a literal chain?
Yes, no one is prepared to study the “Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ” who is not prepared to take the necessary time to determine what words are used literally and figuratively. So, are the words, “a thousand years,” to be understood as literally or figuratively? Then, don’t forget, the “angel” “shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled.” To be sure, the “angel” was a real spiritual being and Satan is also a real spiritual being.

— Frank R. Williams

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