Calvary Church of the Nazarene Huntsville, Alabama

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Eschatology (Astudy of last things@) and Millennialism

The word millennium is not in the NT but is derived from the Latin words mille (Athousand@) and annus (Ayear@). The Greek word translated Athousand,@ chilioi, is found in Rev. 11:3; 12:6; 14:20; 20:2,3,4,5,6,7; and II Pt. 3:8. The teaching about the millennium is found only in Rev. 20. This is a brief & incomplete overview of positions on it.


1. The word itself means Ano millennium@ which is misleading. It should be understood to mean Abiblical@ or Arealized@ Millennialism.

2. The book of Rev. is highly symbolic & figurative, and the reference to Aa thousand years@ should not be understood to mean an earthly, materialistic, political millennium on earth. According to Mk. 3:27; Mt. 12:29; Lk. 10:18, Satan was bound at the first coming of Christ. The millennium is the present age between the first and second comings of Christ. There are two ways of understanding this: first, the millennium is being fulfilled now with the saints reigning on earth (Mt. 28:18; I Cor. 15:25; Eph. 1:20-21; I Tim. 6:15; II Tim. 2:11-12; I Pt. 3:22; Rev. 2:26-27); second, the millennium is being fulfilled now with the dead saints reigning in heaven.

3. The Bible is a unit which contains no contradictions. The book of Revelation says Asymbolically@ what the rest of the NT says Aliterally.@ Or to put it better, perhaps, the literal truths of God in Revelation are set forth Asymbolically.@

4. Entrance into the millennium is through the new birth (Afirst resurrection@ - Eph. 2:1, 5-6; Col. 2:13; 3:1).

5. God has one plan of salvation: faith in the God Who has manifested Himself in Jesus Christ.

6. There is only one Church: the faithful remnant within Israel in the OT; OT prophecies about the people of God were fulfilled in the NT/covenant church. With the faithful remnant of Israel as a nucleus, Jesus built His church upon the foundation of the prophets & apostles. All promises to Israel have either been fulfilled in the Church or invalidated through unbelief. There are no separate eternal destines for Israel and the Church.

7. There are only two ages in the Bible: the present age & the age to come. The first advent ushered in the Alast days@ (Acts 2:17; II Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2; Jms. 5:3; I Pt. 5:20; II Pt. 3:3), for which Athe last day@ (Jn. 6:39, 40, 44, 54; I Pt. 1:5; I Jn. 2:8, 18; Jude 18) is still in the future.

8. Although Abound,@ Satan still goes about Alike a roaring lion@ (I Pt. 5:8). Jesus overcame the power of evil through the cross, not a sword (Col. 2:13-15). Revelation says this in 12:9-11. Victory over Satan is in the death-resurrection of Jesus (Eph. 2:4-7). The Amartyrs@ who Areign@ with Christ are those who have been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the Word of God (Rev. 20:4). Christ has already Aovercome to open the book [of destiny] and its seven seals@ (Rev. 5:5. The Lamb is already with AHim who sits upon the throne@ (5:13). Already Athe kingdom/rule/reign of the world is become that of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever@ (11:15) - cp. Mt. 28:18. The saints have already been loosed from their sins by His blood and already made a kingdom - i.e., made to reign with Him (1:5f). Already it is said of the saints that Christ Amade them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign upon the earth@ (5:10).

9. The purpose of Rev. is not to give in advance a detailed description of an earthly, material thousand year reign, but to assure threatened saints that to give their lives to and for Christ is to be made to reign with Him who is AKing of kings and Lord of lords@ (19:16).


  1. Holds that the kingdom of God is now being extended in the world through the preaching of the gospel and the saving work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of individuals, that the return of Christ is to occur at the close of a long period of righteousness and peace commonly called the Millennium.

2. Through the preaching of the gospel, a golden age of spiritual prosperity will occur during this present Church age. Christian principles will eventually be the rule, not the exception.

3. Any remnant of paganism in the world is the fault of the church for not letting the Word of God be as operative as it would be if Christians were more faithful in its undiluted proclamation.

4. In Rev. 19:11-21, the thing symbolized is the complete victory of the Son of God over all the hosts of wickedness. This is not a literal war. The conquest depicted is brought about by the preaching of the Gospel. This is a picture of the whole period between the first and second advents, seen from the point of view of heaven. It is Romans 11 and I Cor. 15 in symbolical form. Those who live between the first and second advents are involved in the conquest taking place. It is a description of the spiritual warfare which rages through the centuries, in which Christians are privileged to participate.

5. This view teaches one second coming, one Rapture, one general resurrection, one general judgment, one unified people of God in Christ.


****** Historic

1. OT prophecies are fulfilled in the church (spiritual Israel).

2. OT is interpreted in light of the NT.

3. OT prophetic passages should be interpreted literally because they refer to the church as the new Israel.

4. The Church was and is God=s primary plan. Jesus never intended or referred to establishing an earthly political kingdom with headquarters in Jerusalem.

5. The OT sacrificial system will never be reinstated for it was done away with when the one sufficient sacrifice of Christ occurred at Calvary.

6. God will use the ethnic Jews in some way before the end, but the Bible does not say whether or not it will be as a nation.

7. The Bible states only one resurrection & one final judgment.

8. There will be a real reign of Christ in a real kingdom but the time of the reign may be literal or symbolic.

9. The Church will go through the Tribulation and its afflictions, at the end of which Christ comes with great power and glory to raise the righteous dead and to rapture the saints who are caught up to meet Him in the air but who almost immediately return with Him to earth as He comes to destroy the forces of Antichrist [I Jn. 2:18, 22; 4:3; II Jn. 7] in the battle of Armageddon & establish His kingdom.

10. The coming of Christ will be preceded by certain recognizable signs (preaching of the gospel to all nations, the apostasy, wars, famines, earthquakes, the appearance of the Antichrist or Man of Sin, and the Great Tribulation).

11. The entire NT is applicable to the present Church Age.

****** Dispensationalism

1. The OT must be interpreted literally and on its own terms - not in light of the NT. Rather, the NT must

be interpreted in light of the OT.

2. Israel continues to be the earthly people of God who will yet have the OT promises to her literally fulfilled.

3. The kingdom of God was offered to Israel when Jesus came but they rejected it and Him. Had they accepted Jesus, He would have set up the kingdom of God. Due to their rejection of Him, however, the kingdom was postponed and will be set up on earth during the millennium. This will be a Jewish, material, political, literal kingdom in literal fulfillment of the OT promises of God. A real king will sit on a material throne. Jerusalem and surrounding territory will be the site of the kingdom.

4. Israel has a special place in the plan of God. The church was only introduced into God=s dealings with mankind as a parenthesis. The kingdom which will be set up when Jesus comes again will be a revival and continuation of the Jewish kingdom of David in the OT (including the law, animal sacrifices, etc.).

5. The Church is not the new Israel. The church is the heavenly people of God. The church was neither foreseen nor predicted in the OT. Therefore, the church was an unexpected creation due to the Jewish rejection of the millennial kingdom.

6. These two peoples of God will have a separate future or eternity. They do not ever merge into one people.

7. In fact, so that God can resume His primary concern and relationship with Israel, on the basis of the promises in the OT, and do so on this earth with all the ceremonies and laws intact, the heavenly people of God must be removed from the earth. This will be done in a secret rapture. After the removal of God=s heavenly people from this earth, God will then resume His relationship with and fulfill literally His promises to Israel during the millennium.

8. Regarding the Rapture of the Church, dispensationalists have, at least, four views:

a. Pretribulation: the rapture of the Church (i.e., the coming of the Lord in the air for His saints) will take place Abefore@ the 7-year period of the Tribulation. Proof texts: Rev. 3:10; II Thess. 2:7; I Thess. 1:10; 5:9; Rev. 6:17; I Th. 5:6.

b. Midtribulation: the rapture of the Church will occur after 3 2 years of the Tribulation. Proof texts: I Cor. 15:52; Rev. 11:15; 11:2; 12:6.

c. Posttribulation: The Church will be on earth during the entire Tribulation. Proof text: Mt. 24:22.

d. Partial: Only saints who are worthy will be raptured before the wrath of God is poured out; those who have not been faithful will remain on earth to endure the Tribulation. Proof text: Heb. 9:28.


Dr. Morris Murray, Jr. 



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