When Christians discuss their end times views, they are speaking of their interpretation of the much debated passage in Revelation 20:1-10
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.
“Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
“When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever.”
Christians often debate pretribulationism, which places the rapture before the tribulation; midtribulationism, which places the rapture at or near the midpoint of the tribulation; and posttribulationism,which places the rapture at the end of the tribulation. A fourth view, commonly known as pre-wrath, is a slight modification of the mid-tribulational position.
Preterism denies the future prophetic quality of the book of Revelation. The preterist movement essentially teaches that all the end-times prophecies of the New Testament were fulfilled in AD 70 when the Romans attacked and destroyed Jerusalem. Preterism teaches that every event normally associated with the end times—Christ’s second coming, the tribulation, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment—has already happened. (In the case of the final judgment, it still in the process of being fulfilled.) Jesus’ return to earth was a “spiritual” return, not a physical one.
The Millennial Kingdom
The millennial kingdom is the title given to the 1000-year reign of Jesus Christ on the earth. Some seek to interpret the 1000 years in an allegorical manner. They understand the 1000 years as merely a figurative way of saying “a long period of time,” not a literal, physical reign of Jesus Christ on the earth. However, six times in Revelation 20:2-7, the millennial kingdom is specifically said to be 1000 years in length.
Here is an in-depth look at the four main millennial views:
- What is the Millennial Kingdom, and should it be understood literally?
- What is going to happen according to end times prophecy?
- What is the Rapture?
- What is the Tribulation?
- How do we know the Tribulation will last seven years?
- When is the Rapture going to occur in relation to the Tribulation?
- What is Eschatology?
- What signs indicate that the end times are approaching?
- What is the Apocalypse?
- Have any aspects of end times prophecy been fulfilled?
- What is the Second Coming and why is it important?
- What is the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming?