intrepret the Bible
's teachings on the subject of the millennium in various ways.
Premillennialists hold that the return of Christ will be preceeded by sings, then followed by a period of peace and righteousness in which Christ will reign on earth in person as King. Historic premillennialists understand the return of Christ and the Rapture
as one and the same event. They see unity. Therefore, they stand apart from the dispensational premillenialists who sees these as two events separated by the seven-year Tribulation
. Premillennialism was the dominant eschatological interpretation in the first three centuries of the Christian Church. Early fathers Papias, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and others held to this view.
Adherents of this school are represented by those who generally hold to the concept of two stages in the coming of Christ
. He will come for
his church (Rapture) and then with
his church (revelation). The two events are separated by a seven-year Tribulation
. There is a consistent distinction between Israel and the church throughout history.
Postmillennialists believe that the kingdom of God is now extended through teaching, preaching, evangelization, and missionary activities. The world is the be Christianized, and the result will be a long period of peace and prosperity called the Millennium. This will be followed by Christ's return. This position is seemingly gaining more adherents in contemporary circles, such as the Christian Reconstruction Institute for Christian Studies. The leading proponent of traditional postmillennialism was Loraine Boettner.
The Bible predicts a continous parallel growth of good and evil in the world between the first coming of Christ and the second coming of Christ. The kingdom of God is now present in the world through his Word, his Spirit, his church. This position has also been called ''realized millennialism.''
In his book, Charts of Christian Theology & Doctrine
, H. Wayne House
lists the arguments for and against each of these views.