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MILLENNIALISM (from millennium , Latin for "a thousand years"), or
CHILIASM (from the Greek ), is a belief advanced by some Christian
denominations that a
Golden Age or
Paradise will occur on
Christ will reign" for 1000 years prior to the final judgment
and future eternal state (the "
World to Come
World to Come " of the New Heavens and
Earth ). This belief derives primarily from Revelation 20:1–6.
Millennialism is a specific form of millenarianism .
Similarities to millennialism appear in
Zoroastrianism , which
identified successive thousand-year periods, each of which will end in
a cataclysm of heresy and destruction, until the final destruction of
evil and of the spirit of evil by a triumphant king of peace at the
end of the final millennial age (supposed by some to occur in the year
Saoshyant makes the creatures again pure, and the
resurrection and future existence occur" (Zand-i Vohuman Yasht 3:62).
Scholars have also linked various other social and political
movements, both religious and secular , to millennialist metaphors.
* 1 Baha\'i Faith
* 2 Christianity
* 2.1 Early church
* 2.2 Reformation and beyond
* 2.3 Utopianism
* 2.4 Jehovah\'s Witnesses
* 3 Nazism
* 5 Social movements
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 8 Bibliography
* 9 External links
See also: Progressive revelation (Baha\'i)
Bahá'u'lláh mentioned in the
Kitáb-i-Íqán that God will renew
the "City of God" about every thousand years, and specifically
mentioned that a new Manifestation of God would not appear within 1000
years (1893-2893) of Bahá'u'lláh's message, but that the authority
of Bahá'u'lláh's message could last up to 500,000 years.
* Synoptic Gospels
* Sheep and Goats
Book of Revelation
Book of Revelation
Events of Revelation
Events of Revelation
Book of Daniel
Book of Daniel
* Seventy Weeks
2 Esdras (Apocrypha)
Abomination of desolation
* The Beast
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
* Kingdom of God
Lake of fire
Man of sin
Resurrection of the dead
Son of perdition
* War in
Whore of Babylon
Whore of Babylon
World to come
World to come
During the first centuries after Christ, various forms of chiliasm
(millennialism) were to be found in the Church, both East and West .
It was a decidedly majority view at that time, as admitted by Eusebius
, himself an opponent of the doctrine . Nevertheless, strong
opposition later developed from some quarters, most notably from
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo . The Church never took a formal position on the
issue at any of the ecumenical councils , and thus both pro and con
positions remained consistent with orthodoxy . The addition to the
Nicene Creed was intended to refute the perceived
Marcellus of Ancyra and others, a doctrine which includes an end to
Christ's reign and which is explicitly singled out for condemnation by
the council . The
Catholic Encyclopedia notes that the 2nd century
proponents of various Gnostic beliefs (themselves considered heresies)
also rejected millenarianism.
Millennialism was taught by various earlier writers such as Justin
Lactantius , Methodius ,
Apollinaris of Laodicea in a form now called premillennialism .
According to religious scholar Rev. Dr.
Francis Nigel Lee , "Justin's
Chiliasm ' sui generis which was strongly
anti-pretribulationistic was followed possibly by Pothinus in A.D. 175
and more probably (around 185) by
Justin Martyr ,
discussing his own premillennial beliefs in his Dialogue with Trypho
the Jew , Chapter 110, observed that they were not necessary to
I admitted to you formerly, that I and many others are of this
opinion, and that such will take place, as you assuredly are aware;
but, on the other hand, I signified to you that many who belong to the
pure and pious faith, and are true Christians, think otherwise.
Melito of Sardis is frequently listed as a second century proponent
of premillennialism. The support usually given for the supposition is
Jerome and Gennadius both affirm that he was a decided
In the early third century ,
Hippolytus of Rome wrote:
And 6,000 years must needs be accomplished, in order that the Sabbath
may come, the rest, the holy day "on which God rested from all His
works." For the
Sabbath is the type and emblem of the future kingdom
of the saints, when they "shall reign with Christ," when He comes from
heaven, as John says in his
Apocalypse : for "a day with the Lord is
as a thousand years." Since, then, in six days God made all things, it
follows that 6, 000 years must be fulfilled. (Hippolytus. On the
HexaËmeron, Or Six Days' Work. From Fragments from Commentaries on
Various Books of Scripture).
Around 220, there were some similar influences on
although only with very important and extremely optimistic (if not
perhaps even postmillennial ) modifications and implications. On the
other hand, "
Christian Chiliastic" ideas were indeed advocated in 240
Commodian ; in 250 by the Egyptian
Bishop Nepos in his Refutation
of Allegorists; in 260 by the almost unknown Coracion ; and in 310 by
Lactantius . Into the late fourth century ,
Ambrose of Milan
had millennial leanings (
Ambrose of Milan. Book II. On the Belief in
the Resurrection, verse 108).
Lactantius is the last great literary
defender of chiliasm in the early
Augustine vigorously opposed chiliasm by teaching the symbolic
interpretation of the Revelation of St. John, especially chapter 20.
In a letter to Queen Gerberga of France around 950, Adso of
Montier-en-Der established the idea of a "last World Emperor" who
would conquer non-Christians before the arrival of the
REFORMATION AND BEYOND
Christian millennial interpretations
Christian views on the future order of events diversified after the
Protestant reformation (c.1517). In particular, new emphasis was
placed on the passages in the
Book of Revelation
Book of Revelation which seemed to say
Christ would return to judge the living and the dead, Satan
would be locked away for 1000 years, but then released on the world to
instigate a final battle against God and his Saints (Rev. 20:1–6).
Catholic and Orthodox theologians had no clear or consensus
view on what this actually meant (only the concept of the end of the
world coming unexpectedly, "like a thief in a night", and the concept
of "the antichrist " were almost universally held). Millennialist
theories try to explain what this "1000 years of
Satan bound in
chains" would be like.
Various types of millennialism exist with regard to Christian
eschatology , especially within
Protestantism , such as
Postmillennialism , and
Amillennialism . The first
two refer to different views of the relationship between the
"millennial Kingdom" and Christ's second coming.
Premillennialism sees Christ's second advent as preceding the
millennium, thereby separating the second coming from the final
judgment . In this view, "Christ's reign" will be physically on the
Postmillennialism sees Christ's second coming as subsequent to the
millennium and concurrent with the final judgment. In this view
"Christ's reign" (during the millennium) will be spiritual in and
through the church .
Amillennialism basically denies a future literal 1000 year kingdom
and sees the church age metaphorically described in Rev. 20:1–6 in
which "Christ's reign" is current in and through the church.
Catholic Church strongly condemns millennialism as the following
The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world
every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic
hope which can only be realized beyond history through the
eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms
of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of
millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form
of a secular messianism. — Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Catechism of
Catholic Church, 1995
Christian eschatology for a discussion of "premillennialism " and
Christian concept had ramifications far beyond strictly
religious concern during the centuries to come, as it was blended and
enhanced with ideas of utopia .
In the wake of early millennial thinking, the Three Ages philosophy
developed. The Italian monk and theologian
Joachim of Fiore (died
1202) claimed that all of human history was a succession of three
* the Age of the Father (the
Old Testament )
* the Age of the Son (the
New Testament )
* the Age of the
Holy Spirit (the age begun when
into heaven, leaving the
Paraclete , the third person of the Holy
Trinity, to guide)
It was believed that the Age of the
Holy Spirit would begin at around
1260, and that from then on all believers would be living as monks,
mystically transfigured and full of praise for God, for a thousand
years until Judgment Day would put an end to the history of our
In the Modern Era, some of the concepts of millennial thinking have
found their way into various secular ideas, usually in the form of a
belief that a certain historical event will fundamentally change human
society (or has already done so). For example, the French Revolution
seemed to many to be ushering in the millennial age of reason. Also,
the philosophies of
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) and
Karl Marx (1818–1883) carried strong millennial overtones. As late
as 1970, Yale law teacher
Charles A. Reich coined the term
"Consciousness III" in his best seller
The Greening of America , in
which he spoke of a new age ushered in by the hippie generation.
However, these secular theories generally have little or nothing to do
with the original millennial thinking, or with each other.
This article may LEND UNDUE WEIGHT TO CERTAIN IDEAS, INCIDENTS, OR
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Jehovah\'s Witnesses believe that
Christ will rule from heaven for
1,000 years as king over the earth, assisted by 144,000 holy ones. The
principal purpose of this millennial reign is to resolve the question
of who legitimately deserves to be sovereign of the
Earth and of the
universe. It also serves to finally accomplish the Creator's original
purpose of an
Earth populated by a peaceful, satisfied and loving
human society, descendants from the first human couple
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve .
This will happen after the destruction of the wicked at
Armageddon will be a decisive battle between two opposing forces: on
Christ Jesus together with the holy angels; in opposition,
human governments and institutions (manipulated by wicked spirits)
insistent on maintaining control over humanity. Unlike natural or
Christ and his angels will selectively destroy
those humans deemed incorrigible. Planet
Earth will be rid of greed,
corruption, and all individuals and institutions who impenitently ruin
the earth and impose misery on others. (Rev 16:16; 1 John 5:19;
Malevolent spiritual beings will be restrained and prevented from
interfering in human affairs for the duration of Christ's reign. Free
of untoward influences, the Witnesses see the 1,000 year reign as
fulfillment of the Biblical promise of "New Heavens and a New Earth".
One aspect which differentiates
Jehovah's Witnesses from other
millennialists (such as
Baptists , Church of God , Church of
and other fundamentalist
Christian groups) is the interpretation of 2
Peter 3:7, 13. Whereas the latter hold to a literal interpretation,
namely that the planet
Earth will be destroyed and replaced with
another physical planet,
Jehovah's Witnesses by contrast believe the
language in 2 Peter 3:7 is figurative. Hence their understanding is
that the literal planet
Earth will not be destroyed but instead, the
existing framework of human society, which includes greedy commerce,
divisive religions and corrupt governments.
Christ's kingdom consists of those who govern (from heaven) and those
who are governed (on earth). This government will accomplish in the
comparatively short timespan of 1,000 years all the things human
governments and institutions have promised (but failed to deliver)
during thousands of years of rule, while experimenting every form of
government imaginable. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, will be the 'head of
state ', or King officially designated by God. In turn, he will
delegate authority to 144,000 select individuals, individually chosen
by Jehovah from among humanity. Those chosen have already proven their
complete allegiance to Jehovah God and to His legitimate right to
govern. The first to be promised this privilege were the faithful
apostles of Jesus
Christ in the 1st century C.E. The rulers will be
loving and fair, always intent on the common good of everyone.
On the earth, those who are kept safe through that 'great
tribulation' (Matt 24:21; Rev 7:9) and the subsequent destruction of
the world ruled by
Satan the Devil will be ushered into a just,
peaceful, and equitable earthwide society of humans. During the
Christ will use his power to cure every sort of sickness
(Rev 22:17), malady, and infirmity. Ultimately everyone who accepts
living by Jehovah God's righteous standards (Exodus 20:1–17) will
attain perfect health. Guided by the heavenly government, humans will
work to progressively establish an earthwide paradise (Matt 19:27,28).
Hunger and poverty will be completely eliminated (Rev 21:1–5).
Humans who died during all prior human history (but who were not
deemed incorrigible) will be resurrected (or recreated) on the earth
during the 1,000 years. These will have the opportunity to fully
integrate into society (Isaiah 65:17).
At the culmination of the millennium,
Christ will cede control of
Earth to his Father Jehovah (1 Cor 15:28) and will himself
acknowledge and accept Jehovah's right to rule (or sovereignty). The
restraints on wicked spirit creatures will be removed and all humanity
will face a test. With full understanding, each human must
individually choose whether to accept or reject God's right to rule,
his sovereignty. Those humans and (previously restrained) spirit
creatures who reject rule by Jehovah God, showing themselves to be
menaces to human society and the remainder of the universe, will be
completely and permanently eliminated. For any of these who may have
been resurrected, this will literally be a "second" death. Thereafter,
obedient humankind will live forever on the earth and Jehovah God's
original purpose for the earth will be accomplished. (Gen 1:28)
The most controversial interpretation of the Three Ages philosophy
and of millennialism in general is
Adolf Hitler 's "Third
("Drittes Reich"), which in his vision would last for a thousand years
to come ("Tausendjähriges Reich"), but which ultimately only lasted
for 12 years (1933–1945).
The phrase "Third Reich" was originally coined by the German thinker
Arthur Moeller van den Bruck , who in 1923 published a book titled Das
Reich . Looking back at
German history , he distinguished two
separate periods, and identified them with the ages of Joachim of
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire (beginning with
Charlemagne in AD 800) –
(the "First Reich") – The Age of the Father and
German Empire – under the
Hohenzollern dynasty (1871–1918)
(the "Second Reich") – The Age of the Son .
After the interval of the
Weimar Republic (1918–1933), during which
constitutionalism , parliamentarism and even pacifism ruled, these
were then to be followed by:
* the "Third Reich" – The Age of the
Holy Ghost .
Although van den Bruck was unimpressed by Hitler when he met him in
1922 and did not join the
Nazi Party , the phrase was nevertheless
adopted by the Nazis to describe the totalitarian state they wanted to
set up when they gained power, which they succeeded in doing in 1933 .
Later, however, the Nazi authorities banned the informal use of "Third
Reich" throughout the German press in the summer of 1939, instructing
it to use more official terms such as "German Reich", "Greater German
Reich", and "National Socialist Germany" exclusively.
During the early part of the Third
Germans also referred
to Hitler as being the German Messiah, especially when he conducted
the Nuremberg Rallies , which came to be held at a date somewhat
Autumn Equinox in
Nuremberg, Germany .
In a speech held on 27 November 1937, Hitler commented on his plans
to have major parts of Berlin torn down and rebuilt : einem
tausendjährigen Volk mit tausendjähriger geschichtlicher und
kultureller Vergangenheit für die vor ihm liegende unabsehbare
Zukunft eine ebenbürtige tausendjährige Stadt zu bauen . to build
a millennial city adequate to a thousand year old people with a
thousand year old historical and cultural past, for its never-ending
After Adolf Hitler's unsuccessful attempt to implement a
thousand-year-reign, the Vatican issued an official statement that
millennial claims could not be safely taught and that the related
scriptures in Revelation (also called the Apocalypse) should be
Catholic author Bernard LeFrois wrote:
Millenium : Since the Holy Office decreed (July 21, 1944) that it
cannot safely be taught that
Christ at His
Second Coming will reign
visibly with only some of His saints (risen from the dead) for a
period of time before the final and universal judgment, a spiritual
millennium is seen in Apoc. 20:4–6. St. John gives a spiritual
recapitulation of the activity of Satan, and the spiritual reign of
the saints with
Christ in heaven and in His Church on earth.
Alice Bailey taught that
Christ (in her books she
refers to the powerful spiritual being best known by Theosophists as
Maitreya as The
Christ or The World Teacher, not as Maitreya) would
return “sometime after AD 2025”, and that this would be the New
Age equivalent of the
Christian concept of the
Second Coming of Christ
. Bailey stated that St. Germain (referred to by Bailey in her books
as The Master Rakoczi or The Master R.) is the manager of the
executive council of the Christ. According to Bailey, when Christ
returns he will stay the entire approximately 2,000 years period of
Age of Aquarius and thus the
New Age equivalent of the Millennial
Maitreya will reign as the spiritual leader of
Earth as the
Messiah who will bring world peace , will not be just a single
millennium but will be the Aquarian bimillennium.
Millennial social movements are a specific form of millenarianism
that are based on some concept of a one thousand-year cycle. Sometimes
the two terms are used as synonyms, but this is not entirely accurate
for a purist. Millennial social movements need not be religious, but
they must have a vision of an apocalypse that can be utopian or
Millennial Day Theory
* The Pursuit of the
* Summary of
Christian eschatological differences
* Cult of the
* ^ The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pg. 199.
* ^ McMullen, Michael D. (2000). The Baha\'i: The Religious
Construction of a Global Identity. Atlanta, Georgia: Rutgers
University Press. p. 7. ISBN 0-8135-2836-4 .
* ^ The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, gr. 37.
Theology Today, January 1996, Vol. 53, No. 4, pp. 464–476.
On-line version here.
* ^ Damick, Fr. Andrew Stephen (2011),
Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy,
Chesterton, IN: Ancient Faith Publishing, p. 23, ISBN
* ^ Luke 1:33 and Stuart Hall, Doctrine and Practice of the Early
Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 171.
* ^ Kirsch J.P. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon.
* ^ JOUR295
* ^ The Works of Rev. Prof. Dr. F.N. Lee
Dialogue with Trypho (Chapters 80–81)
* ^ Taylor, Voice of the Church, P. 66; Peters, Theocratic Kingdom,
1:495; Walvoord, Millennial Kingdom, p. 120; et al.
* ^ Richard Cunningham Shimeall, Christ's Second Coming: Is it
Pre-Millennial or Post-Millennial? (New York: John F. Trow, 1865), p.
67. See also, Taylor, p. 66; Peters, 1:495; Jesse Forest Silver, The
Lord’s Return (New York, et al.: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1914), p.
66; W. Chillingworth, The Works of W. Chillingworth, 12th ed. (London:
B. Blake, 1836), p.714; et al.
* ^ Gawrisch, Wilbert (1998). Eschatological Prophecies and Current
Misinterpretations in Our Great Heritage, Volume 3. Milwaukee:
Northwestern Publishing House. pp. 688–689. ISBN 0810003791 .
* ^ Catechism of the
Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph
Cardinal Ratzinger . Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 194.
* ^ Schmitz-Berning, Cornelia (2000). Vokabular des
Nationalsozialismus. Walter de Gruyter GmbH Cited in Culleton RG. The
Reign of Antichrist, 1951. Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1974, p.
* ^ Bailey, Alice A. The Externalisation of the Hierarchy New
York:1957 Lucis Publishing Co. Page 530
* ^ Bailey, Alice A. The Reappearance of the
Christ New York:1948
Lucis Publishing Co.
* ^ Bailey, Alice A. The Externalisation of the Hierarchy New York:
1957 – Lucis Press (Compilation of earlier revelations by Alice A.
Bailey) Page 508
* Barkun, Michael. Disaster and the
Millennium (Yale University
Press, 1974) (ISBN 0-300-01725-1 )
* Case, Shirley J. The Millennial Hope, The University of Chicago
* Cohn, Norman. The Pursuit of the
Millennium : Revolutionary
Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages, (2nd ed. Yale
* Desroches, Henri, Dieux d'hommes. Dictionnaire des messianismes et
millénarismes de l'ère chrétienne, The Hague: Mouton, 1969,
* Ellwood, Robert. "Nazism as a Millennialist Movement", in
Catherine Wessinger (ed.), Millennialism, Persecution, and Violence:
Historical Cases (Syracuse University Press, 2000). (ISBN
0-8156-2809-9 or ISBN 0-8156-0599-4 )
* Fenn, Richard K. The End of Time: Religion, Ritual, and the
Forging of the Soul (Pilgrim Press, 1997). (ISBN 0-8298-1206-7 or ISBN
* Hall, John R. Apocalypse: From Antiquity to the Empire of
Modernity, (Cambridge, UK: Polity 2009). (ISBN 978-0-7456-4509-4 and
ISBN 978-0-7456-4508-7 )
* Kaplan, Jeffrey. Radical Religion in America: Millenarian
Movements from the Far Right to the Children of Noah (Syracuse
University Press, 1997). (ISBN 0-8156-2687-8 or ISBN 0-8156-0396-7 )
* Landes, Richard.
Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial
Experience, (Oxford University Press 2011)
* Pentecost, J. Dwight. Things to Come: A study in Biblical
Eschatology(Zondervan, 1958) ISBN 0-310-30890-9 and ISBN
* Redles, David. Hitler's Millennial Reich: Apocalyptic Belief and
the Search for Salvation (New York University Press, 2005). (ISBN
978-0-8147-7621-6 or ISBN 978-0-8147-7524-0 )
* Stone, Jon R., ed. Expecting Armageddon: Essential Readings in
Failed Prophecy (Routledge, 2000). (ISBN 0-415-92331-X )
* Wessinger, Catherine. ed. The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism
(Oxford University Press, 2011) 768 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-530105-2 online
* Wistrich, Robert. Hitler’s Apocalypse: Jews and the Nazi Legacy
(St. Martin’s Press, 1985). (ISBN 0-312-38819-5 )
* Wojcik, Daniel (1997). The End of the World as We Know It: Faith,
Apocalypse in America.
New York University Press . ISBN
Catholic Encyclopedia "
Millennium and Millenarianism"