“The two competing major solutions should be summarized briefly, even at the risk of oversimplification. The first one that developed in Christian history usually goes by the names millennialism (Latin mille, “thousand,” and annus, “year”) as well as premillennialism. In this solution, the return of Christ will be followed by the visible, earthly kingdom of Christ and his people on earth that lasts numerous 365-day years, probably a thousand. After this, there will be one final battle in which the last human rebels will be crushed, the devil will finally be cast into eternal torment, the final judgment of humanity will occur, and at last there will be a new heaven and new earth. Chapter 20 is a central point in this view, especially the perceived literary unity between the closing verses of chapter 19 and 20:1–3, where the “demonic trinity” meets its judgment. This solution faded into obscurity for more than a thousand years of Christian history but has reemerged in the past two centuries in several forms.
The second major solution was urged by Augustine in the early medieval period. It completely dominated Christian thinking both throughout the Middle Ages and throughout the Reformation era. It still finds many devout, Bible-believing proponents, and is usually called amillennialism. In this solution, the return of Christ described in Revelation 19 is preceded by the invisible, spiritual kingdom of Christ and his people that lasts throughout the period between his First and Second comings. After this, there will be one final battle in which the last human rebels will be crushed, the devil will finally be cast into eternal torment, the final judgment of humans will occur, and at last there will be a new heaven and new earth.
Bitter theological battles have been fought over which view is correct. The more this writer has studied Revelation and the rest of Scripture on the millennial question, the more difficult it has been to decide. Both views have strengths. Both views have weaknesses…” – Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 367–368.
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