Description: Amillennialism denies any idea of a Golden Age of peace and prosperity that will take place on planet Earth prior to the eternal state. Amillennialists believe that the book of Revelation is to be interpreted figuratively (they believe that the Author intended this particular book to be interpreted in a figurative manner, and would argue that everyone does interpret it figuratively, as indicated, for example, by the fact that no one believes that Revelation 12 refers to a literal dragon), and that the 1000 years mentioned in Revelation 20:1-6 is to be identified with the Church Age ("1000 years" meant to indicate a very long period of time, rather than only 1000 years). Amillennialists believe that the specific land promises, etc., made to national Israel in the Old Testament will be fulfilled to Jewish believers in Jesus, along with the rest of the Church, in the eternal state, after Jesus returns.
Strengths: The strong element of continuity between Old Testament Israel and the New Testament Church, present in passages such as Galatians 6:16 in which the church is referred to as the "Israel of God," is maintained by the amillennial view. Also, the typological hermeneutic established by the apostles in the New Testament– by which the promises made to Abraham's seed are fulfilled in reference to Christ and His body, the Church– is maintained.
Weaknesses: Some claims of amillennialism may be hard to square with the text of Revelation 20:1-6. In particular, it seems hard to reconcile the strong language involved in binding of Satan (as depicted in Rev 20:1-3) with admonitions to the church that we must be wary of Satan (such as in 1 Peter 5:8, in which the Devil is said to be prowling about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour). Also, the resurrection language in Rev 20:4-6 must be explained.
[Listen to Chris Arnzen's interview with Sam Waldron on the subject of amillennialism HERE.]
Labels: Bible study