In this series of three episodes, we address the matter of the 1,000-year reign, also known as the millennium, as expressly mentioned in Revelation 20. In so doing, we offer a more detailed case for the interpretation known most popularly as amillennialism.
Pt. 1: The Four Views on the Millennium
In the first episode, we overview the four main positions as it relates to the millennium: (1) dispensational premillennialism, (2) historic (or classic) premillennialism, (3) postmillennialism, and (4) amillennialism.
Finally, in this third episode, we consider other New Testament arguments against a literal, futurist, premillennialist position and in favor of a symbolic, “church-age” interpretation of the millennium.
A huge theme that pervades all of scripture is the theme of promise and fulfillment. In the Old Testament, many promises were made to the nation of Israel that anticipated future fulfillment. One very significant example would be the promise and provisions of the New Covenant (i.e., Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 36:22-36).
Now the Old Testament, without any exceptions, explicitly affirms that the parties of this covenant will be God and Israel (i.e., Jeremiah 31:33). That’s key to our discussion, so allow me to state it again. The Old Testament promises that the New Covenant will be made between God and Israel.
The New Covenant–New Testament
But a normal, simple, natural, and literal reading of various texts in the New Testament reveals that the Church participates in the New Covenant. For example, the Lord’s Super, an ordinance of the Church, refers to the to cup of the New Covenant (Luke 22:19-21; Matthew 26:27-28; Mark 14:24; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Paul, the self-proclaimed apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13) and minister of the mystery of the Church (Ephesians 3:6-8), called himself a minister of the New Covenant (presently), saw the New Covenant as having presently superseded the Old Covenant, and spoke of the New Covenant ministry of the Spirit as a present reality (2 Corinthians 3). And the author of Hebrews is explicit about the present reality of the New Covenant and Christ’s present ministry as the mediator of this New and better Covenant (for a brief sampling see Hebrews 7:22; Hebrews 8:6-13; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 10:16-17; Hebrews 12:24).