Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Christianity, Answered Honestly!

What Does Amillennial Mean?

-by Tony Warren

What does Amillennial mean? That is a question that many Christians have been asking recently. The word millennium is actually from the Latin words [mille], meaning thousand, and [annum], meaning years. In Latin, the article "a" is a negation of any word following it. Thus a-millennial literally means "no millennium," or no thousand years.

In Christian theology the word is actually a misnomer, because the Amillennarian does in fact believe in the millennial (1000 year) reign of Christ that is prophesied in Scripture. They appreciate that Revelation is a book of imagery, symbols and representations and so see the thousand years is not to be understood as literal, nor that Christ's reign is to be as a physical ruler reigning upon an earthly throne. Rather they believe that the saints reign with Him on earth Spiritually as ambassadors of a spiritual Kingdom that is situated above (Ephesians 2:6), as Scripture declares.

What does Amillennial mean then? Well, the word amillennial identifies Christians who believe that the thousand year reign spoken of in Revelation chapter 20 is this spiritual reign of Christ's Kingdom that was instituted on earth by His death and resurrection. The Amillennarian holds that the kingdom of God is not a carnal or an worldly earth bound kingdom, but it is spiritual and is now being extended throughout the world through the preaching of the resurrection in Christ (Luke 9:60), and His kingdom is the Spirit of Christ in them.

"The kingdom of God cometh not by observation" -Luke 17:20.

It is not an earthly kingdom that can be observed, but a Spiritual kingdom where Christ is their King and reigns with them. The Amillennarian (generally speaking) does not believe in a special future salvation plan for Israel, but rather that Israel is saved the same as any other nation is brought to God. By the faithful promises to the Seed, which is Christ. Their doctrine is not a teaching that the people of Israel have been cast off, but rather that by Israel's fall, the Gentiles have been included among the Jews in God's Covenantal promises (Romans 11:17-18). They do not believe that Christ will set up a future earth bound kingdom, but that Christ has already delivered His people and established a far superior everlasting kingdom (Colossians 1:13), and that He is presently ruling in that very real kingdom. The amillennialist doctrine is characterized by Christians following Scriptures that declares that the saints indeed have a kingdom and that it is the promised kingdom of Christ. They reject any eschatology that an earthly reign from Jerusalem can fulfill God's prophesy that by definition requires an everlasting reign.

Amillennialists teach that Christ's kingdom is not carnal, that is to say, not of the flesh or of this earth where it is readily observable, but rather is clearly stated to be a spiritual principality, built upon spiritual foundations, a Kingdom that is from above, and not below.

Colossians 3:1-2
  • "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek these things which are from above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
  • set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."

Though there are objections where some claim the Amillennarian does not take Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures literally, the truth is that they take Scripture both literally and figuratively, depending upon content, warrant and context provided by its author. The Amillennial doctrine is that the law is being fulfilled very literally in Christ, not in previous Old Testament shadows, figures and types that merely looked forward to Him. i.e., the prophesy of the coming of Elijah before Christ was fulfilled literally in John the Baptist coming in the Spirit of Elijah (Luke 1:17). The prophesied rebuilding and restoration is not of an earthly Sanctuary in the Middle East, but spoke of the Temple where believers are the living stones, with Christ being the chief corner stone of that building. In other words, the prophesied millennial restoration is fulfilled in the administration of the New Testament reign of Christ.

The Amillennarian's high point is their deferring to Scripture in support of all their doctrines, as opposed to using someone's interpretations of Scripture, that is so prevalent in other millennial positions. Amillennialism was the predominant historical Reformed church eschatological position.


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Copyright 1998 Tony Warren
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Created 10/7/98 / Last Modified 08/04/14
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