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Christian Eschatology Christian beliefs about the end times

One of the core doctrines in Christianity is that Jesus Christ will come back to the earth at an unknown time to destroy the enemies of God, rid the world of sin, reward followers, and establish peace. This is known as the Second Coming. Because Christians interpret key passages differently, there is not uniform agreement as to what events, if any, lead up to this event.

The three views on the end times that have been dominant in the history of Christianity are postmillennialism, amillennialism, and premillennialism. As their names suggest, the differences center on their understanding of the 1,000-year “millennial period,” which is mentioned in Revelation 20:1-6:

And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. 4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (NIV)

Whether the millennial period as described in Revelation is literal or figurative is at the core of interpretative disagreements. Other significant points of disagreement between the views are what events, if any, the Bible teaches will precede the millennium, what activities will occur within the period, and if Jews and Gentiles are distinguished at the time.

  • Amillennialism

    In the Christian religion, believers have different views on the 1,000-year period of time described in the book of Revelation. Amillennialism is one widely-held interpretation of this passage... full article →
  • Postmillennialism

    In Christianity, postmillennialism is a viewpoint on the end times, which contends that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will occur after the millennial period that is mentioned in the book of Revelation (cf... full article →
  • Premillennialism

    ## What is premillennialism? In Christianity, premillennialism is a viewpoint on the end times, which teaches that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will occur before the 1,000-year "millennial" period, as described in the Bible (cf... full article →