Millennialism – A Tentative Taxonomy . . .

I have been trying to understand the various different understandings of the Millennium out there.  So far this is the tentative taxonomy that I have come up with, based on my study. Take it with a grain of salt.

1) Historic Premillennialism
~ There will be a literal Millennium, i.e. 1,000 years.
~ The Millennium is inaugurated at the Second Coming. Until then, as I understand it, things will go from bad to worse.

2) Dispensational Premillennialism

~ There will be a literal Millennium, i.e. 1,000 years.
~ The Millennium is inaugurated at the Second Coming. Until then, as I understand it, things will go from bad to worse.

3) Revolutionary (Classic) Postmillennialism (Pre-Postmillennialism)
~ The Kingdom Age rule of Christ began with the incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ
~ The binding of Satan will take place in the future. This will result in huge progress for the Gospel.
~ After an untold # of years known as 1,000, satan is loosed for a short season during which he will go out and deceive the nations. Then we get the 2nd Coming, along with a general resurrection and judgment immediately following it. The New Heaven & the New Earth will follow.
~ The glorious stage of Christ’s kingdom will suddenly be released by a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit which will involve massive worldwide conversion.
~ There will be a Millennium. This is not a symbolic Millennium. Christ comes after this Millennium.
~ Things will gradually get better but then suddenly get better when Satan is bound, the Holy Spirit is poured out, and the Millennium begun.

4) Evolutionary (Modern) Postmillennialism (Amill-Postmillennialism)
~ The Kingdom is believed to have been established at Christ’s 1st Coming.
~ The Kingdom will gradually increase in size from something small to something large (hence evolutionary) until the entire world is Christianized.
~ The binding of Satan has taken place at the cross. He will be loosed for a short season later so as to be deceive the nations.
~ The Millennium is symbolic. We are in it.
~ Things will gradually get better and better as the Gospel claims victory upon victory.

5) Optimistic Amillennialism (Post-Amillennialism) Aka. Postmillennium Lite in Doug Wilson’s terms.

~ Things get better and better in the sense that the Gospel will go forward. However this will involve non-stop battles between the Church and the world. It will be rough at times.
~ Hearts will be won, but societal, political, etc., structures and such will not.
~ The Millennium is symbolic. We are in it.

6) Standard Amillennialism
~ Things do not get better and better in the sense that the Gospel goes forward.
~ The Millennium is symbolic. We are in it.

* The above are also based on audio from Bro. Jim Gables of Grace Abounding Bible Ministries.  Bro. Gables also distinguishes a third form of Postmillennialism which he calls Reconstructive Postmillennialism. This form has its origin in the Theonomy movement and involves such things as a reinstatement of the Mosaic law. I have not listed it because I think it can be classified in the two forms listed up above.
In addition to all this, I would also like to point out an interesting excerpt from a Banner of Truth book review of The Promise of the Future by Cornelis Venema. I hope to get this book some day.

” . . . broadly considered there are two basic positions regarding the temporal relationship between Christ’s Second Coming and the millennium: premillennialism and postmillennialism. He then points out that within each of these two positions there are two distinctive types. The two types of premillennialism are historic premillennialism and dispensational premillennialism. The two types of postmillennialism are postmillennialism proper and amillennialism. Venema proceeds by first explaining the basic tenets of each of the four major views. He does so in a fair and irenic manner. He then offers a critique of the two premillennial positions, an exposition of Revelation 20, and a critique of postmillennialism proper.”

*Note: Another categorization is Pessi-millennialism and Opti-Millennialism. The former highlighting the pessimistic character of a some of the views.

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