Maybe you’ve heard someone say, “I’m pre-mil, or post-mil, or a-mil.” You shrug it off and think, “That’s all Greek to me!” It actually is Greek, and refers to the various positions regarding the end times or Second Coming of Christ. “Mil” is the short form for millennium, which means a thousand years. The millennium is the thousand year reign of Christ and his saints which follows the binding of Satan (mentioned in Revelation 20), which, because of the many diverse and damaging misinterpretations, has become central to eschatology. The three most common views of the end times are premillennialism, postmillennialism and amillennialism. Though they differ on important issues such as the length of the thousand years, the nature of Christ’s kingdom on earth, the relationship between Israel and the church, the role of the Devil, the tribulation, the end-times signs, the number and timings of the resurrections and of Christ’s coming(s), they also have much in common and have been held by Christians throughout the ages and around the world.
Pre-mil is the short form for premillennialism. Those who believe this teach that after the end time signs, including the great tribulation, Christ will return to earth to bind Satan, resurrect his people, and reign on earth for a thousand years; after which Satan will be released for a little season before the resurrection of all at the final judgment and the return of the kingdom to the Father.
Post-mil is the short form for postmillennialism. Those who believe this teach that most of the signs of the times have been fulfilled, and that the thousand years is a figurative term for a future golden age of Christianity on earth when the devil will be almost totally bound and the earth almost totally Christianized, followed by a brief period of Satanic loosing and the Lord’s return to earth for the final judgment.
A-mil is the short form for amillennialism. Those who believe this teach that the thousand years is a figurative term for Christ’s present kingdom on earth and in heaven between his first and second comings, during which the Devil is significantly bound, and which will be concluded with these climactic end-time signs, Christ’s Second Coming, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment, and the everlasting kingdom.
What view does the Reformed faith take? For the most part, many in the Reformed faith, including our churches, take the view of amillennialism as being the most biblically consistent.
You might ask, “Why does this matter?” It matters because the view we hold will determine how we interpret Scripture and how we view the future. Amillennialism is the most consistent and allows us to interpret Scripture doing justice to all of Scripture. The most important thing for us to recognize is that the end is coming and Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead. Christ’s Second Coming is announced throughout Scripture. On that day, the dead will be raised, the living will be taken up before the great white throne, and the judgment will take place.
We (can study the Reformed faith) but all that knowledge and study will profit you nothing if you are not clothed in the white robes of Christ’s righteousness by faith. how will you give account on that day? For the child of God, it is a day of joy, vindication, and an eternity of praising the Lamb. For the unbeliever, it will be an introduction to an eternity of weeping, gnashing of teeth, and the fires of hell. Where will you be?
This article was originally printed in the Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, February 2012, under the title, “The Reformed Faith (22): The End.” Authors: Rev. Maarten Kuivenhoven and Rev. Mark Kelderman.