Premillennialism, in Christian eschatology, is the belief that Jesus will physically return to the earth (the Second Coming) before the Millennium, a literal thousand-year golden age of peace. The doctrine is called "premillennialism" because it holds that Jesus' physical return to earth will occur prior to the inauguration of the Millennium. Premillennialism is based upon a literal interpretation of Revelation 20:1–6 in the New Testament, which describes Jesus' reign in a period of a thousand years.
However, the premillennialist view is not shared by all Christians. Mainline denominations such as Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Catholic are generally amillennial and interpret this passage of Revelation as pertaining to the present time, when Christ reigns in Heaven with the departed saints; such an interpretation views the symbolism of Revelation as referring to a spiritual battle rather than a physical battle on earth. Amillennialists do not view the millennium mentioned in Revelation as pertaining to a literal thousand years, but rather as symbolic, and see the kingdom of Christ as already present in the church beginning with the Pentecost in the first book of Acts.
Premillennialism is often used to refer specifically to those who adhere to the beliefs in an earthly millennial reign of Christ as well as a rapture of the faithful coming before (dispensational) or after (historic) the Great Tribulation preceding the Millennium. For the last century, the belief has been common in Evangelicalism according to surveys on this topic. Amillenialists do not view the thousand years mentioned in Revelation as a literal thousand years but see the number "thousand" as symbolic and numerological.
Premillenialism is distinct from the other views such as postmillennialism which views the millennial rule as occurring before the second coming.
The current religious term "premillennialism" did not come into use until the mid-19th century. Coining the word was "almost entirely the work of British and American Protestants and was prompted by their belief that the French and American Revolutions (the French, especially) realized prophecies made in the books of Daniel and Revelation."
The proponents of amillennialism interpret the millennium as being a symbolic period of time, which is consistent with the highly symbolic nature of the literary and apocalyptic genre of the Book of Revelation, sometimes indicating that the thousand years represent God's rule over his creation or the Church.
Post-millennialism, for example, agrees with premillennialism about the future earthly reign of Christ, but disagrees on the concept of a rapture and tribulation before the millennium begins. Postmillennialists hold to the view that the Second Coming will happen after the millennium.
Justin Martyr and IrenaeusEdit
Justin Martyr in the 2nd century was one of the first Christian writers to clearly describe himself as continuing in the “Jewish” belief of a temporary messianic kingdom prior to the eternal state. According to Johannes Quasten, “In his eschatological ideas Justin shares the views of the Chiliasts concerning the millennium.” He maintains a premillennial distinction, namely that there would be two resurrections, one of believers before Jesus' reign and then a general resurrection afterwards. Justin wrote in chapter 80 of his work Dialogue with Trypho, “I and others who are right-minded Christians on all points are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built... For Isaiah spoke in that manner concerning this period of a thousand years.” Though he conceded earlier in the same chapter that his view was not universal by saying that he “and many who belong to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians, think otherwise.” 
Irenaeus, the late 2nd century bishop of Lyon, was an outspoken premillennialist. He is best known for his voluminous tome written against the 2nd century Gnostic threat, commonly called Against Heresies. In the fifth book of Against Heresies, Irenaeus concentrates primarily on eschatology. In one passage he defends premillennialism by arguing that a future earthly kingdom is necessary because of God's promise to Abraham, he wrote “The promise remains steadfast... God promised him the inheritance of the land. Yet, Abraham did not receive it during all the time of his journey there. Accordingly, it must be that Abraham, together with his seed (that is, those who fear God and believe in Him), will receive it at the resurrection of the just.” In another place Irenaeus also explained that the blessing to Jacob “belongs unquestionably to the times of the kingdom when the righteous will bear rule, after their rising from the dead. It is also the time when the creation will bear fruit with an abundance of all kinds of food, having been renovated and set free... And all of the animals will feed on the vegetation of the earth... and they will be in perfect submission to man. And these things are borne witness to in the fourth book of the writings of Papias, the hearer of John, and a companion of Polycarp.” (5.33.3) Apparently Irenaeus also held to the sexta-/septamillennial scheme writing that the end of human history will occur after the 6,000th year. (5.28.3)
Other ante-Nicene premillennialistsEdit
Irenaeus and Justin represent two of the most outspoken premillennialists of the pre-Nicean church. Other early premillennialists included Pseudo-Barnabas, Papias, Methodius, Lactantius, Commodianus Theophilus, Tertullian, Melito, Hippolytus of Rome, Victorinus of Pettau  and various Gnostics groups and the Montanists. Many of these theologians and others in the early church expressed their belief in premillennialism through their acceptance of the sexta-septamillennial tradition. This belief claims that human history will continue for 6,000 years and then will enjoy Sabbath for 1,000 years (the millennial kingdom), thus all of human history will have a total of 7,000 years prior to the new creation.
The first clear opponent of premillennialism associated with Christianity was Marcion. Marcion opposed the use of the Old Testament and most books of the New Testament that were not written by the apostle Paul. Regarding the Marcion and premillennialism, Harvard scholar H. Brown noted,
- The first great heretic broke drastically with the faith of the early church in abandoning the doctrine of the imminent, personal return of Christ...Marcion did not believe in a real incarnation, and consequently there was no logical place in his system for a real Second Coming...Marcion expected the majority of mankind to be lost...he denied the validity of the Old Testament and its Law...As the first great heretic, Marcion developed and perfected his heterodox system before orthodoxy had fully defined itself...Marcion represents a movement that so radically transformed the Christian doctrine of God and Christ that it can hardly be said to be Christian.
Throughout the Patristic period—particularly in the 3rd century—there had been rising opposition to premillennialism. Origen was the first to challenge the doctrine openly. Through allegorical interpretation, he had been a proponent of amillennialism (of course, the sexta-septamillennial tradition was itself based upon similar means of allegorical interpretation). Although Origen was not always wholly "orthodox" in his theology, he had at one point completely spiritualized Christ's second coming prophesied in the New Testament. Origen did this in his Commentary on Matthew when he taught that “Christ’s return signifies His disclosure of Himself and His deity to all humanity in such a way that all might partake of His glory to the degree that each individual’s actions warrant (Commentary on Matthew 12.30).” Even Origen's milder forms of this teaching left no room for a literal millennium and it was so extreme that few actually followed it. But his influence did gain wider acceptance especially in the period following Constantine.
Dionysius of Alexandria stood against premillennialism when the chiliastic work, The Refutation of the Allegorizers written by Nepos, a bishop in Egypt became popular in Alexandria. Dionysius argued against Nepos's influence and convinced the churches of the region of amillennialism. The church historian, Eusebius, reports this in his Ecclesiastical History. Eusebius also had low regard for the chiliast, Papias, and he let it be known that in his opinion Papias was "a man of small mental capacity" because he had taken the Apocalypse literally.
Middle Ages and the ReformationEdit
Augustinian eschatological foundationEdit
Oxford theologian Alister McGrath has noted that "all medieval theology is ‘Augustinian’ to a greater or lesser extent." Augustine’s (354-430) influence shaped not only the Western Middle Ages, but it also influenced the Protestant reformers, who constantly referred to his teaching in their own debates. His teaching is “still one of the most potent elements in Western religious thought.” Therefore, to analyze what happened to premillennialism in the Middle Ages and the Reformation, it is necessary to observe the Augustinian foundation.
In his early period, Augustine held to the sexta-/septamillennial view common in early Christianity (see above section on Patristic Age). In accordance with this view, Augustine divided history into two separate dispensations, first the church age (the current age of 6,000 years), and then the millennial kingdom (Sermon 259.2). Nevertheless, early in his career Augustine converted from premillennialism to amillennialism. Anderson locates three reasons that may account for Augustine's theological shift:
- A reaction to Donatist excess - Augustine displayed a revulsion to the Donatists' bacchanal feasts which seemingly used excessive amounts of food and drink (City of God, 20.7). The Donatists were premillennial and thus Augustine formed a connection between their sensual behavior and their earthly eschatological expectation.
- A reaction to eschatological sensationalism - The millennial fervor of premillennialists as the year AD 500 was nearing caused them to have overly jovial celebrations (some septa-/sextamillennial interpreters calculated Jesus's birth to have happened 5,500 years after creation). These feasts appeared to Augustine to take more pleasure in the physical world than the spiritual. Such earthly revelry was repulsive to Augustine since he placed little value on the material world.
- A preference for allegorical interpretation - Finally, Augustine was influenced by the popular allegorical interpretation of Scripture, particularly of The Book of Revelation. Tyconius (d. c. 400), a Donatist lay theologian, “whose reinterpretation of his culture’s separatist and millenarian traditions provided the point of departure for what is more brilliant and idiosyncratic in Augustine’s own theology. And it is Tyconius, most precisely, whose own reading of John’s Apocalypse determined the Western church’s exegesis for the next eight hundred years.”
After moving away from premillennialism to amillennialism, Augustine viewed Sabbath rest in the sexta-/septamillennial scheme as “symbolically representative of Eternity.” Moreover, the millennium of Revelation 20 became for him “symbolically representative of Christ’s present reign with the saints.” Richard Landes observed the 4th century as a time of major shift for Christian eschatology by noting that it "marked a crucial moment in the history of millenarianism, since during this period Augustine repudiated even the allegorizing variety he himself had previously accepted. From this point on he dedicated much of his energy to ridding the church of this belief."
Medieval and Reformation amillennialismEdit
Augustine's later amillennial view laid the eschatological foundation for the Middle Ages, which practically abandoned premillennialism. The theological term “kingdom” maintained its eschatological function, though it was not necessarily futuristic. Instead it consistently referred to the present age so that the church was currently experiencing the eschaton. Julian of Toledo (642–690) summarizes the medieval doctrine of the millennium by referring to it as “the church of God which, by the diffusion of its faith and works, is spread out as a kingdom of faith from the time of the incarnation until the time of the coming judgment”.
A notable exception to normative medieval eschatology is found in Joachim of Fiore (c. 1135–1202), a Cistercian monk, who to an extent, stressed premillennial themes. Joachim divided earth's history into three periods. He assigned each age to a particular person of the Trinity as the guiding principle of that era. The first era was the Old Testament history and was accordingly the age of the Father; the current age of the church was the age of the Son; and still in Joachim's future was the age of the Spirit. For Joachim, year 1260 was to mark the end of the second and the beginning of the third and final golden age of earth's history.
During the Reformation period, amillennialism continued to be the popular view of the Reformers. The Lutherans formally rejected chiliasm in The Augsburg Confession. “Art. XVII., condemns the Anabaptists and others ’who now scatter Jewish opinions that, before the resurrection of the dead, the godly shall occupy the kingdom of the world, the wicked being everywhere suppressed.’" Likewise, the Swiss Reformer Heinrich Bullinger wrote up the Second Helvetic Confession, which reads "We also reject the Jewish dream of a millennium, or golden age on earth, before the last judgment." Furthermore, John Calvin wrote in Institutes that millennialism is a "fiction" that is "too childish either to need or to be worth a refutation". The Anglican Church originally formalized a statement against millenarianism in the Anglican Articles. This is observed in the 41st of the Anglican Articles, drawn up by Thomas Cranmer (1553), describing the millennium as a 'fable of Jewish dotage', but it was omitted at a later time in the revision under Elizabeth (1563).
Contrarily, certain Anabaptists, Huguenots, and Bohemian Brethren were premillennial. Michael Servetus taught a chiliastic view, though he was denounced by the Reformers as a heretic and executed in Geneva under Calvin's authority. A few in the mainstream accepted it, such as Joseph Mede (1586–1638) and possibly Hugh Latimer (died 1555), but it was never a conventional belief throughout the period.
17th and 18th centuriesEdit
Premillennialism experienced a revival among 17th century Puritans like Thomas Brightman, Joseph Mede, and others. Although they were not premillennial, the English theologian Daniel Whitby (1688–1726), the German Johann Albrecht Bengel (1687–1752), and the American Jonathan Edwards (1703–58) "fueled millennial ideas with new influence in the nineteenth century." It was authors such as these who concluded that the decline of the Roman Catholic Church would make way for the conversion and restoration of the nation of Israel. Edwards taught that a type of Millennium would occur "1260 years after A.D. 606 when Rome was recognized as having universal authority." His Puritan contemporaries, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather, openly proclaimed a belief in a literal millennium. Increase Mather wrote "That which presseth me so, as that I cannot gainsay the Chiliastical opinion, is that I take these things for Principles, and no way doubt but that they are demonstrable. 1. That the thousand apocalyptical years are not passed but future. 2. That the coming of Christ to raise the dead and to judge the earth will be within much less than this thousand years. 3. That the conversion of the Jews will not be till this present state of the world is near unto its end. 4. That, after the Jews’ conversion there will be a glorious day for the elect upon earth, and that this day shall be a very long continuance."
19th century to presentEdit
Between 1790 and the mid-19th century, premillennialism was a popular view among English Evangelicals, even within the Anglican church. Thomas Macaulay observed this and wrote "Many Christians believe that the Messiah will shortly establish a kingdom on the earth, and visibly reign over all its inhabitants." Throughout the 19th century, premillennialism continued to gain wider acceptance in both the US and in Britain, particularly among the Irvingites, Plymouth Brethren, Christadelphians, Church of God, Christian Israelite Church. Premillennialism continues to be popular among Evangelical, Fundamentalist Christian, and Living Church of God communities in the 20th and 21st centuries, expanding further into the churches of Asia, Africa and South America.
Many traditional denominations continue to oppose the concept of a literal millennial kingdom. The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod explicitly states, “When Christ returns, 'new heavens and a new earth' will be created (2 Pet. 3:10-13)." The catechism of the Catholic Church teaches in paragraph 676 that the millennium is to be understood as "beyond history". The paragraph in full reads "676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,577 especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.578".
Whalen has noted that modern premillennialism is "criticized roundly for naïve scholarship which confuses the poetic and inspirational prose of prophecy with fortune telling", though "Premillennialists retort that they merely follow the Word of God, regardless of ridicule." He then notes that, nevertheless, "the virtual theology which surrounds premillennialism is today stronger and more widely spread than at any time in history."
Historic vs. dispensational schoolsEdit
Contemporary premillennialism is divided into two schools of thought.
Historic, or Classic Premillennialism is distinctively non-dispensational. This means that it sees no radical theological distinction between Israel and the Church. It is often post-tribulational, meaning that the rapture of the church will occur after a period of tribulation. Historic premillennialism maintains chiliasm because of its view that the church will be caught up to meet Christ in the air and then escort him to the earth in order to share in his literal thousand year rule. Proponents of the view include John Gill, Charles Spurgeon, James Montgomery Boice, George Eldon Ladd, John Piper, Albert Mohler, Francis Schaeffer, Carl F. H. Henry, Harold Lindsell, D. A. Carson, Bryan Chapell, and Gordon Clark.
Dispensational premillennialism generally holds that Israel and the Church are distinct entities. It also widely holds to the pretribulational return of Christ, which believes that Jesus will return to take up Christians into heaven by means of a rapture immediately before a seven-year worldwide tribulation. This will be followed by an additional return of Christ with his saints (though there are post tribulation dispensationalists, such as Robert Gundry).
Dispensationalism traces its roots to the 1830s and John Nelson Darby (1800–1882), an Anglican churchman and an early leader of the Plymouth Brethren. In the US, the dispensational form of premillennialism was propagated on the popular level largely through the Scofield Reference Bible and on the academic level with Lewis Sperry Chafer’s eight-volume Systematic Theology. More recently dispensationalism has been popularized through Hal Lindsey's 1970s bestseller, The Late, Great Planet Earth and through the Left Behind Series by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins. Popular proponents of dispensational premillennialism have been John F. MacArthur, Phil Johnson, Ray Comfort, Jerry Falwell, Todd Friel, Dwight Pentecost, John Walvoord (d. 2002), Tim Lahaye, Charles Caldwell Ryrie (in the notes for the Ryrie Study Bible), Norman Geisler, Erwin Lutzer, and Charles L. Feinberg. Craig Blaising and Darrell Bock have developed a form of dispensationalism that is growing in popularity known as progressive dispensationalism. This view understands that an aspect of the eschatological kingdom presently exists, but must wait for the millennium to be realized fully.
- Survey -Premillennialism Reigns in EvangelicalTheology Survey
- Robert K. Whalen, “Premillennialism” in The Encyclopedia of Millennialism and Millennial Movements, Ed. Richard A. Landes (New York: Routledge, 2000), 331.
- Johannes Quasten, Patrology, Vol. 1 (Westminster, Maryland: Christian Classics, Inc.), 219. (Quasten was a Professor of Ancient Church History and Christian Archaeology at the Catholic University of America) Furthermore according to the Encyclopedia of the Early Church “Justin (Dial. 80) affirms the millenarian idea as that of Christians of complete orthodoxy but he does not hide that fact that many rejected it.” M. Simonetti, “Millenarism,” 560.
- "Dialogue with Trypho (Chapters 31-47)". Newadvent.org. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
- Against Heresies 5.32.
- "For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded. And for this reason the Scripture says: 'Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their adornment. And God brought to a conclusion upon the sixth day the works that He had made; and God rested upon the seventh day from all His works.' This is an account of the things formerly created, as also it is a prophecy of what is to come. For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; and in six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year." Against Heresies 5.28.3.
- ”Among the Apostolic Fathers Barnabas is the first and the only one who expressly teaches a pre-millennial reign of Christ on earth. He considers the Mosaic history of the creation a type of six ages of labor for the world, each lasting a thousand years, and of a millennium of rest, since with God ‘one day is as a thousand years.’ Millennial Sabbath on earth will be followed by an eight and eternal day in a new world, of which the Lord’s Day (called by Barnabas ‘the eighth day’) is the type" (access The Epistle of Barnabas here). Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 2 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, n.d.) 382.
- "Introductory Note to the Fragments of Papias". Ccel.org. 2005-07-13. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
- Insruct. adv. Gentium Deos, 43, 44.
- According to the Encyclopedia of the Early Church “Commodian (mid 3rd c.) takes up the theme of the 7000 years, the last of which is the millennium (Instr. II 35, 8 ff.).” M. Simonetti, “Millenarism,” 560.
- Against Marcion, book 3 chp 25
- Simonetti writes in the Encyclopedia of the Early Church “We know that Melito was also a millenarian" regarding Jerome's reference to him as a chiliast. M. Simonetti, “Millenarism,” 560.
- Note this is Victorinus of Pettau not Marcus Piav(v)onius Victorinus the Gaelic Emperor
- In his Commentary on Revelation and from the fragment De Fabrica Mundi (Part of a commentary on Genesis). Jerome identifies him as a premillennialist.
- Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 65,67,455.
- “Origen (Princ. II, 2-3)) rejects the literal interpretation of Rev 20-21, gives an allegorical interpretation of it and so takes away the scriptural foundation of Millenarism. In the East: Dionysius of Alexandria had to argue hard against Egyptian communities with millenarian convictions (in Euseb. HE VII, 24-25). M. Simonetti, “Millenarism” in Encyclopedia of the Early Church, Translated by Adrian Walford, Volume 1 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 560. It is doubtless that Origen respected apostolic tradition in interpretation. It was Origen himself who said "Non debemus credere nisi quemadmodum per successionem Ecclesiae Dei tradiderunt nobis" (In Matt., ser. 46, Migne, XIII, 1667). However as it is noted in The Catholic Encyclopedia "Origen has recourse too easily to allegorism to explain purely apparent antilogies or antinomies. He considers that certain narratives or ordinances of the Bible would be unworthy of God if they had to be taken according to the letter, or if they were to be taken solely according to the letter. He justifies the allegorism by the fact that otherwise certain accounts or certain precepts now abrogated would be useless and profitless for the reader: a fact which appears to him contrary to the providence of the Divine inspirer and the dignity of Holy Writ."
- "Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew". Ccel.org. 2005-07-13. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
- Larry V. Crutchfield, “Origen” in Dictionary of Premillennial Theology, ed. Mal Couch (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1996), 289.
- "NPNF2-01. Eusebius Pamphilius: Church History, Life of Constantine, Oration in Praise of Constantine". Ccel.org. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
- Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica. 3.39.13
- Alister McGrath, Iustitua Dei: A History of the Doctrine of Justification, 2nd Edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 24.
- “Augustine of Hippo” in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 129.
- G. Folliet, “La typologie du sabbat chez Saint Augustin. Son interpretation millénariste entre 386 et 400,” REAug 2 (1956):371-90. Referenced in David R. Anderson, “The Soteriological Impact of Augustine’s Change From Premillennialism to Amillennialism: Part One,” The Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Vol. 15 (Spring 2002), 27. Johannes Quasten also writes "Augustine made a “short shrift of millenarianism after having accepted it at first himself (De civ. Dei 20, 7; Serm 259.2) by explaining Apoc. 20:1-5 in an allegorical sense (it regards the spiritual resurrection of the body – real bodies even though no longer corruptible)" (De civ. Dei 22, 1-28).” Johannes Quasten, Patrology, Vol. 4 (Westminster, Maryland: Christian Classics, Inc.), 452.
- Augustine wrote in regards to the premillennialism “And this opinion would not be objectionable, if it were believed that the joys of the saints in that Sabbath shall be spiritual, and consequent on the presence of God. . . But, as they [the millenarians] assert that those who then rise again shall enjoy the leisure of immoderate carnal banquets, furnished with an amount of meat and drink such as not only shock the feeling of the temperate, but even to surpass the measure of credulity itself, such assertions can be believed only by the carnal.” (De civ. Dei 20, 7)
- Anderson, “Soteriological Impact,” 27-28. Interestingly, by the time that Augustine wrote his monumental work The City of God he wrote that “It was impossible to calculate the date of the End. ‘To all those who make... calculations on this subject comes the command, “Relax your fingers and give them a rest.”’ The Reign of the saints had already begun...” Elizabeth Isichei, “Millenarianism,” in The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought, Ed. Adrian Hastings, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 435.
- J. Daniélou, “La typologie millenariste de la samaine dans le christianisme prmitif,” Vigiliae Christiane 2 (1948):1-16.
- Paula Fredriksen, “Apocalypse and Redemption in Early Christianity,” Vigiliae Christianae 45 (1991): 157. Referenced in Anderson, “Soteriological Impact,” 29. Fredriksen writes furthermore “By complicating the biblical text, Tyconius gained a purchase on the perfectionist and millenarian readings of Scripture... The Donatist’s interpretations ironically became definitive of Catholic commentary on the Apocalypse for the next eight hundred years... Tyconius affected Augustine’s own theological development profoundly. The attack on millenarian understandings of scriptural prophecy and especially of the Apocalypse, in book 20 of the City of God is a monument to Augustine’s appropriation and appreciation of Tyconius.” Paula Fredriksen “Tyconius” in Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia Ed. Allan D. Fitzgerald (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 854.
- Larry V. Crutchfield, “Augustine” in Dictionary of Premillennial Theology, (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1996), 59.
- Richard Landes, "Lest the Millennium be Fulfilled: Apocalyptic Expectations and the Pattern of Western Chronography 100-800 CE," in The Use and Abuse of Eschatology in the Middle Ages Mediaevalia Louvaniensia. (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1988), 156.
- “From the time of Constantine and Augustin chiliasm took its place among the heresies, and was rejected subsequently even by the Protestant reformers as a Jewish dream.” Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 2 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, n.d.) 384. Simonetti also writes "But in the West too, the spread of Platonic spiritualism marked the end of millenarism.: Ambrose no longer presents the division of world history into seven millennia; Jerome argues against millennarism (PL 24, 627 ff.) and reworks Victorinus’s literal interpretation of Rev. 20-21 in an allegorical and anti-millenarian sense...” M. Simonetti, “Millenarism,” 560. See also a noteworthy reference to Nortbert's correspondence to Bernard. Nortbert thought that he was living in the time of the Antichrist and demonstrated possible chiliastic tendencies (Epistle 56 PL 182, 50–51).
- Julian of Toledo, Antitheses 2.69 (Patrologia Latina 96:697), translated and quoted by Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 3 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1978), 43.
- E. B. Elliot, Horae Apocalypticae, Vol. 4. London: Burnside and Seeley, 1846. Schwartz also writes about Joachim's eschatology in the more accessible work Eschatology, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 326ff.
- Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 2 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, n.d.) 381.
- Philip Schaff History of Creeds Vol. 1, 307.
- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 3.25.5
- The Restitution of Christianity. 719. Servetus noted that believers would be raised to live in the millennium at age 30, the year that Christ was baptized and started his ministry. Restitutio, 413.
- Joseph Mede was a biblical scholar educated at Christ's College, Cambridge. His most well-known work is Clavis Apocalyptica (1627). For a recent monograph on Mede's eschatology, see Jeffrey K. Jue, Heaven Upon Earth: Joseph Mede (1586–1638) and the Legacy of Millenarianism. Archives internationales d'histoire des idées. n.p.:Springer, 2006.
- Charles Ryrie, The Basis of the Premillennial Faith, (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1953), 29
- William C. Watson "Dispensationalism Before Darby: 17th and 18th century English Apocalypticism (Lampion Press, 2015)
- Schwartz, Eschatology, 330.
- Kevin Stilley, “Edwards, Jonathan” in Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1996), 100.
- Increase Mather, The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation Explained and Applied quoted in Charles Ryrie, The Basis of the Premillennial Faith, (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1953), 31-32.
- Quoted by Robert K. Whalen, “Premillennialism” in The Encyclopedia of Millennialism and Millennial Movements, Ed. Richard A. Landes (New York: Routledge, 2000), 331.
- Rev. W.W. Andrews of the Catholic Apostolic Church in the 19th century wrote a statement of faith for the Irvingites saying, "In respect to eschatology, they hold, with the Church of the first three centuries, that the second coming of the Lord precedes and introduces the millennium; at the beginning of which the first resurrection takes place, and at the close the general resurrection..." Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical notes. Volume I: History of Creeds,  676.
- "Bible Basics Study 5.5 - The Millennium". Biblebasicsonline.com. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
- “Millenarianism,” in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 1087.
- Robert K. Whalen, “Dispensationalism” in The Encyclopedia of Millennialism and Millennial Movements, Ed. Richard A. Landes (New York: Routledge, 2000), 128.
- Robert K. Whalen, “Premillennialism” in The Encyclopedia of Millennialism and Millennial Movements, Ed. Richard A. Landes (New York: Routledge, 2000), 332.
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- Herbert W. Bateman IV, “Dispensationalism Tomorrow,” in Three Central Issues in Contemporary Dispensationalism: A Comparison of Traditional and Progressive Views, ed. by Herbert W. Bateman IV (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1999), 315-16.
- Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock Progressive Dispensationalism (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1993), 282.
Works from an amillennial or postmillennial perspectiveEdit
- Bahnsen, Greg L. 1999. Victory in Jesus: The Bright Hope of Postmillennialism. ISBN 0-9678317-1-7. Texarkana, AR: Covenant Media Press.
- Beale, G. K. The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Commentary on the Greek Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998. ISBN 0-8028-2174-X . A well written 1245 page commentary on the Greek text of Revelation from an amillennial perspective. Beale has an excursus on the concept of the temporary messianic kingdom and how it fits into amillennial understanding.
- Bloesch, Donald G. The Last Things: Resurrection, Judgment, Glory (Christian Foundations, 7) . Westmont, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8308-1417-5. A recent eschatology text from an amillennial reformed perspective.
- Boettner, Loraine. The Millennium. P&R Publishing, 1990. ISBN 0-87552-113-4. This is a revised edition of the classic 1957 postmillennial work.
- Davis, John Jefferson. 1996. The Victory of Christ's Kingdom: An Introduction to Postmillennialism. Moscow, ID: Canon Press.
- DeMar, Gary. 1999. Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church (ISBN 0-915815-35-4) Power Springs, GA: American Vision.
- Gentry, Kenneth L. 1992. He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology. Tyler, Tx: Institute For Christian Economics.
- Gentry, Kenneth L. 2003. Thine is the Kingdom: A Study of the Postmillennial Hope. Vallecito, CA: Chalcedon Foundation.
- Hill, Charles E. Regnum Caelorum: Patterns of Millennial Thought in Early Christianity, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company 2001 (review)
- Hoekema, Anthony A.. The Bible and the Future. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994. ISBN 0-8028-0851-4
- Hughes, James A. “Revelation 20:4-6 and the Question of the Millennium,” Westminster Theological Journal 35 (Spring 73):281-302.
- Mathison, Keith A. 1999. Postmillennialism. An Eschatology of Hope. Philipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing. ISBN 0-87552-389-7. One-volume overview of postmillennialism. Written by a proponent.
- Murray, Iain. 1971. The Puritan Hope: A Study in Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy. London, UK: Banner of Truth Trust.
- Riddlebarger, Kim. A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003. An up to date defense of amillennialism.
- Sproul, R. C. 1998. The Last Days According to Jesus. ISBN 0-8010-1171-X. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
Works from a premillennial perspectiveEdit
- Chares, R. H. The Revelation of St. John. International Critical Commentary. 2 Vols. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1920. See volume 2, pages 182-86 in particular.
- Deere, Jack S. “Premillennialism in Revelation 20:4-6,” Bibliotheca Sacra 135. (January 1978): 58-74. This journal article is still considered by many premillennialists to be one of the stronger defenses of premillennialism in print.
- Ladd, George Eldon. A Commentary on the Revelation of John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972. ISBN 0-8028-1684-3. A commentary on Revelation from a historical premillennial perspective.
- Ladd, George Eldon. The Last Things. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988. ISBN 0-8028-1727-0.
- Osbourne, Grant R. Revelation. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002. ISBN 0-8010-2299-1. A commentary on Revelation from a general premillennial perspective, though no particular view of the rapture is defended.
- Peters, G.N.H. The Theocratic Kingdom. 3 Vols. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1952. ISBN 0-8254-3540-4. This is the largest defense of premillennialism in any language. It was written in the 19th century by an American Lutheran pastor. The viewpoint is historical premillennial, meaning that it is post tribulational.
- Ryrie, Charles C. The Basis of the Premillennial Faith. Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1953. ISBN 1-59387-011-6. This is a small introduction and defense of premillennialism from a dispensational perspective.
- Underwood, Grant. (1999) . The Millenarian World of Early Mormonism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0252068263
- Walvoord, John. The Millennial Kingdom. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959. ISBN 0-310-34090-X . A defense from a classical dispensational perspective.
Works from multiple perspectives or no apparent perspectiveEdit
- Aune, David A. Revelation Word Biblical Commentary. 3 vols. Waco, TX: Word Books, 1997. A scholarly commentary on Revelation.
- Bailey, J. W. “The Temporary Messianic Reign in the Literature of Early Judaism,” Journal of Biblical Literature. (1934), 170.
- The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views. Edited by Clouse, Robert G.. Westmont, IL: Inter-Varsity, 1977. ISBN 0-87784-794-0. A balanced presentation of four millennial views. George Eldon Ladd defends historical premillennialism; Herman A. Hoyt presents dispensational premillennialism; Loraine Boettner defend explains postmillennialism; and Anthony A. Hoekema writes on amillennialism.
- Revelation: Four Views: A Parallel Commentary. Edited by Steve Greg. Waco, TX: Word Books, 1997. ISBN 0-8407-2128-5.
Works on the history of eschatologyEdit
- Daley, Brian E. The Hope of the Early Church: A Handbook of Patristic Eschatology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. ISBN 1-56563-737-2.
- Mühling, Markus, "Grundwissen Eschatologie. Systematische Theologie aus der Perspektive der Hoffnung", Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2005. ISBN 978-3-8252-2918-4, 209–214.
- Froom, Le Roy Edwin. Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers. The Historical Development of Prophetic Interpretation. 4 Vols. Review and Herald, 1946–54. ASIN B0006AR2YQ. An enormously comprehensive history of eschatological thought. Froom is an Adventist but this is not overly apparent in the work. It is currently out of print.
- Hill, Charles F. Regnum Caelorum: Patterns of Millennial Thought in Early Christianity. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001. ISBN 0-8028-4634-3. Hill questions the legitimacy of early premillennial thought by analyzing an apparent paradox in the early chiliast theology, particularly the intermediate state.