The reign of Christ is not literally for a thousand years. The number is a figure of speech for a long, unknown duration when God’s purposes are accomplished. He is reigning right now.
Let’s begin with a diagram, read from left to right, and top to bottom:
How to Read the Diagram
Millennium means a “thousand years,” and the “a” in front is the negation “no” or “non.”
Amillennial therefore means “no millennial” or “nonmillennial.”
Rev. 20:1-10 speaks of a thousand years when Christ will reign; however, the idea of the millennium has been replaced by the Church Age, which has been going since the church’s birth in Acts 2.
Amillennialists believe that there is no literal thousand years. Christ’s reign in the millennium is not bodily here on earth, but in heaven with the believers who have died.
In the Church Age, Satan’s influence has been greatly reduced, and the gospel goes forth with such power that it reaches the entire world.
At an unknown time, Christ returns to gather the living believers together and the living unbelievers together. The resurrection puts bodies on the spirits of those who have died, both believers and unbelievers. (The dotted lines represent the earth.)
And he judges them separately (see the Gavel and Bible, above).
God judges the believers to determine their degrees of rewards in heaven, not to decide whether they go into heaven (2 Cor. 5:10). Their places there are already secure.
God judges the unbelievers, and they receive condemnation.
God will renovate a new heaven and a new earth and will establish his new, eternal kingdom.
Some verses that support reading “thousand” nonliterally: Ps. 50:10; 84:10; 90:4, 7; Is. 60:22; 2 Pet. 3:8. Of special importance is Ps. 90:4, quoted by 2 Pet. 3:8, which says that a day is as a thousand years before the Lord. The other verses can be interpreted as figures of speech merely indicating numerous people or things.
Therefore, “a thousand years” is just a figure of speech for a long, unknown duration for the purposes of God to be accomplished.
As for the signs of the time, some amillennialists believe Christ could return at any time, while others believe certain signs have to be fulfilled before he returns.
Sometimes postmillennialism resembles amillennialism in both deny the literal thousand years, but amillennialism says no millennialism, while postmillennialism says it exists through the kingdom of God on earth through the church.
Amillennialism in the Context of Christ’s Life
One virtue in this scheme or above diagram is streamlined simplicity.
This section is repeated in the other discussions about his millennial (or amillennial) kingdom.
Here is the illustration of the states of Christ:
His return is on the top right. Christ’s return is part of his divine plan.
So how does all of this help me know God better?
This post furthers your relationship with God because you now know that he will put all to rights. The world is broken, and he intends to restore and heal it through his mighty, unstoppable, power—even his re-creation of the universe.
In the meantime, we have to be ready morally. “But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purifies themselves, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).
As you get to know him more intimately, he calls you to tell your story of salvation—how God reached out to you and saved you. He can do the same for those you talk to.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20, NIV).
That passage is called the Great Commission. We are to go to all nations in his authority, not our own. The phrase “to the very end of the age” tells us that it will all end, and other verses teach us that this age will end at his second coming. Until then we are called to reach as many people as we can with the gospel—his good news. It is wise to reach, first, people closest to us—our family, friends, and neighbors. And then God will call us to enlarge the circle to other people we barely know.
Whatever happens, you now know the heart of God better because he is love. He loves people so much that he wants to take them out of themselves and their sinful lives—sin hurts them—before his return makes their chance of salvation end and they undergo the final judgment, when people have to give an account of what they have done and for rejecting Christ.
Diagram of his second coming is adapted from Grudem, p. 1109.