Chapter 2: Millennial Confusion
What are common beliefs about the return of Christ and the Millennium?
To find out, the writer conducted telephone interviews with representatives of various denominations and church groups in the area of Rochester, New York, among them:
Adventists, Seventh Day
Assembly of God
Christian Missionary Alliance
Church of Christ
Church of Christ, Scientist
Church of God
Latter Day Saints
Society of Friends
The QUESTION: What do you believe about the return of Christ and the Millennium?
The purpose here is not to refute or defend any, only to point up the broad diversity of ideas extant.
The following is an edited transcription of the replies received:
“Christ will take David’s throne and reign a thousand years upon the earth.”
“Christ will never appear again in person. His second presence is here now. This generation will see the fulfillment of Armageddon, followed by a millennial reign of a thousand years during which the earth will be restored to Eden paradise.”
“We believe in the personal return of Christ in the end of time, followed by a general resurrection and judgment and then the eternal order of things. There will always be a struggle with evil, though, to the very end. Things will go along very much the same as they are now, as it says in Luke, people will be eating, drinking, marrying; Christ’s coming will be a surprise. ”
“We believe in the personal return of Christ. History is going downhill now, and Christ will come because things are out of hand.
“we don’t give much thought to the Millennial reign of Christ. It does not matter one way or the other. To try to be specific about the eternal abode is bordering on ambiguity and presumption. Even those who have definite ideas are not specific about such matters.”
“There are ten million of us, and we do not all believe alike. We favor a belief in no millennium. As the parable of the wheat and tares, we believe evil and good will exist until the harvest in the end of the world. After the general resurrection and judgment will follow the eternal state. Our central doctrine is salvation through the atoning work of Christ.”
“It will be wonderful when Christ comes to reign. He will reign forever, without any specially allotted time before or after His coming. The world will not get better before He comes.”
“Whether Christ will return personally or whether He will reign a thousand years are no pressing issues. These are individual matters, each one believes as the Holy Spirit leads him when he reads the Bible. I believe in the ultimate triumph of faith, but how it will be I do not know. This physical earth will never be part of the heavenly, though.”
“We believe in the personal, visible and imminent return of Christ and the Millennial reign on earth, after which the new earth will be the eternal abode, the hub of the universe. But we will be spirit beings.”
“Christ will come in God’s good time, when He gets good and ready. But most of the ideas about the Millennium come from the book of Revelation, and we don’t take stock in that book. It was written for a certain time. We don’t get into matters of the eternal order.”
“We believe in the personal, visible return of Christ and a Millennial reign on earth.”
“We take absolutely no position on the second coming of Christ. We do not have any creed. Everyone believes that there is ‘that of God in every man.’ and that is the only article of faith we subscribe to. It is up to each individual to decide which kinds of religious testimonies speak to his experience, and which he accepts as meaningful to him.”
“We do believe He will come again, just as He said. We do not know when. But He will not be on earth again. When He comes we will meet Him in the air and go with Him. We do no believe in any Millennium.”
“We believe what Jesus taught: The spirit of God is within you. We believe in Christ in you. The coming of Christ has already occurred. I know there are various beliefs that He will come again, but we do not have dogma or doctrines. Our people have their own collections of beliefs.”
“We believe He is coming, but He is not going to stay down here. He is coming after us, and we will go with Him. We don’t believe in the Millennium. The eternal abode with Him will be enough. The earth is going to be destroyed.”
“We believe we are in the last days. We are preparing for Christ to come. If we die before He comes, our spirits go to heaven to finish their preparing. Christ will reign a thousand years, and during that time all who never heard the gospel will be resurrected and given a chance to hear it. The Millennium is God’s time for completing His work.”
“We really do not need Christ any more. Jesus said, I will give you a comforter, and our religion is that comforter, and our religion is that comforter. Why does the Bible say He will come ‘in like manner’ as He went away? I can’t answer that one. I’ll have to think about it.”
“Our Church believes in the visible and personal return of Christ. We do not know when. We do not know what will happen when He comes. We do not know whether this world will be in a blessed or wicked state when He comes. He has not told us. The thousand years are symbolic. We do not know how long it is. It would take a great deal of study to go into the prophecies.”
“The Golden Age of the Millennium will take place in heaven, while the earth is a desolate wilderness. Christ will come and take His people to heaven, there to live and reign a thousand years.””
What does the Bible teach? That is the theme of this book, and why a serious effort has been made to investigate the subject carefully and critically. Study and believe the evidence, and then look forward with exultant joy to the great events which are soon to come.