Amillennialism is one of four main views on the end times and eschatology. Simply stated, Amillennialism does not believe in a literal thousand year reign of Christ from Revelation 20:1-6 (A-mil as a negative means no-mil). The amillennialist believes in one single event in the return of Christ; a general resurrection, the saints meeting Christ in the air in the rapture, them all coming to earth for Christ to judge the wicked. Then punishment for the wicked but a new heavens and earth for all believers.
The long term expectation of this view is that wickedness and righteousness will continue to grow together. Some proponents and writers even go so far as to say that Christianity will dwindle but wickedness will increase. Most agree that the hope of believers is not for this world, but or the hope of Christ’s return and the change that will usher in.
The church age is the spiritual kingdom, expected by the prophets of the OT scriptures. The church has inherited all the promises given to the nation Israel. Christ rules spiritually in the hearts of believers. There will only be temporary influences of Christians upon a fallen culture.
There is a continued expectation that history will gradually get worse and worse, the wars and atrocities of the last century have only served to solidify this belief. For the amillennialist this weakening will culminate in rising of the antichrist and a greater period of tribulation for believers. Then finally, to end all this, Christ will return, and there will be the final defeat of Satan.
Amillennialim is different from premillennialism by making the two elements of the return of Christ and the final judgment one event. Amillennialism is also different from dispensationalism in that there is a connection and continuity between the people of God as the nation Israel and the people of God as the NT Christians. However, these distinctions notwithstanding, there is still a lack of hope for redemption to make a difference in this world. In general, this view, like the previous others we have looked at, holds to a negative and pessimistic outlook for the people of God and the future.
Here is a taste of some of that pessimism: “The majority will ever be on the side of the evil one” (Hendrickson, More Than Conquerors, 228). “I do not believe in progress toward a much better world in this dispensation, God’s church has no right to take an optimistic, triumphalistic attitude” (Vanderwaal, Hal Lindsey and Bible Prophecy, 45). “There is no room for optimism: toward the end, in the camps of the satanic and the anti-Christ, culture will sicken, and the Church will yearn to be delivered from its distress” (Jongste and Krimpen, The Bible and the Life of the Christians, 27).
My first response would be simply to take a couple of passages like Psalm 110:1, or Isaiah 2:1, which contain the message replete in all Scripture, to suggest there should be optimism for the people of God. There is a hope that this world can change for good, receive the benefit of redemption and an increase of grace in the world.
This will only change when we finally look at our last in the series, on Postmillennialism.