Premillennialism, in Christian eschatology, is the belief that Jesus will physically return to the earth to gather His saints before the Millennium, a literal thousand-year golden age of peace. This return is referred to as the Second Coming, the doctrine is called premillennialism because it holds that Jesus physical return to earth will occur prior to the inauguration of the Millennium. For the last century, the belief has been common in Evangelicalism according to surveys on this topic, 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. It views this future age as a time of fulfillment for the hope of Gods people as given in the Old Testament. Post-millennialism, for example, agrees with premillennialism about the future reign of Christ. Postmillennialists hold to the view that the second coming will happen after the millennium, historically Christian premillennialism has also been referred to as chiliasm or millenarianism. The current religious term premillennialism did not come into use until the mid-19th century, the concept of a temporary earthly messianic kingdom at the Messiahs coming was not an invention of Christianity. Instead it was an interpretation developed within the apocalyptic literature of early Judaism. In Judaism during the Christian intertestamental period, there was a distinction between the current age and the “age to come”. The “age to come” was commonly viewed as a nationalistic Golden Age in which the hopes of the prophets would become a reality for the nation of Israel, on the surface, the biblical prophets revealed an “age to come” which was monolithic. Seemingly the prophets did not write of a two-phase eschaton consisting of a messianic age followed by an eternal state. However, that was the concept that some Jewish interpreters did derive from their exegesis and their conclusions are found in some of the literature and theology of early Judaism within the centuries both before and during the development of the Christian New Testament. This work likely dates to the early 2nd century and shows a schematization of the divine history divided into ten periods of time called “weeks. ”In the apocalypse. However, after the week, the temporary earthly messianic age begins. After the temporary messianic kingdom, the creation of the new heavens, Second Esdras likely dates from soon after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70. The apocryphal book was apparently an attempt to explain the difficulties associated with the destruction of Jerusalem, during one of the visions in the book, Ezra receives a revelation from the angel Uriel. The angel explains that prior to the last judgment, the Messiah will come, seven days after this cataclysmic event, the resurrection and the judgment will occur followed by the eternal state. The Jewish belief in a temporary messianic age continued during
St. Irenaeus (c. 130–202), an early Christian Premillennialist.
C.I. Scofield popularized dispensational premillennialism through the Scofield Reference Bible.
Comparison of Christian millennial interpretations