|Part of a series on|
Millennialism (from millennium, Latin for "a thousand years") or chiliasm (from the Greek equivalent) is a belief advanced by some religious denominations that a Golden Age or Paradise will occur on Earth prior to the final judgment and future eternal state of the "World to Come".
Christianity and Judaism have both produced messianic movements which featured millennialist teachings—such as the notion that an earthly kingdom of God was at hand. These millenarian movements often led to considerable social unrest. 
Similarities to millennialism appear in Zoroastrianism, which identified successive thousand-year periods, each of which will end in a cataclysm of heresy and destruction, until the final destruction of evil and of the spirit of evil by a triumphant king of peace at the end of the final millennial age. "Then Saoshyant makes the creatures again pure, and the resurrection and future existence occur" (Zand-i Vohuman Yasht 3:62).
Scholars have also linked various other social and political movements, both religious and secular, to millennialist metaphors.
Bahá'u'lláh mentioned in the Kitáb-i-Íqán that God will renew the "City of God" about every thousand years,  and specifically mentioned that a new Manifestation of God would not appear within 1,000 years (1852–2852 CE) of Bahá'u'lláh's Dispensation, but that the authority of Bahá'u'lláh's message could last up to 500,000 years.  
Most Christian millennialist thinking is based upon the Book of Revelation, specifically Revelation 20,  which describes the vision of an angel who descended from heaven with a large chain and a key to a bottomless pit, and captured Satan, imprisoning him for a thousand years:
He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years and threw him into the pit and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be let out for a little while.— Revelation 20:2-3 
The Book of Revelation then describes a series of judges who are seated on thrones, as well as John's vision of the souls of those who were beheaded for their testimony in favor of Jesus and their rejection of the mark of the beast. These souls:
came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him a thousand years— Revelation 20:4-6 
During the first centuries after Christ, various forms of chiliasm (millennialism) were to be found in the Church, both East and West.  Premillennialism held by the Early Church is called "historic premillennialism",  and it was supported by in the early church by Papias,  Irenaeus, Justin Martyr,  Tertullian,  Polycarp,  Pseudo-Barnabas,  Methodius, Lactantius,  Commodianus,  Theophilus,  Melito,  Hippolytus of Rome, Victorinus of Pettau,   Nepos, Julius Africanus, Tatian  and Montanus.  However, the premillennial views of Montanus probably affected the later rejection of premillennialism in the Church, as Montanism was seen as a heresy. 
In the 2nd century, the Alogi (those who rejected all of John's writings) were amillennial, as was Caius in the first quarter of the 3rd century.  With the influence of Platonism, Clement of Alexandria and Origen denied premillennialism.  Likewise, Dionysius of Alexandria (died 264) argued that Revelation was not written by John and could not be interpreted literally; he was amillennial. 
Justin Martyr (died 165), who had chiliastic tendencies in his theology, mentions differing views in his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew , chapter 80: 
"I and many others are of this opinion [premillennialism], and [believe] that such will take place, as you assuredly are aware; but, on the other hand, I signified to you that many who belong to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians, think otherwise." 
Augustine in his early days affirmed premillennialism, but later changed to amillennialism, causing the view to become popularized together with Pope Gregory the Great.  
The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that the 2nd century proponents of various Gnostic beliefs (themselves considered heresies) also rejected millenarianism. 
This section needs additional citations for verification .(June 2020)
Christian views on the future order of events diversified after the Protestant reformation (c.1517). In particular, new emphasis was placed on the passages in the Book of Revelation which seemed to say that as Christ would return to judge the living and the dead, Satan would be locked away for 1000 years, but then released on the world to instigate a final battle against God and his Saints.  Previous Catholic and Orthodox theologians had no clear or consensus view on what this actually meant (only the concept of the end of the world coming unexpectedly, "like a thief in a night", and the concept of "the antichrist" were almost universally held). Millennialist theories try to explain what this "1000 years of Satan bound in chains" would be like.
Various types of millennialism exist with regard to Christian eschatology, especially within Protestantism, such as Premillennialism, Postmillennialism, and Amillennialism. The first two refer to different views of the relationship between the "millennial Kingdom" and Christ's second coming.
Premillennialism sees Christ's second advent as preceding the millennium, thereby separating the second coming from the final judgment. In this view, "Christ's reign" will be physically on the earth.
Postmillennialism sees Christ's second coming as subsequent to the millennium and concurrent with the final judgment. In this view "Christ's reign" (during the millennium) will be spiritual in and through the church.
Amillennialism sees the 1000 year kingdom as being metaphorically described in Rev. 20:1–6 in which "Christ's reign" is current in and through the church. Thus, while this view does not hold to a future millennial reign, it does hold that the New Heavens and New Earth will appear upon the return of Christ.
The Catholic Church strongly condemns millennialism as the following shows:
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, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.— Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1995 
The Bible Student movement is a millennialist movement based on views expressed in "The Divine Plan of the Ages," in 1886, in Volume One of the Studies in the Scriptures series, by Pastor Charles Taze Russell. (This series is still being published, since 1927, by the Dawn Bible Students Association.) Bible Students believe that there will be a universal opportunity for every person, past and present, not previously recipients of a heavenly calling, to gain everlasting life on Earth during the Millennium. 
Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Christ will rule from heaven for 1,000 years as king over the earth, assisted by the 144,000 ascended humans. 
Also known as Eastern Lightning, The Church of Almighty God mentions in its teachings the Age of Millennial Kingdom, which will follow the catastrophes prophesied in the Book of Revelation. 
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2018)
Millennialist thinking first emerged in Jewish apocryphal literature of the tumultuous Second Temple period, 
Gerschom Scholem profiles medieval and early modern Jewish millennialist teachings in his book Sabbatai Sevi, the mystical messiah, which focuses on the 17th-century movement centered on the self-proclaimed messiahship (1648) of Sabbatai Zevi  (1626–1676).
The Theosophist Alice Bailey taught that Christ (in her books she refers to the powerful spiritual being best known by Theosophists as Maitreya as The Christ or The World Teacher, not as Maitreya)[ clarification needed ] would return “sometime after AD 2025”, and that this would be the New Age equivalent of the Christian concept of the Second Coming of Christ.  
Millennial social movements, a specific form of millenarianism, have as their basis some concept of a cycle of one-thousand years. Sometimes[ quantify ] the two terms[ which? ] are used[ by whom? ] as synonyms, but purists regard this as not entirely accurate.[ citation needed ] Millennial social movements need not have a religious foundation, but they must[ need quotation to verify ] have a vision of an apocalypse that can be utopian or dystopian. Those associated with millennial social movements are "prone to be violent",[ citation needed ] with certain types of millennialism connected to violence.   In progressive millennialism, the "transformation of the social order is gradual and humans play a role in fostering that transformation".  Catastrophic millennialism "deems the current social order as irrevocably corrupt, and total destruction of this order is necessary as the precursor to the building of a new, godly order".  However the link between millennialism and violence may be problematic, as new religious movements may stray from the catastrophic view as time progresses.  [ need quotation to verify ]
The most controversial interpretation of the Three Ages philosophy and of millennialism in general involves Adolf Hitler's "Third Reich" ("Drittes Reich"), which in his vision would last for a thousand years to come ("Tausendjähriges Reich") but ultimately lasted for only 12 years (1933–1945).
The German thinker Arthur Moeller van den Bruck coined the phrase "Third Reich" and in 1923 published a book titled Das Dritte Reich . Looking back at German history, he distinguished two separate periods, and identified them with the ages of the 12th-century Italian theologian Joachim of Fiore:
After the interval of the Weimar Republic (1918 onwards), during which constitutionalism, parliamentarianism and even pacifism dominated, these were then to be followed by:
Although van den Bruck was unimpressed by Hitler when he met him in 1922 and did not join the Nazi Party, nevertheless the Nazis adopted the term "Third Reich" to label the totalitarian state they wanted to set up when they gained power, which they succeeded in doing in 1933. Later, however, the Nazi authorities banned the informal use of "Third Reich" throughout the German press in the summer of 1939, instructing it to use more official terms such as "German Reich", "Greater German Reich", and "National Socialist Germany" exclusively. 
During the early part of the Third Reich many Germans also referred to Hitler as being the German Messiah, especially when he conducted the Nuremberg Rallies,[ citation needed ] which came to be held annually (1933-1938) at a date somewhat before the Autumn Equinox in Nuremberg, Germany.
In a speech held on 27 November 1937, Hitler commented on his plans to have major parts of Berlin torn down and rebuilt:
After Adolf Hitler's unsuccessful attempt to implement a thousand-year-reign, the Vatican issued an official statement that millennial claims could not be safely taught and that the related scriptures in Revelation (also called the Apocalypse) should be understood spiritually. Catholic author Bernard LeFrois wrote:
The early Christian concepts of millennialism had ramifications far beyond strictly religious concerns during the centuries to come, as various theorists blended and enhanced them with ideas of utopia.
In the wake of early millennial thinking, the Three Ages philosophy developed. The Italian monk and theologian Joachim of Fiore (died 1202) saw all of human history as a succession of three ages:
It was believed[ by whom? ] that the Age of the Holy Spirit would begin at around 1260, and that from then on all believers would live as monks, mystically transfigured and full of praise for God, for a thousand years until Judgment Day would put an end to the history of our planet.
Joachim of Fiore's divisions of historical time also highly influenced the New Age movement, which transformed the Three Ages philosophy into astrological terminology, relating the Northern-hemisphere vernal equinox to different constellations of the zodiac. In this scenario the Age of the Father was recast[ by whom? ] as the Age of Aries, the Age of the Son became the Age of Pisces, and the Age of the Holy Spirit was called the Aquarian New Age. The current so-called "Age of Aquarius" will supposedly witness the development of a number of great changes for humankind,  reflecting the typical features of some manifestations of millennialism. 
Christian eschatology, a major branch of study within Christian theology, deals with "last things". Such eschatology – the word derives from two Greek roots meaning "last" (ἔσχατος) and "study" (-λογία) – involves the study of "end things", whether of the end of an individual life, of the end of the age, of the end of the world, or of the nature of the Kingdom of God. Broadly speaking, Christian eschatology focuses on the ultimate destiny of individual souls and of the entire created order, based primarily upon biblical texts within the Old and New Testaments.
The rapture is an eschatological position held by some Christians, particularly those of American evangelicalism, consisting of an end-time event when all Christian believers who are alive, along with resurrected believers, will rise "in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." The origin of the term extends from Paul the Apostle's First Epistle to the Thessalonians in the Bible, in which he uses the Greek word harpazo, meaning "to snatch away" or "to seize," and explains that believers in Jesus Christ would be snatched away from earth into the air.
Millenarianism or millenarism is the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming fundamental transformation of society, after which "all things will be changed". Millenarianism exists in various cultures and religions worldwide, with various interpretations of what constitutes a transformation.
Dispensationalism is a theological system of interpreting the Bible that was first espoused by John Nelson Darby. Dispensationalism maintains that history is divided into multiple ages or "dispensations" in which God acts with humanity in different ways. Dispensationalists generally maintain beliefs in premillennialism, a future restoration of Israel, and a rapture that will happen before the second coming, generally seen as happening before the tribulation. The term "dispensationalism" itself was coined by a critic of the system, Philip Mauro, in 1926.
In Christian eschatology, postmillennialism, or postmillenarianism, is an interpretation of chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation which sees Christ's second coming as occurring after the "Millennium", a Golden Age in which Christian ethics prosper. The term subsumes several similar views of the end times, and it stands in contrast to premillennialism and, to a lesser extent, amillennialism.
Premillennialism, in Christian eschatology, is the belief that Jesus will physically return to the Earth before the Millennium, heralding a literal thousand-year golden age of peace. Premillennialism is based upon a literal interpretation of Revelation 20:1–6 in the New Testament, which describes Jesus's reign in a period of a thousand years.
John F. Walvoord was a Christian theologian, pastor, and president of Dallas Theological Seminary from 1952 to 1986. He was the author of over 30 books, focusing primarily on eschatology and theology including The Rapture Question, and was co-editor of The Bible Knowledge Commentary with Roy B. Zuck. He earned AB and DD degrees from Wheaton College, an AM degree from Texas Christian University in philosophy, a Th.B., Th.M., and Th.D. in Systematic Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Litt.D. from Liberty Baptist Seminary.
Amillennialism or amillenarism is a chillegoristic eschatological position in Christianity which holds that there will be no millennial reign of the righteous on Earth. This view contrasts with both postmillennial and, especially, with premillennial interpretations of Revelation 20 and various other prophetic and eschatological passages of the Bible.
Futurism is a Christian eschatological view that interprets portions of the Book of Revelation, the Book of Ezekiel, and the Book of Daniel as future events in a literal, physical, apocalyptic, and global context.
Millenarianism is the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming fundamental transformation of society, after which "all things will be changed". These movements have been especially common among people living under colonialism or other forces that disrupted previous social arrangements.
Historic premillennialism is one of the two premillennial systems of Christian eschatology, with the other being dispensational premillennialism. It differs from dispensational premillennialism in that it only has one view of the rapture, and does not require a literal seven-year tribulation. Historic premillennialists hold to a post-tribulational rapture, meaning the church is raised to meet Christ in the air after the trials experienced during the Great Tribulation. Historic premillennialism does not require that apocalyptic prophecies be interpreted literally. The doctrine is called "historic" because many early church fathers appear to have held it, including Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and Papias. Post-tribulational premillennialism is the Christian eschatological view that the second coming of Jesus Christ will occur prior to a thousand-year reign of the saints but subsequent to the Great Apostasy.
Word and Work is a religious journal associated with those Churches of Christ that hold to a premillennial eschatology. It was founded in 1908 by Dr. David Lipscomb Watson.
Lorne L. Dawson is a Canadian scholar of the sociology of religion who has written about new religious movements, the brainwashing controversy, and religion and the Internet. His work is now focused on religious terrorism and the process of radicalization, especially with regard to domestic terrorists.
Collective salvation is the religious belief that members of a group collectively influence the salvation of the group to which they belong. Collective salvation can teach that the group is collectively one person by its nature. The concept of collective salvation appears at times in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
Catherine Wessinger is an American religion scholar. She is the Rev. H. James Yamauchi, S.J. Professor of the History of Religions at Loyola University New Orleans where she teaches religious studies with a main research focus on millennialism, new religions, women and religion, and religions of India. Wessinger is co-general editor of Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions. She served as a consultant to federal law enforcement during the Montana Freemen standoff and has been cited for her expertise concerning the Branch Davidians and other apocalyptic groups. She is the editor of the Women in Religions series at New York University Press and she is co-editor of the Women in the World's Religions and Spirituality Project, part of the World Religions and Spirituality Project.
The Millennial day theory, the Millennium sabbath hypothesis, or the Sabbath millennium theory, is a theory in Christian eschatology in which the Second Coming of Christ will occur 6,000 years after the creation of mankind, followed by 1,000 years of peace and harmony. It is a very popular belief accepted by certain premillennialists who usually promote young earth creationism.
Prophetic conferences were a manifestation for English-speaking Protestants of the 19th century of the interest in Biblical prophecy and its interpretation. Such conferences have been thought a likely source of some of the analytical terms now deployed in discussing interpretations, such as premillennialism/premillennarian, postmillennialism/postmillennarian and amillennialism, some time ahead of their appearance in the 1840s in print.
Revelation 20 is the twentieth chapter of the Book of Revelation or the Apocalypse of John in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. The book is traditionally attributed to John the Apostle, but the precise identity of the author remains a point of academic debate. This chapter contains the notable account of the "Millennium" and the judgment of the dead.
Chillegorism is a millenarian doctrine which is the opposite of chiliasm. It is based on a figurative interpretation of the prophecy of Revelation 20:1-4 about the millennial reign of Christ together with the righteous.
Millennialism, as it developed in emerging forms of Judaism around 200 B.C.E., was a response to a much older conceptual problem and a specific historical crisis brought on by a program of Hellenization initiated by the Macedonian ruler, Antiochus IV (r. 175-164 B.C.E.), a successor of Alexander the Great (256-323 B.C.E.), who had conquered Syria-Palestine in 332 B.C.E.
Groups with millennial/apocalyptic expectations have been proposed to be prone to violence due to their fiery rhetoric condemning the existing social order and separation from that order. [...] However, there does not appear to be any simple connection between millennialism and violence. [...] While millennialism as a general form may not be linked to violence, there have been several suggestions that specific types of millennialism may be so connected.
Like all religious groups, Wessinger argues, millennial groups possess an 'ultimate concern' [...] When this concern - or 'millennial goal' - is threatened in some way, a group that possesses a radically dualistic perspective may in some cases seek to preserve or fulfill their goal through acts of violence. [...] By contrast, revolutionary millennial movements are likely to engage in pre-emptive, offensive actions, believing 'that revolutionary violence is necessary to become liberated from their persecutors and to set up the righteous government and society' [...]. [...] Finally, [...] Wessinger adds the category of fragile millennial groups, where violence stems from a combination of internal pressures and the perception or experience of external opposition.
With progressive millennialism, transformation of the social order is gradual and humans play a role in fostering that transformation.
Catastrophic millennialism deems the current social order as irrevocably corrupt, and total destruction of this order is necessary as the precursor to the building of a new, godly order.
[...] Since the Holy Office decreed (July 21, 1944) that it cannot be safely taught that Christ at His Second Coming will reign visibly with only some of His saints (risen from the dead) for a period of time before the final and universal judgment, a spiritual millenium is to be seen in Apoc. 20:4–6. St. John gives a recapitulation of the activity of Satan, and the spiritual reign of the saints with Christ in heaven and in His Church on earth.
The New Age was commonly also defined in astrological terms, with the Age of Pisces said to be supplanted by the Age of Aquarius. The consequent evolutionary leap in the development of humankind was often portrayed as heralding a fundamental change in the understanding of the relationship between human beings and the universe. Such thought culminated in the blossoming of the New Age movement of the 1960s and early 1970s, with its characterization of the Age of Aquarius as the embodiment of holistic principles [...]. [...] the New Age would be marked by peace and harmony.
Transformational millennialism tends to foster programs of radical and often unrealistic social change [...]. [...] Currently, the most prominent form of transformational millennialism comes from the New Age movements set in motion by the millennial wave of the 1960s: environmentally harmonized communes.