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Millenarianism 

The belief that the second coming of Christ will bring a thousand-year reign of justice, happiness, and peace. It is also known as Chiliasm. The term is from the Latin mille, "a thousand." Millenarianism is based on the description in Revelation, Chapters 20-21. Christ and his saints are to rule for a thousand years while Satan is bound in chains and history is incomplete. Satan is to be unbound at the end of the millennium. Christ will win the final victory, the last judgment will separate the elect, and God will create for them a new heaven and a new earth. Millenarianism is often used in a general sense of an urgent expectation of a time of joy in the near future. Historically, this hope has been especially keen at times of distress or suffering. During the Great Awakening in America, millenarianism took the form of an expectation of the second coming of Christ after a thousand-year period of Christian progress. This was known as postmillennialism. In contrast, those expecting the return of Christ to precede the thousand-year rule may be termed "premillennialists." Various groups of Christians have believed (incorrectly) that they knew in advance the time of Christ's second coming, including the followers of the American William Miller who expected the millennium in 1843 or 1844. The Christian hope is "to await the coming of Christ in glory, and the completion of God's purpose for the world" (BCP, p. 861). See Eschatology. However, we do not know when this time will come (see Mk 13:32-37). 




Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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