Friday, February 19, 2010

Millennium, Smillennium

I have never liked how Christians divide themselves up into factions based on their view of the millennium. On more than one occasion I have been asked the pigeonholing question, "Are you Pre-, Post-, or A-millennial?" For those readers who are eschatologically challenged, that question refers to the timing of Christ's return in relation to the thousand-year reign of Christ mentioned in Revelation 20. (Please don't ask me to explain any further, or I will fall asleep at the keyboard.)

Then the premillennialists further divide themselves into Pre-, Mid-, or Post- tribulation ....zzzz..... (Oh, did I just nod off? Sorry.)

For a while I called myself a pan-millennialist - meaning that it would all "pan out in the end." But that joke got old quickly. Then I tried to expand the options with concepts like quasi-millennial, supra-millennial, or trans-millennial. No one liked my answers. I am obviously not taking the issue seriously enough.

What I really want to do is shout, "IT'S A BOOK OF SYMBOLS, FOR GOODNESS SAKE! DON'T TAKE IT SO LITERALLY!" But then I would be accused of really being a closet amillennialist. A friend recently gave me a disc with twenty lectures that prove the superiority of the amillennial position over premillennial dispensationalism. I was bored after fifteen minutes. So I guess I am not a amillennialist.

I wish more Christians would see symbols as windows to a spiritual reality beyond doctrine. You don't explain things like the millennium; you step through them into the reality that they point toward. It is like the old Zen story about mistaking the finger pointing at the moon for the moon itself. The symbols of Revelation are like Alice's looking glass, a portal to a different world. If you ask me if I am "Pre, Post, or A," then all you are doing is showing me you don't get it.

If John wanted to teach history or theology, he would have written a history or theology book. But he wrote an apocalypse. The closest thing to it today is a "graphic novel." Graphic novels look like comics, but they aren't for kids. They are all about the narrative and the pictures. If someone has to explain them to you, then you have missed the point.

Revelation is spiritual imagination. If you don't have one, then you can always choose between Pre, Post or A.


  1. Good post, got your note, and will do as you suggest when I get a moment, as my few blog recommends are out of date.

    Don at NWDixie.

  2. closet amillennialist ;-)