Millennium, Tribulation, Rapture (Box 30.4)

In Revelation 20:1–10 John sees a vision in which Satan is bound and some Christian martyrs are raised from the dead. Faithful saints reign with Christ for one thousand years, and then Satan is released, but only to be cast in the lake of fire following a final battle.

Throughout the centuries Christians have adopted various positions with regard to what this vision of the “millennium” means:

Premillennialists take a futurist approach to interpreting Revelation and sometimes try to relate their understanding of the book to two other eschatological events: the “tribulation” (a seven-year period of woes thought to be described in Rev. 6–9 and specifically mentioned in Dan. 9:27; Rev. 11:2–3) and the “rapture” (a miraculous removal of God’s faithful from the earth thought to be referenced in Matt. 24:40–41; 1 Thess. 4:15–17; Rev. 4:1). Thus premillennialism yields subcategories: