What Will the Return of Christ Be Like?

Christians believe Christ will return but disagree on how His return will progress. An understanding of the coming millennium is essential to how someone will interpret this concept. 

  • Eschatology is the study of the last things.
  • The Church does not possess unity in interpreting Revelation 20’s description of the 1,000-year reign of Christ.


  • The prefix –pre means “before.”
  • Premillennialism is the belief that the return of Christ will precede a literal, earthly kingdom on earth for a millennium.
  • This view would support a chronologically successive interpretation of Revelation 19’s final battle and 20’s millennium. 
  • Within this belief, two different versions exist: dispensational premillennialism and historic premillennialism.

Historic Premillennialism 

  • This view holds that the present age will eventually experience a brief period of tribulation followed by Christ’s return to usher in a kingdom on earth.
  • Christ’s return will be accompanied by a resurrection of believers and a public rapture.
  • Jesus will physically reign as king over all the earth.
  • Satan is bound during that time but will be released, leading many astray.
  • Christ defeats all rebellion, judges all humanity, and initiates the final state.


  • Is Israel’s restoration spiritual or national?
  • Is the progression biblically acceptable, chronologically understandable, or both?

Dispensational Premillennialism 

  • Dispensational theology was introduced in the nineteenth century by John Nelson Darby, who believed that biblical history is divided into certain ages or dispensations.
  • Dispensational premillennialists hold that the existing Jewish state will literally experience the Old Testament prophecies regarding the kingdom.
  • This view believes that the millennium is a literal thousand years.
  • The distinguishing characteristic of this view has to do with the prominence of Israel’s restoration.


  • Does God have different plans for Israel and the Church?
  • Is this belief system too new to be accurate?


  • The prefix –a means “no.”
  • Amillennialists believe that Christ is currently reigning in heaven between His two comings.
  • This group takes 1,000 years to be a symbolic number representing the gospel’s advancement and the world’s hostility.
  • During this time, Satan is hindered but not wholly ineffective.
  • Satan will increase opposition before Christ’s return, only to be soundly defeated.
  • Amillennialists interpret all kingdom descriptions within the tension of already/not yet (some promises we experience now; some will be shared after Christ’s return).


  • While Satan was defeated at the cross, has he been “sealed in the abyss” during this present time?
  • Are we experiencing the reign of the saints in the world?


  • The prefix –post means “after.”
  • Postmillennialists believe that Christ will return after the millennium.
  • Those holding this belief do not interpret the millennium as a literal thousand years.
  • While sharing many views with amillennialists, postmillennialism holds that the Church will gradually experience success and achieve a golden age on earth.
  • They hold that the gospel will continue to impact the world until we reach a majority level of human flourishing.


  • Are we witnessing gradual and continual progress around the world?
  • Does the Bible teach a symbolic or literal rule for the people of God?


  • If your view has Christ victorious in the end, you can find commonality with others who disagree on the details.
  • Ensure that your eschatology comes from Scripture more than stories or speculation.