Different Views of the Rapture—Amillennialism

Vivian Bricker

Contributing Writer
Published: Aug 05, 2022
Different Views of the Rapture—Amillennialism

Rather than looking for the Rapture to start the beginning of the End Times as pre-tribulationists do, amillennialists believe that the End Times are already being fulfilled now.

Amillennialists hold interesting views concerning not only the Rapture but also the entirety of eschatology. While there are different views concerning the Rapture within the amillennialism community, most amillennialists believe there is not a Rapture. This is a unique view that is not held by pre-tribulationists or post-tribulationists. Both pre-tribulationists and post-tribulationists agree there is a Rapture, yet they interpret the Rapture as occurring at different times. However, amillennialism teaches that there is not a Rapture.

The Rapture?

Amillennialism teaches that the Book of Revelation is currently being experienced in the present church age. Rather than looking for the Rapture to start the beginning of the End Times as pre-tribulationists do, amillennialists believe that the End Times are already being fulfilled now. Amillennialists believe the church age started at the time after Jesus’ resurrection and will continue on for one-thousand years (but these one-thousand years are figurative one-thousand years).

Therefore, amillennialists believe that some parts of the Book of Revelation have already been fulfilled, that some are being fulfilled now, and some will be fulfilled later during the Church Age in the future. Amillennialism is fastly growing in popularity within churches and seminaries across the globe. However, in a way, amillennialists take away the supernatural aspects of Revelation because amillennialists believe most of Revelation is allegory.

Eschatological views within amillennialists are unique to their own belief system. Rather than viewing a future millennial Kingdom set up by Jesus, they believe the Millennial Kingdom is a “spiritual kingdom” that is “in your heart” in the present day. To support their view, amillennialists use Luke 17:20-21, “Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.’” 

Furthermore, amillennialists don’t believe in the Rapture of the church, nor do they believe in the literal millennial reign of Christ. According to amillennialists, the tribulation is occurring in the present church age. I respect amillennialists, although I find it hard to argue that the tribulation is presently being fulfilled in the modern day. The main way amillennialists argue for the events of Revelation occurring today is that they interpret Revelation as allegory. In other words, amillennialists do not interpret the Book of Revelation as being literal. Instead, amillennialists interpret the Book of Revelation as being figurative.

Since Revelation is read as allegorical and figurative, everything contained within it is subject to interpretation. Therefore, there is no Rapture or Millennial Kingdom. Amillennialists, however, do believe in the New Heaven and New Earth being a literal New Heaven and New Earth as found in Revelation 21. It is also worth mentioning that amillennialists view the rest of the Bible outside of future prophecies as being literal rather than allegorical.

In the specific sense of Satan being bound for a thousand years as spoken in Revelation 20:7, amillennialists believe this is a spiritual thousand year confinement. In other words, they believe Satan is bound in the sense that he can still deceive the world, but that he can not prevent the Good News of Jesus Christ from being carried across the world. The thousand-year Reign of Christ is not seen as a literal reign of Christ, but rather as figurative. As established, amillennialists believe the events of the tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom are active right now.

Since amillennialists believe the events of the tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom are occurring in the present church age, they have difficulty explaining different events described within the Book of Revelation, such as the breaking of the seals, the bowl judgments, and the trumpet judgments. A read through the Book of Revelation can help one understand future prophecy and discern for themselves their own view of the future. Taking Revelation literally, the future events of the tribulation will be more dark, painful, and terrible than anything else that has happened in history.

We have gone through numerous struggles these past years with the COVID-19 pandemic, outbreaks of various illnesses, mass shootings, and wars, but we cannot be dogmatic to say that these events are fulfilling prophecies contained within the Book of Revelation. It is a dangerous business to start trying to attribute future prophecy to the present day. I am not undermining the terrible events that have occurred over the years, but rather, I’m stressing the importance of knowing the tribulation will be more painful and dark than anything else the world has seen since the beginning of time.

The tribulation will be God’s wrath poured out upon the world. It is God’s last effort at trying to bring unbelievers to Him. While the tribulation focuses on bringing His chosen nation of Israel back to Him, many Gentiles will place faith in Him during this time. The tribulation is an important part of future eschatology that does not need to be brushed to the side or seen as occurring today. While I respect amillennialists, we must also know what the Bible says about eschatology and literal future events, such as the tribulation.

Unity As Believers

There is much division among believers concerning the different views of eschatology, yet we cannot allow differences to separate us as believers. God wants unity in the church (1 Corinthians 1:10). During my time in undergrad and seminary, there was much division between believers regarding interpretations of eschatology. As believers, we cannot let theological quarrels affect how we treat each other in the Body of Christ. 

Amillennialists have the same view of salvation, redemption, and sanctification as other believers who are pre-tribulationists and post-tribulationists. Views of amillennialists are not “heresy” because they are not arguing against Jesus’ divinity, nor are they promoting a different view of salvation. Rather, amillennialists simply interpret eschatology differently than other believers who adhere to a pre-tribulation Rapture or a post-tribulation Rapture. There is nothing wrong with being an amillennialist, a pre-tribulationist, or a post-tribulationist. 

Eschatological differences are not a “break it or make it” point of Christianity. The study of eschatology is extremely interesting and insightful, but it does not affect a person’s salvation. The only condition for salvation is if the individual has placed faith in Christ (John 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:8-9) and believes Christ will return for His children, establishing a New Heaven and Earth. A person’s view of eschatology is not going to alter their salvation in the slightest because there is nothing we can do to earn salvation, and there is nothing we can do to lose salvation. 

In summary, amillennialism is one of the major views held today by Christians and was originally started by Augustine during the early church. Due to how old this theory is, many support it based on a historical argument. Therefore, in conclusion, amillennialists do not believe in a Rapture. While some amillennialists might tend to side with a pre-tribulation Rapture or a post-tribulation Rapture because of personal Bible study, most amillennialists reject the Rapture and the literal interpretation of the future prophecies of the Bible. Thus, amillennialists do not believe there will be a Rapture of the church. 

Discover more on the post-tribulation and pre-tribulation perspectives. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Ig0rZh

Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.