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chiliasm

chiliasm

[kil-ee-az-uhm]
chiliasm: see millennium.
or millenarianism

Belief in the millennium of Christian prophecy (Revelation 20), the 1,000 years when Christ is to reign on earth, or any religious movement that foresees a coming age of peace and prosperity. There are two expressions of millennialism. Premillennialism holds that the Second Coming of Christ will occur before the millennium and will initiate the final battle between good and evil, which will be followed by the establishment of the 1,000-year kingdom on earth or in heaven. Postmillennialism maintains that Jesus will return after the creation of the millennial kingdom of peace and righteousness, which prepares the way for the Second Coming. Throughout the Christian era, periods of social change or crisis have tended to lead to a resurgence in millennialism. The legend of the last emperor and the writings of Joachim of Fiore are important examples of medieval millennialism, and, during the Reformation, Anabaptists, Bohemian Brethren, and other groups held millennial beliefs. It is now associated especially with such Protestant denominations as the Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mormons. In a broader sense, many non-Christian traditions, including Pure Land Buddhism and the Ghost Dance religion, are understood as millennialist.

Learn more about millennialism with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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