3.4. The life after death and the life after the end

3.4. THE LIFE AFTER DEATH AND THE LIFE AFTER THE END

In the current Christian doctrine the Kingdom of God designates two distinct things: the place where people go after death (Heaven or Paradise), and the Church, or the community of believers that accedes at Christ’s teachings.

To start with, the Church is not represented by the institution with its ecclesiastical hierarchy and the material constructions (namely the church), but by the universality of believers who adopted the Christian principles and ideas. Secondly, the Church experiences an evolution and stages of development, in accordance with the progressive revelation of God. Therefore, the Kingdom of God is one and the same thing with the Church, and does not refer only to the ideal state established with Parousia. In fact, the Kingdom of God, or the revealing of Christ’s teachings, started with the First Coming. Jesus Christ speaks in his parables both about close and distant times; likewise, he refers to the Kingdom of God (the Church) in different stages and contexts. If the existence of a future

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3.3.3. The Millennium

3.3.3. The Millennium

Millenarism, millennialism, millenarianism (Latin: mille anno – “a thousand years”) or chiliasm (Romanized Greek: chilia etē – “a thousand years”) is the belief that between the Second Coming and Final Judgment there will be a golden age of 1,000 years (the Millennium) within which Christ will reign over all the earth. The existence of a future Millennium is repeatedly expressed in Revelation 20: “and they lived, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years should be finished” (Revelation 20:4-5).31 Given the fact that the Millennium will be established through the Second Coming of Christ, it was inevitably identified with the end of the world and became the subject of apocalyptic speculations.

Millenarism is not an exclusively Christian concept. It refers to any social, political or religious belief that promotes a fundamental and almost instantaneous transformation of society for the better, without a necessary limitation in time. In this case, the Christian Millennium is the opposite of the periods of evil and suffering; inside this temporal frame the sinners and the saints will be clearly delimited, with punishment for the first ones and rewards for the latter. Millenarist views are divided into

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