mil·​le·​nar·​i·​an·​ism | \ ˌmi-lə-ˈner-ē-ə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce millenarianism (audio) \

Definition of millenarianism

1 : belief in the millennium of Christian prophecy
2 : belief in a coming ideal society and especially one created by revolutionary action

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Originally the millennium was not simply any thousand-year period, but instead the thousand years prophesied in the biblical Book of Revelation, when holiness will prevail on earth and Jesus Christ will preside over all. Later, millennium was extended to mean any period—always in the future—marked by universal happiness and human perfection. On several occasions over the centuries, members of Christian sects have become convinced that the biblical millennium was arriving and gathered together to await it. But nonreligious millenarians have also believed in a future society marked by human perfection. Even if they regard this future as certain, they've generally been willing to help it along by working for a political, social, or economic revolution. The millennium always seems to be approaching; to date, it hasn't arrived.

Examples of millenarianism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Some climate crusaders have invoked the mandate of heaven, and others use language all too reminiscent of millenarianism. Richard Lindzen, National Review, 16 Apr. 2021 Covid-19 has put what might be called green millenarianism on steroids. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 7 Dec. 2020 American voters rejected millenarianism on the right and the left. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, 5 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'millenarianism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of millenarianism

1829, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of millenarianism was in 1829

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Last Updated

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Millenarianism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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