Millenarians. Millenarianism refers to the belief that every thousand years a world-altering event will change the course of history and life throughout the world. Christian groups, especially the Catholic religion, link this event with the second coming of Jesus as savior and bringer of heaven on earth before the coming of the Apocalypse and Judgment Day. Catholic Millenarianism has taken many forms through out history and various groups have viewed the coming of the Antichrist or SatanÕs son, ChristÕs second coming after the passing of one thousand year intervals, or the increasing fall of man out of GodÕs as the various events that will transform our world. Others have linked Christ's second coming simply with the passing of one-thousand-year intervals, others with what they observe as the increasing fall of man out from God's graces. Non-Christian groups also exhibit their own Millenarian movements, most notably Jewish interpretations of when a Jewish Messiah will appear and the Islamic hope for the return of past Imams.

Carlyle here cites the evangelical Millenarians arising in England during the nineteenth century. These groups formed in response to the very changes in British society about which Carlyle writes in "Signs of the Times." However, unlike Carlyle, who prophesized and called attention to aspects of society that he said must change in order to stave of disaster and turmoil, Millenarians believed that the second coming of Christ was inevitable and that the degradation of society was a sign of this inevitability. As such, devotion and prayer in anticipation of this second coming would save society from destruction.

Related Material


Force, J. and Popkin, R., Millenarian Turn: Millenarian Contexts of Science, Politics, and Everyday Anglo-American Life in the Seventeenth And Eighteenth Centuries. Boston: Klumer Academic Publishers, 2001.

Laursen, J. and Popkin, R., Continental Millenarians, Protestants, Catholics, Heretics. Boston: Klumer Academic Publishers, 2001.

Kottman, K., Catholic Millenarianism: From Savonarola to the AbbŽ Grégoire. Boston: Klumer Academic Publishers, 2001.

Last modified 30 March 2009