From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

Chiliasm . A peculiar doctrine of the future, based upon a developed and literalized exposition of the eschatological pictures of the NT. It includes the doctrine of the Millennium (whence its name fr. Gr. chilioi ), that is to say, the period of 1000 years between the resurrection of the saints and that of the rest of the dead, of the visible appearance of Christ to establish His Kingdom of risen saints and defeat an equally literal Antichrist, and of the Last Judgment.

The germ of developed Chiliasm is to be found in the teaching of the Apostles, and particularly in  Revelation 20:1-15; but it seems to have had no great prominence in doctrinal development until the middle of the 2nd cent., when it spread from Asia Minor, particularly among the Jewish Ebionites. Justin Martyr believed in the earthly reign of Christ, but knew that some orthodox Christians did not. Papias describes the coming Kingdom with the extravagant imagery of the Jewish Apocalyptic. The Montanists were extreme cbiliasts, but Origen opposed the doctrine. Augustine may be said to have given the death-blow to the chiliastic expectation in the early Church by his identification of the Church with the Kingdom of God on earth; and throughout the Middle Ages his view obtained.

A revival of chiliastic conceptions came with the Reformation, when attention was again concentrated on NT teaching. The fanatics among the reforming sects, particularly the Anabaptists at Münster, expected the speedy establishment of Christ on earth, apparently taking some steps towards preparation therefor. The Augsburg and Helvetic Confessions, however, condemn Chiliasm, and the leading Reformers, while they expected the speedy coming of Christ, did not attempt to literalize descriptions of this event. Throughout the 17th cent. the chiliastic views again appear a fact doubtless due, as in the time of the early Church and of the Reformation, to persecution. The view, however, was never regarded as strictly orthodox, although advocated by prominent writers on both the Continent and in England.

In modern times Chiliasm has been championed by a number of prominent theologians, but particularly by sects like the Mormons, the Second Adventists, and, as pre-millenarians, by many professional evangelists. There is, however, no uniformity in these chiliastic views, except as to the belief in the coming of the Millennium (see Millennium), in which all share. The opinions as to the nature of the Kingdom also range from extremely sensuous views like those of certain of the early Church Fathers to the highly socialistic views of men like Oetinger. At the present time, outside of the circle of the pre-millenarians, chiliastic views have little influence, and the tendency is strong to substitute belief in social evolution, under the inspiration of Christianity, for the cataclysmic establishment of a literal kingdom by Jesus at His second Advent.

Shailer Mathews.

Webster's Dictionary [2]

(1): (n.) The doctrine of the personal reign of Christ on earth during the millennium.

(2): (n.) The millennium.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [3]

See Parousia, Eschatology.