The postmillennialist believes that the millennium is an era (not a literal thousand years) during which Christ will reign over the earth, not from an literal and earthly throne, but through the gradual increase of the Gospel and its power to change lives. After this gradual Christianization of the world, Christ will return and immediately usher the church into their eternal state after judging the wicked. This is called postmillennialism because, by its view, Christ will return after the millennium.
Features and Distinctions:
- Favored method of interpretation: covenant-historical.
- Israel and the church: the church is the fulfillment of Israel.
- Kingdom of God: a spiritual entity experienced on earth through the Christianizing affect of the Gospel.
- The Millennium: a Golden Age previous to Christ’s second advent during which Christ will virtually rule over the whole earth through an unprecedented spread of the Gospel; the large majority of people will be Christian.
- Higher degrees of interpreting First Century events in the light of prophecy; preterism often goes hand-in-hand with postmillennialism.
- Of the several versions of postmillennial eschatology, thereconstructionist’s seems to be gaining the most popularity in the world today.
- Major proponents: Rousas J. Rushdoony, Greg L. Bahnsen, Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., David Chilton, and Gary North.
View the visual interpretation
There are several different versions of postmillennialism, but one of the views gaining the most popularity, is that of the theonomists. Generally speaking, the postmillennial theonomist viewpoint holds to a partial-preterist interpretation of Revelation and the various judgment prophecies in the Gospels, believing that the majority of those prophecies were fulfilled in 70 A.D. at the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.
The postmillennialist sees the millennial kingdom as the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham that he would become “a great nation” and that “all peoples on earth would be blessed” through him (Genesis 12:2-3). This holy reign will come about via gradual conversion (rather than premillennialism’s cataclysmic Christological advent) through the spread of the Gospel — this incremental progress is drawn from many pictures found throughout Scripture (e.g., Deuteronomy 7:22 and Ezekiel 47:1-12).
Postmillennial optimism is also nurtured through many of prophetic psalmody. The Psalms often speak of all nations fearing Him, salvation being known among all nations, the ends of the earth fearing Him, et cetera (e.g., Psalms 2; 22:27; 67:2,7; 102:15;110:1). Another passage that well feeds this earthly optimism is Isaiah 2:2-3 in which the nations will stream to the righteousness of God.
- Murray, Iain H. Puritan Hope. The Banner of Truth Trust, 1996. (ISBN: 085151247X)
- Kik, J. Marcellus. Eschatology of Victory. Nutley: Presbyterian &Reformed Publishing, 1974. (ISBN: 0875523137)
- Gentry Jr., Kenneth L. He Shall Have Dominion: An Eschatology of Victory. Institute for Christian Economics, 1992 (ISBN 0930464621)
- Boettner, Loraine. Millennium. Presbyterian Reformed Publishing Company, 1992. (ISBN: 0875521134)
- Mathison, Keith A. Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope. Presbyterian &Reformed Publishing Company, 1999 (ISBN: 0875523897)
- Gentry Jr., Kenneth L. “Postmillennialism.” Three Views of the Millennium and Beyond. Ed. Darrell L. Bock. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House,1999. (ISBN 0-310-20143-8)