Essential Definition: The millennium, the prophesied era of peace, righteousness, and prosperity, will take place without the personal presence of Christ, through the agency of the church, before the visible glorious return of Christ at the end of the age. The nations will be converted and the world Christianized and brought under God’s law, through the preaching of the gospel. Christ will return at the end of the millennium, hence a postmillennial return.
Eschatological Calendar: 1. The world will slowly become better and better as the gospel converts the nations.
There will be a long millennial period of peace and righteousness under God’s law.
At the end of the millennium there will be a visible, glorious return of Jesus Christ.
There will be a general resurrection of all the dead at that time.
There will be a translation of the living saints at that time.
Israel will be converted and grafted back into the people of God at that time.
The eternal state will be established with the new heavens and the new earth.
Common Ground With Historic Premillennialism: Agrees that there will be real millennial period of peace, righteousness, and prosperity on this present earth in fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies, before the institution of the eternal state.
Common Ground with Amillennialism: Shares the Church-Kingdom theory and holds to the same chronology of events at the return of Christ. That is Christ will return, the living saints will be raptured, all the dead will be resurrected in a general resurrection, Israel will be converted, a final judgment will take place, and the eternal state will be established. Both postmillennialists and amillennialists take the 1000 years symbolically.
Distinctives: Unique in its belief that the world will get better and better before the return of Jesus Christ.
Major Weaknesses: Has difficulty with the texts that expound that there will be great wickedness, a general apostasy from the faith, and severe tribulation for the Lord’s people at the end of the age. Some Postmillennialists therefore postulate a very brief period of apostasy and tribulation just prior to Christ’s return. Postmillennialism sometimes seems to lack credibility that Satan is currently bound and that the world is actually progressing towards a millennial state in light of current realities and actual history. This leads to a tendency to endorse false manifestations of Christianity as genuine progress towards the postmillennial dream (i.e. Boettner and North).
Representative Statement: Postmillennialism is that view of the last things which holds that the Kingdom of God is now being extended in the world through the preaching of the Gospel and the saving work of the Holy Spirit, that the world eventually will be Christianized, and that the return of Christ will occur at the close of a long period of righteousness and peace commonly called the Millennium.
This view is, of course, to be distinguished from that optimistic but false view of human betterment and progress held by Modernists and Liberals which teaches that the Kingdom of God on earth will be achieved through a natural process by which mankind will be improved and social institutions will be reformed and brought to a higher level of culture and efficiency. This latter view presents a spurious or pseudo Postmillennialism, and regards the Kingdom of God as the product of natural laws in an evolutionary process, whereas orthodox Postmillennialism regards the Kingdom of God as the product of the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit in connection with the preaching of the Gospel.
(Taken from “The Millennium” by Lorraine Boettner, p. 4)