This is a guest post by Austin Hess. Austin is a student at Lancaster Bible College, in Lancaster PA, where he is working toward a BA in Pre-Seminary Studies. Austin enjoys reading the Puritans and Reformers, and hopes to progress to MDiv and PhD studies. He blogs at Studies in the Scriptures.
Which millennial view is correct? It is an extremely difficult topic to navigate and debate since apocalyptic literature is unique. However, in this post, I will attempt to lay out a simple, concise, and thoughtful case for the postmillennial view. To define postmillennialism:
The millennium is ushered in by the Church through faithful preaching of the Gospel and spiritual growth, then after a literal or figurative thousand years, there will be a brief rebellion. Christ will then return to create a new heaven and a new earth.
Context and Prophecies
As with any biblical interpretation, we must keep context in view and this is no exception. Specifically, we must remember who the original audience was. In this case, it was the seven churches in Asia (Rev 1:4, 9). It was not to some other region, nor was it written to some church that would come. It was written to these specific people. With that in mind, let us look at the prophecies in Revelation. There are two views of the fulfillment of prophecy that comes with postmillennialism. They are know as partial preterism (ie most prophecies have been fulfilled by AD 70) and full preterism (ie all prophecies have been fulfilled by AD 70, which is not an orthodox view). In this case, I will be advocating partial preterism. The prophecies that have not been fulfilled are the resurrection of the dead, Christ’s second coming, and the final judgement. Not to bore you with details, but if you read any historical, extra-biblical literature from that time, you will find that the prophecies (again, excluding the above mentioned) have actually been fulfilled. Such as Nero being the antichrist, the destruction of Jerusalem, false teachings, so and so forth.
Gospel’s Power versus Sin’s Power
There is also a point that must be brought up about the Gospel and sin. To cite a rather famous verse:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom 1:16, ESV, emphasis mine).
If we truly believe that when we preach the Gospel, as we have been commanded to (see Matt 28:16-20) that people will be saved, sin is not strong enough to over power the Holy Spirit and stand fast against God’s will. But, the premillennial (ie Christ’s return is temporally prior to the millennium) or amillennial (ie the millennium is symbolic for Christ’s spiritual reign during the Church Age) views do not portray actual belief in this because they both suppose that sin will overpower the Christian Church, thus the need for Christ’s return. This removes the power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit. A postmillennial view is actually a view of hope! That there is power with the Holy Spirit and there is power in the Gospel! And we must not fall victim to what the media is portraying. Yes, there are a lot of bad things happening in this world, but what do we expect with sin? However, what the media is not portraying is what good is being done in the world. Good acts that the simple citizen is doing are going largely unreported. In fact, Christianity is on the rise. Even though China’s government is not looked favorably upon, there has actually been an observed explosion of professing Christians in the nation! The condition of the Western world is not the sole standard as to the condition of the whole world.
As stated, the postmillennial view is a view of hope. Christ is not in the corner being beaten up and taking punches just so in the end He can deal the final blow and win. He is sitting at the right hand of God and He is perfectly fine. We can be rest assured that Christ is reigning supreme over all things and will not be beaten anymore for He has dealt with sin once and for all on the cross. I hope this brief article has piqued your interest in the study of postmillennialism and has helped provide a simple defense of this perspective.
Until next time, Soli Deo Gloria!