The postmillennial view is the only option among the four eschatological systems that maintains an optimistic hope for the current age before Christ returns. The term “postmillennial” arises from the compounding of three Latin terms: post (“after”), mille (“thousand”), and annum (“years”). The prefix post indicates that Christ will return after the millennium, that is, after “millennial” conditions prevail upon the earth. With amillennialism, postmillennialists understand the “thousand years” in Revelation as symbolizing an extended period of time, much like “the cattle on a thousand hills” symbolizes an enormous number of cattle (Psa 50:10) or like a thousand years of our time picturing one of God’s days (Psa 90:4).
Postmillennialists teach that Christ established his kingdom in the first century as a spiritual-redemptive reality which is embodied in his Church. Through the gospel’s Spirit-empowered proclamation Christianity will increasingly grow over time until it becomes the dominant influence in the world. The kingdom’s growth will produce increasing righteousness, peace, and prosperity, which will eventually prevail over the world for a long period of time. At the end of a long period of righteousness, Christ will return, resurrect all men, effect the great judgment, then establish the eternal order.
Contemporary presentations of postmillennialism include:
Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology (3d ed.: Draper, Vir.: ApologeticsGroup, 2009).
Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1999).