REFORMED POSTMILLENNIALISM

PMW 2019-028 by Jay Rogers (The Forerunner)

When thinking about eschatology today, few Christians are even aware of the postmillennial view. When I have traveled to Russia, Ukraine, Latin America and other nations on short term missions trips, I am usually asked this question by new converts: “Are you pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib?” as if these were the only three forms of eschatology. I often have to explain that I am not a dispensationalist. It is difficult to show some Christians that there is another way of looking at the end-times and the millennium altogether.

Postmillennialism (literally, “after the thousand years”) is the belief that Christ will physically return to the earth only after a non-literal millennium is completed. Postmillennialism is optimistic about the end times. Christ’s reign over the earth from heaven increases during the millennium, which is thought to be not a literal one thousand year period, but “a very long time.” Postmillennialism places the Church in a role of transforming whole social structures before the Second Coming and endeavoring to bring about a “Golden Age” of peace and prosperity with great advances in education, the arts, sciences and medicine.

All Christians must believe in the literal, physical return of Jesus Christ. Christians may differ in their opinions as to the nature of the millennium and the exact sequence of end times events without departing from biblical orthodoxy.

However, I believe that major problems have been caused by the most popular system: dispensational premillennialism. Ironically, I did not know anything of the postmillennial view until I became aware of the limitations of the dispensational paradigm. In searching for a view to replace dispensationalism, I found postmillennialism to be most convincing.

Postmillennialism Made Easy


Postmillennialism Made Easy (by Ken Gentry)

Basic introduction to postmillennialism. Presents the essence of the postmillennial argument and answers the leading objections. And all in a succinct, introductory fashion.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


Dispensationalism is the idea that God has worked in different ways throughout history through different economies or dispensations. A dispensationalist makes a major division between the Covenants, God acting with wrath and vengeance in the Old Testament, and with love and grace in the New Testament. Dispensationalism teaches pre-tribulational rapture, divides the end times into several dispensations and teaches a conspiratorial view of history. Dispensationalism is the system devised by two men who wrote in the 1800s.

John Nelson Darby, an Irish priest (Anglican), organized a group called the Plymouth Brethren. Darby taught that the Second Coming of Christ was imminent. He rejected the creeds of the early church and believed that social reform is useless. Darby’s followers concentrated on saving men and women out of the world.

C. I. Scofield, a Texas pastor, popularized the teachings of J.N. Darby in a systematic theology known as dispensational premillennialism. C.I. Scofield first compiled his reference Bible as a teaching aid for missionaries. It soon became one of the most widely used tools for Bible study among entire denominations such as Southern Baptists and Disciples of Christ.

Despite the fact that many of the dispensationalists stressed personal holiness, the paradigm shift toward dispensational theology has paved the way for a greater evil, antinomianism, which means literally “anti-law.”

Antinomianism is an anti-law position which states correctly that man is saved by faith alone; but states incorrectly that since faith frees the Christian from the law, he no longer bound to obey the law. Antinomianism creates a system in which the laws of the Bible cannot apply to governing an individual or society. Dispensationalism promoted antinomian thinking by de-emphasizing the relationship of the Old Covenant law to the individual. In turn this led to a waned influence of Christians in society.


God’s Law Made Easy (by Ken Gentry)

Summary for the case for the continuing relevance of God’s Law. A helpful summary of the argument from Greg L. Bahnsen’s Theonomy in Christian Ethics.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


In my study of church history, I found that the great revivalists and reformers of past centuries were not dispensationalists. When I read Athanasius, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Edwards, Whitefield and Wesley, I found to my surprise that none of them ever spoke of “the rapture.” This is because they were either postmillennialists, amillennialists or historical premillennialists. They put “the rapture” (a synonym for the resurrection) at the end of history. According to the prevailing view of most Christians in history, the resurrection will occur at the same time as the Second Coming of Jesus and the final judgment. Darby and Scofield were the first Christians in history to place the resurrection seven years prior to the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth. In doing so, they proposed two Second Comings.

In rejecting dispensationalism, I became a sort of an “ad hoc amillennialist.” I became interested in questions about the nature of the millennium itself. I soon found that I could fully work out a postmillennial view, one that stresses victory for the church in time and history. I found this view to be very exciting.

In answering questions about eschatology from a postmillennial view, first I must stress that there is a difference between millennial viewpoints and hermeneutics. The manner in which one interprets the Bible (hermeneutics) will have something to do with one’s millennial viewpoint. However, one can often arrive at very different conclusions about the millennium or the end-times using either a futurist, preterist, historicist or idealist approach to the Bible. The definitions of these hermeneutical approaches are as follows.

Futurism: This is the “end-times view.” Most of the prophecies of the Mount Olivet Discourse (Mat. 24) and the book of Revelation are yet to be fulfilled. The locust plagues of Revelation 9 might be interpreted to be Cobra helicopters, and the northern invader of Israel described in Ezekiel 38 might be the Soviet Union’s army.

Preterism: This is the “before-times view.” Most of the prophecies of the Mount Olivet Discourse (Mat. 24) and the book of Revelation were literally fulfilled by 70 A.D. The book of Revelation and the Olivet Discourse (Mat. 24) are thought to deal with the coming persecution of the church by Caesar Nero and the destruction of the Jewish Temple at Jerusalem in 70 A.D.


Great Tribulation: Past or Future?
(Thomas Ice v. Ken Gentry)

Debate book on the nature and timing of the great tribulation. Both sides thoroughly cover the evidence they deem necessary, then interact with each other.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


Historicism: This view states that the prophecies of the book of Revelation was fulfilled sometime in history, but not in the first century or in the future. The black plague of the Middle Ages might be interpreted to be one of the plagues brought by the four horsemen of Revelation 6. The pope at the time of Martin Luther is often thought to be the Beast of Revelation 13.

Idealism: This is also called the spiritualist approach. This view states that the prophecies of Revelation are not to be taken literally, but have a general symbolic application in all history. The heavenly battle of Revelation 12 is thought to describe the ongoing battle between good and evil in the spiritual realm.

My view differs from premillennialism and amillennialism in approach as well as in application. I will be describing a postmillennial view that is partially preterist. However, not all postmillenialists of history were preterists. Most have been historical postmillennialists.

• Most postmillennialists are either preterists or historicists.

• Most amillennialists are either idealists or historicists.

• Most classical premillennialists are either historicist or futurist in their approach to Revelation.

• All dispensational premillennialists put virtually every biblical prophecy about judgment in a “seven year tribulation” thought to be coming in the near future.

Most Christians today know less about their eschatology from a careful study of the Bible than they do from books such as The Late Great Planet Earth, the Left Behind series, and the wild conjecture of films such as The Omen, The Seventh Sign, and even an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, The End of Days.

We have almost forgotten the postmillennial view of Bible prophecy which has had many adherents in church history. However, this historic view is being repopularized today by many well-known conservative Bible scholars, such as Loraine Boettner, J. Marcellus Kik, R. J. Rushdoony, Iain Murray, Greg Bahnsen, Kenneth L. Gentry, R. C. Sproul, George Grant, to name just a few.

The Great Tribulation and the Antichrist

In my view, the answers to these questions are determined more by hermeneutical approach than by a particular millennial view. . . .

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One thought on “REFORMED POSTMILLENNIALISM

  1. Jerry Jackstone. Th.D. April 17, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    Thanks for this!

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