When we speak of postmillennialism, we mean 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 is to 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 to be distinguished from that optimistic, but false, view of human progress and betterment which holds that the kingdom of God on earth will be achieved through a natural, rather than a supernatural, process by which mankind will be improved and social institutions will be reformed and brought to a higher level of culture and efficiency. The latter view regards the kingdom of God as the product of natural laws in an evolutionary process and represents only a spurious or pseudo postmillennialism.

The word millennium, a thousand years, is found just six times in Scripture, all in the first seven verses in the twentieth chapter of Revelation. Some Bible students take the word literally and hold that Christ will set up a Kingdom on earth which will continue for precisely that length of time. We believe, however, that the word is to be understood figuratively, as meaning an indefinitely long period.

Outstanding theologians who have held the postmillennial position are: David Brown, whose book, The Second Advent (1849), was for many years the standard work on the subject, Charles Hodge, W. G. T. Shedd, Robert L. Dabney, Augustus H. Strong and Benjamin B. Warfield. James H. Snowden’s book, The Return of the Lord (1919), is an able presentation of the postmillennial system.

This system has been much neglected during the ...

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