In describing postmillennialism, it should first be noted that there is a great area of agreement between classic premillennialists, amillennialists, and postmillennialists.
All Christians should agree that the church, called “the Bride” and “the New Jerusalem” in Revelation 20, exists both in heaven and on earth prior to the Second Coming. We should agree that Revelation 20 describes the final attack of Satan’s forces against Christ and the church at the very end of history. All Christians should agree that Christ will return in bodily form at the end of history to judge the living and the dead.
We should agree that the events that are to precede the Second Coming of Jesus are as follows:
- The universal diffusion of the Gospel will occur in history resulting in the salvation of many souls – or, as our Lord expresses it, “the ingathering of His elect” (Mt. 24:31). This is the primary calling and purpose of the Church – to “make disciples of all the nations” (Mt. 28:18,19).
- With the expansion of the Gospel and the influence of sanctified men and women of God in the society, long periods of peace and economic blessing in Christian nations will result in the further propagation of the Gospel in the unconverted areas of the earth. It should be noted that this is the one point where postmillennists differ with their amillennial and premillennial brethren – the view of the kingdom of God as ever expansive and the Church the great engine for increasing blessings, peace and prosperity in the nations of the earth.
- The conversion of ethnic Jews is to be national. As their casting away was national, although a remnant was saved; so their conversion will be national, although some may remain hardened (Romans 11:25,26; Acts 28:25-29).
- After the Great Commission is fulfilled, there will be a general apostasy or a falling away, which will occur for a brief time prior to the Second Coming of the Lord (Rev. 20:7-9).
We should also agree that the following events at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will occur more or less simultaneously at the end of history:
- The resurrection of the dead, of the just and of the unjust.
- The final judgment.
- The end of the world.
- The consummation of Christ’s kingdom.
What I’ve just outlined here is called the “common church doctrine” because it has been the prevalent idea among all Christians for about 2000 years. In fact, for the first few hundred years of church history, the common doctrine did not even have a name. There was no elaborate differentiation of millennial theories such as is found among today’s Bible teachers. It was simply the broad statement of faith of the Apostle’s Creed the Nicene Creed and the teachings of the church fathers – that Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead and when there will be a final resurrection of all souls who have ever lived on the planet earth.
But to avoid further digression, I will return to a full exposition of what is meant by the “thousand year reign of Christ” of Revelation chapter 20 from a postmillennial perspective in a later article.