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Since my previous two questions on Premillennialism were nicely answered, it's time for the next one:

Postmillennialism is a view of the end times that basically says that things will get better and better, more and more (to eventually almost if not all) are converted, and the church expands. This period (which we are in now) is the millennium, and after it is over (i.e, after the world is almost completely awesomeified), Christ will return. (postmils: correct me if I err in my description).

What is the biblical basis for this belief? Also, what logical deductions that support this belief can you make from biblical passages?

It seems the strongest arguments are in favor of Premillennialism, as there are several passages about the tribulations that will happen to Christians, and I'm not aware of any "Fear not, the world's gonna get awesome!" verses, so what's the reasoning behind Postmillennialism?

If tradition can be a convincing argument, feel free to use it.

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"awesomeified" Now that's added to my list of words to use! –  Phonics The Hedgehog Apr 10 '12 at 3:26
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As a side note, my brother once purchased "Three Views on the Millenium and Beyond" for me for my birthday. It has three people, all proponents of one viewpoint, outlining their Biblical understanding of the three points. –  David Morton Apr 10 '12 at 12:23
    
@David Nice. What is your point of view? –  Phonics The Hedgehog Apr 10 '12 at 18:46
    
@SonicTheHedgehog I tend towards amillenial, though I grew up in (and currently attend) a pre-millenial church, and my father is a post-mil. –  David Morton Apr 10 '12 at 19:50

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Enjoying God Ministries (which I don't know anything about other than the page I will link to) has this summary: The Postmillennial View of the Kingdom of God. They list a number of Biblical quotes which, for completeness, I will add here:

Old Testament: Num. 14:21; Psalms 2:6-9; 22:27-28; 47; 72:8-11; 110:1-2; 138:4-5 (cf. 102:15); Isa. 2:2-4; 9:6-7; 11:6-10; 45:22-25; 65; 66; Jer. 31:31-34; Daniel 2:31-35; Zech. 9:9f.; 13:1; 14:9.

New Testament: Matt. 13:31-33; 28:18-20; John 12:31-32; 16:33; 1 John 2:13-14; 3:8; 4:4,14; 5:4-5; Acts 2:32-36,41; Rom. 11:25-32; 1 Cor. 15:20-26, 57-58; Hebrews 1:8-9,13; 2:5-9; Rev. 2:25-27; 3:7-9; 7:9-10; 11:15; 19:11-21.

One of the more interesting quotes (repeated on monergism (again, I have no other knowledge of the site)) is Psalm 22:27-28:

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.

Personal notes:

The verses I've checked so far, like Psalm 22:27-28, could also be pre-millennialism. I don't see any post-millennialism specific verses. The closest I could find is Matthew 28:19:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

And the second closest is probably John 12:31-32:

Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.

To put it more simply: I was a pre-millennialist before I started this study. Now I'm a definite pre-millennialist!

(Another, Psalm 47 appears to be more about military conquest and though it has verses that could be interpreted as millennial, they could just as easily be pre-millennial.)

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+1 for a useful set of references, but I honestly don't think this should be the accepted answer to this question. All four millennium views appeal to the same sacred text. What is different isn't the proof texts so much as the hermeneutic principals and presuppositions used to interpret them. Obviously with your own view as a framework, you will interpret all these verses as supporting your view. What would really be useful here is an analysis of the way interpretation is done that supports a 'post' reading. –  Caleb Apr 19 '12 at 6:44

I recently wrote a paper on 'post-millennialism', including both why some hold this viewpoint, as well as my rebuttals. I hope it's helpful.


Psalm 110:1 - The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

Psalm 110 appears to prophesy that the second coming of Christ will not happen until God’s enemies are ‘a footstool under his feet’. The post-millennialist view of this verse holds that this means that Christianity will overcome the earth, conquering all other religions and enemies of God, and then Christ will return.

When we view this verse in the context of Revelation 19, however, we see that God comes out from heaven to wage war on his enemies.

Rev. 19:19 - Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army.

God himself is the one who conquers his enemies, and in Rev. 19:19 he makes them a footstool underneath his feet. After the defeat of his enemies, Jesus then rules over the earth for a thousand years.

A better understanding of the verse in Psalm 110 is that God is preparing the enemies of the Lord for destruction. Notice that the verse does not state that the enemies have been destroyed, simply that they are under the feet of God.

In Revelation 19:19 the enemies of God gather together, and their war comes at the end of a seven year tribulation in which God constantly rains down plagues and judgement upon the earth. This could easily fulfill the statement that they have been made ‘footstool for your feet’. What this verse appears to be stating is that the Lord will wait by the right hand of God until his enemies have been prepared for his coming, and their subsequent destruction. As Jesus descends from heaven in Revelation 19, he steps down directly into battle with the devil and his forces and immediately overtakes them.

The second coming of Christ here immediately follows the great deception and tribulation. The preceding verses do not paint a picture of a utopian, christian dominated world. The world in Revelation is one of persecution for the christian.

Rev. 17:6 - I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus(...)

Rev. 20:4 - (...)And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands(...)

The context of this Psalm also implies a literal waging of war, rather than a gradual religious overtaking.

Psalm 110:3 - Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth.

Psalm 110:5 - The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. 6He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.

And again in Revelation, when the day of the Lord’s coming is spoken of, it seems to be a very literal battle.

Rev. 19:21 - The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

One of the staples of post-millennialist teaching is that as christianity overtakes the world, there will be an era of peace, this is supposed to mark the millennium on earth. One passage that is referenced is Isaiah 2.

Isaiah 2:1 - The is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: 2In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. 3Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

Here we have a verse that seems to imply that the end of the age will be marked by peace, and worldwide worship of God. There are a few problems with this viewpoint, first of which is that it appears from the text here in Isaiah that the Lord is physically present in Zion, and that people can come to him for teaching and to settle disputes. This could possibly interpreted to mean that the word of God and his prophets will speak for him, he would not necessarily have to be physically present to rule. However, this passage pairs perfectly with the prophecy in Psalm 2:9 and Revelation 19:15 that says that “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” Additionally, it says in Revelation 20:4 that Christ will reign for the thousand years.

The second problem with the view of Isaiah 2 predicting peace before the second coming is that this interpretation is seemingly in direct conflict with Matthew 24.

Matthew 24:3 - As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.

Furthermore, as Jesus continues to speak in Matthew 24, he directly contradicts the idea that most of the world will come to him at the end of the age.

Matthew 24:10 - At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Jesus states very clearly later on in this passage that these events will transpire in the days leading up to the tribulation.

Matthew 24:15 - “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel(...)”

Matthew 24:21 - For there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again. 22If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

He also states the his second coming will immediately follow the tribulation, leaving no room for a pre-second coming millennium.

Matthew 24:29 - Immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 30At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.

Although some interpret this chapter of Matthew as a reference to the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem, verse 30 states very clearly that the second coming of Christ happens immediately after the events described, and that his coming will be witnessed by all nations.

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