Postmillennialism is the prophetic school which teaches that the Kingdom prophesied in the Old Testament came in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ at His first coming (Mark 1:14-15). It is a system where the interpretation of chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation sees Christ’s second coming as occurring after (Latin post-) the Millennium, which would be after an extensive period of time of a Golden Age in which Christian ethics prosper in this view. Although some postmillennialists hold to a literal millennium of 1,000 years, most postmillennialists see the thousand years more as a figurative term for a long period of time (similar in that respect to amillennialism). Among those holding to a non-literal millennium it is usually understood to have already begun sometime in the past, which implies a less obvious and less dramatic kind of millennium than that typically envisioned by premillennialists, as well as a more unexpected return of Christ.
It is a “partial Preterist” eschatological position, but falls short and errs in some beliefs such as expecting the proclaiming of the Spirit-blessed gospel of Jesus Christ to win the vast majority of men to salvation in the present age. Increasing gospel success will gradually produce a time in history prior to Christ’s return in which faith, righteousness, peace, and prosperity will prevail in the affairs of men and of nations. After an extensive era of such conditions the Lord will return visibly, bodily, and in great glory, ending history with the general resurrection and the great judgment of all men. It is post (after) millennial in that Christ returns after the glorious “millennial” conditions finally prevail in earth history.
Postmillennialism may be summarized: (1) The Church Age is the kingdom era prophesied by the Old Testament prophets. The people of God are expanded from Israel of the Old Testament to the universal Church of the New Testament, becoming the Israel of God. (2) Satan is bound during Christ’s earthly ministry at his first coming. His binding prevents him from totally hindering the proclamation of the gospel. (3) Christ now rules spiritually in the hearts of believers, who will gradually exercise a growing influence in human affairs. (4) History will gradually improve as the growth of Christian influence unfolds into the future. (5) Christ will return to end history, resurrect and judge all men, and establish the eternal order, the New Creation.
This belief that good will gradually triumph over evil has led proponents of postmillennialism to label themselves “optimillennialists” in contrast to “pessimillennial” premillennialists and amillennialists. Many postmillennialists also adopt some form of partial preterism, which holds that many of the end-time’s prophecies in the Bible have already been fulfilled.