John Calvin | 1509-1564
Ah yes, Monsieur Jehan Cauvin himself. One of the most influential and prominent theologians to ever exist. Even those who despise Calvinism owe him a great debt. Yet one little-known fact about Calvin was that he was indeed a postmillennial. You find most of his optimistic teaching within his Bible commentary. Though you will find postmillennialism predominately in the Psalms, in his commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:8, Calvin wrote,
Paul, however, intimates Christ will in the meantime, by the rays which he will emit previously to his advent, put to flight the darkness in which antichrist will reign, just as the sun, before he is seen by us, chases away the darkness of the night by the pouring forth of his rays.
This victory of the word, therefore, will show itself in this world . . . . He also furnished Christ with these very arms, that he may rout his enemies. This is a signal commendation of true and sound doctrine – that it is represented as sufficient for putting an end to all impiety, and as destined to be invariably victorious, in opposition to all the machinations of Satan.
John Owen | 1616-1683
1st. Fulness of peace unto the gospel and professors thereof.2dly. Purity and beauty of ordinances .and gospel worship.3dly. Multitudes of converts, many persons, yea nations .4thly. The full casting out and rejecting of all will-worship, and their attendant abominations.5thly. Professed subjection of the nations throughout the whole world unto the Lord Christ.6thly. A most glorious and dreadful breaking ofall that rise in opposition to him. (1)
Samuel Rutherford | 1600-1661
I shall be glad to be a witness, to behold the kingdoms of the world become Christ’s. I could stay out of heaven many years to see that victorious triumphing Lord act that prophesied part of his soul conquering love, in taking into his kingdom the greater sister, that kirk of the Jews . . .; to behold him set up as an ensign and banner of love, to the end of the world…” “I mean not any such visible reign of Christ on earth, as the Millenaries fancy…” “Yet we are to believe, Christ . . . shall reign a victorious conquering King to the ends of the earth. O that there were nations, kindreds, tongues and all the people of Christs habitable world, encompassing his throne with cries and tears for the spirit of supplication to be poured down upon the inhabitants of Judah for that effect. (2)
Jonathan Edwards | 1703-1758
Tis not unlikely that this work of God’s Spirit, that is so extraordinary and wonderful, is the dawning, or at least a prelude, of that glorious work of God, so often foretold in Scripture. … And there are many things that make it probable that this work will begin in America.
J. Gresham Machen | 1881-1937
But this is not the first period of decadence through which the world has passed, as it is not the first period of desperate conflict in the Church. God still rules, and in the midst of the darkness there will come in His good time the shining of a clearer light. There will come a great revival of the Christian religion; and with it will come, we be lieve, a revival of true learning: the new Reformation for which we long and pray may well be accompanied by a new Renaissance.
Of course, we are simply on the brink of addressing all of the notable postmillennial figures throughout history. This is simply the first five in an ongoing series that will help readers see that they are not believing a new wind of doctrine but that its roots go deep into the Christian church.
- The reduction of Christianity, 239.
- Iaian H. Murray, The Puritan Hope: A Study in Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1971, pp. 53-54, 98.