(1) From the blog, Hymnus Deo:
"There are two forms of Amillennialism. One we will call Pessimistic Amillennialism, and the other Optimistic Amillennialism.
A. Pessimistic Amillennialism
Pessimistic Amillennialism in its basic form looks like this:
- When Christ ascended to Heaven forty days after His resurrection, He took the throne of David in Heaven, where He reigns until His second coming.
- During the period in between the two comings (i.e. the non-literal Millennium), the righteous and the unrighteous will both dwell together in the world, neither having particularly greater sway over society than the other. The Church’s efforts in spreading the Gospel will have mediocre success, despite the fact that Satan is bound during this period.
- Toward the end of the Millennium, evil will grow worse and worse, culminating in a great tribulation
- Christ will return, destroy His enemies, and a new heaven and a new earth will be created.
B. Optimistic Amillennialism
Optimistic Amillennialism seems to be a new term in Eschatology. As of yet, there have been no lengthy systematic works written to defend it, and so laying out the position in any detail is currently impossible. It largely follows the pattern of Pessimistic Amillennialism, except it expects greater success for the Church in the spreading of the Gospel between the two Advents. The degree to which it expects the world to get better depends on which theologian is addressing the question. And yet one thing is for certain for all Amillennialists - there will be no “Christianization” of the world as is taught by Postmillennialism. Some notes:
(B.1.) From Postmillennialism vs. Amillennialism Part 1 @ Covenant Theology blogspot:
"Much of Amillennialism has adopted a more optimistic view of the gospel, realizing that "tribulation" of the First Century saints was the greatest that shall be faced by the church. The cause for this optimistic view of the future was a return to Scripture as the source for eschatology as opposed to newspapers.
Therefore, modern postmillennialism and “optimistic Amillennialism" are almost indistinguishable, yet there are still some differences, particular with nature and role of God's kingdom in this world, as well as the future state of the world at the Second Advent."
(B.2) From Head, Heart, Hand's Old Blog website:
"The Bible and the Future by Anthony Hoekema and Promise of the Future by Cornelius Venema. Both books brought me out of an eschatological fog and into the clear light of optimistic amillennialism (that should get the comments going)."
(B.3) 2 Thessalonians 1 Supports Amillennialism, article by Vern Poythress at his website and also originally published in The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 37/4 (1995): 529-38.
"Finally, let us consider postmillennialism. Postmillennialism says that, through the gospel, allegiance to Christ and Christian obedience will gradually spread through the world until the great majority of people are Christians. Societies and their institutions will be progressively conformed to the will of God, and an era of great peace and prosperity will ensue before the Second Coming.
In my opinion, it is possible that this sort of thing might happen. In fact, because I am awed by the power of God for salvation in the gospel (Rom 1:16), I am optimistic about the future. Christ may return very soon, but if he does not return in the next hundred years, we may see a great harvest for the gospel. Some other amillennialists display the same optimism."
Then Poythress goes on to ask:
"What, then, is the difference between this sort of "optimistic amillennialism" and a full-blown postmillennialism? Is there any significant difference at all?"
The answer given by Berit Olam is:
"2 Thessalonians 1 helps to indicate one difference that remains. 2 Thessalonians 1, I claim, asks us to focus our hopes on the Second Coming of Christ, not on a hypothetical millennial prosperity taking place before the Second Coming. ..."
(B.4) One last one from Reformed Meditations:
"I will also say that it is odd to me to hear over and over again that all of the Princeton giants were Postmillennialists. To be certain there were some Postmillennial views espoused by these men, but it would probably be more accurate to call them optimistic Amillennialists than to call them Postmillennialists (at least when compared to the current manifestation of that view). ..."