About the year seventeen hundred a new error crept into the Church, to-wit, Post-millennialism.
This was instituted by Daniel Whitby, an English divine, or proclaimed by him as a new hypothesis, namely, that the Church would prosper and extend until the world should be converted, and this triumph of the Church would constitute the Millennium; and that Jesus would not come until after the Millennium.
No wonder that he calls it a "new hypothesis," for he himself bears testimony in his "Treatise on Traditions" that the doctrine of the Millennium, or the reign of Saints on earth a thousand years, passed among the best of Christians for two hundred and fifty years, for a tradition apostolical, and as such is delivered by many fathers of the second and third century, who speak of it as the tradition of our Lord and His apostles.
For want of space we refer the reader to "The Voice of the Church," by D. T. Taylor, to show the long line of eminent witnesses, embracing Hermas, Justin and the Martyrs, Luther, Melanchthon, Mede, Milton, Burnett, Isaac Newton, Watts, Charles Wesley, Toplady, and a host of others, illustrious in the annals of the Church, who, through the past eighteen centuries, have borne overwhelming testimony to the truth of the pre-millennial coming of Christ.
Strange, indeed, that the Church, in the face of such evidence, should drift away from the simple teaching of the Word and the faith of the fathers. And yet, though of such recent origin, this error of post-millennialism has not only crept into the Church, but has been accepted by the great majority of Christians, pastors and people. This, then, is the principal point of the question, namely: Will the coming of Christ occur before the Millennium, and may it therefore happen at any moment, as Pre-millennialists believe, or will it occur after the Millennium, and thus be, at least, a thousand years in the future, as Post-millennialists believe?