Here is is another article that I contributed to the Dictionary of Premillennial Theology . As with the previous articles, I would change some things in this material if contributing to this or a similar compilation. Nevertheless, I believe the following to be both accurate and helpful.
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Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) is generally recognized as America’s greatest theologian and philosopher. At the time of Edwards’ ministry most of Protestant theology, being heir to the amillennialism of Augustine and Calvin, spiritualized the Scripture’s teaching concerning the millennium. Edwards, on the other hand, was innovative in the development of a postmillennial eschatological vision. Edwards saw the millennium as a literal historical reality which was the telos toward which history had been progressing since the fall of Adam. He thought it probable that this latter-day glory would begin in America. His millennial expectation is often considered to have been a major factor in the social movement resulting in the American Revolution.
Edwards interpreted tribulational passages as predictions of the apostasy of the Roman Catholic Church and the suppression of true religion. He believed that the Reformation marked the shortening of days (Matt. 24:22), which is to be identified with the restricting of the powers of spiritual Rome and the papal Antichrist. Applying the year-day theory of interpretation to the twelfth chapter of Revelation, Edwards proposed that the millennium would arrive approximately 1260 years after 606 A.D., when the Bishop of Rome was recognized as having universal authority. Thus, the millennium was imminent and the revival fires of the Great Awakening could very well be harbingers of the coming age when great progress in technology would free mankind from material concerns to engage more fully in the noble exercises of mind and vital religion. At this time the kingdom of Antichrist will be utterly overthrown and there will be a national conversion of the Jews. Following the millennium will come a period of great apostasy and tribulation, which will be superseded by the personal Second Coming of Jesus Christ in infinite majesty. The saints will be gathered unto their Head, forever to be in his presence, and the wicked will be summoned before the judgement-seat of Christ. (Kevin Stilley )
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, general editors Perry Miller and John E. Smith, 10 volumes (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957-1993); ______, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, reprint 1992, 2 volumes (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Press, 1834).