Postmillennialism was first clearly articulated in America by a man many consider the greatest theologian in American history, New England Congregational pastor Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758).
Edwards was a devoted student of Scripture, including the Book of Revelation. He also entertained fervent hopes that God might do something special among the people of New England. He was circumspect when revival broke out in his own congregation in the 1730s, but when all of New England was convulsed by spiritual awakening in the early 1740s, he could not hold back: ” ‘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.”
After the Great Awakening, Edwards became more cautious and dated the Millennium (a term he used rarely) somewhere around the year 2000. He believed, with many others, that this date would mark the beginning of the seventh and final millennium of world history. In the interim, much remained to be done: the fall of Satan’s kingdoms (that is, the papacy and the Ottoman Turkish empire), the conversion of the Jews, and the spread of true Christianity “through the vast regions of the earth.”