"Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death."
Jesus reigns until all enemies are defeated. Then He returns at the Second Coming and delivers the Kingdom to the Father. Ergo, all enemies will be destroyed within history, before He returns. Doug Wilson gives this a go here.
This makes a couple assumptions that aren't valid.
- "Christ reigns in heaven, so if He is returning, He isn't reigning anymore." Wrong. His reign consummates in His destruction of death and calling all men from their graves to His judgment (John 5:28-29).
- "If He is putting enemies under His feet, we're still in normal history before His return." Wrong. Revelation 19 clearly portrays otherwise.
The last enemy, death, is destroyed in Revelation 20:14. The very next verse is the new Jerusalem descending from heaven. Fitting 1 Corinthians 15 together with Revelation 19-21, it seems clear to me that Jesus defeats death (and plenty other remaining enemies) when He returns to earth.
So there is no chronological argument here that every enemy (or all but a brief resurgent apostasy in Rev. 19) except death is defeated before He returns. Only that every enemy will be defeated when He returns. Revelation 19 is clear about this, though I realize most post-mil folks don't read that as an account of the Second Coming. I think they should. Though I grant that there is a present reality to parts of it, too (the sword coming from His mouth in verse 15 is striking the nations now, through the preaching of the Gospel).
I have yet to see clear inference from Scripture that at the return of Christ the world will be largely evangelized with most of Christ's enemies defeated.
I DO believe we should not operate from a defeatist "it's all going to pot, anyway" mentality. There will be sufficient continuity between the old and new earth to justify long-term thinking and culture building now. Your labor is not in vain.
More on this when I finish a post-mil treatise and review it...