Recently a friend wrote to me, “Am I so far off base when I say dispensationalists want a millennium so Christ can vindicate His first advent and prove He is all He claimed to be?” When some pastors who believe in a pretribulation rapture more quickly catechize their churches in the timing of future events rather than the glory of the Cross, his question is well-founded.
- Revelation 20:1-10 Not only does this passage promise 1,000 years 6 times, but more importantly, it places this era directly following the second coming of Christ in Rev. 19:11-21 and directly before the final Judgment.
- Romans 11:25-29 All the Jews will be saved one day. They are not cast away. They are still uniquely God’s people. There is no promise for all the Egyptians, Assyrians, Edomites, or Americans to be saved. This ethnic group has some future plan in the mind of God here on earth.
- Luke 19:11-27 In this parable Jesus promises rewards to faithful servants in the form of ruling authority at His return. Nor is this the only time His people are motivated by power to rule nations. Rev. 2:26-27 “He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father;” Faithfulness until the end will result in a reward of ruling authority. See also 1 Cor. 6:2-3; Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30; Rev. 3:21. The doctrine of rewards supports an earthly kingdom.
- Acts 1:6-7 After having taught the disciples for 40 days about the Kingdom, the disciples wanted to know when the Jews would be restored to their earthly national power as the OT promised. Jesus replied with, “You don’t need to know when.” He did not rebuke them for missing the main point of his 7 weeks’ instruction.
- Hebrews 8:5-13 The Old Covenant is a shadow; it is the first; it is old; it is decaying; it will soon disappear. The New Covenant is better; it is the second; it is new. Therefore, there is not a single controlling Covenant from Genesis to Revelation. Without this “Covenant of Grace,” then those passages that talk about Israel, a kingdom, and future glory make sense as fulfilled on this earth. See also 2 Cor. 3:6-16.
- Zechariah 12-14 The prophecies of these chapters do not fit any other interpretation than the premillennial.
- Jeremiah 31:35-37 The most famous verses in this chapter come just before this paragraph promising a New Covenant. Then the prophet promises on the sun and stars that the nation of Israel will always be His people. If Israel is still God’s people, then they are distinct from the church. If that is true, then the other prophecies given to them will still be fulfilled as this one.
- Isaiah 2:1-4 This passage stands at the head of numerous other passages in the prophets. Unprecedented peace and prosperity. Universal religious purity. Restoration of Israel. This category forces us to a premillennial position. See also Isaiah 11:4-9; 65:17-25; Jer. 3:14-19; 23:1-8; Jer. 30:4-24; etc.
Why do dispensationalists believe in a millennium? Because we see it repeatedly in the words of Christ, His apostles, and the OT prophets. Some dispensationalists sadly diminish the glory of the cross, and some non-dispensationalists sadly diminish the fulness of His glory that will be revealed when He comes again.