The Millennium and the Dispensationalist
The System vs. The Scriptures
“And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The Ark of the Covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more” (Jer. 3:16).
The phrase “in those days” is found 61 times in 60 verses in the Authorized Verse. The phrase is used of a definite period when something specific would take place, according to the sovereign will of God. It is not uncommon for a Dispensational Teacher to extrapolate that phrase and postulate a future period they call, The Millennial.
Dispensational theology tends to ignore any historical fulfillment of ancient prophecies in order to allow fulfillment in the present, or in the future.
With a presuppositional understanding in mind, Dispensational theology postulates an elaborate understanding of the Millennium as a time of perfection.
In the following pages, the Dispensational Teaching is stated, and then followed by select responses from the Scriptures.
Perfect environment will exist in the millennial because of the removal of Satan and religion.
Religion is a system of good works whereby man seeks to gain the approbation of God and merit eternal life. In contrast, Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with the living Lord based on grace, and not good works.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Rev. 20:1-3).
While, The System, limits the reign of Christ to a literal millennium (1,000 years), the Bible teaches the Lord’s kingdom is without end. “And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:33)
Optimum spirituality will exist on earth among believers. Only believers can be spiritual and during the millennium there will be optimum spirituality.
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit” (Joel 2:28-29).
The appeal to Joel 2:28-29 does not find support in The System, for this promise is declared to be fulfilled in Acts 2:16-21, fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus (c. May 24, AD 33).
“And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).
The System cannot relegate this promise to a future millennial reign for in this very hour God hears and answers prayers of people “before they call” and “while they are yet speaking”.
“So, it was with Daniel (Daniel 9:20-21; Psalm 32:5).
So, it was with the early disciples when they were assembled in an upper room in Jerusalem, and when the Spirit of God descended with great power on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-2).
So, when Paul and Silas, in the prison at Philippi, ‘prayed and sang praises to God,’ he heard them and came for their rescue (Acts 16:25, 26).
So, it has often been – and especially in revivals of religion. When his people have been deeply impressed with a sense of the languishing state of religion; when they have gone unitedly before God and implored a blessing; God has heard their prayers, and even while they were speaking has begun a work of grace. Hundreds of such instances have occurred, demonstrating the faithfulness of God to his promises, and suited to encourage his people, and to excite them to prayer.
It is one of the precious promises pertaining to the blessings of the reign of the Messiah, that the answer of prayer shall be immediate – and for this his people should look, and this they should expect. God can as easily answer prayer at once as to delay it; and when the proper state of mind exists, he is as ready to answer it now as to defer it to a future time.
What encouragement have we to pray!
How faithful, how fervent should we be in our supplications! How full of guilt are we if one single blessing is withheld from our world that might have been imparted if we had prayed as we ought; if one single soul shall be lost who might have been saved if we had not been unfaithful in prayer!” (Barnes Notes)
“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain” (Zech. 14:16-17).
Once more these verses cannot be claimed by Dispensationalist to apply exclusively to a distant future millennial reign for in the days of Jesus these promises were being fulfilled. The Feast of Tabernacles was the last feast in Israel’s calendar year. It was designed to express happiness over the ingathering of the harvest.
The Feast of the Tabernacle celebrated God’s care for Israel during the Wilderness Journey following the Exodus, and how the Lord brought Israel into the Land of Promise. Several traditional ceremonies took place while celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. One of them was this. Every day during the festival, a priest would take a golden goblet and lead a procession of people down to the Pool of Siloam. He would take the pitcher and dip the pitcher in the water. Then, he would bring it back to the Temple area and he would pour it out by the side of the altar.
Again, the pouring out of the water commemorated how the Lord provided for His people. It was at this moment in celebrating the feast that Jesus stood up to speak. While celebrating the past and God’s faithfulness, the Lord had something to say about the future.
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37).
This was a tremendous claim, to be God. Jesus was claiming that He was the God who brought them out of the Land of Bondage. He was the God who supplied their every need. He was the God who brought them into the Land of Promise. He is the God who shall give them the Holy Spirit.
There was something else. It had become the custom that at night, during the Feast of Tabernacles, to light four huge candelabras. There was much singing and dancing. The lighting of the candelabra was designed to represent God guiding Israel by a pillar of cloud during the day, and a pillar of fire at night. It was at that time, in John 8, that Jesus stood up to speak again.
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Zechariah taught that in the Messiah Himself shall all the Messianic prophecies be fulfilled. And Jesus said, “I am that, Messiah.”
In the book of Acts we read of people from every tribe, representing all the families of the earth in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost who gathered to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts.
Point Three. When Christ is on the earth, there will be emotion. However, in the Church Age, there is no spirituality associated with emotion. The filling of the Spirit in the Church Age is designed to let the believer function as a priest, without any display of excessive emotion masked as spirituality.
Emotions are indeed associated with spirituality in acts of worship and life by believer – priests. Time after time in Scriptures Christians are commanded to love, rejoice, to weep, to sing, to exhort, have joy. Study Romans 12:15; 1 Peter 1:8; Ephesians 5:19; Hebrews 3:13
The filling of the Holy Spirit does have an effect on the soul as well as on the body in the present time. This is especially true with repentance, which God commands.
“True repentance is always accompanied by sorrow. It has been said by some of those of modern times who disparage repentance that repentance is “nothing but a change of mind.” These words sound as if there was merely some superficial meaning to them; and so, indeed, they are intended by those who use them, but they are not so intended by the Spirit of God.
Repentance may be, and is, a change of mind; but what a change it is! It is not an unimportant change of mind such as you may have concerning whether you will take your holiday this week or the next, or about some trifling matter of domestic interest; but it is a change of the whole heart, of the love, of the hate, of the judgment, and the view of things taken by the individual whose mind is thus changed. It is a deep, radical, fundamental, lasting change; and you will find that, whenever you meet with it in Scripture, it is always accompanied with sorrow for past sin. And rest you assured of this fact, that the repentance which has no tear in its eye, and no mourning for sin in its heart, is a repentance which needs to be repented of, for there is no evidence of conversion, no sign of the existence of the grace of God.” ~Charles H. Spurgeon
During the Millennium, Israel is restored as a nation and will have a place of pre-eminence. An appeal is made to the following texts.
“And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly: 27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken: 28 Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent, their horses’ hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind: 29 Their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young lions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it. 30 And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof” (Isaiah 5:36-30).
“And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them. 20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21 The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. 22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. 23 For the Lord God of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land” (Isaiah 10:19-23).
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. 13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. 14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
15 And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dry-shod. 16 And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt” (Isaiah 11:11-16).
“And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying” (Isaiah 65:19).
“Thus, saith the Lord of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: 21 And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also. 22 Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. 23 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you” (Zech. 8:20-23).
“And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the Lord their God, and will hear them. 7 And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord. 8 I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased. 9 And I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries; and they shall live with their children, and turn again. 10 I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them. 11 And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away. 12 And I will strengthen them in the Lord; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 10:6-12).
Israel has already been restored as a nation following the Babylonian Captivity. In AD 70, the restored national Israel was dispersed, but recognized again as a modern and independent nation on May 14, 1948, in Tel Aviv, Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel, establishing the first Jewish state in 2,000 years. Ben-Gurion became Israel’s first premier.
Apart from the reality of the state of Israel being in existent today, as opposed to the teaching of a future restoration, is another reality. Many Israelites are under divine discipline in the form of spiritual blindness. Paul speaks of this in Romans 11:25.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
It may be that in the future God will convert many more Israelites in a particular generation, and take away from many their spiritual blindness, but that has nothing to do with political realities as to whether the state of Israel exists as a restored nation on earth.
The New Testament has nothing to say about the Dispensational scheme for a “restored” Israel which includes a king, a throne, a third temple, or renewed animal sacrifices. All of that is read into the Bible without a single New Testament passage of support. Once more, The System vs. The Scriptures. Indeed, The System replaces The Scripture.
Concerning the Scriptures cited from the prophet Isaiah, search for a historical fulfillment would be more beneficial than a futuristic one along Dispensational teaching, unless there is a willingness by the Dispensationalist to say God will one day literally bring into existence a restored Assyrian Empire, Egyptian Empire, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, and Hamath from which to bring Hebrew people back to Palestine.
The current practice of the typical Dispensational teacher is to take a modern-day map, overlay it on these ancient empires and territories, and dogmatically declared prophesy is being fulfilled, literally.
That is not the case.
It cannot be said that modern nations are literally the very nations mentioned in the Bible when so many of these ancient people and places have been relegated to the dustbin of history. Nor is anything said in the Bible about a future restoration of these people and places during a Millennium period.
The promises of God being historically fulfilled, cannot be overlooked simply because the words of Isaiah are not filled in the precise manner the Dispensational template postulates.
There are four covenants which will find fulfillment during the Millennium.
- The Abrahamic Covenant Study Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6; 17:9-14
- The Palestinian Covenant Study Numbers 34:1-12; Deuteronomy 29:1-29; 30:1-10; Joshua 1:3-4
- The Davidic Covenant Study 2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14; 2 Chronicles 6:16
- The New Covenant Study Jeremiah 31:31-33; Ezekiel 36:26-27; Hebrews 8:8- 13; 9:15
The New Covenant made with Israel is said by Dispensationalist to be different from the New Covenant made to the Church, despite the fact the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews quotes Jeremiah 31:31-33 and applies it to the New Testament saints to whom he is writing. It is a basic technique of Dispensational teachers to made a dramatic distinction where none exist.
Concerning the Abrahamic Covenant, it can be briefly noted, it was conditional. Notice the language of Genesis 26:1-5, and verse 5 in particular. It was “because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statures and my laws” the Lord reaffirmed the covenant.
Concerning the Palestinian Covenant, consider the following passages and pay attention to the Biblical teaching that God honored His word and gave to Israel all the land which He had promised them. This Covenant has been fulfilled, historically.
“In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates” (Gen. 15:18).
“And the Lord gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein” (Joshua 21:43).
Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines and as far as the border of Egypt. They offered tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life (1Kings 4:21, HCSB).
Much of Dispensational theology is rooted by dividing the 490 years of prophesies of Daniel 9:24-27, and creating new terminology such as “The Prophetic Clock.”
In this way, an imaginary seven-year tribulation period can be read into Scripture, the Church can be taught to be a parenthetical thought of God, and the exaltation of a racial (but not regenerate) people can be advanced.
None of these major ideas are clearly taught in Scripture. These ideas have been developed and expanded on, or refined, over decades of “insights” from a variety of men such as Edward Irving, John Nelson Darby, C. I. Scofield, Lewis S. Chafer, John Walvoord, and Charles Ryrie.
The fatal flaw of Dispensational theology is that it keeps changing because it cannot stand the test of time. Today, there is something called Progressive Dispensationalism.
However, truth does not change!
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).
How can the saints contend for a faith that was not known until 1,830 years after the close of Scripture? How can the saints contend for a faith that keeps changing?
- The nations of the earth enjoy perfect environment under the reign of Christ.
- There will be universal peace. Study Isaiah 2:4; Hosea 2:18; Psalms 46:9; Micah 4:3
- There will be universal prosperity. Study Psalms 72:7, 16
- There will be a perfect world government that recognitions nationalism. Study Isaiah 11:1,2; Zechariah 14:9
- There will be universal knowledge of God. Study Isaiah 11:9
- There will be perfect existence in nature.
- Creation will be loosened from the bondage of sin. Study Romans 8:19-22
- Animals will lose their ferocity. Study Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25
- Plant life will abound. Study Isaiah 35:1-2; 35:7
- Perfect environment is reflected in the longevity of humanity. Study Isaiah 65:20
Dispensational theology about the Millennium affirms what it denies, and then denies what it affirms. For example,
Dispensationalism affirms the idea of perfect environment under the reign of Christ, but then acknowledges there will be death, the need for law and order, and in the end, a revolt against the Royal Reign of Christ.
Dispensationalism affirms a literal interpretation of Scripture, especially regarding the Millennium, but denies the words of Isaiah which says there will be NO weeping, and NO voice of crying in Jerusalem. They teach there will be sorrow and death in the Millennium.
“And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying” (Isaiah 65:19).
“Perfect environment in the Millennium will include capital punishment. The only death in the Millennium are people who have committed a capital crime. There will be the execution of criminals who have committed major crimes.” If there is death, there is sorrow. If there are capital crimes being committed, there will be trauma and the voice of crying.
In the Millennium, there will be perfect administration of Justice. Study Isaiah 11:3-5; Psalms 72:12-14
The Millennium begins with the population of believers only. The Baptism of Fire will remove all unbelievers carried over from the Tribulation. Jewish unbelievers are removed. Study Ezekiel 20:34-38; Gentile unbelievers are removed. Study Matthew 25:31-46
The Millennium is the beginning of a new civilization for there is a distinction between a Civilization and a Dispensation. There are four great Dispensations: Gentiles, Jews, Church, and Christ. The civilizations are different. They begin with believers only, and then end with a catastrophe.
First, there was the Anti-diluvian Civilization which went from Creation to the Flood. The believers were Adam and Eve.
Second, there was the Post-Diluvian Civilization went from the Flood to Second Advent. The believers were eight, Noah and his family.
Third, there shall be the Millennium Civilization which begins with believers only, carried over from the Tribulation period having survived the baptism of fire. This “perfect” civilization ends in a Satanic revolt which will last for a little season.
It would be time consuming to unravel all the dogmatic, but speculative, and thus misguided assertions. Suffice it to say, the baptism of fire is associated with the earthly ministry of Jesus during His incarnation. Study Matthew 3:11
The idea of a final day of divine evaluation is proclaimed in 2 Corinthians 5:10. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
As far as the various civilizations go, they are all arbitrarily created. NASA Claims over 30 advanced civilizations have collapsed. Care must be taken with theological dogmatism to speak only when the Scriptures speak, and to be silent when Scripture is silent.
As far as there be four Dispensations, this too is an arbitrary number. C. I. Scofield saw seven Dispensations: Innocency, Conscience, Human Government, Promise, Law, Grace, and Kingdom (the Millennium).
Other Dispensational teachers have more than seven. “The 8 Dispensations of the Bible” www.biblereviewer.com
The Bible speaks of two ages: this age, and the age to come. Study Matthew 12:32; 13:39-40, 49; Mark 10:30; Ephesians 1:21
The place of the Millennium in Scripture.
- The Millennium is prophesied in the Old Testament.
- The Millennium is proclaimed in the Gospels. Study the phrase, “at hand”.
- The Millennium is postponed in the Epistles by the Church Age.
- The Millennium is plagiarized in the Tribulation. Study Matthew 13
- The Millennium is presented at the Second Advent.
The idea of a millennium, as clearly and systematically detailed as Dispensational Theology advocates, is not found in either in the Old Testament, or the New Testament. In the New Testament there is not a word about an earthly throne, a land, a third temple or so many other details presented above. While the alliteration is clever it is without Scriptural support. Dispensationalism is rooted in a dismissal of Biblical history, prophetic fulfillments recorded, and Scripture being twisted to fit the presuppositions of The System, which in returns reflects the hopes and dreams of modern Zionists.
The Millennium is a time of repopulation of the earth. Though the Millennium begins with believers who have survived the Great Tribulation period, they will have children and grandchildren, many of whom will not believe. There will be an unbelieving population that develops.
At the end of the Millennium, Satan will be released from prison. He will discover many people on earth willing to join him in a final revolt against God. This is called the Gog Revolution. Study Revelation 20:7-10
This revolt, led by Satan himself, is a revolt against the Lord Jesus Christ, and a revolt against perfect environment.
The purpose of the Gog Revolution is to prove that perfect environment does not solve man’s problem either ecologically, or psychologically.
Psychology is nothing but Human Viewpoint demanding a perfect environment, which it cannot give. Human psychology consistently misdiagnosis the real problem, which is sin. Only Christ can solve this problem, which He does through His atoning death at Calvary. Only those who are born again can appreciate perfect environment, and the One who provides it. Regeneration is the solution to man’s problems, not psychology.