Strictly speaking, premillennialism and dispensationalism belong to the same school in that they both teach that the personal and visible coming of Christ will be prior to (pre-) a yet future thousand year reign of Christ. There are also other similarities:
(1) Both teach a literal thousand year (millennial) kingdom.
(2) Both teach that this millennium and kingdom are future.
(3) Both teach that the millennium kingdom of Christ is earthly, centered in the city of Jerusalem, and that it involves the personal visible reign of Christ on earth.
(4) Both teach that the promises of God to Abraham and to the Jewish nation regarding the land have a future, literal, earthly fulfillment to that nation.
(5) Both believe also that “Israel” in Scripture always and only refers to the physical descendants of Abraham.
(6) Both teach more than one resurrection and more than one judgment.
There are, nevertheless, important differences between the two views. Dispensationalism teaches two comings of Christ prior to the millennium (usually separated by a period of seven years), i.e., the rapture and the revelation—Christ’s coming for His saints and with them. They also teach that the rapture will be secret and at any moment and that it will occur prior to the great tribulation so that the church will not pass through the tribulation, but will be away with Christ.
Dispensationalism also teaches that the New Testament Church is but a parenthesis in history, that the Jewish nation alone constitutes the people and kingdom of God, and that the millennial kingdom of Christ will be an exclusively Jewish kingdom, i.e., the Jews and they alone are the kingdom people. Along with all of this, dispensationalism also teaches that the Holy Spirit will be absent from the earth during the time between the rapture and the revelation, the two stages of Christ’s premillennial coming.
In addition, the older dispensationalism of the Scofield Bible notes, teaches different ways of salvation, denying that salvation is only in the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and through faith in Him. All this historic premillennialism rightly rejects, teaching that the so-called rapture and revelation are one event, not two. Premillennialism also denies a secret rapture and teaches that the church shall pass through the treat tribulation. Finally, it teaches that the church has a part and place in Christ’s kingdom, and is not just a “parenthesis in history” between God’s past and future dealings with the Jews.
Historic premillennialism has also always rejected the heretical teaching of the Scofield Bible notes, that there are different ways of salvation in different dispensations and the strange teaching that the Holy Spirit is withdrawn from the earth during the time between the rapture and the revelation.
Nevertheless, we believe that while premillennialism rejects many of the false teachings of dispensationalism, it does not go far enough. So, as we hope to show in our next article, premillennialism also is unbiblical.