Kim Riddlebarger says,
The problem with the dispensational interpretation of the millennium has to do with how we are to understand the general flow of redemptive history.
I think herein lies one of the major issues of dispute. Amills, like Riddlebarger, largely depend on the unspoken "general flow of redemptive history" while dispensationalists rather rest on the words of the text. That's not to say that amillennialists deny the words of the text. It is to say that I do not believe that their system is driven by the words of the text. I think the words of the text too often become things that must be explained in light of a system. Of course, there is a tension there that we all must be aware of and cautious about.
Many of you will reject this out of hand, but you really should consider how much of your view is dependent on the text itself, and how much is dependent on what you have concluded about certain ideas.
I would change Riddlebarger's comment to say,
The problem with the amillennial interpretation of the millennium has to do with how we are to understand the words of the text.
Riddlebarger goes on to say,
For example, when Israel’s prophets speak of the restoration of Israel, the New Testament contends that this promise of restoration is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the true Israel. When Israel’s prophets speak of the land of Canaan, the city of Jerusalem and the mountain of the Lord, the authors of the New Testament, in turn, point out that these themes are fulfilled in Christ and his church.
The problem is that the NT does no such thing clearly. This conclusion is not one driven by the text, but rather by conclusions about the text. Every NT use of the OT is explainable by a premillennial view of the kingdom. Yet there are many OT passages that cannot be explained by an amillennial view of the kingdom. The NT holds out these promises and so should we.
So what must we do? I think we should spend more time wrestling with the text itself.
Side note: Dispensationalists aren't the only ones to disagree with Riddlebarger on this. All premillennialists would. Surely he knows that, which makes me wonder why he doesn't address it that way.