Given the contrast between Jews and (mostly Jewish) Christians in the first century, it is not surprising that the Protestant Reformers referred to the millenarian concept of a revived theocracy as”A Jewish error.” In our day, classic dispensationalism teaches that the millennium will consist of a renewed theocracy with a rebuilt Temple and sacrifices. According to Lewis Sperry Chafer and John Walvoord, “a millennial temple is described in Ezekiel 40–46.” ” In this temple sacrifices are offered which differ somewhat from the Mosaic sacrifices…. There is no solid reason for not accepting both the temple and the sacrificial system as literal prophecy. Although the death of Christ has brought to end and the Mosaic law and its system of sacrifices, the sacrifices mentioned by Ezekiel seem to be memorial in character, looking back to the cross even as the Old Testament sacrifices look forward to the cross.”77 However, the authors do not offer any passages that teach either a revival of the sacrificial system or the possibility of a merely memorial sacrifice.
Equating the role of sacrifices in the millennium with that of those in the old covenant only deepens the impression that this view stands in contradiction to the emphatic New Testament claim that Christ’s fulfillment has rendered the entire Levitical system obsolete (see especially Hebrews 8–10). It also deepens the impression among some amillennialists (at least the present writer) that classic dispensationalism’s pattern of two peoples and two programs requires two objects of fulfillment: Jesus Christ and the nation of Israel. However, if we recognize the basic unity of scripture and God’s covenant of grace (as progressive dispensationalism is more willing to acknowledge), the millennium as envisaged by classic dispensationalism represents a regression in redemptive history from fulfillment back to the types and shadows.
77. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Major Bible Doctrines (rev. by John Walvoord; Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 1974, 357–58.
—Michael Horton, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology For Pilgrims On The Way (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), 948–49