Progress of Revelation

When comparing one passage of Scripture with another, an additional question arises. What is the relationship between the more recent revelation, the New Testament, to the previous revelation, the Old Testament? To the dispensationalist, the principle of interpretation is that both passages are understood literally. The newer revelation may add information regarding a previous prophecy, but it does not reinterpret the prophecy. For example, Daniel speaks often of the kingdom of God. The kingdom is described as coming after the Roman empire and taking over the entire earth. In Revelation 20, the kingdom is described as lasting 1,000 years. So the question is, assuming the two kingdoms are the same, how does Revelation 20 help the believer understand Daniel 2?

A variety of possible options are available. The dispensationalist attempts to find the most consistent interpretation for both passages. When he reads the New Testament, then, he finds more information about the kingdom. John’s information in no way contradicts the literal interpretation of Daniel’s prophecy. It simply gives more details about the kingdom—information not disclosed in the Old Testament.

By being consistent in this fashion, Daniel’s prophecy can be interpreted literally, and it can be expected to be fulfilled literally. The effect of the consistent literal interpretation of both passages is that Daniel’s kindgom is a kingdom on earth. It takes over all other earthly, world-wide kingdoms. Moreover, John adds that the kingdom will last for one thousand years. Therefore, the progress of revelation may fill in some details lacking in an earlier revelation, and it is consistent with the prior revelation.