The prophets and Psalms predicted a future earthly kingdom of the Messiah where He transforms the planet and rules the literal nations of the world (Ps. 2; 72; 110; Isa. 2, 11, 25).
Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!” He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”
Psalm 2:1-9 NASB
Premillennialism sees these predictions coming true at the time of the second coming of Jesus the Messiah. Just as the Old Testament promised a future tangible earthly kingdom over the nations, so also does the New Testament (Matt. 19:28; Rev. 19:15; 20:4).
And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Matthew 19:28 NASB
From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty (Rev 19:15).
Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Revelation 20:4 NASB
With premillennialism the kingdom is not spiritualized or transcended. This is in contrast to some other systems that see the promised earthly kingdom of the OT spiritualized to a present reign of the Messiah either from heaven or on earth through His church.
There are a few problems with either understanding of a present reign. For one, anyone claiming to be of Christ who disagrees with the view must of necessity be outside of the reign of Christ or His church; because Christ cannot reign and rule over error. One must take it that a rule with a rod of iron must mean that He is in control over at least His Church. Even within pre-millennialism there is division over the Tribulation dealing with the question — will we be here?
But these verses also claim that He will be ruling over the Nations; but today the nations are in rebellion against Him, which is exactly what Psalm 2 says it will be like leading to His reign.
So it may not be the biggest problem, yet it is a problem for the post-millennialist and some A-millennialists, that the nations are today in rebellion. Even as we watch America is headed into full blown rebellion. But, the biggest problem is that the Church is in disunity and rebellion, and there therefore must be a refusal on the part of many to listen to the Holy Spirit who is given at least in part to lead us into all truth. If Christ rules through the Church, then truth reigns in the Church. Yet obviously truth is not reigning either in the Church or in this world. These conditions beg for a purging of the world and the Church which would lead to the coming reign of Messiah.
And he who endures unto the end shall be saved.