We have been examining dispensationalism a little bit, and I’ve written some of why I don’t believe in it. The first two posts were in regards to the first two tenants that I’ve laid out that dispensationalism teaches. In the first post I didn’t use any quotes because I assume these aren’t scandalous concepts. In the last post I used quotes to prove that people truly do believe this stuff. Those four tenants, again, are:
1) A fundamental distinction between Israel and the church – i.e. there are two peoples of God with two different destinies.
2) A fundamental distinction between Law and Grace – i.e. there used to be a gospel of the kingdom under law, but now we see the gospel of grace.
3) The view that the New Testament Church is a parenthesis in God’s plan which was not foreseen by the Old Testament.
4) A distinction between the rapture and the second coming of Christ – i.e. the rapture of the church at Christ’s coming “in the air” (1 Thess 4:17) precedes the “official” second coming to the earth by seven years of tribulation.
This is our last post until I give a more thorough refutation of dispensationalism. I’m not interested, at this time, in getting into the concept of pre-trib rapture, so I’ll be leaving that last tenant alone. Now, we saw with the last two posts that this idea of a distinction between Law and Grace truly shows us that God has two completely different gospels. The gospel of grace is actually a parenthesis. What I mean by that is that the Father did not intend for Jesus to die upon the cross. Jesus came to the earth offering the kingdom to the Jews. But, they didn’t want it. So now that kingdom has been postponed until Jerusalem shall say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
This, of course, is blatantly in error with the Scripture. It makes the cross and the so-called church age a “Plan B”. Because there was no plan that Israel would reject the kingdom, the church age was not prophesied of. The Old Testament should say absolutely nothing in regard to the church or to Israel being cast off temporarily. Yet, here is the problem exactly. There is prophesy in the Old Testament regarding people outside of Israel that shall be God’s people. There is prophesy in the Old Testament regarding Israel being cast off temporarily.
Deuteronomy ends with what is called the song of Moses. This “song” was taught to all of the Hebrew children and commanded to be learned by all of Israel. In it we find some of the most vivid and powerful prophetic uttering in all of the Scripture regarding Israel. In Deuteronomy 32:16-21, we read how Israel is said that they have (and the context implies will continue to) offer sacrifices to idols, which are demons. This has provoked God to jealousy, and therefore God is going to bring devastation to Israel. However, verse 21 is kind of a strange verse for most: “Because you have provoked me to jealousy by what is no god… I will make them jealous by a people that are no people.”
Paul latches onto this verse in the book of Romans. In Romans 9-11 we read the classic explanation of how God intends to deal with Israel. Paul quotes this verse in Romans 10:19. In the context of the whole passage, Paul has just mentioned that God has purposed that not all of Israel is Israel, just like every “good Italian” loves him mama 🙂 Then, instead of continuing in that vein of thought to tell us about how we are the new Israel, Paul begins to use the word “Israel” 10 more times in regard to ethnic Israel. Here in chapter 10 we just read how they cannot believe if they haven’t heard, and how can they hear unless one preach, and how can one preach unless he is sent? Therefore, faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God. Yet, notice the context is still speaking about Israel. As much as this applies to any and all who hear, it is specifically the Jewish people that Paul is talking about hearing this message. And who is God desiring to send to them?
Romans 10:19 tells us that God desires to use a “no people”. Who are these “no people”? We continue to read and we come to Romans 11. Romans 11 expresses how we’ve been grafted in as Gentiles. Their falling away has caused the opening up unto us so that we might “provoke them to jealousy”. (I wonder where Paul got that phrase…) Then, Paul asks the question, “If their falling away has meant riches for the Gentiles, then what shall their fullness bring?” What is this fullness that Paul is speaking of? This fullness is the provocation by the Gentiles. He expresses in verses 25-26 that the “fullness of the Gentiles” shall come in, resulting in “all Israel shall be saved”. There is a fullness, specifically meaning numerical value, of Gentiles to come in, and when that “fullness” has come in it results in the rest of the Jewish people who continue in unbelief to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and believe.
What exactly that number is, we may never know. However, the mystery is clearly laid out when you perceive it. Our grafting in is for the affect of driving them to envy. Their envy causes their turning unto God once again. It is we who are the sent agent to preach unto Israel – and that as Gentiles and they who are considered “ex-Jews” for leaving the tradition of their fathers! This one verse is already significant enough, because Paul quotes it. However, there is more. Psalm 102 is a dirge about the sufferings of the Jewish people. They are, in this Psalm, under the judgment of God. Yet, when you reach verses 13-14, you begin to read how God is going to bring vindication unto Israel. He shall redeem them, for “your servants have compassion on her stones”.
Who are these servants, and what are they having compassion on? These servants cannot be Israel, for Israel is under judgment. They must be something outside of Israel who is not under judgment. Here enters you and me. This is the church. This is they who believe in the Messiah Jesus. There awaits a future time when Israel shall be in absolute chaos and destruction, under the chastisement of God, and a body of believers outside of Israel (us) will take pity and have compassion on them. It is precisely at that moment that they shall be redeemed. And, little wonder why I choose this verse, because Paul continues in Romans 11:28-31 to expound even more to us about this mystery. We provoke them to jealousy. How? By extending to them the mercy that we have received.
For God has handed all over to disobedience so that He might have mercy on them all. Who is this “all”. We have two options. Either this is all of mankind, or this is the “all Israel” mentioned in verse 26. Whichever you choose, it doesn’t escape the weight of this. It is clearly marked out in both the Old and New Testament that the church was indeed foreseen by the prophets. Yet, once again, if I stopped here that would be enough. Let me give one more Scripture evidence of this.
In a book that I’m sure you’ve all read enough that you have it memorized (Micah), the prophet declares, “Therefore he shall give them up until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; then the remnant of his brethren shall return to the children of Israel.” Let’s actually break down all of Micah 5:2-3. ““But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel (Jesus), whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. Therefore He (Yahweh) shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth (see Rev 12:1-5); Then the remnant of His (Jesus) brethren (Israel) shall return to the children of Israel.”
Here we see a prophecy that actually concerns the casting off of the natural branches “until the time… the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel.” Where is the lack of evidence of this phenomenon? It is actually quite explicit, but it is overlooked and misunderstood because we have come in with preconceived bias. What is equally zaftig in grave divergence is that some dispensationalists actually believe what they are saying. It is one thing to say that the church is a parenthesis but not believe it. When we escape the bounds of false doctrine to speedily latch onto heresy, we find that the truth of our condition is in both word and deed.
The dispensationalists who clutch to such deception show forth their rejection and despise of the truth when they make statements like the letters of Paul are for today, but the book of Hebrews, the epistles of James, the letters of Peter, and, yes, even the book of Revelation (chapters 6-19) have absolutely no sway on believers today – all of this is written for the Jewish converts during the Tribulation – we are confronted with utter blasphemy. Let me be clear: very few dispensationalists hold to this, and if some knew that this is the outcome of their logic they would be utterly appalled. This is an extreme minority, and extreme in other forms as well.
This rejection of the letters of Peter and James – and some even say the teachings of Jesus aren’t for the church – is not merely a rejection of certain portions of God’s word. It is a rejection of the senate: the Holy Trinity itself. God the Father sent His Son, and His Son communicated to these men the very words of the Father. To reject the words of the apostles is to reject the second hand teachings of Jesus, which is the teaching of the Father. To reject these epistles as pertaining to us is to deny their inspiration, which is to reject their authority through the Holy Spirit. The Godhead is the triumvirate – what they say is truth to all generations. There is no alternative. And it is for these reasons and more that I cannot hold any longer to dispensationalism.