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Sermon No: 75373-Covenants - Part 4b - Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism



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SERMON TOPIC: Covenants - Part 4b - Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 30 August 2020

Topic Groups: COVENANTS, COVENANT THEOLOGY, DISPENSATIONALISM

Sermon synopsis: Dispensationalists believe:
The Church has not permanently replaced Israel and God has a distinct program for Israel and the Church.
The OT promises to Israel have not been transferred to the Church. These promises (which include land, many descendants, and blessings) will be literally fulfilled in the Millennium.
The Davidic Covenant is also fulfilled in the Millennium when Jesus literally rules from Jerusalem (the throne of David).
Just as God is currently focusing his attention on the Church, in the future he will again focus his attention on Israel.

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COVENANTS

PART 4: COVENANT THEOLOGY & DISPENSATIONALISM

BIBLICAL FRAMEWORKS

There are 3 main Protestant views on covenantal frameworks for biblical interpretation:

Covenant Theology (17th century)

Dispensationalism (19th century)

New Covenant Theology (20th century)

Catholics have also recently developed a covenantal framework.

Covenantal Theology (mid-20th century)

BIBLICAL FRAMEWORKS

COVENANT THEOLOGY

Covenant theology views the history of God’s dealings with man under the framework of 2 or 3 “theological covenants”:

COVENANT OF WORKS & GRACE

COVENANT OF WORKS

In Covenant Theology the major split in the 2 great theological covenants (of Works and Grace) is the Fall. But “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17) so the Covenant of Grace is the New Covenant.

Historically the major split in covenantal framework (Old and New) is the cross (not the Fall) and the Christian scriptures are divided as such.

DISPENSATIONALISM

The term “New Testament” is a translation from the Latin “Novum Testamentum” first coined by the 2nd-century Christian writer Tertullian. It is related to the concept expressed by the prophet Jeremiah (31:33), that translates into English as new covenant. Tertullian writes:

All Scripture is divided into two Testaments. That which preceded the advent and passion of Christ—-that is, the law and the prophets—-is called the Old; but those things which were written after His resurrection are named the New Testament. The Jews make use of the Old, we of the New: but yet they are not discordant... *

In Dispensationalism, the 7 covenants which are explicitly referred to in Scripture can be directly associated with the various dispensations.

7 DISPENSATIONAL COVENANTS

Dispensation

Primary covenant/s

Judgement/s ended with

Innocence

Edenic covenant

Judgement of Satan and Adam

Conscience

Adamic covenant

Flood

Human Government

Noahic covenant

Tower of Babel

Promise

Abrahamic covenant

Slavery / 10 plagues

Law (Old)

Mosaic covenant (Old Testament)

Crucifixion / dispersion of Israel

Grace (New)

New Testament (fulfilment of Old Testament)

Tribulation

Kingdom (Millennial)

Davidic / Abrahamic covenant)

Great White Throne judgement

SUPERSESSIONISM

Covenant theology differs with dispensationalism regarding the current relationship between God and national Israel .

In Covenant Theology God has permanently rejected national Israel, because they rejected their Messiah. Therefore, all the promises of God to Israel have been given to the Church (the Israel of God) instead.

In this view (Supersessionism), the Church has replaced (or superseded) Israel and is not a separate entity. Detractors of Covenant Theology often refer to this as Replacement Theology.

REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY

This position is summarized well by these words of Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth (1886-1968):

The first Israel, constituted on the basis of physical descent from Abraham, has fulfilled its mission now that the Saviour of the world has sprung from it and its Messiah has appeared. Its members can only accept this fact with gratitude, and in confirmation of their own deepest election and calling, attach themselves to the people of this Saviour, their own King, whose members the Gentiles are now called to be as well. It’s [Israel’s] mission as a natural community has now run its course and cannot be continued or repeated. *

THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL

“Cannot be continued or repeated”? God has the power to bring Israel back once they turn from their unbelief.

Rom 11:23-24 (ESV) And even they [Israel], if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

HAS THE CHURCH REPLACED ISRAEL?

Dispensationalists believe:

The Church has not permanently replaced Israel and God has a distinct program for Israel and the Church.

The OT promises to Israel have not been transferred to the Church. These promises (which include land, many descendants, and blessings) will be literally fulfilled in the Millennium.

The Davidic Covenant is also fulfilled in the Millennium when Jesus literally rules from Jerusalem (the throne of David).

Just as God is currently focusing his attention on the Church, in the future he will again focus his attention on Israel.

THE CHURCH – A PARENTHESIS

For dispensationalists, Israel is an ethnic nation consisting of Hebrews (Israelites), beginning with Abraham and continuing in existence to the present. The Church, on the other hand, consists of all saved individuals in this present dispensation—i.e., from the "birth of the Church" in Acts until the time of the rapture. *

They refer to the present-day Church as a "parenthesis" or temporary interlude in the progress of Israel's prophesied history and believe that Israel as a nation will embrace Jesus as their messiah toward the end of the Great Tribulation. *

ISRAEL TEMPORARILY BLINDED

Scripture teaches that Israel is temporarily (not permanently) blinded:

2 Cor 3:14 (NKJV) But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.

Rom 11:25-29 (NASB) For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery-- so that you will not be wise in your own estimation-- that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved… “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” … For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL

Covenant Theology dismisses the miracle of the modern of State of Israel (Note however that some Covenant Theologians do support Israel).

Dispensationalists are most often associated with Christian Zionism and support of Israel. E.g. John Hagee, the founder and chairman of the Christian-Zionist organization Christians United For Israel (CUFI).

When I said that we have no greater friends than the many, many millions of Christian supporters of Israel, in the United States and also in other parts of the world, I mean it. I know you’ve always, always stood with us. [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on CUFI]

THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL

But even now, it is evident that God has preserved Israel through centuries of diaspora, in the face of many enemies who sought their destruction. It is also evident that, in recent years, He has partially restored them as a nation, to their Land, in the Holy City, with their own language, and with increasing strength, just as He said He would do, prior to the realization of their full salvation (e.g. Eze 37:1-14; Zech 12:1-9; Rom 11:25,26). [However, to those who embrace 'Replacement Theology,' Israel has no right to be in their land. The partial restoration of the nation is an embarrassment to their theological system. In their view, Israel's removal would promote world peace. But that view contradicts God's program as outlined in biblical prophecy.] *

CHRISTIAN ZIONISM

Zionism is an ideology that supported the re-establishment of a Jewish state in the territory defined as the historic and Biblical Land of Israel.

The Reformed Church in America (who embrace Covenant Theology) at its 2004 General Synod found “the ideology of Christian Zionism and the extreme form of dispensationalism that undergirds it to be a distortion of the biblical message noting the impediment it represents to achieving a just peace in Israel/Palestine.” *

Beginning in 2004 the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) - also proponents of Covenant Theology - adopted a policy of "phased, selective divestment" from certain American corporations operating in Israel. **

THE CONTRASTING ATTITUDE IN CT

In October 2004, the Presbyterian Church USA Advisory Committee on Social Wellness Policy toured the Middle East … While in Lebanon, the delegation met with members of Hezbollah, which became a cause of controversy. Ronald H. Stone, John Witherspoon Professor of Christian Ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, attracted negative media attention during the tour after being quoted as saying, "We treasure the precious words of Hezbollah and your expression of goodwill toward the American people. Also we praise your initiative for dialogue and mutual understanding. We cherish these statements that bring us closer to you. 

SUPPORT OF PALESTINIAN CLAIMS

 As an elder of our church, I'd like to say that according to my recent experience, relations and conversations with Islamic leaders are a lot easier than dealings and dialogue with Jewish leaders.” A member of the delegation, Reverend Nile Harper, stated that “The occupation by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza must end because it is oppressive and destructive for the Palestinian people.” The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) criticized the meeting as irresponsible, and stated that it was “deeply disturbing that leaders of the Presbyterian Church would seek out a meeting with members of a terrorist organization responsible for attacks that have killed both Americans and Israelis.” *

THE BIRTH OF THE CHURCH

In Covenant Theology the Church is seen as an extension of Israel. Therefore, Israel is the OT Church and the Church is the NT Israel. They misunderstand Acts 7:38 where Israel is referred to as “the church in the wilderness” (KJV) (“congregation in the wilderness” in the ESV, NASB, NKJV).

This verse uses the Greek word ‘ekklesia', which is frequently used of the NT Church, which is a body of individuals who are 'called out' (the literal meaning of the word) of the world to be joined to Christ. However, the common usage of this Greek word was in reference to any assembly or gathering of people, often for secular or political reasons. In the context of Acts 7:38, Moses was addressing such a gathering of the nation... *

According to Dispensationalism the Day of Pentecost was the Birth of the Church. The Church did not exist at all until that day. The Old Testament saints are not a part of the Church. *

The church is a new body consisting of both Jews and Gentiles.

Eph 3:6 (ESV) This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

THE CHURCH – A MYSTERY

The church is a mystery that did not exist in the Old Covenant.

Eph 3:7-10 (ESV) Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace… To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan [oikonomia] of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

THE CHURCH - UNEXPECTED

Not only did the church not exist then – it was not expected. Mystēriou is “a mystery, secret … once hidden but now revealed in the Gospel” (Strong’s).

Eph 3:1-5 (ESV) For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship [oikonomian] of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery [mystēriou] was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.

The interim kingdom, or ‘Church Age’ was not foreseen by the OT prophets. They sometimes refer to both the 1st and 2nd Coming in the same passage.

The interim kingdom, or ‘Church Age’ was not foreseen by the OT prophets. They sometimes refer to both the 1st and 2nd Coming in the same passage.

In this figure, the 1st and 2nd Coming are depicted as mountains and both can be seen by the OT prophets, although they appear as one mountain. The Church Age is a valley that cannot be seen by the OT prophets.

From their perspective, those in the valley can see the valley and both mountain peaks of the 1st and 2nd coming.

THE CHURCH – ESTABLISHED BY CHRIST

The Church was established by Christ.

Matt 16:18 (NKJV) … on this rock I will build [oikodomeō] My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

He speaks of building it using the future tense. “I will build” is “oikodomeō” in Greek and is a Verb-Future Indicative Active. *

It is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone” (Eph 2:20, ESV) so it is an entity that came into existence after the ministry of Christ.

LAND GRANTS

According to Dispensational Theology, scripture must be understood according to the natural (literal) reading. God’s promises to Abraham included very specific land grants. The Church has no claim to this.

Gal 3:15 (ESV) To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified.

Replacement Theology denies God's immutable nature. It charges God with being untrustworthy, he can change his mind and alter the meanings of contract terms e.g. the meaning of Israel changes, Jerusalem is no longer in Israel (as in the Davidic covenant promise).

ISRAEL’S PLACE IN THE NEW COVENANT

The Scripture teaches that, rather than excluding Israel, the Gentiles are included with it in the New Covenant.

Eph 2:11-12 (NIV) Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” … remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

The NT doesn’t teach that the Gentiles replaced Israel, rather that both are co-heirs.

Gal 3:6 (NIV) This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

INCLUDED BUT DISTINCT

A similar thought is conveyed in Gal 3:28.

(NIV) There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

The above passage doesn’t mean that Paul sees no distinction between Israel and the Church (Jew and Gentile), as a cursory look at Romans 11 will indicate. There is no “male or female”, he also says - meaning of course that both men and women have the same status in Christ - but obviously there remains a distinction between male and female in other ways. Similarly, Jews and Gentiles have the same status in Christ, but Paul at times differentiates between the Gentiles and Israel (i.e. unsaved Jews) referring to them as separate entities.

ISRAEL = CHURCH?

Notice how silly meanings result, if “Israel” is consistently substituted with “Church”:

Rom 11:11 (NIV) Again I ask: Did they (Israel) stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.

So, using Replacement Theology mentality (i.e. Israel = the Church), we have salvation coming to the Church (the Gentiles) to make the Church (Israel) envious.

ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH SEPARATE ENTITIES

Paul contrasts those who hear the gospel and believe - with Israel. If the Church is Israel, how can you contrast something with itself?

Rom 10:17-21 (ESV) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have … But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.” Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

WHO ARE THE TRUE JEWS?

The following verse is used by proponents of Replacement Theology to teach that Christians are the ‘true’ Jews.

Rom 2:28-29 (NIV) A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.

This passage can only be used in support of Replacement Theology if it is lifted out of its context. Romans 2:17 clearly indicates that the intended audience of the passage were the Jews who received the Law (“Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law…”) and they are even contrasted in v24 with “the Gentiles”.

CIRCUMCISION OF THE HEART

Paul tells them (the Jews) in v28-29 that it’s not enough to be a Jew racially and to have physical circumcision; only if one has had “circumcision of the heart” - is he a true Jew. Further on, Paul is still addressing Jews, when he subsequently says that there is still advantage in being a Jew, and that their unfaithfulness will not nullify God’s faithfulness.

Rom 3:1-4 (NIV) What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God. What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar.

ROMANS 9:6

This verse has also been used in support of Replacement Theology.

Rom 9:6b (NIV) For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.

But this presents the same scenario as Rom 2:28-29 - where we saw that not all Jews belonged to God, simply by virtue of birth and circumcision. Paul is again saying that to be born a Jew, does not immediately place you in a covenant relationship with God - like Gentiles, they need a personal experience with God.

THE ISRAEL OF GOD

A simple concordance search of the word ‘Israel’ in the New Testament will reveal that the writers never equated the church with the nation of Israel and that the terms are not used synonymously, the only debatable passage being Galatians 6:16. But it is doubtful that the phrase “Israel of God” refers to the church here as is claimed.

THE ISRAEL OF GOD

THE ISRAEL OF GOD = CHURCH?

The NIV allows the “Israel of God” to be misidentified as the Church.

Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule--to the Israel of God.

A more accurate rendering is found in most literal English translations.

NASB: And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

ESV: And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

KJV: And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

“TO” OR “AND”

If we look at the original Greek, the NIV translators have not been consistent in the translation of a key word - the third “καὶ”.

καὶ ὅσοι τῷ κανόνι τούτῳ στοιχήσουσιν, εἰρήνη ἐπ᾽ αὐτοὺς καὶ ἔλεος, καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ θεοῦ.

The repetition of the preposition “καὶ” indicates that two groups are in view - namely “to all who follow this rule” and (also) “the Israel of God”. Paul is pronouncing “peace and mercy” to both Gentile Christians and to the Jewish Christians (the Israel of God).

THE ISRAEL OF GOD = JEWISH CHRISTIANS

While the NIV rendering (translating “καὶ” as “to”) is not technically incorrect, the rendering of “καὶ” as “and” or “also” is far more commonplace (and used thus, twice in the earlier portion of the verse). Dr S. Lewis Johnson Jr., who taught Greek at Dallas Theological Seminary for 31 years, believed that, “the least likely view among several alternatives is the view that the ‘Israel of God’ is the church.”

D. Matthew Allen further notes “… all the sixty-five other occurrences of the term Israel in the New Testament refer to Jews. It would thus be strange for Paul to use Israel here to mean Gentile Christians… Paul elsewhere distinguishes between two kinds of Israelites - believing Jews and unbelieving Jews (cf. Rom.9:6). He does the same here, referring to true Israel, that is, Jews who come to Christ.“

THE ORIGINAL APOSTLES AND NT AUTHORS

Perhaps some have forgotten that the original 12 apostles were all Jewish; the initial church was Jewish; and with the exception of Luke, all the New Testament authors were Jews.

We are warned against arrogance towards Israel because of their unbelief.

Rom 11:17-22 (ESV) But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 

A WARNING AGAINST ARROGANCE

 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.

A KINGDOM FOR ISRAEL

Even John McArthur (described as a “leaky” Dispensationalist) says:

And the simplest way that I would answer someone who is what is called an Amillennialist or a covenant theologian - that is, believing there’s one covenant and the church is the new Israel and Israel is gone and there’s no future for Israel and amillennialism meaning there is no kingdom for Israel, there is no future millennial kingdom, my answer to them is simply this: You show me in that verse in the Old Testament which promises a kingdom to Israel where it says that it really means the church ... A straightforward understanding of the Old Testament leads to only one conclusion and that is there is a kingdom for Israel.

TAKING THE BLESSINGS ONLY?

He adds:

Now, when Israel sinned, disobeyed God, what happened? Judgment, chastening, cursing, slaughter. Was it literal? Yes. Was it Israel? Yes. So if Israel received all of the promised curses literally, why would we assume that they would not receive the promised blessings literally? Because some of those are in the same passages, and how can you say in this passage, the cursing means literal Israel, but the blessings means the church? There’s no exegetical basis for that. And you’ve now arbitrarily split the verse in half. You’ve given all the curses to Israel and all the blessings to the church. On what basis, exegetically? 

BLESSINGS FULFILLED IN THE CHURCH?

 I remember when I was in Jerusalem one time and we were in the convention centre right near the Knesset in Jerusalem, and I was there with Rd. Charles Feinberg, who was a keynote speaker and David Ben-Gurion was there, who was the premier of the land of Israel at that time, and Teddy Kollek, who was the mayor of Jerusalem ... It was the Jerusalem conference on prophecy ... and there was an Amillennialist who got up to speak and he made the great announcement to David Ben-Gurion and to some of the Knesset members and the mayor of Jerusalem and all these Jewish dignitaries, as well as the 3000 people that were there, that the promises to Israel in the Old Testament ... were being fulfilled in the church. 

BUT ALL THE CURSES FOR ISRAEL?

 ... and he preached on Isaiah 9:6, “The government will be upon His shoulders,” ... And he said that means the government of your life, and he’s talking about personal conversion here and so forth ... Dr Feinberg was, to put it mildly, upset. And his opening line, because he gave the next address, was, “So we have come all the way to Jerusalem to tell you that you get all the curses but the Gentile church gets all the blessing.” ... If you take a literal approach to Scripture, you cannot conclude anything other than that God has a future for Israel. What that means is that the church is distinct from Israel, and when God is through with the church, takes the church to glory, then He brings that time of Jacob’s distress that we read about earlier, purges, redeems Israel, and the kingdom comes. *

ESCHATOLOGY

AMILLENNIALISM

Historically, Covenant Theology has been either Amillennial, believing the kingdom to be present and spiritual, or Postmillennial, believing the kingdom is being established on earth with Christ’s coming as the culmination. *

A notable exception is Charles Spurgeon who was a Premillennialist.

In recent years some covenant theologians have been Premillennial, believing that there will be a future manifestation of God’s kingdom on earth (Historic Premillennialism). *

AMILLENNIALISM

Amillennialists believe Christ's earthly kingdom is spiritual and present (rather than physical and future) and that the 1000 year predicted in Revelation 20 is simply “a long period of time”.

According to this view, ever since His death and resurrection, Christ has been reigning from heaven over His Kingdom on earth. His followers are in the process of bringing the world under His complete dominion, which will be realized prior to His return to take His people into the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. *

POSTMILLENNIALISM

According to Postmillennialists, the church will establish a millennial kingdom on earth before Christ’s return.

The view that the world is becoming a better place conflicts with the evident downward spiral in the morality and the current affairs of this world.

This also runs counter to the scriptural teaching that “evil people ... will go on from bad to worse” (2 Tim 3:13, ESV) and that apostasy will be rampant prior to Christ's return.

Luke 18:8 (ESV) “... when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

PREMILLENNIALISM

All Dispensationalists are Premillennialists who believe that God will again restore the nation of Israel spiritually, apart from his work with the church.

They usually believe in a pretribulation rapture of the church with Israel again being the focus of God’s redemptive work in the Tribulation.

Premillennialists believe that be a future 1,000-year period of Christ’s reign on David’s throne in Jerusalem in fulfilment of the prophecies of the OT and the Davidic Covenant.

Isa 24:23 (NIV) … for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders --with great glory.

PREMILLENNIALISM

Christ's earthly kingdom is future and physical (while his Spiritual Kingdom has already begun).

Whereas He presently waits on His Father's throne in Heaven, Jesus Christ will descend bodily from heaven to rule from David's Throne over all the earth. It is He (not the church) who will judge and dispose of wickedness in all its forms (including the apostate church). It is He who will restore the world which sinful men have destroyed, and who will establish His reign of righteousness over the whole earth. *

70TH WEEK

The belief that Israel is distinct from the Church, and that the OT is distinct from the NT is the basis for dispensational teaching on eschatology.

It is the main justification for placing the 70th week of Daniel 9 in the future — after the interim Church Age.

While Dispensationalists interpret the 70th week as a literal 7-year period (the Tribulation), Amillennialists are forced to equate it to “a relatively short period of time”* in order to try squeeze it into Christ’s ministry on earth (actually 3 years).

70TH WEEK

THE TIME OF THE GENTILES

Jesus brought in the Dispensation of Grace or the Age of the Church. This period referred to by Jesus as “The Times of the Gentiles” will end with the Rapture of the Church.

Luke 21:24 (ESV) They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

The church is not mentioned in Rev 4 to 19, but only Israel. Thus Dispensationalists believe that the church is removed and God is again working with Israel.

The belief that Israel and the Church are separate entities also justifies the divided second coming of Christ around the 70th week (the Rapture and the Second Advent). Maintaining the distinction between the Church and Israel, the Church is removed before the Tribulation (The Blessed Hope – the Pretribulation Rapture) while Israel goes through the Tribulation (Jacob’s Trouble).

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Covenant Theology views “the kingdom of God” as the Church. Dispensationalists view “the kingdom of God” as consisting of an earthly theocratic kingdom promised to Israel in the OT. It is the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth.

Jesus offered the kingdom to the Jews, but they rejected the offer, and so, instead of establishing the kingdom, Jesus postponed it until the second coming.

In the meantime, he established the ‘mystery form’ of the kingdom during the inter-advent age, in which Christ rules spiritually in the hearts of believers without fulfilling the prophecies of the kingdom on earth. This interim kingdom is ‘the Church Age’.

THE KINGDOM OF GOD - DISPENSATIONALISM

The Kingdom was predicted by Daniel, Isaiah and all the prophets.

The Kingdom was offered to Israel.

The Kingdom was rejected by Israel.

The Kingdom was replaced by an interim Kingdom that was “not of this world” – the Church Age.

The Kingdom of God fulfilled on earth - the Millennium.

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Covenant Theology sees the Davidic Covenant as fulfilled in the current age.

According to Covenant Theology and New Covenant Theology, the Kingdom of God (Davidic Covenant) is ultimately realized in the messianic reign of Jesus Christ in heaven (the present age) with his saints (not in the Millennium).

If it is, then why did Jesus tell us to pray “your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” We pray that the kingdom will come because it is not here yet.

Present kingdom citizenship is incorrectly forced to mean the kingdom itself is present.

We are citizens of the future kingdom. Our citizenship drives our current conduct. But we are expats. *

THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL

God will restore Israel as prophesied in Romans 11. But it will be a 2 stage restoration as predicted by Ezekiel in his vision of the valley of dry bones.

The first stage will involve the restoration of the form of Judaism practiced in the time of Jesus, which included the priests and Temple ordinances along with animal sacrifice.

The second stage will entail the ultimate acceptance of Jews en masse of Jesus as Messiah.

Zech 12:10 (ESV) “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child…”

MESSIANIC JEWS

Although it will find completion in the Tribulation, this spiritual restoration of Israel has already started.

More Jews have embraced Jesus as Messiah since 1967 when Israel took control of Jerusalem than in all the years between 100 AD and 1967.

There are about 130 Messianic Jewish congregations in Israel, 350–400 in the US and 350–400 in Russia. *

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Other Scripture quotations taken from:

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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