In this blog post, I want to address the dispensational view of what they believe the Reformed theology claims are concerning Israel and whether dispensationalists get anything wrong, if possible, about Reformed theology concerning Israel. I have discovered that there is a pervasive misunderstanding from the Dispensational camp concerning what Reformed theology believes when it concerns Israel, in fact, some Dispensationalists declare that Reformed theology is a heresy on this issue, which is misguided, in my humble opinion. Most dispensationalists believe that the bride of Christ is Israel and not the church and the most common assertion is that Reformed followers believe that the church has replaced national Israel and that Israel, as a consequence, has been discarded or in some extreme cases, that it is an anti-Semitic theology. Nothing could be farther from the truth and in fact, as a person of Jewish descent, I find that offensive. So let’s discuss what Reformed theology believes concerning Israel.
What is the church? It’s not a dumb question, I can assure you. Most dispensationalists will tell you that the church started at Pentecost. And in one aspect they are right. But mostly, that is a misunderstanding. I am going to argue that the church has been in existence, at the very least, since the time of Moses.
In the New Testament, the church is referred to as “ekklesia” – which means the “called out assembly or congregation” – and in reviewing the NT scriptures concerning the usage of this term, I discovered that ekklesia is used to describe both the universal spiritual church (composed of believing Jews and Gentiles) and the local church (where the individual believers would assemble for worship). And while researching this term, I found a reference from Stephen in Acts 7:38 very interesting –
“This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you.”
When I checked the Greek text, the word congregation was ekklesia. And that got me started on checking the Old Testament. However, it was providence that led me to check the Septuagint and not the Hebrew since I wanted to see how the word ekklesia was used in the Old Testament, knowing full well that the apostles and Jesus usually quoted from the Septuagint (i.e. the Greek translation of the OT from the Hebrew) directly. The chart below provides all the ekklesia references in both the OT and the NT:
There are 74 times that ekklesia was used in the Septuagint. And ekklesia was translated as congregation, assembly and church throughout the Septuagint. And all three terms are used interchangeably to mean the same thing. What can I draw from this? The church was in existence in the Old Testament, it continues through the New Testament and I even found the church referenced in the New Jerusalem of Revelation at Rev 22:16 – which means that the concept of the church has always been in existence – it didn’t “start” at Pentecost (other than to acknowledge that in this present age, church “started” at Pentecost). In fact, the apostles, when quoting the Old Testament, used the word ekklesia to mean the same thing that it meant in the New Testament. That can only mean one thing – that the church is, has been and will always be God’s means in accomplishing His plan of redemption.
So the next big question is: Has the church “replaced” Israel, as dispensationalists claim against the reformed camp? I was extremely concerned for two main reasons:
Dispensationalism constantly preaches:
- God had two distinct peoples for His own purposes – Jews and Gentiles;
- the Jews have a “higher standing” than the Gentiles;
- that the entire nation of Israel were the elect of God and that ALL of Israel will be saved;
- that God had not finished fulfilling His land promises to Israel;
- that God will complete His unfulfilled promises to the Jews during Daniel’s 70th week;
- and in some extreme cases, dispensationalism taught that the reformed camp hated Israel and purposely set out to discard them for various nefarious reasons by declaring, for example, that reformed believers subscribed to the theory that ALL of Israel were no longer God’s chosen or denying that God had any further purpose for Israel, among other similar concepts.
And finally, my second reason was personal: I am of Jewish descent and if I subscribe to reformed theology, am I abandoning/denying/ridiculing/anti-Semitic against my own Jewish ancestors?
Needless to say, this second reason was the most upsetting to me. So, in order to answer my questions, I posed another – who is Israel? Since dispensationalism claims that the reformed camp “replaces” Israel with the church, then I need to know how the OT and the NT defines Israel and how reformed theology defines both Israel and the church.
The OT records two kinds of promises which God made to Israel – national promises and spiritual promises.
Let’s clarify the spiritual promises first: the spiritual promises were made to EVERY SPIRITUAL DESCENDANT OF ABRAHAM and were NOT restricted to national Israel (in fact, there was no Israel in the time of Abraham – that came later to Jacob):
- Given to Abraham:
- And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Gen 12:3 NASB)
- “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Gen 22:18 NASB)
- From Paul:
- 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. (Rom 2:28-29 NASB) (Italics and underlining are mine)
- 17 (as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. (Rom 4:17 NASB) (Referring to Abraham)
- 11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands– 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. (Eph 2:11-16 NASB) (Italics and underlining are mine.)
- 4 By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; 6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, 7 of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. 8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; (Eph 3:4-9 NASB) (Italics are mine.)
- 3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, (Phl 3:3 NASB) (Italics and underlining are mine.)
In the Pauline passages, Paul is revealing the mystery that Gentiles will be included as part of Israel – but NOT ethnic Israel, but a spiritual Israel, when taking into context ALL the scriptures. Therefore, it has been established scripturally that there are spiritual promises made to Israel that extend to the Gentiles.
Now, let’s look at the national promises made to Israel in the OT:
A major promise to Israel was inheriting the land promised to Abraham. Dispensationalists claim that the land promises were never fulfilled by God, but will be during the Millennial Reign of Christ (as they interpret it) – so, let’s check scripture to see whether the dispensational claim has any validity.
- 23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war. (Jos 11:23 NASB) (Italics and underlining are mine.)
- 43 So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. 44 And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand. 45 Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass. (Jos 21:43-45 NASB) (Italics and underlining are mine.)
- 21 “Indeed, forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want; Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell. 22 “You also gave them kingdoms and peoples, And allotted them to them as a boundary. They took possession of the land of Sihon the king of Heshbon And the land of Og the king of Bashan. 23 “You made their sons numerous as the stars of heaven, And You brought them into the land Which You had told their fathers to enter and possess. 24 “So their sons entered and possessed the land. And You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, And You gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land, To do with them as they desired. 25 “They captured fortified cities and a fertile land. They took possession of houses full of every good thing, Hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive groves, Fruit trees in abundance. So they ate, were filled and grew fat, And reveled in Your great goodness. 26 “But they became disobedient and rebelled against You, And cast Your law behind their backs And killed Your prophets who had admonished them So that they might return to You, And they committed great blasphemies. 27 “Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their oppressors who oppressed them, But when they cried to You in the time of their distress, You heard from heaven, and according to Your great compassion You gave them deliverers who delivered them from the hand of their oppressors. 28 “But as soon as they had rest, they did evil again before You; Therefore You abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they ruled over them. When they cried again to You, You heard from heaven, And many times You rescued them according to Your compassion, 29 And admonished them in order to turn them back to Your law. Yet they acted arrogantly and did not listen to Your commandments but sinned against Your ordinances, By which if a man observes them he shall live. And they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck, and would not listen. (Nehemiah 9:21-29 NASB) (Italics and underlining are mine.)
At this point in my studies, I was SHOCKED. Wasn’t I taught by dispensationalists that God didn’t fulfill the land promises to Israel in the past but He will during the Millennial Reign of Christ? Yet, here it is clearly given in scripture that God DID FULFILL the land promises to Israel. What else does scripture say?
1 “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 “All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God: … 9 “The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. … 15 “But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: … 20 “The LORD will send upon you curses, confusion, and rebuke, in all you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken Me. … 45 “So all these curses shall come on you and pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the LORD your God by keeping His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. … 63 “It shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it. 64 “Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known. 65 “Among those nations you shall find no rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul. (Deu 28:1-2, 9, 15, 20, 45, 63-65 NASB) (Italics and underlining are mine.)
The land promises to Abraham were unconditional, of which there is no doubt – read Genesis 15 – and God fulfilled His promise to Abraham on the land promises – the nation of Israel received it all in the time of Joshua, based upon the scriptures given above. But the land promises were conditional under the Mosaic Law. Therefore, as long as national Israel remains disobedient, which in today’s terms would be the denial of Christ as their long-awaited Messiah and denying the one true God, they are in disbelief and therefore continue to be disobedient. The land of Israel today is nowhere near what the land promises of Abraham were that was given by God and I believe that the providence of God has re-established Israel, though they continue to be in disbelief.
But wait, there’s more – another major dispensational claim is that the temple must be rebuilt and according to dispensationalism, it will be rebuilt either just prior to Christ’s return or during the Millennial Reign of Christ (depending on which dispensational preacher you follow). Did God promise this and what is the outcome?
The Babylonians captured the Israelites and destroyed the temple in various successions starting in 606 BC with the final blow in approximately 586 BC. Jeremiah’s prophecy was given in approximately 626 BC that Israel’s captivity by the Babylonians would last 70 years and that subsequently the Israelites would return to Israel. In 536 BC, two things occurred: the 70 years of the Babylonian captivity was over and Cyrus’ decree allowed the Israelites that were in his empire to return to Israel so that they can re-establish their nation and their temple.
The Jews began the rebuilding process shortly after they returned to Israel in 536 BC and forty years later, approximately 516 BC, the rebuilding was complete (you can read about this in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Malachi). So, the temple WAS rebuilt, as per God’s word. How can I make this claim? It’s easy – it’s in the scriptures:
14 And the elders of the Jews were successful in building through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they finished building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decree of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 15 This temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar; it was the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. (Ezra 6:14-15 NASB) (Italics and underlining are mine.)
I have heard dispensationalists state in various conferences and sermons that: “Well, the temple that was restored was not as glorious as Solomon’s Temple” or “that temple was funded by pagan kings”, as if that is an excuse for building another temple that is identical or even more superior to Solomon’s Temple (though there are no building plans or extensive detailed descriptions that are in existence today from the original time period of Solomon). That statement is absolutely astonishing – because it is a denial of God’s word that I quoted above.
I believe that fundamentally, the dispensationalist does not understand how to properly read or understand the parallelism and/or the systematic contrast in Old Testament scriptures, which leads to misapplying as well as misunderstanding apocalyptic and prophetic literature.
And the Dispensational understanding of what “chosen” means in terms of the nation of Israel is misguided as well. God chose the nation of Israel for two purposes: that they would be the scribes for the transmission of His word (Psalm 147) and that the Redeemer would come from among them (Gen 49:10). God did not give a guarantee that ALL Israel would be saved in the sense that Dispensationalists understand, but when read CONTEXTUALLY and with ALL the scriptures related to it, God is referring to His elect within Israel – a faithful remnant of Israelites as His own.
Otherwise, if ALL Israel is saved, then the unrepentant and depraved Israelites would be included, which cannot be true, since the OT is chock full of Israelites that defied God and were condemned – therefore, based upon Dispensational teaching, the Jews don’t need God or the coming Messiah Jesus if the unrepentant and depraved Israelites are going to be saved anyway, right? Another major unsubstantiated claim that Dispensationalists make are that EVERY Israelite would eventually become believers and obedient to God and therefore saved. Where is THAT in scripture? The scriptures are replete that God has a remnant of believers (both Jew and Gentile), but I cannot find “universalist” scriptures for the Jews alone.
So let me summarize with this: scriptures written during the Mosaic period, when taken out of context, appears to be unconditional, but they are not unconditional – they are CONDITIONAL, based upon the scriptures I have previously noted above; and building doctrines upon this error leads to even more frightening erroneous doctrines. The covenant promise of the Mosaic Law is a covenant between two parties – God and the Israelites. By definition, when covenants have conditional clauses (which the Mosaic Law has but not the Abrahamic covenant) and there is a violation of the covenant as a result of disobedience, the promises are null and void as far as God is concerned – in fact, God “divorced” Israel in the following scripture:
8 “And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also. … 11 And the LORD said to me, “Faithless Israel has proved herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. (Jer 3:8, 11 NASB)
However, God made another promise to Israel in the same book and chapter of Jeremiah:
12 “Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say, ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the LORD; ‘I will not look upon you in anger. For I am gracious,’ declares the LORD; ‘I will not be angry forever. 13 ‘Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against the LORD your God And have scattered your favors to the strangers under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,’ declares the LORD. … 15 “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding. 16 “It shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,” declares the LORD, “they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again. 17 “At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the LORD,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the LORD; nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart. 18 “In those days the house of Judah will walk with the house of Israel, and they will come together from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers as an inheritance. (Jeremiah 3:12-13, 15-18 NASB) (Italics are mine.)
And that promise is given in conjunction with the Messianic hope (italicized above). And we know that it’s fulfilled in Christ, as Paul tells us in:
1 I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Lord, THEY HAVE KILLED YOUR PROPHETS, THEY HAVE TORN DOWN YOUR ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE.” 4 But what is the divine response to him? “I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.” 5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. 7 What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; … 11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. 12 Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! (Rom 11:1-7, 11-12 NASB) (Italics and underline are mine).
As I previously documented above, Paul revealed the mystery that Gentiles will be included as part of Israel – but NOT ethnic Israel, but a spiritual Israel composed of those whom He foreknew (elected) in verse 2 and 5, when taking into context ALL the scriptures. So it has been established scripturally that there are spiritual promises made to Israel that extend to the Gentiles. And we know that the establishment of a spiritual Israel is composed of believing Jews and Gentiles in the following scriptures:
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” (Rom 10:9-13 NASB) (Italics and underlining are mine).
23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Gal 3:23-29 NASB) (Italics and underlining are mine.)
So when a reformed believer states that the church is Israel, as many dispensationalists have heard, the reformed camp believes that the church is composed of believing Jews and Gentiles; and Israel is composed of the spiritual union of Jews and Gentiles to Christ.
In summation, let’s look at scripture concerning the restoration of Israel, according to Reformed theology:
We know that the OT scriptures state that Israel will be gloriously restored in the future (read Jer 23:3; Isa 11:11; Eze 36:24-28; and Isa 24-27). In the NT, it is applied to the church:
(Gal 6:16 NASB) And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. [The rule referenced is Paul’s instructions in verses 1 through 10]
Here, Paul is referencing believers, which are part of the church, as the “Israel of God”. So all believers, as referenced in verse 15, both Jew and Gentile, are members of the church, called the “Israel of God”.
(1Pe 2:9 NASB) But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
Here, Peter is specifically quoting from:
(Exo 19:5-6 NASB) 5 ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”
Peter is applying the OT scripture of Exodus 19:5-6 to the church of believers, both Jew and Gentile.
I expect I don’t have to explain the following, since it is clear and obvious:
(Gal 3:28-29 NASB) 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
And finally, let’s look at:
(Heb 12:22-24 NASB) 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
The Mount Zion referenced here is in heaven, not on the earth. In addition, the author of Hebrews is quite clear that both Jews and Gentiles are members of the church, united through Jesus, the mediator of a NEW covenant.
It’s also clear that the OT prophets predicted a glorious and redeemed Israel, which the NT authors clearly stated that it was fulfilled in the church, a new Israel because of the new covenant. There is NOT a restoration of the nation of Israel in which the Jews are the premier citizens and Gentiles are given a secondary status, as some dispensationalists teach – again, a failure on their part to interpret OT scripture according to the NT interpretation by Jesus and the apostles.
In addition, there aren’t two plans of salvation – one for Jews and one for the Gentiles, as some dispensationalists claim. There is solely ONE plan of salvation, from the fall of Adam until Christ’s second coming.
Scriptures don’t lie – but men can “reinterpret” scriptures to fit their ideology, and in this instance, failing to have the NT dictate what the OT meant. The OT scriptures are to be interpreted according to the newer progressive NT scriptures. How many times have you heard “The OT is revealed in the NT and the NT is concealed in the OT”? Why won’t the dispensationalists practice what they preach? Often they will take OT scripture and define it with other OT scripture or cite Talmudic material (of which Jesus REPEATEDLY denounced) and totally disregard the NT interpretation, which is often the case when it comes to eschatological writings, as I documented previously. It’s downright amazing that dispensationalists accuse amillennialists of “spiritualizing” the scriptures – therefore, I’m not in bad company since Jesus and the apostles have done the very thing that dispensationalists accuse amillennialists of. I think it’s time that dispensationalists learn the correct hermeneutical principles.
It is not replacement theology. Could the reformed theologians of the past have used better terminology, such as calling Israel the New Israel or Spiritual Israel instead? Absolutely. However, they were clear in establishing exactly what they meant by calling the church Israel in their writings. But they were not psychics or prophets and could not have predicted that in this modern century, dispensationalists would misunderstand the application of the term Israel in terms of historic (and Reformed) Christianity.
And I am shocked at the lack of understanding of what the reformers believe from the dispensational camp. They often write off all of Reformed theology as full Preterism – and full Preterism is a heresy (they believe that ALL prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD when “Jesus spiritually came” and authorized the destruction of the Jerusalem temple by the Romans, that all believers were spiritually resurrected at that time, that the book of Revelation was fulfilled at that same time, among many other issues). And not to mention that Dispensationalists are not well-versed in church history either. The only time I have ever seen ANY Dispensationalist look at church history is to substantiate a false claim that the early church fathers were pre-tribbers. I discussed this in my previous blog post and you can read that here: The Five Major Views of the End-times
And worse yet, the dispensationalist preacher, teacher and theologian knows full well that most of their followers will not investigate to see if what they are saying is true. It’s taken in as “gospel truth”. How many times did I have to explain, as a previous Dispensational teacher, how to exegete scriptures or to review commentaries from Greek scholars to get the correct understanding of a particular verse? I find that most people are just plain lazy and would rather watch a video from their favorite preacher (or worse yet, an unknown YouTube prophet or preacher) and mind you, not even take notes, but post their entire video as a response to one verse in question? Are you kidding me? I’m going to sit and watch a 60 minute video to see your misguided understanding of scripture? How many times have people posted links to explain their position and not even understand their position to start with? More times than I can even begin to count, I’m sorry to say, that most people simply do not even know how to defend their faith, let alone their eschatological view.
Frankly, I feel betrayed by the Dispensational preachers, teachers and theologians concerning eschatology. If it weren’t for the fact that I had lingering questions about dispensationalism that I couldn’t find addressed by dispensationalist preachers, teachers and theologians, that subsequently led me to research and study dispensationalism intensely for five years. I read every thesis, book or article that I could lay my hands on, in order to find answers to specific questions. And I could not find a satisfactory answer, if at all, let alone a consensus, among dispensational preachers, teachers and theologians – which led me on this quest of discovery from other theological viewpoints these past two years.
I am now appealing to dispensationalist preachers, teachers and theologians. I am asking that you reconsider and stop calling reformed believers heretics, “confused”, “deceived by Satan” and other sundry remarks. When you make those statements, it belies your ignorance of scripture and church history. And frankly, it’s insulting. Insulting to me especially because I am of Jewish descent, and now having a better understanding of scriptures, I know that I am not an anti-Semite against my own ancestors.
Reformed believers do not hold to replacement theology as Dispensationalists erroneously claim. I cannot state that enough. On the contrary, the present Jewish nation, Israel, has every right to be in the land of their ancestors and to govern themselves, despite what other nations (including the USA) may attempt to impose. Now, does every thing that Israel acts upon perfectly acceptable to God? Absolutely not. The nation of Israel is secular, not theocratic. They permit abortions – is that pleasing to God? Absolutely not. Are gay marriages performed in Israel? No. But gay marriages are recognized in Israel, did you know that? Gays can marry in other countries where gay marriages are allowed. Upon coming back, they must register their gay marriage with Israel and they will recognize that marriage. So, is that pleasing to God? Absolutely NOT. I don’t doubt for a second that God’s hand is upon Israel – but not more than God’s hand is upon the USA and the rest of the nations in this world. God will do as He pleases to any and all nations on this earth.
One should recognize that Israelis are back in the land, but in total disbelief – less than 20% of Israelis practice a faith (Jewish, Christian, Islam and a smattering of little-known religions); however, the good news is that Jews in Israel (and elsewhere in the world) are coming to Christ. Their numbers grow daily. And it is my hope that before the return of Christ, many Jews will become believers of Christ and they too will be looking for the blessed hope that is in Christ Jesus and recognizing Him as their long-awaited Messiah, even amid persecutions and tribulations.
God and Christ have preserved a remnant of Jews and Gentiles for themselves. And that remnant are the elect, also known as the church and also known as the Bride of Christ. And they will inherit the New Heaven and New Earth in due course, to live in harmony, worshipping our Triune God and face to face with our Lord Jesus Christ forevermore!
In my next blog article, I will discuss the amillennial view of Daniel 9:24-27 which is commonly called “Daniel’s 70th Week”. I pray that you will continue to join me in my quest of discovery.
On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise,
And the glory of His resurrection share;
When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.
-When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder, James M. Black, 1893
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before God?
(Psalm 42:2 NASB)