[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

by Rose~

Dispensationalism is in the subtitle of this blog. This is a system of Bible interpretation that is held by every person who contributes here. Personally, I believe this system of Bible study to be the essence of taking the Scripture in context. It is very important to know what you are looking at when reading the Bible and not to just go by vague impressions.

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 15)

This means to cut the text straight. We must make every attempt to discover the meaning of Scripture by discerning who it was written to, how and if it applies to the church, etc…

For example, I can’t look at Joshua 6 and … feeling that my city is being run by evil men … decide that it is God’s message to me to:

March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in…

This is not a message to me or anyone in the Church age. The Lord does not have us marching around cities to bring down evil. In this age, we are to preach the Gospel and the Holy Spirit saves individuals. This is a very simple example of what dispensationalism means to me.

Another helpful way of stating this principle is:
All Scripture is for us, but not all Scripture is to us.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness… (2 Tim. 3:16)

… but, every message … to various people and groups … in different ages and circumstances … are not to me and you today in the church. I think that is a pretty simple idea.

Have you ever read a teaching in Scripture that that seemed to really contradict the clear teaching to the Christian in the New Testament Epistes? This could be because it was written to someone, or some group of people, in a different dispensation.

Most Classical Dispensationalists would recognize seven dispensations:

(1) the dispensation of innocence (Genesis 1:1 – 3:7), prior to Adam's fall
(2) of conscience, (Genesis 3:8 – 8:22), Adam to Noah
(3) of government, (Genesis 9:1 – 11:32), Noah to Abraham
(4) of patriarchal rule, (Genesis 12:1 – Exodus 19:25), Abraham to Moses
(5) of the Mosaic Law, (Exodus 20:1 – Acts 2:4), Moses to Christ
(6) of grace, (Acts 2:4 – Revelation 20:3), the current church age
(7) of a literal earthly 1,000 year Millennial Kingdom that has yet to come but soon will, (Revelation 20:4 – 20:6).

The Scriptures divide time (by which is meant the entire period from the creation of Adam to the "new heaven and a new earth" of Rev. 21: 1) into seven unequal periods, usually called dispensations (Eph. 3:2), although these periods are also called ages (Eph. 2:7) and days, as in "day of the Lord."

This method for Bible study was developed to aid in the understanding of the change in God's method of dealing with mankind, or a portion of mankind, in respect of the two questions: of sin, and of man's responsibility.

Each of the dispensations may be regarded as a new test of the natural man, and each ends in judgment, marking his utter failure in every dispensation. Five of these dispensations, or periods of time, have been fulfilled; we are living in the sixth, probably toward its close, and have before us the seventh, and last: the millennium. (C.I Scofield)

I have found this to be very clarifying in my Bible study and have been surprised by the amount of scorn it gets from some Biblical Christians. I think it has possibly been misunderstood in many circles. I have read where people think that Dispensationalists are touting several ways to heaven, (based on the dispensation the person is in) not just through Christ alone. This is not my understanding at all. I see the OT saints as looking toward the cross and the lamb slain in faith ... and we, in the NT are looking back on His sacrifice in faith. I have more to learn on this subject, however and I am looking forward to some articles by some of the other contributors here to help clarify better. (nudge)

I really believe that lumping the whole Bible together and not making distinctions between the different audiences ... and ages ... is detrimental to the church.

It may safely be said that the Judaizing of the church has done more to hinder her progress, pervert her mission, and destroy her spiritually than all other causes combined. Instead of pursuing her appointed path of separation from the world and following the Lord in her heavenly calling, she has used Jewish Scriptures to justify herself in lowering her purpose to the civilization of the world, the acquisition of wealth, the use of an imposing ritual, the erection of magnificent churches, the invocation of God's blessing upon the conflicts of armies, and the division of an equal brotherhood into "clergy" and "laity." (C.I. Scofield)

Here is a great short booklet if you’re interested in learning some more about Dispensationalism. This was the first Christian book I ever read besides the Bible. Enjoy!

69 Comments:

  • Excellent post, Rose~.

    BTW, the link to the booklet did not work.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, March 10, 2006 11:26:00 AM  

  • Thank you, Dyspraxic Fundamentalist. I fixed the link.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, March 10, 2006 11:39:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,
    Thanks for this.

    By Blogger BugBlaster, at Friday, March 10, 2006 12:09:00 PM  

  • Very good introductory article, Rose!

    Rose said:

    "I really believe that lumping the whole Bible together and not making distinctions between the different audiences ... and ages ... is detrimental to the church."

    The flip side to this is to "artificially" distinguish the scriptures, and press to hard on the distinctiveness of the dispensations. This is what led me to the Progressive Disp. position. I have to run I'll be back!

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Friday, March 10, 2006 12:28:00 PM  

  • Great Post Rose!

    I agree that Dispensational Critics tend to misunderstand what is being said.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Friday, March 10, 2006 2:05:00 PM  

  • Drat, I guess all my trumpet practice was for naught. :(

    Good post, I just don't see what's so heretical about the dispensational premise? I agree, we must take scripture literally where possible. Where do you stop when you start by spiritualizing everything?

    God bless,
    Jim

    By Blogger Jim, at Friday, March 10, 2006 2:31:00 PM  

  • Another great article Rose. Thanks for the link. ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at Friday, March 10, 2006 4:46:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    Thanks for sharing that. I am in the "observe and learn Mode",as I once told Jodie. You are very good at explaining your position. I appreciate your study and work that goes into a post like this. I admire your passion.

    Mark

    By Blogger bluecollar, at Friday, March 10, 2006 8:52:00 PM  

  • Wow, this is an excellent post.

    oooops, I can't help but pointing this out, but if you have an niv, you will not be told to study but to do your best...and you won't be able to rightly divide the word of truth, but you will handle it.

    By Blogger Redeemed, at Friday, March 10, 2006 9:27:00 PM  

  • Great Post Rose!

    By Blogger Nate, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 2:38:00 AM  

  • "All Scripture is for us, but not all Scripture is to us.

    All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness… (2 Tim. 3:16)"


    very true. All scripture is inspired by God and thus there for a very important reason. That reason may be for our learning and not as a command or direct promise to us though. 'mantra - i mean prayer- of jabez' springs to mind

    By Blogger Modern Day Magi, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 4:59:00 AM  

  • Hi Bugblaster.
    Can I ask you two questions? :~)
    1. What does your nickname mean?
    2. You say thanks for this. You're welcome. I am curious, though ... thanks because your are of the dispensational persuasion ... or are you just saying thanks for the info?
    I am really glad to see you back here. I intend to read more of your blog. (Maybe if I had, I would understand your comment better. Post a link to a relevant post on your blog, maybe, if you wouldn't mind) I liked the post about the feast of Israel.
    Cute avatar. :~)

    Hi Bobby,
    Can you give me an example of this:
    The flip side to this is to "artificially" distinguish the scriptures, and press to hard on the distinctiveness of the dispensations.
    Bobby,
    Can you indulge me? In a two or three sentence answer, what would you say is the main diff between prog. and class.? Is that possible?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 6:22:00 AM  

  • Hi H.K.! Thank you for the understanding comment.

    Jim,
    Amen. My husband and I get floored by some of the spiritualizing that we hear. Where does it stop?
    My first Bible I ever read was a Scofield. I thought this was a standard for "Evangelical" Christians. Then I see in the blogosphere that it is scorned. This does confuse me. I am still learning about Christendom.

    Thanks KC!
    Have you ever read that booklet? It is so good. I wish every Christian would read it. I wish my reformed friends would read it. I think they would find it hard not to be helped by the reasoning there.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 6:27:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    Some literature suggests that Dispensationalism had its origens with J.N.Darby. Do you agree with this? If it was before, can you tell me which individuals or groups held to this method for interpretting scripture? Were professing Christians who did not hold to disp. truely saved? What do you believe was the state of Christianity before the arrival of Dispyism? Would Dispensationalism have changed the conclussions the Puratins and latter, Edwards arrived at had they been exposed to Dispensationalism?

    I must go to work now. Thank you for your kind responses.

    Mark

    By Blogger bluecollar, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 6:34:00 AM  

  • Bluecollar!!
    Do you have a printer hooked up to your computer? I encourage you ... I entreat you ... print the contents of that little booklet out ... and read it. You say you are in the "observe and learn" mode. You could understand where your dispy friends are coming from so much better just by reading that short little book. As you can see, it was written in 1896. It is part of American Christian history ... and an important part, just like many of the authors you appreciate. (Scofield was born not far from Toledo ... that has to count for something!)

    Then, you can tell us what you think of the ideas in his booklet. Observe and learn? :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 6:36:00 AM  

  • Mark,
    I see you just left a new comment. I am going to let Matthew answer about Darby etc...
    I will say, of course, I don't think only dispys are saved, how sad that would be.
    One thing - I see the principles of dispensationalism clearly in the NT. (Or else I would not embrace it)
    This is not a "new movement."
    Darby and Scofield may have brought it back to light, but they didn't "dream it up" as many might like to assaert.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 6:41:00 AM  

  • Redeemed,
    Thanks for appreciating the post.
    KJV only? Let me paste the NIV and NAS of the verse:

    2 Timothy 2:15
    (NASB)
    Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

    (NIV)
    Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

    I say in my post:
    This means to cut the text straight. We must make every attempt to discover the meaning of Scripture by discerning who it was written to, how and if it applies to the church, etc…

    They all say pretty much the same thing, IMO. We might like the phrase "rightly divide" better as dispensationalists, because it sounds more like our approach ... but if the word for "rightly divide" really means "cut the text straight", then that is what I want to understand, don't you? I don't mean to offend.

    Here is the Greek word for the phrase "rightly dividing":

    ὀρθοτομέω
    orthotomeō

    Thayer Definition:
    1) to cut straight, to cut straight ways
    1a) to proceed on straight paths, hold a straight course
    2) to make straight and smooth, to handle aright, to teach the truth directly and correctly

    I think all of the versions, including the King James, do the verse justice.
    Sarah, thanks for reading here and you are always welcome to make any comment you want to. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 7:02:00 AM  

  • Thanks, Nate! I am looking for a new post from you!

    Modern Day Magi,
    Hi! AMEN BROTHER! I have had the very same thought abput the "Prayer of Jabez". Many of the women in my church were praying this prayer when that book first became popular and it was disturbing to me.
    Your thoughts are very well put.

    Thanks for leaving a comment on my post. Come back again!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 7:05:00 AM  

  • Mark,
    Mark, some Dispensationalists such as Ryrie have attempted to identify ProtoDispensationalists before Darby. I do not find this convincing.

    Soem who are hostile to Dispensationalism identify Edward Irving, a forerunner of the Charismatic movement as an influence on Darby. I do not fidn this convincing, either.

    I would not disagree at all with the conclusion that Darby introduced the Dispensational system.

    Both Jonathan Edwards and the Puritans were heavily influenced by Covenant theology. Had they encountered Dispensationalism and been favourably disposed to it; their theology would have been quite different.

    One fo Darby's associates until 1848, was B.W. Newton. He refused to accept much of Darby's theology, as he was reluctant to depart form the thinking of the Puritans. He taught a Post-Tribulational Premillennial system that was similar in some respects to Progressive Dispensationalism.

    Consistent Dispensationalists reject the law as a means of sanctification, which was a key Puritan teaching.

    They also reject the notion of a Covenant of Grace that unites the dispensations, though John Walvoord seems to have re-introduced this concept into Dispensationalism.

    Consistent Dispensationalists should also reject the notion of Christ obediance to the Law being imputed to the believer, an important concept within Reforemd theology. I cannot see how such a view of justification makes any dispensational sense.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 8:07:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    I've always been taught imputation rather than infusion (?) if that's the right term for the RC concept. I'd love for you to expand on what the classic D. position is.

    Helpful discussion, Rose :)

    Was Scofield the Toledo Terror??
    :) :)

    Warmly,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 8:54:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,
    First answer, I had a nasty childhood experience with a hornet nest which forever prejudiced me against the evil creatures.

    Second, I am dispensational and calvinist. But maybe progressive or leaky dispensational would be a better description. Neither dispensationalists nor calvinists generally invite me to their parties.

    God bless. See ya!

    By Blogger BugBlaster, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 10:00:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    This is a subject you discussed on your own blog a few months ago, and one of the very few times we've ended in disagreement. But I have done some thinking about it. Please allow me to share some thoughts that I think express our common ground, while overcoming some difficulties that I saw, and let's see if we can find some more common ground:

    In this article, you said "I see the OT saints as looking toward the cross and the lamb slain in faith ... and we, in the NT are looking back on His sacrifice in faith." and I would agree with this statement perfectly. In fact, I would use it to show two basic dispensations (the Old and the New Testaments), not seven.

    Consider: We know that the New Testament age is a new dispensation because Paul twice referred to it as such. It is the ‘dispensation of grace' (Eph 3:2) or ‘the dispensation of the fullness of times' (Eph 1:10). Let's focus on that latter title first. The fact that a ‘dispensation' has been specified implies that there must have been at least one other period preceding it. The fact that it is the dispensation ‘of the fullness' means that the other dispensation was not yet full, though it worked toward this same end. We may also conclude from the first title that the fullness came at least partially through grace (although grace did exist in the Old Testament as well – see Rom 5:20).

    The reason I belabor this point and draw this inference is because ‘dispensations' (plural) are never mentioned in the Bible otherwise. In particular, six of the seven dispensations you've named are neither mentioned nor defined in the Bible, not even for the sake of announcing them to man at the time they began (Amos 3:7). There is simply the one dispensation, with an inference of its predecessor, and the Scriptures define those.

    The seven periods you mentioned are based on the observations of Cyrus Scofield. It is his theory that each of those ‘dispensations' was a new test of the natural man, and marks a change in God's method of dealing with mankind. But to me, that raises some very troubling implications because it shows an inconsistency in the character of God Himself, and the relationship we hope to form with Him (Jer 9:24). These ‘changes' would effect His sense of justice, mercy, righteousness, vengeance, and many other things based on the new ‘rules' of the period, whereas He might have handled the same situations differently with other persons at another time.

    So the real question is, Has God changed from time to time? But He has plainly stated that He is always the same and that He never changes (Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8). So a true perspective must uphold this as being so. Actually, I think it is man who changes, and the answer must be found there instead, in a way that portrays God's character as constant. So allow me to elaborate on one of Paul's parables to offer an alternate scenario:

    In the Scriptures, God seems to view mankind in a collective sense, as having a childhood and being under a schoolmaster (singular) until the fullness had come in (as in Gal 3:23-25). Our schoolmaster leads us to Christ, who is the fullness.

    The schoolmaster Himself (God, the author behind the curriculum) is mature, but the student is not. The student (collective mankind) is passing upward through the grades, let's say K-12, and is becoming more responsible as he grows older. If he hasn't yet been taught something, he isn't yet responsible for it (as is Rom 4:15). But as he learns, more will be required of him (Luke 12:48). Finally, he reaches the fullness and is no longer under the tutorship because he has become mature in a way that is similar to the Schoolmaster's own character (Luke 6:40).

    Under this scenario (if you follow the parable) God never changes. And even the things we learn along the way are never changing form, they are only building on the things we have previously learned, and progressing toward the same ultimate goal, which is the fullness of Christ. So there are not actual changes, there are only degrees of progress in the same learning curve, or steps toward the same goal. In like manner the time periods that Scofield portrays should actually be seen as snapshots of a maturing mankind at different stages: in nursery school, Kindergarten, grade school, junior high and high school. And with the maturity of Christ, our graduation comes.

    This is a whole other discussion, but I should also point out that the Schoolmaster's lessons are not cast aside in maturity. But rather, in the sense of their righteous requirements, they are taken to heart, rather than being viewed through the juvenile attitude of rules and works (Romans 8:4; Heb 8:10-13). They become fruit rather than works.

    I do have a lot more I could share, but this is pretty long so let's see what you think of this so far.

    By Blogger Cleopas, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 10:58:00 AM  

  • Hi HK,
    You read that from the ECW about the "Toedo Terror" huh? That was an LOL moment for me.

    Bugblaster,
    EEEEW! I don't think I would like bugs either. Interesting how things from childhood stick with us.
    Your description of your theology sounds familiar?

    Either way, you are more than welcome here when you agree ... and disagree!
    We invite you to our party!!
    See, it says on the header graphic that this is a "friendly" place. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 11:05:00 AM  

  • Loren (Cleopas),
    I need to chew on your comment today and get back to you later. I must turn off the computer for a time as it is distracting me from my life. I will come back to it tonight or tomorrow. Thank you very much for the time and thought you put into your comment. You are kind. I remember the incident you refer to. It was not usual. It sort of spooked me, honestly.

    Meanwhile,
    If anyone else wants to address Loren's thoughts, please go ahead kindly, as this may be very helpful. Over and out ------

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 11:15:00 AM  

  • I would like to know how "you" Classic Dispensationalist deal with the New Covenant. In other words, it seems that within CD thinking, as a necessary consequence of pushing a hard ontological distinction between Israel and the Church, you must posit more than one New Covenant (given the New Covenant language and inagural language used by Paul in II Cor 3 as applied to the church); notice C. Ryrie's comment here:

    "The reference to 'new covenant' is without the definite article. The text does not say we are ministers of the 'the new covenant' but of a new covenant.' The definite article is also absent in Hebrews 9:15 and 12:24. This may not be significant at all, or it may indicate that Paul is focusing on a new covenant made with the church, which, of course, is based on the death of Christ as is also the future new covenant made with Israel. If so, there are two new covenants; perhaps even more if one understands a covenant related to each dispensational change in the outworking of God's plan and purpose. In this view the two new covenants are distinct and not merged into one, which has already been inaugurated (as progressives teach). (Charles Ryrie, "Dispensationalism", 174)

    Are you kidding me!! If there is not an system driven hermeneutical artificiality taking place with Ryrie's position here--on two New Covenants (if not more--this, IMO is dispensationalism gone wild); then my conclusion is that eisogesis is a legitimate principle of biblical interpretation.

    Eph. 2:11-15 says:

    "11. Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh---who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands--- 12. that at that time you were with out Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15. having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace."

    It doesn't sound like, to me, that the Church is distinct relative to the covenants we are partaking of, according to Paul noted above. We aren't part of a mystery kingdom--but the Davidic kingdom promised to the Jews long ago (Gen. 15; 17;II Sam 7; Jer 31; Ez 36).

    I'll leave with a quote from Blaising and Bock, arguing for the Progressive Dispensational position, which I follow, they say:

    “Progressive dispensationalists agree with revised (and classical) dispensationalists that God’s work with Israel and Gentile nations in the past dispensation looks forward to the redemption of humanity in its political and cultural aspects. Consequently, there is a place for Israel and for other nations in the eternal plan of God. . . .”
    “. . . On the other hand, progressive dispensationalists believe that the church is a vital part of this very same plan of redemption. The appearance of the church does not signal a secondary [Pentecost’s interruption] redemption plan, either to be fulfilled in heaven apart from the new earth or in an elite class of Jews and Gentiles who are forever distinguished from the rest of redeemed humanity. Instead, the church today is a revelation of spiritual blessings which all the redeemed will share in spite of their ethnic and national differences.”(parenthesis in the quote are mine) (Quote taken from: Craig Blaising and Darrell Bock, “Progressive Dispensationalism,” 47)


    In Christ,

    Bobby

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 11:18:00 AM  

  • Cleopas, what books have you read on the subject of Dispensationalism?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 11:24:00 AM  

  • Bobby we discussed the subject of the New Covenant on your old blog.

    That quote really turned me off Progressive Dispensationalism.

    I was very disappointed that Blaising and Bock were unwilling to recognise the Church as a new, heavenly humanity that will be eternally distinct from the nations that inhabit the New Earth.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 11:28:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    I read the Bible, of course (2 Tim 3:16-17):-)

    Since you asked, I've also read parts of the online booklet that Rose offered (in fact, I'm the one who gave her the link,) and before that I read another book that I no longer have, nor do I remember its title (It's been a long time.) I've also seen the pros and cons discussed on some other blogs and websites, and heard it in various church circles throughout the years. It's been around for a long time.

    By Blogger Cleopas, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 11:57:00 AM  

  • Yes we did Matthew, but not the Ryrie quote above--do you hold to more than one New Covenant?

    As I recall we didn't come to any resolution on our discussion either.

    You actually hold to a Heavenly people vs. an Earthly people, the Jews? How do you avoid two "ways" of salvation then? One under the Mosaic dispensation for the Earthly people, and one for the Heavenly people (church), under the dispensation of grace?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 12:16:00 PM  

  • Anonymous is me, in my excitement ;) I forgot to register my name.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 12:17:00 PM  

  • Bobby, I do not think there is more than one New Covenant. I deny however, that Christians are party to the New Covenant.

    I see absolutely nothing in the OT to indicate any promise of the New Covenant to the Gentiles. Prophectically, the New Covenant has reference only to Israel.

    There is another Dispensatioanl theory on this subject, that of Darby. He denied that the Christian has any relation to the New Covenant. he argued that the author of Hebrews merely mentions the New Covenant to make a point about the suspension fo the Old Covenant. I am not convinced of his position.

    There is only one way of salvation through Christ. Galatians makes that pretty clear.

    The heavenly position of the Christian is ecclesiological and eschatological, rather than soteriological.

    God is presently gathering an heavenly people who will dwell in eternity in the heavenly New Jerusalem, where they will, if they have been faithful, participate in Christ's reign. These are distinctive blessings that the Millennial nations will not share.

    God's plan for the nations is for them to inhabit and replenish the earth, as was His paln for Adam and Eve. This role is not for the Church, who are called to mind heavenly things.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 1:15:00 PM  

  • Matthew said:

    "I see absolutely nothing in the OT to indicate any promise of the New Covenant to the Gentiles. Prophectically, the New Covenant has reference only to Israel."

    What about the Eph. 2 passage I quoted above, and the explicit nature of II Cor 3 directly applying the New Cov. found in EZ 36 to the Chrisitians in Corinth? So the NT author, Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit applies this prophecy to the Church--there is direct correlation--this application does not preclude its primary referent (just read Rom 10:19; and Rom 11)--in fact it was anticipated by Moses in Deut. which Paul quotes in Rom 10:19--the church has always been apart of God's original plan (Gen 3:15; Gen 12:1-3; Gen. 15:6--prior to cirucumcision and establishment of God's "covenant people")it's not a parenthetical moment in God's salvation history--but a fundamental part of His plan.

    Matthew said:

    "The heavenly position of the Christian is ecclesiological and eschatological, rather than soteriological."

    How is one related to a heavenly position ecclesiologically and eshcatologically apart from the ingressive entry point of reconciliation to God capture by the soteriological category you distinguish from the prior theological categories?

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 2:20:00 PM  

  • Hi Cleopas,

    I think this question is helpful to consider, and even inspiring because it forces you to consider the big epic of history and how God is showing himself sovereign throughout history.

    You say, “But to me, that raises some very troubling implications because it shows an inconsistency in the character of God Himself, and the relationship we hope to form with Him (Jer 9:24). These ‘changes' would effect His sense of justice…
    So the real question is, Has God changed from time to time? But He has plainly stated that He is always the same and that He never changes (Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8).”

    I don’t see this at all. I change the rules as my kids grow up. Isn’t it God’s prerogative to change the means by which we carry out a friendship with God, the means by which he calls us to obey him and experience his presence?

    That’s btw what I see as changing not God’s deliverance from sin and death.

    Adam and Eve had one rule to obey. One.

    Also, God could have executed Cain, but instead chose roaming as the punishment. He could have said right after the murder of Abel by Cain that a man who takes a life will lose his own from now on. But he waited over a thousand years to say take the life of the one who murders.

    I think just having two dispensations is too simple when held up to the messiness of the Scriptures.

    I've read Renald Showers book and liked it ery much. I plan to read Gundry and Ryrie next. In that order ;)

    Warmly,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 2:34:00 PM  

  • Not well read on these issues, but I see the original party of the New Covenant as having been broken off temporarily and the (mysterious) church being grafted in to that NC-root and springing up from it.

    I'd love it if Bobby and Matthew would comment on just that point, what exactly has been broken off and what has been grafted in.

    No hurry...

    Warmly,

    Jodie :)

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 2:39:00 PM  

  • Great question, HK!

    I see the root, as I'm sure Matthew will, discussed in Rom 11:16-18 as the promises made to the Patriarchs (cf. Rom 11:29), note the promise made to Abraham in (Abrahamic Cov.):

    "Now the Lord had said to Abram: Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house to a land that I will show you. 2. I will make you a great nation I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. 3. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

    I believe the agrarian anaology of root and olive tree and branches is a general exhortation to Gentile Christians not to boast--in other words, the point being, don't forget your heritage--the promises made to the Patriarchs, not what Craig S. Keener says here:

    "Israel was sometimes described as a tree, whose roots were the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). Contrary to standard Jewish teaching, Paul had argued that uncircumcised Gentiles could become part of that people of God through faith in the Jewish *Messiah (chap.4). Now he reminds Gentiles to respect the Jewish people, who had brought them their faith. It was easier for Jewish branches to be grafted back into the true form of their own faith than for pagans who had worshiped idols before the conversion to understand the faith they were now accepting." (Craig S. Keener,"The IVP Bible Background Commentary--New Testament", 437)

    I don't think, from this analogy, the interpreter was intended to be able to identify particular covenants. Rather there is exhortation by Paul to the church about their attitude--there must of been some smuggness in the church of Rome surrounding this issue.

    I do think it illustrates the point that indeed, as Matthew has pointed out, the promises and Covenants were originally made with Israel with the Abrahamic intention, via the Messiah (Gal 3--4) to provide salvation to the world--remember the Pauline pattern ". . .to the Jew first, then the Gentile . . .". Indeed when Christ came who did he go to first (Mt 15:21-28)the Jews.

    He inaugurated His Davidic Kingdom (Messianic Kingdom) fulfilling the Mosaic Cov. conditions (Mt 5:17)and initiating the New Cov. in his blood (Luke 22:20 ". . . This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you." also see I Cor 11:25). He did go to the Jews' first, and most of them rejected it (notice the transition between Mt.12--13/Jesus' focus changes from Jew to Gentile/Universal)--but not all, i.e. what was the initial nature of the Church--Jewish e.g. the apostles were Jewish also see Acts 6 and the preferentialism given to the Hebraic Christians thus presupposing the Jewish nature of the Church.

    So I would agree, with Matthew that the New Covenant was primarily intended and made with the Jews, but also, as the NT indisputibly communicates, the New Covenant hope is tied into the universal scope and nature of the Abrahamic Covenant (the nations will be blessed).

    II Cor 3 is the most explicit account of the inauguration of the New Covenant (coupled with Eph 2) from my perspective (Rom 9--11 is more of a general exhortation to Roman Gentile Christians' to remember where they came from).

    In Christ,

    Bobby Grow

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 4:12:00 PM  

  • Hi HK,

    I'm not sure which question you are referring to. Are you talking about Bobby's statement, directly above yours? Or Matthew's, above that?

    When you say that you've changed the rules for your kids from time to time, it seems too general a statement to use as a parable. How often, for instance, does a parent change their rules because they've discovered their own instructions to be inadequate? This would never have a counterpart with God. Or how often does a ‘change' take the form of contradicting an earlier stand? God would never do that either, for He is faithful and cannot deny Himself.

    One reason I mention this is because the fear of God is a constant element in our relationship with Him, everywhere in the Scriptures, throughout all the ages. God tells us to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (the fear of the Lord), that when they are old they may not depart from it (Prov 16:6). Instead, something else will happen:

    The time will arrive when the child comes of age, and is no longer under the schoolmaster. Now he can then do whatever he pleases. But in the process he has come to understand the wisdom behind the instructions he received, and he has gained a responsible attitude in life. So even if the ‘rules' mentality is completely removed, by that time in life his behavior has been well groomed and he will not change drastically.

    In a similar sense, as children grow older, I can see our giving them more latitude, but this is with the understanding that they should know better and we are trusting them to do the right thing now. They're not casting aside anything, they're showing that they've learned it. So even in this I would see an ongoing work of building character, yes, even to the point of testing it.

    But here is something that should tell the tale from God's perspective:

    If there is really a learning curve as I've described above, you may see man doing some things early on and not being judged for them. But later, when revelation came and man was accountable for it, judgment would follow. In other words, more was given him so more was required of him.

    But if my theory is wrong and Scofield's is correct, you would occasionally see the opposite. In the five Old Testament ‘dispensations', something that was originally wrong would later become right.

    The closest possibility I can think of has to do with the subject of divorce, under the law of Moses. But in that case Jesus implied that Moses spoke presumptuously, and not from God (Matthew 19:3-9).

    Indeed, divorce never existed before the days of Moses, and God went on record afterward as not supporting it (Mal 2:16). In other words, take out the presumtion of Moses and we see that God has been constant on the subject.

    I'd also like to open this question to the others on this blog. In terms of building character, is there ever a commandment God gave in the Old Testament, under one of those five ‘dispensations', that was contradicted in one of the later OT dispensations?

    It may become tedious to get into individual examples and their interpretations, but I think that's what it must come to.

    By Blogger Cleopas, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 7:52:00 PM  

  • Hi Cleopas,

    Imeant the whole over all issue/question. Sorry for not being clear :(

    Dispensationalism does not argue that God changes or that His eternal will changes.

    I don't see why you think God has to change His mind about some specific rule in order to vindicate Scofield. I truly think you have some distorted assumptins about Dispensationalism, and that therefore it is hard to know how to respond to the things you are saying.

    In the same way that the rainbow represented the promise that God would never send another flood to destroy the earth, the Flood that did destroy the earth was righteous and just.

    God did not change.

    He did not change His mind.

    But he acted one way in one era and then promised He would no longer act that way. THAT is what dispensationalism is all about.

    God bless,

    Jodie


    I wish you'd read Renald Showers.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 8:21:00 PM  

  • Thanks for your clear answer, Bobby. I enjoy hearing your views on this topic ;)

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 8:22:00 PM  

  • I'm teasing because we have been disagreeing so much on other topics!

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 8:24:00 PM  

  • >In the same way that the rainbow represented the promise that God would never send another flood to destroy the earth, the Flood that did destroy the earth was righteous and just. <

    Jodie,

    Actually I think you make the case for Lorens argument as I meditate on this. God is still going to destroy the earth with Fire one day. He is just using a differant tool. The threat of destruction has always been there yet the call to look to Christ alone has always remained the same as well.

    That Rock that followed the Children of Isreal was Christ. Paul said it.

    We are just growing in a greater knowlege of Him through all these typologies he has been using.

    Consider Revelation 19:12-13

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 9:02:00 PM  

  • Brian,

    Dispensationalism is not saying God changes but that He changes HOW He rules.

    His patientce now doesn't mean His past or future judgments are unjust.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Sunday, March 12, 2006 5:22:00 AM  

  • Jodie,

    I understand your position. I was taught it all my life. I grew up an Independent Baptist. I guess I understand the building block analogy and some of what Covenant Theology teaches although I don't buy in to all of it.

    Bobby Grow seems to be growing on me and I make take to examining this progressive dispenstational position. I am just leary anymore of trying to fit the Word of God into a system.

    This is a most noble topic as is the research done by Rose. We must rightly divide, but as I said before...I think we need to be careful not to chop.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Sunday, March 12, 2006 10:42:00 AM  

  • Matthew, Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. That was very kind of you.

    Busy-ness has kept me from thanking you earlier- sorry.

    Mark

    By Blogger bluecollar, at Sunday, March 12, 2006 2:19:00 PM  

  • Hi Loren,
    Yes, you did give me the link to that book! In fact, to do this post, I dug into that post on RR to find your comment where the link was. I always had meant to put it in my sidebar, but never did ... yet.

    Genesis 9:1
    Then God ...
    He is unfolding a plan for mankind.

    I read with interest your thoughts about mankind as a whole in the historical sense ... over time, maturing etc...
    Is this spiritual evolution? Just kiddin, Loren, but honestly it made me think of that. :~)

    Our common ground? Probably when you mention this:
    the fullness of Christ.
    This is what the dispensations are all aimed at bringing about in God's great epic plan.

    The reason I belabor this point and draw this inference is because ‘dispensations' (plural) are never mentioned in the Bible otherwise.

    Ya know, the word "trinity" is never mentioned in the Bible either, but we believe in it because we can see that it is implied. I also see that it is implied that God has crafted the way He is revealing Himself to mankind through the dispensations. I don't see Him appearing as a cloud of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night anymore, do you? ;~)

    Think about this:
    Genesis 3:8
    Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

    Did the Lord walk with the children of Israel in such a way? No.
    Then, He did walk with the disciples and those in Judea. Now He doesn't walk, He indwells us. This is all dispensationalism is about.

    Jehovah: The ever-revealing one!

    Thanks for visiting, Loren. Bless you! :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Sunday, March 12, 2006 8:37:00 PM  

  • Seeing the church's enjoying the inaugural fulfillment (Elliott Johnson's carefully chosen term) of the New Covenant in no way poses a threat to classic dispensationalism.

    "Since the King has provided the basis of establishing the new covenant with Israel, it is very possible for some of the spiritual benefits to be available in the church age. The church’s relationship to the new covenant is parallel in certain respects to its connection with the kingdom promises of Israel. The church is constituted, blessed, and directed by the same Person who shall bring about the literal Jewish kingdom." (Stanley Toussaint, Behold the King, pp. 302-3.)

    "When Jesus mentioned the new covenant as he was instituting the bread and the cup, he clearly indicated its significance for the church. When the OT is examined to discover what this new covenant involved, and when the NT is investigated for further clarification, it becomes clear that only one new covenant is in view, even though different groups may derive somewhat varying benefits from it. The essence of the new covenant is spiritual regeneration, enjoyed now by Christian believers and prophesied for national Israel at the second coming of Christ." (Homer Kent, "The New Covenant Church" Grace Theological Journal, (1985), 289.)

    Bear in mind that the church already enjoys many of Israel's blessings:

    1. The apostles who form the foundation of the church will be Israel's rulers in the Kingdom.
    2. Believing Gentiles share in Israel's blessings by virtue of being grated in to the olive tree.
    3. The church will judge the world and rule Israel in the kingdom (1 Co 6:2)
    4. Christ has changed our status such that we are no longer strangers to the covenants (Eph 2:12, 19)
    5. Hebrews 11:39-40 says we will be co-heirs of the promises

    The New covenant amplifies God's covenant to Abram (Gen 12:3) and is its implementation.

    None of this, of course, argues in favor of Progressive Dispensationalism or against the classical expression of dispensationalism. Progressives are young turks who are plagued with the fear that they may not contribute anything new or original.

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at Monday, March 13, 2006 10:13:00 AM  

  • Reading this post, I see nothing that I would disagree with. The ONLY thing that I would point out is that you could change 'dispensational' to Christian and be just as well off. I see nothing inherent within 'dispensationalism' or within this way of thinking that would make you have to be 'dispensational' to think as such.

    I am not, strictly speaking, 'dispensational', but I too would recognize these 'dispensations' (if you want to call them that, or 'eras' or 'times', what the heck ever). And likewise, being non-dispensational, I still do not interpret that I am go march around a city. Afterall, I am not the jew that was living during that time, nor more than I am the Galatian.

    ALL Christians believe that specific passages are written to specific people, with only the implications being for all believers.

    This is not the heart of the debate between the camps (Dispys and others). The heart of the debate is the interpretation of these Scriptures.

    Rose, my friend, I am currently discussing this very subject with Lonnie upon my board. I would be encouraged if you participated.

    I do not recognize myself as dispensational, but neither as Covenantal. I am more historical premillinial, or really, just agnostic.

    But, your clarification (being one that does recognize yourself as such), would be greatly needed and appreciated.

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Monday, March 13, 2006 5:18:00 PM  

  • Hi Sofyst,
    I love this quote:

    you could change 'dispensational' to Christian and be just as well off.

    I am going to save that one. :~)

    Your site is complicated and I can't find the place where you are having the discussion.

    Thanks for visiting again.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, March 13, 2006 7:00:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I see your point with the examples you've given, but I honestly don't think they denote dispensations.

    For example, in the main article, you mentioned the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho. I would agree that this never happened again, but I would also point out that it never even happened for Joshua again. Though he surely would have made use of such a tactic if the condition was that it pertained to his 'dispensation'. It would have become common place. It was simply a one time miraculous event that occurred in his day.

    Occasionally I've heard JW's object that the term 'Trinity' does not appear in the Bible, as you have also mentioned. But I simply tell them Okay, from now on I'm calling it 'the doctrine of the Godhead', and that phrase does appear in the Scriptures. (They don't like it when I do that, BTW).

    In any case, my point is that the term 'dispensation' does appear in the Bible, but never in reference to separate Old Testament Periods. Even so, I have no trouble with the concept of a progression in the sense of a constant, steady building toward Christ, with this end constantly in view. It's when this is not kept in view that dispensationalism seems quirky and irradic to me, which is rather troubling. When this sort of departure occurs, it's theories have lost's their rudder, and it's soul goes astray from its spiritual compass.

    For example, you and I have agreed that all of the Old Testament leads toward the fullness of Christ. You said, "This is what the dispensations are all aimed at bringing about in God's great epic plan."

    But let's apply this to the church. The church was envisioned before time began (Eph 5:31-32). As such, it is referred to as 'the fullness of Him who fills all in all' (Eph 1:23) and we will all grow to 'the fullness of His stature and a perfect man." (Eph 4:13).

    But dispensationalism claims that the church was "unintended; an accident; unforetold in prophecy, 'Plan B' " etc. This doesn't sound like 'the fullness' to me.

    Now objectively speaking, can one not see why I would reach the conclusion that something here is irradic? That something still does not add up? At points like this, dispensationalism stops pointing toward the fullness of Jesus and is in need of heartfelt revision.

    Rose, I think even the boldest theologian must never be afraid to adjust his theories to bring them into subjectivity to Christ more fully. Proving all things, holding fast that which is good, trying to improve the rest. I also know they are usually scorned for trying.

    But I hope you will see that I have earnestly thought this over since our first conversation at RR, and that I have made very heartfelt adhjustments as well, with this same end in mind. And when I did, Jesus became our common ground (Eph 4:13)

    Anyway, those are my thoughts on this subject. Thanks for the lively discussion!

    By Blogger Cleopas, at Monday, March 13, 2006 8:02:00 PM  

  • Cleopas
    'But dispensationalism claims that the church was "unintended; an accident; unforetold in prophecy, 'Plan B' " etc. This doesn't sound like 'the fullness' to me.'

    Dispensationalists do not view the Church as accidental. They believe it was always God's plan, though as Ephesians makes clear, it was a mystery, kept secret. It was therefore not revealed in the OT. If something is a mystery it is unknown.

    This is not often understood, but Dispensationalists do not view dispensations as periods of time.

    A dispensation is a stewardship or position of responsibility. God entrusted responsibility to men in various ways throughout Biblical history. Before the Flood, men were responsible for how they followed their consciences. After the Flood, God gave promises to Abraham adn Isaac, and these men were responsible for how they lived in accordance with those promises.

    'Dispensation' does nto refer to the historical epoch, but rather to the stewardship dispensed by God in a stage of Biblical revelation.

    Cleopas, with the greatest respect to you, I am not sure how much you really understand Dispensationalism. If you do not understand what Dispensationalists are saying, do you really think it is appropriate to criticize their theology?

    I would urge you to read 'Dispensationalism' by Charles Ryrie and if you have time, 'Thy Kingdom Come' by Dwight Pentecost.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, March 14, 2006 1:14:00 AM  

  • Matthew,
    Those are two great books. The book by Ryrie is great. I hope Loren will take a look. What you have said in your comment was very well put.

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at Tuesday, March 14, 2006 4:25:00 AM  

  • Thanks, John.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, March 14, 2006 4:34:00 AM  

  • I was thinking about what one more thing I wanted to say to Loren. I came here and looked ... and voila! Matthew has said much of it.

    I wanted to say that I, as a dispensationalist, do not think the church was a "plan B" for God. Of course He knew all about it and planned it ... predestinated it! However, it is not in the OT prophesy and that is why we say it is parenthetical. The messages to the Jews (physical descendants of Jacob) about God's plans for them are not PERMANENTLY shelved because of the age of Grace, but they are temporarily put on the back burner. I dare say this is, in a lot of ways, a key aspect of the dispy view and one that sets us apart.

    Sha’alu Shalom Yerushalayim

    Thanks Loren! And please, be assured, if I become convinced that any of the teaching that I have received is wrong, I will easily change my mind. You are right, we need to be able to do this. I like the way you said this:

    I think even the boldest theologian must never be afraid to adjust his theories to bring them into subjectivity to Christ more fully.

    I really appreciate you a lot Loren. I also appreciate you trying to understand us. Maybe you could read one of those fine books that have been recommended. Perhaps you would see that the disp. approach to Scripture is not as quirky and irradic as your impression of it is. What you read on the internet may be an incomplete explanation. Definately what you read on blogs is. Bless you.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, March 14, 2006 6:36:00 AM  

  • Rose, the link is here:

    http://protestantpub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=155

    I'd still love your company.

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Tuesday, March 14, 2006 7:02:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    I hear what you're saying, that's why I limited my remarks to what Rose posted. Except, I guess, for the remark about the church, which was a seque. But we had discussed it before.

    Loren

    By Blogger Cleopas, at Tuesday, March 14, 2006 3:47:00 PM  

  • Ok guys,

    Here is what I wrestle with. Its the tribulation dilemma. We were always taught that this is the dispensation of grace and the church, but that the Holy Spirit does not work like it did anymore at Pentecost. We are sealed by his Spirit, but not in the same empowering way the early church was. Somewhere in 90A.D. That stopped happening. No where in the Bible is that written, but I guess some would use the Trinity as Phil Johnson does to teach that this all stopped happening in A.D 90 or according to some theologians A.D 68 depending on which one believes when Revelation was written. Some feel the Spirit of God ceased in this sense up to the point where scripture was canonized and settled by some of the Church councils.

    Now of course we know that many state that the Church will be raptured and that Judgment starts at the point of the Tribulation and that the believers that get saved(a multitude that no man can number) will be on the earth during the judgment time. I believe the church will be raptured but that the tribulation is actually a purification time as the book of Daniel puts it, for those saints and that judgment occurs when the seals are opened up close to the end. My opinion for what it is worth.

    Now the whole dilemma comes actually from a bold dispy fan who once asked me how I thought the tribulation saints were saved. You see, if the Holy Spirit is gone from the earth in the way it is today along with the Church, then we are left wondering. This is the dispensation of enduring up until the end. What if a saved saint takes the mark of the beast? Is he still saved. Well you might say...he is sealed by the lamb and will not take the mark. Well, then you are teaching a preservation of the saints in a different dispensation and in according to this thought then these people are being saved by their works and effort since this is Calvinist teaching. But you might say the others will have a strong delusion and the Spirit of God will keep these from this delusion. But then what of the withdrawal of the Holy Spirits work on the earth along with the Church. Well he is still there but in a lesser way you say. you are then teaching that man can persevere better than we can in this dispensation and we have the Holy Spirit in our lives today.

    I believe that this is the dispensation of the Church, but I believe we have always been saved by grace, whatever age, Christ has been the Rock. Isaiah had a full visual of him as Did king David when he said the LORD said to my Lord. The Lord has just been using different tools to give his people understanding I believe.

    Salvation is a gift and yes Peter, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were cowards as are all of us without Christ. Yes, Joseph and Nicodemus believed in secrecy, but it is important to note that one day they took courage because of the hope that was in them and asked for the body of Jesus. It is a hard thing I know this teaching that the Holy Spirit will bear witness of Himself, but it is found throughout the bible and in every dispensation. It is important to note though that it is because of the hope within us and not some fleshly striving on our part. Even the perseverance of the Saints in the tribulation will be because of the Spirit of God as no man will glory in the efforts of their flesh. Mankind has always and will always be saved by grace in every age. Salvation has always been a gift. What say you all on this tribulation period. Is this a dispensation of works salvation? Will some men and women have the opportunity to boast when they get to heaven? Is the Lamb of God's (found before the foundation of the world and preached by God Himself in Genesis 3) sacrifice of no use during this period?

    Bobby Grow, are you out there? Does progressive dispy shed any light on this?

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Tuesday, March 14, 2006 4:55:00 PM  

  • Bud said:

    "None of this, of course, argues in favor of Progressive Dispensationalism or against the classical expression of dispensationalism. Progressives are young turks who are plagued with the fear that they may not contribute anything new or original."

    Matthew what do you think, doesn't Bud sound very close to the truth ;-), Progressive Dispensationalist, in the body of his comment here?

    Bud be careful your sounding very chronologically "snobby" (to borrow a term from C.S. Lewis)
    :--).

    Bobby

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Wednesday, March 15, 2006 12:23:00 AM  

  • Brian, most Dispensationalists hold that the tribulation is part of the dispensation of Grace, but some have other ideas.

    I am actually Post-Tribulational. I do feel a bit lonely on account of it.

    I think Pre-Tribulational talk of the removal of the Holy Spirit is problematic.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, March 15, 2006 12:38:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    you are correct that it is problematic, but as I was raised only the Church age prior to the trib was considered the age of grace as the idea was...you better get in while salvation is free now.
    Some do hold to a works type situation for the trib saints and that they will not enter heaven but continue on earth in the millenium at at the return of Christ will be redeemed in some form. But I will agree with you that removal of the Holy Spirit is problematic. This has caused me to wrestle with the pre-trib post trib idea as well, but clearly the church in Philidelphia is told they would be removed from the hour of temptation. I kicked around the idea for a while that only the Christians living faithfully would be raptured while the ones living in sin would remain behind and suffer chastening and be purified until the second coming, but there seem to be holes there as well. I mention that only because Luke says the unfaithful believers would be beaten with many stripes and get the portion of the unbelievers...so it was an isolated thought that I figured only the tribulation period could reconcile. Its a toughy, but I still hold a pre-trib as of now.
    your thoughts on Post trib would be helpful to me if you would share them. This whole time period causes me not to really find a home in regards to dispensationalism. To me it is too puzzling to configure and dissect although some have.

    I don't feal that actual judgment comes though until between the fifth and sixth seal as in Matt 24 when Jesus speaks of the stars falling, it seems to match that seal to a T. up until that point he is telling his disciples of the elects sake and the shortening of it. Also prior to that seal the saints ask God how long until he will judge the earth. So clearly his judgment does not truly start until that point. God then tells them to wait until all of his saints have been killed.

    I really am not commited here so I am really not trying to offend anyone and I hope none is taken. Any and all thoughts are very helpful. This is a good discussion. I am sorry I got off on the wrong foot a few months ago when we had it. I am still blind myself in some areas here as we are all still awaiting the glorious Revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Second Coming.
    Maranatha.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Wednesday, March 15, 2006 1:06:00 PM  

  • Brian
    'Some do hold to a works type situation for the trib saints and that they will not enter heaven but continue on earth in the millenium at at the return of Christ will be redeemed in some form.'

    I do maintain that Millennial saints will experience earthly and not heavenly blessings, but this is not do with works.

    'This has caused me to wrestle with the pre-trib post trib idea as well, but clearly the church in Philidelphia is told they would be removed from the hour of temptation.'

    It does not say that they will be removed, but that they will be kept from the hour of trial. Faithful believers will be protected during the tribulation from God's judgments.

    'I don't feal that actual judgment comes though until between the fifth and sixth seal as in Matt 24 when Jesus speaks of the stars falling, it seems to match that seal to a T. up until that point he is telling his disciples of the elects sake and the shortening of it.'

    I believe the sixth seal occurs on the Day of the Lord, the coming of Christ. This runs parallel to the seventh trumpet and the seventh vial.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, March 15, 2006 1:18:00 PM  

  • Hmmmn. You've given me a lot to munch on. Believe me I have had your thoughts about believers being kept, but what do you do with the catching away in Thessalonians and Paul saying the day will not overtake us as it does the children of darkness.

    I do agree with your last statement and it appears you have been doing some similar studies.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Wednesday, March 15, 2006 2:51:00 PM  

  • Brian
    The day will not overtake us because we are waiting for it.

    The rapture is not a 'day'. It is a spiritual event connected with the Church. It would not need to overtake the children of darkness, because it has nothing to do with them. It is God's wrath which is of relevance to the children of darkness, not the rapture.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, March 15, 2006 2:59:00 PM  

  • Matthew,

    How then do you circumvent the Reformed teaching on Perserverance then if the saints experience the tribulation?

    Also

    Do you then mark the 42 months as a symbolic time frame like that of the ten days mentioned to Smyrna that some feel represent the time from Nero to Diocletian?

    I can only imagine this to be your conclusion since the timetable would other wise make the Second Coming predictable wouldn't it?

    you know thinking about it really does put an string on the rapture as you could predict the timetable, but then it just doesn't seem to make sense that there be a catching up to come right back down.

    One thing that seems to make sense is the parable of the wheat and the tares. I have meditated on this much. The world and the church have become so mingled that it is now hard to see the differance. This really seems to be the shape we are in today and in Revelation 18 when Jesus says to come out of her...well that call out is the greek prefix {ek} that you find in ekklesia and of course the rest of the verse istructs her people to once again become what they were...The called out ones in the day of Antioch. So one could make a point that the Church is so virtually non-existant in her nuecleas and that Christ is gathering and purifying her by use of the tribulation.

    Just some thoughts. I am not dogmatic about it.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Wednesday, March 15, 2006 7:05:00 PM  

  • Brian,
    'How then do you circumvent the Reformed teaching on Perserverance then if the saints experience the tribulation?'
    God will protect those who overcome from tribulation. Those who do not overcome will not make it through the tribulation. God would certainly not allow believers to take the mark of the beast.

    'Do you then mark the 42 months as a symbolic time frame like that of the ten days mentioned to Smyrna that some feel represent the time from Nero to Diocletian?

    I can only imagine this to be your conclusion since the timetable would other wise make the Second Coming predictable wouldn't it?'

    No, it is a literal period of seven or three and a half years.

    The days of tribulation will be shortened so we will not know exactly when Christ comes up to the point that the Two Witnesses die. The second coming will occur 3 days after their death when the Seventh Trumpet sounds.

    I think the Tribulation may have some role in purifying the Church.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 16, 2006 12:49:00 AM  

  • The only thing I can't seem to harmonize is that between the 5 and 6th seals God says to wait for the saints to be killed.

    The promise to Philadephia is not to be killed. Paul also said, we shall not all sleep, but will be caught up after the dead in Christ.

    I don't know between Philly and Thessalonians it just appears that there will be an escape for those watching and waiting.

    As far as the years and time , Jesus told his disciples that only the Father knows the {Chronos}.

    Daniel himself couldn't figure the numbers either and was puzzled by that 42 month period as the count was differant in each part.

    Also in the end of John, Jesus tells Peter not to worry about John and what was it to Him as he may wish for him to live until he returned. He layed down the possibility that as a saint he would live through tribulation.

    Now in Him we do have a picture and what a strange one at that as He lived after all his brethren were put to death. The whole dichotomy is that before the seals he is caught up into heaven, giving us a picture of the intimate believer who rested on Christs bosom and walked with God in the way Enoch did.

    I don't know brother, it just really leaves me puzzled if you take an honest look at it and even pray over it. I know everyone has the charts out, but I just wonder sometimes if we are presuming to much.

    At the end of the day, I do think there is a rapture, but I am leary of assuming that saints living in sin and unprepared will be in it, but wonder if God will leave them behind to purify them more in order to make them ready for his appearing as tribulation brings about that desired end.

    For the believer walking and abiding in Christ, there does appear to be support that he will escape this prepapatory stage to jugdment.

    No matter how you slice it, everytime you touch the test cables together, there never seems to be a spark, and that is why I think Jesus said that only the Father knows the Chronology of events and the timeframe. I think we are all going to be surprised at it one day as time is no hinderance to Him. Only to us.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Thursday, March 16, 2006 6:37:00 PM  

  • 'As far as the years and time , Jesus told his disciples that only the Father knows the {Chronos}.'

    He was speaking in the present tense. That verse does not imply that nobody will ever know in the future. They will certainly know it will happen.

    I believe that knowledge of the day for believers will be 3 days before the Day, at the death of the Two Witnesses.

    'The promise to Philadephia is not to be killed. Paul also said, we shall not all sleep, but will be caught up after the dead in Christ.

    I don't know between Philly and Thessalonians it just appears that there will be an escape for those watching and waiting.'

    You cannot make a connection between Thessalonica and Philadelphia without some evidence.

    Not being killed is very different from being translated and glorified.

    More importantly, the promise to the Philadelphians is conditional, while translation is an unconditional promise to all believers in Christ.

    I think it is very unhelpful to teach a partial rapture. The Scriptures are a clear that all believers are in Christ and are identified with Him in His heavenly position. The rapture is only the full realization of this. To teach a partial rapture is to compromise the believer's position in Christ.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, March 17, 2006 12:52:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    I am not teaching anything...I am just a truck driver weighing thoughts. Personally I steer clear of dividing timelines it is just to unsubstantial. Remember I said I was not dogmatic about this.

    Chronos was mentioned just before he ascended.

    What do you do with Luke 12:35-48

    This seems to be the only home where I can find to put it, but perhaps you have another. If you do, then in honesty...please let me know what you do with the unfaithful servant.

    I have been trying to follow the teaching of you and Antonio of chastening. I really believe you are on to the truth here...but what do you do here?

    Jesus would not disect and even let Peter know all were to be warned of this. This includes the believer. Do you believe there is some kind of punishment after the rapture for unfaithful Christians?

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Friday, March 17, 2006 4:52:00 PM  

  • I am inclined to think that the unfaithful servant is Israel in her unbelief.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, March 18, 2006 8:48:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    You could be right, but the thing that inhibits me is where Peter asks the Lord if He is talking about them or everyone, but Jesus answers with a question.."Who then is faithful.."

    This could just be strong Hyperbole ment to stir as Jesus told Peter in John 13, "If a man is not washed by me, he can have no part with me..."

    Of course Peter is later told he is clean.

    We also know that in John 12 the Jews who believed were called the sons of Satan. This was a broadbrush to the group. Of course this angered everyone, but the Bible said some believed in secret of whom some were of course Joseph and Nicodemus.

    Jesus then makes a most profound statement....He says that if a man keep not his word, He will not Judge him as He came to save the world...Then He tells them if a man rejects Him and does not accept His words then he is condemned. Truly the gospel is Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

    When we accept Him, we get everything and we stand on firm ground. Then of course the process of chastening begins to occur. Phew! have I ever gone through it these past few weeks. It has been good though as it has bent me even lower and caused me to only look to Him and the blood he shed for me. What a precious Lord. He is my freedom. If the son shall make you free you shall be free indeed.

    I guess what I am getting at is for the believer God uses the condemning truth ment only for those who reject him as hyperbole to look only to him. There really seems to be a pattern here as to how He does this throughout the bible.

    I think all the men that taught me as a young boy were indeed right. I really have to conclude and really believe in the rapture of the Church of all his saints. Why?

    Well remember those strong warnings
    given to watch and be ready?

    Look here at 1 Thess 5:4-11, "But you are not in darkness brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are children of the light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."

    you know I have been infected at times by the serpents teaching...so it is a good thing that others have stirred me here.

    We got to pray and help each other see the truth..for in some way we are all being infected by him as we are the family of God and his main target.

    My conclusion from this week and this good discourse is that you are probably right that this is in referance to the Jewish nation and their unbelief, but I must say that I do believe in the full rapture of the Church prior to the tribulation.

    A good reason for us to not judge one another...have you guys watched the movie China Cry. you know this girl was saved as a little girl and she was now in the communist party and had forgotten of her Christianity, but for some reason she was dragged before the courts as it appeared in her records that she had claimed faith as a young girl.

    They told her to write a statement to deny Jesus, but when she sat down to write she couldn't do it. All those years of not living for Christ and being a communist...she couldn't do it. They came in and beat her and pressed her further and asked her why she couldn't deny Christ since she never lived for him and her answer was, "Though He seem far from me now...I cannot deny Him"

    Praise God for the blessed witness of the Holy Spirit and the power of the cross.

    You see persecution and chastening presses us even farther and closer to Him.

    Praise God....and Maranatha.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Saturday, March 18, 2006 2:14:00 PM  

  • Thanks for your thoughts, Brian.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, March 19, 2006 3:26:00 AM  

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