The problems that dispensationalists have with Hebrews 8 is clear, is it not? Dispensationalists commonly interpret this passage as referring only to the gatheringof the Jewish elect at the end of the tribulation period.441 But, as we saw,442 there is no reason for so limiting the elect here. In their approach, the teaching of those passages that speak of Christ’s return must be understood in the light of the clear premillennialist teaching of Revelation 20:1—6. Note 1 at verse 1 of this chapter reads as follows: "This chapter is a prophetic picture of the glory of the future kingdom, which will be set up when David's son returns in glory. First, the term Israel. In the immediate context of i Corinthians 15:23—26, we find the same adverbs used inter-changeably, and there, too, they express a simple sequence of events (1 Cor. It is therefore all the more significant that nothing of this alleged central purpose is mentioned in the only biblical passage which deals directly with Christ's millennial reign, Revelation 20:4-6.We conclude that dispensational premillennialism must be rejected as a system of biblical interpretation which is not in harmony with Scripture. Dispensationalists also teach that the millennial age will concern unresurrected people, people who are still living in their natural bodies. False History of Creationism is Full of Beans, Your People Must Know Jesus: Strategies for Teaching Christology in the Local Church, The Catholic Puritan: John Owen on Eternal Generation, The Bulwark of Trinitarian Theology: Eternal Generation: What it is and what it is not, The Radiance of the Father: The Nicene Creed and the Incarnation, Begotten, Not Made: Eternal generation, the orthodox way to speak of the Son’s perfect life. 8:17—25). I refer to Galatians 6:15-16, "Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. As we saw, the expression "the heavenly Jerusalem" in Hebrews 12:22 stands for a group of redeemed saints which includes both Jews and Gentiles. We appreciate the acceptance by dispensationalists of the verbal inspiration and infallibility of the Bible. In verse 4, however, we read the following: "And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." In the light of these passages one can understand the universal invitation found in Isaiah 45:22, "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! Dispensationalism is a way of looking at the Bible that understands God's unfolding plan––that He has worked in somewhat different ways with and through different peoples. The following is a rough draft of a chapter from a forthcoming book by Sam Storms, used with permission. Did he not fail that test? Israel's hope for the future is exactly the same as that of believing Gentiles: salvation and ultimate glorification through faith in Christ. Ultimately that kingdom will include a visible rule of Christ with God the Father over the new earth, as an aspect of Christ’s glorification. The simplest and most obvious reading of these verses in their context is that when Christ comes and believers share in his resurrection, this event will coincide with or introduce the ‘end’, that circumstance in which death has been swallowed up in victory. Dispensational Premillennialism: The Dispensationalist Era. Verses 2 and 3 picture the joyful participation of all nations in the worship of the one true God. Dispensational premillennialism often assumes the opposite. He gained his doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary for work on the theology of John Calvin and has served as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church in Ontario, California, and south Holland, Illiniois. But the millennium will be a different dispensation—one in which promises made to Israel during a previous dispensation will be fulfilled." We conclude that this is an inspiring picture, not of the millennial reign, but of conditions on the new earth.There is therefore no compelling reason to understand Old Testament passages of the sort that have just been dealt with as describing a future millennial reign. In Romans 9-11 the term Israel is used eleven times; each time it refers to Jews in distinction from Gentiles. Since there are many Old Testament promises to Israel which have not yet been fulfilled, these promises must still be fulfilled in the future.We must first of all challenge the statement that when the Bible talks about Israel it never means the church, and that when it talks about the church it always intends to exclude Israel. Look, for example, at Galatians 3:28-29, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. The same figure is also used in Ephesians 2:21- 22, "In whom [Christ] the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." The gathering of the Gentiles as a people for God's name is seen as something which must happen previous to the final restoration of Israel in the millennium. Here, therefore, we have a clear example in the Bible itself of a figurative, nonliteral interpretation of an Old Testament passage dealing with the restoration of Israel.The New Scofield Bible, however, in its note on Acts 15:13, interprets the words "I will return" in verse 16 as referring to the Second Coming of Christ. On the other hand, premillennialism is, as has been demonstrated throughout this year’s conference by pervious speakers. 3-4.412On the question of the oneness of the covenant of grace despite differences in its administration, see Calvin’s Institutes, Book II, Chapters 10 and 11.413See above, p. 187.414Kingdom, p. 170.415Note, e.g., 1:18 and 2:10. The Hebrew term qhl, commonly rendered ekklsia in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible), is applied to Israel in the Old Testament.437 To give just a few examples, we find the word qhl used of the assembly or congregation of Israel in Exodus 12:6, Numbers 14:5, Deuteronomy 5:22, Joshua 8:35, Ezra 2:64, and Joel 2:16. We see, therefore, in these Old Testament prophecies inspiring anticipations of the glorious visions of Revelation 21 and 22. Some dispensationalists hold that "those who belong to Christ," as mentioned in I Corinthians 15:23, include believers who are raised after the tribulation; 439 even these interpreters, however, still expect a resurrection of millennial saints at the end of the thousand years. My departure from Premillennialism was gradual and came as a result of two discoveries as I studied Scripture. To the same effect are the following words from I Peter 1:10-11, "Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow" (NIV). 2:14), that God has reconciled Jews and Gentiles to himself in one body through the cross of Christ (2:16), and that therefore believing Gentiles now belong to the same household of God to which believing Jews belong (2:19). From The Bible and the Future by Anthony A. Hoekema. As a system, dispensationalism is rooted in the writings of John Nelson Darby (1800–1882) and the Brethren Movement. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." 1 Cor. The New Scofield Bible heading above verse 17 reads "New heavens and new earth." . I would suggest that the historic premil. The closing chapters of the book of Revelation, in fact, echo Ezekiel's vision. Again we see the identification of the New Testament church as the true Israel, and of its members as the true heirs of the promise made to Abraham.The words Zion and Jerusalem are commonly used in the Old Testament to stand for one of the hills on which Jerusalem stood, the capital city of the Israelites, or the people of Israel as a whole. Furthermore, the second of these two, ‘and then’, is used alone in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 to express an immediate sequence of events. We may very well agree with dispensationalists that the glorious vision found in the rest of this chapter points to a future far beyond that of the return from Babylon. First, I devoted myself to a thorough examination of what the NT said would occur at the time of Christ’s second coming (or Parousia). See NSB, pp. Dispensationalists find evidence for Christ's future millennial reign in a great many Old Testament passages. When the passage is so understood, "the Israel of God" is a further description of "all who follow this rule"—that is, of all true believers, including both Jews and Gentiles, who constitute the New Testament church. Dispensational Premillennialism: The Dispensationalist Era. Problems With Dispensationalism - Free download as PDF File (.pdf) or read online for free. ), or in a later return under Ezra (in 458 B.C. War is not totally banished from that dispensation, since there will still be a final onslaught against the camp of the saints. For in the parable, after the virgins who were ready went into the marriage feast, the door was shut, leaving no opportunity for others to enter later. All thought of a separate purpose for believing Jews is here excluded. one passage in Paul which may refer to an interim kingdom if not a millennium. As a matter of fact, the New Testament itself often interprets expressions relating to Israel in such a way as to apply them to the New Testament church, which includes both Jews and Gentiles.Let us look at three of these concepts. I have found in him no crime deserving death" (Luke 23:22). Some major difficulties with the doctrine of an earthly millennial reign after the return of Christ have been mentioned previously, in connection with the discussion of historic premillennialism. Some did believe on him and became his disciples. One of the problems in theology today is that many people who refer to dispensationalism do not adequately understand its roots, and therefore they dismiss it without giving it due … No longer are the Old Testament Jews God's holy nation—the entire church must now be so called.417 No longer is Israel by itself "a people for God's possession"—these words must now be applied to the entire New Testament church. Certainly, also, the "new Jerusalem" which John sees "coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Rev. The problem with this dispensationalist answer, however, is that one must then, because of the demands of the dispensational scheme, disregard what the New Testament says about the removal of the wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles. Appeal is then made particularly to verses 25 through 27. Assyria is mentioned first since Isaiah may well have written these words after the Northern Kingdom had been deported to Assyria in 721 B.C. Consider, for example, what Paul said to the Jews gathered in the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia: "And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus.... And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he spoke in this way, 'I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.' First, it is not correct to give the impression that all the Jews of Jesus' day rejected the kingdom he offered them. The headings of the New Scofield Bible once again apply this prophecy to the restoration of Israel to its land during the millennium. According to dispensational teaching, the purpose of the earthly millennial reign of Christ is to fulfill hitherto unfulfilled promises to Israel, to restore the Israelites to their land as a nation, and in that land to give Israelites a place of exaltation above non-Israelites. Suppose, however, he had been accepted by most of the Jews as their king, would it not seem that his humiliating journey to the cross would never have been made?Charles C. Ryrie, a dispensationalist writer, discusses this objection on pages 161-168 of his book, Dispensationalism Today. According to the dispensationalist position, further, resurrected saints will play only an incidental role in the millennium. Problems for Premillennialism. Similarly, I see some major issues with other options, including postmillennialism, preterism, and historical premillennialism. The heading over this section in the New Scofield Bible is: "How Christ will set up the kingdom." In verse 9 Peter answers this objection with these words, "The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." When Christ returns, a rapture of the living and the dead leads to the resurrection transformation of all believers and their uninterrupted and undisturbed communion with the Lord from that day forward (1 Thess. Political corruption, pornography, alcohol abuse, the rise of monopolies, labor unrest, the desecration of the Lord’s Day by immigrants, worldliness in the church, … But the question is: Must all these details be literally understood and literally applied to the millennial age?The biggest difficulty with taking these details literally is occasioned by the animal sacrifices. 490.429Ibid., p. 561.430We may therefore see in this prophetic passage a prediction of the glorious future of God’s people on the new earth.431Note also that it is not Christ who is said to “return” but God, since Amos is speaking about the action of God.432A fuller development of Scriptural teachings on the new earth will be given in Chapter 20.433It is not correct to say, as dispensationalists often accuse amillennialists of saying, that the kingdom Jesus offered and established was only spiritual. Thus, treating the ‘coming’ of Christ and the ‘end’ in 1 Corinthians 15:23—26 as events that are closely connected, or even conjoined, is in keeping with the ordinary pattern found in the New Testament. But dispensationalists sepa… 4:13—18). 3:13, Rom. 56 pp. Is Isaiah telling us here that there will be death on the new earth? The concept of the new earth is therefore of great importance for the proper approach to Old Testament prophecy. In the early church, premillennialism was called chiliasm, from the Greek term meaning 1,000, a word used six times in Revelation 20:2-7.This view is most often … In Genesis 22:18 the thought of the seed is added: "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (ASV). The following quotations are introduced to bring some of the main points into focus: (5) Dispensational teaching about the postponement of the kingdom is not supported by Scripture. Obviously, this prophecy was fulfilled in the immediate future in the birth of a child as a sign to King Ahaz (see the entire paragraph, vv. To insist that James is speaking here about a literal future millennial restoration of Israel is to miss the point of his words.Here, then, we find the New Testament itself interpreting an Old Testament prophecy about the restoration of Israel in a nonliteral way. There is one type of premillennialism that is non-dispensational. Earlier it was shown, however,440 that no distinction should be made between a coming of Christ for his saints and a coming of Christ with his saints. It is significant that in chapter 25:8 Isaiah clearly predicts that there will be no death for the people of God in the final state, tying in this prediction with the promise that there will be no tears: "He [the Lord of hosts] will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces...."In the light of the foregoing I conclude that Isaiah in verse 20 of chapter 65 is picturing in figurative terms the fact that the inhabitants of the new earth will live incalculably long lives. 191-92.451See J. F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Chicago: Moody, 1966), pp. They must be understood as inspired descriptions of the glorious new earth God is preparing for his people.424(4) The Bible does not teach a millennial restoration of the Jews to their land. My departure from Premillennialism was gradual and came as a result of two discoveries as I studied Scripture. According to the gospel narrative, Christ was brought to the cross because of the enmity and bitter hatred of the Jews, particularly of their religious leaders. Though a number of arguments are offered for a premillennial return of Christ, two biblical passages are often cited in support of it. If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. 164-71.408See above, pp. In Ephesians 2:11-22 Paul shows that God has made Gentiles and Jews fellow-members of the household of God, having removed the wall of hostility (or partition) which was between them; the entire discussion, however, would be pointless if Paul was not making a distinction between Jews and Gentiles.The fact, however, that the New Testament often speaks of Jews in distinction from Gentiles does not at all imply that God has a separate purpose for Israel in distinction from his purpose for the church, as dispensationalists maintain. "This passage, therefore, does not need to be interpreted as describing the millennium, but makes good sense when understood to be an inspired picture of the new earth which is to come. Amos was referring to a time which was future to him, not necessarily to an event as far distant as the Second Coming. Try writing a serious inquiry about doctrinal problems to the formerly strong dispensational seminaries today. Boyd, A Dispensational Premillennial Analysis of the Eschatology of the Post-Apostolic Fathers (Until the Death of Justin Martyr), 92. In the first two clauses of the verse he tells us that on this new earth there will be no infant mortality, and that older people will not die before they have completed their life tasks (in other words, will not be snatched away prematurely, as is often the case on the present earth). When James says, "And with this the words of the prophets agree," is he referring to prophetic words about an event which is still thousands of years away? The future of Israel is not to be seen in terms of a political kingdom in Palestine lasting a thousand years, but in terms of everlasting blessedness shared with all the people of God on a glorified new earth. Mic. In the book of Romans Paul frequently uses the expression, "to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (1:16; 2:9, 10; cf. Was man not tested by God at the very beginning, in the Garden of Eden? (6) Dispensational teaching about the parenthesis church is not supported by Scripture. Obviously, all those who are new creatures in Christ, for whom neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything. It may well be that other such prophecies should also be figuratively interpreted. and then’ used by the Apostle Paul can express a sequence in which a period of time could intervene, this requires an unnatural reading of this passage for several reasons. The words "a chosen race" are applied in Isaiah 43:20 to the people of Israel. Though only regenerate people are living on the earth at the beginning of the millennium, a great many of the descendants of these people will be converted during the millennium. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.’ The adverbs translated ‘then’ are epeita, eita, which denote a sequence: ‘after that’. The main premise of premillennialism is that Jesus will literally return to the earth before (pre) the millennium begins and that He himself will inaugurate and rule over it. The fact that Jeremiah himself specifically mentions the return from Babylonian captivity in a later chapter supports the claim that this is the return he is predicting in chapter 23: "For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place" (Jer. However, I don’t see any of these positions as being deal-breakers in the Christian faith. Malachi clearly predicts the worship of Israel's God by the Gentiles: "For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations (or Gentiles, ASV), and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts" (1:11). This teaching must be challenged on at least three points. What we have here is a prediction that Israel, after having been planted upon its land, shall never again be plucked up out of it. When Christ is revealed, the end will come and the believer’s need to persevere in hope will conclude (cf. When the foolish virgins try later to enter the marriage feast, the bridegroom says to them, "Truly, I say to you, I do not know you" (Matt. The idea of the "parenthesis church" implies a kind of dichotomy in God's redemptive work, as if he has a separate purpose with Jews and Gentiles. 25:12).Most interpreters agree that the virgins in the parable stand for all those who profess to be waiting for Christ to return; in other words, for all who appear to be members of Christ's church. Rather than teaching that the return of Christ will bring a provisional phase of God’s kingdom, the millennium, which itself will be surpassed in the final state of God’s eternal kingdom, the New Testament teaches that Christ’s return will introduce the final state of new heavens and a new earth (2 Pet. Second, we will evaluate the appeal to 1 Corinthians 15:23—26. It is therefore not true that Christ postponed the kingdom when he was on earth. 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