Dispensational Sleight of Hand

Dispensational

Dispensationalists claim to view scripture literally. This is often contrary to the manner in which the Apostles viewed the Old Testament. I’m not suggesting we have the authority of the Apostles to take scripture and spiritualize it as they often did, rather, I hope to view scripture in the way it was intended to be understood. Dispensationalists and Amillennialist both agree on the historical-grammatical method of understanding scripture but we differ on how to gleam the “literal meaning” of scripture. A good example of a forced and therefore false literalism can be found in the differing interpretations of the eschatological Temple mentioned in Ezekiel and Revelation. To gain some idea of how the Dispensationalist forces a meaning on scripture considering Amos 9 and Acts 15.

We read, “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:” (Amos 9.9-11)

At first glance it might might conclude with the Dispensationalist that a some point in the future a Temple will be rebuilt. If we use a historical-grammatical method of interpretation, without considering the New Testament, we miss the meaning of these verses. Most eschatological positions do not force the interpretation of this passage, pick up commentaries by 17th century Premillennialists or Postmillennialists and you’ll see they look to the New Testament as the final interpreter of the Old. For a New Testament understanding we read the words of Peter who reinterprets the verse in light of the work of Christ on the cross.

“And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:” (Acts 15.16)

In this passage we see Peter applying the Old Testament prophecy of a future Temple to the Church. The Tabernacle of David is the church according to the Apostle Peter which is contrary to the Dispensationalist position. If we use a historical-grammatical method we must conclude that Peter meant what was recorded in scripture. Peter spiritualized the old prophecy and applied it to the church. We find Peter, literally calling the church “the tabernacle of David!” Peter does this under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and we must accept Peter’s reinterpretation of the prophecy. We find this spiritualizing tendency in the epistles as well.

“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Eph. 2.20-22)

The Church is called the “holy temple of the Lord.”

Peter states again, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2.5)

To look for the physical shadow or type when it has been fulfilled denies the centrality of Christ and is called in the New Testament “carnal.” Paul weights in.

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” (2 Cor. 4 & 5)

Under the old Mosaic Covenant of Works the tabernacle or Temple was the dwelling place of God. Israel had to attend to the lawful worship of God at the Temple. Believers in the New Covenant of Grace have the indwelling of the Spirit, and a new heart, which is why Peter refers to the body as the tabernacle.

“Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.”

Ezekiel has a few BIG passages used by Dispensationalists to force the old covenant type or shadow upon the New Covenant meaning given by Spirit to the Apostles. Let me point out how quickly the Dispensationalist abandons the so-called “literal” meaning when it comes to Eze. 43.19.

We read, “And thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that be of the seed of Zadok, which approach unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord God, a young bullock for a sin offering.”

This verse is found in the often cited portion of Ezekiel that Dispensationalists believe foretells a future rebuilt Temple but this future Temple will return to offering sacrifices for sin. To the credit of most Dispensationalists they abandoned their pretension to “literalism” and claim the sin offer is not really a sin offering but rather a memorial or commemoration of the sacrifice of Christ. This is a “shoe horn method” of reading scripture where we find nothing in the passage that would indicate the need to insert ideas of memorials or commemoration but yet the Dispensationalist applies a “shoe horn” to slip in ideas, verses or meanings not found in the text. And they do so to avoid adding to the finished work of Christ. Amen. Is it a tenable position? Or course not. The sacrificial system was said to “decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Heb. 8.13) and it did with the destruction of the Temple in ad 70. The Dispensationalist would have Israel, at some future date, return to this Old Covenant ignoring what the Apostles had to say on the matter.

Christ’s death put away any need for Old Covenant types and shadows. (see Hebrews 9 & 10) Paul goes further to state that the old system was “a shadow of things to come” (Col. 2.17) and old system was a “shadow of heavenly things…” (Heb. 8.5) If we read these cited passages using a historical-grammitical method, trying to gain a literal meaning from the authors, we find the Dispensationalist is engaging in a sleight of hand.

Read the passages for yourself.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

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Reformed Historicism

faJust a heads up – you can join a Reformed Historicist study group on Facebook if you’re interested in Protestant eschatology.

“This is a group for sharing resources and discussing the Historicist interpretation of the book of Revelation. This group is not for those who adhere to premillennialism or are outside of confessional Reformed Protestantism.”

à Brakel: Commentary on Revelation

https://theoldguys.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/wilhelmus-a-brakel-1.jpeg?w=490The LORD hath said unto me, Thou are my Son, this day have I begotten thee.     Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

“Wilhelmus à Brakel, a contemporary of Voetius and Witsius, was a major representative of the Dutch Further Reformation. This movement was contemporaneous with and greatly influenced by English Puritanism.” Wikipedia

Born: January 2, 1635, Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Died: October 30, 1711, Rotterdam, Netherlands

TO ORDER THE ENGLISH COMMENTARY OF REVELATION BOOK ONLINE:

https://www.createspace.com/6066755 – Softbound version for sale

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CJ2CUNG – Digital version for sale

Online class – The Theology of Wilhelmus a’Brakel

 

A Brief Outline: Postmil

postmilFrancis Nigel Lee writes:

The order of these prophesied events, is clear. That, in turn, helps us better to understand their character. After first understanding when, we can better understand what.

First, Jerusalem would fall to the (Roman) Gentiles in 70 A.D. At that time, the Judaists would largely be annihilated.

Second, that would be followed by the “time of the Gentiles.” During this time — as we are informed elsewhere in Scripture (Rom 11:25) — the “fullness of the Gentiles” comes into Membership of the Christian Church, while part of the Judaists alias ethnic Israel remains spiritually blinded.

Third, this treading down of Jerusalem by Gentiles would terminate when “the times of the Gentiles” would be fulfilled. This fulfilment will take place, when the Deliverer Jesus Christ will be preached with great success by the largely-Gentile Christians alias the true Zion. Thus the Church preaches Christ also to ethnic Israel alias the unconverted Jews — and increasingly so. In this way, Christ “shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob” alias ethnic Israel (Rom 11:25f) — and christianize also the Jewish Nation.

Fourth, this conversion of the Jews as a People will then be followed by a time of universal blessing – in Christ for both Gentiles and Jews. During that time, “all Israel shall be saved” — that is, both Jews and Gentiles. “For God has concluded them all in unbelief, so that He might [in the future] have mercy upon all [Jews and Gentiles].” (Rom 11:30-32)

Fifth, this will then ultimately be followed by the end of World History. For “then shall they see the Son of man coming on a cloud — with power and great glory.” (Luke 21:27) O Christian, the Kingdom of God shall yet be extended to both Gentiles and Jews! Even hardened ethnic Israel shall yet be saved! For God shall “have mercy upon all!” Luke 21:24f cf. Romans 11:23-32.

After 70 A.D., the Gospel would unfold ever more widely and powerfully — and ultimately be promulgated to all the Nations in the World. Also before but especially after the destruction of the wicked Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Son of man sends forth His Angel-Messengers like the sound of a great trumpet to gather His elect from the four corners of the Earth. Matthew 24:30-35 & 26:64 cf. Psalm 22:27 & Isaiah 45:22f & Revelation 14:6f.

For the Gospel gradually subdues the raging seas of the Heathen Nations, and will finally cause their Leaders to fall down from their pagan heights before Jesus — like shooting stars. Gradually, the Gospel thus makes wars to cease, and international peace to increase. (Mark 13:24f, per contra 14:4-14)

Do you pray against Antichrist?

spurgeon004“It is the bounden duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist, and as to what Antichrist is no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not the popery in the Church of Rome there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name. If there were to be issued a hue and cry for Antichrist, we should certainly take up this church on suspicion, and it would certainly not be let loose again, for it so exactly answers the description.”

The Love of God

luther

28. The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it.

“The second part is clear and is accepted by all philosophers and theologians, for the object of love is its cause, assuming, according to Aristotle, that all power of the soul is passive and material and active only in receiving something. Thus it is also demonstrated that Aristotle’s philosophy is contrary to theology since in all things it seeks those things which are its own and receives rather than gives something good. The first part is clear because the love of God which lives in man loves sinners, evil persons, fools, and weaklings in order to make them righteous, good, wise, and strong. Rather than seeking its own good, the love of God flows forth and bestows good. Therefore sinners are »attractive« because they are loved; they are not loved because they are »attractive«: For this reason the love of man avoids sinners and evil persons. Thus Christ says: »For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners« (Matt. 9:13). This is the love of the cross, born of the cross, which turns in the direction where it does not find good which it may enjoy, but where it may confer good upon the bad and needy person. »It is more blessed to give than to receive« (Acts 20:35), says the Apostle. Hence Ps. 41:1 states, »Blessed is he who considers the poor,« for the intellect cannot by nature comprehend an object which does not exist, that is the poor and needy person, but only a thing which does exist, that is the true and good. Therefore it judges according to appearances, is a respecter of persons, and judges according to that which can be seen, etc.” Martin Luther, The Heidelberg Disputation