Leave a comment

Three American friends hospitalised after Playing Ouija board game

Though we can’t claim to know if this story is true or not, we do know the bible warns about seeking to communicate with the dead, ‘familiar spirits’, or the spirit world in general. God would not warn against it, if there was no danger in doing so.

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD… (Deuteronomy 18)

‘Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.’ (Leviticus 19)

Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse. (1 Chronicles 10)

As satan can masquerade as an ‘angel of light’ it stands to reason demons can also. When dabbling in such practices as is mentioned in this news article, it is practicing witchcraft, plain and simple, and we are flinging the door wide-open to demons and inviting deception into our lives.

The Word lists witchcraft as an ‘act (or work) of the flesh’ which if practiced, will prohibit us from inheriting the Kingdom of God, – “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God”

Full story at: UK DailyMail

Three American friends have been taken to hospital after reportedly becoming ‘possessed’ by evil spirits while playing with a Ouija board.

Alexandra Huerta, 22, was playing the game with her brother Sergio, 23, and 18-year-old cousin Fernando Cuevas at a house in the village of San Juan Tlacotenco in south-west Mexico.
But minutes into it, she apparently started ‘growling’ and thrashing around in a ‘trance-like’ state.

‘They had involuntary movements and it was difficult to transfer them to the nearest hospital because they were so erratic.

‘It appeared as if they were in a trance-like state, apparently after playing with the Ouija board. They spoke of feeling numbness, double vision, blindness, deafness, hallucinations, muscle spasm and difficulty swallowing.’

He added that whether the trio were really possessed, or had simply convinced themselves that they were, was not for doctors to comment on.

2 Comments

Jerome, Augustine, and the Fall of Rome: An Object Lesson for American Christians

An excellent message from Kim Riddlebarger. I encourage you to follow the link at the end of the intro… 

When an alien spaceship destroyed the White House in the 1993 science fiction film Independence Day, I’m told that pre-9/11 moviegoers were not horrified at the possibility and that some even cheered (perhaps because they were a bit cynical about the current occupant of the Oval Office). As the world’s lone superpower, we believe there is no nation on earth that would dare invade our nation and occupy our territory. While terrorists may do great damage and cause huge loss of life (as they have done), from a strategic point of view, a terrorist strike is of little consequence when it comes to challenging the military and economic might of the United States. At this point in our history, the fall of the American Republic to a foreign adversary (space aliens aside) is unthinkable. Similarly, the citizens of the Roman Empire once thought themselves invincible and therefore safe from invasion….

The purpose of this essay is to briefly consider how the Fall of Rome provoked different reactions from two prominent church fathers living at the time: St. Jerome and St. Augustine. Their response to Rome’s fall serves as an object lesson for many American Christians, who may see the health and success of the American Republic as in some way connected to the success and vitality of the kingdom of God.

See, Jerome, Augustine and the Fall of Rome

Leave a comment

An Examination of Dispensationalism by William E. Cox – Conclusion/Summary

My hope is those interested in Church History have gained or benefited from this series. If like me, you are interested in knowing where (and when) many of the doctrines we have been taught originated from and if they are really based upon the Word of God or came from the mind or imagination of man.

This last section concludes the examination of one of the more popular forms of theology taught in the West-Dispensationalism. No article, or even series can cover everything, but William E. Cox, in my opinion, has done a fairly good job of explaining the more popular doctrines surrounding dispensationalism. I chose his writing on the topic not only for that reason but also because, like myself, he adhered to the teachings for many years. In other words he isn’t someone critiquing the various teachings and doctrines as an “outsider”–but as one who knows personally, of what he writes about. I also appreciated that William Cox did not just offer opinions, but proved everything by including many references to God’s Word. If this series promoted anything, let it be to encourage us to be as those in Thessalonica who, “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so”.

See: Part (1) - Part (2) - Part (3)  - Part (4)

*Previous Closing words to part (4) –  The coming of Shiloh (Messiah) was longingly looked for by all the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament period. In John 8:56 our Lord reminded the unbelieving Jews that Abraham had prophesied the first advent: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.” To apply this verse to the second coming of Christ is to completely ignore the context in which it was spoken.

National Israel was characterized by three thing: nationality, law, and circumcision. Again these were for a limited time only. These were shadows or types of our Lord’s earthly ministry and the church. A statement by Phillip Mauro (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 81) shed slight on this fact.

It is appropriate here to point out that one of the glaring errors of “dispensational teaching” is the failure to recognize what the New Testament plainly reveals, namely that names which God temporarily gave to the shadowy and typical things on the Old Covenant, belong properly and eternally to the corresponding realities of the New Covenant. Thus we are given the proper meaning of “Jew” (Rom. 2:28, 29); “Israel” (Rom. 9:6; Gal. 6:16); “Jerusalem” (Gal. 4:26); Seed of Abraham” (Gal. 3:29); “Sion” (1 Peter 2:6; Heb. 12:22; Rom. 9:23). Likewise it is made known that according to the New Covenant meaning, “the tribes of Jacob” are those who are Jews inwardly, that is to say, the entire household of faith (James 1:1; Acts 26:7).

Shiloh came nearly two thousand years ago, took over the scepter from national Israel, and began his reign in the hearts of his people. At that time the types faded in the pure light of the Substance to which they had pointed. Although the unbelieving part of Israel still held on to the shadows of nationality, law, and circumcision, the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16) condemned their continuance (Romans 6:14; 7:4; 10:4; Galatians 3:23-26; 4:9-11; 5:6). Having become the great Antitype of national Israel, the law, circumcision (Romans 2:28-29; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11), and the prophets, our Lord formed the believing part of Israel (Romans 11:5) into the Christian church. Nor was this an impulsive innovation; it was fulfillment of that which had been in the eternal plan of God (Compare Gen. 12:3; 22:18; Gal. 3:7-9, 14, 16, 27-29; Eph. 3:4-6).

THE CHURCH (Continued)

Some are troubled by the fact that some of these Old Testament promises were eternal, yet ceased to be in effect. The Bible is its own interpreter. That is, we arrive at the meaning of any passage by a comparison of Scripture with Scripture. Looking at the Old Testament use of the word “eternal” one finds that it must be interpreted according to the radius of time being dwelt with. An eternal priestly promise was in effect just as long as the priesthood existed; a legal eternal promise was in effect only so long as the law was in effect; an eternal promise to national Israel was in effect just as long as God dealt with Israel as a nation; an eternal promise with reference to the temple was binding upon God until the very second the temple ceased to exist; an eternal promise given under the old covenant was in effect during the entire life of the old covenant. Theological pandemonium has grown out of the attempt to make promises made under the law binding upon God long after the law has served it purpose in God’s program.

Perhaps an illustration might help at this point. Let us say that a nation is on the gold standard and promises to stand behind its money forever. Then let us say that nation, by an act of congress, decides to change its money system. It is no longer on the gold standard, but is now using a completely different system of exchange. Gold may suddenly become worthless. Confederate money after the Civil War well illustrates this point.

The writer had the experience of serving with a tank battalion during World War II. During the Hitler regime the mark was the standard money in Germany. However, after the defeat o Hitler the money was completely changed by the Allies. Our soldiers went into many bombed-out banks after the Nazi surrendered. Many a soldier found bills which under Hitler’s rule would have been worth thousands of marks. Now the soldier had a nice souvenir, but it was worthless. Why? Because new money had been printed. So with most eternal promises of the Old Testament. With the close of the Old Testament, God’s program moved into the entirely different era.

Old Testament promises were eternal or everlasting for the duration of the time God decreed to use a given method of dealing with his people. The duration usually was known to God alone. Israel’s national promises were given during the period of the law and were eternal so long as the law was in effect. With the coming of Christ into the world, the period covered by the promises came to an end, and, therefore, the promises are no longer binding upon God. Paul speaks in II Corinthians 3:13-18 of the non-eternality of the law, and says in verse 14 that it is done away in Christ.

In ii Chronicles 7:16 it is recorded that God promised to live in Solomon’s house forever; yet that house was destroyed and does not exist today. Did God break his promise? No, “forever” meant for as long as the house stood.

The same is true with reference to the priesthood as instituted during the Old Testament ear. In many passages, of which Exodus 40:15 and Numbers 25:13 are examples, we are told that the house of Aaron constituted an everlasting priesthood. All Protestant Christians are agreed that the old priesthood came to an end and was replaced by Jesus, who became our High Priest. The book of Hebrews makes this fact quite clear. So that the priesthood of law was everlasting only as long as the law was in effect.

In dealing with Genesis 13:15, which reads, “For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever,” Adam Clarke (Clarke’s Commentary, Vol. I, p. 99) says:

…and this was always the design of God, not that Abram himself should possess it, but that his posterity would, till the manifestation of Christ in the flesh. And this is chiefly what is to be understood by the words for ever, ad olam, to the end of the present dispensation, and the commencement of the new. Olam means either eternity, which implies the termination of celestial luminaries; or a hidden, unknown, period, such as includes a completion or final termination, of a particular era, dispensation, etc.: therefore, the first is its proper meaning, the later its accommodated meaning.

In dealing with Genesis 17:8, which reads: “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God,” Clarke has this comment:

Here olam appears to be used in its accommodated meaning, and signifies the completion of the Divine counsel in reference to a particular period or dispensation. And it is literally true that the Israelites possessed the land of Canaan till the Mosaic dispensation was terminated in the complete introduction of that gospel … (Clarke’s Commentary, Vol. I, p. 114)

There is a sense in which every eternal or everlasting promise never comes to an end. This is in fact the true sense in which these words are used throughout the Bible. If this proper sense were understood, many of our differences would immediately clear up. We refer to the fact that most if not all promises, covenants, ordinances, etc., of the Bible have different forms through which they pass. The all-wise God who gave them knew of these forms at the time he inspired his writers to use the words “eternal,” “everlasting,” “forever.” While every form has its “end,” the actuality, of which the form is only one phase, never ends.

Illustrations could be picked at random of everlasting things instituted by God which have passed through different forms, each form having its definite end. Among such illustrations might be listed: law, Sabbath, circumcision, kingdom, priesthood, the Israel of God. These by no means exhaust the list, but certainly they are among the more pronounced scriptural examples of the point being made. Each illustration listed; law, Sabbath, circumcision, kingdom, priesthood, God’s chosen people, was definitely instituted and pronounced by God himself to be eternal. Each illustration listed has gone through developments (forms); and, while the realities themselves remain, in new form, the developments have long since ceased to exist.

The forms through which these everlasting things develop are essentially three in number: (1) from their inception until the first advent of Christ; (2) from that advent (at which time each one developed into a much higher form) until the second coming of Christ to earth; (3) from that second coming (which is yet future) they will be developed into the Eternal State which will have no end.

Viewing the entire Bible, while keeping in mind Paul’s warning that the letter kills, while the spirit gives life, three definite points may be arrived at by way of concluding this chapter.

1. God made a two fold covenant with Abraham, the main references to this covenant being recorded in Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-21; 17:1-15; 22:1-19. This is called a two-fold covenant because most of it involves believers from all nations, (compare Genesis 12:3, 22:18 with Galatians 3:7-9, 14, 16, 27-29). While a part of it was fulfilled in national Israel, the main parts of this covenant were spiritual and were ordained to include believers from every nation, including national Israel. Note that Israel was not even born at the time the Abrahamic covenant was first made.

2. To implement his plans God arbitrarily chose Israel to be his peculiar people only until the first advent of Christ (Genesis 49:10). The Abrahamic covenant was renewed with Israel at Sinai. This was not a separate covenant of works, but was the same covenant which had been given to Abraham, renewed with Isaac, Jacob and now with Moses at Sinai. At Sinai Israel was also given conditional promises which applied to her alone and were to be in effect only until the coming of the church. By the time the church was established at Pentecost, all these national promises had been either literally fulfilled or invalidated through unbelief and disobedience. For a biblical account of these fulfillments see my book, The New-Covenant Israel (Read Galatians 3:17, 19, 24).

3. Our Lord at his first advent (particularly through the death, burial, and resurrection) fulfilled the promises to national Israel and became their Deliverer (Luke 1:30-33, 76, 77; 2:25, 30). HE was pointed to as the One through whom the Abrahamic covenant was to have its main fulfillment (Read Galatians 3:16).

He came as a Deliverer out of Zion (Romans 11:26) and all believing Jews (the remnant spoken of in Romans 11:5) were given power to become the sons of God. As many as received this opportunity, and indeed all who shall receive it during this present age, were formed into the Christian church which is the apex of all Jesus’ suffering (Ephesians 1:20-23). Believers from every nation, including Israel, are being saved and brought into the church in fulfillment of Genesis 12:3; 22:18, and other such passages.

This gathering will continue until our Lord returns to claim his vineyard which he has entrusted to disciples.

Envision for a moment the marshalling together of the church fathers, all the great Reformers, most of the outstanding contemporaries of J.N. Darby, and all the great theologians who labored to produce our Bible commentaries. If such a marshalling were possible, all these we have mentioned would line up with Paul and all the other apostles in condemning any teaching which makes the church a mere parenthesis. These men would say that the church for which our Lord bled and died was the very apex (as the body of Christ) of all God’s planning. They would say, with Darby and Scofield, that national Israel was a type of the Christian church; then they would go on to the only logical conclusion, i.e., that all types have their antitype or fulfillment, and that the church, as the body of Christ, is the embodiment of all that national Israel typified.

A SUMMARY

Dispensationalists begin by clearing the board of all opinions except their own; they dismiss as useless and false all historic interpretations. Next they divide the human race and the Bible into three distinct groups (this is convenient since any scripture which would otherwise refute their interpretation can be relegated to another “division” of Scripture). They add many arbitrary elements which are not supported by the Scriptures, such as extra captivities, extra kingdoms, extra covenants, extra judgments, extra ages, and so on and on. All of these stand or fall together. To disprove one of these premises is to collapse the entire theory.

Their cardinal teachings could be grouped into two main areas: the area of prophecy and the area of the church: Their major interest in prophetic teachings has to do with the prophecies concerning national Israel; most of these they hold to be yet future. With reference to the church, they make it a separate entity from national Israel and believe there are two separate plans for the two groups. Historic Christian theologians have held, as do the great majority of Christian thinkers today, that the nation of Israel was a type while the church is the antitype. That is to say that, rather than being two separate entities, one is a fulfillment or continuation of the other.

Darbyism (dispensationalism) is an unproved inference, which will not stand up under a close scrutiny of the Scriptures. Like many other movements within the history of Christianity this theory met with a widespread response because it struck out against apostasy. As one studies the history of this movement, one will find that there was a dearth of prophetic teaching when the Brethren movement originated about 1825 A.D. There also seems to have been a modernistic attempt to play down or deny completely the second coming of our Lord. This being the case, devout people grabbed quickly at a movement which filled this gap by emphasizing the second coming and a study of prophesy. This same situation explains the wide acceptance of the Scofield Reference Bible. Scofield, although not a Plymouth Brethren, was a devout disciple of John Darby.

Like most movements, this one, which was dominated by Darby and later by Scofield, brought with it some unscriptural teachings. When there is a hunger on the part of the constituents for a certain type of legislation, it is all too easy for them to ignore undesirable “riders” attached to the bill, and, in their haste, to support more than they thought. This seems to have been the case with dispensational beliefs. Because of the great natural hunger on the part of many people for a return to prophetic teachings, many fascinating “riders” were attached by men such as Darby, and a “package deal” was subscribed to. Our attempt today is to “hold fast to that which is good” about the Darbyite teachings but to smooth off the rough unscriptural edges.

Most conservatives today would not subscribe in toto to all the teachings of Luther, Calvin, the Pietists, the Separatists, the Puritans, or any other such individual or group in history. Yet we feel that each of these groups has made contributions and has done much to awaken the church out of lethargy at given times in history.

Our point is that we ought to give the Plymouth Brethren credit where credit is due, but that we ought to be willing to admit they too “were men like ourselves.” And we ought to be willing to hold their good points without being slaves to every jot and tittle of their doctrine. This will be hard for some to do, because many of these men, especially Scofield, have been almost literally canonized and it is considered by many to be sacrilegious to differ from them on a single point. Scofield’s footnotes have been placed within the canon of the Bible itself and he carries the same weight in the minds of some as does the apostle Paul! Many Protestants have fallen into the practice of the Roman Catholic church by having extra-biblical “canonized saints” who speak ex cathedra and are beyond any court of appeal.

Many men, however, have gone into the dispensational movement only to leave it after further examination because of these extra-biblical teachings which were foisted upon every member of that school of thought. These men are still firm believers in predictive prophecy and look for the literal second coming of Christ. They have not left the Bible; they have simply left Darbyism and Scofieldism. George E. Ladd lists many such men in his book, The Blessed Hope.

We look, longingly, for the Blessed Hope of all believers, i.e., the literal, bodily return of our Lord in glory. At that coming we expect all graves to be opened. All the wicked from every generation, along with the wicked then living, will be judged and cast into eternal torment. Taking part in the judgment will be the saints from all ages; for all believers will have been signaled by the trump of God (I Thess. 4:16, 17) to be caught up to meet the Bridegroom in the air. His royal train will not stop in mid-air, but he will “bring his saints with him” as he continues on to earth. Immediately after the cleansing judgment of all the earth, every believer, of every generation, will cast his crown at Christ’s feet as all believers enter into the Eternal State with him.

“Even so come, Lord Jesus.”

Source: The GOSPEL TRUTH - AN EXAMINATION OF DISPENSATIONALISM by William E. Cox

Leave a comment

An Examination of Dispensationalism by William E. Cox (4)

Part (4) in the series, Examining Dispensationalism by William E. Cox.

See: Part (1) - Part (2) - Part (3)

Source: The GOSPEL TRUTH

VII –  DISPENSATIONALIST BELIEFS AND THE CHURCH

With reference to the Christian church, dispensationalists believe it came into being as a result of the rejection of the alleged earthly kingdom. They teach that the church was kept hidden in the mind of God until he was ready to establish it. Although Jesus may have hinted at it, they say, it did not actually come into prominence until Paul began to preach “my gospel.” Dispensationalists teach that none of the Old Testament and in fact very little of the New Testament deals with the church.

We need to keep before the reader the dispensational belief that Israel and the church are two distinct bodies, that each has its separate plan in God’s program, and that each has a different destination. Israel is said to be an earthly covenant people while the church is said to be a heavenly body. After the one-thousand years earthly reign (millennium) the church will be returned to heaven (from whence she will have come in order to reign in the millennium, in a lesser position than that held by Israel) while Israel will remain eternally on the earth. Chafer said (Dispensationalism, pp. 40, 41):

It should be observed that though Judaism and Christianity have much in common, they never merge the one into the other. Having each its own eschatology reaching on into eternity … The Word of God distinguishes between earth and heaven, even after they are created new. Similarly and as clearly it distinguishes between God’s consistent and eternal earthly purpose, which is the substance of Judaism; and His consistent and eternal heavenly purpose which is the substance of Christianity, and it is as illogical and fanciful to contend that Judaism and Christianity ever merge as it would be to contend that heaven and earth cease to exist as separate spheres.

How do dispensationalists maintain this distinction between Israel and the Christian church? They maintain it, to their own satisfaction, by holding to many premises never held by historic Christianity. Chafer makes a correct analysis of this fact in one of his books (Dispensationalism, p. 107):

At the beginning of this thesis it was stated that the doctrinal differences herein discussed are due to the fact that the two schools of interpretation involved stand on widely divergent premises. The dispensationalist believes that throughout the ages God is pursuing two distinct purposes: one related to the earth with earthly people and earthly objectives involved, while the other is related to heaven with heavenly people and heavenly objectives involved, which is Christianity.

Dispensationalists teach that the present “church age” was not revealed to the Old Testament writers. Therefore, the prophets saw the two advents of Christ, but saw nothing intervening between these two comings. These two advents appeared to the prophets as mountain peaks. What they were not permitted to see, however, was that God had a valley (the present dispensation) planned in between these two “peaks.” Because this was so, say the dispensationalists, the prophets saw the two comings of our Lord blended together as though they were one. They go on to say that all prophecies which may appear to be referring to the first advent are in reality referring to the second coming. This was one of Darby’s “rediscovered truths” which had remained hidden from the great Reformers and all the great writers of Bible commentaries. Darby’s “rediscovered truths” on this subject is recorded for us in his book (The Hopes of the Church of God, p. 7):

… The greater part of the prophecies, and in a certain sense, we may say all the prophecies, will have their accomplishment at the expiration of the dispensation in which we are.

We have already shown that, according to dispensational teachings, people were offered salvation through the establishment of a millennial kingdom. Had this kingdom been established, the Jewish remnant would have carried out the Great Commission and most of the world’s population would have been converted through obedience to the law. The cross then would not have been necessary, according to this teaching. However, the kingdom was not accepted, and so, teach the dispensationalists, it was postponed until the millennium can be set up at the second coming. That postponement has already lasted nearly two thousand years! Now when the kingdom was postponed, its mode of salvation was of course also postponed. It was necessary for God to institute a temporary mode of salvation to be in effect during this temporary period. We have said that dispensationalism has separate plans for Israel and the church.

Lest this appear to be too sweeping a statement, let us go to the dispensationalists themselves for this teaching.

On page 1011, note 2, of the Scofield Bible the author labels the heading: “The new message of Jesus.” He has said that our Lord began his ministry with a message of the kingdom, at which time he made an offer to Israel of an earthly kingdom along with salvation by legal obedience. This having been rejected, says Scofield, Jesus began to preach a completely different gospel which now for the first time included a reference to the cross of Calvary. Scofield went on to say, concerning “the new message of Jesus,” that our Lord offers “not the kingdom, but rest and service” in his new message.

We have given many quotations to the effect that dispensationalists teach a plan of redemption, other than the cross, offered at the first advent, rejected, and to be renewed during the millennium. If that plan is not in effect today, and if people are being saved, then it stands to reason that they are being saved in some way other than that first offered by Jesus before he began his “new message.” The “new way” is the way of the cross, according to dispensationalists.

We quoted S.D. Gordon (Quiet Talks About Jesus, p. 114) to the effect that the crucifixion of Jesus was not in God’s plan of salvation, but rather that it was “conceived somewhere else,” and then “yielded to by God.” This, we have said, is the only logical conclusion to be drawn from dispensational teachings. Gordon went on to say (p. 118): “There is no cross in God’s plan of atonement.” This ties in logically with Scofield’s teaching concerning the “new message of Jesus.” The first message, they would say, had no cross in it.

This the Bible-believing Christian must brand as heresy of the worst sort. The New Testament teaches that the cross was foretold, and that it was foreordained before the foundation of the world. Our Lord, in predicting his death on the cross, said: “For this cause came I into the world.”

J.C. O’Hair, writing in The Great Blunder of the Church, said, repeatedly, that there was not a thimble-full of grace in the Synoptic Gospels. This was in line with the teaching that these Gospels were not addressed to Christians but are to take effect in the millennium, under Jews. Chafer said: “At this time (millennium) the King will rule with a rod of iron. There is no word of the cross or of grace in the kingdom teachings. (italics mine).

John Nelson Darby is quoted by Oswald T. Allis (Prophecy and the Church, p. 76) as follows: “Supposing for a moment that Christ had not been rejected, the kingdom would have been set up on the earth. It could not be so, no doubt, but it shows the difference between the kingdom and the church” (italics mine).

Darby says plainly here that the difference between the kingdom and the church is that the church needs the cross while the kingdom does not!

Chafer (Dispensationalism, p. 57) again attempts to show a distinction between the church and Israel. In speaking of eschatology he said:

Judaism has its eschatology reaching on into eternity with covenants and promises which are everlasting. On the other hand, Christianity has its eschatology which is different at every point. Some of these contrasts are:

THE FUTURE OF THIS LIFE. In the case of Israel, the thing to be desired was a long life “upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee,” whereas the Christian’s hope is the prospect of the imminent coming of Christ to take away His Church from the earth.

A serious problem arises here, it seems, in the dispensational plan for having Israel spend eternity in an earthly kingdom while Christians spend eternity in heaven. We refer to the dispensational teaching that Jesus will occupy the throne of David “forever”. Now they take this word “forever” always in its most literal sense; this would mean that our Lord could never cease to sit on that throne. Yet the Scriptures teach that a time will come when our Lord will give over the kingdom to the Father and “God will become all in all.” How could this be if Jesus were reigning on the throne of David forever?

Another facet of dispensational teaching concerning the church is that it is parenthetic, and is not the main project at hand. Rather, they say, the church was established by God in order to fill in the parenthesis between the time the kingdom was rejected and the time when it will be reinstituted. After the “parenthetic church age” is finished, then God will return to his first love, the Jewish program.

W.R. Newell, (Romans Verse by Verse, p. 335) gives the dispensational view on this point:

When we reflect that, after He has “caught up in the clouds” His Church saints our Lord is coming back to this earthly people Israel, and will establish them in their land, with a glorious millennial temple and order of worship, to which the Gentile nations must and will submit: then we see that the present time is altogether anomalous! It is a parenthesis, in which God is make a “visit” to the Gentiles, to “take out of them a people for His name”; after which, James tells us, our Lord “will Himself return, and build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen” (Acts 15:16), on Mount Zion, in Jerusalem, where David lived.

Please note that Newell offers no scriptural references for the major portion of this statement; also check the one verse he does use (Acts 15:16) and see that whereas Newell makes it future, James actually said that the scripture had already been fulfilled by the incident at the home of Cornelius.

Dispensationalists consistently quote the words “after this” as being future from James. A more careful reading of the passage, however, will show that James was quoting Amos 9:11 and that the words “after this” are not James’ words at all. Rather they are the words which James quotes from Amos. It was Amos, not James, who actually said that after Amos’ time God would rebuild the tabernacle. James ruled that the account given by Peter (read Acts 15:7-11 for this account) proved that Amos’ prophecy on the rebuilding of the “tabernacle” had been fulfilled in Peter’s presence (Acts 15:14, 15).

This is typical of dispensationalists at this point; rather than producing scriptural proof of their alleged parenthesis, they merely assume it in such a matter-of-fact manner that many people never think of questioning it. Chafer offers another example of this sort of reasoning (Dispensationalism, p. 34). He begins a long paragraph with the words:

“An extensive body of Scripture declares directly or indirectly that the present age is unforeseen and intercalary in its character and in it a new humanity appears on the earth with an incomparable new headship in the resurrected Christ, which company is being formed by the regenerating power of the Spirit.”

We must note here again that, while Chafer refers to an “extensive body of Scripture,” he lists not a single verse. Throughout the long paragraph, however, he mentions scriptures on other subjects being dealt with. The present writer has searched dispensational literature in vain for one verse of conclusive scripture dealing with a gap or parenthesis anywhere in God’s program.

Dispensationalist teaching on the church is one of so many doctrines where the wish is father to the thought; for the Bible simply will not bear out Darby’s “rediscovered truth.” While much of the New Testament could be used to refute this doctrine, one of Paul’s epistles alone will serve to undermine all dispensational teachings concerning the relationship between the church and national Israel.

One might think in terms of dispensationalism versus Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:

I. DISPENSATIONAL TEACHING: The church is a parenthesis, i.e., a temporary thing lying between God’s two dealings with national Israel.

PAUL’S EPHESIAN EPISTLE TEACHES: The church is the very body of Christ, and is therefore the fullness of God.

… the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all. (Eph. 1:22, 23)

II. DISPENSATIONAL TEACHING: The church is not even mentioned in the Old Testament.

PAUL’S EPHESIAN EPISTLE TEACHES: The church was mentioned in the Old Testament as early as Genesis 2:24. For Paul quotes the passage from Genesis 2:24, and then says that this verse was spoken concerning Christ and the church.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.” This is a great mystery, and I take it to mean Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:31, 32 RSV).

III. DISPENSATIONAL TEACHING: Israel and the church are separate bodies and are to remain so.

PAUL’S EPHESIAN EPISTLE TEACHES: God took two “men” (Israel’s believing remnant and Christian Gentiles) and made the two of them into one “man.” Now, therefore, there are no long two bodies, but one.

For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace; and might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby (Ephesians 2:14-16).

IV. DISPENSATIONAL TEACHING: National Israel will carry out God’s main purpose during a future millennial period.

PAUL’S EPHESIAN EPISTLE TEACHES: The church is God’s main instrument for carrying out his plans. This, the plan that the church would be the fullness of God (Eph. 1:23) was according to the eternal purpose of God, and has been realized in Christ Jesus.

To the intent that now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 3:10-11).

Both Darby and Scofield taught that Israel was a type of the church. They went on to teach, however, that the church was not prophesied in the Old Testament, and that the type was never meant to have a fulfillment. This is indeed difficult to reconcile, a type without an antitype. In fact it is the only such type in their entire system. All other types, they say, were fulfilled through Christ.

To say, as dispensationalists do, that the church is parenthetic while national Israel is the eternal “chosen people” of God is to violate an important rule of hermeneutics. This is to make the type more important than its antitype. Someone has well said that a shadow cannot cast a shadow. Israel was the shadow; the church is the substance. Abraham is the father of all the righteous; yet one must never lose sight of the fact that it is not through Abraham that one becomes righteous, but rather it is through Abraham’s Seed “which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16).

So instead of the church being a temporary thing in the plan of God while national Israel is the main piece on the chessboard, actually the opposite is true. National Israel was chosen as a channel for a limited time. In other words, national Israel was the parenthesis which dispensationalists class the church as being. Many scriptures, in the Old Testament as well as in the New, plainly state that Israel’s was a temporary role lasting only until the first coming of Christ. Indications that Messiah was to take over the scepter of Israel are given as early as the book of Genesis:

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be (Genesis 49:10).

The coming of Shiloh (Messiah) was longingly looked for by all the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament period. In John 8:56 our Lord reminded the unbelieving Jews that Abraham had prophesied the first advent: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.” To apply this verse to the second coming of Christ is to completely ignore the context in which it was spoken.

National Israel was characterized by three things; nationality, law, and circumcision. Again these were for a limited time only. These were shadows or types of our Lord’s earthly ministry and the church. A statement by Phillip Mauro (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 81) shed slight on this fact.

It is appropriate here to point out that one of the glaring errors of “dispensational teaching” is the failure to recognize what the New Testament plainly reveals, namely that names which God temporarily gave to the shadowy and typical things on the Old Covenant, belong properly and eternally to the corresponding realities of the New Covenant. Thus we are given the proper meaning of “Jew” (Rom. 2:28, 29); “Israel” (Rom. 9:6; Gal. 6:16); “Jerusalem” (Gal. 4:26); Seed of Abraham” (Gal. 3:29); “Sion” (1 Peter 2:6; Heb. 12:22; Rom. 9:23). Likewise it is made known that according to the New Covenant meaning, “the tribes of Jacob” are those who are Jews inwardly, that is to say, the entire household of faith (James 1:1; Acts 26:7).

Shiloh came nearly two thousand years ago, took over the scepter from national Israel, and began his reign in the hearts of his people. At that time the types faded in the pure light of the Substance to which they had pointed. Although the unbelieving part of Israel still held on to the shadows of nationality, law, and circumcision, the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16) condemned their continuance (Romans 6:14; 7:4; 10:4; Galatians 3:23-26; 4:9-11; 5:6). Having become the great Antitype of national Israel, the law, circumcision (Romans 2:28-29; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11), and the prophets, our Lord formed the believing part of Israel (Romans 11:5) into the Christian church. Nor was this an impulsive innovation; it was fulfillment of that which had been in the eternal plan of God (Compare Gen. 12:3; 22:18; Gal. 3:7-9, 14, 16, 27-29; Eph. 3:4-6).

Next, Conclusion and Summery. 

7 Comments

Open Letter to President G.W. Bush – 2003

Part of today was spent going through email, some of it a week old. One received over the last day or two was from Andrew Strom. It concerned a message written by Bryan Hupperts in 2003, shortly before the United States invaded Iraq. If you’re not familiar with Bryan Hupperts you can find a few old posts in which I shared a few of his messages here.

As Iraq is once again back in the news in a big way, I thought someone might find it of interest to read Bryan’s “open letter” to (then) President G.W. Bush. I’ll post it as it was sent out by Andrew Strom.

quote,

NOTE: A month before the US invasion of Iraq, Bryan Hupperts from the USA released the following prophetic word, for which he was mocked and heavily criticized – especially by Christians. We published it at that time under the following heading-

“COULD IRAQ BECOME a TRAP?

“To the President Of The United States”
-Bryan Hupperts (Feb 3, 2003)

Dear Mr. President,

Nothing manmade has ever fallen such great heights, as did the
shattered remains of the Space Shuttle Columbia. In an instant,
7 explorers lost their lives in yet another American tragedy. Tears
are the deepest expression of prayer because sometimes there
are simply no words to express the grief… Have you considered
that the repeating tragedies that keep striking the USA are also
warnings of a great storm to come?

Mr. President, I ask you to weigh my words carefully. No
rational person disputes that Saddam Hussein is the bad guy.
Even Muslim leaders will quietly acknowledge that he needs
to be removed from power. Yet I fear our insurgence into Iraq
will end in the greatest of all American tragedies. Sir, you are
leading our country into a diabolically laid trap.

Look to the Columbia as a prophetic warning. Other nations
mock you calling you the Imperial President. If you will seek
God for wisdom to avoid this military conflict, they will revere
you instead as the Regal President. Hussein can be
successfully dealt with only if you and your counselors will
humble yourselves and seek God for wisdom. If we invade
Iraq, it will signal to terrorists around the globe that the West
has declared jihad on Islam and it will ignite a Third World War.

The Pharaoh of Egypt survived the coming famine because he
heeded a godly interpretation of his troubled dreams. Look to
his example and consider the fate of the USA. The Columbia,
a perfect picture of the heights that the USA has flown to,
exploded and rained down in fiery debris all over Palestine, TX.
We need not die so young nor so senselessly as a nation…

Mr. President, rightly did you quote Isaiah when you said,
“Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens.” Yet nothing
manmade has ever fallen from such heights, as did the
Columbia. To openly invade Iraq will bring similar
consequences upon our own shores. Sir, do not leave a
Presidential legacy of, “Blood fire and vapor of smoke.”
Heed the very public warning. Understand the sign in the
sky. Seek the Lord. Thank you. © 2003 Bryan Hupperts.

Andrew also posted this at his website, asking for comments to be shared. You can visit and see what others are saying, and leave your own thoughts, at:

2003 IRAQ PROPHECY – Bryan Hupperts – COMMENTS? 

I’d also be interested in anyone’s thoughts as well….

15 Comments

Thankful

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

In recent days this verse has been on my lips many times a day. Today, I’m so very thankful to be sitting up at my computer and able to check in at the blog, and it is for the reason of this faith I am able to do so.

It’s hard to hold on to faith year after year in the midst of chronic illness, but somehow God continues to feed my faith and keep it alive. But more importantly it is His faithfulness and love bestowed upon me, just one of His flock, which continues to amaze me.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

This latest flair-up has been an especially rough folks, but God is bringing me through it. There is no way to express the gratitude and love I feel for my Lord and Savior today, for His tender care, compassion, and faithfulness.

I’m just thankful

I’m still weak so please forgive me if I don’t reply to your comments right now. With God continuing to strengthen me I hope to get back to posting soon.

10 Comments

‘Duck Dynasty’ Cast Announces ‘The Duck Commander Faith And Family Bible’

Does this surprise, shock, or stun me…are you kidding! After the recent headline proclaiming ‘papa Duck’ is a ‘bonafide Prophet’ I knew a ‘Duck Bible’ was in the works. Maybe it will be similar to the Scofield Bible and will come with the it’s own personal interpretive notes.

Nashville, Tenn. (CBS HOUSTON) – Two members of the “Duck Dynasty” cast have announced the upcoming release of a Duck Commander-themed Bible for the fall. The popular A&E reality show cast members’ new book, “The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible,” will be released in the New King James Version and will include “30 life-changing testimonials” along with 125 “Set Your Sights features” from cast members, Phil and Al. (More here)

 

Holy Spirit Activism

Signs, Wonders, Peace and Justice

Labeled Nazarene For The Sake of Christ

In Support of Our Dear Christian Brothers and Sisters in the Middle East

Gralefrit Theology

Trying to explicate the inexplicable

Pursuing Truth

Eschatology studies, discussion forum, and more

For the Love of His Truth

A Christian Blog about Fundamental Biblical Facts

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 451 other followers