by Paul Benson
(This is PART II of a two part article. You can find PART I HERE.)
Last article I addressed some comments posted by a brother named Bobby which illustrated much of the erroneous thinking caused by pre-trib teaching. This week I received a couple of comments from a sister (also named Bobbi) which were also chock-full of the error of Dispensational/pre-trib doctrine. Her comments clearly show the way in which that theology adversely affects a person’s approach to the Scriptures and therefor horribly corrupts their understanding of God’s ways.
I will in this article answer some various aspects of her comments in depth, hoping it will help the reader more clearly see how Dispensational preaching will lead you astray; and why it needs to be recognized as error and rejected by the followers of Christ. Let’s examine her comments.
A Corrupt Root!
To begin with we need to understand that Dispensationalism, and all pre-trib teaching, hinges upon the teachings of ‘Separation Theology’. That theory puts Jewish and Gentile believers into separate groups with separate promises of salvation and also separate destinies.
That is absolute contrary to the teachings of the Bible!
And that theology, when staunchly adhered to (what I call hyper-Dispensationalism), leads to much other serious error. I am working on a separate article that exposes the gross error of hyper-Dispensationalism so I will not elaborate further here.
Let’s turn our attention to Bobbi’s comments, and address the many false notions her Dispensational/pre-trib belief system has imposed upon her. From examining her words you can clearly see the mess which man’s theology has made of her understanding of the Scriptures. My goal here is not to belittle or discourage anyone; but that we might all receive discernment concerning the error and damage caused by approaching the Scriptures through man’s preconceived theories.
BOBBI: If you search the scriptures “the Body of Christ”, is only spoken of in Paul’s epistles. Rom. 7:4, 1 Cor. 10:16, 12:27 And Eph. 4:2. We are also referred to as “the New Man”. Ephesians. 2:15. Religion and traditions taught by men have missed the doctrine given by our RISEN LORD JESUS CHRIST! Paul is the only apostle of the Gentiles (ALL nations). Rom. 11:13, 1 Tim. 2:7, 2 Tim. 1:11.
The notion the doctrine of Jesus after his Resurrection was not the same message he taught when he walked this Earth is incorrect. There is only ONE Gospel preached from the beginning of the world.
As we will see, the provably false statements in this first segment of her comment are the direct result of ‘Separation theology’ taken to its *extreme.
*[You will hear more and more people today making the ridiculous claim that most of the New Testament was not written to the Church but to only the Jews and therefor does not apply to us. They will say things like: ‘James was not writing to you when he wrote his epistle’; or ‘the Gospels were written to the Jews not the Body of Christ’. They teach we are to only get our Church doctrine from Paul’s writings; and that all other apostolic writings (including those which bring us the very words of the Lord Jesus!) were not written to us but only to the Jews. In short that means we are not to receive any doctrine from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (his gospel as well as 1, 2, and 3John, and Revelation), Peter, James, Jude, or Hebrews! And also we are not to follow the teachings of our Christ found in the Gospels because he supposedly taught in a different ‘dispensation’ and supposedly taught only the Old Testament Law (a very false and misleading claim!). ]
Her first statement, that the Body of Christ is only spoken of in Paul’s writings, is not only false but it also betrays her hyper-dispensational stance forcing the separation of Jew and Gentile believers.
Paul is NOT the only apostle that mentioned, and spoke instruction to, the Body of Christ!
Yes, maybe the specific phrase ‘the”Body of Christ’ is only found in Paul’s writings. BUT… the truth is that the Body of Christ (just not by that particular allegorical moniker) is not only spoken of throughout the writings of the other apostles, but also is spoken of in the *Gospels by Jesus himself!
*[ Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:17
We are called by Paul the Body of Christ because Christ dwells inside us! Jesus clearly taught his disciples that they would become his temple. Maybe they did not understand it at the time, but he was speaking of them becoming the Body of Christ! What is the Body of Christ if not those in which the Spirit of Christ dwells? Your body is called your body because YOU are living in it! When Jesus said: ‘He is with you and shall be in you.’ he was without a doubt telling his (Jewish!) disciples they would become his Body! ANY reference to those whom Christ indwells is a reference to the Body of Christ, no matter what phrase is used to describe them! Dispensationalism denies that reality and is therefor not in accord with the truth!]
The key to understanding this is that the allegorical phrase which Paul chose to use (the Body of Christ) is but one of various descriptors the Apostles used to refer to the exact same group – those who have been born again by the Spirit of Christ through faith in the work of his Cross. ALL the ones in whom Christ indwells are his Body; there are not two separate groups of believers today – Jew and Gentile. We are joined together as one in Christ! Need some Scriptural proof for my claim? Here is a verse Bobbi actually quotes later, but willfully ignores the contradiction to her beliefs it expresses:
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: Colossians 1:24
Paul clearly here states to the reader that the ‘Body’ is the ‘Church’. These are not two separate groups! While other apostles may have used the word Church to describe those they were ministering to they were referring to the same people Paul called the Body of Christ!
And we must also note that Paul did not exclusively refer to them as the Body of Christ. Paul also referred to them as the Church (Romans 16:5), the Church of God (1Cor. 1:2), the Temple of God (1Cor. 3:16), the Temple of the Holy Ghost (1Cor 6:19), the House of God, which is the Church of the living God (1Tim. 3:15). Also Hebrews (which I believe was written by Paul) calls them the ‘Church of the Firstborn’ (Hebrews 12:23).
We can see further evidence the apostles were all addressing the same group (the born-again followers of Christ) through John’s allegorical use of the ‘Bride of Christ’ imagery.
He that hath the bride is the bridegroom… John 3:29
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. Revelation 19:7
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17
Should we deduce that because John was using a simile (the Bride) instead of the word Church that he was speaking of a different group than the Church? No! Why should we? The Bride spoken of in the verses above is the Church who preaches the message for the world to “come’!
And now let’s tie in some of the similar phraseology from our brother Paul to show they were in sync using this Bride of Christ imagery to refer to those to whom they were instructing in the ways of God.
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 2Corinthians 11:2
Paul also used this Bride of Christ simile in referring to members of the Body of Christ as being espoused (engaged) to Christ! (FYI: In Bible times an espoused woman was referred to as the man’s wife.)
Also quite worthy of note is the fact that Paul, Peter, and John ALL referred to those their disciples whom they were writing to as the ‘elect’ of God! (Col. 3:12, 1Peter 1:2, 2John 1:1)
So which is it?
WHO is the Bride of Christ? Is it your dispensational Jewish Church or is it your dispensational Body of Christ? And WHO is the elect of God? Is it the Jewish believers or is it the Gentiles? OR… could it be the Church of God, the Temple of God, the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, and the Elect of God are all speaking of the same entity –ALL the born-again followers of Christ whether Jewish or Gentile? Anyone who would think otherwise is seriously corrupted in their theology!
As to Bobbi’s second statement above that Paul was the only apostle to the Gentiles I wonder what Barnabas (or others) would have to say about that? And the notion that Paul’s teachings were only for Gentiles and the other Apostles words were only for the Jewish believers is absurd! Although Paul clearly had a mandate from God to reach out to the Gentiles, he also ministered to the Jewish nation in their synagogues, and also to ALL the Church at large. And Peter (contrary to Dispensational theology!) clearly encouraged his disciples to accept Paul’s teachings!
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 2Peter 3:15-16
Here we have Peter endorsing the teachings of Paul to the same people he himself was instructing in the ways of God. Hyper-dispensational theology says Peter’s teachings were only for the Church (Jewish believers with a separate promise and separate destiny from the ‘Body’), and Paul’s teachings were only for the Gentile Body of Christ. How then could Peter be telling the ‘Church’ he was ministering to they ought to follow the instructions to the ‘Body’ given by Paul? EASY! The Jewish Church and the Christian Body are the same elect of God! Paul and Peter were a part of, and ministering to, the same collective group!
Yes, Peter had a calling to preach mainly to the Jews, and Paul had a mandate to preach to and teach mainly the Gentiles; but they were both calling the lost to join the same group – the Church of God! This is clearly shown in the picture of election given in Romans 11 – the Gentiles were grafted into the same election retained by the remnant of Jews who embraced faith in Christ. The two joined together as ONE NEW MAN! We do not see the separation of Separation Theology at work in the ministry of either Paul or the other apostles!
If you do not understand that both Dispensational (Separation) Theology and also Covenant (Replacement) Theology are at odds with what the Scriptures teach about who is the ‘elect of God’ in these last days please read these articles:
BOBBI: The doctrine of the “catching away of the saints” can only be found in his (Paul’s) epistles. It is part of the “preaching of the cross according to the revelation of the mystery”. Rom. 16:25,26.
Another false statement! The catching away of the faithful is mentioned numerous places throughout the Bible; not just in the writings of Paul! Job 19:25-27, Psalms 50:3-5, and Isaiah 26:19-21 all reference the Church caught away to the presence of our Christ. And the catching away was also taught by Jesus in Mathew 24:29-31, Mark 13:24-27, Luke 17:34, and John 14:1-3. And when you consider that the catching away is directly tied to the resurrection of the dead the Bible is absolutely full of mention of the day we will be caught-up to meet Jesus.
Paul certainly brought forth a greater measure of clarity to the matter, but to say the doctrine of the catching away was exclusively taught by him is NOT true!
And as far as the notion of a pre-trib rapture being the mystery revealed to the Church through Paul….
The mystery revealed to the New Testament Church was not a pre-trib rapture to escape the time of great persecution! The mystery revealed was the fact that, by the Resurrection of the Dead, we would be transformed into eternal bodies that mirror that of the risen Christ.
For more please see: The Pre-trib Rapture Is Not ‘The Mystery Of The Ages’!
BOBBI: We live in the current “dispensation of the grace of God”…
Ephesians 3:2 KJV — If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
I will address the many falsehoods of ‘dispensational theology’ in my next article (Lord willing).
BOBBI: The words of Paul are the directions of our Lord Jesus Christ as he was appointed this by God and Lord Jesus himself.
Galatians 1:1 KJV — Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
Yes. Paul received his instruction directly from our Christ. BUT… The notion that Paul is the only go-to guy for Church doctrine is nonsense. Sister Bobbi, you might want to give some prayerful consideration to the following verse:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2Timothy 3:16
ALL Scripture is for doctrine! The doctrines of the Christian faith (the Resurrection of the Dead for example) are derived from the entirety of the Word of God rightly divided by the guidance of the Holy Spirit; not just from the writings of Paul. Let’s get it right!
BOBBI: We are not appointed to wrath…:)
1 Thessalonians.5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
Yes, sister Bobbi, we certainly are NOT appointed to wrath! But I have never met anyone with either a pre-trib or a post-trib view that believes the Church is appointed to wrath. THAT is not the issue! The question is: Does the Bible teach the time of the great tribulation is the ‘wrath of God’? And the answer is NO it does not! Not one place is such a thing stated.
And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. Revelation 15:1
The wrath of God is expressed in the seven plagues poured out after the Return of Christ at the seventh trumpet ( the last trump). The wrath of God is NOT poured out until AFTER the tribulation has passed and Christ returns. The tribulation is a call to repentance to the world. To claim it is the wrath of God is unbiblical (but necessary to further the pre-trib fable). The Lord Jesus brings the wrath of God with him; and pours it out upon the unrepentant evil of this world AFTER he has gathered together his faithful Church (dead and living) at the Second Coming. The Church will go through the time of tribulation; but will not suffer under God’s wrath.
BOBBI: Our home is in heaven…
2 Corinthians 5:1 KJV — For 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.
Taken out of its context, and read separately, that verse may appear to suggest that our eternal residence will be in Heaven. But the idea of a pre-trib rapture taking us off to a home in Heaven is not in line with the true teachings of the Scriptures! That is NOT what the context in which that verse is found is saying! Let’s read it all:
For 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. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 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. 2Corinthians 5:1-4
What is our earthly house? Our body! What is our eternal house? A glorified body! Though many fail to discern that fact, this context is actually teaching on the resurrection of the dead and our transformation that will transpire at that time as detailed in 1Corinthians 15. We are earnestly desiring to move into our heavenly home (body) at the Resurrection. That is the ‘house’ being spoken of here. This ‘moving into our new home’ takes place on planet Earth, not in Heaven! (Where was Jesus when he was transformed to his new body? On Earth!)
In this passage our body is being referred to as our earthly tabernacle (house); and it is speaking of the day this mortal body will be replaced with an eternal one brought to us FROM Heaven! It says ‘from Heaven’ (v.2 above) because it is brought here to Earth by Jesus at the Second Coming. This is the ‘home’ Jesus went to prepare for us (John 14:1-3). He went into and made provision for us that as he is so can we also be.
The verse Bobbi quoted is in no way teaching that our eternal residence will be in Heaven. We will inherit the Earth just as the Scriptures promise. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Psalms 37:11
It always amazes me that Dispensationalists are not perplexed by the fact their doctrine teaches the home of the Bride is in Heaven, but that Jesus will be here on Earth ruling and reigning. Don’t you think he would have his Bride living here by his side? There is not one verse that describes the Church dwelling in Heaven for eternity; and not one that describes her being transported there in a ‘rapture’. It is a man-made notion that is in disagreement with what the Bible really teaches.
I had responded to Bobbi’s first comment with the following exhortation; to which she countered with more of the typical unworkable logic of dispensational theory:
MY COMMENT TO BOBBI:
Yes, we are sealed unto the day of redemption.
But that day of redemption (the Resurrection/catching away of the Church) will NOT be a pre-trib rapture. It happens at the Second Coming. We are caught up to meet our Lord at his return to Earth after the time of tribulation!
Either the Bible is true or the pre-trib rapture theory is true. They cannot both be true because they are at odds with one another! If the pre-trib theory were true MUCH Scripture would have to have been worded differently in light of that fact. Please give some meditation and prayer to the following verse, and what it teaches about the timing of the ‘catching-away’:
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1Peter 1:13
A contextual study of that verse, and honestly examining the true meaning of the words ‘the revelation of Jesus Christ’, denies the possibility of a prior ‘rapture’ to remove the Church before the tribulation. If we had already received (seven years earlier) that grace Jesus is bringing, this verse would NOT be in the Bible! Jesus said “behold I come quickly and my reward is with me”. If there was a pre-trib Coming not only would we not still be waiting for that grace to be given us at the Second Coming; we would not even be around to be doing that ‘hope to the end’ waiting!
Hope this is a help to you;
BOBBI’S SECOND COMMENT:
I stumbled onto your site and didn’t look it over when I had written… I will respond to you, though am sad for you to not realize our blessed hope in Paul’s letters.
1.) Peter in context writes to Jews. (P.B. Dispensational error talking!)
1 Peter 1:1 KJV — Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
These are the scattered from Acts 8:1 And 11:19.
Body doctrine is only spoken in Paul’s epistles. It is not mentioned in any others writings. (P.B. I already addressed that error.)
2. The day of Christ, day of Jesus Christ…etc… is not the same day as the day of the Lord. I would encourage you to study these out. (P.B. Bobbi I have done just that; and you are not correct! Another article is in the works!)
3. You said…”Not only would we not be still be waiting for that grace to be given us at the Second Coming; we would not even be around to be doing that ‘hope to the end’ waiting!”
It is true… Israel waits until the end for Grace at the 2nd coming… But look when members of the Body get Grace… (P.B. Was 1st and 2nd Peter written to Israel or the born-again followers of Christ?)
Ephesians 2:8 KJV — For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Colossians 1:6 KJV — Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
Rom.5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Gentiles were never under the law unless they were joined to Israel. Friend, we have Grace already… we are (past tense) justified…
Rom. 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Two different things and things that are different are not the same.
Blessings to all believers!
MY REPLY NOW:
Sorry; you have it backwards Bobbi! Things that are the same are not different! You are saying those whom Peter wrote his letters to (supposedly only Jewish believers) would have to wait until the end for saving grace at the 2nd coming; and that is different than us because we get that grace now. FALSE! There is no difference in the grace received by Jew or Gentile believers. You fail to notice the passage you quoted says that death passed upon ALL men for ALL have sinned. It was not just the Jews that needed to be delivered from the curse of God’s Law. We ALL need reconciled to God.
And please don’t be sad I have not ‘realized our blessed hope’. I full well realize that our blessed hope is not to escape a temporal period of tribulation, but to attain to the Resurrection of the Dead that will bring to us an endless life of reward and adventure with our Savior. Calling the rapture (a short trip from Earth to the Sky) our blessed hope shows the twisted focus of pre-trib theory.
Our blessed hope is the Resurrection of the Just at the Last Day; and the transformation of our body to an eternal state of glory!
Further, your claim that Peter’s words do not apply to us is totally bogus. Let’s look once again at the verse I encouraged you to consider:
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1Peter 1:13
Paul taught that the Spirit of Grace given the believer was the earnest (down-payment) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession (Ephesians 1:14). He was talking about the promise of resurrection/transformation at Christ’s Return. (Behold I come quickly and my reward is with me… Rev 22:12) This further work of grace is also the very same grace Peter said to be waiting for in the verse I quoted. The fullness of grace we will receive at the Second Coming will bring to us a fulfillment of our promised inheritance. THAT is the grace ALL believers (whether they be Jew or Gentile) are awaiting at the Second Coming! Things that are the same are not different!
My claim that Peter would not have told us to be waiting for something we would had already received seven years earlier (if the pre-trib theory were true) is absolutely valid; and that verse certainly nullifies any notion of a pre-trib rapture1
You saying that verse (1Peter 1:13) doesn’t apply to us, the Body of Christ, (because Peter’s letters were to Jewish people who had not yet received saving grace but would according to dispensational theory get that saving grace at the Second Coming), is so easily proved as falsehood! We can do so just by examining the rest of Peter’s words; and asking: Is Peter speaking to born-again Spirit-filled people or not? And if he is, then those folks in whom Christ’s Spirit dwells ARE the Body of Christ; and therefor those words ARE directed at us!
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 1Peter 1:2
He said they were sanctified by the Spirit! Not that they would be at some future time. He said ‘grace to you’; not: ‘sorry you can’t have any grace until the Second Coming’ (The idea Jewish believers don’t get saving grace until Christ Returns is so weird because though dispensationalists teach the Jews enter into grace at the Second Coming they also claim the ‘age of grace’ comes to an end BEFORE the tribulation! More dispensational confusion!).
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 1Peter 1:23
Peter was writing to those who were born-again. That means they were indwelt by Christ’s Spirit; and therefor they were the Body of Christ!
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1Peter 4:10
It sure sounds to me like these folks had received the grace of God! How could they exercise stewardship over something they wouldn’t receive for another twenty centuries (if Dispensational or Separation Theology is correct)?
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 2Peter 3:18
How could those to whom Peter wrote his letters ‘grow on grace’ if they had not yet received that grace? For you (and any others) to claim Peter’s letters, and those of the other apostles, were not written to the born-again Spirit-filled Body of Christ is so contrary to reason that it boggles the mind!
You are seriously deceived!
But it is a classic example of how when one gets deeply entrenched in a theology of error it can so captivate people that they will obstinately hold to that theology as THE standard of truth, and willfully ignore any contradictions to the Scriptures; even going to outrageous lengths (as you so clearly have) to explain away those contradictions.
You can disregard the fact Peter’s exhortation to the Body of Christ (that they should hope to the end for the grace they will receive at the Second Coming) forbids the possibility of a pre-trib rapture if you want to. But the reasoning you gave for doing so betrays the faulty unworkable nature of your ‘Dispensational’ belief system!
Sister Bobbi, you need to stop interpreting the Scriptures through the faulty theories of man; and let the simple truths of the Scripture speak for themselves through the voice of the Holy Spirit. The former will lead you in to the bondage of doctrinal error, and the latter will set you free with the truth of God’s Word. You have been deceived by those preaching an unbiblical theology. The wisdom of man has filled you full of beliefs that are contrary to the truth.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 1Thessalonians 5:21
We must follow Paul’s advice ever so diligently! If we allow ourselves to be deceived, and then begin teaching those errors to others, we then become deceivers ourselves. These are not words to be taken lightly!
A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape. Proverbs 19:5
May the Holy Spirit guide us all into the true teachings of our Christ and his Holy Word.
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