by Paul Benson
… if the root be holy, so are the branches. Romans 11:16
I am a thinker. Maybe to a fault sometimes. But I like to ‘think-through’ the various facets of a doctrine to their obvious conclusion, and see if those conclusions hold an accord with the truth of the Scriptures or not. We often cannot tell for sure what sort a tree is by just looking at the root; or even by examining that tree as a mere sapling. But if we can view that tree in its mature state, and see the fruit it produces, the true nature of that tree becomes obvious.
Error in theology often has a progressive satanic nature to it. Over the years it can grow both in its subtlety, and also in its lure to the undiscerning. And in this ‘maturing’ of deception we also see a greater departure from the truth. Basically this growth or maturing of a doctrine is merely folks following various aspects of that doctrine through to their obvious conclusion; and then adding those ‘insights’ into the narrative they are presenting.
We can plainly see this evolution of error at work in Dispensational Theology. It is getting wackier and weirder all the time!
The Ostrich Theory!
As modern theologians(?) work the various aspects of Dispensational (or Separation) Theology through to their obvious conclusions the errors of that theology become more and more pronounced. And this has had a notable effect within the Dispensational community. There is somewhat of a rift among the ranks of those who hold to that line of theology. I guess you could sum up this internal debate as ‘moderate’ versus ‘hyper’ Dispensationalists.
As Dispensational theory has matured and drifted farther from the truth, and the errors represented by following forward the logical conclusions of that theory have become increasingly obvious, many Dispensationalists have recognized this error (particularly those with some familiarity with the Scriptures) and have drawn back from embracing those aspects of doctrine that present such blatant contradictions to the Bible.
They label those who staunchly hold to the ‘deeper conclusions’ of that theory as Hyper-dispensationalists; and they try to distance themselves from those errors by saying, ‘Well, I am certainly not a hyper-dispensationalist – I am a moderate-dispensationalist; so I am not responsible for those contradictions to the Scriptures they preach.’
But this reminds me of an Ostrich hiding its head in the sand; foolishly trying to convince itself that a danger it doesn’t acknowledge really does not exist. (I wonder how many Ostriches have fared poorly utilizing that defense strategy?)
Shouldn’t we hold in great suspicion any theology that would cause people who preach it to distance themselves from the logical conclusions that theology presents?
Is a moderate application of Dispensationalism an excuse for denying the obvious errors that of theology?
You must either ignore or explain away an enormous amount of contradiction to the Bible to hold to that theology. I think I will start calling it: ‘The Ostrich Theory’! Seriously! There are so very many aspects of that theological approach to the Bible that are directly in opposition to the Scriptures I do not see how anyone can consider it proper theology!
If you are one who holds to Dispensational Theology you need to get your head out of the sand, and take a good look at it in light of the Word of God!
The Promised Proof
In my last article I promised to show how Dispensational theory: (1.) contradicts the Bible, (2.) how it steals the promises of God from you, (3.) how it steers you away from following the teachings of our Christ, and (4.) how it has contributed to the corruption of the Gospel. Let’s get to that.
I feel it important to grasp that, since hyper-dispensationalism is merely an honest acknowledging of the logical conclusions one comes to when working-ahead the notions of Dispensational theory, truthfully ALL Dispensational preaching shares blame for that error; and therefor must be regarded as an improper approach to interpreting the Bible. It will without fail lead you astray in your beliefs!
SO… while many of the bogus claims I will expose in the remainder of this article are sometimes only promoted by hyper-dispensationalists, they are truly Dispensational theory in an unmasked condition. Whether it be presented through the pick-and-choose or ‘head in the sand’ preaching of some, or the more honest manner of the hyper-D’s, it is a false theology and greatly damaging to the belief system of those who are hoodwinked by it!
Again, a moderate application of Dispensationalism is NO EXCUSE for the true state, and obvious errors, of that theology as a whole!
(1.) The Blatant Way Dispensational Preaching Contradicts The Word Of God.
Three of the greatest ways that Dispensational preaching goes directly against the Bible is in the way it demands: (A.) a separation of God’s people into two groups – Jewish believers (Israel) and Gentile Believers (the Body of Christ). It then claims: (B.) a separate method of salvation for each and also (C.) a separate destiny for each. Let’s look at each of those three:
(A.) Is there a separation between believing Israel and the Church in God’s plan of redemption?
I have conclusively shown in my article on election (A Simple Biblical Picture of Election) that there is NO separation of Jew and Gentile in God’s election (chosen ones), so I will not rehash those thoughts again now.
Following you will find a video link to an excellent talk on how the Bible presents the Jew and Gentile believers as joined in what the Scriptures refer to as ‘one new man’ in Christ. If you have been swayed by Dispensational preaching on this issue I really encourage you to study out the passages they touch on in this video.
As clearly shown in my article, and in this video presentation, there is NO SEPARATION between Jew and Gentile in God’s plan of redemption. The Church is not separate from, nor do we replace, believing Israel in her election; we are joined to the remnant of believing Jews in their election as One New Man!
(B.) Is there a separate method of salvation for Jew and Gentile?
This is an area of Dispensational theology that clearly strays into outright heresy! Contrary to the truth, Dispensationalism teaches that whereas we (supposedly in this dispensation of grace) receive salvation through faith in the Cross of Christ, the Old Testament Jews were saved by keeping the Law of Moses. They claim they were saved by their works; and we are saved by faith. Two methods of salvation for two different groups of God’s people! That is bogus theology and blatant heresy.
And then they go on to teach that after a supposed pre-trib rapture of the Church this ‘age of grace’ expires. And now God’s method of saving those who turn to him reverts back to the former way of salvation (or so they claim) by adherence to the Law (aka salvation by works).
They make this all sound so completely plausible with all their charts and ‘proof texts’ and subtle twisting of Scripture; but it is all nothing but a bunch of deception!
There are not TWO separate methods of salvation! There is only ONE method of salvation! And that is through faith in the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross of Calvary!
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? ….4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: … 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebbrews 10:1-10
People were not saved by keeping the Law! And, in fact, if it were a possibility that man could be saved by keeping the Law there would have been no need for a Savior to die for us. We could have just saved ourselves by our works (as they supposedly did)!
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. Galatians 3:24-25
The Law of Moses had a purpose. The purpose of that Law was to show us our need for Grace! Being confronted with the requirements of God’s Commandments, and recognizing our inability to live up to those requirements in our own strength, convinces us of our need for a Savior! (This is the reason repentance preaching is such a vital part of the true Gospel message.)
The Scriptures clearly teach the purpose of the Law was to bring mankind to the knowledge of their need for Christ; NOT to provide a works-based salvation for Israel that would save them apart from the work of the Cross! Even the O.T. believers needed the message of the Cross to save them. That’s why Jesus preached the Gospel to the dead (1Peter 3:19 and 4:6).
Many people don’t get this, but Dispensationalism literally teaches that the Jews would have been saved by their Old Covenant promise, and their adherence to the Law, regardless if Christ had gone to the Cross or not! That they have a separate covenant of salvation that saves them apart from the covenant of grace that saves the Christian Church. This is absolutely false; and furthermore is actually antichrist in nature. It is a doctrine of devils! (1Tim. 4:1)
And furthermore they teach that after the age of grace supposedly expires (at the supposed pre-trib rapture) that an Old Covenant works-based system of salvation will be re-instituted! That the so called tribulation Saints, as well as those saved during the following Millennium, will not be saved by grace through faith in the Cross of Christ as we are, but by their own works!
THAT IS HERESY!
Any belief system that teaches any salvation apart from the grace brought to mankind through the Blood of Christ shed upon that Cross is heretical, and must be rejected by those with a love for the truth. In case you may not comprehend the serious nature of heretical teachings please give some prayerful consideration to the following passage:
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 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. Galatians 5:19-21
John Nelson Darby taught a heretical system of theology to his followers that denies the Cross of Christ as the only means of salvation. That makes Darby a heretic! How can anyone who professes a love for Jesus buy into such a pollution of his glorious Gospel?
I discussed the history of Dispensational Theology, and how it can be traced back to its origins in the teachings of J. N. Darby in the article:
(C.) Do Jewish and Gentile believers have a separate destiny and inheritance?
That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Ephesians 3:6
In spite of clearly stated Bible truth, that as one ‘new man in Christ’ both Jew and Gentile share a common promise of inheritance (fellowheirs v.6 above), Dispensational theology teaches a *separate promise of inheritance for Jewish believers (Israel) and the Body of Christ (the Gentile Church). They teach that Israel will inherit the coming (earthly) ‘Kingdom of Heaven’; and that the Body of Christ will inherit the (spiritual) ‘Kingdom of God’ in Heaven.
*I like to point out that this ‘God has two separate Brides’ theory (Israel for the Father and the Church for Christ) is quite strange as it places Christ’s Bride in Heaven with the Father for eternity, but places the Father’s Bride on earth with Christ. Typical of the nonsensical conclusions birthed by false theories that must be ignored to hold to such theories! True biblical teaching does not present such conundrums; they are a hallmark of all errant theology.
I also have other questions I can never get a consistent answer to from Dispensationalists: What about Jews who convert to Christianity; are they part of Israel who inherit the Earth or part of the Body of Christ who supposedly go live in Heaven forever? What percentage of Jewish blood must you have to qualify as a Jew who will inherit the Earth? 100%? 3/4? 1/2? Are there any full-blood Jews today? And what of the Apostles and their disciples? Are we to believe they were born-again; but NOT part of the Body of Christ? ALSO the Apostle Paul, clearly an Israelite, included himself in the group who would be caught-up to meet Jesus in the air. IF there is a separate inheritance for Jew and Gentile what is Paul doing sharing in the Gentile Church’s reward? Just a few more (of many) conundrums of Dispensational theory that seem to get left unaddressed! Could someone explain these things to me PLEASE?
The bogus notion that the Kingdom of Heaven (inheritance on Earth for the Jews) is a separate place from the Kingdom of God (inheritance in Heaven for the Church) is easily proven false by the way we see the phrases used interchangeably to refer to the SAME thing in the Scriptures. Let me illustrate this with some examples:
Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee…. 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:12+17
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mark 1:14-15
If there are two separate kingdoms then which one was Jesus speaking of here? Matthew and Mark were both relating to us their rendering of the same event. The Kingdom of Heaven IS the Kingdom of God! Here is an example of how Jesus himself used the two interchangeably in the same conversation:
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Matthew 19:23-24
Jesus used the two different monikers to refer to the same kingdom! There is NO difference! There are many other places where the phrases Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God are interchanged when speaking of the same thing. Here are a few:
Compare Matthew 11:11-12 with Luke 7:28; Matthew 13:11with Mark 4:11 and Luke 8:10; Matthew 13:24 with Mark 4:26; Matthew 13:31 with Mark 4:30 and Luke 13:18; Matthew 13:33 with Luke 13:20; Matthew 18:3 with Mark 10:14 and Luke 18:16; and Matthew 22:2 with Luke 13:29. You will see that Matthew uses the phrase ‘kingdom of heaven’ but Mark and/or Luke uses ‘kingdom of God’ to refer to the same thing.
And we see further evidence of the unworkable nature of this ‘two kingdoms’ theory when we see verses like Luke 13:28:
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. Luke 13:28
Whatever are a resurrected Abraham and company doing in this eternal ‘Kingdom of God’ supposedly only inherited by the Body of Christ? If the ‘two kingdoms’ theory were correct Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the O.T. prophets would be described as being in the Kingdom of Heaven (on Earth so they say), and only the Church would be residing in the Kingdom of God (in Heaven so they say). How then do the Scriptures show them as being in the Kingdom of God? If Dispensational theory were correct this verse (and many others) would not even be in the Bible!
Contrary to Dispensational theology the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are one and the same eternal kingdom! To inherit one is to inherit the other!
The Biblical Promise of Inheritance
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. Hebrews 10:36
Faith in God centers around the expectation of a fulfillment of promise. And yes, God has assuredly given his people a promise of inheritance and reward! But back to the question of a separation of the promise of inheritance for Jew and Gentile; that question is easily settled by looking at the origin of that promised inheritance.
Dispensationalists will insist that the covenant promise of salvation was given to the Jewish nation through the Law of Moses; and this is a separate promise of inheritance than the one we partake of as Christians. That is absolute error! That covenant promise was given 430 years BEFORE the Law!
And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 8 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Galatians 3:17
Let’s get it right! The promise of salvation and inheritance to both Jew and Gentile was given long before there even was such a thing as the nation of Israel! That covenant of promise (confirmed before of God in Christ! NOT a parenthetical afterthought!) was given to a man named Abraham and to his seed. God’s plan to save his chosen ones through the Cross of Christ was not something he dreamed up later when when Israel rejected their Messiah (as Dispensationalists teach); it was his intent from the foundation of the world!
Why is it Dispensationalists must turn a blind eye to Romans 11, Galatians 3, and Ephesians 2? It is because they teach a corrupted Gospel that is contrary to the teachings found in those chapters!
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. …16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. …18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; …26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. …28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:6-29
The Bible clearly states the promise of inheritance was not of the Law (v.18 above)! The covenant promise of salvation and inheritance was given long before the Law. And that promise was to ALL who would be Abraham’s promised seed (those in Christ) – Jew or Gentile. There are NO separate promises of salvation or inheritance to Jew and Gentile.
All the promises of God to his people will find fulfillment in Christ. ALL of them! Apart from him there is no promise!
More To Come
As I hate to make these articles too lengthy I will continue on to the next of the four points I wanted to address in my next installment. By the time I am finished I think you will understand why I firmly declare Dispensationalism is a cult of false theology. It is just as wayward as the teachings that brought us the J. W. or Mormon cults.
Blessings upon those who abide in Christ, and are truly circumcised of heart. THEY are the true Israel of God!
THIS IS PART I OF A SERIES OF ARTICLES. YOU CAN FIND PART II HERE.
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