Monday, February 11, 2013

Dispensationalism - A Clarifying Statement in View of the Confused Theological Climate

THE SCRIPTURES, when interpreted in their natural, literal sense, reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life which define man’s responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose. Three of these—the dispensations of law, grace, and the millennial rule of Christ—are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture (John 1:17; 1 Cor. 9:17; 2 Cor. 3:9-18; Gal. 3:13-25; Eph. 1:10; Col. 1:24-25; Heb. 7:19; Rev. 20:2-6).

Further Clarification Regarding Dispensationalism
When God’s Word, the Bible, is taken in a consistent, literal manner, it will result in dispensationalism. Dispensationalism is the result of a consistently literal and normal interpretation.

A dispensation is a unique stage in the outworking of God’s program in time, whereby mankind is to have a believing response, being responsible to be a good steward of the particular revelation which God has given (Eph. 3:2,9; Col. 1:25; Exodus 34:27-28; Gal. 3:10-12; 1 Tim.1:4; Eph. 1:10; etc.).

In order to be "rightly dividing the Word of truth" it is essential to distinguish things that differ and to recognize certain basic Biblical distinctions.

In order to be "rightly dividing the Word of truth" it is essential to distinguish things that differ and to recognize certain basic Biblical distinctions, such as the difference between God’s program for Israel and God’s program for the Church (Acts 15:14-17; Rom. 11:25-27), the separation of 1000 years between the two resurrections (Rev. 20:4-6), the difference between the various judgments which occur at various times (2 Cor. 5:10; Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 20:11-15), the difference between law and grace (John 1:17; Rom. 6:14-15 Rom. 7:1-6) and the difference between Christ’s present session at the right hand of the Father as the Church’s great High Priest and Christ’s future session on the restored Davidic throne as Israel’s millennial King (Heb. 1:3;10:12-13; Acts 15:16; Luke 1:32).

The Church is a distinct body of believers which was not present on earth during the Old Testament period and which was not the subject of Old Testament prophecy (Eph. 3:1-9; Col.1:25-27). In accord with God’s program and timetable, the Church is on earth between the two advents of Christ with the beginning of the Church taking place after Daniel’s 69th week (on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2) and with the completion of the Church’s ministry on earth taking place at the rapture before the commencement of Daniel’s 70th week (Dan. 9:24, 27). During this interval of time God is visiting the nations to call out a people for His Name (Acts 15:14-16; Eph. 3: 1-11; Rom. 11:25). Indeed, the Church is God’s called-out assembly.
God will literally fulfill His covenant and kingdom promises to the nation of Israel just as the prophets foretold.

God will literally fulfill His covenant and kingdom promises to the nation of Israel just as the prophets foretold (Gen. 12:2-3; 15:18-21; Deut. 30:3-10; 2 Sam. 7:4-17; Jer. 31:31-37; 33:15-26). We believe that the promises of the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 12,15,17), the Palestinian covenant (Deuteronomy 30), the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7) and the New covenant (Jeremiah 31) were made unconditionally to national Israel and that the thousand-year kingdom will include the literal fulfillment of these covenant promises to ethnic Israel (Jer. 31:31, 37;33:14-26; Ezek. 36:25-28, 40-48; Rom. 11:23-32). The Church is not the "new Israel" or the "spiritual Israel," but rather "one new man" created of two groups, saved Jews and saved Gentiles (Eph. 2:15; 1 Cor. 10:32). The terms "Israel," "Israelite," and "Jew," are used in the New Testament to refer to national, ethnic Israel. The term "Israel" is used of the nation or the people as a whole or the believing remnant within. It is not used of the Church in general or of Gentile believers in particular. Saved Gentiles of this present age are spiritual sons of Abraham who is the father of all who believe (Rom. 4:12, 16; Gal. 3:7,26,29), whether Jews or Gentiles; but believing Gentiles are not Israelites [that is, they are not the sons of Jacob]. The Israelites are carefully defined by Paul in Romans 9:4-5.

In every dispensation God’s distinctive programs are outworked for His great Name’s sake, and in every dispensation persons have always been saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8; Gen.15:6; Heb. 11:4-7; Rom. 4:1-8). We believe that the glory of God is the determining principle and overall purpose for God’s dealings with men in every age and that in every dispensation God is manifesting Himself to men and to angels so that all might redound to the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:6,12,14; 3:21; Rom. 11:33-36; 16:27; Isa. 43:7; 1 Tim. 1:17).

Literal Interpretation
The Bible must be interpreted literally which is the way language is normally and naturally understood. We recognize that the Bible writers frequently used figurative language which is a normal and picturesque way of portraying literal truth. The Bible must be understood in the light of the normal use of language, the usage of words, the historical and cultural background, the context of the passage and the overall teaching of the Bible (2 Tim. 2:15). Most important, the believer must study the Bible in full dependence upon the SPIRIT OF TRUTH whose ministry is to reveal Christ and illumine the minds and hearts of believers (John 5:39; 16:13-15; 1 Cor. 2:9-16). The natural, unregenerate man cannot understand or interpret correctly the Word of God. The things of God are foolishness to him, he cannot know them (1 Cor. 2:14), and his mind is blinded (Rom. 3:11; 2 Cor. 4:3-4).

The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!





The Cold Texan said...

My Friend,
Who can find a "avarage person" that READS the Bible; much less STUDIES it? The "avarage" believer are taking the word of others as to what the Bible teaches. Many (if not most) of these "teachers" are false. I have known men who profesed to be called ministers who had not read the Bible, yet they "taught" others.

Read the Bible! Get you information fron GOD not men.

I am not saying we can not benifit from what other men teach; however you must have the knolage of the Word in you before you can decern if what you are being told is correct.

Thank You for another good article.

The Cold Texan

The Ignorant Fishermen said...


Exactly my brother! Get your hands dirty with the RIGHTEOUS words of God’s Book and apply it to our daily lives and build some discernment. God loves it and it is His will!

All the Best my brother!!

John 17:17!!!

David I.F.

Anonymous said...

[Thanks TIF. Found the following on the net. Any response? Todd]

Margaret Macdonald's Rapture Chart !

"church" RAPTURE "church"
(present age) (tribulation)

In early 1830 Margaret was the very first one to see a pre-Antichrist (pretrib) rapture in the Bible - and John Walvoord and Hal Lindsey lend support for this claim!
Walvoord's "Rapture Question" (1979) says her view resembles the "partial-rapture view" and Lindsey's "The Rapture" (1983) admits that "she definitely teaches a partial rapture."
But there's more. Lindsey (p. 26) says that partial rapturists see only "spiritual" Christians in the rapture and "unspiritual" ones left behind to endure Antichrist's trial. And Walvoord (p. 97) calls partial rapturists "pretribulationists"!
Margaret's pretrib view was a partial rapture form of it since only those "filled with the Spirit" would be raptured before the revealing of the Antichrist. A few critics, who've been repeating more than researching, have noted "Church" in the tribulation section of her account. Since they haven't known that all partial rapturists see "Church" on earth after their pretrib rapture (see above chart), they've wrongly assumed that Margaret was a posttrib!
In Sep. 1830 Edward Irving's journal "The Morning Watch" (hereafter: TMW) was the first to publicly reflect her novel view when it saw spiritual "Philadelphia" raptured before "the great tribulation" and unspiritual "Laodicea" left on earth.
In Dec. 1830 John Darby (the so-called "father of dispensationalism" even though he wasn't first on any crucial aspect of it!) was still defending the historic posttrib rapture view in the "Christian Herald."
Pretrib didn't spring from a "church/Israel" dichotomy, as many have assumed, but sprang from a "church/church" one, as we've seen, and was based only on symbols!
But innate anti-Jewishness soon appeared. (As noted, TMW in Sep. 1830 saw only less worthy church members left behind.) In Sep. 1832 TMW said that less worthy church members and "Jews" would be left behind. But by Mar. 1833 TMW was sure that only "Jews" would face the Antichrist!
As late as 1837 the non-dichotomous Darby saw the church "going in with Him to the marriage, to wit, with Jerusalem and the Jews." And he didn't clearly teach pretrib until 1839. His basis then was the Rev. 12:5 "man child...caught up" symbol he'd "borrowed" (without giving credit) from Irving who had been the first to use it for the same purpose in 1831!
For related articles Google "X-Raying Margaret," "Edward Irving is Unnerving," "Pretrib Rapture's Missing Lines," "The Unoriginal John Darby," "Deceiving and Being Deceived" by D.M., "Pretrib Rapture Pride," "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" and "Scholars Weigh My Research." The most documented and accurate book on pretrib rapture history is "The Rapture Plot" (see Armageddon Books online) - a 300-pager that has hundreds of disarming facts (like the ones above) not found in any other source.

The Ignorant Fishermen said...

Todd, sorry for the late reply and thanks for your comment.

I'm not hipp on all the theology talk but I know what the Bible teaches on the Rapture.

All who are in the body of Christ go up (Rapture - 1 Thess 13-18,John 14:3,1 Cor. 15:51-54, 1 John 3:1-4), All will go up.. those who are in the Body of Christ... those who working at it and those who are being slothful. The Bema seat is where God will judge the body of Christ (1 Cor. 3:11-15).

I do not believe in a partial rapture. I am a dispensationalist pre triber... which many Christians hate today.

Todd where do you stand?


Alf Cengia said...

Yeah, I've heard the partial rapture excuse. I've read her vision and it doesn't wash with me. In fact Macpherson got caught fiddling with her vision by presenting edited samples of it as if was new material

Actually, Mike Stallard wrote a pretty good review of Macpherson's Rapture Plot. He pointed out that MacDonald and Irving were modified historicists. They thought that they were already in the tribulation and that the Antichrist was already in the world. That hardly gels with Darby's teaching.

So much for X-raying and dishonesty!

Anonymous said...

[Sorry for the big delay. I found this web piece that deals with the variance in MM's lines. Google "Scholars Weigh My Research" to see reactions to Mac's research from scholars who don't have an axe to grind either for or against pretrib. Todd]


R. A. Huebner, fanatical follower of John Darby, noticed that several lines in Margaret Macdonald's 1830 pretrib account (such as "The trial of the Church is from Antichrist") were omitted when Robert Norton reproduced it a second time. In order to keep crediting Darby with pretrib, Huebner asserted that Margaret taught only a posttrib coming, her "Antichrist" statement being proof of it.
In order to falsely claim this, Huebner ignored her MAIN POINT in lines 58-63: "one taken and the other left" BEFORE the revealing of Antichrist. He also suppressed the truth that she saw a pretrib coming of only PART of the church (partial rapturism) and that leading partial rapturists like Govett and Pember, after seeing a rapture of PART of the church, refer to the other PART left on earth as simply the "church"! (Google "X-Raying Margaret" and "Margaret Macdonald's Rapture Chart" for a full analysis of her account.)
Actually, when Norton aired his abridgement of her account later on he kept intact her main point and also the essence of the omitted lines with different wording.
The only change comes when a few misguided pretribs deviously change factual info about Margaret on Wikipedia - which should be called Wicked-pedia since anyone with any ulterior motive can insert lie after lie therein!
HERE'S THE BIG POINT BEING MADE HERE: If Margaret did initially teach posttrib in the lines later omitted, then the removal of those partial rapturistic lines (combined with her pretrib main point) would have her teaching a pretrib rapture of ALL of the church!
By asserting that Margaret was initially posttrib, Huebner was inadvertently giving the impression that she (and the Irvingites she inspired) later changed to a pretrib rapture of ALL of the church long before Darby did since Darby didn't clearly eliminate all of the partial rapturism (partial rapturism he had "borrowed" from the Irvingites) from his own system until the 1870s!
(BTW, a facsimile copy of Margaret's 1830 handwritten pretrib revelation has been discovered in the British Library in London - and Joe Ortiz' "End Times Passover" blog (Mar. 9, 2010) is the first time a portion of the handwriting has ever been publicly aired!)
By seeing something sinister in the later missing lines in Margaret's history-making revelation, and talking ignorantly about them on Wicked-pedia, pretrib critics are only drawing attention to the innovative Irvingites and their female inspiration as well as to Darby's long hidden plagiarism of them!

Alf Cengia said...

Anony, instead of quoting people who claim that Margaret said so and so, why don't you actually quote her. Her vision is available online. As Stallard points out, she and Irving thought that they were in the last half of the trib. Over to you.

Alf Cengia said...

Quote: (BTW, a facsimile copy of Margaret's 1830 handwritten pretrib revelation has been discovered in the British Library in London - and Joe Ortiz' "End Times Passover" blog (Mar. 9, 2010) is the first time a portion of the handwriting has ever been publicly aired!)~ End quote.

Nope! Details please. There's only one copy of her vision. Ortiz and MacPherson claimed to have found a new piece of "evidence: that she was a partial rapturist. They provided an edited facsimile of some jumbled words that didn't make sense on their own:

nothing: So that two shall
be in one bed, the one taken
and the other left; because
now will the wicked be re-
vealed with all power, and
signs, and lying wonders,

In fact they're the same words in her vision taken out of context.