my Critique of Dispensationalism (7)

Last time we began our analysis of the apostle Paul’s “allegorizing” of the factual story of Hagar, Sarah’s maid, from whom Abraham begat Ishmael (Genesis 16). Although God told both Abraham and Hagar, He would make a great nation of Ishmael (21:13, 18), which is a promise, He did not establish His covenant with him. But from Sarah, Abraham’s wife, he begat Isaac, from whom God said Abraham’s descendants would be named (21:1-12) and with whom He did establish His covenant (17:18-22). God would confirm that covenant through Isaac’s son, Jacob (28:12-15). Then from Judah, one of Jacob’s twelve sons, the royal line traces to David, with whom God did establish His covenant (2 Samuel 7:8-17), and then Christ (Matthew 1:1-16). Therefore, the Messiah fulfilled the Davidic kingdom (Luke 3:23-31), regardless of what dispensationalists say.

Dispensationalists also take issue with “covenant theology,” even though God establishes covenants and the word “covenant” is found 300 times in the Scriptures. Dispensation? Zero times, unless you read the King James Version – then, are you ready? Four times. New King James? Twice. That should tell you something. So, “dispensational theology” is artificial, not Scriptural, and infinitely worse than they purport to make out covenant theology.

Dispensationalists arbitrarily divide history into seven “dispensations,” thus their name. The seven are innocence, conscience, human government, promise, law, grace, and the millennial kingdom. Although they say that God dealt differently with man during each, in reality, He did not. There are only two dispensations, two covenants – the Old, the prophesying of the coming Messiah, and the New, the life and teaching of the Messiah.  Christ is the centerpiece and cornerstone of both, so there is no difference in that respect.

But the real problem is the last two of the seven dispensations, grace, and the kingdom. Grace ends with the rapture, which hasn’t happened, and the millennium is, well, it’s all in the future so that no one can say definitively. That’s the point; their eschatology is fabricated. Making matters worse, they consider the dispensation of grace, the church age, a parenthesis, an insert within God’s original purpose, which is national Israel. So, in their world, once Christ raptures the church out of the way, the parenthetical phrase is removed, and the storyline continues into the millennium. Then, after a third temple is built and sacrifices restarted, Israel finally sees the light and comes to Christ. At that point, the church comes back with Christ to fight the battle of Armageddon and then comes the thousand-year reign then the end.

That is a simplified version, of which there is so much wrong that we will address in future articles, but the idea that national Israel is separate and takes precedence over the church is simply nonsense. All Scripture leads to Christ, who established the church, consisting of Jew and Gentile. But dispensationalists cry foul and besmirch that idea, bristling as they call it replacement theology and supersessionism. How dare preterists, whom dispensationalists see as their nemesis, say that about Israel, as though anti-Semitism lurks within their motives. More nonsense. It is what the Scriptures teach.

God fulfilled His promises to the patriarchs, and the Messiah came through Israel. However, dispensationalists accuse preterists of allegorizing the Scriptures when applying the Grammatico-historical method, which requires different hermeneutics for differing literary genres, as we have noted earlier. When dealing with the highly figurative and symbolic literature of Revelation, Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and other prophecies, the literalism of dispensationalism simply does not work. With it, they have created a monstrosity.

So, Paul’s allegory is that the two women, Sarah and Hagar, are two covenants, not two dispensations. Hagar, the then present Jerusalem, was in slavery with her children through Ishmael. Sarah, whose descendants through Isaac are the children of the promise, tells us that national Israel is not part of the equation. That is, no more and no less than Ishmael’s descendants or any other Gentile descendants, for that matter. Paul earlier had told the Galatian church that there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). Later he told the church at Colossae there is neither Jew nor Greek, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11). It doesn’t get any plainer than that.

However, that does not negate the promises to the patriarchs. The prophet Jeremiah said David should never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel (Jeremiah 33:17). Luke said the Lord would give Jesus the throne of His father David (Luke 1:31-33). The dispensationalists would have us believe that when Christ came and went to the cross to pay the price for our sins, forever ending Temple sacrifices, and putting an end to sin and death, that that has not yet occurred.  And when God resurrected Him? Still not. To the dispensationalists, it isn’t about Christ and what He did. Instead, it is self-glorification. It’s all about them; it’s all about man, national Israel, and us when we come back with Christ. That shows how weak and contrived the dispensationalist argument is to the learned.

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