Is the Church only a Parenthesis?
This study is, in my opinion, possibly the oddest aspect of dispensationalism. As never part of that movement, I was unaware that a Christian could ever believe that they would dismiss the church as only an afterthought. But instead, dispensationalists put almost all of their emphasis on God’s promises to the patriarchs and the idea that Jesus does not now and would not sit on David’s throne until the millennium.
This article is, in my opinion, is possibly the oddest aspect of dispensationalism. As never part of that movement, I was unaware that a Christian could ever believe that they would dismiss the church as only an afterthought. But instead, dispensationalists put almost all of their emphasis on God’s promises to the patriarchs and the idea that Jesus does not now and would not sit on David’s throne until the millennium.
For my way of thinking, most Scripture relates to Christ, what He accomplished at the cross, the Apostolic Age, and the end of the Old Covenant Age with the Temple’s destruction. Moreover, all the promises to the patriarchs are already fulfilled. So, the idea that the church somehow interrupted God’s plan with Israel is anathema.
Let us come to the understanding that God’s covenants exist in the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation. We see it as early as Genesis (6:18; 9:8-17) when God established His first with Noah; and later with Abraham (15:17-18), Isaac (26:2-5), and Jacob (28:10-15). Then in Exodus 6:2-4, we see this, “God spoke further to Moses and said to him, ‘I am the Lord; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, Lord, I did not make Myself known to them. I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned’” [emphasis added]. How interesting; God appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; He established His covenant with them, but He did not make Himself known to them.
We emphasized part of that statement because God defined, if there were any doubt, what His covenant was; it was to give the Israelites the land of Canaan. If we look at that original covenant with Abraham, we see, “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants, I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates’” (Genesis 15:18). The river of Egypt was not the Nile but probably the Wadi al Arabah, which leads from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. It is part of an area with many geologic rifts and faults running along a line from the Sea of Galilee in the north from where the Jordan River begins and flows south into the Dead Sea. The Sea has no outlet to the Gulf, in all probability the result of tectonic shifting and upheaval, closing it off. So it is quite likely that the Jordan flowed into the Gulf at one time, possibly even in Abram’s time, as the events we are talking about were 4,000 years ago.
Then after the Israelites came out from under 400 years of bondage in Egypt and were about to take the promised land, the Lord said to Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross the Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory” (Joshua 1:2, 4). Later, we see that King Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the land of the Philistines to the border of Egypt (1 Kings 4:21). He had dominion over everything west of the [Euphrates] River, from Tiphsah, even to Gaza, over all the kings west of the River (4:24).
In other words, Solomon had control over all the land promised to Abraham; therefore, those promises to the patriarchs were fulfilled under him. Interestingly, to put matters in perspective, just a little more than 200 years after that, the Assyrians came up against the northern kingdom and took them into captivity. Then, 136 years later, the Chaldeans did likewise to Judah. All that God had given them, they squandered. Dispensationalists say the promise of the land to Israel is to be fulfilled in the millennium, which is pure unadulterated hogwash.
After coming out of their seventy-year captivity, the Israelites again lost what they had regained in A.D. 70 when the Romans laid siege to and destroyed Jerusalem and the Second Temple. Furthermore, for Biblical purposes, the reconstitution of the state of Israel in 1948 is irrelevant for the Bible’s story all related to the coming of the Messiah and the kingdom of God Jesus brought with Him, not the end times.
More importantly, when the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her she would conceive as a virgin and give birth to a son, who was Christ, he said the Lord would give Him the throne of His father David (Luke 1:32). One needs to look no further than the day of Pentecost, just after the resurrection, to see the significance of that. For on that day, Peter, in his great sermon, said that David said, who was quoting Psalm 16:8, concerning Christ, “ I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken” (Acts 2:25). Then a little further Peter again says, “Because he [David] was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants upon the throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ….” (2:30-31),
Therefore, for Scriptural purposes, which are the only important ones, Christ is the direct descendant of David just as David is of Abraham (Matthew 1:1), and Jesus now sits at the right hand of God, on David’s throne. Thus, all the promises to the patriarchs have long been fulfilled. But, on the other hand, dispensationalists have duped God’s people for many years, and it is high time for the church to study to show itself approved, come to their senses, and become conversant in this matter that the dispensationalist’s heresy can be countered.
Why does all of this matter? As we already said, dispensationalists say the church interfered in God’s plan for Israel. They say that when the Tribulation comes, the church will be raptured out of the way so God can get back to His plan. Then, when Israel comes to Christ, the church will return with Christ, and we’ll all fight against and defeat the devil and Antichrist and his minions at Armageddon, and then we’ll all live happily ever after in the new heaven and new earth. That is fiction, ala Left Behind.