Category: Dispensationalism

Progressive Dispensationalism: Our Theological Lens

Progressive Dispensationalism: Our Theological Lens

As I am preparing for church planting in January, I want to clarify a theological position. I affirm Progressive Dispensationalism.

Tenets of Progressive Dispensationalism include:

Tenents of Progressive Dispensationalism

  1. Is not Replacement Theology; Progressive Dispensationalists assert that God will keep His promises made to “Israel according to the flesh,” the genetic descendents of Jacob.
  2. Acknowledges a future 7-year Tribulation followed by a 1,000 Millennium with Christ personally present and reigning from Jerusalem.
  3. Affirms that the nation of Israel (in the Millennium) will be exalted as a nation with a rebuilt Temple and sacrificial offerings (that the Messianic Age is compatible with Temple worship is demonstrated in Acts 21:17-26).
  4. Is similar to (the Messianic Jewish scholar) David Stern’s “Olive Branch Theology” espoused in Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel.
  5. Does see the church fulfilling many Old Testament prophecies (and thus differs from Traditional Dispensationalism on this point), but in a less literal sense or incomplete sense; Progressives break rank with Traditionals by concluding that the church was anticipated in the Old Testament (but not clearly). The term “mystery,” when used in reference to the church, is not defined as “something previously unrevealed,” (as in Traditional Dispensationalism) but “previously revealed unclearly.”
  6. Views the church as being blessed through Israel; Progressives avow that God has never stopped working with Israel (some Jews now believe, and He is provoking others to jealousy); the Jews will rebuild the Tribulation Temple largely in unbelief; although the 144,000 will be saved during the earlier part of the Tribulation, most Jews will not believe until the Battle of Armageddon, as interpreted from Zechariah 12.
  7. Essentially recognizes the more literal fulfillment of prophecy (which is Traditional Dispensationalism’s strong suit) but accepts how the New Testament authors quote and apply the Old Testament to the church (Traditional Dispensationalism’s most vulnerable point).
  8. Is a “now, but not yet” viewpoint (as argued by C. Marvin Pate in The End of the Age Has Come); the Kingdom Age is breaking forth now, but will have a complete fulfillment during the Millennium.

For additional study:

http://www.theopedia.com/progressive-dispensationalism

https://www.gotquestions.org/progressive-dispensationalism.html

Spiritual Israel?? 144,000 and the Salvation of a Nation

Spiritual Israel?? 144,000 and the Salvation of a Nation

Text: Revelation 7

As opposed to simply providing lesson notes, which is my normal custom, I want to address objections and disputations with regard to this passage of Scripture.

Objection: The Bible says not all of Israel is Israel (Romans 9:6), so you cannot say that all of Israel will be saved in the Tribulation.

Answer: The Bible does indeed make the statement that not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel but to imply that this verse means that “all” of Israel will not be saved is specious at best. I heard a sermon from John Piper wherein he says “Israel is God’s chosen people and most of them are perishing, cut off from the Savior, Jesus Christ. And the reason it is a crisis for you, and not just for Jews, is that, if God’s promises to Israel do not hold true, then there is no reason to think his promises to you will hold true. The rock solid security of God’s elect in Romans 8 (Verse 33: “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies!”) – this security that we exult in, at the heart of our faith, is worthless if God proves unfaithful to his covenant people. If God does not keep his promises to Israel, will he keep the promises he makes to us?”

Statement of Fact: A number of sound Bible teachers teach that the 144,000 are not to be taken literally and, instead, are a representation of all that will be saved during the tribulation.

Answer: This is an understandable sentiment but it is deficient for 2 reasons. First, there is no reason to assume Revelation needs to be “spiritualized” There are figurative aspects to be sure and they need to be dealt with according to the normal rules of language. Secondly there is nothing in Revelation 7 that indicates that the 144,000 and the multitude are the same. I would argue the opposite is true; the multitude and the 144,000 cannot be the same because one is from Israel and the other is from every tongue and tribe (often times referred to as ha’Goyim/the Nations) and thus the multitude are still more gentiles who are saved.

Question: Is it logically possible that all Israel will be saved?

Answer: That all Israel will be saved is, in fact, a logical possibility. Moreover it is plausible, and guaranteed. 

In two of the sets of judgments, we see the unmitigated death and destruction that the Holy God allows to be unleashed on a Christ Rejecting world. What we do not see, in Revelation, is how many of those who are killed are part of Israel and as a consequence we do not know how many Israelites are left alive to be saved although Zechariah 13:8 states that 2/3 will be cut off and die. We can, then, infer that the salvation of the remaining 1/3 as “all” Israel to be saved is logically possible. As to probability, bear with me…

7 Seals Judgment

Rev.6:3-2nd Seal: Wars on earth

Rev.6:7-4th Seal: Death released. 1/4 of the worlds population to die by plagues, disease, and beasts of the earth

Rev.6:9-5th Seal: Persecution and mass killing of God’s people worldwide

Rev.6:12-6th Seal: Massive earthquake wrath of God.

TRUMPETS

Rev.9:13-6th Trumpet: demons released and 200 million army kills 1/3 of the world’s population.

Some points from the Revelation Teaching Series by another of my mentors

  1. “shall be saved”…salvation by faith in Jesus Christ vs works

Genesis 15:6 Habakkuk 2:4 Romans 4:9 – 5:1 Romans 9:24-26 Galatians 3:16-29

  1. “all Israel”

Romans 2:25-29 Romans 9:6b Romans 9:27 Ezkekiel 20:5, 8, 13, 16-17, 33-44

 

We come to some questions:

  • When will God rule over Israel…when will God be Israel’s King?
  • When will Israel pollute His name no more?
  • When will Israel be sanctified before the Gentile nations?
  • When will Israel know that Jesus Christ is Lord?
  • When will Israel loathe themselves and their tawdry history?
  • When will the Lord purge Israel of the rebels/unbelievers?

 

The answer to all of the above questions is

During the 70th Week of Daniel  (Dan 9:24)

Ezekiel 36:16-31 Zechariah 13:8-9 Romans 11:25-29

“all Israel” are those who believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, their King and Savior

Ezekiel 40-48

Question Does any reputable Bible teacher believe all Israel will be saved?

Answer:

Dr. MacArthur points out that “all Israel” means all of those members of the nation of Israel that survive the Time of Jacob’s Trouble/Great Tribulation.

Romans 11:17- only some branches are broken off, so a believing remnant are being preserved unto/until salvation.

Before all Israel is saved, its unbelieving, ungodly members will be separated out by God’s inerrant hand of judgment. Ezekiel makes that truth vividly clear:

“As I live,” declares the Lord God, “surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out, I shall be king over you. And I shall bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; and I shall bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I shall enter into judgment with you face to face. As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you,” declares the Lord God. “And I shall make you pass under the rod, and I shall bring you into the bond of the covenant; and I shall purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I shall bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezek. 20:33–38, emphasis added; cf. Dan. 12:10;Zech. 13:8–9)

Those who hear the preaching of the 144,000 (Rev. 7:1–814:1–5), of other converts (7:9), of the two witnesses (11:3–13), and of the angel (14:6), and thus safely pass under God’s rod of judgment will then comprise all Israel, which—in fulfillment of God’s sovereign and irrevocable promise—will be completelya nation of believers who are ready for the kingdom of the Messiah Jesus.

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israeland with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israelafter those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jer. 31:31–34; cf. 32:38)

God’s control of history is irrefutable evidence of His sovereignty. And as surely as He cut off unbelieving Israel from His tree of salvation, just as surely will He graft believing Israel back in—a nation completely restored and completely saved.”

Most importantly, the reason why, at some point, the entirety of Israel looks upon Him whom they pierced, mourns, and turns to Christ is the fact that God does not change

Malachi 3:6

I, the Lord, do not change

Hosea 2:14-20

14“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness,

and speak tenderly to her. 15And there I will give her her vineyards

and make the Valley of Achore a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

16“And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ 17For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. 18And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolishf the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.

1 Samuel 15:29

29 “And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind”

Psalm 102:12 & 25-28

12 But Thou, O LORD dost abide forever; And Thy name to all generations. . . 25 Of old Thou didst found the earth; And the heavens are the work of Thy hands. 26 Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed. 27 But Thou art the same, And Thy years will not come to an end. 28 The children of Thy servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before Thee”

Beloved, I hope this is helpful. Until next time, grace to you.

You Can’t Have a Post Tribulation Rapture

You Can’t Have a Post Tribulation Rapture

In Christian eschatology, the post-tribulation rapture doctrine is the belief in a combined resurrection and rapture of all believers coming after the Great Tribulation. This position is fundamentally flawed and, in my estimation, does not fit with the Bible.

 

  1. The Great Tribulation is a time of judgment and the true Church was judged at Calvary

12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Hebrews 10:12-13

One sacrifice for sin for all time…If your sin was paid for at the cross, it in manifestly unjust to pay for it again in the tribulation.

  1. The Tribulation is the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” and Israel (Jacob) is not the Church

‘Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s distress, But he will be saved from it.

Jeremiah 30:7

Quoting Got Questions Ministries, “In the previous verses of Jeremiah 30, we find that the Lord is speaking to Jeremiah the prophet about Judah and Israel (30:3-4). In verse 3, the Lord promises that one day in the future, He will bring both Judah and Israel back to the land that He had promised their forefathers. Verse 5 describes a time of great fear and trembling. Verse 6 describes this time in a way that pictures men going through the pains of childbirth, again indicating a time of agony. But there is hope for Judah and Israel, for though this is called “the time of Jacob’s distress” (NASB), the Lord promises He will save Jacob (referring to Judah and Israel) out of this time of great trouble (verse 7).”

The Tribulation is a time of purification for Israel during which the obstinately unbelieving will be destroyed leaving the faithful remnant to enter the Kingdom.

Ezekiel 37:21,22 Zephaniah 3:19,20 Romans 11:26,27

  1. The Church is not mentioned from Revelation 4-19

            There is not really much extrapolation needed here. If the Tribulation were, in fact, something the Church were expected to endure, surely the Holy Spirit would have warned us. I would go so far as to say that it requires a dismissal of logical inference to presume the Church will go through the Tribulation.

  1. Revelation 3:10 and tereso oras peirasmou

Tereso oras peirasmou (I will keep you from the hour of testing.) The hour of testing being referred to, here, is the Tribulation and it is Christ Himself who says that He will keep from the hour of testing.

  1. Wherefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

Where, exactly, is the comfort in facing the Tribulation?

  1. The Blessed Hope

The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the church.

1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 Romans 8:23 Titus 2:13 1 Corinthians 15:51,52

  1. There will be a final judgment but the Tribulation is not it

There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works but this is not the tribulation period. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to the everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Matthew 25:46 Mark 9:43-48 Revelation 19:20 Revelation 20:11-15   Revelation 21:8

  1. Lastly, the final judgment for believers is the Bema Seat not the Tribulation.

Quoting Got Questions Ministries, “Romans 14:10–12 says, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. . . . So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God” (ESV). Second Corinthians 5:10 tells us, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” In context, it is clear that both passages refer to Christians, not unbelievers. The judgment seat of Christ, therefore, involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ.

The judgment seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1 John 2:2) and our faith in Him (John 3:16). All of our sins are forgiven, and we will never be condemned for them (Romans 8:1). We should not look at the judgment seat of Christ as God judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us for our lives. Yes, as the Bible says, we will have to give an account of ourselves. Part of this is surely answering for the sins we committed. However, that is not going to be the primary focus of the judgment seat of Christ.

At the judgment seat of Christ, believers are rewarded based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27; 2 Timothy 2:5). Some of the things we might be judged on are how well we obeyed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), how victorious we were over sin (Romans 6:1-4), and how well we controlled our tongues (James 3:1-9). The Bible speaks of believers receiving crowns for different things based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27; 2 Timothy 2:5). The various crowns are described in 2 Timothy 2:5, 2 Timothy 4:8, James 1:12, 1 Peter 5:4, and Revelation 2:10. James 1:12 is a good summary of how we should think about the judgment seat of Christ: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

 

CBP Classic Study Bible Review

CBP Classic Study Bible Review

 

If you’re a Baptist, and chances are good that you are, you have probably heard of the Classic Study Bible albeit under its other name, the Old Scofield Bible. First published in 1909, the Scofield Reference Bible has been a mainstay in Baptist and other circles and for good reason; the Scofield and the Thompson Chain Reference, which came out around the same time, are the oldest “study” Bibles available and the longest currently in production. What sets the Scofield apart it that it was the first that offered commentary on the Bible.

I mentioned in a previous review that Church Bible Publishers (CBP) is an endeavor of the local church in Michigan and that they offer their Bibles at cost, which is a marvel in today’s money driven society. I have had a small amount of interaction with CBP staff and I found them to be knowledgeable, friendly, and generally seemed like the people you want to eat fried chicken with (It’s the official bird of Baptists, fried chicken). A note before we get into the review: CBP did not provide this Bible for review nor did they solicit a review; this is my own endeavor.

 

THE REVIEW

Translation Choice

CBP publishes in a single English translation, the King James Version (KJV). Even though I read other translations besides just the KJV, I am pleased to see CBP specialize in a single translation; I find it makes for better overall quality because you can focus on providing what customers need rather than vetting a translation. One point about the choice of KJV: Many people say that the KJV is not copyrighted in the US and so makes for a better translation choice. This is actually incorrect; The US honors the Crown Copyright in the United Kingdom (Elizabeth II currently holds the copyright and granted letters patent to Cambridge) even though to try to enforce it would be a logistical nightmare. When you see the term Authorised Version or Authorised King James Version, you see that because the Official King James Version is being used as is the case here.

Leather Cover

As was the case with the Thompson Chain that I reviewed earlier, the Classic Study Bible came to me in black ironed calfskin. There is an alternate choice of Top Grain Cowhide but, in my opinion, the calfskin is to be preferred. You may order in black, brown, burgundy, read, two-tone (black and brown) and thumb indexing is an option. I have no clue where CBP gets their leather but it is some of the softest most luxurious leather you will ever touch; I love the feel of it.

Two other publishers offer the Classic KJV Study Bible, Oxford University Press, the original publisher and copyright holder of the Classic KJV Study Bible and Barbour Books, neither of which offer calfskin. Barbour offers hardback and bonded leather while OUP offers bonded or Genuine Leather (read pigskin). That fact, alone, would be reason enough for me to endorse the CBP version over the others but lets continue.

Paper and Font

CBP offers a much larger font vs OUP and Barbour. OUP and Barbour use an 9-point font for the text and an 8-point for the notes while CBP offers the following for font size: Bible Text – 10 pt, Center Reference – 6-7 pt, Footnotes – 9 pt. I have both of the other versions and I can tell you with absolute certainty that this version will replace the other two.

CBP’s paper is bright white and very opaque making this Bible very easy to read indeed. The black is rich, deep, and bold and the red jumps off the page. Many publishers screw up the red and you end up with pink; I am happy to say that this is not the case here. The red is exquisitely done.

Sewn Binding

This is one feature that is non-negotiable for me; I live in Arizona and a glued binding would melt if I happened to forget it in my car. A sewn binding guarantees a lifetime of use and also guarantees that it will lay flat anywhere you open the text. The fact that CBP can deliver a sewn binding on every Bible they sell tells me that other publishers have no excuse.

Bonus Feature: Wide Margins

This is not advertised as a wide-margin edition but it has wide margins anyway. Why is this bonus feature important? It is in the margins that your Bible truly becomes yours. All of your study notes, perhaps some prayers and so on; it all goes here and makes your Bible uniquely yours. It is true that there are literally millions of Classic Study Bibles around the world, from all three publishers, but no two are identical and the wide margins guarantee that.

Important Features of the Classic Study Bible

Why do you want a Classic Study Bible? It offers you

  • An unparalleled, subject-based topical chain reference system that will enable you to follow major themes throughout the entirety of Scripture
  • Enlightening introductions, complete outline subheadings and a complete chronology for each book of the Bible
  • Illuminating, same-page explanatory notes
  • Comprehensive indexes to annotations and subject chain references which permit thorough topical study
  • A detailed study Bible concordance with integrated subject index and dictionary of Scripture proper names
  • 12 pages of accurate, full-color Bible maps (with index of places and natural features) that illustrate the biblical world

Final Thoughts

Buy this Bible. Do it today. If you have never seen the inside of a Scofield, you are missing out and that is irrespective of how you view Dispensational Theology. The Classic KJV Study Bible from CBP is the best edition of the Scofield Reference Bible that is available today. To say anything else is gilding the lilly.

 

Unmasking the Apocalypse Recording and Notes

Unmasking the Apocalypse Recording and Notes

https://soundcloud.com/user-138132460/unmasking-the-apocalypse

 

Text: Revelation 1:1-3

What is an apocalypse?

apocalypse/revelation

Greek: apokalypsis (Luke 2:32; Rom. 8:19; 16:25; Gal. 1:12) Using the roots apo (G0575), “from, away,” and kalypto (G2572), “covering, veil,” this word means “an uncovering, revelation, disclosure.” What is being disclosed was previously hidden. In the New Testament this word is typically used of spiritual things, such as visions (2 Cor. 12:1), spiritual truth (Luke 2:32), or eschatological events (Rom. 8:19; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:13). In these cases, what is revealed could be known only through supernatural disclosure. The entire Bible is God’s progressive revelation of who He is and how He is saving His people, and the Book of Revelation focuses on His final revelation when He returns to establish His eternal kingdom.

Why should I try to study Revelation? Isn’t it too hard to understand?

This is a very understandable and legitimate question. John gives a good clue in the first phrase, which introduces this book as “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Revelation gives a unique picture of Jesus Christ, and the New Testament, really the entire Bible would be incomplete without it. In chapter 1, when we see Jesus’ appearance, it is a perfect exposition of the Old Testament. The Gospels describe Jesus’ life on Earth from four different viewpoints. The letters discuss the deep significance of the resurrected Christ and what he accomplished. But Revelation shows Jesus Christ from a new perspective: Here we see the most definitive picture of Jesus as Divine Son and Lord of the Church. When John saw him in this exalted state, he fell at Jesus’ feet as though dead (1:17).

As to whether or not Revelation is too hard to understand, bear this in mind:

  • We read Revelation according to the normal rules of language. Therefore, what appear to be metaphors or similes are just exactly that. If you understand the literary features of Revelation, you will be halfway to a correct understanding of the message therein
  • We read Revelation literally. That means, for example, when the book talks about locusts, it means exactly that; locusts not attack helicopters or other such nonsense.
  • Over half of Revelation refers back to the Old Testament. If you do not understand the Old Testament, correctly, you will never get Revelation right either.
  • God promises blessing to those who read the words of the Revelation (Ch 1 vs 3)

 

What does Revelation really unveil?

  • Revelation reveals Jesus as Divine Son and Lord of the Church
  • It reveals the nature of the Church through 7 types and what the end result will be for each church.
  • It reveals the Divine Judgment Machine and how God deals with a Christ rejecting world
  • The total triumph and finality of redemption is revealed including the final destruction of Satan
  • Lastly, the Kingdom is revealed.

Quoting John MacArthur on Revelation

“The book of Revelation contains truths that had been concealed, but have now been revealed. Though it nowhere directly quotes the Old Testament, 278 of its 404 verses refer or allude to Old Testament prophetic truth, and it amplifies what was only initially suggested in the Old Testament.

The Apocalypse reveals a great many divine truths. It warns the church of the danger of sin and instructs it about the need for holiness. It reveals the strength Christ and believers have to overcome Satan. It reveals the glory and majesty of God and depicts the reverent worship that constantly attends His throne. The book of Revelation reveals the end of human history, including the final political setup of the world, the career of Antichrist, and the climactic Battle of Armageddon. It reveals the coming glory of Christ’s earthly reign during the millennial kingdom, the Great White Throne judgment, and depicts the eternal bliss of the new heaven and the new earth. It reveals the ultimate victory of Jesus Christ over all human and demonic opposition. The book of Revelation describes the ultimate defeat of Satan and sin, and the final state of the wicked (eternal torment in hell) and the righteous (eternal joy in heaven). In short, it is a front-page story of the future of the world written by someone who has seen it all.

But supremely, overarching all those features, the book of Revelation reveals the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. It describes in detail the events associated with His second coming, revealing His glory that will one-day blaze forth as strikingly and unmistakably as lightning flashing in a darkened sky (Matt. 24:27).”

That last point, Children of God, is why we study Revelation- so that we might see Christ the Redeemer and Christ the Lord in all His glory and give Him the worship that is due Him.

Even a cursory glance through the book of Revelation reveals that Jesus Christ is its main theme. He is “the faithful witness” (1:5); “the firstborn of the dead” (1:5); “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (1:5); “the Alpha and the Omega”(1:8; 21:6); the one “who is and who was and who is to come”(1:8); “the Almighty”(1:8); “the first and the last”(1:17); “the living One”(1:18); “the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands” (2:1); “the One who has the sharp two-edged sword” (2:12); “the Son of God” (2:18); the One “who has eyes like a flame of fire, and … feet … like burnished bronze” (2:18); the One “who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars” (3:1); the One “who is holy, who is true” (3:7); the holder of “the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens” (3:7); “the Amen, the faithful and true Witness.”(3:14); “the Beginning of the creation of God” (3:14); “the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah” (5:5); “the Root of David” (5:5); the Lamb of God (e. g., 5:6; 6:1; 7:9-10; 8:1; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7; 21:9; 22:1); the “Lord, holy and true” (6:10); the One who “is called Faithful and True” (19:11); “The Word of God”(19:13); the “King of kings, and Lord of lords”(19:16); Christ (Messiah), ruling on earth with His glorified saints (20:6); and “Jesus … the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star” (22:16). The book of Revelation reveals the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in song, poetry, symbolism, and prophecy. In it the heavens are opened and its readers see, as did Stephen (Acts 7:56), visions of the risen, glorified Son of God. (MacArthur NT Commentary)

Are those who read Revelation really blessed?

Yes, we are really blessed by reading Revelation. For starters, it is given for our comfort as we face a world that is falling apart, where wickedness abounds so much that even Sodom would blush with shame; Christ and His righteous will triumph. The spirit of lawlessness may kill the body (God will allow some to be martyred) but antichrist will never triumph over the Righteous Lamb and those of His Elect.

Remember that blessed does not simply mean happy, even though that is an acceptable and accurate translation of the word used here. It also means favorable circumstances granted by God and it also connotes having shalom (peace and wholeness) with God.

Beloved, the time is near. This is not kronos which is our normal method of keeping time; it is kairos, the age. John wrote well because we indeed are in last days and there is nothing left to be fulfilled; all that yet remains is for the Lord to consummate redemptive history and to deliver the Kingdom up to the Father.

 

Revelation Introduction and Outline

Revelation Introduction and Outline

 

Revelation Outline

Why Read Revelation?

“Why read this strange book? John gives a good clue in the first phrase, which introduces this book as “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Revelation gives a unique picture of Jesus Christ, and the New Testament would be incomplete without it. The Gospels describe Jesus’ life on Earth from four different viewpoints. The letters discuss the deep significance of the resurrected Christ and what he accomplished. But Revelation shows Jesus Christ from a new perspective: as the mighty ruler of the cosmic forces of good. When John saw him in this exalted state, he fell at Jesus’ feet as though dead (1:17).

Although Revelation does not remove the mystery surrounding Jesus’ return and the end of the world, it does throw light on those events. It cannot be reduced to a mere timetable of events; it speaks lasting truths to every generation of readers. Revelation tells of Christ’s future triumph over all the evil in the universe. This crucial message of final hope was needed by its original readers in the first century and is still needed by us today.” —NIV Student Bible

Who wrote Revelation? John the Beloved Apostle (see Rev 1:1)

DATE: A.D. 96? There is some dispute about this though. From the Harper Collins Study Bible’s notes we learn “Many early Christian writers thought that Revelation had been written toward the end of Domitian’s reign (81–96 ce), but a few later writers thought that John had written a generation earlier, during the persecution that occurred in 64 under Nero (54–68 ce). Evidence supporting both dates can be found in the book. In favor of the earlier date, 11.1–3 suggests that the Jewish temple in Jerusalem (destroyed by the Romans in 70) was still standing when the book was written. Further, the code name of the beast in 13.18 is 666, widely thought to symbolize the name Nero Caesar. Other data, however, suggest a date late in the first century. For example, there are several allusions (13.3; 17.9–11) to the legend of Nero’s return, which circulated throughout the eastern Mediterranean during the two decades following his suicide in 68. Further, Revelation frequently uses “Babylon” as a code name for Rome (14.8; 16.19; 17.5, 18; 18.2, 10, 21), but the evidence suggests that Jews used this code name only after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70.”

As a general rule, I favor the dating of approximately 96 A.D. We need to remember that there is, oftentimes, an already but not yet in prophecy. John certainly wrote to comfort Christians who were already under persecution but he also wrote to comfort those under persecutions yet to come.

The spiritual decline of the 7 churches (chaps. 2, 3) also argues for the later date. Those churches were strong and spiritually healthy in the mid-60s, when Paul last ministered in Asia Minor. The brief time between Paul’s ministry there and the end of Nero’s reign was too short for such a decline to have occurred. The longer time gap also explains the rise of the heretical sect known as the Nicolaitans (2:6, 15), who are not mentioned in Paul’s letters, not even to one or more of these same churches (Ephesians). Finally, dating Revelation during Nero’s reign does not allow time for John’s ministry in Asia Minor to reach the point at which the authorities would have felt the need to exile him.
THEME: The theme of the Revelation is Jesus Christ (Rev 1:1) in all His post-resurrection glory and majesty. He is presented in a threefold way: (1) As to time: “which is, and which was, and which is to come” Rev 1:4); (2) as to relationships–the churches Rev 1:9 through Rev 3:22), to the tribulation Rev 4:1 through Rev 19:21), to the kingdom Rev 20:1 through Rev 22:21); (3) in His offices–High Priest Rev 8:3-6), Bridegroom Rev 19:7-9), King-Judge Rev 20:1-15).

Christ is the central theme of the book, but all of the events move toward one consummation, the bringing in of the covenanted kingdom. The key-phrase is the prophetic declaration of the “great voices in heaven” Rev 11:15), lit, “The world kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ has come.”

 

Introductory Remark

The three major divisions of Revelation must be clearly held if the interpretation is to be sane and coherent. John was commanded to “write” concerning three classes of “things” Rev 1:19):

I. Things past, “the things thou hast seen,” i.e. the Patmos vision, Rev 1.1-20.
II. Things present, “the things which are,” i.e. things then existing–obviously the churches. The temple had been destroyed, the Jews dispersed: the testimony of God had been committed to the Churches (1Ti 3.15). Accordingly we have seven messages to seven representative churches, Rev 2.1 through Rev 3.22. It is noteworthy that the church is not mentioned in chapters 5 through 18.
III. Things future, “things which shall be hereafter,” lit. “after these,” i.e. after the church period ends, Rev 4.1 through Rev 22.21. The third major division, falls into a series of six sevens, with parenthetical passages, making, with the church division, seven sevens. The six sevens are:
(1) The seals, Rev 4.1 through Rev 8.1.
(2) The seven trumpets, Rev 8.2 through Rev 11.19.
(3). The seven personages, Rev 12:1-14:20.
(4). The seven vials (bowls), Rev 15.1 through Rev 16.21.
(5). The seven dooms, Rev 17.1 through Rev 20.15.
(6). The seven new things, Rev 21.1 through Rev 22.21.
The parenthetical passages are:

  • The Jewish remnant and the tribulation saints, Rev 7:1-17.
  • The angel, the little book, the two witnesses, Rev 10:1 through Rev 11:14.
  • The Lamb, the Remnant, and the everlasting Gospel, Rev 14:1-13.
  • The gathering of the kings at Armageddon, Rev 16:13-16.
  • The four alleluias in heaven, Rev 19:1-6. These passages do not advance the prophetic narrative. Looking backward and forward they sum up results accomplished, and speak of results yet to come as if they had already come. In Rev 14:1, for example, the Lamb and Remnant are seen prophetically on Mount Zion, though they are not actually there till Rev 20:4-6.The end of the church period Rev 2 through Rev 3.) is left as indeterminate. It will end by the fulfillment of 1Th 4:14-17. Revelation 4 through Rev 19 are believed to synchronize with Daniel’s Seventieth Week (Dan 9:24). The great tribulation begins at the middle of the “week,” and continues three and a half years Rev 11:3 through Rev 19:21). The tribulation is brought to an end by the appearing of the Lord and the battle of Armageddon Mat 24:29, 30; Re 19:11-21). The kingdom follows Re 20:4, 5); after this the “little season” Re 20:7-15), and then eternity.

    As we study Revelation we should bear in mind two important passages: 1Pe 1:12; 2Pe 1:20, 21. Doubtless much which is designedly obscure to us will be clear to those for whom it was written as the time approaches.

 

THEORIES OF INTERPRETATION: There have been many approaches to this book, but these can be divided into four major theories:

  • Preterist theory: All of Revelation has been fulfilled in the past. It had to do with local references in John’s day. It had to do with the days of either Nero or Domitian.
  • Historical theory: Fulfillment of Revelation is going on in history, and Revelation is the prophetic history of the church, according to this theory.
  • Historical-spiritual (Symbolic) theory: This theory is a refinement of the historical theory and was advanced by Sir William Ramsay. It states that the two beasts are Imperial and Provincial Rome. The point of the book is to encourage Christians. According to this theory, Revelation has been largely fulfilled and there are spiritual lessons for the church today. Amillennialism, for the most part, has adopted this view. It dissipates and defeats the purpose of the book.
  • Futurist theory: This theory holds that the Book of Revelation is primarily prophetic and yet future, especially from Revelation 4 on to the end of the book. This is the view of all premillennialists and is the view which we accept and present.

 

We should note that at least 10 Themes in Scripture find their consummation in Revelation

  1. The Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:15)
  2. The church (Matthew 16:18)
  3. The resurrection and translation of saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13- 18; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52)
  4. The Great Tribulation (Deuteronomy 4:30, 31)
  5. Satan and evil (Ezekiel 28:11-18)
  6. The “man of sin” (Ezekiel 28:1-10)
  7. The course and end of apostate Christendom (Daniel 2:31-45; Matthew 13)
  8. The beginning, course, and end of the “times of the Gentiles” (Daniel 2:37; Luke 21:24)
  9. The second coming of Christ (Jude 14, 15)
  10. Israel’s covenants (Genesis 12:1-3), five things promised Israel

Christ in Revelation

Revelation has much to say about all three Persons of the Godhead, but it is especially clear in its presentation of the awesome resurrected Christ who has received all authority to judge the earth. He is called Jesus Christ (1:1), the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, the ruler over the kings of the earth (1:5), the First and the Last (1:17), He who lives (1:18), the Son of God (2:18), holy and true (3:7), the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God (3:14), the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David (5:5), a Lamb (5:6), Faithful and True (19:11), The Word of God (19:13), KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (19:16), Alpha and Omega (22:13), the Bright and Morning Star (22:16), and the Lord Jesus Christ (22:21).

This book is indeed “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:1) since it comes from Him and centers on Him. It begins with a vision of His glory, wisdom, and power (1) and portrays His authority over the entire church (2; 3). He is the Lamb who was slain and declared worthy to open the book of judgment (5). His righteous wrath is poured out upon the whole earth (6–18), and He returns in power to judge His enemies and to reign as the Lord over all (19; 20). He will rule forever over the heavenly city in the presence of all who know Him (21; 22).

The Scriptures close with His great promise: “‘Behold, I am coming quickly!’” (22:7, 12). “‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (22:20).

 

Keys to Understanding Revelation

Key Word:

The Revelation of the Coming of Christ

The purposes for which Revelation was written depend to some extent on how the book as a whole is interpreted. Because of its complex imagery and symbolism, Revelation is the most difficult biblical book to interpret, and there are four major alternatives: (1) The symbolic or idealist view maintains that Revelation is not a predictive prophecy, but a symbolic portrait of the cosmic conflict of spiritual principles. (2) The preterist view (the Latin word praeter means “past”) maintains that it is a symbolic description of the Roman persecution of the church, emperor worship, and the divine judgment of Rome. (3) The historicist view approaches Revelation as an allegorical panorama of the history of the (Western) church from the first century to the Second Advent. (4) The futurist view acknowledges the obvious influence that the first-century conflict between Roman power and the church had upon the themes of this book. It also accepts the bulk of Revelation (4–22) as an inspired look into the time immediately preceding the Second Advent (the “Tribulation,” usually seen as seven years; 6–18), and extending from the return of Christ to the creation of the new cosmos (19–22).

Advocates of all four interpretive approaches to Revelation agree that it was written to assure the recipients of the ultimate triumph of Christ over all who rise up against Him and His saints. The readers were facing dark times of persecution, and even worse times would follow. Therefore, they needed to be encouraged to persevere by standing firm in Christ in view of God’s plan for the righteous and the wicked. This plan is especially clear in the stirring words of the epilogue (22:6–21). The book was also written to challenge complacent Christians to stop compromising with the world. According to futurists, Revelation serves the additional purpose of providing a perspective on end-time events that would have meaning and relevance to the spiritual lives of all succeeding generations of Christians.

Key Verses:

Revelation 1:19 and 19:11–15

“‘Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this’” (1:19).

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (19:11–15).

Key Chapters:

Revelation 19–22

When the end of history is fully understood, its impact radically affects the present. In Revelation 19–22 the plans of God for the last days and for all of eternity are recorded in explicit terms. Careful study of and obedience to them will bring the blessings that are promised (1:3). Uppermost in the mind and deep in the heart should be guarded the words of Jesus, “Behold, I am coming quickly.”

 

Salvation and Dispensationalism

Salvation and Dispensationalism

We welcome, once again,  James D. Quiggle, ThM. who brings us an article correcting some misconceptions regarding salvation in Dispensational Theology. It is my hope that this article is helpful to you…

In the previous article, “Understanding Dispensationalism,” I promised to address the criticism that dispensationalism teaches different ways of salvation in each dispensation. This criticism comes from those following a view of Scripture known as Covenant Theology (CT). Covenant theology teaches that God interacts with human kind through various covenants, the most important of which are the covenant of works with Adam pre-sin, and the covenant of grace after Adam’s fall into sin. Understanding how dispensationalism and CT view the means of salvation, versus the basis of salvation, requires a little background information.

Both dispensationalism and CT believe in the apostolic and Reformation doctrine of salvation by God’s grace through the sinner’s faith in God’s testimony that Jesus Christ propitiated God for sin on the cross. Propitiation is a term that means Christ fully satisfied God for the crime of sin by suffering God’s wrath against sin while on the cross. Jesus suffered spiritually for sin (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) and he suffered physically for sin (“And bowing his head, he gave up his spirit”). His resurrection out of death demonstrated that he had fully paid the judicial debt for sin. Every person believing God’s testimony concerning the way (or means) to salvation is saved.

If, as is the case, both CT and dispensationalism believe Christ’s propitiation is the basis for salvation from Adam forward to the end of the ages, what is the difference between them regarding salvation? In the previous article I stated, “A dispensation is from God’s viewpoint an economy; from man’s, a responsibility.”[1] Those following Covenant theology believe the differing responsibilities in each dispensation are different ways of salvation. For example, the responsibility of the people in Noah’s time was “believe God’s warning of coming judgment and get in the ark to be saved.” This was not the same as Abraham’s responsibility (Genesis 12:1) or that of the Israelis under the law given through Moses (Exodus 19:8), nor in this New Testament dispensation (e.g., Acts 16:31).

Because the Dispensationalist teaches God changes the means in which he interacts with human kind, continuing some responsibilities, annulling others, and giving new responsibilities, CT believes dispensationalism teaches different ways of salvation. Covenant theology confuses the dispensational view of changes in man’s responsibilities toward God (changes God himself made) as teaching different ways of salvation. This is not what dispensationalism teaches (I will explain below). To understand we must first examine what CT does teach about salvation.

Covenant theology teaches that from Adam forward, salvation was “by grace through faith in Christ.”[2] What Covenant theology means by the phrase “faith in Christ” is that every person in Old Testament times, from Adam forward, was saved because they placed their faith in the yet-future coming Messiah. The covenant theologian believes “it was not mere trust or faith in God, or simple piety, which was required [for salvation] but faith in the promised redeemer, or faith in the promise of redemption through the Messiah.”[3] How did the Old Testament persons come to the conclusion that their salvation depended on belief in a yet-future coming Messiah? Not from the Old Testament Scriptures. Covenant theology says they had supplementary instruction from the prophets or divine illumination from God.[4] “Supplementary instruction” and “divine illumination” means “not written in the Scriptures.” These views, from Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology, were stated in 1873, but continue to describe Covenant theology’s view of salvation today.

The Covenant theologian cannot demonstrate his salvation theology from the scriptures. If pressed, CT will point to a few verses, e.g., John 8:56; Psalm 16:11; Job 19:25–26; Genesis 3:15. But, how much did the Old Testament peoples understand? Even a prominent CT (J. Barton Payne) admitted limitations in Old Testament understanding: “That, to satisfy God, God must die, that men might inherit God, to be with God, was incomprehensible under the Old Testament seminal knowledge of the Trinity, the incarnation, and the crucifixion followed by the resurrection.”[5] The CT pointing to Genesis 3:15, often cited as positive proof of belief in a coming messiah, has grave difficulties: the verse does not mention a coming messiah and is never used in the Old or New Testaments regarding Christ or salvation in Christ.

Dispensationalism has always taught one way of salvation. C. C. Ryrie, 1995: “the basis of salvation in every age is the death [propitiation] of Christ.”[6] C. I. Scofield, 1890: “God’s grace to man is always based on the work accomplished by Christ in His death [propitiation] on the cross.”[7] What Scofield taught in 1890 is exactly what Ryrie taught one hundred years later. Although dispensationalism is accused of teaching a different way of salvation in every dispensation, dispensationalists have always taught the basis for salvation from Adam to the end of the ages is the propitiation made by Christ. What does change with each dispensation is the “content of faith” given to each dispensation. Within each dispensation past, present, and yet-future (except the eternal state, in which every human being is saved and glorified prior to entry), God gives mankind a “content of faith” through which a sinner by grace through faith is able to access salvation and bring glory to God.

The content of faith for every dispensation is always defined by God’s testimony. In the dispensation concerning Noah’s generation, the content of faith was to believe universal judgment was coming and build an ark to save those of mankind who would believe God’s testimony. In the dispensation of the Mosaic Law the content of faith was not bring a sacrifice in order to be saved. The content of faith under the Mosaic Law was faith in God’s testimony that repentance of sin with confession of sin and a proper sacrifice for sin would result in forgiveness of sin. Mechanically bringing a sacrifice did not save. What saved was faith in God through his testimony, faith which was accepted by God’s grace, faith that was revealed by doing the things God said to do by faith. Near the end of the Tribulation period, when the voices of the saved are almost silenced by persecution and martyrdom, God will give human kind the simplest content of faith: Fear God, and give glory to him” (Revelation 14:7). But the basis of salvation will be the same it was for Adam and Eve, Abraham and Moses, Peter and Paul, and you and me: Christ’s propitiation on the cross.

Christ’s propitiation-resurrection created a new dispensation, the age of the New Testament church, with a new content of faith: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. For Hebrews and Gentiles practicing Judaism the content of faith changed from repentance, faith, and a proper animal sacrifice under the Mosaic Law, to saving faith in the one and only Savior Jesus the Christ. For the pagan Gentiles outside Judaism the content of faith changed from walk with and worship the God who created Adam and gave the Noahic covenant, to saving faith in the one and only Savior Jesus the Christ, e.g., Acts 16:30–31; 17:30–31. To be saved in the current New Testament church dispensation one must come to God with repentance and confession for sin with the proper sacrifice—Jesus crucified and resurrected—having faith in God’s testimony that Jesus is the only way to be saved in this New Testament church dispensation.

The dispensationalist’s changing “content of faith” approach to the sinner’s access to salvation is not a change in the basis of salvation. The basis of salvation in every dispensation from Adam forward is the propitiation of Christ, and nothing else. Although Christ’s propitiation for sin occurred at a particular historical moment, it was, is, and always will be the only efficient means of salvation. Ephesians 1:4 indicates that in eternity-past God decreed the Son’s propitiation to be the only means by which sinners can be saved, “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.” Therefore, because “God . . . calls the things not existing as though existing” (Romans 4:17), the historical act of Christ’s propitiation, which was decreed in eternity-past, is efficient for salvation from eternity-past through historical-present into eternity-future. By an eternal decree, the salvific benefits of Christ’s historical propitiation have been in effect from the moment God made the decree, which was before he created the universe. How those benefits are accessed is defined and described for the dispensationalist by the content of faith God gave sinners in each particular dispensation.

In the purpose of God the plan of salvation is the same in every dispensation: always by grace through faith in God’s testimony; always by application of Christ’s merit to the sinner’s spiritual need. The changing “content of faith” is a change in the processes by which salvation is accessed. But a change in the content of faith is not a change in God’s purpose and plans. The “content of faith” in each dispensation is always faith in God through his testimony, whatever that testimony might be for a particular dispensation. The plan of salvation has always been and will always be “God from the beginning chose you to salvation, by grace, in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth,” 2 Thessalonians 2:13, cf. Ephesians 2:8–9; 1 Peter 1:2. The truth through which sinners past, present, and future access the means of grace and the way of salvation was, is, and always will be God’s testimony concerning the particular content of faith given to them.

Looking to the one way in which God saves in every dispensation from Adam to the end of the ages, Ryrie has developed a dispensational definition of salvation:

The basis of salvation in every age is the death [propitiation] of Christ; the requirement for salvation in every age is faith; the object of faith in every age is God; the content of faith changes in the various dispensations.”[8]

Dispensationalism doesn’t depend on extra-biblical knowledge or unknown divine illumination to effect salvation in the Old Testament, as does covenant theology, but on faith in God through his testimony in the Scripture given to each dispensation. So, too, in the New Testament church dispensation and yet-future dispensations. There has been and will always be one basis of salvation: Christ; one requirement for salvation: faith, one object of faith: God.

 

[1] Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism  (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995, Rev. ed.), 30.

[2] [http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/reformed-theology-covenant-theology/]; [https://www.gotquestions.org/covenant-theology.html].

[3] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology (1873, Reprinted, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1981), 2:372.

[4] Ibid., 2:367.

[5] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 114 (emphasis original).

[6] Ibid., 115.

[7] C. I. Scofield, Bible Correspondence Course (1890, Reprinted, Chicago, IL:  The Moody Bible Institute, 1960), 5:1244.

[8] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 115 (emphasis original).

Understanding Dispensationalism

Understanding Dispensationalism

Guest Post by James D. Quiggle, ThM.

The concepts that make up dispensationalism are found in Scripture, and the core theological ideas that comprise dispensationalism have been around since apostolic days. The modern revival of dispensationalism began life as a prophecy movement in the late 1800s. Then, through the works of men such as Arno C. Gaebelein, C. I. Scofield, and later C. C. Ryrie, dispensationalism became a means of understanding the world as a household run by God. Dispensationalism is an organizing principle that gives a certain structure to the scriptures, and dispensationalism is the theology (study of God and Scripture) that derives from that certain structure.

Dispensational theology recognizes that God has worked out his purpose in the world in different ways at different times in the history of the world. This is not an unfamiliar concept. Hebrews 1:1–2, “Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son” (CSB[1]). So we see that God worked in many different ways to reveal himself in Old Testament days, and in these New Testament days he has revealed himself in his Son, Jesus Christ. So too has God used different ways at different times to work out his purpose in the world.

Dispensationalism identifies the different ways and times in which God is working in the world using the term dispensation. “A dispensation is a distinguishable economy in the outworking of God’s purpose.”[2] An “economy,” in the sense the Bible uses the word “dispensation,” corresponds to the more archaic use of the word, i.e., the management of household affairs. “Dispensationalism views the world as a household run by God. In His household God is dispensing or administering its affairs according to his own will and in various stages of revelation in the passage of time.”[3] Restated a little differently, “A dispensation is from God’s viewpoint an economy; from man’s, a responsibility.”[4]

The difference between the days of Adam, the days of Noah, and the days of Abraham provide an example of three dispensations. During the days of Adam, before his sin, human beings were responsible to worship God and obey his commandments (1:3–3:6). After his sin God gave humans new responsibilities (Genesis 3:7–8:14), to “walk with God,” Genesis 5:22. But as human beings turned away from God, 5:5, God began to work out his purpose through one person, Noah, and his family. The responsibility of human beings during the time of Noah before the flood was to believe God’s warning of coming judgment and get in the ark to be saved.

After the flood God gave human beings new responsibilities, Genesis 8:15–11:9. Then, as the world began to be repopulated, God began to manage the world through his relationship with Abraham (Genesis 11:10–Exodus 18:27); and then through Moses (Exodus 19:1–John 14:30), dividing the world’s peoples into two groups, Hebrews and non-Hebrews (i.e., Gentiles). The Gentiles would continue under the responsibilities of the post-flood covenant God made with humanity through Noah. The Hebrews would develop under the covenants with Abraham and Moses to the time of Jesus Christ, when both groups became responsible to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, Acts 3:38; 10:44–48; 16:31; 17:31.

So, a new dispensation begins when God takes action to change the way in which he runs his household by changing the responsibilities required of human beings. As another has said, “A new period (dispensation) always begins only when from the side of God a change is introduced in the composition of the principles valid up to that time; that is, when from the side of God three things concur:[5]

  1. A continuance of certain ordinances valid until then;
  2. An annulment of other regulations until then valid;
  3. A fresh introduction of new principles not before valid.

We see this, for example, by comparing the change in mans’ pre- and post-flood responsibilities; and the change in Israel’s responsibilities toward the Law of Moses before Christ came and after Christ was crucified, resurrected, and ascended. Today, in the current dispensation, both Jews and Gentiles are required to believe on Jesus Christ crucified, resurrected, and ascended for salvation from the penalty of due sin, and thereby receive eternal life.

There have been several dispensations in the history of the world since Adam was created. These are identified in various ways. I prefer to identify them by the prominent biblical person with which they began and ended. These are:[6]

Adam to Noah

Noah to Abraham

Abraham to Moses

Moses to Christ’s resurrection

Christ’s resurrection to rapture of the church

Rapture of the church to Christ’s second advent/Davidic-Messianic-Millennial reign

Christ’s Davidic-Messianic-Millennial reign to Christ the Judge at the Great White Throne Judgment (GWT)

The eternal state (God eternally face-to-face with saved mankind) following the GWT

Certain dispensations might also be defined in terms of the covenants God made with mankind’s representatives.

Adam to Noah (Adamic covenant)

Noah to Abraham, (Post-Flood Noahic covenant)

Abraham to Moses, (Abrahamic covenant)

Moses to Christ’s resurrection (Mosaic, Palestinian, Davidic, and New covenants)

Christ’s resurrection to rapture of the church (application of New covenant to individual Hebrews and Gentiles)

Christ’s Davidic-Messianic-Millennial reign (fulfillment of Abrahamic, Davidic, Palestinian, and New covenants toward national ethnic Israel)

Another way of identifying the dispensations looks like this:[7]

Name               Scripture                     Responsibilities                     Judgments

Innocency Genesis 1:3–3:6 Keep Garden

Do not eat one fruit

Fill, subdue earth

Fellowship with God

Curses, and physical and spiritual death
Conscience Genesis 3:7–8:14 Do good Flood
Civil Government Genesis 8:15–11:9 Fill earth

Capital punishment

Forced scattering by confusion of languages
Patriarchal Rule Genesis 11:10– Exodus 18:27 Stay in Promised Land

Believe and obey God

Egyptian bondage and wilderness wanderings
Mosaic Law Exodus 19:1–   John 14:30 Keep the law

Walk with God

Captivities
Grace Acts 2:1– Revelation 19:21 Believe on Christ

Walk with Christ

Death

Loss of rewards

Millennium Revelation 20:1–15 Believe and obey Christ and His government Death

Great White Throne Judgment

 

Most dispensationalists see seven dispensations, more or less as described in the table, above. The number of dispensations and the names are minor matters. Above the table I identified seven dispensations using the names of prominent Bible characters, and six using the covenants in Scripture. The number or names are not essential to dispensationalism.

What is essential to dispensationalism? Put another way, what is the sine qua non (a Latin phrase literally meaning “without which nothing”), what are the essential beliefs that identify dispensationalism from other theologies? Charles Ryrie has identified three essentials.[8]

  1. A dispensationalist keeps Israel and the church distinct.
  2. The distinction between Israel and the church is born out of a system of hermeneutics [method of interpretation] that is usually called literal interpretation, or historical-grammatical interpretation.
  3. The underlying purpose of God in the world is the glory of God.

The first principle of dispensationalism is to maintain the distinction between Israel and the New Testament church. By this principle the dispensationalist means God has a distinct purpose for national ethnic Israel and a distinct purpose for the New Testament church. Some theologies believe the New Testament church has replaced Israel in the plan of God, or superseded Israel in the plan of God, or that the New Testament church is “the continuation of Israel” in a new phase of its existence (the church is Israel).[9] While there is some overlap in God’s purpose for national ethnic Israel and the New Testament church—both, for example, will be present in the Davidic-Millennial Kingdom—each is a distinct entity and each has a distinct purpose in God’s plans.

 

Dispensationalism derives its view of Israel and the church by a method of interpretation usually known as the literal hermeneutic or the historical-grammatical hermeneutic. By these terms is meant the dispensationalist interprets the Bible according to the plain and normal sense of words and uses of language. For example, if I type “dog” or “cat,” the animal named appears in your mind’s eye. If I type “it is raining cats and dogs,” you do not picture dogs and cats raining down from the sky, but a rain so heavy no dog or cat would be caught outside—nor no sensible human. That is understanding words and language in the plain and normal sense. So, too, with Bible interpretation. Fire, for example, has a literal meaning, and it has a figurative (actually two figurative) meanings. Fire burns, consumes most things it burns, but may be also used to refine (smelt) metals. So the figurative meaning is judgment (consumes) or purification (refines). The literal hermeneutic is really an analysis of the historical circumstances of when the word was written and the people/culture it was written to, analysis of the grammar and syntax of the language, an analysis of the context of the passage in which the word is used, an analysis of the literary genre of the writing in which the word is used, a theological and doctrinal analysis of the passage, and comparing one’s result with other reliable commentators. The literal interpretation is really the “historical-cultural, contextual, lexical-syntactical, theological, and literary analysis” method.[10] But that is too long to say or write, so we will call it historical-grammatical interpretation, or, literal interpretation.

 

Dispensationalism views God’s purpose in the world as his own glory. God’s plan to save sinners is not God’s only program in the world, but only one means by which God will glorify himself. All the events of the created world are designed to reveal the glory of God. God has plans for the saved, sinners, holy angels, fallen angels, Israel, the church, those saved during the Tribulation, and those persons and angels entering the eternal age after the Great White Throne judgment (see Revelation 20–22). “The basic purpose of God in all His dealings with mankind is that of glorifying Himself through salvation and other purposes.”[11]

 

Some believe the dispensational arrangement of history teaches different ways of salvation in the several dispensational economies. I will address this criticism in a second article.

 

 

 

[1] Christian Standard Bible (Copyright, Lifeway Christian Resources, 2017).

[2] Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism  (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995, Rev. ed.), 28.

[3] Ibid., 29.

[4] Ibid., 30.

[5] Erich Sauer, The Dawn of World Redemption (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1951), 194

[6] James D. Quiggle, Dispensational Eschatology, (CreateSpace, 2013), 3–4.

[7] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 54.

[8] Ibid., 39–41.

[9] Samuel E. Waldron, MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto, A Friendly Response (Owensburg, KY: RBAP, 2008), 7.

[10] Henry A. Virkler, Hermeneutics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1981), 76

[11] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 41.

Revelation Series: Bibliography and Recommended Reading

Revelation Series: Bibliography and Recommended Reading

Beloved, the following resources helped to shape the notes for out Revelation Study Series. Time invested in these resources will give you more insight into  Revelation.

 

The MacArthur New Testament Commentary

Moody Publishers/Chicago

© 1999 by John MacArthur

Used by Permission

 

Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Doctrine

Moody Publishers/Chicago

© 1986, 1999 by Charles C. Ryrie, PhD

 

NIV Study Bible, copyright © 1985, 1995, 2002, 2008, 2011 by Zondervan

NIV Archaeological Study Bible, ©2005 by Zondervan

 

Q&A notes are adapted from the NIV Quest Study Bible, copyright © 1994, 2003, 2011 by Zondervan

 

THE IVP BIBLE BACKGROUND COMMENTARY: New Testament

© 1993 by Craig S. Keener published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.

Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament

by Warren W. Wiersbe

© 1993 by Victor Books/SP Publications, Inc.

 

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown: Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871)

by Rev. Robert Jamieson, D.D. Rev. A.R. Fausset, A.M & Rev. David Brown, D.D.

Database © 2012 WORDsearch Corp.

 

The HarperCollins Study Bible, Revised Edition.

Copyright © 2006 by HarperCollins Publishers.

 

New Interpreters Study Bible

© 2003 Abingdon Press

 

 

The Open Bible®

Copyright © 1983, 1985, 1990, 1997 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

 

Preacher’s Complete Homiletical Commentary

© 2001 Baker Books

 

 

 

 

Kingdom Come: the 7th Dispensation

Kingdom Come: the 7th Dispensation

The final dispensation is that of the Kindgom. We will begin with some material from gotquestions.org and then move into our lesson on the 4 views of the Millenium…

“In classic dispensationalism, there are seven dispensations. It is important to remember that dispensationalism is a theology inferred from Scripture rather than an explicitly taught doctrine of God’s Word. The value of dispensationalism lies in its systematic view of history’s different eras and the various ways in which the Ancient of Days interacts with His creation.

The seventh and final dispensation brings about the culmination of life on Earth and the closest thing yet to how God really wanted to live with us on this planet. As its name suggests, the Millennial Kingdom of Christ will last for 1,000 years.

The Millennial Kingdom is the seventh dispensation (Revelation 20:1-10).

Stewards: The resurrected Old Testament saints, the glorified Church, and survivors of the Tribulation and their descendants

The Period: From the Second Coming of Jesus Christ until the final rebellion, a period of one thousand years

Responsibility: To be obedient, remain undefiled, and worship the Lord Jesus (Isaiah 11:3-5; Zechariah 14:9)

Failure: After Satan is loosed from the Abyss, sinful man rebels one more time (Revelation 20:7-9)

Judgment: Fire from God; the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:9-15)

Grace: Jesus Christ restores creation and rules righteously in Israel, with all saints assisting (Isaiah 11:1-5; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20)

The Millennial Kingdom will be a time characterized by peace (Isaiah 11:6-7; Micah 4:3), justice (Isaiah 11:3-4), unity (Isaiah 11:10), abundance (Isaiah 35:1-2), healing (Isaiah 35:5-6), righteousness (Isaiah 35:8), joy (Isaiah 55:12), and the physical presence of Christ (Isaiah 16:5). Satan will be bound in the Abyss during this period (Revelation 20:1-3). Messiah Jesus will be the benevolent dictator ruling over the whole world (Isaiah 9:6-7; 11). The resurrected saints of all times will participate in the management of the government (Revelation 20:4-6).

The Millennial Kingdom is measurable and comes after the Kingdom of God (embodied in Jesus Christ) came to man during the dispensation of Grace. On Jesus’ first visit to the earth, He brought grace; at His Second Coming He will execute justice and usher in the Millennium. Jesus mentioned His glorious return at His trial before the Sanhedrin (Mark 14:62), and He was referring to the Millennial Kingdom when He taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10, KJV).

The rebellion at the end of the Millennial Kingdom seems almost incredible. Mankind will have been living in a perfect environment with every need cared for, overseen by a truly just government (Isaiah 11:1-5), yet they still try to do better. Man simply cannot maintain the perfection that God requires. Mankind follows Satan any chance he gets.

At the end of the Millennium, the final rebellion is crushed, and Satan will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). Then comes the Great White Throne Judgment where all the unrighteous of all of the dispensations will be judged according to their works and also cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).

After the final judgment, God and His people live forever in the New Jerusalem on a new earth with a new heaven (Revelation 21). God’s plan of redemption will have been completely realized, and the redeemed will know God and enjoy Him forever.”

The “Millenial Kingdom” is the thousand-year period in Revelation 20:1-6. From days of old, orthodox Christian interpreters have been divided over the nature and timing of the millennium relative to Jesus’ second coming. There are 3 dominant views: Premillennialism, Postmillennialism, and Amillennialism. In premillennialism, Jesus returns before his thousand-year reign on earth. In postmillennialism, Jesus returns after an earthly golden age. In amillennialism, the millennium is a symbolic time frame between Jesus’ ascension and his return, when deceased believers reign with Christ in heaven. We will treat those a little more below.

Postmillennialism

Definition:

The postmillennialist believes that the millennium is an and not necessarily a literal thousand years during which Christ will reign over the earth, not from a literal and earthly throne, but through the gradual increase of the Gospel and its power to change lives (emphasis mine). After this gradual Christianization of the world, Christ will return and immediately usher the church into their eternal state after judging the wicked. This is called postmillennialism because, by its view, Christ will return after the millennium.

Features and Distinctions:

  • Favored method of interpretation: covenant-historical.
  • Israel and the church: the church is the fulfillment of Israel.
  • Kingdom of God: a spiritual entity experienced on earth through the Christianizing affect of the Gospel.
  • The Millennium: a Golden Age previous to Christ’s second advent during which Christ will virtually rule over the whole earth through an unprecedented spread of the Gospel; the large majority of people will be Christian.

Miscellaneous:

  • Higher degrees of interpreting First Century events in the light of prophecy; preterism often goes hand-in-hand with postmillennialism.
  • Of the several versions of postmillennial eschatology, the reconstructionist’s seems to be gaining the most popularity in the world today.
  • Major proponents: Rousas J. Rushdoony, Greg L. Bahnsen, Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., David Chilton, and Gary North.

 Synopsis:

There are several different versions of postmillennialism, but one of the views gaining the most popularity, is that of the theonomists. Generally speaking, the postmillennial theonomist viewpoint holds to a partial-preterist interpretation of Revelation and the various judgment prophecies in the Gospels, believing that the majority of those prophecies were fulfilled in 70 A.D. at the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.

The postmillennialist sees the millennial kingdom as the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham that he would become “a great nation” and that “all peoples on earth would be blessed” through him (Genesis 12:2-3). This holy reign will come about via gradual conversion (rather than premillennialism’s cataclysmic Christological advent) through the spread of the Gospel — this incremental progress is drawn from many pictures found throughout Scripture (e.g., Deuteronomy 7:22 and Ezekiel 47:1-12).

Postmillennial optimism is also nurtured through many of prophetic psalmody. The Psalms often speak of all nations fearing Him, salvation being known among all nations, the ends of the earth fearing Him, et cetera (e.g., Psalm 2:1-12; Psalm 22:27; Psalm 67:2, Psalm 67:7; Psalm 102:15; Psalm 110:1). Another passage that well feeds this earthly optimism is Isaiah 2:2-3 in which the nations will stream to the righteousness of God.

In light of current world events, I must reject the idea that the preaching of the Gospel is ushering in any kind of “Golden Age” for the church. Instead, it is my considered opinion that we are living in a time of unmatched wickedness. The advent of social media has enabled all manner of wickedness to spread like an insipid virus throughout the souls of mankind.

Some would ask, “Can’t social media be used to usher in the Kingdom?” Of course it could but it is not. Many of the largest and most influential “ministries” belong to false teachers and I find that to be indicative of the problem.

I do not, presently, see any indication that the world is becoming more Christlike, holy, peaceful, or prosperous.

Amillennialism

Definition:

The amillennialist believes that the Kingdom of God was inaugurated at Christ’s resurrection (sometimes called “inaugurated millennialism”) at which point he gained victory over both Satan and the Curse. Christ is even now reigning at the right hand of the Father over His church. After this present age has ended, Christ will return and immediately usher the church into their eternal state after judging the wicked. The term “amillennialism” is actually a misnomer for it implies that Revelation 20:1-6 is ignored; in fact, the amillennialist’s hermeneutic interprets it (and in fact, much of apocalyptic literature) non-literally.

Features and Distinctions:

  • Favored method of interpretation: redemptive-historical.
  • Israel and the church: The church is the eschatological fulfillment of Israel.
  • Kingdom of God: a spiritual reality that all Christians partake in and that is seen presently by faith, but will be grasped by sight at the consummation.
  • The Rapture: The saints, living and dead, shall meet the Lord in the clouds and immediately proceed to judge the nations with Christ and then follow Him into their eternal state.
  • The Millennium: inaugurated with Christ’s resurrection. In an “already/not yet” sense, Christ already reigns over all and is already victorious over Satan.

Miscellaneous:

  • Higher degrees of interpreting prophecy in light of Christ’s advent, death, resurrection, and glorification.
  • Relies heavily on a two-age theology.
  • Major proponents: Meredith Kline, Richard Gaffin, Robert B. Strimple, Gregory K. Beale, and John Murray.

 

Synopsis:

Eschatology is the study of the eschaton; the eschaton is equated with “last things.” While other views focus on the final days of humankind on earth, amillennialism sees “the last things” as having been initiated at Christ’s resurrection and so, being applicable from the earliest days of the Christian church (cf. Acts 2:16-21; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 1:1-2; and 1 Peter 1:20). The amillennialist perspective sees the whole of God’s redemptive revelation as twofold – promise and fulfillment; it also emphasizes that a strict-literal interpretation of Old Testament is not necessarily the most accurate way of determining what the text means.

The amillennial perspective emphasizes that the coming of the Kingdom ofGod is a two-part event. The first portion dawned at Christ’s first advent (John the Baptist proclaimed at this time, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” — Matthew 3:2). At the cross, Christ won final victory over death and Satan. And then He ascended to reign upon the throne of David forever (Luke 1:32-33; Acts 2:30-31). Now because we “look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18) — because of this, the amillennialist sees the final things already accomplished, though not yet seen by sight, but by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).

An important note is the amilleniallist’s view of the church in this world: a role of suffering. The Christian will be hated by all, just as was Christ (Matthew 10:22), for a servant is not greater than his master. Seeing this as the church’s role on earth — to suffer as did Christ — the amillenialist can hold no hope for an earthly exaltation and longs for the fulfillment of the second stage of the coming of the Kingdom.

This second stage of the amillennial perspective is the final consummation of all the heavenly promises. The Christian will no longer see by faith alone, but by sight. All the shadowy things will pass away and our eternal reign with Christ will begin. The amillennialist, expecting no earthly glory for the church, places all his hope on this heavenly glory.

Of course Christ is victorious over Satan. That being said, If Satan is bound, I think that he probably did not get that memo. 2 Thessalonians 2:6 mentions a “restrainer” that many have identified as the spirit filled church. The context of the text does not really allow for that but, at the same time, it is evident that there is a direct Agent restraining the evil that is in the world. Said Agent, is the Holy Spirit. How do I come to this?

By mere elimination, the Holy Spirit must be the restrainer.  All other possibilities fall far short of meeting the requirements of one who is to hold in check the forces of evil until the manifestation of Antichrist.  Some of the alternate suggestions are out of harmony with the basic text itself.

The Wicked One is a personality, and his operations include the realm of the spiritual.  The restrainer must likewise be a personality and of a spiritual order, to resist the wiles of the Devil and to hold Antichrist in check until the time of his revealing. Mere agencies or impersonal spiritual forces would be inadequate.  Moreover, the masculine gender of II Thessalonians 2:7 requires the restrainer to be a person.

To believe all that is to be accomplished, the restrainer must be a member of the Godhead.  Of necessity He must be stronger than the Man of Sin, and stronger than Satan.  In order to restrain evil down through the course of the age, the restrainer must be eternal, for Satan and his workers of iniquity have made their influence felt throughout the entire history of the Church.  Likewise, the sphere of sin is the whole world, making it imperative that the restrainer be one who is not limited by time or space.  Such an one is the Holy Spirit of God, for He is omnipotent, eternal, and omnipresent throughout the universe, and therefore preeminently qualified to hold in check all of the Satanic forces of darkness.

I will not go so far as to say that He is using the true church to restrain evil though it is possible; His methodology is somewhat of a mystery as it is not directly revealed in Scripture.

What is certain, though, is that while Satan is not currently bound, he certainly is severely restrained by whatever method it is that the Holy Spirit is using.

Historical Premillennialism

Definition:

Historical premillennialists place the return of Christ just before the millennium and just after a time of great apostasy and tribulation. After the millennium, Satan will be loosed and Gog and Magog will rise against the kingdom of God; this will be immediately followed by the final judgment. While similar in some respects to the dispensational variety (in that they hold to Christ’s return being previous the establishment of a thousand-year earthly reign), historical premillennialism differs in significant ways (notably in their method of interpreting Scripture).

Features and Distinctions:

  • Favored method of interpretation: grammatico-historical.
  • Israel and the church: The church is the fulfillment of Israel.
  • Kingdom of God: present through the Spirit since Pentecost – to be experienced by sight during the millennium after Christ’s return.
  • The Rapture: The saints, living and dead, shall meet the Lord in the clouds immediately preceding the millennial reign.
  • The Millennium: Christ will return to institute a thousand-year reign on earth. The Millennium will see the re-establishment of temple worship and sacrifice as a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice.
  • Major proponents: George Eldon Ladd, Walter Martin, John Warwick Montgomery, and Theodore Zahn.

 

Synopsis:

The historical premillennialist’s view interprets some prophecy in Scripture as having literal fulfillment while others demand a semi-symbolic fulfillment. As a case in point, the seal judgments (Revelation 6) are viewed as having fulfillment in the forces in history (rather than in future powers) by which God works out his redemptive and judicial purposes leading up to the end.

Rather than the belief of an imminent return of Christ, it is held that a number of historical events (e.g., the rise of the Beast and the False Prophet) must take place before Christ’s Second Coming. This Second Coming will be accompanied by the resurrection and rapture of the saints (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18); this will inaugurate the millennial reign of Christ. The Jewish nation, while being perfectly able to join the church in the belief of a true faith in Christ, has no distinct redemptive plan as they would in the dispensational perspective. The duration of the millennial kingdom (Revelation 20:1-6) is unsure: literal or metaphorical.

Dispensational Premillenialism

Definition:

Dispensational premillennialists hold that Christ will come before a seven-year period of intense tribulation to take His church (living and dead) into heaven. After this period of fulfillment of divine wrath, He shall then return to rule from a holy city (i.e., the New Jerusalem) over the earthly nations for one thousand years. After these thousand years, Satan, who was bound up during Christ’s earthly reign, will be loosed to deceive the nations, gather an army of the deceived, and take up to battle against the Lord. This battle will end in both the judgment of the wicked and Satan and the entrance into the eternal state of glory by the righteous. This view is called premillenialism because it places the return of Christ before the millennium and it is called dispensational because it is founded in the doctrines of dispensationalism.

 

Features and Distinctions:

  • Favored method of interpretation: strict literal.
  • Israel and the church: views church and Israel as two distinct identities with two individual redemptive plans.
  • The rapture of the Church: The church is raptured before a seven-year tribulation (the seventieth week of Daniel – Daniel 9:24-27). This tribulational period contains the reign of the AntiChrist.
  • Millennium: Christ will return at the end of the great tribulation to institute a thousand-year rule from a holy city (the New Jerusalem). Those who come to believe in Christ during the seventieth week of Daniel (including the 144,000 Jews) and survive will go on to populate the earth during this time. Those who were raptured or raised previous to the tribulational period will reign with Christ over the millennial population.

 

Miscellaneous:

  • Higher degrees of interpreting present-day events in the light of end-times prophecy.
  • The Millennium will see the re-establishment of temple worship and sacrifice as a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice.
  • From the millennium-ending “white throne” judgment (by which Satan and all unbelievers will be thrown into the lake of fire) Christ and all saints will proceed into eternal glory.
  • Major proponents: John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, Louis Sperry Chafer, J. Dwight Pentecost, Norman Geisler, Charles Stanley, Chuck Smith, and Chuck Missler.

Synopsis:

A strictly literal hermaneutic is foundational to the dispensational premillenialist viewpoint. Interpreting Scripture in this manner will in fact demand such perspectives unique to dispensationalism as:

  • an earthly kingdom of God from which Christ will reign
  • a future redemptive plan for national Israel
  • a seven year period of great tribulation
  • the rejection of prophetic idiom

 

Dispensational premillennialism holds that a seven-year tribulation (forseen in Daniel 9:27) will precede a thousand-year period (Revelation  20:1-6) during which time, Christ will reign on the throne of David (Luke 1:32).

Immediately previous to the time of great tribulation, all the dead saints will rise from their graves and all the living members of the church shall be caught up with them to meet Christ in the clouds (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17); this is known as “the rapture.” During this time of tribulation, there will be three-and-a-half years of world peace under an AntiChrist figure (Daniel 7:8; Revelation 13:1-8) who will establish a world-church (Revelation 17:1-15), followed by three-and-a-half years of greater suffering (Revelation 6-18). At the end of this period, Christ will return (Matthew  24:27-31; Revelation 19:11-21), judge the world (Ezekiel 20:33-38; Matthew 25:31; Jude 1:14-15), bind Satan for one thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3), and raise the Old Testament and tribulation saints from the dead (Daniel 12:2; Revelation 20:4).

At this time, the millennial reign will begin and Christ will reign politically over the earth at this time from His capital in Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3). Throughout His reign, there will be no war (Isaiah 2:4) and even the natures of animals will dwell in harmony (Isaiah 11:6-9). At the end of this era of peace, Satan will be released and instigate a colossal (but futile) rebellion against God (Revelation 20:7-9). After this fated battle, Satan and the wicked are cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10), while the righteous proceed into their eternal state in the realm of the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21:1ff).

 

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