Tag: dispensationalism

A Summary of the Great Tribulation

A Summary of the Great Tribulation

Although God’s people may expect tribulation throughout the present age (Jn. 16:33; Acts 14:22), the word “tribulation,” as here, is also used specifically of a future time (Mt. 24:21,29; Mk. 13:24). This future time is also referred to as the time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jer. 30:6-7)

Since our Lord links the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel with this time of tribulation (Mt. 24:15-21; Mk. 13:14-19), it is evident that the tribulation is to be connected with the seventieth week of Daniel (Dan. 9:27). Furthermore, the Biblical references have in common an allusion to unprecedented trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:27; 12:1; Mt. 24:21-22).

While the seventieth week of Daniel is seven years in length (see Dan. 9:24, note; compare Rev. 11:2, note), and the terms “tribulation” and “great tribulation,” as used in the Scriptures, both have to do with the latter half of the seven years, it is customary to use “tribulation” of the whole period, and “great tribulation” of the second half of the period.

From the Scriptures we may deduce that the tribulation will begin with the signing of the covenant to permit the renewal of Jewish sacrifice (Dan. 9:27); it will be a period of unexampled trouble and judgment (see chain ref., Tribulation, Ps. 2:5 to Rev. 7:14), and is described in Rev. 6-19; and it will involve the whole earth (Rev. 3:10), but it is distinctively “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7).

The elements of the great tribulation (the latter half of the seventieth week) are:

(1) the cruel reign of the “beast . . . out of the sea” (Rev. 13:1) who, at the beginning of the final three and one-half years, will break his covenant with the Jews (by virtue of which they will have re-established the temple worship, Dan. 9:27), and show himself in the temple, demanding that he be worshiped as God (Mt. 24:15; 2 Th. 2:4) {The rise of the Beast, while chronicled in Revelation 13, it is alluded to in the opening of the 1st seal.}

(2) the active interposition of Satan “having great wrath” (Rev. 12:12), who gives his power to the beast (Rev. 13:4-5). It is important to remember that even though Satan has fierce wrath, that wrath is governed by God the Holy One and is used as a minister of Divine Wrath.

(3) the unprecedented activity of demons (Rev. 9:2,11; compare v. 20); and

(4) the terrible bowl judgments of Rev. 16. These bowl judgments are teh final opportunity for the wicked to turn toward God in repentance and faith. Bowls six and seven are devoid of the opportunity to repent and are the most terrible of God’s outpouring of wrath. Following the seventh bowl judgment, Christ returns

The tribulation will, nevertheless, be a period of salvation. An election out of Israel will be redeemed (Rev. 7:1-4) with an innumerable multitude of Gentiles (v. 9). These are said to have come “out of the great tribulation” (v. 14). They are not of the priesthood, the Church, to which they seem to stand somewhat in the relation of the Levites to the priests under the Mosaic Covenant. The great tribulation will be followed immediately by the return of Christ in glory, and the events associated therewith .

There is a difference of opinion about the location in Revelation at which the great tribulation is first alluded to. Some suggest as early as ch. 6; others, as late as ch. 11.  Either way, it is described in chs. 11-18.

 

**Adapted from the Scofield Study Bible**

NASB MacArthur Study Bible 2nd Edition, Premiere Collection

NASB MacArthur Study Bible 2nd Edition, Premiere Collection

 

 

The 2nd Edition the MacArthur Study Bible has finally been released in Dr. MacArthur’s favorite translation, the New American Standard Bible. Like the NKJV, it has been added to the premier collection. (Note: Thomas Nelson provided this Bible to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review only an honest one and my opinions are my own.)

Disclosure: John MacArthur is my favorite Bible teacher and the MacArthur Study Bible is my favorite study Bible.

 

Additional Photos

Translation Choice

This particular edition of the MacArthur Study Bible is offered in the New American Standard Bible (NASB). NASB is considered, by many, to be the gold standard for Bible translation and study and I see no cause to disagree, with the lone exception of the NKJV.

NASB is fastidiously literal in the tradition of its predecessor, the American Standard version. Some say it has a bit of a wooden feel but I don’t really see that. It seems to flow rather well.

Cover and Binding

Like its NKJV cousin, this Bible has a milk chocolate colored cover in the same exquisite goatskin as the remainder of the Premier Collection. It is as silky, smooth, and soft as Ghirardelli Chocolate (my favorite) and, it is even more glorious feel than the NKJV; the NASB edition has a considerably more pronounced grain than the NKJV, the most pronounced grain in the Premier Collection as far as I can tell. The goatskin is easily equal to the famed goatskin covers of RL Allan and Sons and beggars anything that Cambridge produces. To say that this cover drips quality is a perfect exercise in the art of understatement; it would have to be Thomas Nelson’s magnum opus, a work of art worthy of the ultimate book man can get his hands on-flawless goatskin aged to perfection and surrounding the holy words of Scripture. I cannot imagine an edition of Sacred Scripture I could enjoy more.

A leather liner ensures the flexibility of the cover. There is a gold gilt line encasing the perimeter of the Bible and, in tiny, gold all caps, at the bottom of the page, we find the words “goatskin leather cover.”

The front of the Bible is totally blank and the spine has MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible , and Thomas Nelson stamped in soft gold lettering. I did not really comment on this with the NKJV edition but I really like the muted front cover. A blank front cover is less ostentatious than you will find on other Bibles. To be perfectly honest, I do wish it were available in black goatskin but I do enjoy the brown as well.

As with the rest of the Premier Collection, the binding is sewn allowing the Bible to lie flat irrespective of where the text is opened. Both the front and rear of the Bible contain overcast stitching to reinforce the sturdiness of the text Block. Believe it or not, the text block is not as tight as in its NKJV cousin. This actually feels more pleasant in the hand and it is also more pulpit friendly in that it lays flat just a touch easier than the NKJV Edition.

Paper, Typography, Ribbons

There are 3 satin ribbons, 3/8” wide and they are offered in red, baby blue and mahogany. For some, three is the ideal number, but is the minimum that I find acceptable. The general idea behind the three ribbons is that you will have one to mark your OT readings, one for NT, and the last one for Psalms and Proverbs. If this were a preaching Bible, I would insist on two more ribbons. However, what we are offered, here, is quite adequate to the task at hand.

The paper is a 39 gsms European Bible Paper. This Bible actually has thicker paper than its siblings in the Premier Collection and it feels very similar to the paper used in the Cambridge Concord Reference Bible. The edges of the paper have red under gold art gilding. The paper is quite opaque allowing almost no show through.

2k/Denmark has designed all of the fonts in the Comfort Print Family and they ply their trade impeccably in this Bible. The text of Scripture is 9-point and the notes are 8-point. I have to say that this is the easiest 9-point that I have ever tried to read.

Layout

The Scripture text is laid out in double column paragraph format. The notes, which are also in paragraph format, are laid out in a triple column format (extremely helpful given the addition of 5000 more expository notes). In between the text of Scripture and the Notes Section you will find the Complete NASB Reference System, comprised of 95,000 cross references, textual variants, and translator’s notes.

Helps

The shining stars of the MacArthur Study Bible are the helps provided. For 50 years, Dr. MacArthur has made it his mission to “unleash God’s truth, one verse at a time” and in the MacArthur Study Bible every tool a person could need to comprehend God’s Holy Truths is made available to the reader. Let us look at the helps provided…

25,000 Exegetical and Expository Notes on Scripture

While many study Bibles offer commentary on Scripture, the MacArthur Study Bible goes further. By adding 5,000 notes to the previous 20,000, the MacArthur Study Bible now rivals the ESV Study Bible as the most heavily annotated Bible available.

The notes that are provided draw out the meaning of Scripture (exegete) and explain said meaning (exposition). However, they do not stop there; these notes whet the appetite and draw the reader further into the Scripture. Several pastors both well-known (Steve Lawson) and not well known (me) consult the MacArthur Study Bible on a regular basis. I would go so far as to say that if a person desired to understand and teach the Bible to others, the MacArthur Study Bible would sufficiently stand on its own and need no other tools

Book Introductions

The MacArthur Study Bible’s introductions provide a wealth of information for the student. We are treated to the usual information such as author, circumstance of writing, audience, etc. The difference in the MacArthur Study Bible’s introductions is the Interpretive Challenges Section. Several books of the Bible are difficult to interpret (think Revelation if you don’t believe me) and the MacArthur Study Bible deals with those challenges head on by identifying the challenges and then addressing them in John MacArthur’s signature direct approach.

Overview of Theology

This section does not appear in any other Study Bible, including Crossway’s excellent Systematic Theology Study Bible or Ligonier’s Reformation Study Bible. I absolutely love this feature. It is a very succinct Systematic Theology, ideal to educate the new disciple or for a seasoned pastor to teach through. The closest comparison is found in the Ryrie Study Bible’s Survey of Christian Doctrine.

I would advise that any study in the MacArthur Study Bible should begin here. Each subsection is well sourced with Scripture, succinct and logical. I can think of no better foundation for a new disciple than this Overview of Theology.

Maps and Charts

The maps and charts provided give contextual insight into the Scripture and provide aids for those who are visual learners. (It is always hard to comment on maps and charts because they are very plain and straightforward.)

 

Final Thoughts

If you had not guessed by now, I love the MacArthur Study Bible. I have multiple Editions: the NASB, NIV, ESV, 1st and 20th Anniversary Limited editions in NKJV, and digital copies on two different software platforms. By any stretch, the MacArthur Study Bible is my most oft reached for tool and it should be yours as well. If I were to find any negative in the MacArthur Study Bible, it would simply be nitpicking. As I have said, it is the Premier Study Bible and now in the Premier Collection it comes in a format worthy of the ultimate study Bible.

 

 

What is Dispensationalism (guest post from James Quiggle)

What is Dispensationalism (guest post from James Quiggle)

Dispensationalism views the world as a household run by God. Every household is run in a particular way, which we might call an “economy.”

From time to time God changes his economy—the way in which he runs his household—as human civilization develops. Those different economies are called “dispensations.” For example, we can see God ran his previous economy, the dispensation of the Mosaic Law, different than the way he runs his present economy, the dispensation of the NT church.

Dispensationalism as a theology is defined by three basic beliefs.

  1. The consistent application of the Literal hermeneutic (method of interpretation) to every Scripture and every doctrine. (In contrast, Reformed theology does not apply the Literal hermeneutic to eschatology—end times prophecy—but interprets by allegory or spiritualizing.)
  2. The NT church is not a new Israel, but a different people group in God’s plans. Dispensationalism believes God has a continuing plan for national ethic Israel and a different (but in some ways related) continuing plan for the NT church. (In contrast, Reformed theology believes the NT church has become the new Israel and God has transferred to the NT church all the promises he made to national ethic Israel, most now to be fulfilled spiritually, not literally.)
  3. The purpose of God in the world is his own glory. In contrast, Reformed theology, while it believes in God’s glory, believes God’s purpose in the world is salvation. Dispensationalism believes God gets glory not only from salvation but also from his justice on unsaved sinners, and how God leads his saved people in the world to victory over sin.

That is the basic outline.

Tony Evans Study Bible Review

Tony Evans Study Bible Review

Photos

 

 

I spent a little more time than usual before writing this review because I am not altogether familiar with Dr. Tony Evans.(Holman Bibles provided this Bible in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one.) The material has proved to be more helpful than anticipated. So let’s dive right in.

 

Translation Choice

Holman Bible Publishers holds the copyright on Christian Standard Bible so it is natural that the Tony Evans Study Bible would be offered in the CSB. As a translation, it is mediating (middle of the road) between strictly literal and thought for thought. The best way I could describe it would be to say that if you made a hybrid out of the New Living Translation and the New American Standard Bible, you would get the Christian Standard Bible.

It is approximately an 8th grade reading level for the Bible text. The CSB was translated with an emphasis on readability and it does accomplish that goal nicely. When it comes to use, I primarily use it for comparative purposes and the excellent footnotes. The translation is a very good edition and most worthy of being used for teaching.

 

Cover and Binding

There are several cover options available; I was send the brown and black portfolio design in leather touch. Like Crossway, Holman makes absolutely incredible imitation leathers. I have had a couple people handle it and tell me that they thought it was, indeed, the genuine article. I would say that it would easily last 20 years or more with proper care. For an every-day carry Bible, this or hardcover is preferred as it will hold up to the rigors of daily life very well and you won’t be afraid to beat it up.

Like most Holman Bibles, the Tony Evans Study Bible has a sewn binding. This is a more utilitarian feature to comment on but a very important one. It is the sewn binding that allows a Bible to stand the test of time. It also allows the Bible to lay flat on your pulpit or desk with relative ease.

 

Font, Paper, Layout

The only complaint that I have about this Bible is the font size. I am fairly nearsighted and Holman has a tendency to use a smallish font in its Bibles. The font, here, is supposed to be a 9-point but it certainly feels more like an 8 for the Bible text. I can read it if I take my glasses off but I would much prefer a true 10-point font.

The paper is nicely opaque. It has a parchment look to it. I love the way it feels, kind of like an older book even though it is quite new. I am not sure which tool to recommend for writing, probably a ball-point pen though. It is generally a safe bet when marking in your Bible.

For text layout, the Scripture is in a double column paragraph format. The notes are laid out in three columns. If I had a gripe it would be the choice of a paragraph format for the text. I find verse by verse to be much easier to read.

Helps

Here is a listing of the helps. Following that will be a few examples of how I use them

  • Study notes crafted from Tony Evans sermons and writings
  • 40 inspirational articles
  • 50 “Lessons on Kingdom Living”
  • Plethora of “Questions & Answers”
  • Numerous “Hope Words”
  • Over 150 videos of sermons linked with QR Codes
  • Devotionals, and teaching from Dr. Evans, page-edge cross-reference system
  • Special back matter section with key definitions
  • Theological and doctrinal charts, and other study helps
  • Concordance
  • Bible reading plan

 

Here are some ways I use the Tony Evans Study Bible

  1. A Guide for Discipleship Class: Taking one section per week, the Overview of Theology offers an 8-week discipleship class. I am actively teaching a group discipleship class on Wednesday nights and as soon as I saw this section, I began to add quotes into the lessons that were prepared.

 

  1. An Apologetic Aid: The section on Bibliology is expanded into a second article. I have been using this as a tool in one on one discipleship to help provide a solid foundation on our understanding of the Bible and how to defend that belief.

 

  1. An Inspirational Resource: There is a section called Hope words. These are inspirational quotes, just a couple sentences, designed to encourage you in your walk with Christ. I have been sharing these in the office at my secular job (I’m bi-vocational) and my colleagues tell me that they have been most helpful.

 

  1. A Discussion Guide: The Q&A is an excellent tool to facilitate discussion in small groups. The answers provided by Dr. Evans are able to stand by themselves but the questions also lend themselves to discussion. They provided opportunities to peek into the heart of the pastor, or members of the group.

 

 

 

 

Overall Impression

As I said in the beginning, the Tony Evans Study Bible’s material is surprisingly helpful. I could easily see it as an ideal choice for a 1st time Bible student. In point of fact, I would say that it should be one of your first two choices for a new disciple, the other being the Swindoll Study Bible.

 

What is Dispensational Theology

What is Dispensational Theology

The following is a guest post by James Quiggle:

Theology is the science that seeks to understand God and his interactions with his creation through systematic study of God’s revelation of himself in the Bible.

Dispensationalism is a systematic method of understanding history as a series of God-initiated economies, or “dispensations,” by consistently applying the principles of the grammatical-historical (literal) hermeneutic to all scriptures.

Dispensational theology is that branch of the science of theology that seeks to understand God and his interactions with his creation, as God has revealed himself in the Bible through a series of God-initiated economies, or “dispensations,” by consistently applying the principles of the grammatical-historical (literal) hermeneutic to all scriptures.

Dispensationalism (Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)

Dispensationalism (Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)

DISPENSATIONALISM DEFINED

Dispensational theology is a systematic theology describing the outworking of God’s plans and processes to accomplish his purpose in creating. Dispensations are part of Dispensationalism, but do not comprise the entire system. Dispensationalism is a way of thinking about how God manages his household, a way to interpret the Bible, and a way to understand God’s basic purpose in his dealings with mankind.

Many people confuse a dispensation and Dispensationalism.

— “A dispensation is a distinguishable economy in the outworking of God’s purpose [Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 28].

One might identify a dispensation in various ways. Erich Sauer provides several observations that help define how God changes his economies. He wrote, “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 [Sauer, The Dawn of World Redemption, 194]:

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

There are several ways to name or number the dispensations. I identify the several dispensations with reference to the prominent persons and events with whom a dispensation began and ended. These are:

— Adam to Noah
— Noah to Abraham
— Abraham to Moses
— Moses to Christ’s resurrection
— Christ’s resurrection to rapture of the church
— Rapture to Christ’s second advent
— 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)

As may be seen from both lists, dispensations begin and end with a defining event that changes the economy of man’s stewardship responsibilities toward God’s revealed will.

Many people believe in dispensations and other parts of Dispensational theology, but cannot be described as Dispensationalists. Ryrie (Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 1995) states three absolutely indispensable parts of Dispensationalism. If a person does not hold to these three essentials, then he or she is not a Dispensationalist. These essentials are [Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 39–40]:

— A Dispensationalist keeps Israel and the church distinct.
— The distinction between Israel and the church is born out of a system of hermeneutics [interpretation] that is usually called literal interpretation.
— The underlying purpose of God in the world is the glory of God.

“The essence of dispensationalism, then, is the distinction between Israel and the church. This grows out of the dispensationalist’s consistent employment of normal or plain or historical-grammatical interpretation [the literal hermeneutic], and it reflects an understanding of the basic purpose of God in all his dealings with mankind as that of glorifying Himself through salvation and other purposes as well” [Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 41].

Any person identifying him or herself as a classical Dispensationalist should agree with the three distinctives that compose this definition.

Michael Vlach in his book, “Dispensationalism, Essential Beliefs and Common Myths,” presents “Six Essential Beliefs of Dispensationalism” (pp. 30–50, see for his very helpful discussion). These six are:

— The primary meaning of any Bible passage is found in that passage. The New Testament does not reinterpret of transcend Old Testament passages in a way that overrides of cancels the original authorial intent of the Old Testament writers.
— Types exist but national Israel is not an inferior type that is superseded by the church.
— Israel and the church are distinct; thus, the church cannot be identified as the new and/or true Israel.
— Spiritual unity in salvation between Jews and Gentiles is compatible with a future functional role for Israel as a nation.
— The nation Israel will be both saved and restored with a unique functional role in a future earthly millennial kingdom.
— There are multiple senses of “seed of Abraham,” thus the church’s identification as “seed of Abraham” does not cancel God’s promises to the believing Jewish “see of Abraham.”

Vlach’s later book “Has the Church Replaced Israel?” expands on these themes giving them greater clarity, scriptural explanation, and defence.

I highly recommend the books by Ryrie and Vlach. (Some information in this essay is from my book, James D. Quiggle, “Dispensational Eschatology, An Explanation and Defense of the Doctrine.”

Divine Worship as Judgment Begins

Divine Worship as Judgment Begins

Text: Revelation 4

Several visions of the heavenly throne-room occur in Revelation, usually preceding punitive actions on earth implying divine sovereignty over all earthly events, for events in heaven determine events in the world (7.9–17; 8.1–5; 11.15–19; 14.2–3; 15.2–8; 19.1–10; 21.3–8; see also 1 Kings 22.19–23; Job 1.6–12; 2.1–6).

 

Overview

This chapter is all about praise to God, the Creator of all. In the first vision, John sees the one God enthroned over the whole universe, praised as the Creator of all. This scene provides the setting for the remainder of the book. Faith in one God is at the core of both the Jewish and the Christian faiths (Deut 6:4-5; Mark 12:28-34; Rom 3:30; Gal 3:20; Jas 2:19).

In chapters 4 and 5 we get a glimpse into the Divine Throne Room as YHWH prepares to judge a Christ rejecting world.

Revelation 4

4:1 Come up here. This is not a veiled reference to the rapture of the church, but a command for John to be temporarily transported to heaven “in the Spirit” to receive revelation about future events. The Rapture has occurred somewhere between chapters 3 and 4. We note that it is not mentioned again until chapter 19 and God is specifically calling John into the Throne Room of Heaven to see:

what must take place after these things. According to the outline given in Chapter one and verse 19, this begins the third and final section of the book, describing the events that will follow the church age. We need to be absolutely clear here, the events which are described in chapter four and following do not concern the Church. This is the time of Jacobs Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7) and is for the purification of national Israel.

4:2 throne. This is not necessarily a piece of furniture; it is, however a symbol of sovereign rule and Divine authority (7:15; 11:19; 16:17, 18; Isa 6:1). The Throne is the focus of chapter 4, occurring 13 times, 11 times referring to God’s throne.

4:3 It is unlikely that this is a description of God Himself. More likely what John is describing are the colors he sees as the Lord’s Crown reflects His radiant majesty. jasper. John later describes this stone as “crystal-clear” (21:11). He is probably referring to a diamond, which refracts all the colors of the spectrum in wondrous brilliance. A jasper/diamond would amplify the brilliance of Divine Majesty

sardius. A fiery bright ruby stone named for the city near which it was found (The sardius stone was commonly found near the city of Sardis).

emerald. A cool, emerald-green hue dominates the multi-colored rainbow surrounding God’s throne (cf. Ezekiel 1:28). From the time of Noah, the rainbow became a sign of God’s faithfulness to His Word, His promises, and His Noahic covenant (Genesis 9:12-17).

4:4 twenty-four elders. Their joint rule with Christ, their white garments, and their golden crowns all seem to indicate that these 24 represent the redeemed (verses 9-11; 5:5-14; 7:11-17; 11:16-18; 14:3; 19:4). The question is which redeemed? These Elders cannot be Israel, since the nation is not yet saved, glorified, and coronated. That is still to come at this point in the events of the end. Their resurrection and glory will come at the end of the 7-year tribulation time (Daniel 12:1-3). Tribulation saints aren’t yet saved (7:9, 10). Only one group will be complete and glorified at that point—the church. Here elders represent the church, which sings the song of redemption (5:8-10). They are the overcomers who have their crowns and live in the place prepared for them, where they have gone with Jesus (John 14:1-4). We need, also, to remember that the term elder is used to describe the Sanhedrin, which these are not, and it is also the title of the leaders of the Church. Since the Elder (presbuteros) stands before God to represent the flock, it is logical that the elders mentioned here are analogous to the Church.

4:5 lightning… thunder. Not the fury of nature, but the firestorm of righteous fury about to come from an awesome, powerful God upon a sinful world (8:5; 11:19; 16:18). Much like a storm that blows up on a lake, this is sudden and severe. It will seem like a surprise to the unredeemed world but to God it will not be a surprise but will come at exactly the time He plans for it.

seven Spirits of God. The Holy Spirit in His full perfection.

4:6 sea of glass. There is no sea in heaven (21:1), but the crystal pavement that serves as the floor of God’s throne stretches out like a great, glistening sea (Exodus 24:10; Ezekiel 1:22).

four living creatures. Lit. “four living ones or beings.” These are the most likely cherubim (sing., cherub), those angels frequently referred to in the OT in connection with God’s presence, power, and holiness (Ezekiel 1). Although John’s description is not identical to Ezekiel’s, they are obviously both referring to the same supernatural and indescribable beings (Psalm 80:1; 99:1; Ezekiel 1:4-25

full of eyes. The description of them as being full of eyes is reminiscent of the seraphim in Isaiah chapter 6. However, while these 4 Living Creatures could be seraphim it is more likely they are cherubim. The eyes are metaphoric in nature; although they are not omniscient—an attribute reserved for God alone—these angels have a comprehensive knowledge and perception. Nothing escapes their scrutiny, hence a description of being full of eyes.

4:7 first… like a lion. In what is obviously intended as symbolic language, John compares these 4 beings with 4 of God’s earthly creations. Ezekiel indicates that every cherub has these 4 attributes. The likeness to a lion symbolizes strength and power.

second… like a calf. The image of a calf demonstrates that these beings render humble service to God.

third… face like that of a man. Their likeness to man shows they are rational beings.

fourth… like a flying eagle. The cherubim fulfill their service to God with the swiftness of eagles’ wings.

4:8 full of eyes. See v. 6

Holy, holy, holy. Often God is extolled for His holiness in this 3-fold form, because it is the summation of all that He is—His most salient attribute (Isa 6:3). Here, again, is why I bring up the possibility that the 4 Living Creatures are seraphim. As in Isaiah, these angels call out holy, holy, holy in what is most likely an antiphonal chorus.

who was and who is and who is to come 

This is the eternal nature of who God is. He always has been (Psalm 90:2), He is I AM (Exodus 3:14), and He always will be (eis tus aionos tau aiono) (Revelation 22)

4:10 cast their crowns. Aware that God alone is responsible for the rewards they have received, they divest themselves of all honor and cast it at the feet of their King.

4:11 You created all things. It is the Creator God who set out to redeem His creation.

Heaven’s response to the person of God and to everything He does is praise. The Church joins in that worship. We join in because He is not just our King, He is our Redeemer and for that, we praise Him

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).

 

Grace Upon Grace: Dispensation of the Church Age

Grace Upon Grace: Dispensation of the Church Age

Grace Upon Grace: The Dispensation of the Church Age

As we come to the 6th Dispensation, there are a couple things that need to remain in the forefront of our minds.

  1. We are currently in this Dispensation. It began at Pentecost and continues until the Rapture.
  2. 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)
  3. NO ONE, absolutely no one knows when this Dispensation will end. (Matthew 24:36 Mark 13:32) Therefore it is our duty, as the Church, to proclaim the message of the Gospel unto the ends of the earth until Christ shall come.

Many in the Covenant Theology camp accuse Dispensationalists of teaching a “secret rapture.” This absurd and reflects a lack of taking the Bible text at face value. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 & 17 is the “Rapture Passage” and there is nothing in the text that suggests this event will be a secret. The Lord, Himself, will come with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the Trumpet of God; that does not sound very secretive at all. I will concede that it is possible that those who are about to be consigned to the Tribulation may have no clue as to what is happening since the god of this world will have blinded their eyes (2 Corinthians 4:4) but there will be absolutely no mistaking that something is happening. No mistake at all; Zero, zip, zilch, nada; not one single person will be left to wonder if something terrible has happened, though it is possible that they will be blind to the new definition of terrible that they will be about to learn.

Personally, I do not believe, for a second, that the entire world will be completely blinded to the reality of the Rapture. Instead, I am convinced that there will be people on the earth, who were not really believers, that will realize that they have heard, before, what they are witnessing and will weep, gnash their teeth, and fall prostrate before the Lord in hopes He will have mercy.

Because no man knows the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36) we refer to End of Days (the final dispensation) as being imminent, that is to say that Christ could return at any moment. If Christ’s return is imminent we must, then, ask what is our obligation as the Church? In the Dispensation of the Church Age we must (Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 28:19, Luke 3:8)

 

  • Make Disciples, teaching them all things that Christ has commanded us
  • Bear fruit that is keeping with repentance
  • Proclaim Good News to the Poor
  • Bind up the brokenhearted
  • Set the captives at liberty
  • Release the prisoners from the darkness

 

It is required of stewards that they be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:1) and our stewardship is the Good News of the Gospel, the Christ has come to redeem a people unto Himself and that we shall one day be with Him in the clouds for ever.

It should be noted that the Dispensation of the Church Age is also simply called the Dispensation of Grace. The people at gotquestions.org have some excellent information on this dispensation. It follows here:

Grace is God’s benevolence to the undeserving. Grace is the rule of life for the Church, and through the Church God’s grace is extended to the whole world, as the gospel of Jesus Christ is taken to the ends of the earth. It has been said that grace saved us (Ephesians 2:8-9), it supports us (Romans 5:2), it teaches us (Titus 2:11-12), and it disciplines us (1 Corinthians 11:28-32; Hebrews 12:5-11). With the Holy Spirit indwelling His Church, we are able to walk with the Lord and live as He intends (Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 2:10; 5:17-18; Philippians 1:6; 4:13; Romans 8:14). It is not heaven yet, and it is far short of perfection, but as the Church is being sanctified, it provides a little taste of heaven on earth (Ephesians 2:21-22).

Until that “bright and blessed morning when the dead in Christ shall rise, and the glory of His resurrection share,” let us labor for our King and spread the Good News, Our God Reigns.

Dispensation of Law

Dispensation of Law

In out study of Dispensationalism, we now come to the the fifth dispensation, Law. This is one of the 3 longest Dispensations, lasting approximately 1500 years and covering all aspects of the Scripture from Exodus 19:5 to John 19:30.

The Dispensation of the Law begins with Moses and the children of Israel receiving the Law from God at Mount Sinai. The Period of this Dispensation ranges from Mt. Sinai until Christ Jesus fulfilled the Law with His death, which we have said is a period of around 1500 years. During this Dispensation, man’s responsibility was to keep the whole Law (Exodus 19:3-8). As with other Dispensations, man failed his responsibility and the Law was “broken.”  (2 Kings 17:7-20) Worldwide dispersion resulted from this failure as the Host of Israel we carried into captivity in Assyria (Northern Kingdom) or Babylon (Southern Kingdom) (Deuteronomy 28:63-66; Luke 21:20-24) All is not lost, though, and neither is there cause for despair; as the Dispensation of Law gives way to the Dispensation of Grace and the promised Messiah Redeemer arrives…

We need to understand that Israel was never to be saved by keeping the Law (Romans 3:20). The Law was meant to govern the daily life, to define sin, and to point to the coming Savior. The Law, as Paul pointed out was meant to be a school master (Galatians 3:24). I alluded to, previously, the fact that every sacrifice and festival pointed to Christ.

The dispensation of Law is named after what is commonly called the Mosaic Law but is called a “covenant” in Exodus 24:7-8; Deuteronomy 4:13; and Galatians 3:19. The Law of Moses, as is commonly called. was God’s only conditional covenant with Israel;  blessing and success depended upon the people’s obedience to the Law (Exodus 19:5). Unfortunately, as we see in Exodus 32, the Children of Israel did not even make it in their obedience to see the Law given but instead bowed the knee to a golden calf that Aaron fashioned for them from the jewelry of the people.

The Law was also a temporary covenant to be abrogated by institution of a New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:32; Hebrews 8:13; 10:9). The Law was given because of sin until the promised Seed of the Woman (and also the Seed of Abraham) would come. (Galatians 3:19).

It is important to note that the Law of Moses was given only for the nation of Israel (Exodus 19:3-8; Deuteronomy 5:1-3; 4:8). Jesus made it clear that it was given to Israel and not the Gentiles (Mark 12:29-30). The apostle Paul said the Law was given to Israel and not the Church (Romans 2:14; 9:4-5; Ephesians 2:11-12).

The Dispensation of Law ends at the Ascension of Jesus as Acts Chapter two shows us the inauguration of the next dispensation. Some call it the Dispensation of Grace and others call it the Dispensation of the Church.

It is an absolute tragedy that the people of Israel misinterpreted the purpose of the Law and sought a righteousness by good deeds and ceremonial ordinances rather than by God’s grace (Romans 9:31—10:3; Acts 15:1)! It is an even bigger tragedy that people today continue to pursue a righteousness based on good works to this day.  In the case of Israel, they were focused on attaining their own holiness, they rejected their Messiah (John 1:11).

Israel’s history from Mt. Sinai to the destruction of the temple in AD 70 was one long record of violating God’s Law. However, the Law was still fulfilled, as Jesus states, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). Because of Jesus’ perfect fulfillment of the Law, we are saved through Him.

Galatians 2:15-16 (HCSB)

15 We who are Jews by birth and not “Gentile sinners” 16 know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. And we have believed in Christ Jesus so that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no human being will be justified.

Acts 4:12 (HCSB)

12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.”

There are those who dismiss the Law (antinomians) and say that Christians are no longer bound by it. I think, though, that what we call the Law still serves as our school master even to this day. If it were not for the Law we would not know our sin (Romans 7:7) and therefore would miss out on the glory of our Redeemer and His salvation.