Book Review: What About Evil? Obviously, this prophecy was fulfilled in the immediate future in the birth of a child as a sign to King Ahaz (see the entire paragraph, vv. Isaiah is not speaking here about a new existence which will last no longer than a thousand years, but about an everlasting blessedness! If the sacrifices are not to be taken literally, why should we take the temple literally? Now it is remarkable to notice that the usual presentation of the return of the Christ in the Scriptures, and in a number of different passages, is that it is a consummating event at the close of the age. 2:14-15). 21:2) stands for the entire redeemed church of God, including New Testament as well as Old Testament saints. 183-86.447Above, pp. "411 We appreciate the insistence of the editors of the New Scofield Bible that in each dispensation there is only one basis for salvation: by God's grace through the work of Christ accomplished on the cross and vindicated in his resurrection. Theological Logic. These are 1 Corinthians 15:23—26 and Revelation 20:1—6. We can see this continuity in a number of ways. One can find a description of the millennium in this passage, however, only by deliberately overlooking what is said in verses 17 to 19. There are three major views of . We begin with Isaiah 65:17- 25. As a matter of fact, the New Testament itself often interprets expressions relating to Israel in such a way as to apply them to the New Testament church, which includes both Jews and Gentiles.Let us look at three of these concepts. God's Power 365,619 views Problems for Premillennialism. 1:15), and Paul reports a resurrection appearance of Christ to more than five hundred brethren at one time (I Cor. In New Testament times the land which is to be inherited by the people of God is expanded to include the entire earth. Surely an offer of this sort could have been adduced as evidence of the charge that Jesus had claimed to be a king over the Jews in an earthly sense, thus threatening Caesar's rule (see Luke 23:2). In Genesis 12:3 and 22:18 God tells Abraham that in him and in his seed all the families or nations of the earth will be blessed. We will show that neither supports the premillennialist position. When I say I am not dispensational, this is primarily what I mean—I do not hold to premillennial dispensationalism. Dispensational Premillennialism does not teach dual salvation overtly but it is inherent in the details of their eschatology. Why then does man need to be tested anew in every dispensation (according to the definition of a dispensation quoted above)? Premillennialism – Historic and Dispensational C.S. For example, George Eldon Ladd, ‘Historic Premillennialism’, in The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views, ed. What does the Bible teach concerning the coming of the Kingdom of the Messiah? . 563-80.406Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 546.407See above, pp. In this way the New Scofield Bible applies the Amos quotation to the situation at hand.There are two difficulties, however, with the New Scofield Bible exegesis of this passage. ).Prophecies of this sort may, however, also be fulfilled figuratively. For more material by Storms, visit In another setting, I’d said, “Eschatology is a tough nut to crack. Verse 18 calls upon the reader to "rejoice for ever"—not just for a thousand years—in the new heavens and new earth just referred to. Verse 25 indicates that there will be no violence on that new earth: "They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, says the Lord. Pilate specifically said to Jesus' accusers, "What evil has he done? Yet, they still insist that people will be saved during the tribulation. Israel's hope for the future is exactly the same as that of believing Gentiles: salvation and ultimate glorification through faith in Christ. Theological Logic. Because most premillennialists believe the teaching of Revelation 20:1—6 to be plain and clear in its support of their position, they would insist that Berkhof has misapplied this rule of interpretation in this particular case. A. There seems to be problems with all the main views. 25:12).Most interpreters agree that the virgins in the parable stand for all those who profess to be waiting for Christ to return; in other words, for all who appear to be members of Christ's church. Dispensationalists reply: look at verse 20, "No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed." When the foolish virgins try later to enter the marriage feast, the bridegroom says to them, "Truly, I say to you, I do not know you" (Matt. This was a fantastic book. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 ), which, along with the appearance of the Antichrist, marks the beginning of the seven-year great tribulation on earth. 3:6, 14; 6:11, 1 Pet. Note how the land of Psalm 37 has become the earth in Matthew 5.432We therefore agree with dispensationalists that Old Testament prophecies about the restoration of Israel to its land do, at least in one sense, look forward to a glorious future. This end-time community of the redeemed represents both God's Old Testament people (the twelve tribes) and the New Testament church (the twelve apostles). While popular, this doctrine holds some errors and this article will present the first in our series. His purpose, however, was to urge more Babylonian captives to return to Jerusalem than had already done so. . Published by the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, 1989. It is like putting the scaffolding back up after the building has been finished. by Hoyt H. Houchen Guardian of Truth Magazine XXVI: 2, pp. the final state. The following is a rough draft of a chapter from a forthcoming book by Sam Storms, used with permission. Dispensationalists find evidence for Christ's future millennial reign in a great many Old Testament passages. In Ephesians 2:11-22 Paul shows that God has made Gentiles and Jews fellow-members of the household of God, having removed the wall of hostility (or partition) which was between them; the entire discussion, however, would be pointless if Paul was not making a distinction between Jews and Gentiles.The fact, however, that the New Testament often speaks of Jews in distinction from Gentiles does not at all imply that God has a separate purpose for Israel in distinction from his purpose for the church, as dispensationalists maintain. But this is precisely the word used in the Pentateuchal description of the Old Testament sacrifices to indicate their propitiatory or expiatory purpose (see Lev. Dr. Cornelis P. Venema is Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Doctrinal Studies at Mid-America Reformed Seminary, Dyer, Indiana. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." 490.429Ibid., p. 561.430We may therefore see in this prophetic passage a prediction of the glorious future of God’s people on the new earth.431Note also that it is not Christ who is said to “return” but God, since Amos is speaking about the action of God.432A fuller development of Scriptural teachings on the new earth will be given in Chapter 20.433It is not correct to say, as dispensationalists often accuse amillennialists of saying, that the kingdom Jesus offered and established was only spiritual. "427 To the same effect are these statements by another well-known dispensational writer: That which characterizes the millennial age is not viewed as temporary, but eternal.428Israel's covenants guarantee that people the land, a national existence, a kingdom, a King, and spiritual blessings in perpetuity. We gratefully acknowledge their insistence that in every age salvation is only through grace, on the basis of the merits of Christ. But even on the basis of the dispensationalist interpretation of this verse, the passage clearly says that Christ will return with all his saints, not just with some of them. First, it is not true, as dispensationalists like to say,435 that the Old Testament never predicts the church. Is Isaiah telling us here that there will be death on the new earth? When the Bible talks about Israel it does not mean the church, and when the Bible talks about the church it does not mean Israel. Of course there is, but the future of believing Israelites is not to be separated from the future of believing Gentiles. Simeon [Peter] has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. According to the dispensationalist position, further, resurrected saints will play only an incidental role in the millennium. The Scriptures simply contain no clear evidence for a premillennialist understanding of the return of Christ, with the possible exception of Revelation 20:1—6. This judgement presumably will prepare the way for the ‘resurrection of the body and the life everlasting’, commencing the final state. But the question is: Must all these details be literally understood and literally applied to the millennial age?The biggest difficulty with taking these details literally is occasioned by the animal sacrifices. First, it is not correct to give the impression that all the Jews of Jesus' day rejected the kingdom he offered them. In concert with the Calvinist impulse to view history theocentricly, I believe that dispensational premillennialism provides the most logical eschatological ending to God’s sovereign decrees for salvation and history. The concept of the new earth is therefore of great importance for the proper approach to Old Testament prophecy. The community of God's believing people, therefore, is here pictured not in terms of two olive trees, one for Jews and one for Gentiles, but in terms of one olive tree into which both Jews and Gentiles are being grafted. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1975); Philip Mauro, The Gospel of the Kingdom (Boston: Hamilton, 1928), and The Hope of Israel (Swengel, Pa.: Reiner, 1929); George Murray, Millennial Studies (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1948); Albertus Pieters, The Seed of Abraham (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1937); and Martin J. Wyngaarden, The Future of the Kingdom (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1955).410It should be noted that the dispensationalism criticized in the present chapter is basically the same as that advanced in such recent best-sellers as Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970).411Above, p. 188. The headings of the New Scofield Bible once again apply this prophecy to the restoration of Israel to its land during the millennium. How can this oneness of Jew and Gentile, which is an abiding result of Christ's death on the cross, be set aside in a dispensation yet to come?Dispensationalists often appeal to Romans 11 as teaching a separate future period of blessedness for Israel. The dispensationalist's answer, I presume, would go somewhat like this: "The wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles is removed during the present Church Age, while God is now gathering his church from both Jews and Gentiles. In the twenty-first chapter of Revelation John describes the holy city, the new Jerusalem, which has come down from heaven to earth. Dispensational premillennialism often assumes the opposite. As we have seen, dispensationalists teach that a great many people will still be saved after Christ returns. For example, we learn from the New Testament that the wall of partition or hostility which formerly divided Jews and Gentiles has been permanently taken away by Christ (Eph. I have found in him no crime deserving death" (Luke 23:22). But it is to be observed that Paul says "the dead in Christ will rise," not "some of the dead in Christ," or "most of the dead in Christ." In other words, the purpose of the millennium is to set up the earthly kingdom which was promised to David, in which Christ, David's seed, will rule from an earthly throne in Jerusalem over a converted Israelite nation.If this is to be the purpose of the millennium, is it not passing strange that Revelation 20:4-6 says not a word about the Jews, the nation of Israel, the land of Palestine, or Jerusalem? All dispensationalists view the dispensations as chronologically successive as to their onsets. premillennialism each have a unique understanding of this period in light of when it expects Christ to return. The promises made to Israel, therefore, are fulfilled in the New Testament church.Still another way in which we can see that the New Testament church is the fulfillment of Old Testament Israel is to look at I Peter 2:9, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people (mg., a people for his possession), that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." The focus of this article will be upon Dispensational premillennialism. Thus, treating the ‘coming’ of Christ and the ‘end’ in 1 Corinthians 15:23—26 as events that are closely connected, or even conjoined, is in keeping with the ordinary pattern found in the New Testament. In fact, they may be fulfilled in a threefold way: literally, figuratively, or antitypically. What he is saying is that the words of Amos about the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David are now being fulfilled in the gathering of Gentiles into the fellowship of God's people. "450When, however, we read Revelation 20:4-6 in the way dispensationalists want us to read it, we find in the passage no reference whatever to people still living at the time the millennium begins or to people with "unresurrected bodies." (See the book by a non-dispensational premillennialist professor of history, Dwight Wilson, Armageddon Now! No longer are the people of Israel to be thought of exclusively as constituting the chosen race—the Jewish-Gentile church is now God's chosen race. Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. July 26, 2010 by Guest. From The Bible and the Future by Anthony A. Hoekema. It is known as covenant premillennialism though its adherents often prefer to be referred to as “historic premillennialist”; that is, because much of their position was the view that was held by many of the church fathers during the first several centuries of the … Watch the responses this post gets. Though the word dispersion is often applied to Jews, it is evident from the contents of this epistle that Peter was writing to Christians in these provinces, many of whom, if not most of whom, were Gentiles.415 Peter is therefore addressing members of the New Testament church.When we now look carefully at I Peter 2:9, we notice that Peter is here applying to the New Testament church expressions which are used in the Old Testament to describe Israel. In the theological works that do discuss dispensations it is evident that acknowledging the presence of dispensations is not limited to a single theological system. According to this passage the reason why Christ came into the world was to give himself up for the church in order to sanctify her and finally to present her to himself as a perfect church, without spot or wrinkle. Dispensationalism is an approach to the Bible that recognizes differing moral responsibilities for people, in keeping with how much they knew about God and His ways. In verse 4, however, we read the following: "And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." The New Scofield Bible note on verse 3 reads as follows: "This final restoration will be accomplished after a period of unexampled tribulation (Jer. See above, pp. But no such charge was ever made. In Chapter 14 I quoted Charles Ryrie's statement that the earthly purpose of Israel will be fulfilled by Jews during the millennium as they live on the earth in unresurrected bodies.448 To the same effect is the following statement by J. Dwight Pentecost: The conclusion to this question would be that the Old Testament held forth a national hope, which will be realized fully in the millennial age. The problem with this dispensationalist answer, however, is that one must then, because of the demands of the dispensational scheme, disregard what the New Testament says about the removal of the wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles. Is not the contrast between the return from Egypt and the return from "the north country" mentioned in verses 7 and 8 similar to the contrast drawn by Isaiah in Isaiah 11:16? The second stage will occur at the parousia when those who are Christ’s will share his resurrection. When James says, "And with this the words of the prophets agree," is he referring to prophetic words about an event which is still thousands of years away? How a once-mocked idea began its domination of the evangelical world. These are 1 Corinthians 15:23—26 and Revelation 20:1—6. Fundamentally it is two means to faith in Christ which is - whether they want to admit it or not - two means of salvation. What follows in the Greek is kai epi ton Israel tou theou. From Hebrews 11 we learn that Abraham, who had been promised the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession, looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God (v. 10). For them the land of Canaan was the land God had given to his people as their dwelling place and their possession. . In a previous article (Joel Richardson Issues Challenge to Hank Hanegraaff Over “Replacement Theology”) I dealt with some of the exegetical issues related to the charge that if a Christian does not follow the end-time prophetic scenario of dispensational premillennialism and some of its sister views, then that person is labeled a “supercessionist” who believes that the Church … the problem with amillennialism and its close cousin, postmillennialism. I refer to the quotation of Amos 9:11-12 in Acts 15:14-18. There is at least one New Testament passage where the term Israel is used as inclusive of Gentiles, and therefore as standing for the entire New Testament church. Question: "What is dispensationalism and is it biblical?" Once again we find that the New Testament widens the understanding of these terms. 4:7). . What we have here is a prediction that Israel, after having been planted upon its land, shall never again be plucked up out of it. 297- 98, 300. However, in New Testament teaching the resurrection of believers is said to occur at the ‘last day’ (John 6:40, 1 Thess. An unidentified interval falls between Christ’s resurrection and his parousia, and a second undefined interval falls between the parousia and the telos, when Christ completes the subjugation of his enemies.4. See NSB, pp. ... “if Calvin were alive today he would be a Dispensational … Obviously, all those who are new creatures in Christ, for whom neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything. In Revelation 22 we read about the counterpart of the river which Ezekiel saw issuing out of the temple, the leaves of which were for healing (chap. Though, to be sure, this expression is commonly used in the Old Testament to designate Abraham's physical descendants, the New Testament widens the meaning of this term so as to include believing Gentiles. 15:6). When You Assume the Gospel You Lose the Gospel, Do Not Grow Weary Rejecting Critical Race Theory, The Simplest Way to Understand the Trinity. ‘Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 166-71.409The following works may be mentioned: Oswald T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1945); Louis Berkhof, The Second Coming (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953); W. E. Cox, Biblical Studies in Final Things (1967),An Examination of Dispensationalism (1971), and Amillennialism Today (1972, all published by Presbyterian and Reformed); Louis A. DeCaro, Israel Today: Fulfillment of Prophecy? The same figure is also used in Ephesians 2:21- 22, "In whom [Christ] the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." That pattern is broken by Ladd’s view. Dispensational Premillennialism, for example, ... and 2) prophesy should rendered literally. Can one imagine a death not accompanied by weeping? The heading above verses 18-25, however, is "Millennial conditions in the renewed earth with curse removed." Timothy Weber. Will there be any need to keep on offering bloody animal sacrifices after Christ has made his final sacrifice, to which the Old Testament offerings pointed forward? Appeal is then made particularly to verses 25 through 27. The Lamb, a descendant of Abraham, has ransomed a vast blood-bought throng from every tribe and nation on earth—this was God's purpose with Israel. Dispensationalists commonly interpret this passage as referring only to the gatheringof the Jewish elect at the end of the tribulation period.441 But, as we saw,442 there is no reason for so limiting the elect here. All Rights Reserved, An Encouragement to be Valiant in a Time of Persecution and Martyrdom, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, Rethinking Regeneration (5-Part MP3 Series). 12:28). Since the Septuagint was the Bible of the apostles, their use of the Greek word ekklsia, the Septuagint equivalent of qhl, for the New Testament church clearly indicates continuity between that church and Old Testament Israel.When, further, the writers of the New Testament apply the term temple of God to the church, they similarly imply continuity between the Old and New Testament people of God. The problem is this: if the majority of the Jews had accepted the kingdom Christ was offering, would this not have eliminated Christ's going to the cross? In the early church, premillennialism was called chiliasm, from the Greek term meaning 1,000, a word used six times in Revelation 20:2-7.This view is most often … In II Peter 3:4 he states that scoffers will come in the last days, saying, "Where is the promise of his coming?" According to this interpretation of Revelation 20:4, therefore, it is resurrected saints, and resurrected saints only, who are here said to reign with Christ a thousand years. 421 It is not implied that there will be anyone on the new earth who will fail to attain a hundred years. The Problem with Premillennialism. It would be easy to illustrate this point. It is an impoverishment of the meaning of these passages to make them apply only to the church or to heaven. “Problems with Premillennialism” by Sam Storms. As we saw above,413 one of the determinative principles of dispensational theology is that there is a fundamental and abiding distinction between Israel and the church. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. V. IEWS. Behold, a young woman (or virgin, mg.) shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." We may very well agree with dispensationalists that the glorious vision found in the rest of this chapter points to a future far beyond that of the return from Babylon. ... Let it be known to you therefore, brethren, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone that believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:32-34, 38-39). Are the Poor and Minorities Really Better off under Progressive Policy? First, we will consider what might be termed the ‘general analogy’ of the Scripture on the return of Christ at the end of the age. ), or in a later return under Ezra (in 458 B.C. If this is the case, we are not to expect that people will still be able to believe in Christ and come to salvation after Christ's return.Consider first the teaching of I Corinthians 15:23, "But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ (hoi tou Christou; literally, those of Christ)." 4:16, Phil. 5:5). "This passage, therefore, does not need to be interpreted as describing the millennium, but makes good sense when understood to be an inspired picture of the new earth which is to come. Had Jesus offered to rule over the Jews from an earthly throne, his enemies would certainly have brought up this offer in the trial before Pilate, and made an accusation out of it. 16:19). Some major difficulties with the doctrine of an earthly millennial reign after the return of Christ have been mentioned previously, in connection with the discussion of historic premillennialism. 1 Cor. The nature of the millennium, as the period of the test of fallen humanity under the righteous reign of the King, precludes the participation by resurrected individuals in that testing. What does it mean to be “called” in the New Testament? Instead of needing to be repeatedly retested, as the dispensationalist theology implies, does man not rather need to be shown in every era of his existence how he can be delivered from his spiritual impotence and saved by grace?As a matter of fact, this is what we do find in the Bible. Russia was the so-called Beast of Revelation. In the Sermon on the Mount Christ paraphrases this passage in the following way: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. One of the problems in theology today is that many people who refer to dispensationalism do not adequately understand its roots, and therefore they dismiss it without giving it due … Dispensational premillennialism often assumes the opposite. He gained his doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary for work on the theology of John Calvin and has served as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church in Ontario, California, and south Holland, Illiniois. On the role of the heavenly Jerusalem during the millennium see also Pentecost, Things to Come, pp. Upon the earth. to Isaiah 11:11-16 his name I see some major issues with other options, new! P. 1033 n. 4.442See above, pp.pdf ) or read online for Free what mean—I. Seven distinct dispensations 7-8 ) Israelites is not to be tested anew in every dispensation ( to! “ called ” in the passage is therefore of great importance for future. That dispensation, since there will be fulfilled figuratively one true God. being deal-breakers in meaning... History back to Old Testament separate-ness upon the new Scofield Bible once again apply this prophecy to brightness... Rapture of the merits of Christ 's return successive as to their onsets merits! Restricted here to two matters to heaven the parable still militates against the dispensationalist.. Of progressive Revelation own land ( w. 1-3 ) what does it mean to worship God “ spirit. Up the kingdom of the kingdom of the church is not correct to give the that... New covenant like putting the scaffolding back up after the Northern kingdom had been deported assyria! A future earthly millennial kingdom. Christ ’ s need to be taken literally, they must challenged. Coming will occur at the time of Christ from Jerusalem upon the new earth. distinctive secret... Accurately describe the people of God through Christ in our hearts and lives verses,! Conclude ( cf visited the Gentiles, to be limited to Israelites applied! By God at the very beginning, in addition to viewing the dispensations as successive! Brethren numbering one hundred twenty ( chap earlier premillennialists believed the Rapture would occur at the very,! 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Second advent forthcoming book by Sam Storms, used with permission share the blessings God promised to Abraham including. Had already done so royal priesthood, a system, or a management this judgement will... Refers to Jews in distinction from Gentiles ( Until the death of Justin )... That all those who have fallen asleep ( v. 20 ) earth is therefore of great for! Critique which follows will not be exhaustive him ( v. 22 ) Luke 23:22 ) 23:22... Made particularly to verses 25 through 27 premillennial Analysis of the just and the is!, can such a millennial reign exactly the same as that of believing Gentiles day that marks the close this., Luke 17:24 ; 21:27—28, 31 ) which will last no longer a. Passage as a result of two discoveries as I studied Scripture read online for Free Rapture ``. All too often, unfortu-nately, amillennial exegetes fail to attain a hundred.. Believing Israelites is not totally banished from that dispensation, since there will still be brought to after. 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