It seems the news always contains something about Israel and the Middle East. As an independent news writer and editor, sometimes, it becomes necesssary to let your readers know where you stand on issues, and what you believe. It is especially important because my viewpoint of History and what Christ means to me, as a believer and my bias in reporting or commenting on news will often be subjective and opinionated, then one needs to understand my theology and more. I believe absolutely that Christ died for my sins, was raised from the grave and ascended to the Father to give us, the Holy Spirit, who trust in Him, and to live His resurrected life within the believer by grace through faith, and that it is His work alone that saves, sanctifiies and glorifies the believer. We are to trust him and in this trust comes obedience by His Spirit.
A little history of the Hebrews from 597 until today on their belief structure and more.
The Chaldeans, following standard Mesopotamian practice, deported the Jews after they had conquered Jerusalem in 597 BC. The deportations were large, but certainly didn't involve the entire nation. Somewhere around 10,000 people were forced to relocate to the city of Babylon, the capital of the Chaldean empire. In 586 BC, Judah itself ceased to be an independent kingdom (which they were), and the earlier deportees found themselves without a homeland, without a state, and without a nation. This period, which actually begins in 597 but is traditionally dated at 586, is called the Exile in Jewish history; it ends with an accident in 538 when the Persians overthrow the Chaldeans.
Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Chaldeans, only deported the most prominent citizens of Judah: professionals, priests, craftsmen, and the wealthy. The "people of the land" (am-hares ) were allowed to stay. So Jewish history, then, has two poles during the exile: the Jew in Babylon and the Jews who remain in Judah. We know almost nothing of the Jews in Judah after 586. Judah seems to have been wracked by famine, according to the biblical book, Lamentations , which was written in Jerusalem during the exile. The entire situation seemed to be one of infinite despair. Some people were better off; when Nebuchadnezzar deported the wealthy citizens, he redistributed the land among the poor. So some people were better off. In addition, there were rivalries between the two groups of Jews. It is clear that the wealthy and professional Jews in Babylon regarded themselves as the true Jewish people.These are the same people today who call themselves - Jews
The salient feature of the exile, however, was that the Jews were settled in a single place by Nebuchadnezzar. While the Assyrian deportation of Israelites in 722 BC resulted in the complete disappearance of the Israelites, the deported Jews formed their own community in Babylon and retained their religion, practices, and philosophies. Some, it would seem, adopted the Chaldean religion (for they name their offspring after Chaldean gods), but for the most part, the community remained united in its common faith in Yahweh.
They called themselves the "gola," ("exiles"), or the "bene gola" ("the children
of the exiles"), and within the crucible of despair and hopelessness, they forged a new national identity and a new religion. The exile was unexplainable; Hebrew history was built on the promise of Yahweh to protect the Hebrews and use them for his purposes in human history. Their defeat and the loss of the land promised to them by Yahweh seemed to imply that their faith in this promise was misplaced. This crisis, a form of cognitive dissonance (when your view of reality and reality itself do not match one another), can precipitate the most profound despair or the most profound reworking of a world view. For the Jews in Babylon, it did both.
From texts such as Lamentations , which was probably written in Jerusalem, and Job , written after the exile, as well as many of the Psalms , Hebrew literature takes on a despairing quality. The subject of Job is human suffering itself. Undeserving of suffering, Job, an upright man, is made to suffer the worst series of calamities possible because of an arbitrary test. When he finally despairs that there is no cosmic justice, the only answer he receives is that humans shouldn't question God's will. That God is sovereign. Many of the psalms written in this period betray an equal hopelessness.
But the Jews in Babylon also creatively remade themselves and their world view. In particular, they blamed the disaster of the Exile on their own impurity, their forgetting of the Law and breaking the Torah and it's 613 commandments. They were sure they had betrayed Yahweh and allowed the Mosaic laws and cultic practices to become corrupt; the Babylonian Exile was proof of Yahweh's displeasure.
During this period, Jewish leaders no longer spoke about a theology of judgement, but a theology of salvation. In texts such as Ezekiel and Isaiah ,there is talk that the Israelites would be gathered together once more, their society and religion purified, and the unified Davidic kingdom be re-established. However, what they missed was God was going to establish a "spiritual" kingdom and not a physical kingdom and not the nation of Israel.
These scriptures misunderstood then, and when they crucified Christ because he didnt fulfill these things physically, are still misinterpreted and misunderstood even more today, but now not only by those who call themselves Israel but the true Jew or (Israel, the church) today.
It wasn't until the 1800's with the advent of the Scofield Bible and it's pro Zionist (separating Jews from Christians)commentary and premillenial doctrines did the church believe that Israel was to re-establish a physical nation in the "promised land, once again to usher the coming of Christ"
The prophets, that Israel misundersood then, when they crucified Christ and even today with the re-establishment of an aparthied government known as the State of Israel still persist due to poor interpretation and pro-Zionistic leading by pro Zionism even within the Christian Church.
Yes, it was to the Jews he gave the promises and the law, but they rejected it and as a result only a remnant was saved when the church began and even unto today only a remnant is being saved. Paul and the earliest Christians, the Apostles and the beleivers at Jerusalem- who were all Jewish were and are part of this remnant even until today.Along with those who claim to be Hebrew or believe in the Torah alone come to know Christ since then. What most Christians don't realize is the Torah is not the Jewish authority today nor was it when Christ was here. The Talmud and the rabbincal teachings have replaced the Torah (the first five books of the Bible which includes the 613 commandments of God).
So this period is marked by a resurgence in Jewish tradition, as the exiles looked back to their Mosaic origins in an effort to revive their original religion. It is during this time that the Jews began to develop the Mishnah, the Gemara and what is finally known as the Talmud which is what the Jews beleive in and practice today. The Torah by the time Christ came was lost to thousands of interpretations and new (fence) laws made by the Sophraim and the Tannah and thus Christ told them- "You nullify the Commandments of God for the traditions of men".
The Talmud has become the central text of the Jewish faith. The one thing that allowed Israel to rediscover itself at this time was the fervent revival of religious tradition it was aided by another incident in history: when Cyrus the Persian conquered Mesopotamia, he allowed the Jews to return home. This was no ordinary event, though. Cyrus sent them home specifically to worship Yahweh—what was once only a kingdom would become a nation of Yahweh.
The so called nation of Israel if based that they are to return to their homeland has been fulfilled many times before 1949. It may be that never before was a particular area called Israel since the Babylonian captivity but it is not the land that God promises those of Hebrew origin but Himself, if but they would return to him.
One of the main reasons the Law has not made the Hebrew or those claiming to be Jewish, lead them as "the school master to Christ" as it did us, who claim to be Christian, is the purity of the original 613 commandments made by God to Israel has been turned into ridiculous and long discourse of the law which in themselve have become the law for Jews.
Judaism, regardless of what you may mistakenly beleive has nothing to do with the honor of the Torah as the Supreme law of God as the pre-Babylonian Jews trusted in and broke it's laws but the traditions of these men who wrote the Misnah, the Gemara, now known as the Talmud and all the rabbinic discussions since. The Talmud and it's writings are anti-Christ in nature and anti-Christian. One must study to discover these things as I have, and read the Talmud and the Jewish writings of today to discover this truth. Israel- the nation of Israel is made up of Zionist and those who hold to the supremacy of themselves over all races, including American Gentiles ( Gentile, here, having the meaning - all of us who do not accept the Talmud and their Jewish supremacy over all other races in the world). Most Americans and even most preachers in America have simply accepted what has been handed down to them as interpretation of the majority of Paul's writings in Romans on this subject, and the most predominant teaching since the 1800's has been Darby's and Scofield's popularizing this DISPENSATIONAL interpretation of Biblical prophecy, all of scripture, and the book of Revelation.
However, they weren't alone in this non-biblical interpretation of scripture. Here is the story behind DISPENSATIONALISM, from whence most of the premillenial doctrine is taken. It will surprise you, it may even anger you at me for telling you, but what I hope is it will anger you that you have been so mislead to believe in DISPENSATIONALISM. It will anger you to find that the foreign policies and the War against Terrorism and much of the Police State, that is already in effect in Israel is driven by Pro-Zionist and those in the church who proscribe to these cultic theories of DISPENSATIONALISM.
The Origins of Dispensationalism
Most people assume that Dispensationalism started with J N Darby, one of the originators of the Brethren movement. Certainly Darby popularised this doctrine and, with the spread Scofield’s reference Bible, the teaching went world wide. However, Darby was not the first to develop these ideas. In fact, there is now conclusive evidence that there was a plan by William Kelly (another key Brethren leader, and follower of Darby) to discredit the real origins, because of their dubious pedigree, and inflate the place of Darby.
I should be very clear that Dispensationalism finds no place in the entire history of the church before 1830. No one has yet found any credible evidence that anybody believed or taught such a thing. This alone should cause alarm bells to ring in our spiritual ears. When we learn the true origin of the error, we can see even more reason to steer clear.
Key Distinctives of Dispensationalism
Before we proceed, we need to clarify exactly what this teaching is in connection with other eschatological theories.
Dispensationalism is a variant of
Historic Premillennialism,that is the teaching that Christ will return after the Great Tribulation and establish a 1000 year reign on the earth (millennium) before the final battle with Satan (Armageddon), which issues in final judgment and a new earth.
teaches that Christ returns after a golden age of 1000 years where the church rules the earth in righteousness;
believes that there is no Biblical teaching about a literal millennium and that the only passage which mentions is (Rev 20) is symbolically speaking of the age of grace in which we now live.
Dispensationalism is very different and has become the predominant belief in America and versions of it are growing rapidly in Britain. One problem is that it has very many variations, so to simplify our approach we will keep to essential distinctives. These are:
• Two comings of Christ. One an appearing for the saints in the air, the other a return with the saints. A period of 7 years separates these comings. In this time of tribulation, the Gospel is preached by a remnant of believing Jews and Christians not spiritual enough to be raptured.
• A secret rapture of some saints before the period of tribulation when the
antichrist will arise. This is the key distinctive called the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, (henceforth: pretribulation). This is imminent and could happen at any time.
• A dichotomy between the church and Israel. Jews are God’s true covenant people who will inherit the literal covenant promises, the church is God’s stop-gap
operation which benefits from Jewish promises. This distinction is seen as the most important Dispensational tenet by Dispensationalists Charles Ryrie and John Walvoord.
• A rigid literal approach to interpretation, especially of prophetic books.
This divides the Bible into that which refers to the Kingdom (Israel) and that which speaks of the Church.
• History is divided into specific dispensations where God deals with men in a
certain way. Each of these time periods ends in failure and judgment.
The most important aspects in evaluating the origin are: the pretribulation rapture and the dichotomy of Israel/Church.
Pre 19th century
Some isolated superficial ‘dispensational’ statements have appeared throughout history. Some 18th century writers began to systematise some of these ideas e.g: Pierre Poiret and Isaac Watts. No one, however, taught a pretribulation rapture.
Everyone believed that the church would go through the Great Tribulation. Claims, of
some, to find it in the early church fathers are false. There is some amillennialism
there, but none of the key distinctives of Dispensationalism:there is no separation of the church and Israel and no idea of Christians escaping the tribulation or antichrist by a rapture.
The earliest form of a ‘secret’ rapture was the idea of a partial rapture which
separated some saints from others after the tribulation. This really was about
prioritisation at the second coming, spiritual believers being given priority over less worthy ones. No one saw a place for Jews until the very end and there was no form of Church/Israel dichotomy.
19th century prophetic conferences
During the 18th century there was very little teaching on the Lord’s return. As a result, a reaction began in the 1820’s and 30’s. Prophetic periodicals and references abounded. Most important were the Albury conferences established by Henry Drummond in 1826-30, but the Powerscourt Conferences, instituted by Lady Powerscourt, were also significant. Anglican S.R Maitland began to teach a future rise of Antichrist and a 3½ year great tribulation in 1826. His follower,James Todd, also wrote extensively on the subject. William Burgh converted to this ‘futurist’ view of Revelation and wrote systematically upon it in 1835.
Before we continue, we must explain the person of Edward Irving. Originally a Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) minister, he moved to London in 1822 and became a very famous preacher. He was such a powerful and stimulating speaker, who attracted great
crowds, that in 1827 the large Regent Square church was erected for him. This was the first to adopt modern charismatic practices (including tongues) following Irving’s belief that the gifts of the Spirit were about to be given again. Tongues first appeared in the west of Scotland in Spring 1830 but were soon present in Irving’s church. Being expelled by the Church of Scotland in 1833 he established
the Catholic Apostolic Church which was fully charismatic, including a belief in the vital role of prophets and apostles. Events soon took a turn for the worse with the gifts being abused and overruling common sense. Irving himself was ousted by men with gifts of supposed greater (apostolic) authority, and many serious doctrinal and ethical aberrations resulted. Irving himself taught a false Christology. As a result, Irving died a demoralised man and the whole movement was vilified.
In 1830, however, Irving was at the height of his fame, and spoke at the Albury
conferences. His journal "The Morning Watch", which had a high eschatological content, was widely distributed. We should note that this journal was susceptible to many weird teachings in its desire to undergird a new wave of spiritual gifts.
Some examples follow.
• Human pre-existence, author: ‘WL’. March 1830.
• The church will give birth to generations of new people in heaven to inhabit
other worlds, author: ‘C’. Sept 1830.
• The Jewish occult Cabbala rested on a ‘stable’ foundation, author not named. Sept 1830.
• Christ will multiply human beings, from the church in heaven, not by creation, but by mysterious generation in the same way that Christ was generated, author: Irving, March 1833.
• The Zodiac will bring out from secular science a conclusive demonstration of
scripture chronology, author not named. March 1833.
These sorts of doctrinal aberrations were felt to be: ‘mysteries heretofore unknown’ (Morning Watch June 1833). The same issue derided great theologians of the past, denigrated Christians that studied their writings as ‘idolaters’ and called the Evangelical World: ‘modern Moabites’.
Like many other cults, it was deemed necessary that one must join them and be
initiated to be safe. Irvingite historian Edward Miller explains that it was necessary to be sealed by the apostles of the Catholic Apostolic Church in order to escape the Imminent Great Tribulation. Each of the Irvingite apostles had to seal 12,000 before he died, but failed to do so in time (and insufficient volunteers). A helpful prophet declared that the sealing would thus be carried on in Paradise.
Roman Catholic influence
The Irvingite church journal (The Morning Watch) carried an article in September 1830 that posited a two phased coming of Christ. This critical idea is originated from a Roman Catholic Jesuit Spanish writer, called Manuel Lacunza. His book, The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty, was translated by Irving in 1827 and studied at the Albury conference, and especially at the later Powerscourt meetings. This is important - one of the key spurs to the foundations of Dispensationalism was the study of the imaginations of a Roman Jesuit, the ideas of another Jesuit, Ribera, were also considered.
So, by about 1830 we have a high degree of eschatological speculation in conferences, books and journals; a futurist view of Revelation; a growing acceptance of extreme ideas including charismania; a Jesuit view of two second comings of Christ; ideas about the separation of the church and Israel; a parenthesis of the Jewish kingdom (see later); and the expected rise of antichrist and the Great tribulation. It is also interesting to note that Joseph Smith published the Book of
Mormon, teaching a regathering of Israel, in 1830. In 1831 William Miller (the founder of Adventism) began teaching his ‘findings’. Jehovah’s Witnesses also started soon afterwards. Chiliasm (millennialism) was in the air in the mid 19th century. The missing ingredient, however, is a secret rapture.
The first person to speak about a pretribulation rapture was a young girl named
Margaret Macdonald from Port Glasgow (15 miles from Glasgow) who was familiar with The Morning Watch and Edward Irving. The vehicle of this idea was a vision which was written down and read by Irving. In the early 1800’s, some people were beginning to think of a future tribulation and Antichrist. Earlier, most had been historicists who saw the 1260 days of Revelation as years, viewing tribulation as present or past and seeing the Antichrist in the pope, or Napoleon, and the beast as Jews, pagans, Arians, Saracens etc.
In 1829 The Morning Watch represented the most advanced prophetical ideas, including:
• a future tribulation and Antichrist.
• a literal rapture
• a partial rapture (only those filled with the Spirit)
• however, the man-child of Rev 12 was not seen as a church symbol
• an emphasis upon the witnesses of Zecharia tied in to the witnesses of Revelations 11.
[Historically, these witnesses had been seen as the Old and New Testaments, or alternatively as Enoch and Elijah (who had been raptured)].
Margaret saw these witnesses as a symbol of the church which introduced a completely new eschatological idea. Irving (as a historicist) had come close to this in seeing the Rev 11 witnesses as a succession of chosen men faithful to God. This is found in his introduction to the translation of Lacunza’s: The Coming of the Messiah’. (Although he later in the same work states that they are a symbol of the scriptures.) Lacunza also saw them as 78utwo congregations of faithful ministers, but neither saw them as being secretly raptured before the Tribulation. Irving, like many others, believed he was already in the 1260 year Tribulation.
Young Margaret Macdonald, who had such a critical influence in the formation of
pretribulation was a poor foundation on which to rest. Her insight came in a lengthy vision after prolonged sickness which required bed-rest for 18 months. This was written down and passed to ministers, including Irving at a time when he was very susceptible to such charismatic revelation. Margaret had also only been a Christian for a year and was uneducated. It was probably these facts which led to the origin being obscured and publicised by more educated men.
Margaret was also particularly open to the occult. Robert Norton wrote of her and a friend, ‘I have seen both her and Miss Margaret Macdonald stand like statues scarcely touching the ground, evidently supernaturally’. Andrew Drummond tells us that Margaret’s close friend Mary Campbell practised automatic writing and had intense psychical power and was a medium. Margaret also predicted that socialist Robert Owen was the Antichrist at the time she had her pretribulation vision. Margaret herself began to speak in tongues about four months after her vision in August 1830.
"The Morning Watch"
The Morning Watch did not credit Margaret Macdonald as its inspiration, although it does mention ‘several young women’ having given deep revelation in a few broken sentences.
Robert Baxter, a lawyer who became disillusioned with the Irvingites and left
them wrote about Margaret in his Narrative of Facts. He states that: ‘the delusion first appeared in Scotland’ but ‘it was not until adopted and upheld by Mr Irving, that it began to challenge much attention.’ Margaret’s (uncredited) vision appeared in 1840 in the Memoirs of James & George Macdonald of Port Glasgow written by Robert Norton. In 1861 he told her vision and named her specifically, identifying her as the source of the new doctrine. The fact that the Irvingites initiated the teaching of pretribulation is also asserted by several contemporaries,including eminent Brethren writers, such as: S. P. Tregelles, J. P. Lange, Thomas Croskery,
Edward Miller (Irvingite historian), William Reid, George Stokes and J. S. Teulon.
Subsequent to receiving a copy of Margaret’s vision, The Morning Watch went into overdrive in explaining their modification of eschatology. The caught up of 1 Thess 4 is now separated from the gathering of Matt 24. An article by ‘Fidus’ in June 1830 clearly states that ‘Philadelphia’ (spiritual believers) will be raptured and ‘Laodicea’ (non-spiritual Christians, and Jews who follow Antichrist) will be left on earth to endure the Great tribulation. Margaret had rested on the ‘two
witnesses’ symbol, Fidus on the 7 churches.
Later, others (especially Darby) would rest upon the ‘man-child’ symbol. Pretribulation must lean upon these symbols from Revelation because there is absolutely no clear, non-symbolic statement in the Bible to defend it.
The pretribulation rapture became known as ‘the secret rapture’. This has tendencies of developing an elitist, arcane society of adherents, those who are privileged to know about the secret or are especially spiritual in order to take part in it. In June 1832, it was stated that the Lord’s coming was only a joy for those prepared and looking for it. Only they would see the Lord, the rest of the church would only see this first appearance as a meteor or cloud.
Other ideas began to emerge. In June 1832 an article on the feast of Tabernacles saw the seven days of the feast as seven years, the thirteen bullocks slain indicated a confederacy of thirteen hostile powers, during the rise of Antichrist, Gog and Magog etc. This appears to be the first mention of a seven year tribulation period. Out of interest, Darby was teaching a tribulation of three and a half years as late as 1868.
Because the symbolism of types can be interpreted according to other influences, once sound Biblical hermeneutics are ignored,the interpretation of the feasts varied significantly from year to year. Irvingites shifted the rapture from feast 6 (of Lev 23’s 7 feasts) to feast 5, then feast 4 and even feast 3 within the first few years. Modern Dispensationalists have the same problems.
Scofield based his pretribulation rapture on feast 3 (firstfruits). Hal Lindsey has a rapture somewhere between feast 3 and 7. Edgar Whisenant based it upon feast 5, stating that it would occur in 1988. Another recent author stated that it would occur in May 1997.
Irving’s man-child ideas began to emerge in June 1831; repeated by Darby in 1839. He took Paul’s teaching on the union of believers with Christ and transferred it to the the interpretation of OT prophecy and Revelation symbolism. References to ‘Christ’ became corporate, especially the veiled reference of the man-child in Rev 12. With appalling exegesis he sees a first company gathered (rapture of the singular child) before the others of the church who suffer in the Great Tribulation (a remnant of the woman’s seed).
Questions raised by this nonsense include:
• Part of the symbol is literal (‘caught up’),and part is taken spiritually (‘man-child’).
• If the man-child literally referred to Christ as claimed, why did the disciples not accompany Christ into heaven at his ascension?
• If the man-child symbolises a pretribulation rapture at Rev 12:5, the head
needs to be on earth for the whole body and members to be caught up together.
• If the church is already mysteriously (spiritually) joined to the head, why does the church need to be with him in person at Rev 12:5?
Development by Darby
Dave MacPherson has catalogued Darby’s main eschatological beliefs in 21 tenets. He then demonstrates that all of these are present, using the same wording, in Edward Irving’s preliminary discourse to Lacunza’s work published in 1827. In 1829, Darby himself was only voicing 6 of the 21 items. For instance, in 1829 Darby had a Post-tribulation outlook and only saw a distinction, not a dichotomy (separation) between Israel and the church. Darby also quoted Irving, Lacunza and
The Morning Watch in 1830.
Furthermore, Darby’s idea of the parenthesis (where the Jewish kingdom is put
on hold while the Gentile church is developed) appeared in 1830; but the same thought in very similar wording appeared in The Millennium by W C Davis of South Carolina in 1811. Lacunza also frequently mentioned this word in explaining prophetic scripture. It was only in 1870 that Darby’s development led to the position now held by modern dispensationalists. He ceased to emphasise the man-child symbol in favour of the Philadelphia symbol, or even the apostle John who heard ‘Come up hither’. All these had been previously stated by Irvingites, even
using John as a church symbol.
Darby’s later reminiscences show signs of misrepresentation and plagiarism. For example, his observations of an 1830’s Scottish prayer meeting conducted by the Macdonalds, and which included tongue speaking,is almost identical to the report given by John B. Cardale printed in The Morning Watch, Dec 1830, except for one item. Darby omits Margaret’s utterances regarding a pretribulation deliverance. Other writers noted this. F. Roy Coad called it, ‘disingenuous tactics’ and ‘descended to the disreputable’. Benjamin Newton wrote that Darby was most subtle (i.e. sly). Darby can be claimed as a populariser of other’s thoughts on pretribulation predispensationalism, but not the originator - as is everywhere claimed.
Earlier historians and theologians were not in the dark on this. George Stokes wrote: ‘Darby ... imbibed the Irvingite theories about prophecy, which coincided with his natural turn of mind.' Samuel Tregelles, one of the ablest 19th century scholars and a Brethren leader, said that the Secret Rapture doctrine was developed by Irvingites, that Darbyites wrote heterodox tracts, misrepresented historic writings to suit their ideas, and added unsound thoughts to quotes of existing writers, all excused as being done for the honour of God. In editing Darby’s
works, William Kelly deliberately revised them to give the impression that Darby originated the key doctrines and used editing techniques to misrepresent the Irvingite position. Modern Dispensationalists have continued this error, by accident or design.
After being taken on board by the Brethren leader, John Darby, some Brethren
leaders (like B. W. Newton, George Muller) rejected it. S. P. Tregelles added that the idea came from a false spirit prompting a vision in Irving’s church. Other contemporary leaders, like Charles Spurgeon and William Booth also condemned the teaching.
The ideas were exported by several visits of Darby to the USA (between 1859-74) and a series of prophetic conferences (1878-1901) presenting Dispensationalism to Americans. Delegates included Hudson Taylor, A.T. Pierson. A.J. Gordon, S.H. Kellog and W.J. Erdman.
The Scofield Bible and other writings
Dispensationalism was Internationally popularised by the Scofield Reference Bible (arising out of these conferences and published in 1909 with over 3 million sold by 1960), J.N. Darby’s writings, William Kelly’s books, E.W. Bullinger’s The Companion Bible, W.E. Blackstone’s Jesus is Coming (hundreds of thousands sent free to Christian workers in USA) and many other Brethren writings. Many of these works denigrated existing commentaries, and even the church Fathers and the Reformers, and boasted a special revelation, only their works truly understood God’s mysteries.
This gave these ideas an attractive and popular ‘novelty’ to the Christian public. It should also be noted that there was widespread corruption in the church at large in this period with a poor level of teaching (despite some notable exceptions). As a result, many people jumped on to Darby’s bandwagon which
promoted a return to exegetical teaching of the Bible. ‘He (Darby) was able to do what he did because there was a great need ... the church was corrupt, the clergy unlearned.
Liberalism had all but taken over. Prophetic teachings ... were almost unheard of.
Multitudes were spiritually starved’.
The current situation
Today, the most popular systematic defenders are Americans (live & dead) like:
Charles Ryrie, John Walvoord, Lewis Sperry Chafer, Arno Gaebelein, J. Dwight Pentecost and Ernest Pickering. At a popular level, there are numerous melodramatic paperbacks (like Hal Lindsey’s: The Late Great Planet Earth and Bruce Larson, Armaggedon) or like films.
We can identify the following varieties:
· Classical Dispensationalism -
(Scofield, Chafer), Israel is on the earth, the church is in heaven and the two never meeting the new world. There are two ways of salvation: works in the OT and faith in the NT. Chafer holds to two covenants. This view dominated 1900-1950’s.
· Hyper Dispensationalism - Instead of finding the usual Dispensationalist origin of the church in Acts 2, these see it in Acts 13 (as Charles Baker, author of A Disp. Theology and associated with Grand Rapids Grace Bible College!).
· Ultra Dispensationalism - The church begins in Acts 28 (as E.W. Bullinger, hence sometimes called Bullingerism). Therefore, only a few of Paul’s letters apply to the church, the rest of the NT is Jewish.
· Neo Dispensationalism - (Ryrie, Walvoord, Dwight Pentecost). Israel and the
church will be together after the millennium; there is only one way to salvation in both testaments (faith); there is only one new covenant. Dallas seminary promotes this view.
· Progressive Dispensationalism - In recent years some have realised that even some of the Neo Dispensational views are untenable and have sought to further ameliorate its teaching (e.g: Robert Saucy, Craig Blaising, Darrell Bock).
They state that:
o The church is not a parenthesis but the first step towards establishing the kingdom of God.
o God does not have two purposes (i.e. Israel and the church), there is only one purpose, but both of them share in it.
o There is no distinction between Israel and the church in the future state.
o The church will reign (with Jews) in glorified bodies on earth during the
o But - they still insist that OT prophecies regarding Israel will be fulfilled
in the millennium by ethnic Jews. They do not see the church as the new Israel or believe that OT prophecies are fulfilled in the church.
One can begin to see how complex and varied this scheme is. There is, also,
hopeless disagreement among its teachers. Is it really conceivable that the greatest saints in the history of the church could have not known of this ‘vital’ truth for 1900 years?
Also consider that the foundation was laid by: a Roman Catholic Jesuit, a discredited, charismatic heretic and a young girl influenced by hallucinations and connected with occult practices.
Go figure how this belief system has so influenced American politics and the preaching of this in America, to create Christian Nationalism, the greatest lie told to the church, so that is has become proactive in this idolatry to the point we have become a nation of war mongering and blood shedding of any others that would disagree with us, all except the present nation of Israel, who not only is
allowed to have WMD's but continue it's persecution of all those that in anyway would oppose their authority over all of the Middle East. We have somehow come to beleive that as long as we support this Zionist nation, we too are some how the nation, with the promised land and the physical promises that can never be removed.
Wrong, as history and time will tell. If we continue, on the same path as Israel, to put ourselves, above God and others, and not promote the Kingdom of God over the earthly kingdoms of men, we will soon find the destruction of America just as Israel found itself under the destruction by Rome in 70 AD. It is our call to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone, to bring forth the true Jew, as Paul so elogantly put it - those not circumcised in the flesh but in the heart. The true Israel, the organized church is unable to realize is the unseen "universal church" (EKKLESIA) "the called out one's" of Christ who no longer look for an earthly kingdom, but live by the Lord's prayer. "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". Remember it is Paul who said that "there is neither, Jew nor Greek, nor male or female, all are one in Christ".
How easy it is to be decieved, even with the very first letter Paul wrote sometime in 51 AD, to the church of Galatia, the Judaizers were then trying to destroy Christianity with a return to the Old Covenant and circumcision of believers as they have so subtley done so today to convince us that God has any kingdom on this earth.
"The Kingdom of God is within you", Christ said. This is the rulership of our Father in our lives over all things and all purposes, all desires of this world (Cosmos) which the Bible says very clearly, "they are blinded by the god of this world"- Satan. I am not anti-Semitic nor do I hate the people in Israel or any race called the Hebrews, but the truth is they are blind and as long as any Hebrew continues to reject Christ he as all others including Americans, Chinese or whoever, they are under the power of Satan and blinded by him.
I refer you to a scripture now, 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 "For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that "all" will be condemned "who have not believed" the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
It is time the church rejects these ideas of dichtomy (seperation) of the Jews and the Church and realize, there is only one true Israel it will all be saved, as it is made up of men and women, of all races, creeds and color, who given their lives to Christ and recognize him as King now, and the Promised Land as the dwelling place we have with him now in the Spirit.