THE ISRAEL OF GOD
In the evangelical world, the big arguments over the correct interpretation of eschatology are based largely on what constitute the Israel of God. The belief that onlynational Israel can fulfill the prophetic promises of the Old Testament has led into seriousinterpretational problems for dispensationalists, problems that we have begun viewing inchapters’ 1 and 2 and will continue to visualize. In light of the issues that we areanalyzing in this course, one must raise the questions: What is the foundational pillar of dispensationalism? What is the main premise that supports the whole of dispensationalsystematic theology? Dispensationalists answer these questions in the following: CharlesC. Ryrie explains: “The
of dispensationalism, then, is the
47. Emphasis mine).
Lewis S. Chafer states: “The distinction between the purpose for Israel and the purpose for the Church isabout as important as that which exists between the
, Vol. 4, 47. Emphasis mine).The belief that Israel is distinct from the Church, and the belief that the OldTestament is distinct from the New Testament (mainly sections) is the foundation for alldispensational theories. For dispensationalists, this dual distinction theory betweenScripture and Biblical people is the
and justification for placing the 70
week of Daniel 9 in the future—prior to the millennium. For dispensationalists, this pillar justifies the divided second coming of Christ around the 70
week. Dispensationalistsemphasize that in order for the distinction between the Church and Israel to bemaintained, the Church must be removed from the world before the tribulation. We have proved that there is no divided second coming of Christ; neither is the 70
week applicable to the future. The removal of these two dispensational pillars from the pictureof Biblical truth leaves the doctrine of Biblical distinctions in a denuded state, for thedispensational system is made up of too many additive premises, where if one premise is proved wrong, the whole system falls to pieces. The fact that the 70
week was fulfilled between A.D. 27 – 34, and the fact that Jesus will return a second time—not two times— before the millennium; precludes the distinction between Israel and the Church as twoseparate and distinct groups.
The Unity Of The Word Of God
We will begin our analysis of the dispensational view on Israel by analyzing themain premise that supports the third pillar of dispensational distinctions. What is this premise? The underling premise that maintains the distinction between Israel and theChurch is the belief that the Old and New Testament Scriptures are distinct isolatedmessages for unique groups. Clarence Larkin defines this concept:
While the “Word of truth” is written FOR all classes of people, and FOR our learning,
it is not addressed to all peoples in general
, but part of it is addressedto the Jews, part to the Gentiles, and part to the Church. These three constitutethe THREE CLASSES into which humanity is divided (
, 19.Emphasis mine).
By D. S. Farris1