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Chapter 3

Chapter 3

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Published by: rickydepths on Jul 18, 2011
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CHAPTER THREE
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
essence
of dispensationalism, then, is the
distinction
between
Israel
and the
Church
 
(
 Dispensationalism Today,
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
two testaments
(
SystematicTheology
, 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
main
 
pillar
and justification for placing the 70
th
week of Daniel 9 in the future—prior to the millennium. For dispensationalists, this pilla justifies the divided second coming of Christ around the 70
th
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
th
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
th
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 (
 Dispensational Truth
, 19.Emphasis mine).
By D. S. Farris1
 
 
The Israel Of God 
Larkin moreover explains that the Old Testament is centered in the Jewish nation, andthat a good portion of the New Testament—especially the Epistles—is writtenexclusively for the Jew. Larkin emphasizes: “we must not apply to the Church what doesnot belong to it(
 Dispensational Truth
, 19). According to dispensationalists, thiscompartmentalizing of scripture is the process of “
Rightly Dividing
” the word of truth.When dispensationalists emphasize that they
Rightly Divide
the word of truth, they aretelling us that the Old Testament must be observed as a self contained unit apart from the New Testament; that even much of the New Testament scriptures must be viewed asJewish in character and cannot be used by the Church to form the basis of the Christianfaith. The following correlation block is a simple illustration of the impossibility of dispensational compartmentalization of the scriptures.
Correlation Block (1)The New Testament Interprets The Old Testament
2 Timothy 3:162 Timothy 2:15Isaiah 28:9, 10, 132 Corinthians 3:14 - 16Luke 24:44, 452 Peter 3:1, 22 Peter 3:15, 16Matthew 15:6 - 9Acts 13:27
 
2 Timothy 3:16 says that “
ALL
 — 
not some
 —scripture is profitable for doctrine.” When2 Timothy 2:15 says that we are to
rightly divide
(Gr.
Orthotomeo
: “to cut straight as tohandle right”) the word of truth, this is showing that we are to rightly apply the scriptures.How do we do this? Isaiah 28:9, 10, 13 shows that, to rightly handle the scriptures, wemust “
lay precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, and there a little
.” TheBerean Church was recognized as a very noble church, because “they
searched
thescriptures with all readiness of mind. (Acts 17:11).” In order to search the scriptures tofind truth, we must apply the principle set out in Isaiah 28:9 – 13. Why?
ALL
scripture is profitable for doctrine!The fact that the whole of the Bible applies to all men—not isolated groups—isseen in the following illustration: 2 Corinthians 3:14 – 16 and Acts 13:27 perspicuouslyshow that the Jewish leaders did not have a correct understanding of the Old Testament.In fact, 2 Corinthians 3:14 – 16 reveal that Christ is the interpreter of the Old Testament.For emphasis: If we want to know the meaning of the Old Testament, we must look at itthrough Christ. Why is this significant? This is significant because, according to Luke24:44, 45, Jesus gave the apostles the proper understanding of the Old Testament. Thismeans that the apostles became qualified—like Jesus—to interpret the Old Testament.
Copyright 8/27/03
 
 This is proven in 2 Peter 3:1, 2 where Peter puts the words of the apostles on equal par with the prophets. Notice the following argument:
(1)Jesus is the interpreter of the Old Testament.(2)Jesus gave the apostles the proper understanding of the Old Testament.(3)The apostles wrote the New Testament.(4)The New Testament interprets the Old Testament.
Here is another argument that will be proved over the duration of this chapter and thefollowing chapter.
(1)The Jewish leaders did not have a correct understanding of the Old Testament (2Cor. 3:14 – 16; Acts 13:27).(2)Dispensational compartmentalization of scripture is a methodology of interpretation almost homogeneous with that of the Sanhedrin 2,000 years ago.(3)Dispensationalists do not have a correct understanding of the Old Testament.
Hans K. LaRondelle speaks factually where he says, “Dispensational literalism does notallow that Jesus Christ provided a new perspective for interpreting the Old Testament”(
The Israel Of God In Prophecy
, 26).
 
The Bible clearly shows that the New Testament— inspired by Jesus and the apostles—interprets the Old Testament. When we study theword of God, we interpret it through the unity of both Testaments, for ALL scripture— taken together organically—produces correct doctrine. This method constitutes “laying precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, and there a little.” If we don’t apply thismethod, we will “
wrestle
down scriptures to our own destruction (2 Peter 3:15, 16).”This was precisely the problem of the Jewish leaders in Christ’s day (Matt. 15:6 – 9).When Paul warned about the fables that would replace sound doctrine (2 Tim. 4:2 – 4), heundoubtedly was referring to people who do not ascertain theology in the framework of the whole Bible.Dispensationalists, as has been demonstrated in the preceding chapters, havecontrived a system that—when compared with the whole message of scripture—falls to pieces. Dispensationalists attempt to make it appear that the secret rapture, the futurismof the 70
th
week, and the Church being distinct from Israel has plausibility when theyisolate certain passages of scripture—with imaginary inductions—away from the wholeof scripture. When dispensationalists are confronted with a certain passage thatcontradicts their systematic theology, they are quick to say: “That passage of scripturedoes not apply to the Church; it applies to Israel (or vice versa).” This is wrestling certainscriptures down in order to support imaginary interpretations of others. It is this theory— right here: “That passage of scripture does not apply to the Church; it applies to Israel”that has contrived dispensational mythology. Well does LaRondelle emphasize:
Every proof-text method that appeals to the letters of Scripture verses, notconsidering their immediate
and wider theological contexts
and consequentlynot relating the verses to God’s holy covenant with its messianic framework,
denies the theological unity of God’s Word
and obscures the religious moralissue of the apocalyptic war between heaven and earth (
The Israel Of God In Prophecy
, 7).
By D. S. Farris3
 

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