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Israel was Chosen for a Kingdom

February 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Dr. Mike Johnston

Prophecy proves Israel is very special to God, and His prophets have always guided and guarded her (Amos 3:7; Luke 1:70; Acts 3:12-26). Beginning in Genesis and continuing through the first half of Acts – a prophetic pattern is progressively dispensed [1] regarding the Jewish earthly kingdom and the Messiah King. Here’s an overview of God’s prophecy program leading to Israel’s Kingdom.

  1. An earthly Kingdom has been on God’s agenda from the beginning (Gen. 1-2; Matt. 25:34).
  2. God’s will and His Word have been revealed through God’s inspired servants the prophets (2 Kings 9:7; 17:13; Ezra 9:11; see especially Amos 3:7).
  3. Israel exists from prophecy spoken by the mouth of His holy prophets since the world began (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21).
  4. God chose and Covenanted with Abraham; commissioning him as prophet (Gen. 20:7) and the father of Israel (Gen. 17:5; Deut. 9:5; Matt. 3:9; Luke 1:55; etc) whereby blessing would flow through his family, from His calling to her Kingdom (Gen. 12:1-8; 13:14-18; 15; 17; see Ex. 19:5; etc). [Jesus is the ultimate blessing]
  5. Over the years, God expanded the Abrahamic Covenant four times to include Kingdom laws (Ex. 20:1 – 31:18); land (Deut. 30:1-10); and a Jewish born King with a New Covenant Constitution for the Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:8-16; Matt. 5-7; Jer. 31:31-40).
  6. God specified Israel’s Kingdom would commence following a 490 year prophecy of seventy weeks of seven years broken into two parts: 483 years and 7 years that the nation Israel herself must fulfill (Dan. 9:24-27).
  7. “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4) who offered Israel her Kingdom, and was rejected precisely at the end of the 69th week just as Daniel prophesied (Luke 1:32-33; Matt. 4:17; Dan. 9:244-26).
  8. Israel has been diminished (Rom. 11:12) and exists today in spiritual blindness (Rom. 11:25). As such, Daniel’s seventieth week is currently on hold until “he who now letteth … be taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:7) which will occur when “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25) and “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph 1:15) aka Israel’s Tribulation (Deut. 4:30-31; Matt. 24:21, 29; Rev. 7:14) begins.
  9. The Revelation of Jesus Christ occurs in Israel immediately “after Israel’s Tribulation of those days” (Matt. 24:29) to consummate the Covenant’s by inaugurating the thousand year Millennial Kingdom in Jerusalem (2 Sam. 7:8-16; Ezek. 34:11-31; Zech. 14; Rev. 19:11-20:7).
  10. With Israel’s Covenants fulfilled concerning the Kingdom – and bear in mind they MUST BE – eternity will begin.

When the Word is rightly divided, we find that it is Israel, not the church, that was promised a coming kingdom of heaven [2] which occupied much of the preaching of John the Baptist, Christ and the twelve disciples (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7; see Gal. 2:7-9). It will one day emerge in fulfillment of the unconditional Davidic Covenant which was built upon the Abrahamic. Prophecy – via progressive mention or revelation – reveals this kingdom will last on earth 1000 years (revealed in Rev. 20:2-7) of unprecedented peace (Micah 4:2-4; Isaiah 32:17-18), joy (Isaiah 61:7, 10), comfort (Isaiah 40:1-2), prosperity, and health (Amos 9:13-15; Joel 2:28-29). It’s location is Jerusalem, the blessed Zion of God (Isa. 30:19).

It’s important, therefore, that we understand God’s purpose for earth – revealed thoroughly in prophecy – is a kingdom in Israel. “All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints [Jews] shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations. (Psalms 145:10-13 – my comment in brackets).

Prophecy for Earth ——————->Kingdom in Israel

Time past Ages to come
Genesis – John Hebrews – Revelation
1st Coming of Christ to Israel 2nd Coming of Christ to Israel
King and Kingdom rejected King and Kingdom received

Prophecy tells us the glorious appearance of the Messiah to earth[3] to establish Israel’s kingdom under the lineage of David in the city of Jerusalem (Isa. 24:23; Mic. 4:7) is often the subject.

The inauguration of Israel’s Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:8-16) has been in the works for thousands of years. The Lord Jesus revealed that it will commence following what’s termed “the sheep and goat judgment”: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). Therefore, when studying the Kingdom, keep in mind the following factors revealed by God through the prophets:

It is for Israel that the earthly kingdom was “prepared from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34) and through whom the Messiah was born and to whom He was presented, rejected, and yet one day will return to fulfill the Lord Jesus’s prophetic prayer, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth…” (Matt. 6:10). It is to Israel the Lord Jesus explained this Davidic Covenant Kingdom will be inaugurated following His visible Revelation in Jerusalem (Matt. 24; see Zech. 14; Rev. 1:7; 19:11-21) “immediately after the Tribulation” (Matt. 24:21, 29). [4] It is Israel to whom God’s prophets presented five covenants [5] guiding and guaranteeing her future on earth, including a lineage, land, laws, and a Lord – King – that began with the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15:18) and will continue through the Millennium.

First, God chose to bless Abraham and His family [nation of Israel, Jews] as the source of blessing: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed[6] (Genesis 12:2-3).

Second, David’s seed, which is from the lineage of Abraham, was promised the throne forever:

“And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever” (2 Samuel 7:16).

Third, Daniel saw the Kingdom given to Israel at the Revelation of the Messiah (Christ): “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed … But the saints of the most High [Jews] shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever … Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High [Jews]; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom … And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High [Jews], whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:13-14, 18, 22, 27).

Fourth, Christ came as the Son of Abraham and of David to fulfill the Covenant and claim the throne: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of AbrahamThy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven … ” (Matthew 1:1; 6:10).

Fifth, the Covenant, the Kingdom, and the King were summarily rejected on the day Daniel predicted (Dan. 9:24-25). King Jesus was crucified, yet resurrected, and after forty days of further kingdom instruction (Acts 1:3) – ascended to heaven, and a seat at the right hand of God.

Sixth, prompted by questions from four Jewish patriots (Peter James, John, and Andrew – Mark 13:3) wondering when Christ would inaugurate Israel’s Kingdom, Jesus promised to return at the end of Israel’s Tribulation (Matt. 24:29; see Zech. 14:4-5; Rev. 19:11; etc) to set up the Covenant kingdom Israel had rejected (Matt. 21-27).

In our next section, we’ll learn that Israel’s Kingdom is earth’s destiny and five unilateral Covenants guarantee this by leading Israel from her calling to the Kingdom.

[1] God dispensing His truth over time in a variety of ways to a variety of people is known as dispensationalism. As the truth was given, individuals were held accountable for obeying it. Example, Adam was told not to eat from a particular tree. Noah was told to build an ark. Abraham was told to go to Canaan, and so on.

[2] The phrase “kingdom of heaven” – which is a term used for the earthly Davidic Kingdom – is used exclusively by the Lord Jesus 33 times in the Book of Matthew; the Gospel proving to Israel that Jesus was her Messiah and the Kingdom (of heaven) was at hand (Matt 4:17).

[3] Dan. 7:13-14; Zech. 14:1-4; compare Matt. 24:29-31; Rev. 1:7; 19:11-21.

[4]It’s important to know that the tribulation constitutes an unprecedented period of punishment, and purification of Israel (Isa. 2:19-21; Isa. 13, see v13; Isa. 13; 24; Jer. 30-31; Dan. 7; 12:1; Joel 2; Zephaniah, see 1:15); Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21; Rev. 6-19) in preparation of the establishment of the Davidic Covenant Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16; Rev. 20) in Jerusalem following the Revelation of Jesus Christ predicted for Israel in time past (Zech. 14:4; Matt. 24:29-31; 25:31-46; Rev. 19:11-21) to occur in the ages to come. The tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ, aka the church.

[5] The 5 Covenants God made with Israel unilaterally are as follows:   1. Abrahamic Covenant  (God called a family He could bless and that would be a blessing), 2. Mosaic Covenant  (God formed a nation with Laws), 3. Land (Palestinian) Covenant  (God gave Abraham the land and promised Israel would possess it), 4. Davidic Covenant  (God promised the nation a righteous King and an everlasting Kingdom), and the5. New Covenant  (God promised a better covenant established on better promises resting on an accomplished redemption securing the perpetuity and future conversion of Israel).

[6] Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. That blessing refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Israel and Church Differences

February 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Excerpted from Israel’s Tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ – Dr. Mike Johnston

Israel is a physical nation existing from prophecy awaiting an earthly Kingdom. The church is a spiritual body existing as a mystery awaiting a heavenly inheritance not known by the prophets or discussed in prophecy. The two have both existed since the world began (Acts 3:21; Rom. 16:25), but that’s where most of the similarity ends.

The distinctiveness, therefore, between the earthly nation Israel and the heavenly Body of Christ is an inescapable fact reflected in the prophetic Covenant still in effect with Israel. Dr. CI Scofield’s insight is well worth restating here: “(Israel’s) history alone is told in Old Testament narrative and prophecy [which incidentally continues through the crucifixion]; other nations are mentioned only as they touch the Jew [really consider this last statement because in it is the key unlocking this entire book]. It appears, also, that all the communications of Jehovah to Israel as a nation relate to the Earth. [1]

Notwithstanding, co-mingling God’s program for Israel with His program for the church Body is the “ploy du jour” among PreTrib antagonists often claiming they believe in a clear distinction while spinning unsupportable yarns inserting the church into “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7)  – aka Tribulation – where she can’t be seen and she doesn’t belong. Rightly dividing the word of truth between Israel and the Body of Christ helps clarify the reason the Body of Christ will not go through Israel’s Tribulation.

Scripture clearly teaches Israel and the Body of Christ are not the same. Every effort to diminish their distinction is a dubious distortion. It’s no secret that Satan hates God’s elect Israel for many reasons, not the least of which is the Lord Jesus Christ – God the Father’s Preeminent offspring – God the Son – from the tribe of Judah and royal seed of David who will one day rule the world from Jerusalem. In the wake of Lucifer’s contempt, he has inspired haughty [2] heretical Bible teachers to make unfounded claims –originating in the first centuries of church history – that the Body of Christ is the new Israel – aka Replacement Theology. It’s as if Satan opined after many unsuccessful attempts to annihilate Israel, “Ok, fine. If I can’t personally destroy these Jews, I’ll marginalize and malign them with a mass misinformation campaign led by a cabal of otherwise respected men teaching that the church has replaced them.”

To further help us understand why the Body of Christ will not go through Israel’s Tribulation – let’s get back to the premise underlying the truths in this entire treatise: Israel and the Body of Christ are not the same and neither is God’s plan for them.

I reiterate; the church is not the new Israel. [3] Her future is not on earth and she is not looking for – nor does she require – Israel’s judgment and punishment [4] (Deut. 30:7; 32:43; Isa. 2:19-21; Isa. 13; 24; 34;  Jer. 30-31; Dan. 7; 12:1; Joel 2; Zephaniah, see 1:15; Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21; Rev. 6-19) and purification God is going to mete out to Israel and the world during the “Tribulation” (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21, 29). [5] In fact, her inheritance (Eph. 1:11) has nothing to do with the earth. She is the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27), spiritually seated in heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1-3). Her “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) is Christ  and His imminent return in the air (1 Thess. 4:13-18) to deliver her from Israel’s Tribulation wrath [6] to come (1 Thess. 1:10; Rev. 3:10) by escorting her back to His heavenly home according to His immutable promise (John 14:2-3). [7]

 

The Distinctives of the Pauline Body

I like what Miles Stanford wrote regarding the Body of Christ as revealed in Pauline Dispensationalism: We hold to the following indispensable tenets regarding the Church–the Body of Christ:

First and foremost, “Classic Pauline Dispensationalism is based upon the division of LIFE, not simply that of economies.  Once that total separation of the two seminal lives [First and Last Adam] is seen and maintained, the economies will never coalesce.”  The quintessence of the rightly divided Word is the doctrine of the two Adams!

“The Church (Body of Christ) was neither prophesied nor revealed in OT Scriptures.”  The Church is a heavenly entity.  The Church is not, as per covenant theory, the fulfillment of the promised blessings to Gentiles according to the Abrahamic Covenant.  Further, the Church is not the recipient of blessing formerly promised to the nation of Israel nor of any “spiritual blessings” from Israel’s New Covenant.  God made no covenant with the heavenly Church.  The Body of Christ is unique.

“The Church was a complete mystery until revealed doctrinally by Paul.”  It is the Body of Christ and her uniqueness that is the central mystery, not the principles of grace or faith.  There is one Body of Christ, whose advent was on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts Chapter 2.  The Church (Body of Christ) did not begin with the Apostle Paul, but rather his ministry was one of unfolding the truths associated with that one Body.

“Paul, in the Church Epistles, was the minister of Church truth.”  “Those who do not center in the truths which the ascended Lord communicated directly to this Apostle will not know who and where they are in Christ, nor what their part is in the purpose of God.  Neither will they know their heavenly privileges and responsibilities. Those who are ignorant of, and not centered in, the Pauline Gospel as set forth exclusively in Paul’s epistles, are constantly astray in their interpretation of the Gospel, to say nothing of Church truth.

“…for a dispensationalist it is best not to refer to the difference between the Old Testament (books) and New Testament (books), as such.  Much of the NT (Synoptic Gospels) is OT (related to Israel and her covenants): all is OT to Matthew 27, Mark 15, and Luke 23.  Church (Body) truth, the new, is totally different from Judaistic truth, the old; and it was not fully revealed until after the Cross, via Paul.”

“The thirteen epistles of Paul (Romans to Philemon) form a distinct body of truth; and this realm of truth is about us, the Church, the Body of Christ, as no other Scriptures are.  And Paul is the Father’s special messenger to us.  As has been truly said, ‘All of the Bible is for us, but it is not all about us.’”[8]

Before we advance in our study, may I ask if you are sure you know Christ as your Saviour and Lord? If not, ask Him into your life today.

Conflating Israel with the Church to marginalize the distinction

While conflating Scripture for Israel and the Body of Christ is confusing, it isn’t new especially as it relates to placing the church Body into Israel’s Tribulation where she can’t be seen and doesn’t belong.

This ruse originated almost two thousand years ago when a frightening letter arrived in Thessalonica  [9] signed by someone pretending to be the apostle Paul (2 Thess. 2:1-2). Although he had carefully and systematically expounded Israel’s day of the Lord[10] and the assurance of a PreTrib rapture to this church (1 Thess. 1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:9; see 2 Thess. 2:5), this latest epistle implied Paul had apparently been deceived by divine revelation (Rom. 16:25; Gal. 1:11-12) and changed his mind. According to the letter, he evidently now believed Israel’s Tribulation beginning with the day of Christ was at hand and that all Christians were going to have to endure it.

When you discern the divine distinctions between Israel (prominent on earth), Gentiles, Church (subordinate) hinges on the prophets, you possess one of the keys for rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). The prophets were clear as they spoke Kingdom related messages to Israel (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21). These men never knew about the church Body, never spoke about us, and certainly never placed us into Israel’s Tribulation – which originated from prophecy and exists in the prophecy program for Israel – for a single moment. They knew this epoch has been reserved for currently unsaved Israel and anti-Semitic nations of the world.

In brief, while many PreTrib rapture combatants glibly request a single verse promising the Body of Christ an escape from Israel’s Tribulation – and I’ve provided many in this treatise – I in turn have asked these men to produce a single Scripture clearly placing the Body of Christ in Israel’s Tribulation without redefining the words “saints” and “elect” and “disciples” which in context identifies Israel.

None have because none can!

[1] This includes the future Tribulation judgment as Isaiah reveals: The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. (Isaiah 24:19-21)

[2] Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. (Romans 11:18)

[3] Replacement theology is a rank heresy Jesus said originated in the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:9; 3:9).

[4] For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion (Isa. 34:8).  For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates (Jer. 46:10).

[5] Also called “Jacob’s (aka Israel’s) trouble” (Jer. 30:7), “the time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1), “the hour of temptation” (Rev. 3:10) as well as a few other names.

[6] This coming wrath is described fully in Rev. 6-19).

[7] We refer to this as the Rapture of the church.

[8] Copied from http://withchrist.org/pauldisp.htm

[9] Such was the case in Thessalonica where teachers pretending to be Paul sent letters claiming he’d changed his position and that the church was going through the tribulation (Second Thessalonians).

[10] The day of the Lord (Isa. 2:12; 13:6, 9; 34:8; Joel 1:15, 2:1; etc); a time of trouble (Dan. 12:1); and the tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21-29). Bear in mind, the tribulation is part of the day of the Lord; a Jewish phrase used by at least nine Jewish prophets that centers on earth and concerns Israel, not the church (see Zech 12-14; Matthew 24; Revelation 6-19), where the focus is Jerusalem, and the abomination of desolation in the Temple (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4).

The Right Division between Two Gospels: Kingdom (circumcision) and Grace (uncircumcision)

February 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Dr. Mike Johnston

If you’re ever itching for a fistfight with a carnal Christian, tell him that the gospel of grace he preaches in this but now dispensation (Rom. 15:1-4) is NOT the gospel of the kingdom John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and the apostles preached (Matt. 4:23; 10:7).

In his superb book “Why So Many Churches”, Dr. Noah Hutchings, one of my favorite Bible teachers, writes, “It is important for Christians to understand … Paul and Peter did not preach the same message. They preached the same Christ, but not the same gospel.” (Why So Many Churches, 1992). You will understand this shortly when I unfold it.

The word gospel means “a good message” (Strong). The fact is, there are several of them listed in the Bible [1] that God dispensed through history. Two primary Gospel messages exist within the harmonious framework of the entire time triad spectrum.

  • Time past: Gospel of the Kingdom to Israel (Matt. 4:23; 9:35) Ended sometime after Paul’s conversion in mid Acts and the revelation of the mystery he received from Jesus (Rom. 16:25).
  • But now: Gospel of the Grace of God to Jews and Gentiles alike. Ends when the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25)
  • Ages to come: gospel of the Kingdom to Israel. Daniel’s prophecy calendar resumes at the 70th week of seven years known as Israel’s Tribulation or “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15).

1. The Gospel of the Kingdom during the Prophecy Program – to Israel in “time past”:

The gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 9:35) – is also called “the gospel of the circumcision” (Ga. 2:7-9) that Peter preached. It is good news to the Jews which Christ preached “in time past” (Matt. 4:23; 9:35) connecting Israel to the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15:18)[2] including circumcision (Gen. 17; Gal. 2:7) by offering to confirm the Davidic Covenant by inaugurating the earthly Kingdom promised to the seed of David (2 Sam. 7:8-16). [3]

Once again, keep in mind this gospel of the kingdom is NOT the gospel preached by Paul, nor is it the gospel we preach in this dispensation. Ours is the gospel of the grace of God, but only provisionally until the church is removed at the rapture.

2. The Gospel of the grace of God during the Mystery Program – to us in the “but now”:

The gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24) – is also called “the gospel of the uncircumcision” (Gal. 2:7-9)  which is good news for Jews and Gentiles who come to Christ by faith and are saved, justified, sanctified, glorified, and spiritually baptized into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) where we are seated in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6) and sealed forever (Eph. 1:13-14) apart from anything other than faith in Christ’s shed blood which permanently removes our sin from us. By Paul’s own words this was a “but now” gospel unique for the uncircumcision (Gal. 2:7), never before preached or taught:

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12). [4]

This is the only gospel of salvation (Eph. 1:13; see 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 1:6) for this dispensation. [5]It will continue, “until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25) in the latter days before Israel’s Tribulation.

3. The Gospel of the Kingdom during the Prophecy Program – to Israel in the “ages to come”:

Following at some point in the “ages to come” after the mystery church has disappeared in the mystery rapture, one of the chosen angels of God will seal 144,000 Jewish servants of God as Tribulation evangelists (Rev. 7:2-8) preaching once again this gospel of the kingdom [6] heralding the Lord’s return to inaugurate His Davidic Kingdom in Jerusalem (Matt. 24:14).

In summary, God’s program for Israel and the church are as different as the time period they occupy and the gospel message assigned each of them to preach during that time.

[1] Salvation in God’s economy has always involved faith and grace that He dispensed separately to particular individuals at any given time. For instance, Adam and Eve never heard the Name Jesus Christ, but God pictured His sacrifice by shedding the blood of innocent animals to cover their sin (Gen. 3:21). They apparently demonstrated their faith the moment they put on this new clothing.

[2] The Abrahamic Covenant is an everlasting covenant (Gen. 17:13, 19). O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth. He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance: (Psalms 105:6-11)

[3] God made 5 unilateral Covenants with Israel and none with the Body of Christ. Bear in mind our time past status: “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise …” (Ephesians 2:12).

[4] Dr. William MacDonald observes that this “is the thrilling message of God’s undeserved favor to guilty, ungodly sinners who deserve nothing but everlasting hell. It tells how the Son of God’s love came from heaven’s highest glory to suffer, bleed, and die on Calvary in order that those who believe on Him might receive forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, 1995)

[5] This includes the gospel of uncircumcision (Gal. 2:7), which is good news for Gentiles as Paul explains, “Ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:11-13). [No Covenant, Dispensation of Grace]

[6] This includes the gospel of circumcision (Gal. 2:7), which is good news for the Jews preached “in time past” linking them to the Abrahamic Covenant, the foundational contract for Israel’s relationship with God. It formed the groundwork for the promises that would be revealed in the other covenants. The Lord Jesus Christ, James, Peter (Cephas) and John were all ministers of the circumcision (Rom. 15:8; Gal. 2:7-9). [Old Covenant, Dispensation of the Law]

Burden of proof for Rapture before Israel’s Tribulation?

February 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Dr. Mike Johnston

The burden of proof for the PreTrib Rapture isn’t on us, it’s on them!!

Let me explain …

Over the past forty years, I’ve discussed the rapture and Israel’s Tribulation with well-meaning men representing every angle imaginable and yet all totally convinced of their scriptural integrity and infallibility. Curiously, one “gotcha” question continues to surface: “Can you give me a single verse proving the rapture is pre-Tribulational.”

Let me answer this with two observations.

First, just as Genesis is part of the progressive revelation of OT history, requiring dozens of other books to fully explain it, the rapture is part of the progressive revelation the Lord gave to Paul about the removal of the Body of Christ prior to Israel’s Tribulation. Unless you study it in its overarching context, any one single verse probably won’t convince you.

Second, and perhaps most important, is that the burden of proof isn’t on us to prove we are raptured prior to Israel’s Tribulation – although dozens of verses in this book collectively prove that we are. The onus is on those who insist we are here without a single verse of Scripture anywhere verifying this speculation.

Please listen with spiritual ears as I reiterate an important point.

The church Body is a mystery that was unknown to the prophets (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:1-9). Since they didn’t know about us, and never mentioned us, how could we possibly be included in the Tribulation with God’s elect Israel (Isa. 45:4) and the unsaved nations of the world?

The Rapture and the Revelation are no more the same than are the Body of Christ and Israel

December 20, 2016 Leave a comment

Dr. Mike Johnston

The Rapture and the Revelation are no more the same than are the Body of Christ and Israel. As we have stated, the Tribulation from its first mention (Deut. 4:30-31) has been part of God’s prophecy program for the Jews. Now here’s the inconvenient yet incontrovertible corollary to this: Scripture clearly reveals Israel and the anti-Semitic, unsaved nations of the world on earth in the latter days during Israel’s Tribulation. However, the church Body – never mentioned in prophecy anywhere – is not here. Please disregard books you’ve read, and teachings you’ve listened to and search the Bible yourself. There isn’t a verse of Scripture anywhere in the Bible clearly and conclusively placing the Body of Christ on earth for a single moment during Israel’s Tribulation without pulling from context the words “saints” and “elect which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation refer to Israel.

DANIEL’S SEVENTY WEEKS – Scofield and Anderson

November 19, 2016 Leave a comment

 

Dr. C.I. Scofield and Sir Robert Anderson

Dr. Mike Johnston, Editor

 

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy (Daniel 9:24).

 

Seventy weeks [1]

These are “weeks” or more accurately, sevens of years; seventy weeks of seven years each. Within these “weeks” the national chastisement must be ended and the nation re-established in everlasting righteousness (Dan_9:24). The seventy weeks are divided into seven = 49 years; sixty-two = 434 years; one = 7 years (Dan_9:25-27). In the seven weeks = 49 years, Jerusalem was to be rebuilt in “troublous times.” This was fulfilled, as Ezra and Nehemiah record. Sixty-two weeks = 434 years, thereafter Messiah was to come (Dan_9:25). This was fulfilled in the birth and manifestation of Christ. Verse 26 is obviously an indeterminate period. The date of the crucifixion is not fixed. It is only said to be “after” the threescore and two weeks. It is the first event in (Dan_9:26). The second event is the destruction of the city, fulfilled A.D. 70. Then, “unto the end,” a period not fixed, but which has already lasted nearly 2000 years. To Daniel was revealed only that wars and desolations should continue (Compare (Mat_24:6-14).

 

The New Testament reveals, that which was hidden from the Old Testament prophets; (Mat_13:11-17); (Eph_3:1-10) that during this period should be accomplished the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven (Mat_13:1-50) and the out-calling of the Church; (Mat_16:18); (Rom_11:25). When the Church-age will end, and the seventieth week begin, is nowhere revealed. Its duration can be but seven years. To make it more violates the principle of interpretation already confirmed by fulfillment. (Dan_9:27) deals with the last week. The “he” of (Dan_9:27) is the “prince that shall come” of (Dan_9:26); whose people (Rome) destroyed the temple, A.D. 70. He is the same with the “little horn” of chapter 7. He will covenant with the Jews to restore their temple sacrifices for one week (seven years), but in the middle of that time he will break the covenant and fulfill; (Dan_12:11); (2Th_2:3); (2Th_2:4). Between the sixty-ninth week, after which Messiah was cut off, and the seventieth week, within which the “little horn” of Daniel 7. will run his awful course, intervenes this entire Church-age. (Dan_9:27) deals with the last three and a half years of the seven, which are identical with the “great tribulation.” (Mat_24:15-28) “time of trouble” (Dan_12:1) hour of temptation” (Rev_3:10).

 

Time of the End

Here the prophetic foreview, having traced the history of the two parts of Alexander’s empire which had to do with Palestine and the Jews, namely, Syria and Egypt, to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and having described his career, overleaps the centuries to “the time of the end,” when he of whom Antiochus Epiphanes was a type, the “little horn” of (Dan_7:8) the “Beast out of the sea” of (Rev_13:4-10) shall appear (cf) (See Scofield) – (Dan_7:8). Prophecy does not concern itself with history as such, but only with history as it affects Israel and the Holy Land. Antiochus Epiphanes was insignificant as compared with historical personages whom the Bible does not mention, but he scourged the covenant people and defiled God’s altar, thus coming into prophetic light. From verse 36 (Dan_11:36), the “little horn” of (Dan_7:8); (Dan_7:24-26) fills the scene. His prosperity lasts until “the indignation” (the “time of trouble” of; (Dan_12:1); (Mat_24:21) is accomplished (Dan_11:36). This is parallel with; (Rev_17:10-14); (Rev_19:19-21). (Dan_11:37-45) supply details not mentioned in the New Testament. The expression “God of his fathers” (Dan_11:37) has been held to indicate that the “king” is an apostate Jew, but this does not accord with (Dan_9:26) which was fulfilled by the Gentile armies of Rome. The “little horn” is an apostate, but from Christianity, not Judaism (compare 1Jo_2:18); (1Jo_2:19). (Dan_11:38-45) describe his career. Substituting “the god of forces” (that is, Forces of nature) for the true God (Dan_11:38); (Dan_11:39), he soon presents himself as that god (cf) (2Th_2:3); (2Th_2:4). While his career lasts he is an irresistible conqueror (Dan_11:40-44). He established his palace in Jerusalem, probably at the time of his supreme act of blasphemous impiety; (Dan_9:27); (Dan_12:11); (Mat_24:15); (2Th_2:4). From this time begins the great tribulation; (Dan_12:1); (Mat_24:21) which runs its course during the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week, namely, three and one half years; (Dan_7:25); (Dan_12:7); (Dan_12:11); (Rev_13:5).

 

The “time of the end” in Daniel. The expression, or its equivalent, “in the end,” occurs, (Dan_8:17-19); (Dan_9:26); (Dan_11:35); (Dan_11:40); (Dan_11:45); (Dan_12:4); (Dan_12:6); (Dan_12:9).

 

Summary:

(1) The time of the end in Daniel begins with the violation by “the prince that shall come” (that is, “little horn,” “man of sin,” “Beast”) of his covenant with the Jews for the restoration of the temple and sacrifice (Dan_9:27) and his presentation of himself as God; (Dan_9:27); (Dan_11:36-38); (Mat_24:15); (2Th_2:4); (Rev_13:4-6) and ends with his destruction by the appearing of the Lord in glory. (2Th_2:8); (Rev_19:19); (Rev_19:20).

 

(2) The duration of the “time of the end” is three and one half years, coinciding with the last half of the seventieth week of Daniel. (Dan_7:25); (Dan_12:7); (Rev_13:5).

 

(3) This “time of the end” is the “time of Jacob’s trouble.” (Jer_30:7) “a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation” (Dan_12:1) “great tribulation such as was not from the beginning of the world. . . nor ever shall be” (Mat_24:21). The New Testament, especially the Book of the Revelation, adds many details.

 

Thousand Three Hundred And Five And Thirty Days

Three periods of “days” date from the “abomination” (that is, The blasphemous assumption of deity by the Beast, (Dan_12:11); (Mat_24:15); (2Th_2:4).

 

(1) Twelve hundred and sixty days to the destruction of the Beast (Dan_7:25); (Dan_12:7); (Rev_13:5); (Rev_19:19); (Rev_19:20). This is also the duration of the great tribulation

 

(See Scofield) – (Dan_12:4).

 

(2) Dating from the same event is a period of 1290 days, and addition of thirty days (Dan_12:11).

 

(3) Again forty-five days are added, and with them the promise of (Dan_12:12). No account is directly given of that which occupies the interval of seventy-five days between the end of the tribulation and the full blessing of verse 12 (Dan_12:12). It is suggested that the explanation may be found in the prophetic descriptions of the events following the battle of Armageddon. (Rev_16:14); (Rev_19:21). The Beast is destroyed, and Gentile world-dominion ended, by the smiting of the “Stone cut out without hands” at the end of the 1260 days, but the scene is, so to speak, filled with the debris of the image which the “wind” must carry away before full blessing comes in (Dan_2:35).

 

Tribulation

The great tribulation is the period of unexampled trouble predicted in the passages cited under that head from (Psa_2:5) to (Rev_7:14) and described in Revelation 11-18. Involving in a measure the whole earth (Rev_3:10) it is yet distinctly “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer_30:7) and its vortex Jerusalem and the Holy Land. It involves the people of God who will have returned to Palestine in unbelief. Its duration is three and a half years, or the last half of the seventieth week of Daniel. (See Scofield) – (Dan_9:24). (Rev_11:2); (Rev_11:3)

 

The elements of the tribulation are:

 

(1) The cruel reign of the “beast out of the sea” (Rev_13:1) who at the beginning of the three and a 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 worshipped as God. (Mat_24:15); (2Th_2:4).

 

(2) The active interposition of Satan “having great wrath” (Rev_12:12) who gives his power to the Beast. (Rev_13:4); (Rev_13:5).

 

(3) The unprecedented activity of demons (Rev_9:2); (Rev_9:11), and

 

(4) The terrible “bowl” judgments of Revelation 16.

 

The great tribulation will be, however, a period of salvation. An election out of Israel is seen as sealed for God (Rev_7:4-8) and, with an innumerable multitude of Gentiles (Rev_7:9) are said to have come “out of the great tribulation” (Rev_7:14). 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 is immediately followed by the return of Christ in glory, and the events associated therewith. (Mat_24:29); (Mat_24:30).

 

The Beast, Summary:

This “Beast” is the “little horn” of (Dan_7:24-26), and “desolator” of (Dan_9:27), the “abomination of desolation” of (Mat_24:15), the “man of sin” of (2Th_2:4-8), earth’s last and most awful tyrant, Satan’s fell instrument of wrath and hatred against God and the Jewish saints. He is, perhaps, identical with the rider on the white horse of (Rev_6:2), who begins by the peaceful conquest of three of the ten kingdoms into which the former Roman empire will then be divided, but who soon establishes the ecclesiastical and governmental tyranny described in Daniel 7, 9, 11; Revelation 13. To him, Satan gives the power which he offered to Christ. (Mat_4:8); (Mat_4:9); (Rev_13:4).

 

 

SIR ROBERT ANDERSON’S FLAWLESS CALCULATION

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined(Daniel 9:25-26).

 

Sir Robert Anderson was Chief Inspector for Scotland Yard, renowned for his excellent work as an investigator. Along with his writing on criminal investigation, he also wrote Christian books on devotional and prophetic subjects. His classic work The Coming Prince, still stands today as the most authoritative work on the subject of Daniel’s seventy weeks.

 

Sir Robert Anderson understood that the Scriptures demonstrate that God is reckoned in terms of perfect geometrical years made up of 12 months of 30 days to make a biblical year of 360 days. Sir Robert viewed this perfect 30 day Biblical month from the Genesis account of the flood (Gen 7:11 to 8:4). Five lunar months, from the 17th of the second month to the 17th of the 7th month are accounted as 150 days.

He understood the following in making his calculations:

 

  • 3.5 years, or a time, times and a half a time, (Dan.12:7 and 12:14)

 

  • = 42 months (Rev.11:12 and 13:5

 

  • = 1260 days (Rev.11:3 and 12:6).

 

Sir Robert’s understanding of 12 x 30 day biblical/perfect cycles of the moon being equal to the biblical/perfect year of 360 days was crucial. It was a giant step of faith to count the days of the year and month as given in scripture as different from what we see in the present solar system. This was key to unlocking Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks. Anderson wrote: “The Julian date of that 10th Nisan was Sunday the 6th April, A.D. 32. What then was the length of the period intervening between the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the public advent of ‘Messiah the Prince,’ — between the 14th March, B.C. 445, and the 6th April, A.D. 32? THE INTERVAL CONTAINED EXACTLY AND TO THE VERY DAY 173,880 DAYS, OR SEVEN TIMES SIXTY-NINE PROPHETIC YEARS OF 360 DAYS, the first sixty-nine weeks of Gabriel’s prophecy.”

 

In his calculations, Anderson determined that these days represented the exact number from the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah was rejected at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

 

The Precision of Prophecy

Dr. Chuck Missler writes: This is the only occasion that Jesus presented Himself as King. It occurred on April 6, 32 A.D. When we examine the period between March 14, 445 B.C. and April 6, 32 A.D., and correct for leap years, we discover that it is 173,880 days exactly, to the very day!

 

How could Daniel have known this in advance? How could anyone have contrived to have this detailed prediction documented over three centuries in advance? But there’s more.

 

The Interval (Dan 9:26)

 

There appears to be a gap between the 69th week (verse 25) and the 70th week (verse 27):

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. Daniel 9:26

 

The sixty-two “weeks” follow the initial seven, so verse 26 deals with events after 69th week, but before the 70th. These events include the Messiah being killed and the city and sanctuary being destroyed. As Jesus approached the city on the donkey, He also predicted the destruction of Jerusalem:

 

For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. Luke 19:43-44

 

The Messiah was, of course, executed at the Crucifixion…”but not for Himself.”

 

The city and the sanctuary were destroyed 38 years later when the Roman legions under Titus Vespasian leveled the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, precisely as Daniel and Jesus had predicted. In fact, as one carefully examines Jesus’ specific words, it appears that He held them accountable to know this astonishing prophecy in Daniel 9! “Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”

 

The 70th Week

 

There is a remaining seven-year period to be fulfilled. This period is the most documented period in the entire Bible. The Book of Revelation, Chapters 6 through 19, is essentially a detailing of that climactic period.

 

The interval between the 69th and 70th week continues, but it is increasingly apparent that it may soon be over. The more one is familiar with the numerous climactic themes of “end-time” prophecy, the more it seems that Daniel’s 70th Week is on our horizon.

 

Study Scripture with the PMI Center for Biblical Studies. Write for Foundations of Theology Lesson 1 today!

[1] From the Old Scofield Study Bible notes. These black bonded leather KJV Bibles are priceless and are available for a gift to PMI of $34.00.

1 Right Division Leads to Right Conclusions

October 26, 2016 Leave a comment

1
Right Division Leads
to Right Conclusions

 

 

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

 

Rightly dividing the word is mandatory for understanding it. In all fairness, the phrase while used by many is actually followed by very few even though rightly dividing the Word is in the hermeneutic pattern God Himself demonstrated beginning in Genesis when He divided:

 

  • “the light from the darkness” (Gen. 1:4)
  • “the waters from the waters” (Gen. 1:6-7)
  • “the day from the night” (Gen. 1:14)
  • “the light from the darkness” (Gen. 1:18)
  • “good from evil” (Gen. 2:9)
  • and much more.

 

Dispensing the Word

 

God also espoused division by dispensing His Word to a variety of men “here a little, and there a little” (Isa. 28:10, 13) covering a sweeping time triad of past, present, and future narrative from several God inspired men. This discrete dispensing of truth is the essence of what’s known as dispensationalism, [1] and God’s word provides us with many examples of how this was accomplished:

 

  • God instructed Adam not to eat from a particular tree
  • God commanded Noah to build an ark
  • God directed Abraham to circumcise his progeny
  • God told Moses to lead His elect people Israel and gave Him 613 Laws to do it with; and
  • Jesus revealed the mystery Body of Christ to Paul, who revealed it in 13 epistles – Romans through Philemon. [IMPORTANT: This is Scripture written specifically to us as the Body of Christ].

 

Studying the responses to God’s will for great men of the Bible is a blessed lifetime endeavor. In that light, it becomes profitable for us, [2] without having to be personally to us. Right division will keep us from cross-pollinating commands God issued to other people in other dispensations from that which He gave to us through Paul (Romans – Philemon) using the following 3 choices.

Rightly Dividing
Between Three Choices

Right division is based on choices one makes at the outset that will determine the outcome of Bible study. Let’s discuss three that were crucial to the conclusions arrived at in this book.

 

First choice: To hold exegesis above eisegesis

 

My experience tells me students – knowingly or unknowingly – study Scripture through one of two lenses: the objective lens (exegesis), or the outcome lens (eisegesis). Every time you pick up your Bible, you view it through one of these two perspectives.

 

Exegesis is the fact based analytical explanation of a text

 

In a Scriptural context, exegesis means “evidence driven Bible study.” It is the proper interpretation of a passage of Scripture as it appears with cumulative Biblical support. It rejects emotion in favor of evidence. Exegesis, therefore, is incorruptible, objective, reliable, and principled. It greets facts with humility and views Scripture corporately and in context without cheapening or changing it because it lays no claims to a preconceived conclusion. In short, it follows the text wherever it leads and reports its findings with honesty and humility.

 

Eisegesis is the feelings based argumentative explanation of the same text

 

Eisegesis is driven by emotion so it greets opposing facts with suspect and hostility. Eisegesis is corrupt, subjective, unreliable, and unprincipled. Since it approaches Scripture as a means to an end, and therefore feels no compunction about distorting data to ensure a desired conclusion. In short, it flouts the text wherever it’s necessary, and misrepresents its findings with regularity.

The number of students viewing eschatology through this latter lens is scandalous. I know from experience with them that they willingly compromise integrity to arrive at preconceived conclusions otherwise impossible if employing exegesis as the basis for their analyses.

 

Optional Means of Studying Scripture
Option #1: Exegesis Option #2: Eisegesis
Objective based

Analytic

Relies on evidence

Follows text

Discloses facts

Honors truth

Context is critical

Follows the truth

Israel and the Church distinct [3]

Ends with a conclusion

Outcome based

Argumentative

Relies on emotion

Flouts text

Disparages facts

Hides truth

Critical of context

Fudges the truth

Israel and the Church not distinct

Begins with a conclusion

 

Viewing the Bible from the objective lens – exegesis – is the right choice and will provide us with the right perspective to make the …

 

Second choice: To hold context above pretext

 

Exegesis will determine the precise meaning of any Bible Book, verse, or passage. Its preliminary inquiry is ascertaining the specific circumstances encapsulating it. That’s the context.

 

In every passage you have to ask yourself who, what, when, where, and why. This is the setting. The 16th Century Bible translator Myles Coverdale put it like this (sic): “It shall greatly helpe ye to understand Scripture, if thou mark not only what is spoken or wrythen, but of whom and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goeth before and what followeth.” (The Structural Principles of the Bible, 1969, p. xiii).

 

Essentially, Mr. Coverdale was advocating the need for interpreting the Bible – not from one’s experience, shrewdness, or theological perspective – but solely from its divinely orchestrated setting in which each of the sixty-six Books exists and from which an impartial interpretation can spring forth when studied contextually. This setting consists of the following factors: The person who wrote or dictated it; the purpose for writing it (concern, conflict, correction, compassion, etc.); the people receiving it (Israel or the Body of Christ); the period covered – past, present, or future which we’ll discuss shortly. Armed with this information, we need to draw a distinction between …

 

Third choice: To hold truth above tradition

 

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). Tradition comes to us with strong emotional attachments. Caution is needed here because tradition becomes idolatry when it stands in the way of the clear teaching of Scripture. What most Bible students fail to understand – and which leads them into confusion and heresy – is that Jesus’ mission was under the Old Covenant as “minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8). Believe me, conversations about this begun in innocency can explode into major confrontations rather quickly when the golden calf of tradition is threatened.

 

In Christ’s day, those controlled by tradition often victimized Him. Clearly, He was the subject of the prophets (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; Matt. 2:23; 5:17; 26:56; etc.) throughout the Old Testament, pictured as the loveliness of God incarnated in the Son, Israel’s Messiah. However even though Jesus’ mission was under the Old Covenant as “minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8), He was viewed as an illegitimate inconvenience to the religious community who would have recognized Him had it not been for their Fascist Torah traditions. [4] Since highbrow Pharisees considered religious duties equal to Scripture, they held congregants hostage by enforcing them through various means including extortion (John 9:22; 12:42). Therefore, when their fuming at Christ’s refusal to respect their rituals surfaced, He warned them that their cold tradition would result in their inability to recognize and obey clear teaching from God’s Word (Matthew 15:3) which of course included what Scripture said about Him.

 

Unfortunately, these traditionalists also sought opportunity to nullify Paul’s ministry as well (Acts 15; 21:21; 25:7-8; etc). Although his doctrine remained a mystery hidden from the prophets since world began (Eph. 3:9; see Rom. 16:25; Col. 1:26) in due season it too was rejected by the same cabal that hated Jesus and rejected Him (Acts 13:43, 50; 14:4-5; 17:5; etc).

 

Albeit, while rejection from the unsaved is to be expected, what is most troublesome is the violent opposition Paul received from brothers who refused out of hand the mystery Jesus revealed to him (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:1-9). In fact it became so problematic, Peter – apostle to the Jews (Gal. 2:8) – penned a note of warning to all the brethren who were fighting against Paul’s mystery doctrines (Rom-Philemon), that they were actually destroying themselves [5] in the process:

 

“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:15-16).

 

With this background information we now come to a major Bible division affected by all the elements we’ve studied thus far …

 

Rightly Dividing
Between the Two Testaments

 

Understanding right division as given us through prophecy for Israel and mystery for the Body is the proper foundation for rightly dividing between the Old and New Testaments. But this division has caused other division as Bible teachers have reduced Second Timothy Two-fifteen to a catch phrase without really employing it in their studies. The result of this has rendered to us conclusions suspect from the outset since they were obtained from study using an improper dichotomy between the Testaments as I’m about to explain.

 

Conventional wisdom convinced us that the Old Testament is for Israel – which is true, but that it ended with Malachi, which is NOT true. The New Testament didn’t begin until the death of Christ the Testator (Matt. 27; see Hebrews 9:16-17).   Now traditionalists will contend this is inconsequential nonsense – and for them it probably is. However, for those of us committed to right division, we understand that ignoring this facilitates error by basing our study on an improper division between testaments that can only lead to wrong interpretations and improper conclusions. One example ignored routinely is the division between the Testaments.

 

Since the NT didn’t begin until sometime after the crucifixion, Jesus’ teachings are a furtherance of the Old Covenant narrative (we will discuss later) extending through the Gospel of John. This includes the Sermon on the Mount, Mysteries of the Kingdom, and the Olivet Discourse. [6]

 

Rightly dividing the word of truth begins by understanding the right division between the Old and New Testaments then employing the right principles to identify the correct program, covering the proper time period, employing the appropriate gospel message which further demonstrates why the Body of Christ will not go through Israel’s tribulation. (see Appendix [i]).

Rightly Dividing Between Two Programs:
Prophecy and Mystery

God’s primary division for studying His Word is hidden in plain sight in the opening verse of Scripture: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Although Bible scholars like Darby, Scofield, Torrey and many others have recognized a number of dispensations (see Appendix [ii]) two dominant programs God has used since the world began:

 

1. The Prophecy program for Israel predicting a coming earthly kingdom:

 

“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began” (Luke 1:70; see Acts 3:21)).

 

2. The Mystery program for the Body of Christ promising a heavenly inheritance:

 

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25).

 

Both of these programs – or dispensations – have separate participants, purposes and ordinances (Jer. 33:25); existing “since the world began” (Acts 3:21; Rom. 16:25), which more detail will be given later.

 

Now here’s the essence of right division: God’s plan is to rule earth for one thousand years. In the Providential panorama, all non-Pauline Scripture exists to explain or enhance the prophetic program for Israel leading to the coming King and earthly kingdom.

 

Quick synopsis

 

God established the mystery Body of Christ from the beginning of creation: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory” (1 Corinthians 2:7). However, He hid it from the prophets (Colossians 1:26) in order to reveal it to Paul alone “… according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25); “Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints.” Due to rejecting her Messiah as prophesied by Daniel (Dan. 9:24-27), Israel is currently blind to the mystery for a certain period known only to God: “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery … that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25). When this happens, the Body of Christ that appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) will disappear in a mystery known as the rapture (1 Cor. 15:51) and Daniel’s prophecy clock will commence where it left off at the 70th week (Dan. 9:24-27). Unfortunately, many in the Body of Christ are equally blind to right division between prophecy and mystery and will fight tooth and nail – to their own doctrinal detriment – against our teaching it.  “… even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:15-16)

 

Rightly Dividing Between a Time Triad:
Time past, but now, ages to come

 

The two programs – heaven (mystery-Body) and earth (prophecy- Israel) – extend across three periods: Past, Present, Future. Our Apostle Paul (Rom. 11:13) reveals them in context as follows:

 

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus … Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (excerpted from Ephesians 2:7-13).

 

1. Time Past (Eph. 2:11-12)

 

Part of the Prophecy Program for the nation Israel (which includes her history) – (Genesis – Acts)

 

2. “But now” (Eph. 2:13)

Part of the Mystery Program of  the Body of Christ exclusive of the nation Israel – (Romans – Philemon)

 

3. “Ages to come” (Eph. 2:7)

Part of the Prophecy Program to be fulfilled through the nation Israel – (Hebrews – Revelation)

Chart of Time Triad

 

TIME TRIAD
“Time past”

(Eph. 2:11-12)

Genesis-John

Profitable for us

“But now”

(Eph. 2:13)

Romans-Philemon

Personally to us

“Ages to come”

(Eph. 2:7)

Hebrews-Revelation

Profitable for us

PROPHECY
for Israel, a Nation

Old Covenant

[Kingdom presented and rejected]

Which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his

holy prophets

since the world began

(Acts 3:21; see Luke 1:70)

MYSTERY
of the Church, a Body

New Covenant

<- [Began at the death of Christ] ->

… according to the revelation of the mystery, which was

kept secret

since the world began

(Rom. 16:25; see Eph. 3:1-9)

PROPHECY
for Israel, a Nation

Old Covenant (continues)

[to be ratified at the Revelation]

For these be the days of vengeance, that all things

which are written

may be fulfilled

(Luke 21:22)

in Adam

earthly kingdom

Christ prophesied as Messiah

Moses/Prophets

Dispensation of the Law

Gospel of circumcision

(Gal. 2:7)

Gospel of the kingdom

(Matt. 4:23; 9:35)

 

Revelation (Zech. 14:3-4)

in Christ

heavenly inheritance

Christ is Head of Body

Apostle Paul

Dispensation of Grace

Gospel of uncircumcision

(Gal. 2:7)

Gospel of the grace of God

(Acts 20:24; see 1 Cor. 15:1-4)

 

Rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-18)

in Adam

earthly kingdom

Christ becomes the Messiah

Moses/Prophets

Dispensation of the Law

Gospel of circumcision

(Gal. 2:7)

Gospel of the kingdom

(Matt. 24:14)

 

Revelation (Rev. 19:11)

 

 

 

 

Blind, asleep, lost

(Rom. 11:7,8,25)

 

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery … that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in

(Romans 11:25)

 

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth (Revelation 3:10)

 

 

 

 

Aware, awake, saved

(Dan. Rom. 11:25-26)

 

Foretold

Daniel’s 70 Weeks – Dan. 9:24-27 Jacob’s trouble/Day of

trouble/Day of the Lord

Coming of the Messiah

Davidic Covenant/New Covenant

Resurrection (John 5:28-29)

Ages to come
 

Fulfilled
Matt. 24; Rev. 6-19 Tribulation/Great Tribulation/Hour of temptation

Revelation of Christ

Millennial Kingdom

Resurrection (Rev. 19-20)

 

We now come to a critical yet controversial subject regarding …

 

Rightly Dividing Between Two Primary Gospels:
Gospel of Circumcision and the Gospel of Uncircumcision

If you’re ever itching for a fistfight, explain to a carnal Christian that God changed the gospel message from what it was in time past to what it is in the but now dispensation. Let me explain.

 

The word gospel means “a good message” (Strong), not necessarily the plan of salvation as it has often represented to be. The fact is, there are several of them listed in the Bible [7] that God dispensed to and through people in specific time periods. In his superb book “Why So Many Churches”, Dr. Noah Hutchings, one of my favorite Bible teachers, writes, “It is important for Christians to understand … Paul and Peter did not preach the same message. They preached the same Christ, but not the same gospel.” (Why So Many Churches, 1992) [You will understand this shortly when I unfold it].

 

Two primary Gospel messages exist within the harmonious framework of the time triad:

 

1. The Gospel of the Kingdom during the Prophecy Program – (time past, ages to come)

 

The gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 9:35) – is good news to the Jews which Christ preached “in time past” connecting Israel to the Abrahamic Covenant [8]and the circumcision (Gen. 17; Gal. 2:7) and Davidic Covenant (earthly Kingdom from David’s seed (2 Sam. 7:8-16). [9] Bear in mind the church must be removed at the rapture allowing for Jewish tribulation evangelists in the “ages to come” to once again preach this gospel of the kingdom message heralding the Lord’s return to inaugurate His Davidic Kingdom in Jerusalem (Matt. 24:14). [10]

 

2. The Gospel of the grace of God during the Mystery Program – (but now)

 

The gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24) – is good news for Jews and Gentiles who come to Christ by faith and are saved, justified, sanctified, glorified, and spiritually baptized into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) where we are seated in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6) and sealed forever (Eph. 1:13-14) apart from anything other than faith in Christ’s shed blood which permanently removes our sin from us.

 

By Paul’s own words this was a “but now” gospel unique for the uncircumcision (Gal. 2:7), never before preached or taught: “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12). Dr. William MacDonald observes that this “is the thrilling message of God’s undeserved favor to guilty, ungodly sinners who deserve nothing but everlasting hell. It tells how the Son of God’s love came from heaven’s highest glory to suffer, bleed, and die on Calvary in order that those who believe on Him might receive forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, 1995) This is the only gospel of salvation (Eph. 1:13; see 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 1:6) for this dispensation. [11]
With this as our backdrop, we will move into deeper discussions of many of the subjects introduced in this chapter beginning with highlighting the premier distinction of Israel in God overarching program for the coming kingdom on earth.
(see Chart of Exegesis in Appendix [iii])

 

The following chapters outline and explain the right conclusions available to us when we make our goal “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

 

 

[1] Unless you brought a sacrificial lamb to the Jerusalem temple with you this past Sabbath (Saturday) you are at some level a dispensationalist.

[2] This is most certainly what Paul had in mind when he wrote: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

[3] Most doctrinal disagreements stem from men conflating God’s prophetic program for Israel and her earthly kingdom, with His mystery program for the Body of Christ and our heavenly inheritance.

[4] The major repositories of the Oral Torah are the Mishnah, compiled between 200–220 CE by Rabbi Yehudah haNasi, and the Gemara, a series of running commentaries and debates concerning the Mishnah, which together are the Talmud, the preeminent text of Rabbinic Judaism. In fact, two “versions” of the Talmud exist: one produced in Jerusalem c. 300–350 CE (the Jerusalem Talmud), and second, more extensive Talmud compiled in Babylonia and published c. 450–500 CE (the Babylonian Talmud). Belief that the Oral Torah was transmitted orally from God to Moses on Mount Sinai during the Exodus from Egypt is a fundamental tenet of faith of Orthodox Judaism, and was recognized as one of the Thirteen Principles of Faith by Maimonides. However, not all branches of Rabbinic Judaism accept the divine provenance of the Oral Torah, such that Conservative and (to a greater extent) Reform Jews give deference to the Talmudic sages while empowering themselves to formulate and adopt their own rulings and interpretations. – Source: Wikipedia

[5] This is evident in the Body of Christ today. Bible teachers totally ignoring the difference between prophecy for Israel and the mystery of the Church, often try to disparage us with names such as “hyper” dispensationalists, and “Bullingerites” to name a few. Scoffing at the Word of God is never wise.

[6] Pause to remember the number of times Matthew 24 is offered in proof of a post trib rapture when the fact is, the passage is Jewish and has no bearing on the Body of Christ whatsoever. We will discuss this much more in depth later in our treatise.

[7] Salvation in God’s economy has always involved faith and grace that He dispensed separately to particular individuals at any given time. For instance, Adam and Eve never heard the Name Jesus Christ, but God pictured His sacrifice by shedding the blood of innocent animals to cover their sin (Gen. 3:21). They apparently demonstrated their faith the moment they put on this new clothing.

[8] O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth. He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance: (Psalms 105:6-11)

[9] God made 5 unilateral Covenants with Israel and none with the Body of Christ. Bear in mind our status: “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise …” (Ephesians 2:12).

[10] This includes the gospel of circumcision (Gal. 2:7), which is good news for the Jews preached “in time past” linking them to the Abrahamic Covenant, the foundational contract for Israel’s relationship with God. It formed the groundwork for the promises that would be revealed in the other covenants. The Lord Jesus Christ, James, Peter (Cephas) and John were all ministers of the circumcision (Rom. 15:8; Gal. 2:7-9). [Old Covenant, Dispensation of the Law]

[11] This includes the gospel of uncircumcision (Gal. 2:7), which is is good news for Gentiles as Paul explains, “Ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:11-13). [No Covenant, Dispensation of Grace]

Excursus on the Tribulation [i]

 

Prophecy is for Israel and the Tribulation exists purely as prophecy. Moses was the first to reveal it (Deut. 4:30). Through the years – by means of Progressive Revelation – the prophets unfolded it to Israel. However, in doing so, God never revealed His mystery Body to any of them; reserving it for Paul alone.

 

We would do well to study carefully the words of Zephaniah as he uses many terms for the tribulation for Israel:  “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.” (Zephaniah 1:14-18). (See: Deut. 4:30; Isa. 24; Jer. 30-31; Joel; Zephaniah; Matt. 24; Rev. 6-19)

 

Coinciding with Zephaniah’s prophecy, the book of Revelation delineates the tribulation as a time of “wrath” by using the word at least 10 times. It is called “the wrath of God five times (Revelation 14:10, 19; 15:1,7; 16:1) and “the wrath of the Lamb” once (Rev. 6:16 see v 17). Opening the first seal unleashes the tribulation [i] which continues 7 years (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 11:2-3; 12:6, 14) and concludes with “the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev. 19:15) when Christ returns to fight the armies gathered against Israel at Armageddon (Rev. 19:11-21).

 

The following info is from the Old Scofield Study Bible.

 

Seventy Weeks

 

Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. These are “weeks” or more accurately, sevens of years; seventy weeks of seven years each. Within these “weeks” the national chastisement must be ended and the nation re­established in everlasting righteousness (Dan9:24). The seventy weeks are divided into seven = 49 years; sixty-two = 434 years; one = 7 years (Dan – 9:25-27). In the seven weeks = 49 years, Jerusalem was to be rebuilt in “troublous times.” This was fulfilled, as Ezra and Nehemiah record. Sixty-two weeks = 434 years, thereafter Messiah was to come (Dan – 9:25). This was fulfilled in the birth and manifestation of Christ. (Dan_9:26); (Dan9:26) is obviously an indeterminate period. The date of the crucifixion is not fixed. It is only said to be “after” the threescore and two weeks. It is the first event in (Dan 19:26). The second event is the destruction of the city, fulfilled A.D. 70. Then, “unto the end,” a period not fixed, but which has already lasted nearly 2000 years. To Daniel was revealed only that wars and desolations should continue (Compare (Mat-24:6-14).

 

The New Testament reveals, that which was hidden from the Old Testament prophets; (Mat – 13:11-17); (Eph3: I – 10) that during this period should be accomplished the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven (Mat – 13:1-50) and the out-calling of the Church; (Mat – 16:18); (Rom – 11:25). When the Church-age will end, and the seventieth week be- gin, is nowhere revealed. Its duration can be but seven years. To make it more violates the principle of interpretation already confirmed by fulfillment. (Dan9:27) deals with the last week. The “he” of (Dan – 9:27) is the “prince that shall come” of (Dan_9:26); 9:26); whose people (Rome) destroyed the temple, A.D. 70. He is the same with the “little horn” of chapter 7. He will covenant with the Jews to restore their temple sacrifices for one week (seven years), but in the middle of that time he will break the covenant and fulfill; (Dan – 12:11); (2Th – 2:3); (2Th_2:4). Between the sixty-ninth week, after which Messiah was cut off, and the seventieth week, within which the “little horn” of Daniel 7. will run his awful course, intervenes this entire Church-age. (Dan – 9:27) deals with the last three and a half years of the seven, which are identical with the “great tribulation.” (Mat24:15-28) “time of trouble” (Dan_12:1) hour of temptation- (Rev_3: 10).

 

The Time of the End

 

Daniel 11:35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed Here the prophetic foreview, having traced the history of the two parts of Alexander’s empire which had to do with Palestine and the Jews, namely, Syria and Egypt, to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and having described his career, overleaps the centuries to “the time of the end,” when he of whom Antiochus Epiphanes was a type, the “little horn” of (Dan – 7:8) the “Beast out of the sea” of (Rev – 13:4- 10) shall appear (cf) (See Scofield) – (Dan7:8). Prophecy does not concern itself with history as such, but only with history as it affects Israel and the Holy Land. Antiochus Epiphanes was insignificant as compared with historical personages whom the Bible does not mention, but he scourged the covenant people and defiled God’s altar, thus coming into prophetic light. From verse 36 (Dan – 11:36), the “little horn” of (Dan7:8); (Dan7:24-26) fills the scene. His prosperity lasts until “the indignation” (the “time of trouble” of, (Dan – 12: 1); (Mat24:2 1) is accomplished (Dan – 11:36). This is parallel with; (Rev – 17:10-14); (Rev19:19-21). (Dan_11:37-45) supply details not mentioned in the New Testament The expression “God of his fathers” (Dan I 1:37) has been held to indicate that the “king” is an apostate Jew, but this does not accord with (Dan_9:26) which was fulfilled by the Gentile armies of Rome. The “little horn” is an apostate, but from Christianity, not Judaism (compare Ho – 2:18); (1Jo_2:19). (DanI 1:38-45) describe his career. Substituting “the god of forces” (that is, Forces of nature) for the true God (Dan I 1:38); (Dan1 1:39), he soon presents himself as that god (cf) (2Th 2:3); (2Th2:4). While his career lasts he is an irresistible conqueror (Dan I 1:40-44). He established his palace in Jerusalem, probably at the time of his su­preme act of blasphemous impiety; (Dan T 9:27); (Dan – 12:11); (Mat 24:15); (2Tb2:4). From this time begins the great tribulation; (Dan_12:1); (Mat24:21) which runs its course during the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week, namely, three and one half years; (Dan7:25); (Dan_12:7); (Dan_12:11); (Rev_13:5).

That Day


Isaiah 10:20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel
, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. “That day”: often the equivalent of “the day of the Lord” (Isa_2:10-22); (Rev1 9:11-2 1). The prophecy here passes from the general to the particular, from historic and fulfilled judgments upon Assyria to the final destruction of all Gentile world-power at the return of the Lord in glory. (See “Armageddon,”; (Rev 16:14); (Rev – 19:21) “Times of the Gentiles,”; (Luk21:24); (Rev16:19); “The great tribulation,”; (Psa2:5); (Rev_7:14)

 

Great Tribulation

 

Revelation 7:14 And 1 said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. The great tribulation is the period of unexampled trouble predicted in the passages cited under that head from (Psa_2:5) to (Rev_7:14) and de­scribed in Revelation 11-18. Involving in a measure the whole earth (Rev 3: 10) it is yet distinctly “the time of Ja- cob’s trouble” (Jer – 30:7) and its vortex Jerusalem and the Holy Land. It involves the people of God who will have returned to Palestine in unbelief. Its duration is three and a half years, or the last half of the seventieth week of Da­niel. (See Scofield) – (Dan – 9:24). (Rev_11:2); (Rev1 1:3) [Editor’s note: Please never forget that the Lord Jesus promised to keep us from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth Rev. 3:10].

The elements of the tribulation are:

 

  • The cruel reign of the “beast out of the sea” (Rev – 13: 1) who at the beginning of the three and a 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 worshipped as God. (Mat – 24:15); (2Th-2:4).
  • The active interposition of Satan “having great wrath” (Rev12:12) who gives his power to the Beast. (Rev – 13:4); (Rev_13:5).
  • The unprecedented activity of demons (Rev – 9:2); (Rev_9:11), and
  • the terrible “bowl” judgments of Revelation 16.

The great tribulation will be, however, a period of salvation. An election out of Israel is seen as sealed for God (Rev_7:4-8) and, with an innumerable multitude of Gentiles (Rev7:9) are said to have come “out of the great tribu­lation” (Rev_7:14). 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 is immediately followed by the return of Christ in glory, and the events associated therewith. (Mat 24:29); (Mat-24:30).

 

  • The time of the end in Danielbegins with the violation by “the prince that shall come” (that is, “little horn,” “man of sin,” “Beast”) of his covenant with the Jews for the restoration of the temple and sacrifice (Dan9:27) and his presentation of himself as God; (Dan – 9:27); (Dan_11:36-38); (Mat24:15); (2Tb2:4); (Rev13:4-6) and ends with his destruction by the appearing of the Lord in glory. (2Th_2:8); (Rev 19:19); (Rev-19:20).

 

  • The duration of the “time of the end”, is three and one half years, coinciding with the last half of the seven­tieth week of Daniel. (Dan – 7:25); (Dan_12:7); (Rev_13:5). This “time of the end” is the “time of Jacob’s trouble.” (Jer – 30:7) “a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation” (Dan 2: 1) “great tribulation such as was not from the beginning of the world… nor ever shall be” (Mat24:2 1). The New Testament, especially the Book of the Revelation, adds many details. [i] The churchis never mentioned- nor can it be clearly identified- in any part of the 7 year tribulation.

 

AntiPreTrib Problems Associated with the Tribulation

 

The Tribulation is a ubiquitous term that has become a well-known doctrine. Prophecy is for Israel and the Tribulation exists purely as prophecy. It was well known by the prophets (Deut. 4:30) so it was never a part of the mystery. That being said, there isn’t a prophecy or verse for that matter anywhere in Scripture: (1) clearly consigning the mystery Body of Christ to the time of Jacob’s trouble,  or (2) revealing her as being on earth for a single hour during this time [unless two terms used for Israel, “elect” and “saints” are pulled from their context to prove something that simply is not provable in any other fashion].

 

There are several problems AntiPreTrib advocates have with the Tribulation.

 

  1. Their first problem is what to call it.

 

The term tribulation, which includes the great tribulation (Matt. 24:21, 29), is part of “the day of the Lord” (Isa. 2; 13; 34; Jer. 30-31; 46; etc). It is also called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7) [Jacob is Israel], “Daniel’s Seventieth Week” (Dan. 9:24-27), and the “time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1), and “the hour of temptation” (Rev. 3:10).

 

  1. Their second problem is the length of it.

 

The first mention of seven in the Bible tells us how it stands connected in God’s mind. “. . . on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made” (Gen. 2:2). Seven from that point on signifies something started and finished. Since Daniel’s prophecy of seventy weeks is our Rosetta Stone for interpreting the tribulation trilogy, we have one seven year period still future, dispensational Bible scholars view in connection with the beginning and ending of tribulation and great tribulation period; Scripture bearing witness. In the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:21; 29), and the Book of Revelation, two separate three and one-half year periods form one whole seven year tribulation: 42 months (Rev. 11:3); 1260 days (Rev. 11:3, 12:6); and time, times, and half a time (Rev. 12:14).

 

However, in a concerted contrarian effort to thwart scholarly teaching, you’ll find antiPreTrib proponents to be of the most creative antagonists on the planet; especially those espousing the most recent – and perhaps most confusing – PreWrath rapture ruse. Their claim to fame is in arbitrarily placing the church into the time of Jacob’s trouble for most of seven year period with nothing more than bizarre calculations and misguided outcomes they arbitrarily apply to the Body of Christ without ever proving she is here during any part of the Tribulation aka Jacob’s trouble.

 

  1. Their third problem is not accepting its origin and purpose.

 

The Tribulation is for Israel through prophecy; Moses being the first prophet to reveal it (Deut. 4:30). The purpose of the tribulation is to punish sin and purify Israel and her supporters for the Millennial Kingdom (Jer. 30-31; Obad. 1:15; Zech. 13:9; Matt. 25:31-46; study the great catastrophes in Rev. 6-19). “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city . . . to seal up the vision and prophecy …” (Dan 9:24). Although Daniel prophesied that the seventy weeks would seal up the vision and prophesy, there appears to be a secondary reference here to a cessation of prophecy which occurred at the 69th week and will last for an unspecified time. Knowing what we now know, that happened when God moved from prophecy to mystery at the rejection of Jesus’ Kingdom offer. Interestingly, the corollary to this rejection brought about a dual blindness each leading in separate  directions for distinct purposes.

 

  1. Their fourth problem is consigning the Body of Christto it.

 

The tribulation is a watershed for Israel given through prophecy before she ever knew about the coming kingdom (Deut. 4:30). It was later expanded upon by the prophets (Jeremiah, Isaiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc) through Progressive Revelation. When the Lord summed up Israel’s end time’s scenario in Luke 21:22, He referred to this epoch as “the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” The days of vengeance is the tribulation – aka the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7), and the “time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1), also referred to as Daniel’s Seventieth Week for Israel and Jerusalem. All things fulfilled refers to Israel’s prophets. The notion that the Body of Christ will share in the prescribed horrors of the Jewish tribulation is an invented doctrine without clear Scriptural support.

 

There are only three ways to place the church in the tribulation:

 

(1) by wresting Scripture from its context where it clearly can be found implicating Israel and the Gentiles, not the Bride of Christ (Rev. 19:9; 21:2,9; 22:17);

 

(2) by superimposing the church over the top of Israel, which is Satanic Replacement Theology condemned by the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 2:9; 3:9); or

 

(3) by a dogged determination to maintain the anti-rapture mantra even when presented with clear evidence refuting it. The tribulation is for Israel (Deut. 4:30; Jer. 30-31; Dan. 12:1, etc) and placing the Body of Christ here during that time is a manmade doctrine devoid of integrity and Biblical authority.

 

In summary, the tribulation – known by other names – covers Daniel’s Seventieth Week and as such is seven years in length.  Its purpose is to punish sin and prepare Israel for the Revelation of the Messiah and the Davidic Kingdom on earth which the prophets applied exclusively to Israel. Any suggestion that the Body of Christ will be here for a moment of the time of Jacob’s trouble is without Scriptural authority and should be rejected out of hand with no more ink devoted to it.

 

[ii] 7 Dispensations

 

Dr. C.I. Scofield

 

From his classic work Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, Dr. CI Scofield writes: The Scriptures divide time (by which is meant the entire period from the creation of Adam to the “new heaven and a new earth” of Rev. 21: 1) into seven unequal periods, usually called dispensations (Eph. 3:2), although these periods are also called ages (Eph. 2:7) and days, as in “day of the Lord.”

 

These periods are marked off in Scripture by some change in God’s method of dealing with mankind, or a portion of mankind, in respect of the two questions: of sin, and of man’s responsibility. Each of the dispensations may be regarded as a new test of the natural man, and each ends in judgment, marking his utter failure in every dispensation. Five of these dispensations, or periods of time, have been fulfilled; we are living in the sixth, probably toward its close, and have before us the seventh, and last: the millennium.

 

From the Old Scofield Study Bible: [ii] dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God. Seven such dispensations are distinguished in Scripture. (see Gen_1:28)

 

The First Dispensation: Innocence (Gen 1:28). Man was created in innocence, placed in a perfect environment, subjected to an absolutely simple test, and warned of the consequence of disobedience. The woman fell through pride; the man deliberately. (1Ti_2:14) God restored His sinning creatures, but the dispensation of innocence ended in the judgment of the Expulsion (see Gen_3:24)

 

The Second Dispensation: Conscience (Gen 3:23). By disobedience man came to a personal and experimental knowledge of good and evil — of good as obedience, of evil as disobedience to the known will of God. Through that knowledge conscience awoke. Expelled from Eden and placed under the second, or ADAMIC COVENANT, man was responsible to do all known good, to abstain from all known evil, and to approach God through sacrifice. The result of this second testing of man is stated in (Gen_6:5) and the dispensation ended in the judgment of the Flood. Apparently “the east of the garden” (Gen_3:24) where were the cherubims and the flame, remained the place of worship through this second dispensation.

 

The Third Dispensation: Human Government (Gen 8:21). Under Conscience, as in Innocency, man utterly failed, and the judgment of the Flood marks the end of the second dispensation and the beginning of the third. The declaration of the Noahic Covenant subjects humanity to a new test. Its distinctive feature is the institution, for the first time, of human government — the government of man by man. The highest function of government is the judicial taking of life. All other governmental powers are implied in that. It follows that the third dispensation is distinctively that of human government. Man is responsible to govern the world for God. That responsibility rested upon the whole race, Jew and Gentile, until the failure of Israel under the Palestinian Covenant (Deuteronomy 28 – (Deu_30:1-10)) brought the judgment of the Captivities, when “the times of the Gentiles” (See); (Luk_21:24); (Rev_16:14) began, and the government of the world passed exclusively into Gentile hands; (Dan_2:36-45); (Luk_21:24); (Act_15:14-17). That both Israel and the Gentiles have governed for self, not God, is sadly apparent. The judgment of the confusion of tongues ended the racial testing; that of the captivities the Jewish; while the Gentile testing will end in the smiting of the Image (Da 2.) and the judgment of the nations (Mat_25:31-46).

 

The Fourth Dispensation: Promise (Gen 12:1). For Abraham, and his descendants it is evident that the Abrahamic Covenant (See Scofield) – (Gen_15:18) made a great change. They became distinctively the heirs of promise. That covenant is wholly gracious and unconditional. The descendants of Abraham had but to abide in their own land to inherit every blessing. In Egypt they lost their blessings, but not their covenant. The Dispensation of Promise ended when Israel rashly accepted the law (Exo_19:8). Grace had prepared a deliverer (Moses), provided a sacrifice for the guilty, and by divine power brought them out of bondage (Exo_19:4) but at Sinai they exchanged grace for law. The Dispensation of Promise extends from (Gen_12:1) to (Exo_19:8); and was exclusively Israelitish. The dispensation must be distinguished from the covenant. The former is a mode of testing; the latter is everlasting because unconditional. The law did not abrogate the Abrahamic Covenant (Gal_3:15-18) but was an intermediate disciplinary dealing “till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made”; (Gal_3:19-29); (Gal_4:1-7). Only the dispensation, as a testing of Israel, ended at the giving of the law.

 

The Fifth Dispensation: Law (Exo 19:8). This dispensation extends from Sinai to Calvary — from Exodus to the Cross. The history of Israel in the wilderness and in the land is one long record of the violation of the law. The testing of the nation by law ended in the judgment of the Captivities, but the dispensation itself ended at the Cross.

 

(1) Man’s state at the beginning (Exo_19:1-4).

 

(2) His responsibility (Exo_19:5); (Exo_19:6); (Rom_10:5).

 

(3) His failure (2Ki_17:7-17); (2Ki_17:19); (Act_2:22); (Act_2:23).

 

(4) The judgment (2Ki_17:1-6); (2Ki_17:20); (2Ki_25:1-11); (Luk_21:20-24).

 

The Sixth Dispensation: Grace (Joh 1:17).

 

Grace. Summary:

 

(1) Grace is “the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man. . . Not by works of righteousness which we have done” (Tit_3:4); (Tit_3:5).

 

It is, therefore, constantly set in contrast to law, under which God demands righteousness from man, as, under grace, he gives righteousness to man (Rom_3:21); (Rom_3:22); (Rom_8:4); (Phm_3:9). Law is connected with Moses and works; grace with Christ and faith; (Joh_1:17); (Rom_10:4-10). Law blesses the good; grace saves the bad; (Exo_19:5); (Eph_2:1-9). Law demands that blessings be earned; grace is a free gift; (Deu_28:1-6); (Eph_2:8); (Rom_4:4); (Rom_4:5).

 

(2) As a dispensation, grace begins with the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom_3:24-26); (Rom_3:4); (Rom_3:24); (Rom_3:25). The point of testing is no longer legal obedience as the condition of salvation, but acceptance or rejection of Christ, with good works as a fruit of salvation, (Joh_1:12); (Joh_1:13); (Joh_3:36); (Mat_21:37); (Mat_22:24); (Joh_15:22); (Joh_15:25); (Heb_1:2); (1Jo_5:10-12). The immediate result of this testing was the rejection of Christ by the Jews, and His crucifixion by Jew and Gentile (Act_4:27). The predicted end of the testing of man under grace is the apostasy of the professing church:

 

(see “Apostasy”

(See Scofield) – (2Ti_3:1); (2Ti_3:1-8); and the resultant apocalyptic judgments.

 

(3) Grace has a twofold manifestation: in salvation (Rom_3:24) and in the walk and service of the saved (Rom_6:15).

 

The Seventh Dispensation: the fullness of times (Kingdom) (Eph 1:10)

 

The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. This, the seventh and last of the ordered ages which condition human life on the earth, is identical with the kingdom covenanted to David. (2Sa_7:8-17); (Zec_12:8).

 

Summary;

(Luk_1:31-33); (1Co_15:24); and gathers into itself under Christ all past “times”:

(1) The time of oppression and misrule ends by Christ taking His kingdom. (Isa_11:3-4).

(2) The time of testimony and divine forbearance ends in judgment. (Mat_25:31-46); (Act_17:30-31); (Rev_20:7-15).

(3) The time of toil ends in rest and reward. (2Th_1:6-7).

(4) The time of suffering ends in glory. (Rom_8:17-18).

(5) The time of Israel’s blindness and chastisement ends in restoration and conversion. (Rom_11:25-27);

(Eze_39:25-29).

(6) The times of the Gentiles end in the smiting of the image and the setting up of the kingdom of the heavens.

(Dan_2:34); (Dan_2:35); (Rev_19:15-21).

(7) The time of creation’s thralldom ends in deliverance at the manifestation of the sons of God. (Gen_3:17); (Isa_11:6-

8); (Rom_8:19-21).

 

[iii] Chart of Exegesis

 

 

Chart of Exegesis – 2 Tim. 2:15
Time past – ages to come

(Eph. 2:11-12; Eph. 2:7; Heb. 1:1)

But now

(Eph. 2:13; 5:8; Col. 1:26)

Israel Church (Body of Christ)
OT

Gen-John

NT

Acts-Revelation

Nation of Jews Body of Believing Jews and Gentiles
Christ is Messiah of the Nation Christ is Head of the Body
Prophets Paul
Prophecy Mystery
Circumcision

Ministry to: Christ, Peter, James, John, etc
(Rom. 15:8; Gal. 2:7-9)

Uncircumcision

(Rom. 11:13; Gal. 2:7-9)

Spoken since the world began

(Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21)

Kept secret since the world began

(Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:1-9; Col. 1:26)

Gen-John; Hebrews-Revelation Romans-Philemon
Kingdom in Earth Inheritance in Heaven

 

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