The Lie of Dispensationalism, Part 5: The Promises to Israel

Today, of course, is 9/11, the 8th anniversary of the day that 2 planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York, 1 plan crashed into the Pentagon and a 3rd was retaken over by passengers and crashed near Shanksville, PA.  All in all, 2,993 people died, including the hijackers (source Wikipedia).

It is appropriate to finish up the series about the lie called Dispensationalism on this day because today we are going to examine one of the distinctive doctrines of Dispensationalism.  That doctrine is the teaching that God is dealing with Israel and the descendants of Abraham differently than He has in the past.  It is the teaching that God has suspended His covenant with Israel until Jesus’ second coming.

What if it is wrong, though?  What if God is working with Israel today?  What if Israel doesn’t even know it is Israel because so many centuries have stretched out from the time of the promises until now?  When you read Dt 28, the blessings and curses chapter, it should send a chill up your spine when you realize YOU might be a modern Israelite or living in a land controlled by Israel and enjoying either the blessings or living under the curses of that chapter right now!

Now, let’s be clear that there are some redeeming qualities to the doctrine.  Some of it is a reaction to Catholicism and others that believes the church is now God’s chosen people and that He has basically abandoned Israel because of their disobedience and rejection of the Savior.  That is just total Scripture twisting.  The church is not a kingdom.  Christ will return to establish a kingdom, and it will be a kingdom situated in Jerusalem.

The relationship between the ancient nations of Israel and Judah (sometimes collectively referred to as Israel or the Jewish people) and the church as the people of God is the key discriminator between Dispensationalism and other views. In the dispensational view, the time in which the church operates, known as the church age or the Christian dispensation, represents a "parenthesis". That is, it is an interruption in God’s dealings with the Jewish people as a nation as described in the Old Testament, and it is the time when the Gospel was preached and salvation in the present age is offered to the Gentiles and Jews alike. During the present dispensation a small Jewish remnant along with a large Gentile number are to be saved and become part of the Church. Israel as a nation is partially blinded until the fullness of the Gentiles has come. Afterwards however, God’s continued care for the Jewish people as a nation will be revealed after the end of the church age when Israel will be restored to their land and will accept Jesus as their messiah (compare Zech 12:8-10) and therefore "all Israel shall be saved" (Rom 11:25-29). That is, those of Israel who come to faith in Jesus Christ and physically live through the Great Tribulation will be saved from the Beast and the false prophet, all who come to attack Israel will be defeated by the coming of Jesus Christ Himself with His church, and thus Israel will be brought to national salvation. Jesus Christ will then sit on the throne of David and will begin the Theocratic Davidic Kingdom which is promised in numerous places in the Old Testament, in which believers and Christ reign together on the earth from Israel( Isa. 9:6-7, Isa. 11, 65:17-25, 66:22-24, Zech. 14:9, Acts 1:6-7, Matt. 25:31-34, Rev. 5:10, 20:4-6 ).

~ Dispensationalism.  (n.d.).  Retrieved from Wikipedia:

Erroneous doctrines usually have some truth mixed in with their error, and it is evident that there is a lot of truth listed there.  However, anyone who has been around the Church of God long enough should immediately spot a real problem.  There is no “parenthesis” around the time period from Christ’s resurrection and second coming!  They just don’t get it!  Just because we are living in what could be called “the church age” does not mean any promises of God have been suspended towards the children of Abraham!  It’s as though people assume God has a one-track mind or is incapable of multitasking!

First and foremost, all Jews are of Israel, but not all Israelites are Jews.  All Ohioans are Americans, but not all Americans are Ohioans.

It can be confusing because “Israel” can have one of two meanings, and it is important to get the context.

After Solomon died, the Kingdom of Israel was split into two.

And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,

And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.

Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.

Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.

Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.

~ 1Ki 11:9-13

And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field:

And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:

And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:

(But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:)

~ vv 29-32

Notice that one dominant tribe stayed in Jerusalem: David’s tribe, the tribe of Judah.  Ten tribes to the north split off.  The counting of the tribes can be confusing, but often Ephraim and Manasseh were counted as full tribes.  The Levites were scattered throughout Israel, and most of the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe, stayed near Jerusalem as well.

After Solomon died, his son Rehoboam became king.  Jeroboam led the delegation that appealed to Rehoboam to relieve them of their heavy taxation.  Rehoboam told them to return in 3 days, during which time he sought advice first from the older advisors of King David and then from the younger men in his inner circle.  Then, the delegation returned.

And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him;

And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.

But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.

Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.

So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.

And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.

And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.

~ 12:13-21

So, we see:

  1. 1. Ten tribes, counting Ephraim and Manasseh as full tribes, rebelled against Rehoboam.
  2. 2. The “House of Judah”, which included Benjamin, stayed at Jerusalem (s. also v 23).
  3. 3. The northern kingdom, the “House of Israel”, remained in rebellion against the line of David up until their captivity by the Assyrians.

So, we have one house in conflict with the other.  To follow history and prophecy both, then, we must be careful about how we view “Israel” in context.  What many theologians just plain get wrong is that “Israel” does not normally refer to the “Jews”!  The word “Jew” comes from “Judah”, as we see in 2 Kings:

Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father.

But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel.

And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.

Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him.

At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day.

~ 2Ki 16:2-6

Notice who Rezin was allied with!  Israel!  He was at war with the Jews, the House of Judah!  Israel and the Jews were at war against each other!

Why is this important?  Because the northern House of Israel was taken captive by the Assyrians, and the majority of them never returned!  They became known as the “Lost Ten Tribes of Israel”.  After the Assyrian empire collapsed, many of these Israelites migrated across Europe into different nations.  YOU might be an Israelite and not even know it!

Even more important, though, did God abandon these 10 tribes?  Did He really introduce a “parenthesis” where He no longer dealt with them?  Did He disregard His promise to Abraham to be a “Father of many nations”?  Balderdash!

JH Allen wrote Judah’s Scepter and Joseph’s Birthright: An Analysis of the Prophecies of Scripture in Regard to the Royal Family of Judah and the Many Nations of Israel that puts this all into perspective.  Peering through the mists of history and comparing Bible prophecies to history, you can follow many of the trails left behind by their wanderings!

When you look at the promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and you look at the world today, you are forced to consider the possibility that the United States of America and United Kingdom, the greatest powers on earth in modern times, may be descended from Israel!  No one else has controlled “the gate of his enemies” in such a manner.  “The sun never sets on the British Empire” sounds a lot like “I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore” and “thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”

When you think about the Judeo-Christian roots of the United States, when you consider that it publishes more Bibles in more languages and has sent more missionaries to various places than anywhere else, it begins to make sense!

Herbert W Armstrong, building upon the work of JH Allen and others, wrote in The United States and Britain in Prophecy:

Prior to World War II, the American and British peoples had acquired more than two-thirds of the cultivated resources and wealth of the world.  Yet, astonishing wonder though it be, we acquired nearly all of it rather suddenly, since the year 1800.  Never in all history did anything like this occur.  Never did any people or nation spread out and grow so suddenly and rapidly into such magnitude of national power.

Yet we are beholding before our very eyes the diminishing and evaporating of this national greatness, wealth and power.  In the case of Great Britain, it is disintegrating even more rapidly than it developed!  Britain has been almost overnight stripped of her colonies and her possessions – source of her wealth – and reduced to a second-rate or third-rate power.  Why?  There is a reason!  It is bound up with history and divine promises pertaining to Israel.  Promises never yet inherited by the Jewish people.  And now, unless the people and the government of the United States will heed and take immediate and drastic action, the American nation is slated to go down even more suddenly [emphasis mine here] to utter ignominy and loss of all national wealth, greatness and power!

And for the SAME REASON!

Did you catch that?  Do you understand what it means?

“Well,” someone once told me in all seriousness, “Empires come, and empires go.  Why should I be concerned about that?”  This person was serious!  We Americans seem to have this strange mentality that all peoples and nations think about things just like we do!  We believe in the Geneva Convention (or used to), after all.  Captured people will be treated fairly, after all.  No, some believe in murder, torture and violence, slavery, chains and starving your enemies to death!  The Bible predicts such a time will come again when violence spreads over the earth as it did in the days of Noah!  And, the first ones to go are asleep!

9/11 should have been a wake up call!  Instead, our politicians put on a show, standing on the steps of the Capitol building, singing “God Bless America” while the most defenseless of us were being routinely killed in the name of “convenience” and “contraception”, an atheist appealed to the Supreme Court over “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, and our politicians were building up lies and deceptions for an unjust and unholy war in Iraq.

No, God has not finished working with Israel, and He never has!  “Israel” was carried by the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh, and God kept His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by making great powers of many nations.  He will also bless or curse Israel in regards to its level of obedience to His Law!  Dispensationalism is a lie!  The Law is still there!  Israel is still there!  God is still here and in charge!  He didn’t just “wind up the clock” and let it go!

He is a living, working, covenant-making God that keeps His promises!  And, He promises punishment for Israel if they do not repent!

Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.

Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,

Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand [the end times!], and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.

Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?

The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.

How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.

O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.

The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

~ Joe 1:13-20

Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way [i.e., repent!] and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

~ Eze 33:11

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