95 THESES AGAINST DISPENSATIONALISM – Part 9

This is part 9 of analysis of the 19th century theological invention known as dispensationalism. Part 8 can be imagesfound here: http://defendingcontending.com/2014/01/18/95-theses-agai…onalism-part-8/  Following are the next ten theses from the NiceneCouncil.com’s concise but thorough examination of the critical errors with the theological system known as dispensationalism. Dispensationalism is, like most other systems, not comprised of a monolithic group who all believe alike. So please bear in mind this series in not an attack on any person, but an examination of a system.

71. Despite the dispensationalists’ claim that their so-called literalistic premillennialism is superior to the other evangelical millennial views because Revelation 20:1-6 is one text that clearly sets forth their system, this view imposes the literalistic system unjustifiably and inconsistently on the most symbolic book in all the Bible, a book containing references to scorpions with faces like men and teeth like lions (Rev 9:7), fire-breathing prophets (Rev 11:5), a seven-headed beast (Rev 13:1), and more.

72. Dispensationalism’s claim that Revelation 20:1-6 is a clear text that establishes literalistic premillennialism has an inconsistency that is overlooked: it also precludes Christians who live in the dispensation of the Church from taking part in the millennium, since Revelation 20:4 limits the millennium to those who are beheaded and who resist the Beast, which are actions that occur (on their view) during the Great Tribulation, after the Church is raptured out of the world.

73. Despite the dispensationalists’ view of the glory of the millennium for Christ and his people, they teach, contrary to Scripture, that regenerated Gentile believers will be subservient to the Jews, as we see, for instance, in Herman Hoyt’s statement that “the redeemed living nation of Israel, regenerated and regathered to the land, will be head over all the nations of the earth…. So he exalts them above the Gentile nations…. On the lowest level there are the saved, living, Gentile nations.”

74. Despite dispensationalism’s claim that the Jews will be dominant over all peoples in the eschatological future, the Scripture teaches that “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.’” (Isa. 19:23-25).

75. Despite dispensationalism’s “plain and simple” method that undergirds its millennial views, it leads to the bizarre teaching that for 1000 years the earth will be inhabited by a mixed population of resurrected saints who return from heaven with Jesus living side-by-side with non-resurrected people, who will consist of unbelievers who allegedly but unaccountably survive the Second Coming as well as those who enter the millennium from the Great Tribulation as “a new generation of believers” (Walvoord).

76. Despite dispensationalists’ claim to reasonableness for their views, they hold the bizarre teaching that after 1000 years of dwelling side-by-side with resurrected saints who never get ill or die, a vast multitude of unresurrected sinners whose number is “like the sand of the seashore,” will dare to revolt against the glorified Christ and His millions of glorified saints (Rev 20:7-9).

77. Despite the dispensationalists’ fundamental principle of God’s glory, they teach a second humiliation of Christ, wherein He returns to earth to set up His millennial kingdom, ruling it personally for 1000 years, only to have a multitude “like the sand of the seashore” revolt against His personal, beneficent rule toward the end (Rev 20:7-9).

78. Despite the dispensationalists’ production of many adherents who “are excited about the very real potential for the rebuilding of Israel’s Temple in Jerusalem” (Randall Price) and who give funds for it, they do not understand that the whole idea of the temple system was associated with the old covenant which was “growing old” and was “ready to disappear” in the first century (Heb 8:13).

79. Contrary to dispensationalists’ expectation of a future physical temple in the millennium, wherein will be offered literal animal blood sacrifices, the New Testament teaches that Christ fulfilled the Passover and the Old Testament sacrificial system, so that Christ’s sacrifice was final, being “once for all” (Heb 10:10b), and that the new covenant causes the old covenant with its sacrifices to be “obsolete” (Heb 8:13).

80. Contrary to dispensationalism’s teaching that a physical temple will be rebuilt, the New Testament speaks of the building of the temple as the building of the Church in Christ, so that “the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord” (Eph 2:21); the only temple seen in the book of Revelation is in Heaven, which is the real and eternal temple of which the earthly temporary temple was, according to the book of Hebrews, only a “shadow” or “copy” (Heb 8:5; 9:24).

26 thoughts on “95 THESES AGAINST DISPENSATIONALISM – Part 9

  1. J.I. Packer: “…the very greatness of the subject matter (.i.e. gaining and sharing theological knowledge) will intoxicate us, and we shall come to think of ourselves as a cut above other Christians because of our interest in it and grasp of it; we shall look down on those whose theological ideas seem to us crude and inadequate, and dismiss them as very poor specimens.”

    I’ve noticed that you don’t get many replies to your posts. Do you have a lot of friends in you camp on this one, and if so, why do you think that you don’t get many “amens?”

    I know when I first wrote to you about what you were doing, your reply was that you were, “…sick of the dispensationalists position on literal interpretation…” etc, etc. It was obvious to me that seemed to have an axe to grind, and I thought then that I couldn’t imagine our Lord answering me in that way.

  2. Joe – I try not to get into motives, as it’s clear we as creatures are not qualified to discern those. So as to why people don’t comment on these posts, I will not speculate.

    You seem to be willing to infer a motive on my part.

    As I’ve stated previously, I sat under the non-declared dispensational teaching of several preaches for a couple of decades; slowly discerning the theological framework they worked from. As I have studied the Bible and church history, I have become more and more convinced that the Darby/Scofield school of thought is false from start to finish. I am thankful for progressive dispensationalists, but see in MacArthur the danger of how this theology affects one’s view of Scripture, as he has all but ignored the Old Testament in his 4 decades of preaching.

    The bottom line is what anyone thinks of me is irrelevant. Since none of us has perfect theology, we all ought to be willing to hear other Christians on non-essentials.

  3. In short, I was a Dispensationalist until I was 28 (34 now). After having read all the Left Behind books I came to the conclusion that they were utterly ridiculous. There were so many questions that I had and so I looked hard into the answers the Dispensationalists gave and discovered they were of no value. They never answered the questions, but their answers led to more questions. I studied other views including A, Post, and Historic/Classic Pre. I ended up settling on A, but could accept Historic also. I have recently studied Partial Preterism, and it has its value too. All that to say, any view BUT Dispensationalism is a valid view. The fact that they have regular meetings among their leading proponents and have to constantly update and change the theology (Evangelical Theological Society) should raise a red flag.
    I appreciate the Theses. I myself have written a lot so that when an evangelical asks “You don’t believe in the Tribulation or rapture, why not?” I can hand them my 100 page paper and say, “Because of this.” Your Theses bring up points I had never thought of. Much obliged.

  4. Point 71 is utter baloney. You attack straw men but fail to refute the substance. You seem to imply that because it is allegorical that God is not literal but symbolic?
    That Gods will expressed is not literal but symbolic? Symbolic of what? Satan is not literal but symbolic, of what? Being sealed is not literal but symbolic of what? Satan’s release is symbolic but of what? What is the point of the entire passage? Let me see it from your view. God but not God willed but did not will to send an angel but not an angel to bind and seal but not bind and seal Satan but not Satan. To prevent but not prevent Satan from deceiving but not deceiving the nations but not the nations. This a time period but not a time period with a beginning and end for no particular reason.
    You must also do the same with all the Prophets who spoke of an age to come when lions grazed on grass next to an ox. But not a real lion or real ox. That all would know the Lord but not really. that living an extra long life would be normal but not eternal but not really.
    Makes sense to me.
    Which again is why, in spite of being a 5 X 5 Christian, I reside in none of the eschatological camps.

  5. T.I. Miller – perhaps your bologna is only symbolic? Satan is sealed, sayeth the Scriptures, from deceiving the nations. The Scripture does not say that evil or sin or deception has been banished or that Satan has no influence on people, though he is sealed from deceiving the nations. Nor is it said anywhere that men need Satan to sin and wreak havok. John’s Apocalypse is an apocalyptic book and must be interpreted as such; which means it is symbols and word pictures for the most part.

    You will have to explain what you mean by “5 X 5 Christian” and I dare say you do reside in one or more of the eschatological camps :-)

  6. T. I. Miller:
    The point of #71 was that Dispensationalists are inconsistent with their literalism. Revelation 20 is a literal 1000 years but the scorpions and beasts and such are symbolic. That is simply true. You will be hard-pressed to find a Dispensationalist who says that all of Revelation is literal as written. There is certainly symbolism in Revelation; the only question and argument is what is and isn’t.
    I would like to point out how that one the things for sure that are literal, the churches in Asia Minor are taken as symbolic (and literal) by the Dispensationalist camp. They are symbolic of church eras and simply cannot be JUST actual churches with actual problems.
    And yes, what in the world is a 5×5 Christian?

  7. I do not claim they are literal. In fact, I would claim the exact opposite. I’m not a Dispensationalist; I was simply speaking AS IF I was one. As far as a basis for saying it is not literal, I would go back to the fact that 1,000 does not seem to ever be used in the literal when referring to God, but always seems figurative. God does not own the cattle only on 1,000 hills and if God were to bless those who keep His name honored to the 1,000th generation we would yet to see the end of those blessings on those families.
    There are other things as well that I would point to, but I generally bring up the fact that 1,000 does not always mean 1,000 when it comes to the Bible.

  8. As to the 5×5 self description; 5 point Calvinist and the 5 Solas of the reformers.
    The main literal point of the passage is not the length of the time period involved. That is a red herring to me. What is obvious to me is the literal intent of Gods immutable will. I can only speculate as to the why. My own speculation is to prove that man sins. In the Garden, before the flood, before Babel, before and after the Law before and after Grace. Perhaps even in the total absence of Satan antics we will still sin still rebel against God. and again beyond doubt be proven to be sinners at heart.
    Now to the intent of the will of God. To eliminate Satan from deceiving the nations while allowing his minions to carry on without him would be self defeating and pointless. Further if Satan were allowed to still sorta kinda deceive the nations then what would be the point in releasing him? Now as of the time of Paul’s writing Satan was still on the loose and so were his demons. It is then impossible to assert that this event had taken place prior to the apostolic era. The only way to assert this is to imply that Gods decreed will is feckless against the devil. Today even the most ardent of reformers would be complete obscurantist to deny all cases of demonic influence and possession. Observe the solid case of the Hindu Kundalini spirit being currently spreading in the “strange fire” movement.
    Therefore my assertion remains, that in the “time period” there is no satanic deception period.
    I only hold firm to one end time verse. It is not for you to know”.
    I can see the 2 infamous “this generation…until you see the Son of Man” verses as a great help to the Preterists. Yet I also find Dan. 11 and history a complete refutation. Edom and Moab escape? yet at no time under Pax Romana did either these regions or peoples cast off Roman rule, sorry.
    I see Matt 13 the parable of the wheat and tares as helping any camp. I see two ages. This age pertains to all things since creation including a so called millennial age. The age to come is the new heaven and earth. This puts this parable in line with the final resurrection and judgment of Revelation.
    In summery Every end times camp has holes. Some verse simply militates against them all. I think God has veiled our eyes on this issue because IT IS NOT FOR US TO KNOW

  9. T.I. Miller – I am with you as a 5×5 Christian. I say you continue to err in over thinking the binding of Satan. The text says he is bound from deceiving the nations (people groups) – NOT from all deception, period. Further, his demonic forces and reprobates and sinful people continue to not be bound and work to deceive people.

    I am large agreement with your view of the two ages, although I see “the age to come” having been introduced during Christ’s first advent – to be consummated when He returns the second (and last) time, to judge the nations and make the new heaven and earth.

  10. Manfred- I notice that you leave out the fact that Satan was also sealed. A seal was placed upon him. I say again, “what God has sealed God alone can unseal”. Again it seems to me that in order to maintain your eschatology you must in this passage do violence to Gods omnipotence. God declared it but could not quite bring it fully to pass. I agree that the Greek reads ethno or ethnics or peoples. Your splitting hairs here for it is all encompassing in its implication. I say that entire peoples and nations are currently indeed being deceived by Satan. Being deceived directly by Satan or indirectly by Satan’s little helpers, remains being satanically deceived. Our own sin nature does not preclude the obvious satanic deception upon the ethnos. I also insist that “no more until” means just that, No more until, what? In the language of the passage the thousand years come completely to an end. The passage states that all Satanic deception ends entirely for this time period and begins again briefly only at the end of this time period.
    One must to some degree read something into this passage to make it fit with amillennial eschatology.
    My amateur study also indicates the absence of this thinking from the time of Polycarp up to and until Origen came along. Origen came from Alexandria. Alexandria was a hot bed of Gnostic dualistic thinking. I’m just saying.

  11. Miller – Let the Word of God speak:

    Revelation 20:1-3
    Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

    Revelation 20:7-8
    And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.

    Satan is bound and sealed so he will not deceive the nations. His influence is not taken out of the world. This is what I’ve been saying. Satan is released to deceive the nations. His binding and sealing are SPECIFICALLY such that he does not deceive the nations.

    You can claim that this means it’s as if Satan has no influence – but for that to be true, his history, including The Fall, would have to be erased. You err if you think Satan’s demonic hoard and all the sinful people in the world have not enough evil in them to wreak quite enough havoc even if Satan was kept from having any influence in the world while he’s in “time out”.

  12. What an Amiller would contend is that in this present stage of God’s redemptive history we live in the time of the gospel. Jesus told Peter that on the rock he would build his church and the gates of hell (hades) would not prevail. In other words, Satan is bound by the gospel; it would spread over all the world among all the people groups (Matthew 28:19-20) and that Christ would not return until the gospel went to all the world and “nations” (Matthew 24:14). Amillers would interpret these along with the prosperous “millennial” (red herring?) kingdom of Revelation 20.

  13. Manfred, to you and to all the loving brethren who would seek to further my end times education, thanks but no thanks. I have read it and have understood and remain unconvinced based upon knowledge not upon ignorance. Though the Word is always the final word, I find the patristic writings useful.
    I keep in mind that the writer of the Revelation was residing in Asia most likely in Ephesus for 25 to 30 years after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. I am in the camp that asserts that the entire NT was complete before 70 AD. This is primarily due to the utter absence of any mention of an event that far exceeds the events of 9-11 in its importance. John and all of these men were all well aware of the cataclysmic events of 70 AD.
    So now we have the author of the Revelation teaching Polycarp who taught a succession of students post 70 AD.. to ignore them is folly at best.
    we have the writings of these disciples, some of whom were taught by the author of the book everyone today thinks they understand better than they did or apparently even the Apostle John himself.
    I gleaned the following from the Didache, Polycarp, Ireaneus, Hippolytus, Justin Martyr, Cyprian, Cyril, Tertullian, Papius and Augustine:
    The name and identity of Mr. 666 was unknown and yet to be made known.
    The anti-Christ and the tribulation was yet to come.
    Christians would go through the 7 years tribulation. the anti-Christ would begin his intense persecution of the saints in the latter 3.5 years.
    No mention of a pre or mid-tribulation rapture.
    immediately following the tribulation Christ returned and. smote His enemies. Then came the first resurrection. Then Jesus would rule the nations of the survivors of the tribulation, live and in person for 10 centuries with His glorified incorruptible saints. This was followed by the final resurrection and judgment.
    I will now remove myself from this discussion and the scriptural reasons as to why I reject amillinialism. I ask you by what authority do you reject everything written by these men?
    if the apostle John had understood and had taught otherwise he would have had ample time to correct their foolish thinking. Or one must assume that Polycarp and Ireaneus were willful deceivers of the brethren who utterly ignored their teacher the APOSTLE JOHN.
    So explain to me why your understanding exceeds the teachings of those taught directly by John himself or by Polycarp?

  14. Brother Manfred,- the question is where did the first, second and third century Church Fathers find this teaching that they, not I taught. I said this is what they taught, which indeed they did. I never said that I teach this. I still remain end times neutral.
    Your argument is with them and their writings, not with me.
    I least I do not rely on regurgitating simple debate talking points.
    I have little regard for the teachings of either of these people.

  15. Miller – thank you for your kind response. Help me in this way – which of the early “church fathers” taught a 7 year tribulation? There a many books written by these men and I am not familiar with them all and it will be some time before I can research all of them.

  16. T.I Miler
    Guess I’m a little confused with some of your responses, you claim that you are ” 5by5″ which is commendable in itself.How do you then explain your preterist views which are based solely on extrabiblical writings., and notably , the AD 70 account by Josephus.Nowhere in scripture is AD 70 given as the fulfillment of anything. Are you sure that you subscribe to Sola Scripture?

  17. brothers-It pains me with so much serious heresy afoot which you so admirably expose and refute that so much energy is being wasted on a trivial non-essential. I find the Preterits and the hyper-Preterits view sadly all but laughable. I am not impressed with Stam or Ryrie and other pre-tribulationists either.
    I ask in reverse why the normally sound 5 by 5 Covenant Reformers are so determined to be joined at the hip with Rome concerning this 1000 year period?
    I am curious as to why after 3 Centuries of well documented teaching on a literal view of Rev. 20: 1-6 they would switch to the neo-Platonic method of figurative interpretation.
    May I dare say that it is possibly even worse. It is documented that it was the heretical Gnostics who first introduced this method and this teaching. It was not even thought of until Origen who was from Alexandria which was a hot-bed of the Gnostic cult.
    Why do all the new agers and the social gospel-ites and the Missional-ites and even the Mystic-ites and the 7 mountain-ites all, also along with Rome prefer this non-literal hermeneutical approach of a Kingdom age ruled by them and not by Christ? Seems that just as many want an Edenic worls without Jesus. Churches want a form of godliness but also without Jesus. Rome wants to rule also without Jesus. Evidently I found the 7 year period in the same place that Iraeneus found it. His teacher was taught by the Apostle that wrote Revelations was yours?

    Extra biblical or not you will not find this taught and heavily promoted till the church foolishly merged with State near the end of the Roman Empire.
    http://www.cogwriter.com/millenarianism.htm An excellent reference on this topic
    I pray for the hasty return of Jesus daily. It seems that you and these others pray for His delay which I find to be quite bizarre for anyone who’s first love is Jesus.
    I would caution all of us to heed the literal words of Rev. 2. They loved their right doctrine more than they loved Jesus.

  18. Miller – You failed to answer my question: Which “Church Father” taught a literal 7 year tribulation? You may think the perspective known as amillennialism is “new” (yet 1,500 years older than Darby’s fable) but many theologians see this perspective revealed in Scripture. The terms used to describe the systems are far less important than the views promoted.

    Again, Revelation is an apocalyptic book and taking any scene therein literally must be based on “clues” in the text telling one to do so. Even the letters to the 7 churches are full of symbolic terms and meaning and cannot be taken “literally” as if they were only letters to those 7 churches.

    Here is a very good article explaining the amill view from Rev 2: http://www.samstorms.com/all-articles/post/27–was-jesus-an-amillennialist–revelation-2:26-29-

    History shows that Rome has always incorporated religious doctrine and practices from any group they assimilated, it should not surprise anyone when some truth is found within her vast library of doctrine. She twists all truth to comport with her false Christ, but doctrine is not to be condemned just because the harlot has a copy of it.
    Either answer simple questions put to you or go away as you have promised twice.

  19. Some of the problem comes from a lack of understanding with apocalyptic literature in the Bible. I don’t know if this is the case with T. I. Miller or not. Most Evangelicals and Protestants have been taught that Daniel and Revelation (not Revelations…just a pet peeve) are the only apocalyptic instances in the Bible and they must be taken literally as all prophecy is. Yet, there is all types of apocalyptic literature in the OT that deals with the time the prophets lived and was never meant to be taken seriously. Isaiah 13:9-11 is one such instance. Context clearly shows that these times were about ancient Babylon not a future Babylon but the apocalyptic language was used. “Stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light…” (ESV)
    This was simply a way of saying this was an earth shattering event that was coming. We don’t literally mean that the earth shattered when we say this any more than the prophets meant that the sun, moon, and stars stopped shining.
    Time prohibits me from going on.

  20. I sometimes forget to finish my point. In this case my point was simply that apocalyptic literature should be interpreted differently than non-apocalyptic prophecy since it is proven to be symbolic in OT. Thus one should see that Revelation is a symbolic book, since it follows an apocalyptic paradigm. So it is not that we must move away from a Romanists standpoint (let’s not forget that Romanists still believe in the Trinity, and that Athanasius, an Alexandrian fought victoriously for said doctrine) but that there is legitimate and ample evidence for such a view as Amil, Partial Preterism, historic premil, and even Postmil. What I cannot see (and what the point of this 95 Theses was that Dispensationalism is an invalid interpretation.

  21. A quick apology to all for failing to do due diligence on a resource paper.
    cogwriter to my great embarrassment is linked to Armstrong’s world wide church of God.
    Sorry to all concerned. No time at present to give a thoughtful reply to any of you.

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