Nine: Are the Dispensation and Rapture Theories Biblical?
Dispensationalism is a popular teaching that history has been divided into seven different sections, or dispensations, in which the people of God in each time period have a different testing for sin and a different method of judgment by God. Dispensationalism has four fundamental tenets:
Tenet #1: Israel and the New Testament church are two different people of God. Does Scripture teach two different bodies of God, with Israel and Christians being separate bodies? 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 clearly states that there is one body, whether Jew or Gentile. Ephesians 3:6 states the Gentiles are fellow heirs of the same body. John 10:16 says there is one fold with one shepherd. Other verses showing one body, one church, under one Messiah are Colossians 1:17-24, and Ephesians 4:5 and 5:23.
Tenet #2: There was a period of law and a period of grace, which are mutually exclusive. You will find law and grace in both the Old and New Testaments. (There are far too many examples to cite but here are a few: Genesis 6:8; Psalm 84:11; Matthew 5:17; 1 John 3:4) Law and grace are both very much part of God, and there is only one unchanging God in both the front and back of your Bible. If grace were the sole basis of the new covenant, then why does Hebrew 8:10 state that the new covenant consists of putting “my laws in their mind, and in their hearts”? There is no new covenant without the law of God.
Tenet #3: The New Testament church is a parenthesis in God’s plan, not foreseen in the Old Testament. The third tenet tries to account for a lack of Old Testament mention of a lawless Gentile covenant. If God had intended to form a new church with a new law (or with no law), according to Amos 3:7 he would have told the prophets about this, but no prophet ever teaches that a new group of people with a new law will be raised up. Instead, the prophets revealed that the house of Israel would be rebuilt, such as in Amos 9:11, which is referenced in Acts 15:14-18. God declared the end from the beginning (Isaiah 48:10) and there is nothing unforeseen – certainly not a 2000 year period of time when a new church with new rules would be in effect.
Tenet #4: There is a difference between the rapture and the second coming, which are divided by a seven year period of tribulation. The fourth tenet also fails. Several of the parables in Matthew 13 leave no room for an imaginary rapture. The parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13:30 shows that the tares are gathered first, then burned, then the wheat is gathered to the barn. It is further spelled out in Matthew 13:38-43. The rapture teaches the opposite, that the wheat is gathered, then seven years pass, then the tares are burned. The parable of the net in Matthew 13:47-50 says that at the end of the world the angels sever the wicked from among the just, while the rapture theory claims that the just were removed seven years prior.
The very clear words of Matthew 24:29-31 further prove this point. Yeshua plainly states that “immediately after the tribulation” the angels “shall gather together his elect”. It can’t possibly be any clearer than that! The elect are not gathered until after the tribulation. Anyone who says otherwise is directly contradicting Yeshua.
Dispensationalism is nothing but a failed attempt to free oneself from the necessity of obedience to God’s law. In truth, it is theological evolution in disguise. It treats the Jews like knuckle-dragging apes who had the law, but we upright Christians have evolved onward to grace. Please don’t stake your eternal salvation on this theory, because it directly contradicts the clear words of Scripture.
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