Last time I stated that I am a dispensationalist because I believe that God says what He means and means what He says. If God makes specific promises to people (e.g. the Jews) and they go away believing the content of those promises, then proper communication has taken place. They have simply believed what they have been told (like children do). Now there may be things that many Jews have not believed which they should have. For instance, they should have believed in Jesus, and they should have believed that the covenant promises of national restoration, salvation, and kingdom come through Christ and by Him a right relationship to God. But this in no way affects the literalness of the promises themselves.
It is no good to say, as some of my Reformed friends have told me, that God’s promises are better than the original ones (so who’s missing out?). That just subtly attacks the veracity of God. For example, if I were to promise my six year old son a light-saber for his birthday, but instead bought him a new bicycle, that would make him feel good, but I would not have kept my word. A bicycle is not a light-saber. And on the basis of my previous promise he would have a right to expect a light-saber from me as well as the bike. You see, the problem is that if I knew I was going to buy him a bike when I promised him a light-saber I was not telling the truth! And if God promised a specific land, a king, a temple, etc., to Israel and did not deliver on what He specifically promised, it wouldn’t matter whatever other wonderful things He might give, He would have deceived His people. He would have led them to expect one thing when He meant something else. Read Jer. 30-33 and see if this is not true.
Anyway, it would be nice to be Reformed and to line up with Owen and Lloyd-Jones and others on these things. I don’t like disagreeing with these men. But there is this huge problem – the Bible does not tell us these things. It does not say that the Church is Israel and fulfills her promises. It does not say that Christ died only for the elect and for no one else. And it does not say anything about a covenant of works and a covenant of grace. Yes, Scripture does teach that God is never waiting around to find out what man is going to do. It certainly teaches that it is God who elects sinners and not the other way round. But it is vital that we do not make it say what it does not say just to complete our theological system. And this is what I think covenant theologians have done.