When Literal Interpretation Leads to Wholesale Spiritualization

This is a response to comments left for me in the combox at this post about Sam Storms’s views on eschatology.  I appreciate the brother bringing them to my attention.  I am responding mainly to this:

Thanks for the post. I am not sure the last section really represents Sam’s view. He would say that Paul and Peter leave no room for a milennium since Paul has the last enemy death defeated at the parousia in 1Cor 15:24ff, 50 therefore death will not exist after Jesus returns and Peter has Jesus returning and then begins the renovation of heaven and earth by fire without a milennium. Since the thrones in Revelation are always in heaven and when they are setup for those who reign on them it could be that their reign is in heaven. He does admit difficulty with anastasis so he defaults to the fact that Paul and Peter are clearer than Revelation therefore he is inclined to be amillennial. This is Storms’ view summarized.

Comment by Rick Tatina | July 7, 2013 | 

Just in case, the passage concerning Peter was from 2 Peter 3:9-12.

Here’s a brief response.

Let me address these texts 1 Cor. 15:20-28 first:

“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 27 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”
Okay, let’s examine this, beginning in v.23:

This passage is dealing with physical resurrection (anastasis).  Christ is raised first, in expectation of more to come.  V.24 then speaks of “the end, when Christ hands over the kingdom to the Father.”  Is that it?  No.  V.25 says “He must reign until He has put all enemies under his feet.”  So the question is, “Is Christ reigning now?”  “Yes” says Storms.  Does the Bible say He is?  No!  Not unless He reigns over the “principalities and powers” of Eph. 6:10ff.  Not unless He is reigning over the countless tragedies and acts of wickedness which continue day in day out since He rose again.  If so, He would be the worse ruler imaginable.  The buck would stop at Him.

In Matt. 19:28 Jesus looks forward to sitting “on the throne of his glory” at “the regeneration” (palingenesia).  This coincides with the “times of refreshing” and “times of restoration” of Acts 3:19 & 21, which Acts 3:20 tells us occur when Jesus returns.  In Lk. 19:12-15 Jesus makes it clear that He (the nobleman) would go away and only reign once He returned.  In Rev. 3:21 we’re told that Jesus sat down on His Father’s throne.  1 Cor. 15:20ff. could support amillennialism, but only if we are prepared to spiritualize a whole bunch of other verses.

Here I should like to quote from my “Parameters of Meaning” series (which I have neglected):

“Parameters of Meaning – Rule 9: If a literal interpretation leads you into wholesale allegorizing, or causes head-on conflicts with other clear texts, which then have to be creatively reinterpreted, it is an illegitimate use of “literal”. There will always be another literal meaning available which preserves the plain-sense of the rest of the passage in its context.”

Well, is Christ subduing all things now?  Look around.  Of course not.  Does the Bible say He is?  No.  Romans 8:19-23 places this at the time of our resurrection (“the redemption of our body”).  When will that happen?  1 John 3:2 & Phil 3:20-21 answer, at the Second Coming.  So at Christ’s second advent this world will be “regenerated” or “delivered” or “refreshed” or “subdued” and not before.  Christ shall reign (Lk. 1:31-33; cf. Rev. 20:4 & 6) just as the Prophets said He would.  He will rule with a rod of iron after the second coming as Rev. 19:15 makes quite clear (see also Rev. 2:27; 12:3 which make it future).  Psalm 2:6-9 refer to this subduing when Christ reigns.  See also this: https://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/christ-at-the-center-pt-6a/
I really don’t know what Storms is thinking with 1 Cor. 15:50.  But it seems He is just equating the kingdom of God with heaven.  And, as I said above, this thinking of New Heavens and Earth after the coming of Christ is a big problem for amillennialism, because it discards THIS earth as useless after the Second Advent.  No dominion for the second Adam on this earth in successful completion of Adam’s failed dominion!  It is easy to fit the literal Millennium in 1 Cor. 15 without having to revise our reading of all the plain verses which speak of an actual reign of Christ on this earth after the second advent.

Storms’ stuff about the “thrones” which were kindly quoted for me in the combox is an utterly question-begging assertion.  Simply doing a word study on “throne” in the NT does not lead to solid conclusions.  Text in context!  I would like to say more but will have to stop there.

Now for the 2 Peter passage:

2 Peter 3:9-12 is a better passage for Storms because it certainly could be construed as teaching the destruction of this planet after Christ comes.  But keep in mind what I said above about choosing a literal meaning which forces you to spiritualize a host of other passages!

All I would say here is that verse 6 is speaking of destruction by the global flood, which destroyed “the world that once was.”  If the destruction of the earth was uppermost in Peter’s mind here then it is quite possible that he is looking past “the times of restoration” which he himself spoke of to the end of the Millennial reign, when Satan is finally released (though Storms has him at large on a meaninglessly long chain) and he is destroyed (Christ crushes his head – Gen. 3:15b).

Please notice here that unless one adopts this position you have Peter contradicting himself.  In Acts 3:19-21 Peter tells the “men of Israel” that “the times of refreshing/restoration” will come after God sends Christ Jesus.  Thus, this earth is to be (to use Paul’s language) “delivered from the bondage of corruption” when Jesus returns.  But Storms has Peter tell us that this earth will be dissolved in fervent heat right after the second coming!  Something which Revelation puts a thousand years after the coming.  Which is it Peter?

You see, in some amillennialists’ fervor for no future earthly reign they make the Bible ridiculous.  They make it make promises it then changes and then declares fulfilled (which conman can’t do that?).  They make this world, which is Christ’s, something which in their worldview has no intrinsic value other than as a vehicle for the ingathering of the elect.  They interpret one or two verses in order that they can spiritualize a thousand.  And they force the Bible into talking nonsense (those beheaded who come back to life depict people being born-again), or else contradicting itself (When Jesus returns this world will be beautified and destroyed by fire at the same time: Satan is bound and imprisoned but goes about as a roaring lion!).

As I have said before, the basic problem of amillennialism is disbelief.  These verses can be interpreted at face value without resorting to typology, spiritualization, or pitting one passage against another.  It means we must humbly tell our unaided reason to keep quiet while God is speaking, and then study to show ourselves approved unto the God who spoke the words!

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31 comments

  1. Paul, I’ve heard one school of amillennial teachings, generally held by people from Sydney Anglicans like Phillip Jensen or Tony Payne, that claim the earth is renewed to the pre-fall conditions for the new Heavens ans New Earth rather than destroyed by the fire judgment in 2 Peter 3:10, and thus claim your arguments don’t hold. What’s your view of this defence?

    (Aside: not all Sydney Anglicans hold to this understanding of amillennialism, a majority probably hold to “this world will pass away” type of amillennialism. But I was at a camp where a Moore College-trained minister from a sister church taught a renewed earth for eternity, so this version of amillennialism must have been held by not a tiny number of Sydney Anglicans)

    1. Joel,

      You will notice I said “in some amillennialists’ fervor for no future earthly reign…” I said it that way because I am well aware of the different shades of amillennialism. Storms’s view seems more traditional ‘pre-Ladd.’ BTW, this is one reason why I don’t like Blaising’s taxonomy of various developments in dispensationalism, which is used by opponents of it (CT’s and NCT’s).

      The view you ask about is set out classically in Hoekema’s ‘The Bible and the Future.’ My view on it is that it still reinterprets the Bible to suit its predispositions the same way other forms of amil do. It’s just got more going for it on this issue because they choose to believe what it says a tad more!

      P

  2. (You said) **Does the Bible say He is? No! Not unless He reigns over the “principalities and powers” of Eph. 6:10ff. Not unless He is reigning over the countless tragedies and acts of wickedness which continue day in day out since He rose again. If so, He would be the worse ruler imaginable. The buck would stop at Him.**

    Let’s get one thing straight. There has never been a time when the world was not in subjection to God’s reign. In I Sam 8, Israel demanded an earthly king of Samuel the seer. Listen to God’s words to Samuel:

    7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.

    Did you catch that? God tells Samuel that Israel had been disobedient during his reign. Are you inferring that God was a poor ruler. God later gave them a King, Saul. But don’t think for a second that God vacated his position as King of Israel. It was later promised that a descendant of David would build God a Temple, and reign forever on the throne (II Sam 7). THIS IS NOT AN EARTHLY THRONE. Throne means extension of authority and power. Example: David—–> Earthly throne. Jesus——-> Lofty heavenly throne (Ps 45:6 cf Heb 1:8) “YOUR THRONE, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice.”

    The apostles quoted the 2nd Psalm several times in Acts. It’s immediate context concerns King David ruling in the midst of this enemies. But the apostles apply this verse to Jesus. See how that works? They point out that David was both dead and buried and Jesus was given “the sure mercies of David” Act 13:34. This means all the promises due David’s offspring was confirmed in Christ. in fact, “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” II Cor 1:20.

    Summary
    Over two thousand years ago, God the Father gave a kingdom to His son Jesus (who is heir of all things Heb 1:2). This kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36), was purchased through Christ’s holy blood (II Cor 5:21), and ruled from Christ’s heavenly throne Act 7:55-56,

    Any thought of Christ having to return to this earth to set up a physical kingdom is insulting to the integrity of Holy Scripture.
    For additional info see
    http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/jesus_on_throne.htm

      1. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, (Col 1:13).

        Future kingdom or current? What doth the scriptures say?

      2. Well, in Colossians 1:13 the kingdom is current. In 1 Thess. 2:12 and 2 Thess. 1:5 the kingdom is future. So either Paul is contradicting himself, or there is a present and a future aspect to the kingdom, or the word is being used in differentiated ways. In Colossians it is the sphere of God’s saving activity and hope. In Thessalonians it is what is established after Christ’s appearing. The first does not contradict the second. The second is what the disciples asked about in Acts 1:6, which was in line with Lk. 1:33-34 and the OT.

        What we have to do is stop proof-texting and start interacting with the arguments. Since it is my arguments you have trouble with, it behoves you to interact with them.

        God bless,

        Paul H.

      3. Please read this very carefully.
        The present yet future aspect of Christ’s kingdom is that it’s current, and it will have no end (Dan 7:13-14). Christ’s enthronement, which took place immediately after ascending into Heaven in Acts 1, is vividly and beautifully described in Holy Writ. Acts chapter one records Christ being taken up by a glory cloud. It is then when he is presented before the ancient of Days and, “to Him was given dominion Glory and a kingdom” Daniel 7:14. So His ascension was a BIG deal.

        The most oft repeated messianic Psalm in the NT is Psalms 110. It applies directly to Christ’s heavenly reign. In verse one, the Father tells the Son to sit at His right hand until all his enemies are in submission, and in verse two the Father instructs the Son to rule in the midst of His enemies (see also Psalm 2). Psalms 110 has the enthronement of Christ in mind. Why? Because the apostles applied His kingdom reign to the times they were living in, not to commence two thousand-plus years later, nor in a “right now/ but not yet” scenario. Peter quotes Psalms 110 when describing Christ’s exaltation to His throne in Acts 2:33-35. In it, Peter said that Christ’s divine edict as King was to pour out the Holy Spirit on His Church.

        “33. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.”

        Psalms 110 show the right hand of God as the exalted position Christ reigns from. This is where Christ revealed Himself to Stephen before he died from stoning .

        “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:56, NIV).

        Although in physical agony, Stephen was blessed to see the Lord he served reigning from His throne. The writer of Hebrews wrote that Christ assumed this position after atoning for our sins:

        “12. but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13. waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.” Heb 10:12-13.

        Christ disciples did not inquire about a physical kingdom in Acts 1:6. Where do dispensationalist get this from? Do you really believe that after Jesus opened their hearts to the scriptures, and spent several days with them, they still believed that Christ came to set up an earthly kingdom? If you read the text they were inquiring about the OT promises of a restored or unified kingdom, that of both Judah and Israel. Paul expounded on this issue at some length in Romans chapters 9 thru 11. Jesus’ kingdom was not to be physical in nature. That’s the caveat of knowledge His disciples did not understand. Remember in the Gospels when Jesus told them there were things they would not be able to bear at that time?

        12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. (Jn 16:12).

        At that time, they would not have been able to bear the fact that it was God’s intention all along to unify both Jew and gentile into one new man. This would not be done by carnal means, but by God’s spirit. This unification of spiritual descendants of Abraham, those of faith, is a major theme of Romans 9. Paul explored this mystery hidden for ages in Eph 2. And Peter, like Paul in Roman 9:24, quotes Hosea 2:1 (which in its OT context applied to the Northern tribes). But by their inspired apostolic licence they applied it to gentiles. Pay attention to what Peter writes in 1 Peter 2:9:

        9.But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

        Here Peter is speaking to Gentiles. How do we know this? By the unity of biblical interpretation used by the apostles. Paul applied “those not a people/now are people of God” to gentiles In Romans 9:24-26, and so does Peter in his epistle here. Did you catch what Peter called these gentiles? The same titles given to the OT nation of Israel. Wow! Want further proof Peter addressed this epistle to gentiles? Pay attention to what Peter says in I Peter 1:18.

        18. knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,

        Peter would not have called the ways of his Jewish forefathers “futile”.

        Let me end with this. Dispensatinalism is a dangerous lie. As far as interacting with your arguments, I don’t believe you have one. I’ve laid out the scriptures for everyone to see. I invite you to challenge any of them. But before you do, give them some thought. Pray about them. I am humbled to be in the service of our Lord. But it is crucial that we understand the basic first things before attempting to tackle the difficult last things (eschatology).

      4. Eric, you’re reading your own theology into Acts 1:6. Restoring the kingdom to Israel means just that – restoring. Matt Waymeyer addresses your concern HERE. And no doubt Dr Henebury will respond to your other concerns re dispensationalism at his leisure.

  3. @Alf
    Aren’t you reading your own theology into Act 1:6? The key in understanding what was implied in Acts 1:6, is in the answer Christ gave. Jesus said it was not for them to know the time when the restoration was to take place. They had heard Jesus say no one would know the time of His coming during the Olivet Discourse. This implies the restoration would be completed upon His return. Which, contrary to dispensationalist theology, happens only once. The restoration would commence, Jesus said, after the Holy Ghost came upon them, and it would be through their proclamation of the gospel starting in Jerusalem, then to the ends of the earth. This means the restoration was of a spiritual nature. Proof of this is in the records of the Jerusalem council in Acts 15.

    4 Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. 15 With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written,
    16 ‘After these things I will return,
    And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen,
    And I will rebuild its ruins,
    And I will restore it,
    17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
    And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’
    18 Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago.

    Dispensationalists must skip over this verse. It correlates the tabernacle of David with gentiles. This must come as a shocker to them

    The problem with dispensational theology is that’s it’s entirely natural Israel centered, when the Bible is entirely Christ centered.
    My blog:
    Removed: I will not allow you to advertise your blog here, especially when it is evident you haven’t read my blog! PH

    1. No, Eric, I’m not. I’m taking Christ’s response at face-value; especially in light of several OT promises to that effect. One needn’t read anything further into that. Israel will be restored at a future time – a time which the disciples aren’t privy to. Did you not read Waymeyer’s article? All the other issues you raise are discussed in Mike Vlach’s “Has the Church Replaced Israel”. I highly recommend it.

      Given that this isn’t my blog, that is all I probably should say on this matter.

  4. I read Waymeyer’s article. It lacks several things. The truth is one of them.

    The “Has the church replaced Israel?” question always misses the point. It’s nothing more than a tactic used by dispensationalists to change the context of the debate. The question is not whether the Church replaced OT Israel. The issue is who is has been God’s people since creation. The answer? People of faith. That’s Paul’s main point in Romans chapters four and five. The author of Hebrews, who I believe was Paul, included the gentile Rahab in the “faith roll of fame” Heb 11. Was it because she converted to Judaism? No! Was it because she adapted the lifestyle of a Jew? No! It was because she had faith.

    Alf, it’s faith, faith, faith, that makes us a child of God. It never mattered whether you were Jew or gentile. The OT saints were saved just like we are today, by faith Why? Because the law saves no one. It never could. That’s the heart of the gospel. We are declared just by our faith alone, by the finished work of Christ alone.

    C.I Scofield erred on this matter in his 1901 reference Bible. It wasn’t until the 1960s when editors removed the notes in his reference Bible that stated OT Jews were justified by the law (during the Dispensation of Law). That was gross heresy Alf. It’s very unfortunate that Scofield’s heresies continue to plague us. Instead of “rightly dividing” the Word of God, as he claimed he did, he distorted the gospel of Christ beyond recognition. There are some dispensationalists today who believe churches shouldn’t evangelized in Israel. I hope you’re not in the category.

    Alf, I want you to ask yourself a question. The question is: Are the good promises of the OT for you as a gentile child of God? While holding that thought, I want you to read Heb 13:5. That’s where Paul quotes Joshua 1:5: “I will not leave you or forsake you”. This was a promise given by God toward Joshua, a Jew according to the flesh, and a man of faith. You see, all the books in the Bible are for us. All of them. All the good promises. There were never directed toward a race or a natural man. They were for all those who love Christ, who are alive by His Spirit!

    For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. II Cor 1:20

    1. Eric can you tell me whom did Scofield state who were ” justified by the law ” in the dispensation of law ? As I recall Scofield’s notes claimed only Jesus was without sin and that all humanity were condemned in Adam ???? Before pointing fingers out at Scofield for a bad note on John 1:17 I can likewise accuse Covenant Theology itself of teaching salvation by works in it’s own system. CT has Adam under the covenant of works and if Adam fulfilled it he would have merited eternal life under that covenant. I do believe your personal bias for whatever reason keeps you from being objective with regard to Scofield. I look at his theology as a whole when it comes to this accusation that of raised by covenant theologians who incorrectly accuse him of teaching 2 ways of salvation when they intentionally ignore and not take into consideration his other notes on this issue and on the doctrine of sin. Scofield did teach Jesus was the only sinless person. This would at least logically demand that no one ever got justified by keeping the law. Then you complain about the New Scofield Study Bible revising the note in John 1:17 to state things properly and complain of this ” revision “. No matter what Covenant Theologians wont ever be happy on that. Eric you would never amen to revised note in John 1:17 even though things are properly stated in a better manner as far as justification in the OT and NT are concerned. You would never amen it even though it improves things to your standard on the matter. Plus the Dallas Theological Seminary has a specific article in it’s doctrinal statement that specificially affirms one way of salvation in it’s article on dispensations that was written and added in 1952 because of the false accusations that Covenant Theologians were making againist him. This was done to make things CLEAR on the matter in it’s doctrinal statement. The doctrinal statement of Dallas Theological Seminary was written mainly by Lewis Sperry Chafer in 1924 and expanded him in 1952. One would have hoped this would end that issue and move on to the core issues of the debate but such has not been the case. Covenant Theologians will forever bring this up. You may disagree with Scofield but he was not a heretic as you claimed he was. You want to merely view him in the worst possible light or manner. So Scofield wrote a bad note in John 1:17 that could be misinterpreted as teaching 2 ways of salvation though in my own study of it I concluded Scofiled taught 1 way of salvation and not 2. Scofield in his theology never viewed the Mosaic Covenant as ” soteriological ” in nature but rather dealt with material blessings if obeyed and curses for their disbelief. At worst you would have Scofield being inconsistant in John 1:17 in his overall position. For ” justification ” dispensationalist have always taught it is based on the spiritual promise shared by all believers based on Genesis 15:6 which is part of the Abrahamic Covenant and not the Mosiac Covenant. I read through your post and you have not proven your case and utterly lack in conclusive exposition for the passages. You will by pass and ignore all dispensational commentaries on the Bible and never interact with them except to condemn it. Eric your basic error is you think that the New Testament reinterpretes the Old Testament. In short you will ignore the historical context of OT passages and claim the NT reinterpretes it in the final factor. The fact is under the dispensation of law gentiles were not in equal footing within the nation of Israel as Jews. You miss this point that the apostle Paul makes in Ephesians 3. You seem to deny the middle wall that was there historically. It is in this present dispensation of the grace of God in which all believers in Christ are equals. We are brought near to the covenant promises in which all believers share in the spiritual blessings God made to Israel. The folly of your argument is the fact that all those saved in human history are ” justified by faith ” like Abraham is evidence that all those saved must be automatically be of the same company of the saved with out any distinctions. In otherwords, you use the one way of salvation as a means of a denial of the 24 distinctions between national Israel and the Body of Christ.

      1. First, I never claimed to hold Covenant Theology. You assumed that, and assumed wrong.

        Second, Scofield’s Note on John 1:17 was clear. He stated, {quote}:

        (2) As a dispensation, grace begins with the death and resurrection of Christ Romans 3:24-26, Romans 4:24; Romans 4:25. 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,; John 1:12; John 1:13; John 3:36; Matthew 21:37; Matthew 22:24; John 15:22; John 15:25; Hebrews 1:2; 1 John 5:10-12. The immediate result of this testing was the rejection of Christ by the Jews, and His crucifixion by Jew and Gentile Acts 4:27. The predicted end of the testing of man under grace is the apostasy of the professing church: See “Apostasy” (See Scofield “2 Timothy 3:1”) 2 Timothy 3:1-8 and the resultant apocalyptic judgments

        Pretty plain to me. Legal obedience as a condition to salvation? He should have read Romans. Here’s a link if you don’t believe me. Again, this is the original 1909 edition.
        http://www.studylight.org/com/srn/view.cgi?bk=42&ch=1

        Third, I thought my point was very clear on Christ’s reign, and His lofty position at the Father’s right hand. If it wasn’t, that is totally my fault. I will work on that.

        Fourth, what do you mean by, “Eric your basic error is you think that the New Testament reinterprets the Old Testament.”? It does not reinterpret the OT. It interprets it. If you would allow Jesus and the NT apostle to bring out the meaning of the texts you’d go a long way. Example: Malachi 4 says that Elijah would come before the day of the Lord. Surprise! It wasn’t really Elijah. The Bible does’t teach reincarnation after all.. Thank you Jesus for setting this issue straight in Matthew 11:13-14.

        13 For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.

        Did you catch that statement by Jesus? “And if you are willing to accept it” This throws the “literal’ interpretation scheme out the window! Was there a, (gasp), spiritual element to this prophesy? Hmm. Now, I’m willing to bet there were Jews expecting to see the real Elijah in the flesh. Listen, Jews today set an extra chair at the table for Elijah as Passover. Psst! I better tell them he’s been there and gone.

    2. Eric I take it that you never read John Mac Arthur’s commentary on the book of Acts or The Bible Knowledge Commentary NT edited by John Walvoord or Roy Zuck. Guess you missed where dispensationalist have written expositions of verses in the bible. Hey Eric would you care to explain to me where John Calvin’s commentary on the book of Revelation is at ? I can’t seem to find it at all . 🙂

    1. Thanks Alf! Quite honestly, I’m not sure Eric is worth the time. He’s both arrogant (“Please read this very carefully…”) and ignorant (Scofield’s “1901 reference Bible”). He clearly is parroting someone just a little less ignorant than himself. He appears to have read no dispensational theology. Meanwhile, he ignores the thrust of this article!

      If I do respond further it will not be for his sake, since I judge him unteachable. He probably thinks I haven’t read these arguments before and must therefore instruct me!

      1. I am humbled to discuss the Lord Jesus. Can you think of anything more humbling? Since this is you attitude, I will discontinue my dialog on this site. I hope you and Alf well.

        God bless both of you.

      2. Eric,

        Stop getting all precious and sanctimonious. You are not the only one who is “humbled to discuss the Lord Jesus.” But what you are not doing is addressing the subject of this post. Nor are you taking the time to read what I have said on the matters you bring up.

        Coming on someone’s blog and using one part statement to launch into a high-handed attack on “dispensationalism” is both rude and arrogant. Not qualities which remind me of Christ!

        We all have our struggles with the flesh, and I quite understand that I may be wrong here and there. But I’m not going to waste my time correcting a guy who will himself not take the time to read my positions (not John Hagee’s) and then argue with them!

        God bless you and yours,

        Paul H.

      3. “Stop getting all precious and sanctimonious”
        If I were carrying on a scathing written attack about you or anyone else on this forum, I’d be ashamed. Name calling and all that…never cool brother!
        Sorry for adding my two cents worth on your “sanctimonious” blog, but it should be offensive to anyone who calls himself a man of God to idly stand by while others attempt to dethrone the Lord of Glory in their name of truth. It would be wise of you to take a Christ centered view of scripture, as opposed to bowing down at the feet of the idol of natural Israel. After while it looks pathetic!

        Now since I said that I won’t taint your sacred blog with opposing viewpoints anymore, I’d better stick to it.
        Good by and good night.

      4. “it should be offensive to anyone who calls himself a man of God to idly stand by while others attempt to dethrone the Lord of Glory in their name of truth. It would be wise of you to take a Christ centered view of scripture, as opposed to bowing down at the feet of the idol of natural Israel. After while it looks pathetic!”

        And that attitude, my brother, is the problem!

        PH

      5. Well, Eric reads and loves Sproul so right there I can see where Scofield comes up as polemic device. It’s neither new nor unexpected. Consider the recent debacle-discussion Sproul had with Sinclair Ferguson regarding what dispensationalism taught. Eric’s interaction hasn’t been with dispensationalism – rather its polemicists.

        http://www.bibleprophecyblog.com/2012/03/how-two-covenant-theologians-view.html#

        I don’t quite understand the comment about disp being a “block of theology”. The way I see it, people like Sproul work on a fulfillment filter – just insert passages like Jer 31 into it and filter out Israel and the promises and apply them to the church in a different way. Mind you going to the OT is a last resort option. It’s far better to actually ignore or gloss over the passages to begin with.

  5. Eric Jews are to be preached the Gospel today if they are to become part of the Body of Christ. I dont believe you on your claim of ” dispensatoionalist ” holding that Jews should not be preached the gospel. That is slander and you should be ashamed of yourself when that is not a representative position by leading dispensationalist historically. Scofield’s notes on Matthew 28 contradicts your claim on this matter and so does dispensational commentaries that deal with Romans 10-11. I see you merely parroting the false claims of the late John Gerstner. The core issue of debate between Reformed Covenant theology and Dispensational theology is on how we defined the Body of Christ. CT affirming the one people of God wheres Dispensationalist two peoples of God namely national Israel yet to be restored and the Body of Christ as each are called ” the people of God ” in Scripture. Since you dont like Scofiled how about reading The Millennial Kingdom by the late Dr. John Walvoord instead which deals with the core issues. Dispensationalism extends beyond Scofield you know. It includes many bible teachers and theologians , Bible colleges and seminaries. Before complaining about dispensationalist not preaching the Gospel to Jews in Israel you need to look in to your own theologial camp as well. For much of church history after the time of the apostles the church in general hardly forcused on preaching the Gospel in Israel until modern times. Care to explain to me why most of the church is gentile before the appearance of dispensationalism as a system ? I take it you are ignorant of dispensational ministries and groups like The Christian Jew Foundation and Jews For Jesus.

  6. In regard to dispys who don’t believe in Jewish evangelizing:
    I mentioned there were “some” people who hold to that belief. I said I hope you were not in that camp. I did not. I repeat, did not say you were one.

    If you think I’m lying about this, check out the ministry of John Hagee. He goes so far in saying that if you don’t make a distinction between the Church and Israel, your salvation is at stake. He prides himself in having one of the biggest ministries in Texas. So he’s not in isolation.

    Second. I grew up on Walvoord and Ryrie. I’m very familiar with what they taught.

    Third, I am very familiar with the Jews for Jesus.I applaud their evangelism. But their devotion to Jews continuing OT ceremonies is completely unbiblical.

    Lastly, I’m not really sure what you meant by, “Care to explain to me why most of the church is gentile before the appearance of dispensationalism as a system ?”, Most of the Church of Jesus Christ is gentile (ethnically) to this day. It’s been that way since a few years after Pentecost. Why? Because…..Jews (ethnically) make up a minority of the world. Shortly after Paul began his missionary journeys, the number of gentiles began to outnumber Christian Jews. So, since most of the world is not Jewish, gentiles Christian number will be higher.

    So I have a question for you. One that I have yet to get a answer on;
    Who were the apostles and first Jewish Christians converts. Were they Israel, or the Church of Jesus Christ?

    1. The apostes and those saved since Pentecost belong to the Body of Christ though they were biologically Israelites. Believing Israelites in Jesus are called ” the Israel of God ” in contrast to unbelieving ones in Galations 6:16. So as it stands in the present dispensation believing Jews are part of God’s election in relationship to individual election to salvation into the Body of Christ and not part of Israel’s national election. John Walvoord specificially addressed this question on them in the book The Millennial Kingdom. Your main problem is since all believers in history are justified by faith means that there are no dispensational distinctions between national Israel and the Church . You use a soteriological truth to deny a ecclesological truth in simple words. John Hagee is not a representative of dispensational theology. He is a minority thats a point of fact. A majorty object to several aspects of his teaching that does not follow the usual dispenational pattern. His position is rightly rejected by a vast majority of dispensationalist of the past and the present. You claim you grow up on Walvoord and so forth yet you still claim the two ways of salvation accusation ???? You complain of John Hagee of condemning all who deny the distinction of Israel and the church as heretics yet you called Scofield and other dispensationaliist heretics and their beliefs as heresy. That is acting liking a hypocrite since you did exactly the same thing that John Hagee has done.The debate between Covenant theology and Dispensational theology is an in house debate between orthodox believers in Jesus Christ and not a debate between heretics.The Gospel of the grace of God is clearly defined by the apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 15:1-5 and preached since Pentecost. 1 Cor. 15:1-5 does not include Ecclesiology as part of the Gospel whereas you have turned it into that. I dont think you really read dispensationalism indepth due to the number of statements you have made.John Walvoord biblically proved the dispensational understanding of the body of Christ.A majority of Covenant Theologians avoids the arguments of John Walvooord on this while he interacted with CT leading representatives in it. As far as Jews for Jesus in their ceremonies we follow Romans 14 on this matter. For much of church history gentile believers usually have been very anti-jewish. We see this going on in some of the writings of the early church fathers. Even some of the reformers such as Martin Luther was in some measure anti-jewish in reflection to the times he lived in.

  7. Eric it was unnecessary to cite Scofield’s note on John 1:17. I already stated that he wrote a bad note there. And that this has been corrected in the New Scofield Study Bible . You still did not show me who Scofield stated who specifically was ” justified by law ” in the dispensation of law. Scofield taught no one kept the law perfectly except Jesus. Until you can show me who exactly was justified by law your accusation stands unproven in the final factor as far as the evidence is concerned. You cite one bad note and ignore his good notes on this point of issue. Your focus is just on that one bad note and want to rant on about it and ignore all other of his notes. I even stated Scofield was inconsistant in John 1:17note in light of all his other notes on the issue of salvation and the doctrine of sin. I refuted your claim though anyway since Scofield’s notes with is directly the issue here on the Mosaic Covenant clearly shows this covenant was not soteriological in nature and rather was given as a rule of life which regulated Israel during the dispensation of law. His note on Ex 19 is clear enough even for you to understand. Plus his notes on the 7 dispensations shows that only the dispensation of grace is soteriological in nature whereas the others are not. The New Scofield Study Bible in it’s note on Ex 19 provides more detailed information which all contradict your real accusation. It would still point out to what I stated in his note on John 1:17 on Scofield being inconsistant with his overall position at worst. I fault Scofield on that for not being careful. In the meantime you will ignore other early dispensationalist such as Dr. W.H. Griffith Thomas who was co-founder of Dallas Theological Seminary with Lewis Sperry Chafer. Griffith Thomas in his specific writings on justification taught OT and NT saints were justified by faith yet held to the distinction between national Israel and the church. The same thing with Dr. Henry Thiessen who taught at Dallas Theological Seminary. In his writings on the doctrine of justification taught OT and NT saints were justifiied by faith and still held to the distinctions between Israel and the Church. See how you are being grossly selective ?

    As far as your denial of the ” literal interpretation ” I dont believe that we define it in the same manner. You wished to use Matt 13:14-14 as evidence againist it and yet this fails . Your little ” reincarnation ” statement is rejected nor does the literal interpretation would teach that at all. If Israel would have accepted it , he would have stood for Elijah the prophet but Israel did not. Elijah the prophet will appear in the future in Revelation 11 as one of the two wittnesses. In your folly you overlooked one big detail. In Luke 1:17 it states John the baptist came ” in the spirit and power of Elijah ” and that John the baptist himself stated he was not physically Elijah the prophet in John 1:21. The prophecy of Mal 4;5-6 awaits its fulfillement which is seen in Rev 11 as one of the two wittnesses. I wish to point out this position was held by premillennialist in the early church father writings too. By the way, Elijah the prophet and Moses appeared with Jesus at the transfiguration. 🙂 You fall far short of really properly interacting with the literal interpretation of Scripture.

  8. Eric care to tell me what your theological background ? You want to attack dispensationalist yet wont tell what your theology is to properly respond to you.

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