The Claim To Jerusalem Is The Obstacle To Peace In The Middle East

I … ThePowerOfGodBlogspot relates: It is certain that the Temple will be rebuilt. Prophecy demands it … With the Jewish nation reborn in the land of Palestine, ancient Jerusalem once again under total Jewish control for the first time in 2600 years, and talk of rebuilding the great Temple, the most important sign of Jesus Christ’s soon coming is before us … It is like the key piece of a jigsaw puzzle being found … For all those who trust in Jesus Christ, it is a time of electrifying excitement. 6

Palestinians, however, regard this traumatic experience rather differently. They see it as the violation of their fundamental human rights to exist autonomously in the land of their birth and forefathers. Since 1948 therefore, each community has disputed the grounds under which the other may remain.

Examples of these contested and contradictory histories include those of Palumbo, 7, Antonius, 8, and Said, 9, who give a Palestinian view-point, and Zionist’s such as Tuchman, 10, and Peters, 11, who offer an alternative perspective.

The tension is particularly focused on the mutually exclusive claims over Jerusalem.

Little has changed since Kenneth Cragg wrote, Jerusalem … is still bitterly the symbol of confronting defiance and dismay, its centrality to both parties ensuring that the obdurate loyalties it commands continue to forbid the peace to which its name is dedicated. All visions of a federal constitution, a mutual destiny, a bi-communal possession, have thus far been fruitless. The city remains the indivisible, inalienable Jewish symbol Zionism cannot allow itself to share, except in the free access of tourism and the tolerance of religious devotion. It is, therefore, a painful sign of irreconcilability – and steadily more so as the years pass. 12

6 Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (London, Lakeland, 1970), pp. 56-58.
7 Michael Palumbo, Imperial Israel, The History of the Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. rev edn. (London, Bloomsbury, 1992)
8 George Antonius, The Arab Awakening, The Story of the Arab National Movement (New York, Putnam, 1938)
9 Edward W. Said, The Question of Palestine rev edn. (London, Vintage, 1992)
10 Barbara W. Tuchman, Bible and Sword, How the British came to Palestine (London, Macmillan, 1982)
11 Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial, The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine (London, Michael Joseph, 1984)                                                                                                                                                                                                                    12 Cragg, Arab, p .47.

II …. Dispensationalism has played a major role in the development of Zionism.

In America, following the frequent visits of John Nelson Darby from 1862 onwards, his dispensational views about the Church and Israel had a profound influence upon leading evangelicals like James Brookes, D. L. Moody, William E. Blackstone and C. I. Scofield, to the point where these millennial speculations came to be accepted as normative by the great majority of American evangelicals within the 20th Century. 81

James H. Brookes (1830 ), Rev. James H. Brookes, the minister of Walnut Street Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, is known as ‘The Father of American Dispensationalism’ 82.

Brookes was instrumental in bringing D. L. Moody to St Louis for the 1879-1880 campaign, and introduced Scofield, and probably also Darby to Moody. Brookes not only sympathised with J. N. Darby’s dispensational views of a failing Church, corrupt and beyond hope, but it is known they met during five visits Darby made to St Louis between 1864-1865 83 and again between 1872-1877 when Darby preached from Brookes’ pulpit. 84

Brookes became the most influential exponent of Dispensationalism by three chief means. The first of these was his own Bible study and his habit of gathering young protégés around him for such study. By far the best known of these students was C. I. Scofield. The second means was his literary work. He published many books and pamphlets and he edited The Truth, a Christian magazine, from 1874 until his death. The third means was his leadership in the Niagara Bible Conference and the various prophetic conferences of his day. 85

In the summer of 1872, Darby wrote a letter describing the fruitfulness of his initial visit to St. Louis which had included, ‘…good opportunities and I am in pretty full intercourse with those exercised, among whom are more than one official minister. ‘86

Mindful perhaps of the disapprobation held within traditional denominational circles for the Brethren and in particular for Darby’s controversial views, with which he now identified, Brookes, …gave no credit for them to Darby or any of the Brethren. This may be due to the fact that there were associations with the name Darby which Brookes wished to avoid. 87

This nevertheless explains how the premillennial dispensational views associated with the Albury and Powerscourt Conferences in England and Ireland had taken root in Middle America. Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899). John Nelson Darby’s influence over D. L. Moody came about through one of Darby’s disciples, a young evangelist Henry Moorehouse who impressed Moody with his ‘extraordinary’ preaching. According to his son, Moody’s message and style were revolutionised, ‘Mr Moorehouse taught Moody to draw his sword full length, to fling the scabbard away, and to enter the battle with the naked blade.’88

Albert Newman, a contemporary American historian confirmed the strong influence Darby and his colleagues had over Moody,
The large class of evangelists, of whom Dwight L. Moody was the most eminent, have drawn their inspiration and their Scripture interpretation largely from the writings and the personal influence of the Brethren. 89

Arno Gaebelein, Scofield’s biographer, notes how Scofield kept Moody conformed to a dispensational prophetic framework, ‘Moody himself needed at times a better knowledge of prophecy, and Scofield was the man to lead him into it.’ 90

Moody’s greatest service to Darby and dispensationalism has come through the Bible institute which still bears his name and which became a model for many others. By 1956 it is known that at least 41 Bible schools were identified as dispensational, training some 10,000 pastors and missionaries annually, six of the largest accounting for half the student numbers. 91

Moody’s Institute in Chicago, although not the first of such schools, became the prototype; and since Moody had imbibed a fair dose of dispensationalism in a rather typical unstructured form, and his colleague and successor R. A. Torrey in a more systematic way, it was natural that the burgeoning Bible school movement, with a few exceptions, should follow this line of thought. And as the Bible schools unintentionally became training centres for evangelical ministers as many of the theological seminaries opted for divergent views, Darby’s prophetic teaching became more widely accepted than ever. 92

Moody’s name is also associated with the popular Northfield Conferences which he founded in 1880 93

Sandeen makes a further significant observation.  No historian of Moody’s amazing career has noted, however, that his Northfield Conferences were virtually dominated by dispensationalists, particularly from 1880 through 1887 and again from 1894-1902. 94

William E. Blackstone (1841-1935) Another of John Nelson Darby’s disciples was William E. Blackstone, an influential evangelist, financier and benefactor 95.

In 1887 he wrote a book, Jesus is Coming which by 1916 had already been translated into 25 languages, 96 eventually selling over 1 million copies in 48 languages including Hebrew. In 1908 a presentation edition was sent to several hundred thousand ministers and Christian workers 97 and apparently the book is still in print. According to W. M. Smith, this best-seller was,  Probably the most wide-read book in this century on our Lord’s return

More Christian leaders had their interest in the second advent awakened by this book than any other volume that had been published for decades.98

Blackstone also helped to found the Chicago Hebrew Mission, which later became the American Messianic Fellowship. In 1890, he headed the first conference between Jews and Christians in Chicago. The following year in March 1891 he lobbied the US President Benjamin Harrison and his Secretary of State, James G. Blaine, with a petition signed by 413 Jewish and Christian leaders including John & William Rockefeller, calling for an international conference on the Jews and Palestine. The petition offered this solution,

Why not give Palestine back to them [the Jews] again? According to God’s distribution of nations it is their home, an inalienable possession from which they were expelled by force. Under their cultivation it was a remarkably fruitful land, sustaining millions of Israelites, who industriously tilled its hillsides and valleys. They were agriculturalists and producers as well as a nation of great commercial importance – the centre of civilization and religion. Why shall not the powers which under the treaty of Berlin, in 1878, gave Bulgaria to the Bulgarians and Servia to the Servians now give Palestine back to the Jews? 99

Although President Harrison did not act upon the petition, the event was commemorated in Israel in 1965 with a memorial and a forest dedicated in Blackstone’s name.100

In the 19th Century there was a considerable thawing in Protestant attitudes toward the Jews, 101 of enthusiasm for missionary outreach among them as well as a growing interest in the Holy Land and things Oriental. 102 This was largely due to a succession of archaeological discoveries in the Near East, military adventurism, and the growing number of travelogues which fired the imagination.

81 Don Wagner, Anxious for Armageddon (Waterloo, Ontario, Herald press, 1995), p. 89. See also separate chapters on Darby, Irving and Scofield.
82 John Gerstner, Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth (Brentwood, Tennessee, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1991), p. 38.
83 Ernest Reisinger, ‘A History of Dispensationalism in America’ (
84 Ernest Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism British & American Millenarianism 1800-1930 (Chicago, University Chicago Press, 1970), pp. 74-75.
85 Gerstner, Wrongly., pp. 39-40.
86 J. N. Darby, Letters of J. N. Darby (London, Morish Co., n.d.) Vol .2, p. 180.
87 Oswald T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church (Philadelphia, Presbyterian and Reformed, 1945), p. 133.
88 William R. Moody, The Life of Dwight L. Moody (Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Sword for the Lord, 1900), p. 140.
89 Albert Henry Newman, Manual of Church History Volume 2, Modern Church History 1517-1902 (Philadelphia: American Baptist Society, 1904), p. 713.
90 Arno C. Gaebelein, The History of the Scofield Reference Bible (Spokane, WA, Living Words Foundation, 1991), p. 25.
91 Gerstner, Wrongly., p. 51
92 Ian S. Rennie, ‘Nineteenth-Century Roots,’ in Handbook of Biblical Prophecy, eds. Carl E. Armerding and W. Ward Gasque (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1977) p. 57, cited in Gerstner, Wrongly., p. 45.
93 Gerstner, Wrongly., p. 45.
94 Ernest R. Sandeen, “Towards a Historical Interpretation of the Origins of Fundamentalism,” Church History 36 (1967) p. 76.
95 Berth Lindbert, A God-Filled Life: The Story of W. E. Blackstone (American Missionary Society, n.d.)
96 William E. Blackstone, Jesus is Coming (Chicago, Fleming Revell, 1916)
97 Ian S. Rennie, ‘Nineteenth-Century Roots,’ p. 48.
98 W. M. Smith, ‘Signs of the Times’, Moody Monthly, August 1966, p. 5.
99 Reuben Fink, America and Palestine (New York, American Zionist Emergency Council, 1945), pp. 20-21. Cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 92.
100 Harold R. Cook, ‘William Eugene Blackstone’ The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church ed. J.D. Douglas (Exeter, Paternoster, 1974), p. 134.
101 David A. Rausch, Fundamentalist Evangelicals and Anti-Semitism (Valley Forge, Trinity Press International, 1993); Zionism within early American Fundamentalism, 1878-1918; a convergence of two traditions (New York: Mellen Press, 1979)
102 Naomi Shepherd, The Zealous Intruders: The Western Rediscovery of Palestine (London, Collins, 1987); Linda Osband, Famous Travellers to the Holy Land (London, Prion, 1989).

III … Scofield taught dispensationalism. He defined a dispensation as a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God. He teaches in the Scofield Bible that there are Seven Dispensations: (1) The Dispensation of Innocency: before the Fall; (2) The Dispensation of Conscience: before the Flood; (3) The Dispensation of Human Government; (4) The Dispensation of Promise: from the calling of Abraham until Mt. Sinai; (5) The Dispensation of the Law: from Mt. Sinai to the cross of Christ; (6) The Dispensation of Grace: from the cross of Christ to the Second Advent; (7) The Dispensation of the Kingdom: the Millennium.

Dispensationalists hold that the appearance and reign of the sovereign takes place during the seven-year period know as the Tribulation; with the last 42 months known as the Great Tribulation. At the end of the seven years Christ returns with His saints, defeats and destroys the Anti-Christ and his armies in the battle of Armageddon, and sets up an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem over which He rules in person for 1000 years. The reign of Christ on earth at that time according to Scofield, will be a sitting on the throne of David, as King of the Jews, literally, strictly and politically understood.

Dispensationalists insist that Chapters 40-48 of Ezekiel are to be taken literally, that their fulfilment will be in the millennial kingdom, that the temple will be rebuilt and animal sacrifices are again to be offered. “Doubtless these offerings,” says Scofield, “will be memorial, looking back to the cross, as the offerings under the old covenant were anticipatory, looking forward to the cross.” (p. 890 of the Scofield Reference Bible).

Bible prophecy foretells of a world war between Israel, Iran, Syria, Turkey and other arab nations that draws in Russia, Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, as well as Turkey. One can read of this in Jack Kelley’s article The Battle Of Ezekiel 38 on the Grace Through Faith Website.

And bible prophecy of Daniel 9:27 foretells that the world’s Sovereign will one day, after this terrific war, will establish a peace covenant between Israel and Arab nations. It is a given that the covenant between the Sovereign and Israel will permit the Jews to rebuild their temple, where they will once again practice their sacrifices.

Yet the Sovereign will not fully honor that covenant as he will break it after 36 months. “He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week”; here each day represents one year. This important phrase indicates that the event that starts the 70th week, the seven-year tribulation, is the signing of a seven-year covenant between the Sovereign and Israel. The signing of the covenant begins the period called the Tribulation. At the halfway point of the Tribulation, which is three and a half years, the Sovereign will break this covenant with Israel with an event called “The Abomination of Desolation.” It is at this time that God provides a physical place of safety, that is a refuge, for a select group of saints.This also signals there is only three and a half more years remaining before Christ returns to earth to set up His Earthly Kingdom, which will last for a 1,000 years.

Bible prophecy also foretells that it is at this time currencies collapse, and a worldwide credit system will be installed. The Sovereign, that is the world leader, Revelation 13:5-10, will be complemented by the Seignior, meaning top dog banker who takes a cut, Revelation 13:11-18, who will direct the 666 credit system, Revelation 13:17-18, which is the seigniorage system whereby one will be given the charagma, or mark, necessary to conduct commercial activity.

The World’s Sovereign has an appointment: he will be on the plains of Megiddo for The Apocalypse, that is,  The Battle of Armageddon.

The word Armageddon appears only once in the New Testament that being in Revelation 16:16.  The word comes from Hebrew har məgiddô (הר מגידו), meaning “Mountain of Megiddo or “place surrounded by hills”.  Megiddo was the location of many decisive battles in ancient times.

The King of kings comes forth to do battle with the Sovereign, Revelation 19:11-19; he and the false prophet are seized and defeated, Revelation 19:20-21.

The rule of The King, Jesus The Christ, will last for a 1,000 years, and is called the Millenium; it is found in Revelation 20:1-4.

This seventh day will complete the 7,000 years from Adam until the eternal kingdom; for as the Apostle Peter said in  2 Peter 3:8: But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. It will be the genuine celebration of the feast day of Sukkoth – The Feast of Tabernacles.

The Kingdom begins with The Lord, The Prince of Peace, reigning from Jerusalem; it will be a most happy day.

IV …  What is Dispensationalism? By Michael J. Vlach, Ph.D.


 Since the mid-1800s, the system of theology known as dispensationalism has exerted great influence on how many Christians view the doctrines of ecclesiology and eschatology. In this article, we will survey the history of dispensationalism and look at the key beliefs associated with the system.

History of Dispensationalism

Theologians continue to argue over the origin of dispensationalism. Those who are dispensationalists argue that the basic beliefs of dispensationalism were held by the apostles and the first generation church. Those who are not dispensationalists often argue that dispensationalism is a new theology that began in the 19th century. What is clear, though, is that dispensationalism, as a system, began to take shape in the mid-1800s.

1.  John Nelson Darby The beginning of systematized dispensationalism is usually linked with John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), a Plymouth Brethren minister. While at Trinity College in Dublin (1819), Darby came to believe in a future salvation and restoration of national Israel. Based on his study of Isaiah 32, Darby concluded that Israel, in a future dispensation, would enjoy earthly blessings that were different from the heavenly blessings experienced by the church. He thus saw a clear distinction between Israel and the church. Darby also came to believe in an “any moment” rapture of the church that was followed by Daniel’s Seventieth Week in which Israel would once again take center stage in God’s plan. After this period, Darby believed there would be a millennial kingdom in which God would fulfill His unconditional promises with Israel.1 According to Paul Enns, “Darby advanced the scheme of dispensationalism by noting that each dispensation places man under some condition; man has some responsibility before God. Darby also noted that each dispensation culminates in failure.” 2   Darby saw seven dispensations: (1) Paradisaical state to the Flood; (2) Noah; (3) Abraham; (4) Israel; (5) Gentiles; (6) The Spirit; and (7) The Millennium. By his own testimony, Darby says his dispensational theology was fully formed by 1833.  

2.  The Brethren Movement Dispensationalism first took shape in the Brethren Movement in early nineteenth century Britain. Those within the Brethren Movement rejected a special role for ordained clergy and stressed the spiritual giftedness of ordinary believers and their freedom, under the Spirit’s guidance, to teach and admonish each other from Scripture. The writings of the Brethren had a broad impact on evangelical Protestantism and influenced ministers in the United States such as D. L. Moody, James Brookes, J. R. Graves, A. J. Gordon, and C. I. Scofield.3  

3.  The Bible Conference Movement Beginning in the 1870s, various Bible conferences began to spring up in various parts of the United States. These conferences helped spread Dispensationalism. The Niagara conferences (1870—early 1900s) were not started to promote dispensationalism but dispensational ideas were often promoted at these conferences. The American Bible and Prophetic Conferences from 1878—1914 promoted a dispensational theology.  

4.  The Bible Institute Movement In the late 1800s, several Bible institutes were founded that taught dispensational theology including The Nyack Bible Institute (1882), The Boston Missionary Training School (1889), and The Moody Bible Institute (1889).  

5.  The Scofield Reference Bible C. I. Scofield, a participant in the Niagara conferences, formed a board of Bible conference teachers in 1909 and produced what came to be known as, the Scofield Reference Bible. This work became famous in the United States with its theological annotations right next to the Scripture. This reference Bible became the greatest influence in the spread of dispensationalism.  

6Dallas Theological Seminary After World War I, many dispensational Bible schools were formed. Led by Dallas Theological Seminary (1924), dispensationalism began to be promoted in formal, academic settings. Under Scofield, dispensationalism entered a scholastic period that was later carried on by his successor, Lewis Sperry Chafer. Further promotion of dispensationalism took place with the writing of Chafer’s eight-volume Systematic Theology.  

Foundational Features of Dispensationalism 4 

1.  Hermeneutical approach that stresses a literal fulfillment of Old Testament promises to Israel Though the issue of “literal interpretation” is heavily debated today, many dispensationalists claim that consistent literal interpretation applied to all areas of the Bible, including Old Testament promises to Israel, is a distinguishing mark of dispensationalism. Dispensationalists usually argue that the progress of revelation, including New Testament revelation, does not cancel Old Testament promises made with national Israel. Although there is internal debate concerning how much the church is related to the Old Testament covenants and promises, dispensationalists believe national Israel will see the literal fulfillment of the promises made with her in the Old Testament.  

2.  Belief that the unconditional, eternal covenants made with national Israel (Abrahamic, Davidic, and New) must be fulfilled literally with national Israel Although the church may participate in or partially fulfill the biblical covenants, they do not take over the covenants to the exclusion of national Israel. Physical and spiritual promises to Israel must be fulfilled with Israel.  

3.   Distinct future for national Israel  “Only Dispensationalism clearly sees a distinctive future for ethnic Israel as a nation.”5   This future includes a restoration of the nation with a distinct identity and function.  

4.  The church is distinct from Israel The church does not replace or continue Israel, and is never referred to as Israel. According to dispensationalists, the church did not exist in the Old Testament and did not begin until the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Old Testament promises to Israel, then, cannot be entirely fulfilled with the church. Evidences often used by dispensationalists to show that the church is distinct from Israel include: (a) Jesus viewed the church as future in Matthew 16:18; (b) an essential element of the church—Spirit baptism—did not begin until the Day of Pentecost (compare 1 Cor. 12:13 with Acts 2); (c) Christ became Head of the church as a result of His resurrection (compare Eph. 4:15; Col. 1:18 with Eph. 1:19-23); (d) the spiritual gifts associated with the church (cf. Eph. 4:7-12; 1 Cor. 12:11-13) were not given until the ascension of Christ; (e) the “new man” nature of the church (cf. Eph. 2:15) shows that the church is a NT organism and not something incorporated into Israel; (f) the foundation of the church is Jesus Christ and the New Testament apostles and prophets (cf. Eph. 2:20); (g) the author, Luke, keeps Israel and the church distinct. On this last point, Fruchtenbaum states, “In the book of Acts, both Israel and the church exist simultaneously. The term Israel is used twenty times and ekklesia (church) nineteen times, yet the two groups are always kept distinct.”6  

5. Multiple senses of “seed of Abraham” According to Feinberg, the designation “seed of Abraham” is used in different ways in Scripture. First it is used in reference to ethnic, biological Jews (cf. Romans 9—11). Second, it is used in a political sense. Third, it is used in a spiritual sense to refer to people, whether Jew or Gentile, who are spiritually related to God by faith (cf. Romans 4:11-12; Galatians 3:7). Feinberg argues that the spiritual sense of the title does not take over the physical sense to such an extent that the physical seed of Abraham is no longer related to the biblical covenants.

6. Philosophy of history that emphasizes both the spiritual and physical aspects of God’s covenants According to John Feinberg, “nondispensational treatments of the nature of the covenants and of Israel’s future invariably emphasize soteriological and spiritual issues, whereas dispensational treatments emphasize both the spiritual/soteriological and the social, economic, and political aspects of things.” 7 

Other significant, although not necessarily exclusive features of dispensationalism, include: (1) the authority of Scripture; (2) belief in dispensations; (3) emphasis on Bible prophecy; (4) futuristic premillennialism; (5) pretribulationism; and (6) a view of imminency that sees Christ’s return as an “any-moment” possibility.  

Variations Within Dispensationalism  

 The above features characterize the beliefs of those within the dispensational tradition. However, as Blaising writes, “Dispensationalism has not been a static tradition.” 8  There is no standard creed that freezes its theological development at any given point in history. Blaising offers three forms of dispensational thought:  

1. Classical Dispensationalism (ca. 1850—1940s) Classical dispensationalism refers to the views of British and American dispensationalists between the writings of Darby and Chafer’s eight-volume Systematic Theology. The interpretive notes of the Scofield Reference Bible are often seen as the key representation of the classical dispensational tradition.9  

One important feature of classical dispensationalism was its dualistic idea of redemption. In this tradition, God is seen as pursuing two different purposes. One is related to heaven and the other to the earth. The “heavenly humanity was to be made up of all the redeemed from all dispensations who would be resurrected from the dead. Whereas the earthly humanity concerned people who had not died but who were preserved by God from death, the heavenly humanity was made up of all the saved who had died, whom God would resurrect from the dead.” 10 

Blaising notes that the heavenly, spiritual, and individualistic nature of the church in classical dispensationalism underscored the well-known view that the church is a parenthesis in the history of redemption.11  In this tradition, there was little emphasis on social or political activity for the church.  

Key theologians : John Nelson Darby, C. I. Scofield, Lewis Sperry Chafer  

2. Revised or Modified Dispensationalism (ca.1950—1985) Revised dispensationalists abandoned the eternal dualism of heavenly and earthly peoples. The emphasis in this strand of the dispensational tradition was on two peoples of God—Israel and the church. These two groups are structured differently with different dispensational roles and responsibilities, but the salvation they each receive is the same. The distinction between Israel and the church, as different anthropological groups, will continue throughout eternity.

Revised dispensationalists usually reject the idea that there are two new covenants—one for Israel and one for the church. They also see the church and Israel as existing together during the millennium and eternal state.

Key theologians : John Walvoord, Dwight Pentecost, Charles Ryrie, Charles Feinberg, Alva J. McClain.  

3. Progressive Dispensationalism (1986—present) What does “progressive” mean? The title “progressive dispensationalism” refers to the “progressive” relationship of the successive dispensations to one another.12   Charles Ryrie notes that, “The adjective ‘progressive’ refers to a central tenet that the Abrahamic, Davidic, and new covenants are being progressively fulfilled today (as well as having fulfillments in the millennial kingdom).” 13

“One of the striking differences between progressive and earlier dispensationalists, is that progressives do not view the church as an anthropological category in the same class as terms like Israel, Gentile Nations, Jews, and Gentile people. The church is neither a separate race of humanity (in contrast to Jews and Gentiles) nor a competing nation alongside Israel and Gentile nations. . . . The church is precisely redeemed humanity itself (both Jews and Gentiles) as it exists in this dispensation prior to the coming of Christ.”14  

Progressive dispensationalists see more continuity between Israel and the church than the other two variations within dispensationalism. They stress that both Israel and the church compose the “people of God” and both are related to the blessings of the New Covenant. This spiritual equality, however, does not mean that there are not functional distinctions between the groups. Progressive dispensationalists do not equate the church as Israel in this age and they still see a future distinct identity and function for ethnic Israel in the coming millennial kingdom. Progressive dispensationalists like Blaising and Bock see an already/not yet aspect to the Davidic reign of Christ, seeing the Davidic reign as being inaugurated during the present church age. The full fulfillment of this reign awaits Israel in the millennium.

Key theologians : Craig A. Blaising, Darrell L. Bock, and Robert L. Saucy

1. See Floyd Elmore, “Darby, John Nelson,” Dictionary of Premillennial Theology, Mal Couch, ed., (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1996) 83-84.

2. Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago: Moody, 1989) 516.

3. See Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism (Wheaton: Victor, 1993) 10.

4. These essentials of Dispensationalism are taken from John S. Feinberg’s, “Systems of Discontinuity,” Continuity and Discontinuity: Perspectives on the Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments, ed. John S. Feinberg (Wheaton: Crossway, 1988) 67-85. At this point we acknowledge the well-known sine qua non of Dispensationalism as put forth by Charles C. Ryrie. According to Ryrie, Dispensationalism is based on the three following characteristics: (1) a distinction between Israel and the church; (2) literal hermeneutics; and (3) A view which sees the glory of God as the underlying purpose of God in the world. See Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995) 38-40.

5. Feinberg, 83.

6. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology. Tustin: Ariel, 1994) 118.

7. Feinberg, 85.

8. Blaising and Bock, 21.

9. Blaising and Bock, 22.

10. Blaising and Bock, 24.

11. Blaising and Bock, 27.

12. Blaising and Bock, 49.

13. Charles C. Ryrie, “Update on Dispensationalism,” Issues in Dispensationalism, John R. Master and Wesley R. Willis, eds. (Chicago: Moody, 1994) 20.

14. Blaising and Bock, 49.

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