#8 The Sine Qua Non of Dispensationalism

The Dispensations
The Dispensations
#8 The Sine Qua Non of Dispensationalism
I want you to be finding Romans chapter 9. This being Easter month, it always makes our Sunday night services a little different throughout the month. Tonight we get this service, but next Sunday night we’ll be at our house and have a come and dine Easter Sunset service.
That’s the way we do it. And you’re all invited. I hope that you can come. And then two weeks from today we will have a business meeting after the morning service, remember? And so we’ll have lunch here at church together without this evening service. And then this being a five Sunday month, the Sunday night after that we will have the Lord Supper on Sunday night. So kind of a change up on our Sunday night services through the month. But I get this night and as I said last week, I’ve been talking to you about the dispensations in the Word of God and I want to move on to the covenants, but I’m going to wait since it’s three weeks away and start that in May. So I wanted to do kind of a review, kind of a conclusion to our study of the seven dispensations in the scripture. And if you have your bulletin, I probably should have added more.
I only had the two major points there and you’ll have to write in things if you like to write. And the title of this is the Sine Qua Non of Dispensationalism. What does that mean? It means the bottom line. Literally that statement means without which is nothing. As a matter of fact, in looking at the history of that statement, I thought it was kind of interesting. Andrew Jackson once, believe it or not, received an honorary doctorate from Harvard University. I didn’t know that. And when he received it, his statement was, E pluribus unum, sina qua non. That is, that is an indispensable belief in America that we have. That is out of many, one. And when it comes to what we call dispensationalism, there are certain bottom lines.
There are certain things that we can’t do without in order to be this. In the 1960s, Charles Ryery, some of you have Ryery study Bibles or I’ve met Charles Ryery, this hand shook his hand. He signed his new book, dispensationalism. But before that, it was called dispensationalism today. It came out in the 60s. It’s been a textbook in our type of schools for a long time. It was a textbook of mine when I was in school. And in it, he used this phrase of dispensationalism. If you believe in this way of interpreting the Bible, there’s a sina qua non to it. There’s a bottom line to it.
And he put it in three-fold fashion. Number one, we interpret the Bible literally. In other words, a consistent use of literal interpretation, meaning we take it for what it says. We, if the prophets say this is going to happen in the future, that’s the way we take it. If history says this is the way it happened in the past, that’s the way we take it. We don’t spiritualize it, allegorize it, unless the text dictates that we do so.
The second thing he said was a doxological purpose of God, meaning God’s glory is the underlying purpose of the scriptures. And so it’s not for you and me. It’s not for our glory.
It’s rather for the glory of God always in his outworking of the history of the world. But number three, and I think the most important is a distinction, he said, between Israel and the church. A distinction between who Israel is and who they will be and who the church is and who we will be. Now let me point out that in the 20th century especially for that 100 years, dispensationalism had its heyday.
I mean a lot was done in the name of Christ, evangelism, missions and all the rest by those who call themselves dispensationalists. And there’s some agreement over these three things. As a matter of fact, some point out. There are other people who interpret the Bible literally and don’t want to be called dispensationalists. There are many others who believe that the bottom line to our lives is to bring God glory but don’t call themselves dispensationalists. But when it comes to the third one, if you believe there’s a distinction between Israel and the church, 99% of the time you’ll call yourself a dispensationalist. That is a key belief to this belief. Now dispensationalism has kind of lost favor in the 21st century.
And there, because I think things like covenant theology and reformed theology are really being pushed by schools and large churches and so forth today. So the dispensational name has kind of lost favor. As a matter of fact, with some it might even be called a dirty word. Oh, I’d never be called a dispensationalist. I don’t want to be called that. For those of us who grew up with it, who grew up with a Schofield study Bible in our hand, you know, and the large charts of the dispensations and the prophetic charts and everything, we think why would we not want to be identified with it?
I don’t know. But there are those, always been those who are covenant in theology. And when I get to the covenants, and we talk about those next month, I’ll make this distinction, but covenant theology is kind of the mirror image of dispensationalism. I mean, it’s the opposite. Usually one is either dispensational or he’s covenant in theology.
I’ll come back to that. But basically, it’s interesting that covenant theologians don’t base their covenant theology on the covenants of the Bible. They believe there are three covenants, a covenant of works made with Adam in the garden, then a covenant of grace, which goes from Adam and Eve all the way to the end of the world, and then a covenant of redemption that goes back before the beginning of the world and goes throughout eternity future. The only problem with those three covenants is none of them are ever mentioned in the Bible. And yet that’s the basis for their covenant theology.
We’ll talk about that more in the future. The Reformed churches today are very anti-dispensational. Many of them hold to a replacement theology. That is, Israel had its place in history, they will say, but Israel is no more. Israel failed, crucified their Messiah, God threw them away, not just set them on a shelf, not just delayed things, but there is no more Israel and there will be no more Israel in the future. Replacement theology. And so all of the promises made to Israel are now claimed by the church, and we will get those promises, maybe not in a literal sense, but in some kind of a spiritual or allegorical sense.
There’s even a thing called historic premillennialism, which basically mixes Israel and the church throughout history. So there have been those, and there are today. And unfortunately, many of the big-name people who are in the big church movements and the rest are not necessarily dispensationalist these days. Many of them are Reformed, and that’s why it’s kind of losing favor. Yet I would say this, I think I would say it without contradiction, that the dispensational way of looking at the Bible was one of the greatest blessings to the church and to Christianity in the 20th century for a hundred years.
Most of those who called themselves fundamentalists at the beginning of the 20th century were dispensational in their thinking. And it has been a blessing. I remember as an 18-year-old being drawn to church by seeing one of those big charts across the front of the auditorium that someone was teaching, and it just opened the Bible up to. It was like looking at the mountains from ten miles back, you know, when you can see the whole panoramic view of all the mountains instead of right up close. It just opened everything up like that, and I know many of you come from such a background too. So throughout the 20th century, independent churches, what we know of now as the GRBC churches go back to the 1930s. They’ve always been dispensational. The Baptist Bible Fellowship has been dispensational. Most Bible churches today are still dispensational. Grace’s Brother and Churches are dispensational. Dallas Seminary, Talbot Seminary, all the way back to Moody Bible Institute.
And our schools today from BBC to Central Seminary to Faith College and Seminary. BGU and Pensacola are some yes and some no, but they’re not anti-dismissational as a point. So the mission boards, those who have planted churches in the last hundred years, those who have sent out missionaries all around the world, even most Southern Baptists were dispensational throughout their history. So look at all that has been done for soul-winning, for church-planning, for missions, for all of this for the last 100 to 150 years, done by dispensationalists mostly, I think. And I think I say that without contradiction.
So it’s unique. And I hate to see the favor of it die away in our churches, but things sometimes are in favor and sometimes are out of favor, just the way it is. In dispensationalism, a key is that Israel is unique and the church is unique. What God has done for Israel and what He will do for Israel is unique and should be taken literally in the Scripture. And what the church is and what God will do for the church throughout eternity should be taken for what it is.
As a matter of fact, Rirey called that the basic theological test. Now one other note before we get into our outline, our whole two points there of our outline, is this, and it should be mentioned, that dispensationalism historically has also been separate to see That is, dispensation is believing separation from sin in the world. Separation is usually categorized in two ways. There’s ecclesiastical separation and then there’s personal separation. Ecclesiastical separation is there’s going to be a one-world church one day headed by the Antichrist and the false prophet.
And as the world begins to head that way, we are to come out from among that and be separate. There’s an ecclesiastical separation. So the ecumenical things where we have to say, Amen, God bless you to things that are unbiblical, we separate from and say, I can’t participate in that because I can’t say amen to that. And then there are the personal separation issues where we find ourselves separating from the world in a way that would compromise us before Christ. Now the reason for that is we believe, dispensation is believed that the age of grace is going to fail in the end. Just like every dispensation there’s been a failure and the world will go down and down and become worse and worse until Jesus returns.
You say, is that negative? I don’t know but it’s biblical and that’s what’s going to happen in this world. And so as the world goes down and down, the church should not go down and down after it but should separate from it. So we have an ecclesiastical separation and dispensations have believed that believers in this age of grace are believer priests. We don’t have priests in our church. We don’t have a hierarchy like that. We are all believer priests before God.
And so since we are, we are a holy nation of peculiar people, as Peter said, that we should show forth the praises of him who called us out of darkness into marvelous light. And so there’s personal separation. For that reason, and the reason I mention it is I think that there are many people who don’t like that today. And separation isn’t a very appreciated doctrine in a lot of churches today and a lot of denominations and a lot of movements and so forth and then a lot of Christians. And so the whole fact that dispensations have been separatists gives them a negative connotation today. I wear it gladly but you know, it’s just the way it happens to be this day. We’ve seen better days and we’ve seen worse days.
Now as to our outline, I’m going to take us to two different Bible portions. One is in Romans, some in chapter 9, some in 11. And then secondly, when we talk about the church, we’re going to go to Colossians chapter 1. So first, here I say that Israel was and is, always will be God’s chosen people.
Now I even spent some time this morning in the message talking about how Israel crucified their Messiah, failed when their very Messiah came to them and so God has set them on a shelf. That’s true. But Paul takes three chapters here in 1911 to tell us that doesn’t mean he’s done with Israel because even though they’re set on a shelf and today God is not using them in that peculiar way as he used to, when he returns the second time, Israel will again be the number one nation and he will be their king and he will reign among them.
So their future is still there. So in Romans chapter 9, here are four things if you’re writing. Number one, the covenants confirm them. I’m saying Israel is always God’s people. Number one, because the covenants confirm them. Now in chapter 9 of Romans, Paul says, I say the truth in Christ.
I lie not. My conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh. Now notice who are Israelites. Not were, but are Israelites. To whom pertaineth and notice all of the things that belong to them. The adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, the promises, the fathers who as concerning the flesh, Christ came who is overall Godless, the very Messiah, Christ himself. And so the covenants belong to them. That means Israel has always been a national identity whereas you and I are a spiritual identity. They are Israelites because they’re born as Israelites.
The circumcision was their indoctrination into their whole nation. And so it only grows by physical birth. Israel only becomes larger if they have more children. And if they trace their descendants back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and so forth. And so the covenants belong to them. And Paul says here these covenants would go back to Abraham’s covenant, the Davidic covenant, the Palestinian covenant. These Old Testament covenants that said, God said, you are my people until the sun, moon and stars fall from the sky.
That hasn’t happened yet. And so they’re still God’s people. Secondly, under this point, the gospel did condemn them. The gospel condemns them. Now go to chapter 11 of Romans and look again as I said this morning but saying again, chapter 11 all the way over to verse 28.
He says now is concerning the gospel. They are enemies for your sakes. It’s a statement that’s too bad, isn’t it? He says, these are my brother and according to the flesh, I wish I could give my soul for them. But they have been the enemies of the gospel. One of the sad things about the nation of Israel is that when their Messiah came and they rejected him, the last state of them is worse than the first. They’re worse off after the Messiah came than before. Because they rejected them, God set them on a shelf until his second coming. And now, rather than being promoters of the gospel, they become enemies of the gospel.
What a sad thing that is. Throughout church history and the evangelism that has taken place for 2,000 years, there’s never been a mission field more difficult than trying to reach the Jewish people. Whether that’s in Israel or whether that’s in New York or wherever else they may live in this world and they live in many different places, but they have been set aside because of this. Let me read on from verse 28, that as touching the election, they are beloved for the Father’s sake. In other words, yes, they are enemies for the gospel, but they are elect of God. They are an elect people by the Father for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance, are irrevocable.
Those things cannot be taken back. These are promises he made to them. For as ye in times past them not have believed God, yet now have obtained mercy through their unbelief, even so have these also now not believed that through your mercy, they also may obtain mercy. God have concluded them all in unbelief that he might have mercy upon all. In other words, he says in there, you know how they can receive the mercy of God if you will take them the gospel of Jesus Christ. So that at least individually, they can believe in Jesus Christ their real Messiah and come again into God’s favor. So even though the gospel condemned them, they are only set aside and they can become God’s people by being saved. And I have said this before in our study.
I’ll insert it right here again. That when a Jewish person believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, he becomes part of the church of Jesus Christ because everyone who is saved in this age is part of that church of Christ that we’re going to talk about in a minute. And it’s a greater thing to be part of the church than it is to be part of Israel. And so here’s the Apostle Paul. Was he not part of the church? Here’s all of the apostles, all of them Jewish. Are they not the foundation of the church?
Of course they are. And a much greater thing to be in the church than to simply be Israel. And so we can show them the mercy of God these days by witnessing to them.
Thirdly, the rejection though, preserve them. Even though they’ve been set on the shelf, it has actually been a preservation for them because God is waiting to fulfill his promises to them. Now look at chapter 11 and verses 1 through 5. I say then, have God cast away his people?
God forbid. I also am an Israelite to the seat of Abraham, the tribe of Benjamin. Paul speaking of course. God has not cast away his people, which he foreknew. How many times does he say that in this chapter? What you not, know you not that what the scripture says of Elijah, how he make a thinner session to God against Israel saying, Lord they have killed thy prophets and dig down thine altars and I am left alone and they seek my life. But what sayeth the answer of God to him?
I have reserved to myself 7000 men who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. So Paul says even so, then at this present time, there is also a remnant according to the election of grace. There’s a remnant that will be saved. At this time in the church age they are Israel. They can become part of the church. A tribulation period is coming and where the church will be removed and unbelieving Israel will be left here on the earth and yet 144,000 of them will become believers and many more and they will even become the evangelists during the tribulation period. And so they will be preserved and go into the kingdom of God, that remnant that all the prophets speak about and that Paul here speaks about.
So a remnant will be saved and repopulate the earth in the kingdom of God. That time is coming so even their rejection in my point has preserved them. Lastly, number 4, the future will restore them. The future will restore them and so chapter 11 again verse 12, now if the fall of them be the riches of the world and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentile, let me stop there and say you and I are children of God through faith in Jesus Christ because the Jews rejected their Messiah and the message was taken to the whole world. In God’s sovereignty and in God’s plan he saw that happening and the Jews themselves can be blessed the same way if they would believe. And so the gospel came to you around the world 2,000 years later in a totally different language in a totally different place. Somebody came to you with the gospel of a crucified Messiah who died, was buried and rose again for you.
you. And you believed it and you accepted it. And so it has become the riches of the Gentiles. Notice right at the end of verse 12, how much more their fullness. If you think the world has been blessed by the fault or the falling away of Israel, think of how the world is going to be blessed when God restores them to their fullness.
That’s what he’s saying here. Then in verse 15, if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be? Life from the dead. I mean the resurrection of all of the Old Testament saints. Abraham will be there.
David will be there. And all of those saints of God. Skip down to verse 26, so all Israel shall be saved. Well he surely can’t mean in this age of grace. Do you think that we’re going to reach every Israelite that lives on the earth and they’re all going to become Christians in this age of grace?
No. But when Jesus returns and that kingdom is set up, all Israel that will be living on the earth will believe in him. They will be saved. As it is written, there shall come out of Zion the deliverer and shall turn again the or away the ungodliness of Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins. And so that day is coming and we should understand it. The kingdom, the millennial kingdom is their promise and we take it literally.
As we said, as the dispensational point of view looks at it, if we go back to Isaiah and Isaiah says there’s a kingdom time coming where Jesus will reign on the earth and all Israel will believe in him, have their promise land, they will be the number one nation in the world, you and I read that prophecy and we take it for what it is. And I think Paul takes it for what it is. That’s what he’s saying here in this chapter. That’s what the prophet said.
That’s what’s going to happen. Don’t lose faith in that even though they have been rejected and turned away. Even God’s glory, since we believe that God’s glory is the main purpose, even God’s glory cannot be fully fulfilled unless these promises are true and fulfilled and he is there in the kingdom of God and the whole world worshiping him as the king that they should worship. Even God’s glory can’t be fulfilled without the literal promises of the Old Testament. And by the way, Isaiah 53, which we all quote, he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our pieces upon him, we see the crucified Messiah, the suffering Messiah in Isaiah 53700 years before Christ. But then he says, this is what they will say in the kingdom of God, by his stripes we are healed. By his crucifixion we are here in the kingdom of God. That’s what they’ll one day say in quoting Isaiah 53.
Now let me give this note then at the end of this first point. What about Genesis 1 to 12, I mean 1 through 3, where God made a promise to Abraham and said, I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseeth thee, and in thee shall all families of the Jewish people be blessed. There’s a controversy today. Should we support Israel today? Should we support this Jewish people who do not believe in Jesus Christ, who have been the enemies of the gospel for 2,000 years, and some would say they cause all kinds of trouble in the world, you know? And look at the political, military problems going on around Israel today. Are we obligated as a nation, as the United States of America, or as churches, or as individuals to support Israel today? Is that promise made to Abraham, I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curseeth thee, is that still good for today?
It was made a long time ago. My answer would be, and I think the answer of many dispensationalists would be, he promised Abraham a land, a seed, and a blessing. The land will be fulfilled when the Palestinian covenant is fulfilled, the seed will be fulfilled when the Davidic covenant is fulfilled, and the blessing will be fulfilled when the new covenant is fulfilled, and none of those are fulfilled yet. They will be in the kingdom of God. And so until Abraham receives the land, the seed, and the blessing, then this promise of blessing and curse is also good until that time.
The United States of America should be a Christian nation. We have that kind of a background. We have that kind of a history. And as Christians, we understand the value of Israel. We understand the value of our Old Testament. We understand who they are. We understand what God is going to do with them. And even though they’re over there now in unbelief, we support them because those that bless Israel, God will bless.
And that will be the center of God’s kingdom one day. We understand that. We believe it. And it’s part of our faith to support it. And we always have. Would we be in trouble if we turned our backs on Israel? I think in some spiritual way, from God’s lack of blessing upon us, we would. So we were very close to doing it in recent years.
And we have to be careful that we don’t. Okay, that’s my that’s a editorial there at the end. All right. Okay, secondly then the second point of our message tonight is that the church then is always the bride of Christ, the lamb’s wife, the lamb’s bride. Israel is not the church and the church is not Israel.
Israel. The Age of Grace did not begin with Adam and Eve. There’s not been a covenant of grace since the Garden of Eden, as the covenant theologians say. Rather, the church is unique to this age. We began in this age after the crucifixion of Christ at the day of Pentecost. We will end when God removes the church out of the world at the rapture, and God again deals with Israel in the interim, in that parenthesis in between.
The church exists, and that’s who we are. It’s not Israel. We’re not fulfilling the promises of Israel.
Those promises aren’t allegorized and spiritualized, and the promises given to us. And by the way, there have always been people who do that. So let me make four points also about the church. Number one, it began at Pentecost. Now let’s go to Colossians, by the way. You’ve had your Bibles open there to Romans. Colossians 1, very parallel to Ephesians 3. But I chose Colossians that you could use either passage in Ephesians chapter 3 or Colossians chapter 1 for these very same points. But at the end of this chapter of Colossians 1, specifically verse 21, it says, And you that were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works. He’s speaking to Colossians.
He’s speaking to Gentiles here. Yet hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death to present you holy and unblameable and unreprivable in his sight. Now I use these verses in all the way down. Well, let me continue reading through verse 25. So 23 says, If you continue in the faith grounded and settled, be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven, whereof I, Paul, am made a minister, who now rejoice at you, Colossians, now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ and my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church, whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God, which is given to me for you to fulfill the word of God. In other words, I say here, the church began at Pentecost, and let me fill in what I’m saying. You and I belong to Jesus Christ in what’s called the universal church. That is, the body of Christ, everyone who has been saved, believing on Jesus Christ out of this age of grace, had been baptized by the Holy Spirit. Even though our Pentecostal friends disagree with us at this point and think that the moment you get saved, you have to wait till later to be baptized by the Spirit, we don’t take that view.
Dispensationalists never have. Rather, we know that the very moment you got saved, the Holy Spirit placed you into the body of Christ through spirit baptism. Now, that began on the day of Pentecost. Here they were with a great commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel, and Jesus comes to them and says, but don’t go anywhere until you receive the Holy Spirit or you’ll fail.
So they had to wait in Jerusalem until that day, the Holy Spirit came upon them, baptized them into the body of Christ. Now you can be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, to the uttermost part of the world. And then Paul later explains to us in 1 Corinthians 12-13 about our salvation. By one spirit are we all baptized into one body.
Now, that began at Pentecost. And every person who’s been saved in this age of grace has been placed into the body of Christ, and you have become part of the bride of Christ. We are the bride of Christ. And when we go to the marriage of the Lamb, we go as the bride of Christ.
So that has been happening, and it will continue to happen, as I’ll say in a minute, until the rapture when that marriage takes place. So it began at Pentecost, not in the Old Testament, not as Israel. And even now in this age, Israel refused to believe. So they never were spirit baptized.
Only individuals who believe in Jesus Christ, maybe Jewish, and maybe anybody, can become part of this church. Secondly, number two here. It grows in this age then. It grows in this age. Verse 26 and 7 of the Colossians 1, even the mystery, he says, which had been hid from ages and from generations but now is made manifest to his saints, to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you the hope of glory. You know, the big difference of Messiah to the Jew and to us is to the Jewish person Messiah was supposed to sit on David’s throne and one day he will. But to you and me he is inside us. Jesus is in us.
He dwells in us through his spirit. That’s a total different aspect of the way the Jews look at it and the way the church looks at it. That is a great mystery.
And not only does that, is the mystery involved that, but the mystery is that this church is made up not just of Jewish believers, but of any believers anywhere in the world out of this age of grace. Turn with me to a couple passages if you can. One, back to the last few verses of the book of Romans.
So if you go to your left a few books back to Romans and at the very end of this book, and of course this is a Gentile book written to believers in Rome, and Paul ends his book in this way in verses 25 and 26 and 7 at the end of the book. Now to him that is of a power to establish you according to my Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of, here’s our word again, the mystery which has kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest by the scriptures of the prophets according to the commandment of the everlasting God made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. All nations, you Romans, you Americans, all of you who have heard the Gospel and believed, then you become part of this church even though it’s a mystery from the ages past that Jews couldn’t imagine such a thing, couldn’t understand such a thing of a Messiah being in you, that Christ is in you the hope of glory.
If we went back toward Colossians and stopped at Ephesians in chapter 3, you would have similar statement in Ephesians 35, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the spirit that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs and of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ by the Gospel. So remember we said that Israel only grows through natural birth. The only way Israel becomes larger is by having more children, children of Abraham. But the church grows by spiritual birth, by a new birth, by being born again. In other words, we grow through evangelism and we’ve been sent out into all the world with this good news to say you whoever you are, whatever your nationality, wherever you live, can believe in Jesus Christ and become part of this body, the church.
What a great thing that is. And so the church grows throughout this age is my point here. Thirdly, the church ends at the rapture. Right at the end of verse 27, he called it the hope of glory. And back up above in verse 23, he said the hope of the Gospel. And back over in verse five of Colossians one, he said, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, where have you heard the word of the truth of the Gospel? Peter calls it the blessed hope. Or Paul, I mean to tie it when he writes it, Titus calls it the blessed hope.
And so the hope that you and I have is the rapture of the church. This is a great promise that is given to the bride that our bridegroom has gone to the father’s house. He’s gone home to his house. He’s preparing a mansion for us. Someday the father of the bride groom will say it’s time to go get your bride, go get her.
And he will come in the sky to bring his bride back to the father’s house for the wedding. We don’t know when that will be. It could be at any time.
It could be as I’m speaking here tonight. But we call it the hope, the blessed hope, because we’re hoping for it. We hope it does happen in the next few minutes. We hope it does happen right now. None of us would have to die. We would all go to be with the Lord in the air. Have you heard people even ridiculing the idea of a rapture?
I have. I’ve heard people today ridiculing that because it would be the greatest miracle that has ever happened on this earth, if you ask me. When all of the church living right now disappears and goes to meet the Lord in the air, people say, well, that’s crazy.
Well, I believe it because the Bible says it, and I take it literally. This is what that says is going to happen. And so just like the rest of the prophets and the rest of the things we take, we take that literally also.
It’s the hope of glory. So the church will end then. Holy Spirit baptism will stop then. And even those saved in the tribulation will not be baptized by the Holy Spirit.
Even those saved in the millennium will not be baptized by the Holy Spirit. Only the church from Pentecost to the rapture has the the advantage of becoming the church of Jesus Christ. And then, fourthly, the church reigns in the future. And so we every man will be presented perfect. Verse 28 said, when that happens, and I don’t need to go to the book of Revelation and others tonight because of time to tell you that we will live in reign with Christ for a thousand years and we will live in reign as His bride. We go to the Father’s house, which is in heaven, to be married and we come back to the earth for the married supper, which lasts for a thousand years.
Remember, we’ve explained that many times. And as we come to the married supper, the bride groom will receive the glory and attention, and the bride has prepared herself so that she brings honor to the groom. As I’ve often said, men, we’ve lost that in our weddings.
It used to be that way, but no more. Now the bride at our weddings receives all the honor and glory, and everybody stands and watches her, and the bride groom’s in a broom closet over here, and they kick the door and he stumbles out. Men, I don’t know how we lost this, but when that wedding takes place, Jesus Christ will receive all the glory. And the reason for you and me earning our rewards that we will get at the Bema Seat of Christ is so that we may bring glory to him. It’s through that gold, silver and precious stone that we will reflect his glory at his return to this earth. And so if you want to bring glory to your bride groom, then live that life for him now so that you can bring glory at that wedding supper when you return from the Father’s house.
A note also. I’ve only talked about the universal church of Jesus Christ, but of course the Bible teaches us, and very much so, that if you’re part of that universal body of Christ, if you’re part of the church, then you should be a part of a local church that is a representation of that body. Now, we’re a less than perfect representation. We are people that have flesh and also have the spirit. And we are not perfect, but our position in that universal church is perfect. We are seen there in the righteousness of Christ. And so our responsibility in this life is to try to manifest that the best way we can and honor and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in the local church where the New Testament instructs us to be. So though I’ve talked about the universal church, I think you know that about the local church.
Now, we come to the conclusion. Put your shoes back on. The Bible pictures Israel and the church even distinct in the future.
So even when the church is done and the rapture has happened, in the tribulation period, as you read the book of Revelation, they are distinct. The 24 elders in heaven represent the church which is in heaven and the 144,000 represent Israel on the earth, distinct even in the tribulation period. They are distinct at the resurrection time.
The church will be resurrected at the rapture before the tribulation, but Israel will be resurrected after the tribulation at the general resurrection of the just, after the tribulation. Even kept distinct there. Even the judgments are kept distinct. You and I will go to the Bema Seat of Christ, whereas Israel will be judged when Christ returns to the earth where there’s a separation of the sheep and the goats and the wheat and the tares and those that have been given talents whether they have used them to honor the Lord.
So even our judgments are separated. In the millennium, you and I are the bride of Christ and Israel is the first class citizen in the millennium. They will live in their land and multiply in their land. Jesus will be there on David’s throne, but you and I will be the bride of Christ in all of this world and resurrected bodies, ruling and reigning with Christ. We’re kept even separate in the millennial kingdom and then even in the New Jerusalem. The 12 foundations around that city have the names of the apostles, but the 12 gates have the names of the 12 tribes of Israel. Even there, they’re kept separate, even though that’s a place for the bride to live and all the rest of the saved. And so the church is not Israel. Israel is not the church.
These things are kept separate. And if you see that and understand it in the Word of God, I say you’re a dispensationalist. Whether you like the word or not, this is a sine qua non of dispensationalism, that we don’t take the promises of the church or of Israel, I mean, and Israel can’t take the promises of the church. But all who believe belong to Jesus Christ, everyone who’s ever been saved is saved by the grace of God, even in the Old Testament. Everyone who’s ever been saved, Israel or the church is saved by faith, not by works.
It’s always been that way. And all who are saved, all the way back before even Israel and all the way forward are eternally secure when they’re born again. And they will live with Christ forever. That is the blessing of coming to the Lord by faith.
In whatever dispensation you live, whether under the Mosaic Law or now under the Age of Grace, the blessing is you’re saved by grace through faith and that not of yourselves is the gift of God, not of works. Let’s name and shoot most. Stand with me, if you will, as we thought about these things and talked about them. I hope that they help explain the scripture to you but also kind of put a good conclusion on our study of the seven dispensations. Let’s pray together.
Father, thank you for our evening and thank you for the time we’ve had in your word. Thank you, Father, for these truths that we’ve looked at again. We hear them often, we say them often, but we love them. And we look forward to the things that we will enjoy in your presence. So now, Father, bless us as this local church, a representation of the Church of Jesus Christ, help us to be busy about what we should be doing in the time and place that you’ve put us. Well, thank you for these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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