The Errors of Dispensationalism!
by Michael Krall
IS DISPENSATIONALISM PROPER BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION?
One of the main distinctives of dispensationalist is their claim that they interpret Scripture literally. One of their famous statements is to take it literal when it can be. They have a saying of sorts that goes something like “if the literal makes sense seek no other sense” or something as equally ridiculous. There is no biblical basis for such a statement. It may sound good but that has no Scriptural warrant. One thing I find amusing is that the disp. who claim to be champions of literalism spiritualize the 7 churches of Rev. which is actually 7 literal existing churches in that day. They make it 7 church ages with no biblical warrant. Then they say Rev 4:1 is the rapture again with no warrant. Then the part that is signs and symbols they literalize.
We must let the Bible tell us how to interpret Scripture. We can’t just look at Old Testament verses and say that they must be literal. If we look at the way the NT writers interpreted these Scriptures it will shed some light. Let’s start with James in Acts 15. After a controversy about whether or not Gentiles need to be circumcized after the manner of Moses in order to be saved, James stands up and quotes the Old Testament prophet Amos. It is interesting that he spiritualizes the rebuilding of the temple to be the spiritual temple. “After this I will return and build the tabernacle of David..” verse 16. Now if you disp. want to say that James is just making a reference to the future of the building of the temple what in the world does that have to do with the controversy that he was dealing with? The whole point that he was making was that God’s promise to build the temple was realized in the building of His church. In the Amos passage there is no mention of Gentiles. So we see at the outset that the Apostles spiritualized the New Covenant Israel.
Let’s look at Paul next in Galatians 3 and 4. What is the context of this letter? Well this is basically the same argument of the Acts 15 passage. The controversy was over whether or not circumcision was necessary for a Gentile to be saved. Well how does Paul deal with this?
Well first he shows there is only 1 true gospel 1:6-9. Then he defends his apostleship, 1:10 to 2:21, so as to show his authority in proclaiming that gospel. Now starting in 3:1 he goes on to explicate that gospel in the light of OT prophecy.
- 1. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
- 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Verse 2 shows that salvation cannot be by any works of law (for my Cambellite friends that includes baptism because this word law is anarthorous).
- 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Verse 3 show that not only is salvation begun by grace but perseverence is also by grace.
- 4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if [it be] yet in vain.
- 5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, [doeth he it] by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
- 6. Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
- 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
Now in verses 6&7 he shows who are the true Christians are the same as the children of Abraham and they are the people with Abraham’s faith not his blood.
- 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, [saying], In thee shall all nations be blessed.
- 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
He shows in verses 8 & 9 that the OT scriptures clearly taught that the Gentiles (that is the word used here for heathen) would also be justified by faith and that is what was preached to Abraham since he had the gospel preached to him. Then he says that those that have faith are Abrahams seed.
- 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
- 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, [it is] evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
- 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
- 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:
- 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Now in these verses 10-14 we see how he explains how no one can be justified by the works of the law and that the blessing of Abraham is the promise of the Holy Spirit by faith. Now isn’t that interesting that he states that the receiving of the Spirit is the blessing of Abraham?
- 15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though [it be] but a man’s covenant, yet [if it be] confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
- 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Now verse 16 is clearly showing that the seed that was promised the blessing, was Christ. He first received the promise of the Spirit in Acts 2:33 “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the promise Holy Ghost, he has shed forth this which you now see and hear.” Christ received the promise first and has now poured it upon all the elect upon believing.
The he goes on to show that the promise was made made 430 years before the giving of the law. This of course destroys the disp. position that the OT saints were saved by the law. Paul never even hints to a so called millenium where the law will be reinstated. But what he does do after showing that the promise was made to the seed, Christ, he says in verse 29 “if ye be Christ’s then ye are Abrahams seed and heirs according to the promise.” The seed that receive the promise are the elect. This is his whole argument in showing the Galatians that they need not become Jews after the flesh to receive the promise since the promise was made to the children of the promise.
Now pray tell me friend, what could be plainer? Ask yourself this question, why didn’t Paul qualify this statement with some dispensational jargon? If you start with the New Testament and let that guide your method of interpretation of OT passages you will have no problem seeing that the promises to Israel are fullfilled in the New Covenant.
Now if you go down to verse 22 and following in chapter 4 you will see how Paul spiritualizes Abrahams 2 children. He shows there are 2 covenants. Earthly Jerusalem (the Jerusalem that now is), which is pictured by Hagar, and the heavenly Jerusalem which is the New Covenant Israel. Now verse 27 to the end of the chapter totally destroys the dispensationalist’s approach to national Israel.
Lets look at chapter 4:
- 1. Now I say, [That] the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
- 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
- 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
- 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
- 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
- 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
- 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
- 8. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
These verses conclude the statement that sonship is not through the law but through faith. He explains the use of the ceremonial law and it being a shadow of the substance which is Christ.
- 9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
- 10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
- 11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
In verses 8-11 he exhorts them to not return to the bondage of the ceremonial law.
Verses 12-20 some personal appeals.
Now these following verses 21-31 are the main point I want to stress. Here we have Paul showing the analogy of the OT type.
- 21. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
- 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
- 23 But he [who was] of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman [was] by promise.
- 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
Notice he shows how this real life incident was an allegory pointing to a deeper spiritual truth.
- 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
Notice Hagar was a type of the present Jerusalem in Pauls day WHICH WAS NATIONAL ISRAEL!
- 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Notice the other is Jerusalem that is from above as in Rev 21. Also notice Heb.12:22 “But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels” Notice the word “have come” is “proseleluthate” and it is in the perfect tense which means that the action took place in the past and continues in the present.
- 27 For it is written, Rejoice, [thou] barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
- 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
Notice he says we ARE the children of the promise. In other words the elect of God. Compare to Romans 9.
- 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him [that was born] after the Spirit, even so [it is] now.
- 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
I like this 30th verse “Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” This is devastating to dispensationalism.
And then finally:
- 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Now in the light of this exposition I trust that if you are still not convinced what is the proper method of interpreting OT passages then you will give me an exposition of these verses to prove otherwise.
For the cause of God and truth…..
"ek autou kai di autou kai eis auton ta panta auto he doxa eis tous aionas amen"