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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Fall Edition 1998

Artificial Distinctions Of Dispensationalism

Dispensationalism has created a number of artificial distinctions in thought that are used to prop up a theory that the Bible does not really teach at all. Here are some of the most important ones.

1. The distinction between Christ coming "for" his saints and Christ coming "with " his saints. This distinction is used as the supposed proof of a two-staged second coming of Jesus Christ, one before, and the other after, some future seven year "great tribulation" timetable, universally assumed by Darbyites to be Daniel's seventieth week.

2. The distinction between the "kingdom of heaven" and the "kingdom of God." This distinction is used to wrest the meaning of Jesus' kingdom parables in Matthew 13, so as to allow for some earthly "millennial kingdom" to be inserted between the present church age and the universal harvest judgment taught in that chapter. 

3. The distinction between Christ's present cosmic reign in heaven and his future messianic reign on earth. This distinction is an obstruction to the New Testament teaching on the total Lordship of Jesus Christ over this present age. It effectually allows for the "postponement" of the messianic content of Christ's kingdom and Christ's reign beyond this present age to some fictitious, post-second-coming Jewish millennial era. The question is, however, whether the messianic quality of Christ's kingdom and Christ's reign can be successfully expunged from the Christian faith, without seriously altering one's conception of New Testament Christianity. Messianism, clearly, lies at the heart of New Testament Christianity, yet popular dispensationalism gives us a Church age without a Messiah reigning in His kingdom. Surely this points to a bankruptcy of conception of true Bible religion.

We contend that dispensationalism's artificial distinction between Christ's present spiritual reign in heaven and his future bodily reign on earth is a metaphysical dichotomy that amounts to an ideological preemption of the Christian faith. The dispensational "gospel" of the parenthetical church age and postponed messianic kingdom is not the true Christian gospel at all, but a return to the bankrupt pre-Christian ideology of a first century Christ-rejecting, apostate Judaism!

Friends, the New Testament clearly teaches us that Christ reigns messianically on earth right now through his body on earth, the Church. He established the kingdom he intended to establish at his first advent, namely, his messianic kingdom of "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Romans 14:17).

Christ's messianic kingdom was not postponed--old school Darbyite dispensational premillennial architects were simply lying through their teeth--for there is not the slightest evidence of such a notion in the entire New Testament.  It is logically necessitated, rather, solely on the basis of the Darbyite infatuation with Sir Robert Anderson's theory of interpreting Daniel's prophecy of the Seventy Weeks!

What dispensational theorists tout as this present "church age," is, in all reality, friends, to be feared as an "age of antinomianism," wherein an irresponsible Church-world feels no compunction to manifest the righteousness of Christ's kingdom in the here and now. To postpone the messianic kingdom means, in essence, to postpone righteousness, to postpone peace, and to postpone all the other social benefits, which the New Testament clearly associates with Calvary's purchased plan of finished redemption.

No wonder Daniel Steele called the Plymouth Brethren dispensational premillennial theory "a substitute for holiness: or antinomianism revived"--it strikes at the root of all that is contained in the meaning of redemption. Why should one have to wait for some post-second coming Jewish millennium to have righteousness and peace and joy on earth? I thought the Christian gospel was supposed to amount to something.  I thought the Christian experience was supposed to provide for righteousness, and joy and peace. I though the Christian religion was supposed to provide some socially redeeming benefits?

The Bible teaches that those very quintessential social qualities as are commonly posited to some imaginary future millennium era, are, in fact and in actually, merely fruits of the Christian gospel!--a gospel that has NOT been soiled by antinomianism, that is, of course!

Sure, popular American antinomian Christianity does not meet this high standard of spiritual, moral, and social transformation, but then again popular American antinomian Christianity is not the true version of Christianity taught in the New Testament, either.

When New Testament Christianity is rightly understood, no Jewish millennial kingdom is possible or needed. Hence, the issue of debate over premillennium's validity must be settled on the basis of the academic exegesis of Revelation chapter twenty itself, and that alone. Philosophical influences to the question, based on Calvinism's broad-based "humanistic" misunderstanding of New Testament Christianity, are not valid.

The question is not over premillennialism, really anyway, friends, it is over New Testament Christianity, which is a messianic religion. It just so happens that premillennialism, by virtue of its divorce of messianism from the concerns of the church within the context of this present age, is outside the orbit of the New Testament Christian system. Believe it you want--prove it if you can. I was taught to reject all such  theories, as cannot be rationally proven from the Scripture.

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The Biblical Alternative To Dispensationalism
Shaken Foundations Of Popular Darbyism
The Messianic Question