Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dispensationalism Makes Sense...part 3


You said that Peter, James, John and Paul did not think that there would be a span of 2,000 years (more or less) in between Daniel's 69th & 70th weeks.  God did not have to, nor did he tell, any of the Bible writers how long things would take.  The Lord Jesus Christ didn’t know himself exactly how long it would be.  There is an example in his first public preaching ministry in which he quotes Isaiah 61that talks about the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God.

Luke 4:16-20
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.  And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.  And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

He stops in the middle of a verse where there is a comma…

Isaiah 61:2
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

The Lord didn’t talk about the day of vengeance of our God.  If anyone would know how long it would be until then, wouldn’t it be the Lord, since he is God?  He didn’t reveal the length of time between the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God.  He was only dealing with what the Father gave him, and in Luke it was preaching the acceptable year of the Lord.  That was the focus of his earthly ministry—the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 4:17
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Look what the Lord says in Mark:

Mark 13:32
But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

Even though he was God in the flesh, he limited the independent use of his Deity to the will of the Father.  In other words, everything he knew and did was based upon the Father’s revealing it.  People question whether Jesus Christ knew about the dispensation of grace (Paul’s ministry) during his earthly ministry.  The answer is no.  He didn’t even know everything about the prophetic program, at least regarding the time of his return; he left that up to the Father to reveal it to him when it was time.  He was God—God in the flesh.  He never ceased being God, but he was also 100% man; he operated as the Son of Man…

Daniel 7:13
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

Matthew 12:8
For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Revelation 1:13
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

…particularly in the book of Mark, which reveals the Lord Jesus Christ as a servant. 

John 15:15
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

So we have verses in which the Lord Jesus says neither the Son knew the time of his return.  So the fact that Bible writers didn’t know that it was going to be 2,000 years is not unusual.  Look what Peter says:

1 Peter 1:9-10
 Receiving the end of your faith [speaking of the Little Flock], even the salvation of your souls.  Of which salvation the [old testament] prophets [of Israel] have enquired and searched diligently

Notice that the same prophets that God used to prophesy about the Kingdom have enquired!  They wanted to know (inquiring minds want to know) …and searched diligently (they were trying to figure this out).

who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

God used those men, but even they didn’t understand.

Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ [his death], and the glory [Kingdom] that should follow.

These prophets understood some things about the coming of Messiah and that he would die and then have a Kingdom (i.e. Isaiah 53); but they had no understanding of the timing.  Neither did the Lord Jesus during his earthly ministry.

So you are exactly right to say that the apostles did not understand that there would be a 2,000 year gap between Daniel’s 69th and 70th weeks, because God the Father did not want them to know.

Acts 1:6-7
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

You said that you are not a Preterist.  Good!  You need to be a Pauline dispensationalist who understands right division – the difference between law and grace, prophecy and mystery, Israel and the body of Christ.  You need to be a pre-tribulation, pre-wrath, pre-prophetic believer in the rapture (the resurrection of the body of Christ) before the prophecy program resumes.  You also need to believe that after that time of wrath Jesus Christ will return and establish his Kingdom on this earth.

But you said, ‘but that is kind of hard for me to swallow.’  I am sure it is and that is why we’re here.  We’re here to help you.  It will take time.  It will take prayer.  It will take much study in the Pauline doctrine (right division).  An assembly like ours studies all of God’s word rightly divided.  But it will also take faith.  That is why I said to watch your intellect; use it because our great creator God gave us minds to think.  But he has magnified his word above all his name.

Psalm 138:2
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

God’s word is to be believed.  Even if you don’t understand it, believe it and then allow God to give you understanding.  It will come. There are many passages that I don’t understand.  I study this book every day; I have been preaching and teaching it all these years.

We will read things and question them, particularly in the old testament.  Just trust God and give him the benefit of the doubt with a humble heart towards the word of God.  It is a test of faith.  You have to have faith. 

Peter says that the things Paul says in all his epistles are hard to be understood (2 Peter 3:16).  So when you say that something is hard for you to swallow, here is the best advice I can give you:   Go to God and say, ‘Lord, I don’t understand things; I need help.’  Go to him with a humble heart, a sincere heart of faith in the scriptures.  He is our Father; he wants us to know but…it will take time.

…to be continued.  

Click here for "Dispensationalism Makes Sense, part 4"

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