Sunday, March 21, 2010

The true Israel of God

“The doctrine of the remnant means that, within the Jewish nation as a whole, there are always some who believe and all those who believe among Israel comprise the Remnant of Israel. The remnant at any point of history may be large or small but there is never a time when it is non-existent. Only believers comprise the remnant, but not all believers are part of the remnant for the remnant is a Jewish remnant and is, therefore, comprised of Jewish believers. Furthermore, the remnant is always part of the nation as a whole and not detached from the nation as a separate entity. The remnant is distinct, but distinct within the nation.”

Arnold Fruchtenbaum: Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology

Romans chapters 9-11 have a significant place in the overall argument of the apostle Paul in the book of Romans. These chapters deal with the important issue of the apparent failure of God’s Word concerning His people Israel. This passage of Scripture is permeated with the doctrine of the “Remnant of Israel,” describing its current implications for believers as well as its eschatological implications for the nation of Israel. The present study will focus on a contextual and grammatical analysis of Romans 9-11 in order to provide a consistent interpretation of the different aspects of God’s plan for the salvation of Israel. Special attention will be focused on Romans 11:25-26 regarding the eventual salvation of Israel on a national scale...The Doctrine of the Remnant and the Salvation of Israel in Romans 9-11

The last verse of Romans chapter 10 points clearly to Israel’s rejection of God and rejection of God’s gospel. The Israelites have rejected God (Rom. 10:21). Thus, the logical question is this: HAS GOD REJECTED THEM? "Has God cast away His people?" The answer is a strong NO: God forbid! May such a thought never enter our minds! Perish the thought!...God has not cast away His people, the Israelites

Exposition of the New Covenant and its relationship to the church has traditionally proven to be a “sore spot” for dispensational interpreters. Because dispensationalism has all too frequently emphasized Scripture’s discontinuity at the expense of its continuity, dispensationalists have often had difficulty explaining the New Testament verses that seemingly apply Israel’s New Covenant to the church age. This paper will attempt to demonstrate how the New Covenant relates to the church in a way that maintains the continuity as well as the discontinuity between God’s programs for Israel and the church. In pursuance of this end, the following three areas will be explored: the Old Testament’s presentation of the New Covenant, what the New Testament presents regarding the New Covenant’s ratification and relation to the church, and inadequate views some interpreters have offered concerning how the New Covenant relates to the church...WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE CHURCH TO THE NEW COVENANT?

Theologians of all kinds focus on Christ as the key to understanding the biblical covenants. Two significant characteristics of the New Covenant promised to Israel are its newness in replacing the Mosaic Covenant and its everlasting and irrevocable nature. For Israel the New Covenant promises her transformation through providing her a new heart, her final and permanent forgiveness, and the consummation of her relationship with the Lord. Through Israel God will also bless the Gentiles because of this covenant. As mediator of the New Covenant, theMessiah will be identified with Israel as God’s Son, Servant, covenant, and Abraham’s seed. Though the Messiah is not yet identified nationally with Israel, He is already identified with the church. Terminology and provisions spelled out in the NT indicate that Christ inaugurated the New Covenant at His first advent. Though the New Covenant will not be fulfilled with Israel until her future repentance, the church through Spirit baptism into Christ participates in that covenant...THE NEW COVENANT

Covenant and reformed theologians believe that New Testament believers, including saved Gentiles, are the true Israel of God. Is it really Biblical to refer to Gentile believers as Israelites? Has God created a “new Israel” that is composed of believing Jews and Gentiles of this present age?....How is the Term Israel Used in the New Testament?

We’re not dispensationalists here....We believe that the church is essentially Israel. We believe that the answer to, “What about the Jews?” is, “Here we are.” We deny that the church is God’s “plan B.” We deny that we are living in God’s redemptive parenthesis...Is R. C. Sproul Jr. Really A Jew?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dispensational Delusions

For those wanting a thorough understanding of Dispensationalism in an easy to understand format, I strongly recommend Fred DeRuvo's book:

Many think they know Dispensationalism and many believe it to be heretical, with some even viewing it as a cult.

What is the truth about normative Dispensationalism? This book addresses some of the charges against it, in question and short answer format.

Dispensationalism: Separating Fact from Fiction

It’s a shame when authors writing to particular markets make claims about opposing systems that are patently incorrect or badly researched. This is what Wohlberg does HERE. Among other blunders, he infers that Dispensationalism teaches two ways of salvation. That he’s capable of research is demonstrated by the fact that he cites John Walvoord on Zec 13:8 when it is convenient for him to do so. That he is selective in that research is attested to by his statements and the fact that he chooses to cite Wiki over Ryrie.


Generally speaking, Dispensationalism teaches that God has worked throughout fallen human history in distinct phases, epochs, or "dispensations." In Old Testament times, He worked through "Israel" and required Jews to keep "the law," whereas in these New Testament times He operates through "the Church" and proclaims "salvation by grace"—that is, until an event called "the Rapture" whisks "the Church" up to heaven….

First of all, the notion that God saved Old Testament Jews by law, but now saves New Testament Christians by grace, is not only subtly anti-Jewish itself, but it's entirely unbiblical. Grace began with the fall of Adam and the first entrance of sin (see Romans 5:20b), or humanity would have been wiped out immediately….

In other words, everyone who reaches heaven will arrive there solely because of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice-that is, by His grace. Thus when Dispensationalists teach that Old Testament Jews achieved salvation in any way through the law, or that they were denied the gospel, whether they realize it or not, they are teaching a subtly anti-Jewish false doctrine.

Just to set the record straight once again, here are some sources that correct Wohlberg’s blunder. Middletown Bible Church answers a series of false charges leveled at Dispensationialists – including the so-called “secret” rapture.

Dr. Renald Showers, in his book, There Really is a Difference--A Comparison of Covenant and Dispensational Theology, makes the following clarification: "The different dispensations are different ways of God's administering His rule over the world, they are not different ways of salvation. Throughout history God has employed several dispensations but only one way of salvation. Salvation has always been by the grace of God through faith in the Word of God, and God has based salvation on the work of Jesus Christ" (page 31).

Dispensationalist William MacDonald (known especially for his one excellent one volume commentary, Believers Bible Commentary), in his book Here's the Difference, wrote the following: "While there are differences among the various ages, there is one thing that never changes, and that is the gospel. Salvation always has been, is now, and always will be by faith in the Lord. And the basis of salvation for every age is the finished work of Christ on Calvary's cross. People in the Old Testament were saved by believing whatever revelation the Lord gave them...We must guard against any idea that people in the Dispensation of Law were saved by keeping the Law" (page 98)…
Read More

I’ve linked this article before. Here’s an excerpt:

Let it be stated categorically that Dispensationalism has not and does not believe that the Law of Moses was a means of salvation. This concept is rejected because it would make salvation by means of works. Salvation was and always is by grace through faith. While the content of faith has changed from age to age, depending on progressive revelation, the means of salvation never changes. The law was not given to serve as a means of salvation (Rom. 3:20, 28; Gal. 2:16; 3:11, 21)…Does Dispensationalism Teach Two Ways of Salvation?

As mentioned in a previous post by me, Wohlberg and the SDA believe that Sabbath observation is still a requirement for salvation, even if they will not openly admit it. Given this fact, he needs to re-address and reconsider his statements about grace and Dispensationalism.

Just one last observation - he cites Wiki on pretribulationism’s debt to Darby and stresses the alleged newness of pretribulationism. Constantly citing Wiki is hardly great research. But, if age is a criterion for authenticity, then what can we say about Seventh Day Adventism as a package, let alone dogmas like Investigative Judgment? SDA owes a debt to both Miller and White of 1844 and later vintage.