Some questions for dispensationalists

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Isaiah40:28, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. Isaiah40:28

    Isaiah40:28
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    Let me state up front, I am not looking for a debate at this point. I am looking for exegetical answers to some questions that I have been unable to find addressed in some of our dispensational commentaries and such.
    If a non-dispensationalist wants to disagree with a particular answer offered by a dispensationalist, then please start another thread dedicated to discussing that issue.
    If the dispensationalists disagree amongst themselves in the answers they provide, that's fine. I'd be glad to know that there are differences.
    With all that said, here are some of my questions in no particular order.(btw, I use the NIV)

    1)In Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16, several references are made to a city that Abraham and others were looking forward to. Verse 16 refers to it as a "heavenly city", one that God has prepared for them. And in Galations 4:25-26, a contrast is offered between two cities. One is called the present city of Jerusalem and the other is referred to as the "Jerusalem that is above" which is "free" which Paul says is "our mother". Are the people of Israel to inherit an earthly city or is it a heavenly city? And why did the people of Hebrews 11 long for a heavenly city when it was an earthly inheritance that was supposedly promised to them forever? Why is it the Jerusalem that is "above" that is "free" of which believers are said to be children of and not the actual city of Jerusalem?

    2) What is the promise that Christians are said to be heirs of in Gal. 3:29? It speaks of believers as being Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise. What is that promise that Christians share?

    3) Is Ephesians 2:11-22 only speaking about the "church age"? Will the distinction between Jew and Gentile last forever?

    4) If Daniel 9:27 is speaking to the 7-year tribulation, and the rapture happens tomorrow, are the Jews supposed to have a temple built and in use in the next 3.5 years so that the anti-christ will be able to go in and put an end to the offerings and sacrifices?
     
  2. J.D.

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    Bumped. No replies - this thread is eerily silent.
     
  3. Humblesmith

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    Dispensationalists J. Vernon McGee and Norman Geisler both say that the city of which you are referring is a literal earthly kingdom of God that is described in the last chapters of revelation. I am unsure what you mean by your question about being "free".....McGee refers to being free from legalism.

    I think the heirs verse refers to heirs of life, heirs of God's salvation, with all that entails.

    I'm unsure of your last two questions.
     
  4. Isaiah40:28

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    So they are saying that the saints in Heb. 11 longed for a heavenly city which is actually a "literal earthly kingdom"?

    In the NIV, Paul describes the Jerusalem that is above as being "free" as opposed to the present city of Jerusalem which corresponds to the Hagar, the slavewoman. And it is that Sinaitic covenant which bears children who are to be slaves, where legalism is implied. So this Jerusalem that is above is a heavenly city as oppposed to an earthly one?

    And is this what Abraham was promised and we share as his seed?
     
  5. swaimj

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    Is 40:28 asked:
    I don't have time to respond to everything that you mentioned, but let me respond to this portion in the book of Hebrews. Verse 6 says that Abraham obeyed and "went out, not knowing where he was going". Since he did not know where he was going, was he looking for a heavenly city at this point? I think the answer is "no".

    In verse 10, he was "looking for a city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God". Is this city heaven or a heavenly city or is it an earthly city? In the context he was living in a tent and did so for many years (cf. vs 9), so I would assume he was looking for a city on earth that would replace tent-dwelling; instead of tent-pegs, he was looking for a city with a foundation. To me, it sounds like he was looking for an earthly city.

    In verse 13, Abraham dies and it is in this context; after Abraham's death, that he is looking for a heavenly city. In Abraham's time on earth he was seeking for an earthly inheritance because that is what God promised him. The believers to whom the writer is writing are Jewish by heritage, but Christian by new birth, so the writer is prompting them to seek the thing that Abraham now awaits and the thing that they have been promised in Christ; not an earthly city, but a heavenly one.
     
  6. Isaiah40:28

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    I see what you're saying, I'm not sure I can agree with all of it, but I'm not going to quibble about it in this thread. :)
    So does this mean that believing Jews are no longer waiting to receive the Promised Land of Israel as a literal piece of land?
     
  7. Bob Alkire

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    11:8–10 We as Abraham should be looking forward to our inheritance in the coming world and should live as strangers and pilgrims in this world (1 Pet. 1:1)
    Abraham received the land he formerly lived in as a stranger, as we will do too. The city he was looking for was a city God would provide for him. A city with foundations offered a permanent, established home rather than the transient existence of living in camp of tents.
    We look for such a city as well, the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1, 9–27).​
     
  8. skypair

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    This refers to NJ coming down from heaven to the perfect kingdom of God, Rev 21:1.

    This passage (4:25) speaks of the Jews (Sinai - Jerusalem on earth - in bondage). The next verse )4:26) refers to NJ which is the place Jesus is "preparing" for ALL sanctified saints in their "celestially glorified" bodies (our final state which we church receive at the rapture and Israel (OT, trib, and MK) receive at the end of the MK.

    These are good questions, psa! OK, in the KoG/New Earth, Israel inherits it but comes into the city/NJ to see God Himself! IOW, earth is their ultimate inheritance and NJ is ours.

    Only those who live in it have attained to ultimate glorification, Psa. Even in the MK, the resurrected saints will have bodies of "terrestrial glory" meaning "flesh and blood." These, according to 1Cor 15:50, must be "changed" like the church's bodies were in the rapture. Do you see it? "Celestial glory" belongs to NJ above -- "terrestrial glory" belongs to Jerusalem below in the MK.

    [quote\2) What is the promise that Christians are said to be heirs of in Gal. 3:29?[/quote] Spiritual heirs.

    Through the spirit, ultimate glorification with Abraham.

    Perhaps best to answer this last question first -- there will be a distinction in where we live, NJ vs. earth. So I believe that Eph 2 explains that.

    Yes, and then 9:24 tells us what happens to Israel at Christ's/Messiah's return to His MK on earth.

    skypair
     
  9. Isaiah40:28

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    I appreciate all the answers that have been given.
    One question about Hebrews 11 remains.
    Were what the Jews longing for as a "heavenly city" the same as what the Jews of the future are going to receive as an earthly inheritance?
    It seems like the Heb. 11 Jews were longing for what we (Gentiles) long for, a heavenly home. Whether we truly only live in heaven or a renewed earth and heaven is our home I'm not sure.
     
  10. Humblesmith

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    I'm no eschatology expert, but I think it has something to do with the New Jerusalem in Rev 21, which is a heavenly city that comes down out of heaven to a new earth, for the first earth had passed away.

    See Geisler's Systetmatic Theology, Vol. 4. I haven't gotten to that one yet, but he goes into all this at great length.
     
  11. swaimj

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    It still is not clear to me that Jews in Hebrews 11 (a.k.a. Abraham) were longing specifically for a heavenly city while they were on earth. Their longing, and the longing of OT Jews under the Old Covenant, was for a permanent dwelling place. The question you raise is not answered clearly by the author of Hebrews because he is not writing an eschatological treatise, but he is exhorting Christians, who DO long for a heavenly city, to be faithful.

    I think the passage(s) you have to deal with in relation to this topic (and all of us have to deal with it) is Romans 11. Does that passage teach a future distinct fullfillment of OT promises to the Jews?
     
  12. Isaiah40:28

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    Well the bolded sentences seem to very much indicate that the OT Jews were longing for a dwelling place that was not earthly, a better heavenly country, which is why I am asking this question of the dispensationalists.
    What I'd like to understand is does his exhortation include Jewish believers or not? Your earlier statements below seems to indicate that the Jewish Christians are awaiting a heavenly city:
    So are all Christians, Jew or Gentile awaiting a heavenly city, or are the Jews supposed to be getting an earthly one as God's special people?



    I think the passage(s) you have to deal with in relation to this topic (and all of us have to deal with it) is Romans 11. Does that passage teach a future distinct fullfillment of OT promises to the Jews?[/QUOTE]
     
  13. swaimj

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    The phrase "These all died in faith..." does not appear to refer to OT Jews in the context with the exception of Abraham. Rather it refers to saints who preceded the Jewish nation: Abel, Enoch, and Noah. These saints were not given earthly promises, so it is reasonable that they were expecting a heavenly one. Abraham WAS given earthly promises and they were his expectation. The writer shows that it was not until after his death that he understood a heavenly promise was in view as well.

    Yes, all Christians, whether Jew or Gentile expect the fulfillment of the promise of heaven. Heaven is a promise that Christ himself made to those who put their faith in him: "I go to prepare a place for you and if I go I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am there you may be also. Which leads us to your question about Romans 11.

    Most commentators view Romans 9-11 as a unit that explains how God can be just not saving some Jews and still be faithful to his promises to the Jews. In chapter 9:4 Paul makes a statement about the Jews. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. As I understand it, Paul is summarizing all of the OT promises that were given to the Jews and he says these promises still belong to them.

    In chapter 11, Paul concludes what he has to say about the Jewish nation: As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake, Buts as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrrevocable. As I understand this, the Jewish people as a whole are outside of faith in Christ, yet they are still beloved for the sake of their forefathers to whom promises were made and those promises that God made are irrevocable. I take it that God will one day deal with Israel as a nation again, he will bring them to faith and fulfill the earthly promises made to them.
     
    #13 swaimj, Nov 21, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2007
  14. Isaiah40:28

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    My intent is not to debate in this thread but to learn what the other positions teach concerning this and other passages. :)
    So I don't want to abandon that initial goal by arguing over this passage. I did look back to verse 12-13 and think that perhaps the "all these people" mentioned in verse 13 are the descendents of Abraham mentioned in verse 12, thus it would be Jews who were looking for a heavenly home.
    So are you a dispensationalist who believes that both Jew and Gentile will receive a heavenly home, as opposed to skypair's belief that the Jews will dwell on the new earth and the church in the heavenly city of New Jerusalem. Or have I completely misunderstood you?


    I'm not sure where the question from Rom. 11 came from that you quoted. I didn't ask about anything in Rom. 11 in this thread, but all the same, I do appreciate you sharing your views.
    I haven't figured out what I believe God's future intentions are with the nation of Israel. I do not believe that God has two peoples, the Jews and the Church, but I'm not sure if we will see a mass conversion of Jews or not.
    Thanks for being willing to discuss your views with me.
     
  15. Ed Edwards

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    O.P. //4) If Daniel 9:27 is speaking to the 7-year tribulation,
    and the rapture happens tomorrow, are the Jews
    supposed to have a temple built and in use
    in the next 3.5 years so that the anti-christ will
    be able to go in and put an end to the offerings and sacrifices?//

    I believe what I found out in my own study of the Bible
    to develop my form of dispensationalism.
    But I can answer your questions.

    IMHO Daniel 9:27 is speaking of the 7-year Tribulation Period
    (tribulation of the mean peoples, not the good people) -
    AKA (also known as) the 70th week of Daniel.

    If the rapture2 would be tomorrow, the Jews would restore the
    daily sacrifice within a week. Messiah, when He comes is
    supposted to do three things:

    1. bring peace to Yisrael
    2. restore the daily sacrifice
    3. rebuild the temple

    Of course, the reverse is true to the non-Messanic Jews:
    whoever does these will be seen to be the Messiah
    but will really be the Antichrist (instead of Christ).

    {A note on racism - The Jews of the World think Hitler
    killed 7 Million of them AND that Hitler was a Lutheran
    Christian. I.E. half the Jews in the world were killed
    by Christians in the first half (1940-1944) of the 1940s (1940-1949).
    The Jews do not like the term 'Christ' (Greek for 'anointed one
    of G-d') but prefer the term 'Messiah (Hebrew for 'anointed
    one of G-d'). I work for a Jewish Carpenter. I see no
    reason not to use woards like 'G-d', Messiah,
    and Messanic' which work better with Jewish readers, if any.}
     
    #15 Ed Edwards, Nov 21, 2007
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  16. Ed Edwards

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    // 3) Is Ephesians 2:11-22 only speaking about
    the "church age"? Will the distinction between
    Jew and Gentile last forever? //

    Yes in the Church Age (aka /also known as/ the
    times of the Gentiles) and in the comming
    physical Millinnial Messanic Kingdom Age.

    In between, in the Tribulation (of the Antichrist's
    bad people) Time Period, they Church Age,
    mostly gentile, Christian folks will be GONE.
    (If any new gentiles get converted, it will be at
    the expense of their head, so they won't be here
    long). Jewish/Israeli folks will be saved by realizing
    that Jesus is the Messiah (declaring Jesus as Lord
    and believing that God raised Him UP from the dead).

    In all the Ages to come, after the
    physical Millinnial Messanic Kingdom Age,
    there will be no difference between Jews & Gentiles
    - they are both elect, both chosen, both saints,
    one in the Lord: Messiah Yeshua Ben Yoseph of
    Nazareth.
     
  17. Ed Edwards

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    Here is my ken on 'dispensation':

    Dispensation in the NT, KJV1769 version:

    1 Corinthians 9:17 (KJV1769):
    For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward:
    but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel
    is committed unto me.

    Ephesians 1:10 (KJV1769):
    That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might
    gather together in one all things in Christ, both
    which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

    Ephesians 3:2 (KJV1769):
    If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God
    which is given me to you-ward:

    Colossians 1:25 (KJV1769):
    Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation
    of God
    which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

    The Holy Spirit hasn't shown me a lot more than is
    here. I do know the Greek word being translated here
    as 'dispensation' is the Greek word from which we get
    'economy'.

    I do know this is what the economy of God is like:

    Bible Prophetic times:
    'hour' = the appropriate time
    'day' = the appropriate time

    or '1 day' = 1,000 years
    '½-week' = 3½-years
    'week' = 7 years
    'month' = the appropriate time
    year = the appropriate time


    Other 'economy of God facts':

    the blind see
    the dead live
    the deaf hear
    the lame leap like deer
    the first is last
    the last is first
    Jesus Saves (totally!)
    God Rules!!
     
  18. skypair

    skypair
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    I can't think of one OT verse that speaks of the OT saints going to heaven --- vs. sheol/Abraham's bosom/the grave (all below) and then being resurrected from the grave to the earth (Job 14:13-15, 19:25-28, Psa 50:3-5, Isa 26:19-21, Ezek 37:12-14).

    It seems like the Heb. 11 Jews were longing for what we (Gentiles) long for, a heavenly home. Whether we truly only live in heaven or a renewed earth and heaven is our home I'm not sure.[/QUOTE] 11:39-40 -- "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." I believe this is the passage you speak of. To me, the earth will always be the image of the heavenly. That is the case here. They are not complete in their earthly inheritance until we are complete in our heavenly one (NJ). Then God begins to bring them in in the trib until "all Israel shall be saved" into the MK.

    Then our activities ruling in heaven will parallel theirs on earth. In the New Earth, NJ comes down and we still live in it and they in earth, but, of course, we share our respective inheritances.

    This is "full blown" dispensationalism, Isa. It states that there will be endless millennia of times and Clarence Larkin also posits that we will develop other planets (being as we, by virtue of "celestially glorified bodies," are capable of existing without air or food and are able to remove to another place as Philip did.).

    skypair
     
    #18 skypair, Nov 22, 2007
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  19. skypair

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    Isa,

    Now as to this passage -- "13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.[/quote]
    "The things promised" --> no more flood -- heaven on earth. They tried to build it at Babel and "appoint" Samiramis mother, to the man "seed" Tamuz," that should bruise the serpent's head.

    Abraham left out of Ur to a LAND he was promised but never received possession of. The Jews escaped Egypt for the LAND that they never occupied to it's promised borders (esp. the Euphrates on the east)! Solomon's temple was built and God inhabited it but not eternally. In Ezek we see Him leaving just before that temple and the promised city was destroyed!

    Read Deut 28-30. God foretells all that will happen to Israel right on down to coming of Messiah. None of it includes heaven but, instead, earthly kingdom.

    skypair
     
  20. Isaiah40:28

    Isaiah40:28
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    I'm not really following you here, Ed. What passages teach this?
     

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