Examining Dispensational Divisions and Defeatism
"We preached defeat, and we got it!"
Dispensationalists' own admissions of their defeatist outlook:
"In fact, dominion - taking dominion and setting up the kingdom for Christ - is an impossibility, even for God. The millennial reign for Christ, far from being the kingdom, is actually the final proof of the incorrigible nature of the human heart, because Christ Himself can't do what these people say they are going to do. . . ." - Dave Hunt
"I just can't buy their [postmillennialists'] basic presupposition that we can do anything significant to change the world. And you can waste an awful lot of time trying." - Harold Hoehner of Dallas Theological Seminary
"God sent us to be fishers of men, not to clean up the fish bowl." - Hal Lindsey
"You don't polish brass on a sinking ship." -J. Vernon McGee
"It's a question, 'Do you polish brass on a sinking ship?' And if they're working on setting up new institutions, instead of going out and winning the lost for Christ, then they're wasting the most valuable time on planet earth right now, and that is the serious problem in his thinking." - Peter Lalonde
"North and other postmillennial Christian Reconstructionists label those who hold the pretribualtional rapture position pietists and cultural retreatists. One reason these criticisms are so painful is because I find them to be substantially true. Many in our camp have an all-pervasive negativism regarding the course of society and the impotence of God's people to do anything about it. They will heartily affirm that Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth, and that this must indeed be The Terminal Generation; therefore, any attempt to influence society is ultimately hopeless. They adopt the pietistic platitude: `You don't polish brass on a sinking ship.' Many pessimistic pretribbers cling to the humanists' version of religious freedom, namely Christian social and political impotence, self-imposed, as drowning men cling to a life preserver." - David Schnittger
"The present age is one in which the gospel is preached to all the world. Relatively few are saved. The world becomes, in fact, increasingly wicked as the age progresses. The premillennial view... presents no commands to improve society as a whole." - John F. Walvoord
"We will never be able to redeem society" - H. Wayne House and Tommy Ice
"But if Bahnsen is complaining that when people are converted from postmillennialism to premillennialism they quit trying to establish the kingdom, he is correct. . . ." - H. Wayne House and Tommy Ice
Dispensational Defeatism observed by others:
"Your guess at the number of the beast, your conjectures concerning a personal antichrist - it seems to me to be the veriest drivel to be muttering about an Armageddon - forgive me, I count them but mere bones for dogs; while men are dying and hell is filling, generation after generation of them have been proved to be in error by the mere lapse of time." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)
"It would be easy to show that at our present rate of progress the kingdoms of this world never could become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. Indeed, many in the Church are giving up the idea of it except on the occasion of the advent of Christ, which, as it chimes in with our own idleness, is likely to be a popular doctrine. I myself believe that King Jesus will reign, and idols be utterly abolished; but I expect the same power which turned the world upside down once will continue to do it. The Holy Ghost would not suffer the imputation to rest upon His holy name that He was not able to convert the world." - Charles Spurgeon
"David was not a believer in the theory that the world will grow worse and worse, and that the dispensation will wind up with general darkness, and idolatry. Earth's sun is to go down amid tenfold night if some of our prophetic brethren are to be believed. Not so do we expect, but we look for a day when dwellers in all lands shall learn righteousness, shall trust in the Savior, shall worship thee alone, O God, `and shall glorify thy name.' The modern notion has greatly damped the zeal of the church for missions, and the sooner it is shown to be unscriptural the better for the cause of God. It neither consorts with prophesy, honours God, nor inspires the church with ardour. Far hence be it driven." - Charles Spurgeon
"And it is precisely this change in thinking, from premillenialism to postmillenialism, under the influence of Christian Reconstructionism, that has made possible the religious right and the political mobilization of millions of otherwise fatalistic fundamentalists." - Fredrick Edwords and Stephen McCabe in The Humanist
Amillennialists Join the Dirge:
"Amillennialism agrees with premillennialism that the Scriptures do not promise the conversion of the world through the preaching of the gospel." - Robert Strong
"Premillenarians believe the world is growing increasingly worse, and that it will be at its very worst when Jesus returns. Amillenarians agree with the premillenarians on this point." - William E. Cox
and its Effects on the Church
Irvingites (followers of Edward Irving) and John Nelson Darby, a Plymouth Brethren, invented Dispensationalism around 1830. Postmillennialism had been the predominant view of the Puritan's who founded America, of both Great Awakenings, and of the Church through most of nineteenth century America. However, near the end of the nineteenth century, the social gospel movement arose. This movement stressed improving society, like helping the poor and sick, but thought that these social causes did not need religion to justify these actions. Also during this time, Darwin's myth of naturalistic evolution was gaining popularity, so people felt justified in saying that the world could improve without the help of God. Thus Christianity's optimistic view of the triumph of the Kingdom of God became secularized.
Christians' one main attempt to transform social policy (with the support of liberal humanists) at the beginning of the twentieth century, Prohibition, failed. The Scopes Monkey Trial provided publicity for the implications of Christianity for science, and William Jennings Bryan was regarded as a hero by conservative Christians throughout the United States for his defense of the Bible and creation. But it also highlighted the fact that Christianity had no standing in the American establishment. The scientific establishment had fully adopted Darwinism, and the media showed a thorough contempt for the "backward" beliefs of "fundamentalists." The trial was the beginning of the media's overt anti-Christian bias. Dispensationalism's escapist, doomsday outlook did not provide the motivation for a concerted effort by Christians to retake society for Christ.
As a result of Christianity's social mission being secularized and its public defeat in the media, the view that the world can only get worse and worse and that Christians' only duty is to pass out a few tracts until Jesus opens the Great Escape Hatch (rapture) became much more appealing.
Also, in 1909 C.I. Scofield published The Scofield Reference Bible, which popularized Darby's views. Any Christian could now have the "authoritative" interpretation of any verse in the Bible simply by reading the notes at the bottom of the page of his Scofield.
However, when the Supreme Court banned school prayer in 1963 and legalized abortion in 1973, Christians of all eschatological persuasions began to realize that the Church had forsaken her responsibility to be salt and light to the world. Also around this same time the work of Henry Morris and others at the Institute for Creation Research began to become more well-known, and Christians began to see that they did not need accept the Darwinian views of the Establishment, and that Christians could apply their faith to this so-called secular area of life. Christian's began to get more socially active and rediscovered the Church's responsibility to apply God's word to every area of life.
Many were, and are, slow to officially change their eschatology from Dispensationalism to postmillennialism; however, the actions of many people in the Church has became increasingly more consistent with the latter view of the future than the former.
But at this same time Dispensationalism experienced a boost of popularity with the sale of The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey in 1970. This book was the best selling book for the entire decade in the entire world except the Bible. But in this final boost of glory was also Dispensationalism's seeds of defeat: Hal Lindsey's date setting of Christ's return. Hal Lindsey interpreted Matthew 24:32-34 to mean that the generation that saw the nation of Israel be born would live to see the Great Tribulation and Christ's Second Coming. Israel became a nation in 1948. A biblical generation is 40 years (cf. the Exodus). The Tribulation lasts 7 years. Hal Lindsey and most Dispensationalists believe in a pre-trib rapture. Therefore, the rapture should have taken place in 1981 (1948 + 40 = 1988. 1988 - 7 = 1981). In an interview with Christianity Today, April 1977, Lindsey was asked, "But what if you're wrong?" He replied, "Well, there's just a split second's difference a hero and a bum. I didn't ask to be a hero, but I guess I have become one in the Christian community. So I accept it. But if I'm wrong about this, I guess I'll become a bum." By his own admission, he's a bum. Edgard C. Whisenant came out with 88 Reason's Why the Rapture is in 1988. Double bummer.
Christian leaders around the country vowed never to try to predict the time of Christ's return again, and Dispensationalism began to fall into disfavor. All the while, more and more Christians were recognizing and pursuing the Church's social responsibility in light of Christ's total authority over all life and studying the Scriptures to find that postmillennialism has much more biblical support than Dispensationalism. Although doomsday speculation will probably never die out completely, God has destined His Church for victory in history and in eternity, in teaching and in action.
"There is a tendency, however, for dispensationalists to get carried away with compartmentalizing truth to the point that they can make unbiblical distinctions. An almost obsessive desire to categorize everything neatly has led various dispensationalist interpreters to draw hard lines not only between the church and Israel, but also between salvation and discipleship, the church and the kingdom, Christ's preaching and the apostolic message, faith and repentance, and the age of law and the age of grace.
"The age of law/age of grace division in particular has wreaked havoc on dispensationalist theology and contributed to confusion about the doctrine of salvation." - John MacArthur, Jr.
"In respect to the character of divine government, both the age before the cross and the age following the return of Christ represent the exercise of pure law; while the period between the two ages represents the exercise of pure grace. It is imperative, therefore, that there shall be no careless co-mingling of these great age-characterizing elements, else the preservation of the most important distinctions in the various relationships between God and man are lost, and the recognition of the true force of the death of Christ and His coming again are obscured." - Lewis Sperry Chafer
"The New Testament does not impose repentance upon the unsaved as a condition of salvation." - Lewis Sperry Chafer
Repentance is a "false addition to faith." - Charles Ryrie
"The message of faith plus commitment of life...cannot be the gospel." - Charles Ryrie
The teachings of the Sermon on the Mount "have no application to the Christian, but only to those who are under Law, and therefore must apply to another Dispensation than this." - Clarence Larkin
The Sermon on the Mount cannot be applied "primarily and fully...to the believer in this age." - Charles Ryrie
"Where can one find a statement of the gospel in the Sermon? A plain statement of the gospel [cannot be found] in the Sermon." - Charles Ryrie
How about the wide and narrow gates?
"As a dispensation, grace begins with the death and resurrection of Christ. ...The point of testing is no longer legal obedience as the condition of salvation, but acceptance or rejection of Christ, with good works as the fruit of salvation." - C.I. Scofield
"With the call of Abraham and the giving of the Law...there are two widely different standardized, divine provisions whereby man, who is utterly fallen, might come into the favor of God." - Lewis Sperry Chafer
"Normally one who has believed can be described as a believer; that is, one who continues to believe. But...a believer may come to the place of not believing, and yet God will not disown him, since He cannot disown Himself." - Charles Ryrie
John Darby was asked about 1 John 1:7 and said that the text deals with where you walk, not how you walked. When asked further, "Suppose a real Christian turned his back on the light (meaning deliberately and permanently)?", without hesitation, Darby replied, "then the light would shine upon his back."
"Large assemblies today are being told fervently that the one essential qualification for heaven is to be an evil person, and the one sure bar to God's favor is to be a good one. The very word Righteousness is spoken only in cold scorn and the moral man is looked upon with pity. 'A Christian,' say these teachers, 'is not morally better than a sinner. The only difference is that he has taken Jesus, and so he has a Savior.' I trust it will not be flippant to inquire, 'a savior' from what? If not from sin and evil conduct and the old fallen life, then from what, and if the answer is, from the consequences of past sins and from judgment that comes, still we are not satisfied. Is justification from past offenses all that distinguishes a Christian from a sinner? Can a man become a believer in Christ and be no more than a skillful Advocate to get guilty sinners off free at the day of judgment?" - A. W. Tozer
Repentance required in New Covenant:
Acts 2:38 ____________________________________________________________________________
Acts 17:30 ___________________________________________________________________________
2 Cor. 7:10 ___________________________________________________________________________
Salvation by grace through faith in Old:
Rom. 4:1-9 ___________________________________________________________________________
John 3:10 ____________________________________________________________________________
Heb. 4:2 _____________________________________________________________________________
True sons of Abraham have faith in Christ, born again:
John 3:10 ___________________________________________________________________________
John 8:39,56 _________________________________________________________________________
Gal. 3:16,29 __________________________________________________________________________
Rom. 2:28-29 _________________________________________________________________________
Phil. 3:3 _____________________________________________________________________________
"What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?"
- James 2:14,20
"Not understanding what [the Law] does not do, [Dispensationalists] fall into legalism in the Old Testament. Not understanding what it does do, they fall into Antinomianism in the New Testament" - John H. Gerstner
Abuse of God's Law ("Legalism")
1. Attempt of sinful humans to justify themselves before God by trying to keep the Law better (Gal. 3:11; Gal. 5:4; Rom. 3:20). This is the primary meaning of "legalism" and the one used above.
2. Substituting God's Law with Man's Law (Matt. 15:1-9).
Antinomianism - rejection of the validity of law (from Greek, against [anti] the law [nomos]).
Antinomians usually reject obedience to God's Law in the name of "love" ("no law but love") or "grace" (cf. Jude 4). Antinomians claim to reject all law, but people must make decisions and judgments by some standard. Therefore, the rejection of Biblical Law results in the substitution of man-made law for God's law. Therefore, ironically, antinomians are legalists of the second type mentioned above. (1 Tim. 1:8).
Good uses of the law:
1. To define and recognize sin (1 John 3:4; Rom. 3:20; Rom. 7:7,12), leading a person to Christ for forgiveness (Gal. 3:24,25).
2. The standard for Christian living (Rom. 7:12 with Matt. 5:5,10,17-20). The fact that we have received God's grace does not mean that we can ignore God's Law (Rom. 3:8,21; Rom. 6:1-2; Jude 4). If we love God, we will obey His Law (John 14:15; 1 John 5:2,3).
3. The guide for the civil magistrate's use of the "sword" (Gen. 9:6; Rom. 13:1-10; 1 Tim. 1:8-11; Matt. 15:3-4).
Christians who reject God's Law as the standard for criminal law are antinomians and legalists of at least the second type (for laws of some sort must be enforced; and if their basis is not God's Law, it must be humanistic). Antinomian pietists always form an implicit alliance with the first type of legalists, those who see government action as the answer to all life's problems, legislation as the means to salvation. The pietists say to the humanist statists, "Just give us heaven, let us have our church meetings and pass out a few tracts until the Rapture; and you can run the affairs of the world however you want." These modern pietists are like the unbelieving Israelites who preferred to live under Egyptian slavery where they had guaranteed welfare of fish, melons and cucumbers, rather than live responsibly under God and His Law (Num. 11:4-6); and like the Pharisees who rejected God's Law and Christ the King in favor of allegiance to Caesar and his protection (John 19:15).
Therefore, it is no accident that the rise in popularity of Dispensationalism in the Twentieth Century has been accompanied by a rise in humanistic statism. The spread of one-world, humanistic government can be seen not as a fulfillment of "end-time prophecy" but of Dispensationalism's self-fulfilling prophecy through their retreat from the civic sphere of life. If God's law is not enforced, godless law will. God's law or tyranny.
The Law in Galatians:
The specific laws that Paul is talking about are ceremonial laws: circumcision (5:2) and ceremonial feasts (4:10). These laws are no longer valid under the New Covenant not because people were saved by law under the Old and by grace under the New, for Paul clearly says that the Law was never meant to be a source of salvation (3:11, 21-22). The Law and promise of an inheritance in Christ coexisted in the same dispensation (3:17). Old Covenant saints, like Abraham and David, were saved by faith (Rom. 4:1-9) in Christ (John 8:56; Heb. 11:26). The members of the Hebrews 11 "Faith Hall of Fame" are all Old Testament believers. They were saved by looking forward to what Christ would do (Hebrews 11:13,26), while we are saved under the New Covenant by looking back to Christ's death and resurrection.
The Israelites did not offer sacrifices as a way to gain salvation by works, but as an expression of their faith that the Messiah would come in the future to take away the sins of His people, just as Abraham offered up his son Isaac as an expression of his faith in God (James 2:21-23; Heb. 11:17-19). In the same way, the New Covenant Church does not perform the Lord's Supper sacrifice (for it represents the our Savior's body and His blood, poured out as a sacrifice for our sins) as a work to justify us before God, but as an expression of our faith in what Christ did in the past (1 Cor. 11:23-26). To continue the Old Testament ceremonial laws is to reject Christ and accept obedience to the Law as means of salvation because it fails to recognize that the purpose of the ceremonial laws was to point to Christ's future, sufficient work of grace on the cross (Gal.5:2-4) - it is to pursue righteousness "as though it were by works" (Rom. 9:32).
Israelites who thought that they were saved simply because they were members of the nation of Israel, circumcised, and offered sacrifices are no different than people today who think that they are going to heaven simply because they are members of a church (God's new chosen nation - Matt. 21:43; 1 Peter 2:10), have been baptized (a form of circumcision - Col. 2:11-12), and take communion (Christ's sacrificed body). You must be born again. The teachers of Israel should have known that (John 3:10).
Although the Old Testament ceremonial laws may be invalid under the New Covenant, Paul does not entertain the notion that the moral law is invalid for Christians under the New Testament. In Galatians, after listing a series of sins (things "against [the] law" - 5:23), Paul says that "I forewarn you...that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (5:21).
Romans 6:14 - "You are not under law, but under grace."
Dispensationalists believe that this verse proves that because Christians have been saved by grace, we have no obligation to obey God's law any more (and that before the cross, salvation was by law rather than grace). Taken to its logical conclusion, this would mean that Christians can kill, rape, and steal all they want because God has forgiven them. This, of course, is absurd. Paul emphatically denies such an absurdity in the very next sentence: "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!" (v. 15). And what is sin? "Sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4). In fact, if one looks at the rest of Romans 6, the person who is "under law" is a "lawless" person (v. 19). The person who is "under grace" is one who is "a slave to obedience" to God (v. 16).
So what does "under law" and "under grace" mean? It refers to sources of salvation. As Paul says earlier, "By the works of the Law, no flesh will be justified in His sight" (Rom. 3:20). No one obeys God's Law perfectly. Until God redeems us, we are all in rebellion to God's Law (3:12; 8:7). Apart from grace, the Law is a source of condemnation. God's grace frees us from condemnation from the Law and gives us the spiritual power to obey the Law (8:4). The Law merely written on tablets of stone cannot bring obedience to itself, but the Spirit empowers the Law by enabling obedience to it (2 Cor. 3:6-18). Christians obey the Law not as a source of salvation, but out of love for the redeemer of our souls. Obedience to the Law does not save us, but those who are saved obey the Law (James 2:14-26). They still sin, but their lives are not dominated by sin (Rom. 6:14). The Christian can confess, then, that "the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good" (7:12); "For we know that the Law is spiritual" (7:14); and "I rejoice in the Law of God in my innermost being" (7:22).
The Secularism of the Dispensationalist View
Dispensationalists often complain that they really do not believe in salvation by works before the cross. But the explicit statements of leading Dispensationalists and the logic of their system leads to that conclusion: 1) The cross was an unintended detour in God's plan; 2) the cross is a transition from pure Law to pure grace (not a transition from condemnation from the Law to obedience to the Law by God's grace); and 3) Old Testament ceremonial laws, such as animal sacrifices, continue in the Millennium, despite the fact that Christ's death is the fulfillment of those shadows. Salvation by law is a secular idea. It is adopted by all the world's false religions. The Dispensationalists view of Christ's Kingdom Offer, that Christ intended to "save" the nation of Israel by military force and apart from redemption from individual sin is, in fact, the Marxist "liberation theology" view of salvation. Jesus declares such a view humanistic and Satanic (Matt. 16:21-23)! Interestingly, Dispensationalist Dwight Pentecost describes the liberal view of the kingdom that Christ announced at His first advent as the same scenario as the Dispensationalist's: "The liberal view is that Jesus adopted the social and political aspirations of the people of His day and announced a kingdom in close conformity to that expected by Israel on the basis of the Old Testament prophecies. However, during the course of His life it became apparent that Israel would not receive His offered kingdom and therefore He abandoned that expectation because of the opposition and subsequent discouragement." The only difference between this liberal view and Pentecost's own Dispensationalist view is that the Dispensationalists believes that the "political aspirations" were not just what the people expected and Christ adopted, but were aspirations based on what the Old Testament prophets really foretold. Of course, the postmillennialist believes that Dispensationalists have adopted the mistaken view that was held by many Jews of Christ's day, rather than what the Old Testament really teaches (See Sect. I (cont.), "The Pharisaic Mistake Revived").
On the postmillennial view, all the covenants (Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, etc.) have as their object the redemption accomplished through Jesus Christ. Thus they are covenants of one promise (Eph. 2:12). Grace characterizes all the covenants, not just one, unintended dispensation. The death of Christ was His means of establishing His kingdom, not postponing it. Christ's wound was the means of crushing Satan's head (Gen 3:15). It was necessary for Christ to suffer in order to enter into His glory at the right hand of the Father in the heavenlies, as the King of kings, over all rule and authority in heaven and on earth (Luke 24:26; Eph. 1:19-23; Phil. 2:5-11; 1 Tim. 6:15). His ascension was a coronation, not an exile.
It should be recognized, contrary to Dispensationalism, that even if everyone in Israel had accepted Jesus as the Messiah, Christ would still have had to die. There can be no separation of the kingdom that Christ intended to bring, from redemption from personal sin, which could only have been accomplished by the death of the sinless One. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). By His death, He accomplished the work that He had intended from the beginning to do (John 12:47, 17:4, 19:30; Luke 22:37).
Dispensationalism teaches that the Church and Israel are two totally different programs. The Church is an alternative program, an unintended parenthesis in God's plan for earthly Israel. The Scriptures teach different. The Church was foretold in the Old Testament to be the fulfillment of the promises given to Israel. Since the fulfillment has come, Old Testament Israel will never return (i.e., in the Millennium).
Church foreseen by Old Testament Prophets
Luke 24:25-27 ________________________________________________________________________
Acts 2:16-21 (Joel 2:28-32) ______________________________________________________________
Acts 3:18 ____________________________________________________________________________
Acts 15:15-19 (Amos 9:11-12) ___________________________________________________________
Acts 26:22-23 ________________________________________________________________________
Luke 22:20 (Jer. 31:31-34) ______________________________________________________________
1 Peter 1:10-11 _______________________________________________________________________
"Mystery" doesn't mean fully unknown: 1 Tim. 3:16 _________________________________________
Romans 16:25-26 - The Gospel was a mystery to the nations, and but has now been made known "by the Scriptures of the prophets."
One Body, Same Promises
The Church has inherited the promises of Israel. True believers from the Old Covenant form one body with New Testament believers.
1 Peter 2:9-10 (Ex. 19:5-6; Isa. 61:6) ______________________________________________________
Heb. 8:7-13 __________________________________________________________________________
Heb. 12:22 ___________________________________________________________________________
Gal. 3:7,28-29 ________________________________________________________________________
Phil. 3:3 _____________________________________________________________________________
Eph. 3:4-6 ___________________________________________________________________________
Eph. 2:11-22 _________________________________________________________________________
John 10:16 ___________________________________________________________________________
Rom. 11 - One tree, not two (God is not a polygamist; He only has one wife); and the Deliverer comes out of Zion (v. 26), not to Zion (cf. Heb. 12:22).
Unfaithful Israel divorced and God weds new bride, the Church
Unfaithful Israel was divorced for its continued adulteries (Matt. 5:32), culminating in the murder of God's Son.
Matt. 21:33-45 ________________________________________________________________________
Jer. 3:8 ______________________________________________________________________________
Gal. 4:21-31 "Cast out the bondwoman" ___________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________
Rev. 18-19 Marriage supper after the harlot is destroyed (Lev. 20:10). (See Sect. 3, "Jerusalem is the Harlot"). _______________________________________________________________________________
Old Covenant ceremony obsolete
Heb. 8:13 _________________________________________________________________________
Heb. 7:17-28 _________________________________________________________________________
Heb. 12:27 (with 9:11,24) _______________________________________________________________
Jer. 3:16 _____________________________________________________________________________
Eze. 43:19-20 - Since temple and sacrifices are now obsolete, this temple and its sin-offerings must refer to the time after Ezekiel wrote this and before the New Covenant, or be a symbolic reference to the New Covenant period.
Dispensationalists believe that the New Covenant prophesied in the Old Testament (O.T.) was supposed to be a continuation of the O.T. ceremonial laws. However, the O.T. predicted its own demise. The O.T. predicted that the New Covenant would bring a change in the ceremonial laws and the status of Israel. The Old Covenant ceremonial laws which gave special status to the nation of Israel were never meant to be permanent, but were a means to an end: Christ and His trans-national kingdom (Gal. 3:23-29). The main purpose of the book of Hebrews is to explain that these changes were foretold in the Old Testament, especially in Psalm 110.
The fact that the Messiah was the Lord God and a priest forever (Psalm 110:1,4) indicates the end of the need for any human priests after Him (Heb. 1:5-13; 7:21-28).
The fact that He would be a priest who would sit down in God's presence (Psalm 110:1), rather than continuously stand to offer sacrifices as the earthly high priest was required, indicates that the Messiah would offer a sacrifice that was final and sufficient (Heb. 10:1-3, 11-12).
The great Messianic passage of Isaiah 53 says that the sacrifice would be Himself. The priests of Levi were never commanded to kill themselves as a sacrifice, being were mere sinful mortals. Such a sacrifice and the subsequent resurrection were foreshadowed by Abraham's offer of Isaac (Heb. 11:17-19); since Abraham is greater than Levi, this shows it to be a greater sacrifice than the Levitical sacrifices (cf. Heb. 7:9-10).
Psalm 40:6-8 specifically says that, when the promised Messiah comes, the sacrifices required by the Law of Moses will not longer be desired by God, for they will be replaced by the offering of the body of the Messiah to God (Heb. 10:5-10).
The fact that He would be a king and priest in the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:3ff), of the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10; Isa. 11:1), rather than the tribe of Levi, indicates a change in the law concerning priesthood (Heb. 7:11-16).
Even before Moses it was indicated that there was a priesthood greater than the Levitical, because Levi's great patriarch Abraham gave a tithe to the priest-king Melchizidek (Heb. 7:4-10).
The writer of Hebrews says that Moses making the temple as a copy of what was shown him on the mountain indicates that the heavenly temple was the true one, the focus of true worship and truly effective sacrifice for sin; consequently the earthly copy could be nothing more than a temporary arrangement to instruct Israel about the true temple to come (Heb. 8:2, 5-6; 9:11, 24; 10:1).
That the high priest was himself sinful, offered the mere blood of animals, and had to do so continuously, indicates that the offerings did not truly take away sin and provide a way to holiness (Heb. 9:7-10, 10:1-4).
That only the high priest could enter God's presence in the Holy of Holies, and he only once a year, also indicated that the way to true holiness for God's people had not yet been revealed (Heb. 9:7-10; cf. Matt. 27:51).
The O.T. foretold that God would make a "new covenant" that would be "not like the covenant" made at Mt. Sinai (Heb. 8:8-12); thus the word "new" indicates that the older covenant would become obsolete (Heb. 8:7-13).
The end of the importance of the Ark of the Covenant (Jer. 3:16).
The special holiness of the temple would end and break out into all creation (Exo. 28:36-38; Zech. 14:20-21).
Offerings to the Lord will occur throughout the earth, not the temple (Mal. 1:11; Isa. 19:19; cf. John 4:21).
Ezekial's clearly symbolic temple vision anticipates a temple that transcends the earthly temple (Eze. 40ff.; cf. Matt. 12:6, John 2:19-21). (The symbolic nature of Ezekial's temple is indicated by: the fact that it is a "vision," like Daniel's vision of beasts that represent nations; the tremendous size of the temple and city, too big to be actually built, shows the greater power and glory of the new age; the tribes' geometric arrangement is different from what they were promised in Moses' time; water trickling from the temple becomes a great river; the river gives life to everything it touches.)
The Gentile nations would become one with Israel in their standing before God (Acts 15:7-19; Isa. 19:23-24).
The land of Israel was only a temporary means to the ultimate fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham (Heb. 11:9-10, 13-16, 39-40), which is Christ's heavenly kingdom, where He now reigns over all the nations of the earth (Heb. 12:2, 2:5,8; Gal. 3:16,29). And notice that the point of Hebrews 11 is not merely that the O.T. saints had great faith, but that they had faith that the promises made to them would have their ultimate fulfillment in Christ.
We see that the Dispensationalist view, that the new covenant promised to Israel would be a continuation of the same ceremonial laws, is totally without merit. This refutes the Dispensational idea that the Church Age is a postponement of the promised kingdom which will come when an Old Covenant Millennial Kingdom is established at the end of the Church Age.
Dispensationalists claim that the Old Testament prophecies demand that a literal temple be rebuilt in Jerusalem in the Millennium. Even animal sacrifices will be performed there in accordance with Old Testament law. All other Christians believe that Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament temple prophecies. Christ is the sacrificial lamb that ends all other animal sacrifices. Dispensationalists contemptuously call this "spiritualizing" the text. However, that Jesus is the true temple that replaces the Old Testament temple is based on very literal statements in the New Testament. In fact, the New Testament calls the material temple of the Old Testament a "shadow" or "mere copy of the true one" (Heb. 10:1, 9:24). Jesus is the true temple. This is realization, not spiritualization.
The earthly temple was destroyed forever and replaced by the true temple:
John 2:19,21 _________________________________________________________________________
Matt. 12:6 ___________________________________________________________________________
Mark 14:58 __________________________________________________________________________
Matt. 21:42 __________________________________________________________________________
Matt. 27:51 __________________________________________________________________________
Matt. 24:2 ___________________________________________________________________________
Heb. 3:5-6 ___________________________________________________________________________
Heb. 13:10 ___________________________________________________________________________
In Christ dwells the fullness of God's glory, as the temple was that dwelling place in the Old Testament:
John 14:1 ___________________________________________________________________________
John 14:9 ____________________________________________________________________________
Luke 2:32 ___________________________________________________________________________
Col. 2:9 _____________________________________________________________________________
Matt. 17:1-5 __________________________________________________________________________
2 Peter 2:17 __________________________________________________________________________
Exodus 40:34 _________________________________________________________________________
Christ is the True Sacrificial Lamb:
John 1:29 ____________________________________________________________________________
Luke 22:20 ___________________________________________________________________________
Heb. 7:27 ____________________________________________________________________________
Christ is the True High Priest, replacing the Old Testament Priesthood:
Heb. 7:11 ____________________________________________________________________________
Christ is the True Manna:
John 6:51 ____________________________________________________________________________
Heb. 9:4 _____________________________________________________________________________
Christ is the True Source of Living Water:
John 4:14 ____________________________________________________________________________
John 7:37-39 _________________________________________________________________________
Eze. 47:12 ___________________________________________________________________________
Christ is the True Law-Word. He writes His Law on our hearts, as He did the Ten Words on stone, which was kept in the heart of the Temple, the Holy of Holies:
Heb. 8:10 ____________________________________________________________________________
Heb. 9:4 _____________________________________________________________________________
Matt. 5:17 ___________________________________________________________________________
John 1:14 ____________________________________________________________________________
Deut. 4:13 ___________________________________________________________________________
As members of Christ's body and in Christ, we are part of the True Temple:
1 Cor. 3:16-17 ________________________________________________________________________
1 Cor. 6:19 ___________________________________________________________________________
2 Cor. 6:16 ___________________________________________________________________________
Eph. 2:19-20 _________________________________________________________________________
1 Peter 2:5-9 _________________________________________________________________________
Rom. 15:16 __________________________________________________________________________
1 Peter 2:5 ___________________________________________________________________________
Rom. 12:1 ___________________________________________________________________________
Heb. 3:6 _____________________________________________________________________________