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What Does It Mean To Be Saved

Dispensational Nonsense
Dr. Stephen Jones


Many years ago, when I was young, I read a book by Clarence Larkin called Dispensational Truth without realizing just how far from the truth it was.

Dispensationalism is the teaching that attempts to divide time into various ages, each of which has a different plan by which God deals with mankind. For example, from Moses to Christ was the so-called "Age of Law," in which there was no grace. Conversely, after Christ we supposedly entered into the "Age of Grace," in which there was no law.

Further, this view taught--and still teaches--that the coming Age will be that of a Jewish Kingdom, which will be administered by Jewish law, including the re-instatement of animal sacrifices. Thus, the second coming of Christ will see a very Jewish Messiah--not one which the Jews will accept for who He is, but rather a Messiah that will be acceptable to Judaism.

This is rather interesting, because Jesus was nothing like this in His first appearance, nor were His views the least bit acceptable to the chief priests. He came, not as a great miracle-working general to overthrow the Romans, but as a humble servant who loved Romans as much as He loved Jews.

But Dispensationalism teaches that Christ came the FIRST time as a meek Lamb, but watch out for Him when He comes the SECOND time as a raging Lion! In other words, He will be like a different Person in His second coming.

The underlying destructiveness of Dispensational thought is that it destroys the unity of Scripture and establishes two different standards of measure in the world, along with two different plans of salvation. First, it destroys the unity between the Old and New Scriptures instead of seeing it as a single Book with a progressive unfolding of the divine plan. Second, it teaches that Grace is a temporary interlude that allows a few "Gentiles" a window of opportunity to be saved apart from animal sacrifices. Third, it demands a reversion back to Judaism and to a very Jewish Kingdom in which God has preferential treatment of certain people based upon either their genealogy or their religion.

The "Age of Grace," then, is seen as a temporary respite from an Old Testament God, who is pictured as a vengeful, stern Judge of humanity. It is a temporary respite in which the "better" covenant, "better" sacrifices, "better" priesthood, "better promises" are granted until we are to revert back to those Old Testament practices which are WORSE. This violates the whole spirit of the book of Hebrews--which, I might add, was written to HEBREW PEOPLE.

And so, Dispensationalism has established the mind-set that Jews are saved by the law, while the "Gentiles" are saved by grace. This "Dual Covenant Theology" is being espoused by a number of preachers, though some of them (like John Hagge) actually deny it. They deny it, while at the same time affirming that Jews are in a Covenant relationship with God apart from Christ. What Covenant is that? Obviously, it can only be the Old Covenant, since it can hardly be said that adherents to Judaism are under the New Covenant.

Such people are caught in a rather awkward position, trying to maintain that Jews are already saved apart from Christ, while still trying to preach Christ to them. So they have come to the middle position, saying that while it would be BETTER for Jews to accept Christ, it is not necessary for them to do so. For this reason, many Christians are shutting down their missions to the Jews, saying that it is unnecessary to preach Christ to them. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has done the same, though this is not yet the official Vatican position. (The Vatican needs a little more time to let the view become more popular before it makes this official.)

Dispensationalism repairs the middle wall of partition (division) that Jesus tore down by His teaching. The Jews had built a wall in the temple to allow only the Jewish men to enter. This was to indicate that all others, including Jewish women, had to remain at arm's length from God. It showed that only Jewish men were allowed to have a direct relationship with God, and all others had to have an indirect relationship with Him. But Ephesians 2:14 says,

"For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall."

Dispensationalism rebuilds this wall and teaches that Jews are more loved and holier than non-Jews. It puts non-Jews in subjection to Jews in a very Jewish Kingdom. Furthermore, even ordinary Jews are put under those Jews whose names are Cohen, Kagan, or other forms of that name, for they are said to be descendants of the original Levitical priests. Gone is the priesthood of the believer.

For the life of me, I cannot see why any non-Jew would desire to see Christ's second coming. Do they really want to live life in subjection to Jewish leaders who have proven their character by their Zionist practices against the Palestinians?? Do they not know that this is how they will treat Christians in the age to come--if Dispensationalism were true?

Dispensationalism seeks to reinstate Hagar and Ishmael as the inheritor of the promises. Paul tells us clearly in Gal. 4:25 that "this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children."

Dispensationalism seeks to re-establish the Old Covenant along with rabbinic Judaism, having the old Jerusalem as the Capitol of the Kingdom. They reject the Apostle Paul's writings, or at least relegate him to the present "Age of Grace." They forgive his error on the grounds that he had a ministry to the "Gentiles," which made his message temporary and inferior. Once Christ returns the second time, Jerusalem was somehow to be transformed from Hagar to Sarah. The Old Jerusalem will suddenly be reborn into the New Jerusalem. The Ishmaelites of Judaism will suddenly become Isaac, while still retaining all the Ishmaelite bondages of Judaism. A rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, which God forsook "as Shiloh" (Jer. 7:14) will be reinhabited by the Spirit of God--a violation of His own Word.

The Word of God is an acceptable casualty to Dispensationalism. But for those of us who actually believe the Bible and who are not blinded by Zionist Judaism, we believe that Jews have to repent and be saved in the same manner as the rest of us.

We believe with Peter that there is only name under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

We have no double standard, but believe with Moses that there was to be one law for all the people, whether Israelites or foreigners (Num. 15:16).

We do not believe that grace was absent in the Old Testament, nor do we believe that the law is irrelevant after the Cross.

We do not believe that the blood of Christ was limited to an interim "Age of Grace" until animal sacrifices could be reinstated in the end.

We do not believe that the presence of God will be removed from the temple of our bodies in order to inhabit a rebuilt physical temple in Jerusalem--or anywhere else for that matter.

We do not believe that the Old Covenant will replace the New Covenant in the Kingdom Age to come.

Dispensationalism is the New Replacement Theology. Such replacement theology is totally unacceptable and is rank heresy. It has no business being taught anywhere in Christian pulpits, because it entirely undermines the cross, the blood of Christ, and the entire purpose for Christ's coming. This is the great lawlessness that Jesus warned us about in Matt. 24:10-13 and the apostasy which Paul warned about in 1 Tim. 4:1.

Don't get caught up in it.

Dispensations vs. Ages

If it were not for the Scofield Bible, the idea of Dispensationalism would probably have remained a minority idea and not been a serious problem in the Church today. However, the situation is what it is, and it is there to test our hearts and see if we will believe the Scriptures or the traditions of men.

In his note in Gen. 1:28, Scofield defines Dispensationalism: "A dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect to some specific revelation of the Will of God."

Really? Paul says in 1 Cor. 9:17 (KJV), "a dispensation of the gospel is committed to me." The NASB reads, "I have a stewardship entrusted to me."

The Greek word used is oikonomia ("economy") and means "administration or stewardship." It only means dispensation in the sense of dispensing something--as in stewardship. It is not about periods of time, as is currently taught. Yet Scofield taught that there were 7 Dispensations:

1. Innocence (creation to the fall of Adam)

2. Conscience (the fall to the flood)

3. Human Government (the flood to the call of Abraham)

4. Promise (from Abraham to Moses)

5. Law (from Sinai to the Cross)

6. Grace (from the Cross to the Second Coming of Christ)

7. The Millennium (from the Second Coming to the Great White Throne)

These subdivisions of time may provide us with a somewhat useful outline of history, if used properly. However, the problem came when they taught that each had its own peculiar revelation that was exclusive to the others. Furthermore, they used these subdivisions of time to explain away certain biblical mandates, as if they were "for another time" and no longer relevant to us today.

For example, they take Christ's Sermon on the Mount and relegate it to the Law Dispensation, making it irrelevant to us today, except as a matter of interest in what God used to require of mankind. By slavishly requiring the Law Dispensation to end only at the Cross, the Gospels themselves are said to be part of the Law which was done away with at the Cross.

Instead of taking Jesus' word for it that "the law and the prophets were proclaimed until John," or again, instead of believing John 1:17 that "the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ," the Dispensationalists arbitrarily put the end of the law at the Cross, rather than at the end of John's ministry.

Likewise, the idea that law somehow ended with grace pits law against grace, rather than showing how justice and mercy work together. I showed in my book, Secrets of Time, that grace was at the basis of the law of Jubilee. And did not the law command us to love God and our neighbor as ourself (Deut. 6:5)? Did not the law command us to hold no grudge against our neighbor (Lev. 19:18)?

It was the Jewish traditions that portrayed a vengeful god that was devoid of grace. Dispensationalism agrees with them and then makes Jesus a new God whose character is quite the opposite of the Old Testament Yahweh. Well, so much for the unity of God!

Even as there is no righteous application of the law without grace and mercy, so also is there no true grace without the justice of the law. Paul never put away the law, but showed its true purpose in convicting the world of sin, so that "all the world may become accountable to God" (Rom. 3:19). In Rom. 4:15 Paul tells us that where there is no law, there is no transgression (or sin).

A graceless world would be a terrible place. A lawless world would be equally bad. But if you put them together and apply them by the mind of Christ, the result is both love and accountability that brings people to spiritual maturity without destroying them.

Scofield's note on Gen. 12:7 says, "At Sinai the (Israel) exchanged Grace for Law. They rashly accepted the Law."

In his note on Exodus 19:3, he says, "It is exceedingly important to observe . . . that the Law was not imposed until it had been proposed and voluntarily accepted."

Scofield would have us believe that Israel "rashly accepted the Law," when God offered it to them. Once they accepted it, they were stuck with it. Is this really what happened? No, it is not. God gave His law to them because He loved them (Deut. 33:2, 3), not because He was tempting them with something evil. David says in Psalm 19:7 that the law was "perfect, restoring the soul." Paul Himself said (during this so-called Dispensation of Grace) that the law is "holy, and just, and good" (Rom. 7:12).

The problem was not the law itself, but the imperfection of the people--their inability to be perfect. Paul says that the law is spiritual, but that people are carnal (Rom. 7:14). Our inability in no way makes the law evil. The law is a reflection of the mind of a perfect God, not the mind of the devil. It reveals God's character. It is rather in the carnal mindedness of men like Scofield that the law is turned into an evil thing.

What is most strange to me is that Dispensationalists could teach that grace will come to an end and be replaced by a golden age of Jewish laws and traditions, including animal sacrifices. Of course, some like Bullinger explain this by saying that there are two salvations and two separate rewards for believers. Jewish believers will inherit the earth and live under law, while "Gentile" believers will inherit heaven and live under grace.

Of course, this makes no sense. Which realm will the Apostle Paul inherit? And was Paul saved by the law because of his impeccable genealogy of the tribe of Benjamin?

Is it not so much better to stay with the sure Word of God, which separates time primarily in terms of Old and New Covenants? Personally, I have found it helpful to divide the time since Moses into the Passover Age, the Pentecostal Age, and the Tabernacles Age. This way of thinking does not put law and grace in opposition to each other.

Instead, it implies differing measures of the Holy Spirit, with corresponding ways in which God deals with men. The problem at Sinai was NOT that the people rashly accepted the law, but rather that they REFUSED to hear the law, whereby it could have been written on their hearts. Hence, the problem was that they were only capable at the time of receiving an external law on tables of stone. This problem was overcome on Pentecost, that second Sinai experience, when the disciples were given opportunity to break the curse brought about by Israel's decision NOT TO HEAR (Ex. 20:18-20).

Thus, the Passover Age was a time where the law was imposed upon the majority externally. Its righteous character went contrary to their natural carnality. Only a small measure of the Spirit was administered, and so few people's hearts were changed.

The Pentecostal Age was a time where a greater measure of the Holy Spirit was given, so that a greater opportunity existed for people to receive the law written on their heart (nature). Yet even so, this was an Age of Saul, as opposed to David, and so the leaven yet remained. Pentecost is thus a transitional age into the greatest of ages, that Tabernacles Age that is now coming. Only by the feast of Tabernacles can men's nature be fully transformed into the image of Christ.

It is a three-step plan of salvation pictured in the feasts. You might say it is a course on "How to Achieve Perfection in Three Easy Steps." Well, maybe not so easy! But the plan is revealed in the feasts nonetheless. So I find it to be much more preferable to Dispensationalism in understanding the Gospel and the Divine Plan.

Dispensationalism vs. Old Testament Types

When John was cast into prison, Jesus began to preach the Kingdom in Galilee (Mark 1:14). While John was still ministering, Jesus restrained Himself, for we find that at the marriage feast of Cana, He said, "My hour has not yet come" (John 2:4).

The Kingdom that Jesus preached was quite different from the Kingdom that the people were expecting. He said that it came without observation and that it was located "within you" (Luke 17:20, 21). He also told Pilate in John 18:36 that His Kingdom was "not of this world" (cosmos), otherwise His servants would be fighting for it.

That is a particularly significant statement, because, whatever He meant, we can see that He did not approve the use of violence and military fighting to establish His Kingdom. That was a radical departure from current thinking in that day. It also runs contrary to the modern Zionist method of establishing their "kingdom," which the Dispensationalists support.

Dispensationalism teaches that Jesus presented them with the idea of the Kingdom, but that the people rejected it by rejecting Him. (So far so good.) They further teach, then, that the Kingdom was postponed to a future time, and that meanwhile God established an interim, temporary plan that would include "the gentiles." This is based upon the idea that the Kingdom is really a Jewish Kingdom, and that what we have had during the past 2,000 years is NOT the Kingdom at all.

In other words, if it is not an exclusively Jewish Kingdom, then it is no Kingdom at all.

The first problem with this view is that Jesus NEVER presented the people with a Jewish Kingdom. How could they reject a Kingdom that was never offered to them? In fact, He presented them with a Kingdom that was totally unacceptable to them. That was why they rejected it. The Dispensationalists try to tell us that in the latter days Jesus will change His mind and give them the type of Kingdom that the Jews have always wanted, rather than requiring the Jews to change their view.

Thus, the Dispensationalists believe in the same type of Kingdom that was to be found in rabbinic Judaism--a narrow, exclusive Kingdom ruled by Jews, in which all others become their servants or slaves.

Because Dispensationalism relegates the Old Testament to the Jews and casts aside the law, the view does not understand the Scriptures and particularly the Old Testament types and shadows that would make the New Testament clear.

First, they seem to reject totally the statement by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 4 that the old Jerusalem is Hagar and that the adherents of Judaism are "Ishmaelites" who persecute the (Christian) children of Sarah. Paul says that the story of Hagar and Sarah, along with their children, is an "allegory" (Gal. 4:24), designed to teach us New Testament truth. But it is a truth unknown to Dispensationalists, who think that in the end the children of Hagar will inherit the Kingdom and that the children of Sarah will be disinherited.

Second, they do not understand the type and shadow of King Saul. Saul was crowned on the day of "wheat harvest" (1 Sam. 12:17), which is Pentecost. This makes him a type of the Church under Pentecost during the Pentecostal Age. The Dispensationalists would call this the "Age of Grace."

Saul was a legitimate king in an established Kingdom, and he was anointed by Samuel at the direction of God Himself. But if Saul represents the Church during this "interim" period, how can it be said that the Kingdom was postponed to the future? Scofield tries to make us believe that the Kingdom stopped being preached after Jesus' offer was rejected. But we read in the book of Acts:

1. Jesus Himself taught the Kingdom to the disciples after His resurrection (Acts 1:3).

2. Philip taught the Kingdom of God in Samaria (Acts 8:12).

3. Paul preached the Kingdom of God in Ephesus (Acts 19:8).

4. Paul continued preaching the Kingdom of God in Rome (Acts 28:31).

How, then, was the Kingdom of God postponed, when it is plain to see that the Kingdom of God continued to be preached long after the cross?

The story of King Saul is not an allegory about a Jewish Kingdom, but about a Pentecostal Kingdom. That is why Saul was crowned on the feast of Pentecost. It was not a perfect Kingdom, by any means, but it was certainly a real Kingdom.

We must also view Saul in association with King David, because there are certainly two phases of the Kingdom--a progression of the Kingdom, if you will. Dispensationalists recognize David as a type of the Kingdom, but fail to recognize Saul. And in not taking Saul into account, they fail to understand the Davidic phase of the Kingdom.

Saul reigned 40 years and died when David was 30 years old (2 Sam. 5:4). That means David was not yet even born when Saul began to reign. Thus, this type and shadow has no place for a "postponement" of the Kingdom. It is NOT the case that David offered Israel a Kingdom, which was rejected--and therefore, God postponed David's rule and chose Saul for 40 years in the interim.

The type and shadow does not fit at all with either Dispensationalism in general or the "Gap Theory" in particular.

Saul serves as the primary type of the Church during the past 2,000 years. By way of contrast, if we want to see the type and shadow of this "Age of Grace" as it pertains to the Jews, we must go to the story of David and Absalom.

As I have shown in many other writings, including chapter 6 of The Struggle for the Birthright, the story of Absalom usurping the throne of David with the help of Ahithophel was the primary type and shadow of the New Testament conflict over the throne. Jesus played the role of David, the chief priests played the role of Absalom, and Judas played the role of Ahithophel.

In this story, Absalom rejected David as King and overthrew him for a time (2 Sam. 15). David left Jerusalem and made a sacrifice on the "top" (rosh = "head, skull") of the Mount of Olives (2 Sam. 15:32), establishing the type of Christ's crucifixion on that same spot many years later.

Likewise, Ahithophel later hanged himself (2 Sam. 17:23), even as Judas also hanged himself many years later (Matt. 27:5). When David wrote about Ahithophel in Psalm 69:25 and 109:8, these same psalms were quoted in Acts 1:20 and shown to be prophetic of Judas.

Absalom usurped the throne, but David took the Kingdom with him. The Kingdom of God was "within" him. The Kingdom is resident in the rightful heir to the throne, not to the usurpers. David later returned to take back his throne, and Absalom was killed (2 Sam. 18:15).

If Dispensationalist teaching were correct, then the story of Absalom would have had a very different outcome. Absalom would have repented and "accepted" David as king, and David would have returned to Jerusalem, making Absalom the chief executor of the throne! Ahithophel would not have committed suicide, but would have been given a special place of honor for helping Absalom! No doubt the Dispensationalists wish that would happen, for they have played the role of Ahithophel and Judas in the past century in the struggle for the Birthright.

The bottom line is that the Old Testament types and shadows do not support the foundational teachings of Dispensationalism. If they had known the Scriptures, they would not have made such colossal blunders. This illustrates for us the importance of knowing and understanding the Old Testament and not relegating it to the dustbin of history in a past "Age of Law."
Dispensationalism's Spiritual Kingdom

Dispensationalism would say that the Church was a spiritual Kingdom operating in the Age of Grace, whereas there will be an earthly Jewish Kingdom in the Kingdom Age to come.

If this viewpoint had known that King Saul was a type of the Church under Pentecost, those teachers no doubt would say that Saul's Kingdom was "real" but was prophetic of this spiritual Kingdom.

The problem with this interpretation of the type is that Saul's Kingdom was as earthly as David's. The difference between these two kingdoms is not in their earthly character but in their spiritual character. If anything, David's Kingdom was the spiritual of the two--not Saul's.

The real underlying question is this: What do you mean by Spiritual?

We best understand words and concepts by their contrasts. It is unfortunate that most of the time spiritual is contrasted with earthly or carnal. Thus also, the law is incorrectly contrasted with grace, as if they are opposed to each other. The law is often said to be carnal, while grace is spiritual. The result is that the law is maligned as an evil relic of the past, and some even go so far as to say that the devil gave the law to Moses. Such a view is blasphemous, for it turns Yahweh into the devil himself.

But Paul says in Rom. 7:14 that the law is spiritual. Did he mean some other law than that given by Moses? Not at all. The law has always been spiritual, for it had its origin in heaven and in the mind of God.

The law's manifestation, however, was earthly.

The Kingdom of God is always spiritual, but its manifestation is earthly. Jesus prayed in Matt. 6:10, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." The Kingdom is "coming" to earth from heaven. In other words, this spiritual Kingdom is manifesting in the earth. It is emerging into the earth a little at a time.

The Kingdom was present from the first moment of creation. It took a big step in emerging in the earth under Moses when the Passover Age began. It took another big step in emerging in the earth in Acts 2 when the Pentecostal Age began. It will take another big step in the Tabernacles Age, at which time there will emerge that first company of administrators who will fully manifest this spiritual Kingdom in the earth.

Let us look at it another way. John 1:14 says, "and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." Was that Word carnal or spiritual? Jesus Christ, the Logos ("Word") was certainly spiritual, but He also became earthly in His incarnation. In fact, the word "incarnation" comes from the word "carnal." Did this make Jesus carnal in a negative sense? Of course not.

Having flesh and blood is not the problem. Being earthly is not the problem. It is not the goal to escape the earth and go to heaven. The goal is to bring heaven to earth. The goal is to manifest the full glory of God in the earth. The goal is to see the Word become flesh, or manifest in earthly flesh.

This is what the feast of Tabernacles is all about.

Thus, when God gave the law to Moses, He first spoke the law to the people. If they had been able to receive it verbally at that time, the law would have been written on their hearts. Instead, their hearts were hardened, and they refused to hear His voice (Ex. 20:18-20). If they had listened, the spiritual law would have been written on their hearts, and it would have begun to change their very nature to the image of Christ.

Instead, because of their refusal, God gave the law to them in written form. The law was not the problem--even in written form. The problem was the inability of the people to HEAR. Likewise, even after receiving the written law, the problem continued, for the people were unable to eat and digest it. In other words, they were unable to spiritualize it by transferring it from an external "plate" to their inward parts. Thus, they created "traditions of men."

The character of the law is always spiritual, but our concern has more to do with location. The law was always in heaven, but our concern is to bring it to earth. Once on earth, the law is either located outside or inside a person. Israel as a whole was not prepared to internalize it, yet we see a few examples of those who were different--such as Moses, Caleb, and Joshua. Years later, in the Age of Pentecost, a greater number of people were able to internalize this spiritual law, because a greater outpouring of the Spirit changed more hearts in a greater way.

As we digest it (internalize it), we spiritualize it, and thus it becomes part of us. In this way, we become the living Word, and the Word becomes flesh IN US. This is the only way we can truly manifest the spiritual law in our flesh.

This is also how the Kingdom of God comes to be within us. If the Kingdom is truly within us, then it has taken on a flesh body in order to manifest in the earth. The apex of this process is seen in the transfiguration of Christ in Matthew 17.

Dispensational theologians talked about the Church as a spiritual Kingdom, but they did not understand spiritual by its proper contrasts. Thus, they contrasted two kingdoms, a spiritual kingdom for the Church, and an earthly kingdom for the Jews. They should have been teaching a single Kingdom of God for all men and for the whole earth, a Kingdom that is and always will be spiritual, internal, and characterized by "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 14:17).

As this Kingdom is internalized by spiritual digestion, we become what we eat, and the Kingdom of God is manifested in the earth in its citizens. Yet because those citizens can only be perfected by the three steps presented in the law of the feast days, it is not an instantaneous perfection. Thus, the progression of the Kingdom in each individual is seen over a life time, and in the corporate sense, it has taken thousands of years even to get to where we are today.

As the Kingdom progresses, it becomes more and more earthly--not in origin, but in manifestation. The earth itself is not the problem. When God created it, He pronounced it "very good" (Gen. 1:31). There are some who react against Dispensationalism's idea of a coming Jewish Kingdom by adopting the Greek world view.

Even as the Jewish idea was wrong, so also was the Greek view wrong. The Greeks taught that spirit was good and physical matter was evil. Hence, the Greeks believed that the ultimate solution to evil was to escape from matter and live in a purely spiritual existence. This idea has crept into the Church as a reaction against the idea of a Jewish Kingdom. But both are wrong. The truth is that matter was created very good, and that the purpose for the earth will be fulfilled. The purpose of creation was for the glory of God to manifest in the earth in this stuff we call physical matter (or "dirt").

So we need to understand that a spiritual Kingdom should not be contrasted with an earthly Kingdom. It can be both spiritual and earthly at the same time, even as Jesus was the Word made flesh. The contrast is in its administration. The Kingdom and its laws ought not to be administered in a carnal manner by the "old man" but administered by the "new man" in a spiritual manner--that is, by the mind of Christ.

God has been preparing people to do this very thing. Jesus gave us this example in Matt. 12:28, "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you." Proper administration of the Kingdom brings it into the earth and manifests it from the internal, spiritual character to an external, practical, earthly reality. That is our job description.

Dispensationalism and David's Kingdom

The Kingdom of God is one Kingdom from the beginning, but there are differing manifestations of it throughout history. Or perhaps a better way of looking at it would be to say that there are varying DEGREES of manifestation in the earth. As the crust and crud is removed, the perfect Kingdom is seen more and more.

It has always been the plan from the beginning that the Kingdom which originates in Heaven would manifest itself fully in the earth. For this cause were all things created, and if the divine plan were to fail, it would reflect upon God's own ability as Creator. When Moses suggested that the nations would think God was UNABLE to bring one little nation into one little land, God told him forcefully that "all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord" (Num. 14:21).

Israel's inheritance in the land of Canaan was only a small piece of the plan, a mere type of a much bigger plan that the meek would inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5).

Thus, the heavenly Kingdom is coming to earth and has an earthly manifestation. The Restoration of All Things includes all that God created (Col. 1:16-20). A few verses earlier, in Col. 1:13, we read, "For He delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son."

This verse shows us that believers are currently in the Kingdom. We do not need to wait for the coming Age to be in the Kingdom. And not just us, but also the Old Testament believers were in the Kingdom of God in its earlier manifestation as the House of Israel--and even further back to Adam.

The types in Saul and David show that for the past 2000 years we have been in an imperfect, leaven-ridden Pentecostal Age under the rulership of King Saul. During this time, "Saul" has persecuted "David," for God has used Saul as part of David's training for a future time.

The difference between Saul and David is not in the location of the Kingdom, but in their manner of administration. Both Saul and David ruled in the earth, and this will not change when the types are fulfilled by the antitypes. What WILL change will be the administrators. Whereas the Church under Pentecost has been ruling in the past 2000 years, the Overcomers under Tabernacles will rule in the Age to come. Hence, the overcomers of past ages must be raised from the dead in the first resurrection in order to fulfill the calling for which they have been trained (Rev. 20:6).

To some extent, these have been trained by "doing"--so it is not that they lack some experience in past ages. This has caused some to take the view that everything is NOW. They say the Kingdom is all NOW, and that the overcomers rule NOW. This is a partial truth, for we could set forth many examples of how even the wind and the seas obey our word.

But keep in mind that King David was overcoming Israel's enemies even while Saul was pursuing him like a wanted criminal. David was doing Saul's job for him. Even so throughout the Pentecostal Age, the overcomers have been doing the job that the Church failed to do. Yet in all of this, as seen in the type of David, the overcomers did not have the full authority needed to bring the manifestation of the Kingdom to the next level.

Saul was a legitimate king, and God did not allow David to kill him or to replace him ahead of schedule. Even so, the overcomers were unable to override Saul's decisions--at least until the death of "Saul" in 1993.

When God gave Adam the Dominion Mandate in Gen. 1:26, it meant that he was called to be "king" in the earth. This Mandate was passed down to his sons, and, along with the Fruitfulness Mandate, came to be known as the Birthright. Jacob later gave the Dominion Mandate to Judah and the Fruitfulness Mandate to Joseph.

But Judah's sin with Tamar in Genesis 38 tainted the lineage spiritually, and by the law in Deut. 23:2 prevented his children from taking the throne until the tenth generation. David was the tenth generation from Judah. The people did not understand, however, and they became impatient, demanding a king ahead of time. So God chose a man of Benjamin to rule them. This was Saul.

Saul became king ten years before David was born. After Saul reigned 40 years, he died, and David began to rule Judah at the age of 30 (2 Sam. 5:4).

For this reason also, Jesus ministered in Galilee and chose disciples from there. Galilee was the inheritance of the tribe of Benjamin after the Babylonian captivity. The people of Judah settled south of Jerusalem (Neh. 11:25-30), while the people of Benjamin settled north of Jerusalem (Neh. 11:31-35). The Levites were divided between them (Neh. 11:36).

The disciples were mostly of the tribe of Benjamin, but He did call "Levi the son of Alphaeus" (Mark 2:14), who is known to us as Matthew. He also called Judas Iscariot, the man from Kerioth Arba (Hebron), a town in Judah, in order that the type of Absalom's revolt might be fulfilled. But Judas was replaced (Acts 1:20), first by Matthias, but ultimately by Saul (Paul), the Benjamite.

All of this shows us that the Church under Pentecost was the antitype to King Saul. The Church started with Benjamites from Galilee and find their highest expression in Saul, whose name was changed to Paul. Paul also serves as an example to us how to move from Pentecost (Saul) to Tabernacles (Paul). King Saul stood head and shoulders above the people (1 Sam. 9:2), while the Apostle's name, "Paul," means LITTLE. It speaks prophetically of humility in the overcomers.

Thus, everything points to an Age in which King Saul reigned in a leavened manifestation of the Kingdom. Those who believe that we have already been in the Kingdom of God are absolutely correct. Yet the Dispensationalists are equally correct in saying that there is yet a future Kingdom Age. The problem is that both sides represent half of the truth, but they fight with each other over which truth is greater.

Our primary focus, however, is on Dispensationalism. This view is correct in seeing a future Age in which "David" (i.e., Christ) would rule. Their view breaks down, however, when they say that He will appoint "Jews" to rule in the Kingdom, many of whom (in that view) HATED Jesus Christ until the last minute when they were supposedly converted as soon as they saw Him coming in the clouds. They incorrectly assume that a simple repentance and belief in Christ at the last minute will qualify them to rule the Kingdom.

As I have said before, this view does not recognize the prophetic type in the story of Absalom's revolt. Dispensationalism was ignorant of how Absalom's revolt played out in the New Testament struggle for the throne. It is ignorant today of how the same story is being played out again in the struggle for the Birthright of Joseph (the Fruitfulness Mandate). In other words, the view does not understand how they have usurped the name Israel that was given to Joseph, even as they earlier usurped the throne of Judah.

This ignorance causes Dispensationalism to help play the role of Ahithophel (who assisted Absalom) and Judas (who assisted the chief priests).

So just how important is it to know the Scriptures? How important is it to know the types and shadows in the Old Testament? In my view, it can make the difference between playing the role of Judas or the role of the other disciples who remained faithful to Jesus. Fortunately, there is still time for Christians to change and play the role of the faithful disciples. The last Act of this play is still on-going, and it is not over until it's over.

Once the curtain falls, everyone will be rewarded for the parts that each played. At that moment, it will be too late to switch parts, for history will already have been written. Those who have ears to hear, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Dispensationalism Establishes Absalom's Kingdom

Dispensationalists teach that the Jews rejected the Davidic Kingdom that Jesus offered to them, and that for this reason it was deferred or postponed to a future time.

I do not question the Jewish rejection of the Davidic Kingdom. That much is obvious to a Christian, though Jews have a differing opinion on this, of course. But dispensationalists lack an understanding of the conflict within the Davidic Kingdom itself between David and Absalom, and so they do not truly understand the nature of the conflict. Nor do they understand its resolution.

Absalom usurped the throne from David. David was a type of Christ, and Absalom was a type of "Antichrist." The term "antichrist" is a New Testament word that uses the Greek term anti, which means "in place of." The word is used in Matt. 2:22, where we read that "Archelaeus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod."

Archelaeus was not a usurper, for he came to the throne in a legitimate way--when his father died. So the term anti does not necessary mean "against" or "in opposition to," as we normally use the term. In fact, if we consider the fact that the throne from which David himself ruled was the throne of Christ, then we are compelled to admit that David himself was ruling "in place of" Christ. In that sense, David rule anti-Christ, but this was not in a negative sense.

It is only negative when the deputy ruler who sits in the throne of another usurps authority and rules according to his own will, rather than according to the will of true Heir of the throne.

If Absalom had waited for David to die, and if he had been called to rule in place of his father, he would not have been an anti-David (or "antichrist") in the negative sense. But he blatantly usurped the throne and forced David to flee, though David was the legitimate heir of the throne, anointed by Samuel. This is what made Absalom an Antichrist as we normally define it negatively.

Though Absalom was allowed to sit in the throne, the Kingdom went with David. God did not recognize Absalom as the true king sitting on the throne. Thus, even though David was in exile, and the throne on earth was in dispute, the Kingdom of God resided within David--as it did within the hearts of all who followed him.

In the New Testament the chief priests usurped the throne of David from the legitimate Heir of the throne--Jesus Christ. This is made very clear in the parable in Matt. 21, where Jesus puts words into the mouths of the chief priests in verses 38 and 39, saying,

"But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.' And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him."

Obviously, this was a reference to the chief priests who seized the inheritance of the Son, Jesus Christ. In the parable, they recognized who He was, and this was their motive for killing Him. It was NOT a case of mistaken identity any more than Absalom mistook David's identity. No, even as Absalom overthrew David with full knowledge of who he was, so also did the chief priests usurp the throne of Jesus Christ with full knowledge of who he was.

So even as David left town and made a sacrifice upon the summit (rosh, "head, skull") of the Mount of Olives, so also did Jesus bear His cross outside the camp upon the same spot, "the place of the skull (summit)" (Matt. 27:33), making the great sacrifice for the sin of the world.

In 2 Samuel 18, the resolution of the problem came with the "second coming" of David. This also prophesies of the second coming of Christ. In this story of David, we find no evidence that David and Absalom made any negotiations. There is no evidence that David made a deal with Absalom, saying, "If you recognize me as king, then I will make you second in command."

No, far from it. Absalom was unrepentant to the end, and it resulted in his death (2 Sam. 18:15). To be sure, it was not David's desire for Absalom to be killed, nor is it our desire today that the antitypes of Absalom be killed. Nonetheless, it is what it is, and I cannot change the story any more than David could.

And so we ought to recognize reality. Those who think that the Jews today will repent at the last minute and accept Christ when they see Him returning are destroying the Scriptures--particularly the story of David's second coming in 2 Samuel 18.

Dispensationalism is a view that represents and supports Ahithophel, and his NT counterpart, Judas. Ahithophel was David's counselor and friend who betrayed him at Hebron, which is Kerioth-Arba. David wrote about Ahithophel in Psalm 55:13, 14,

"But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar FRIEND. We who had sweet fellowship together, walked in the house of God in the throng."

In the New Testament, Judas was also a "Man of Kerioth," or Ish-Kerioth (Iscariot). Jesus called him "friend" (Matt. 26:50). He was a disciple who believed in Jesus, but who betrayed him because of other heart issues. And so the betrayers are also friends, disciples--today we know them as Christians. Dispensationalism betrays Christ today, even as Ahithophel and Judas betrayed David and Jesus long ago. They betray Christ by backing the Absalom company that usurped the Scepter of Judah in Jesus' day and in 1948 usurped the Birthright of Joseph by adopting the Birthright name: ISRAEL.

It is fortunate for the Dispensationalists that they are wrong about Judas going to hell and burning forever. If the Dispensationalists were correct in their doctrine of eternal punishment, then they would be condemning themselves without realizing it. But the Bible teaches the Restoration of All Things, and this includes Ahithophel, Judas, and the Dispensationalists today. Yet both Ahithophel and Judas hanged themselves when they saw the results of their betrayal. It makes me wonder how that type will be fulfilled in the modern antitype.

Consider the fact that many Christians today donate money to send more Jews to Palestine. Consider also that Isaiah 29 and Jeremiah 19 prophesy the total destruction of Jerusalem, and that land will become uninhabitable. These same Christians who help Jews travel to their own destruction believe that most of the Jews will be killed. So why do they assist in Jewish destruction?

It is because they hope to force the world into a crisis to bring about Armageddon and the destruction of about 99 percent of the Jews--all but 144,000 survivors, they say. This will supposedly force Christ to return to save the day.

That was reputed to be the thinking of Judas. Judas thought that if he could just put Jesus into a position that would force Him to manifest His power to save Himself, then the nation would recognize Him as the Messiah. The plan backfired, and Judas hanged himself. What do you suppose will happen to the Dispensationalists in our day, after Jerusalem is destroyed "even as one breaks a potter's vessel which cannot be repaired"? (Jer. 19:11)

It makes me wonder sometimes how many Christian leaders will literally hang themselves or simply die of heart attacks. What will they do when the destruction hits and they find that they are not raptured?

Dispensationalism today teaches the ultimate triumph of Absalom's Kingdom, which they mistakenly identify as the Kingdom of David. It is important to know the Scriptures, for this can make the difference between proclaiming the Gospel of Absalom's Kingdom and the Gospel of the Kingdom of David (Christ).

Thy Kingdom Come. How?

When God wants us to understand something important, He tells us in plain language, but He also illustrates it in a variety of ways. The Old Testament is full of stories that illustrate New Testament truths and prophesy of things to come.

The Kingdom of God is said to be a Stone (Dan. 2:34) to show its ability to crush the Babylonian image from its feet to its head. It is also a Nation, for it is pictured in the house of Israel. In Rev. 21:2, it is pictured as a Bride and as a City.

Jesus spoke many Kingdom parables to reveal the Kingdom to those with ears to hear. The parables not only revealed, but also hid these same truths from those who did not really have ears to hear (Matt. 13:13-16). In fact, it is clear from the prophecy which Jesus quoted from Isaiah that the majority of the people He was addressing each day had an interest in the things of the Kingdom, but did not really have ears to hear.

Jesus then told a parable of the sower to illustrate this. In verse 19 He began to explain it this way: "When any one hears the word of the KINGDOM, and does not understand it. . . ." It was a Kingdom parable, which many did not understand. Most Christians today hear about the Church, but very little of the Kingdom. Other groups use the term "Kingdom" but do not really understand it.

When I was young, I heard a minister say in private, "It takes about ten years for a person to really understand the Kingdom." I did not believe him at the time, because I did not really grasp the concept of the Kingdom myself--though I thought I did. We all think we do. But the fact is, we are all continually learning about the Kingdom. Just when I think I must have "arrived," I find that there is still more to learn and to clarify.

When Jesus said in Luke 17:20 and 21 that the Kingdom does not come with observation, because it is within you, there are many different explanations to this. Some say it is in heaven, not on earth. Others say it is purely internal and not external. Others say it means the Kingdom is AMONG you, or in your midst, because Jesus is the Kingdom and He was standing in their midst. These are all very different explanations, and all of them have a measure of truth.

In my view, the Kingdom indeed originates in heaven, rather than on earth. The earth was created to extend the "boundaries" of the Kingdom and manifest it in a new medium--physical matter, and specifically in the bodies of men and women. In other words, the Kingdom has its origin in heaven, but it manifests in the earth. We see this basic truth everywhere in Scripture, from the events at Mount Sinai to the incarnation of Jesus Christ at Bethlehem and His transfiguration in Matthew 17:2.

We see it again at Pentecost in Acts 2, much like at Mount Sinai, for both events occurred on the same day but in different years. In every miracle, we see a manifestation of the Kingdom in earth. And finally, Jesus' prayer will indeed be answered (Matt. 6:10), "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven."

The Kingdom is not simply located in heaven. It is COMING to earth. The earth has a purpose for creation. That purpose is to manifest His glory and that of His Kingdom. This is why Rev. 5:10 says,

"And Thou hast made them to be a Kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."

I will never forget the day that a pastor's wife suddenly got a confused look on her face and asked aloud, "Are we going to spend eternity in heaven or on earth?" I knew that she had heard many times since childhood about living in heaven and walking on streets of gold. I also knew that she often heard prophecy preachers talk about the Millennium and how Christ would rule on earth. That one moment of truth caught up to her, and she realized that both destinies could not be true, for they were contradictory.

The fact is, our heavenly reward is found in Matt. 5:5: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit THE EARTH."

The earth is our inheritance--not heaven. His glory will cover THE EARTH as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14). Of course, the overcomers will not be limited to this earthly plane, as we are today. As Melchizedek priests, they will have the authority to minister to God in heaven and to men on earth, merely by "changing clothes" (Ez. 44:16-19), as I have shown in early studies.

So it is an earthly Kingdom with a heavenly origin. The "coming" shows progression, rather than a static location. It is in the process of manifesting on earth. This is pictured in two ways. First, it is pictured as coming from heaven, or from above, as we see in Rev. 21:2, "And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God."

Secondly, the Kingdom is pictured as manifesting from within you, even as a child is brought to birth. If the Kingdom of God is within you, as Jesus said, and if the Kingdom is coming to earth, as Jesus prayed, then it stands to reason that the Kingdom is coming from a hidden place within you and emerging into the open for all to see it and feel its effects.

Paul spoke of the Gospel of the Kingdom in terms of pregnancy and child birth in Gal. 4:19, "My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you." When Paul wrote in Col. 1:27 about the "mystery" (secret or hidden thing), he spoke of "Christ in you, the hope of glory."

When you were justified by faith, the Spirit of God impregnated you with a "holy seed" that is Christ in you, the hope of glory. At that point, you were "expecting" a child to be born. Hope means expectation. Unless that child is deliberately aborted or starved to death by spiritual junk food, he is now growing within you. You are the mother, whether you are male or female, for there is no male or female in the spirit.

That holy seed in you has an immaculate conception. It is not fathered by Adamic seed, but heavenly seed. It is Christ in you. It has a heavenly Father and an earthly mother. It cannot sin, for we read in a literal rendering of 1 John 3:9, "Every one having been begotten by God does not sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been begotten by God."

You, the "mother," are not begotten. It is your spiritual child that is begotten by the Father. That holy seed in you cannot sin, because it has a heavenly Father. But that holy seed is as much YOU as it is God. Like any child, it is the product of both father and mother. Thus, that holy seed in you is THE REAL YOU, for it is what you are becoming--the body of Christ.

Hence, when Paul speaks of the conflict between this holy seed and the Adamic flesh, he writes in Rom. 7:17, "So now longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me."

Paul recognized that this holy seed in him was THE REAL PAUL. He calls it "I." It is the "inner man" (7:22) in Paul. He identified with that inner man and refused to be called the son of the fleshly Adam. When Paul sinned or fell short, it was the Adamic man that was sinning--not Christ in him and not the real Paul. So it is with us.

That holy seed in you is the Kingdom within you. It will not remain there. It will be born in due time. It will manifest in the earth. The Kingdom will emerge from heaven within to the earth outside the spiritual womb.

Your Adamic flesh can only die. But you are becoming a New Creation. You are becoming your spiritual child that claims God as its Father. That is your true identity, and when brought to full birth, this holy seed is destined to reign with Christ on the earth until all things have been put under His feet.

Source: Dr. Stephen Jones - God's Kingdom Ministries - http://www.gods-kingdom.org