The basic premise that defines dispensationalism is the radical distinction between Israel and the Church. It is the belief that God has not one, but two peoples; and not one, but two plans of redemption.
It is important to note that Dispensationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon, basically originating in the 1830s with the teaching of John Darby, an Anglo-Irish evangelist. Darby was also responsible for spreading the doctrine of a "secret rapture," another teaching with no prior history in the 1800 years of Christian theology. He later split the Brethren movement in a dispute over whether all churches had to follow his church's rulings on discipline.
Darby's novel doctrines soon found fertile soil in America, and were adopted by men such as D. L. Moody, R.A. Torrey, and C.I. Scofield. They were then institutionalized by Moody Bible Institute and Dallas Theological Seminary. Now Dispensationalism is the dominant "theology" among Fundamentalists and Evangelicals in America. (theology is in quotes because Dispensationalism is more of a hermeneutic lens [system of interpreting the bible] than a true system of theology)
It is interesting and perhaps disturbing to note that John Darby had his revelation of the radical distinction between Israel and the Church in 1827 after a severe accident, the same year that Joseph Smith had an angelic visitation and the revelation of the "golden plates" of the book of Mormon. In the same time frame the baptist preacher William Miller also developed and began to spread his "adventist" teachings about prophesy that would later give birth to the Seventh Day Adventists (Ellen G. White) and then the Jehovah's Witnesses (Charles T. Russell). Of course, in democratic America the truthfulness of a doctrine is determined not by its fidelity to the New Testament, but by how broad its acceptance is!
In fairness, the times in which a doctrine arises do not prove its falsehood, nor does its novelty. But both novelty and the lateness of origin must weight heavily against any system of doctrine or interpretation. Any man or woman who claims to have rediscovered "lost truth" or has "new light" has the burden of proof on him to prove the validity and surety of his claims. He or she must convincingly show that what he is preaching is in fact the same message that Jesus and the Apostles preached. Does one really want to entrust their eternal destiny to men who "discovered" truth hidden from the Church for 1800 years? -that Jesus and His Apostles apparently knew nothing about, or at least did not bother to reveal and explain in the pages of the New Testament?
But let us examine why the New Testament proves Dispensationalism is in error.
John 10:14-16 NAS "I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd.
Not two, but one flock, with one shepherd - Jesus Christ.
John 14:6 Jesus *said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.
Not two ways, but one - Jesus Christ.
NAS Galatians 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ.
Not many heirs of the promises, but one - Jesus Christ.
NAS 1 Peter 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light
Not two races, but one. Not two priesthoods, but one. Not two holy nations, but one.
Here Peter is quoting from Exodus 19:6 "and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. 'These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel" and Deuteronomy 14:2 "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth." as well as many other Old Testament passages. It is clearly Peter's intention to identify the Church with Israel.
Ephesians 2:11-22 Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands-- remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
Not two groups, but one.
Paul's explicit purpose here is to tell the "uncircumcised" believers that they are now made one people with the "Circumcision" through a New Covenant, made by God Himself in Christ by way of the cross.
Hebrews 8:6-13 NAS But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says, "BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH; NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD.
"FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM UPON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. "AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, 'KNOW THE LORD,' FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM. FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE." When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.
Not two covenants, but one.
Here the writer of Hebrews quotes from Jeremiah 31:31-34, a promise made to "the house of Israel and the house of Judah." The New Covenant was promised to Israel. If the Church is a separate entity and not mentioned in the Old Testament prophets like the purveyors of Dispensationalism insist, then the New Testament clearly must be in error! At the Last Supper did not Jesus say "this is the blood of the New Covenant?" Is not the message of the New Testament a message that God has now instituted this new covenant, and the only thing hidden from the Old Testament prophets was that this new covenant would include not only the "House of Israel and the House of Judah", but all the peoples of the world just as God had promised Abraham: NAS Genesis 22:18 "And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." It is this seed (singular) that Paul refers to as the heir (singular) of the promises, and this seed is Jesus Christ.
I could go on and on, but this should be sufficient for you to start your own investigation. The New Testament is clear: there is but one People of God, the Bride of Christ. Only those espoused to Him are joint heirs of the promises of God. Apart from Jesus Christ no one will enter the Kingdom of God. Dispensationalism may be extremely popular among Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, but it is extremely wrong. Dispensationalism directly attacks the teaching of the Apostles, the Gospel, the Cross, and Jesus Christ. It is just as surely the product of hell as its contemporary - the book of Mormon.
What should we believe then?
- There is ONE way to God through One Covenant and One Savior, Jesus Christ.
- There is One People of God, One Church, One Israel, which consists of all who are in Jesus Christ.
What is the status of unbelieving Jews under the Law?
But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.
Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.
The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.
The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt
be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.
And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away.
The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.
The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and
spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.
Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof.
Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them.
Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand.
The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway:4 So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head. The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone.
And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.
Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.
Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them.
Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit.
Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity.
All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.
The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.
Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto
the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee: And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever. Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;
Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.
The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;
A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young: And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee: So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave: So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness,
her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.
If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD
THY GOD; Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses,
and of long continuance. Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed. And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God.
And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.
And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:
And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.
Therefore know that when Paul wrote: "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree," (Galatians 3:13) this is the curse of the Law. Better think about this all you judaizers who promote tithing!
Have not all things things come upon all those who seek to be justified by the Law of Moses?
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law." (Galatians 3:10 NRSV)
But the Scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.
But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
(Galatians 3:22-29 NAS)
Those false teachers who say Jews have a separate covenant and can be saved apart from Jesus Christ are more wicked than Hitler! For he only burned their bodies, where as these apostles of Satan would have them burn in eternal flame.
Whereas those who love the branches that are broken off say with Peter:
"Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
(Acts 2:38 NAS)
Through Jesus Christ and only through Him, all, (Jew or Gentile, for God now makes no distinction) may enter into the New Covenant of Eternal Life.