Over the last few months I've been learning more and more about dispensationalism. I have to say that the more I learn, the more frustrated I am becoming with it.
I wanted to take a moment here and put forth a few of my thoughts that I've had regarding the dispensational viewpoint.
1). Dispensationalism posits that there will be a time when the Jews erect the temple and reinstitute the sacrificial system.
I personally find this to be a form of blasphemy. Christ is the once and for all sacrifice and the greatest possible revelation of God (See my sermon on Hebrews 1). There is a reason we do not sacrifice animals any more. It is because Christ is the fulfillment of such things. To re-institute the sacrifices is to profane the name of Christ by resorting back to the shadows and the continual shedding of blood.
I've heard it said that these sacrifices will only be memorials and not atonement oriented. But that's what they were in the first place! They were pointing forward to Christ. Now that he is here, we do not need them anymore. This is especially true since the means of grace of the New Testament have more clarity and spiritual efficacy than all the forms given in the OT (see WCF 7.6).
The analogy that I give goes like this: We don't use candles anymore. Why is that? It is because of the invention of the light bulb. Light bulbs are superior to candles in their power and brilliance. It would be a foolish thing to say, "Candles are better for helping people see."
So too, the preaching of the gospel and the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper are "brighter" forms of revelation. Why try to implement the forms that are less effective?
Here's a real practical point on this whole idea of temple building: When I was in Israel I went to a institute where they are preparing to build the third temple. They welcome donations to help build the funds they need for this venture. Now, should a dispensationalist contribute to this? Or should he give his money to a missionary who preaches the gospel? It would seem that, if they are consistent, they should give to the temple building fund. However, it defies the means of grace God has established for the building of his people (i.e. preaching!).
2) Dispensationalism posits that promises made to Abraham and the Jews regarding the land must be fulfilled.
I deal with this to some degree here and here. I also talk about it in the sermon I preached this past week on Hebrews 3 (check under point one). Essentially it goes like this: Abraham's promises need to be seen in light of Genesis 3:15 and Hebrews 11:16. The land promise is salvific in nature, pointing forward to the promise of salvation and life in Paradise.
3) Some Dispensationalists believe that the Jews worship the true God. The only problem is that the just need Jesus.
I understand that this is not something all dispensationalists believe. But this is out there. These people do not understand that Judaism is idolatry. If they loved YHWH, they would follow Christ. Jesus himself said, "He who receives me, receives him who sent me." (Matt. 10:40) He also said, "I am the way, life and truth, no one comes to the Father but by me."
The conclusion is that there is no other way to YHWH than through Christ. The god Jews worship does not exist. It is a false belief and idolatry.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.