In other words, we believe in rightly dividing verses to the right group of people and the right time period. If we combine all the verses together, then we’re going to come up with some major wrong doctrines.
This is also supported by Webster’s 1828 dictionary: Dispensation is addressed to different time periods and different groups of people.
2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
This is the main verse that we use to discuss dispensationalism. The idea is that we have to rightly divide verses. All verses are not combined into one, all the Bible verses are not written to us, for us, telling us what to do.
There are verses that say that if a man takes God’s name in vain, he should be stoned to death. Obviously that doesn’t apply to us today otherwise there would be a lot of dead people today. The Bible talks about keeping the Sabbath but that was a different time period, for a different group of people.
The Bible talks about people that have to avoid the mark of the beast when they go through tribulation. Obviously that’s not to us, that’s to a different time period, for a different group of people.
Notice throughout these examples that were given, there are people out there online and in different churches today who apply these examples to themselves. But they are hypocrites themselves because they violate the law several times.
These are the right groups of people:
1 Corinthians 10:32 “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:”
These are the 3 groups of people that we want to keep in mind throughout dispensationalism. We see that quite often the Gentiles and the church are very interchangeable most of the time because the church consists mainly of Gentiles today, God is no longer using the nation of Israel.
In dispensationalism, they are mainly seven groups but since this is only covering the basics, we’re going to cover four time periods.
During the Old Testament, Jews were God’s chosen people but the Jews kept rejecting their Messiah Jesus Christ and the preaching of the apostles so this is now switched to the Gentiles (this is known as the church). In tribulation God returns to the nation of Israel and starts to restore them in the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ. The nation of Israel gets back their land, Jesus Christ is ruling in Jerusalem and the Jews are in full force once more just like Old Testament but even better.
Comparing between Jews (Physical) and Church (Spiritual)
God’s nation and chosen people, the Jews, they came from a physical, fleshy forefathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God literally and physically started His own nation with the Jews, that’s why it’s a physical race and nationality. So whatever God deals with His people, the Jews, it’s going to be physical, fleshy.
The church is not a physical race, physical ethnicity and nation that the Lord uses, they are spiritual.
The Jews have the Old Testament laws, diet and Sabbath, these are all physical outward appearances.
Christians are spiritual, so these does not apply to us.
The Sabbath, the law and the diets were during the Old Testament time that was blotted out by the cross of Christ and it’s going to be restored in the future.
Colossians 2:14 “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”
‘Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us’: that’s the law which was contrary to us
‘took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross’: it’s during the Christian time period that it’s abolished
Colossians 2:16 “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:”
Paul is speaking to the church here. All these things do not apply to the Christian church.
Colossians 2:17 “Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”
But these Old Testament observances will be observed in the future. The church is the body of Christ.
Thus the church is distinguished from the future. This is also a good point where the church does not go through the tribulation in the future.
The Jews will go through a post-tribulation (rapture after the tribulation) or a mid-tribulation (rapture in the middle of the tribulation) rapture.
The Church goes through a pre-tribulation rapture.
Why? The reason is because of physical and spiritual differences. The church has been forgiven by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ through a spiritual process but the physical nation of Israel, their national forgiveness or forgiveness as a nation is not completed until the end of the tribulation. It doesn’t matter whether they go through the tribulation rapture in the middle of afterwards, the point is they go through the tribulation whereas the church gets raptured before the tribulation.
The tribulation is 7 years. The only verse in the entire Bible that shows that is in Daniel 9:27.
Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”
God appointed 70 weeks for Daniel’s people (the Jews) and upon thy holy city. This is a physical city, which is Jerusalem. This is no the church to finish the transgression, it doesn’t take us 70 weeks long to receive forgiveness and salvation. Here, God is not talking about today’s individual salvation by grace through faith, He is talking about a national forgiveness, national salvation. Why? Because Israel kept rejecting God, that’s why God switched to the church. That’s why if you’re a Jew today by your physical nationality, you have to join the church. But then later on, you can return to your people, your nation.
Daniel 9:25 “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”
Jerusalem is to be restored and rebuilt from the timeline of Ezra and Nehemiah all the way to the timeline of Jesus coming for the Jewish people shall be 69 weeks (seven weeks and threescore and two weeks). That means there’s one more week left over in order for the nation of Israel to receive their forgiveness.
So 69 weeks already passed then what is that one week leftover? That’s the 7 years tribulation (one day equals one year).
Daniel 9:27 “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
‘He’ referring to the antichrist, making the covenant for one week (7 years tribulation).
When this is complete, then the nation of Israel receives their full forgiveness.
That’s why it’s determined at v24, this tribulation, which is part of the 79 weeks, is for the Jews (v24). That’s why we believe that when it talks about rapture after the tribulation or people going through the tribulation, it is referring to the nation of Israel, not the Christian church.
Post-trib or mid-trib people also agrees that this passage is applying to the tribulation.
Luke 21:22-23 “For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.”
This tribulation timeline is also called the days of wrath.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Christians are not appointed to this timeline, not to wrath. Spiritually we are already forgiven, so we don’t have to go through the tribulation to receive the full forgiveness, which is national salvation at Daniel 9.
Signs and wonders are for Jews. Some might argue that there was the church in New Testament, Paul did signs and wonders to the Gentiles and the apostles were part of the church and they did signs and wonders. True, but what were the apostles’ and Paul’s physical nation? Jews.
The nation of Israel has not been used by God for the Christian church throughout the Dark Ages and Great Awakening Revivals. Do we hear a lot of cases of signs and wonders during those periods? No, it’s only preached and by the word of God.
We believe in faith in the word of God. The word of God is spiritual, signs and wonders are what we see in a physical world.
1 Corinthians 1:22 “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:”
The Jews require a sign and the Greek (Gentiles) seek after wisdom. That’s very different.
2 Corinthians 5:7 “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”
Kingdom of Heaven is referring to an earthly physical kingdom whereas the Kingdom of God is referring to a spiritual kingdom. It is true that sometimes kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God can refer to heaven where God lives but the reason why is because God is a spiritual being and heaven is a physical literal place.
Matthew 11:12 “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”
That’s obviously not heaven where God lives right now. That makes more sense it is referring to an earthly kingdom where people are fighting each other over a physical kingdom.
Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
The kingdom of God is not earthly things (meat and drinks) but spiritual (righteousness, peace and joy).
If the kingdom of heaven means a physical kingdom and applies to Jews then is it accurate to say that this physical kingdom worked with Jews during the Old Testament? Absolutely. Because they had an earthly nation, earthly kingdom with earthly kings. That’s why they expected an earthly ruler from the Messiah Jesus. That’s why they didn’t like Jesus teaching spiritual things and starting a spiritual church because they were looking forward to an earthly kingdom.
Today are we building an earthly kingdom? Absolutely not. The antichrist is going to get all the kingdoms so what we’re doing is useless anyway, we’re focusing on a spiritual kingdom. That’s why the church is not limited to an empire/building/internet. It’s a group of believers who have the same spiritual side around the world. It’s a non-visible spiritual kingdom. During the tribulation, God is judging Antichrist’s earthly kingdom and getting ready to set up His own earthly kingdom. That’s why the Jews are working toward their kingdom during the tribulation, resisting the antichrist’s kingdom and getting ready to rebuild and restore their earthly kingdom. That’s why 2 witnesses have to come down, God has to focus on the nation of Israel, 144,000 virgins etc.
In the Millenium, is the physical earthly a literal kingdom? Absolutely.
So when we ready about the kingdom of heaven from Jesus, He’s talking about an earthly kingdom that the Jews are looking for.
When we read verses throughout the Bible that talks about faith and works for salvation, they’re mostly applied to Jews. For the Christian church, it’s faith alone, not by works for salvation. Look at Romans 4 and James 2, notice the clear contradiction here. In Romans 4, Paul is talking about salvation by faith, not by works. James is talking about if you’re truly saved by faith then the works will show. Those 2 verses contradict each other already but it makes more sense when we think this way: why is it work salvation for Jews? Because it requires physical effort from the body. Faith is spiritual, that’s why the church’s salvation is based on something spiritual.
Dispensationalism means right people, right time periods. Notice how it all connected and matches up perfectly?
Romans 4:4-5 “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
The verse says that if we don’t even work at all but have faith, God counts that as salvation. Paul was speaking to the New Testament Christian church.
James 2:24 “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”
Here, it says there is no such thing as faith alone.
James 1:1 “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.”
This was written to the 12 tribes scattered abroad: the Jews!
James 5:3 “Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.”
‘last days’: this is referring to Jews in the tribulation, future time period.
The easiest evidence is that we have to avoid the mark of the beast. How do we mingle avoiding the mark of the beast with faith alone? That’s very difficult. If we avoid the persecution of the antichrist, that is a lot of work going on. That is more work than any work we’re doing today.
It makes sense why in the Old Testament they have to observe these laws, why God took severe punishments, stoning them to death. Why? Their salvation depended upon it.
That makes sense why Noah had to build an ark for his salvation. That’s a lot of work.
It makes sense now why before Jesus died on the cross with the church starting, that Jesus told the rich young ruler that he’s supposed to keep the commandments and sell all that he has.
Dispensationalism started with the Bible. During the New Testament, we got the apostles and early church.
During that time, Catholic doctrines started to seep in and rise as well as the church fathers. They became more of the priority rather than the Bible during the Dark Ages. At that time, only Catholic leaders have access to the Bible. After more than a thousand years have passed, the knowledge of the Bible diminished, it’s going to be hidden because people are not studying it and they can’t read either.
There were pieces of dispensationalism during this time period because there were some people who did study the Bible and actually found it.
Recommended reading: ‘Dispensationalism before Darby’. It will go through all the historical sources and facts that the ideas of dispensationalism were taught during this time period before Darby.
After that, we have the Great Awakening revivals. During the Great Awakening Revivals, people started to study the scriptures more and more. So these little pieces of idea of dispensationalism naturally started to grow. A more scriptural term is called ‘Progressive Revelation’. It means that when we study a certain topic, as time passes by, the ideas on that topic will grow more and more.
We’re not saying that during the early church time period, they didn’t get all the knowledge until we did. No. The Bible had everything we needed but during the Dark Ages, there were so many traditions and teachings of the Catholic church fathers seeping in that we have to start from scratch and have progressive revelations.
That’s why Darby, Scofield and Clarence Larkin became very famous for that. During the Laodicean era, we have Ruckman. These people started to progressively reveal things more and more, so obviously a more recent person will have more revelation. But it does not end right here, it’s going to grow even more.