9B. Dispensationalism - Prophecy And The Mystery
Prophecy And The Mystery
Mr. Stam tells us:
The supposition that the most important division of the Bible is that between the Old and New Testaments has often been expressed in the statement: "The Old Testament is for the Jews; the New Testament is for us."
This is quite incorrect, however. First of all, the titles Old Testament and New Testament are not accurate designations of the two sections of the Bible which they are supposed to represent.
I think close examination of the scriptures will prove that they are.
1. The scriptures speak of only two covenants- (Heb.8:6-7). The first covenant was fallible because it was written on tables of stone, and memorized by a select group to share with a larger group. (Heb.8:11). The second was written on the fleshly tables of each heart that was to be a recipient of the covenant. (Heb.8:10).
2. The first covenant was dependent upon sinful man for its being passed on from generation to generation and was therefore distorted and broken by men many times. (Heb.8:9). The second covenant was dependent upon the finished work of Christ at the cross and therefore had no fleshly dependence for its being carried on from generation to generation, rather it was the work of the Holy Spirit.
3. The Old Covenant pointed to a reestablished fellowship with God, and it was affirmed when the High Priest was seen in his duties (Heb.8:3-5) BUT IT WAS ONLY A TYPE OF THE NEW COVENANT THAT WAS TO COME LATER. When Christ entered into the heavenly holiest of holies, before the very throne of God in heaven the Old Covenant was fulfilled as he made everlasting intercession for God's people, based on his shed blood.
4. The Old Covenant, being between man and God, was continually broken by man. The New Covenant, being between God and God, can never be broken.
5. Both covenants promised restored fellowship with God, while the covenant was intact, through the obedience of the first party to God. Exodus 19:5-6, I Peter 1:2, Heb.5:8. Adam broke the covenant when he disobeyed God and lost that unity he had with his creator. Throughout history when God saw fit to bestow upon certain people His Holy Spirit, the covenant remained in effect. But when He withdrew His Spirit it was continually broken by disobedience due to sin. The New Covenant, on the other hand, was based, not on God's covenant with sinful man, through Adam, but rather with perfect man in Christ. It was never broken and was signed and sealed for eternity through the atoning work of Christ on the cross of Calvary.
6. The Old Covenant ran from Adam's sin until Christ, the New Covenant began with Christ and will never end.
Mr. Stam tells us:
The covenant of the law (later called the old covenant, or testament) was not made until 2500 years of human history had elapsed. "The law was given by Moses" (John 1:17), about 1500 B.C., as recorded in Exodus 19 and 20. We are told concerning this period of time "from Adam to Moses" that "there [was] no law" (Rom. 5:13,14), i.e., the law had not yet been given.
According to the Word of God, the books of the law include Gen.- Duet. Genesis was indeed a book of the law of God. Moses under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit penned these books and they were read as a part of the law when the law was read. Mark 2:26. This law, which was given by Moses, was not just the law to Israel, God's particular people, but also contained the law of God to Adam in Gen Mark 2:16-17.
Romans 5:13,14 does not say that there was no law. It says "For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed (the Greek word here is "ellegeo" meaning to put on a persons account) when there is no law (In other words, without a law there is no penalty for disobedience) nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that is to come."
Paul is telling us in these verses that if there had been no law against sin there would have been no punishment for disobedience, yet we know that there was the punishment, death, SO THERE MUST HAVE BEEN A LAW.
Mr. Stam tells us:
It is a striking fact that the very opening words of the Bible read: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." It does not say that He created the universe, but the heaven and the earth. This is because He had a purpose concerning the earth quite distinct from His purpose concerning heaven.
I regret to see Mr. Stam use the Word of God to make doctrinal issues which are not even remotely implied by the passages used. If we apply this line of reasoning to the opening line of creation we must make the same application to other areas where the same terminology is used. If we do not do this then the scripture can be made to prove any point, whether true or false, that we want it to prove. When we apply his method of interpretation to the creation then we will see the following:
1. God has a different plan for the evening and the morning. Verse Gen.1:5,8,13,19,23,31, because he didn't just say this was the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth day.
2. He has a different plan for the grass and the herb, (Gen.1:12) because he didn't just say plant.
3. He has a different plan for the whales than the other creatures of the sea (Gen.1:21) because he didn't just say sea creatures. We could go on but the most startling of all is that he has a separate eternal plan for males and females (Gen.1:27) because He didn't just say people.
Following this line of reasoning we could go into perhaps different plans of salvation for males and females, maybe even different heavens. The implication of this verse to the believer is that God is the creator of all things whether in heaven or in earth. In order to highlight the scriptural basis of his doctrinal stand Mr. Stam has found it necessary to add the words "This is because He has a purpose concerning the earth quite distinct from His purpose concerning heaven." to the scripture.
This may seem like a harmless statement to the casual reader but, unfortunately many of the errors in theology today are caused by this mode of interpretation, where someone states as Biblical truth what the Word of God never implies.
Mr. Stam tells us:
Concerning the kingdom on earth Zacharias said:
"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people,
"And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David;
"AS HE SPAKE BY THE MOUTH OF HIS HOLY PROPHETS, WHICH HAVE BEEN SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN" (Luke 1:68-70).
Where in this scripture does it say that Zacharias was speaking concerning the kingdom on earth as opposed to a heavenly kingdom? Or where does the Bible anywhere state that the Jews are God's earthly kingdom and the church is God's heavenly kingdom? NOWHERE
Again we see the same problem as in the previous quotation. The author desires to see two kingdoms in the scripture so he adds his own wisdom to the Word of God. The only time that I see earthly and heavenly mentioned in contrast in the scriptures is when we are told that the earthly is of the sin nature and heavenly is pertaining to the nature of Christ. (John 3:31, II Cor.5: 1-2; Ja. 3:15; John 3:12; Phil.3:18-20.
Mr. Stam tells us:
Again at Pentecost, Peter, speaking of the absence of Christ and of the signs of His return, said: "Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, WHICH GOD HATH SPOKEN BY THE MOUTH OF ALL HIS HOLY PROPHETS SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN." "YEA, AND ALL THE PROPHETS FROM SAMUEL AND THOSE THAT FOLLOW AFTER, AS MANY AS HAVE SPOKEN, HAVE LIKEWISE FORETOLD OF THESE DAYS" (Acts 3:21,24). But concerning the body of Christ, with its heavenly calling and position, not one word is to be found in the pages of prophecy. Indeed, God kept this great purpose a secret until He was ready to bring the body itself into being, and then He revealed it first to the Apostle Paul. The apostle says of this great purpose, that it was: "KEPT SECRET SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN" (Rom. 16:2.5). "A MYSTERY . . . ORDAINED BEFORE THE WORLD UNTO OUR GLORY" (I Cor. 2:7). "IN OTHER AGES... NOT MADE KNOWN" (Eph. 3:5). "FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD HID IN GOD" (Eph. 3:9). "HID FROM AGES AND FROM GENERATIONS" (Col. 1:26).
As we concentrate on this statement we will first use the verses of scripture he uses and see what they say when quoted in their entirety.
Romans 16:25-"Now unto him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, "now verse 26, "But is now made manifest, AND BY THE SCRIPTURES OF THE PROPHETS, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all the nations for the obedience of faith." True it was a mystery, but a mystery to who? perhaps the gentile nations. The last part of verse 26 seems to imply this by its wording. "Made known to all nations for the obedience of faith"/. Whoever the apostle is speaking of he makes it quite clear that the pages of prophecy is where we will find this mystery.
I Cor. 2:7 "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory." Again let us put this verse in context of the chapter, who was the mystery that is now revealed hidden from. Note verse 8, the princes of this world, not the prophets or the Old Testament writers! See how Paul contrasts this Godly wisdom with the earthly wisdom throughout the entire chapter. Who does he say is the conveyor of this wisdom? Vs. 10. Who conveyed the wisdom to the prophets? The same Holy Spirit that conveys it to us!
Ephesians 3:5-6 "Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of man, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel." What is the mystery mentioned in these verses? Not the work of Christ and his body but the fact that the Gentile nations would share in the promise of Christ. And again who is it hidden from? Not the sons of God but the sons of men.
Again in verse 9 He uses the phrase "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery" as in Romans 16:26 he again emphasizes that now all men not just a select few will know what is the fellowship of the mystery.
When we read Col.1:26-27 we see the revelation of two mysteries.
1. It is the knowledge of Christ which would be seen by the Gentiles vs.27 this mystery was hidden from the saints: vs.26.
2. However the mystery "which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" was hidden only from the gentiles as we can see in verse 27.
The writer is making a grave error in his doctrine that the spiritual aspect of Christ's work was not known before the apostle Paul. If this is the case then, according to John 3:16, every person who lived on the face of the earth before the apostle Paul preached was condemned to an eternity in Hell! Because as John 3:16 so clearly states "Whosoever believeth in him would not perish but have everlasting life". Belief in God's only begotten Son is the only remedy given in the entire scripture for the curse of sin!
Mr. Stam tells us:
Manifestly there is a great difference between that which was "spoken by the mouth of all [God's] holy prophets since the world began" and that which was "kept secret since the world began."
As we have seen, God's plan to establish the Messianic kingdom was no secret to the Jews of Christ's day. The kingdom is the very theme of Old Testament prophecy and is described there in great detail. Some of the principal facts to be noted in regard to it are as follows:
It is at this point that our interpretation of the scripture is important. There are two basic interpretations which modern theologians give to the scripture, the materialistic, physical interpretation, which says that all of the scripture is to be taken, whenever possible in a physical sense. And the spiritual interpretation which says that certain scriptures are to be taken in a physical sense i.e. the books which deal with historical things which the Word of God shows us,( creation, the lives of the patriarchs, the rise and fall of Israel, the life, death, burial, resurrection of Christ and the scriptures which deal with his eminent return), but that there are many scriptures which deal with our spiritual life. Although these scriptures are to be taken literally they are applied to spiritual things and not physical things.
Concerning the messianic kingdom, the dispensationalist tells us it is to be a physical materialistic reign of Christ on the earth, Those who disagree with this teaching say that the reign of Christ is to be a spiritual reign in which those who are members of the kingdom reign spiritually with Him while on the earth.
What we need to see as we study the following doctrines of dispensationalism is whether the messianic kingdom is present now or future, and whether it is physical or spiritual. Since the Word of God alone can give us insight into this area we will confine ourselves completely to it in our study.
Mr. Stam tells us:
1. It will be set up on earth: "I shall give Thee the uttermost parts of THE EARTH for Thy possession" (Psa. 2:8). "THE EARTH shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord" (Isa. 11:9). "A King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in THE EARTH" (Jer. 23:5). "He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in THE EARTH" (Isa. 42:4).
The angels confirmed this when, at His birth, they praised God, saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and ON EARTH peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14).
Our Lord, too, confirmed it when He said: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit THE EARTH" (Matt. 5:5), and taught His disciples to pray: "Thy kingdom COME. Thy will be done IN EARTH, as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10).
The kingdom which John the Baptist, our Lord and the twelve proclaimed "at hand" was indeed "the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 3:1,2; 4:17, 10:5-7), but it was to be set up on earth. Now, while its establishment is held in abeyance, it is vested in Christ Himself in heaven (Col. 1:13), but the goal of prophecy is the establishment of the kingdom on earth (Rom. 11:25-29).
When we look at these scriptures presented by the writer of this book we need to first answer the question, was the kingdom spoken of here a material kingdom or a spiritual kingdom? If it was a material kingdom then its establishment remains to be seen, if, on the other hand, it is a spiritual kingdom then it is present on the earth now and has fulfilled Old Testament prophecy.
1. Does the Bible proclaim a spiritual or a physical reign: John 18:36 "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but my kingdom is not from thence." John 3:3 " Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."- Only those who have been saved will be able to look upon the kingdom. This refutes the idea that a material kingdom will be set up upon which both the saved and the unsaved will be able to look. Romans 14:17 "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." I Cor.15:50 "Now I say this brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doeth corruption inherit incorruption." All of these verses tell us that the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, established in the hearts of the believers. Now, if this kingdom is the one prophesied by the Old Testament then it will have fulfilled Old Testament writings concerning it:
Let us look at the scriptures the writer uses and see if they were fulfilled in the establishment of the church. Psalms 2:7-8 "I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me. Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession."/ Are the heathen (Gentile nations) now the inheritance of Christ in the church? Eph.3:5-6, Romans 1:16-17. Is there anywhere in the world known to man that the gospel cannot go, resulting in souls being saved? Matt 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:44-47, Acts 1:8, Rev.14:6
"The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord"(Isa.11:9) this was fulfilled as we see in Col.1:23.
"A king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in THE EARTH" (Jer.23:5) Does Christ as the king, ruler, or head of the church do what is found in this verse of scripture? Does he reign? Acts 2:36, Acts 5:31, Eph.1:20-23, Phil.2:9-11. Does the church prosper through his reign? Matt.16:18-19 (It is amazing is it not that Christ gave the keys of the church to Peter first instead of Paul since according to the dispensationalist Peter didn't even know what the church was!) Acts 2:41-47. Does Christ now execute judgment in the world? Matt.28:18, (Note this was after his death, burial and resurrection), John 5:27-30, Eph.1:22, I Pet. 3:22; 4:5-6.
Does Christ execute justice in the world? Rom.4:5, 8:33-37. The write believes that Christ has to be physically present in order for His kingdom to be present. Is this a Biblical concept or can Christ be spiritually present in his kingdom directing the events and affairs of the kingdom? Note what Christ tells his disciples in Matt.16:28,"Verily I say unto you, There shall be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." If this was to be physically implied then Christ failed to perform his promise, for all of the men spoken of in this verse have long since passed away.
Mr. Stam tells us:
2. It will be a theocracy. God Himself will reign, in the person of Christ: "They shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Isa. 7:14, Matt. 1:23). "And His name shall be called . . . The mighty God" (Isa. 9:6). "The Lord shall be king over all the earth" (Zech. 14:9). "The King, the Lord of hosts" (Zech. 14:16).
Does Christ fulfill all of the specifications mentioned in these verses?
Isaiah 7:14 was fulfilled in Matt.1:23. We could fill a page with the scriptures that prove he was God manifest in the flesh. John 10:30,38; 14:10, 17:11,22 are a few found in John's gospel. Is he now the king over all the earth? Romans 14:11-12 tells us that he is, as does Philippians 2:9-10, and Rev.3:9. All of these verses state that He alone is the one that all men will worship, either now or at the judgment.
Mr. Stam tells us:
3. It will be centered at Jerusalem, Israel's capital city: "Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isa. 2:3). "The Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem" (Isa. 24:23). "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord" (Jer. 3:17). Thus He will reign primarily over Israel (Mic. 5:2).
This was confirmed by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:32,33), by the Magi (Matt. 2:1,2) and by the Lord Himself (Matt. 19:28).
As we look at the first scripture which was mentioned we see its fulfillment in Luke 24:47. Jerusalem was indeed the place that God chose to be the hub of the gospel, notice what God told Daniel in Daniel 9:24 "Seventy years are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression (sin of Adam), and to make an end of sins, (or to seal up sins) and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." All of these things happened when Christ accomplished His work on the cross of Calvary and rose in glory to the right hand of God.
Jerusalem was the springboard of the entire church as we see in Acts 2:5-47. When this was accomplished physical Jerusalem had fulfilled her part in God's plan for mankind. Now let us look at the scripture found in Isa. 24:23. "Then shall the moon be confounded and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts, shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously." Is Isaiah in this verse talking about the physical Jerusalem or the spiritual Jerusalem? Most dispensationalists will tell us that there is no spiritual Jerusalem, however the Word of God refutes this notion. Note: what Isaiah tells us in 26:1- "In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks." Is this speaking of a physical or spiritual city? Also note what Isaiah says in 60:17-18 "For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine executors righteousness, Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; But thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise." Is this the description of something physical? Can you handle salvation and praise in your hands, are righteousness and peace people who can be seen, of course not! This is the city Paul told the Hebrews about in Heb.12:22 "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM, and to an innumerable company of angels." Note: verse 27 this heavenly Jerusalem alone will withstand the mighty wrath of God when he once again shakes the earth at Christ's return. Rev. also speaks of this city New Jerusalem Rev.21:9-27, and explains that it is the bride of Christ- the church. This too is direct fulfillment of scripture for we read in Isa. 62:2 "And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord shall name."
There is another reason why a physical, man-made, Jerusalem could not be the one spoken of by Isaiah, and that is because of the glory of Christ. Note: in all of the verses that we have read, the sun and the moon are confounded or their light is eliminated by the glory of Christ. Perhaps it would be good to look at this glory and see what the scriptures have to say about it.
Man cannot look upon it and live.- Ex.33:18-20- Moses asks to see the glory of Christ and is told no man will see His face and live. Christ's glory is a consuming fire II Thes.1:7-9, II Pet.3:10-12, II Thes.2:8, Paul caught a glimpse of this glory on the Damascus road and was immediately blinded Acts 9:3-9; 26:13-15. Even Stephen tells us in Acts 7:48-49 tells us that the most high dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: what house will you build me? saith the Lord; or what is the place of my rest." If Christ were to once again come to earth, to be worshiped physically by man, he would once again have to give up the glory that he gave up the first time when he came, and this concept is blasphemy against God! There is not a scripture in the Word of God which states that when he returns it will be to set up a physical kingdom on the earth.
The scripture that the writer uses in Jer.3:17 also points, I believe to the New Covenant, note verse 19 "....and I said, thou shalt call me, My Father; and shalt not turn away from me, Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel saith the Lord." There is a transition spoken of here, it is the relationship of God seen as the husband in the Old Covenant, and Christ as the Son of God and his Bride the church, making God's people his children, thus the Father- child relationship of the New Covenant through Christ. This concept is mentioned only a few times in the Old Testament. God's spiritual adoption of Solomon-(IISam.7:14, I Chron.17:13; 22:10; 28:6) We also see it mentioned in Psalms 27; 68 as God being a father to orphans and those rejected by their parents. But the amazing thing is that nowhere in the Old Testament, with the exception of Isaiah 9:6, is God called Father by any of His people, because our son ship to God was only made possible through the adoption we receive through Christ and His finished work on the cross of Calvary.
This difference becomes evident in the New Testament, where God is mentioned as Father in every book with the exception of III John!
The writer also uses the text in Micah 5:2 to say that Christ will primarily reign over Israel. I can see in this chapter where he will come out of Bethlehem, which has been fulfilled, and I can see where His rule will be in Israel, which has also been fulfilled, but I cannot see in this chapter where he will rule primarily over Israel. In fact if you look at verse 7 you will see only a remnant of Judah in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, and again in verse 8 the picture is of the remnant of Jacob that shall be among the Gentiles.
Note the verse he uses in Luke 1:32,33, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give him the throne of His father David: He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever: and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
Look at what the scriptures say concerning the house of Jacob, or Israel.
According to Paul, in Romans 9:7-13, there are two Israel’s, the one is the Israel according to the flesh (fleshly descendants of Abraham) and the second are descendants according to the promise (spiritual descendants of Abraham). Those of spiritual Israel are few in number as compared to the fleshly house of Israel. This is not just a New Testament concept, but is seen throughout the entire Old and New Testament. We always see spiritual Israel, or those who follow after God, spoken of in the scriptures as a REMNANT. Isa.10:20-22; 11:10-16; 46:3, Jer.23:1-4; 31:1-9, Joel 2:32, Micah 2:12-13, Zeph.3:13, Rom.11:1-7 note esp 7 "What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded."
The Bible states that as a nation Israel will some day accept the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary as a nation, but only when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Rom.11:25-26, Luke 21:24, Acts 1:6-7.
Dispensationalists will have us believe that the church or the gentile believers will be removed from the earth prior to this happening, however if you read Rom.11:31 you will see that Israel as a nation will obtain mercy through the mercy of the gentile believers, note carefully, in all of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel to God through the finished work of Christ, the gentile nations are always seen as a part of the finished work. This would not be the case if the gentile church were to be taken off of the earth.
Mr. Stam tells us:
4. It will extend to all the earth: "Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him: all nations shall serve Him" (Psa. 72:11). "And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him" (Dan. 7:14). "Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord" (Zech. 8:22).
This has already been fulfilled as we saw earlier in Col.1:6,23. The question may come up, the gospel may have been preached to all the world but where does the Bible say that the whole world serves Him at this time? (Eph.1:19-23, Col.2:10, I Pet.3:22, Phil.2:9-11). Although men may disagree with this teaching and say that they are not being directed by the will of Christ, they still are! Everything that is being done in this world, whether good or evil, is being done to build the church and bring honor and glory to the Lord. II Cor.4:15-18.
Christ uses tribulation to strengthen the church and remove the dross of those who profess but do not possess His Holy Spirit. He sends false teachers our way that we may study the Word of God and uncover their error. EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE ON THIS EARTH ARE PART AND PARCEL OF CHRIST'S ULTIMATE PLAN FOR THE CHURCH, TO SAY THAT THEY ARE NOT IS TO SAY THAT GOD IS NOT SOVEREIGN !
Mr. Stam tells us:
5. All Israel will then be saved: "They shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them" (Jer. 31:34). "I will save them . . . and will cleanse them: so shall they be My people, and I will be their God" (Ezek. 37:23).
This was confirmed by Paul in Romans 11:26, etc.
Although we have not yet seen this promise completed physically, it was spiritually fulfilled when Christ died on the cross for the sins of the Jewish as well as the Gentile believers.
Mr. Stam tells us:
6. Israel's suffering and sorrow will then be over: "Speak ye comfortably [comfortingly] to Jerusalem. . . . that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned" (Isa, 40:2). "Give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" (Isa. 61:3). "They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isa. 35:10).
Again let us look at the verses the author uses and see if they have yet to be fulfilled. Isa.40:2- According to the scriptures what was the reason for the warfare of Israel? Joshua 23:5-6 Tells us it was the establishment of a nation on the earth that would adhere to the laws of God. Note Joshua's warning in verse 6 "Be therefore very courageous to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside there from to the right or to the left." God was not interested so much in the establishment of Israel as a nation in the land of Canaan, as he was in a nation who would serve him. This was the reason for the warfare of Israel, every time Israel strayed from the precepts of the Lord they went to war. Judges 2:11-23, tells us the reason for the warfare and the remnant of nations in the land of Israel. As you go through the book of Judges you see time and time again the children of Israel disobeyed God, God brings them into war, God sends a judge to deliver them, the children of Israel repent, peace is restored, the judge dies, the children of Israel once again stray from the Lord's precepts, and God once again brings warfare upon them. This vicious circle continued on and on throughout the Old Testament because the children of Israel were unable to keep the covenant of the Lord and establish that kingdom of God upon the earth.
When Christ came, however, this kingdom was established through His warfare with, and victory over, sin and death (Rom.14:16-18, I Cor.6:9-11; 15:21-27, 47-52, I Thess.2:12-13, Heb.1:8-9). These are but a few of the verses which prove the establishment of the promised kingdom. The warfare or that which was the cause of Israel’s warfare has been accomplished just as the verse states it would be. To be sure Israel is still, as a nation, in the state of war in this day, but the warfare she is engaged in now, is not that of the establishment of God's kingdom of peace on this earth, but rather it is the establishment of fleshly Israel as a nation. If she is now in warfare to establish the kingdom of God as in Old Testament days, why does she reject the kingdom when it is offered to her?
The words of Christ which are applied to Satan's kingdom in Matt. 12:25 also apply to God's kingdom. Israel cannot be fighting to establish the kingdom of God if her warfare opposes the kingdom of God.
The second part of the verse says, "Her iniquity is pardoned." This too was accomplished at the cross of Calvary. The sins of all of God's people, whether Jew or Gentile, were paid for at the cross. All that remains to be done now is the gathering of God's people to himself through the preaching of the gospel. (I Cor.1:21-31). Again as we look at the scripture the writer uses in Isaiah 61:3 we see a picture of the coming spiritual kingdom of Christ. Compare the following scriptures from Isaiah 61 (vs.6 to I Pet.2:5, vs.10-11- Rev.21:1-2).
As we look at the verse in Isaiah 35:10 we see the perfect picture of the child of God when the Spirit of God opens his or her eyes and the finished work of Christ on the cross is revealed unto them through the gospel. No longer do the sins and sorrows of this world crush down upon them, but they are replaced by the joy and gladness of salvation.
Before we go into the writer's last six points which he uses to substantiate a coming millennium in which Christ reigns physically on the earth, let us look at the dispensationalists view of this period, according to dispensational teaching. At the end of a seven year tribulation the Lord is to set up a physical kingdom on the earth. This kingdom is to be unique because all of those who are alive, even though they still possess their sinful Adamic nature, will be saved. Because of this, their offspring will be born with this sinful nature and will need to accept Christ just as we do today. The difference between us in the church and those in the kingdom, according to dispensational teaching, is that, due to the physical presence of the glory of Christ and His quick punishment of sinful acts, those who are not saved will live in peace with the believers until Satan is loosed from the bottomless pit.
Scripturally speaking this is an impossible situation for the following reasons:
1. If sin is to be dealt with swiftly, according to its measure, all offspring will be killed immediately upon conception because of their very Adamic nature which, according to God's law, is deserving of death. If the dispensationalist dispenses with this law, he still needs to explain away the fact that in the eyes of God the very thought of the heart is as bad as the action. Matt.5:21-48, and also that God tells us that if we are guilty of the breaking of one part of the law we are guilty of breaking the entire law James 2:10. Therefore there would be instant death at every action of anger or even every thought which would go against the Lord.
2. There can never be peace in the world as long as there is sin in the world. This is true even in the life of the believer, Paul one of the greatest men of God in the world found this out, Rom.7:14-19.
3. A physical presence of God was seen in the Old Testament, yet there was constant turmoil between the children of Israel and they continued to sin. Ex.13:20-22; 14:10-12; 32:1-14, Joshua 7:10-13 - concerning the physical presence of God in the pillar and the cloud. In II Chron. 7:1-3 and I Kings 8:9-12 we see the glory of God filling the temple in the like fashion of the dispensationalists ideas during the millennium. (It is interesting to note though that even Solomon realized that the glory of God could not be restricted to the mere boundaries of a temple or even the earth (I Kings 8:27-30). Did this keep the children of God from sinning, of course not, their sins became so bad that God had to destroy the temple in which He once manifested His glory.
4. Even the continual presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer does not erase the curse of sin which Paul tells us will only be erased when these earthly bodies are done away with. I Cor.15: 53-54. Many believers, in their pride, place all of the blame for their sinfulness on Satan and therefore say that since Satan is bound, peace can reign. This is a false assumption, Satan did not force Adam and Eve to eat of the tree, if He would have, Adam and Eve could not have been held responsible for an action done out of their control. Satan merely made the suggestion and the lie, Adam and Eve took the initiative from that point, reached out, took the fruit, and put it in their mouths. They had no reason at all to doubt what God had told them about the fruit but they did because, in their pride, they wanted to be equal to the Creator instead of seeing themselves as being part of His creation. They were made perfect and sinless but caused their own corruption. Sin therefore reigned in their mortal bodies as it does in ours, with or without the help of an outside force. Such would be the case in a physical millennial kingdom.
These are some of the reasons God's Word does not substantiate this teaching. The only way a perfect kingdom on earth could exist, would be if God destroyed all mankind and created a new race of man who did not have the will to accept or reject His commands. In a very real sense this is the picture of the believer, a new creation in Christ who, once his or her fleshly body is done away with, will no longer be able to sin.
With this in mind let us look at the rest of the points that the author makes:
Mr. Stam tells us:
7. Israel will then become a blessing to all nations: "And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising" (Isa. 60:3). "And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing" (Zech. 8:13). "In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you" (Zech. 8:23).
Isa 60:3: "And the gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." What is the light which is spoken of in this verse? Go back to verse 1. "Arise, shine for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."
Are the nations going to come to a light that the nation Israel gives off? No, they will come to the glory of the Lord which comes out of the seed of Abraham, through the line of David. This has in fact been happening for the past 1988 years.
Zech. 8:13 "And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse (Heb. meaning by-word, De.28:37) among the heathen, Oh house of Judah, and house of Israel: so will I save you and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong."
Again, is he speaking of all of the house of Israel and Judah or just a remnant? Note vs. 12: "For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give here fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the REMNANT of this people to possess all these things." Have the remnant of Israel and Judah been saved. Romans 11:7 states that they have and the rest will remain blind until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled, Rom.11:11.
Zech. 8:23 "In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, we will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you." Look at Acts 2:4-11+ 41. Is this not a direct fulfillment of this scripture? You may say, ah yes but these men in Acts were Jews, look at the verse in Zech. and you will see no mention of the nationality of the ten men.
Mr. Stam tells us:
These promises date back to the covenant which God made with Abraham: "I will multiply thy seed . . . and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 22:17,18).
I agree whole heartily with this statement for who is this seed that is spoken of here? Gal.3:16 tells us it is Christ!
Mr. Stam tells us:
8. Government will be purified: "With righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth" (Isa. 11:4). "As the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations" (Isa. 61:11). "A King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth" (Jer. 23:5).
Can government be pure when the sin of flesh is present? Are the verses which the writer uses speaking of all government or of just one perfect government through Christ?
(Isa. 11:4) "With righteousness shall HE judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth."
(Isa. 61:11) "As the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things in it to spring forth: So the LORD GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." Does the verse say spring forth out of all the nations or before all the nations? The righteousness and praise comes from the LORD GOD just as the bud comes from the earth and the things come forth from the garden. Note: it is not one quick shot, but it takes place progressively as the Holy Spirit through the gospel being preached enters into the nations of the earth and those, the called of Christ, accept it and praise the Lord and show forth the fruits of HIS righteousness in their lives.
(Jer. 23:5) "A king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth." The direct fulfillment of this is seen in John 16:7-11.
What we see in all of these verses of scripture is not a purification of the government of earth but the establishment of a pure government which influences the nations of the world with the justice, judgment, peace, joy, and righteousness it conveys. This governmental system is seen in the church, established and controlled by Christ, it enters the nations of the world and draws out through His power a people for His Name.
Mr. Stam tells us:
9. War and bloodshed will be abolished.3"His name shall be called . . . The Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6). "And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isa. 2:4).
Again the writer jumps to a conclusion which the scripture does not draw.
The verses he uses are Isa. 9:6; 2:4.
Isa. 9:6: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
Most dispensational teachers that I have heard place a gap of what amounts to almost 2000 years between this verse and the next verse which reads as follows: "Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice from henceforth and forever. The zeal of the Lord of host will perform this."
Note: these verses do not tell us that war and bloodshed will be abolished, but rather that a kingdom of peace will be established. A kingdom that will prosper on the earth, a kingdom that will proclaim the message of peace, a kingdom in which those who it comes in contact with will know judgment and justice. A kingdom dependent not on the actions of man for its stability but solely on the Lord of Hosts. Has this kingdom been established on the earth? Is the church a kingdom? Does it not have all of the prerequisites for a kingdom? The Bible states that it is and does. (Heb.12:28, Col.1:13). Does this kingdom meet the standards put forth in Isa.9:6-7. Is its head, Christ, Wonderful, Counselor, is He Almighty God, Is He the Everlasting Father, Is He the Prince of Peace? The Bible states He is! Has there yet been an end to the increase of the Church? Are not souls being added to it daily, souls who become obedient to His Word and know a peace that passes all understanding? Did it not find its establishment in Jerusalem and from there branch out to all of the earth? Was not Christ a direct descendant from the line of David (Matt.1:6-16)? Are not the hearts of men pricked by the judgment and justice of God concerning the sins in their lives when the Gospel or Good News of the Kingdom are being taught? If the answer to these questions is yes, then what more needs to be fulfilled?
Isa. 2:4 "And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." A careful study of this verse and the verses in the Word of God which speak of the same thing (Hosea 2:16-19, Micah 4:3-5, and Zech.9:10) do not show a universal destruction of warfare and bloodshed, but a turning to peace as seen in the lives of those who are rebuked by Christ. Note the process spoken of in these verses:
His judgment goes into the nations and many (NOT ALL) people are rebuked. When they are rebuked or convicted of their sin and healed they then follow a process of planting and harvesting instead of violence to spread the gospel. Also, those who have been saved are able to live in peace with others even though they come from different nations that one time made war against each other. Even the desire to make war is replaced by the desire to spread the gospel of peace. Look at the scripture in Zech.9:9-10 and you will see that when Christ entered into Jerusalem riding on an ass and the colt of an ass He came to set up His kingdom. The kingdom which was founded on the earth the day he rose from the dead, the kingdom which began to spread and grow to all the nations when the Holy Spirit of God came upon the disciples at Pentecost!
If we were to go back through church history we would see that, through the power of Christ and His gospel, many nations who once warred against each other began to live in peace. We can also see the abolition of learning war by these nations (ex.- The abolition of Gladiatorial Shows by Constantine in 325 and by Hororius in 404 B.C.). Even today we can see that once warring tribes and nations on the mission field now live together in peace through the influence of the gospel of Christ in their lives.
Mr. Stam tells us:
10. Health and long life will be restored to the human race: "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing" (Isa. 35:5,6). "There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed" (Isa. 65:20).
We can see that the first verse the writer uses has been fulfilled physically in the life and ministry of Christ. Nowhere in Isaiah 35:5,6 "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out and streams in the desert.", does it say that this is a universal happening. We can see the fulfillment of all of these miracles, physically in the following verses: Matt.9:27, Mark 7:33-35, Acts 3:7.
However if we look at the context of this verse, in the book of Isaiah, we will see a much deeper and wonderful meaning, that of the spiritual healing of God's people. Notice the curse that God placed upon His people because of their disobedience in Isa.6:9-10. "And he said, Go and tell this people, hear ye indeed but understand not; and see ye indeed but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and understand in their heart, and convert, and be healed." Isa. 29:10.
The second verse he uses is found in Isa. 65:20. "There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed." What exactly does this verse mean when we compare it to other verses of scripture and keep it in context?
1. Is this a world-wide happening or a localized one? Note the context of the entire chapter. It deals only with the New Jerusalem. vs.18, vs.25.
2. Note vs.17, this will be after the creation of new heavens and a new earth, so according to dispensational teaching, it cannot refer to a physical millennial reign of Christ on this present earth, can it?
3. Since these verses are speaking of a future time in which Christ will create a new heavens and a new earth in which the old will not be remembered anymore vs. 17. how can there be a sinner present as seen in verse 20?
To put it very bluntly, if we try to give a physical meaning to this chapter, we will be completely lost as to it's fulfillment in time. However, if we look at it in a spiritual sense, it makes complete sense!
Let us go through these verses in light of the gospel of Christ and see if they make any sense spiritually speaking.
Vs. 17-18 "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy."
Now let's turn to Rev. 21:1-2, and we will see this same vision as seen by the apostle John. "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, as a bride adorned for her husband."
What is seen in both of these verses is a new creation, a new creation created for God, and by God. This new Jerusalem, if we confine our study completely to the Word of God would have to be in reference to the bride of Christ: Rev.21:9, the church, II Cor.11:2.
What is its reason for needing to be a new creation of God? In order to understand this, we need only look back to the beginning of the 65th chapter of Isaiah. As we see, starting in verse 1, God tells the children of Israel that He is going to be sought by a people who asked not for Him, He is going to be found of them that sought Him not, He is going to make Himself known unto a nation that was not called by His name. (Compare this with I Pet.2:9-10. and we see the interpretation of who this nation is). Why does God bring in another nation? vs.2 "I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; a people that provoked me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burn incense upon alters of brick." On and on, verse after verse, God tells how Israel has trespassed against His holy name. It is for this reason God will cause the nation Israel to feel shame for their unrighteousness. All except for a chosen few, vs. 9. He even gives the name of one of the places that was chosen of Him to bear the elect in verse 10, Sharon. Look at Acts 9:35 and you will see Sharon mentioned again.
Another interesting thing to look at is this, seen in vs.15, at the time this happens Israel will become a curse to God's chosen and he will slay them and call his servants by another name.
All of this comes about because of the truth found in I Cor. 2:14, "But the natural man recieveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." ONLY A SPIRITUAL MAN OR NATION CAN UNDER|STAND THE THINGS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD. Natural man cannot, even as Israel in the flesh could not, live in peaceful harmony with God. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!!! God, therefore had to create a new race of people, a race of spiritual beings who were not only patterned after, but who received all of their ability for perfection and Godliness from himself.
It had to be an entirely new creation as we see in II Cor. 5:17. Different from the man created in the garden of Eden in that, although both were made in the image of God, the new man was not dependent upon his own actions for continued fellowship with God, but solely upon the actions of God in Christ. Paul brings this out beautifully in Gal.2:20+21. "I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live BY the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." Notice I capitalized, by, in this verse, many believers think their life is lived through THEIR faith IN Christ, Paul tells us it is lived BY the faith OF CHRIST. NOT ONE SINGLE THING FOR MAN TO BOAST ABOUT, IT IS THE COMPLETE WORK OF CHRIST, FROM START TO FINISH!!! This, I believe is one of the main reasons these teachings of physical reigns of man with God come into the church. Man, in his pride, cannot believe he is so totally depraved that he cannot attain fellowship, somehow, with God on his own merit. Down deep inside he wants to believe that all he needs is a little nudge from God to put him back on the right path.
As we look at the concept according to the scriptures of this new creation known as the church, we see it shown in two aspects:
1. Its position on the earth, known by many of the church fathers as the church militant.
2. Its position in heaven, known by many of the church fathers as the church triumphant.
We know from our studies of the scripture that, although we are new creations in Christ, (II Cor.5:17) we continue to be housed in our fleshly bodies that the world may witness the power of Christ through us (II Cor.4:11). This is what is sometimes known as the church militant. Although having within us the perfection of Christ, and through this perfection having the ability to enter into the presence of God, spiritually through prayer, we still are unable to see Him face to face because the body of flesh in which we dwell can not inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor.15:50). In this fleshly tabernacle we, through the grace and love of God, catch glimpses of the glory and the peace that will someday be ours in heaven, Paul refers to this action as seeing through a glass or a mirror, just a reflection of what awaits us face to face, ( I Cor. 13:9-13 & II Cor.3:18). We know the joy and peace of salvation but not on the scale that we will know it when we stand complete before God clothed eternally in the righteousness of Christ, perfect and sinless without the desires of the flesh to come between us and perfect fellowship with the Father.
It is this earthly representation of the church which Isaiah is referring to in 65:17-25, and since the church is a new spiritual creation we should look at these verses as they pertain to our spiritual bodies, which make up the church and are heirs to the Kingdom of God, not our physical bodies, which have no heir ship in the kingdom of heaven and cannot please God (Rom. 8:6-9).
As we look at verses 17-25 let us compare the New Jerusalem and Her people, and the Old Jerusalem and Her people spiritually, and we will see that these verses make perfect sense.
1. vs.17 "The former shall not be remembered or come to mind." Do we as the church remember what it was like to have to come to the temple at Jerusalem to offer up our sacrifices to God? Do we as the church remember to keep all of the Holy days and the Sabbaths of the Old Covenant? Do we as a church now strap on weapons of the flesh in order to further God's kingdom on this earth, Do we remember what it was like when we had to do it? Of course not, because we never had to do any of these things! The work of Christ fulfilled our responsibility toward the law (Rom.8:1-4). Our warfare is no longer physical but spiritual (Eph.6:10-18). If as the dispensationalist says, a fleshly kingdom of God will be established on the earth in which the sacrifices and holy days will once again be observed, than this verse doesn't make sense because, then, all of the former things will be brought to mind.
2. vs.18. "But be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create." Does the believer today rejoice and is he glad that he is a new creation in Christ Jesus? Does he rejoice and is he glad that God has made him a part of His eternal kingdom? True believers do (Heb.3:6). "for, behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy." Was the Old Jerusalem know for its rejoicing or for its complaining? Were the Israelites of the Old Jerusalem a joy to be around, or a royal pain in the neck? The scriptures are very clear on this point, search them and find out. The church, when controlled by the spiritual body of which it is made up, instead of the fleshly body in which it is encased, meets both of these requirements.
3. Vs.19 Not only will the new creation rejoice in God, but God will rejoice in the new creation. "And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall no more be heard in her, nor the voice of crying." Does God rejoice in the church, the new creation he has in Christ? Heb. 13:15-16, I John 3:22. Does the action of the new creation of Christ in us bring about weeping or joy? To be sure there is much sorrow in the world today and there is even sorrow in the church as it walks on the earth, but does the eternal part of the church, that part which is perfect in Christ, cause the sorrow or does the Old Man in which the New Creation is now housed cause the pain that is seen around us? Look at John 16: 20-28 and you can see plainly the transition which Christ promised would come about after He had gone to the Father. This is a direct fulfillment of Isa. 65:19.
vs. 20. This is the verse the writer uses to proclaim health and long life to those who live on earth during a future millennial reign. But is this what the verse proclaims? "There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days." The Septuagint reads as follows: "Neither shall there anymore be a child that dies untimely, or an old man who shall not complete his time," In this new creation of God all those who die will not have died before their time and will in a real sense never die. Death and the fear of death will no longer have dominion over them as we see in Romans:6:6-14, When a believer dies, although his passing is mourned by those on the earth, his brothers and sisters in Christ realize he has been called home and whether he or she be 10 or 100, it is known that they have done the work which God placed them on this earth to do and has now called them home to glory.
The second part of the verse reads as follows: "for the child shall die a hundred years old; but the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed." Note in this part of the verse both the child and the sinner are 100 years old, is the emphasis on this verse the age of the those involved or is Isaiah referring to the fact that time will make no difference in a man's life as to his salvation?
We cannot be emphatic as to the exact meaning of this section of the verse but it seems to imply to me that it is a continuation of the first part of the verse. If a child of the New Created kingdom dies it will be as if he has lived his life to completion for no matter how old he is when he dies he is still God's child, on the other hand even if the sinner were to live to be 100 years old the length of his life would make no difference, he would still be accursed. If we again compare this to the house of Israel in the flesh we see the Bible speaks of them a being cut off before their time. Jer.9:19-22, Isa. 9:13-15.
Vs. 21-23 "And they shall build houses and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat: for as the days of the tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them." This verse refers to the work of the church on this earth, and again let us compare this to the work of fleshly Israel. Israel built houses, planted vineyards, and saw them taken away by the enemy. This can never happen to the believer because his work, done through the action of the Holy Spirit in his or her life, is sealed in heaven, a treasure that can never be taken away! II Cor.4:5-18. Perhaps this may apply to the physical blessings that God gives His people but keeping in the context of the chapter we see that in the church those works which we do for the Lord will never perish. Matt. 6:19-21, also note the first part of verse 23 and compare it with what Paul tells the church in ICor.15:58. Our labor is not in vain in the Lord, see how this is a direct fulfillment of Isaiah 65:23- Why does Isaiah say that their labor will not be in vain, nor bring forth for trouble, because THEY ARE THE SEED OF THE BLESSED OF THE LORD, and their offspring with them. Both men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit tell us the same thing, our labor is not in vain if it is done under the direction of the righteousness of the Lord.
Vs. 24. "And it shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear." Again we have a perfect picture of the prayers of the church, compare with Romans 8:26+27.
vs. 25 and the 11th point that the writer makes tie in together:
Mr. Stam tells us:
11. The animal creation will be tamed: "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain" (Isa. 11:6-9).
He uses the scripture in Isaiah 11:6-9 which is speaking about the same thing as Isaiah 65:25- "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock; and dust shall be the serpents meat. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord." As we can see in this verse and in verse 9 of the 11th chapter the picture, again is not of universal peace, but of peace in the Holy Mountain of God. In the true church there is peace only because sin and the curse of sin has been eliminated by the work of Christ. As stated earlier the only way this would be possible in this present world would be through the complete destruction of the sin-nature of man which knows no peace. Rom.3:10-18. It is interesting to note that three things are seen to be done away with in the 25th verse of Isaiah 65.
1. Fear and animosity- the wolf and the lamb shall feed together, as they did in the Garden of Eden before the fall.
2. The shedding of blood- The lion no longer is a meat eating animal but now eats straw as he did in the Garden of Eden before the fall.
3. Sin and Pride-the serpent will not lift himself up as he did in the Garden of Eden, He will be defeated and lick the dust. It is a shame that the dispensationalist does not see the victory of Christ on the cross as being the final judgment for sin. Not only was the salvation of the church completed at the cross but also the condemnation of the unbeliever, for the work of Christ alone, and our belief or disbelief in that finished work, will determine our eternal standing with God.
Mr. Stam tells us:
12. The curse will be removed from the vegetable creation: "The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as a rose. It shall blossom abundantly . . . for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water" (Isa. 35:1,2,6,7).
Placing these verses in the context of the book we will see something else took place at the same time that this occurs. The thought that runs parallel with the blossoming of a new area which was once unfruitful is the rendering unfruitful of a place that was once productive. In the previous chapter, verses 8-9 tell us that what was once beautiful will be turned into a wilderness, (also see chap. 32:13-16), the wilderness will be a fruitful field and the fruitful field a forest (or in the Heb. will be overgrown). This concept is seen through the book of Isaiah- 25:6- 26:4, 27:9-13; 29:17-19. Something old is done away with and in another area which was unfruitful we see the establishing of the new.
Notice carefully, sin and violence even in chapter 35, are still present but they no longer have an effect on the redeemed of God because their safe passage to Zion is secure vs 8-10. Again a beautiful picture of the church.
We who we once unfruitful being gentiles and worshipers of false gods become productive through the living water instilled in us through Christ. The sins and violence which once swayed Israel no longer turn the true believer from Christ, but he or she has eternally secure passage to the throne of God (Zion).
Mr. Stam tells us:
All Scripture is, of course, equally important as the Word of God, and all profitable to the man of God. Yet the thoughtful student of the Word soon discovers that certain passages have a more direct bearing upon others than upon himself and are in that sense more important to those directly involved.
The command to keep the Passover, for example, directly involved the Israelites under the law and was, in that sense, of greater importance to them than to us.
In the same way prophecy (except Paul's) deals directly with Israel and the nations, not with the body of Christ.
What is the body of Christ if it is not composed of Israel and the nations or gentiles? Examine the truths that Paul conveys in Romans 11- . Israel will be BLINDED until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled and only a remnant will be saved until then, BUT LOOK AT VERSES 31+32- " Even so have these (Israel as a whole) not now believed, that through your mercy (the mercy of the gentiles) they (Israel as a whole) may obtain mercy. Israel WILL BE SAVED THROUGH THE MERCIFUL PREACHING OF THE GENTILE NATIONS. Vs.32 "For God hath concluded them all (Israel as a whole) in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon ALL. Where in these verses does it say the gentile church will be taken out so that Israel can be saved, NOWHERE, IN FACT THE PRESENCE OF THE GENTILE CHURCH IS SEEN AS THE TOOL USED BY GOD TO SAVE Israel!!
Mr. Stam tells us:
Thus, while Israel and the prophetic program are temporarily set aside, the church is made up predominantly of Gentiles in the flesh, with Paul as their apostle.
This interruption of the prophetic program must be borne in mind in any consideration of the importance of the prophetic word. While as the Word of God, prophecy is fully as important as any other part of the Scripture, it deals directly with Israel and the nations, not with the body of Christ.
Thus it is Peter, not Paul, who says:
At this point the writer refers to a footnote and quotes I Pet. 4:7 and I John 2:18.
They do not say the end of all things will be at hand they say the end of all things IS at hand. In the Greek, we know that Peter and John are both speaking in the present indicative not in any future tense. Peter and John both believed that they were in the last days there is no reference in scripture, anywhere, that refers to a future scattering of Israel but rather a present scattering which occurred in their day. In order to arrive at his conclusion, the author has had to go beyond the Word of God for his interpretation and has found it necessary to tell us that Peter, James, and John looked for a future occurrence which is not even implied by the scripture.
What confuses me the most about this interpretation is this, since Peter and John were the apostles to the circumcision, made up of those who are not a part of the mystery but of the prophecy, and Paul was the apostle to the church or the mystery, why does the Word of God call those who were saved at Pentecost the church if they were not the church? And at what point in the book of Acts does the prophecy end and the mystery begin?
Mr. Stam tells us:
Many "mysteries" are to be found in the Scriptures, but one stands out pre-eminently as "The Mystery:" the great body of truth committed by revelation to the Apostle Paul.
When Messiah first appeared on earth, God did not immediately establish His kingdom by force.
There are at least two things which the scriptures disagree with in this statement.
1. God's establishment of his kingdom was never intended to be by force of physical arms- we see this in Christ's answer to Pilate in Matt.18:35-36. If Christ's kingdom were of this world He would have established it here. Dispensationalists make the grave error of placing the power of God on the same level as man, they seem to think that a few stiff-necked Jews prevented Christ from setting up His kingdom.
When Christ proclaimed the kingdom as being "at hand" it meant just that. His kingdom was at hand and the only way it could be established was through His death, burial and resurrection. For this reason, the eyes of the Jews were blinded by God that they would not recognize Him as the promised Messiah until after the atoning work for regeneration had been completed on the cross of Calvary. Verses to read concerning the reason for the blinding - John 12:40, Matt.15:13-15, Matt.23, John 14: 15-21, John 15:18-27; 16:1-16. Verses to read concerning the blind who where made to see (Acts 2:1-4; 37-47; 4:31-32; 13:48; 14:1.
2. The verse of scripture that the writer uses in Romans 1:28 to refer only to the Gentiles refers to all mankind as can be seen by reading the entire chapter.
Mr. Stam tells us:
The kingdom was first proclaimed "at hand" and offered for acceptance. This proclamation and offer was, of course, made to Israel, for the Gentiles had long been given up, "even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge" (Rom. 1:28). But Israel proved herself no better than the Gentiles as she took the heaven-sent King, nailed Him to a tree and then, when God raised Him from the dead, still stood by her awful deed, defying the resurrected and glorified Christ and waging relentless war against those who dared to acknowledge Him as Messiah.
"He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.
"He came unto His own, and His own received Him not" (John 1:10,11).
And so, before the actual bringing in of the glorious reign of Christ, man was allowed to demonstrate his own moral failure and see for himself that the establishment of the long-promised kingdom would not be the result of his own efforts or character but of the grace and power of God, for man had done everything in his power to hinder the bringing in of the kingdom.
From what he has said thus far his implication is that the kingdom of God has not yet arrived because of the rejection of man. To be sure the kingdom of God was not seen in its fullness in the Old Testament because of the rejection of man but the kingdom of God WAS established in the New Testament because its establishment rested NOT on the acceptance of man but rather on the work of Christ. Matt.26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, and I Cor.11:25, show us that the kingdom was established, not through the acceptance of man, but through the blood of Christ and therefore the action of sinful man or sin in general could have no bearing on its establishment. This is why Christ tells Peter in Matt.16:18 that the "gates of Hell" could not even stand against it, it was based on the finished work of Christ and its establishment in the world was not through the actions of man but rather through the actions of the Holy Spirit.
Man in his old nature could NEVER accept Christ as their king. Only through the act of regeneration or new creation could sinful man acknowledge this truth. IT IS THE CHOSING AND DRAWING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD AND NOT MAN THAT CAUSES THE KINGDOM TO GROW. (Acts 13:48, Eph.2:10-13, Mark 13:20, John 15:16,19, Eph.1:1-5, II Thes.2:13, I Pet.1:2; 2:4,9, Rom.9:6-11) are just a few of the New Testament verses which establish this fact, and this is not just a New Testament concept. In the Old Testament we also read that all decisions concerning the true kingdom of God were made by God and not by man.(Isa.45:4; 65:9,22, Num.16:5, Duet.7:6) This doctrine of election is not well accepted by man because it destroys any thought of his ability to come before God on his own. It bruises and tears at the very foundation of his sinful pride, bringing him to the realization that he is hopelessly lost except for an action of God over which he has no control. It is because of this one doctrine that almost all differences of interpretation of scripture occur. The dispensationalist slides a little to man's side and states that although the Holy Spirit brings man to the plane where he can accept Christ as his king the final choice lies in man's hand and God although knowing of this choice has no control over this choice, man's pride is then boosted a little. We then see those who believe that baptism and the Lord's supper are necessary for salvation and acceptance becomes more in a man's hands. The regression continues until finally we see those of Roman Catholicism who place all of the action of acceptance in the hands of man. Through this action, the sovereignty of God is belittled and the pride of man lifted up until man alone can boast in his salvation and God is seen as a mere bystander.
Mr. Stam tells us:
But "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Rom. 5:20). When Israel rejected her Messiah, God cast her aside (temporarily) along with the other nations, that He might offer to all His enemies everywhere reconciliation by grace alone, through faith in the rejected Christ.
Two things to look at concerning this statement:
1. Israel rejected her Messiah because she was blinded.(Rom.11:7, Matt.13:11-17, II Cor.3:14) Her spiritual blindness was not healed for two reasons: a. Her rejection of God throughout her history as a nation (Matt.23:28-39), b. So that the gospel of salvation would be spread amongst the gentile nations (Rom.11:11,12,15).
SHE WAS NOT BLINDED BECAUSE SHE REJECTED HER MESSIAH, IT WAS HER BLINDNESS WHICH KEPT HER FROM PRECIEVING THAT CHRIST WAS HER MESSIAH.
2. The writer at this point begins to make a differentiation between Israel and the nations, and another segment of mankind in the world which he calls "God's enemies everywhere", I believe he is doing this because unless he makes this distinction his students will question the fact that the gentile nations are a large part of the kingdom as prophesied in the Old Testament, and may come to the correct conclusion that the kingdom prophesied in the Old Testament is the church. Is there a difference as the writer suggests?
What do the scriptures say:
1. Every nation in the world was represented at Pentecost, when Peter spoke (Acts 2:2). This tells us there were no other nations left to make up a mysterious new kingdom of God, called the church, if Israel and the nations were not a part of it.
2. The Bible states these nations became a part of the church: Acts 2:41-47, Romans 1:5, Rom.16:26, Gal.3:8.
Mr. Stam tells us:
Thus "the dispensation of the grace of God" was ushered in (Eph. 3:2) so that those willing to accept God's grace might be reconciled to Him in one body by the cross (Eph. 2:16).
"FOR GOD HATH CONCLUDED THEM ALL IN UNBELIEF, THAT HE MIGHT HAVE MERCY UPON ALL" (Rom. 11:32).
"AND THAT HE MIGHT RECONCILE BOTH [JEWS AND GENTILES] UNTO GOD IN ONE BODY BY THE CROSS, HAVING SLAIN THE ENMITY THEREBY.
"And came and preached peace to you [Gentiles] which were afar off, and to them [Israelites] that WERE nigh" (Eph. 2:16,17).
Nothing of this is to be found anywhere in prophecy. It was a surprise of grace, so to speak, "hid from ages and from generations"; "kept secret since the world began."
The main features of this hitherto unrevealed program were as follows:
The author now lists 6 things which he says were not seen in Old Testament prophecy concerning the "mystery church". Let us look at them and see if there was Old Testament prophecy concerning them. Also, as we look at these six points we will see where they were promised by Christ in the four gospels, this should fit in with the writers doctrine since he believes that the four gospels are a part of the books of prophecy concerning the physical kingdom of Israel.
Mr. Stam tells us:
1. Israel set aside, temporarily, along with the Gentiles: "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for" (Rom. 11:7). "The fall of them" (Rom. 11:12). "The casting away of them" (Rom. 11: 15). "Because of unbelief they were broken off" (Rom. 11:20). "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief" (Rom. 11:32).
First of all, the scriptures speak of the setting aside or blinding of Israel except for the chosen remnant that the gospel might go to the gentiles which is the context of the verses that the writer uses to establish this point. (Rom.11). We see this prophesied in Isa. 2:1-8; 11:10-16; 25:6-9; 66:5-12, Jer.3:11-20, Dan.7:13-14,27, Amos 9:9-12, (Matt.21:41-44; 23:37-39, Luke 14:24; 20:16)
Mr. Stam tells us:
2. Mercy shown to all alike: "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief THAT HE MIGHT HAVE MERCY UPON ALL (Rom. 11:32). "For there is NO DIFFERENCE between the Jew and the Greek: for THE SAME LORD OVER ALL is RICH UNTO ALL THAT CALL UPON HIM. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:12,13). "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (I Tim. 2:5).
Gen.18:18; 22:17-18; 26:4, Duet.32:43, Isa.66:16-18; 45:20-25, Psa.22:26-27; 67:2-4; 72:17; 117:1-2, Haggai 2:7. (John 3:16; 7:37; 10:9, Matt.22:9)
Mr. Stam tells us:
3. The gospel of the grace of God, through Christ's finished work, proclaimed: Hence Paul's claims concerning "the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD" and "THE DISPENSATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD which is given me to you-ward" (Acts 20:24, Eph. 3:2).
Isa. 19:19-25; 43:1-7; 49:24-26; 59:16-20; 60:16. (John 12:24-24,&32; 3:17; 9:39; 10:7-11)
Mr. Stam tells us:
4. Believers reconciled to God by the cross: "God was in Christ, RECONCILING the world unto Himself" (II Cor. 5:19). "That He might RECONCILE both [Jews and Gentiles] unto God . . . BY THE CROSS" (Eph. 2:16). "When we were enemies, we were RECONCILED to God BY THE DEATH OF HIS SON" (Rom. 5:10). "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies . . . yet now hath He RECONCILED in the body of His flesh THROUGH DEATH" (Col. 1:21,22).
Isa.5-12, Psa.22 esp.26-31. (John 10:15; 14:15-21; 16:5-16)
Mr. Stam tells us:
5. Jewish and Gentile believers thus baptized into one body: "That He might reconcile both unto God in ONE BODY by the cross" (Eph. 2:16). "That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs [joint heirs], and of THE SAME BODY [of a joint body], and partakers [joint partakers] of His promise in Christ by the gospel" (Eph. 3:6). "There is ONE BODY" (Eph. 4:4). "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into ONE BODY, whether we be Jews or Gentiles" (I Cor. 12:13). "Now ye are THE BODY OF CHRIST, and members in particular" (I Cor. 12:27). "So we, being many, are ONE BODY in Christ, and every one members one of another" (Rom. 12:5). "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek . . . for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:27,28).
Ez.11:14-19; Dan.7:14; Isa.56:5-8.(John17:20-22; 10:16)
Mr. Stam tells us:
6. This body of believers given a position in Christ in the heavenlies: "And [God] hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:6). "[God] hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). "For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven" (Phil. 3:20). "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above . . . for your life is hid with Christ in God" (Col. 3:1-3).
Psa.85:8-11, Dan.2:44. (John 14:2+3, Luke 10:20; 22:29+30)
The amazing thing is this, a careful student of God's Word will see, as he studies the gospels, that Christ NOWHERE speaks of his physical presence on the earth during the time of His kingdom but rather a spiritual presence through the Holy Spirit.
Mr. Stam tells us:
1. It leaves us at the mercy of theologians. If the Scriptures do not mean what they obviously, naturally seem to mean, who has the authority to decide just what they do mean? If theologians have that authority, then we must agree with Rome that the Church, not the Bible, is the final and supreme authority. Nor will it any longer avail us to turn to the Scriptures for light, for the Word of God does not mean what it says and only trained theologians can tell us what it does mean.
There are many points to look at concerning this statement:
The Holy Spirit of God is the sole interpreter of the Word of Truth. When trying to understand the Word of God in our own fleshly minds it is impossible. I Cor.2:14 tells us that the natural man recieveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned." There is only one way to understand the true meaning of scripture and that is not through the teaching of man. Man cannot understand anything that he can not see physically, but the scriptures as we see in this verse go beyond the physical to the spiritual.
Dispensationalism tries to make physical the spiritual Word of God. I was born and raised in dispensationalism I accepted it as truth, not because I understood it, but because theologians who had degrees preached it as the truth. As I continued to grow in the Lord I became more and more confused because of the discrepancies found between their teaching and what I was reading in the Word of God.
An example is this: dispensationalists say that 60% of the Old Testament prophecies have yet to be fulfilled, Christ tells us that he came to fulfill the law and the prophets (Matt.5:17) and not only this but He told the disciples as he went to Jerusalem in Luke 18:31 "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem and ALL things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man SHALL be accomplished."
With this contradiction between the teaching of dispensationalism and God's Word in mind, I set aside all of my commentaries (all of which were by dispensational teachers) and using only God's Word and a concordance, I asked the Lord, as I do every time I open the scriptures, to show me the truth no matter what. No theologian's teaching came between me and the Holy Scriptures. The ends which were drawn through these studies and still continue to this day came from no earthly source. I thought I alone had been given the truth until I did a study in church history and found that the early church fathers and the men God raised up to bring about the great reformation believed essentially the same thing. They too approached the scriptures without help from any popular theologians of their day and drew conclusions that went against popular beliefs of the day. Many of the things that the Lord has shown me in His Word are hard to take because they show me my total inability to understand God apart from His Word applied to my heart through His Spirit.
Which is the only way any man of God will understand them.
What I now believe may not agree with the charts and the maps of dispensationalists, but then none of these charts and maps are found in the Word of God. are they?
Mr. Stam tells us:
2. It affects the veracity of God. It is a thrust at His very honor. If the obvious, natural meaning of the Old Testament promises is not to be depended upon, how can we depend upon any promise of God? Then, when He says: "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved," He may also mean something else. This is unthinkable of God, for it is only just that the promisee should have a fair understanding of the promise, for promised something, he will have a right to claim exactly what he has been promised. A little child is supposed to have said: "If God didn't mean what He said, why didn't He say what He meant?"
God does mean what he says, only man, in his natural state, cannot understand God. Isaiah 55:8=9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are my ways your ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than you thoughts." Rom.11:34. "For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor." God, and God alone, knows what he means. His scriptures are, to the natural man taken naturally, seen as foolishness I Cor. 1:21 "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." This Word of God is to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greek foolishness. vs.23 except to the called, both Jew and Greek vs.24+25. The Jews looked for the physical kingdom of God why? Because they were looking for it and understanding the scriptures through the eyes of blindness, through a veil that has not yet been lifted unto this day. II Cor.3:13-15. In the same sense when the dispensational teacher rejects the guiding of the Holy Spirit and attempts to see the Word of God in a physical materialistic sense, his pride is bolstered because he thinks he sees things never seen before, but in actuality the veil of pride obliterates the truth of the scriptures. In answer to his last statement concerning the child, all the scripture has to say is this, in the words of Paul the apostle, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man I put away childish things." I Cor.13:11.
Mr. Stam tells us:
3. It endorses apostasy. Indeed, it is the mother of apostasy. When Luke 1:32,33 is "spiritualized" the Modernist agrees wholeheartedly. He agrees that the throne of David and the house of Israel in this passage must be viewed in a "spiritual sense"--and so must the next few verses! Thus Christ was not really born of a virgin. This picture is merely drawn to impress us with the purity of His person, etc.!
The only thing that endorses apostasy is when the natural man tries to understand the scriptures in a natural man-pleasing light. II Cor.11:12-15, II Pet.2:1-3. What amazes me is that Paul in Gal.2:4-21, calls those who teach a kingdom for the circumcised, false teachers.
Mr. Stam tells us:
|Prophecy concerns a kingdom, a political organization (Dan. 2:44, Matt. 6:10)||The Mystery Concerns a body; a living organization (I Cor. 12:12,17; Eph 4:12-16)|
The mystery is also called a kingdom (Rom.14:17, I Cor.4:20; 6:9,10; 15:50. Gal.5:21, Eph 5:5, Col.1:13, I Thes.2:12, II Thes 1:5, Heb.12:28). Both prophecy and mystery concern a kingdom, in which a body of people of like precious faith are ruled and directed by a righteous King. Dan. 2:44 has been fulfilled in the kingdom of the church. As you read the book of Acts you see the believers spreading out through the entire world conquering with the Word of God. As you read church history you see all kingdoms of the earth coming under the influence of the church until finally in the days of Constantine it was accepted as the true religion.
Mr. Stam tells us:
|The Kingdom to be established on earth (Jer. 23:5, Matt. 6:10).||The body given a position in heaven (Eph 1:3; 2:5-6, Col 3:1-3|
The body is also to be established on the earth in fact they are to be grafted in where the Israel is broken off (Rom. 11:19-21).
Mr. Stam tells us:
|Christ to be its King (Jer. 23:5; Isa. 9:6,7)||Christ is its living head (Eph. 1:19-23; Col. 1:18)|
What is the difference between a king and a head? Christ is called the king in the church too (I Tim. 1:17; 6:14-15).
Mr. Stam tells us:
|The kingdom prophesied "since the world began (Luke 1:68-70; Acts 3:21)||The body chosen in Christ before the world began, but kept secret since the world began (Rom. 16:25, Eph 1:4-11; 3:5-9)|
The body too was prophesied since the world began (Rom.16:26) it was kept secret since the world began also. This is not a contradiction as we stated earlier, just because it is kept secret from some doesn't mean it is kept secret from all. Do the verses the writer uses tell of a universal secret or a secret in which information is withheld from all but a select group?
Rom. 16:25+26 states we know this secret because it is made manifest by the scriptures of the prophets, thus the prophets must have known the mystery.
Mr. Stam tells us:
|Israel to be given supremacy over the nations (Isa. 60:10-12; 61: 6)||Jew and Gentile to be placed on the same level before God (Rom 10:12, 11:32; Eph. 2:16-17)|
Two things to look at concerning the scriptures the writer uses to substantiate the point concerning mystery:
1. Isa.60:10-12, does not speak about Israel the nation but the city Jerusalem and mount Zion the dwelling place of God. Read it carefully and you will see the entire chapter relates to a dwelling place not a people, and even in this context we see the gentile nations placed on equal level before God. vs.5+6, vs.11, vs.19-21. Only the nations who do not serve the New Jerusalem will be utterly destroyed, vs.12. The New Jerusalem will also be a spiritual city as we saw earlier in the chapter vs. 17+18.
2. Isa. 61, although speaking of a select group of people, does not speak of Israel as a nation, note verses 1-3. The message is to the meek, the brokenhearted, the captives, the bound, and ALL that mourn, and those that mourn before the Lord in Zion. Again in this chapter we see the gentile nations as being a part of this program vs.9-11.
Mr. Stam tells us:
|The Gentiles to be blessed through Israel's instrumentality. (Gen. 22:17,18; Zech 8:13)||The Gentiles blessed through Israel's obstinacy (Acts 13:44-46, Rom. 11:28-32)|
1. Gen.22:17,18 is not speaking about Israel as a nation but is speaking about Christ. (Gal.3:16) This has already been fulfilled and we see it is through the instrumentality of Christ that the church is blessed.
2. In Zech.8:13, as well as all other passages of scripture which relate to the same thing, the prophecies speaks not of the nation of Israel as a whole but of only a remnant who will be saved. vs.11+12 and this remnant will be used to bless the Gentiles. If we look at Acts 2 we can see this prophecy fulfilled. I'm sure the dispensationalist will have us believe that Acts 2 is not speaking of the church, the Word of God, however, disputes this belief as you can see in vs.47.
As we look at this chapter we see in verse 5 that there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. It was through these men along with the 12 apostles, including Paul (who was a Jew), that the gospel went to the world. These Jewish men were the instruments God used to establish the church in the world. Thus we see the church established through the remnant, while the main body of the nation Israel was blinded- Exactly as the prophets of the Old Testament prophesied.
Mr. Stam tells us:
|The Gentiles to be blessed through Israel's rise (Isa. 60:1-3; Zech. 8:22,23)||The Gentiles blessed through Israel's fall (Acts 28:27,28; Rom.11:11,12,15)|
1. Isa 60:1-3 speaks not of the glory of Israel but of the glory of Christ.
2. Again we see the rise of the remnant or the elect of Israel (Rom. 11:5+7 + Zech.8:11+12) in these passages as the blessing and the fall of the nation as a whole.
Mr. Stam tells us:
|Prophecy mainly concerns nations as such (Isa. 2:4, Ezek.37:21,22)||The mystery concerns individuals (Rom. 10:12,13; II Cor. 5:14-17)|
Individuals make up nations, a nation cannot exist without individuals. The Old Testament prophecies that out of every nation men will come to the dwelling place of God and through the work of God will become one nation having a new name. (Isa.62:2; 65:15) We see this fulfilled in Acts.11:26.
Mr. Stam tells us:
|Prophecy concerns blessing, both material and spiritual, on earth (Isa 2:3,4, 11:1-9, etc.)||The Mystery concerns "all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies" (Eph. 1:3, Col. 3:1-3)|
If we take the writers stance on this point then we must say that we can expect no blessing as the church on this earth, either material or spiritual. If you look at the children of Israel you find that they received their blessings from heaven, from God, just as the church does today (Philippians 4:19).
Mr. Stam tells us:
|Prophecy concerns Christ's coming to the earth (Isa. 59:20; Zech.14:4)||The Mystery explains Christ's present absence from the earth (Eph 1:20-23; Col. 3:1-3)|
Christ came to the earth to set up His kingdom, a kingdom in which the laws of God would be written on the fleshly tables of men's hearts instead of tables of stone. (Jer.31:33; 32:40; II Cor.3:3). A new creation, a new Jerusalem (Isa.65:17,18, Heb.11:10; 12:22), Guided and controlled by Christ. (Heb. 11:20-21). The kingdom of God is now established on the earth just as Old Testament prophecy predicted it would be.
Mr. Stam tells us:
|In prophecy salvation by grace through faith alone is not contemplated.||Salvation by grace through faith alone lies at the very heart of the mystery (Rom. 3:21-26; 4:5; Eph. 2:8-9)|
Notice again, as through the entire book, the writer can give no scripture for his first point. Since there is no scripture to substantiate what he says then it no longer becomes a scriptural point but rather a humanistic point. A point arrived at, not through the reading of the scriptures, but the contemplation of the human mind which is at enmity against God. NOWHERE IN GOD'S WORD DOES GOD TELL US THAT WORKS ARE OR WERE EVER A PREREQUISITE FOR SALVATION.
Mr. Stam tells us:
|The proclamation of the prophetic program committed twelve. (Matt. 10:5-7; Acts 1:6-8; 3:19-26)||The proclamation of the mystery committed particularly to Paul.(Eph. 3:1-3, Col. 1:24-27)|
If this is true then the scriptures again lie. Notice Mark 4:11 "And he said unto them, "Unto you it is given to know the MYSTERY of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without all of these things are done in parables." The twelve were given the knowledge of the mystery and told to preach it primarily to Israel first (Acts 1:8) Paul was given the knowledge of the mystery and told to preach it primarily to the gentiles (Acts 9:15, Eph.3:1-3, Col.1:24-27).
If we look at the work of God in the context of what the writer believes then we must say that because one missionary is called to go to Africa and another is called to go to South America that they must be preaching different gospels.
Mr. Stam tells us:
|The prophetic program revealed through many of God's servants (Luke 1:70, II Pet. 1:21)||The mystery revealed through one man, Paul(Gal. 1:1,11,12; 2:2,7,9; Eph. 3:2,3)|
Gal. 1:1,11,12 Are proof that Paul was indeed an apostle since he fulfilled all the requirements of an apostle. The writer must agree that the 12 apostles received their teaching from the Lord. The apostles were called by the Lord (this is one reason why I feel that Matthias was not God's man for the office of the 12th but rather Paul, who too was called by Christ directly). Again as we look at Gal. 2:7 we see that Paul was called to bring the gospel to the Gentiles just as Peter was called to bring it to the Jews, which was stated in the last point. Thus we can clearly see that the gospel was not different but rather the group of people to whom the gospel went.
Mr. Stam tells us:
|Old Testament writers frequently did not understand the prophecies made known through them (Dan. 12:8-10; I Pet. 1:10-12)||Paul understood and longed that others might understand the mystery revealed through him.(Eph. 1:5-23; 3:14-21; Col. 1:9-10; 2:1-3)|
Daniel could not understand because it was not for him to know, as seen in vs.9, what the end of these things would be. Does this one case then constitute frequency in a prophet's knowledge of a coming truth? Even the verse the author uses in II Pet. doesn't say they didn't know it says they searched to see when these things would occur and were told that those of a later time were to benefit from the prophecy vs.12. Even Paul did not understand completely the mystery of Christ just as we cannot understand it and will not understand it until we stand complete in Christ with out the body of sin to interfere (ICor. 13:9-13).