This article ponders essential elements in Dispensational Theology that show the value of Dispensationalism to understanding the message of the Bible. This article is not an extensive treatment but a brief contemplation of some of the benefits of Dispensationalism to theological enterprise. The chapter is written with my seven sons and two daughters and their spouses and children in mind, as well as the readers of this book, to remind all of us why Dispensationalism should matter to the Church. Dispensationalism does matter because it demonstrates the faithfulness of God to the promises in the Bible, in particular, the Abrahamic Promises and the relationship of those promises to national Israel, the Gentile nations, and to the Church—the Body and Bride of Christ.
THE DISPENSATIONAL READING OF THE BIBLE, PLAIN AND SIMPLE
God has spoken. The Bible is the record of that communication. Understanding and doing what God has said in the Bible is the task of the Church. The role of the theologian-pastor in the Church is to learn and live out the Word of God and teach others to do likewise.As Titus assumed the task of establishing local churches on the island of Crete, he was instructed by the apostle Paul to appoint elders in the churches who “hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9).Distinguishing the dispensations one from another with their corresponding dispensational programs, offers the best opportunity for understanding the message of the Bible as given to man by God and for living lives that are pleasing to the Lord.
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine…. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us…. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you (Titus 2:1, 7-8, 15).
Read the Bible Forward, Not Backward
The best approach to reading any book is to begin at the beginning and read the story through to the end. God’s Dispensational Design becomes apparent in the careful reading of the Biblical account, beginning in Genesis and moving forward through the Bible, verse-by-verse, chapter-by-chapter, book-by-book, to its conclusion in Revelation, noting the historical progress of events and subsequent revelations from God to man. The plain-sense, forward reading of the text permits the Bible to say what it means and mean what it says, leading naturally to a dispensational understanding of the Biblical story.
Unlike Dispensationalism, some theological systems read the New Testament backward into the Old Testament. The backward reading of the Biblical text tends to replace Israel with the Church in the promises and prophecies of the Bible or to include the Church as co-party to the covenants God made exclusively with Israel. Theologies that blur the distinction between Israel and the Church forsake grammatical-historical hermeneutics for unnatural allegorical or forced theological constructs to change the way the Biblical narrative is understood.
In the plain-sense, forward reading of the Bible, the Church does not replace Israel in the promises, prophecies, and covenants God gave to Israel, but is an essential addition in the progressive unveiling of the Dispensational Program of God. This is one of the most significant differences between Dispensational Theology and other theological systems—the distinction between God’s plan and program for Israel established in the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament scriptures, and His plan and purpose for the Church outlined in the writings of the New Testament apostles, particularly, in the Pauline epistles.
The Author Decides the Storyline, Not the Reader
The dispensational reading of the Bible accentuates the doxological mission of God, whereby God reveals Himself to His creation through the various dispensational arrangements given over the course of Biblical history to showcase His glory.The dispensational approach to understanding the Bible acknowledges the sovereign hand of God governing all that happens in the history of the world, the good and the evil, the pain and the joys, the blessings and the judgments, in accord with the doxological purpose of God.Each dispensation showcases the divine nature, character, and attributes of the Person of God against a backdrop of human sinfulness.“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5).
The doxological undergirding in Dispensationalism places God at the center of His Revelation in the Bible, whereas other theological systems have the salvation and blessing of the people of God as the chief concern in the Biblical story. The doxological premise in Dispensationalism allows for God to be glorified, whether in His work of redemption or His work of judgment. The love of God, the wrath of God and a host of other traits and attributes are on full display in the outworking of the various dispensational arrangements over the course of Biblical history. Other theological systems tend to minimize the doxological purpose and argue against the right of the Divine Author to decide the storyline, especially in God’s dealings with national Israel and in His design for the Church.
Reflecting on the doxological purpose of God in the dispensational outworking of His plan for Israel and the Church, the apostle Paul warned the Church not to presume upon the grace of God:
Do not be arrogant against the branches…. For if God did not spare the natural branches [Israel], neither will he spare you [Church]. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen [Israel], but God’s kindness to you [Church], provided you [Church] continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you [Church] too will be cut off” (Rom 11:21-22).
But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (Rom 9:20-24)
It is in the dispensational unfolding of God’s plan in the Bible that we come to know the One who has chosen to reveal Himself to us through the story of the Bible and be encouraged to walk with Him in love and truth in this life and in the life to come. “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).
The Story is Really About Him, Not Us
The supreme revelation of the glory of God is in the incarnation of Jesus as the eternal Son of God—His conception and birth, His life, His rejection by Israel, His sacrificial death (atonement), His resurrection, His ascension, His being seated at the right hand of the Father, His grace to the Church, His restoration of Israel, and His eventual return to earth to rule and reign over Israel and the world in the Messianic (Millennial) Kingdom.Theological systems that make the Church the centerpiece of the storyline in the Bible, and not Christ, miss the point.
The writer to the Hebrews affirmed the fuller revelation of the glory of God in the incarnation: “[I]n these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb 1:1-3). John likewise affirmed that Jesus was the manifestation of the glory of God:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-3, 14).
Jesus acknowledged His doxological mission in His John 17 prayer to the Father, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17:4). When Philip asked Jesus to “show us the Father” (John 14:8) Jesus responded, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:9). Jesus explained to the disciples that His “words” and “works” were in effect the revelation of the Father to them.
Peter encouraged those who spoke and served in the Church to do so with God’s strength and for God’s glory: “As good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks…whoever serves…by the strength God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (I Peter 4:11). Paul further asserted the doxological mission of the Church in his prayer for the Thessalonians that “God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess 1:11-12).
John described doxological nature of the events associated with the Second Coming of Christ to earth to rule and reign as the “lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David” (Rev 5:5) and as “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev 19:16). Christ will “tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of Almighty God” in triumph over the enemies of God and will subsequently “rule them [the Gentile nations] with a rod of iron” (Rev 19:15). John described what he saw when heaven opened before him, and Christ descended from heaven to earth:
He is called The Word of God…. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:13, 15-16).
The Biblical narrative, in the plain-sense, forward reading of the Bible, moves toward the reign of Christ in the Millennial Kingdom as the King of kings and Lord of lords to the glory of God. God may have other goals for the time after the Millennial Kingdom, however, for whatever reason, the Lord has not given much content as to what comes next in the Eternal Kingdom program. The point is that God has revealed the Millennial Kingdom as the ‘End Game’ in His dispensational plan, wherein God is glorified in the Person of Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords.“He who testifies to these things says, “’Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” (Rev 22:20-21).
THE ABRAHAMIC-PROMISE DISPENSATIONAL BYLINE, THE TRUST FACTOR
Now the Lordsaid to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed…. Then the Lordappeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land” (Gen 12:1-3, 7).
Seven dispensational arrangements are observable in the record of God’s dispensational program in the Bible.Three dispensations precede the call of Abraham—Freedom (Innocence), Self-Determination (Conscience), and Civil (Human) Government. Three dispensational programs follow the story of Abraham—Israel (Law), Church (Grace), and the Messianic (Millennial) Kingdom. The Dispensation of Promise (Abraham) is the fourth and middle dispensation. The Dispensation of Promise is the story of the land-seed-blessing promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the formation of the twelve tribes of Israel through Jacob’s twelve sons. The dispensational narrative moves from Creation to Abraham and from Abraham forward through Israel and then through the Church on its way to the Messianic reign of Christ in His Kingdom.The Messianic (Millennial) Kingdom of Christ is the destination in the outworking of the dispensational plan of God in the fulfillment of the land-seed-blessing promises given to Abraham.
The Abrahamic promises are first introduced in Genesis 12 and are repeated and refined over the course of the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through Genesis 50. Given initially to Abraham, the land-seed-blessing promises were later affirmed to Isaac and Jacob (Gen 28:13-15; 35:10-13). Significant to the last restatement of His promises to the fathers, the Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel. The twelve sons of Jacob are the founders of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. The Lord said to Jacob, “The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you”(Gen 35:12). The descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob constitute the nation of Israel and the Jewish people of Biblical history.
The Abrahamic-Promise projectile was launched from the cannon of the Abrahamic Covenant and sent forward on its way to the Millennial Kingdom target.The overall aim and progress of the dispensations are toward the Messianic Kingdom rule of Christ, which has the faith of Abraham as the propellant and the promises of God to Abraham as the guidance system.The Abrahamic promises undergird the Biblical narrative from Genesis to Revelation to show the faithfulness of God to His Word. The surety of the Abrahamic Promise is based in the integrity of the One who guaranteed the promise to Abraham and his descendants:
For when God made a promise to Abraham since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise [in the birth of Isaac]. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath (Heb 6:13-17).
The Psalmist further asserted the intent of the Lord to fulfill the promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:
He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance (Psalm 105:6-11).
Faith in God is faith in the One who keeps His Sworn Word to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who promised the land of Canaan to them for an inheritance as an everlasting covenant. Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob still await the fulfillment of the promise of God to them.
Abraham Believed the Seed Promise
The faith of Abraham is simple and straightforward, requiring trust in God who keeps His Promises. Abraham believed the promise that his son, Isaac, would be his heir and that his many descendants, through Isaac, would possess the land of Israel as an everlasting possession. The Lord “counted it [his faith in the promise of God] to him as righteousness” (Gen 15:). “For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’” (Rom 4:3). Abraham did not apprehend the full implications of the promises God gave to him but lived his life in confident expectation that God would be true to His Word. The faith of Abraham is the faith that honors God, and those who exercise the same faith in the promises of God are sons of Abraham:
Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith (Gal 3:7-9).
The problem that presented itself to Abraham was that his son Isaac had no children at the time of the burnt-offering command: “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Gen 22:2). Humanly speaking, the death of Isaac would have meant no descendants through Isaac as had been previously promised by God. “In hope he [Abraham] believed against hope” (Rom 4:18) that God would yet be faithful to His promise even if the Lord would have to do the improbable—raise Isaac from the dead.
The writer of Hebrews attested to the genuine faith of Abraham as the God who keeps His promises:
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. (Heb 11:17-19)
In the command to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham trusted God to be faithful to His promise, even when it looked unlikely from the perspective of human reason that the promise would be fulfilled. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation” (Heb 11:1-2).
Abraham Believed the Land Promise
Abraham believed the promise that he and his descendants were given the land of Canaan as an inheritance, forever.
The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you” (Gen 13:14-17).
However, Abraham lived his entire life without ever actually owning any of the land given to him by God, except a burial cave he purchased from Ephron the Hittite in which to bury his wife, Sarah (Gen23:1-20). The same held true for Isaac and Jacob: they lived in the land, but never possessed any of the properties of Canaan, except for the burial cave at Hebron that Abraham had previously purchased. Abraham (Gen 25:8-10) and Jacob (Gen 49:29-33; 50:12-13) and, most probably, Isaac were buried in the tomb “bought from the Hittite.”
The writer of the Hebrew epistle described the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in relationship to the land promise given to them by God:
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city (Heb 11:13-16).
The author of Hebrews concluded by noting “all these [believing ones from previous dispensations], though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (Heb 11:39-40). Suggesting that the land promise awaited another time, the people of the promise lived in anticipation of a later fulfillment in the Messianic (Millennial) Kingdom. In the plain-sense, forward reading of the Biblical narrative, the “something better” is the rule and reign of Christ as the Davidic Shepherd-King in the Millennial Kingdom in the fulfillment of the faith expectations of the people of God who trust in the promises God gave to Abraham.
Similarly, Paul addressed the faith of believers in the Church as they await the transformation of the realm of creation at the Second Coming of Christ and the yet future redemption of the believer’s physical body: “Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait [like Abraham] for it with patience” (Rom 8:24, 25).
Abraham Believed the Blessing Promise
The Gentile nations (ethnic Gentiles) are named as beneficiaries in the Abrahamic Covenant, wherein blessing is channeled through Abraham and his descendant(s) to “all the families of the earth.”The Lord made the promise to Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed”(Gen 12:3). According to the blessing-promise, God will bless Gentile nations that honor Israel, choosing to help, and not harm Israel. Those nations that dishonor Israel, God will, likewise, dishonor. The blessing principle given to Abraham shaped the political histories of nations in the ancient world. Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome prospered and then declined in accord with God’s purposes for Israel.
The blessing-promise again comes into play at the time of the Second Coming of Christ, wherein entrance into the Millennial Kingdom blessings is reserved for those nations that gave aid and assistance to Israel in the time of trouble and persecution. The judgment of the sheep and goat nations at the conclusion of the seven-year tribulation and immediately before the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom is a case in point. Christ presides over the judgment of the Gentile peoples to determine which of the Gentile ethnic groups will enter the Kingdom as viable nations and which ones will be excluded from the kingdom, based on their treatment of Israel, the brothers (relatives) of Christ.
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world….” Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels….” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matt 25:31-34, 41, 46)
The blessing-promise will be in effect during the Messianic Kingdom. Zechariah, the post-exilic prophet, described the relationship of Gentiles to the Jewish people in the Kingdom:
Thus says the Lordof hosts: Peoples shall yet come, even the inhabitants of many cities. The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lordand to seek the Lordof hosts; I myself am going.’ Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lordof hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord. Thus says the Lordof hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’ (Zechariah 8:20-23)
In the Millennial Kingdom, there is a hierarchy of nations, with Israel being the head nation and the other nations of the world serving the Messiah under the banner of Israel in accord with the Abrahamic promise, “in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
The Church—Body and Bride by Grace
The Church, likewise, is a beneficiary of the Abrahamic covenant through its identification with Christ, the Seed of Abraham, and through the blood of the New Covenant, as explained by Paul in his Church epistles. “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.’ So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith” (Gal 3:8, 9).The Church has become “fellow heirs [with Israel]…partakers of the [Abrahamic] promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph 3:6) and stands in special relationship to Christ as “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom 8:17) by virtue of the “blood of Christ” (Eph 2:13). The Church will join with Israel and the Gentile nations in the Millennial Kingdom fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise—“in you will all the families of the earth be blessed.”
That Israel would be displaced temporarily as the representative of God on earth by a predominately Gentile Church during the Dispensation of the Church (Grace) was an unexpected turn of events in the plan of God, as Paul explained:
So I ask, did they [Israel] stumble in order that they [Israel] might fall? By no means! Rather, through their [Israel’s] trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles [Church], so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their [Israel’s] trespass means riches for the world, and if their [Israel’s] failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their [Israel’s] full inclusion mean! (Rom 11:11-12)
Then you [Church] will say, “Branches [Israel] were broken off so that I [Church] might be grafted in.” That is true. They [Israel] were broken off because of their [Israel’s] unbelief, but you [Church] stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches [Israel], neither will he spare you [Church]. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen [Israel], but God’s kindness to you [Church], provided you [Church] continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you [Church] too will be cut off. And even they [Israel], if they [Israel] do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them [Israel] in again. For if you [Church] were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these [Israel], the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree (Rom 11:19-24).
Paul acknowledged that the eventual reinstatement of Israel “for the sake of their forefathers [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob]” would take place once the “fullness of the Gentiles has come in” and the Church Age has run its course:
Lest you [Church] be wise in your own sight, I do not want you [Church] to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my [New] covenant with them when I take away their sins.” As regards the gospel, they [Israel] are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they [Israel] are beloved for the sake of their forefathers [Abraham, Isaac, Jacob]. (Rom 11:25-28)
The world will yet witness the reinstatement of the Jewish nation to the place of blessing and prominence in the plan of God in accord with the Abrahamic promises—God’s plan and program for the Church, notwithstanding.
John affirmed the Church to be the blood “ransomed people of God” who are “a kingdom of priests to our God and they shall reign on the earth” with Christ in His Kingdom (Rev 5:5, 10, 11). The Church is “fellow heirs [with Israel]…partakers of the [Abrahamic] promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph 3:6) and stands in special relationship to Christ as “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom 8:17) by virtue of the “blood of Christ” (Eph 2:13). In this sense, the Church, through the blood of Christ, will participate with Israel as fellow heirs and citizens in the Millennial Kingdom fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant—“in you will all the families of the earth be blessed.”
The Church, meanwhile, in the present Dispensation of the Church (Grace) is the Body of Christ, doing the service of Christ in bearing doxological witness to the efficacy of the blood of the New Covenant before unbelieving Israel and the Gentile world. As ambassadors of Christ, the Church testifies to God’s grace before a rebellious and undeserving world of both Jew and Gentile. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:20-21).
The trend in modern theology, inherited from previous generations of theologians, is to adapt the national and earthly promises given to Israel to fit the current spiritual situation of the Church. In the backward reading of the Biblical text, adopted by some theological systems, Israel is read out of the blessings promised to them in the promises, prophecies, and covenantsgiven to them by God, and the Church is read into those same blessings.Altering the “thus says the Lord” to fit the times and agendas of men is the ongoing fad of religious practitioners in the Church today. It undermines the credibility of the Word of God before the World and the Church and detracts from the doxological mission of God in the storyline of the Bible.
Non-dispensational theologies, Reformed theologies, in particular, tend to make the present era of the Church the endpoint in God’s prophetic program and view the Church in the world today as the fulfillment of the Messianic Kingdom promises. The ineffectiveness of the Church in the world today visibly argues against the Church being the Messianic Kingdom fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. Dispensationalism looks beyond the present Church Age to the glorious Millennial Kingdom reign of Christ—the Seed of Abraham, the Seed of David, the Son of God, the One who died for our sins and was raised again for our justification, the One who is coming to rule and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. The Church will join with Israel and the Gentile nations in the Millennial Kingdom fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise—“in you will all the families of the earth be blessed.The Church waits, in the mean time, with confident expectation, like Abraham before her, for “our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13) and the sure fulfillment of the promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Don Trest is also the founder of www.dontrest.com
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version(Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016).
The titles given to the dispensations are descriptive.