"Matthew 24 - The Rapture Dilemma" (Part Nine)

Are there Distinct and Absolute Dispensations of History?

The hard and fast belief in a secret pre-trib Rapture, the total end of all faith-based salvation, the removal of the Holy Spirit, and the resumption of temple sacrifices and Law comes in most instances from a belief in Dispensationalism.

That is the stance of NTEB, whom I mentioned on Page One, and that is how they end up removing the Matthew 24 scriptures from Christians. But Matthew 24 is not the only example. In many cases, Dispensationalists teach that large parts of the bible are  NOT for the Church, but exclusively for Israel. Matthew 24 is just one example.

The Bible is Not For You

As an example of Dispensationalists, NETB say "Many Christians are shocked when you tell them that Matthew, Mark and Luke were not written about or for the Christian Church from a doctrinal perspective. It was written to Jews..."

Shocked indeed, to discover that the bible isn't really for us after all, but after we - the Church - have gone we are to understand that Jews and blasphemers will be reading the bible they despised to find out what God is going to do to THEM. (Yeah. Okay)

Click on the thumbnail of this image to see the entire chart listing which books are NOT for us but for Israel, according to this teaching. You will see that only a small portion of the bible is actually for you!

CLICK TO SEE FULL IMAGE [Credit to Columbia River Bible Fellowship]

  • One has to wonder why Jesus bothered to have his words written down at all, if most of what he said wasn't for the believers, but for Israel who for many centuries would reject everything about Him.
  • One has to wonder why Jesus in Person commanded that seven letters be written to the CHURCHES and then commanded that John (a Christian) write down a long involved prophecy about His coming that would – according to dispensationalism – be of no relevance to any of them!
  • One has to wonder what kind of salvation is left to the Jews after the Holy Spirit has disappeared, the mission of the Church has ended, all believers have gone, and there is nobody to turn to apart from apostates.

Where did this Teaching arise?

Dispensationalism is a fairly recent invention that was unheard-of throughout all of the history of the Church.

Thomas Ice, a supporter of the system says, "The first systematic expression of dispensationalism was formulated by J. N. Darby sometime during the late 1820s and 1830s in the British Isles." And "John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) is unquestionably the father of modern dispensationalism." (Source)

Major Problems

The problem with Dispensationalism is that it divides completely and absolutely between "the Church" and "Israel" to the extent that there can be no interaction between the two. No prophecy of Israel can ever apply to believers and vice versa.

In Dispensationalism, no application of the Law can ever apply to the Church dispensation, nor can any application of grace be applied to Israel. The NEW Covenant is therefore a complete departure from everything God said to Israel over the ages, and cannot be a development of it nor a fulfilment of it.

Thus, the church becomes a secret entity unknown to everyone before Pentecost, breaking out of history like an alien object, springing up surprisingly like Jack out of his Box, rather like Athena springing forth fully-formed out of the head of Zeus, in a full suit of armour!

Because apparently, nobody knew about it before it suddenly arrived, not even Jesus it seems, for it is said that he could not have been referring to Christians in Matthew 24.

According to this theory, no prophecy applicable to Christians can be found in the Old Testament. (Nor indeed in any of the New Testament books intended for Israel only.)

This leads to a troublesome division of the bible text where all the bad stuff, like punishment, persecution and judgement, and what they say is the seven years of "tribulation" falls upon Israel while the good ole Church gets all the forgiveness, grace, mercy and deliverance. Nice!

As comforting as that may be, it's not biblical.

It leads to denying most of the gospel text, as it is "for Israel", and doing the same with large chunks of the epistles (such as James and Peter) and of course anything relating to the endtimes like Revelation. That (apparently) only exists in the bible to tell us what horrors await the nation of Israel after we are safe and sound in Heaven.

  • Did the Holy Spirit really leave us a bible that is mostly for somebody else, a nation that for now at least has rejected the Messiah that it speaks of?
  • Does salvation by grace, through the blood of Jesus, only belong to the Church, never Israel?
  • Do all the warnings and rebukes belong to Israel, while all the praises and glories belong to the Church, who can never displease God nor fall away from the truth?

This isn't found in my bible or my faith.

Quite the opposite, looking around the world today, where not only is persecution and testing coming down the road towards us faster and faster, but where a great majority of the Western churches and ministries are already preaching heresy and chasing after supernatural myths.

This could very well be the "great falling away" the APOSTASY spoken of by Paul in Thessalonians, where he gives yet another timeline of the end, and the rapture, saying "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come the falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition". (2 Thess 2:3)

Warnings That Are Ignored

Jesus in Matthew 24 took the time and trouble to spell out in detail what conditions would be like immediately before his return, and he added a number of warnings about deception and heedlessness.

He also, in parable form, spoke about selfish, loveless, lazy and judgemental Christians who would be punished, even if they did make it through the last days. No doubt it is comforting to avoid these warnings by saying they are only for Israel, and not applicable to the Church - but is that true? I believe not.

Useful Reading: "The Five Warnings to Christians in Matthew 24-25"

As well as telling us the danger of being deceived and dragged into the great apostasy to come, Jesus warned of being taken by surprise because of the unexpected nature of the Rapture. One of the biggest dangers of ignoring Matthew 24 is just that, failing to understand the circumstances and signs of his Coming!

  1. Introduction (this page)
  2. Did the Church Exist in the Day of Jesus?
  3. Can Prophecies Refer to More than One Event?
  4. The Rapture or the Second Coming - or both?
  5. When and What is the Day of Jacob's Trouble?
  6. Are the Elect Exclusively Israel?
  7. Is the Tribulation a seven-year Wrath of God?
  8. Do we Need to Endure, as Christians?
  9. Are there Distinct and Absolute Dispensations of History? (this page)
  10. Replacement Theology
Share on Google+
Share on Tumblr

© 2016 Tricia Tillin-Booth. All rights reserved. Birthpangs Website:  This document is the property of its author and is not to be displayed on other websites, redistributed, sold, reprinted, or reproduced in printed in any other format without permission. Websites may link to this article, if they provide proper title and author information.   One copy may be downloaded, stored and/or printed for personal research. All spelling and phraseology is UK English.