An Amillennial Rebuttal to Dispensationalism 2

A Christological Focus

But the greatest challenge (and the greatest privilege) in preaching the Old Testament is finding the way that it points to Christ and bringing that to the congregation in a way that clearly honors the Old Testament passage and makes much of Christ. This is not a call for importing some artificial connection to Jesus whenever we preach. Just the opposite. This calls for understanding and expositing the specific ways in which Old Testament passages point to Christ. But it does presuppose, based on Jesus’ own words in John 5 and Luke 24, that every passage of the Old Testament does indeed point to him.1

It is very true national Israel lies at the heart of all biblical eschatology and covenants, the Old Testament promises made to national Israel are the hermeneutical center of Scripture. However, Scripture Itself does not leave this principle where Dispensationalists plant their feet. The New Testament (see the book of Matthew) goes to great lengths to show that Jesus Himself fulfills all of the promises made to national Israel. Matthew explains that Jesus is very much an Israelite, He is very much the Son of David, presenting Jesus as the representative of all of Israel, thereby Christ’s rightful place in Scripture is the center.

1). Isaiah’s servant songs have a double referent that has long baffled Jewish commentators. On the one hand, they refer to Israel, God’s chosen one and servant (Isaiah 41:8-9; 44:1-2, 21; 45:4; 49:3). On the other, they seem also to refer to some individual (Isaiah 42:1-4). These prophecies are interpreted by the New Testament as referring to Christ (Matthew 8:17 and Acts 8:30-35)

2). Matthew sees a double referent in Hosea 11:1, (“Out of Egypt I called my son” Matthew 2:15)

3). Paul identifies Christ, not physical Israel, as Abraham’s seed (Galatians 3:16). Galatians 3:7 and Romans 4:11, 16, moreover, identifies the church as Abraham’s offspring.

4). Henceforth, we are in Christ the true Israel: Galatians 3:26-29, Romans 2:28-29, and Philippians 3:3.

5). The Old Covenant is obsolete, having been superseded by the New: Hebrews 8:8-12 identifies the new covenant with Israel (Jeremiah 31:33-34) with the covenant instituted by Christ with the church. Most importantly, Hebrews 8:13 declares the old covenant obsolete and passing away. This makes impossible the dispensational view of Ezekiel 40-48 as a reinstitution of temple sacrifice.

6). The upshot is that the Old Testament did not see how its own prophecies were to be fulfilled – indeed, it could not prior to Christ. The New Testament authors were able to interpret the Old Testament in the light of His coming of the new covenant that He instituted. So should we2.

This means that Jesus is the true Israel, and that all Scripture–especially its prophetic sections–must be read through a Christ-centered hermeneutic, not a dispensational one which centers upon national Israel3.

1The Greatest Challenge and Privilege of OT Preaching by Mike Bullmore Senior Pastor of CrossWay Community Church in Bristol, Wisconsin.
2Amillennialism by Prof. Robert B. Strimple – The Mountain Retreat.
3“John MacArthur on Calvinism, Dispensationalism, Israel and Hermeneutics: A Few Comments by Kim Riddlebarger


An Amillennial Rebuttal to Dispensationalism

As I have posted the Dispensational viewpoint of how one should read Scripture, see here and here, I am posting the Amillennial rebuttal.

Summing up the Dispensational viewpoint, one person wrote:

It has been my practice to approach Scripture with the grammatical historical method of interpretation, also called the literal interpretation method . This can also be called the normative approach (and the one I prefer) as the literal meaning of words is the normal approach for understanding and communication in any language. This method, basically stated, attempts to interpret Scripture 1) Grammatically—that is to say according to the normal and plain understanding of grammar and in accordance to its rules, 2) Historically—that is to say according to the geographical and historical setting of the original audience, and 3) Contextually—that is to say in accordance to the immediate context of the passage and to the larger context of its place within Scripture.

It is my belief that one can apply this method of interpretation throughout the entirety of Scripture. I do not see the need to abandon this method of interpretation when faced with a prophetic passage but rather interpret prophetic and non-prophetic passages alike by adhering to the same rules of interpretation for both.

Critiquing Dispensational Hermeneutic

“When one allows God himself to interpret the meaning of his prophecies through later revelation, it becomes impossible to employ a naturalistic, Dispensational hermeneutic. Dispensationalists claim to have a literal hermeneutic, taking prophecies in a simple, material sense unless the immediate context demands otherwise. The problem with this approach is that it arrives at interpretations which are later contradicted by the New Testament. In opposition to this principle, [we] recognize the validity of ‘the analogy of faith,’ that is, that the best interpreter of scriptures is other scriptures. The hermeneutic which allows the Author to foreshadow spiritual realities through physical means, and later interpret them in clear, didactic writing, is actually a more natural and literal hermeneutic than one which demands a physical/material sense unless an immediate absurdity arises thereby, even when other scriptures contradict this physical/material sense. The basic question is this: will our hermeneutic allow God to explain himself, or will it allow our own human understanding of what is more literal to negate the interpretation of God himself?” ~Nathan Pitchford

Interpretational Warning

Walter Kaiser, in Toward an Exegetical Theology, explains,

“the Church at large (since the time of the Reformers especially) is in error when she uses the analogy of faith (analogia fidei) as an exegetical device for extricating meaning from or importing meaning to texts that appeared earlier than the passage where the teaching is set forth most clearly or perhaps even for the first time” (p.82). While the concept of progressive revelation suggests interpreting the Old Testament in light of the New, Kaiser argues that this is not a license to read meanings into the OT that are not there.”

The possibility of interpretational abuse is not qualification of wholesale rejection of analogia fidei (analogy of faith). Where else can we learn to interpret Scripture but from Scripture?

Problems with Dispensational ‘Literal’ Interpretation

1) Tacit acknowledgement that a literal reading of the text need not exclude a spiritual meaning or figurative and symbolical language. In the original position of Scofield himself, a somewhat arbitrary distinction is made between the historical and prophetic texts in the Bible. This distinction is made in order to allow for the possibility that the historical texts may have both a literal and a spiritual meaning. Though Scofield maintains that this is never possible in the case of prophetic texts, there seems to be no reason why this cannot be the case. Why can historical texts that speak of Jerusalem have a spiritual meaning, while prophetic texts that speak of Jerusalem must invariably have a literal meaning? Furthermore, the possibility of non-literal elements indicates that it is somewhat simplistic and misleading to insist that texts always be read literally.

2) For Dispensationalism to begin with a commitment to the ‘literal, plain or normal reading of a text’ entirely begs the question as to what that sense is. To say that the literal meaning of biblical prophecy and promises must always be the most plain, concrete and obvious meaning, is to prejudge the meaning of these texts before actually reading them ‘according to the letter’, that is, according to the rules that obtain for the kind of language being used.

3) For Dispensationalism to begin with a commitment to the ‘literal, plain or normal reading of a text’ entirely begs the question as to whose “literal, plain or normal reading of the text do we rely upon? What may be literal, plain or normal to one person may be different for another. Do we rely upon the majority view?

4) A tacit rejection of NT interpretation of OT texts which do not change the meaning so much as the referent (see Acts 2 – If Acts 2 is not the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, why does Peter say it is?

How do we account for the issue of a second sacrificial system being set up even though Christ is the final sacrifice? Is there another meaning for the word final?


It has been common since the time of the Protestant Reformation to speak of a grammatical-historical reading of the biblical texts. This is one that takes the words, phrases, syntax and context of the biblical texts seriously — hence, grammatical — and also takes the historical setting and timing of the texts into careful consideration — hence, historical.

Eric Adams explains the issue of the Dispensational hermeneutic this way:

The problem is that the Dispensational hermeneutic is not based upon the exegesis of Scripture. “Literalism” is a presupposition, a philosophical pre-commitment. In fact, Dispensationalists routinely teach that one should not look to the Bible to obtain sound interpretive principles. Matt Waymeyer … wrote an article called “Don’t Try this at Home: Today’s Interpreter and the ‘Apostles’ Hermeneutic.'” While the NT use of the OT can be a thorny issue, and Waymeyer does raise some valid concerns, his conclusion is that we should not even attempt to find interpretive principles in how the NT writers used the OT. Hence, the warning in the title is “Don’t try this at Home.” Other Dispensationalists have argued the same thing. This is shocking. Dispensationalists routinely argue that Scripture ought to be our standard for everything, except for interpretive principles. The Dispensational hermeneutic is not derived from Scripture itself. “Literalism” is a philosophical presupposition. Thus, the ultimate foundation of Dispensationalism is not the Scriptures themselves, but philosophy. This philosophical principle of “literalism” is then used to interpret the Scriptures, which produces many of the distinctively Dispensational doctrines (e.g., a future Jewish millennium). These doctrines appear to be Scriptural, but they are arrived at using interpretive principles that are foreign to Scripture. While the application of “literalism” is a notorious problem, the foundation of “literalism” is even more deeply flawed.

This is not denying the literalness of communication. Communication is based upon a literal meaning. There is a difference between what a text says and what it means and sometimes are the same thing but not always. Another way to say it is, Interpreting Scripture “literally” is to focus on Its meaning and not necessarily what it says. Scripture interprets Itself on so many levels and in so many ways via many authors, much time and genres that It provides us with a lens by which we can interpret Scripture.

Making the sense plain to others is not necessarily looking to the plain sense. Be faithful to Scripture, not necessarily literal.

Scripture Itself does not always interpret Scripture literally.

Scripture Itself provides us with a robust hermeneutical paradigm.

To deny how Scripture interprets Itself on any point is to reject Scriptural objective literalism, which in turn, is a rejection of the authority of Scripture Itself.

To interpret the Scriptures literally
To interpret the Scriptures “literally” simply means to interpret them as literature. The wonderful thing about Scriptural literature is that it self-interprets at enough points (over many authors, centuries, and genres) to give us fairly robust hermeneutical paradigm. Denial of this paradigm is not objective literalism, it is anti-literalism because it dismisses the signals within the literature itself.

This is the chief failure of dispensationalism – it approaches the OT with a naive / one-dimensional perspective that dismisses the NT interpretive paradigm.

Two-Sided Coin
The Dispensationalist condemns the Amillennialist for “picking and choosing” what various words and phrases mean; they charge that the final rule of interpretation is the Amillennialist’s whim.

The other side of this coin is relying upon a strictly and woodenly literal interpretation. Both sides claim their interpretation is the meaning of the passages in question.

The Dispensationalist is hoisted upon their own petard.

If you notice, the Amillennialist continually points to Scripture and says, essentially, “this is why this word or phrase means x because Scripture tells us what it means,” whereas, the Dispensationalist relies on the surface meaning of the word: “the number 7 is always a quantity of 7 (unless, of course, it inherently produces “bad theology” (i.e. the 7 spirits of God in Revelation).

Eschatology Hermeneutics

Dispensationalism 2

Charles C. Ryrie explains the dispensational emphasis on consistently literal interpretation as follows:

The distinction between Israel and the Church is born out of a system of hermeneutics which is usually called literal interpretation. … The word literal is perhaps not as good as either the word normal or plain, but in any case it is interpretation that does not spiritualize or allegorize as nondispensational interpretation does. … Consistently literal or plain interpretation is indicative of a dispensational approach to the interpretation of Scripture. And it is this very consistency — the strength of dispensational interpretation — that irks the nondispensationalist and becomes the object of his ridicule.1

If plain or normal interpretation is the only valid hermeneutical principle, and if it is consistently applied, it will cause one to be a dispensationalist. As basic as one believes normal interpretation to be, to that extent he will of necessity become a dispensationalist.2

Dr. Walvoord captures the spirit of dispensational literalism in his dramatic statements:
“History is history, not allegory. Facts are facts. Prophesied future events are just what they are prophesied. Israel means Israel, earth means earth, heaven means heaven.”3

“A literal promise spiritualized is exegetical fraud.”4

Bark River Bible Church expresses Dispensationalism this way:

Dispensationalism – We believe that the Scriptures interpreted in their natural, literal sense reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life which define man’s responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to his purpose. Three of these – the age of law, the age of the Church, and the age of the millennial kingdom – are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture (John 1:17; 1 Corinthians 9:17; 2 Corinthians 3:9-18; Galatians 3:13-25; Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 3:2-10; Colossians 1:24-25; Hebrews 7:19; Revelation 20:2-6).5


1 Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today (Chicago: Moody Press, 1965), pages 45-46.

2 Ibid., page 21.

3 John F. Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom, pages 129-130.

4 Ibid., page 200.

5 Bark River Bible Church – What We Believe

Eschatology Hermeneutics


George Parsons, Pastor of Middletown Bible Church in Middletown, CT, wrote the following to champion and clarify the teaching of Dispensationalism:

When God’s Word, the Bible, is taken in a consistent, literal manner, it will result in dispensationalism. Dispensationalism is the result of a consistently literal and normal interpretation. Do You Interpret the Bible Literally? Six Tests to See if You Do

A dispensation is a unique stage in the outworking of God’s program in time, whereby mankind is to have a believing response, being responsible to be a good steward of the particular revelation which God has given (Ephesians 3:2,9; Colossians 1:25; Exodus 34:27-28; Galatians 3:10-12; 1 Timothy 1:4; Ephesians 1:10; etc.).

In order to be “rightly dividing the Word of truth” it is essential to distinguish things that differ and to recognize certain basic Biblical distinctions, such as the difference between God’s program for Israel and God’s program for the Church (Acts 15:14-17; Romans 11:25-27), the separation of 1000 years between the two resurrections (Revelation 20:4-6), the difference between the various judgments which occur at various times (2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:11-15), the difference between law and grace (John 1:17; Romans 6:14-15 Romans 7:1-6) and the difference between Christ’s present session at the right hand of the Father as the Church’s great High Priest and Christ’s future session on the restored Davidic throne as Israel’s millennial King (Hebrews 1:3; 10:12-13; Acts 15:16; Luke 1:32). Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth–What Does 2 Timothy 2:15 Really Mean?

The Church is a distinct body of believers which was not present on earth during the Old Testament period and which was not the subject of Old Testament prophecy (Ephesians 3:1-9; Colossians 1:25-27). When Did The Church Begin? In accord with God’s program and timetable, the Church is on earth between the two advents of Christ with the beginning of the Church taking place after Daniel’s 69th week (on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2) and with the completion of the Church’s ministry on earth taking place at the rapture before the commencement of Daniel’s 70th week (Daniel 9:24,27). The Rapture of the Church During this interval of time God is visiting the nations to call out a people for His Name (Acts 15:14-16; Ephesians 3: 1-11; Romans 11:25). Indeed, the Church is God’s called-out assembly.

God will literally fulfill His covenant and kingdom promises to the nation of Israel just as the prophets foretold (Genesis 12:2-3; 15:18-21; Deuteronomy 30:3-10; 2 Samuel 7:4-17; Jeremiah 31:31-37; 33:15-26). We believe that the promises of the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 12,15,17), the Palestinian covenant (Deuteronomy 30), the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7) and the New covenant (Jeremiah 31) were made unconditionally to national Israel and that the thousand-year kingdom will include the literal fulfillment of these covenant promises to ethnic Israel (Jeremiah 31:31-37; 33:14-26; Ezekiel 36:25-28, 40-48; Romans 11:23-32).

The Church is not the “new Israel” or the “spiritual Israel,” but rather “one new man” created of two groups, saved Jews and saved Gentiles (Ephesians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 10:32). The terms “Israel,” “Israelite,” and “Jew,” are used in the New Testament to refer to national, ethnic Israel. The term “Israel” is used of the nation or the people as a whole or the believing remnant within. It is not used of the Church in general or of Gentile believers in particular. Saved Gentiles of this present age are spiritual sons of Abraham who is the father of all who believe (Romans 4:12,16; Galatians 3:7,26,29), whether Jews or Gentiles; but believing Gentiles are not Israelites [that is, they are not the sons of Jacob]. The Israelites are carefully defined by Paul in Romans 9:4-5. The Use of the Term “Israel” in the N.T.

In every dispensation God’s distinctive programs are outworked for His great Name’s sake, and in every dispensation persons have always been saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8; Genesis 15:6; Hebrews 11:4-7; Romans 4:1-8). We believe that the glory of God is the determining principle and overall purpose for God’s dealings with men in every age and that in every dispensation God is manifesting Himself to men and to angels so that all might redound to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:6,12,14; 3:21; Romans 11:33-36; 16:27; Isaiah 43:7; 1 Timothy 1:17). The Glory of God

Literal Interpretation

The Bible must be interpreted literally which is the way language is normally and naturally understood. We recognize that the Bible writers frequently used figurative language which is a normal and picturesque way of portraying literal truth. The Bible must be understood in the light of the normal use of language, the usage of words, the historical and cultural background, the context of the passage and the overall teaching of the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15). Most important, the believer must study the Bible in full dependence upon the SPIRIT OF TRUTH whose ministry is to reveal Christ and illumine the minds and hearts of believers (John 5:39; 16:13-15; 1 Corinthians 2:9-16). The natural, unregenerate man cannot understand or interpret correctly the Word of God. The things of God are foolishness to him, he cannot know them (1 Corinthians 2:14), and his mind is blinded (Romans 3:11; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

See here for the original article.

Eschatology Hermeneutics

Israel Part Four

In Matthew’s gospel Jesus refers to Himself—in relatively rapid succession—as the greater temple (12:6), a greater Jonah (12:41), and a greater Solomon (12:42). In other words, He is the greatest Prophet, Priest, and King, and thus “the ultimate” of every institution that comprises the distinct character of Israel. To reiterate the point you make above, He essentially identifies Himself as the New Israel.

In A House for My Name, Peter Leithart elaborates on this theme: “In Pilate’s Praetorium, the Jews renounce Jesus, choosing death over life. But the Israel of God is never dead for long. Israel has died before. . . . But when Old Israel dies, Yahweh, the Lord of life, brings a New Israel from the grave. The death and resurrection of Jesus, who is the true Jacob and Israel, who is the temple flowing with living water, is the sign that a New Israel will be born. The Jews have rejected their King and destroyed their temple, but out of their dead bones the Spirit brings forth living stones for a holy house, an army that cannot be numbered.” (Peter J. Leithart, A House for My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2000), 262-63

Eric Adams is currently forging a series of short articles about being Jewish. I have posted them below with their original links.

What about Acts 7:38?

Eric writes,
I have been skimming Christ’s Prophetic Plans, which is a primer on Dispensational Eschatology. I would like to write a review or a response at some point, but I can’t let this pass:

Richard Mayhue asserts, “Furthermore, never in the whole New Testament is ‘Israel’ ever called ‘the church'” (page 82).

This is patently false. Stephen refers to Israel as the church in his sermon:

“This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you” (Acts 7:38).

“The congregation” is the Greek word, ekklesia, which is the word for the church. Thus, Stephen calls Israel the church.

So, whenever you find yourself listening to a Dispensationalist wax eloquent about how Israel is never called the church, simply ask, “What about Acts 7:38?”

See here for the original article.

Was Ruth a Jew?

In my previous post, I argued that the fatal flaw of Christ’s Prophetic Plans is that the authors assume that Israel/Jew is defined strictly by ethnicity. In the next few posts, I want to explore the ramifications of such a presupposition.

If Israel is defined strictly by ethnicity, then no one could ever become a Jew. You were either born a Jew or you were not. Nothing that you ever did would change that.

What about Ruth? Ruth was a Moabite; she was not born a Jew. If Israel/Jew is strictly an ethnic designation, then Ruth could never become a Jew because no one can become a Jew. She was a Gentile who got in on the promises.

However, this is not what the Scriptures teach. Ruth herself claimed, “Your people shall be my people” (Ruth 1:16). She saw herself becoming part of Israel. She became a Jew.

The only way this is possible is if Israel/Jew is not strictly an ethnic designation. In the Bible, Israel/Jew is a religious designation with ethnic implications.

Was Ruth a Jew? Not by birth, but by conversion, Ruth became a Jew. She was grafted into Israel, and both she and all of her progeny became Jews.

See here for the original article.

Was Boaz a Jew?

The most fundamental error that Dispensationalists make is in restricting their definitions of Israel and Jew to ethnicity. One who is born a Jew is always a Jew, and nothing can change this. Likewise, no one can become a Jew because blood alone determines whether one is a Jew. Blood alone defines Israel.

Dispensationalists continually pound this pulpit, yet they show little awareness of the difficulties surrounding such a definition. Specifically,
How much Jewish blood makes someone a Jew?
In a mixed marriage (Jew + Gentile), does it matter which party is Jewish?
I will deal with both of these questions in the next few posts.

Matrilineal Descent?
In a mixed marriage, does it matter which party is Jewish?

Some branches of Modern Judaism define Israel/Jew partly according to matrilineal descent. That is, one is a Jew if their mother is a Jew. Thus, a Jewish mother begets Jewish children, regardless of the ethnicity of the Father.

The problem with defining Israel/Jew according to matrilineal descent is that this excludes some famous Jews, such as Boaz.

Boaz’s mother was Rahab, who was a Canaanite. She was not Jewish, and thus, according to matrilineal descent, Boaz was not a Jew.

Also, Boaz married Ruth, who was a Moabite. Thus, their son, Obed, was not a Jew, according to matrilineal descent.

Technically, neither Judah nor any of the other sons of Jacob would be Jews, as Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, and Zilpah were not Jewish. Thus, according to strict matrilineal descent, none of the twelve sons of Israel were Jewish.

Of course, Modern Judaism has an answer for this dilemma, which I will explore in a future post.

Also, I know of no Dispensationalist who defines Israel/Jew according to matrilineal descent. I am not suggesting or implying this in any way.

I am simply ruling out defining Israel/Jew according to strict matrilineal descent.

See here for the original article.

Was Jesus a Jew?

Dispensationalists consistently emphasize that God made promises to the Jews, and these promises must be fulfilled for the Jews.

This raises the question: Who are these Jews who will inherit the promises?

Dispensationalists insist that a Jew is someone who is ethnically descended from Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. Blood alone defines Israel.

This raises the question: Is Israel defined by matrilineal descent (through the mother) or by patrilineal descent (through the father)?

In my previous post, I demonstrated that matrilineal descent alone is an invalid way to define Israel/Jew. This eliminates Boaz, Obed, and technically, even Judah, from Israel because their mothers were not Jewish.

Patrilineal Descent?
What about patrilineal descent?

This seems to make more sense. All genealogies in the Bible trace the male line. The promises were given to males and renewed with males. The male descendents were circumcised. Patrilineal descent seems more Biblical.

However, patrilineal descent alone is insufficient to define Israel/Jew because of one obvious exception: Jesus.

If being a Jew is defined by one’s father, then Jesus is not Jewish because his Father is not Jewish.

As Archie Bunker once retorted when reminded that Jesus was Jewish: “Yes, but only on his mother’s side.”

This one enormous exception means that patrilineal descent alone cannot be used to define Israel/Jew.

See here for the original article.

Church Eschatology Hermeneutics

Israel Part Two

RC Sproul answers the question, Is It True That God Blesses Those Who Bless Israel and Curses Those Who Curse Israel?1

Sproul writes, the non-Dispensational view “affirms that that Israel which is actually Israel, just as with the promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, applies to those who are in Christ, who trust in His finished work.” He continues, the non-Dispensational view “see[s] this is as the outworking of the truth of Galatians 3:7– ‘Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.’ We …do not believe God replaced Israel with the church. We believe instead that there has always been only one people of God, those who believe.”

Justin Taylor discusses the topic Jesus As the New Israel2

Taylor explains, “The New Testament authors understood Jesus to be the culmination of the Old Testament.”

Here is a good, concise summary of the Israel/remnant theme from a New Testament perspective:

. . . Jesus had become a remnant of one. He was the embodiment of faithful Israel, the truly righteous and suffering servant.

Unlike the remnant of the restoration period, he committed no sin (Isaiah 53:9; 1 Peter 2:22).

As the embodiment of the faithful remnant, he would undergo divine judgment for sin (on the cross), endure an exile (three days forsaken by God in the grave), and experience a restoration (resurrection) to life as the foundation of a new Israel, inheriting the promises of God afresh.

As the remnant restored to life, he becomes the focus of the hopes for the continued existence of the people of God in a new kingdom, a new Israel of Jew and Gentile alike.

As the nucleus of a renewed Israel, Christ summons the “little flock” that will receive the kingdom (Daniel 7:22, 27; Luke 12:32) and appoints judges for the twelve tribes of Israel in the new age (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30).

The church is viewed as the Israel of that new age (Galatians 6:16), the twelve tribes (James 1:1), “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9).

A sinful nation, Israel could not suffer vicariously to atone for the sins of the world. The sinfulness of the nation made it unacceptable for this role, just as flaws would disqualify any other offering. Only a truly righteous servant could bear this awful load.

—Tremper Longman III and Raymond B. Dillard, “Isaiah,” An Introduction to the Old Testament, 2d ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), 315.

The two best books I’ve read on this fulfillment theme are Hans LaRondelle’s The Israel of God in Prophecy: Principles of Prophetic Interpretation and David Holwerda’s Jesus and Israel: One Covenant or Two? (Keith Mathison has a good review of Holwerda’s volume here.)

Jesus is the true Israel, and the church becomes the Israel of God as it unites to True Israel. The same is true for ethnic Israel, whom God has not abandoned. But their only hope is to be united with Jesus, the ultimate suffering servant.


1 Is It True That God Blesses Those Who Bless Israel and Curses Those Who Curse Israel?

2 Jesus As the New Israel

Eschatology Hermeneutics

Eschatology 101 – Hermeneutics

The discussion of Eschatology isn’t so much about Eschatology as it is hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is essentially how you read Scripture. For example, the person who is a Premillennialist views Scripture through one lens, while the Amillennialist views Scripture through another lens.

These lenses through which we view Scripture are established by which presuppositions we bring to Scripture. These presuppositions establish each view as mutually exclusive.

Presuppositions are the assumptions you make before you arrive at the text. For instance, a Dispensationalist presupposes the Old Testament takes a certain amount of precedence over the New Testament, while the Amillennialist presupposes the New Testament takes a certain amount of precedence over the Old Testament.

However, all views see a certain amount of continuity (what’s the same) between the Old and New Testaments, and all views see a certain amount of discontinuity (what’s different) between the Old and New Testaments. For instance, we do not offer sacrifices as was done in the Old Testament (discontinuity), yet we believe in one God that is represented in both the Old and New Testaments (continuity).

The difficulty is answering the question, “to what extent is there continuity and to what extent is there discontinuity between the Old and New Testaments?”

Due to the mutually exclusive nature of these views, if one view is true, the others cannot be true. Further if, for example, the Premillenial view is true, then the way the Premillennialist reads Scripture is the correct method of interpretation. This is, in my opinion, why Eschatology can be such a volatile subject. To discredit a particular Eschatological view essentially discredits the method or way someone reads Scripture.

Great effort and due diligence must be the key because this study is not for the faint of heart.

When you dive into Eschatology, you will be forced to seriously evaluate your hermeneutics (the way you read Scripture). This is why many folks do not go too deeply into this discussion, nor do I blame them.

With all this said, we will be explaining the what, why and how these different Millennial views read various passages of Scripture the way they do.

Eschatology Media Videos

Eschatology 101 – Timelines

To help you continue in your understanding of the four major views of the End Times, here are the timelines for the four major views of Eschatology presented by David Murray of These are excellent.


Dispensational Premillennial Timeline from Puritan Reformed on Vimeo.


Historic Premillennialism

Premillennial Timeline from Puritan Reformed on Vimeo.



Postmillennial Timeline from Puritan Reformed on Vimeo.



Amillennial Timeline from Puritan Reformed on Vimeo.