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.