I can't discuss all seven supposed dispensations, but some stand out more than others. One of the worst deceptions of dispensationalism is Zionism. I have posted threads on, True Israel
, the heavenly temple
and What does it mean, "God is no respecter of persons"?
So I won't be posting much on Zionism but here is the gist of what I posted in those threads and others.
Biblically God created and chose Israel for a purpose. It was not because they were deserving of the high honour and privilege the Lord bestowed upon them. The purpose Israel was chosen for is the redemption of all humanity. It was always God's plan from the beginning after sin came into this world for the whole world to be reconciled to Him. God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants in order to preserve the knowledge of God through His people and to bring about the redemption of humanity (Psalm 67:2
). That was both a privilege and a huge responsibility to be bestowed upon a people.
The Israelites were supposed to live and walk according to God's plan. They were supposed to be the vehicle by which this redemption was to be made known to the whole world. A lot of Gentiles were supposed to become part of Israel. In the Old Testament there were Gentiles who became part of Israel. We read about some of them in Jesus' genealogy in Matthew 1
, and in other parts of the Bible. We read about others like Moses' wife Zipporah, Bathsheba's husband Uriah the Hittite, Ornan the Jebusite etc. Had Israel lived up to its full potential so many Gentiles would have joined Israel and become part of the fig tree (Israel/Jesus Christ) that bears good fruit. Under the Old Covenant though, anyone who joined Israel had to be circumcised physically.
Sadly Israel mainly saw their privilege and not their responsibility. They became proud and thought they were better than the Gentiles because God chose them even though they were told, "The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples”
). So instead of Israel including others into their fold, they excluded them mainly.
In the New Covenant, the definition of a Jew changed. Paul gave the clearest statement in Romans 2:28-29, "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God."
Here Paul tells us God's definition of who a Jew is and who is not a Jew. Being a Jew in the New Covenant is not based on outward physical circumcision like in the Old Covenant. Its also not based on genealogy. It is based on circumcision of the heart and anyone (Jew or Gentile) who accepts Jesus as their personal Saviour and does His will, will get circumcised in the heart. That means they become a "new creature,"
the law is now written on the heart not just on tables of stone. The Prophet Jeremiah is quoted in Hebrews 8:10
when describing the New Covenant, "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."
When this happens, keeping the law springs from the heart and becomes a delight. This is the relationship that God has always wanted to have with His people.
Dispensationalists believe the Old Testament promises to Israel will be literally fulfilled at the end of time. They regard the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948 as the beginning of the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies dealing with the return of the Jews to their own land. They believe that the Temple will be rebuilt and animal sacrifices will be reinstituted and they base this on Old Testament prophetic statements such as Ezekiel 44
, which prophesies in Old Testament terms, but which must be interpreted in the light of the New Testament. This is unbiblical and a very dangerous teaching.
The book of Hebrews 8:1-5
says, "Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
The true Sanctuary or Temple is the heavenly one. The earthly sanctuary/Temple was a copy of the of the original heavenly one and was temporary. To rebuild an earthly Temple is to reject Jesus as our High Priest in the heavenly Temple. What He does in the heavenly Temple is very important (interceding on our behalf) and could only have happened after He died on the cross for our sins.
Dispensationalism may agree that Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant in His first coming, but it strongly suggests also that Jesus becomes the Mediator of the Old Covenant in His second coming. There is hardly a doctrine that is more detrimental to the foundations of Christianity than this. It overthrows virtually all that Jesus accomplished on the Cross. It reverses virtually every major change that took place under the New Covenant that is described in the book of Hebrew.
If this teaching were allowed to stand, the book of Hebrews would eventually be removed from the New Testament.
Its also important to note that the New Testament/Covenant does not teach anywhere that a land of promise was given to Israel. In fact the New Testament does not present Israel as a land of promise for Abraham and his descendants. There is no mention of land not even Romans 9-11
. The New Testament focuses on a heavenly country, and the new kingdom. "But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them"