This is part of a series of posts on Evangelical Heresies. Click here to see the entire series.
Not the Chosen People:
Ask any Evangelical who God’s “chosen people” are and you will always get the same answer. The Jews. The reason for this belief is found in the dispensational doctrine of two redemptive plans for the world. Prior to the advent of Dispensationalism the Church universally believed that God judged the Jews in 70 AD for their execution of His Son. Although it is still possible for individuals of Jewish descent to be saved by grace through faith in the Messiah, no Jew has any inside track to God simply because of his Jewishness. Quite the contrary, the Jews have been divorced and cut off from their status as covenant people. God does not have two plans of salvation and He is not going to come back to His “first love” at some point in the future and save all of national Israel. The reestablishment of national Israel in 1946 is totally irrelevant to a biblical eschatological system.
God’s chosen people are found in His Church:
“Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith that are sons of Abraham.” (Galatians 3: 6-7)
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3: 26-29)
Romans 11 speaks of the remnant of faithful Jews that would be grafted into the new covenant people, the Church:
“I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin…. In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice…. You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, and you stand only by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you…. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in.”
The covenant people of God have changed. Under the Old Testament, national Israel was God’s covenant people. Under the New Testament, the Church is God’s covenant people. The Church is God’s glorious, mysterious plan for history. The Church is the Bride of Christ that will enter into the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in order to initiate the eternal state. The Church is the pinnacle of God’s redemptive plan. To suggest that the Church will be raptured out of the way in order to allow God to go back to national Israel in an alternative redemptive plan is heretical.
Judaizers and the Millennial Kingdom:
According to Dispensationalism, Jesus will return at the end of the seven-year period of great tribulation to establish an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem. At that time Satan and the anti-Christ will be crushed and thrown into the pit. All of the Old Testament prophecies about the future golden age for national Israel (which are interpreted by everyone else as referring to the Church) will come literally true during the 1000-year period of that Kingdom. All Jews (never ethnically defined as to exactly what percentage of Jewish blood must be coursing through the veins in order to qualify) who have survived the tribulation will be automatically saved.
During this millennial kingdom the temple will be rebuilt and the Old Testament law will be reinstated. All faithful Jews (and any Gentile proselytes) will engage in the practice of the Old Testament sacrificial system as a memorial to the previous sacrifice of Jesus. If this sounds a lot like the Church of Rome, it is. Just as the Catholic church re-crucifies Jesus once a week in the mass, the millennial worship will be continually re-crucifying Jesus on a daily basis in the system of animal sacrifices. The simple assertion that the animal sacrifice system will be looking back to Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice does not change the heretical nature of what is being done.
Paul had some pretty harsh words for those who wanted to return to the Old Testament sacrificial system after joining the Church. He said:
“But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1: 8-9. It is important to note that Paul is specifically referring to the Judaizers in this text.)
“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 2: 3. Paul is here writing about their return to the OT sacrificial system as a way of life.)
“Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.” (Galatians 5: 2)
“Would that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.” (Galatians 5: 12. Paul did not think very highly of those who required true believers to practice the OT ceremonial law.)
The book of Hebrews is not very popular with Dispensationalists. You could spend an entire life in a strong dispensationalist church and never hear a sermon from Hebrews. The reason is obvious. The book of Hebrews was written to show the superiority of the New Covenant. The author of Hebrews makes absolutely no mention about some future millennial kingdom where the superior new covenant will be replaced by the inferior old covenant.
Hebrews 8: 6-7 says, “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.” The question that every Dispensationalist must answer is, how can you go back to an inferior covenant in the millennial kingdom?
Hebrews 9: 11-12 says, “But when Christ appeared as high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” It is hard to see how to square this passage with a belief in the rebuilding of the temple and the reinstitution of animal sacrifice during the millennial kingdom.
The entire message of Hebrews is contrary to the doctrines of Dispensationalism. The Old Covenant is inferior, not superior. Animal sacrifices are to be stopped, not reinstated. There is no glory in returning to the sacrificial system within the law when the ultimate sacrifice has already been made. The millennial kingdom of Dispensationalism is not glorious. On the contrary, just like the Catholic mass, it would be a mockery of what Jesus has done.
A Combination of Heresies:
Dispensationalism draws upon the historical roots of the heresy of continuing revelation through mystical experience. It builds its theological system upon the heresies of Marcionism (God is mutable in that He had to change His plan when the Jews crucified Jesus) and Pelagianism (God is bound by the free will decisions of the Jews and unable or unwilling to override them). It builds through the heretical ideas of the rapture of the church and the separate redemptive plans of God for separate peoples and culminates in the apostate practice of the Judaizers who return to the OT ceremonial law in the millennial kingdom. Everything about this system is wrong. Dispensationalists need to repent.
The heart and soul of evangelical theology is the doctrine of the free will of man. That is heresy. The evangelical doctrine of love (to be discussed in a later essay) demands that God be mutable. Hence, the ancient heresy of Marcionism is adopted. Pietism requires God to speak to each individual so this combination of extreme forms of Montanism and Gnosticism come together to create the charismatic heresy of continuing revelation. All of these heresies come together in the high point of evangelical theology with the doctrines of Dispensationalism. It is a rotten house, built with rotten wood on a thoroughly rotten foundation.
It is not possible to worship a god that does not exist and be saved. As a result of the combination of the five heresies discussed in this essay, I believe that most Evangelicals now worship a god that does not exist. As a result, most Evangelicals are not saved. What is to be done? Evangelicals must repent!