Theology | Comparison Between "Kingdom Messengers" Theology and Dispensationalism

Definitions

Dispensationalism (D): A method of interpreting the Bible that divides history into distinct eras or "dispensations" in which God deals with man in a distinctive way and, in some cases, in which God's ethical standards change. A leading distinctive of dispensationalism is the sharp division between ethnic Israel and the church of Jesus Christ. Orthodox Christianity has traditionally held that the church of Jesus Christ is the New Israel; dispensationalists hold that ethnic Israel and the church of Jesus Christ are two separate, distinct entities in God's program. All dispensationalists are premillennial, but not all premillennialists are dispensationalists.  Dispensationalism was first developed in the mid-19th century by English theologian John Nelson Darby.

"Kingdom Now" (KN): The belief that Jesus Christ, since His ascension, has reigned as the (mediatorial) king of the Kingdom of God, defeating His enemies, daily increasing the realm of His kingdom in and through the Church until all is fulfilled.  The New Testament Church is not opposed to the Old Testament, but rather fulfills the Old Testament.

Non-Dispensationalism (ND): Blurs or wipes out any distinction between the New Testament "Church" and "Israel" after the first advent of Christ.  "Kingdom Now" is a Non-Dispensational theology.

Postmillennialism The view that Christ's Second Advent will occur after the earthly millennium of Revelation 20. Most postmillennialists believe that the kingdom of God advances in history slowly, almost imperceptibly, and that there will be a Godly Golden Age as prophesized by the Old Testament prophets before Christ returns.

Premillennialism The view that Christ's Second Advent will occur before the earthly millennium of Revelation 20, and will, in fact, institute that millennium. This is the idea that Christ will reign on the earth physically for a long period, probably a thousand years. Most, but not all, premillennialists are dispensationalists.


Nine Main Issues (with supporting scriptures)

1. What was Jesus' mission at His first coming (prior to the cross)?

KN: To save anyone, who submits to His lordship, from the power of Satan and sin.

D: To restore Israel back to God. Isaiah 49:5-6; Matthew 15:24; Luke 19:42-44; Matthew 23:37-39.

2. What is "the Kingdom of God" in the New Testament?

KN: The reign of Jesus Christ.  This includes the blessings that come through the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 12:28; Romans 14:17.

D: The eternal Kingdom of God the Father in heaven who rules over all, and the future mediatorial/messianic reign of Jesus Christ on earth that is to be established at his second coming. Matthew 5:34-35; Psalm 103:19, 93:2; Lamentations 5:19; Luke 21:31; Matthew 19:28, 25:31; Daniel 2:44.

3. What is "the gospel of the kingdom" that Christ preached? To whom was it directed?

KN: "The gospel of the kingdom" was a "mystery" hidden in the Old Testament. It is the announcement that God, in the person of Christ, is now acting by the power of the Holy Spirit among men in this present age, to deliver people from bondage to Satan, sin and death, so that they may experience the blessings of the Holy Spirit, living under God's reign.  This gospel is directed to all mankind.

D: "The gospel of the kingdom" is the announcement exclusively to Israel to repent of their sins in preparation for the imminent historic arrival of the Messianic kingdom.  This corresponds with the Judgment Day of the Lord spoken of by the Old Testament prophets. Mark 1:14-15; Luke 21:31; Luke 4:43; Acts 3:20-26.

4. What did the signs Jesus worked signify? What about the signs the apostles worked before Christ's death? What about the signs the apostles worked after Christ's ascension?

KN: The signs Jesus and the apostles worked, both before and after the cross, demonstrated "the gospel of the kingdom," that the presence of the kingdom of God (the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of the age to comes) is here on the earth now, especially to demonstrate that Satan's powers have been cut off through the mediatorial work of Jesus Christ and that the work of kingdom (ministry of the Holy Spirit within believers) is to restore fallen humanity back towards God through Jesus Christ. Matt. 12:28; Heb. 6:5; Matt. 4:23; Matt. 10:7-13; Acts 8:6-7,12.

D: The signs of Jesus bore witness to His identity as the Coming One (sent by the Father), the Son of David (i.e., the Messiah), who bore witness to "the gospel of the kingdom" (cf. "D" view above). After the cross, the signs of the apostles bore witness to their apostleship and the gospel of Jesus Christ, including the hope of a future inheritance of salvation. Matt. 10:5-15, 12:28; Mark 16:20; John 5:36, 10:37-38, 14:12; 1 Cor. 15:1-8; 2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 1:14-2:4.

5. Has the reign of Jesus Christ as the king of the kingdom of god begun yet? If so, when did it begin? If not, when will it begin?

KN: Yes. His reign began upon his resurrection and ascension to heaven, which authority to reign was gained by defeating Satan via the cross and His resurrection and ascension. Jesus is continuously "building" and "increasing" the realm of His kingdom in and through the Church, defeating His enemies through the end of human history. Acts 2:30-33, Col.l:13, Matt.4:9, 28:18, Matt. 13:31-33, l Cor.15:24-26 (see Scriptural Basis for the Gospel of the Kingdom)

D: No. God the Father is the reigning king, as He always has been. Christ sits at His Father's right hand (exclusively as High Priest and Head of the Church), waiting for His Father's timing, when the Messianic Kingdom will be set up on earth,. at the second coming of Christ, when Jesus' reign as (mediatorial) king of the kingdom of God will begin until He has put all His enemies under His feet. Rev.5:7, Acts 2:30-35, Rev.3:21, Heb.1:3, 8:1, Eph.1:20-23, 10:12-13, Acts 1:6-7, Dan.2:44, Matt.19:28, 25:31, Rev.20:6, lCor.15:24-28

6. Since the first advent of Christ, should we distinguish between "the Church" (made up of Jews and Gentiles) and "Israel"?

KN: Since Israel rejected their Messiah (King), the Church has replaced Old Testament Israel as God's people, whom Christ's present "kingdom" works in and through. Both Peter and Paul (the Apostles) referred to Gentile Christians as being "Jews," and a part of "Israel," "the Israel of God," and "a holy nation."  The remnant church of 67 A.D. made up of both Jewish and Gentile believers that escaped the holocaust of May 66 A.D. just prior to the Roman siege by prince Titus, son of general Vespasian of the Roman army, formatted the new Israel of God as they established the Christian faith by way of the seven churches of Asia Minor as recorded in the Revelation. Note: As Jewish and Gentile believers united in marriage within the Christian faith, their descendants became the new Israel of God, in the same manner as they did after the post-exile years of Babylon. Matt. 21:43, Gal. 3:28, Rom. 2:28-29, 9:6, Gal. 6:16, 1 Peter 2:9.

D: "Israel" (a holy nation of elect ethnic Jews, a remnant of the physical descendants of Jacob), and "the Church" (made up of Gentiles and a portion of "Israel", who believe in Messiah prior to the Rapture), are to be distinguished. God will save the rest of "Israel" (the hardened part) at the second coming of Christ following the great tribulation. Rev. 7:4-8, Rom.1l (esp.v.26-27), Matt. 23:39, 24:29-31.

7. Should we apply the promises/prophesy that God originally made to "Israel" in the Old Testament to the Church today exclusively, to both the Church (present) and Israel (future), or to Israel (future) exclusively?

KN: All the promises/prophesy that were originally made to Israel in the Old Testament apply "spiritually" to the Church today. (some believe) they will also apply to the ethnic Jewish remnant ("Israel") which Christ will save at His second coming. Today, if they are dealing with the redemption and restoration of God's creation through the work of the cross, all of the promises of the covenant made to Israel by way of Abraham are fulfilled in Christ and not in national, political Israel.  Matt. 21:43, Rom. l0:26. Examples of "promises" applied to Church today (can) include Hos. 6:l-3, Joel 2, Isaiah 60:1-5, 2 Chr.7:14, Josh.1:2-3, Ezekiel 37:1-14, Acts 3:21, 13:16-17.

D: A promise of God only applies to those to whom it is literally and explicitly given to; i.e., none of the promises given to "Israel" in the Old Testament also apply to the Church today, with the exceptions of a few promises that are explicitly applied in the New Testament to the Church. Just because a few promises given to Israel in the OT are ALSO applied to the Church in the NT doesn't mean the Church inherits all the promises made to Israel, nor does it mean that the Church is now Israel. Rom.15:8, Heb. 8:10-12; 1 Cor.11:25, 2 Cor.3:6; Rom. 9:24-26.

8. What is the primary reason for Christ's death on the cross?

KN: The primary reason for Christ's death on the cross was to destroy Adam's penalty of death so that Christ could save sinners from Satan's power of sin and death over them, enabling Jesus to "plunder the kingdom of Satan" to "reign sovereignly" in the lives of those who submit to His reign. Heb.2:14; Luke 4:5-6; Matt.28:18, l Jn.3:8; Acts 26:18; Eph.2:2; Col.1:13-14. Other reasons for Christ's death (substitution, justification, propitiation, forgiveness of sins, imputed righteousness) are acknowledged (believed).

D: The primary reason for Jesus' physical death on the cross was to take the penalty of our sins (which is physical death) upon Himself, thus justifying those who believe in Him from the demand of the law (physical death) against sin, enabling God to declare the believer righteous (justified) and thus become peacefully reconciled to God, saved from His wrath. Man can't die for his own sins to redeem himself because he is already going to die due to the corruptible sin nature inherited from Adam, and thus still owes a debt for the sins he committed even after physical death (which debt is paid by "the Second Death"). Christ, having no sin nature of His own, nor having committed any sins Himself, physically died in the place of sinful man to pay the debt sinful man couldn't pay. With the penalty for sins paid for by Christ's physical death on the cross, the law (and therefore Satan, whose "power of death" depended upon the law) has no more claim on the sinner that he or she has to die. The strength of sin is the law, but since those who are in Christ are "dead to the law," the righteous requirement of the law can now be fulfilled by those who walk according to the Spirit. 1Peter 3:18, Heb.9:27, Rom.6:23, 5:9, 3:26, 7:9-10, 5:12-21, 2Cor.5:19, Eph.2:1, Col.l:21, 2:14, Ezekiel 18:4, Psalm 49:7-9, Rev.21:8, 2Cor.5:21, lJohn3:5, lTim.2:6, Rom.7:6, 6:8-9, Heb.2:14, lCor.15:56, Rom.8:3-4.

9. What about the "authority" of the Church?

KN: (Since Christ is reigning now in and through the Church) We have the authority in Jesus' name over demons and sickness, and to "take the land for Christ" via binding/casting out the "territorial spirits" that blind unbelievers from receiving the gospel, which "binding" is more powerful when the church in a city is holy, "unified," and prays and worships God together.  Matt.28:18-20, Luke 9:1-2, 10:19, Joshua 1:2-3, Eph.2:6, Matt.16:18-19, 12:25, 29, Mark 5:10, 2Cor.4:4,, 2Chr.20:20-22, Joshua 7. "D" (below) also.

D: The Church will receive the authority to rule and reign with Christ (after He comes back) during Millennium. Rev.5:10, 20:6.


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