Theology | Comparison Between "Kingdom
Messengers" Theology and Dispensationalism
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
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)
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
D: To restore Israel back to God. Isaiah 49:5-6; Matthew 15:24; Luke
19:42-44; Matthew 23:37-39.
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
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
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,
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)
D: The Church will receive the authority to rule and reign with
Christ (after He comes back) during Millennium. Rev.5:10, 20:6.