DO DISPENSATIONALISTS UNDERSTAND THE PATH TO ISRAEL’S SALVATION?

It is truly one of the great mysteries in Evangelical Theology: How does the Church relate to Israel?  And how will Israel be saved?

Reformed Theology, aka Covenant Theology, dismisses any future or current salvation for Israel (as a collective). They even speak of Old Testament saints as members of the Church.  As is popularly understood, the Church replaced Israel.  Theirs is “replacement theology.” This generates a post-millennium or Amillennial eschatology.  (And full or partial Preterism – i.e., biblical prophecy has already been fulfilled, all of it by AD 70).

Dispensationalists speak of the Church Age in which God’s focus is on creating “a special people for Christ’s sake.”  Paul’s statement in Romans 11:26 that “in this way ALL ISRAEL will be saved” that is, after the fullness of the Gentiles comes in.  But does Paul’s meaning convey a “delay or deferment” that is taught in Dispensationalist?  Or is there a misunderstood meaning that somehow in the Gentile’s being saved it also implies “the saving of ALL ISRAEL”?  Paul speaks of believers in Christ becoming part of the commonwealth of Israel?  What does that mean?  Does the two sticks prophecy of Ezekiel 37:14-28 challenge the common interpretations of both Covenant and Dispensational Theology?  Commonwealth Theology says, “Yes.”

The video is 135 minutes in length. Four friends and colleagues in eschatology teaching come together as my guests on THE HOT SEAT.  Not only do we drill down deep into the issue of what does it mean that “all Israel will be saved” but also, “What is the relationship between Law and Grace?”  The Hebrew Roots Movement has introduced a strong emphasis on following the biblical feasts and certain Mosaic laws, such as keeping the (Saturday) Sabbath, and eating restrictions (e.g., eating no pork).  But are Christians to follow these laws?  Does a Commonwealth understanding of the People of God include following laws in the same manner as Orthodox Jews and Messianic believers do?  The four drill down into this issue carefully and fully.

Friend and former guest on The Hot Seat, Dr. Doug Hamp speaks of the “Haunted Theology” that has infected the Church with teaching that denies Christians are responsible for following “law” altogether.  He provides an overview of the heretic Marcion’s teaching which was the dominant heresy for the first 400 years of the Church.  His point: We find in today’s teachings certain Marcionite tendencies. This includes a rejection (an “unhitching”) of the Old Testament.  But does living under Grace mean that Christians are not responsible for heeding biblical law, and especially the “law of Christ” (“If you love me, keep my commandments,” John 14:15)?  If you haven’t struggled with this issue, chances are good you don’t understand what the issue truly is.

Dr. Gavin Finley supplies some surprising insights into various ways in which Grace and Law are illustrated in the Old Testament: At the Garden of Eden, in the meeting of Abraham with Melchizedek, and the implication for the two angels on top of the Ark of the Covenant. Gavin’s teaching is refreshing and provides new takes on old matters that most of us haven’t encountered before now. Grace and Law, their duality, runs throughout the Old Testament (i.e., the God of the Old Testament isn’t an ogre demanding obedience upon pain of death), showing us that God has always been a “balanced” God, with near infinite patience and forbearance.

Pastor Chris Steinle (a guest on the earlier HOT SEAT episode addressing the Post-Trib rapture) returns to discuss the issues of Authority and Submission as a paradigm for grasping the deep meaning of Law in the Bible and why it is fundamental to our relationship with God. Knowing God is knowing Him as a God of justice (and law) and a God of grace (His lovingkindness).  Both “polarities” are essential to living out a authentic Christian experience.  Chris also jumps headlong into the discussion of lawlessness in America and the existential ultimatum that either our country returns to a deep respect for the law or we will fail as a civilization.

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