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Common Error of Both

One of the major errors of Preterism and Dispensationalism is not only that they are a "new" system created in recent years but are both founded by men imposing an unnatural structure upon scriptures in an attempt to reconcile personal beliefs with scriptures. The personal beliefs although maybe well intended still remain problematic. It is a thing seen repeated over the years; Oneness, Jesus Only, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism, - men with personal visions of grandeur with no accountability. David Koresh, Jim Jones White, Hubbard, Stone - Campbell.

Every one aberrant because they received a personal revelation that was never ever given to another person but them. It's the foundation of Mormonism, they alone arrived at this truth as it was revealed to them alone. In any one foundational point, a mistake is made and the building is constructed upon that mistake, while it may not crumble as they build it, it will always be off kilter, unsound, and unsafe for human habitation. Instead of abandoning the structure these systems create, they build  buttresses to explain away the problem and people believe it. 

Paul warned us that in the last days people would not hold to sound teaching but instead go after doctrines of demons and chase after myths.

I wish to be clear "Middleism" is not a new system but clings to the tradition of the Historical Christian faith and to the Early Church Fathers of the first - second century church.
Does Dispensationalism destroy peoples faith or leads to a shipwreck of faith? No, the problem is many do not accept that Tribulation will be "soon" upon them. Confusion, disappointment, and despair follows those are unprepared. The Rapture does not come first.


The dispensational system is rooted in the teachings of John Nelson Darby in Ireland and popularized by James Cyrus Ingerson Scofield in the United States in the late 1800’s. Darby’s departure from the Church of England led to his joining a group that later formed the Plymouth Brethren under his auspices. Through a personal revelation about the distinct natures of the church and Israel, Darby developed Dispensationalism. His doctrine was organized by covenants and ages or “dispensations”, in which he believed God dealt with people differently. In 1888 Scofield published Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, which was an expository explanation of the dispensational system. In 1890 he developed the Scofield correspondence course to teach Dispensationalism at his church, and in 1902 he began work on the Scofield Bible. In 1909 Oxford University Press published The Scofield Reference Bible, which entailed a set of chain references, going from verse to verse, with headings and commentary.

The six key features of his teachings are: a dichotomy between Israel and the Church in which he argued that God still dealt with Israel’s salvation differently from the Church. When Israel is mentioned in the New Testament it is meant to mean “ethnic Israel”, the literal people distinct from Gentiles. Gentiles are the church, which is the body of Christ. The true church, which does not include all gentiles but only those who are living a holy life with the Holy Spirit working in their lives, were the true church. Only the “true Church” becomes the bride of Christ.

It should be noted at this point, the origin of every cult, heretical teaching, or “false teaching” began with one or two people claiming a direct or personal revelation of truth that was never formally known or understood by the church. Darby also had absolutely no formal theological training. Another key factor was the position to interpret the Bible literally, considering the different genres, and holding to a Historical-Grammatical Hermeneutic. With the promises made to Israel Only, the church cannot be part of the fulfillment of these promises. Therefore, the Church and Israel are on two different tracks. The distinction is that Israel has a “Gospel of the kingdom” while the church has a “Gospel of Grace”. This distinction is the heart of disagreement among theologians

The other three points focus on the idea the Kingdom was postponed due to Israel rejection of the New Covenant, a restricted view of the Church, and the rapture of the church Pre-Tribulation since the promises to Israel are being fulfilled in the coming Millennial Kingdom.

Error #1 The First Resurrection of Rev 20

"I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years... 

This is the first resurrection." Rev 20:4,5 Logic: The First Resurrection of the Dead happens at his coming, it is the Just who are raised. This first Resurrection includes those who were "beheaded for not taking the mark of the beast" - Therefore there can be no prior Resurrection of the dead happening seven years before or we would call that Resurrection "THE FIRST". The Rapture of the Saints, and of the Dead in Christ who are raised, BOTH groups meet Him in the air, at His coming, is the FIRST, not second. By placing a Resurrection at the beginning of the Tribulation, forces there to be "3" Resurrections of the dead, but the Bible speaks of only two; of the just and unjust.

Error #2 son of man coming on clouds

The Olivet, not having a promise of a Second Coming,(error 1)  then forces the context to remain fulfilled in A.D. 70 as the Early Church Father all believed the Olivet was fulfilled in A.D. 70, and the second coming still future. The whole context is based on the idea Jesus saying, "Not one stone will be left upon another - all of the blood spilt of Abel to Zechariah, will be required of this Generation". The Great Tribulation being spoken about is that of Jerusalem ONLY!! The context of Revelation is of Judgment upon the whole world and in no place is Jerusalem judged and destroyed for any sin, since her judgment came upon her in A.D. 70. Preterism forces A.D. 70 to be the fulfillment of both the Olivet and Revelation. Dispensationalism forces the Olivet and Revelation all in the future. The Early Church Fathers all put the Olivet passed, and all of Revelation future.

Error #3 -  Zechariah 12, 14

It is the opening verses of Zechariah 12 and 14 which begins with a narrative of the siege at Jerusalem which was literally fulfilled in A.D. 70, is the last decree of destruction to go against her based on Biblical historical evidence. It is the last declaration made under the Old Testament parameters directly naming her as the recipient of God’s judgment. We find no declaration of judgment against Jerusalem in the Epistles. With the end of the canon of scriptures no other decree from God exists. There are no scriptures found in Revelation that decries Jerusalem destruction for “apostasy”, the common cause of past judgments. The first part of the book deals with judgment on the church, not Israel. Revelation being apocalyptic language, somewhere we should find Old Testament language in conjunction with a decree against Jerusalem. Instead we find reference to her as “the place where our Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11) and “The camp of the saints, the city he loves” (Revelation 20). The focus is that of the beast and his kingdom which we find mentioned in Daniel 7:23 “and this kingdom of the beast is unlike any kingdom on earth and will devour the whole earth”, which defies any association with Israel or Jerusalem, especially of A.D. 70. If we hold to the late date of Revelation authorship the distance between the events of A.D. 70 and Revelation scenario become insurmountable, in fact becomes an impossibility to harmonize of what is to come “soon”.

Error #4 A rebuilt Temple

Based on Old Testament passages from Ezekiel and Isaiah, the idea is embraced that there will be  a rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem and that sacrifices will be reinstated during the Tribulation period and the sacrificial system will extend into the Millennial kingdom. The first problem of a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem is required so that it can be torn down again by the Beast based on the Olivet discourse. The problem is that in Revelation a temple or is Jerusalem ever destroyed based on the promises of Zechariah 12, 14. Secondly, a reinstitution of the Temple sacrificial system creates a theological problem. If Christ has paid the price for our sins then no further sacrifice is needed. In the Dispensational thinking the sacrifices are need for "ceremonial' cleansing so that people can approach Jesus. The problem with that of course there is no reason to be cleansed any further as his blood was adequate to forgive us of all our sins and make us righteous before him so that we can boldly enter into the throne room.

God never challenged us to be faithful to a system of Interpretation or for any system to be created based on presupposition but to allow the word of God to speak . As we come to understand the individual pieces and weave them together a beautiful tapestry begins to emerge.