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June 25, 2009


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It sounds like me that one is a dispensationalist because they do not want to accept the bible at it's word. Instead, a dispensationalist has attempted to invent ways around things that disturb their Protestant views. Yet, not all dispensationalists can even agree. The idea that God either overestimated Man's ability to achieve salvation or chose to play games and set men up for failure along the way, should immediately give one pause to believe in this modern theory:

The False Doctrine of Dispensationalism


sounds like you are angry...and misinformed feel free to give me a call sometime and i would be glad to hear your "more biblical" point of view.

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Glenn Raynor

Are there any dispensational blogs that are favorable? It seems that rabid reformed blogs and sites dominate the discussion and are mean spirited to boot. I want to avoid such and both my wife and I would like to blog with other dispensationialists.

pastor matt

let me know when you find them


The Bible is the only authoritative history, yet it is also set in history. It is really difficult to have any context for the OT and NT prophecies unless you know history really well.

The reason is that the prophecies were or will be fulfilled in time outside of the part recorded by Scripture. If you don't know history, you don't know what prophecies have or haven't been fulfilled - excepting the really obvious ones.

Does this make the Bible inaccessible? Of course not. The Word and the Spirit transcend the knowledge of any individual man.

However, the Bible is not written on an eighth grade level either. You cannot approach God's Word as a simpleton and expect to have all of the mysteries hidden therein instantly revealed to you.

Meditation and study take years, decades. You can study the Bible and history all of your life and will constantly be learning new amazing things.

The major Biblical problem with Dispensationalism is its teaching from Ezekiel's temple vision that there will be a fourth temple built in Jerusalem with a priesthood and blood sacrifice while Jesus is reigning on the throne.

That contradicts the message of Hebrews that Christ's sacrifice was final, and that to continue animal sacrifice is an abomination and rejection of the only blood that removes sin.


From my reading, I understand that the Dispensationalist understanding of Ezekiel 40-48 points to a future millennium where God's promises to Israel are literally fulfilled.

We read:
1)A consecrated altar in the midst of the new temple (43:13-18). This altar will be for sacrificing burnt offerings (v. 18), for sprinkling blood on it (v. 18), for sin offerings (v. 19), for trespass offerings (40:39). The morning sacrifices will again be observed each day (46:13).
2)The Levitical priesthood is re-instituted in the sons of Zadok (43:19).
3)Meal offerings are offered again (42:13).
4)Ritual cleansing is prescribed for altar (43:20-27), Levites (44:25-27), and sanctuary (45:18).
5)Passover (45:21 -25), the Feast of Tabernacles (45:25), and the year of Jubilee (46:17) will again be observed.
6)The Glory-Cloud will fill this new Temple just as it filled the Tabernacle and Temple (43:4-5).

It seems that Old Testament ritual and worship are reinstituted.

Ezekiel 45:17 clearly reads: "17 Then it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at all the appointed seasons of the house of Israel. He shall prepare the sin offering, the grain offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel.”

The clear and plain reading of the text says that the purpose of these offerings is to "make atonement" for sin. Nothing in the text indicates any other conclusion.

You would have to read this passage unliterally in order to conclude that Ezekiel is discussing memorial sacrifices in the same way that the Lord's Supper is a memorial.

The writer of Hebrews 9:11-15 points out something very important:
11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Then Hebrews 10:9-10
9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The author of Hebrews says that the sacrificial system is over. Done. Finished.

It would be blasphemous to reinstitute the sacrificial system.

pastor matt

David and Ken thank you so much for commenting- this is a rich discussion but it is important tyo keep in mind that every hermeneutic especially the amil one have difficulty with this passage. There is much to be studied but also there has been much ink spilled over the issue - in my opinion the main gist of your combined argument relies on Hebrews 9-10- this is solid and poses some problems for sure but they are based on the assumption that the church age is the consummative age in God's dispensational plan- further the sacrifice and atonement made in the Old Testament needs to be explained -reformed theology recognizes clearly that in the OT sacrifices were not efficacious they were in effect pointing forward to Christ and indeed it is not a contradiciton to see a sacrifice pointing backwards in the same way- to say i am changing it to make it a memorial would cheapen the value of the OT sacrifices as well.
i hate super long posts but here is a large quote that is perhaps helpful:

The crux of nearly all Reformed theologians is that after Christ
died, any further animal sacrifices would be blasphemous and unthinkable. some
acknowledge that premillennialists have always claimed that future sacrifices are
merely memorial in nature, and do not themselves atone for sins. their opposition to
future sacrifices being “memorial” is based solely on the fact that Ezekiel did not say
they would be “memorial.” Frost writes, “Let it be known that I will not accept a
statement that they are 'memorial' without full and scriptural warrant to that effect.
Second, I want to hear how Warner deals with why they must be 'memorial.'
Obviously, if these sacrifices are NOT memorials, then we have blood-atoning
sacrifices being offered AFTER the one time sacrifice of Christ. Hopefully, Warner
realizes that this is a massive contradiction of Scripture.” We shall demonstrate that
there is no contradiction whatever in our interpretation. The “massive contradiction” is
between Frost’s presupposition that such are “blood-atoning sacrifices” when in fact
Paul wrote that such was “impossible.” The apparent contradiction Frost raises is based
on his wrong presupposition regarding the nature of animal sacrifices in general.

Paul stated plainly that the actual (literal) animal sacrifices of the Old Covenant were
themselves symbolic, and had absolutely no atoning quality. “For the law, having a
shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never
with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who
approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the
worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those
sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the
blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” (Heb 10:1-4 NKJ). The purpose
of the animal sacrifices was a reminder of the seriousness of the worshipper’s past sins
and consequently his need for atonement. This need is supplied in Christ alone, as Paul
so eloquently proclaims in Hebrews. Therefore, the Old Covenant sacrifices were
prophetic of Christ. Yet, when we read the Torah, the animal sacrifices were commonly
called “atonement” sacrifices, and “sin offerings” (Lev. 9:7 &c.). Is there a contradiction
between Moses and Paul? Paul stated plainly that they had no such power! Therefore,
the language of the Old Testament in calling them “sin offerings” and “atonement
sacrifices,” was itself symbolic language. These terms did not point to some inherent
quality of animal blood. It pointed to their prophetic symbolism toward Christ’s future
atonement. This is a part of the “mystery” of Old Testament prophecy. It is therefore
wrong for Frost to insist that such terminology in Ezekiel’s prophecy must point to a
literal cleansing from sin of the worshippers, when that was not even the case when the
Jews offered the animal sacrifices under the Law!

It should surprise no one that Ezekiel’s vision used similar terminology for the future
sacrifices, particularly since the “mystery” of the Gospel had not yet been revealed, and
the symbolic nature of all animal sacrifices was not yet clearly understood (1 Pet. 1:10-
12). If we are to be consistent, and allow the New Testament to interpret the Old, then
all of the sacrifices in the Old Testament, whether found in historical narrative or
prophecy, should be seen as symbolic in significance but literally carried out by
the worshippers. Paul’s argument in Hebrews is that animal sacrifices simply have no
power to cleanse from sin. If that was true in OT times and in Paul’s day, it is true now and will always be true. Therefore, any future sacrifices must be understood in light of
the fact that all such sacrifices are signs (symbolic) even though they are literally offered
by spilling real blood. The only difference in Scripture between animal sacrifices in
historical narrative (which were prophetic in nature) and prophetic narrative (which are
historical {‘memorial’} in nature), is merely their timing – past or future. The former
looked forward prophetically to Christ, while the latter look back historically to Christ.
Our breaking and eating the bread and drinking the wine look back to Christ as a
“memorial” in the same manner. Communion is a “memorial” sacrifice, offered using
literal elements. The breaking of the loaf symbolically memorializes Christ’s body being
broken for us. The drinking of the wine is a symbolic memorial of His shedding His
blood for our sins. The sacrifices to be offered at the new Temple are no different, but
merely employ the use of more graphic elements. Let’s be consistent please! If the
historical narratives really indicate that real people offered real animals, then the same
language in the prophetic passages indicates the same thing to be done in the future.
Frost is the one using a double standard here.

Is Frost willing to admit that the Apostles themselves practiced a “massive
contradiction” in their leadership of the early Church? If offering animal sacrifices after
Christ’s death is so abhorrent to Christians and blasphemous to God, why did the early
Jewish Church in Jerusalem under the leadership of the Apostles continue to offer
sacrifices at the Temple right up until its destruction in AD70? Paul himself participated
in such sacrifices when in Jerusalem (Acts 21:20-27 & 1 Cor. 9:20). Apparently the
Apostles themselves were ignorant of the spiritual gnosis that Frost apparently has

-The Problem of Ezekiel’s Temple/City Vision
Tim Warner 01-10-04
Copyright © Answers in Revelation


The simpler more literal interpretation of Ezekiel 40 - that doesn't introduce all of these difficulties - is that Ezekiel wrote this while in Babylonian captivity and it refers to the temple that Ezra and Nehemiah would rebuild about fifty years later.

And the simpler understanding of Paul's nazirite vow was that the Temple system continued until Christ's predicted destruction came upon it in AD 70. Jewish Christians continued in the way they had been instructed until Christ removed the Temple. He gave the wicked generation 39 and a half years to repent (Spring AD 31 to August AD 70), and then Titus destroyed the Temple - at Christ's command. John the Baptist and Christ both predicted the destruction of Judea.

I do not support the amillennial position, but you seem to treat covenant theology and amillennial eschatology as if they are the same thing. Covenant theology can be found with classic pre-millenialism (non-dispensational) and also post-millenialism, both of which take the millennium literally. The main difference of interpretation is the location of Christ's throne during his reign - is it Jerusalem, or is it at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven?

I think covenant theology is more consistent with the Bible's treatment of law and grace than dispensationalism - which sets them against each other.

Since Adam's sin, we have all fallen short of God's perfect law, and we need His grace through Christ's atoning sacrifice. Without the law we have no knowledge of our need for redemption. After being redeemed, we still need the law to continue to expose our sin to our eyes for our continued sanctification.

The covenant at Mt. Sinai was not a covenant of salvation by works, else it would not have had any sacrifices at all. Since Adam fell no one has ever been justified by anything other than the blood of Christ. Abraham and Moses received grace just like we do today.

It was always possible for Gentiles to be saved, as evidenced by the several non-Israelites who were included in the people of God, even Obed-Edom, the Canaanite who became a Levite singing before the Ark.

The big change with Christ's coming was the revealing of the great mystery of the Gospel in Him personally, and His sending the Holy Spirit to turn the hearts of men back to their God.

Despite disagreements, I just want to let you know I appreciate you, Pastor Matt. We serve the same King.

pastor matt

amen thanks brother and i really appreciate your comments-
please stay in touch

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You have obviously thought about this a lot. I know and love pastors (who are friends with each other) who range from revised dispensationalism perspectives to orthodox covenantal perspectives (my old pastor calls them foaming at the mouth covenantals:). I don't think that the answer is that easy and your convictions might change over time. I was taught dispensationalism (although I didn't know it at the time) and have now come to a more progressive understanding (or modified covenantal understanding; pick your poison). I think that revised dispensationalism (as taught by Master's and DTS) functions as more of a Promethean-bed for the Scriptures rather than let's them speak for themselves (though not always-the gospel's right). A simple grammatico-historical hermeneutic is great, but can flatten out the Scriptures if we ignore the insights of biblical theology: its themes, motifs, and imagery. The Scriptures are rich and multi-faceted, progressively building on one another through the canon illumining to the world God's purpose and plan for the redemption of humanity simultaneously displaying his glory throughout all creation for all time. The author's of the inspired texts were not 19th and 20th century westerners who logically and literally communicated meaning, but used different literary genre's and wrote within their own historical context...They wrote within their respective cultures and also within their tradition (ANE). Not that an ordinary man cannot interpret the Scriptures and come to a saving knowledge of Christ, catching the main theme and trajectory of the Bible...he certainly can, the Scriptures are plain and clear. But Paul, a man of rigorous intellect, uses every fiber of his being to trace out OT themes and illumine them to the NT community as fulfilled in Christ (e.g. Galatians).
Dispensationalism was great in its time to remind the church, in the midst of theological liberalism and murkiness, that the Scriptures are clear and understandable and profitable for all things pertaining to life and godliness.

One of the best guys to listen to for an accurate, balanced, and not-all-the-way-covenantal view would be Bruce Waltke. He was a dispensationalist at one time that graduated from DTS (the flagship of dispensationalism. He has a deep reverence for those who taught him and you can hear it in his voice as as he disagrees with men whom he loves and respects in this lecture. I found it very edifying. Here is the link http://thegospelcoalition.org/resources/a/Ephesians-3---Dispensational-Theology-1

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