Friday, November 07, 2003

Lesson 5: A Future Kingdom for Israel (Part 5)

I have decided to add a little more scriptural support for dispensational premillennialism before launching into a critique.

Millennial Kingdom

Dispensationalism points to many passages in the Old Testament that are said to foresee the millennial kingdom:

17 "Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. 20 "Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. 21 They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. 23 They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD , they and their descendants with them. 24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD . (Isa. 65:17-25)

In the New Scofield Reference Bible, the heading for verses 18-25 is: Millennial conditions in the renewed earth with the curse removed. Scofield apparently concedes that verse 17 speaks not of the millennium but of the final state, i.e., eternity, but that a transition to the millennium is made in verse 18.

We have already noted that dispensationalism teaches of a rebellion at the end of the millennium. After Satan is loosed, he will gather followers in a final short-lived battle that is summarily terminated with fire from heaven. Those participating in the rebellion, given that they were living in a millennial paradise with the curse removed, constitute something like a second fall of man.

Another passage from Isaiah is said to point to the Davidic Kingdom (realized during the millennium). The heading from the New Scofield Reference Bible is: Davidic Kingdom to be restored by Christ: its character and extent.

6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. 9They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. (Isa. 11:6-10)

One last passage from Isaiah said to be a prophecy of the millennium:

1 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: 2 In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. 3 Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD , to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (Isa. 2:1-4)

The heading from the New Scofield Reference Bible is A vision of the coming kingdom.

The Restoration of Israel

There are many passages that dispensationalism points to as promising the restoration and return to prominence of the nation of Israel. One of the more striking, headlined by Israel's Restoration in the Kingdom in the New Scofield Reference Bible, is:

14 I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. 15 I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them," says the LORD your God. (Amos 9:14-15)

Dispensationalism, when using this passage to refer to the restoration that occurs in the millennium, must deal with the fact that verse 15 implies forever (never again to be uprooted) as opposed to just 1000 years. J. Dwight Pentecost writes:
That which characterizes the millennial age is not viewed as temporal but eternal … Israel's covenants that people, the land, a national existence, a kingdom, a King, and spiritual blessings in perpetuity. Therefore there must be an eternal earth in which these blessings can be fulfilled.

In other words, the blessing to Israel begins in the millennium but is continued forever in the eternal state.

Other passages that are said to teach of the restoration of Israel are: Isa 11:11-16; Ezek 34:12-13, 36:24; Jer. 23:3, 7-8; Zech. 8:7-8.

108 J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 490.
109 Ibid., p. 561.

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