0 Dispensationalism


The Old Testament and the Gospels

It is sadly true that many Christians never read or study the Old Testament, with the exception, perhaps, of the Book of Proverbs and Psalms. They believe that the Old Testament is simply a book of Jewish folklore which has little, if any, relationship to the New Testament.

There is also a large group of Christians, who applies allegorical interpretation to the Old Testament and spiritualize the content. They read things into Scripture that God never intended when the Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures. They therefore never come to a proper understanding of the golden thread that starts in Genesis and ends in Revelation.

To start reading or studying the Bible with the first book of the New Testament is like starting to read a novel in the middle of the book. It is commonly supposed that Jesus came to introduce a new religion, but nothing could be further from the truth. The New Testament states that “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision (the Jewish nation) for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (in the Old Testament), (Rom. 15:8). In reading the Gospels one is struck by the number of times it is recorded that Jesus did this or said that, “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by this or that Old Testament prophet.” Jesus Himself said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets (i.e., the Old Testament): I am not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17). Therefore, an understanding of the Old Testament is essential for an understanding of what Jesus was saying and doing in the four Gospels.

Peter sums up the teaching of the Old Testament Scriptures under a two-fold theme: “the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Pet. 1:11). The first was accomplished at His first coming; the second will be accomplished at His second coming. The glory that should follow refers to the Messianic, millennial Kingdom, which both John the Baptist and Jesus announced as being near at hand. The theme of the Gospels is the King and His Kingdom. These two words appear some 178 times in the Gospels.

The Kingdom is usually designated as the Kingdom of the Heavens in Matthew, and in the parallel passages in Mark and Luke as the Kingdom of God.

This Kingdom is not to be understood simply as a spiritual condition of the hearts, or as the general sovereignty of God over the universe. God’s Kingdom in this sense has always existed, but the Kingdom referred to in the Gospels had not yet come into existence. It was near at hand when the King came to earth, and the King taught His disciples to pray, “Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This Kingdom is the Davidic, Messianic Kingdom, which is the subject of Old Testament prophecy and which is to be established upon the earth with the renewed nation of Israel, over which Jesus Christ will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.

But before that Kingdom could be established an important prophecy had to be fulfilled. Jesus must first suffer and die for the sins of the world, even as Peter had said, before the glory of the Kingdom could be realized. Therefore, it was not until after His death that the Kingdom could be offered to Israel in the sense that now nothing stood in the way of its establishment but the condition that the nation of Israel repent and be converted (Acts 3:17-26).

Thus, we do not believe, as some teach, that Israel was cast aside at Pentecost and the new and ”unprophesied” dispensation began in the formation of the Church which is Christ’s Body. In speaking to the leaders of Israel in Acts 3:26 Peter states: “Unto you first, God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you.” The message in Acts was still to Israel only. Israel rejected this offer of the Kingdom with the result that God temporarily suspended His purpose to establish Israel’s Kingdom on earth, and instead revealed an entirely new purpose which He had ordained before the beginning of time.

This purpose concerned the out calling of the Body of Christ, a truth never before made known to mankind and therefore designated as the Mystery or secret. This truth was revealed to the new Apostle Paul and is recorded in his epistles. While Israel and the Body of Christ are separate and distinct groups of the redeemed, both share equally in the redemptive work of Christ.

The Writers of the Gospels

The Author of the Gospels is the Holy Spirit: the human writers were Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. While each of the writers wrote in his own style, from his own point of view, selecting certain incidents and omitting others, the Holy Spirit so superintended their writing that the end product was exactly what God  wanted, and was thus inerrant as the Word of God.

Only two of the writers were apostles, Matthew and John. Matthew had been a publican, or tax collector for the Roman government. He is referred to as Matthew in Matt. 9:9, 10:3; Mk. 3:18; Lk. 6:15; Acts 1:13; and as Levi, the son of Alphaeus in Mk. 2:14; Lk. 5:27,29.

John was not only the writer of the fourth Gospel, but of three epistles and the book of Revelation. John and his brother James were sons of Zebedee, and were called by Jesus as they were in a boat mending their nets (Matt. 4:21,22; Mk. 1:19), although there seems to have been an earlier call as recorded in John 1:35. Peter, James, and John formed an inner circle of the disciples. James and John were named Boanerges by Christ, which means “sons of thunder,” a name which no doubt reveals much about their character. They wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy a Samaritan village which had refused them hospitality (Lk. 9:54). This violent characteristic seems to be in sharp contrast to the other picture of John as the apostle of love. It was no doubt the regenerating work of the Spirit of God which transformed this son of thunder into a son of love.

John refers to himself in his Gospel as “that other disciple” and “the disciple that Jesus loved,” (John 18:16; 19:26; 20:2,3,4,8; 21:7,20,23,24). John is mentioned by Paul in Gal. 2:9 as one of the pillars of the church in Jerusalem. Tradition has it that John became a pastor at Ephesus and that he was later exiled to the Isle of Patmos off the West coast of Asia Minor, where he wrote the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:9). It is believed that his Gospel was written at a very late date, possibly around 90 A.D. He thus lived well into the new dispensation which was introduced by Paul, and this fact no doubt explains, in part at least, why John’s Gospel differs so widely from the other three.

Mark’s mother owned a home in Jerusalem where the disciples often met for prayer (Acts 12:12). He was a nephew of Barnabas and accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:5,13). When the going got rough Mark deserted and went back home to Jerusalem. Paul’s refusal to take him on their next trip caused a rupture in the fellowship of Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-41). However, Paul later writes that Mark had proved himself faithful and that he had become profitable to Paul’s ministry (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11). Mark also had very close ties with Peter, who refers to him as “my son” (1 Pet. 5:13). It is believed by some that Peter related the facts to Mark, which he wrote down and which became the Gospel according to Mark. Many believe this was the first of the Gospels to be written.

Luke was not an apostle; in fact, as far as is known he had no connection with the Christian movement until he met the Apostle Paul. Many expositors believe he was a Gentile, and if so, he was the only Gentile writer of the Scripture. Others think he was a Jew of the dispersion, perhaps from Antioch, where Paul and Barnabas ministered. His name appears only four times in the N.T., (2 Cor., subscript; Col. 4:14; 2 Tim. 4:11; Phile. 24). Luke first appears on the scene in the book of Acts where the narrative changes from the third person to the first person plural, when Luke apparently joined Paul’s party (Acts 16:10). From this point on Luke was one of Paul’s most faithful companions. Paul calls him “the beloved physician.” He was a medical doctor, as attested by the fact that his writings contain many medical terms. He tells us that he got his information about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ from those who from the beginning had been eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word.

The Apostle Paul seems to have had a marked influence upon Luke’s account. The Gospel of Luke itself sets forth that conception of Christ’s life and work which was the basis of Paul’s teaching. He represents the views of Paul, as Mark does of Peter… Some two hundred expressions or phrases may be found which are common to Luke and Paul, and more or less foreign to other New Testament writers.

An example of this influence may be seen in the use of the word translated grace. This is one of the predominant words in Paul’s vocabulary, occurring 100 times in his epistles (not counting Hebrews, where it occurs eight times). The word does not occur even once in Matthew or Mark, but Luke uses it eight times in his Gospel and sixteen times in Acts.

(Main Source: Understanding The Gospels – A Different Approach – Charles F. Baker)

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THE PURPOSE OF THIS SITE IS TO SHARE OUR INTERPRETATIONS OF IMPORTANT ISSUES RAISED IN GOD'S WORD. WE BELIEVE IN SOLA SCRIPTURA AND NOT IN ANY MAN-MADE DOCTRINE, ADDITIONAL REVELATIONS OR ADDITIONAL PROPHECIES WHICH ARE NOT IN LINE WITH THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. IMAGES DISPLAYING "JESUS" AND ANY CATHOLIC MATERIAL WILL BE DELETED WITHOUT NOTIFICATION. THIS IS A CHRISTIAN BLOG. WE MUST ALWAYS ACT LIKE REBORN CHRISTIANS AND NO UNNECESSARY DEBATES OR PERSONAL ATTACKS WOULD BE TOLERATED. NEVER GIVE UP TRUTH BUT REMEMBER THAT THERE WOULD ALWAYS BE "GRAY AREAS" ON WHICH WE WOULD ONLY GET FINAL ANSWERS ONCE WE ARE WITH CHRIST. HEAVENLY REMNANT MINISTRIES'' STATEMENT OF FAITH IS AS FOLLOWS: 1. There is one living and true GOD, eternally existing in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory; that this triune God created all, upholds all, and governs all things. (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; John 10:30; Hebrews 9:14) 2. We believe that the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, fully inspired without error in the original manuscripts, and the infallible rule of faith and practice. The Word of God is the foundation upon which this church operates and is the basis for which this ministry is governed. We believe that the Word of God supercedes any earthly law that is contrary to the Holy Scriptures. (Isaiah 28:13; Nehemiah 8:8; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:23-25; 2 Peter 1:21) 3. We believe in the person of God the Father, an Infinite, personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love; that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men; that He hears and answers prayer; and that He saves from sin and death all those who come to Him through Jesus Christ. (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalms 90:2; Psalms 102:27; John 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17; Titus 1:3) 4. We believe in the person of Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles and teachings, his substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people and personal, visible return to earth. (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; Matthew 1:23; Mark 16:19; Luke 1:34-35; John 1:1-2; John 8:58; John 11:25; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 1:2; Revelation 1:8) 5. We believe in the person of the Holy Spirit, Who came forth from the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify and empower for ministry all who believe in Christ; (Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 16:8-11; Romans 15:13,16; Hebrews 9:14) 6. We believe the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ and that He is an abiding helper, teacher, and guide. (John 14:16-17, 16:8-11) 7. We believe that all people are sinners by nature and, therefore, are under condemnation; that God regenerates based upon faith by the Holy Spirit, those who repent of their sins and confess Jesus Christ as Lord. (Acts 8:15-17; Titus 3:5) 8. We believe that God is sovereign and that He elects those He predestined to be saved according to His will (It is not man’s own choice) (1 Thessalonians 1:4, Romans 8:33, Mark 13:27, Mark 13:20, Acts 13:48, Ephesians 1:3-4, James 1:18, James 2:5, 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, Romans 9:10-16) 9. We believe in the universal church, the living spiritual body, of which Christ is the head and all who are born again are members. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 4:15-16) 10. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ committed two ordinances to the church: (a) full immersion water baptism, and (b) the Lord's Supper. (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26) 11. We believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ which is His personal, visible return to earth and the establishment of His millennial kingdom, in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment and eternal blessing of the righteous and endless suffering of the wicked. (Matthew 16:27; Acts 1:11; Revelation 19:11-16, 20: 11-15) 12. We believe in a literal Heaven and a literal Hell and that all those who place their faith, hope and trust in Jesus Christ will spend eternity in Heaven with the Lord, while those who were not elected and rejected Jesus’ free gift of salvation will spend eternity separated from the Lord in Hell. (Matthew 5:3, 25:31-34; Hebrews 12:23; 1 Peter 1:4; Psalm 9:17; Matthew 5:22, 18:9; Luke 12:5) 13. We believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church where all believers will meet the Lord in the air and be taken out of this world prior to the Tribulation that will come upon the earth. (Matthew 24:29-31; Luke 21:36; Romans 1:18, 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; 2 Peter 2:7-9; Revelation 5:7-10, 7:13-14) 14. We believe in the literal fulfillment of Bible end time prophecies, although some might be written in a figurative or symbolic manner in the Bible, like the book of Revelation. 


    1. Bob I believe that some portions are figurative and others literal. As an example – In Revelation 17, it is not a literal woman sitting on a scarlet beast. If we read the entire chapter, it is clear that this woman represents the false one world religion that will be introduced for the first 3 1/2 years.

      I do however believe, as an example, that a third part of the sea will literally become blood and a third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, will literally die as we read in Revelation 8:8-9.
      What is your view on this brother?


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