Reformed Restriction

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Netchaplain

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The entire system known as Judaism, along with all its component parts, is, in the purpose of God, in total abeyance (suspension) throughout this present dispensation, but with definite assurance that the whole Jewish system thus interrupted will be completed by extension into the millennial kingdom, the new earth, and on into eternity to come.

As the Jew has been removed from the place of special privilege which was his in the past dispensation and leveled to the same standing as the Gentile—under sin—so Judaism is to be restored and is to complete its appointed and promised course (Israel’s New Covenant will still be law, statutes and judgments - Jer 31:33; Eze 36:27—NC).

Judaism has its field of theology with its soteriology and its eschatology. That these factors of a system which occupies three-fourths of the Sacred Text are unrecognized and ignored by theologians does not demonstrate their nonexistence, nor does it prove their unimportance. Covenant Theology (those who believe Christians are in a Covenant with God, which is not true, we are recipients of the ‘Covenant of Redemption’, which Covenant is between the Father and the Son—NC) engenders the notion that there is but one soteriology and one eschatology, and that ecclesiology, such as it is conceived to be, extends from the Garden of Eden to the great white throne (many misguided believers try to link the OT saints with the NT saints—NC).

On the other hand, Scripture is harmonized and its message clarified when two divinely appointed systems—Judaism and Christianity—are recognized, and their complete and distinctive characters are observed. No matter how orthodox they may be in matters of inspiration, the Deity of Christ, His virgin birth, and the efficacy of His death, Covenant theologians have not been forward in Bible exposition.

Judaism is not the bud which has blossomed into Christianity. These systems do have features which are common to both—God, holiness, Satan, man, sin, redemption, human responsibility and the issues of eternity—yet they introduce differences so vast that they cannot possibly coalesce.

Each sets up its ground of relationship between God and man—the Jews by physical birth, the Christian by spiritual birth; each provides its instructions on the life of its adherents—the law for Israel, the teachings of grace (Gospel—NC) for the Church; each has its sphere of existence—Israel in the earth for all ages to come, the Church in heaven (Israel for the New Earth, Christians for the New Heaven—NC).

To the end that the Church might be called out from both Jews and Gentiles, a peculiar, unrelated dispensation has been thrust into the one consistent ongoing of the divine program for the earth. It is in this sense that Judaism, which is the abiding portion of the nation Israel, has ceased (Gal 3:24, 25; Heb 7:19; 8:6, 7; 10:9—NC). With the completion and departure of the Church from the earth, Judaism will be again the embodiment of all the divine purpose in the world.

The Reformation regained the truth of the first Pauline revelation, namely, justification by faith alone. But it did not go on to restore the truth contained in the second revelation, namely, that of the Church growth (being saved is only part of God’s desire, the other part is spiritual growth in Christ - Eph 4:15). It is altogether possible that the problems attending the restoration of the first revelation, being so far-reaching and revolutionary as a reaction from the Romish (Roman Catholic doctrine—NC) perversions of truth were all that could be undertaken at one time or by one generation.

Latter studies of the NT developed (mainly through J N Darby) the almost limitless theme of the second revelation (esp. the spiritual growth via the truths in the Pauline Epistles—NC). Unfortunately, however, theologians were unprepared to receive any added truth beyond that gained in the Reformation, and Protestant theology has, by a misguided loyalty to orthodoxy, never received the truth contained in the second revelation (which answers to many immature believers—NC). It has been assumed that this added, more advanced truth is dangerous if it was not included in the Reformation attainments and that it must be in conflict with those attainments.

Early in the history of Protestantism there were individual theologians who caught the first glimpse of truth contained in the second revelation, and an ever increasing light has fallen on this body of truth until today there is a great company of students of doctrine who hold and teach, along with the first revelation, the clear divine unfolding respecting the Church which is the Body of Christ.

Nevertheless, orthodox Reformed theology persists in its original, isolated and exclusive recognition of the first revelation, and continues to reject and condemn as intrusive and disruptive the great certified findings of those theologians who have given their years of study to the second revelation. This second revelation respecting the Church leads with inexorable logic to definite dispensational and general distinctions.

An attack against these distinctions cannot be sustained by recourse to the beliefs of the Reformers; for such is an assumption that there is no progress to be made in the knowledge of truth, that the very light which fell on the Reformers by which they emerged from Romish darkness could not fall upon any others in subsequent years to lead them into wider and deeper fields of understanding of God’s inexhaustible revelation.

There is an inherent weakness disclosed in this attitude. It tends to shirk all responsibility in the direction of advancement of the truth and to deify the writings of the Reformers, apparently forgetting for the moment that these worthy scholars made no claim to inspiration (writing of Scripture—NC) nor did they intend to set up a barrier past which no further investigation in the truth should advance. It is no disrespect to the Reformers or church fathers (true Christians—NC) to maintain an attitude of open-mindedness in the direction of new understanding (deeper truths—NC) of the truth which was not accorded to men of earlier generations (there are leaders that have more growth information that nobody had prior to them—NC).

It yet remains true that in the eternal purpose of God and made possible by the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, and by the advent of the Spirit, a heavenly people are being called out for a specific heavenly glory. This divine purpose is in no sense the realization of the promises and covenants made unto Israel, yet every promise to that nation will yet be fulfilled (Jer 31:31-33; Eze 36:24-27—NC), and apart from these distinctions and anticipations there can be no harmonizing of the divine revelation.

The fact that the Church is a mystery—with regard to the dispensation of her out-calling, the truth that she is the Body of Christ (Col 1:18), the truth that she will be the Bride of Christ (Rev 22:17), and the manner of her departure from this world indicates her distinctive character as separate from all that has gone before or that will follow. The Apostle Paul writes: “Now to Him (God) that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel . . . which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith” (Rom 16:25-27).


—Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871 – 1952)






MJS daily devotional for October 18

“It is well to be done with ourselves and to be taken up with the Lord Jesus. We are entitled to forget ourselves—we are entitled to confess and forget our sins—we are entitled to forget all but the Lord Jesus. It is by looking unto Him that we can give up anything, and can walk as obedient children.” - John Nelson Darby (progenitor of dispensationalism 1800-1882)

“Many think that talking badly of ourselves is the ideal of humility; whereas the simplest and more real humility is to feel unaffectedly that we are too bad to be worth talking about. Only One is worthy of all our thoughts and words and ways, even the Lord Jesus Christ.” - William Kelly (1821-1906)
 

Randy Kluth

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The entire system known as Judaism, along with all its component parts, is, in the purpose of God, in total abeyance (suspension) throughout this present dispensation, but with definite assurance that the whole Jewish system thus interrupted will be completed by extension into the millennial kingdom, the new earth, and on into eternity to come.
I'm certainly not a Dispensationalist sharing the thoughts of the author. However, I'd like to focus on some of the interesting truths contained in this post that I may have some agreement on.

1st and foremost, I do not think Israel's system of theocracy is very different from the Christian nations' system of theocracy. They both focus on law and morality. They both focus on society and individuality. And they both share the same spirituality and Deity.

Jesus talked about his bringing forth both the old and the new. That means, to me, that Grace is an extension and fulfillment of the OT legal system--not a change in spirit. One was a temporary fix, the other a permanent fix.

Grace was present in the OT system, but it fixed permanently what lacked under the OT system. Animal sacrifice was a temporary fix. Christ's sacrifice was a permanent fix, and no longer required laws governing the sacrifices of animals.

But in this post something deeper is being suggested that I agree with. There is an external religion that had been present in Judaism that caused it to disappear. It's just that I don't think it is a "system" that is to be restored. The external religion of the Law was the cause of its failure, and not cause for it to be restored.

In the same way, Christianity has a legalistic, or nominal element to it, which shall also pass away. What continues and what will be restored are those who *repent* of this legalism, and return to true spirituality. I think this will happen for a remnant of Israel, through which the entire nation will be rebuilt. And this will also happen for Christian nations, as well, in my opinion.

I don't think revelation is quite as "progressive" as this article suggests. We do not advance into entirely new systems that are incongruent with the preceding system. Each system leads, naturally and smoothly, into the following system.

All of the elements of NT truth were present in Jesus when he ministered in his earthly ministry, under the Law. And he fully advocated for the Law and its 613 requirements, during that period of his life.

But Jesus *never* advocated for a continuation of that system of Law forever! He clearly said that his cross would mean the complete end of a covenant of Law, showing the defeat of that system by his death at the hands of the Jewish People on the cross. The only restoration possible, then, for the Jewish People is their repentance of failure under the OT system, clinging completely and exclusively to Christ's atonement and forgiveness.

The truths of Christianity, therefore, were completely present at the beginning of the church, and could never progress substantially beyond that. However, what does indeed "progress" is the process of evangelization, which requires work, development, maturation, and meeting the problems of resistance and opposition.

And so, there are different aspects to this one fundamental revelation that have to be emphasized differently in different times, as the Gospel advances and grows in history. Some have compared this to the Tabernacle furniture. As one advances from furniture to furniture, the kinds of furniture change and supply different needs.

If we are to look at the Protestant truth of Justification by Faith Alone, we may see that as the entry way into the true tabernacle of God's regenerated truth, where the altar stood just outside of the tabernacle itself. We offer all that we are, placing our complete dependence not on our own works but on what Christ did for us in offering himself up for us. This took place in history, I think, as the "burnt altar," which was the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

The Church had to move outside of a decayed and aging Catholic Church, at that time, and enter into a more experiential version of the Church, based not on works but on faith in Christ alone. Yet even this could be turned into a nominal doctrine without evident works of faith. One could repeat a creed without actually living in spiritual relationship with Christ.

And so, we might see actual life in Christ as being expressed in the laver, still outside of the tabernacle, representing, I think, a "holiness" movement within the Protestant Church.

Furthermore, we would then see spiritual movements corresponding to the lampstand, the table of bread, and the altar of incense, all within the tabernacle itself. Being within the tabernacle suggests to me that a more spiritual version of the Church comes to better represent a regenerated society, which I may identify as Evangelicalism.

And with Evangelicalism we do see various historical moves of God emphasizing truths not as evident previously, indicating a collective spiritual truth, the lamp, a collective spiritual work, the table of bread, and a collective offering of pleasure to God, the altar of incense.

So yes, I think there is this dual aspect of the Church that inevitably is projected in history, the nominal Church and the spiritual Church. And it is the spiritual Church that has had to be depicted in history in the form of a collective spiritual reality, as indicated in the revelation, on earth, of a collective, spiritual Christianity. I think this is happening today, but was also evident from the beginning of Christianity.

Anyway, it makes for an interesting subject for me to think about and share about. Thanks.