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Dispensationalism and the eyes of our understanding

May 28, 2012

Isaiah said the mountain of the Lord’s house would be raised up, and established in the tops of the mountains, above the hills. [Isaiah 2:2] This was fulfilled, when Jesus ascended to heaven, to the throne of God, where he reigns over all.

In a recent post on Throttling Dispensationalism? “mac” responds to my comment in this post, where I mentioned a quotation by James from Amos 9:11, in Acts 15:16. James applied a prophecy addressed to Israel to the New Testament church and identified the tabernacle of David with the church. I and many others view this scripture as a serious problem for dispensationalism. I stated: By quoting this prophecy in Acts 15, James identified the church with the tabernacle of David, which throttles dispensationalism!

Prophecies about Judah, Jerusalem, and Israel may apply to the church, in a spiritual sense, because Isaiah’s prophecy that the mountain of the Lord’s house would be raised up, and established in the tops of the mountains, was fulfilled, when Jesus ascended to heaven. Why else would Jesus have said, “salvation is of the Jews”? [John 4:22] and why else would Isaiah say Jerusalem’s walls are named “Salvation”? [Isaiah 26:1; 60:18]  why else would the author of Hebrews say, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem”? [Hebrews 12:22] why else would Paul say, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh”? [Philippians 3:3]

Isaiah’s prophecy links the earthly Jerusalem, and Israel, with the church of the New Testament. David reigned in Jerusalem, over all Israel. Jesus inherited David’s throne. [Acts 2:30-33] The idea that Jerusalem was raised up, implies a continuity between the Jerusalem of the Old Testament prophets and the church of the New Testament, which is the Jerusalem above, and the “mother of us all.” [Galatians 4:26]

Paul said in his letter to the Ephesians, that he prayed that “the eyes of your understanding” will be enlightened. This would hardly be necessary, if the premises of dispensationalism were valid. These demand that the literal, superficial meaning of the scriptures is preferred, over the hidden, spiritual meaning, that requires interpretation, and enlightenment from God. Paul prayed “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” [Ephesians 1:17-18]

The source of our enlightenment is Christ. By nature, men are unable to comprehend the things of God. Paul said, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” [1 Corinthians 2:14]

Paul said he prayed that the Ephesian saints would know “what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” [Ephesians 1:19-23]

The earthly Jerusalem, according to Paul, corresponds to Hagar, the bondwoman who was cast out of Abraham’s house. [Galatians 4:24-26] Isaiah said every mountain will be made low, and the earthly mount Zion was one of those mountains made low, when the truth of the gospel was revealed.

Jesus has been raised up to God’s throne; those who are in Christ are raised up too; Paul said we “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” He wrote: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” [Ephesians 2:4-6]

To the world, and even to many Christians, the church does not appear to be raised up, and men do not see believers sitting in heavenly places; this is only perceived by faith, which comes from God. Unless Jesus opens the eyes of our understanding, we do not see it.

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