DISPENSATIONALISM AND THE TRINITY
An End-Of-Century Oneness Observation

Pastor K. Kirkland Valdez Apostolic Church, Valdez, Alaska 

[An abridged article from "The View from the Lighthouse" newsletter, Jan. 1999.]


          TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

THE ENDTIMES RAPIDLY APPROACH 

As we approach the end of the century dramatic changes lie ahead. The new millennium has major implications. To those in the occult it has major MYSTIC implications. 

Jewish Kabbalists, New Agers, Illuminati, witchcraft, Masons and the secret orders await it in eager anticipation; it signals time to "externalize," as they call it, the age-old antichrist agenda. Working through political channels, they plan the destruction of the old Christian order, replacing it with a "New Age" of antichrist occultism. 

They have a key Latin phrase, "Ordo Ab Chaos," their secret code for the scenario ahead. Easy to interpret. Out of 
chaos will arise their New World Order. 

I recently heard Benjamin Creme, speaking via special telecommunications on our local radio station, saying he and his antichrist, Maitraiya, are standing by, awaiting the world to be brought down in the new millennium, ready to make their appearance. Just minor candidates for the job, there's other antichrists ambitiously waiting in the wings. 

Creme is anticipating chaos in the new millennium. He made especial note of the world economy. He said that collapsing world stock markets will pave the way for the New World Order. In other words, it will take the chaos of severe world depression before the world will look to himself and Maitraiya.

AN ALIEN THEOLOGY IN THE ONENESS MOVEMENT 

Peering ahead at this menacing moment of history, what about the Oneness Jesus Name people of the world? Dispensationalism has shaped their thinking. The dangerous things ahead they take to be but omens of their soon departure in the imminent Pre-tribulation rapture. Thinking they won't be around, some of their very own have been intimately involved in endtime preparations for the Jews, notably, raising red heifers needed to begin Jewish temple worship at Jerusalem. Mighty proud of it too! 

Could they possibly be wrong on prophetic matters? Hardly. Buried deep in their subconscience, they believe they are too special to have erred on such. They have a special heritage, exclusive revelations, the Oneness of God, the New Birth. Their tremendous heritage all but guarantees their prophetic doctrines - they think. 

Dangerous thinking this is. In fact, it's identical to the mindset of the Jews - before the fall of Jerusalem in 600 BC. Blending in the beliefs of the polytheists around them, the Jews became blinded to what their own scripture
said - so it is with it's modern day "Oneness" counterparts. 

The Oneness movement, supposedly untainted from polytheism, ironically, has blended in Dispensationalism, a scheme devised by Trinitarians, foreign to the scripture, foreign and incompatible with Apostolic doctrine. 

Dispensational thought, with it's corollary the Pre-trib rapture, are, at bottom, "Gnostic" or "mystic-pluralist" - same as the Trinity. It's not in the Scripture, one must "see" it there as a "mystery." Yet the Oneness movement, inheriting Dispensationalism from the Trinitarians, has enthroned it as the reigning eschatology of the Oneness people. Strange. 

Strange that they desire to be "Oneness" and "Dispensationalist" at the same time. The two terms are in opposition. It's an oxymoron, like "brave coward" or "dry water." 

THE ISRAEL/CHURCH DICHOTOMY, THE KEY TO ESCHATOLOGY 

The Oneness movement is saturated with Dispensationalism, but, yet, most are oblivious of it.

What is it? What does the term mean? It all has to do with Israel and the Church. Whether God's eternal purpose is centered in Israel or the Church. On what has the preeminent role in prophecy, Israel or the Church. On which is preeminent, or uppermost in God's mind, the natural, or the spiritual. On which is most important to God, race or Grace. Theologians refer to this as the Israel/Church dichotomy. 

Dispensationalism takes the Israel/Church dichotomy and makes the nation of Israel preeminent, "plan A" in God's great prophetic plan. The Church is "plan B," a sort of stop gap measure, sort of filling in until God can get on with his main plan, his true love - Israel. The Church is thus an interim measure, a parenthesis, or, in other words a dispensation. 

In Dispensationalism, natural Israel, as God's elect, is the central theme of all prophecy - not the Church. God's  purpose and prophetic plan is based on race - natural or racial Israel. Israel, the political entity; Israel, the RACE - not spiritual Israel, the church. Race not GRACE. The natural not the SUPERNATURAL. All scripture is interpreted according to these assumptions. 

The Dispensational Israel/Church dichotomy is the basis for the pretrib rapture. Without it there could be no Pretrib rapture. For example, you must not read Matt. 24 at face value, you must interpret it according to preconceived Dispensational Israel/Church assumptions. The Disciples are interpreted as representing Israel, not the Church, and, the "elect" gathered at the second coming, verses 29-31, is natural Israel being naturally gathered together, not the Church in the rapture at the last trump. You must interpret verses 29-31 dispensationally, that is, that the Church has been previously raptured (even though it doesn't say it anywhere in the chapter). 

THE ISRAEL/CHURCH DICHOTOMY IN CHURCH HISTORY 

Thus goes Dispensational theory, but as to how it acquired it's name you have to look at Church history. A couple of quotes: 

Encyclopedia of Early Christianity: "Second to Fourth Centuries AD. By the second century, the Christian apologists had amassed a collection of themes to defend themselves against pagan and Jewish opposition. The Adversus Judaeos tradition, a broad literary stream within early Christianity was... a group of beliefs based on earliest Christian literature...THESE BELIEFS ARE THAT THE CHURCH IS THE TRUE ISRAEL; THAT CHRIST ABROGATED THE LAW; and that Judaism, always rebellious and inclined toward idolatry, refusing to obey the prophets, continued to exist primarily as an example of spiritual degradation...Jews enjoyed a reputation for magic and astrology, reflected in their beliefs that Moses and Solomon were practitioners of magic [KABBALAH]; this Adversus Judaeos attitude persisted in Christian communities, admiration shown toward Jewish rabbis irritated Christians."

From the publication "The Christian News" "J.N. Darby formulated a whole new type of premillenialism, founded on the idea that the Christian Church is not Israel. This doctrine was unheard of for 1800 years of Church history. Such famous names as (2nd & 3rd centuries AD) Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian used the Church as "the Israel of God" as an argument when they were debating the Jews." 

These quotes reflect what other historical sources say. The testimony of Church history sounds a clear and certain sound: the original Apostolic Church was not Dispensational! There is no record of anybody who believed it until the Englishman, John Darby, started it all in the Nineteenth Century! It is the sheer invention of men. 

We might illustrate the significance of the name "Dispensationalism," and how it acquired it's name, by drawing a parallel: 

Before Darby: In Church history, from Apostolic times onward and until Darby, the Church was preeminent. The Church played the central role in God's prophetic plan as the NEW ISRAEL, the true Israel, the Israel of God. Natural Israel, Christ rejecting Israel,  is apostate, cursed by God unless they repent. Before Darby, the book of Revelation and all prophecy was centered in the church as the Israel of God. 

After Darby: In Church history, since Darby, natural Israel is preeminent. Natural Israel plays the central role in God's prophetic plan. After Darby, Eschatology takes it's name from the brand new role the Church plays in the Israel/Church dichotomy. The Church, no longer the Israel of God, is now known by the new role Darby has assigned it - a DISPENSATION. Thus Dispensationalism. 

Don't miss this. All prophecy revolves around this. How one believes about Israel and the Church is the determining factor in eschatology. It comes down to this: either the Church is the Israel of God, or it is a "dispensation" (as defined by Darby's theory, our subject is not the scriptural "dispensation"). 

THE TRINITY - DISPENSATIONAL CONNECTION 

But there is more to this yet. Something that Oneness folks should be aware of. Dispensationalism is Trinitarian Eschatology!  Mystic-pluralist thought lies buried, hidden, at the very heart of Trinitarian theory; the same with Dispensationalism. Though buried and hidden, yet, unmistakably, Dispensationalism bears the identifying marks of its Trinitarian creators. 

Some Trinitarians, such as John Walvoord, author, and a ringleader of Dispensationalists, even admit it. Using careful language, he says: "Opponents of dispensationalism have claimed it has a 'tendency to heresy' in relation to the doctrine of the Trinity." 

More than a "tendency!" The "heresy" he speaks of is blatant plural "Gods." Dispensationalism brings to light what Trinitarianism really is. It blows their alleged monotheism away. There standing in stark view is the Father and Son as two very separate and distinct Gods. The heresy Trinitarians are forever trying to deny. 

How are the Father and Son separate "Gods" in Dispensationalism? By the prophetic roles person #1 and person #2 of the Trinity are assigned. The relationship of Person #1 - to the Jews; and the relationship of Jesus, person # 2 - to the church. Dispensationalism thus accommodates Judaism's continuance, in special arrangement, in special status, with person # 1 of the Trinity, throughout the Church age - until the 2nd person of the Trinity removes HIS people, the Church, at the pre-trib rapture - then, the 1st person of the Trinity can take up where he left off with HIS people, the Jews. 

Dispensationalism is what one would expect as a natural outgrowth of Trinitarianism. The combined effect of the Trinity doctrine and Dispensationalism has produced a mystic-pluralist melange of two Gods (Three-God'ers don't appear to have much of a prophetic role for person #3), two elect predestined peoples of God, two wives of God, two plans of salvation, two gospels, two hopes, two Second Comings. All mysteriously and mystically coexisting. 

ONENESS ESCHATOLOGY 

Dispensationalism could not have arisen from Oneness theology. Only Trinitarians could devise a way around the insurmountable problem of "Oneness" lying at the very heart of New Testament prophetic revelation. 

The principle of Oneness utterly refutes mystic-pluralism: ONE GOD (1 John 5:20); one plan of salvation FOR JEW AND GENTILE (1 Cor. 12:13); one BODY of Jew and Gentile, which "TOGETHER groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded TOGETHER for an habitation of God through the spirit," (Eph. 2:11-22 and 4:4); one HOPE (Eph. 4:4), which is "the hope of the Gospel" (Col. 1:23), the "hope of Israel,"   (Acts 28:20) - Jews have no hope outside of the Gospel. 

The consistent testimony of the New Testament is that the entire Jewish system of Law is permanently REPLACED by Jesus Christ, the Church, Acts 2:38, and the New Covenant. Jesus Christ in covenant with the church, a marriage covenant; One God in one Covenant with one people, the church. There is no other God for Jews to be in covenant with; there is no other God for Jews to be married to. Scripture recognizes no other valid covenant than the New Covenant, the old has been permanently REPLACED (Matt.26:28; Heb. 8:7,8,13; 10:9,10. Note: "testament" is "covenant" in the Greek). The Church is the predestined Elect (Col. 3: 11,12), the "Israel of God" (Gal. 6:16). This is Oneness eschatology. 

Pre-trib rapture? More mystic pluralism. Simply and briefly, Jesus only taught ONE COMING: "immediately after the tribulation of those days," Mt. 24:29. One has to READ INTO Matt. 24 plural second comings, an additional Pre-trib coming - it's simply not there. Post-trib is Oneness eschatology. 

Jesus is the supreme authority on prophetic matters, Paul and the rest of the NT writers followed Jesus' Post-Trib doctrine established in Matt. 24. Pre-Tribs mystically imagine they see a secret Pre-Trib rapture in other NT writings. 

Pentecostals teach in home bible studies everywhere the theory of "seven dispensations." And, it is just that - a theory. One must ask himself, which is the truth, TWO Covenants or SEVEN Dispensations?  The bible says there is two Covenants, man's theory says there is seven Dispensations. The word of God says nothing about seven Dispensations. The word of God is clear - there is only one valid term for God's dealings with man - the New Covenant in Jesus' blood. The covenant between Jesus and the church - and it is valid throughout the tribulation (see Matt. 26:28, 1 Jn. 5:8, Rev. 7:14 ).

True Eschatology is based on the New Testament/New Covenant, not the Old. Jesus Christ, his finished work at Calvary, and his blood bought, full-of-the-Holy Ghost church are God's eternal purpose. God has no "plan B." The Church was God's plan all along. The Church is the apex of God's plan. The purpose of Israel and the Law in the Old Testament was but a temporary measure towards that apex. There is no retrogression with God. God's plan is not to revert back to something that the NT says everywhere is inferior, carnal, and only figures of the true. 

GREAT AND MIGHTY THINGS HAPPEN AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY 

May history repeat itself. At the close of the 19th century in Topeka, Kansas, God began to move amongst a little band of people desiring a restoration of truth. The small beginnings became a mighty tidal wave in the next century. Casting off false doctrine, a mighty restoration of Apostolic truth surged throughout the world! 

Here we are again. At the turn of the century. Truth is needed again. This time it's endtime truth. The Pre-Trib rapture and Dispensationalism must be cast aside as the Trinity was. Apostolic Eschatology must be restored. The book of Revelation is coming to the fore. God's true Church, the Elect, the Israel of God, will play the central role in the tribulation. 

Mystery Babylon is being identified. The message of the endtime is the Everlasting Gospel, the ONLY HOPE for Jews or Gentiles! 

The new millennium is going to bring the "Order Ab Chaos" the antichrist subversives desire. Severe times assuredly lie ahead. What will it take, the fiery trials of the endtime to bring the next, and final, surge of Apostolic revelation? I pray not. All it takes is the same passion for truth that the Oneness pioneers had in the early years of this century. 

K. Kirkland, Pastor - This article is Copyright 1999, All rights reserved.

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