I have noticed recently that “Dispensationalists and Pre Tribulation Teachers” have been coming in for some harsh criticism from anti dispensationalists, and anti pre tribulation teachers, so I thought I would give my reasons as to why I am both a Dispensationalist and also a Pre Tribulation believer. I will not however be engaging in criticism of other Christians, as I do not believe that is God glorifying, but I will be stating my beliefs and backing them up with scripture, and I will make comments on why I do not accept some of their allegations against us, or some of their beliefs about the timing of the rapture.
I believe that there are time periods set by God for certain things to take place in the plan of God. These time periods are called dispensations. The word dispensation comes from the Greek word “Oikonomia” which means the order or running of the household. You could say dispensations are like agenda items, when you complete one agenda item you move on to the next. To my way of thinking if there are no dispensations, the Bible becomes a book of contradictions, mysterious to the uninitiated, and difficult to understand, whereas in fact it is God’s revelation to us of His plans for mankind.
Revelation means to reveal, or to disclose, to make clear and understandable. Without dispensations the Bible becomes a minefield for Christians, and a paradise for non Christians of every other religion and or persuasion, it becomes a book where men have to put their own interpretation on much of what God is saying. It becomes a mystery not a revelation.
I think that there are some things which apply to one dispensation but not others, and that there are some things which apply to all dispensations, but without dispensations, you have a big mess of contradictions. I believe and note here also, that dispensations are taught in the Bible, and a classic example of this is found in Eph 1:10 where it says “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” In this verse we can see clearly that there will be another dispensation called the fullness of times, which appears to come after the Millennial dispensation.
Dispensationalism is also seen in the writings of early Christians such as Paul, as seen above in Eph 1:10, it is also used by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor 9:17, and again in Eph 3:2 and Col 1:25. It is also noted in the writings of early historians such as Justin Martyr, (A.D. 110-165), Iranaeus (A.D. 130-200) and Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150-220) to name just a few.
Contrary to most other theological beliefs, Dispensational Theology believes that Israel and the Church are two distinct entities, operating in two distinct dispensations. I am convinced that although both have had special relationships with God, they are not essentially one and the same. Israel as a nation, is not and never was the church, and the church is not and never was the nation of Israel. There are Israelis and Jews in the church, and in fact the church was founded by Jews. When we gentiles become Christians, we are grafted into the family of faith, the father of whom was Abraham, father of the Israeli nation, but we are not grafted into the nation of unbelieving Israel!
When comparing Israel and the Church in the Bible, the word church is never seen or used in the Old Testament, and it is never seen or used after the Rapture takes place in Revelation 4:1.
I believe that it is only with dispensations that you can take the Bible literally. Without dispensations, much of the Bible has to be interpreted according to what men think God meant rather than by what the Bible actually says. Dispensationalists realise that there are many parts of the Bible which are allegorical, but we believe the majority of the Bible is literal, and we can see that so far, all the fulfilled prophecies have been fulfilled literally, and that those currently in the process of being fulfilled, are also shaping up to be fulfilled literally.
Allegorical passages of scripture are usually easy to recognise, such as parables and poems etc. but allegorical interpreters are very often seen to be at odds with each other, having different interpretations, because different people will always have different views on what the passage might mean.
Without dispensations you cannot have a Pretribulation Rapture. The Pretribulation Rapture depends entirely on a literal interpretation of the Bible wherever it makes sense to interpret it literally. Without a Pretribulation Rapture you must have God pouring out His wrath and judgement upon Himself, because He is dwelling in true believers in the person of the Holy Spirit! That would not make sense at all. Neither would God pouring out His wrath on the Bride to be of His only Son, who gave His life to cleanse and purify her make any sense. God is NOT about to pour out tribulation of any type, nor His wrath upon Himself or the Bride to be of His Son!
Will the church go through tribulation? ABSOLUTELY! The church has gone through tribulation from its beginning, and much of that tribulation has been terrible and unbelievably cruel. The inquisition was a time of terrible tribulation when millions of Christians were slaughtered for their faith in Jesus Christ. The Communist countries butchered millions of Christians when they came to power in Russia and China. Millions of Christians have been butchered by Moslems since the day Muhammad began the religion of Islam right up until today.
Much of the church is going through terrible tribulation right now in Moslem countries, in China, in India, in North Korea and in over 120 other countries around the world today. But it is Satan and not God who is pouring out his wrath on the church today. Satan knows that his time is up, and because of this his fury is being unleashed upon God’s people all around the world and it is spreading rapidly to the rest of the world.
The Rev. Billy Graham has issued a written warning to America’s churches: “Prepare for persecution.” The renowned preacher and founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association penned a commentary that was posted on his website last week and is slated to appear in the November edition of Decision magazine. His son Franklin Graham wrote “Persecution and targeting of Christians isn’t just in Iran or the Middle East, it’s right here in America,” wrote Franklin Graham.
I believe that if the Lord does not come back soon for His bride, that we shall soon see Christians in Australia being targeted by the world for our stand against sins of every type, most notably same sex marriage and sexual perversion of every type. You can see it already beginning to build here in Australia as it has already in America. But Jesus said, ‘If they hate you, remember they hated me before they hated you,’ (John 15:18).”
The accusations made by anti Pre Tribulation rapture teachers that we are afraid of tribulation, is to me both ridiculous and repugnant. The belief that True Christians will suffer the wrath of God in the tribulation, is unscriptural and nonsensical. Jesus has paid the full price for our sins; to have God pour out His wrath on True Christians, is to say that God was not satisfied with the sacrifice of His own son on the cross, and so Christians must pay a bit more. That is not what the Bible says.
Yes, we must prepare ourselves for persecution and tribulation, but at the hands of wicked people who are driven by Satan, that has been the portion of the church from the beginning, and will be until Jesus comes back for us.
But persecution and tribulation do NOT come to the True Church from the hand of a loving God who says in Rom_5:9 “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” And again in 1Th_5:9 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”