IF the earthly ministry of Jesus, from birth to ascension, was about fulfilling promises made to Abraham and David about a future kingdom where a king would occupy David’s throne again and Israel would rule over the gentile world bringing great blessing, THEN
- The “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5:1 – 7:29) was intended to teach Israel about what life would be like in that future kingdom. This passage includes teaching on how to pray, specifically what is called “the Lord’s Prayer” (the first of several serious ramifications, or in my humble opinion, sacred cows…) A careful inspection of the Lord’s Prayer makes it evident that perilous times are approaching, when they will lack employment and income, and be desperate for basic food (“give us this day our daily bread”). It specifically asks that “thy kingdom come” and that the exercise of God’s will would be as evident and pervasive as it currently is in heaven. It specifically asks for deliverance from evil. All of this is an apt description of the conditions that will exist for Israelites during what the Bible calls “The Tribulation”, a seven-year precursor to the establishment of the thousand-year reign of Christ from David’s earthly throne.
- How many teachings of Christ recorded in the four gospels begin with the phrase “The kingdom of heaven is like…”? Christ’s parables that begin with this phrase taught those who could understand about the coming Davidic kingdom, not about the church age in which we live today, but the long anticipated Kingdom. We find even today that some of His parables are difficult to understand — but they will not be difficult to understand once the Kingdom is in full operation and a part of the daily experience of men who are ruled by it.
- Jesus trained His disciples to spread the good news of the kingdom in specific geographic directions with racial distinctions (see Matthew 10:5-23). This passage includes another teaching that describes the terrible consequences of spreading the gospel of the Kingdom of heaven during the Tribulation (vv15-23). What’s more, this passage is a precursor to Christ’s training of His disciples in Luke 21:10-36 and Luke 24:44-49. A careful, open-minded reading of these passages will clearly demonstrate that Christ was describing the Tribulation and the disciples’ ministry during it in anticipation of the coming Millennial Kingdom. It is the second of these passages that gets us in trouble with orthodox theology, for it is the “Great Commission” (the second sacred cow) upon which all modern international missions efforts and organizations are founded (well, nearly all). Interestingly, this passage does not describe the Ascension of Christ as some Bibles entitle it. That is found in Acts 1:9. A careful inspection of this passage reveals that “He parted from them, and they returned to Jerusalem…” Remember, He remained on the Earth another forty days, appearing to many, and then ascended! Some would say that Luke just left out the details at the end of his gospel, and filled them in at the beginning of Acts. Have you ever known Luke to leave out important details? We conclude that since the Great Commission was given to the Disciples (representatives of the Twelve Tribes of Israel) at a historic point before His ascension, that it is a part of His teaching for Israel in anticipation of the coming Tribulation and Millennial Kingdom, not the church of today.
- The work of John the Baptist was fully within the context of the coming of the King and the Kingdom. His methods of baptizing (immersion or sprinkling), their purpose (cleansing of Israel), and his message and preaching (“preparing the way of the Lord”) were prophesied and point forward to a view of Christ as the savior and king of Israel. Paul, on the other hand, speaks of “one baptism” — that of the Holy Spirit, not one of earthly water.
Now all of my heretical cats have been let out of the bag. Before you write me off as a complete lunatic for having attacked the Great Commission, the Lord’s Prayer, Water Baptism, the Sermon on the Mount, and the parables of Christ all in a single blog post… consider this: If what I have written is correct (in God’s eyes, not the eyes of “orthodox theology”), that in effect they are all part of a dispensation different from the current dispensation, then trying to apply them in the current dispensation would lead to (1) great confusion, (2) lack of blessing, and (3) a lack of power and progress in evangelizing the world. Woudn’t doing so bring God’s displeasure as much as a Jew in Moses’ day rejecting the Law of Moses in favor of the innocent days of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? Consider the state of the church and the mission field today as a whole. Is there any evidence that the church of today suffers from these maladies?
I would be remiss if I didn’t answer my detractors horrified claims that my position leaves me without any incentive to carry the Gospel to a dying world. I would not say such things if the Scriptures didn’t offer an even better incentive. In fact, I find a higher motivation for evangelism in the writings of Paul and his record in Acts, the Apostle to the Gentiles for this dispensation. In fact, the Apostle Paul himself serves as the supreme example of this very thing, considering the personal cost of his efforts to carry the message of salvation through grace by faith to the gentile world.
Do I elevate the words of Paul over the words of Christ? No! and yes! Christ is Lord over all, is God incarnate, and is my Savior on a personal level. But the words of Paul, just like the words of Moses, are the words of Christ to me, a Gentile in the Age of Grace. Paul received them by revelation from the resurrected, ascended Christ in person, and Paul was commissioned by Him to make sure that I heard them twenty centuries later. Would a Jew in Moses’ day receive God’s approval or wrath if he ignored Moses words in favor of God’s words to Abraham?
We must be good students of the Word, rightly dividing it to be approved as God’s workmen. To do anything less is to stand ashamed before Him. Are the Great Commission, water baptism, and the Lord’s Prayer not for this age? They are not, if the entire span of Christ’s earthly ministry was directed to Israel in preparation for the coming of the Kingdom, as we have amply demostrated above. Modern theology uses them out of context and out of dispensation. But don’t take my word for it…
Search the scriptures yourself to see if that is what they say!