To fail to differentiate between dispensations is a normative within contemporary Christendom but I believe to fail to seek understanding in this area is to miss a great mass of spiritual growth doctrine available to the Word-hungry believer.
Presently, many do not realize God’s work of division between unbelieving Israel (consisting only of Jewish nationality) and that of the Church (the believer of all nationalities). When God united Himself with Israel it was for eternity and even though their (unbelieving Jew) fellowship is presently broken, He is remaining faithful to His Abrahamic promise to save many of them (Rom 11:26; Jer 31:31-34).
It is my personal belief that due to Israel’s unbelief before they see the Lord Jesus Christ, theirs will be of a lesser blessing (new Earth?) than that of those who believe in this life (new Heaven?); “Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
I do not expect many to understand, be familiar or even desire this dispensational issue and after nearly twenty years of study and research in this area, I find the knowledge of this remains well in excess of its understanding.
“The Grand Difference”
The Old Testament, speaking broadly, is occupied with the promise and prophecy of the advent of the Messiah Who would come to the chosen people of Israel as their Prophet, and King, and exalt the seed of Abraham above all the nations of the earth. The blessings which the saints of old were taught to expect were of an earthly nature. The daughter of Zion was to look for the coming of her King Who would reign in righteousness. The oppressor should be broken in pieces, and their enemies made to lick the dust of the earth.
Peace should flow like a river, and the earth be full of the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea. Long life and prosperous days should be the happy portion of every subject of the glorious kingdom of David’s Lord. In short, the Lord Jesus in the Old Testament is brought forward as the earthly ruler and the executor of divine justice in the earth, especially in connection with the nation of Israel. Accordingly the blessings of the people assume an earthly and national character in perfect accord with these promises.
Now just as the hopes of Israel derived their points of distinction from Messiah the Prince coming to reign here below, so the hopes and calling of the Church received their distinctive marks from the position now assumed by the Lord Jesus Christ on high. This establishes the widest possible difference between Israel and the Church. The difference is that betwixt earthly and heavenly, carnal and spiritual blessing. Where we look in the Old Testament we find the same kind of anticipations. In Egypt and the wilderness, they look for the land of promise with a bountiful basket and store. In Canaan when groaning under the idolatrous rule of apostate kings, or when weeping by the rivers of Babylon, the faithful long for the Redeemer to come to Zion, Who shall bless every man under his own vine and his own pomegranate tree.
But the New Testament sanctions no such expectations for the Christian. The Jew was entitled to hope for blessing here of a worldly nature; but the believer’s blessings are heavenly and spiritual, enjoyed by faith alone. They take their character from the risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ at the Father’s right hand; and from Him, not as the king of Israel and the ruler of the nations, but as the glorified Head and Life of the Church.
Because a thing is in the Bible it does not warrant the conclusion that it is God’s will for the Christian: we must seek rightly to divide the Word of Truth. What was formerly right for the Jews is for us nothing but the elements of the world. These forms pointed to a reality that is now come; the Body is of the Lord Jesus. The blessed portion of the Christian is that he has died even to the best things of the world, and is now alive to spiritual things in the presence of the Father.
In the Old Testament we get the earthly or millennial family represented by the congregation of Israel, for whom the two goats were offered (Lev 16:8), and the heavenly family, the Church, by Aaron and his sons, whose offering was a bullock (Lev 8:6-14). In the one case, that of the earthly or millennial family, the law will be written in their hearts (Jer 31:33), the inclination to do evil will be superseded. In the other family, the heavenly, that is, Christian, the Lord Jesus is written in their hearts by the Holy Spirit; a great and important distinction, and indicating that the Christian’s blessings are in association with the Lord Jesus who has gone within the veil.
-W J Hocking
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