A DESTRUCTIVE DOCTRINE
A DESTRUCTIVE DOCTRINE Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Three of the current Christian doctrines are unscriptural and destructive. One is that there are two separate churches, two kingdomsone Gentile and another Jewish. Another unscriptural, destructive doctrine is that the purpose of the ascension (catching-up; "rapture") of the believers after their resurrection is for the purpose of escaping suffering. A third unscriptural, destructive doctrine is that once we take the "four steps of salvation" we enter a "dispensation of grace" in which God does not see our actual behavior as a Christian.
If Satan and his angels were to scheme for a thousand years they could not produce doctrines more destructive of Gods purposes in Jesus Christ. In this present essay we will focus on the first of the unscriptural doctrines, the concept of two separate churches, one Gentile and one Jewish.
A DESTRUCTIVE DOCTRINE
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (II Timothy 4:3,4NIV)
Three of the current Christian doctrines are unscriptural and destructive. They indeed are myths. One is that there are two separate churches, two kingdomsone Gentile and another Jewish. Another unscriptural, destructive doctrine is that the purpose of the ascension (catching-up; "rapture") of the believers after their resurrection is for the purpose of escaping suffering. A third unscriptural, destructive doctrine is that once we take the "four steps of salvation" we enter a "dispensation of grace" in which God does not see our actual behavior as a Christian.
If Satan and his angels were to scheme for a thousand years they could not produce doctrines more destructive of Gods purposes in Jesus Christ. In this present essay we will focus on the first of the unscriptural doctrines, the concept of two separate churches, one Gentile and one Jewish. In some respects, the other two unscriptural doctrines look back to the two-church doctrine for support.
Part of this myth is that a Gentile church will be in the spirit Heaven for eternity while the Jews will inherit a kingdom on the earth. Although there is no scriptural support whatever for such a notion it is widely circulated among Christian people.
I have written before concerning the unscripturalness of the two-church doctrine. However, I would like to review this theme. I hope to see during my lifetime a vigorous repudiation of this fable throughout the ranks of the blood-washed believers in the Lord Jesus.
I intend now to explore this doctrine to show that it is unscriptural, and to point out the destructive impact it sometimes has on those who believe in the Lord Jesus.
We often hear of the Gentile church and the Jewish church, or kingdom. The concept that there are two churches, two called-out people of the Lord, is not found in the Scriptures; in fact, the oppositethat there is only one Churchis emphasized in the Old Testament and the New.
The term church means "called out." It does not refer to a building or a religion. A religion is a manmade system designed to approach and please God.
The true Christian salvation is not a religion in the above sense. The God of Heaven, according to His own sovereign will and foreknowledge, from the time the world began, chose specific people to belong to Him in a special way. These are God's elect, the members of His royal priesthood.
God calls these people to Himself at some point during their lifetime and gives them a firstfruits of His Spirit. This is a priestly anointing.
In the next age the Holy Spirit will be given to every member of saved mankind so he may live in the Spirit, in eternal life. The Church is, you might say, God's firstborn. The members have a double portion of His Spirit that they might help other people learn how to please God.
The Church, God's elect, His true Israel, began with Abraham and Sarah and continued through Isaac and Jacob. These individuals were the beginning of the holy nation, the royal priesthood. The prophetic anointing rested upon them. They composed the olive tree, of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Romans.
The Olive Tree in another sense is the Lord Jesus Christ, God's holy Anointed One. Jesus Christ is God's Israel in the truest, finest sense. He is the one Seed of Abraham. If there were no other scriptural reference to the one Church, the one Kingdom of God, Paul's discussion of the cultivated olive tree would once and for all put an end to the idea of there being two separate people of God.
When the Lord came to earth, numerous Jews believed in Him. They continued in the Olive Tree. The first Christian church consisted of five thousand Jews, all keeping the Law of Moses. The Lord's brother, James, appears to have been the pastor of the first church of Jerusalem.
Then Gentiles received Christ and were grafted into the one Olive Tree. There is no such thing as a Gentile olive tree; there is no Gentile church, or kingdom.
Most of the Jews of that day were broken off from the Olive Tree, from Christ, because of their unbelief. But in the last days the Jewish people shall be grafted in again. Since Gentiles are being grafted into the one olive tree, from which unbelieving Jews were removed, and Jews will be grafted in again in the last days, we see immediately that the concept of two separate churches or kingdoms is totally contrary to the Scripture.
The concept of a Gentile church and a Jewish kingdom is absolutely unscriptural. This concept would mean Gods called out Gentiles, His Church destined for Heaven, will be given of His Spirit; however, the called out Jews, Gods Kingdom on earth, will be denied His Spirit (according to modern teaching). Thus there would be two churches, two bodies of Christ, two brides of the Lamb, two kingdoms of God, two elect, two olive trees. This is totally unscriptural.
In fact, the Scripture teaches the very opposite:
By abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, And in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. (Ephesians 2:15,16NIV)
The Church, the Body of Christ, is "one new man." Through the cross God has reconciled the Jews and the Gentiles who believe in Christ.
What could be clearer?
In the same context:
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:19-21NIV)
We Gentiles who believe in Christ no longer are foreigners, in terms of the Jewish Olive Tree. God has one household. We have been built on the New Testament Apostles and the Hebrew Prophets. We who are members of the Jewish and Gentile elect are being built as a house for God of which Christ Jesus is the chief Cornerstone. There is one whole building, one holy temple in the Lord.
How could there be two?
The "whole building" mentioned in the above passage is the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the eternal dwelling place of God and the Lamb.
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23NIV)
Does the above verse apply to Jews or Gentiles? It was spoken first to Jews!
And then in the same context as Ephesians 2:19-21 (above):
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3:6NIV)
Think of it! "The Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body." And it is being taught today that there is a "Gentile Church"!
In the same context:
There is one body and one Spirit just as you were called to one hope when you were called One Lord, one faith, one baptism; One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:4-6NIV)
It seems to me that anyone who would consider these statements in the Book of Ephesians, and then maintain there are two churches, two bodies of Christ, would be guilty of being willfully unscriptural.
The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ. (Galatians 3:16NIV)
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 4:28,29NIV)
There is neither Jew nor Greek (Gentile) for we are all one in Christ Jesus.
One new man! One Seed of Abraham!
I say again, in the light of such passages, it seems to me that anyone who would still claim there are two churches, two called-out people of God, is being willfully unscriptural.
Some have said because Matthew spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven and the other Gospels spoke of the Kingdom of God, there are two different kingdoms. If you will read the four Gospel accounts, beginning with the preaching of John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus, you will find that the same parables described by Matthew as parables of the Kingdom of Heaven are presented by Luke as parables of the Kingdom of God.
Did John and Jesus in the Book of Matthew preach the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven, and in Mark and Luke preach the coming of the Kingdom of God, and by this refer to two separate kingdoms? This is ridiculous!
When Jesus said we must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God, to which kingdom was He referring? He was speaking to the Jew, Nicodemus; so Jesus must have meant the Jewish kingdom on the earth. Therefore we Gentiles do not have to be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (if there are two different kingdoms). What nonsense!
The two-church, two-kingdom idea to me appears frivolous. I would not discuss such apparent error if it were not for its destructive impact on Christian thinking and behavior.
One massively destructive force proceeding from the two-kingdom theory is the doctrine of the dispensation of grace.
The concept that the new covenant is an unprecedented work of God unrelated to the old; that the Old Testament is for the Jews and their kingdom; and that we are in a new dispensation in which God does not view our conduct except through Christ, is utterly, totally false, misleading, and destructive.
The Bible is one whole from Genesis to Revelation. It describes one Kingdom of God, of Heaven, that soon is to come to the earth.
God has always had one goal in mind for manthat man would practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. The Divine goal never, never, never changes.
The various covenants have been ineffective in accomplishing God's goal because of the sinful nature of man. The new covenant, by assigning the sinful nature to the cross with Christ and planting and nurturing a new Christ-filled nature in man, does indeed produce behavior that practices righteousness, loves mercy, and walks humbly with God.
What have we done? We have changed the new covenant from one that writes the moral Nature of God into the mind and heart of man into a covenant that provides an alternative to living righteously, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.
"Just believe and you will be saved by grace. You ought to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, but it doesn't really matter whether or not you do because you are saved (made eligible for eternal residence in Heavenan unscriptural goal) by a sovereign grace. God sees you only through Christ."
The preceding paragraph is so manifestly unscriptural it is a wonder any devout Christian believer has ever accepted it as truth. Butbelieve it or notthe fable of the "dispensation of grace" is almost universally accepted by God's people.
Any bright young person could have predicted the consequences of a doctrine that tells us we do not actually have to behave. We should live morally upright lives, it is true; but there are no serious eternal consequences if we do not cleanse ourselves of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. "After all, we are saved by grace and not by works of righteousness we have done."
Anyone could tell you what would take place, especially in a period when, as in America of the present, immoral adventures are so readily available and we are surrounded with hordes of demons. The inevitable result of such unscriptural teaching would be churches filled with spiritual babies who present no threat to Satan's kingdom because of their unrighteous, unholy, disobedient behavior, and a national government working in a cesspool of lies, intrigues, moral filth, treachery, traitorous betrayals, greed, and personal ambition. This is precisely what has taken place.
We have been destroyed as a nation by the teaching of the "dispensation of grace." The dispensation of grace philosophy is based on the concept of a Gentile church whose behavior is screened from God's eyes because of "grace," and a separate Jewish Kingdom whose members keep the Law of Moses. The Gentile church is to be caught up to Heaven any day now, but the Jews, without the Holy Spirit, will have to do the best they can in the face of Antichrist.
There is a consideration here that sometimes is ignored. How are we to know who is Gentile and who is Jewish? Many Christians are half-Jewish, half-Gentile. Which group are they in?
Suppose someone is one-fourth Jewish. Where does he go if he believes in the Lord Jesus? The lack of a pure Jewish background can be an issue in the Law of Return that is observed when people wish to live in the land of Israel.
Sometimes it is difficult to determine how much Jewish blood we have, or how much Gentile blood. Can you see how utterly impractical it is to speak of a Gentile church and a Jewish kingdom?
Remember, the Apostles and early Christians were all Jews. Where do they belong?
The doctrine of the two churches, or kingdoms, is not only unscriptural, it is unworkable in practical terms.
One destructive force that has arisen because of the teaching of the "two-kingdom" doctrine, as we have just pointed out, is the doctrine of "lawless grace" (a modern version of antinomianism). The extent of moral destruction produced by the "dispensation of grace" is incalculable.
Another destructive force is the separating of us Gentiles from our inheritance in Israel, particularly in the writings of the Prophets. Such a separation not only makes the Old Testament incomprehensible to the reader, it robs us of the relevant promises of the Old Testament and also removes what the Old Testament tells us concerning our future inheritance.
The current teaching is that the Gentile church will be in Heaven while the Jewish church will be on the earth. What an unscriptural, destructive fable! What passage of Scripture tells us the Gentiles will inherit Heaven while the Jews will inherit the earth? What will the Apostles of the Lamb, all Jews, inherit? Is this not madness having no scriptural or logical support whatever?
Are you willing to be robbed of your inheritance in the earth? I'm not. The earth and the saved nations are the inheritance of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I am a coheir with Him. How about you?
Do you want to inherit a sea of glass and four-faced creatures, or people on an earth in which the curse has been removed?
Notice the prayer that the Father invited the Word to pray:
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. (Psalms 2:8NIV)
Is this what you want? I sure do! I will trade my backyard full of diamonds for just one of your peopleany day!
And as for their being two kingdoms of God:
My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Ezekiel 37:27NIV)
God's dwelling place, His house, is the Lord Jesus Christ and those who are part of Christ, whether they are Gentiles or Jews. There is no other house of God.
I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. (John 10:16NIV)
No doubt the "one flock" refers to the "one new man" of the second chapter of the Book of Ephesians.
By far the most telling passage of those texts that portray the one Church, the one Kingdom of God, the one Temple, Tabernacle, and eternal House of God, is the following:
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:2,3NIV)
I do not understand how those who teach a Gentile church in Heaven and a Jewish church or kingdom on the earth deal with the above passage. Do you?
How can we teach that the spirit Heaven is the eternal dwelling place of the Gentile believers when the Bible says the new Jerusalem will come to rest forever on the new earth?
Is Heaven actually our eternal dwelling place or is the spirit Heaven a temporary residence of our bodiless spirit until God is ready for us to return to earth?
Whatever the Holy City, the new Jerusalem is, it will descend from Heaven to find its resting place on the new earth.
Let's think carefully about this.
First of all, the new Jerusalem is the Wife of the Lamb, a bride beautifully dressed for her husband, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Is the Jewish church (there is no such thing!) the Wife of the Lamb?
Is the Gentile church (there is no such thing!) the Wife of the Lamb?
Well then, who comes down from Heaven and who remains in Heaven?
The new Jerusalem is referred to as "the dwelling of God." Precisely who constitute the dwelling of God? Gentiles in Heaven? Jews on the earth? Is the one new ManJesus Christ and those who are integral part of Himthe dwelling of God?
Who is coming down to live among saved mankind? Jews? Gentiles? The Church which includes Jews and Gentiles?
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Revelation 21:22NIV)
The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple of the new Jerusalem. It sounds as though a Gentile church in Heaven would have to pray down to God and the Lamb in their temple on the earth, doesn't it? Can you imagine the Gentiles in Heaven looking down to the earth and praying: "Our Father who art in the earth"?
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (Revelation 21:24NIV)
This promise is found in the Old Testament. It pertains to Israel.
Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so men may bring you the wealth of the nationstheir kings led in triumphal procession. (Isaiah 60:11NIV)
This is what I mean when I claim the horrid teaching of a Gentile church in Heaven and a Jewish kingdom on the earth destroys our understanding of the Old Testament Prophets and robs us of our inheritance. It is obvious Isaiah 60:11 and Revelation 21:24 are speaking of the one holy city, the new Jerusalem.
Are we Gentiles part of this city or not? Are we standing on a sea of glass in Heaven while God and the Lamb are shining from within the new Jerusalem on the earth? This is not scriptural, reasonable, or even desirable.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Revelation 22:1NIV)
How would you like to be in a Gentile church in Heaven while the Holy Spirit was on the new earth flowing as a river of the water of life?
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (Revelation 22:3NIV)
The proper place for the Throne of God and of the Lamb is the hearts of His saints. We find in the above verse that these saints for eternity will be on the new earth ministering to the needs of saved mankind. What would the Gentile believers in Heaven be doing during this time?
They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (Revelation 22:4NIV)
Wouldn't it be terrible if we Gentiles were confined in Heaven while only those of pure Jewish blood were permitted to see God's face and have His name on their foreheads?
There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5NIV)
There is no need to go further. We know from the several statements in the Epistles and the Book of Revelation that it is the victorious saints who shall "reign for ever and ever."
Satan understands well that Jews who have not been born again, who have not been filled with God's Spirit, cannot possibly install a kingdom on the earth that will pose a threat to his kingdom.
Satan knows also that Jews and Gentiles who have been born again and filled with God's Spirit can indeed install the Kingdom of God on the earth and drive out Satan's kingdom of wickedness.
Satan realizes also that as far as a kingdom on the earth is concerned, God will not work apart from the physical land and people of Israel. There never shall be a city of God anywhere on the earth except for Jerusalem.
Can you understand from this why Satan would strive to drive a wedge between the Christian Church and the physical land and people of Israel?
God has one Olive Tree, the Lord Jesus Christ and those who are part of Him. The one Church began with Jews and will end with Jews. The Holy Spirit originally was poured out on the Jews assembled in the upper room.
There is only the one Israel of God; there is no such thing as a Gentile church.
By setting forth a Jewish kingdom on the earth and a Gentile church in Heaven, Dispensational scholars have destroyed our understanding of the Hebrew Prophets and of the one Kingdom of God. We have had our inheritance, the holy city on the earth, removed from us. Why don't we take it back?
The following passage reveals beyond doubt that we Christians are built on the Jewish Prophets, as well as on the Jewish Apostles of the New Testament. It shows also that our inheritance and destiny are found in the Old Testament.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. (I Peter 1:10-12NIV)
The Apostle Peter makes it clear that the writings of the Hebrew Prophets that deal with "the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow" were not directed toward the physical land and people of their day but have to do with those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. The "glories that would follow" obviously refer to the Kingdom of God announced by John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus, and the Apostles of the Lamb.
Let us without delay cast from our thinking the confusing, destructive notion that there is a Gentile church and then a Jewish church; a Gentile kingdom and then a Jewish kingdom. There is only the one new Man, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ and all who are part of Him.
You and I may be Gentiles but we are not part of a Gentile church, because there is no such institution. If we are under the new covenant we are an integral part of Israel in that the new covenant can be made only with the House of Israel. The New Testament makes no mention of a new covenant made with Gentiles.
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Hebrews 8:10NIV)
In the following verse, Peter, a Jew, invites Gentiles into the one family of God:
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (I Peter 2:10NIV)
We who at one time were Gentiles are now, through Jesus Christ, an integral part of God's Zion. We are of the one household of faith, the Israel of God, the Church of the Firstborn. Our Apostles, whose writings we trust, were all Jews. The Books of the Old Testament were written by Jews. The books of the New Testament were written by Jews.
The names of twelve Jews are in the foundations of the wall of the new Jerusalem and the names of twelve Jews are on its gates.
If we are not a part of God's Israel then we have no part in the holy city, except to visit it as a member of the saved nations. We are not part of the one Bride of the Lamb. We are not part of the eternal House of God, the Throne of God and of the Lamb. We are not part of the royal priesthood, for God's holy nation is Israel.
The truth is, at one time we were Gentiles, but no longer. We now are of the one Seed of Abraham. We are of the one Light of the World. We are members of the Body of Christ, of the Servant of the Lord who will bring justice to the saved nations of the earth.
This is your inheritance and mine also. Who would want to sit in a mansion in Heaven when God returns Paradise to the earth?
Well, we have been mistaken. That is all there is to it. Now it is time to turn from the two-church, two-kingdom fable and the other myths that have so weakened the Christian churches. We are going to need the strength of Jesus Christ if we are to be able to stand throughout the age of moral horrors that we are approaching.