One of the fundamental doctrines of Dispensationalism – a theological system founded by J.N. Darby in the 1830s – is that “Israel” and “the Church” are entirely separate entities. Famed Dispensationalist Charles C. Ryrie confessed:
“The Church/Israel distinction is the best way to determine whether or not someone is a dispensationalist – the most important critereon” ( Dispensationalism Today , by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Press, 1965, pps. 44-45, 132).
This Church/Israel distinction forms the basis of Dispensationalism’s prophetic views. It is no secret that Dispensationalism teaches:
- We are now in the “Church Age.”
- The Church will be taken to heaven in the Rapture, thus ending the “Church Age.”
- After the Rapture, God’s focus will be the literal nation of Israel in the Middle East.
- Because God in the Old Testament promised the land (of Palestine) to Israel, the Modern Israeli nation has a biblical right to all that land today.
The net result of this doctrine is that most Dispensationalists believe that modern Palestinians have no right to any of Israel’s land today, even if some of these Palestinians dwelt on some of this land pre-1948 (when Israel became a nation again). Their doctrine is: God favors the Jews, not the Arabs or Palestinians. Politically, this doctrine often leads Dispensationalist Christians to oppose:
- Any compromise by Israel in giving up land to the Palestinians.
- Any withdrawal of Israeli settlements from Palestinian occupied territory.
- A two-state solution to the Israel/Palestinian crisis that hopes both sides can have their own states on the same land side by side.
Obviously, the current Jew/Arab/Palestinian issues are complex. There is no simple solution to Middle East problems. Evils have been committed on both sides. No one should justify Palestinian terrorists killing innocent Jews or unjust actions by Israeli soldiers against innocent Palestinians (for further reading, we recommend Occupied Voices by Wendy Pearlman).
The purpose of this short article is not to attempt to solve the Middle East mess, but to reveal this clear teaching of the New Testament: Jesus Christ has broken down the wall between Jews and Gentiles. He loves both sides equally and gave His life for all.
There is neither Jew nor Greek [Gentile]…for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
Gentiles [are] fellow heirs, and of the same body , and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel (Ephesians 4:6).
For He Himself [Jesus Christ] is our peace, who has made both [Jews and Gentiles] one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation… to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that he might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross , thereby putting to death the enmity (Ephesians 2:14-17).
Jesus Christ Himself said, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).
These inspired verses teach that Jesus Christ gave His life for the entire world (Israelis and Arabs) and that He broke down the wall of separation between Jews and Gentiles. He did it “through the cross.” Jesus died “for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2) and now Jews and Gentiles can be “of the same body,” “one in Christ Jesus.”
In light of these Scriptures, any inherent favoritism toward one group (Jews/Israelis) over against Gentiles (Arabs/Palestinians) should be clearly seen as contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ and the New Testament. The same God created both groups. Both sides should be treated fairly. Both sides have equal rights. The Father and His Son love both Israeli babies and Palestinians babies. Jesus died for all. Both sides have sinned and both sides are lost without the Savior.
Contrary to Jewish prejudice existing in His own day, Jesus ministered tactfully and lovingly to an outcast Samaritan woman, even though “the Jews [had] no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9). He also told His classic parable of the “Good Samaritan” whom He commended for an act of kindness to a man beaten by robbers, while at the same time portraying a certain priest and Levite as lacking compassion (Luke 10:25-39). These examples show plainly that Jesus did not favor Jews above Gentiles. He loved both groups and longed to bring salvation to all.
In this light we ask: Is Dispensationalism’s bias in favor of Israelis above Palestinians (which is supposedly based on Scripture) in harmony with the life and teaching of Jesus Christ? Obviously, Dispensationalism is not “the little horn” (Daniel 7:8) or the “beast” (Revelation 13:1), but can much of its doctrine still be classified as “anti-christ”? The New Testament says that all true Christians should “abide in the doctrine of Christ” (2 John 9) in order to avoid being misled by “many deceivers” who are “antichrist” (verse 7).
Jesus Christ, His message, and His Doctrine should be our Center.
Any doctrine or theory not in harmony with Jesus Christ is “anti-christ.”
“Let no man deceive you by any means” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)
For further study, read End Time Delusions: The Rapture, the Antichrist, Israel, and the End of the World, by Steve Wohlberg. Available on www.whitehorsemedia.com.