By Don Koenig
It is clear to any dispensationalist that a church that teaches that God is done with natural Israel and that the kingdom and restoration promises to Israel are now fulfilled by the church have embraced replacement theology. However, have we dispensationalists also formed our own replacement theology in heaven?
The Bible teaches that all people of faith are branches in the same Olive tree and are in the commonwealth of Israel. Yet, most dispensationalists say the body of Christ does not include people before Pentecost or after the rapture. This is believed even though the promises of the New Covenant were actually given to the house of Jacob and Judah (Jer 31:31). We were grafted into the New Covenant promise because of their unbelief but complete fulfillment of the New Covenant promise will come after the fulness of the Gentiles comes in and natural Israel accepts her God given Messiah. (Rom 11:25-32)
Like all dispensationalists I maintain that there remains a distinction between Israel and the Church on earth but what dispensationalists need to realize is that the scriptural promises made to the children of the promise will be fulfilled to all the children of the promise. The Gentiles since Pentecost were grafted into the Olive Tree when the descendants of natural Israel rejected their King and the kingdom promise was delayed until the descendants of Israel acknowledge their offense and accept their King (Hos 5:15). Since all promises in the "new covenant" were made to the branches on the Olive tree, the believers of prior dispensations also being children of Abraham and part of the whole commonwealth of Israel are also members of the new covenant promise of the Holy Spirit dwelling in members of the body of Christ.
Most Dispensationalists make those in believing Israel prior to Pentecost to be only friends of the Groom and not part of the body of Christ at all. I now find this theology is mostly subjective reasoning and is difficult to support by any direct scripture. After thirty years of believing that Dispensationalism had all the answers with their distinction between the bride and Israel I now think that we also may have missed some truth and have "replaced the heavenly promises to the whole commonwealth of Israel with heavenly promises to mainly grafted in wild branches called the Church". I give a more complete argument for this view with scriptural references in chapter seven of my commentary on Revelation.
Back to Don's theology page