Before we even begin this discussion, we want to make clear that there is a true dispensationalism. The question isn't whether or not dispensation. The question is the truth of who, what, where, when, why of God.
Dispensationalists, as those who took the name to themselves after the teachings of one John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), emphasize the differences in the covenants in The Bible. For our purposes, we view these periods as ages. The Old Testament period taken as a whole is an age. Within are sub-ages but ages, each in its own right. The New Testament is a new age. Within this new age are also sub-ages.
In addition, these time periods can be viewed from a mundane historical perspective and also from a spiritual and no less historical perspective. We won't elaborate on that right here right now since many questions at this point are anticipated and addressed by this article when viewed as a whole and backed up by the other writings on our site and by the whole reading of scripture and the movement of the Holy Spirit. It is circular, but that's the true nature of all logic and reason.
According to Darby and his followers as we hear them, the dispensational periods have clear lines of demarcation. They are when the terms, conditions, and provisions of the contracts with God open up in large ways that hold great significance for the people who see them. We don't argue against this view. We qualify it by adding the importance of simultaneously not losing sight of the big picture for the sake of continuity, such as the continuity of Isaiah and Jesus that we point to in understanding the true meaning of the term "liberal" versus the corrupted meaning currently in use in the main, which itself (the main) is therefore corrupt.
Each of these periods, dispensations, or contracts (covenants) may be seen as an opening up of human kinds' understanding of the nature of God and of self (if one is given to see it that way).
Each contract, as stated by those who were given to be inspired to relay the vision, is what that messenger was given to understand. That understanding is evolutionary. The understanding of Moses and each of the prophets was not the exact understanding revealed by Jesus Christ. Those prophets though pointed to the future and said someone great will come and shed more light than I or we.
Contract obligations: Conditions
The early Dispensationalists focused in on the contract just as lawyers who specialize in contract law. Contracts are promises. Some promises are unilateral and don't require anything of the other party to remain the obligation of the one making the promise. There is no "if" you do this or that or fail to do this or that in such unilateral promises. On a mundane level, human beings have automatically nullified this by requiring consideration (payback).
The promise of God to Abram (Abraham) is given as an example of a unilateral promise of God. I give you the land. Now, the question arises as to whether or not there were implied reciprocal conditions. The Real Liberal Christian Church reading of scripture is that the contract does not stop there. The contract includes the understanding that God will bring the descendents of Abraham to believe in God that means believing in Jesus Christ also. It comes with the territory, to use the vernacular. Therefore, Abraham's inheritance is the land, but Abraham's descendents are to come to understand the full contract that is the inheritance of all souls who accept the terms. Those who reject the full contract, don't get the benefits of accepting.
You see here the letter-of-the-law versus the spirit-of-the-law reading of the contract or scripture. It is where literalists and those who feel more figures of speech spiritually part company. It's the same arguments that are made on the mundane level in constitutional law.
To clarify, Jesus was a literalists and a figurativist at the same time. The literal meaning of the First Great Commandment is understood in the most spiritual of terms. Those who don't get it spiritually also don't get the literal meaning of the words (The Word) of God. The literal meaning is the spiritual meaning.
Now, God has promised things, and God isn't tricky. God has promised things, and there is cause and effect and there is righteousness and iniquity (false-heartedness). The promised land was given to Abraham. This is what Abraham was given to understand. Some of his descendents went in, made war on their cousins, and took it. Moses had said the following before they did it:
...this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel. For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant. And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware. Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel. And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee. And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee. For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death? Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them. For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 31:16-29.
They can keep the land only if they walk in the ways of the Lord. They are failing again.
The real Promised Land as revealed by Jesus is heaven and earth conflated, reborn, new, eternal, incorruptible that is with all vestiges of hypocrisy gone out. It's God's place. There is no evil there.
You see here that the contract was real, and is real, but one must learn to read and comprehend. One must learn to feel, think, speak, and do the language. The contract itself is its own primer. The more we learn, the more that is expected of us. The more we do what is expected, the more contractual rewards there are. To get to the highest point, one must come to grasp and do what Jesus revealed about the Word (the one contract).
Commandments/Laws: The mundane law to the divine law: All law
The natural law is the order of things. People argue over the real nature of humanity. First one must define the term "real." It is over that definition that the sheep and goats distinguish themselves. Never the twain shall meet. The sheep tell the goats, and the goats remain deaf to it. They are dead of the spirit (Holy Spirit of truth, the real) and they die in the flesh and their souls also die (already are dead—were dead at the birth of the flesh and never will come to life in the spirit—never will be reborn). Jesus says, warn them, and then leave truth as the measuring rod. Those who measure up will inherit the kingdom. Those who don't have already inherited the hell of their own making (the standard they live or lived in the flesh). They drink the cup of poison they pour for themselves.
The commandments delivered by the prophets inspired by God point to greater righteousness. This is the vision of the divine law being unfolded for us, for the edification of those who at the exact same moment will accept it and be given to do so. This is the answer to the false paradox of the chicken and the egg. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Jesus said to them that they didn't choose him but rather he chose them. When the rich man, whom Jesus loved, refused to give his wealth for the sake of righteousness to the poor and to take up his cross and follow Jesus, he, the rich man, was not chosen by Jesus. The rich man chose not to follow Jesus, but the rich man's heart was too hard to be chosen by God for the highest heaven that will be revealed, that will be manifested before all. Had the rich man been given a soft enough heart, had he chosen to make the whole tree good, he would have been chosen.
In other words, God sets the standard for heaven. Satan doesn't set the standard, even though he wants to for his selfish, egotistical, willful, and ignorant (on a certain level) reasons.
This is all-or-nothing. Satan is the essence of evil, because Satan is the eternal rejecter of Jesus's message. Satan is not chosen forever—his own doing. It's justice. It frees the elect out from under him. It is where justice and mercy meet as one. Mercy for those who are of the fully demonstrated (hence real) spirit of giving and sharing and peace and sexual harmlessness, etc., is deliverance from the clutches of Satanism. Also, consequences for iniquity teach the truly wise. The stiff-necked get their comeuppance. They suffer under the standard by which they live in the flesh and die. They have been warned in truth.
The law of Moses as prophet
Moses relayed The First Great Commandment and The Second Great Commandment. These are truly great and wondrous. They are beautiful. What is ugly is when they are applied hypocritically, which is to not really apply them at all. Again, this is an all-or-nothing proposition. Jesus enlightened the world concerning this. He said, don't take this beautiful law and fail to take it to its logical conclusion. That's the reason we love Jesus. How can you not love him? We love him for all the things he said and did. They are all perfectly consistent with that perfectly logical, most well-reasoned conclusion.
The summation of the mundane obligation: In the direction of the spirit of all laws, why there are any laws, their ultimate claim
The Golden Rule is the summation of the spirit of even the mundane law. If it is followed, all coercion disappears and all the law and the prophets are then written on the heart. No harm is then ever done to anyone else. No selfishness is ever done.
The revelation of Jesus Christ: The New Commandment: The summation of all the law in the full spirit: How we ought to want to be treated and how we ought to want to treat others and why
The definition of the real law, the divine law, is every word and deed of Jesus Christ. The kind and degree of law Jesus showed defines how we ought to want to be treated and how we ought to want to treat others and why. It is the reveal standard that will be used to measure souls for heaven, to choose those who go in, who are ready.
This is every bit as beautiful as the Great Commandments, because it is truly one with them. The law is one. Anything not of it is of the other. The other is hypocrisy.
Christian Zionism: Israel still has a contract: Real Liberal Christian Church interpretation
The promise is that Israel (the remnant) will come to Jesus Christ—be brought to Jesus Christ. Those who won't are already dead.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18.
"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." Acts 2:21.
However, to be calling on the name in earnest is a huge thing. We mustn't neglect to understand what Jesus meant when he said all the following:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? Matthew 7:21-22.
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. Matthew 25:11.
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Luke 6:46.
When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are. Luke 13:25.
And what is doing the will of our Father in heaven? It is being the Good Shepherds, the Good Samaritans, keeping the law that is the New Commandment that requires us to feed the lambs and sheep in both spirit and in body. It is giving our all to Godliness. This translates into Jesus's Commons. This is why the first Apostles lived the way they did: Sharing all things in common and remembering the poor and all others in need always. This is still the charge of all Christians and always will be until heaven and earth are new and one. There, there will be no poor or needy.
The false-shepherds lead away from the message of Jesus that is total pacifism. They appeal to selfish interests. Masked behind these two errors lies the war in their members. "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?" James 4:1.
They are of the Beast. The Beast is the Empire. The Zionism they tout is not real Zionism. It isn't the peace of Jerusalem. It's warmongering. It's blood lust, devouring, satanic, and antichrist.
The Grace Movement and Hyper-dispensationalism or Ultra-dispensationalism: The slippery slope into not having the law written on the heart: Liberty and Libertinism: The call to live holy lives versus Antinomianism
You should see in this article that there is an uncrossable gap between views of the law: Those who seek license under the law (the Word) to do iniquity and be excused versus those who have righteousness (unselfishness and harmlessness) written on their hearts.
The Grace Movement is an outgrowth of reading into Paul various heresies. To be clear, heresies here is defined as anything that runs contrary to Jesus's words and deeds. It is not defined here as what Constantine I, emperor of Rome, and his church of Rome dictated.
Paul wrote about grace and law. The trouble is not with grace, which grace was in the beginning. The trouble starts with people's misunderstanding of the law to which Paul had better have been referring or else he's dead in hell. The law to which Paul was referring was not the law Jesus said we must obey.
Circumcision is the cutting away of the foreskin of the penis. When the Gentiles were turning to what Paul was preaching, there were Jews who were maintaining that the Gentiles needed to undergo circumcision to join. It was the Jewish law. Paul argued that, that law had been handed down just to the seed of Abraham and that furthermore, the symbolism or spirit really was dealing with matters of the heart that could be handled without circumcising the penis. Well, the debate about the law was raging before that and has continued to the present. This article is about what constitutes the real law.
The Grace Movement
Paul used the term grace quite often. He emphasized it as he worked to counter that the position that the myriad ritualistic requirements of the Old Testament still applied. As we stated above, the trouble comes when while one is dispensing with the rituals, one mistakenly throws out the New Commandment and the commandment to feed the lambs and sheep. Unfortunately, throwing out the New Commandment and the commandment to feed the lambs and sheep is exactly what has been happening in what is called Pauline Christianity since after the original disciples.
Understand here that Jesus is never quoted as having used the term "grace." The Gospels use the term to describe Jesus. We don't argue with that. Jesus was certainly full of the grace of God. On the other hand, Jesus is quoted using the term "works" many times. Now, we don't point to this to make a case against Paul. We point to it so souls will see that the real law is what matters. Those who say that the law was replaced by grace must make the distinction between ritualistic law and the real law that is the absolute requirement to do works, New Commandment works, the work of feeding the lambs and sheep in both body (flesh) and spirit. Real grace is that law. They are one.
Those who want to get out of this requirement will argue until they are blue in the face in favor of false grace. They come planting seeds of doubt about Jesus having required things of Christians.
They want all law abolished, including the New Commandment. This is a sinful attitude. They want that so they may do iniquity and still claim salvation, which is insane, literally. It is the hallmark of confusion. It is the sign of a fractured, unhealed soul. It is against the oneness. They want liberty to be libertine that is harmful. They want the pleasures of the flesh that are harmful.
Understand here that everything pleasurable is not harmful. Jesus had no problem with what was agreeable. What agreed with him was righteous. What he took pleasure in was living the holy life.
These people are the Pauline of the Pauline. This is where people turn more and more to a highly convenient and selective reading and interpretation of Paul to the exact exclusion of the commandments of Jesus. Many of them blatantly cross the line. Some of them get so carried away with themselves that they reject the words of Jesus. "And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me." Luke 22:19. They reject this: Holy Communion. Many also reject water baptism, even though Christ himself underwent water baptism as a prelude to his baptism on the cross through to his resurrection and ascension.
These Grace Movement holders give Paul the credit for starting the Church. This is done to diminish the Jerusalem Church and its emphasis upon feeding the lambs and sheep. It is the underlying motivation.
Antinomianism is the extreme but inevitable conclusion of focusing on grace in the absence of comprehending divine works. The antinomians hold that grace and faith require no deeds. This of course is an attempt to negate Jesus as the religious authority under God, who is the law, the word, the truth, what we must do or be dead. Anti-law (anti-nomos) is antichrist.
Remember though that the real law is not coercive. Jesus never forced anyone. Neither does God. It is Satan who punishes. It is Satan to whom the willful turn in themselves. They make themselves the children of Satan, and Satan is not the merciful father.
It must also be remembered that Paul, when he went to Jerusalem, observed the Mosaic rituals. He also circumcised Timothy and argued on behalf of at least a type of government.
The Rapture is based primarily on the following written words of Paul:
And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1 Corinthians 15:49-55.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.
As pertaining to the words, "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," let us juxtapose the very words of Jesus Christ. Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. John 20:17.
Later he said to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. John 20:27. After Jesus's resurrection and when he was touchable having been to the Father, Jesus came to them in the flesh. He also ate fish and bread with them. Now, was he "flesh and blood"? He was incorruptible flesh and blood, or do you not believe? So, which flesh and blood was Paul talking about?
Was he aware of the different connotations, or was he mistaken? Was he infallible? Were any of the Apostles infallible? Had they become Jesus Christ or were they just authorized to act even though they might yet err? If they were infallible, why did they argue? Why did Paul rebuke Peter for being a Judaizer? If Peter could be wrong even though he had the Holy Spirit, then could Paul too still make mistakes?
Paul was not there when Jesus came to his closest disciples. Had he not heard the story from them before writing what he wrote? Nevertheless, Paul said the Holy Spirit gave him his revelation about what he called the "mystery."
God can manifest God in flesh and blood. That's who Jesus was. That's who each of us is when the spirit of God is indwelling if we truly believe. This is no usurpation. This is joining in one heart and one soul.
Also, the first resurrection is the resurrection of the just. It comes before the thousand-year reign on earth. The resurrected-just reign with the second-coming until the dragon makes its last stand at the end of that period before it is sent into the lake of fire forever never to rise again. Remember, these are metaphors. The dragon is a metaphor. The lake of fire is a metaphor. The dragon is the essence of evil. The lake of fire is the purging of that essence forever.
Now, if Paul's words can raise such questions, then they are ripe for misleading people down all sorts of dead ends. His emphasis upon certain things as opposed to others has led many to excuse themselves from doing the deeds; hence, almost two thousand years later, the world still has starving children dying by the tens of thousands each day. If one confines oneself to the Gospels, one doesn't run into these excuses. That's why people quote Paul without quoting Jesus. They make themselves Paul's disciples exclusive of Jesus. That's not Christian. That's Pauline without Christ, which Paul would not understand how people could have built up such a structure on the foundation he thought he was laying so carefully.
Grace is right. Faith is right. Not putting ritualistic laws above either of those is right. However, not doing the deed of feeding all the lambs and sheep together as the Church is utterly shameful and inexcusable and impossible. The real Church is that one that does this commandment. If no one does it, there is no Church and this is hell. However, this isn't hell, and there are those out there who will join in this to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance.
Caught up—in the air
The words, "caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord," is the rapture.
"For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain." Isaiah 66:22. "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." 2 Peter 3:13. "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." Revelation 21:1. So you see here either competing or consistent visions. Are the new heaven and new earth as one in the air forever? Are these things understood only semantically that is spiritually?
First the word is preached everywhere and in every tongue. Then the worldly dictator, who makes himself a god pretending to be God, is given mundane power and authority over everything. "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." Revelation 13:7. The saints are the Church. How can Satan incarnate overcome them if they aren't there to be overcome? This is a question posed to those who believe in what is termed the pretribulation rapture. They believe that they will be raptured before any tribulation begins. They believe that in this way, they will escape the tribulation and persecution, etc.
Others still believe in the rapture, but they believe it will come at mid-term or at some other point during the tribulation.
So, the saints are seen mundanely to have lost but nevertheless have the seal of righteousness firmly imprinted in their unselfishness that is clearly known and seen by the angels of the real God. The saints are still on the earth (not raptured) when those seals on their foreheads, their minds, are used to Passover them while the wicked ones drop into the death of hell.
Jesus said that the plagues can't hurt the elect, because the souls of the elect do not belong to Satan. Satan cannot have their souls to kill in hell. The human incarnations of the satanic spirit can kill the flesh but cannot kill souls that do not fall for the lies.
"And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time." Daniel 7:25.
Will fools wage wars with what are called conventional and nuclear weapons and false-hearted contrivances not yet fashioned? Yes they will. Their hearts will be hardened. They harden them themselves.
To the warmongers calling themselves Christian-Zionists, the saints make war not with conventional or nuclear weapons but with words of truth for the heart and minds and souls of the many. The saints never give over to calling down the wrath. Jesus never did it. He spoke of the woe that will befall those who choose to do iniquity. He did that as a warning, a service to those who would heed his sage and prescient counsel.
To the saints, perseverance is required through the persecution, tribulation, and wrath that will not be more than the elect can stand. It will pass. Do not cave into the evil one. Do not bow down to worship that one even on pain of death of the flesh.
Morality is the lesson and obligation
The wise will see throughout Jesus's parables that the metaphors change all over the place. It is the moral of the story that matters. All the metaphors are true in rendering truth that is morality. The literalness of the parables is wrapped up in the morality being conveyed. In one parable the metaphor is soil. In another it is a pearl. In another it is a cash investment. In another it is the foundation of the house. In another it is oil for the lamps. It goes on and on this way. All these stories are to explain that unto which the kingdom is likened. They are analogies to teach proper behavior and proper position vis-Ã -vis God.
People get wrapped up in the symbolism looking to predict the times of events the hour of which even Jesus said Jesus didn't know. They do this to the complete exclusion of the morals of the dreams and parables. Jesus knows that God chooses those who behave righteously. Righteous here is way beyond the mundane law.
Paul wrote of being taken up into the sky forever. John wrote, "And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal." Revelation 21:16. That city that comes down from heaven is on the leveled ground that is now physically where the state of Israel lies. Ezekiel talks of the battle of Armageddon being waged with horses, swords, wooden weapons, and with no barriers or technological warning devices, etc. (See: Ezekiel 38 and 39). Zechariah 14:8 says, "And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be." So there are many visions that all speak of the same essential thing that is righteousness dwelling within being the true safety and security and freedom from evil. That these visions differ from each other does not negate them. Just as Jesus's parables did not negate each other. Spiritually, we are fish and soil and light..., just as Jerusalem is spiritually Sodom and Egypt. "And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified." Revelation 11:8. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14. That last verse is from Paul.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. John 3:8.
Feel it. Flow with it. Let it guide you to do what is right.
Always be following Jesus, then no matter when the Son of man comes, you will be found doing the Lord's work, toiling in the vineyard of the Lord, preaching the Kingdom of God, feeding the lambs and sheep of God, and doing all the other things Jesus said for which his followers are known.
The most important thing anyone can do is feed the lambs and sheep, finally to be doing the right thing, finally to be not working iniquity. They who are against doing this, not doing what they can together as the Church, will never be ready. Their hearts will remain too hard.
Conflate. Be blown together by the Holy Spirit of feeding his lambs and sheep via the Christian Commons. If anyone has come up with a more liberal device for getting this work done, tell us what it is. It won't happen, because there is no such thing. "But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand." Isaiah 32:8. I stand by the Christian Commons. Will you stand with me?