Times Haven’t Changed: Arguing against Replacement Theology and Dispensationalism

I’ve been going through 1st Samuel again, trying to understand how the Lord developed His people of Israel and His Church. The first 10 verses of the second chapter should actually end the the first chapter.

Then Hannah prayed; she said: “My heart exults in ADONAI! My dignity has been restored by ADONAI! I can gloat over my enemies, because of my joy at your saving me. No one is as holy as ADONAI, because there is none to compare with you, no rock like our God.

“Stop your proud boasting! Don’t let arrogance come from your mouth! For ADONAI is a God of knowledge, and he appraises actions. The bows of the mighty are broken, while the feeble are armed with strength. The well–fed hire themselves for bread, while those who were hungry hunger no more. The barren woman has borne seven, while the mother of many wastes away.

“ADONAI kills and makes alive; he brings down to the grave, and he brings up. ADONAI makes poor, and he makes rich; he humbles, and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust, lifts up the needy from the trash pile; he gives them a place with leaders and assigns them seats of honor.

“For the earth’s pillars belong to ADONAI; on them he has placed the world. He will guard the steps of his faithful, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. For it is not by strength that a person prevails––those who fight ADONAI will be shattered; he will thunder against them in heaven––ADONAI will judge the ends of the earth. He will strengthen his king and enhance the power of his anointed” I Samuel 2:1-10

Just a point of interest, these verses from chapter 2, should actually go at the end of chapter 1 because they take place in conjunction with the dedication of Samuel to God and to the Priesthood. In other words, Hannah said the words that end chapter 1 (“Therefore I have entrusted him to Yehoveh, as long as he lives he is entrusted to Yehoveh”), and then followed that up with what we just read.

These ten verses are so highly regarded as a theological treatise unto itself that it has been given its own title: “Hannah’s Song,” or “Hannah’s Prayer.” And while it’s impossible right here to cover the verses real deeply, we need to take it as the framework for everything that’s goes forward in the books of 1st and 2nd Samuel, and 1st and 2nd Kings; and in an even broader sense all Scripture that follows it. It is as foundational as the 7 Noachide Laws, the Shema, and the 10 Commandments. It is factual and it is prophetic. It is profound and it is practical.

The era of Samuel is an era of a wholesale transition from the era of the Judges to the era of the Kings, and Samuel is God’s catalyst and earthly tool to facilitate that transition. But what we should understand is that in no way did this transition involve a negation or change or abolishment or addition to any previous covenant or promise God made with Israel.

Many modern Christian scholars (correctly, I might add) declare that Samuel set the pattern for John the Baptist of the New Testament, and that both Samuel and John would be given the awesome and humbling privilege of ushering the Kingdom of God into the next stage of a series of stages that will end with the final redemption of mankind. And that privilege included anointing a king. Unfortunately the two great systematic theologies that emerged from the European Enlightenment about 3 centuries ago and today form the basis for what we call mainstream Christianity, say that in many ways Yeshua broke away from some of the previous patterns and changed or even abolished all previous covenants and set up an entirely new dynamic.

One of the systematic theologies called Dispensationalism generally says that we can break bible history down into eras or administrations where God changed how He governed, and along with it He necessarily changed some of the rules and laws of the way He would govern. Now I don’t want to paint all denominations that adhere to this systematic theology with the same broad brush because there is a very wide variance of just how to view the various Dispensations. Some at one end of the spectrum take it as far as Replacement Theology, and at the other end some rightly deny and denounce Replacement Theology and see Israel and the Church having a great deal of overlap. But generally there is a belief that with every change of type of human governance (from Moses, to the Judges, to the Kings for example), that there were significant changes in God’s justice system and even some alteration of His principles. And that with Christ a whole new, never before existing, justice system and religion was created just for gentiles, while mostly leaving intact the old justice system but only for Jews.

I fervently deny and want to shout from the rooftops that the Bible, Old or New Testaments, ever envisions or brings about such a thing. At no time has the Lord God ever abrogated, destroyed, abolished, or otherwise made substantial changes to any covenant He has ever made. God didn’‘t replace Israel with the Church, nor did He create two separate justice systems, one for Jews and the other for gentiles. And it didn’t matter that the form and structure of human government changed over time (and continues to change); God’s laws and principles and covenants remained intact and enforce. If it was the type of human government that dictated which of God’s laws and commands remained and which were jettisoned, then it ought to be that (in modern days) under Communism one set of God’s laws apply, under Democracy another set applies, under a Monarchy it’s different again, and under the tribal systems (that still govern much of the world’s population) yet another group of divine commandments are at work. And further that the Jews have a whole other system of God’s justice they are to operate under that is different and separate from those I have just mentioned. This isn’t just unscriptural; it is irrational and illogical on its face. The notion that this is how God operates is nothing but man-made religious philosophy and tradition made to serve an agenda.

Samuel ushered in a new type of human government for Israel, not a new religion operating under revised laws and principles.

Doulos Studies

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