Friday, August 05, 2005

A Reformed Baptist Manifesto--Chapter One

Chapter One: The New Covenant Constitution of the Church and Dispensationalism

It first must be established that the New Covenant is, indeed, the Constitution of the Church, especially since some have denied it such relevance. In this chapter, we will be laying much of the foundation upon which is built the rest of this study.
In Jeremiah 31:31-34, we read:
"Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them, and on their hearts I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD', for they shall all know Me, from the least of them ot the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

The question we must answer at this point is: Does, in fact, this passage have anything to do with the Church? Is the New Covenant really the Constitution of the Church? This question is particularly crucial because, as hinted above, it is denied by an important segment of Evangelical Christianity. The approach at this point will be to open up the validity of the premise (i.e., the New Covenant is the Constitution of the Church) under three headings: Its Denial; Its Defense; and Its Difficulty.

Its Denial: The promise of the New Covenant does not apply to the Church

The denial that the New Covenant is strictly relevant to the Church comes from a movement that dominates much of American Christianity. that movement or system of interpretation is commonly known as Dispensationalism. It is, perhaps, most well known as that system of interpretation popularized by The Scofield Reference Bible.

This system, in its classic statement, denies that the New Covenant is fulfilled in (or is the Constitution of) the Church. Before this assertion is proven, it needs to be briefly clarified. This must be done because there may be a few who complain that, by claiming Dispensationalism denies the New Covenant is fulfilled in the Church, it is being misrepresented.

In recent years, different versions of what is called Progressive Dispensationalism have been put forth. Not a few Evangelical scholars are keenly aware of the biblical inadequacies of Classic Dispensationalism. These scholars, rather than admit the inadequacy of Dispensationalism per se, have attempted to re-define it. Having re-defined it, they can continue to claim allegiance to their revered system.

There is, however, a problem with those who object that Dispensationalism is being misrepresented. If scholars are allowed to define Dispensationalism any way they please, then it can become anything they want it to be. Some modern dispensationalists re-define their system so that those who are not dispensational may be categorized as dispensational. There is something wrong with your definition when it can turn anti-Dispensationalism into Dispensationalism. When one's definition of an apple is so broad that by that definition tomatoes are apples, there is something inadequate about that definition. One wonders if what constitutes Dispensationalism today will be what constitutes Dispensationalism tomorrow.

These scholars may be compared to an antique car buff that has the rusty old frame and body of a Model T sitting in his back lot. He drops a Mitsubishi four cylinder engine into it, a Mercedes transmission, Porsche wheels, and Michelin tires. In general, he so overhauls the thing that, when he is finished, the only item made before 1990 in that automobile is the frame and part of the body. Then he comes to you and claims to own a Model T Ford. What's the problem? He owns a Model T Ford only in a highly qualified sense of the word. Much of contemporary Dispensationalism is so but only in a highly qualified sense of the word.

A second response to those worried that Dispensationalism is being misrepresented is that, however they may define it in the atmosphere of academia, it is not the kind of Dispensationalism believed in the pews of churches across America and the world. What is being spoken of primarily is the Classic Dispensationalism commonly believed in America. 1

It can be proven that Classic Dispensationalism denies the New Covenant is fulfilled in the Church by quoting some of the most well known teachers of this system of thought. J. Dwight Pentecost, in his classic treatise on dispensational eschatology entitled Things to Come, says the following, "...the new covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34 must band can be fulfilled only by the nation Israel and not by the Church ....the covenant stands as yet unfulfilled and awaits a future, literal fulfillment." 2 Another former professor of Dallas Theological Seminary, Charles C. Ryrie, succinctly states his view this way: "The New Covenant is not only future, but millennial." 3 A third major exponent and well-known teacher of Classic Dispensationalism reiterates this point. John Walvoord asserts, "...the premillennial position is that the new covenant is with Israel and the fulfillment in the millennial kingdom after the second coming of Christ." 4

This denial is neither incidental, nor unimportant for Classic Dispensational Premillenialism. Ryrie asserts that Dispensationalism has three essentials. According to Ryrie, one of those essentials is, "A dispensationalist keeps Israel and the Church distinct ...a man who fails to distinguish Israel and the Church will inevitably not hod to dispensational distinctions." 5 Elsewhere he says, "If the Church is fulfilling Israel's promises as contained in the new covenant or anywhere in the Scriptures, then premillennialism is condemned.". 6 In a context assuming the Church fulfills the New Covenant, Pentecost acknowledges, "IF the Church fulfills this covenant, she may also fulfill the other covenants made with Israel and there is no need for an earthly millenium." 7

Not only does Classic Dispensational Premillenialism deny that the Church fulfills the New Covenant, it must deny this or utterly collapse. This conclusion is obvious, even to adherents of that system. Classic Dispensationalism cannot admit that the church fulfills the New Covenant made with Israel. This would constitute a failure to keep Israel and the Church distinct and seperate. It would be to admit that Israel and the Church are in some sense one and the same. According to ryrie and Pentecost, this would destroy Premillennialism (and all forms of Dispensationalism). They are, of course, absolutely correct.

Its Defense: The promise of the New Covenant does apply to the Church

The defense of our premise that the New Covenant is fulfilled by the Church is neither hard nor complicated. We will simply look at the use that the New Testament makes of Jeremiah 31:31-34 and seek to answer this question: What does the New Testament teach about the fulfillment of the New Covenant? We will examine seven passages to obtain the answer.

Luke 22:20

In Luke 22:20, Jesus said, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood." This is the last supper eaten by Jesus and the Apostles in which the Lord's Supper was instituted. The Apostles were, according to Ephesians 2:20, the foundation of the Church. Jesus speaks of the cup He shares with His Apostles as "the new covenant in My blood." That is to say, the cup was the outward symbol of the New Covenant. Their drinking of the cup clearly symbolizes their having a part in Christ's blood and the blessings it procures.

1 Corinthians 11:25

In 1 Corinthians 11:25, Paul says to the Corinthian church, "In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."" This is the definitive passage on the subject of the Lord's Supper in the New Testament. It demonstrates that the events of Luke 22:20 were intended to institute a continuing ordinance for the Church (cf. 1 Cor. 11:17-22 and 1:1, 2). That being the case, every time a Christian takes the cup which Christ Himself identified as "the new covenant in My blood," he is saying, "I have a part in the New Covenant, in its blessings, in its rules, in it as the Constitution of Christ's Church."

2 Corinthians 3:6

Paul says:

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor 3:6)

The reference of this passage to Jeremiah 31:31-34 cannot be evaded. In Jeremiah 31:33 we read of God writing His law on the hearts of His people, just as we do in this context. In 2 Corinthians 3:3, we read, "being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, writtennot with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts." Gentile Corinthians, believers and churchmembers, had, therefore, the blessings promised in the New Covenant found in Jeremiah 31.

But verse 6 is even more significant. Paul identifies himself, the Apostle to the Gentiles, the Apostle of the Church, as a servant of "a new covenant." Now the question must be pressed: How could the Apostle to the Gentiles be a servant or minister of the New Covenant if that covenant is not fulfilled in the Church, but is "future and millennial"?


The New Covenant and Jeremiah 31 have their most concentrated New Testament exposition in the Epistle to the Hebrews. It has been argued that this letter and its references to the New Covenant are irrelevant for the Church of the Gentiles. Wasn't Hebrews written, it is asked, to Jews?

It may be that most of those to whom Hebrews was originally addressed were, as to their national origin, significance of this letter for the Christian Church and the issues before us. This is true for at least three reasons. First, since Hebrews is part of the New Testament and was written after the close of the Old Testament dispensation, the privileges it bestows and the duties it lays upon Christian Jews cannot be limited to Jews. This would be to re-erect the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile that, by His cross, Christ has torn down. This point will become even more evident as we begin to look at the actual passages in Hebrews. Second, this is underscored by the fact that Hebrews was written mainly to Christian Jews. These Christian Jews were being exhorted not to apostatize back into Judaism. Third, those being addressed were members of Christian Churches. They are, for instance, warned not to forsake their assembling together (Heb. 10:25) and exhorted to "Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls" (Heb. 13:17). This is plainly a reference to the elders of those Christian Churches of which, it is assumed, they are members.

Hebrews 8:1, 6-13

Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens (Heb. 8:1)

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says,

When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. (Heb. 8:6-13)

The writer here quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34 as speaking of that better covenant of which our high priest is the minister and mediator. This certainly implies that the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah was inaugurated by Christ and is currently being fulfilled.8

Hebrews 9:14,15 much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (Heb. 9:14,15)

Here Jesus is presented as the mediator of the New Covenant that conveys to its recipients cleansing and redemption from sin. These recipients are described as "those who have been called" (v. 15). The New Testament teaches that God is calling both Jews and Gentiles to the promise of the eternal inheritance (Rom. 9:24). If you have been called, then Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant for you, and you partake in the New Covenant and its blessings.

Hebrews 10:10-19

By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, (Heb. 10:10-19)

The promise of the New Covenant that God will remember our sins and iniquities no more (Jer. 31:34) is here seen as fulfilled through the sacrifice of Christ. Because of that promise, we as Christians "have confidence to enter the holy place" (v. 19). Thus, every Christian, Jew or Gentile, who enters the holy place in private prayer or in public worship by the blood of Christ, does so because he has been made a partaker of the New Covenant and its blessings.

Hebrews 12:22-24

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. (Heb. 12:22-24)

In coming to Mount Zion, we have also come to the "Church of the first-born" (v. 23). These blessings are, however, conveyed to us in and throught the things to which we have come named in verse 24. The things mentioned in verse 24 occupy a climactic place in the passage because it is by means of them that all the other blessings are conveyed. In other words, it is through Jesus, the mediator of the New Covenant and the sprinkled blood, that such as we are may come to Mount Zion and the Church of the firstborn. Thus, a place in the Church is possessed in virtue of a relationship with the mediator of the New Covenant.


Every New Testament use of Jeremiah 31:31-34 relates it to a present fulfillment in the Church. Conversely, there is no justification anywhere in the New Testament for seeing its fulfillment as future and millennial (either in whole or in part). There is, on the other hand, every reason to see it as the Constitution of the Church in the present age. Just remind yourself of what we have seen. The Savior of the Church is the mediator of the New Covenant. The Apostle of the Church is a servant of the New Covenant. The origin of the Church is owed to the blessings of the New Covenant. The very ordinances of the Church are signs of the New Covenant. Thus, we must conclude, the New Covenant is the Constitution of the Church.

Its Difficulty: The difficulty of applying the New Covenant to the Church

Despite the clarity of the witness of the New Testament on this subject, a problem may remain in the mind of the reader. Despite all this evidence, there may be for some a nagging doubt. You may be asking: Does not Jeremiah 31 say that the New Covenant was to be made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah? How can it be, then, that the New Covenant is fulfilled in the mainly Gentile Church?
The simple answer to that question is that the Church is Israel. Or, to state it more precisely, if the New Covenant is currently being fulfilled, it must be made with and constitute a New Israel. Far from Classic Dispensationalism's severing of the Church and Israel, the Bible teaches that the Church is the continuation of Israel in a new form in the new age. There is much evidence for this assertion, but we will examine only the three most important passages in the New Testament which prove that the Church is the New Israel. This is contrary to all forms of Dispensationalis, as we shall see.9

Galatians 3:29

Paul says, "And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspriing, heirs according to promise." Paul climaxes his argument in chapter three of Galatians with the assertion that the true seed of Abraham, the true Son of God, was Jesus the Christ (Gal. 3:16). But that is not all he says. Thsoe who are in Christ, united to Him by faith, are also Abraham's seed and, thus, spiritual Jews and true Israelites.

All of this may seem like spiritualizing to some. It must be pointed out, therefore, that the Church is the seed of Abraham and the Israel of God only because it is, as Galatians 3:29 plainly says, in union with One who was truly the physical seed of Abraham.

Roamns 11:16-24
And if the first piece of dough be holy, the lump is also; and if the root be holy, the branches are too. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partakers with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you , God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more shall these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? (Rom. 11:16-24)

Here Paul likens the people of God to an olive tree. The root of the olive tree is the covenant promise made to the Jewish patriarchs. The natural branches are the Jews. Now what happens when Christ comes? Does God uproot the old olive tree? Does He plant a new fig tree beside the old olive tree? Does He perhaps plant a second olive tree? The answer to all these questions is a resounding no. This passage plainly teaches that the same olive tree continued, but its unbelieving Jewish branches were broken off and new branches, believing Gentiles, were grafted in. What's the point? Classic Dispensationalism teaches that the Church and Israel are distinct, separate, two different peoples of God. The Bible's viewpoint is in stark contrast. It teaches that the Church is not a new olive tree. It is the old olive tree, but with new, believing branches. It is Israel, New Israel. Paul appears completely insensitive to "dispensational distinctions" in this passage.

Ephesians 2:11-13

Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands--remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerely were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Eph. 2:11-13)

There is a crucial question raised by verse 13. Unto what have the Gentiles been brought near? The answer to this obvious question is also equally obvious. Two consideration put the answer beyond all doubt.

First, they are clearly brought near to those things from which verse 12 says they were previously excluded. What are those things? Among other things, it is, "the commonwealth of Israel."

Second, the transition from being excluded to being included is repeated in Pul's conclusion to this passage in verse 19. Note the "so then" with which verse 19 begins. "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens" (Eph. 2:19). The Gentile fellow-believers are now said to be "fellow-citizens with the saints" (Eph. 2:19). Clearly, the "saints" here mentioned are the Jewish saints. Even more significant is the fact that the word translated "fellow-citizens" is derived from the same root translated "commonwealth" in verse 12. Paul's point is abundantly clear. Believing Gentiles are now, by the work of Christ, full citizens of the nation of Israel.


The New Covenant can be fulfilled in the Church because it is the New Israel of God. And, it must be emphasized, this is not spiritualizing. The head of the Church, the root of the Church, the apostolic foundation of the Church, even all the original members of the Church were Jews.

A radio preacher once asserted that a certain chapter of Acts was "Jewish" ground. There is, however, much more "Jewish" ground in the book of Acts than one chapter. Indeed, the whole New Testament is "Jewish" ground, because the Church itself is in its whole origin "Jewish".

Practical Implications

We have established the validity of our premise that the New Covenant is fulfilled in the Church and is its Constitution. In the process, the Classic Dispensational system of Bible interpretation has been weighed in the balance of Scripture and found wanting. We quoted, you remember, a representative spokesman of this system who said, "He who does not keep the Church and Israel distinct will inevitably not hold to dispensational distinctions. ...If the Church is fulfilling Israel's promises as contained in the new covenant or anywhere in the Scriptures, then premillennialism is condemned."

But the Bible itself refuses to keep Israel and the Church distinct as all forms of Dispensationalism do. We have already seen the position of Classic Dispensationalism on this issue. Now listen to what Robert L. Saucy presents as the view of Progressive Dispensationalism.

The biblical teaching about the roles of Israel and the Church in history reveals that although they have much in common, they remain distinctively different. Believing Israel and the members of the Church are one in their participation in the eschatological salvation of the new covenant. Because of the relationship to God that this entails, they are equally and together "the people of God." ...In both Testaments, the identity of "Israel" is always the historical people descended from Abraham through Jacob that became a nation. Israel was called to witness God's salvation to the other nations as a nation among nations. The Church, by contrast, is identified in the New Testament as a people called out of all nations. In distinction to Israel in her being and witness as a "nation," the Church is called to proclaim the kingdom salvation as individuals and as a community living is the midst of the nations, but not yet in the totality of a "nation".10

Jesus, however, said to the Pharisees, "therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it" (Matt. 21:43). Peter calls the Christians he addressed in 1 Peter "A HOLY NATION" (1 Peter 2:9). From the Bible's perspective, therefore, the Church is the exchatological nation of Israel, reconstituted according to the terms of the New Covenant. Thus, the Bible itself demands that we reject all forms of Dispensationalism at this point. This is, we realize, a blunt assertion. No offense is intended. We are not denying that many sincere and godly Christians have held and still hold to this system. We are not saying that such Christians have not taught many important biblical truths. We are simply asserting that the dispensational system with its peculiar views about the Church and Israel and prophecy is wrong.

There may be some who have never even heard of Dispensationalism, or for whome it is not an issue. What has all of this to say to you? You may be deeply influenced by an error without realizing it or even knowing its name. A warning against an error that our discussion has exposed and one not by any means restricted to dispensationalist is appropriate at this time. Beware of minimizing the importance of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Many things in Dispensationalism conspire to minimize or depreciate the importance of the Church in the plan of God. The simple fact that the Church becomes, in older Dispensationalism, one of two distinct peoples of God depreciates its importance. The fact that the really exciting prophetic events have to do with Israel deepens the problem. The great prophecies of the Old Testament are not for the Church, but for Israel, according to Dispensationalism.11 We in the Church age live in a great parenthesis in history when the prophetic clock has stopped ticking. The dispensation of the Church is doomed like all the others to end in abject failure. The visible Church is corrupt, apostate, bound to get worse, and sure to fail. The conclusion of one Classic Dispensational teacher is surely correct if such teaching is true. He said "Don't polish the brass on a sinking ship!" No wonder many professing Christians regard the Church and local Church membership as an optional or secondary part of their Christian lives. After all, isn't membership in the spiritual, invisible Church sufficient?

We must set over against all such attitudes the teaching of the Bible. The Church is the New Israel. She is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. God has no other age, no other plan, and no other organization through which His kingdom is to be peopled with the nations of the earth. The Church, says Paul, is that people "upon whom the ends of the ages has come" (1 Cor.10:11). The Church is the fruition of God's "eternal purpose which He carried out in Jesus Christ our Lord" (Eph. 3:11). Thus, Paul cries out, "to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen" (Eph. 3:21).

Be solemnly admonished, therefore, not to minimize the importance of the Church. Here are some ways the Church is minimized:
(1)By thinking of it as a mere human institution. The Church is both Divinely originated and Divinely regulated by the New Covenant. Christ established no other institution to carry on His work in the world. There are no other biblically warranted visible manifestations of that institution in the world than local churches.

(2)By sinfully neglecting membership in it. Jesus founded the Church as His New Israel. He expects His people to seek formal citizenship in it. Could it be that the casual attitude of some about Church membership is rooted in a minimizing of the Church of Christ?

(3)By resentment of its authority. Such resentment of biblical accountability to a local Church and its appointed representatives is a form of lawlessness, if the Church is, indeed, at the heart of God's plan for the ages.

(4)By vision-less stagnation in our hopes for it. It is the Church that must evangelize the lost. It is the Church that must plant other churches. It is the Church that must engage in foreign missions. It is the Church that ought to spread the Word through literature, publishing, and bookstores. It is the Church that must prepare men for the Gospel ministry. There are great things to be done, and it is the Church that must do them.

(5)By pessimistic prayerlessness for its prosperity. The Church is the appointed manifestation of the people of God, the inheritance of God, the Israel of God. It is the apple of God's eye. It is the focus of the labors of our ascended Lord. Remember Christ's words, "...I will build My Church..." (Matt. 16:18). Churches ought to pray, labor, and hope as the triumphant Israel of God.

Read Chapter 2: Antinomianism

1. It will be pointed-out below that even Progressive Dispensationalism fails to adequately deal with the promise of the New Covenant and its fulfillment in and application to the Church.
2. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1964, 1979), 124, 125.
3. Charles Caldwell Ryrie, The Basis of the Premillenial Faith (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1975), 112.
4. John Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom (Findlay, OH: Dunham, 1958), 209.
5. Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today (Chigago: Moody Press, 1965), 44-48.
6. Ryrie, Premillenial Faith, 105, 106, 111. There are other reasons for the "condemnation" of Premillenialism. See the author's The End Times Made Simple (Amityville, NY: Calvary Press, 2003).
7. Pentecost, Things to Come, 116.
8. Classic Dispensationalism argued that the writer of Hebrews never intended to teach that Israel's New Covenant was now operative. Pentecost says, "Thus, in Hebrews 8 the promise of Jeremiah is quoted only to prove that the old covenant, that is the Mosaic, was temporary from its inception, and Israel never could trust in that which was temporary, but had to look forward to that which was eternal. Here, as in Hebrews 10:16, the passage from Jeremiah is quoted, not to state that what is promised there is now operative or effectual, but rather that the old covenant was temporary and ineffectual and anticipatory of a new covenant that would be permanent and effectual in its working. It is a misrepresentation of the thinking of the writer to the Hebrews to affirm that he teaches that Israel's new covenant is now operative with the Church" (Pentecost, Things to Come, 125, 126). Pentecost does say that the New Covenant was instituted by Christ's blood, but that "these {ethnic Israelites} to whom it was primarily and originally made will not receive its fulfillment nor its blessings until it is confirmed and made actual to them at the second advent of Christ ...There certainly is a difference between the institution of the covenant and the realization of the benefits of it" (Pentecost, Things to Come, 126, 127).
9. Though Progressive Dispensationalism sees the New Covenant fulfilled in the Church, it still demands a future millenium for many prophecies of the Old Testament to find their fulfillment. This does not deal adequately with the fact that the Israel of Old Testament prophecy is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since the promise of the New Covenant in Jeremiah applies to the Church, then all other Old Testament prophecies apply to the Church (cf. 2 Cor. 6:16-7:1 where Old Testament prophecies of the New and Davidic Covenants [see also Lk. 1:54, 55, and 72, 73] where promises relating to the Abrahamic Covenant are applied to the Church). No future millennium is needed. All Old Testament prophecies concerning the future of Israel on this earth are being and will be fulfilled by the Church, whether in this age or in the age to come.
10. Robert L. Saucy, The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993), 218.
11. Both Classic and Progressive Dispensationalism teach that the great prophecies of the Old Testament are for Israel in a future millenium (cf. Saucy, Progressive Dispensationalism, 221ff.). Once it is acknowledged that the Church is the Israel of Old Testament prophecy, however, there becomes no need for a future millenium for the fulfillment of these prophecies. This is further strengthened by the fact that the New Testament constantly focuses upon the second coming of Christ, the general resurrection, the final judgment, and the New Heavens and the New Earth as the next great prophetic and eschatological events, not the millenium. See the author's The End Times Made Simple.

Authors-- Samuel E. Waldron and Richard C. Barcellos
Publisher-- Reformed Baptist Academic Press
To order this book-- Please visit Solid Ground Books
Reformed Baptist Theological ReviewTo Subscribe or order back issues, please visit RBTR

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