Does dispensationalism allow to be fulfilled the very prophecies it says must be fullfilled? Prophecies About Israel
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Does Dispensationalism Allow to Be Fulfilled

The Very Prophecies It says Must Be Fulfilled?

by Bob Pickle

  1. Dispensationalism
  2. Unfulfilled Prophecies About Israel
  3. The Problem of Ezekiel
  4. Before the New Earth's Creation
  5. Before the Second Coming
  6. When?
  7. Type and Antitype

Dispensationalism

Left Behind gave a lot of publicity to the view known as "Dispensationalism." Fathered by John Nelson Nelson Darby in the first half of the nineteenth century, Dispensationalism is a package consisting of several integrated components:

  1. The first 69 weeks of Daniel 9 began with the 20th year of Artaxerxes and ended about the crucifixion of Christ.

  2. The 70th week is yet future.

  3. The prince that confirms the covenant in Dan. 9:27 is a future antichrist who will stop the sacrifices in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.

  4. Prophecy ceased when the Jews rejected Christ.

  5. Prophecy will resume after the secret rapture.

  6. We are living in the church age during which salvation is dealt with quite differently than at a previous time.

The problems of #1 and #2 are dealt with in our paper on Sir Robert Anderson. What we want to look at here is what Dispensationalism says about the prophecies concerning Israel. Indeed, this aspect of Dispensationalism is a primary reason why the theory dies so hard.

Unfulfilled Prophecies About Israel

Some of the Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel appear not to be fulfilled. Such prophecies are typically explained by non-dispensationalists in one of three ways:

  1. The prophecy really was fulfilled after the Jews returned from Babylon in the sixth century BC.
  2. The prophecy was conditional and never will be fulfilled.
  3. The prophecy will be fulfilled toward spiritual Israel (the church), not ethnic Israel.

A fourth explanation will be proposed shortly.

Dispensationalists typically strongly object to the idea of Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled toward the church. They also object to the idea of such prophecies being conditional and never being fulfilled. Yet the very fact that Dispensationalism's timeline itself does not allow these prophecies to be fulfilled is a fatal flaw of the whole theory.

The Problem of Ezekiel

Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore. (Ezek. 37:26-28)

Ezekiel in his last chapters describes a battle with Gog and Magog, a temple, and a city. The entire prophecy is a showcase for Dispensationalism. It has never happened yet, and it must happen, the theory declares.

Before the New Earth's Creation

From our paper on the circumference of the earth, it can readily be seen that what Ezekiel was describing was a small scale model of the new earth. In technical terminology, Ezekiel's city, temple, and map were types or symbols of the antitypical New Jerusalem, temple, and new earth. Thus, if Ezekiel's temple is ever to be built, it must be built before the new earth is created. There would be no point in having two temples and two cities in the new earth. There would be no point in having the type be built after the antitype becomes a reality.

A natural reading of Revelation 20 and 21 indicates that the new earth will be created at the end of the 1000-year millennium. So 1000 years after the second coming, the new earth will be created. Ezekiel's temple must therefore be built before the end of the 1000 years.

Before the Second Coming

At the second coming, every island and mountain are moved out of their places (Rev. 6:14; 16:20). This means that the crust of the earth will disintegrate. In order for the earth to be inhabitable following the second coming, the earth would have to be recreated at the beginning of the 1000 years. Yet there is no indication that there will be any restoration of the earth at that time. Therefore, Ezekiel's temple must be rebuilt before the second coming.

When?

As brought out in our paper on the circumference of the earth, Ezekiel's temple, if the prophecy is to be fulfilled as it reads, must be rebuilt outside Jerusalem to the north (Ezek. 45:1-6). Jerusalem will need to be totally rebuilt in the form of a perfect square, with three gates to a side (Ezek. 48:31-34). It must be 4,500 cubits square, or 1.5 miles square. The temple must lie at least 1.5 miles to the north of Jerusalem's walls.

While dispensationalists would generally say that this prophecy must be fulfilled, they have failed to consider these aspects of the prophecy. No one expects these details to be fulfilled this side of the second coming. Instead, the common expectation is that the antichrist will enter into a 7-year covenant with the Jews and the temple will be rebuilt on the Temple Mount inside the city. At the end of that 7-year period, so the theory goes, the second coming will take place.

Thus while this prophecy must be fulfilled before the second coming if it is ever going to be, Dispensationalism provides no place before the second coming for it to be fulfilled. It provides no place for a square city with a temple 1.5 miles to the north.

Type and Antitype

How should we view Ezekiel's prophecy? Now for the proposal of a fourth explanation. Ezekiel' yet unfulfilled prophecy is clearly a type of the new earth. Therefore we may say that it is a prophecy about a conditional type of an unconditional antitype. Because of Israel's sins, the type will never take place, though the antitype will definitely come to pass.

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