Mss Wendy Howard & Wendy Beuster
Endtime Ministries & Christian Resource Centre
PO box 238 QUEENSLAND 4550

Dear Wendy and Wendy,

I am writing in response to your letter of the c23rd September (undated). You say in this, " How can writing make a difference? Possibly it can't"

However any time someone takes the trouble to write to me (apart from rank abusive rhetoric) I always feel obliged to note and carefully consider what they say. You see I take seriously the commitment I have to Jesus as Lord and His written Word. Because we have no "party", "group", "denomination" either we have to be the more careful not to "accept cookies" indiscriminately, so to speak, when they are handed out by other genuine believers. Although we do not have to answer to a church synod on doctrine, we do have to answer to the Lord Jesus in the near future. I have a notion that He will be a bit more discerning than any earthly examining body. On the plus side however He will also be a mite more charitable and forgiving once the evaluation is done, and certainly will have a better grasp of truth in order to do the judging.

So I have been in a flurry of research and study, because since we cut loose we hold simply to the Bible and what it teaches. We do read the work of others but we feel that the final arbiter on doctrine is the Word, and discerning between what man says and what the Bible says is often difficult.

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Despatch: Here I would make the comment that you do not seem to follow a recognised line of doctrinal truth, as the fundamentals whom we have associated with in the past, and as we do now. Our accountability structure, our immediate associates and overseas associates, our friends and subscribers, would be pre-millennial, futurists, dispensationalists et al. This is the stand of those we have come to accept as Bible-believers, and do not believe for one moment that God is a God of confusion. Where believers are confused on doctrine, our job from the Lord is to lead them into the Truth of God's Word, so that subscribers who may not be theologically inclined, and have had no previous sound study given to them in the churches, we give teaching in the Diploma Bible Studies distributed. We want no confusion amongst the flock.

This does not mean that people are not entitled to their own "integrity" of thought. One of our subscribers has grace and law mixed badly (not in regard to salvation), and we must give him the truth about this from God. Although we see that he cannot be made to accept the truth, and he has to be given time to study and come to a sound understanding, in no way would we ( or the accountability structure) imagine that it was a matter of his belief against our own belief. (end of comment). ================================================

You are right to assume that I am not a "dispensationalist" as such. I have been a member of the Baptist, Church of Christ, Christian & Missionary Alliance, Pentecostal and Independent churches. In leadership in all of them in capacity as lay-preacher or ordained minister of the gospel. I have earned degrees including Lth.; Sch.Th.; M.Div. None of these were degree factory degrees bought with money. They were gained because the Lord directed me to go to Bible College, but my attitude was that I should qualify to find acceptance with men in order to have a ministry for Jesus Christ. I learned a lot through the experience and though I now believe my motives were wrong in part I also believe that the Lord led me to begin my academic journey so that I could broaden my understanding of 1. the Bible and 2. the way men and women think when they read it.

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Despatch: Here I do believe that so much of what is learned by the means mentioned should be left to die in the past. I could cite my qualifications etc, but do not do so and never will again. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the four Bible colleges I studied with, the high level rewards I gained, are as dung. Most of the stuff had to be repented of in fact! Only the degree level hermeneutics was of value, in retrospect. The Godly men and women of the past, raised up by God, have been given as a blessing to the Body of Christ. It is a mistake to not be in close fellowship with them, just as though they were still with us. (end of comment). ==============================================

I eventually realised that God does not measure success the way we do. When he punished David for numbering the people He recorded the event for our enlightenment on this aspect (along with one or two other lessons). I began to understand that if I wanted to be in God's place of blessing and useability I would have to "circumcise" my religion. There was too much flesh in it and too much of me. I was not to follow any peer group as they always (without exception) formulate doctrine while drawing heavily on their presuppositions.

Now I have discovered that what Christian people like more than anything else is other people. Even more than they want the Lord. If the doctrines of the Bible are contrary to the way their peer group sees them, whether the group be Presbyterian, Baptist, Brethren, Catholic or Protestant then they blink and pass over them in order to reImages true to the "orthodoxy" of their particular group or denomination. According to their peer standards they can only be "sound" doctrinally if they hold to the tenets of their peer group. The devil well knows this flaw in the personality of fallen mankind and uses it to the max. His question "Hath God said?" is frequently asked today by his often unwitting agents. However I am determined to steer, as much as I am able with "Christ in me the hope of glory", a biblical path.

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Despatch: I would agree with you, in part. It is all very well to draw away from apostate denominations, and we have done the same. But is quite a different thing to draw away from the Body of Christ in history, to disregard the saints of other days and their glorious ministries, to reject sound doctrinal stands, and to "go it alone!" This is the way sects are formed. ALL groups, big or small, say they are following the Bible alone, and do not take regard for men's opinions. We would no more go it alone than fly in the air! I would not presume to think I knew better about doctrinal matters than Penn-Lewis, Larkin, Scofield, Ironside, Torrey, etc.

These are NOT apostate denominations, they are the Body of Christ, raised up by God for our enlightenment as Scripture teachers, according to God's Word. To presume that my own training and Biblical insight needs no discipline from the Body of other ages is unthinkable and dangerous. Because this points away from the "human element" of Godly teachers, and points to the one "human element", myself and my interpretation. Bancroft has been of immense help and discipline for me. It is a relatively simple matter to search the scriptures to ascertain whether these teachers are correct, and GOD alone opens our understanding. It is as though they preached still. Is it wrong to heed Godly preaching? (end of comment). ===============================================

Now having said all that you will understand why I have finally stopped visiting other churches in hope of finding one into which I can fit. I know their doctrines well enough to know that I will always discover a crucial element of error which will lead them to seek unity first and God second apart from the general slide into apostasy. Even in the fundamental camp this is so. All this not withstanding there are many born-again believers in all the sects and denominations - even in the Catholic Church amazing as it may seem God has called out and baptised His people, many of whom have come out and many more will pop out as they find the heat increasing.

Wherever God's people are I have a unity with them based on mutual kinship through the blood of Christ. With some I will not be able to be organised until the Head pulls the body together on "that day" (when ever we variously believe it will happen). In the mean time we MUST love and cooperate with one another individually, and as much as possible collectively until Jesus comes.

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Despatch: No, I accept that even people in the Catholic Church can be saved, but unity as such is based on more than acceptance of Christ as Saviour. We can love them, but God has given strict instructions about no "collectivity" with those who are doctrinally unsubmitted to God. Doctrine is the final test of reality, love and the Truth are inseparable, as II John makes so plain. It is not a matter of us being able to choose what we "variously believe" about "that day", or of it being a rather confusing matter of "it could be this, it could be that". GOD has said certain things about "that day", and never will I, or others who hold fast to the Lord, make out that it is all a matter of personal "interpretation". (end of comment). =============================================

Now I heard everything you said to me when we met and I did not take any of the conflicting data as a personal affront. I do not mind how frank you are with me any time because I want to know what you think and why. I am interested to know this so that I can check my own stand on the Word of God. I do not believe that the Pope is infallible, neither are any other heads of churches or lesser lights. Not even you dear sister are infallible, and especially I. It is almost depressing the number of things I have had to alter my view of Scripture on since we cut loose, but it is exhilarating when we see the difference it has made to our liberty in the gospel. It is a freeing thing to be an exclusive servant of Jesus Christ, to answer only to Him and His Word. There are some who say everyone needs to be submitted to a governing body to keep them stable in doctrine and accountable in ministry. However the way we look on it is that to be submitted to the teaching of the Apostles and accountable to the Lord Jesus is about as stabilising as you can get.

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Despatch: I have no personal opinion on doctrine, and whether "I" am infallible or not has nothing to do with anything! The BIBLE tells us many things, and this is what matters. Would you say that I am proudly saying that I am infallible when I state unequivocally that Salvation is by Grace through faith alone, based only on the Sacrificial Death of Christ Jesus? Of course not! It is a plain Truth revealed in God's Word. So also is salvation from the terrible wrath of God to be sent during the Tribulation! This is not my opinion, it is Truth. Where do you stand with God's Truth? No use saying, you have your truth I have mine. What is this, a no-absolutes discussion? More New Age than anything else? The thing is you do not realise how important, how clear and how absolute is God's teaching on this! (end of comment).
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I am grateful to you for the challenges you presented and which are Imagestained on your website. It has forced me back to the Word yet again and what follows is a summary, in relation to dispensationalism at least, some of my beliefs according to Scripture. However these comments are not dependent on Ironside, Pentecost, Weust, Spurgeon, Darby, Scofield, Torrey and a plethora of other experts to whom I am nevertheless indebted for input. I appeal simply to the Word of God, which I have come to see is preserved for us in the textus receptus.

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Despatch:, Michael, you are seeking to point me away from the Body of Christ, the combined teaching of history under the Lord, the raised up men of God, back to yourself, not the Scriptures. Anyone can say "I appeal simply to the Word of God", they ALL do! You would do much better by being disciplined by these saints, you need it. I say that in love, because I do not want you to drift any further into subjectivity. Maybe I am being a bit tough, but dear brother these are serious times we live in. (end of comment). ========================================

If it eventuates that you have the time to read all this and wish to respond, I would welcome that as long as you can point me to the truth in God's Word and continue to phileo me in Jesus.

I am going to assume that your view of dispensationalism in pretty well that of the traditional, middle-of-the-road view. I know you will correct me if I assume too much in this, but it will save space if I can forego outlining what I understand of your beliefs. I have gone through the material included in THE STUDY OF BIBLICAL DISPENSATIONS on your web pages and this the basis of my aforementioned evaluation. I will sometimes quote from that material and assume that you are familiar enough with it to recognise it with minimal identification of the text.

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Despatch: "your view of dispensationalism"? That is an amazing statement to me. I have no view, I would not dare to have a "view"! Who am I that I should think I can twist my own view into the matter? Dispensationalism is not a "traditional, middle-of-the road view", it is God's Word. Here I can see that you are not as solid as you might think, dear brother. You still have some sort of idea that there are views, and various differences, ways of thinking about vital doctrine, as though God's truth was a lucky dip. This is because you have had little study on fundamental doctrines. This is becoming most obvious.(end of comment). ========================================

I. IS DISPENSATIONALISM A SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINE?

Let me begin by saying that I believe that God does deal with men in different ways in different days (Acts 17:29,30).

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Despatch: There is too much of "I believe" around. It is really "what is the plain teaching of Scripture?" If we yield utterly to the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, humbly admit that we are fools who know nothing, and would fall into every error under the sun if left to ourselves, and ask God to open the Word, then we will find out the truth, and the only truth, about any given doctrine. (end of comment). ======================================

I understand from Scripture that OT revelation is different to NT revelation Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Hebrews 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

I find it very difficult however to see the connection between the Bible word "dispensation" dispensationally dividing the Scriptures. To say in the context of the course notes on dispensationalism that oikonomia is a scriptural word is grossly misleading. It is a scriptural word, but nowhere in Scripture is it used to describe the pattern of God's division of the Bible into doctrinal/historical divisions.

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Despatch: When we "rightly divide" the Word of Truth (II Timothy 2:15; Matt. 13:52), a lot of confusion is done away with. The reason why so many today are so mixed about the Jews, the Law, the Church as being Israel etc, the last Days, Christ Jesus as Prophet, Priest and King - has primarily to do with the decline of teaching about the dispensations! NOT hyper-dispensationalism, I hasten to add, which is Satan's enlargement, an unbalanced extreme. The Bible is not a "heterogeneous jumble", even though it is 39 books in the OT and 27 in the NT. There is a progressive revelation and doctrine in it. Dispenationalism simply divides the differing ages into a proper order. I am a music teacher, I always teach my students key-board harmony right at the beginning, because it shows them how the key-board works. That is the only way they can improvise in an orderly, harmonious way. The same applies to the Scriptures, if we just pick out verses from any area of the Bible, without regard to dispensations, we become disordered and inharmonious. It is strange that you say "oikonomia" does not mean "dispensation"? The Vine's Expository of Dictionary of New Testament Words does not agree with you, and vast numbers of other sources don't either. Do you want me to quote from them, it is too much work, but if you insist? Oikonomia is in reality a "mode of dealing" an "arrangement or administration of affairs", a stewardship. Vine's quote:

"Dispensation. Oikonomia, primarily signifies the management of a household or of household affairs. ...it is used of the arrangement or administration by God, by which in the "fullness of times" (or seasons) God will sum up all things in the heavens and on earth in Christ."

Strong's concordance, 3622, agrees that Oikonomia is dispensation, arrangement, administration etc. Strange that! (end of comment)
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IITimothy 2:15 does not use the gr. word oikonomia, as you say in the notes, nor does it relate to the interpretation of the meaning of the gr. word orthotomeo translated "dividing". "Dividing" here relates to the dispensing of the truth of the gospel to believers in particular if we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him - relating to the resurrection of the saints. Note the context:

2 Timothy 2:11 [It is] a faithful saying: For if we be dead with [him], we shall also live with [him]: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with [him]: if we deny [him], he also will deny us: 13 If we believe not, [yet] he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. 14 Of these things put [them] in remembrance, charging [them] before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, [but] to the subverting of the hearers. 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane [and] vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

The core truth of verse 15 then relates to understanding Scripture correctly and "cutting it straight and true" as one dispensing the gospel "bread of life" to the hungry. There is absolutely no indication in this verse or its context that it relates to applying Scripture to various dispensations.

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Despatch: This applies to ALL the ways of dealing with the Scriptures, not just the ones who apply it to! It certainly does mean "cutting it straight and true" in every way. Doctrine can be muddled up in many ways, and to simply remove dividing the Word properly into its orderly ages from the context does NOT make it so. To understand Scripture correctly involves discerning its proper historical divisions, its differing ways of God's dealings in various ages etc. Of course it relates to dispensational truth, as it does to the matters you bring up. The "core truth" is understanding Scripture correctly, which means as well understanding dispensations correctly, naturally enough. (end of comment).
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Neither is there any reference in the Bible which teaches eight dispensations.

Dispensationalism per se is therefore not biblical doctrine, though there may be different ways in which God deals with men throughout history, there is no teaching of Scripture which indicates eight, seven or six dispensations. Neither is the word oikonomia used in that sense.

You say in the beginning of the introduction to the course, "what does the word dispensation actually mean, and why is it perhaps the most important aspect of bible study the student can ever grasp?" This is an assumption or presupposition. It is powerful to teach it in this way because it suggests to the simple student mind that all this is theologically correct and hermeneutically sound. It is however misleading and wrong because this is not an "aspect of Bible study" but a presupposition of some Bible scholars unless you can find Scripture that lays dispensationalism out as a doctrine or at the very least defines the seven or eight divisions.

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Despatch: Not so! That is as naive as saying that the word "Trinity" is not found in Scripture. The dispensational teaching IS "theologically correct and hermeneutically sound", and it is certainly not "simple" to accept and rejoice in it. It is misleading to say it is not sound. It is not a presupposition of some Bible scholars, it is rather yourself who has departed, Michael. Your presupposition (possibly learned in some college or other) that has convinced you that there is no basis for sound doctrinal structures. Here again you have "gone it alone", and you do not have a sound understanding of the doctrines. You seem to be looking for some artificial notice board saying, "here endeth the first dispensation, go onto the next."

Just to seek to give you a grasp of the concept of dispensation might be wasted time, but here goes. The Edenic Dispensation is an example. It begins with the creation of Adam, an obvious start. God deals with the first two humans in a totally different way than any others after them? Why? They haven't fallen in sin yet. There is a test, do not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They fail the test, they fall in sin, and are expelled from the Garden of Eden. End of dispensation of innocence. No repeat of God's dealings again, no more Adam as federal head of the human race etc. (Next Adam is Christ Jesus Himself). The beginning, test and ending are as clear as crystal. Yet, you say you cannot see where the start and end of dispensations happen, no such thing in Scripture. Shall I go on? This is a bit like Sunday School.

The start of the Antediluvian Dispensation is obvious, it starts straight after the Dispensation of Innocence. It is an age of conscience, there has been given no written law as yet. When does it end, some strange unrecognisable, man-made division? No, it ends clearly at the Flood. Humans fail the test to live by their own God-given consciences. Different conditions all together are going to take place after this dispensation.

When does the next dispensation begin, some strange human invented division? Not at all, it begins after the Flood. Post- diluvian. It ends when the test of living by human government in perfect way ends. At the Tower of Babel. The Dispensations are probationary periods to do with morals and rebellion or submission to the Lord God.

The Patriarchial Dispensation begins with the Call of Abraham, the great patriarch of the Hebrews, upon which the covenant of God with the Hebrews begins. naturally enough it ends with the all of Abraham's descendants living as slaves in Egypt. This post Exodus. Is this a sort of manufactured division of dispensations? of course it is not! It is sound, recognisable, sensible and correct.

The next dispensation naturally enough begins with the slaves coming out of Egypt in the Exodus. It is called Law because God gives the Law in the wilderness to Moses, God's dealings with man are based on Written Law. It ends when the Law is fulfilled by our Saviour - at the Cross. he kept the Law in our stead, and died according to the Law, the soul that sinneth shall surely die.

The Ecclesiastical Dispensation is easily seen , just as the others are, it begins at the Cross, the Jews have rejected their Messiah and have been laid aside for a time. (Romans 11). It will end when God takes up the Jews again, and the Church Age will be over. The Dispensation of Judgement is easy to see. The beginning of it is the close of the Church Dispensation, and the end is the end of the Seven Years of Tribulation.

The Age of Ages naturally starts with Christ's Second Coming it is a Dual Age, with the Millennial Reign leading into the earth "Renovated by Fire." No end, of course.

I have not gone extensively into this because of time and inclination. I am just trying to answer your contention that the dispensations are difficult to work out etc. They are difficult for you because you have not been taught them nor have you studied them seriously. The opposite is the case, the Bible practically and without any pretensions divides into the dispensations. Also the tests of each dispensation are seen as clearly as the time slots. Why then do you have such problems Michael? (end of comment). ============================================

The JW's challenge us the same way in relation to the teaching of the Trinity. The difference in the Trinity debate however is that the Bible directly relates to and defines three distinct Persons of Godhead sometimes in the one verse (eg. Matt 28:19) So they are left to retranslating the Scriptures on order to find their so called "truths". It is sad to see that the NKJV has followed the New World Translation. It has rightly stamped it with the devils approval the mobious symbol on the front page and cover.

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Despatch: this is a sad comment! You are actually treating basic fundamental doctrines as similar to JWs??? JWs are not even Christians, they are a sect. They deny every doctrine of the Bible. Your Christian brothers and sisters have submitted to the Word of God and its division throughout Church history, YOU are the odd one out here, and in danger of teaching sectarian doctrines. YOUR ideas are like JWs in reality. Who is the "us" in your statement? If it is yourself, your family and your little congregation, then you are in trouble indeed. (end of comment).
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II. DOES THE BIBLE ITSELF BLUR THE BOUNDARIES OF SO CALLED DISPENSATIONS?

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Despatch: NO!
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(a.) There are Scriptures which blur the boundaries even between OT and NT, between Israel and the Church: The OT prophesies... Amos 9:11 11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: 12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.

James tells us in the following passage the restoration of the tabernacle of David which is fallen (Amos 9:11) is fulfilled in the Gentile Church:-

Acts 15:13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men [and] brethren, hearken unto me: 14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. 19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

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Despatch: Here I can see great misunderstanding. Ask yourself, did I learn this in some college or other? Be honest, and come to God for His Truth. There is no blurring of the dispensations at all. In reality you have misunderstood these passages. I cannot fathom what you could possibly mean by the original statement! (end of comment).
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(b.) THE BIBLE TEACHES IN FACT THAT THE CHURCH IS THE "NEW ISRAEL"; Galatians 6:15 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace [be] on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. The Church is scattered abroad: Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. and by the time James writes his general epistle to the church he sees no anomaly in calling them the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad. He cannot be specifically referring to the twelve tribes of the Jews because by the time of the NT the ten tribes of Israel were lost historically. The Jews of Jesus day were the remnant of the tribe of Judah in the Images and specifically followers of Judaism. However we know that NT teaching disparages the Judaisers so James is writing to Christians perhaps of Jewish background but certainly not distinguished by the demarcation of twelve literal tribes and certainly not separate from gentile believers as this is a general epistle. James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Now Paul tells us: Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. The church - or New Testament believers - therefore according to the Scriptures are spiritual Israel and of course ipso facto and according to Scripture again, (Ac 7:38 cf. 1Corinthians 101-5) Israel is the OT church.

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Despatch: this in no way blurs dispensationalism! It simply means that the spiritual promises to Abraham have blessed the Gentiles also, as God promised. Don't you know about the difference between the earthly promises to Israel and the spiritual blessings to the Church, and the differences therein? The Jewish dispensations, up to the Cross of Calvary, were a block of God's dealings with the Jews and through them the world. Then came the Church Age, when the covenants to Israel became the New Covenant or New Testament, when the promises and covenants spiritually embraced the Christian Church. This was a parenthesis period, it is still. When the Tribulation comes, God will again take up the Jews as His people, who will suffer in the first instance the judgement of the Lord , then enter into the New Covenant. The promises to the Israel per se are earthly, the promises to the Church are heavenly etc. There seems to be huge areas where you are not aware at all of doctrine, Michael. What can be done? (end of comment). ================================================

(c.) OT BELIEVERS AND NT BELIEVERS ARE CALLED SAINTS IN THE BIBLE 1 Samuel 2:9; 2 Chronicles 6:41; Psalms 16:3; / Ac 9:13; Ro 1:7

(d.) DOES GOD DEMAND A DIFFERENT QUALIFICATION FROM OT AND NT SAINTS FOR SALVATION? ANSWER - NO.

Heb 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Hab 2:4 Behold, his soul [which] is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Gal 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, [it is] evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

Heb 11:4 By faith Abel Heb 11:5 By faith Enoch Heb 11:7 By faith Noah Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and [in] mountains, and [in] dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

If they not without us then we not without them - these all looked forward to the coming Redeemer, the Messiah. They looked forward we back to the promise fulfilled.

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Despatch: Ditto to the last comment! I guess it will end up with me having to show you all the problems you have here. It really is disappointing! You should know much better than this. Do you think that dispensationalism teaches that people are saved in different ways in the OT and NT, and that the OT saints were not saved by trust in Christ Jesus' death? (In shadow in the OT sacrifices). That is not so, only hyper apostates teach that, people like Peter Ruckman. (end of comments).
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(e.) EVEN THE OLDEST REVELATION IN THE BIBLE, THE BOOK OF JOB, DEMONSTRATES THAT BELIEVERS THEN KNEW THAT EVEN THE SAINTS ARE NOT RIGHTEOUS IN AND OF THEMSELVES, NOR BY WORKS: Job 15:14 What [is] man, that he should be clean? and [he which is] born of a woman, that he should be righteous? 15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. 16 How much more abominable and filthy [is] man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

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Despatch: What subject are you now on? Dispensationalists do not teach that the OT believers were saved by works! (end of comments).
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III. IS THE GOSPEL OF KINGDOM OF GOD DIFFERENT TO OR THE SAME AS THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION?

(a.) THE APOSTLES THEMSELVES WERE ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN PREACHING THE KINGDOM OF GOD TO THEIR GENERATION.

Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised, both men and women.

Acts 19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.

Acts 20:25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.

Acts 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into [his] lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and [out of] the prophets, from morning till evening.

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Despatch: You don't seem to understand the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom in Mystery etc. This only shows how much you need the scholars of the Body of Christ. Larkin would be such a help here, Michael. (end of comment).
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(b.) THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS A SPIRITUAL KINGDOM RELATED TO THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT:

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Paul calls Jesus Justus his fellow worker for the Kingdom of God contemporarily Colossians 4:11 And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only [are my] fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.

Paul cautions the Corinthians and the Galatians not to accept any other gospel: 2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or [if] ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with [him].

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

The following verse must therefore relate to the gospel of Christ and the gospel of salvation and the gospel of the kingdom which are one and the same: Revelation 14: 6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

Conclusion : The gospel - i.e. the good news - is the same in any age, the blood of the Lamb cleanses our sin and blots out our transgressions as a thick cloud.

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Despatch: there are different FORMS of the Gospel stressed, but never another way to be saved - Christ is the Only Way. If you imagine that I teach or believe anything else you are much mistaken! But, there are different FORMS ONLY mentioned in the Word, and have significant meanings. I can do a whole study on this for you if you want, but I shouldn't have to, you should know yourself. Let me know if you must have a full study on this important matter, and I will immediately do it. You have people to be responsible to Michael, it is a serious business to be a teacher or pastor. You have two Images problems, going it alone, and not understanding dispensationalism and fundamental doctrine properly. That is being frank, but it is true. I guess you don't like me by now, but words fail me really. (end of comment).
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WILL THE CHURCH PASS THROUGH THE TRIBULATION? First let me say that the idea that God will take His Church out of the world to avoid the Great Tribulation is not congruent with the Bible's general teaching on the subject of tribulation.

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Despatch: here you do not understand what the period of the Tribulation is. What you are saying is paramount to saying that God would have sent the Flood on Noah and family. Or that He would have sent the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah on Lot. It is like making a promise to Noah, getting himself and his family into the Ark, then sinking it under the Flood. Jesus Christ is our Ark of safety, and we will never be sunk under the Wrath of God. (Rev.3:10; Romans 8:1; 11 Peter 2:4-9).

The following of your comments are not applicable to the discussion, they are to do with tribulation as in trial, persecution etc, not The Tribulation period of seven years, with the last three and a half years being the Great Tribulation.

WILL THE CHURCH GO THROUGH THE TRIBULATION?
The Church Age began with a glorious act of Grace from God, the Cross of Calvary. It will end with a glorious act of Grace, the Rapture. God cannot bring about His dealings with the Jews again in the Time of Jacob's Trouble (The Tribulation), until the Rapture ends the Church Age.

The Tribulation is declared by God to be "Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, nor ever shall be" (Matt. 24:21). This means it is worse than Sodom and Gomorrah and the Flood! It is a time of acute travail and suffering, brought on the Jewish nation and the Gentile nations. It will be global in scope, a cosmic judgement in the same ilk as the Flood, only worse, because in the Flood the people simply died. Men will cry out to die, but will not in the Trib. (Rev. 6:12-17). Go over the whole book of Revelation, and mark the times it says it is the Wrath of God or the Lamb!

The whole course of nature will be dislocated in the Tribulation, filling the inhabitants of the earth with dread and perplexity. The very earth will be mightily shaken and affected. See these verses: Isaiah 24:17-20; 13:13; 2:19-21.

The Tribulation is characterised by the outpouring of the divine wrath and vengeance, but the believer is made eternally free of this by virtue of the Cross of Calvary (Romans 8:1). This Tribulation is NOT the affliction you mention in your notes. There are at least three Greek words we should look at now.

There is the word "thlibo" which means to press or afflict, used in 1 Thess.3:4, then there is a kindred word "thlipsis" which means pressure or afflication, and this is used to describe the sufferings of Christians generally.

This word is also used of the Great Tribulation, when the Trib, saints suffer (those who are saved after the Rapture, Rev.ch.7). Matt 24:21, 24,29; Rev.7:14. But the word which is of greatest interest here is the word "orge", translated "wrath." This word is found in many passages connected with the Tribulation:

Rev.6:16; 6:17; 16:19; 19:15. It is the form of Wrath against which John the Baptist warned his hearers in Matt.3:7. It is referred to in Rom,ans 1:18 as the wrath of God revealed from heaven against unrighteousness.

As far as the unrepentant sinner goes, the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36). But Romans 5:9 assures we believers that "we shall be saved from wrath through him." The particular judgement of the Tribulation, shown by the word "orge" is judical and penal, it is a judgement as a punishment, just as the Flood was, it is vengeance reserved for evil-doers unsaved. From this form of wrath every believer in the shed Blood of Christ is exempt, otherwise it would mean a denial of the most precious and vital principle of the Gospel that Chris suffered for sin.

We are assured in 1 Thess.5:9, "God hath not appointed us to wrath (orge) but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ". God shows us again in 1 Thess.1:10: "Whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath (orge) to come." The tense here is FUTURE.

Why, you might query, will God rescue the Church out of the Tribulation when He has not intervened in the past to rescue her? The reason is the very best one could want. The Church in the past has suffered the wrath of man and the devil, but the Tribulation period of seven years is the Wrath of God, something quite distinct, it has never happened like this Trib.ever before in the earth's or the Church's history! Believers in the past have never suffered under God's judicial displeasure and wrath, and we will not either.

WHAT ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE CHURCH TO THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE APPEARANCE OF THE ANTICHRIST? (II Thess.2:7-8). (here I was going to do a lot more, but time is short and my work is massive. I Can do a lot more, if it would help in any way). (end of comment)
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Jesus taught overcoming in tribulation:

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Paul taught that tribulation is a normal experience for the believer:

Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

What does the bible teach about "tribulation"?

Deuteronomy 4:30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, [even] in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;

The Jews of the latter days tribulation are encouraged to repent - there is hope offered them.

Jud 10:14; 1Sa 26:24; - tribulation = trouble Mt 13:21 tribulation = persecution

Mt 24:21 tribulation = like previous times of trouble but worse than any before or after.

Joh 16:33; Ac 14:22; tribulation = naturally occurring trouble for the believer as a result of persecution.

Ro 8:35; Rom 2:8-11 tribulation = is also included with wrath and judgement but still means trouble and affliction.

Ro 12:12; Ro 5:3 tribulation = trouble working patience

2Co 1:4 tribulation = trouble in which we receive comfort.

2Co 7:4 tribulation = in which Paul was exceedingly joyful.

1Th 3:4; 2Th 1:6; Re 1:9; Re 2:9; Re 2:10 tribulation = trouble

Re 2:22 tribulation = trouble upon unbelieving world in order to bring them to repentance.

Re 7:14 tribulation = the great tribulation or trouble, out from which believers are redeemed by the blood of Christ. Conclusion: If the plain sense makes commonsense seek no other sense applies here because tribulation, the Bible word OT heb. tsar and NT gk thlipsis translates best as the dictionary definition of the English word tribulation which summarises as trouble oppression suffering.

(a.) The consistent call for believers is to trust God to enable them to bear trials.

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Despatch: you have not taken into account "orge" at all! It is misunderstanding one after the other! This is NOT what the Trib. is about, Michael. (end of comment).
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1Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

(b.) There is no indication that tribulation is judgement in the Bible, although judgement is trouble for the judged.

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Despatch: you are quite wrong here, as I have already pointed out!
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(c.) Judgement is different in that when God passes judgement death ensues upon all who are judged where trouble is a teacher for the compliant believer (Romans 5:3):-

1. The first world perished in the flood by God's doing - the Lord's people were taken out in the ark

2. Sodom and Gomorrah were annihilated by God - God's people Lot and his family were taken to safety.

3. When God Judges the nations at Armageddon - His people are caught up and the people who are judged are annihilated by God.

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Despatch: you need to READ the book of Revelation, and mark all the references to God's wrath and judgement. All the seals, and trumpets, vials etc are judgements from God, not just Armageddon! The Wrath of God occurs right through the Trib.period. Look at Rev.16:1 for just one tiny example, as the vials pour out the wrath of God upon all the earth in judgement. God has to remove His people BEFORE He sends such penal and judicial suffering on the earth. You are really muddled up, Michael, sad to say. (end of comment). ========================================

V. IS THERE ANY INDICATION OF THE CHURCH AFTER CHAPTER 4 OF REVELATION?

(a.) THE SCRIPTURE REVEALS ITS OWN SYMBOLIC NATURE

While we should take the literal sense of Scripture when it is commonsensical, on the other hand Scripture itself declares its symbolism, not only in obvious passages but also in places which seem straight forward. For instance: the prophesy Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

the fulfilment in the first instance: Matthew 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive [it], this is {i.e. John the Baptist - see context}Elias, which was for to come. 15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

the future fulfilment: 10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? Matt 17 11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

There is no indication in the first instance of Scripture (Malachi 4:5 ) that Elijah is a "spiritual" Elijah. But Jesus Himself declares the interpretation of this passage and we note the "Elijah" is really John the Baptist. This is called typology and there are many instances in Scripture, especially in relation to Jesus Christ.

Many literalists claim that one of the two witnesses will be Elijah literally returned, however in the light of this evidence there can be no certainty that the fulfilment of Mal 4:5 and Matthew 17:11 will eventually see Elijah arrive in person. We can only hope that if we are around we will have better discernment than the Scribes, the Pharisees and the Disciples of Jesus' day when the "Elias" who heralds the second coming arrives.

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Despatch: this didn't really answer the question you posed at the beginning, so I will repeat it again. "Is there any indication of the Church after chapter 4 of Revelation?" The answer is NO! Examine for yourself, there is NO mention of the ecclesia after Rev. chapter four, until chapter 19, The marriage of the Lamb, there are only the saved of the Tribulation period in the Trib. The call of Rev.4: 1 is a fulfilment of 1 Thess.4:14-17.

Typology does not alter literal interpretation, see our Web Site with the typology of Israel in the College studies. John the Baptist had a ministry like Elias, but he said himself he was NOT Elias (John 1:21). I would agree that Elijah will be one of the two witnesses, because: Malachi 4:5,6 predicts that God will send Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord (The Tribulation), not to witness at Christ Jesus' first advent. The significant thing is the mention of the Great Tribulation. The two witnesses come in the first three and a half years of Trib. Note that the ministry of the two witnesses echoes Elijah's, preventing rain for three years (1 Kings 17:1 cf. Rev.11:6). There is much more to write here, but time is getting away from me. (end of comment). ===========================================

(b. ) FIGURES OF SPEECH ARE LEGION IN THE BIBLE. The Companion Bible lists and identifies them in meticulous detail. Some ore obvious and some are not so obvious. However one of the metaphorical references to the Church is "the mystery" :

not so clearly here but nevertheless evident in that the "wild olive branch" - the Church - is referred to as "this mystery".... Rom 11:24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural [branches], be graffed into their own olive tree? 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. {blindness: or, hardness} 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

another oblique reference is 1 Corinthians 2 :7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

A little clearer is this reference to those who are gathered together in Christ: Eph 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him:

These verses speak for themselves: Ephesians 3:3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

(Please note that the Scripture here also declares that the Jews of the promise OT and the Gentile believers who are in Christ are of the same body - the Church a stated earlier. )

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Despatch: NOT OT Jews, Church Age Jews, who have turned to Christ. We are all One Body in Him! Not sure what you think here. Do you think the OT Israel and the Christian Church are some how merged? Not so! The Jews and the Gentiles are one only in the Church Age, in Christ Jesus (Ephesian 2;14; Romans 1:16; Galatians 3:20; Col. 3:11 etc). Not sure how we got onto this subject, you are not clear Michael. are you saying that somehow the dispensations are merged Israel into the Church Age? That is a total misunderstanding, if so! (end of comment). ========================================

Ephesians 3:9 And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

Colossians 1:26 [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

(a.) The teaching of these passages demonstrates that in God's economy or dispensation of grace, the church is one body made up of spiritual Israel OT and NT Gentile and Jew.

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Despatch: Michael, spiritual Israel is NOT the nation of Israel, which has been laid aside. The Dispensation of Law finished with the Church Age of Grace. What is the confusion here? OT Israel is NOT in view in the Church Age, it is the promises to Abraham, which embraces the Gentiles. The Abrahamic Covenant is a by-faith covenant (Romans 4:1-22; Galatians 3:6-29). we are heirs with Israel spiritually, that does not make some sort of merging of the dispensations! I hardly know where you are coming from, what did you learn at colleges? I don't mean to be rude, but it such a muddle! My case rests really. See what "going it alone" has done? Frankly, you have departed from the Faith in a number of strategic ways! It gets worse as you go along, friend. (end of comment). =========================================

(b.) In light of these things the Bible again interprets itself when it says in Revelation 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

This verse in Revelation when it is taken in context gives us the who, what and when of the rapture. When the seventh trumpet is about to sound is when, just as the angel is putting the trumpet to his lips or immediately prior to the blowing of it

The mystery being finished gr teleo brought to a conclusion, expired, fulfilled indicates the completion of the number to be included in the Church

When the angel actually sounds these things happen:

15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. 16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, 17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

If you are still with me dear sister, you will at least by now see that, even though you may not immediately agree with what I have written, I have not taken my position lightly or carelessly.

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Despatch: I am with you, but amazed! You HAVE taken your position lightly and carelessly, you have not studied your subjects properly at all. All I can suggest to move you out of this muddle is sound books to get you back on the track. Take me seriously Michael, you have a responsibility to do better than this. Clarence Larkin's expensive, large book (worth every bit of the money) called "Dispensational Truth", pub. Rev Clarence Larkin Est, could get it from Evangelistic Literature Enterprise, Strathpine, would be a good start. Bancroft "Christian Theology" Zondervan Pub. House, is another.

You possibly do not know anyone game enough or doctrinal enough to call you to account. At the risk of losing you altogether, I am doing so. You are not managing just reading the KJV without sound scholars. This is no shame, go to God and get wisdom here. (end of comment). ================================================

I know that the immediate reaction in any engagement in apologetics is to rush to see how one can refute the adversary. I hope that you will not take this option as I am not trying to prove I am right, simply to share with you what I have discovered from the Bible and why I believe what I believe. If we debate we will not arrive at the truth. I have seen debates in which the winning side has "proved" things such as "The banks are looking after our interest" or "Wars are righteous because right conquers" and all kinds of other "dopey" subjects.

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Despatch: I am hardly going to try to prove you right or wrong, you are too far away. There is so much that you are not aware of, too many things to clarify. The Truth is the Truth. The trouble is "what I have discovered from the Bible"! You have cut yourself adrift from the anchor of the Body of Christ historically and contemporarily. "You" have become the authority, not the Word of God. Can you see that? I want to help, really do, but maybe you have gone too far down this seductive road. (end of comment). =================================================

We may be encouraged to give and answer for what we believe the Apostle Peter says; 1Pet 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Too many of us forget the last phrase. I have told you what I believe. If you can show me flaws in my reasoning or mis-quoting of Scripture I will be ever grateful to you. But in meekness I believe that the most important thing we can be about in this day and age is saving the lost and enlightening the wavering believer who might be deluded concerning the great deception which is now in full swing, which thing I do through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Despatch: there are so many flaws I am blown away. Will you be ever grateful to me? I doubt it, I doubt you will even believe that you could be making such giant mistakes in doctrine. It is that you have by-passed the sound theological background you needed, and now do not seek direction any more. I am praying even as I write that God will open your eyes to the wiles of the enemy. He has you out on a limb, a shakey one, and he has not finished with you yet. That is the sad part. (end of comment).
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If there is a way we can cooperate it is my belief that we are obliged to find it (Ro 12:10; Ga 5:13; 1Pe 1:22; 1Jo 3:14; 1Jo 3:16). Remember the purpose of prophesy: Romans 15:3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. 4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind [and] one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

I reImages your humble servant in Christ Jesus,

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Despatch: you love the Lord Jesus Christ, I know that, but you are influencing other people. There are so many today who are trumpets with a confused sound, what a tragedy. You need to start again, get a solid grasp of Scripture. I sense that you will not listen, but I urge you to consider the fact - you do not know doctrine well. Get the books I have suggested, what does it matter if you are humbled, all that matters is Truth and teaching it. Even a Bible commentary like Willmington's Guide to the Bible would be good, it is filled with doctrine on all subjects, like Salvation, Prophecy, the Church, Israel etc. Let me know what you decide, we are praying for you.

You may imagine that I am just piqued that you do not agree, not so. I am saddened, disappointed, wanting to shake you out of it and know I cannot, taking it hard because here is another person who is not on the ball, and is nearly playing in another ball-park altogether. Who is your sounding board? Who reflects back to you about where you are going doctrinally? My sounding board is every solid saint of God who preached the Truth uncompromisingly, the rich fabric of doctrinal discourse found in volumes in my library, the Body of Christ of all ages as we examine the Bible together before the Lord God, together we live by the Word of God and obey it. True humility is to know that others of greater ability in God went before, and to fear to depart and lead others astray, because "I" would not be taught by the Body, under the Lord. This vastly different than refusing to compromise with the apostate denominations.

If I sound "unloving" it is because I do not know how to "love" you without being tough. Get your act together brother! We are not rejecting you and yours, but there is no way we can co- operate with this! Go away if you like, but that will not alter your situation.

Wendy Howard. 7th October 1997.

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-----------------Michael