I recently ran across a video about dispensationalism. Actually it was not so much about dispensationalism as it was the pre-tib rapture, but the first video in the series was all about why you cannot believe in a pre-trib rapture, unless you believe in dispensationalism. Thus the video began by spending a good portion of time showing why dispensationalists believe in this doctrine of dispensationalism.
I have had trouble understanding why pre-tribbers have such a hard time seeing the rapture as anything but a pre-trib rapture, given the multitude of Scriptures that refute it. I grew up with the dispensational and pre-trib doctrine, unfortunately, but I guess I never really put it together that pre-trib is the only viewpoint one can take if one is a dispensationalist, otherwise the whole belief system falls apart. This is why it is so heartily defended. To let go of a pre-trib doctrine is to let go of the entire dispensational belief system.
In this youtube video (titled Les Feldick Why We Stand on Pre-Trib Rapture) a Mr. Les Feldick from the Les Feldick Ministries was explaining that hatred is growing for the pre-trib rapture position. He posits that this is not because people have studied their Bibles and have found it to be unscriptural, but that they do not believe in a rapture. He says, “We're gonna start on the premise that you cannot, you cannot understand the concept of the rapture and the tribulation, and the Second Coming, and the kingdom without being a dispensationalist.”
The first error one can see in this statement, which represents the dispensational viewpoint, is that the concept of a rapture cannot be understood unless you are a dispensationalist. (The idea that you cannot understand the concept of the tribulation, Second Coming and God's Kingdom without being a dispensationalist is not even worthy of arguing, it is so absurd.) The truth is, the tribulation, rapture, Second Coming, and kingdom can all be seen by anyone who studies the Scriptures. What will not be seen is a pre-trib rapture, unless you adopt a dispensational approach to the Scriptures. If you do not hold to dispensationalism, which by definition requires a pre-tribulational rapture, you will not come to the conclusion of a pre-tribulation rapture at all. So the situation exists that their entire doctrine of dispensationalism falls apart if a pre-trib rapture does not exist and vice versa. Apart from this belief system, one will not see a pre-tribulational rapture in the Scriptures.
Mr. Feldick then continues to explain that the word “dispensation” is hated and feared by those who do not agree with dispensationalism and a pre-trib rapture. This view is also an absurd idea. We do not fear it, although we dislike it, because it leads people astray from the truth. We see it as an obstacle to the truth and keeping people in deception. A deception which will cause many to fall from the faith when their expectations are not fulfilled and they do not understand what is going on. But that is the end result of the belief. What we need to examine is how they came to the idea of dispensations at the start.
It is then explained that the idea of dispensationalism comes from the Bible itself, and Mr. Feldick references the only four verses in the Bible that use the word “dispensation” and from which they build their doctrine and the use of the word. He says, “Dispensationally speaking, everything that God has done from Adam in the garden, down through the very end of the kingdom age and we go into eternity, is based on a dispensational approach to Scripture. Now we usually define a dispensation as simply as possible. A dispensation is a period of time during which God deals with the human race in a particular way.” He then uses the comparison of a person going to a doctor and getting a prescription which he gets filled. This first prescription has instructions. Then going back for another ailment, the person gets another prescription with different instructions. The person combines the two prescriptions thinking it more efficient, but then has no instructions to follow thus creating confusion as to what to do with the medicine. He says that to use the whole Bible to understand the rapture and end times is like mixing medicines. You will only end up with confusion, because you are trying to mix the teachings of one dispensation with the teachings of another.
The trouble with this comparison is that it bears no resemblance to the actual situation. First of all, man has only one ailment. Sin. There is and has always been only one prescription or remedy for sin - salvation through Jesus Christ. From the beginning, God's instructions were to believe in God, have faith in the promise of a redeemer, and obey whatever commands God gives. That was what was at the beginning and that is exactly the way it has been ever since. We have not been given two different medicines which we must not mix. There is only one way of God's dealing with man and man responding to God. God extends us grace to believe, have faith, and obey Him. Nothing has changed. There are not two medicines with two completely different set of instructions. Belief and faith, which are the essential aspects, never change. Neither does the command to be obedient. The essential rules, the Ten Commandments, were around long before Moses and always will be around. They have not been done away with. Other rules (such as temple rules) may have only been for a particular time as most of the civil, temple, dietary, and etc. laws were for a nation under a theocracy, not for the world at large nor for all of time. Before the flood God forbid the eating of flesh. After the flood He instituted it. These rules are not about salvation, they are simply rules for living under the conditions God has given, which change, so thus do the rules for living. The Ten Commandments on the other hand are the guide for living a holy life in righteousness, pleasing to God, so they are unalterable, but salvation comes through faith in the redeemer alone, not through the laws. This is how it has always been from Adam and Eve to today and will be up through to eternity.
Abraham knew about God's commandments and statutes, and I suspect so did the patriarchs before him, or he would not have known them either. Genesis 26:5 “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” God told Israel to remember the Sabbath. It was a statute from the very first week of creation. I am pretty sure “thou shalt not kill” was instituted after Cain killed Abel. For those who think Christians are under no obligation to keep the commandments, Christ told us in John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” I know many a Christian who argue that Christ reduced them to simply “love”, but if one looks at the Ten Commandments, one sees that the guidelines for how to love both God and our neighbor are found there. Therefore we should be keeping them. The testimony (which is what God calls the Ten Commandments) is found in the ark in heaven. I think if God has established them there, they are pretty important for us to observe. Revelation 11:19 “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”
One of the first problems we encounter in this laying down of the foundation of the doctrine of dispensation is that a completely wrong definition of the word “dispensation” is used to build the doctrine. While the dictionary might define it as “a system of order, government, or organization of a nation, community, etc., especially as existing at a particular time,” the Greek word “oikonomia” which has been translated “dispensation” does not mean that, even though it seems that the dispensationalists use that definition to build their doctrine. They are wrong. It means, according to Strong's concordance, “administration of a household or estate, stewardship.” In other words, it is not a system of government or organization that God changes with each new era. It means to have stewardship over something that belongs to another. If one looks at the four verses that are quoted, one sees that this is the way it should be understood, not as a way of God dealing with man, which has never changed, or a time period. It is merely the outer trappings which have changed. To use a metaphor, the clothes on the man, as it were, have changed, not the man inside them. The following four verses are the basis for a dispensational doctrine.
1 Corinthians 9:17 “For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.”
Ephesians 1:10 “That in the dispensation of the fulness 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:”
Ephesians 3:2 “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to youward:”
Colossians 1:25 “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;”
In 1 Corinthians it does not say that a period of time of God's dealing with man has been committed to Paul. It says that the stewardship of the gospel (keeping it in truth, watching over it) has been committed to Paul as he will spread it.
In Ephesians 1:10 Mr. Feldick says that this verse does not refer to our present dispensation, but to another time period in the future. Does it not rather say that in the administration of the household of God, Christ will gather all which are in heaven and earth unto Him under His stewardship?
In Ephesians 3:2 it is not talking of the time period of God's grace which is given to Paul for us. It is the stewardship of the administration of the house of God which was given to Paul over the church. Paul was an apostle. He was an authority on what God's house should be. It is not speaking of a time period, it is speaking of stewardship. We look to Paul's writings to help us understand how we relate to the Old Testament, not how we can forget it exists.
Mr. Feldick says that God used rules to deal with man until Christ came and gave us grace. Adam and Eve had one rule. After they sinned a new dispensation began. Then another new dispensation under the Laws of Moses. This is not true. The original rule itself was irrelevant. It was the obedience that counted. The knowledge of good and evil did not exist in the fruit. It existed in the disobedience. It has not always been about the rules and each new dispensation brought a new set of rules that provided the means of salvation for their time period. God has not dealt with man in different ways at different times, because He had different rules. God has always extended grace to those who had faith. By grace through faith has always been the way of salvation. Adam and Eve didn't need salvation until after they sinned. That was when God started dealing with man about salvation. Rules were merely in place to show us a guide for living righteously before God, or in the case of Israel as the laws of a nation for civil and religious obedience. And in the case of the Ten Commandments, to also show us our sin. Rules and sacrifices were never a means of salvation....... ever. They were a way of showing obedience and belief and faith in the promise. God did not deal with man by rules alone....... ever. He punished disobedience just as He still punishes disobedience. The rules have nothing to do with how God deals with man on the issue of salvation. The means of salvation has been and always will be by grace through faith.
God's grace has existed from the beginning. Genesis 6:8 “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Exodus 33:17 “And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.” Jeremiah 31:2 “Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.” God has always dealt with man in one way, by grace through faith. It was always belief and faith that brought God's grace, along with obedience. The rules were merely for us to show God our love and obedience, not to earn our salvation.
James 2:23 “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”
Hebrews 11:3-39 “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace. And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise.”
It does not say that all of these people obtained salvation through obeying the laws of their dispensation. God dealt with all of them the same way. They believed and had faith. They obtained the good report through faith, even though they never saw the promise of the Savior in their lifetimes.
In Colossians 1:25 Paul says he has been made a minister by the dispensation of God. God chose him to be a steward of the gospel. He was responsible for presenting the gospel and training Christian believers. That is what is meant here. He is not teaching them to forsake the Old Testament and adopt an entirely new belief that has nothing to do with Judaism. Not at all. Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. The trappings were to change, but the message is the same one Israel was given. They were to expect a Savior to save them from their sins. One who would eventually set up His kingdom on earth. We also believe in a Savior who saves us from our sins and will set up His kingdom on earth. There is no difference in the message. God is dealing with us through His plan of redemption which existed from eternity.
While Mr. Feldick would have us eschew the Old Testament, in Hebrews we are told to move on from the basics of the faith, repentence, baptism, etc., which is the “milk” and move on to the “meat”. As the only other “meat” at the time was the Old Testament, given that the New Testament was not created yet, and all people heard and knew was the gospel of Jesus Christ through the apostles, the only thing they had to study was the Old Testament. Hence it was the meat. If they were being told to study it for discernment, as it is the “meat” or the really deep theology (the bulk of prophecy is there), should we not also be studying it, so that we learn how to discern the prophecies in the New Testament?
So it can be seen that the whole idea of dispensationalism is not Scriptural, but a made up doctrine. Quite honestly it is a doctrine of demons, for this doctrine has led to the church separating themselves entirely from the teachings found in the Old Testament. This is exactly what Mr Feldick says we should do - not study the Old Testament to give us understanding of the end times, for that would be mixing dispensations. The truth is, you cannot understand the New Testament teachings on the end times and rapture unless you have a thorough working knowledge of the Old Testament. Without all the information it gives you to help decipher what is in the New Testament, you can make a great many errors in foundational beliefs.
Mr. Feldick refers to the Pharisees of Jesus' time and says that their problem was that they missed the signs of His coming. The irony is, Mr. Feldick and those who believe in an imminent return of Christ, which is not taught in Scripture, do not know the signs of His Second Coming, and therefore will be as blind to it as the Pharisees were to the first coming.
One of the first rules of brainwashing people or mentally preparing people to accept something that would not be readily acceptable under normal circumstances (knowing their Bible in this case) is to change the normal definitions of terms that will be used to change a belief system. In the case of a pre-trib rapture that is exactly how it was managed to get people to start believing in a concept that is not Scriptural. As shown above, the first definition that was changed was “dispensation,” which laid the foundation for creating the idea that Israel was under a different dispensation from the Church, therefore God would never deal with the two at the same time. It seems to have escaped the notice of dispensationalists that God did not destroy the temple for forty years after Christ died, while the Church began to grow. A Church that was made up of both Jews and Gentiles.
A second definition that was changed was the term “tribulation.” Christ defines the term for us in the Olivet Discourse. Matthew 24:21 “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” This time of great tribulation of which Christ speaks is the time which follows the setting up of the abomination of desolation, which Christ tells us can be found in more detail in the book of Daniel. A reference in Revelation in the letter to the church at Thyatira is the only other reference to a specific time called the great tribulation. These two places alone are the only places that use that term “tribulation” to describe this time period, which clearly is said to start at the abomination of desolation. Dispensationalists go to Daniel, as instructed by Christ, and in Daniel 9:27 where it says, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate,” they take the term “tribulation” and make it synonymous with the “one week” mentioned in this verse. There is absolutely nothing in Scripture that would indicate that one should do this. In fact, just the opposite. It says that in the middle of the week, the abomination will occur. Christ tells us that it is from that point on that the time of tribulation will take place. So to apply the term tribulation to the entire week (of seven years) is to deliberately mis-define the word “tribulation” for the sake of confusing the issue The entire seven year period is not anywhere defined as all a time of tribulation. But in so mis-defining the time period, it allows them to further misrepresent what that time is about.
The next thing that needed to be done to the word “tribulation” to make this doctrine work, was to also redefine it as meaning wrath. In particular they redefine the word to mean God's wrath. Tribulation is a translation of the Greek word “thlipsis” which means “anguish, persecution, and trouble.” Wrath is either the Greek word “orge” which means “violent anger, passion, punishment, indignation, vengeance” or “thumos” meaning “passion, fierceness, indignation.” The Hebrew word for wrath of God is “ebrah” meaning “outburst of passion, anger, rage.” In all cases, wrath means the same thing, which is not at all the same as tribulation. Clearly these are two (in English) different words (tribulation and wrath) with two different definitions. If they were the same, the Greek words would have been the same, but they are not. One speaks of God's anger, indignation, and rage. The other speaks of persecution, anguish, and trouble. Persecution is something humans suffer at the hands of either Satan and his minions or other humans. God does not persecute. God punishes. Persecution is aimed at God's people from Satan and his followers. God's wrath is aimed at God's enemies and comes from God. God does not aim His wrath at His people, but He does allow Satan to persecute us. The great tribulation is a time of great persecution. We find this time mentioned in Daniel 12:1 using another term – trouble. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” Specifically this is called Jacob's trouble in another verse. Jeremiah 30:7 “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Because it is called Jacob's trouble, dispensationlists further use this as proof that this time is for Jews alone. What else would it say in the Old Testament? The church was unknown at that time. The writings of the prophet were given to Israel. It is in reading the New Testament that we see that the Church is also included in this time period, as well as Israel. In fact, in retrospect we can see that God did clue us in that the church was a part of this in the Old Testament, for in Daniel it says the "saints" will be given over to the beast. We are the saints.
Now, by redefining tribulation as God's wrath, and redefining Daniels' week all as the tribulation, and now going to a verse 1 Thessalonians 5:9 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” the idea that Christians cannot be around through Daniel's week is “proven” through the manipulation of redefining words. Thus by their deduction, if Christians cannot be here during that seven year period, they must by necessity be raptured before it begins. Hence a dividing line between the Church and Israel, hence a different dispensation. It seems to matter not to them that multitudes of verses refute this idea. As far as they are concerned they have created a pre-tribulation rapture and have “proven” it Scriptually. But as we can see, this proof rests upon misdefining words to create a situation which does not exist. So what does Scripture actually say?
The Bible says that there will be a seven year period, otherwise referred to as Daniel's 70th week. Halfway through that week we have an event called the abomination of desolation. From that point for an unspecified length of time, we are told there will be a time called the great tribulation. Tribulation by definition means persecution, and we are told that this persecution of God's people will be greater than anything the world has ever seen before. So far, there is no indication that the Church, as God's people, cannot be a part of this. Rather, a number of Scriptures tell us we will be there during it. This is not God's wrath. So where does God's wrath come into this?
An Old Testament term for God's wrath is the “Day of the Lord”. We are told that when the Day of the Lord comes, God will pour out His wrath. We are also told of signs to look for that will occur before the Day of the Lord occurs. As Mr. Feldick pointed out about the Pharisees who missed the signs of Christ's first coming, there are signs of His Second Coming that Christ clearly tells us, that dispensationalists are totally ignoring. We are told the following about the Day of the Lord. Isaiah 13:10 “For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.” Isaiah 34:4 “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.” Joel 2:31 “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” Joel 3:15 “The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.” Acts 2:20 “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:”
So in multiple verses we are told that there will be particular signs in the heavens before the Day of the Lord, God's wrath, occurs. These signs will herald the coming of the Day of God's wrath. Those signs are 1) the stars will stop shining and fall from the sky, 2) the sun will be darkened, 3) the moon will be darkened/turned to blood, 4) the sky will be rolled up like a scroll. These are very specific signs that do not occur in the normal course of events. While the sun can be eclipsed, and the moon can be eclipsed, these two are never eclipsed at the same time. We do have a phenomena of “stars” falling from the sky in the form of meteor showers. But again, they do not occur when the eclipses do. And the sky is never seen to roll up as a scroll. So when we see these signs listed again in Scripture, we should take note that it is speaking of the same event, the signs that herald the approach of God's wrath being poured out on the world.
So where do we see these signs in relation to Daniel's 70th week and the great tribulation? Christ tells us exactly where these signs will occur in relation to the great tribulation. He says, and I quote from Matthew 24:29-30 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Christ tells us that the signs that God's wrath is going to be poured out occur immediately after the great tribulation.
So now if we go to the verse that says we are not appointed to God's wrath, we see that there is no reason to not go through the great tribulation, for it is not God's wrath. We have not been exempted from persecution. In fact, it is quite the opposite. We are told to expect persecution and tribulation in life. The entire idea of a pre-trib rapture has evolved from something as simple as erroneous definitions. Erroneous definitions have laid an erroneous foundation upon which an erroneous doctrine (dispensationalism) has resulted. All of Scripture teaches that the Church must endure Satan's wrath and persecution and in fact we are told exactly that in Revelation. Chapter 12:7-17 “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Revelation 13:7 “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
This idea is not just found in Revelation. It is also found in Daniel 7:21 “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;”
The saints, the remnant of the seed of Israel who have the testimony of Jesus Christ is the Church. We are the seed of Abraham by faith, so we are also the seed of Israel. Dispensationalism wants to separate the Church from Israel, but while Israel as a nation has a different place in the scheme of things, Christianity is not a separate entity from the faith of Judaism. It is the culmination of Judaism. Had Israel not rejected her Savior, there would have still been a temple, just as there will again be in the millennium. God would have continued to deal with man as He always has, by grace through faith in the Savior. The only difference between then and now being that instead of being on the front side of His coming, we are on the backside. Just as God spent forty years preparing the Church to take over for Israel as His spokesman, so He will spend seven years preparing Israel to take over from the Church. They overlap each other; there is no dispensational dividing line. It is just that the torch is being passed from one runner on the team to the other and back again.
It is, always has been, and always will be the job of the faithful to spread the good news or gospel of the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world. That is the only dispensation there has ever been. Ever since God gave Eve the promise of a redeemer, the faithful have looked forward to His coming. First they looked for what we know to be His first coming. Now we look for His second coming. Israel was the steward of that good news, (although they failed by adopting paganism into their beliefs and rejecting Him when He came because they did not know the signs) and now we are the stewards (and the Church has done the same thing by adopting paganism into our beliefs and not knowing the signs of His second coming). Israel's whole way of living as a nation- the temple, synagogues, the Scriptures, and the feasts - taught that the Savior would come to save the world from their sins and bring in a new kingdom, and was a witness to the world of God's redemptive plan. We have churches and teach through the words of Scripture, ordinances, and our personal testimonies that He did come to save us from our sins and will come again to reign in a new kingdom. Our way of living as individuals within an invisible corporate body is supposed to be a witness to the world of God's redemptive plan. In the millennium the kingdom will finally come to pass as Christ reigns over the world through both the nation of Israel with a new temple, and through the Church who will act as His judges. They will not be separate, because they are not separate dispensations. If they were, how could they work together in the millennium?
Using Mr. Feldick's definition of dispensation, faith in that Savior is the only dispensation (way that God deals with man) there has ever been from Adam and Eve, (she was given the first prophecy of a Savior) to the present time, and on into eternity. There is only one dispensation when defined that way. God is merely using different trappings to teach that redemptive plan. Israel was given writings, the Temple, feasts, and prophets to teach about His first and second coming. The Church was given the same writings (O.T.) plus more writings (N.T.), the Holy Spirit to all believers (in place of the temple and unlike the O.T. where the Spirit was only given to certain individuals), and ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper (observing the feasts is optional, although technically the Lord's Supper is the Passover seder) to teach about His first and second comings. The message has remained the same through all time. The Redeemer will(has) come, die(d) for our sins, rise(n) from the dead, and set up His kingdom on earth. Christ has come and died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again and reign. Israel didn't always understand that message, but that does not mean God had not given it to them. The Church also doesn't seem to understand a lot of the message about His Second Coming either. History seems to repeat itself. God said that faith and belief in that Savior by His grace would save people. That message was the same then, now, and always. It has never changed. There have merely been different delivery systems. God did not deal with man in a different way, He merely wrapped the package differently.