1. What is Heaven Like? The New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:9-22:5. July 13, 2010.
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  2. Jesus Christ Made the Dispensations. Hebrews 1:2. May 5, 2005.
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  3. Dispensationalism and Interpreting the Bible - Part 2. September 20, 2007.
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  4. Preparation for the Bema Seat. Hebrews 12:25-13:5. September 30, 2010.

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Dispensationalism

James Cook

History of Dispensationalism

Theologians continue to argue over the origin of dispensationalism. Those who are dispensationalists argue that the basic beliefs of dispensationalism were held by the apostles and the first generation church. Those who are…


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History of Dispensationalism

Theologians continue to argue over the origin of dispensationalism. Those who are dispensationalists argue that the basic beliefs of dispensationalism were held by the apostles and the first generation church. Those who are not dispensationalists often argue that dispensationalism is a new theology that began in the 19th century. What is clear, though, is that dispensationalism, as a system, began to take shape in the mid-1800s.

1. John Nelson Darby The beginning of systematized dispensationalism is usually linked with John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), a Plymouth Brethren minister. While at Trinity College in Dublin (1819), Darby came to believe in a future salvation and restoration of national Israel. Based on his study of Isaiah 32, Darby concluded that Israel, in a future dispensation, would enjoy earthly blessings that were different from the heavenly blessings experienced by the church. He thus saw a clear distinction between Israel and the church. Darby also came to believe in an "any moment" rapture of the church that was followed by Daniel's Seventieth Week in which Israel would once again take center stage in God's plan. After this period, Darby believed there would be a millennial kingdom in which God would fulfill His unconditional promises with Israel.1 According to Paul Enns, "Darby advanced the scheme of dispensationalism by noting that each dispensation places man under some condition; man has some responsibility before God. Darby also noted that each dispensation culminates in failure." 2 Darby saw seven dispensations: (1) Paradisaical state to the Flood; (2) Noah; (3) Abraham; (4) Israel; (5) Gentiles; (6) The Spirit; and (7) The Millennium. By his own testimony, Darby says his dispensational theology was fully formed by 1833.

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