5 Reasons an Amillennialist Should Preach on Eschatology (Part 1)

Category: Full Sermons

Why preach a series on eschatology? First, because Dispensational Premillennialism commandeers many of the promises that belong to the church. Secondly, the church’s urgency is dulled by this eschatology. Thirdly, that system commandeers one of our basic Biblical interpretation methods. Fourthly, the church’s missionary hope is commandeered. Lastly, that system takes from the glory of Christ and the church and goes back to the shadows again.


Eschatology is a study of last things. It's a study of the end times. Classic eschatology includes things like the second coming of Jesus Christ. When we think eschatology, we think of the second coming. When we think of eschatology, we think of prophecy. We think of the new heavens and the new earth. We think of judgment day. We think of eternal punishment. Oftentimes, in this category of theology, we discuss the nature of the Kingdom of God. Is the Kingdom of God a thousand years? Or what is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of Heaven? The future of the church, the future of Israel - these are things that are discussed under this heading. The millennium. The rapture. The resurrection of the dead. The tribulation. The antichrist. Can you think of anything else? Those are the things that are commonly included in this branch of theology. So, here's the question. Why take a number of Lord's Days and devote them to this topic? Is this necessary? My sermon this morning, I've entitled this: Why a Series on Eschatology? Today, an introduction. I just want to talk to you about why. (incomplete thought) I have five reasons. There are other reasons, but in this message I want to lay down five reasons as to why I want to do a series concerning eschatology. And I hope you leave here today believing that at least of these are sufficiently important to warrant a series like this. I think all of them are. So, I think that before we dive into this, I feel like I need to say something here. I cannot help but that this series is going to be polemic. Do you know that word? What's a good synonym for polemic? It's controversial. You might even think critical or argumentative. It's the idea that this series is not just going to be a setting forth of truth; it is going to be a combating error. So, I can hardly avoid confronting dispensational premillenialism. I detest it. But I want to show you that there's a biblical reason for detesting it. (incomplete thought) Brethren, look, if you don't know that term by the end of this, you will know that term. You will know some of the major tenets of dispensational premillenialism. Over against what? What do you hold to, pastor? Over against the biblical position. Brethren, look, I say that tongue-in-cheek, but brethren, I don't want you to believe anything unless it can be shown to you from Scripture. Dispensational premillenialism is that eschatology that is largely touted by Hollywood, by John Hagee, and yes, by John MacArthur. Now, I want to say this at the beginning. God has used John MacArthur instrumentally in my own conversion. He's had a profound influence on my life, even at a day when I didn't recognize that I would a preacher and a pastor. He influenced me tremendously. And as much as anything, it was his example as a preacher who was deeply committed to the Word of God. I appreciated that about him. He could convince me of anything, just so long as he could show me from Scripture. I mean, from day one when God saved me, he had a powerful influence on my life, but God gave me a hunger for the Word of God that was greater than the influence of John MacArthur. John could take me anywhere as long as he could show me from Scripture that I ought to go there. And he did. He convinced me of many things. I mean, the sovereignty of God. There it is. I would hear him preach it. Yep, there it is. Election. Yep, I see it right there in the Word of God. You know, he was big on Lordship. I was saved reading "The Gospel According to Jesus," which deals with this whole Lordship issue. Yep, there it is in the Bible. He was very convincing. Repentance. Yep, there is it. The rapture... Where is it at? Now folks, as a young believer, he could have taken me anywhere that he could have shown me from Scripture that I ought to go. The rapture. Let me tell you something about the rapture. It's not like the Trinity. The Trinity is a concept that you don't find the word "Trinity" in Scripture, but you find the concept. But with rapture, I don't even find the word. But I don't find the concept. And in the verses that are used to reference this supposed rapture, I'd get to looking at those things and say that's not what that's talking about. Brethren, I actually heard, I believe it was the time I was out there in California, I actually heard John MacArthur say as he was preaching through Revelation, he said now some of you are going to ask where the rapture is. He said it's in the white spaces between verse 3 and 4. And I'm not making that up, because you found that message, didn't you, James. I mentioned it and somebody told me here - you've heard that Jeff? (unintelligible) But he used specifically "in the white spaces" when I heard it. And I said "in the white spaces?" You're telling me there's a doctrine in the white spaces? Brethren, there's something wrong with that approach to Scripture. As a young believer who had been so impressed by John's commitment to the Word of God, I was baffled as to how that commitment seemed to disintegrate when it came to eschatology. Look, I want to tell you right up front. I appreciate John MacArthur, but my commitment to God's Word is greater; it is foremost. I will follow any preacher that I sit before and listen to preach; I will follow any preacher as long as he can show me from the Word of God that I ought to go where he wants to take me. But God help us, brethren. Let no one take you anywhere - including me - don't ever let me take you, or any of the preachers in this church on the radio or on the Internet take you anywhere they cannot show you from the Word of God. It is not responsible listening to sermons unless you have an open Bible. Listening to sermons and listening to theology and listening to doctrine, listening to teachers without an open Bible is irresponsible on your part. Because you have no way of knowing whether this guy is leading you into error or not. And just because somebody has a certain reputation as being a Bible scholar, or being this or being that or being reformed does not mean that they cannot lead you into error. And you will not know if they are, unless you are checking and proving everything. Brethren, there is a reason why the Bereans show up in Scripture. They were more noble. And what were they doing? There's a nobility in testing everything by the Word of God. Everything. Brethren, the primary thing compelling me to do this series is that I do not believe - for one, I believe that there are serious errors associated with dispensational premillenialism. The second thing about that is I don't believe that those errors are harmless. I do not believe that they are harmless with regards to sound doctrine or the life of the church. There's implications in this system that I believe are harmful. And that's why I want to deal with it. Brethren, I am under a charge to preach the Word. And I think if we just did a survey right now of how much these subjects that are dealt with under this heading of eschatology are dealt with in our New Testaments - well, the whole Bible, but the New Testament specifically, how much of it actually deals (incomplete thought). I've gone through the New Testament. I believe I can find aspects of eschatology in every single book of the New Testament except 3 John. I can't find it there. But in every other book. This is something that the early church counted as a doctrine for us to know, to embrace - it's important. God has given it to us in His Word. And so, ok, I have five reasons as to why I believe that a series like this is justifiable. And I think this introduction is important. I want you all to feel this. So, here's the first. This is the first reason why I believe we need to look at this. See, brethren, the thing is this dispensational premillenialism is being taught everywhere as though it's the truth. It's being taught by Hollywood. I'll tell you, when Hollywood owns a doctrine, you ought to fear. I'm not saying that every single thing that possibly can come across the television screen or movie screen is going to be erroneous, but when the world gets on board, beware. Do you remember from 1 John who controls the world? If Satan controls the world, then the world jumps on board this system; this eschatology. Satan typically does not just do thing randomly. He does things with intent. Deliberately. On purpose. He means to accomplish his ends, and his ends are not favorable to us. So, here's the first thing. I believe that that system of eschatology out there - you know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about this eschatology that basically says this: we're going along right now and we're going to get raptured. And then there's going to be 7 years. Now if you're pre-tribulational, there's going to be 7 years of tribulation and then Jesus Christ is going to come and set up an earthly kingdom, and it's going to last for 1,000 years and then you're going to have Armageddon and then you're going to have this judgment day, and then the new heavens and new earth are going to be ushered in. I'm talking about that kind of system. I'm talking about the "left behind" thing. This is all the charts and everything that you see John Hagee set up. Now look, I'm not going to say that John MacArthur buys into every last iota of the "left behind" stuff, but by and large, he holds to this same type of eschatology. Here's the first reason. I believe it commandeers the promises that God has given to the church. Probably the most defining aspect of dispensational premillenialism is its insistence that there are two people of God. Let's just lay that down. Fundamental to this eschatological system; this dispensationalism: two people of God. Who are the two people? The church and Israel. Two distinct people. Two distinct purposes for each. You need to see this for what it is. MacArthur insists that certain promises made to Israel are not for you and me. That's what's being insisted. What's the big deal? What's the big deal? Brethren, think about it. This is what this is like. Imagine this. You know, we have families in the church that are adopting children. Imagine this. Imagine that you have a son. A man and a woman. They have a son. It's born to them. Well, later on, they've got this one son. They decide that they're going to adopt two sons. One is born into the family. Two are adopted into the family. Imagine this. Imagine that these two adopted sons - suppose it's my family. I have one son. Let's suppose I adopt two sons now. I bring those two sons home, and I sit down at the table with them and I look across the table and I look in their eyes. And I say, "Boys, you see Joshua over here? He was born into the family. My wife gave birth to him. He's blood of my blood, bone of my bone. He's my boy. Boys, guess what? I want you to know this. I am going to treat you as equal to him. I am going to be every bit a father to you that I am to him. I am going to love you like I love him. I am going to care for you like I care for him. All that it means for him to be a child in this family, it's going to mean to you. I'm going to give you everything. You are mine. I'm your father. You are full heirs. Every privilege he has, you have. You bear my name. You're going to bear the name 'Conway,' and everything that it means to be a Conway child is yours. No difference. No difference between you at all." Now look, if I go upstairs and I'm listening down the stairway because I want to hear if they really appreciate what I just told them. One of those adopted sons says to the other one, "that's not true. We're really inferior to Joshua. Our father - he's really not going to treat us the same. He is going to play favorites with Joshua." (incomplete thought) You see, this is what's happening. You've got the adopted brother - you. The adopted brother - somebody like John MacArthur. And he's saying in your ear, "it's not true. It's not true. Don't believe that the Father is going to give us everything that He's giving to Israel." That's what he's saying. And he will admit he's saying that. He doesn't deny that. But Scripture simply does not teach that. I am going to prove that to you in the weeks ahead beyond any shadow of a doubt. It does not teach that, brethren. Not at all. Guys that hold to that system would take certain promises away from us. And I don't believe this is any small matter. I want you to turn in your Bibles to 1 Peter 1:13. There's undoubtedly many places that I could go here, but brethren, 1 Peter 1:13. Notice how this reads. "Therefore, preparing your minds for action." See, what Peter is speaking about here is living life now being ready for action; being sober-minded. He wants us to set our hope - what is hope? Hope is faith in things that happen in the future. That's what it is. Like Piper talks about "future grace." It's faith in future things. That's what hope is. I hope for things to yet come. He says set your hope; your expectation; your faith in the future things, "fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." What I want you to see is Peter believes that you living now with minds set for action; prepared for action, being sober-minded. How are we to live? We're to live with our minds set on that hope that is going to be revealed to us when Christ comes. You know what? You know what we get when He comes? Everything that's been promised. We get the inheritance. You see, it's like having the two adopted boys. When does this all come really to fruition about being even? Well, it's when I die and the will is read. Are they truly heirs? Are they going to receive everything that the family-born son is going to receive. And you see what he wants? What Peter wants us to do is he wants us to look at what is coming; what God has promised, and he wants us to set our hope there. Brethren, I'll tell you, does that not keep people going? Look, people can endure very difficult things today if there's a promise of something absolutely altogether glorious tomorrow. Right? That's just a reality about life. We can endure hardship now. Look, if some of the things we have to endure now are forever, then that's not good. That's not very encouraging. But when you know that these things, like Paul says, only momentary, only light affliction, to be followed by an eternal weight of glory. Well, that keeps us going! I can suffer today if I know paradise tomorrow. And this is the idea here. It matters what's been promised to us. Am I a full heir? Or am I really just going to be regarded as a step-child when the inheritance is being handed out? That's not a small thing. If I believe ethnic Jews have somehow been afforded a greater privilege, or somehow they are greater benefactors in the Abrahamic covenant - somehow - than us believing Gentiles, it makes a difference. Am I even? Or am I inferior? Brethren, don't you love the thought that anything - anything - a believing Jew, not just any Jew, but a believing Jew - anything a believing Jew can come to and look in Scripture and say, that is mine - I as a believing Gentile can look over his shoulder and say that's mine too. That matters. That matters to me. Brethren, to me that makes my salvation glorious. Now, it would be glorious if I was just delivered from hell, cast out on to an island, never got to see God face-to-face. But the very fact that I've been brought into the family; into the citizenship of the same commonwealth of Israel; into the same family; grafted into the same tree and all those promises that were given to the believing Jew are "yes and amen" in Christ. That brings our salvation to a level of glory. It ought to stagger us what God has done for us. It really ought to. Dispensationalists constantly want to stress that Israel gets an earthly kingdom and land and all manner of territorial promises while the church doesn't. The church is going to be somewhere else. But listen, our Lord comes and does He make any distinction? When our Lord talks about who gets the kingdom of God, or who inherits the earth - you think about right when He starts out His ministry in Matthew and He gives the Sermon on the Mount and those so well known Beatitudes. Does He make any distinction between believing Gentiles and believing Jews? Who does He promise the kingdom to? Do you remember? Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. And blessed are the meek, for what? They shall inherit the earth. Not the believing Israelites. The meek. The meek. The distinctions are gone. That's what we find in Scripture. I would say to John MacArthur and to all the other dispensational premillenialists out there, we will not surrender one blood-bought promise to you. Not one. The beauty is John's going to get them even though he doesn't believe he's going to get them. But still, if you've got the two adopted kids downstairs and the father hears that, he doesn't like it. He doesn't like it, because you know what? He really wants to comfort them and to cause them rejoicing in the reality of that. He wants us to live in light of that right now. He really does. And listen, I am not saying - I will not say that the church replaces Israel. Or displaces Israel. What I'm saying is this, God's true people even in the Old Testament, God's true people - not all ethnic Israel. It was a remnant. And what God has done is He's determined to take from Gentile stock and make true Jews out of them. All Israel is not Israel. And now, some Gentiles are. They're grafted in. That's the truth. Every promise. Every covenant ever given to those true Israelites. Yes and amen, they are mine in Christ. And that's exactly what the New Testament would have us teach. We're going to look at this a lot more. But I believe that that eschatology commandeers the promises given to the church. Here's a second thing. The church's urgency is dulled by that form of eschatology. Turn in your Bibles to Matthew 24. Matthew 24:42 "Therefore, stay awake..." This is concerning His coming. "Stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." Our Lord left His disciples with a sense of urgency. Be ready. His words to them were words: you want to be ready, because I'm going to come like a thief in the night. And I'm going to come quickly. You want to be ready. Be ready. And you know what you find in Scripture? There's a sense that we're to pass that urgency on to the lost. Today is the day of salvation. Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart. Why? Because there's an urgency. Christ may return at any time or death may take you at anytime. There is no guarantee of any future beyond right now. You want to settle matters with Christ immediately. Be watchful. Be ready. That is the urgency of Scripture. Let me ask you something. Is there the real possibility that Jesus Christ might come today? That's what you need to ask yourself. Could He come today? And bang! It's all over. All over. All done. Time as we know it is over. The world comes to an end. The trumpet of the archangel sounds. And there is the Lord Jesus Christ come as a thief in the night. Suddenly revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, and He's bringing vengeance upon those who did not obey the Gospel; those who would not surrender to Him. Couldn't that happen today? Is it possible? That's how Jesus Christ left His church with that mindset of that urgency that that can happen. It makes everything urgent. When you think that that sky out there might split open today and He may come and there is nothing keeping Him back; that is not what all this "left behind" dispensationalists believe. And this is not what John MacArthur believes. Listen. All you have to do is watch one of these "Left Behind" movies. Inevitably, you know what you get? The rapture takes place. And then somebody who is cold, hard-hearted unbeliever, when the rapture takes place, well now they see. Oh, it's all real. Now I get a second chance to believe. Well, and if I'm not convinced by the rapture, then I go through seven years of tribulation. Oh! Ok, now I can believe. And if I don't believe after that, well, now, Jesus comes and sets up a 1,000 year kingdom. Oh, now, I get to believe. That's basically the mindset behind this. If you believe that that is garbage, and that when He comes, it's going to be like a thief in the night, and it's going to be like the days of Noah when nobody's saying, well, you know, it's been 7 years since the rapture and this probably is going to happen. It's been 1,007 years and so we're probably due for Armageddon. Brethren, that's not what Scripture says. It says in an hour when you do not think He's coming. It is going to be as in the days of Noah. They are going to be going about their business and marrying and giving in marriage and nobody's keeping the calendar and marking it. He says not even the Son knows that time. It is going to happen swift. It is going to happen quickly. It is going to take men and women by surprise. And Jesus knows it. And as He's leaving, He's saying to His disciples: Watch! Watch! Watch! Be ready! Brethren, ask a dispensational premillenialist if it's possible for Jesus Christ to return this very day and judge all the nations as described in Matthew 25 where Jesus gathers all the nations before Him and divides them. Some on His right hand to eternal life. Some on His left hand to eternal punishment. And it's over. Just ask your dispensational friend if he believes that could happen today. You know what his answer's going to be? I don't expect so. Look at verse 44. "Therefore, you also must be ready. For the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." Brethren, just think about how this appeals to the unbeliever. Because I used to think this way when I was lost. I would hear this stuff about there being a rapture and about 7 year tribulation and about a 1,000 year kingdom, and I thought, well, I'm going to go on with my life and if the rapture happens, well, then I'll get my act together. That just appeals to the unbeliever. That is not what Scripture says. That is not a hope that the Scriptures give to the unconverted. Not at all. It leaves us with a second-chance theology. And I think it's dangerous. This sort of eschatology puts men to sleep. Just check out the "Left Behind" mentality that's out there regularly portraying unbelievers who they begin to see all these things come to pass and then they believe. Brethren, let's be honest with Scripture. Do you know that shortly after Jesus said to His disciples, you better be ready, He says let me tell you what it's going to be like. It's going to be like 10 virgins. Five are wise. Five are foolish. They all look the same. It's people in the church. It's religious people. It's professing Christianity. Five are ready. Five are not ready. It's portrayed by not having oil in their lamps among the five foolish. The five wise - they have oil. The five foolish - they do not have oil. What happens? They're waiting. They're waiting. They're waiting. Like we're waiting today. They're waiting, but what is the whole point of the parable? Be ready! Be ready! The five that are ready - what happens? Bang! Christ comes! And it's over! There is no rapture. There is no 7 year tribulation. There is no 1,000 year kingdom. It's over! And if you're not ready, the door is shut. And if you don't believe me, read in the 25th chapter of Matthew about the parable of the 10 virgins. When Christ comes, if you are not ready, the door is shut. And when the door is shut, they cry out, "Lord, Lord, open to us!" And He says, "truly, I say to you, I do not know you." "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." Brethren, there is an urgency that Scripture puts upon the church and upon the evangelization of this world because of the possible imminent return of Christ at any single moment. And when He comes, the door is shut. And if you're not ready, it's all over. That is what Jesus is teaching. How can so many be wrong? How can so many be wrong? How can they come up with this convoluted system? Which, by the way, does not have very good historical weight behind it; not the dispensational type of premillenialism, propounded by Scofield, Darby, but really not much history beyond the early 1800's. Brethren, when you go to Scripture, you tell me. You've got 10 virgins. Five wise. Five foolish. It doesn't say the rapture takes place and the five wise get zapped out and the five foolish are left and now have an opportunity to believe. What you are told is the door is shut. While they were going to buy, the Bridegroom came and those who were ready went in with Him to the marriage feast and that door was shut. That's it. If you're not ready, it's over. It's over. Third. The first: that system commandeers the church's promises. That system commandeers the church's urgency. Third, that system commandeers one of our basic hermeneutics; one of our basic Bible interpretation methods. Let me tell you what I mean. I believe that dispensationalism is founded on an unsound method of Bible interpretation. You know what we have here? We have a Bible. Sixty-six books. Was it all given to us just like that? No. It was given to us over a matter of thousands of years. What happened? Well, what happens is we have progressive revelation. God begins to tell us about the coming of Christ back in Genesis 3. And as you go through your Bibles, what happens? More and more and more light. More revelation. More information. It builds. It keeps building upon itself. Progressively God reveals more and more. The further you go in God's Word, the more light we have, because the more knowledge we have; the more God is revealing to us. And it was given to us progressively. Over quite a few years. And you know where we especially see progression made is when you go from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Why? Because suddenly, Christ has come. The Spirit of God is given to the church which leads the church into all truth; led those apostles into all truth that could write the New Testament. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment. You know what the Old Testament is? Do you know what the New Testament tells us about the Old Testament repeatedly? It's types and shadows. Christ is the fulfillment. Look, we don't say that a shadow is darkness. Shadows aren't darkness. They're just not as bright as being in the full sunlight. Right? I mean, you go out in the full noonday sun and you cast a shadow. You don't look and say, oh, that's black. That's darkness. No, it's not darkness. I can see lots of things in my shadow. But if I step away and I let the full light shine down there, well, yes, it's brighter now. Shadows are not darkness. They're just not as bright. The thing is God reveals in the New Testament this full blazing light of Jesus Christ. The full sunlight's there. This blazing revelation of Christ. Since the New Testament explains so many of the types and shadows and concepts of the Old Testament, we definitely need to constantly be looking at our New Testament in order to figure out what this means back here in the Old Testament. I'm not making that up. That's exactly what happened when Jesus came. That's exactly what happened when the apostles walked this earth. What did they do? They explained what was going on in the Old Testament that was not understood when they just had the Old Testament. You say, is that true? Brethren, look at Malachi 4. This is no small thing. Malachi 4:5 I'm just going to show you a few examples of this. Remember, I'm talking about the fact that this dispensationalism commandeers one of the church's most basic hermeneutics; one of the basic biblical interpretive methods. You know, we want to be able to interpret Scripture. We want to come to Scripture, and we want to figure out what things mean. There's some basic rules that we apply to interpreting Scripture. You want to look at context. You want to compare what this author has to say about the same thing in other places. You compare Scripture with Scripture. One of the most fundamental biblical hermeneutics is that you examine the Old Testament in light of the New. Let me show you why. Let me show you Jesus doing this exact thing. Here we have Malachi 4:5-6. "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes, and he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction." Now look, here's the thing, the Old Testament has shadows or types. Do you know what that is? That's where the shadow is real, it's physical, but it points to a greater spiritual reality. But you know what else you have? You have metaphors. Guess what's true about a metaphor? If I say, you know, you and I were talking about this afterwards and we locked horns. That's a metaphor. Here's the thing about a metaphor. If you take a metaphor literally, is it true or not true? It's not true. You see, when you look at a shadow, there's reality to it. The fulfillment - there's greater reality. There's spiritual reality. One points to the other. But when you're dealing with metaphor, to literally take the metaphor is error. That's key, because if you mix up a metaphor for that which you believe ought to be taken literally, you are going to end up in error. Here's what happens. We look at Malachi. Elijah the prophet is going to come. Now look, if I take this at literal face value, you know what this says? It says Elijah the Tishbite. Remember Elijah? Predecessor to Elisha. Elijah. Remember Mt. Carmel? Called down fire from heaven? That Elijah. Elijah the Tishbite. That Elijah. Called down fire from heaven Elijah is going to be sent, presumably from the dead if you're going to take it literally. He's going to come back from the dead. "Before the day of the Lord." But you know what happens when you come over to the New Testament? The New Testament gives us light. How so? Matthew 11:12. Jump over there. Matthew 11:12. "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear." You see, you need ears like that to hear, to process. Or how about this. Go over to Matthew 17. You see, it is a metaphor. It is a metaphor when you portray someone as being someone else who they are not. It is a metaphor when you portray someone as being someone else even though they are not actually that someone else, but you portray them that way because of certain similarities. That is metaphor. But to take that literally is to come away with an erroneous conclusion. Jesus says John the Baptist, he is Elijah who is to come. He is the one. It wasn't meant to say that it was Elijah exactly the Tishbite, but one who is like him. Matthew 17:10-12 "The disciples asked Him, 'Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?' He answered, 'Elijah does come, and he will restore all things, but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever the pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.'" To take such a metaphor as literal is to end up with a falsehood. One of the most fundamental rules of Bible interpretation that can be deduced from passages like these is that we need Jesus and His apostles to correctly interpret the Old Testament. Can you see it there? If you don't have the New Testament, then you're left without some pretty important information. Dispensational premillenialism, like that of John MacArthur's denies - denies the fundamental hermeneutic or Bible interpretation method. Listen to John MacArthur. These are his words. He did a message called: "Why Every Calvinist Should be a Premillenial." Something like that, back at his Shepherd's Conference back in 2007. These are his words. "It is not legitimate to interpret the Old Testament as secondary and the New Testament as primary. Otherwise, the Old Testament was literally darkness, not light." No, it's not. It's shadow. Not full light. But shadow isn't darkness. These are his words. "If you say the Old Testament cannot be rightly interpreted apart from the New Testament, then you have denied the perspicuity of the Old Testament." Who knows what the word perspicuity means? Clarity. How can he say that? When Jesus comes along and says, let Me tell you about Malachi's Elijah. It's John. I don't know how he (John MacArthur) comes to this. Brethren, does it deny the clarity of the New Testament when Scripture says, "don't muzzle the ox?" Well, in its physical reality, that doesn't deny any perspicuity. That's pretty clear. Don't muzzle the ox. You've got an ox pulling the grinding wheel. Don't put a muzzle on it so it can't eat. Let it eat. But is that the end of the story? You see, if I take John MacArthur's approach and say, nope, the Old Testament's got to stand alone. If you can't interpret it all by itself, it's darkness. You're denying perspicuity. The Apostle Paul did not believe that. Brethren, when the Apostle Paul begins to teach Gentile believers - Corinthians, Timothy who was with the Ephesians, you know what he says? He says muzzling the ox - God didn't give that because He was concerned about oxen. He says God gave that because He wants those who render to you spiritual things not to be muzzled. Take care of them. Take care of your preachers. He says that's what it's for. Do you get that out of the Old Testament? You can read your Old Testament till you're blue in the face, and you are not going to find that said. You see how you rob the text? Do you see how it's just massively incomplete? Brethren, have you ever read there in the Sermon on the Mount that your righteousness; your righteousness if you're in the kingdom, it better exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees. And you know right before that, He talks about what that righteousness looks like. It looks like you not relaxing even one of the least commandments given in the Old Testament, which would include commandments just like this. But you see, if I'm not gong to relax commandments like muzzling the ox, I better have some New Testament manner of interpreting it, or you're going to be running your oxen out there all muzzled. I mean, right? If you're going to take all this literally, what I'm being told by Christ is I better not relax one of the least of the commandments that was given. But what I find in the New Testament is all those commandments had moral realities. They had practical realities that pointed to living my life in this age as a Christian. But knowing how to apply those things and how to interpret those things... Brethren, when I come into the New Testament, I find Christ is the Passover Lamb. It's in the New Testament that I find that Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament priesthood. It's in the New Testament that I find that all the festivals, the new moons, the Sabbath days were all shadows, but Christ is the substance. Can I tell you something? Whether it's dispensationalism or whether it's covenant theology, any time you start in the Old Testament, you are going to end up going somewhere God never intended you to go. If you start there. It's inspired. We need it. But what we see is that we never want to deal with the Old Testament as though Jesus Christ never came and as though the apostles never wrote the New Testament. Clearly, brethren, clearly they show us repeatedly that that is how we are to deal with Scripture. If we embrace John MacArthur's hermeneutic, (incomplete thought). You know what he said? He said nobody ends up an amillenialist unless they read the New Testament back into the Old. I just say: exactly! That's what I'm supposed to do! Brethren, reading what the Old Testament says concerning Israel, the covenants made to Israel, promises made to Israel, and coming to all manner of dogmatic conclusions without first reading the New Testament to see how the Holy Spirit inspired apostles, teach us to interpret those things in the Old Testament is a very irresponsible way to approach Scripture. It is. That is irresponsible. You let the New Testament light shine on that Old Testament, and it will come to life. That's what Jesus did. Brethren, He came along and He just started throwing all this stuff out, and it just blew everybody away. He starts explaining things in ways that He just let the light in. Never read the Old Testament promises; never read anything from the Old Testament as if Jesus had not come; as if the New Testament had not been written. That's the third. This basic hermeneutic of interpreting the Old by the New. They would wrest it from our hands. Because I would say this. Nobody ever ends up becoming a dispensational premillenialist unless they refuse to read the New Testament back into the Old. I understand how they come up with what they come up with, because they don't let the New Testament guide them in their interpretations. Here's a fourth thing. The church's missionary hope is commandeered. For the sake of time, I'm going to shoot right through this. Brethren, in Revelation 20, it says that during the millenium, the devil is bound from deceiving the nations. If that is indeed a way of describing this current time, then the missionary hope is this: the devil is bound. Not totally. He's bound from doing one thing: deceiving the nations; the Gentiles. Listen, that's what Scripture says. Jesus Himself said, "How can somebody enter the strongman's house and plunder his goods?" Unless what? "Unless he first binds the strongman. Then indeed, he may plunder the house." Remember what happened? He sends 72 out. . They go out preaching the Gospel. And when they came back, they said, Lord, the demons - they obeyed us! He says, "I saw... I saw Satan fall." You see, Satan does not have power before the Gospel. That's what this is all about. That's what we're talking about here. He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents, scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you." You know in John 12, He says this: Think of this. Jesus is going to the cross. John 12. He says this: "Now is the judgment of this world." "Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be cast out." What? The ruler of this world is going to be cast out when? In John 12. See how perfectly that correlates with taking that millenium to be this long period of time between Christ's comings - His first coming and His second coming. This is the missionary age. This is the age of the ingathering of the Gentiles. This is the time of the Gentiles. This is a time when Satan cannot keep the nations in darkness as he did before the cross. And I'll tell you this. Jesus said this. He said now - now - I'm going to the cross. Now is the ruler of this world cast out. And you know what He says next? And if you lift Me up, I'm going to draw all men - not just Jews. I'm going to draw all men unto Me. Brethren, the hope of the church is that we live in an age when Satan is bound, when we can go out among the nations, and by the power of Christ - Him going with us, "Lo, I am with you to the end of the world." All authority - and we can go out there, and we're going to come back with a harvest. They would commandeer that from us. John MacArthur mocks at that. Yeah, the devil, he goes around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Doesn't sound like he's chained to me. John, that is just shoddy, shoddy Bible interpretation. Again. Because if you go to Revelation 20, it does not say that he's bound from seeking whom he may devour. It doesn't say that he's not going around like a roaring lion. It says he's bound from deceiving the nations. That's what it says. That's what Jesus said. The ruler of this world - at the cross - the ruler of this world is cast out. You say, what does that mean? It means something. And what He follows it with is I will gather all men unto Myself. That's what it means. The devil will not be able to resist that from taking place. So that's the fourth thing. The fifth thing is this. That system commandeers the church's glory. You say, what do you mean by that? Brethren, brethren, a faithful examination of the Scriptures is going to reveal this: Brethren, brethren! This is the pinnacle. This is the top of the mountain. Everything in this book is pointing somewhere. It is pointing to Christ. And when you come to the New Testament, what you find is all this was shadow, and it's all pointing to Him. And you come to the New Testament, and the four Gospels are all about Him, and the epistles are all about interpreting what happened in His teaching and in His life. And it's all about Him. It's about Him. It pointed. The Gospel was all in types and shadows found in the Old Testament. It's pointing to Christ. And it's pointing to the church. You come to the New Testament, the church... the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Christ and the church is the focal point. Everything looks there. It is on the mountain top. It is the culmination of all prophecy. Do you realize what this dispensationalism teaches? We've got to build a temple again. We actually have to have priests offering sacrifices again. Brethren, let me tell you something. Types and shadows always look to the fulfillment. They look to that which is far better. Think of the type and shadow that we have been given in this age when most types and shadows have been put away. The Lord's Supper is a type and shadow of what? Of sitting with Christ face-to-face. Of having Him forever. Do you recognize what it says if we get to Christ and the church, and then we allow this redemptive retrograde, regression - we go back down the mountain. And we set up sacrifices again. Do you know what happens? Do you know what it communicates if when Christ comes, you revert back to shadow? Do you realize what that communicates? Do you realize what shadows always communicate? Something better is yet to come. Do you recognize that if Christ comes and we go back to shadow, it says Christ is not it. There's something better. Do you know what Jesus did? He came. He's on the road to Emmaus. He says, boys, I can take you through this whole book. And it's about Me. It's pointing to Me. Do you realize when He died that veil tore from the top to the bottom? Saying it's done! All done with the shadows because the reality has come. Brethren, the church - the church is His body. It's the fullness of Him who fills all in all. He can look at the church - this is the highest point of redemption. This is the highest point of blessing bestowed upon man that we actually are His bride. We actually are His body. We actually are the fullness of Him. Have you ever just stopped? We are the fullness of Him who fills all in all? This is it. This is it. This whole perversion for you to tell me that in God's plan there's going to be a reconstruction of a temple, there's going to be a re-institution of the Levitical priesthood. Does Hebrews not just blow that whole thing right out of the water? Hebrews is all about the Levitical priesthood [no more]. It needed a better priest. Brethren, Hebrews 10:1, "Since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come, instead of the true form of these realities, it can never by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year make perfect those who draw near." It never made anything perfect. Never made anything perfect. But He has come now who does make perfect. Will we reinstitute shadows that mean we now need to look for something else? That's what a shadow is. If you just look at the basic intent and definition of a shadow, it should dispel. I can remember as a new believer even hearing that somebody like J. Vernon McGee or one of these Scofield-ites was saying that they were going to reestablish the Old Testament worship. I didn't know a lot, but it made me recoil with horror at such a thought. Because I could see it even as a young believer. That dishonors Christ. Brethren, if that is not sufficient reason to go to Scripture and to seek the truth on this matter, I don't know what sufficient matters. How we handle the Word, not being disarmed of one of the basic hermeneutics, owning every promise that God has given to us, not losing the glory of Christ and the church. We do not want to back down to some shadows again. Losing that missionary hope of the binding of the devil. Brethren, harmful errors. I believe harmful. The church's urgency is dulled. We don't want that. I want to set forth before you in these weeks ahead the biblical view of end times. And I think you will find this. It gives all the promises to us in Christ. It demands urgency. It will show us we need to interpret everything in the Old by the New. It will show us this is the missionary time. This is the time of ingathering of the Gentiles. It will show us that Jesus Christ and the church is the fulfillment; it is the culmination. There's nothing higher. Christ is all the glory of Immanuel's land. I could just imagine a true Christian shedding tears. Even if Israel at some point rebuilds the temple, the true Christian would lay those bricks with tears as an affront to Christ. They may do that, but don't believe for a second that it's got anything to do with God's plan - not His redemptive plan. It does not have to do with the fulfillment of what these guys are talking about. We're going to look at this. We're going to look at this because Scripture is not silent on these things. Scripture has an enormous amount to say. Father, I know that those of us here in this church do not have a corner on the truth. And I know that my brother John MacArthur has been so instrumental in leading me into so much truth. Lord, we know that many that hold to that way of thinking, that mindset, they're Your children. But Father, we pray for them. We pray that You would lead them into truth. We pray that You would lead us into truth. Lord, may Your Word be a lamp unto our feet in these days all our life; in the days ahead and all the way to the end. May You lead us in truth. The Spirit who was sent to guide us into all truth, we pray that He would lead us into truth; lead us into understanding, rightly comprehending in the weeks ahead. Lord, oh, if there's anything I can pray for, I pray that this church would live and teach unto the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. And whatever we look at in the weeks ahead we want it to be for His glory. We want it to be for His sake. Lord, in humility, we want to handle the Word. We want to believe what the Word says. Lord, we thank You that that One who fulfills all the shadows has come. Oh, we thank You that we don't have to live under that Old Testament law. That was a yoke about their neck that none of them could bear. Oh, Lord, we thank You we're not under that dispensation. We thank You that our Lord has come. We thank You we've been set free. We thank You that we have the light of the New Testament now. Lord, thank You that we live in such a time as this. In such a time that You are harvesting the Gentiles, and many of us in this room - we are the Gentiles that Satan has not been able to deceive. His hand was held back and we were rescued. And we have come to find rest and trust in the bosom of Jesus Christ. Oh Lord, thank You! Thank You for this salvation. Thank You for choosing us. Thank You for rescuing us. Thank You for all the glorious hope and the promises that we have in Jesus Christ. Thank You that You've made us full inclusion, full sons, grafted in to the tree of Your people. Made fellow citizens with the saints. Members of the household of God. In all ways, partakers of the covenants. The covenants, the promises have become ours. True offspring of Abraham. All because of Christ. All because of Christ. Lord, thank You our salvation is abundantly great, abundantly glorious. Salvation which is to the uttermost. Thank You, Lord. Thank You. In Christ's name we thank You. Amen.