Covenant vs. Dispensational

Below is a brief comparison showing the main differences between covenant theology and dispensational theology. These are the two prevailing (and contrary) views concerning Israel and the Church.  No doubt I’ll say what I believe in some future post but in the meanwhile, here it is nice and impartial.  I hope the summary is helpful to those trying to work though this important subject.

Dispensationalism

  1. God has two distinct people – Israel and the Church.
  2. The Church age was a parenthesis in God’s dealing with Israel.
  3. God’s promises to Israel were postponed till after the rapture.
  4. After a Jewish tribulation revival, their ‘dispensation’ will resume.
  5. Worship in the millennium includes re-instituted temple sacrifice.
  6. The promised temple is an example of what must yet be fulfilled.
  7. Modern Israel proves not all promises are fulfilled in the Church.

Covenant Theology

  1. God has always only had but one spiritual people.
  2. The Church (incl. Jew & Gentile) actually is true Israel.
  3. God’s promises to Israel are fulfilled in Christ’s Church.
  4. There will be a revival of Jews but it will be into the Church.
  5. Redemption is in the cross and sacrifice is finished forever.
  6. Even if a temple gets rebuilt it is unnecessary and irrelevant.
  7. The modern restoration of the nation of Israel is coincidental.

Note on #1: When dispensationalists say God has two people, they are referring to Israel (an ethnic group) and the Church. (a spiritual group)  When covenant theology says God has one people they are referring to ‘Spiritual Israel’ (a single entity consisting of saints from every tribe)

Note on #3: Covenant theology applies the geographical land promises to the Church figuratively.

Note on #5: Dispensationalists either infer or state that the entire levitical system will be repeated in the Millennium. Moderates think that it will simply serve as a ‘reminder’ of Christ’s death. Extreme dispensationalists infer that it will be the basis of millennium atonement. In either case all disps. accord an elite position to ethnic Israel in the millennium.

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One Response to Covenant vs. Dispensational

  1. Lars says:

    I believe there are two covenants, one for the Jews and another for Christians and both are fulfilled by the 2nd fulfillment of the 70 weeks. When Christ’s baptism is dated to 29 CE then the 70th week ends in 36 CE. Calculating down to our time, 1960 years (4×490) the 70 weeks of the 2nd coming would end in 1996 and begin in 1506 AD. The “cut off” begins the great tribulation. The 70 weeks are divided into 62, 1 and 7 weeks. The “great tribulation” is a one time event that lasts 7 years. 62 weeks are 434 years and so the week of tribulation would be from 1940-1947 (1506 + 434 = 1940). During this time of tribulation an “extermination” (Daniel 9:27) would take place, which fits the Holocaust. After that, the “messiah” would appear, that is, after the 63rd week to fulfill the last covenant “week” of 49 years from 1947-1996. The restoration of the Jews to their homeland on November 30, 1947 begins the final “week” of 49 years. That also means the covenant will remain in place for the Jews until that week is fulfilled and thus until 1996, at which time the spiritual temple will take over. Thus, you can sort of combine both theories; you can have your cake and eat it too, in this case. Thanks for your commentary.

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