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.
- God has two distinct people – Israel and the Church.
- The Church age was a parenthesis in God’s dealing with Israel.
- God’s promises to Israel were postponed till after the rapture.
- After a Jewish tribulation revival, their ‘dispensation’ will resume.
- Worship in the millennium includes re-instituted temple sacrifice.
- The promised temple is an example of what must yet be fulfilled.
- Modern Israel proves not all promises are fulfilled in the Church.
- God has always only had but one spiritual people.
- The Church (incl. Jew & Gentile) actually is true Israel.
- God’s promises to Israel are fulfilled in Christ’s Church.
- There will be a revival of Jews but it will be into the Church.
- Redemption is in the cross and sacrifice is finished forever.
- Even if a temple gets rebuilt it is unnecessary and irrelevant.
- 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.