Dispensationalism has a bad reputation among red-pilled Christian. This is understandable, of course, because many dispensationalists believe that Christians ought to support the nation of Israel. Also, as Davis Carlton has emphasized, the dispensationalist belief in the rapture of the Church before a future Great Tribulation can lead to Christian apathy. However, dispensationalism is more based than its reputation makes it seem. In this article, I will explain how the dispensational distinction between the Church and the nation of Israel entails that God desires the continued existence and flourishing of distinct races.
Dispensationalists do not believe that Old Testament prophecies should be interpreted in light of the New Testament. They believe that the historical-grammatical method of interpreting Scripture entails that Old Testament prophecies cannot have a literal meaning beyond the understanding of Old Testament authors. Dispensationalist Michael J. Vlach lists as one of the “six essential beliefs of dispensationalism” the belief that “the primary meaning of any Bible passage is found in that passage. The New Testament does not reinterpret or transcend Old Testament passages in a way that overrides or cancels the original authorial intent of the Old Testament writers.”1 This is a major reason why they believe that the Church is distinct from the nation of Israel. If an unfulfilled Old Testament prophecy mentions Israel, it is referring to the Jewish people and not to Church-age Gentile believers.
Also, as futurists, dispensationalists believe that almost all of the book of Revelation and prophetic New Testament passages such as Matthew 24 are yet to be fulfilled.2 For example, dispensationalists believe that Matthew 24:15-16 will be fulfilled some time in the future:
Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. (NASB)
Dispensationalists think that this prophecy has never been fulfilled and since our Lord cited Daniel’s prophecy, then this passage must be referring to the holy place of a future temple restored in Israel. Thus, dispensationalists such as Thomas Ice hold that the restoration of Israel as a nation in 1948 was the beginning of the fulfillment of Daniel’s and other Old Testament prophecies.3
Here I do not want to argue the demerits of Zionism. Instead, I will explain how the dispensationalist belief in the distinction between the Church and Israel entails that God desires for racial groups, such as the Jews, to remain distinct nations. In fact, I will argue that this is the case regardless of whether someone is a Zionist or not.
It should be obvious why dispensationalism entails that God desires racial groups to remain distinct. If the Jewish people were phased out racially and ethnically, or destroyed altogether, then there would be no Jewish people left to return to the land and rebuild the temple. John MacArthur understands this when he mentions,
Do you understand the massive apologetic power of the existence of Israel as an ethnic people in their own land? Staggering. How do you explain that? As one prominent amillennialist said when asked, “What is the biblical significance of the existence of Jews in their land?” And he said, “It has no significance at all.” Really? It is the single most inexplicable story in human history that this small group of beleaguered people attacked and assaulted by everybody around them for centuries still exists as a pure ethnic race.4
For the dispensationalist, it is necessary for God to preserve the Jewish people as a “pure ethnic race.” If not, the prophecies of the Old Testament will never be fulfilled. If the Jews do not fulfill the prophecies as David foretold, then no one can.
“So what?” the modern dispensationalist might ask, “The Jewish people are God’s chosen people after all.” The answer lies in that it wouldn’t make sense for God to want the Jewish people to retain their ethnicity while wanting the nations of the Gentiles to merge together into one homogenous group. What a double standard it would be if God viewed nationalism as a sin only for Gentiles while willing that Jews retain their nation and ethnicity. Such a view certainly would be hard to defend, especially in light of passages like Revelation 7:9 that mention distinct nations and peoples in heaven. If God’s ultimate purpose is to remove racial and ethnic distinctions, then certainly God would not allow such distinctions in heaven.
As mentioned, dispensationalists should defend the right of racial groups to stay distinct regardless of whether Israel should be supported or not. If a dispensationalist is not a Zionist, then he should believe, at the very least, that there is nothing wrong with Gentile racialism and nationalism. But for the same reason, dispensationalist Zionists (and all Christian Zionists for that matter) should allow for ethnonationalism the most of all Christians. This is because Zionists believe that Christians should support the modern-day nation of Israel. How sad would it be if God wanted Gentiles such as Europeans to support the nation of Israel while at the same time requiring that they phase out their own racial and ethnic identities? Christian Zionism, which many dispensationalists believe is almost essential to dispensationalism, entails a type of ethnonationalism more than almost any other Christian doctrine.
Aside from the debate between dispensationalism and covenant theology, dispensationalism is underrated in our community. This is because dispensationalism necessarily entails that God wants racial and ethnic groups to remain distinct. Of course, there are arguments for ethnonationalism even for those who believe that the Church is fulfilling Old Testament prophecies. However, the dispensationalist distinction between the Church and Israel, by its very nature, includes the idea that the Jews must stay a distinct and separate people. In fact, it’s a little surprising that non-Jewish leftists haven’t emphasized this before now.
To further demonstrate my point, in part two I will discuss how the dispensationalist belief in Christ’s imminent return, along with other biblical passages, entails that Christians ought to fight to preserve their races and cultures.
- Michael J. Vlach, Dispensationalism: Essential Beliefs and Common Myths (self-published, 2017), 31. ↩
- See Robert L. Thomas, “A Classical Dispensational View of Revelation,” in Four Views on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998), 177-230. ↩
- Thomas Ice, The Case for Zionism: Why Christians Should Support Israel (Green Forest: New Leaf Press, 2017), 29. ↩
- John MacArthur, “Why Every Calvinist Should Be a Premillennialist, Part 1,” https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-334/why-every-calvinist-should-be-a-premillennialist-part-1, accessed July 20, 2018 (emphasis added). ↩