Is prophecy being fulfilled in the Dispensation of Grace?

IS BIBLE PROPHECY BEING FULFILLED TODAY IN THE DISPENSATION OF GRACE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Prophecy is definitely not being fulfilled today in this the Dispensation of the Grace of God. Think about what events prophecy involves and then you will see why that is the case. Consider these three simple points:

ISSUE #1: PROPHECY’S CHIEF NATION IS FALLEN TODAY

Prophecy involves the formation of the nation Israel. Israel’s formation is not occurring today. There is no Israel of God today. Israel is currently “fallen,” cut off from God, “cast away,” “spiritually blinded,” and “enemies [of God]” (Romans 11:11-12, 15, 25, 28). Today, God is forming the Church the Body of Christ of (individual) believing Jews and believing Gentiles (see Ephesians 3:1-11). This Body of Christ is separate and distinct from the nation Israel. Today, salvation is going to the Gentiles through the fall of Israel. If the agency at the heart of the prophetic program (Israel) does not exist before God today, then the prophetic program itself cannot (and does not) operate right now.

ISSUE #2: PROPHECY’S GOAL IS NOT BEING ACCOMPLISHED TODAY.

Prophecy involves God reclaiming the Earth’s governments. That is not occurring today. Look around at the world’s governments today. Are they of the God of the Bible, or of Satan, “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4)? Rather than reclaiming real estate on Earth, God is influencing the government of heaven today (Ephesians 3:9-11). One day, when we Christians leave planet Earth, God will purge the offices of government in heaven and then place us the Church the Body of Christ into the roles of the fallen angels (Ephesians 1:20-23). In His own time, Jesus Christ will return to Earth and restore God’s authority in the Earth through redeemed Israel (see Revelation 11:15; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 20:4; et cetera). God is not fighting Israel’s battles today; hence, Israel Palestinian and Arab enemies are still browbeating them in the Middle East. Hence, today, Paul calls it this “present evil world” (Galatians 1:4). This planet will abound with evil until prophecy is brought to fruition. If the goal of the prophetic program (Earth’s restoration to God) is not being accomplished today, then the prophetic program itself cannot (and does not) operate right now.

ISSUE #3. PROPHECY’S NEXT STAGE—GOD’S WRATH—IS STILL DELAYED.

Prophecy involves God’s wrath being poured out on rebellious mankind (see Matthew 3:7-12; Acts 2: 32-36; Acts 3:22-26; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 6:16-17; et al.). That is not occurring today. The Bible says that God is not imputing the world’s trespasses unto it (2 Corinthians 5:19). Today, as Paul declares in his epistles, God’s attitude toward the world is grace and peace (see Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 1 Timothy 1:12-16; et cetera). Through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, all nations can approach the God of the Bible (Ephesians 2:11-22). If the next stage of the prophetic program (God’s wrath) is not being exhibited today, then the prophetic program itself cannot (and does not) operate right now.

“RIGHT DIVISION” ENSURES WE UNDERSTAND THAT PROPHECY AND MYSTERY OPERATE APART FROM EACH OTHER

We read in Romans chapter 11: “[25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: [27] For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”

Prophecy and mystery cannot operate simultaneously. That is the purpose of the rapture—to ensure that prophecy remains unfulfilled until the mystery is completed (note Romans 11:25-29 above, especially how verse 25 [the mystery] transitions into verse 26, “as it is written” [prophecy resumes after mystery is finished]). The Church the Body of Christ—”the fulness of the Gentiles”—must be removed from Earth before God continues to deal with Israel again. The mystery program must be stopped on Earth in order for God to resume the prophetic program on Earth.

WHAT THE MAJORITY TEACHES ON THE SUBJECT OF MODERN-DAY BIBLE PROPHECY

Many people in the religious crowd talk about Bible prophecy being fulfilled today. Most commonly, they point to Israel’s founding as a modern state in 1948 and declare it a fulfillment of Deuteronomy, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah. (What they do not seem to realize is that Israel is still lost and Christ-rejecting. The Israel today is of man’s creation. It is not the work of God and not the Israel of God. When God brings Israel back into power as a nation, and He will do so one day, Israel will be saved and brought into the land not lost Israelites being brought into the land!)

People often use the Old Testament passages and talk about how God is judging America today for its sins (2 Chronicles 7:14 is commonly seen as the solution). Some use passages in the book of the Revelation to set dates as to when Jesus Christ will return in wrath. They talk about current political, religious, and economic events as though they are the signs of the Antichrist’s coming and the other signs of the times. They go to Matthew chapter 24 and put all these events into our Dispensation of Grace. We are urged to look at the wars, famines, diseases, pestilences, earthquakes, et cetera today and recognize them as fulfillment of Jesus’ Second Sermon on the Mount. They want to say that a part (or sometimes all) of these prophecies were fulfilled in A. D. 70 when Rome overran Jerusalem and destroyed her Temple.

The above people mean well (hopefully). Many of them may be saved individuals, Holy-Spirit-sealed people, genuine members of the Body of Christ, who have simply been misled by church tradition. Honestly, I think they are usually trying to prove the Bible to the skeptics. It is exciting to place ourselves on the prophetic timeline and declare, “What Jesus predicted is happening today! Look at this, look at that… the budding of the fig tree [referring to Israel in 1948], the Jews returning to the land of Palestine in airplanes chartered by Christians, the wars and rumors of wars, famines, diseases, and earthquakes, the moon turning to blood, the sun being darkened, et cetera… look at these signs that Jesus’ return is right upon us!” (For a more fuller treatment of a current example of this, see our study, “Should I be concerned about the four ‘blood’ moons?,” linked at the end of this study.)

WHY IT MATTERS – TEACHINGS ABOUT PROPHECY BEING FULFILLED IN THE MYSTERY PROGRAM ARE “PROFANE AND VAIN BABBLINGS”

So, why should we reject the notion that Bible prophecy is occurring in the mystery program? Does it even matter? After all, so many people believe prophecy is being fulfilled today. Why not just “go with the flow?” The prophecy preachers and “scholars” overwhelmingly agree that prophecy is being fulfilled today. (It may be that they are trying to prove the Bible, but I believe it is largely done to hype up people and sell books and television programming.) For example, someone may say to me, “It really does not matter if some Bible prophecy is being fulfilled today. What is the harm in saying prophecy is currently being fulfilled? Are we not proving the Bible?” Great question!

Remember, those in 2 Timothy 2:18—Hymanaeus and Philetus—erred. How did they blunder? The Bible says they mixed prophecy and mystery! They did not “rightly divide the word of truth” as verse 15 instructed. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:15-18: “[15] Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [16] But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. [17] And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; [18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”

Hymanaeus and Philetus claimed that the resurrection of Christians (the rapture) had already happened. Note that they did not deny resurrection, they just misplaced it only the Bible timeline. By teaching that, they had already overthrown the faith of some. They made Christians believe they were now living in the seven-year Tribulation period, making those Christians doubt they had even been saved from that wrath in the first place. A similar false teaching had begun to trouble and corrupt the Thessalonians—see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. If we say that prophecy is being fulfilled today, that would automatically place us into the prophetic program. That has dangerous doctrinal implications.

If prophecy were occurring today, that would mean that the rapture already happened, and since we are still on Earth and not in heaven, that would mean that we were never saved. When we say prophecy is being fulfilled today, the natural conclusion is the belief that we are now living in the seven-year Tribulation. Do you see how a major doctrinal problem has now arisen just by making the innocent-looking statement, “The Bible is true because we can see it being fulfilled all around us?” By “proving the Bible to be true,” we have caused much fear and doubt in the minds of Christians.

We will let 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 correct our thinking: “[6] And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. [7] For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” The Antichrist is being withheld today; he has not been revealed yet. The chief person of prophecy has not yet made his appearance in the world. Why? There is something hindering the prophetic program from operating! Our Dispensation of Grace and the Church the Body of Christ are the means whereby the Holy Spirit prevents prophecy from resuming! “[13] But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: [14] Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” From the beginning of our dispensation, we—the Church the Body of Christ—have been saved from the time of Jacob’s trouble, Daniel’s 70th week, God’s wrath during the seven-year Tribulation (the resuming of prophecy)!

By saying prophetic is being fulfilled today, we would thus miss the importance of keeping prophecy and mystery separate. We would begin to doubt our salvation, we would move away from Paul’s epistles, we would drift from our identity in Christ, we would cast doubt on many critical Bible passages, and so on. In other words, it would cause mass confusion in the minds of so many Christians (as if they are not confused enough!).

CONCLUSION

In their “zeal” to prove the Bible with so-called “modern-day Scriptural prophecies,” sensationalistic people challenge and destroy its dispensational layout and clarity. They are not handling the Bible dispensationally. Such denominational hype sells books and television programming but it is not sound Bible teaching. In short, it is not handling God’s Word properly. It is simply making the Scriptures confusing to an already-confused public. Preachers may do it, but never does Paul tell us to be looking for signs of the Antichrist. In fact, never does the Holy Spirit through Paul tell us to look for “signs of the end times” as the Lord Jesus did with Israel in Matthew chapter 24. The Bible says “the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22a). What are we Gentiles doing looking for signs? Do we not have the completed Bible to confirm God’s Word to us? Is the Body of Christ to be looking for “signs?” Of course not! We are the first people in the history of God’s dealings with man, to have a complete Bible, a written and finalized canon of 66 divinely-inspired books, so why do we need yet another revelation from God? (Those who say, “Look for God’s revelation in the heavens!” probably have not even read and believed all of the revelations of God He has given in the written Holy Bible!)

Remember, we turn to Paul’s epistles to learn what God is doing today. Paul discusses prophecy—such as in Romans chapters 9-11 and 2 Thessalonians chapter 2—but he never tells us to look for prophetic events. He gave these prophetic passages in order to show us we are not a part of them—they all deal with Israel, Israel, Israel, and Israel’s program, Israel’s program, Israel’s program. We are not to be looking for or trying to identify the Antichrist. We are not to be concerned about accepting his mark or embracing his false religion. We should not be looking for God’s wrath or Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. We should not be looking for redeemed Israel. Why? The prophetic program is on hold. It is not suspended forever, but it is suspended now. We know this because the next event on the prophetic timeline was wrath, and that divine judgment was stayed (delayed) in order to save Saul of Tarsus and make him the Apostle Paul (see our study linked at the end, “Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?”). Instead, we are to be looking for Christ’s coming for His Church, us, commonly called the rapture (Titus 2:13). Once the rapture occurs, then Israel’s prophetic program will resume and God will bring it to fruition. We can be sure of that!

Also see:
» Why was Saul of Tarsus’ name changed to Paul?
» Should I be concerned about the four “blood” moons?
» Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?

7 responses to “Is prophecy being fulfilled in the Dispensation of Grace?

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