Waltke On The “Fundamental Error” Of Dispensational Eschatology

With regard to eschatology, dispensationalists commit the fundamental error of leaving the Reformed principle that unclear texts must be interpreted in the light of clear ones, and, instead, they interpret the clear texts of the New Testament epistles in light of the unclear symbols of apocalyptic works such as Daniel and Revelation. Not one clear text in the New Testament teaches that Israel will be restored to the land, or that Israel will be restored as a nation, or that there will be a millennial reign of Christ after this age, which is called by the apostles “the last days” (i.e., the last stretch of historical time) (Acts 2:16–17; Heb 1:2). No word in Scripture depicts the consummate glory of Christ as an earthly king ruling over the restored nation of Israel. This silence, after the Lord had promised that the Spirit would guide the apostles into all truth, and bring glory to Christ (John 14:26; 16: 12–15), is deafening! The New Testament teaches that the new covenant is in effect now, (Heb 8), and that the shadows of the Old Testament law have been done away with forever (Heb 9–10). The attempt to link the Golden Age, anticipated by the prophets with the millennium envisioned in Revelation 20 is a desperate one. None of the characteristics of the apocalyptic millennium—resurrected martyrs, judging, living, and reigning with Christ in heaven—link it with the Old Testament kingdom promises, a remarkable absence in the New Testament book that shows more links with the Old Testament than any other book.

Bruce Waltke, “Dispensational and Covenant Theologies” in William S. Barker and W. Robert Godfrey ed. Theonomy: A Reformed Critique (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), 66–67.


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