Riddlebarger: Dispensational Eschatology Is Jewish

Much like modern dispensationalists expect Jesus to reign over the nations in the future millennial kingdom, the Jews expected the Messiah to establish a political kingdom whereby Israel would rule over the Gentile nations. This explains why the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah. The New Testament, however, equates Israel’s restoration, prophesied in the Old Testament, with Jesus’s kingdom—a kingdom not of this world (John 18:36).

The Redeemer’s coming was equated with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit as well as the terrible judgment of the day of the Lord. In this case, the prophetic perspective is in effect, as the prophets saw the two comings of Christ as one event. The New Testament sees it as two events, the first and the second advent. The “age of the Spirit,” the presence of the kingdom of God, and the so-called millennial reign of Christ characterize the period of time between these two comings of Christ.

Kim Riddlebarger | A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times, Expanded Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2013), 74.


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Posted by Tony Phelps | Monday, May 13, 2024 | Categorized in Eschatology, Faith, HeidelQuotes, Scripture. Tony Phelps. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tony Phelps

Tony grew up in Rhode Island. He was educated at BA (University of Rhode Island) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He worked in the insurance industry for ten years. He planted a PCA church in Wakefield, RI where he served for eleven years. In 2015–18 he pastored Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Colorado Springs. He is currently pastor of Living Hope (OPC). Tony is married to Donna and together they have three children. Meet all the Heidelberg contributors»


  1. Is it merely irony that the Judaizers saw the coming of the Messiah as a single event instead of two as portrayed in the Old Testament while the dispensationalists see his return as two events rather than the single event portayed in the New testament or is it a lesson on the sin of humanity to eisogete God’s word instead of believing it as it is revelaed?

  2. Sorry, but speaking as one who is partly ek peritomee and also not flattered by Dispensationalist eschatology, I note that neither John N. Darby, C. I. Scofield, Harry Ironside, nor Lewis S. Chafer were Jewish. And who was that pastor of Memorial Presbyterian in St. Louis who made that congregation a hotbed of Dispensationalism a good bit more than a century ago?

    I note that B.B.Warfield saw the Dispensational theology as “puerile”–and I certainly agree with him that it was and is erroneous. However, there seems to have been little popular defense of Reformed Covenantalism going on between the time when the PB’s were rising and the mid-20th century. Maybe it was the case that fighting the common enemy of liberal theology overrode all else. But, somehow, we Reformed Covenantalists had the bulk of believing America back at the outset, yet all those heirs of Puritans, Huguenots, Scots-Irish Presbyterians, Dutch and German Reformed, etc. ultimately accepted the Dispensational scheme.

    • Dispensationalism was just the right medicine for failed optimism of over realized/post-mil eschatology of our founding fathers. The War Between the States dashed the hopes that America was the New Promised Land. The pessimism of Premillennial Dispensationalism found fertile ground the United States. Your premise that “we Reformed Covenantalists had the bulk of believing America at the outset” may be true, but their eschatology was untenable.


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