The Centrality of the Jewish Temple in the Affairs of God, Israel and the Nations Part I - Historical Temples -- By: Ron Johnson

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 01:1 (Apr 1997)
Article: The Centrality of the Jewish Temple in the Affairs of God, Israel and the Nations Part I - Historical Temples
Author: Ron Johnson


The Centrality of the Jewish Temple in the Affairs of God, Israel and the Nations
Part I - Historical Temples

Ron Johnson

Senior Pastor
Oroville Evangelical Free Church, Oroville, CA

Introduction

Within evangelical Christianity there are two views relating to the church and Israel. The Reformed view, otherwise known as the Covenant view, is a system of theology that sees the Bible’s unity and philosophy of history on the basis of two or three covenants (Covenant of Redemption, Covenant of Works, Covenant of Grace). This view sees the church today as spiritual Israel. The other view, known as Dispensationalism, is a system of theology that sees the Bible’s unity and philosophy of history revealed in the whole of Scripture rather than two or three covenants. This view sees Israel and the church as separate, distinct entities.

Both Reformed Evangelicalism and Dispensational Evangelicalism utilize a literal hermeneutic when it comes to interpreting non-eschatological literature. A literal hermeneutic simply means, the Bible is interpreted literally in its grammatical, historical, cultural, literary context recognizing obvious symbolism and figures of speech. The difference between Dispensational Theology and Reformed Theology is largely seen in the different approaches that are taken when it comes to interpreting eschatological literature. Dispensational Theology consistently applies a literal hermeneutic to the eschatological and non-eschatological books of the Bible. Reformed Theology frequently employs the allegorical or spiritualizing method of Biblical interpretation when it comes to interpreting prophetic passages of the Bible. For example, Israel does not have to mean the nation of Israel. It could mean the church. Another example is found in Revelation 20 wherein “thousand years” is used six times. Here “thousand years” does not have to mean one thousand years. It could mean an unspecified period of time. The Reformed view rejects the Temple in Ezekiel 40–48 as a physical, Temple building. Instead, they maintain that it refers to the universal church. Allegorizing the text in this way dismisses the common, ordinary meaning of words as they were understood in their historical context.

One of the greatest arguments for using a consistent, literal hermeneutic for both prophetic and non-prophetic Scripture is that to date, prophetic Scriptures which have been fulfilled, have been fulfilled literally, in accordance with a literal hermeneutic and not in accordance with the allegorical approach.

A literal hermeneutic has been used in ...

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