The Two Peoples Of God In 2 Thessalonians 1:10 -- By: Bruce A. Baker

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 13:38 (Apr 2009)
Article: The Two Peoples Of God In 2 Thessalonians 1:10
Author: Bruce A. Baker


The Two Peoples Of God In 2 Thessalonians 1:10

Bruce A. Baker, M.Div.

Pastor, Jenison Bible Church;

Ph.D. student, Baptist Bible Seminary

The distinction between Israel and the church has widely been regarded as one of the central tenants of dispensationalism by both friend and foe. Ryrie contended that this distinction is “probably the most basic theological test of whether or not a person is a dispensationalist, and it is undoubtedly the most practical and conclusive. The one who fails to distinguish Israel and the church consistently will inevitably not hold to dispensational distinctions; and the one who does will.”1 Amillennialist Oswald T. Allis agreed, noting that this distinction is what necessitates the dispensational assertion of a literal Jewish state during the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth.

Literal interpretation has always been a marked feature of Premillennialism; in Dispensationalism it has been carried to an extreme. We have seen that this literalism found its most thoroughgoing expression in the claim that Israel must mean Israel, and that the Church was a mystery, unknown to the prophets and first made known to the apostle Paul. Now if the principle of interpretation is adopted that Israel always means Israel, that it does not mean the Church, then it follows of necessity that practically all of our information regarding the millennium will concern a Jewish or Israelitish age.2

Interestingly, while rejecting the essentialist3 description of Ryrie, Blaising conceded, “Among contemporary dispensationalists a

general consensus exists that a distinction between Israel and the church is the essential distinguishing factor of dispensationalism. In spite of the fact that the other two (supporting) elements of Ryrie’s triad seem less than tenable, at least in the way he stated them, this characteristic, according to many, seems to be truly representative.”4

The Need And Purpose Of This Study

While there has been much discussion on all sides with regard to this issue, one of the neglected texts in the debate has been 2 Thessalonians 1:10: “when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.”5 The question so often overlooked is whether or not Paul was re...

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