Heated Fight

One memorable moments from my seminary days happened during my first semester. I was at the pool in my apartment complex, enjoying a rare break from studying. Suddenly, three guys from Criswell College showed up. Criswell, known for its covenant theology, stands in contrast to the dispensationalist teachings at Dallas Theological Seminary, where I was studying. The first thing they asked was, “So, you’re a dispensationalist, huh?” Naturally, I said, “Yes, I am.”

The conversation quickly heated up, and soon the pool felt more like a hot tub. It was really getting intense! Before it came to blows, I assessed the situation in my head, “I can probably take these guys. After all, I’m a Dispensationalist. Being such, I like to mix things up, breaking fights into definite rounds and completely changing my tactics in each round. Being Covenant Theologians, they would stick to the same old method with only one break.” However, even with this advantage, even after I had charted the fight with an interesting chart, they were three, and I was only one (man I wish I had me seven buddies with me…). I figured the Christian thing to do was make a covenant of grace and get out before I had to teach them more than just theology!

The Interpretive Spectrum

In the realm of Christian theology, dispensationalists and covenant theologians have long stood on seemingly polar opposite ends of the interpretative spectrum. Dispensationalists have always strongly emphasized a distinct separation between Israel and the Church, with their interpretation of biblical prophecy having a more definite and futuristic lens (I choose “definite” rather than “literal” as it carries less baggage in theology).

Covenant theologians, on the other hand, view Scripture through the lens of two overarching covenants—works and grace—seeing a more unified continuity between Israel and the Church. Dispensationalists have seen the Abrahamic Covenant as an unconditional covenant that has yet to be completely fulfilled with ethnic Israel (as with the Davidic Covenant). Covenant theologians either see these covenants as conditional or as fulfilled in the church.

Convergence over Time

Despite these differences, over the years, we have seen a softening of the categories. This has led to a growing convergence and dialogue between these two theological frameworks, resulting in what some describe as a ‘middle ground.’ This development is akin to the Hegelian dialectic, where movements start with a thesis, followed by an antithesis, and eventually reach a synthesis. And this is a good thing.

A Memorable Lecture by John Piper

Not long after my pool debate, John Piper, a Covenant theologian, came to give lectures at Dallas Theological Seminary (the traditional bastion of Dispensationalism). He started off by saying that with the advent of Progressive Dispensationalism, he could barely tell where we disagreed anymore. I was slightly irked by this as Covenant Theology has conceded just as much, if not more, than Dispensationalism (I have to cause some problems with this post!). If I had known the two positions were getting so close, I wouldn’t have had to get into the heated debate in the pool with those guys at the pool!

Key Areas of Convergence

1. The Kingdom of God

Both dispensationalists and covenant theologians are increasingly recognizing the Kingdom of God as a central theme in Scripture. This shared focus has led to more nuanced discussions about the nature of God’s reign and its implications for both Israel and the Church. While they may still differ on specifics, there’s a mutual acknowledgment of the Kingdom’s present and future dimensions. Of course, there will still be fundamentalists in each camp who will disagree with this, but you can hardly miss this move toward the middle.

2. Hermeneutical Approaches

A trend towards more balanced hermeneutical approaches has emerged. Progressive dispensationalism, for example, has moved away from the rigid literalism of classic dispensationalism (a valid critique of Darbyism and Scofieldism), adopting a more nuanced understanding of biblical prophecy and typology. Similarly, many Covenant theologians have moved towards the authorial intent hermeneutic of Dispensationalism and begun to see (believe it or not) a distinct future for ethnic Israel within God’s redemptive plan.

3. Christocentric Focus

Both camps are increasingly emphasizing the centrality of Christ in interpreting Scripture. This harmonization of a Christocentric hermeneutic with an authorial intent hermeneutic helps bridge gaps, as both sides agree that all of God’s promises find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ and a unified people of God (the olive tree of Romans 11). This shared focus fosters a more unified understanding of redemptive history.

4. Ecclesiology

There’s a growing consensus on the nature and mission of the Church. While dispensationalists traditionally viewed the Church as a distinct parenthesis in God’s plan, many now recognize the Church’s continuity with Israel’s covenantal promises. Conversely, covenant theologians are more open to acknowledging distinct future roles for ethnic Israel, aligning more closely with dispensational views. While there may be a distinct future for the nation of Israel, it will be assumed in and with the Church.

5. Biblical Theology

A mutual appreciation for biblical theology—tracing themes and narratives through the entirety of Scripture—is fostering collaboration. By focusing on the grand narrative of redemption, both dispensationalists and covenant theologians are finding common ground in how they view God’s unfolding plan through history. Again, it’s not quite an either/or scenario, it’s a both/and. The unified grand plan of redemption develops over time and throughout the canon of Scripture. This progressive development of theology, which used to be almost exclusive to Dispensationalism, is being used by Covenant Theology more and more. This is even to the point where many Covenant theologians will admit to recognizing different “dispensations” in the covenant of redemption.


While significant differences remain (and probably always will), the middle ground being plowed over the last century is a positive sign of unity within theology and the body of Christ. By focusing on shared themes and working together, while conceding to overreactions on both sides, both traditions are contributing to a richer, more nuanced “both/and” understanding of Scripture and God’s redemptive plan. This ongoing dialogue is a testament to the power of theological reflection and the unifying work of the Holy Spirit.

Is There a Difference Anymore?

So, is there really a difference between Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology anymore? The answer is yes, but the difference should be seen in the perspective of the overwhelming amount of unity and the difficult concepts that are wrestled with. We should be able to find fellowship with each other in all circumstances while arguing for our position.

I am a Dispensationalist. Doctrinally speaking, I am but a hairbreadth away from my Covenant brothers and sisters. They may be wrong, and I could still beat them in a fight, but they’re not that wrong! There is a difference, but not that much.

What do you think? How wide is the divide?

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    12 replies to "Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology: Is There Really a Difference Anymore"

    • Ed Chapman

      I am going to make the bold claim that herman’s eutics got this one wrong…on many fronts.

      When one studies PRETERISM, you can FINALLY get a huge distinction between the two.

      For example, I am a DISPENSATIONAL ZIONIST Christian, not a preterist. I am NOT a Covenant Theology Christian.

      Before I begin, there is NO SUCH THING as “OLD COVENANT ISRAEL” who became APOSTATE, and no, they didn’t LOSE OUT on any promise made by God, and they never will lose out, either.

      This is NOT a conversation of OLD TESTAMENT Jewish ISRAEL vs. NEW TESTAMENT SPIRITUAL ISRAEL, either, NOR IS IT a conversation of SALVATION, which MOST think that it is. This has NOTHING TO DO WITH the topic of salvation, but the END RESULT is indeed the salvation of the Jews, meaning, THIS AIN’T ABOUT GENTILES AT ALL, so stop trying to insert gentiles in the THEOLOGY of it, AS IF it’s a SALVATION topic. It’s not. It’s not even a conversation about works, or grace.

      But if you really want to know what it’s really all about…two words:

      1. TYPES
      2. SHADOWS

      That’s it. End of Story.

      Regarding the Promised Land of the LAND of Israel, Preterists pretty much say, “They had their chance, and they blew it”

      Not so fast!

      FIRST, WHEN AND WHERE does the OLD COVENANT BEGIN? Exodus 20, NOT Genesis 15/17.

      The promise that God made to Abraham was NOT dependent of the behavior of the Jews at all. And Moses had to remind God of that in verse 13 below.

      Exodus 32:10-14
      10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

      11 And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?

      12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.

      13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.

      14 And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

      *The promise was made to Abraham, and his descendents, thru Isacc. And all they had to do…cirucumcize. That’s it. Nothing more. Yes, God kicked them out of THEIR land a couple times.

      Deuteronomy 30:3
      That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.

      4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:

      5 And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.

      *That goes all the way back to DEUTERONOMY. Long before they stepped one foot into the PROMISED LAND. He will kick them out for punishment, BUT THEN HAVE COMPASSION AND BRING THEM BACK.

      Ezekiel 36:19-32

      19 And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them.

      20 And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land.

      21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.

      *Very important verse:
      22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.

      23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.

      24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

      25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

      26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

      27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

      28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

      *Very important verse:
      32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.

      All of those that I noted with “*Very important verse” is noted DUE TO the preterists CONSTANT claim that “The Jews had their chance, and they blew it, because they disobeyed God”.

      *Well, read the “very important verses”, in that God is doing this for HIS SAKE, not theirs.

      *And they will still be under the law of Moses, meaning that a temple must be built for that purpose.

      Ezekiel 37:21-22
      21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:

      22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.

      Acts 1:6-7
      6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

      7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

      Preterists love to talk about “APOSTATE” Israel…Didn’t I read somewhere For All Have Sinned? As a Christian, do we still sin? How are we any different than they are? If Israel is APOSTATE, so are we. How are we more special than they are?

      On the cross, Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know NOT what they do.” Why did they not know?

      Deuteronomy 29:4/Romans 11:8
      4 Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.

      NOTE: The words, “unto this day” means NEVER. So it isn’t based on anything that they did, or didn’t do.

      John 9:39-41
      39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

      40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?

      41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

      Please note verse 41 in what it states about sin for the blind Jews?

      In other words, the Jews CANNOT come to Jesus, unless Jesus first wants them to, by healing them of their blindness.

      The Jews had the law, and why?

      Romans 5:20
      Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

      The law was a SETUP to fail. Reason? So that grace would have some serious meaning.

      Abraham before the law:
      Genesis 15:6
      And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

      Jews under the law:
      Deuteronomy 6:25
      And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.

      They are WORKING for eternal life. But why? Because God TOLD THEM to obey the law. God told them to work.

      But to the non-Jew, we don’t get told to obey the law!

      Romans 3:21
      But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

      Galatians 3:12
      And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

      In order to come to Christ, you first must have FAITH in Christ, and since they were told to obey the law, they don’t have faith. They can’t see until Jesus heals their blindness. But eventually, God will heal ALL OF THEM of their blindness, and so shall ALL ISRAEL be saved.

      Hebrews Chapter 4 tells us that the Jews who come to Christ have FINISHED WORKING, and they can now enter REST. The Sabbath. The 7th Day of God.

      It is God who blinded them from the git-go, therefore, the stupid things they do, it’s NOT THEIR FAULT. They can’t have faith until Jesus allows them to have faith.

      So there is a huge difference between Jew and Gentile. The following shows the difference:

      Romans 11:8/ Deuteronomy 29:4
      8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

      Romans 15:21
      21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

      It’s only “IN CHRIST” that there is NO DIFFERENCE.

      There are a lot of Christian sects out there that literally hate the Jews. And why? Because they crucified Jesus. I love to get sarcastic about that, because dying on the cross was the MISSION of Jesus to begin with. But they would have acted like Peter to save Jesus from death, but instead, the death of Jesus saved people. What would be the end result if Jesus had just lived to be of old age? No one would have been saved. But they hate the Jews? They should be thanking the Jews for killing Jesus.

      So, to conclude, if you think that the Jews can come to Jesus, just because you give ’em the gospel…ain’t gonna happen until God opens their heart to understand, first. He has to heal them of their blindness.

      Lydia is a fine example of this. She was a Jew, worshiper of God (under the Law of Moses), and God had to open her heart for her to be receptive to Paul’s message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      They can’t come to Jesus until Jesus wants them to. Until then, they have a mission to tell a story about God to the Gentiles!

      Now, most Preterists like to “spiritualize” away things in Revelation, etc., as they DISREGARD the Promised Land for the Jews. But they don’t understand God’s PURPOSE of The Promised Land for the Jews in the first place. They should have spiritualized THAT ALONE, and then they would understand.

      I’m just gonna be blunt before I continue…

      If you deny the Jews their homeland, in effect, what you are really doing is denying heaven for you, too. That one promise of land represents two things, not just one.

      What is the PURPOSE of the Jews? What is their function for the WORLD?

      In a nutshell, the Jews are used to portray a spiritual story about God, and ETERNAL LIFE throught the life stories of real people. God used real people to tell a story about him. And it was thru the Jews that he does this.

      Have you ever been to church and sung a song about the PROMISED LAND? Crossing the Jordan? Do you know what that’s all about? Do you know what the promised land even is?

      In short, the promised land is HEAVEN. And the promised seed is JESUS. You will find that in Galatians 3:16

      But you will find the carnal story in the life of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to Moses, and Joshua, depicting a piece of earthly real estate, and that from Abraham’s seed of Isaac.

      Notice that Ishmael is left out of the promise, because Ishmael is OF THE FLESH, but Isaac is THE PROMISE.

      Now, spiritualize the ROLE of Ishmael? What does Ishmael represent spiritually, if Isaac represents Jesus?

      Let’s go back to Abraham for a moment. Genesis 17, when cirucumcision was first introduced.

      Why was circumcision introduced? What does circumcision SPIRITUALLY represent?

      No, I’m not indicating that Christians should be religiously circumcized, but for the Jews, it has a purpose and reason…but it spiritually represents something for Christians. What is it? Answer: The Holy Spirit.

      Circumcision was a TOKEN (Genesis 17:11) of a PROMISE given, meaning that God is not going to go back on his word.

      Ephesians 1:13
      In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

      Genesis 17:9-11
      9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

      10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

      11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.

      Keep in mind, this is LONG BEFORE THE LAW OF MOSES. Why is that significant? Because it comes with NO CONDITIONS of behavior of the Children of Jacob.

      So, what is the Promised Land?

      This is where things are TWOFOLD. The same promise represents two things. One is CARNAL, while the other is SPIRITUAL.

      1. The Earthly Land of Canaan, with specific borders.
      2. HEAVEN

      And the Promised Seed is also twofold
      1. Isaac
      2. Jesus (GALATIANS 3:16).

      Preterists don’t see it that way. They completely discard the promise made to Abraham, and think that God is FED UP with the Jews, so he left their house desolate, saying, “They had their chance, and blew it”.

      Ezekiel 36:35
      And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.

      Ezekiel 36:36
      Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.

      In most preterism camps, they think that Nero was THE man of sin, aka THE Anti-Christ that went into the temple and proclaimed to be God. In other preterist camps, they name a couple different Jews who were zealots. BOTH CLAIMS are completely wrong. Why?

      Jesus asks the Pharisees:

      Matthew 22:42
      Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.

      Were they correct? Yes.

      Matthew 1:1
      The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

      This is HUGE, because the Anti-Christ MUST BE a Jew. And this will negate out all the conspiracy theories about some Gentile from Rome, Nero, or a Roman emperor named Titus, or a Pope in Rome, or someone from the European Union, or the UN, or the United States, etc. We are discussing a Jewish man, in Jerusalem at a Temple, walking in the Temple and proclaiming to be God.

      And not just ANY Jew, but someone who is THE SON OF DAVID…meaning, from the Tribe of Judah.

      The destruciton of the temple in 70 AD is NOT, I repeat, NOT in relation to the end times prophesy. THAT generation did NOT SEE the rest of the things that Jesus indicated, regardless of the claims of those who think that they did.

      A JEW from the Tribe of Judah, the SON OF DAVID, must walk into that Temple proclaiming to be God, not a Gentile, not Nero.

      Therefore, the generation that sees the destruction of the 3rd Temple and sees the REST of what Jesus discusses is THAT generation. And no one has convinced me that the 6th seal has already taken place in 70 AD.

      Let’s keep in mind, the Jews are looking for a Christ. There HAS TO BE a 3rd Temple built in Jerusalem for this JEWISH Anti-Christ to walk into, and let’s not forget, he must perform miracles. The Jews need to be convinced that this is the guy they’ve waited so long for.

      Did you know that Jesus mentions the 6th Seal of Revelation chapter 6 in all of the end times gospels? He does.

      After that, he mentions the RAPTURE. Yes…he does. The rapture is depicted in the last part of Revelation chapter 7…RIGHT BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF…THE WRATH OF GOD, which is the 7th Seal.

      Matthew 24

      Sixth Seal:
      Matthew 24:29

      Matthew 24:30-31

      30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

      31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

      Mark 13

      Sixth Seal:
      Mark 13:24-25

      Mark 13:26-27

      26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

      27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

      Luke 21

      Sixth Seal:
      Luke 21:25-26

      Luke 21:27

      27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

      Now, that’s the END of the story in all of the end times chapters of the gospel. And Jesus did not mention one word about the 7th Seal. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.

      Where did Jesus mention the 7th Seal events? He didn’t.

      Jesus ENDS his story at the rapture, neglecting to mention anything of the 7th Seal. Why? Because his believers won’t be here for the WRATH OF GOD.

      Peter, he also mentions the 6th Seal in Acts 2…but his “side by side” he is discussing WHY Jews who got the Holy Spirit are speaking in tongues. This is ALSO in Revelation chapter 7…when the 144,000 JEWS gets SEALED with the Holy Spirit, and THEY TOO will be speaking in tongues.

      Peter references the book of Joel, who mentions the 6th Seal of Revelation chapter 6.

      But why? Because he’s putting CONTEXT to the speaking in tongues at the receiving of the Holy Spirit.

      The unbelieving Jews were making fun of those who were speaking in tongues, so Peter puts a CONTEXT to it. What’s the context?

      The context is just like what Jesus was doing with the 6th Seal of Revelation order of events in his discourse. Both Jesus and Peter mention things in Revelation chapter 7. Jesus mentions the LAST HALF of Revelation 7 (RAPTURE, NOT RESURRECTION), whereas Peter mentions the FIRST HALF of Revelation 7…the 144000 who get SEALED, or, GET THE HOLY SPIRIT. They will be speaking in tongues, too!

      This puts a back to back discussion on events after the 6th Seal for both Jesus and Peter, and is consistant with Revelation chapter 6 and 7.

      The wrath of God doesn’t begin until chapter 8, at the opening of the 7th Seal.

      It’s interesting, though, that preterists don’t believe in the 144000 12 tribe claim, so they spiritualize that away. They have to, in order to fit their doctrines that “The Jews had their chance, and they blew it”. In addition, they say that no one knows where most of the tribes are. While that may be true, God is a little bit smarter. He knows the number of hairs on your head, and the number of stars in the sky, but he doesn’t know where 12 tribes are? I guess God isn’t that smart after all, huh?

      How many tribes were in Israel in 70 AD? Was the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom reunited with all 12 tribes?

      I heard one partial preterist claim that the disciples asked Jesus if he was going to restore the kingdom again (Acts 1). But he said that the response of Jesus was, “My kingdom is not of this world”. I was like, NO WAY WAS THAT THE RESPONSE THAT JESUS GAVE. He told them that it was NOT FOR THEM TO KNOW.

      Preterism is a messed up theology, and so is COVENANT Theology, and so is the hatred of the Jews by Christians, who “claim” to love the Jews, when in fact, they loathe the Jews.

    • Ed Chapman

      Galatians 3:17-18
      17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

      18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

      The promise was given to Abraham BEFORE the so-called COVENANT, of Exodus 20, some 430 years later. And, if you will note, in Genesis 15/17, where the promise was made, it was never conditioned on the behavior of the children of Israel…it was only conditioned on ONE THING. Circumcision. That’s all fokes!

    • Ed Chapman

      And here is a last point:

      Romans 2:11
      For there is no respect of persons with God.

      So, I present you with, The Apostle Paul…

      Did Paul seek out Jesus, or did Jesus seek out Paul?

      1 Timothy 1:13
      Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

      Three words to pay attention to in that one verse:

      1. MERCY
      3. UNBELIEF

      A reminder that God sought out Paul, not the other way around:

      Romans 2:11
      For there is no respect of persons with God.

      Now, about those three words:

      Ephesians 4:18
      Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

      KEY WORD IN THAT VERSE, “IGNORANCE”, “BECAUSE”, and “BLINDNESS”. Where did that come from? See Deu 29:4/Romans 11:8

      Romans 11:30
      For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

      Romans 11:32
      For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

      The conversation of Romans 11 is about the Jews, or as some say, ETHNIC ISRAEL. So…

      All ETHNIC ISRAEL shall be saved:

      Romans 11:26
      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:

      And if you know who Jacob is, his descendents are Israel, NOT GENTILES.



      later (ROMANS 11)!

      Saved Gentiles are NOT “elect”, nor are they “SPIRITUAL ISRAEL”. Gentiles need to quit acting like they are more superior to the Jews who are NOT NOW SAVED. I see tons of arrogance in those type of Christians, especially the PRETERIST type.

      Ed Chapman

    • Ed Chapman

      C Michael Patton,

      In this article you state that you ARE a dispensationalist.



      So…which is it?


      1. Romans 11:29 is quite clear,
      “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

      Unfortunately, the English does not produce the word order of the Greek. The Greek reads, ἀμεταμέλητα γὰρ τὰ χαρίσματα καὶ ἡ κλῆσις τοῦ θεοῦ.
      “For irrevocable are the gifts and calling of God.”

      2. Genesis 15 is the ratification of the Abrahamic Covenant, not Genesis 17 and command to circumcise.
      a. Abram believed God regarding the promise in Genesis 15:6
      b. Abram was asleep when God passed between the animals.
      c. Thus, God was the guarantor of the covenant, not Abram and his descendants.

      3. Acts 15 and the Council of Jerusalem, 59 CE, clearly state that Gentiles, non-Jews, uncircumcised, did not need to be circumcised not keep the Law (and its 613 commandments) to complete thei salvation, i.e. to be justified after belieeving in Jesus not for saqnctification.

    • Ed Chapman


      Genesis 15 is the PROMISED LAND. Genesis 17 is the PROMISED SEED.

      They go hand in hand. The promised land is FOR the descendents of Isaac (as opposed to Ishmael). And circumcision sealed the deal.

      On the spiritual side…The Promised Land is…WHAT, EXACTLY?

      The SPIRITUAL promised seed is…WHO EXACTLY? Galatians 3:16 (JESUS).

      Regardlesss, this is about a small piece of real estate in the middle east, and ethnic jews, not about Jesus, not about Gentiles, not about salvation, not about gifts, not about calling.


      You can call it a shadow, too.

      Ed Chapman



      1. Genesis 15:1-6,
      “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”

      Notice that the issue of discussion between God and Abram is an “heir,” “offspring,” in 15:2-5. It is here that 15:6 beccomes one of the most important text of the Tanakh along with Habbakuk 2:4 concerning the role of faith, not works, for salvation (Romans 4, and Galatians 3:6-9; and Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38, respectively).
      It is not until 15:7-21 that the issue of the land is brought up. In fact, the issues of offspring and land are so intertwined that it is hard, not impossible, to distinguish.

      2. Genesis 17:1-8,
      When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I ill make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

      Notice, again, that the issue begins with God making another covenant with Abram, changes his name to Abraham, and makes the descendants of Abraham His (God’s) people including the land being “everlasting” (17:5-8). Circumcision is the sign of this covenant between God and Abraham’s descendants (includes Ishameal). God later in Genesis 22 restricts this to go through Isaac, then Jacob (aka Israel). Thus, circumcision was a sign of the covenant with the descendants of Abraham, Isaqc, and Jacob.
      Now, it is here that I make several connections. First, Acts 15 and the Council of Jerusalem, 49 CE, deals with this issue specifically whether or not Gentiles, non-Jews, uncircumcised, who believed in Jesus MUST be circumcised, i.e. to become Jews, in order to be saved, i.e. justified (15:1, 5). The Council rejected that reasoning. Paul would later give the reasoning behind the decision in Galatians 2:12-3:29, later in Romans 6:20-8:39.
      Second, this does not mean that God has rejected His people, the Jewss. In fact, Romans 9-11 discusses this very issue. Gentiles who believe in Jesus as Messiah would be grafted into the olive tree that is Israel which is contrary to horticultural pracice, i.e. grafting a “wild” olive branch (Romans 11:13-24) Furthermore, Paul indicates that he is speaking to the Gentile readers since he is an Apostle to the Gentiles (11:13).
      Third, the later letters of Paul indicate that the gospel was to create a new people of God, one united in Christ of both Jews AND Gentiles (jGalatians 3:28; Ephesians 4:13, unity of the faith).
      Fourth, this conforms to Genesis 3:15 and the seed that destroys the serpent.,

      Finally, I disagree with the entire narrative that the Church has replaced Israel. Romans 11:29 is clear. The Abrahamic Covenant is not only everlasting, but has not totally been fulfilled and will not be abrogated. It is irrevocable.

      • Ed Chapman


        Again, TYPE/SHADOW. End of story.

        For those who do NOT believe in a FUTURE Jewish Nation Kingdom.

        Galatians 3:18
        For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

        That ONE VERSE tells us that…The COVENANT, otherwise known as the MOSAIC Covenant, or THE LAW OF MOSES, or the FIRST COVENANT (Hebrews 10), or the law of works, the law of sin and death, the Old Testament, or, as the Preterists callit, “Old Covenant Israel”, etc. has no bearing on the promise of Genesis Chapters 15, and 17. The behavior of the children of Israel is IRRELEVENAT to the Promise. Therefore, there is no such thing as “Old Covenant Israel” to begin with.

        In short, the children of Israel did NOT forfeit the proimse due to the rejection of Jesus, or their behavior of sin, or being APOSTATE ISRAEL, or killing the prophets, or killing Jesus, or any other goofy accusation against the Jews.

        That ONE PROMISE of LAND inheritance is TWOFOLD, not onefold.

        1. Carnal
        a. PROMISED LAND = Small Piece of Real Estate in the Middle East
        b. Promised SINGULAR Seed = Isaac
        c. PLURAL Seed of Isaac, (THROUGH JACOB (NOT ALL ISRAEL IS OF ISRAEL…FAMILY LINE SPLIT HERE)), INHERITS THE LAND. Esau does not, even though he is the seed of Isaac.

        2. Spiritual
        a. Promised Land = HEAVEN
        b. Promised SINGULAR Seed = Jesus (GALATIANS 3:16)
        c. Plural SEED of Jesus gets Heaven

        That is a DUAL, SINGULAR promise, and neither can be annulled, or cancelled. But today, we have Christians that are dead set against 1948 Israel, because they think that the promise was conditional on…THE COVENANT, aka The Law of Moses, the law of works, the law of sin and death, the Mosiac Law, the Old Testament. But Galatians 3:18 tells of a different story, in that the behavior of the children of Jacob is IRRELEVENT to the promise.

        If that promise was conditioned on THE COVENANT:

        The difference between the OLD COVENANT and the NEW COVENANT is ONE WORD…RIGHTEOUSNESS. And it was a SETUP to fail. Yes, I said it. A SETUP to fail.

        Romans 5:20
        Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound…

        In plain English, the law was given so that sin would INCREASE, not DECREASE. And why? to give GRACE meaning.

        Romans 5:20
        …But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

        Before the COVENANT:

        Romans 4:3
        For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

        In the COVENANT:

        Deuteronomy 6:25
        And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.

        BUT NOW…

        Romans 3:21
        But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

        ***The old COVENANT was about RIGHTEOUSNESS, not about LAND INHERITANCE. They get land inheritance REGARDLESS of RIGHTEOUSNESS. And due to the law being a SETUP for FAILURE, no one under the law would obtain righteousness.

        Romans 9:30
        What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

        Romans 9:31
        But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

        Romans 10:3
        For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

        Keep in mind that God ORDERED them to seek SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS, SO THAT they would fail. They can’t come to Jesus until Jesus wants them to come to Jesus…That is explained below…


        Deuteronomy 29:4 AND Romans 11:8
        Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.

        In case no one realizes, “unto this day” is meaning NEVER. Romans 11:8 CONFIRMS that they are STILL THAT WAY…except a REMNANT. This should put away the notion that they are blind due to JUDICIAL blindness. They are not.

        But let’s CONTRAST that with the Gentiles:

        Romans 15:21
        But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

        But getting back to the BLIND JEWS…

        How is that spiritual blindness removed? Lydia, for example, a JEW, who is a follower of God under the Law of Moses, or should I say, OLD COVENANT for all of the COVENANT theology people, God had to OPEN HER HEART. But, we also have…

        John 9:39-41
        39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

        40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?

        41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

        in addition, please note what it states about SIN in that reference.

        In any case, it is of NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN that they are blind. No fault whatsoever.


        The story of Joseph and his brothers is the same relationship that Jesus has with the Jews. What they meant for evil, God meant for good, to save many, and Joseph forgave all of his brothers.

        And, we know that God is not a respector of persons. If all of the blind Jews don’t get saved, then God is indeed a respector of persons…THE APOSTLE PAUL was one of them.

        1 Timothy 1
        13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

        Well, aren’t the rest of them the same as Paul…did things ignorantly in unbelief?

        In any case, the LAND INHERITANCE isn’t conditioned on the old testament. Neither is salvation. Before the law, there was faith. Under the law, NO FAITH.

        Galatians 3:23
        But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

        After the law, FAITH IS BACK!

        Oh, and regarding Abraham’s sin…slept with half sister, which counts as sister in the law…

        Romans 5:13
        (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

        Are we under the law? Who is? The law was given so that sin would INCREASE, not decrease, so that Grace would have meaning! All Blind Jews will be saved. And it’s not discussing the CHURCH, who is already saved. There is a difference between ALREADY SAVED, and WILL BE SAVED.


      I think it is clear from The Abrahamic Covenant, Davidic Covenant, and the prophecies of the Tanakh and Revelation that there will be a nation of Israel. Daniel 9:24-27 is remarekable in that regard. Again, the Church has NOT replaced Israel.

      • Ed Chapman


        I’m agreeing with you. I’m just expounding as to why I believe what I believe, by using scripture to back up what I believe.

        If one is going to mention Abrahamic Covenant, they had better be able to explain it in the type/shadow illustration, showing both carnal events from Genesis that equates to the spiritual reality events of prophecy and connecting the dots.

        Moses = Jesus
        Pharoah = Satan
        Egypt = Sin, Bondage to

        Let my people go = Salvation

        Wandering Desert = Christian Walk

        Crossing Jordan = Death

        Enter Promised Land (Canaan = Heaven).

        Jews cant see that (Deu 29:4), and most Christians don’t see that, but should. Most preachers are expository, so they never teach it.


      To a certain extent I would agree with you, bu the issue of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in power and glory to establish His kingdom unlike His First Coming in power and glory. This Second Coming shoulld motivates us to live holy and righteous lives even in the midst of persecution until He returns. The persecution will be similar to the Seven-Year Tribulation, but not as intense.

    • Daniel

      You could ask you to respond to this someone letting a contradiction between Jesus and Paul https://substack.com/@royalfool/note/c-58617270

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