Summary: An Evaluation of Ultra-dispensationalism And Dispensationalism Views on Ordinances.
Ultra-dispensationalists are divided into two groups. There are the extreme ultra-dispensationalists and the moderate ultra-dispensationalists. These two differ on the exact time that the Church started but both are in agreement that the Church did not start on Pentecost.
Some feel that there has always been a church and that this dispensation’s church is merely a continuance of that church that started with Moses. They base this on the word “ekklesia”, which merely mean a group of called out ones. In their viewpoint, the church of this dispensation started in either Acts 9 or Acts 13:46. Some also place it after Acts 28.
Acts 9 is considered to be the start of the Church because of the conversion of Paul. Paul being the Apostle to the Gentiles and having been given the revelation of the “mystery” of the Church to be the logical one to start the Body of Christ or the Church. Peter would be the founder of the Jewish Church, which is a separate entity from Paul’s Church. Acts 13:46 is highly favored because it shows Israel’s final rejection of Christ and the Gospel given to the Gentiles. This would mean God had rejected Israel, set them aside and started His new dispensation.
Acts 2 is rejected by some because they feel that the kingdom was still to be offered to the Jews and if they would repented and accepted Jesus He would have returned and set up the Kingdom right then. They take this standpoint from Acts 3:19-20. Those that take the stand there has always been one church state that Acts 2:47 proves that there was already a church because people were added to the Church.
Extremists divide Acts into these sections; the first as mentioned the offering of the Kingdom then the period of reconciliation between the Jew and Gentile. After that the final rejection of Christ by Israel and the ushering in the Church dispensation.
Dispensationalists are those who hold that the dispensation of the Church age officially began in Acts 2 with filling of the one hundred and twenty with the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost. Pentecost Dispensationalists would disagree with the idea of a continuous church from Moses until the Millennium. Verses such as Colossians 1:18, 24-27 as well as Ephesians 1:22-23 point dramatically to the Church age starting after Christ’s resurrection and ascension.
Christ Himself was the firstborn from the dead being made the head of the Church and in logical keeping of the analogy a head normally precedes the body in birth. The head appears followed by the body so also Christ appearing fulfilled all prophesies of concerning the suffering Messiah and thus presented Himself as the head of His Body, the Church, which was to follow. For the body to precede the head creates a breech birth and many complications as also does the Church beginning with Moses.
The argument that the same word is used is weak and irrelevant because even today we call liberal, apostate and cults “churches.” However, we realize that they are not with the true Church of Christ. Therefore, because a group of called-out ones in another one of God’s dispensations is called a church does not mean it is synonymous to the Body of Christ known today as the Church. Since the “New is in the Old concealed and the Old is in the New revealed,” perhaps the mystery of the Church lay in the fact that Moses’ “ekklesia” was a foreshadowing of the Church concealed to the Jews of the Old Testament.
You will note that the Passover is important to the Jew and Christ is called the Passover Lamb, not the Easter Lamb. Two Passovers preceded two major events in God’s plan. The ritual of keeping the Passover provided a way for Gentiles to be included. (Exodus 12:47-49) A Gentile would receive the sign of the covenant and participate in the rite that celebrated the deliverance of God’s people from Egypt and he would be as one home-born. A symbol of equality of concerning Jews and Gentiles. Christ kept the last Passover and instituted a remembrance of His sacrifices to be kept.
This is shared by Jew and Gentile alike after they receive the sign of the covenant, the Holy Ghost, which is acquired through faith and a desire to keep the Passover must have been represented a faith in Jehovah on the part of the Gentile and a true heart participation in the rites on the part of the Jews would constitute faith. So in the Body of Christ they are equal as it is stated in Galatians 3:27-28.
Notice also in Galatians 3:28 it says we are baptized into Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:2-4 talk about that first ekklesia being baptized unto Moses and the spiritual rock being Christ. These passages further strengthen the idea that Moses’ group was a foreshadowing mystery of the Church clearly revealed by Christ’s coming.