Well, I must have run the conversation off--or schedules are tight and time is precious. I hope it is the latter. However, I find it refreshing to air my thoughts out in this forum to have them tested. I put before you a very deep Scriptural passage. Read it slowly.
“Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called ‘uncircumcision’ by the so-called ‘circumcision,’ which is performed in the flesh by human hands—remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:11-22 NASB)
The theology contained within this passage is enormous!!! First note how the Gentiles were excluded from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, but no longer. I am reminded that one of the first covenants made with Abram was before his circumcision. It was during this very visit that Abram's faith was "credited to him as righteousness" (Gen. 15:6) -- not following the Law of commandments which was the enmity and abolished with Christ's flesh. Therefore, Abraham became the father of all God's People (Rom. 4:1-15). However, it took Jesus to bring the Family together. But now the Gentiles are no longer strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens with the saints--one household. The promises belong to the Gentiles as well.
The family has been built. To Peter, Jesus said, "upon this rock I will build My [assembly] (church/ekklesia); and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." (Matt. 16:18) (Interesting ASIDE: What is 'this rock'?) Through the prophet Amos and repeated at the Council at Jerusalem, God said, "After this I will return and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from old." (Amos 9:11,12 or Acts 15:16,17 ESV) The "Church" has not replaced Israel. Israel has been rebuilt as promised. And the cornerstone is Christ himself. And Jews and Gentiles alike are being built together into a growing holy temple. So no temple in Jerusalem is needed as Jesus told the Samaritan woman (John 4:21). Notice how Amos prophecied that the tabernacle would be rebuilt and how Paul said that this temple was the fitting together of both Jews and Gentiles. Do we really need a structure or building in our eschatological creations?
In my mind, this passage alone (with supported verses above) shoots down the theology of Dispensationalism. The teachings of this view teach a separation, a division of the body. They teach--The "Church" is raptured; God returns his focus back to the Jews; He gives them songs the Gentiles cannot learn; and He gives them the land between the Great Sea and the Euphrates while the Gentiles take a back seat. Is this Biblical or man-made hogwash? Note I do not deny a possible resurgence of Jews back into the Family that God established naturally through their fathers. However, why would God have them enter into the Family by the old method and not the new?
And while the Covenantalists sit comfortably in their seat, while this verse does not shoot down this theology, it does begin to etch away some of its teachings. The dividing wall, the enmity between Jew and Gentile, has been broken down. What is this wall? The Law of commandments contained in ordinances. "It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith." (Rom. 4:13) For the covenant at Sinai was broken (Jer. 31:32), but God did not forget the covenants of promise he made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Lev. 26:42). And it is this promise that unites: "For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but 'Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.' This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring." (Rom. 9:8-9 ESV) If the covenant at Sinai was broken is this mysterious "covenant of grace" broken? Or is this "covenant of grace" man-made hogwash, as well?
Am I the only one who struggles with both diametrically opposed views of the dispensationalist, as well as the covenantalist? What view or "group" am I left with?