|Q200 : Abraham's Expectation of a Heavenly Homeland|
I'm preaching from the letter to the Hebrews. I read the introduction from Andy about this letter. While the most of the letter I can follow very well there are some texts which are difficult to follow. Especially from an dispensational point of view. Maybe one of you can shine some light for me.
In Hebrews 11:10, Abraham is expecting the city with foundations, in Hebrews 11:16 he is expecting an heavenly homeland which is the heavenly Jerusalem according to Hebrews 12:22, right? Hebrews 11:40 says that they are still waiting for the promise because of us. It looks like the Covenant Theologians have a point saying there will only be one people of God and the promises are the same for Abraham as for the Church. They (OT believers) and we (NT body of Christ) are expecting the same promise which is (the) heavenly Jerusalem. Does this mean that Abraham isn't awaiting the inheritance in the literal Israel anymore? Is Covenant Theology right to say that the fulfilment will be heaven and not literal Israel? These texts seem to suggest this.
Could you please provide some light on these difficult texts from a dispensational point of view?
|A200 : by Andy Woods |
Covenant Theology assumes that the lack of mention of the land promises in the Book of Hebrews is the same thing as a cancellation of them. However, this is untrue. This type of statement represents a logical fallacy known as an argument from silence. In other words, just because the Book of Hebrews does not expressly mention the land promises, this fact alone should never be taken as a cancellation of the land promises. The Book of Hebrews never overtly or expressly cancels or denies the land promises.
Also, to the Jewish mind (the audience whom the book is addressed to), the land promises (Gen. 13:17; 15:18-21) were so ingrained and well established that it would be redundant to mention them again. Biblically, it is already assumed that the land promises of the millennial kingdom would precede the eternal state (Eze. 47:13-23; 48). Therefore, the fact that Abraham was looking for the eternal state and the New Jerusalem indicates that he also expected the land promises to be fulfilled prior to the inauguration of the eternal state. In other words, although Abraham was looking for the New Jerusalem, and because the Jewish mind understood that the land promises preceded the New Jerusalem, Abraham looking for the New Jerusalem naturally and automatically meant that he also believed that the land promises would precede the New Jerusalem.
Finally, while it is true that both Israel and the Church will be citizens in the New Jerusalem, this does not cancel the two programs of God view of Dispensationalism. Interestingly, the foundations of the eternal city (Rev. 21:14) are named after the apostles of the lamb, who were the foundations of the Church (Eph. 2:20). Also, the gates of the city (Rev. 21:12) are named after the 12 tribes of Israel, who were the foundations of God's program with Israel. By separating things in this manner, God seems to be calling eternal attention to his two great programs of God, both Israel and the Church, in the eternal state. In other words, the eternal state and the New Jerusalem's description does not contradict the two programs of God view of dispensationalism. Rather, this description reaffirms this distinction throughout the ages.