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One Grateful Israelite

By Jim Huskins

McDowell CountyJim Huskins McDowell County, NC


 For most of my life, I believed and taught that the “New Testament Church” replaced Israel in God’s plan for redeeming mankind. People I loved and trusted told me this was the case. “Replacement theology” comes in several forms. One of the most common is a doctrine called “Dispensationalism.” 


My profession required constant Bible study, and I frequently encountered passages which challenged the notion that God replaced Israel. Because I respected my teachers, I mostly ignored those texts. Eventually I realized that I had to reconcile my beliefs with the clear lessons of Scripture.  

To that end, my wife and I decided that we should do a better job of keeping the Sabbath. We began in the middle of 2016. At the time, I was pastor of a tiny congregation affiliated with one of the mainline denominations. Our efforts to obey the Fourth Commandment put us at odds with the rest of our fellowship. 


We researched the Biblical definition of “remembering and keeping” Sabbath. We learned that we should rest, not work, not cause others to work, not force animals to work, and not buy or sell on Sabbath. We became unpopular with others in the congregation. We refused to go to restaurants after worship. We avoided sporting or entertainment events which charged admission. We did not join Sunday shopping trips.


Jesus’ statement that He came “not to bring peace but a sword” took on new meaning. After twelve months of tension, the congregation I served decided that they no longer required my services. I began to suspect that it may be impossible to obey the Bible while holding any significant leadership role in most Christian congregations. This sad state of affairs is due in part to the widespread acceptance of Dispensationalism.


This doctrine was formulated in Great Britain during the middle of the Nineteenth Century by a group called the Plymouth Brethren. Their leader, John Nelson Darby, conceived and popularized the notion that God has dealt with mankind in a number of different ways. He claimed that the Bible records seven distinct “dispensations” beginning with Adam and Eve before the fall. In spite of the Bible’s insistence that God never changes, Darby taught that each of the dispensations is radically different from those which preceded it and that none of the dispensations are compatible with each other. 


Darby was a brilliant debater and a gifted promoter. During the decades following the American Civil War, he made several speaking tours of North America. Most of the established denominations came under his spell. His teaching is the source of many of the heretical doctrines which keep modern Christians from recognizing clear, Biblical truth. One of the most unfortunate results of Darby’s tours was his influence on one C.I. Scofield. When Scofield’s Reference Bible was published in 1909, it included Darby’s Dispensationalism woven throughout Scofield’s extensive margin notes. Many who read that volume apparently have difficulty applying critical thought to ideas printed “right there in the book.” With Scofield’s help, Darby’s heresies have infected most of modern Christianity.


Dispensationalism is built on four tenets. First, Darby claimed that “Israel” and “the Church” are fundamentally separate. He insisted that “earthly Israel” and “the spiritual church” are distinct peoples of God with different purpose and destinies. 


His second tenet is that “Law” and “Grace” are mutually exclusive. He believed that the Advent of Messiah had nothing to do with fulfilling the many promises God made to Israel. Rather, Jesus came to replace the “weak and ineffective Law of Moses” with the “perfection of Grace.”


Third, he claimed that the “New Testament Church” is a parenthesis in God’s plan. Darby believed that Jesus found Himself unable to complete His mission of establishing God’s Kingdom on earth. He decided to go away and come back later. That supposedly explains why the Hebrew Prophets were unable to “see” the “dispensation of grace.”


Fourth, Darby invented a so-called “rapture” of the Church separate from the Second Coming of Messiah. His “secret rapture” supposedly precedes the Second Coming by seven years of tribulation. 


The only problem with Darby’s teaching is that it has no basis in Scripture. Christ has one body: the Nation of Israel. He stated in Matthew 15:24 that He came to redeem the lost sheep of Israel. This mission dovetails with the oft-stated fact that those who accept His Lordship by grace through faith are grafted into Israel. Throughout the Hebrew Bible, Israel is referred to as “qahal.” That’s the Hebrew word for “church.” When I devoted my life to Jesus, He made me part of His chosen people, Israel.


Darby’s false dichotomy between “Law” and “Grace” is the source of unimaginable confusion. Jesus says in Luke 24:44 that everything written in the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms is about Him. Grace has existed since God spared Adam and Eve. Salvation is always by grace through faith, but grace is not an excuse to live in sin. We are called to live by Godly standards as defined in the Law of Moses. Grace covers our human failures as we sincerely attempt to live in righteousness. 


Nowhere does the Bible teach that believers will be miraculously removed before the time of tribulation. When Jesus returns, everyone will know. We will hear His cry of command and the voice of an archangel. The trumpet of God will sound. He will reunite the Two Houses of Israel and restore His people to the Promised Land.


My wife and I dared to honor God by keeping His Sabbath. We got it right except for one thing: we were focused on the wrong day. Once we realized that we did not have to force the Bible to support what we had been taught, we were able to take God’s Word at face value. Our realization that Sabbath is the Seventh Day of the week became the key which freed us from manmade doctrine and introduced us to the joy and blessings of following Torah.


Jim & Beverly Huskins are members of Obedient Heart Fellowship in McDowell County. Beginning July 2, 2022 Obedient Heart Fellowship will meet at 10:00 Each Sabbath (Seventh Day) at 3023 US 221 N. Marion, NC. 10:00 A.M. Call 828-460-7913 for info.

You can read more good Christian news from Jim HERE.