Dispensational Dominionism – #2

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In the first installment of this series, I noted that in my formal debate with Joel McDurmon, Head of Research at American Vision, he argued that Abraham never received the land that was promised to him, and that this demands a future physical resurrection, at which time, Abraham will “inherit the earth” and rule over a physical kingdom. I noted in our debate that McDurmon’s position is nothing but a revamped and re-worded form of Dispensationalism. I likewise noted that in scripture, Abraham received the land representatively, through his seed. McDurmon ignored the force of this fact, but, it is a common Hebraic idea, set forth in many ways.

(The Kindle version of our debate is available here. The DVDs are available here, and the book form can now be ordered from Amazon here).

Let me illustrate the fact of “representative fulfillment” from scripture.

In Genesis 12:3, God promised that in Abraham and his seed, “in you and your seed shall the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” Notice the direct parallelism between “Abraham and his seed” being the blessing to the world, and “Abraham and his seed” inheriting the land.

Now, if the land promise has not been fulfilled because Abraham did not personally receive that piece of dirt, then on the same exact “logic” the world has not been blessed through Abraham because he is not “here” personally, individually, physically, to give that blessing! However, as I argued in the debate with McDurmon, Abraham rules the world, NOW, through Christ, his seed. Abraham does not have to be personally, physically present for the world to be blessed through him and his seed. McDurmon never offered a word in response to this indisputable fact.

Representative action is likewise found in one of the stories of Abraham. In Genesis 14 he paid tithes to Melchisedec. When he did so, according to Hebrews 7, Levi, who would not be born for many years, “paid tithes through Abraham.” We thus have, from scripture, the idea of representative actions and fulfillment. I presented this argument in the debate, but again, got no response whatsoever.

Notice also in Daniel 2 Nebuchadnezzar’s dream entailed four kingdoms. As Daniel interpreted the dream, he said that he fourth kingdom (Rome) “shall break and crush all of these” (v. 40– i.e. the previous three kingdoms). Now, this is troublesome, given McDurmon’s hermeneutic.

Rome clearly never destroyed Babylon, the Medes and the Persians. She conquered the Greeks to be sure, but, she never “laid a glove” personally on the Babylonian or Persian kingdoms. Historically, the Medes and Persians destroyed Babylon. Historically, the Greeks conquered and destroyed the Persians. Yet, according to the vision, Rome crushed all three of the preceding kingdoms! This is a statement of judgment by representation. By destroying the kingdom that had conquered the previous kingdoms, Rome (representatively) destroyed all three of the previous kingdoms.

Likewise, notice that the kingdom, the stone cut out without hands, would “break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end” (v. 44). Once again, if one demands personal actions (to use the term) then this verse makes no sense. The kingdom of Christ did not “personally” destroy Babylon, Medo/Persia or Greece! Those kingdoms had ceased to exist before the coming of Christ!

However, by overcoming Rome, the kingdom of Christ representatively conquered all kingdoms like her. Thus, Christ is said to have conquered and destroyed “all these kingdoms.”

Notice finally, a Biblical commentary on the Abrahamic land promise, as given in Deuteronomy 34:1-5:
“Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the South, and the plain of the Valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.”

There could hardly be a clearer “commentary” on the land promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. YHVH said He promised the land to them. Yet, He then explicitly says the promise was to their descendants! They were not promised the land individually, but representatively. They would receive the land through their seed– and they did.

Notice Nehemiah 9:6f a text that I appealed to in the McDurmon debate.

“You are the Lord God, Who chose Abram, And brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans, And gave him the name Abraham; You found his heart faithful before You, And made a covenant with him
To give the land of the Canaanites, The Hittites, the Amorites, The Perizzites, the Jebusites, And the Girgashites— To give it to his descendants. You have performed Your words, For You are righteous.”

In the debate, I noted that the promise was to Abraham. God made the covenant with him, to give him the land. He promised to give it to his descendants. He did not make one promise to Abraham and another promise to Abraham’s seed. It was one promise. Nehemiah and the elders of Israel said God kept that promise.

McDurmon, confronted with the divine text, focused on the word “descendants,” ignoring the fact that the text says God promised the land to Abraham, and that the promise to Abraham was to his descendants. The fact is that no matter how you want to look at it, from the perspective of the inspired text, the Abrahamic land promise was fulfilled!

McDurmon and the Dominionists however, have joined hand and heart with the Dispensationalists, claiming that the promises were not fulfilled! And yet, they decry the indisputable fact that they have in fact joined hands with Dispensationalism.

Dispensationalists say the land promises have never been fulfilled. Dominionists say the land promises have not been fulfilled. So, where is the difference?

There are other direct, specific and undeniable parallels between Dispensationalism and modern Dominionism. We will examine other parallels in upcoming installments. The label of “Dispensational Dominionism” is indeed an apt description.