Ask Rob

Dialog on Angels for WCA

Had a great time at Wake Christian Academy today. I was able to take part in a chapel series on topics from Systematic Theology. My topic was angels.

We had a question and answer time after the high school chapel, but I know there are more questions.

This post is to provide a place for those to ask those questions. Just post your question and then check back for the answer.

Let’em rip!

Question on Dispensationalism, Israel and Continuity, part 2

Meagan wrote:

how would you reply to the notion that dispensationalism is a relatively new (just over 100 years old according to some) belief, and that it is not biblical in origin? Also, why is it
so important to clarify whether the Bible is referring to Jews or Christians ( or both) when it speaks of the “church”?

Lastly, is 1 Cor. 15:52 the only passage from which to build a theology of the rapture, and specifically a pre-tribulational rapture?


This second one is a very important question, in my opinion. The first answer must be that it is only important if the Text seems to make it important. I think the Text does indeed do this.

From the inception of the nation of Israel through Abram of Ur, God had designed a people to be distinct. For certain purposes, God made an “us and them” situation between Israel and everyone else. This distinctive puts Israel in a unique light by definition. Now, Paul works some of that out in Romans 3 by way of a side argument. This intersects what God is doing through the Gospel more in Romans 9-11. It is this intersection that many interpret the “mystery” that Paul speaks of very often being the Church producing Gospel. This is heightened by Romans 11:25 that indicates a time and position distinction for Israel, offset from the Gentiles (everyone else).

The key is always remembering that when you say “Jew”, you must think of both the individual AND the nation. Read the rest of this entry »

Question on Dispensationalism, Israel and Continuity, part 1

Meagan wrote:

how would you reply to the notion that dispensationalism is a relatively new (just over 100 years old according to some) belief, and that it is not biblical in origin? Also, why is it
so important to clarify whether the Bible is referring to Jews or Christians ( or both) when it speaks of the “church”?
Lastly, is 1 Cor. 15:52 the only passage from which to build a theology of the rapture, and specifically a pre-tribulational rapture?


Ok, I am finally able to get to this – busy week! Now I do not want to just pass the buck here, or inundate you with more reading, but this is a Costco-size can of worms you opened, so a little reading will be necessary.
I want you to go here for a balanced approach at the truth that beliefs held within modern dispensationalism (well defined here) were also held by Church Fathers and many way before the 1800’s. This is more directly approached here (although I do not know this guy or this site very well, he is at least though provoking in the right direction.)
So, look at those in that order – but, as you do, think about this:
– Every system or school of though has a birth. Just because something is systematized more recently does not necessarily make it wrong. There were rocks here before Geology became the system that it is today. Systems classify things, if they are done well. Although it is usually a niche thing, they are still just to be a classificational tool. I mean are we to reject the thoughts and teachings of Calvinism because he was not in the beginning with God?
– Every system also has an off-label use and that is when things often go awry.  The system is supposed to be a helpful tool to take a wider breadth of data and be able to look at (parts of) it all at once. It is a “desktop organizer” that can potentially provide one with the insight needed to ask and answer broader questions based on comparative data. So, in Systematic Theology, the sub-categories are definitive of this fact – i.e. angelology, bibliology, ect. Angelology allows one to see all that the Text might say about angels, so one could potentially come to broader conclusions about angels from a more holistic, biblical point of view. But this is very complicated hermeneutically, in that these passages are being drawn from several genres, time periods, contexts – etc. Caution and time needs to be spent with liberty, or the system can be too quick to ask and answer WRONG questions – THEN the off-label use . . .
– The system at some point can stop being a tool and start being the standard. This is when someone takes the system and lays (at times forces) it back over the Text as a whole and then starts running all interpretations of all texts in all subjects through that system. This is unfortunate. It is in this sense that many dispensationalists to some degrees are rightly accused of eisegeting (putting into) the text from a strongly preconceived point of view.
So, all that to say, the system is new in it’s official and current form of organization. That does not in itself make it wrong, for the beliefs existed with many since the second century – just like many who held other beliefs. The problem is when the system gets out of place and is given a Red Bull and takes over. It, and all other systems, are tools and should be seen as such.
The 2nd and 3rd parts of your question to be answered in the coming days . . .

AskRob: Question on the use of Scripture for “Life Verses”


I need to understand in detail how to use Gods word correctly for hope, strength and encouragement. I know you mentioned about how some life verses are not verses to use for life verses. The verse that keeps me going and full of hope is Galatians 6:9. I use this verse because it reminds me that there is a bigger picture and that I need to press on till the end. 
So how do we use Gods word for encouragement and hope?

I know that I have though about this question too long and I have just determined that this will be one that I will think about for years and revise my understanding of it along the way. For now, let me give you my thoughts on it.

As we think about using verses of Scripture – for any purpose – it is assumed that the Scripture has a purpose and is to be used. Both of these premises are absolutely true. (2 Tim. 3:16-17) The question is how and how much? By this I mean, what is the purpose of Scripture and how are we to use it?

Well, let’s start with some other premises:

– Scripture is vast an contains a lot of verses, books and content

– It is implied that since we have a book full of stuff that He wants us to use all the Book

– It has a primary purpose of revealing God to us –

– We know that knowing God correctly is the very most important thing in our lives

– There is always four contexts to every passage – thought, book/author, testament, Bible

These are just a few important thoughts that get me to this point:

Read the rest of this entry »

AskRob: Question on the Resurrection and Heaven

Q. Hey Rob,
Okay, my cage is rattled again. It's about your stance on people not 
recognizing each other in the resurrection. I'll be surprised if mine is the 
only e-mail you get about this. First, I agree with you completely that we 
probably won't even care and that just being in God's presence and seeing 
Him in all His glory will be all-consuming and probably overwhelm any other 
thought or feeling.
That said, I have to wonder if your position is entirely correct when I 
think about instances like when King Saul paid the medium to call up Samuel: 
Saul recognized Samuel from the medium's description. In Jesus' parable 
about the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man recognized both Lazarus and 
Abraham. In the Matt. 17 account of Jesus' transfiguration, Peter, James and 
John recognized Moses and Elijah. Whether this was from ancient drawings, 
maybe, or some God-granted telepathy-type thing, we don't know, but they 
obviously were recognizable as those specific Biblical figures. In Matt. 22, 
Jesus tells us He's the God of the living, not the dead, and names Abraham, 
Isaac and Jacob. This implies that they're still known by those names and 
recognized as those people even after death. In this same chapter, Jesus 
tells us there will be no marriage, but rather that we'll be like the angels 
in heaven. Is it taking that verse too far to suppose we'll be known by 
names and recognizable as the angels Michael and Gabriel clearly are? The 
most persuasive example to me is that of Jesus Himself after His death, who 
was immediately recognized by His disciples when He appeared to them in the 
locked room. Scripture even depicts Him retaining the wounds of the 
crucifixion. There's the obvious delineation between our humanity and His 
deity, but we're told that we will be like Him.
As far as having memories, if we are to give an account after death (Rom. 
14) of the acts done in this life, we would surely be able to remember them, 
along with the others' whose lives are included in the memories of what 
we've done.
 Thanks for your time.

Oh yeah, and who were the Nephilim? (Just kidding)

A pre-Abraham Boy-Band. (Just Kidding)
Here you Go:
 Read the rest of this entry »