by Jerry Shugart
Appendix 3: OT Prophecies in Regard to Gentile Salvation
In his book The Case For Progressive Dispensationalism Robert Saucy says that "our discussion of the New Testament teaching concerning the inauguration of the new testament and its contemporary application to Jews and Gentiles alike in the church has already given clear evidence that the Old Testament prophecy of eschatology salvation for the Gentiles is being fulfilled in this present age" [emphasis added] (Saucy, The Case For Progressive Dispensationalism, p.135).
That cannot possibly be true because the OT prophecies reveal that when Israel's New Diatheke will be in force the Gentiles will be saved through the agency of the nation of Israel:
"Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you...Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor" (Isa.55:3,5; NIV).
When Israel's New Diatheke will be in force the Gentiles will saved as a result to the agency of the nation of Israel. Certainly this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled because at the present time the nation of Israel has not been endowed with splendor by the Lord.
The following prophecy also reveals that when Israel's New Diatheke will be in force the Gentiles will be saved as a result of the agency of the Jews:
"And I will bring them (Israel), and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness...And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing...In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you" (Zech.8:8,13,23).
It is evident these prophecies are not now being fulfilled. Despite this Dr. Saucy asserts that "the Old Testament prophecy of eschatological salvation for the Gentiles is being fulfilled in this present age."
The Fall of Them
The Apostle Paul states in no uncertain terms that it is through Israel's fall that salvation has come to the Gentiles:
"I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?" (Ro.11:11-12).
Saucy also understand this fact so later he backtracks, saying that "First--and with this advocates of the other position concur--the present salvific operation of God in not in strict accord with the Old Testament prophecies cited. The Old Testament passages quoted by Paul picture a Gentile salvation in the context of a redeemed Israel " [emphasis added] (Ibid., pp.136-137).
So Saucy says that "Old Testament prophecy of eschatology salvation for the Gentiles is being fulfilled in this present age" but then he turns around and admits that it is not in strict accord with the OT prophecies.
The Dispensation of the Mystery
The Progressive Dispensationalists fail to understand that the present dispensation and the Church age are not related to the prophecies in regard to Israel in any sense. That is what Charles Ryie is speaking about here:
"Classic dispensationalists used the words 'parenthesis' or 'intercalation' to describe the distinctiveness of the church in relation to God's program for Israel. An intercalation is an insertion of a period of time in a calendar, and a parenthesis in one sense is defined as an interlude or interval (which in turn is defined as an intervening or interruptive period). So either or both words can be appropriately used to define the church age if one sees it as a distinct interlude in God's program for Israel (as clearly taught in Daniel's prophecy of the seventy weeks in 9:24-27)" [emphasis added] (Ryrie, Dispensationalism [Chicago: Moody Press 1995] p.134).
The present dispensation is taking place between the end of the 69th week of Daniel and the beginning of the 70th week. That is why it is referred to in the following way:
" and to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery which for ages hath been hid in God who created all things" (Eph.3:9; ASV).
The fact that the majority of those from the nation of Israel would not recognize the Lord Jesus as the promised Messiah and therefore would not receive the blessings which flow from that nation's New Diatheke was not revealed in the OT prophecies:
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (Ro.11:25).
The things in regard to the present dispensation are not based in any sense on the prophecies relating to Israel found in the OT but despite this fact the Progressive Dispensationalists base their teaching concerning today's New Diatheke on those prophecies.