Category Archives: Prayer

Will There Be Fasting in a “Jewish Millennium”?

fasting

I am a former dispensationalist. I went from dispensationalist premillennialism to historic premillenniallism and later to historic (not ivory tower idealist) amillennalism. Without making sweeping generalizations and without building strawman arguments it could be safely said (please correct me if I am wrong) that some (if not all) classic dispensationalist teachers have taught that the Sermon of the Mount was a law for a future Jewish earthly Kingdom (“Jewish Millennium”) and not really for the Church. Here’s a quote :

“Some dispensationalists hold that the sermon on the Mount and most of the Gospels belong to the Kingdom Dispensation which is yet future. The Book of Revelation after the third chapter also is said to belong to the future. Thus only part of the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles are said to be intended for the Christians of today.”

source : “THE SCOFIELD BIBLE and DISPENSATIONALISM” article

In the middle of the Sermon of the Mount (Matthew chapter 6) Christ prescribed 3 different things for individuals: 1) almsgiving, 2) prayer and 3) fasting. Notice for each of those 3 things Christ said “WHEN you” give alms/pray/fast and not “IF you” give alms/pray/fast. It is implied then that all 3 of those things (in varying degrees and depending upon circumstances) would be done freely by believers acting upon right motives (for the glory of God) as led by the Holy Spirit. (How many physically able North American believers have done all 3 in their lives? And we wonder why there is so much spiritual impotence and so much pride, materialism and worldliness in the professing North American Church.) Each one of those things is to be done privately without fanfare and each one prescribes to believers a certain attitude toward God, others, time, money, food and material possessions which is consistent with the last verses of the same chapter which teach putting trust in God for material needs and seeking the Kingdom first (using time, energy and material resources).

In a “Millennium” of peace and MATERIAL PROSPERITY (according to the generally held viewpoint of premillennialism whether historicist premillennialism or dispensationalist premillennialism) will there be a need to give to the materially poor if there will be no poor to speak of ? (Unless there are to be slums and ghettos during the “Jewish Millennium” which wouldn’t sound like much of a golden age on earth, right?) How then could the first verses of Matthew chapter 6 have anything to do with some future “Jewish Millennium”?

In the Lord’s Prayer contained in the same chapter it prescribes praying that the Kingdom come but would such a prayer be necessary during a “Jewish Millennium” when the “Kingdom*” (according to dispensational thinking) would already be there?

* I believe the Kingdom has a present reality, a progressive development and a future more visibly glorious consummation awaiting it (please carefully read the parables of Christ… especially the mustard seed parable… is the fully grown tree “dumped on earth” when Christ returns or is there gradual growth starting from very small beginnings? could the Glorious Return of Christ be likened to a mustard seed?

Can fasting be consistent with a “Jewish Millennium” governed by a physically present Christ on earth (according to premillennialism) in light of Matthew 9:15?

“And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn*, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.”

* in the immediate context Christ was clearly answering a question concerning REGULAR fasting not once-every-few-years-if-ever fasting… there is no ambiguity here

Will the Bridegroom (Christ) be taken away during the whole period of the “Jewish Millennium” (as conceived by dispensationalists)? Is not rather the opposite taught by mainstream dispensationalism? Fasting is to be done according to Christ (and not someone’s arbitrary opinion) during His PHYSICAL absence* and that means fasting (and consequently the rest of the Sermon on the Mount unless we are to pick and choose what we prefer) is for the Church and not for some future earthly golden age where racially Jewish are some kind of master race. (I do believe in a future golden age for the Earth after the physical return of Christ but not limited to 1000 years but rather to last eternally. I AM NOT A LIBERAL OR A GNOSTIC.)

* or can be taken spiritually as referring to when our fellowship with God has gone cold and that we need to “leave our bed of comfort” and seek the Bridegroom more fervently (Song of songs chapter 5, Church of Laodicea, Church of Ephesus, Church of Sardis)

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See also:

The Millennium : Some Helpful Resources

Our New Website on Amillennialism

The Millennium Part 2 : Another Interesting Book

Video : “Christ’s Spiritual Kingdom” (Prof. David Engelsma, critique of reconstructionism, postmillennialism and preterism, defense of reformed amillennialism)

Practical Issues : Fasting

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Spurgeon on Madison Avenue

A great anecdote about providence and prayer

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Advice for Christians Struggling Spiritually

I read these words in Charles Bridge’s very good commentary on the Book of Proverbs:

“The special time for the resistance of this deadly disease [of sloth in the context], is when we are most under its power. When the Bible is uninteresting as  a common book, then is the time to live in it with patient diligence. When prayer is cold and heartless, instead of giving up, hold on, however feebly, yet with perseverance.  When in a state of listless exertion, be employed for God and for his Church. Form habits of early energy. Beware of a dreaming sentimentalism. Cultivate bodily activity. Regard the incursions of sloth as the effects of those poisons, which, while they cause sleep, unless counteracted by constant resistance, must prove fatal. Yet with all these means, never forget the only only principle, that makes them effectual – prayer, unceasing, believing, “looking unto Jesus”, who not only gives life, but liveliness.”

(page 329, commentary on chapter 19, verse 24)

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See also:

Book Recommendation : “An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs” by Charles Bridge

High Levels of Calvinism in Proverbs 16:1

Ecclesiastes : Some Recommended Commentaries

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The Prayer of Intercession

MONCTON CHRISTIANITY

imagesIn this last segment on prayer, we will explore the prayer of intercession. It is the most common and significant prayer offered to God as a means of intervening on behalf of others. This is the prayer in which we approach the great God Yahweh with petitions for important people and items that we are made aware of. It is the time when we strive in prayer for others! While God is omniscience and omnipotent, we make the needs of others know as a means of God blessing others through these prayers. What a glorious God we have that He will intercede on behalf of His people and what a demonstration of love that Christians may show by offering prayer for others.

The prayer of intercession can take on the form of the needs of others. One of the greatest needs any man may have is for their salvation. We…

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The Prayer of Thanksgiving

MONCTON CHRISTIANITY

praying_manOne of the most overlooked yet significant portions of our prayers is to give thanks to the Lord for what He has already provided us. We sometimes become so consumed by our needs that we forget to acknowledge the blessings we are currently experiencing. We must never forget that God’s grace can never be demanded and that we receive many blessings each and every day. While the unbeliever receives blessings as well, we as Christians should be prepared to recognize these blessings and joyously demonstrate our gratitude through offering our gratefulness.

We all have received various blessings from the Lord to which we should show appreciation. One of the greatest blessings we possess is that the holy God has granted us redemption from our sins by sending His only begotten Son to die a sinners death on our behalf. We should thank our Saviour for His willingness to become our…

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The Prayer of Petition

MONCTON CHRISTIANITY

untitledThe true purpose and need of prayer is found in the prayer of petition. The prayer of Petition is a time of conversation with God to present to Him our personal needs. Approaching the Lord of heaven to offer out petitions is often simply thought of as a prayer for material things yet we believe while this is certainly a portion of the prayer, the prayer of petition is more focused on the person’s spiritual needs. We come before God in need to present ourselves as helpless and requiring Him to intervene in our lives. While we are a part of a more corporate Christian life including our churches and families, we still live an individualistic spiritual life which requires us as individuals to present ourselves before God in need.

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The Prayer of Confession

MONCTON CHRISTIANITY

imagesDWB8NT1BThere are many Christian who struggle with theconfession of their sins. They conclude that since their sins have been forgiven at the cross that there is no need to further mention their daily sins. While it is true that our sins have totally been dealt with at the cross of Calvary yet we continue to experience our salvation through the process of sanctification. This includes the confession of the sins of God’s people both individually and corporately.

We must own up to our sins and acknowledge them before the living God.  This does not mean we need to hold on to our sins once they are confessed or linger upon them daily but to reserve a time where we present our short falling to God since ultimately He is the One who has been sinned against. (2 Samuel 12:13) We must let these sins go and in doing so…

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