Philip Mauro’s “The Gospel of the Kingdom”

March 22, 2010 at 3:46 PM Leave a comment

Mauro Addresses His Problems with Dispensationalism

This post is fairly long.  As a Word document, it is 12 pages and I was actually considering breaking it up into parts, but that might have resulted in a loss of continuity, so the entire article is posted here.  Give yourself a block of time (though it will probably not take you that long to read through it), with a cup of coffee.

Mauro’s “The Gospel of the Kingdom”
Philip Mauro (1859-1952) spent much of his adult life as a lawyer, but he was also known for his many articles and books on aspects of biblical theology.  A number of books dealt with the subject of Dispensationalism.  Many within the modern Preterist camp, as well as the Covenant or Reformed position, look to Mauro as an apologist for Covenant Theology and against Dispensatonalism.

Recently, a Christian brother in my local church handed me a copy of this with the caveat, “This may round out your thinking.”  I appreciated it because while I have a growing number of books by those who have reviewed Dispensationalism and find it lacking, this was my first book by Mauro.

Originally published in 1927, Mauro’s book The Gospel of the Kingdom (As Examination of Modern Dispensationalism), seeks to identify what he believes are nearly heretical errors found within Dispensationalism.  Mauro himself spent years as a Dispensatonalist, however disavowed it after determining the presence of a number of what he believes were key errors.  At one point in his book, he unfortunately comes extremely close to charging that the main error of Dispensationalism is the same error of Russellism, which ultimately became a group now known as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

There is something to be said for the way these men of God wrote and spoke in the early part of our last century.  Their passion for God and His Word was a wonderful thing to behold and it is severely lacking in many areas of Christendom today.  Whether it is Mauro, Spurgeon, Moody, Chafer, or others, these men positioned themselves between the world, the Bible, and God.  What I mean by that is that these individuals took seriously the calling to rightly divide the Word of God, even if they did not agree that other men of the day did not rightly divide it.

In his book The Gospel of the Kingdom…, Maura defines to the best of his ability Dispensationalism, and then begins to dissect it.  He takes the time to point out that his review or critique of the system is not a review or critique of the individuals who would call themselves Dispensationalists, but he reserves his comments for the system itself.  If only more people would do this, think how much less acrimony would be present within churches.  Mauro’s “controversy is with the doctrine itself (of Dispenstionalism – ed.), and not at all with those who hold and teach it…[1] I greatly appreciate that, because I have long ago gotten tired of being directly called a heretic, or a believer in a system, which is very likely the End Times apostasy.

As with many writers from that era, you may find yourself having to read paragraphs more than one time solely because of the verbiage that is utilized, which has become antiquated and therefore no longer used.  Aside from this, the book carries the reader along and is a fairly easy read for those who have a background in the study of God’s Word, and are familiar with both the Dispensational view, as well as the Covenant system.

Mauro’s Tone
Mauro’s introduction is rather long, but it is well done simply because it sets the tone.  It becomes clear immediately that he is going to pull no punches at all with respect to his view of Dispensationalism, and how he believe it stacks up with respect to Scripture.  It is also in the introduction that I notice what I believe to be Mauro’s first real mistake.  It is a tragic mistake as well, since his entire book and position is predicated upon his understanding of this doctrine.  The mistake I believe he makes is that he holds no difference (doctrinally) between the expressions “Kingdom of God” and “Kingdom of Heaven.”  While these two phrases have the same essential meaning, the nuanced differences need to be pointed out.

At first glance, there may not appear to be a difference, yet there is a difference and it is noticeable in Scripture, else why would the translators have used these two separate and distinct phrases?  If the two phrases or expressions actually mean the exact same thing, as Mauro apparently believed, then why not simply agree to use the same one with each occurrence?  Why use one phrase one time and the other phrase another time?

Mauro attests to the fact that he realizes how important the doctrine of the kingdom of God is, and it is because of that, he was prompted to look very closely at what he believed was Dispensationalism’s “radical” departure from orthodoxy.  Mauro refers to John the Baptist of which Mauro states, “According to the new dispensationalism, our Lord and John the Baptist were not proclaiming the near coming of the ‘Kingdom of God’ which actually began shortly thereafter with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and which actually was ‘at hand,’ but were announcing a kingdom of earthly grandeur for which the carnally minded Jews and their teachers were then (and are still) vainly looking; thought the earthly kingdom of Israel is not called in the Scriptures, ‘the Kingdom of God,’ and though (as is now evident enough) it was not ‘at hand’ at all.[2]

I want to be careful here because I do not want my words to appear as though they are castigating Mauro, but the truth of the matter is that I believe he has made terrible interpretive mistakes in just that one paragraph quoted above.  In order to fully comprehend the gravity of the situation, it is necessary to determine what the phrases “Kingdom of God,” and “at hand” mean biblically.  Now, please before you think or say something like, “There he goes!  Another Dispesnationalist trying to find new meaning to what is obvious!” let me say that it is not altogether obvious.  Mauro explains his understanding of the phrase “at hand,” and we will get to that shortly.

“Modern” Dispensationalism
Mauro also attempts to show that Dispensationalism is modern (referring to it as modernism), and points out that it really dates back to Darby and/or Scofield.  This of course is no different than what other authors who came after Mauro have parroted and continue to parrot, in spite of this point having been responded to by numerous individuals.  There is really no need to elaborate here, or debate the issue.

The only point I think it necessary to make is that Covenant Theology (and especially Preterism), are also very new concepts, having sprung from the results of the Reformation, and this was merely a scant 200 or so years prior to Mauro’s claim that Dispensationalism was modern (in 1927).  The fact does remain that Covenant Theology did not really come into its own until Louis Berkhof took the time to catalog things and put them in some semblance of order and understanding.

In my opinion, Covenant Theology as well as Preterism, are the leftovers of Romanism.  The Reformation essentially got the visible church back on track with respect to salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.  This was of course, something that the Roman Catholic Church had changed and then exploited to its own ends.  Unfortunately, it continues in this error, to this day.  While there was much wrong with the church that eventually led up to the Reformation, the reality is that the only (and most important) doctrine that was dealt with and clarified, was that of salvation.

Neither Luther, nor Calvin, nor any other reformer took issue with Romanism penchant for allegorization, especially when it came to prophetic discourse.  It is my contention that they were not called by God to do that, but were called to clarify the doctrine of salvation.  If I die today believing in a Pretribulation Rapture, I go into eternity with my salvation intact, in spite of what some Covenant and Reformed Theologians, as well as Preterists believe about my eternal condition.  Eschatology (the study of last things), does not add to or take away from my salvation, which continues to rest in Christ’s finished work on Calvary’s cross.

Ultimately, the belief that because Dispensationalism is supposedly new means that it cannot be correct, is in and of itself an errant belief.  This is especially so considering the fact that Covenant Theology is not that old either.  However, if we go all the way back to Origen, we can see that he was one generation or so removed from the apostles and the early church, yet it is clear that his heretical viewpoints (to us) are not new at all, but very old.  If we go by the argument that if something is allegedly new it must be wrong, then by virtue of that fact, we would have to agree with all the various viewpoints, which came to the fore shortly after the last apostle died, simply because they are old.

Of course, the pivotal person with whom Mauro finds disagreement is Scofield and what he believes are his arbitrary “dispensations.”  Mauro disagrees that a dispensation falls under Scofield’s definition, which he deals with in chapter two of his book.  He first quotes Scofield’s definition with which he disagrees that it is as Scofield states a specific revelation of God given during a specific period of time, and also includes a test of sorts to man to see if he is willing to follow God’s decrees.  Mauro then proceeds to point out that a dispensation is nothing more than when something is dispensed.  However, which definition of dispensed are we to use here?  Certainly Mauro has his preference, which means to “give out” as in new information in this case.  Yet, if I asked someone to dispense with the sarcasm, it would mean something completely different and it all comes back to context.  He argues that there is not one single use in Scripture where the word dispensation means a specific period of time.

However, Wuest, in his expanded translation of the New Testament translates Ephesians 1:10 (“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him,” KJV) as, “with respect to an administration of the completion of the epochs of time…[3]

Here are a number of Bible translations of Ephesians 1:10 for us to compare and contrast:

NIV:  “to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.”

NASB: “with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.

Amplified:  “[He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth.

English Standard Version: “as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth

ASB:  “unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in him, I say,

Darby: for [the] administration of the fulness of times; to head up all things in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth; in him,”

Young’s Literal: “in regard to the dispensation of the fulness of the times, to bring into one the whole in the Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth — in him;

In each of the versions above, it appears that if context means anything, there is an implied reference to a period of time.  The word translated dispensation, is oikonomia, which means “to divide, or to apportion, administer or manage the affairs of a house.[4] It is also obviously where we get the English word, economy, and Mauro agrees with this (cf. page 27 of his book).  This is referenced as #3622 in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, in which the word is defined as “a house-distribor (i.e. manager), or overseer…”[5]

So far, I have seen no evidence in support of Mauro’s view that the word dispensation ultimately refers to something that is dispensed.  It seems clear enough that the word is normally associated with a period of time, in which an overseer or manager is charge of something during that time period.

Who Really Believes in Two Methods of Salvation?
Mauro also makes other claims, charging that Dispensationalism insists that there are two methods of salvation.  This of course has been responded to repeatedly (but of course, Mauro was writing in 1927), yet the response is either ignored altogether, or denigrated, as if the Dispensationalist is making the response up out of thin air.  While I am, of course, very familiar with the ONE note of Scofield’s that everyone runs to, in their efforts to prove that Dispensationalism teaches two methods of salvation, the entirety of Scofield’s notes and writings point to the fact that God has always worked from the vantage point of grace.

Of course, this does not seem to matter to those who insist that Dispensationalism is guilty of preaching two methods of salvation, even though in plain truth, it teaches one method.  In responding to this charge, I always like to point out that Covenant Theology is actually guilty of teaching two methods of salvation, and while they will readily agree that salvation for Adam and Eve was different from those who came after them, they do not necessarily see it as espousing two methods of salvation.

The problem though is that this is exactly what Covenant Theology teaches.  Prior to the fall, Adam and Eve were to obey outwardly the commands of God.  Had they continued, by their external action, to obey God’s command not to eat of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would have gained salvation.  They were required to work for it in other words.  Had they kept away from the tree, all would have been well.

I could not disagree more.  Sin does not start on the outside.  It starts from within, even for Adam and Eve.  They thought about it, they were convinced that eating of the tree would merely open their eyes, and so they followed through on their inner desire.  This inner desire was what actually gave birth to sin.  All of the great Covenant Theologians, from Shedd to Berkhof accept this position, yet see no contradiction in it at all.  While Adam and Eve had to work for their salvation (earning it by remaining true to God’s spoken Word), being in effect, under the Covenant of Law, all who came after them are under the Covenant of Grace.  This of course, assumes that when God laid down the Law to Adam and Eve, He was actually entering into a covenant with them.  Well, if it was a covenant, it was very one-sided.  There is no record that they were given the opportunity to accept or reject the terms.  In fact, they were simply told what they could not do.

If I jump off the top of a building, I will reap the terrible consequences of that decision.  Gravity will force me to fall very quickly to the ground below, very likely killing me.  That is not a covenant at all.  It is simply a law of physics that demands a consequence for my action.  This is what Adam and Eve were dealing with; they “fell,” and they reaped the consequences of their failure to continue to believe God.  I see no covenant there at all, yet I am aware that this is exactly what is seen by Covenant Theologians.

In the end, it is the Covenant Theologian who believes that there have been two methods of salvation; the law for Adam and Eve and grace for all who came afterwards.  For the Dispensationalist, Adam and Eve were under the exact same grace that all people were under who came after them.

This is easily proven with Adam, or Enoch, or Noah, or any of those saints of old.  Abraham believed God and he was counted righteous (cf. Genesis 15).  It was Abraham’s belief in God’s spoken word that allowed God to declare Abraham righteous.  It was Adam and Eve’s lack of continued belief in God’s spoken word that kept God from declaring them righteous.  It is the exact same thing.  There is no difference, except to a Covenant Theologian.  Based on that then, who is the one who had dangerously changed the method of salvation?

Will the Real Jew Please Stand Up?
Mauro continues to present his charges against Dispensationalism, of which they are often carried on by other Covenant theologians today.  There are a number of others that should be commented on.  Mauro – in my opinion – makes a terrible theological blunder when dealing with a passage in Romans.  I am referring of course, to his understanding of what constitutes a true Jew.  Because of the way Mauro tends toward allegorization, he takes Paul’s words out of context and by doing so, winds up stating that the Church is the true Israel.  In that sense then, as a Christian, I am a real, or true spiritual Jew, while a person of Jewish descent is not a real Jew, spiritually speaking.

The problem though is that in the entire context (there’s that word again), of Paul’s doctrinal discourse, he is speaking at that point only of, and to Jews.  What Paul is actually teaching is that just because someone was part of the nation of Israel, this did not mean that they were true Jews (spiritually speaking).  This is exactly why God could destroy many of them at various intervals in Israel’s history.  Being a physical Jew simply made it possible to be part of Israel.  It did not guarantee salvation based on that, because salvation is and has always been, based on belief, from the heart.  Those Jews who were merely along for the ride really had no real part in Israel, because they did not believe from their hearts.

If I say, “Just because someone goes to church, it does not mean they are Christian,” you would likely understand that immediately and very likely, agree with it, without difficulty.  It is true.  We know that there are people who attend church, who are not authentic Christians, but may think that they are, and in so doing, they become difficult for us to determine their actual spiritual condition.  They act like Christians, they talk like Christians, yet they are not Christians.  This is what Paul is saying.  Just because someone was part of the nation of Israel did not mean that they were really Israelites in the deepest sense of the word.  Only those Jews who believed God from their hearts, were the ones who made up the real Israel, which is also known as the Remnant.

I no sooner became a spiritual Jew when I received Christ, than a female dog can give birth to a cat.  It simply does not work that way, and if folks would be much more mindful of the context, mistakes like these would not be made.  In this entire section of Romans, from chapters 9 to 11, Paul is specifically dealing with Israel.  Though he might reference Gentiles (to compare and contrast), he has really already dealt with Gentiles completely, and has saved dealing with Jews until this last section, before he moves onto other things with Romans 12 to 16.

I say this not to be unduly mean-spirited, but it seems to me that in many cases, Covenant Theologians seem very lax about how they interpret Scripture.  Context often does not mean much of anything.  Mauro seems guilty of this because he is all over the place in the Bible trying to pull this verse or that verse to buttress his argument that Paul is speaking of the Church at this juncture of Romans, and not Jews and Israel.  The opposite is true.

Kingdom of God/Kingdom of Heaven
However, what of the phrases “Kingdom of God” and “Kingdom of Heaven”?  Is there a difference that we should note, or are we making a mountain out of a molehill, when in point of fact, the two phrases truly are interchangeable, as Mauro obviously believes?

As I stated before, Mauro sees no difference between these two phrases.  He references Matthew 3 and John 3 as a case in point, stating that John the Baptist was preaching that Christ was coming, who would baptize with the Holy Ghost.  Here are numerous translations of Matthew 3:2:

KJV:  “And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Amplified:  “Repent (think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

NASB:  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

NIV:  “‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near’.”

As you can readily see, in each of the translations quoted above, the phrase “kingdom of heaven” is used.

Mauro implies that Matthew 3 and John 3 refer to the same thing, in spite of the fact that Matthew uses “kingdom of heaven,” while John uses “kingdom of God.”  Here are numerous translations of John 3:3:

KJV: “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

Amplified: “Jesus answered, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a man is born of water and [even] the Spirit, he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God.

NASB: “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

NIV: “Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

Now, unless Matthew and John were using different phrases to mean the exact same thing, then we have a problem.  The problem is that these two phrases must each mean something specific, but are not necessarily the same. Interestingly enough, Matthew uses the phrase “kingdom of heaven” roughly 30 times, but the “kingdom of God” only three times.  Was he using the phrases interchangeably, or did he mean something slightly different?

John, Mark and Luke only use the phrase, “kingdom of God,” and never the “kingdom of heaven.”  Though the phrases can be used interchangeably, especially in the context of some of the parables, there is room for a slightly dissimilar meaning between the two phrases as well.  If this is the case, then there is room for an understanding that Matthew may have had in mind a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ, leaning on the book of Daniel, for that emphasis.  It can also include the concept of salvation, which is extended to all believers, who also make up the kingdom.  Yet, the Church in its entirety, is not all of the kingdom of either God or heaven.

Obviously, the kingdom of heaven (or God), would also include all the angelic hosts and everything that God has created, which is part of the heavenly home.

In his upcoming book (which can currently be read on his website), Gaines R. Johnson states, “Knowing the doctrinal difference between the terms “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Kingdom of God” is the key to understanding the complete time line of Biblical history past, present, and future, the proper place of the Church, and the prophetic future of Israel. The Bible is about the struggle for a Kingdom; the Kingdom of Heaven, a Kingdom with its Capital City (Jerusalem) on this Earth.”[6]

No Kingdom?
What is strange is that Mauro denies that the carnal Jews were expecting a literal kingdom and consequently he also denies that Jesus was actually offering them a literal kingdom, (cf. page 7 of Mauro’s book).  Yet, it is clear that Jesus’ disciples thought He was offering a literal kingdom and were interested enough to ask Him about it! (cf. Matthew 24)  Jesus here does not tell them that His kingdom is spiritual, so they should not look for a literal kingdom.  He actually confirms their beliefs and simply states that the times and the seasons were in God the Father’s hands.  Surely, if Jesus had not been offering a literal kingdom, this would have been the perfect place for Him to rebuke and/or correct them of their allegedly errant beliefs, yet He did not do that.  If this is so, then it also appears that Jesus was not planning on setting up His “kingdom of God” then because He had been rejected by Israel.

If we reference Matthew 11:12, we read, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”  To this, Johnson asks a pertinent question, “Ask yourself this question: If the “Kingdom of God” is within you, and if the “Kingdom of God” and “Kingdom of Heaven” are one and the same, how could anyone take it out of you by violence? And if that righteousness i.e., the Kingdom of God within you, could not possibly be there until after the cross and the resurrection, what is Jesus saying to the Jews here BEFORE the cross and the resurrection? The answer is the Kingdom of Israel, which is God’s people and Jerusalem, the Lord’s chosen place from which to rule:

But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
(Matt. 5:34-35 KJV)

Israel rejected their King when He came the first time. In the almost two millenniums since then His Kingdom has been in a MYSTERY form; the Lord Jesus Christ reigning in the heart of the believer, and yet seated on the right hand of the Father in the third heaven…

[Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
(Colossians 1:26-27 KJV)

…while Satan still holds the physical throne over this world:

And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. (Luke 4:6-7)” (emphasis added)

Johnson’s question certainly makes sense.  How can anyone even attempt to take it out of me by force?  It would be wasted effort, because Christ promises that no one will take me out of His hand, (cf. John 10:27-30).

Yet, because Mauro and other Covenant and Reformed Theologians mistakenly equate the two phrases as meaning the same thing, they do not see an inherent problem in their own interpretation.  While the two phrases are extremely similar, would it not be fair to say that context is the final determiner as to meaning?

Consider these three sentences:

1)  “I left my wallet on my dresser at home.”

2)  “I have two dollars left in my wallet.”

3)  “Turn left at the next street.”

The word “left” is used in both.  Does the word “left” have the same meaning in each sentence?  If you answered ‘yes,’ please go back and re-read them.

Nuanced Differences
In truth, it would appear that neither “kingdom of God,” nor “kingdom of heaven” could be used to be all-inclusive of what is meant by Jesus’ references to His kingdom.  On one hand, He says His kingdom is not of this world, while at another instance, He states that His kingdom is “at hand,” or “among you.”

It would appear then that on those occasions when indicating that the kingdom was already among the people, he was obviously referring to Himself.  This could also be the same connotation for His reference to the kingdom being “at hand.”  A larger vision of the kingdom includes not only Christ, but all that the kingdom entails, but certainly without Christ, there is no kingdom.

One other point about Mauro’s book.  Like Covenant Theologians who came after him, he refers to the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple as the time when Jesus “returned” to rule over His kingdom.  The problems with this view are numerous.  First, we have the angels in Acts 1 telling the disciples that this same Jesus would return as they saw Him leave.  I would assume this meant:

  • Visibly
  • Physically

We also have the words of Christ, when He stated that His kingdom’s coming will be like the lightning which flashes from the east to the west, and the fact that every eye would see Him at His return.

The A.D. 70 Destruction in Spiritual Terms
While some prefer to see the A.D. 70 destruction in spiritual terms, it most certainly strains the text of Scripture to understand it in that way.  If Jesus did in fact, return in A.D. 70, no one saw Him.  While some might argue that the lightning is figurative, there is no sense that this is what Jesus meant.  That, coupled with the fact of the angels testimony, gives no impression that things were meant to be taken allegorically, but literally.

One has to ask, why on earth would Jesus “sneak” back to earth, undercover of the cloak of invisibility to wreak judgment on Israel in A.D. 70?  Yet, this is what Mauro believes (as do many others).

Also like many, Mauro believes that prophetic Scriptures such as Jeremiah 23:5-8 were fulfilled with the birth of the Church in Acts 2.  He of course, points to many other biblical texts to support his belief that since the Church was born, Christ has been reigning.

However, this presupposes, that prior to the birth of the Church, Jesus did not reign.  Has not God always been in charge of everything that occurs on this planet, and in the heavenly realms?  Has there ever been a moment, an hour or a day, when God was not on the throne?  How can anyone imply, intimate, or state that there was a time before the Church was born that Jesus was not reigning, especially when considering the truth of Colossians and other books where we learn that Jesus was the Creator?

If He has always reigned, then would it not be best understood to mean that places like Jeremiah 23 as well as elsewhere are referencing a literal, physical kingdom, in which Jesus will actually sit on the throne of David, and from there He will reign with a rod of iron?  This makes more sense, especially if one considers the fact that the “little scroll” (or book) spoken of in Revelation 5 quite possibly refers to the title deed to the Earth.  If this is the case, then it would make sense that Jesus would actually be required to physically reign from this Earth in order to prove ownership of the planet.  Once that is accomplished, then the deed can be turned over to God the Father.

Mauro believes that because Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman armies, that this (along with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit), was the coming of Jesus to reign.  Because He reigned, He judged Israel for their rejection of Him (A.D. 70) and was a sign of His coming in great power.[7]

This however, makes little sense, because it was not the first time that Jerusalem was completely destroyed!  Did Christ come when Jerusalem was destroyed years prior to the A.D. 70 destruction?  Mauro would have to say “yes,” unless He believes that this is only applicable because the A.D. 70 destruction was after Jesus had physically been on the earth.

Newsflash:  Zionism Nearly Dead in 1927
It is from here that Mauro heads off into the area of Zionism, believing it to have peaked in 1926, and to be virtually dead in the water at the year 1927, referring to it as a “dying enterprise.”[8] Of course, the reality is that it did not die and in 1948, Zionism achieved something that no one ever thought would occur; a revived Israel, and with it a resurrected dead language: Hebrew.  Mauro went to be with the Lord in 1952, a mere four years after Israel’s rebirth.  It would have been interesting to hear what he thought of that event.  If he was wrong about Dispensationalism, then certainly, it has been clarified for him since his death.

Probably the strangest thing that Mauro believes and states about Israel is that “when the ‘times of the Gentiles’ are ended, there will be no Jewish people left on earth.”[9]

I honestly have no idea how he rationally gets to this point, though he does point to numerous passages in Ezekiel and elsewhere.  He also seems to have believed a mix of viewpoints, that Jerusalem will be completely laid waste and will be home to dragons, etc., (cf. Ezekiel 26-28), by the time of the fullness of the Gentiles.  The opposite seems to have occurred however since the time that Mauro wrote this book.

Mauro’s book is an interesting read, yet one cannot help but realize that much of the difficulty may well lie with Mauro’s own method of interpretation.  While he believes that the Lord will return with avenging wrath (just after He removes His faithful and righteous from the earth).

For me, the tragedy of Mauro’s book is seen in his lack of interpretive excellence.  What I find fascinating however, is that the same folks who routinely denigrate Chafer, Scofield and Darby for what they believe to be their lack of biblical training, hold Mauro up in spite of this same fact.

As one individual states, “Philip Mauro, a lawyer, (nevertheless a devout follower of Christ), wrote this as a devastating refutation of the Scofield Reference Bible with amazing insight in 1927.”[10] For Covenant Theologians, it does not matter that Mauro was a lawyer who studied the Bible, because they agree with him regarding his understanding of what he believes to be the errors of Dispensationalism.

While Scofield was a theologian and actual minister, because of Dispensationalism, he was apparently not as intelligent as people like Mauro.  The reality though is that the only thing that should matter is which one is correct, from a biblical perspective.

People like Mauro, Gerstner and others seem to make the same mistakes over and over with respect to their understanding of Dispensationalism.  The most unfortunate part is that because of these misconceptions, Dispensationalists are viewed as heretics, whose system will allegedly usher in the Great Apostasy.  Certainly, that might be true if there was a chance that Dispensationalism taught two methods of salvation, however it does not.  Yet, the arguments continue and the charges and challenges ramp up to greater heights of anger and accusation.  It’s too bad really, because in the interim, who is spreading the Gospel to the lost?

[1] Philip Mauro The Gospel of the Kingdom (Crown Rights Book Co; 1927, 2002), 5

[2] Philip Mauro The Gospel of the Kingdom (Crown Rights Book Co; 1927, 2002), 7

[3] Kenneth S. Wuest The New Testament, An Expanded Translation (Eerdmans 1961), 449

[4] Merrill C. Tenney Zondervan’s Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol 2. (Zondervan; 1975), 142

[5] James Strong Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (Thomas Nelson; 1995), 62


[7] Philip Mauro The Gospel of the Kingdom (Crown Rights Book Co; 1927, 2002), 193

[8] Ibid, 239

[9] Philip Mauro The Gospel of the Kingdom (Crown Rights Book Co; 1927, 2002), 205


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Obama’s War on Israel Infintada on the Way in the Middle East?

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