June 30,2014 Dispensationalism as the history of mankind that culminates in the Rapture of the Church
Pastor Bob has been writing this series on Dispensation and I agree with it as the best way to look at the periods of God dealing with mankind since the creation of Adam and Eve. I also believe in a pre- Tribulation Rapture and in his interpretation of the Daniel prophecy of the 70 weeks of years that resulted in a gap of hundreds of years with the remaining week to become the Tribulation.
Pastor Bob (15 June 2014)
All:Any person who trusts in the Blood of Jesus Christ rather than bringing an annual sacrifice or any person who observes the first day of the week rather than the Sabbath is a Dispensationalist! That has to shock anyone that attacks Dispensationalism.
Christians for the most part do not understand what Dispensationalism really is and yet they attempt to attack it without little substance or knowing what it really is. They think of it as something to do with the Scofield reference Bible. I don’t have a copy of Scofield’s Bible. I recently checked Amazon and of the hundreds of books on the topic, 95% of the titles listed attack Dispensationalism. That tells me a lot.
Any understanding of it must understand that salvation is by grace through faith in every dispensation, found in the Bible. The essence of Dispensationalism is that God dealt with His creation in different ways during in each of the “seven” dispensations.
Dispensationalism is actually a multifacted system of thought. Dispensationalists believe the following:
1. The Bible is God’s inspired and inerrant revelation to mankind. Scripture provides the framework through which we interpret the past, present, and the future. God’s written Word tells us of His Plan for His creation, and His Plan will surely come to fulfillment.
2. Because the Bible is God’s literal Word and His Plan for history [His-Story], we should interpret it literally.
3. The Bible reveals God’s Plan for history. God’s Plan includes different dispensations, ages, or epochs of history through which He tests His creatures (humans and angels). God is instructing His creatures through history as His creation progresses from the Garden of Eden to the Heavenly City.
4. All humanity fell into sin, so each person must individually receive God’s provision for salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ by believing and trusting in the Gospel. Thus, Jesus Christ is the only way to a relationship with God.
5. Scripture teaches that because of mankind’s fall into sin, all humanity is naturally rebellious toward God and the things of God. This is why genuine believers in Christ Jesus are open to the teachings of the Bible. Thus, salvation through Christ Jesus is a prerequisite to properly understand God’s Word.
6. God’s Plan for history includes a purpose for the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – that is, the Nation of Israel. This Plan for Israel includes promises that they will have the land of Israel, they will have a seed, and they will be a worldwide blessing to the nations. Many of the promises to National Israel are still yet to be fulfilled. Therefore, God is not finished with Israel.
7. God’s Plan from all eternity past until the close also includes a purpose for the Church. However, this is a temporary phase that will end with the Rapture. After the Rapture, God will complete His Plan for Israel and the Gentiles remaining.
8. God’s main purpose in His Master Plan for history is to glorify Himself through Jesus Christ. Therefore, Jesus Christ is the goal and hero of history.
Someone posted a statement last time, “Dispensationalism is neither here nor there. That’s because dispensationalism is sectarianism, thinly disguised.” Actually, whether that remark was intended as a ‘noun’ or and ‘adjective’, is in fact, irrelevant, since the term is Biblical. The term “dispensation” “oikonomia” is a means by which God uses to provide the believer with a Biblical World View. This is central to a Christian’s understanding of his or her world. The term is found four times in the New Testament. In fact, the Greek word above is found elsewhere and used in different renderings as well. First, the four uses of the word “dispensation” are found in Paul’s Epistles.
1. 1 Corinthians 9:17 – “For of I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the Gospel is committed unto me.”
2. Ephesians 1:10 – “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”
3. Ephesians 3:2 – “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.”
4. Colossians 1:25 – “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God.”
As I stated, “dispensationalism” provides us a Biblical World View of history [His-Story]. It helps us develop a worldview for living in accordance with God’s will. A believer who has a divine perspective of the past, present, and future is thus able to know what God expects of him in every area of life in this present day.
In the current Church Age or Age of Grace, the New Testament teaches us how to live privately and publicly. Dispensationalists, for example, do not live in this Age of Grace as if we were still under the rule of the Mosaic Law. Instead, we understand that we are now under what the New Testament defines and calls the Law of Christ -(1 Corinthians 9:11; Galatians 6:2). Current dispensational obligations combined with responsiblities from previous ages provide a New Testament believer with a complete Biblical framework for understanding how to relate to God, to please God in every area of our life. Covenant/Reformed theology does not provide the believer a proper Biblical World View, which is absolutely essential for living the Christian life.
Dispensationalism is not the majority view within the universal church; however, it is, as I stated, Biblical and it can be identified throughout the Bible. Case in point, Covenant/Reformed theology identifies basically, 2 covenants in the Bible, the Old and the New. This is contrary to the Word of God and a gross over-simplification of the Word of God, whereas, God has revealed “seven” dispensations. The Bible defines “eight” covenants and not “two” as Covenant/Reformed theology and churches teach.
3. Human Government
6. Grace or the Church Age
In the next post we will identify the outworking of God’s Master Plan with humanity. Charles Ryrie suggests, “Dispensationalism views the world as a household run by God, in this household – world God is dispensing or administering its affairs according to His own will and in various stages of revelation in the process of time. These stages mark off the distinguishably different economies in the outworking of His total purpose, and these economies are the dispensations. The understanding of God’s different economies is essential for a proper interpretation of His revelation within those various economies.”
I previously noted the four uses of the word “dispensation” in Scripture. The same Greek word also appears in Luke 16:2; 16:3; and 16:4, but is rendered in English as “stewardship”. On two other occasions in Ephesians 3:9 and 1 Timothy 1:4 it is rendered “administration” The word “oikenomia” is derived from the word “oikos” (house) and “nemo”, (to deal out) or (to administer).
Those opposed to “Dispensationalism” misconstrue the understanding of what it means. ‘Vine’s comment is appropriate: “A Dispensation is not a period or epoch (a common, but erroneous, use of the word) but rather a mode of dealing with, an arrangement or administrator of affairs” . -(‘Vine’s Expository Dictionary).
To understand the Plan and Obectives of God throughout the ages, one must see the difference and relationship between a “dispensation” and a “covenant”. A “dispensation” is a temporary period of time based on a conditional test to determine if humanity will be faithful to the conditions of God. Scofield defined a “dispensation” as “a period of time during which man is tested in respect to some specific revelation of the will of God”. According to Charles Ryrie “A dispensation is a distinguishable economy in the outworking of God’s purpose. If one were describing a dispensation he would include other things, such as the idea of distinctive revelation, testing, failure and judgment.” Humanity has failed these various testings, and thus, each dispensation ended in judgment.
A Biblical covenant is an eternal agreement God makes with mankind, revealing what He will do for humanity. God made “seven” covenants with humanity, not “two” as Covenant/Reformed theology state, throughout history. Each covenant reveals principles by which God will relate to man. Man has the “free will” to reject the covenant or principles of God, but when he violates the covenant, he suffers the consequences.
There are certain essentials of “Dispensationalism”, and these distinctions are largely between Israel and the Church. This comes out of the dispensationalist’s consistent employment of normal or plain or historical-grammatical interpretation of the basic purpose of God in all His dealing with humanity as that of glorifying Himself through salvation and other purposes as well. Personal salvation is not the primary purpose of God, as most people seem to think. First and foremost, the primary purpose of God is to bring His own Glorification. You will find this fact out by reading the entire Bible. God leaves no doubt in the reader’s mind, God wants ALL the glory! If you doubt it, I can identify as many as 80 passages of Scripture that explicitly state such. This is the purpose of worship.
Keep watching and listening for the trumpet call!
Pastor Bob (29 June 2014)
All Doves:Picking up where I left off, I will address the three key essentials of Dispensational theology. It is important that the reader recognize that this view or interpretation of the Bible is the only view that offers a coherent systematic view of the Bible, where the Biblical narrative offers a connected and integrated grand panorama of His-Story. It begins with and ends with an overarching story, and is not simply a collection of fables or myths. It is a historical record of humanity.
The first essential of Dispensationalism is not just a literal interpretation, but more fully a consistent literal hermeneutic. It is an interpretation that does not “spiritualize” or “allegoricalize”as does Covenant/Reformed interpretation. Simply put, Dispensationalism “makes sense” of the overall puzzle, it’s like having the the box cover of a 1,000 piece puzzle to guide one through the assembling of the pieces in putting the puzzle together.
A literal interpretation is foundational to the Dispensational approach to understanding the Bible. It is really about common sense to first see it as God intended. This is not rocket science and does not require years of Biblical training. Some formal Bible education may even prove to be detrimental, and it really matter where that Biblical education comes from.
The second essential of Dispensationalism keeps Israel and the Church as distinct entities. Again, common sense makes sense. Anyone who fails to distinguish Israel and the Church consistently will inevitably wander aimlessly in attempting to make sense of what becomes nonsense. Dispensationalism is not complex at all.
Dispensationalists believe the Bible teaches that God’s single program for history includes a distinct plan for Israel and the Jews, and a distinct plan for the Church. God’s plan for history has two peoples: Israel/Jews and Church/believers. There is a third people, we call Gentiles but for now our focus is on the Dispensations and the rules for human life. They are not ways of salvation. There is only ONE way of salvation and that is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
The third essential of Dispensationalism is aptly summarized in a quote by Dr. Renald Showers, “The ultimate purpose of all history is the glory of God through the demonstration that He alone is the Sovereign God.” Certainly this point is well dispersed throughout the Bible. Citing Ezekiel 36:22, “Therefore say unto the House of Israel. Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O House of Israel, but for mine Holy Name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.” This theme is found five times just in the book of Ezekiel: 20:9; 20:14; 20:22; 20:44; and 26:22. This point is explicitly found elsewhere in over 30 passages throughout the Bible.
We believe that Dispensationalism is a system of theology that has been properly developed from the Bible itself. It does not rest on any human before or now. Accusations by those opposed to the Dispensationalist hermeneutic often pontificate by stating that this is the creation of C.I. Scofield, then go on to tell the world had bad he was in their strawman attacks. They then attempt to buttress their words by attacking Dr. Tim LaHaye and Hal Lindsey, leading to the idea these men proclaim heresy about the Bible. Then they go on to attack the late Chuch Smith, Chuck Missler, and Jack Van Impe. The fact is most of those critics can’t begin to hold a candle to any of the names noted.
Dispensationalism is essential to correctly understand the Bible, and especially Bible prophecy. No one will be able to “rightly divide God’s Word” without understanding these great truths. Instead of being a hindrance to the “correct” understanding of God’s Word, as critics contend, Dispensationalism is merely a “human” label for the correct approach to and a understanding of Scripture.
Initially, I was not a member of this hermeneutical school of Dispensational theology. I attended and graduated from two theological seminaries that taught the exact opposite of Dispensationalism, they taught the Covenant/Reformed hermeneutic. When I graduated, I was “confused” to put it mildly. I could not offer a coherent understanding of the Bible and I had at that point seven years and thousands of dollars of education, that for all intent and purpose, that was useless babble from the schools of higher criticism. I read all the required readings of Karl Barth, Rudolf Bultmann, Juilus Wellhausen, and all the names associated with Christian theology. I saw classmates, drop by the wayside, some became atheists and agnostics, others became drunks and skirt chasers, all because of the nonsense from going to institutions that prided themselves for their academic excellence and superiority. This is often is poked fun of by referring to seminaries as cemeteries. During a personal crisis that resulted when I learned that my wife had a terminal brain illness, I left pastoral ministry in anger at God. In seven years of theological education and not once did anyone teach us why bad things happen to good people. I came to a point where I sat at a rural unprotected railroad grade crossing near my home, planning to take my life by driving in front on an oncoming freight train. That morning, for unknown reasons, the train traffic had stopped. Normally the busy line between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia/New York saw a train at least every fifteen to twenty minutes during the morning hours of 8 and 12 noon. I sat for three hours with not so much as a peep on my railroad scanner. I had picked the spot because it was two hundred yards from an obscure curve in a rock cut hillside. No train traveling at 50-mph can stop in such a short distance and I figured I would leave this world in a story byline that “I tried to beat the train to the crossing and lost”. I had plenty of life insurance that would have covered my children’s future, and after almost three hours of being parked in a convenient spot, I turned my car radio on and strangely as it was, the station was playing “Blessed Assurance” and I was instantly broken! My radio was never previously set to a Christian station, it was always tuned to a local 24-hour news station. I was a caregiver for twenty-five years before my wife died from Huntingdon’s Disease. I worked in the publishing business for two major New York publishers, and served a few small part-time churches before returning to to an Evangelical Seminary to do graduate work in church history and apologetics. As I renewed my study of the Bible, I began to see that everything that I had been taught in the Covenant/Reformed theology seminaries was all excrement. I came to the Dispensational hermeneutic on my own. I had not even heard of C.I. Scofield, would not have recognized his name. Out of curiosity, I came across a book a few years ago, written by someone down south that poisoned the opinions of others concerning C.I. Scofield, and then learned that it was all an effort to destroy and attack Dispensationalism, and it was done by attacking the messenger first.
The well of Hermeneutics was long ago poisoned by Roman Catholic false teachers, subsequently by the Jesuits, who infiltrated Protestant churches and schools, and finally into the Translation Societies. In the 19th century the heresies of the cults came along and further confused the laity of the church.
Getting back to our understanding what a dispensation is, it is seen as an administration of God’s economy that includes the following elements:
++Promises from God
++Commandments from God that test humanity’s obedience
++Principles for humanity to live by
++Humanity’s failure to keep God’s commands
++Progressive revelation of God’s plan for history
I noted the generally accepted periods or dispensations in the first part of this series of posts. For review, they include the following:
3. Human Government
The first dispensation is commonly referred to during the first period or Dispensations as the Edenic and Adamic Covenants. While they are not actually covenants, but for learning purposes, they can be discussed for comparison purposes.
1. The Edenic Covenant and the Dispensation of Innocence. The first covenant involved man’s physical existence on Earth. Adam had no history and therefore no knowledge of how to care for his physical needs. Rather than leaving man to experiment with ways to provide for his necessities, God revealed to Adam how he should care for his human needs. Mankind’s primary needs have not significantly changed throughout time.
When God created Adam sinless in the Garden, He gave Adam certain principles to follow. If Adam kept these principles, he would prosper:
1. Replenish the Earth with children -(Genesis 1:28).
2. Use nature (subdue the Earth) for food, shelter, and clothing -(Genesis 1:28).
3. Have dominion over animal life -(Genesis 1:28).
4. Eat fruit and vegetables -(Genesis 1:28).
5. Work for sustenance -(Genesis 2:15).
6. Obey God (abstaining from eating of the tree that God prohibited) the tree of the knowledge of good and evil -(Genesis 2:17).
The Edenic Covenant is tied to the Dispensation of Innocence, whereby God tested man to see if he would live by God’s conditions. God told man not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil -(Genesis 2:17. The Dispensation ended in man’s failure – Eve was deceived -(1 Timothy 2:14), and Adam deliberately disobeyed. As a result, the first man had personal and experiential knowledge of good and evil. What seemed like a simple, limited act of eating fruit ended in a broad, conscious knowledge of right and wrong. In the next Dispensation, the descendants of Adam were responsible for this new awareness of sin.
Because Adam could not keep the conditions of the first Dispensation, God judged him. The judgment was expulsion from the Garden. The first Dispensation – and the others as well – reveals that natural man is incapable of obeying or pleasing God. Man lost the benefits of living in the innocent environment of Eden. This point should be noted by those that think they will achieve God’s love from strict obedience to the Law will not earn them brownie points. Its a futile effort. But the Covenantal Principle would continue: Man was responsible to provide for his own needs. As a result of man’s failure, God placed cherubim at the entrance to the Garden to keep man from returning -(Genesis 3:24). What does this tell you about God’s character?
Next we will look at the Adamic Covenant and the Dispensation of Conscience. The second covenant grew out of man’s failure in the first Dispensation. The Adamic Covenant promised not only redemption for humanity but also judgment for the one who was responsible for the first sin.
2. The Adamic Covenant and the Dispensation of Conscience. The Adamic Covenant and the Dispensation of Conscience included:
1. God cursed the serpent, Satan’s tool, and reduced it from a beautiful creature to a hated reptile.
2. God promised destruction for Satan in a future blow to the head -(Genesis 3:15). Genesis 3:15 is the very first Biblical prophecy unfolding the master plan of redeeming mankind.
3. God promised that the woman would bear a seed, a redeemer for mankind who would destroy Satan -(Genesis 3:15).
4. God would provide for the physical necessities of life through hard and despised physical work -(Genesis 3:19).
5. God cursed nature (the creation). It reluctantly gives its fruit for man’s necessities, and its beauty is veiled -(Genesis 3:17-19).
6. The woman would have multiplied sorrow in childbirth and be submission to her husband -(Genesis 3:16).
7. The human race would experience physical death -(Romans 5:12).
Because man failed to live up to the test of the Dispensation of Innocence, God gave him a second Dispensational test. Mankind could not go back, so it went forward to its next test. As humanity entered a hostile environment outside the Garden, God gave a second set of conditions to live by. This Dispensation of Conscience is guided by the living by the limited knowledge of right and wrong that Adam and Eve experientially accumulated. God introduced the Adamic Covenant at the beginning of this Dispensation.
During the Dispensation of Conscience, man enjoyed long life but was still not able to follow his conscience. Humanity failed the test and revealed that it would not keep the general principles of goodness. Instead “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” -(Genesis 6:5), and “it repented the Lord that He had made man” -(Genesis 6:6). The Dispensation of Conscience ended in the judgment of the Flood. In the last thirty years we have learned much from archeology, paleontology, medicine, and geology that fills in the gaps of history pertaining to the subject of Genesis 6, as to why God expressed regrets of His creating mankind. God destroyed humanity via the Flood chiefly because the gene pool of man had been polluted and corrupted by intercourse between fallen angels and women. We have evidence today that suggests God’s Flood did not eliminate all of the angelic beings. In fact, there are many examples of how the Genesis 6 account has been discovered to have greater substance than first thought.
After the Flood wiped out society and left only eight people alive, God introduced a new covenant with new promises. It came with a new Dispensation and new tests as well. The principles of the first and second covenant continue (people must provide for themselves and live by their conscience), but now man no longer lives as a private individual, responsible only to himself. We refer to this as the Noachic Covenant and the Dispensation of Human Government.
3. The Noachic Covenant and the Dispensation of Human Government. The Noachic Covenant includes the institution of human government. Mankind is to live in a corporate society. Prior to this, people lived in extended families ruled by tribal heads. But as society became larger, people came to be organized under corporate government.
After the Flood, God made a Covenant with Noah and gave the Rainbow as a sign: “This is the token of the Covenant which I make between Me and you.” -(Genesis 9:12). The Noachic Covenant became the third period of time, the Dispensation of Human Government. God no longer allows the conscience of individuals to be the sole basis of human life. Mankind failed to live according to personal conscience, so God punished mankind through the universal Flood.
In the Covenant of Human Government, God confirms elements of of the previous covenants: man is to subdue the Earth and provide for his necessities -(Genesis 9:3), and the physical laws of the universe will remain ordered -(Genesis 8:22). God also adds a new promise. The Earth will never have another universal Flood -(Genesis 9:15). The core of the Noachic Covenant was the judicial taking of life -(Genesis 9:6), which is the ultimate expression of government.
The test of the Dispensation of Human Government was for humanity to divide into nations or societies and govern itself. The Bible does not tell us a whole lot about how men lived under its test. Most of the generatons of the sons of Noah, and Genesis 10 is only representative of this lengthy and mysterious period of time. However, the judgments that end this era are well known.
Humanity’s failure is evident from the Divine judgment of the Tower of Babel -(Genesis 11:6-8). Even though mankind failed the Dispensation of Government, God did not dissolve the principles He gave Noah. The principles of government and the principles from the first two covenant continued forward.
Everything heretofore is based upon a “Literal” reading of the text. In my next post I will continue with the remaining Covenants that make up the Dispensational Hermeneutic. The fact is that God said what He meant, and meant what He said. Once we begin to “spiritualize” away the “literal” meaning of the words of Scripture, we are in danger of telling “spiritual lies”. The Bible is a historical [His-Story] document with no equal in the story of humanity. It is also prophetic, and tells us how history will conclude. These points are not to be subject of debate because they are self-evident to even the casual reader of the Bible. At the conclusion of my posts on Dispensationalism, I will deal with the Covenant/Reformed theology for you to compare and decide for yourselves which position offers a Biblical Worldview of history and life.
Pastor Bob (29 June 2014)
All Doves:This is the continuation and conclusion of my post on Dispensationalism.
4. The fourth period is the Abrahamic Covenant and the Dispensation of Promise.
When God called Abram, the turning point of man experienced a dramatic turning point. God had previously dealt with all humanity in each of the Dispensations. But with Abram, God chose one man and planned to make from him a single nation as the center of His work. Through this single nation, God planned to save the world. People often ask, why did God choose the Jews. The answer may be in the fact the Hebrews were the only mono-theistic people of the nations all around them. That is offered up as just one reason, however, I believe there are others as well. But it is true, all the other peoples worshiped many gods and were poly-theistic.
The promises of the Abrahamic Covenant include:
1. God would make out of Abraham a great nation – a nation that would influence the other nations, a nation that would continue while others disappeared.
2. God would bless this nation with financial and spiritual prosperity -(Genesis 12:2).
3. God would make the name of Abraham universal and enduring.
4. God would bless Abraham – (Galatians 3:13-14).
5. God would bless the nations that bless the seed of Abraham.
6. God would bless all the families of the Earth all through Abraham’s seed, the Christ -(Genesis 12:3).
7. God led Abraham to that land -(Genesis 12:1) and then promised to give it to him -(Genesis 12:7). It is therefore called the Promised Land.
The most important aspect of God’s covenant to Abraham is its promise. This fourth period, the Dispensation of Promise, tested God’s people’s willingness and ablity to accept and live in light of the promise of God. They were to live in the Promised Land and trust God for the Promised Seed.
Each Dispensation included a test, and the fourth Dispensation reflects man’s inability to live by the Promise of God. The descendants of Abraham refused to live in the Land by faith, so they migrated to Egypt. This Dispensation’s final test and failure of God’s people (Israel) occurred when God attempted to bring them out of Egypt into the Promised Land. At Kadesh-Barnea, the people refused to trust God and enter the Promised Land. God judged them, and everyone of them who did not accept the Promise of God died in the wilderness. Only those of faith (Joshua and Caleb) and those younger than twenty years of age later were permitted to enter the Promised Land.
5. The Mosaic Covenant and the Dispensation of Law. The fifth Dispensation of Law is linked with the Mosaic Covenant. It was given on Mount Sinai where the Law was given to Moses. The Law demonstrated to each individual that he was a sinner before God. During the previous Dispensations, man was a sinner even when he did not have the knowledge of the Law. The Apostle Paul tells us, “Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” -(Romans 5:14). That passage also points out that God uses such things as “similtudes”, “symbology”, “types”, “themes” and many other linguistic tools and object lessons to communicate He Word.
The Mosaic Covenant had three parts to it:
1. The commandments expressing the righteous will of God.
2. The judgments expressing the social life of Israel.
3. The ordinances directing the religious life of Israel.
Jesus called all these “The Law” -(Matthew 5:17), and Paul explained that it was a ministry of condemnation -(2 Corinthians 3:7-9). No one was ever saved by keeping the Law – it was simply God’s way of testing Israel. The nation’s failure to keep the Law ended in judgment, as did all the other Dispensations. Those today that have chose to go back under the Law have been deceived into believing a lie, furthermore, it reflects their ignorance of the Biblical message, since no one was saved by the Law, ever. Paul stated that it was a “schoolmaster” to communicate the hopelessness of trying to live under the Law. Today, many religious groups attempt to get people to believe that things will change if they return to the Law of Moses. This is very common with all the cults, even Jewish believers, in some cases. Salvation comes by ONLY ONE WAY – by the grace of God through faith in the Messiah Christ Jesus! It is Grace + nothing. Anyone that teaches you have to be baptized, be a church member, do good works, perform rituals, tithe, whatever is putting the person under the Mosaic Law which was a failure in itself. There is a real possibility that it nullifies salvation by grace through faith. I have found Biblicl evidence to validate that statement. There is another aspect of the Torah that people fail to know. The Hebrew word for Law is “nomos”, however, the meaning of Torah (referred to as the books of the Law) literally, means “teachings”.
The Dispensation of Law ended with Jesus Christ. He alone, kept the Law (fulfilled it perfectly) -(Matthew 5:17, and then nailed the Law to the Cross -(Colossians 2:14), and “abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the Law of commandments contained in ordinances” -(Ephesians 2:15).
Finally, just as principles from the previous covenants continued into the subsequent Dispensations, so the principles of the Law continue past the Cross of Jesus Christ. He did not take away the wisdom of the Law, or the “Spirit” of the Law, but rather the penalties of the Law. Legalists insist the keeping of the “letter” of the law at the expense of the “spirit” of the Law. Law-keepers may believe seriously they are in Covenant, however, this Dispensation applied strictly to the Jews alone. My experience over five decades has been that they use so-called Law-keeping as a badge of showing off to others, that they are super-spiritual. We see this with Sabbath-keepers, of all stripes. They are quick to boast and undercut those believers that worship formally on Sunday. I would recommend you go back and read my post “SDA Aberration -4” which addresses this bogus spirituality associated with Sabbath observance. There is only way in dealing with Law-keeprs, or the “Legalists” which most of them are not, truly keepers of the Law, by the things that they continue to do on the Sabbath, and that is to know your Bible. There were more requirements of Sabbatarianism than just worshiping on the Sabbath.
6. The New Covenant is associated with the Dispensation of Grace. The Old Testament looked ahead to the New Covenant, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel, and with the House of Judah” -(Jeremiah 31:31). Note that passage affirms the day when the two houses of Judaism will be reunited. Covenant/Reformed theology does not teach that and, for all intent and purpose, rejects the importance of the Jews. It is also called the Second Covenant, in contrast to the Mosaic Covenant of the Law: “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the Second” -(Hebrews 8:7). The New Covenant is “better” than the Old Covenant:
1. It is unconditional. “I will make [a covenant] with the House of Israel” and “I will be to them a God” –(Hebrews 8:10).
2. God guarantees that men will keep its conditions. “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts” -(Hebrews 8:10).
3. It extends to all, “For all shall know me, from the least to the greatest” -(Hebrews 8:11).
4. It will completely eradicate sin, “There sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” -(Hebrews 8:12).
5. It rests upon the sacrifice of Christ, the better Mediator, and assure eternal blessedness from those that accept it.
Jesus Christ predicted the New Covenant on the night of His death, when He instituted the Lord’s Supper. “This is my blood of the New Covenant [Testament] which is shed for many for the remision of sins.” -(Matthew 26:28). The results of the New Covenant apply primarily to the Dispensation of Grace/Church Age, but in the same way that the previous Covenants have all had eternal applications to the future Dispensations, the New Covenant provides the benefits of salvation for believers from previous Dispensations.
The Dispensation of Grace does not test legal obedience. Rather, the question is this: What will a person do with Jesus Christ? The believers in this Dispensation must accept Christ Jesus and live by Grace. The Dispensation of Grace will end with the professing Church rejecting Grace and slides into apostasy. The resulting Tribulation is God’s judgment that ends the era of Grace. The apostasy began with the Church surrendering to the abortion movement, and the recent cave-in to the sodomite movement that has been adopted by nearly all of the mainline Protestant churches.
7. The Davidic Covenant is associated with the Dispensation of the Kingdom. This Covenant is the least understood today by non-Dispensationalists. God’s Covenant with David is unique. An extended gap of time separates God’s past revelation of the Covenant to David from its future accomplishments. The Davidic Covenant had immediate implications for Israel, but it was the basis for a future Dispensation known as the Kingdom Age – the Millennium – when David’s Son will sit on the throne of Israel and rule from Jerusalem. We are talking here about Revelation 20. 90% of the Christian community dogmatically reject the idea of the Millennial earthly reign of Christ Jesus. Just ask people, do you believe Christ is coming back to rule and reign from Jerusalem?
Previously, God had promised Eve she would have a seed who would be the Redeemer -(Genesis 3:15). God later narrowed the line of Promise to the descendants of Shem -(Genesis 9:26), then the family of Abraham -(Genesis 12:3), and finally to the Tribe of Judah -(Genesis 49:10). Now the focus narrows even more and the Redeemer – the Seed of Promise to come from the descendants of David.
The Davidic Covenant -(Psalm 89:20-37) is conditional and based on the nature of God. God established His Nation through the Abrahamic Covenant. He provided laws for the people of the nation through the Mosaic Covenant, and He established a ruler over them in the Davidic Covenant. The Davidic Covenant has a fourfold Promise found in 2 Samuel 7:13.
1. God will establish David’s family line.
2. God will rule over His people through His Son, the Son of David.
3. God will establish His Kingdom.
4. God will recognize David’s reign forever.
This Covenant is perpetual and unbreakable: “My covenant will I not break … once I have sworn by My Holiness that I will not lie unto David” –(Psalm 89:34-35). When Israel disobeyed , God did not abrogate or cancel the Covenant. He only chastised His people for their disobedience. The chastisement came when the Kingdom divided under Rehoaboam. God confirmed the Davidic Covenant by an oath -(Psalm 89), later confirmed it to the Virgin Mary -(Luke 12:31-33), and Peter repeated it on Pentecost -(Acts 2:29-32).
We can know for certainty that God will fulfill this covenant in a future Kingdom. This seventh and last era of time to govern man’s life on Earth will follow the apocalyptic judgment at the end of the Church Age. Man will fail to please God even though He is giving man ample opportunity to do so. In this last Dispensation, man will live in a perfect environment, Jesus Christ, Himself, will rule mankind, and God will remove the curse on nature. But even in these ideal circumstances, man will still fail to please God. This explains why God will release Satan from the abyss for a short while.
The “Dispensation of the Fullness of Times” -(Ephesians 1:10) is another name for the future Kingdom, which David’s son will rule -(2 Samuel 7:8-17; Zechariah 12:8; Luke 1:31-33). This era will be filled with blessings:
1. Christ Jesus will take control of the Kingdom -(Isaiah 11:3-4) and put an end to anarchy and misrule.
2. God will reward mankind and provide rest -(2 Thessalonians 1:6-7).
3. God will glorify those who have suffered -(Romans 8:17-18).
4. God will save all of Israel -(Romans 11:26), cure her blindness -(Corinthians 3:4), and restore her -(Ezekiel 39:25-29).
5. The time of the Gentiles will cease.
6. God will lift the curse on the creation and nature will be magnified -(Genesis 3:17; Isaiah 11:6-8; 65:20-25; Romans 8:19-21).
Even the last Dispensation of ideal circumstances will end in judgment. The test will be for people to submit to the Son of David, Christ Jesus. He will rule with a rod of iron, which means He will be he absolute Ruler who will guide mankind with justice and equity. But at the end of the 1,000 year reign, a group will gather in rebellion against the King -(Revelation 20:7-9). God will judge them along with Satan -(Revelation 20:10). Then at the
final judgment of the ages (Dispensations), those who rejected God will be cast into the lake of fire along with Satan -(Revelation 20:11-15).
Thus God will have demonstrated that in every age (Dispensation), under every circumstance or test, man could not or would not live according to the principles expressed in the covenants nor keep the requirements of the Dispensations.
Those who live with God throughout eternity will do so by the Grace of God. Man has done absolutely nothing to merit salvation. GRACE is “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Those who suffer eternal separation will realize that God gave mankind multiple opportunities and different tests through which to demonstrate faith in Him. And in every Dispensation, humanity failed. Therefore, in future ages, no person will be able to say that God was unfair or unmerciful.
The Dispensations enabled us to correctly understand God’s prophetic timetable of history. The current era focuses on the Church as the instrument through which God works, not on Israel. Yet for the rest of Daniel’s prophecy -(Daniel 9:25-27) look for it to be fulfilled Literally in the same way the initial sixty-nine weeks were fulfilled, the Church must be removed from the Earth. This event is called the Rapture. It could happen at any moment and it will precede the last “seven” years of God’s decree for Israel, known as the Tribulation.
Dispensationalism is the only Biblical hermeneutic that provides a coherent, “World View”. If you have digested these posts on Dispensationalism, you may have discovered a clearer understanding of many questions that you may have had in the back of your mind. You can see why certain groups of people are so spiteful and hateful of the Dispensational hermeneutic, and anyone that holds to this way of understanding the Bible. It brings out the anger of those that claim they are the true church, or you have to observe the Sabbath, and a host of other things that get in their craw, such as the Pre-Tribulational Rapture!
Blessings from God,