Published on March 11, 2014
of the Bible
Image: Ryk Neethling Human Gov’t Law Grace Innocence Promise Conscience Millennial Kingdom “I’d really like to know more about the of the Bible. What can I uncover?”
God used during a period of time to reveal His mind and will to humankind. Throughout each dispensation, God dealt with people to teach them how to rely on Him. This ultimately caused them to return to Him through repentance, leading them back to salvation. God is such a personal God that He always has our best interest at heart and wants us to succeed! Let me start with dispensation’s basic meaning.
seven dispensations: 1. Innocence (Gen 1:28) 2. Conscience (Gen 3:7) 3. Human Gov’t (Gen 8:15-17) 4. Promise (Gen 12:22) 5. Law (Exod 19:1-8) 6. Grace (Isa 11:1; Matt 1:1; John 1:17; Acts 2) 7. Millennial (Eph 1:10; Rev 20)
: Innocence Conscience Human Gov’t Promise Law Grace Millennial Christian Grace Sunlight Jewish Law Moonlight Patriarchal Promise Starlight Kingdom or Messianic or Fullness
Self-Check Question 1: ? A. You learn God’s plan for humankind leading to the good news of Jesus Christ B. You systematically study the various historical periods of the Bible from the standpoint of grace C. You get peer into the lives of the people with whom God dealt, and even the land and geography upon which they lived
Question 1 Answer: ? All three are the correct selections. When you study the dispensations you put together the outer edge of the puzzle pieces that frame God’s Big Story for humanity.
“ Now, I’ll take a broad view of the dispensations Patriarchal Eichenberger’s three form a broad view of history through the dispensations… Jewish (or Mosaic) Christian (or Church)
During the Patriarchal Dispensations WHEN: At the earliest age of humankind WHAT: God revealed His will to some of the patriarchs WHO: Adam, Noah and Abraham
During the Jewish Dispensation WHEN: When God gave Moses the law WHAT: People would be blessed when they obeyed and punished when they disobeyed WHO: Moses through Nehemiah
During the Christian Dispensation WHEN: Upon the Holy Spirit’s outpouring on Pentecost until the rapture of the Church WHAT: God dispenses salvation and blessing by His grace WHO: Through the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ as the Blood Sacrifice for sin Root, 1998, p. 32
Innocence (Gen 1:28-3:6) Conscience (Gen 3:7-6:7) Human Gov’t (Gen 9-11) Promise (Gen 12-19) Law (Exod 19:1-8 & Acts 2) Grace (Isa 11:1; Matt 1:1; John 1:17, Acts 2; Rev 20; Eph 1:22-23; 2:3-10;4-1-6) Millennial (Eph 1:10; Rev 20) The Dispensations: A Brief Timeline Patriarchal Age Jewish Age 2,500 years 1,520 years A d a m M o s e s J e s u s Christian Age AD 32 - ? Kingdom of God Millennium Age Redemption promised: Animal sacrifice required to atone for sin Redemption provided: Christ, finished sacrifice to atone for sin
A Closer Look at the Timeline Matthew McGee, ©1998
Self-Check Question 2: ? A. Through special revelations to the patriarchs B. Through natural revelation to everyday people C. Through Christ Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension as infallible evidence of the Blood Sacrifice for our sin
Question 2 Answer: ? Answers A and C. God dealt with His people through patriarchs (or family heads) in the earliest ages of time. God also spoke directly to Moses, “whom the Lord knew face to face” (Deut 34:10b NKJV). Additionally, He revealed His will through the events of Jesus (God manifested in flesh) surrounding the cross. Humankind has had free will choice to accept or reject God’s will throughout the ages.
“ Can I uncover more? I’d like to learn more about how God’s grace flows through the ages and the people with whom He dealt…
Also Called Patriarchal Dispensations Overview Test/Responsibility Judgment Innocence (Gen 1:28) God gave Adam and Eve innocence, perfect in their sinlessness and devotion to God; He walked daily with them Not to eat from the fruit of sin Failed the test of faith. God drove Adam and Eve out of the garden → They experienced spiritual death (Eph 2:1), knowledge of sin, moral conscience, loss of fellowship and fear of God followed (Gen 3:23-24). Conscience (Gen 3:7) God provided, by grace, a substutionary animal sacrifice for sin forgiveness as evidence of faith Blood sacrifice for their sins in faith--Do all known good and abstain from all known evil Humankind failed the test of faith once more → Flooded the earth, singling out Noah and his family (Gen 6:7) Human Gov’t (Gen 8:15-17) God gave humankind authority to govern themselves Salvation dependent upon the faith of the believer-- Human law was insufficient for righteousness Humankind failed again → God confounded their language & scattered them over the earth. He singled out one family (Gen 11:5-9; 12:1-3) Promise (Gen 12:22) God made certain promises to give Abram the land to which He would send Him Abram was to go the promised land, the fruit of his faith Abram failed the test due to lack of faith and did not stand on the promises of God; and instead went to Canaan
Overview Test/Responsibility Judgment Law (Exod 19:1-8) God tested man’s obedience to the Law of Moses The law had ten commandments with 613 laws. The Israelites were to keep God’s covenant as a school master to lead them to Christ (Gal 3:24), separate them from other nations (2 Cor 6:17) and make them a peculiar treasure to the Lord (Exod 19:5) Israel rejected God’s statutes and His covenants made with their fathers → The Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers (2 Kings 17:20) Also Called Jewish (or Mosaic)
Overview Test/Responsibility Judgment Grace (Isa 11:1; Matt 1:1; John 1:17) Christ died on the cross to atone for all sin’s debt—past, present and future—and fulfill the law (Matt 5:117-118). Faith in Christ’s death and resurrection as sufficient to pay for one’s sins and assurance for eternity. Until Christ returns, people have a choice to accept or reject Jesus as their Savior--His death, burial and resurrection atoned for our sin → People face separation from God into eternity by not accepting Jesus as their Savior, repenting for the remission of sins and being born of the water and Spirit Also Called Christian or Church Dispensation Also, Kingdom Dispensation Overview Test/Responsibility Judgment Millennial (Eph 1:10; Rev 20) Christ died on the cross to atone for all sin’s debt—past, present and future—and fulfill the law (Matt 5:117-118). Faith in Christ’s death and resurrection as sufficient to pay for one’s sins and assurance for eternity.
Self-Check Question 3: True or False? _____ A. Descendants lived in the Garden of Eden at one time, and later God scattered them. _____ B. Abraham’s lack of faith for God’s provision prevented him for reaching the promised land and fulfilling God’s promise. _____ C. Each dispensation shows humankind’s obedience in faith to the will of God.
Question 3 Answer: Statements A and B are true. God scattered people across the earth because they failed the test of faith in defiance to His will. At one time, He wiped out all the people from the earth except for Noah and his family and restored it again. Humankind relied on their own will due to their sinful nature, which is why God sent a Savior to redeem them with the New Covenant.
Self-Check Question 4: _____ A. The Bible lays out seven dispensations of God’s dealings with humankind. Five already occurred. One exists today. Another yet has arrived. _____ B. Blood sacrifice is the work evidenced by the faith of the offerer in the Old Covenant dispensations. The one Sacrifice Jesus already offered His blood and asks for our faith in Him in the New Covenant.
Question 4 Answer: Answers A and B. The Kingdom dispensation has yet to come, while all the Old Covenant dispensations occurred. Currents, the people of God live in the New Covenant dispensation of Grace. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2: 8-9 KJV).
“ So, what did I learn? • A dispensation is a plan or method that God used during a particular period of time to reveal His mind and will to humankind” (Christian Guidebook). • The dispensations occurred from the Fall to the Kingdom yet to come. • God progressively reveals His will through the dispensations for the purpose of shaping His people into His image through grace. ?
References • Chafer, L. S. Bible doctrines: Dispensations. Cited on March 1, 2014, from http://www.slideshare.net/rdc2506/chafer-bible-doctrines-dispensations • Christian Bible Study. (n.d.) • Eichenberger, J. (2011). Training for service: A basic Bible overview for every Christian. Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing. • Larkin, C. The seven dispensations Chart: Cited on March 1, 2014, from http://www.biblelife.org/dispensations-big.jpg • Scofield, C. I. The seven dispensations: Rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Cited on March 1, 2014, from http://www.biblelife.org/dispensations.htm • Simpson, W. (1998). The dispensations. Cited on March 28, 2004, from http://e- grace.net/webgrace/dispensa.html • Ryrie, C. Dispensationalism. Chapter two. Cited on March 1, 2014, from http://www.biblecentre.org/topics/ccr_2_dispensationalism.htm • Wikipedia, Dispensationalism. Cited on March 1, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dispensationalism
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