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Thread: ARCHIVE: The Twelve Dispensations - By Bob Hill

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    Post The Twelve Dispensations - By Bob Hill

    The Twelve Dispensations - By Bob Hill

    What is a dispensation? The Greek word for dispensation, oijkonomiva - oikonomia, is defined in two ways. The first definition emphasizes the plan of management: The management of a household or of household affairs; specifically, the management, oversight, administration, of other's property. The second emphasizes the position entrusted to the administrator: The office of a manager or overseer, stewardship. We refer to the term of office of an American president as an administration. We could refer to it as a dispensation. Here is another way to understand the word. Suppose you inherited an estate and hired an overseer, oijkonovmo" oikonomos, to manage it. You gave him a written document of instructions, the dispensation, and gave him the authority to spend your money to carry out your directions. Although a dispensation is not a period of time, we can see that the directions in the dispensation are carried out over a period of time. If you wanted to, you could replace the old administrator with a new one. You could also change the rules of the dispensation a little, keeping most of the rules from the last dispensation. The employees the prior administrator had hired could adapt to the minor changes easily. But if you hired an administrator and gave him instructions which totally conflicted with the previous dispensation, there would be confusion and probably strong resistance from the employees. Thats what happened in God's dispensational program after the last change. God set aside His nation, Israel, and started a new dispensation with the Apostle Paul.

    How many dispensations are there?

    That is a much harder question to answer. I could settle for as few as three if I had to. If we had to call it a new dispensation every time God changed the instructions at all, I suppose we could have, maybe even thirty seven. I think we should recognize a new dispensation and call it a new dispensation every time there is a significant difference. But there's a problem with this. What is a significant difference? I hope to show you the significant differences which cause me to affirm that there are twelve dispensations. That?s the reason for this booklet.

    Most Biblicists agree that man was created in a state of innocence. Adam and Eve did not know good from evil. The serpent told Eve, For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil? (Gen 3:5).1 Therefore, because they were innocent, I believe it is right to call the first dispensation The Dispensation of Innocence.

    The Dispensation of Innocence lasted until there was a significant change. That change happened when Adam and Eve sinned. This is shown in Genesis 3:6-8:

    So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

    They now had a conscience. Because their conscience made them aware of their sin, we call this second method of dealing with man The Dispensation of Conscience. It appears that the conscience works in man in many different dispensations. I believe this dispensation continues in effect for those on the earth until the end of the millennium.

    When God saw how evil man had become, He repented that He had made man and destroyed them in the flood according to Genesis 6:5-7:

    Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord repented2 that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I repent that I have made them.

    After the flood, God changed His method of dealing with man. He instituted capital punishment and gave man every living thing that moves for food in addition to the green plants (Gen 9:1-17). Most dispensational theologians refer to this as The Dispensation of Human Government. This method of dealing with man will last until Jesus Christ rules in the millennium. In the millennium, He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron (Rev 19:15).

    It is difficult to discern the method of salvation in the second and third of these first three dispensations. God seems to demand sacrifices, but we do not find the instructions for the sacrifices. It appears that they would be saved if they believed God and brought the required sacrifice. When we consider the fourth dispensation, The Dispensation of Promise, the doubt is removed, and clearer instruction are given.

    In addition to the dispensations, God made a number of unconditional promises. We may call them unconditional covenants. When we look at God's statement to Abraham in Genesis 15:6, we can see justification is by faith alone under The Dispensation of Promise: And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

    In addition, the details of a conditional or two party covenant are displayed in Jeremiah 34:18-20a:

    I will give the men who have transgressed My covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before Me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between the parts of it the princes of Judah, the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf I will give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their life.

    They passed through the split animals as they covenanted with God. The split animals signified If I don't keep the covenant, I will be split like these animals. In contrast to Jeremiah 34, when we look at the details of the unconditional covenant of Genesis 15:7-18, we see that Abram was not allowed to pass through the animals. Only God did. He took the imprecation upon himself.

    Then He said to him, I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it. And he said, Lord God,how shall I know that I will inherit it So He said to him, Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete. And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates. Because God went through the covenant animals alone, we can see God?s covenant with Abram was unconditional. Abram was justified by grace through faith when He believed God in Genesis 15:6. Then, God made the unconditional covenant with him confirming the promises of the covenant. We will call this the Abramic Covenant.

    We find the greatest change in God's method of salvation in the Hebrew Scriptures from the fourth, The Dispensation of Promise, to the fifth dispensation, The Dispensation of Circumcision. This dispensation of circumcision was associated with the second covenant God made with Abraham. Because Abram's name was changed to Abraham when this covenant was made, it could be called the Abrahamic Covenant. However, it is called the Covenant of Circumcision in Acts 7:8. This is the first conditional covenant. The promises of the Covenant of Promise were still certain, but conditions were added for Abraham and his progeny to perform if they wanted to participate in the covenant blessings. Let's read these conditions in Genesis 17:1-14.

    When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly. 3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 9 And God said to Abraham: As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; 11 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. 13 He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.

    This is unquestionably a two way covenant. Even retribution (v. 14) is included in this conditional covenant. This, indeed, could be called The Covenant of Works. Under this covenant, circumcision was absolutely necessary. A person's faith had to be shown by a his faith-works. We have an illustration of this in Genesis 22. After Abraham obeyed God and attempted to offer his son, God said, Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me (22:12). When James referred to this event where God was the only spectator, Abraham was justified before God. James wrote in 2:21-24,

    Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

    Abraham was justified by his faith-work of offering up his son. That was God's method of salvation just as circumcision was necessary. The faith-work did not provide the righteousness. Only Jesus Christ's faithfulness could do that. That is shown in Romans, Galatians, and Philippians. Let's look at Romans 3:20-22,25,26 carefully.

    Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faithfulness in of Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faithfulness, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

    First, notice in verses 21 and 22, it is the righteousness of God which is revealed. How is it revealed? It is revealed through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. The phrase, "through faithfulness of Jesus Christ", is a prepositional phrase which modifies the verb, "revealed." From this we can see that the righteousness of God is revealed by Christ's faithfulness, not our belief. The word, "faith" (pivstew", pivsti") means faith, faithfulness, pledge, fidelity, belief. It is translated faithfulness in Romans 3:3, For what if some did not believe Will their unbelief make the faithfulness3 of God without effect? Next, in verse 25, how did God demonstrate His righteousness? Since it is God's righteousness that is demonstrated, it must be by Christ's blood and faithfulness not ours. We can't be justified by our works of the law. They result in death. But Christ made God's righteousness available. Man acquires by faith that righteousness which Christ provided by dying. In each dispensation, man must do by faith what God requires. Under circumcision, God required faith-works. Under The Dispensation of Grace, He requires faith apart from works. No Scripture could sum it up better than Philippians 3:9, And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through the faithfulness of Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.

    Here was a profound dispensational change. God changed from the unconditional covenant of promise to the conditional covenant of circumcision. We will see how consistently Paul steers away from a works oriented salvation. We will also see how consistently Peter, James, and John emphasize faith-law-works in their messages and epistles.

    If you consult the chart at the middle of this booklet, you will see that seven of the twelve dispensations are under the influence of the circumcision covenant. We must conclude that the circumcision covenant even includes the new covenant, for Genesis 17:7,13, and 19 all say it is everlasting.

    And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 13 He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 19 Then God said: No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.

    We have covered five dispensations, and we're still in Genesis. The sixth one is The Dispensation of Law. Under this dispensation, God's method for having His righteousness imputed now includes faith-law-keeping. The works of the law didn't provide anything. But when a man continuously kept God's law, by faith, he appropriated God's righteousness. Romans 9:31,32 shows us Israel's problem: But Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. They were too busy trying to establish their own righteousness. Instead, the law produced death (Rom 7:7-14). What they needed to do was recognize they could do nothing to produce righteousness. They needed to submit only to God's righteousness as Romans 10:3,4 says: For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

    In contrast, we died to the law (Rom 7:6; Gal 2:19). We are not under the law in any way (Rom 6:14; Gal 5:18). We have the indwelling Holy Spirit producing the law of the Spirit of life in us (Rom 8:2-4). We have a growing new life in the Spirit as we meditate on God?s word and seek to love Him with all our being (Eph 5:18-21). It is extremely difficult to keep this focus. Most never even seem try. Many don't want to, but this is what God wants us to do more than anything else. Loving God was the one thing that did not interest me for most of my Christian life, yet, from Christ's lips, we hear that it is the most important commandment of all. Join me in striving to love God with our whole life. I'm experiencing some of the blessings of my feeble efforts to allow the Holy Spirit to fill me with His love.

    The seventh dispensation is The Dispensation of the Kingdom Promised. How significant is this dispensation from the previous one? There is no difference in the method of salvation. But there is a colossal eschatological difference. It is found in 2 Samuel 7:12-13,16.

    When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.

    Messiah will sit on the throne of David. This kingdom promised to David will last forever. This became Israel's hope. This promise is temporary, but this kingdom will be established on this earth forever.

    About a thousand years later, John the Baptist was sent. The eighth dispensation began, The Dispensation of the Kingdom Proclaimed. Shortly after John's birth, his father, Zacharias, prophesied about Christ and John in Luke 1:68-78:

    Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, 69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, 70 as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began, 71 that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, 72 to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, 73 the oath which He swore to our father Abraham: 74 To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. 76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, 77 to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, 78 through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us.

    John?s commission was to go before the Messiah and prepare the way for the Lord according to Luke 3:2-6,
    While Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all theregion around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth; 6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

    His ministry was to bring salvation to the nation. Because it was such an important part of his ministry, we must understand baptism and its relationship to Israel. Its history is very important. This water rite was explained for Israel under the law in Num 19:9,10,17-21:

    Then a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and store them outside the camp in a clean place; and they shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for the water of purification; it is for purifying from sin. 10 And the one who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until evening. It shall be a statute forever to the children of Israel and to the stranger who dwells among them. . . . 17 And for an unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the heifer burnt for purification from sin, and running watershall be put on them in a vessel. 18 A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, sprinkle it on the tent, on all the vessels, on the persons who were there, or on the one who touched a bone, the slain, the dead, or a grave. 19 The clean person shall sprinkle the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, wash his clothes, and bathe in water; and at evening he shall be clean. 20 But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself, that person shall be cut off from among the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD. The water of purification has not been sprinkled on him; he is unclean. 21 It shall be a perpetual statute for them.

    Further, God told Israel in Ezekiel 36:24-27 that He would baptize them with water, cleanse them from all their filthiness and establish the new covenant with them:

    For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

    When John started his ministry, he baptized great crowds for the Lord from all the tribes (Mat 3:5,6), not just from the priestly tribe of Levi. Because John was baptizing with authority, the whole nation of Israel went out to him. They were expecting the Messiah (Lk 3:15).

    When we look at the Hebrew Scriptures, it is interesting to see that the priests were baptized when they were thirty years old (Num 4:2,3,23; 1 Ch 23:3). This was in preparation for their consecration as priests (Ex 28:41-29:9). God had promised to make Israel a kingdom of priests in Exodus 19:5-6:

    Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel. Isaiah 61:6 also says they will be priests: But you shall be named the priests of the Lord. They shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory you shall boast. Further, God had promised to sprinkle them with water to make them clean in Ezekiel 36:22-28.

    Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name?s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. 23 And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord, says the Lord God, when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.

    Therefore, I believe, by his baptism, John the Baptist was preparing them to be a kingdom of priests. That's what Revelation 1:5,6, shows:

    and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

    They were called a royal priesthood by Peter in 1 Peter 2:5,9, in fulfillment of Ex 19:5,6. John preached that his baptism was for the remission of sins (Mat 3:1-6; Lk 3:3,8). Therefore, we see water baptism was mandated for Israel, would result in a whole nation of priests (1 Pe 2:5,9), accompanied true repentance displayed by works (Mat 3:8; Lk 3:8), resulted in the forgiveness of sins for them at that time (Mk 1:4; Lk 3:3), and is associated with the Messianic kingdom promised to Israel (Eze 36:22-28).

    John's ministry of proclaiming the kingdom was certified by Jesus Christ in Luke 16:16 when He said, The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. John was also certified by Peter as a minister of the circumcision according to Acts 10:36-38,

    The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ He is Lord of all 37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

    Paul called Jesus Christ a circumcision minister in Romans 15:8, Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers. Because He was a minister of the circumcision, water baptism was part of His program for salvation according. This is shown by at least two passages, John 3:5, Jesus answered, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God; and Mark 16:15,16, And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

    Also, from Christ's earthly ministry, we see that endurance was expected in the believers if they were to receive salvation. This requirement was in line with the other conditional aspects of the circumcision covenant. John 15:1-8 is the best example:

    I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

    When He said, If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch, He was speaking to the apostles. Judas had already left in John 13:30. Did He really mean that an apostle could be lost? Yes, they had to abide in Christ in order to be saved. Otherwise they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

    Not only did they have to remain in Christ, they also had to forgive men in order to be saved according to Matthew 6:14,15: For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. We will see these conditional principles repeatedly as we continue to look at dispensations under the circumcision covenant.

    The next dispensational boundary comes after the crucifixion of our wonderful Lord. The apostles did not understand the significance of His death and resurrection. After His resurrection, Christ was with the apostles for forty days. What was He doing? Acts 1:2,3 tells us, He had given commandments to the apostles being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. What were the apostles expecting? They had earlier been sent to the twelve tribes of Israel (Mat 10:6). Christ also promised them they would sit in judgment over the nation of Israel in Matthew 19:28. They were vitally interested in the establishment of the long promised Davidic Kingdom. By now, they knew they had a wonderful part in it. It?s no surprise that Acts 1:6 tells us they asked Him, Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?

    The signs on the day of Pentecost were to show Israel that the kingdom promised to David was about to be established. The apostles had heard that Christ would return after the tribulation (Mat 24:21,29,30). At the end of Christ's description of the tribulation, He related the parables of the ten virgins and the talents. These were both parables about the kingdom. Then He said Matthew 25:31, ?When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. Remember, He had promised the apostles authority over Israel (Mat 19:28).This is why we must conclude that these were signs to show Israel that the ingdom was about to be established right after the great and terrible day of the Lord (Mat 24:29,30; 25:31,34). The great and terrible day of the Lord of Joel 2:31 would take place right after the tribulation.

    The gift of tongues given on the day of Pentecost was a sign to Israel that the kingdom was very near. This gift of tongues was a partial fulfillment of the Joel prophecy since other portions of the prophecy would be fulfilled after the tribulation. When Peter offered the kingdom and many responded to his message and believed, Peter commanded that they be baptized for the remission of sins. Water baptism continued as a requirement for salvation after Pentecost because God continued to offer Israel the kingdom (Acts 3:19-26). We call this ninth dispensation The Dispensation of the Kingdom Offered. If they had repented, God would have sent Christ back (Acts 3:20). Before Pentecost, Christ had commanded belief and water baptism as requirements for salvation shortly after His resurrection. Mark 16:16 says, He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. Both "believes" and "is baptized" represent aorist participles. According to Greek syntax4 , the action of these participles must precede the action of the main verb, "will be saved." Therefore, a person had to believe and be baptized before he would be saved. When viewed in its setting of the circumcision covenant, this is consistent with the purification rituals which were imposed on Israel.5

    After the Ascension of Christ and the outpouring of the Spirit in Acts 2, God still demanded water baptism for the remission of sins."Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'" (Acts 2:38). After Paul was seized in the temple by the Jewish mob and taken into custody by the Roman commander, he was allowed to speak to the violent mob on the way into the barracks. He used the opportunity to recount his conversion. He spoke of "a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there." He related how Ananias had told him about his apostolic commission from God. What method of salvation did Ananias present to Paul? Ananias commanded, "Now why are you waiting" Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16). Ananias told Paul the only message that he knew, the message of Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38, the circumcision gospel with its condition of baptism. One of the most important facts of all should be highlighted. Water baptism would be imposed on Israel until the time of reformation (Heb. 9:10-13) when Christ would establish the kingdom for Israel (Acts 3:21 with Acts 1:6). Therefore, from the beginning of John's ministry, through the time of Christ?s death and Ascension, to the time that Israel was temporarily set aside in Acts 7, we find that water baptism was essential for salvation.

    However, the first dramatic change took place on Pentecost in Acts 2. There, after he submitted to water baptism, a believer would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). So, for the first time, there were two baptisms, water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism. As the nation began rejecting Christ, the persecution of the circumcision church which had started on Pentecost increased. When Stephen was stoned, Christ stood in judgment upon the nation of Israel, and they were temporarily set aside. The tenth dispensation, The Dispensation of Grace, started with the conversion of Paul in Acts 9. A comparison of Acts 22:13 and 26:18 indicates that Paul was saved when he received his sight, just as the Gentiles to whom he was sent would be saved upon receiving spiritual sight. Paul received his sight before he was baptized at Ananias' command.

    More sensational events followed the salvation of Paul. When God had separated Israel from the nations as His chosen people, He imposed upon them a designation between clean and unclean animals (Lev. 20:23-26). Now, in a vision to Peter, the first dramatic change was made. God abrogated the distinction between clean and unclean animals in order to show that He had demoted Israel from their chosen people status (Acts 10:9-16). However, God did not reveal to Peter the unity and equality of Jew and Gentile in the new man, the body of Christ. In fact, He didn't show him any of the aspects of the great secret He would reveal to Paul. Most important of all, He did not show Peter the new method of salvation by faith alone apart from works. Peter simply adapted the gospel of the circumcision to his Gentile audience: "But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him" (Acts 10:35). This was the same gospel of faith plus works and endurance for salvation which Christ taught (Acts 10:34-42; John 15:1-8). It conformed to the circumcision covenant.

    The second change was even more startling. The Holy Spirit showed that water baptism was no longer necessary for salvation after the body of Christ started with Paul's conversion in Acts 9. This was done dramatically when He fell on all who heard the word while Peter was still preaching, before Peter would command them to be water baptized (Acts 10:44,45). The Holy Spirit's gift, here, became the sign that would convince the circumcision believers that God had opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles. The dispensational boundary was Paul's conversion in Acts 9. There, we saw that Paul was sent to the Gentiles, kings and Israel.

    Third, the order of the baptisms was reversed. Now, Peter commanded water baptism after Holy Spirit baptism. Now, the Holy Spirit baptism was the one necessary for salvation. Water baptism became secondary for the first time. We're not even sure that God wanted these new Christians baptized. Peter did a number of things here only because the Lord had previously commanded him to do them. Why did these changes take place? When Paul was converted, God committed to him a new stewardship, The Dispensation of the Mystery, and a new gospel, the uncircumcision gospel. What must they now do to be saved? The answer was, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Act 16:31).

    During this time, there were some confusing events that happened. Paul circumcised Timothy shortly before he wrote the epistle to the Galatians. Yet, he severely criticized those who were being influenced by the Judaizers who wanted them to be circumcised for salvation. Later, he even became ceremonially purified and paid for the sacrifices for four men who had a Jewish vow as well as himself. Yet, Paul had already written Galatians, Thessalonians, Corinthians, and Romans. He knew he was not under the law. There were other things Paul did, recorded in Acts, which passed away. These things had to do with Israel. But Paul did not address each thing explicitly and say it passed away. Some of these things were: raising the dead, exorcism, healing the sick, being bit by a viper without being harmed. They would cease just as baptism would cease. These signs were related to Israel. God was in the process of showing Israel they had been set aside. God would issue a final declaration showing Israel they had been set aside in Acts 28:28.

    Soon, Paul learned that water baptism was not part of his commission (1 Cor. 1:17), and he no longer baptized. But we must remember that baptism was an integral part of the circumcision apostles' commission (Mat. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-18). After Paul's ministry began, he was inspired to write to the Corinthians, "By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body" (1 Cor. 12:13). So, even in the dispensation of grace there were two baptisms for a while. Then, we see that as physical circumcision gave way to spiritual circumcision, "made without hands," in spite of Acts 16:1-3, water baptism gave way to spiritual baptism, "through the faithful operation of God" (Col. 2:11,12), in spite of Acts 16:15,31-34, and 1 Cor. 1:14-16.

    Why did water baptism give way to spiritual baptism? It was because God set Israel aside in Acts 7 (Rom. 11:11,25; Acts 28:28) when Christ stood in judgment (Isa. 3:13) at the stoning of Stephen. Part of Paul's ministry had been to show Israel that they had been set aside. That is why the Corinthian church spoke in tongues. Their meeting place wall was contiguous with the Jewish synagogue. They spoke in tongues in judgment upon the unbelieving Jews next door in fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 28 (1 Cor. 14:21,22).

    God used Paul to pronounce to the Jews in Rome that Israel had been set aside. This occurred in Acts 28:28. After this, the baptisms imposed on Israel, being fleshly ordinances (Heb. 9:10-13), were set aside until God would resume dealing with Israel in the tribulation. For instance, baptism will be necessary for salvation when Peter's epistles are again directly applicable in the tribulation period. We must look at 1 Peter 3:20,21 closely. Verse 20 shows us that the ark and the flood of water were a type. Peter then wrote, There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism. Yes, his message was, Baptism now saves us. Then he explained away the possible confusion that the water baptism would be for the removal of the outward filth of the body as in Mark 7:3-5.6 This outward ritual of 1 Peter 3 in obedience to God, was essential to perform the inner cleansing of sin in accordance with the principles of the circumcision covenant (Numbers 19).

    From the time of Israel's fall in Acts 7, the book of Acts relates how Israel was shown more and more that they had been set aside by God. Let me reiterate. This is why the Corinthian church spoke in tongues so much. The church bordered on, was contiguous to,7 the Jewish synagogue. The Gentiles speaking in tongues was God's judgment upon unbelieving Jews next door (Please read 1 Cor. 14:22 in light of Isaiah 28).

    Although Paul baptized some in his early ministry, we must remember that Ananias had commanded him to be baptized to wash away his sins. But God gave him further revelations. One was 1 Corinthians 1:17 ?For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. Sure, the context shows there was a division because of baptism, but would Paul really let that affect him if baptism was still necessary and he practiced it? Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6 again, "But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us." No, Paul would tell them to withdraw from a person rather than deny a true teaching that was still in effect. Baptism was not part of his message, and we have no Scripture which says he recommended it, encouraged it, taught it, or commanded it. Not one.

    Finally, at the end of the book of Acts, Israel was shown for the final time that they had been set aside. This happened when Paul spoke in judgment quoting Isaiah 6:9,10. After this judgment was pronounced, Paul was inspired to write Ephesians. In it he wrote, "There is one body andone Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. 4:4,5). One baptism? If there is only one baptism, which one is it? Is it water or Holy Spirit? It is Holy Spirit! Why? Because God has suspended the use of water baptism. It has been done away with because God is through with Israel for the time being. Now there is only one program. It has to do with spiritual things, not carnal. So, for The Dispensation of Grace, there is one baptism. We, who have trusted in Christ, are baptized into the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit baptizes us into Christ's body. That baptism identifies us with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-8). This identification justifies and frees us from all sin (Rom 6:7,18). Water baptism has been set aside because God has set aside Israel.

    Under The Dispensation of Grace, there are many new things. There are no law-works necessary for salvation. In fact that's exactly what Titus 3:5,6 says. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior." We are the only ones who have eternal security. This is emphasized by Ephesians 1:4-14. We live the Christian life by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. These are wonderful, awesome blessings. Let's revel in them.

    The eleventh dispensation, The Dispensation of the Tribulation, begins right after the rapture. In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, Paul wrote about this time:

    Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the departure comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

    First we must notice that the departure takes place before this day of Christ, or day of the Lord, scenario takes place. That means we will be delivered, rescued, saved from it. We will be gone when the tribulation starts. That's what 2 Th 2:13 says: "But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you unto salvation [deliverance from the tribulation] through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth." Similarly, 1 Thessalonians 5:9 states, "For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."

    We can be sure that we will be gone when the tribulation starts because of the nature of the mystery. Why? According to Ephesians 3 and Colossians 1, nothing about the mystery and the new creation, the body of Christ, was ever revealed before. That means the many prophecies about the tribulation apply only to Israel and the unsaved Gentiles. When the tribulation starts, we will be with Christ in the heavenlies.

    We can see from the material in the book of Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, that endurance and works are again necessary for salvation: Rev 2:5,7,10b,11,17 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God . . . 10b Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. Rev 3:5,10,12 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more.

    In addition to Revelation, the conditional aspects found in the other circumcision epistles, Hebrews, James, 1,2 Peter, 1,2,3 John, and Jude, will apply at that time. All these epistles from Hebrews through Revelation will apply in the tribulation. I will cite a few from the chart: 2 Pet 1:10,11 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 1 Jo 5:16,17 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death. 2 Jo 8,9 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Everyone deviating and not abiding in the teaching of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.

    The Dispensation of the Tribulation ends at the second coming. Christ will establish the millennial kingdom at that time. We will call this twelfth dispensation The Dispensation of the Kingdom Established. He will rule the world with a rod of iron (Rev 12:5; 19:5). We will be in the heavenlies. After the thousand years, satan will be loosed for a time. Revelation 20:7-10 tells us what happens.

    Now when the thousand years have expired, satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

    When everything is subjugated to Christ, He will in turn deliver it all to the Father according to 1 Corinthians 15:24-28:

    Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For He has put all things under His feet. But when He says all things are put under Him, it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

    Then, we will be with Him forever.

    --------------
    1 I will use the New King James Version or my own translation in all references quoted.

    2 BDB, Niphal, to be sorry, be moved to pity, have compassion, to be sorry, rue, suffer grief, repent.

    3 All bold italics are my emphasis.

    4 A Grammar of New Testament Greek, Moulton, V. III, Syntax, Nigel Turner, p. 79, (T & T Clark, Edinburgh, G.B.), 1963.

    5 It's interesting that none of the Baptist grammarians even comment on the syntax of Mark 16:16. The best that Robertson could say was, So serious a sacramental doctrine would need stronger support anyhow than this disputed portion of Mark. A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament. Two manuscripts are used to dispute the inclusion of 16:9-20. They are Codices B and a. However, many very able scholars have shown that they are riddled with omissions. Textual criticism is not the topic of this article, but I want everyone to be aware that the manuscript evidence supporting the inclusion of this passage is overwhelming.

    6 The word in Mark 7:4 is baptivswntai, baptize. "They do not eat unless they wash [baptize]."

    7 sunomorevw, Moulton and Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, p. 611, (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI), 1950.
    Last edited by webby; March 5th, 2002 at 11:34 PM.

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    Exclamation The 12 dispensations chart...

    Click here to see the 12 dispensations chart at Biblical Answers.com

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    First, from BAGD pages 559-560.

    oikonomia

    1) management, direction, office
    2) arrangement, order, plan
    3) training

    oikonomos

    steward, manager
    1) literal use
    2) figurative use

    Strangely enough, BAGD does not define either word as a period of time. Although you admit this point, you still assume it in your usage of the word, whereas the Greek would use a verbal form, not a noun proper (in all likelihood, the Greek would use an articular infinitive, carrying the verbal meaning but transforming it into a noun in terms of usage) Thus, dispensation cannot be taken from this word.

    Secondly,

    Please define dispensation. What does it mean? You seem to go out of your way to not define it.
    For Greek conversion, click here.
    <opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily those of TOL or the TOL Holding Company, and are in fact probably either wrong or dangerous or something even worse. In the event of a world-wide catastrophe coming from one of these posts, all we can say is we did not do it and we warned you not to listen to this post, but NOOOOO, you knew what you were doing all along and yet you STILL managed to destroy part of a continent and yet missed Hollywood! Any resemblance to mathematicians dead or alive is strictly on purpose.>

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    TOL Subscriber Bob Hill's Avatar
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    The definition of dispensation

    Dear Jaltus,
    Thank you for your post. You wrote:


    oikonomia 1) management, direction, office 2) arrangement, order, plan 3) training oikonomos steward, manager 1) literal use 2) figurative use

    Strangely enough, BAGD does not define either word as a period of time.

    Although you admit this point, you still assume it in your usage of the word, whereas the Greek would use a verbal form, not a noun proper (in all likelihood, the Greek would use an articular infinitive, carrying the verbal meaning but transforming it into a noun in terms of usage) Thus, dispensation cannot be taken from this word. Secondly, Please define dispensation. What does it mean? You seem to go out of your way to not define it.
    I believe I defined it rather thoroughly, but here it is from theologyonline, again.

    What is a dispensation? The Greek word for dispensation, oikonomia - oikonomia, is defined in two ways. The first definition emphasizes the plan of management: The management of a household or of household affairs; specifically, the management, oversight, administration, of other's property. The second emphasizes the position entrusted to the administrator: The office of a manager or overseer, stewardship. We refer to the term of office of an American president as an administration. We could refer to it as a dispensation. Here is another way to understand the word. Suppose you inherited an estate and hired an overseer, oikonomo" oikonomos, to manage it. You gave him a written document of instructions, the dispensation, and gave him the authority to spend your money to carry out your directions. Although a dispensation is not a period of time, we can see that the directions in the dispensation are carried out over a period of time. If you wanted to, you could replace the old administrator with a new one. You could also change the rules of the dispensation a little, keeping most of the rules from the last dispensation. The employees the prior administrator had hired could adapt to the minor changes easily. But if you hired an administrator and gave him instructions which totally conflicted with the previous dispensation, there would be confusion and probably strong resistance from the employees. Thats what happened in God's dispensational program after the last change. God set aside His nation, Israel, and started a new dispensation with the Apostle Paul.
    In case that is not clear, I would define a dispensation as ďThe rules to administer, run, or manage a house.Ē We could also say it is ďThe administration, oikonomia, of those rules by the oikonomos, the administrator. When God used it in Paulís epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 3:8-10, it would be the rules that govern the operations of the Apostle Paul and subsequently, the body of Christ which would be Godís church under those rules.

    I do not assume the dispensation to be a period of time. However, the present dispensation takes place during a specific period of time, but it isnít a period of time, it consists of all the methods, rules, and/or operational procedures that are in effect while this dispensation/administration is in place. We use the word dispensation because it is not normally used in our language. That way it will not be as easily corrupted further.

    Eph 3:8-10 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the dispensation of the mystery, which has been hidden from the ages in God who created all things through Jesus Christ.

    Here is the complete entry from BAGD. The Greek font is Logos GraecaII. We lose the italics and the GraecaII fonts on the thread.
    oijkonomiva, a", hJ (X., Pla.+; iscr., pap.; Is 22:19, 21; Philo, Joseph.ó1. management of a household, direction, office (X., Oec. 1, 1; Herodian 6, 1, 1; Jos., Ant. 2, 89; PTebt. 27, 21 [114BC]; PLond. 904, 25).
    a. lit., of the work of an oijkonovmo" Lk 16:2-4 (this passage shows that it is not always poss. to draw a sharp distinction betw. the office itself and the activities associated w. it).
    b. Paul applies the idea of administration to the office of an apostle oij konomivan pepivsteumai I have been entrusted with a commission 1 Cor 9:17. ajnqrwpivnwn oijkonomivan musthrivwn pepivsteuntai they have been entrusted with the administration of merely human mysteries Dg 7:1. Of the bishop: o}n pevmpei oJ oijkodespovth" eij" ijdivan oijk. (oijk. ivdivou oi[kou) the one whom the master of the house sent to administer his own household IEph 6:1. This is prob. also the place for kata; th;n oijk. tou` qeou` th;n doqei`savn moi eij" uJma`" according to the divine office which has been granted to me for you Col 1:25, but hjkouvsate th;n oijkonomivan t. cavrito" t. qeou` th`" doqeivsh" moi eij" uJma`" you have heard of the stewardship of Godís grace that was granted to me for you Eph 3:2 may be parallel to the usage in vs. 9; s. 2b below.
    2. arrangement, order, plan (X., Cyr. 5, 3, 25; Polyb. 4, 67, 9; 10, 16, 2; Diod. S. 1, 81, 3óa. hJ th`" sarko;" oijkonomiva of the arrangement or structure of the parts of the body beneath the skin; they are laid bare by scourging MPol 2:2.
    b. of Godís plan of salvation, his arrangements for manís redemption (in the pap. of the arrangements and directions of the authorities: UPZ 162 IX, 2 [117BC]; PRainer 11, 26, and in PGM [e.g. 4, 293] of the measures by which one wishes to attain some goal by supernatural help) hJ oijk. tou` musthrivou the plan of the mystery Eph 3:9 (cf. vs. 2 and JReumann, NovT 3, í59, 282-92). Also in the linguistically difficult passage 1:10 oijk. certainly refers to the plan of salvation which God is bringing to reality through Christ, in the fulness of the times. kat∆ oijkonomivan qeou` according to Godís plan of redemption IEph 18:2. prosdhlwvsw uJmi`n h|" hjrxavmhn oijkonomiva" eij" to;n kaino;n a[nqrwpon jIhsou`n Cristovn I will explain to you further the divine plan which I began (to discuss) , with reference to the new man Jesus Christ IEph 20:1.
    c. also of Godís arrangements in nature pl. aiJ oijk. qeou` Dg 4:5.
    3. training (in the way of salvation); this mng. (found also Clem. Alex., Paed. 1, 8, 69, 3; 70, 1 p. 130 St.) seems to fit best in 1 Ti 1:4, where it is said of the erroneous teachings of certain persons ejkzhthvsei" parevcousin ma`llon h] oijkonomivan qeou` th;n ejn pivstei they promote useless speculations rather than divine training that is in faith oijkodomhvn and oijkodomivan [q.v.] as v.l. are simply Ďcorrectionsí to alleviate the difficulty). M-M.*
    Bauer, Walter, Gingrich, F. Wilbur, and Danker, Frederick W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.

    In Christ,
    Bob Hill

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    I'll try to get back to this on Friday.
    For Greek conversion, click here.
    <opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily those of TOL or the TOL Holding Company, and are in fact probably either wrong or dangerous or something even worse. In the event of a world-wide catastrophe coming from one of these posts, all we can say is we did not do it and we warned you not to listen to this post, but NOOOOO, you knew what you were doing all along and yet you STILL managed to destroy part of a continent and yet missed Hollywood! Any resemblance to mathematicians dead or alive is strictly on purpose.>

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    *briefly wonders if the webmaster is held to the same rules as the posters* *shrugs* Meh.
    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    --Ben Franklin

    The World Beyond Yourself

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    Originally posted by Projill
    *briefly wonders if the webmaster is held to the same rules as the posters* *shrugs* Meh.
    Uh.... no.
    - Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed. - Proverbs 27:5

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    2 Fridays have passed.

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    Lightbulb

    It would appear that Dispensationalism is not an exact science.

    Indeed, the entire system seems to be wholly arbitrary.

    Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus,
    Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
    Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.


    I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.

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    Talking

    Nice rebuttal Evangelion.

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    Lightbulb Shall we dance?

    Bob -

    Nice rebuttal Evangelion.
    Thanks.

    On a more serious note, let's review Dispensationalism with a critical eye:
    • The entire concept of "dispensations" is arbitrary. That much is true.
    • Indeed, the Bible does not actually speak in terms of "dispensations" but in terms of "Covenants" - of which there are essentially two: the Old and the New.
    • The Dispensationalist must therefore hunt through the Scriptures and define his "dispensations" as he sees fit. You yourself have already admitted that we could arrive at anything from 3-37 different dispensations, depending on the terms of reference.
    • Dispensationalism leads to the unhealthy idea that the message of the early Christian community necessarily changed with the conversion of the apostle Paul. This stands in contrast to the Biblical data.
    • Dispensationalism asserts that God will not deal with His people until the Second Advent. This too, stands in contrast to the Biblical data.
    • Dispensationalism is associated with the twin heresies of OSAS and "Spirit baptism" as a replacement for Biblical baptism.
    • Dispensationalism distorts the Biblical definitions of "faith" and "works", attempting to prove that - in a soteriological context, at least - the two are mutually exclusive.

    That's just a few objections, off the cuff.

    Would you care to discuss them?

    Last edited by Evangelion; April 5th, 2002 at 05:10 AM.
    Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus,
    Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
    Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.


    I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.

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    Thumbs up

    Bob-

    I dig it! Finally - I can start to read the New Testament without pulling my hair out! When I started on this journey long ago, hungry for knowledge, people were always recommending
    I John as the first book a new Christian should read. I wanted to give up!!!!!! Years in Bible school left me confused and wondering - the Bible seemed to contradict itself on points and yet to say such a thing brought swift rebuke. I think the dispensations are apparent to anyone who has read the Bible critically.

    Thanks for all your study! Hope to read more from you!

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    Jodia, finding dispensations is a way of overlooking the contradictions. There are many more contradictions that can't be explained away with the use of such arbitrary excuses though.

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    Well now, if Bob could just address himself to my post, we might have something going on here.

    Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus,
    Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
    Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.


    I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.

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