The Holy Bible – Ages & Dispensations

The Holy Bible – Ages & Dispensations

 

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The Holy Bible is the Word of God. It is the COMPLETE and PERFECT revelation of God to man. COMPLETE – nothing lacking and nothing superfluous; PERFECT – absolutely flawless. God has given in it all what He wants to tell about Himself to man and also all about His plans and purposes for man in relation to the earth. Everything man needs to know about God and about all the plans and purposes for man’s existence on the earth is given in the Bible. We can properly understand these things if we prayerfully study the Bible with the fear of God and an obedient heart (Psa.111:10; Deut.29:29). For a clearer understanding of any given truth, we have to take note of the context and also simply compare Scripture with Scripture; comparing one section of the Word of God with other similar portions within the Word of God (1Cor.2:13).

An overview of the whole Bible

 

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Have you noticed that a huge chunk of God’s revelation to man – from Genesis Chapter 12 to the end of John’s Gospel – pertains to God’s dealings in and through Israel, the nation of the Jews? Even the Almighty God who came into the world as a man, spent all His time only in Israel, why? What do you see in the previous few pages; the first eleven Chapters of Genesis?

What do you see in the later portions of the Word of God from Acts to Revelation? A proper understanding of God’s dispensational dealings will protect us from all the wrong teachings of different cult groups. A right understanding of the Word of God will help us to fully attain to the plans and purposes God has for you and me. On the contrary, if we have an improper understanding of the Word of God, we are most likely to fall short of the goal for which God has provided redemption to man; this goal being the same as the purpose for which man was created originally (Gen.1:27, 28).

Ages & Dispensations

Before we go into the answers for the questions posed with the above picture, we must clearly understand the meanings of AGE and DISPENSATION. Both these words are mixed up and confused in many translations and commentaries of the Bible. Both these words have entirely two different meanings. – AGE is a period of time in the plan of God. DISPENSATION does not mean a period of time rather it is related to God’s chosen channel through which He dispenses His authority and His blessings.

Two Ages

In the Holy Bible, God has revealed to man only about two ages (Eph.1:21; Matt.12:32). (1) This present age of 6000 years from the creation of Adam to the glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ – the age of the grace of God and (2) The coming age of 1000 years starting from the glorious return of Christ – the age of the glory of Christ; the age in which the glory, majesty and power of Christ would be fully manifested on the earth. These two ages are based on the SIX DAYS and ONE DAY seen in the foundational framework placed by God in the beginning of His revelation to man in Gen.1:1 to 2:3. There would have been an innumerable number of ages before these two ages and also an innumerable number of ages would follow these two ages. The details of all these past and future ages are not revealed to man. Man living in this present age should fully experience and enjoy the grace of God and keep his eyes focused on the coming age and prepare himself to partake in the glory and power of the Lord Jesus Christ in His Millennial Kingdom. That is the age in which man will attain to the purpose for which he was created in Gen.1:27, 28.

Dispensations

DISPENSATION does not mean a period of time rather it is related to God’s chosen channel through which He dispenses His authority and His blessings. Dispensation means stewardship or management. Whenever the steward or manager of a house is relieved of his responsibility and another is appointed, we can say that there is a change in the dispensation (Luke 16:1, 2). In one of the past ages, long before the creation of man, there was a dispensation in which God created and anointed (appointed) angels to govern His creation (Ezek.28:14, 15).

Three dispensations within this present age

We find three dispensations of 2000 years each within this present age of 6000 years. These are the dispensations of the Jews, the Gentiles and the Church (1Cor.10:32). Firstly, God CREATED and APPOINTED Adam to subdue the earth and have dominion over the whole earth (Gen.1:26-28). From that time, for 2000 years, God looked upon the whole of mankind (all nations) as one unit. This can be called the dispensation of the Gentiles. Secondly, God called one man Abraham, and God desired not only to rule over the whole earth but also bless the whole of mankind through the seed of Abraham (Gen.12:1-3; 22:15-18). Accordingly, God created and appointed Israel, the nation of the Jews in 2000BC, through Abraham’s grandson, Jacob’s twelve sons, to be a channel of blessing for all mankind (Isa.43:1, 7; Exo.19:5, 6; Rom.5:4, 5). This can be called the dispensation of the Jews. Now, after the great sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, the Jews are set aside and the dispensation of the Church has begun. God has called a new entity, the church, consisting of all of us who are a new creation in Christ and has made us His channel of authority and blessings to the whole earth (Eph.2:10; 2Cor.5:17; Gal.3:29; Matt.16:18, 19). This can be called the dispensation of the Church.

Dispensational divisions in the Bible

Now, let us look at the above picture of the Bible. According to what we have seen in the previous paragraph, the first 11 chapters of Genesis pertain to the first 2000 years of this present age, the Dispensation of the Gentiles. Then from Gen.12 to the end of the Gospel of John, we see the Dispensation of the Jews. Then in the later part, after the end of John’s Gospel, we see the 2000-year Dispensation of the Church. But, according the prophecy recorded in Daniel Chapter 9: 24-27, one week (7 years) of the Dispensation of the Jews, yet remains. After God completes His dealings with the Church, the Church will be removed (raptured) from the earth and after that God will turn to the Jews and deal with them for 7 years. These 7 years are recorded in Rev.6-18 and also seen in many other parts of the Bible.

The order – to the Jew first and also to the Gentiles

Now, we must clearly understand the significance of the Book of Acts. During the time of the Acts, God set aside the Jews and started dealing with the Church, which consists mainly of individuals saved from among the Gentiles. If we carefully look at what God was doing in Acts, we will find that a final attempt was made to save the Jews. In every place, the apostles first went to the Jews and tried their best to convince them that this Jesus whom they crucified was the Christ. They tried their best to persuade the Jews till they were severely beaten and thrown out from their midst. If we compare the four occurrence of the great commission given by our Lord in Matt.28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:46-49 and Acts 1:8, we see not only a command to go and preach, but also an order in which it should be done – to the Jew first and also to the Gentiles (Rom.1:16; 2:9, 10). This took place also in accordance to the Parable of the Fig Tree given in Luke 13:6-9, in which the keeper requested the owner, “Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.” God’s final attempt to give the Kingdom of the Heavens to the Jews continued throughout the Book of Acts, and when they were determined to reject the offer, they had to be set aside (Acts.13:46; 18:5, 6; 28:28, 29), and after that the Jews ceased to exist as a nation, and then the apostles turned to the Gentiles. Now the Kingdom of the Heavens is being offered to the Church, which consists mainly of Gentiles.

The message – to the Jew first – Gospel of the Kingdom

In the Book of Acts, the apostles directed their messages primarily toward the Jews, and the messages were accompanied by signs and wonders. The Jewish people were (1) Guilty of the blood of all the prophets (Matt.23:35, Rev.17:6, 18:20, 24) and were (2) Defiled by their harlotries (Rev.17:5, 18:9). Then they took Jesus of Nazareth by their lawless hands and crucified and put Him to death, which God raised up. Therefore the Jews were called to REPENT from all these sins and SUBMIT to the Lord Jesus, their King by being baptized in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 4:8-10; 5:30, 31; etc) for the forgiveness of all these sins. The keywords in this message are REPENT and SUBMIT. This was the message given to them through all the prophets from Isaiah to Malachi. If they had heeded to this message, they could have entered into the Kingdom of the Heavens. But they, as a nation, rejected this offer.

The message – also to the Gentiles – Gospel of the Grace of God

When the Jews rejected the message and severely persecuted the messengers, God set them aside, and the offer of the Kingdom of the Heavens came to the Church, which consisted mainly of Gentiles (Matt.21:43). The Gentiles had to be first “saved by GRACE through FAITH” (Eph.2:8, 9; Acts 16:30, 31; John 3:16; 1:12; Rom.5:1, 2; Eph.1:13; Acts 2:47). The keyword in this message to the Gentiles is BELIEVE. This message is entirely different from the above message which was given to the Jews. Both should not be mixed up.

The message – to the saved individuals within the Church – Gospel of the glory of Christ

Once they are saved by simple faith, these saved individuals are called to hear Him and obey Him in all matters. When we love Him and obey Him, patiently enduring all sufferings, we will be transformed into His image and likeness. And in this manner we can become fit to enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens. This message to the saved individuals of this present dispensation is the message of the entire Bible. The Lord Jesus spoke more than 100 times about the Kingdom of the Heavens. He gave many parables and also has sternly warned us many times, “Unless… you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens” (Matt.5:20; 7:21; 18:3; 19:23, 24; Luke 18:17; Rom.8:17; 1Cor.6:9, 10; Gal.5:19-21; Eph.5:3-5; 2Pet.1:10, 11; James 1:12; etc). The keywords in this message are OBEY, ENDURE, OVERCOME, BE TRANSFORMED, etc. All the saved individuals who do not give heed to this message, though they are saved from eternal condemnation, will in no way enter into the coming glorious Millennial Kingdom of Christ.