A dispensation is a period of time in human history expressed in terms of divine revelation.
Dispensation is a technical theological term used primarily by the apostle Paul in the presentation of the mystery doctrine of this Church Age.
Dispensations are divine categories of human history; therefore, both the divine outline and the divine interpretation of human history.
Dispensations are the vehicle by which believers living at a specific time in history can orient to God's will, plan, and purpose for their lives.
God's plan is not the same for every dispensation. The plan is quite different in each dispensation.
The most difficult and subtle plan to learn by a believer is the PPOG for the Church-Age. Old Testament believers were under the ritual plan of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ was under the incarnation plan of God.
Dispensation = a period of time during which a particular revelation of God's mind and God's will is operative, and during which man is tested as to his obedience to that specific manifestation of God's will, purpose, and plan.
- Polycarp: 70-167 AD - Disciple of John the Apostle, wrote about the Second coming and how the saints will rule with Jesus Christ for 1000 years.
- Papias: 80-163 AD - Disciple of the Apostle John and Polycarp, wrote that those belonging to Jesus Christ will reign with Him at His Second coming for 1000 years.
- Justin Martyr: 110-165 AD - Distinguished Israel and the church, the law and grace, often spoke of dispensations, and the saints rule with Christ in Jerusalem for 1000 years.
- Irenaeus: 130 AD - Taught on the four principle covenants given to the human race, Adam, Noah, Law, and the Church in its reign. He often spoke of dispensations and especially the Church-age.
- Clemant of Alexandria: 150-200 AD - distinguished three patriarchal ages: Adam, Noah, Abraham and clearly separated the Mosaic age from the church.
- Hippolytus: 160-240 AD - Disciple of Irenaeus, fixed the end of the age when Christ would return to rule with church for 1000 years.
- Cyprian: 200-258 AD - Maintained the reign of Christ with His church for 1000 years.
Many Bible teachers and theologians strongly opposed dispensational truth and they opposed that the Church was separate from Israel.
They oppose the dispensation of the Church, the Rapture, the Tribulation and the Millennial reign.
Without understanding this subject you cannot truly answer the most important question; "After salvation, what?"
Heaven is absolutely guaranteed for anyone who has believed in Christ as Savior; 1Pe 1:4-5.
The quality of the believer's life on earth depends upon the believer's execution of God's plan after salvation.
God freely gives “all things” after providing salvation in Rom 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
WHAT IS THE CHRISTIAN’S PURPOSE on earth?
The simplified answer is: Learn Bible doctrine.
Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
God's purpose for the postsalvation life of the believer calls for spiritual growth (2Pe 3:18).
The Christian is kept alive on earth to fulfill his destiny, which is to become a mature believer, a spiritual winner, a “mature person to the measure of the maturity which belongs to the fulness of Christ” (Eph 4:11-16.
Each believer's life becomes a unique expression of the glory of God in both time and eternity; Rom 8:29-30, but only the mature believer glorifies God by receiving the highest and best that God has prepared for him (Rom. 6:l-2a; 1Jo l:5-2:6).
It is the content of the Word of God, which God designed to be communicated to the believer so that it becomes the measure of his thinking (Rom. 12:3; 2Ti 3:16-17) and the source of his mental attitude (Phi 2:5; Heb. 4:16).
Pastors have a spiritual gift for teaching Bible doctrine to their congregations (Eph. 4:8-13).
The pastor is responsible before God to diligently study the Bible in order to accurately handle the word of truth (2Ti 2:15).
Doctrine is determined by: ICE
- Interpreting the text in its historical context, in terms of its author's intent and its original audience, as well as in light of the times and places in which it was written.
- Comparing all pertinent passages in categorizing biblical subjects.
- Exegeting the Scriptures in their original languages.
Why does God go so far as to magnify His Word above His person (Psa 138:2)?
Only the Scriptures allow us to glimpse God's absolute character and to love the revealed member of the Godhead, who is Jesus Christ (Joh 1:18).
1Pe 1:8 “Though [we] have not seen Him, [we] love Him” when we learn who and what He is and begin to share His frame of reference.
Transformation of the believer’s life occurs on the inside, in the inner person, in the soul (Rom 12:2).
His persistent intake and application of Bible doctrine enlarge his capacities for life, for love, for service, for blessings, for happiness
In so blessing the believer, God is glorified (Eph. 1:3).
"to being to light" is the aorist active infinitive of the verb photizo = to illuminate or to bring to light, to make clear; to clarify.
The greatest responsibility of all pastors in the Church-age is to communicate the dispensation of the mystery.
How important is the doctrine of dispensational truth? This doctrine emphasizes what God wants you to do after salvation.
The active voice of photizo means the apostle Paul produced the action of the verb, he is making all se the dispensation of the mystery.
The infinite is an infinitive of purpose to indicate the aim or the objective of the pastor i.e., to communicate the dispensation of the mystery.
There is only one dispensation in all of history that emphasizes every believer being on equal basis and that is the Church-age.
In the dispensation of the hypostatic union one individual is emphasized - TLJC. In the dispensation of the Church-age every believer is emphasized = Christological dispensations.
Col 1:27 "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
We are equated with Christ in the sense that the power and the assets which were given to the humanity of Christ are now given to each one of us.
The Church-age is a special dispensation because never before in O.T. dispensations was there such a tremendous emphasis on the individual.
In every other dispensation such as the O.T., one individual one spiritual leader was emphasized at a time.
For the first time in human history the emphasis is upon the man in the pew, the housewife, the mother, the individual believer.
In Genesis 12:2-3, God made a promise to Abraham that continued far beyond this patriarch’s lifetime. What was this promise? Does it still apply today?
This promise had multiple components, including the promise of multiple descendants, fame, divine protection and that Abraham through his descendants would be a blessing to all people.
HEB 11:9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;
GAL 3:9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
Gal 3:16, Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.
Physically, Abraham’s descendants would become a great nation, Israel, the Jews.