The Doctrine of Dispensations, Part 19. The Dispensation Of Government – The Shock In The Beginning. Gen 8-11. Pastor Robert McLaughlin.

September 3, 2021

Dispensation = Government

Opening Event = Noah worships God and receives a covenant and responsibility – Gen 8:20-22

Man’s Responsibility = Believe and obey – Gen 9:1-6


Man’s failure = Personal disorder, Gen 9:20-23  and Social disorder; Gen 11:1-4.

Man’s Tendency = Away from God

Closing Event = Judgment – Tower of Babel; Gen 11:5-9.

Personal Salvation  = By Grace through Faith – Gen 9:26; 11:10-32


The dispensation of Human Government introduced capital punishment ordained by God for the first time.


The third dispensation extended from the Noahic Flood to the call of Abraham.  The Scripture portion which covers this dispensation is Genesis 8:20-11:32.


Inasmuch as man had failed to obey God on the basis of his conscience and the restraint by the Holy Spirit during the second dispensation, once the flood ended God started a new dispensation by instituting a new ruling factor.


Since the fountainhead of all human corruption prior to the flood was the continued existence of the first murderer Cain, God determined that never again would He allow murderers to infect the rest of humanity with their rebellious attitudes.


Shortly after Noah and his family left the ark, God ordained capital punishment for murderers (Gen. 9:5-6).


Capital punishment necessitates a human government agency to administer the sentence of execution.


When God ordained capital punishment, He was thereby instituting human government as a further restraint against the lawless rebellion of man.


In Romans 13:1-7,  the Apostle Paul indicated that governmental authority derives its existence from God, that it was ordained for the purpose of restraining evil, and that it functions as the minister of God when it uses the sword for capital punishment.


Human government with its authority to administer capital punishment was the NEW ruling factor by which God instituted for the third dispensation.


“We have tried a dispensation or a period of time when man was innocent in a perfect environment, and that didn’t work in Gen 3.”


“We have tried a dispensation or a period of time when I allowed man to make his own decisions based upon his personal convictions in his own conscience and provided grace for him to handle all of his problems, and that didn’t work.”


We will try mankind living together under the rules and laws of a human government—–let’s see how this one turns out!


Human conscience and the restraint by the Holy Spirit continued on as ruling factors in this new dispensation (indeed, Rom 2:14-15, 2Th 2:7 and other passages indicate that they continue as ruling factors even into today’s dispensation).


The conscience, there is now the fear of divine judgment plus the restraining ministry of God the Holy Spirit in 2Th 2:7.


2Th 2:7  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.


The third dispensation had three ruling factors which God used to govern man: human conscience, the restraint by the Spirit, plus human government.


This responsibility subjected man to the following test: Would man obey God on the basis of these three ruling factors?


Like all great believers, Noah had failures which is not unusual nor surprising but like all great believers his greatness is related to the doctrine in his soul, Gen 9:20-24.


  1. It has recently been pointed out that, in the time in which they lived that looking at another person’s genitals was indeed regarded as a serious matter, and therefore some say that was Ham’s transgression.


  1. Others says Ham left his father naked to expose his father’s drunken disgrace.



  1. Ancient commentaries have also debated whether “seeing” someone’s nakedness meant to have sex with that person according to LEV 20:17.


LEV 20:17   ‘If there is a man who takes his sister, his father’s daughter or his mother’s daughter, so that he sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace;


  1. In 500 AD there were those who said that the Talmud taught Ham either castrated his father, or sodomized him.


  1. Ham’s offense also was said to be the mocking of drinking wine which Noah and other priests at that time considered to be a form of celebration with the Lord.


MAT 26:29 “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”


Some scholars believe that Ham became jealous of Noah’s additional children born after the flood and began to view his father with enmity.


Then one day, when Noah lay drunk and naked in his tent, Ham saw him and sang a mocking incantation that rendered Noah temporarily sterile, as if castrated.


One teaching that became prevalent and popular during the 17th and 18th centuries is that Ham was the father of the black race and is the reason why many of them were sold into slavery degrading them with prejudice.


The dispensation of Government also has within it what is called the Noahic Covenant.


When Noah left the ark after the flood, God made His third covenant with man; the Noahic Covenant (Gen. 8:20-9:17).



Like the previous covenants this was also unconditional and lasts until the renovation of the earth by fire (2Pe 3:10).



2Pe 3:10  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.


In many ways in the dispensation of Government, God is starting over again with man.



Having destroyed everyone except Noah and his family because of extreme wickedness, God sought to replenish the earth through Noah because Noah found grace in His eyes (Gen. 6:8).


Like the others before, this covenant contains promises TO man and responsibilities required OF man.


  1. God would not curse the ground anymore or smite every living thing (Gen 8:20).
  2. The seasons and day and night will not cease (Gen. 8:22).


  1. He would not flood the earth again and destroy it (Gen. 9:11).


  1. He would set the sign of a rainbow in the clouds as a token of His covenant (Gen. 9:12).


  1. He was to again multiply and replenish the earth (Gen. 9:1,7).


  1. They were not to eat blood from any source (Gen. 9:4).


LEV 17:11 ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’


  1. In the dispensation of Government, for the first time, they were also to exercise capital punishment upon man and beast (Gen 9:5).


  1. Animals would fear and dread man (Gen 9:2).


  1. Animals were now available for food (Gen 9:3).

Through the great object lesson of the flood, God showed humanity His hatred of sin and evil.


Also seen in this is God’s long-suffering nature.


In the future He will destroy the Antichrist and all his followers at the Second Advent, but he will not destroy the earth itself until His great scheme of things concerning it is over, and then only with fire.


The command against the eating of blood is also found in the New Testament (Acts 15:29) and capital punishment is still God’s will even if many today ignore it (Rom. 13:4).


As for capital punishment, another new law given by God you must remember, the subject of capital punishment was first brought up by God.


Dispensation = Government

Opening Event = Noah worships God and receives a covenant and responsibility – Gen 8:20-22

Man’s Responsibility = Believe and obey – Gen 9:1-6


Man’s failure = Personal disorder, Gen 9:20-23 with Noah and Ham’s failure, (which we already noted) and then Social disorder; Gen 11:1-4 in the tower of Babel.

Man’s Tendency = Falls Away from God

Closing Event = Judgment – Tower of Babel; Gen 11:5-9.

Personal Salvation  = By Grace through Faith – Gen 9:26; 11:10-32