Doctrine of Dispensations. Dispensation of Promise.

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Grace Bible Church
Pastor Teacher
Robert R. McLaughlin
Doctrine of Dispensations.
The Dispensation of Promise. Part 3.

So far in our chart of the dispensation of promise we have covered the following: Dispensation = Promise Opening Event = God calls Abraham and gives him promises -- Gen 12:1-7; 13:14-17; 15:5;

We have noted that the main doctrinal principle behind the Dispensation called Promise is the Abrahamic Covenant which has a two-fold aspect attached to it.

  1. The Abrahamic Covenant is based upon God’s promises to Abraham concerning the creation of the Jewish race and the real estate that the Jews would possess someday as the citizens of the first and last client nation in history. This is the natural part of the promises concerning the Jews and the nation of Israel and the land they will possess someday forever.
  2. However, the Abrahamic Covenant also has a spiritual aspect to it that is for all born-again Jews and born-again Gentiles.

Therefore, the Abrahamic Covenant the promises of God in the natural realm and also the promise of God in the spiritual realm. Therefore, the Abrahamic covenant or the Dispensation of Promises deals with the new racial species (the Jews) and the new spiritual species, made up of born again Jews and Gentiles throughout the different dispensations. In fact, the apostle Paul makes these distinctions in the New Testament.

For example, in Gal 3:6-9, Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations shall be blessed in you.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

This passage clearly states that the gentiles, basically all of us, have a share in the inheritance of Abraham...not the land inheritance but the spiritual blessings promised to Abraham. Therefore, the Abrahamic covenant taught in the dispensation of promise and be summed up from Gen 12-Gen 22 as follows. 1. The promise of a national land, Gen 12:1; 13:14-15; 13:17. 2 The promise of both national and universal redemption, Gen 12:3; 22:18; Gal 3:16.

For example in Gal 3:16, Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.

If the promises were given to Abraham and his seed and if we are in union with the seed (the Lord), then we share in the blessings that the seed (the Lord) would receive. And this is why Paul says what he does in Gal 3:26-29, For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

So again the promises of the Abrahamic covenant are:

  1. The promise of a national land. 2 The promise of both national and universal redemption. 3. A great nation should come from him, Gen 12:2. 4. Abraham’s name shall be great, Gen 12:2. 5. He should be a blessing so great that in him shall all families of the earth be blessed, Gen 12:3. 6. To him personally and to his seed (not the church, but the Jews) should be given Palestine forever to inherit, Gen 13:14-17. 7. The multitude of his seed should be as the dust of the earth, Gen 13:16. 8. That whosever blessed him should be blessed and whosever cursed him should be cursed, Gen 12:3. 9. He should be the father of many nations, Gen 17:4. 10. Kings should proceed from him, Gen 17:6. 11. The covenant shall be perpetual “an everlasting covenant”, Gen 17:7. 12. The land of Canaan shall be “an everlasting possession”,

Now, if we needed to analyze these particulars in another study, we would see that certain individual promises were given to Abraham, certain national promises were given to Israel, certain promises were given to nations that Abraham would become associated with. Now, the Bible teaches that Christians and the regenerate Jews are God’s people. That’s not what the Muslim Bible says. That’s not what the Islamic religion says. That’s not what the Arab’s holy book says.

Mohammed says in the Hadith, the Bible that he wrote that “Allah hath commanded me to fight against the Christians, the Jews, and the pagans until they submit to Islam or be killed.” The Bible, the word of God says that Abraham believed in Jehovah Elohim, The Qur’an says that he believed in Allah, the moon-God. You choose what you want to believe! Do you want to believe the Qur’an which dropped out of the sky on a stone tablet written by Allah, the moon God, who disagrees with the Bible? Or do you want to believe -- Heb 4;12; 2Ti 3;16-17?

Now, like every “great believer” in the Bible, or rather “grace believer” in the Bible, we now come to a period in the life of Abraham where he totally failed. Remember, our chart once again. Z Dispensation = Promise Opening Event = God calls Abraham and gives him promises -- Gen 12:1-7; 13:14-17; 15:5; Repeats these promises to Isaac and Jacob -- Gen 26:1-5; 28:10-15. Man’s Responsibility = Believe and obey - Gen 15:6; Rom 4:3.

Abraham passed the “believe and obey part” of the dispensation of promise concerning his salvation, Gen 15:6, but he had some problems after that when it came to trusting God to provide him a seed through Sarah. His failure began in Gen 12 with two major sins, fear and lying.

Gen 12:1-4, Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy‑five years old when he departed from Haran.

Here is Abram finally obeying the order from God. And there’s a very important principle here which is the fact that whenever God gives you an order through the word of God, you should follow through on it immediately. The longer you prolong obedience, the more complicated your life becomes until you finally reach the point where you realize that life is too short to disobey God. And the common sense principle behind this is that God is smarter than us and He knows best. In fact, every time we do things His way, it always turns out better for us.

When life seems to become confused and complicated, it’s because we have done it to ourselves with our own ideas, talents, abilities, and whatever it is that you had to intrude upon the plan of God.

1Co 14:33, for God is not a God of confusion but of peace,

Therefore, the more time you stay out of God’s will, the more time you waste and delay your blessings. Abram has been delaying the blessing of Isaac and he’s not going to get Isaac until he’s a hundred because of all of this fooling around. He can’t stay in God’s will long enough. Now, there are also four geographical locations that illustrate the principle of geographical instability. The first then is Ur, Ur represents separation from glamour. Ur was the glamour city of Abram’s time. It represents separation from glamour and all the human advantages of life.

600 miles north up the Euphrates river we have Haran, the trade center between Syria and Egypt, and it represents the dried spiritual life. It represents separation from the idolatrous place of Ur but not enough separation. It represents going in the right direction but making a wrong turn into the dried up spiritual life.

The third area is Canaan which represents the place of blessing, the place of positive volition, and the place of spiritual advance and blessing.

Then there is the Negev, Abraham will break camp and we will see him going south from Canaan into the Negev which represents not rejection of doctrine but neglect of doctrine.

The key to the Negev is neglect. And we have our own Negev citizens throughout the ministry. Negev represents neglect of doctrine, apathy, indifference, once interested but now starting to get sloppy in your daily attendance to Bible class. And then after he was in the Negev a while he went on down to Egypt and Egypt is the place of rejection of doctrine.

So there is first of all neglect of doctrine and neglect leads to rejection. We will see that to neglect the word is to reject the word but the neglect comes first. First comes the Negev (neglect) and then comes Egypt (reject). And by the way, both came after Canaan, the land of promise. And for us it is a picture of individuals getting into doctrine and then falling away. The point is that after Abram was saved, every time you turn around you find Abram stumbling around.

So in Gen 12:4, So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him;


However, remember why this obedience occurred, Act 7:4, “Then he departed from the land of the Chaldeans, and settled in Haran. And from there, after his father died, God removed him into this country in which you are now living.

Notice that Abram did not separate from his father Terah, but God removed him. Abram refused to obey and God did something about it. Just as God has a plan for your life and sometimes if you refuse to obey it, he will do something about it. In grace, He will bring a shock into your life, perhaps even the death of a loved one. Something that will at least give you another chance to turn around. And if you don’t turn around, in some cases, you even die!

Death broke the shackles which bound Abram to Terah his father and to Haran the dried up place.

Gen 12:4, So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him; and Lot went with him.

Now, there is also another separation that must occur before spiritual advance can become a reality. And that is from Lot because of the evil influence of Lot’s wife. Lot is under the control of his wife and is ruled by his wife and she is used by the kingdom of darkness to hinder Abram’s spiritual growth. In fact, Lot wound up committing incest with his daughters in a cave and as a result of the incest we have two Arab groups called Moab and Ammon who have been antagonistic to Israel since the day they came into existence.

And That’s what happens when you get hen-pecked. And his wife was removed by God as well!

God graciously helps the believer in areas of personal blindness through the events of history.

No believer reaches maturity and super-grace blessing without those events which separate us from loved ones and ones that we might consider more important than Bible doctrine, and those who are negative toward doctrine.

And this is the principle of going forward and gaining ground and not losing ground and therefore standing firm against the satanic attacks designed to hinder your spiritual growth.

Eph 6:11, Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

EPH 6:13-14, Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

1Co 16:13, Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

2Th 2:15, So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the doctrine which you were taught, whether by word {of mouth} or by letter from us.

The believer who stands firm in the angelic conflict and spiritual warfare will continue his momentum inside the PPOG. He is designed to be a crisis personality and he is prepared to be by continued momentum. And by a crisis personality, I mean one emerges as a winner in time of pressure.

The believer who stands firm in the angelic conflict and spiritual warfare must have a personal sense of destiny. This is why he is to hold his ground, because the ground which he has been gaining is part of him fulfilling his personal sense of destiny.

The believer who stands firm in the angelic conflict and spiritual warfare must have control of his life in normal times so that he will have control of his life under pressure. When you are under some sought of pressure and your schedule and your priorities do not change, that is normally a sign of spiritual growth (repeat).

The believer who stands firm in the angelic conflict and spiritual warfare must make good decisions from a position of strength. And if he does so under normal circumstances, he will do so in time of pressure and disaster.

The believer who stands firm in the angelic conflict and spiritual warfare must possess right priorities. These right priorities must come from his perception of doctrine.

The believer who stands firm in the angelic conflict and spiritual warfare functions under honor, integrity, and virtue when under pressure. Being oriented to the plan of God is what produces this in a pressure situation.

Right priorities are not developed in the crisis. Right priorities must be developed before the crisis. This means persistence and consistency in the perception and application of Bible doctrine. Therefore, the believer who stands firm in the angelic conflict and spiritual warfare is spiritually prepared for disaster. Nothing greater exists than this.

Sometimes, the pattern of the believer who stands firm in the angelic conflict and spiritual warfare is low profile during normal times, but it emerges from obscurity to standing in the gap during the crisis. This is true of some of the greatest crisis personalities in history. Only the crisis brought out their tremendous ability to lead, to solve, and to handle the situation. In fact, the Bible teaches that this sought of thing must even take place in the local assembly, in 1Co 11:19.

1Co 11:19, For there must also be heresies among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you.

And the word “approved” is a very interesting. “Approved” is the noun daimio which means to be tested and approved, to pass with integrity. As the Lord Jesus Christ said in Mat 18:7, For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom stumbling block comes! In fact, the Bible even teaches that the Lord will allow false teaching and false doctrine to come in and test His people, Speaking of false teachers and false doctrine Moses said in Deu 13:3, For the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Now, for a short time, in Gen 12:4-8, we finally have Abram in Canaan, the promise land.

Gen 12:4, So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him; and Lot went with him.

Lot will feed the human viewpoint of Abram because that’s all that he gets from his wife who runs him. You see, Lot’s wife teaches Lot her viewpoint or her doctrine many times during the day. Lot was an inculcated hen-pecked husband. Lot’s wife complained a lot about Lot because Abram always had a lot more than Lot. She was a very vindictive, arrogant, petty, jealous, implacable woman. And she constantly nagged Lot about the fact that Abram always got the best out of all the business deals. She was a feminist but not feminine......and there’s a tremendous difference.

She was a beautiful woman but like so many beautiful women, their beauty causes them to become arrogant and think more highly of themselves than what they ought to. And so Abram gets out of his reversionism by leaving Haran, however he does not separate from the reversionist, Lot. And this will bring Abram from Canaan to Egypt. He finally got in the Lord’s will, Canaan, but then because of Lot and some other things, he winds up in reversionism once again.

He goes from Haran type reversionism to Egypt type reversionism or from the dried up spiritual life back into the devil’s world or literally the kingdom of darkness. Do you realize that every time you go to the world for life that you are going to the kingdom of darkness!

So Abram got back with doctrine but he didn’t persist. Once you get back into doctrine, you must never quit, every time you quit, you’re in trouble. Lot will feed Abram’s human viewpoint! He will distract Abram. He will ambush Abram. He will cause Abram to rationalize! Therefore a principle emerges-No believer can continue to enjoy or to have fellowship or to socialize with a reversionist without getting reversionism on him. In other words, reversionism rubs off!

Gen 12:4, So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy‑five years old when he departed from Haran.

He has 100 more years because he’s going to die at age 175. So, Abram finally came to geographical obedience but not personnel obedience. And the application is that you must be in the right geographical location and make daily decisions to perceive, metabolize, and apply Bible doctrine to your life. And this means strict academic discipline under whomever is your right pastor-teacher because apart from that, you can’t advance.

And the strict academic discipline is the fact that if you can’t be face to face then you should have the discipline to take doctrine in daily some other way. And let me close with something I was asked to repeat again.

1Pe 5:1-3, Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.

Act 20:28, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

One of the first principles of the will of God is to get under your right pastor whoever he is and stay there and never let a day go by one way or another without taking in Bible doctrine. The Lord said, you take in food every day, it’s much more important to take in doctrine.

When John was banished to the Island of Patmos by Nero, he penned the book of Revelation, which is a series of non-face-to-face messages delivered to seven churches on a regular basis; i.e., to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Paul’s epistle to the Colossians was non-face-to-face teaching of those believers the apostle had never met. Yet from the beginning of the Church Age, there was a tremendous amount of non‑face‑to‑face teaching, illustrated by the epistles of the New Testament. They were written to churches out of sight of the apostle or pastor, in addition of a number of other non‑canonical epistles. Paul preached to at least a dozen churches through writing, the only technology for that time.

Epaphras was the founder and pastor of a local church at Colossae, according to Col 1:7 and 4:12. However according to Phile 23, Epaphras was serving with Paul in Rome during Paul’s first imprisonment. This resulted in Paul ministering to the Colossian Church through non-face-to-face written messages during Ephaphras’ absence. The epistle to the Colossians is only one of a series of messages sent to them by Paul. Epaphroditus may or may not have been the pastor at Philippi, but when he carried the Philippian epistle from Paul to that group of believers, he carried a series of non-face-to-face messages.

While the apostle John was teaching face-to-face in Ephesus, he was at the same time teaching at least two other groups in a non-face-to-face manner. One such group was centered around an elect lady in 2 John; another group was centered around a man named Gaius in 3 John.

Gen 12:4, So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy‑five years old when he departed from Haran.

In verse 5, we are told what Abram took to Canaan.

Gen 12:5, And Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew,

Now, in bringing along his wife and his nephew, he is bringing along two believers, both are born again and both will be distractions in different times as well as testing. But that’s the way life is. Those that we actually love the most and those that we are closest to often become the greatest testing at some point in our spiritual advance. People who are around people are going to be tested by people. And you might put down in your notes, no one passes all the time. And anyone who passes all the time is perfect and really isn’t a person at all, it’s really God in disguise. The only perfection that exists is among the members of the Godhead. And we are learning that in our series on invisible hero-ship!

So obviously then, people are going to be a testing to people. And one nice thing, when you pass the people test with people, those people often come to love and appreciate you more than anyone ever could! For example, Sarai is a nag, but Sarai is never going to go from nag to hag as most nags do....she will go from nag to a virtuous woman! And so the passing of a test by Abram with her will certainly improve her.

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