The Doctrine of Dispensations. Part 2.

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Grace Bible Church
Pastor Teacher
Robert R. McLaughlin
The Doctrine of Dispensations.

When a person receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior he also receives a desire to know more about his salvation and the one who saved him. This is why our Lord said in JOH 15:26, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me,

This desire causes the new believer, possibly for the very first time in his life, to open the Bible in a serious attempt to learn what God has to say. Once in the Scriptures the believer soon realizes that the Bible speaks of much more than just personal salvation and Christ dying on the Cross; It speaks of God’s whole program for His entire creation from eternity to eternity. It reveals what God wants man to know about God Himself, His creation, and His purpose with His creation.

ECC 3:10-11, Solomon says I have seen or researched the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. He has made everything appropriate in its time.

That’s the first conclusion and it is a correct conclusion! The word appropriate is japheh which means meaningful or beautiful. You remember the song, in His time he makes all things beautiful! Now, that’s our problem! Our problem is not so much what happens, our problem is our perspective of it after it happens. We like things to end like the fairy tales...and they lived happily ever after. And when something occurs that we don’t like and is not a happy conclusion, we begin to question the giver of that particular thing! And when we push it all the way to the margin, we go back to God and think “what kind of God is it that would allow this to happen resulting in this tragic set of affairs?” And if you don’t know about the angelic conflict and our subject of dispensations, you’ll miss the whole thing!

What we miss is God’s timing! If I look at life as it is laid out before me and dealt out to me and do not see through the eyes of faith the hand of God, I will not understand why certain things happen! However, when I see things through His eyes and recognize divine timing and the fact that in His time, he makes all things beautiful and meaningful, then I give Him praise. So easy to teach, but so many times so hard to do!

And so Solomon says in ECC 3:11, is that God has made everything appropriate in its time. It is the timing of God that is related to our doctrine of dispensations. The second conclusion has to do with life! ECC 3:11...He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

Now think of this word eternity! However, let’s not think of it like we always do, you know, something that’s incomprehensible, something that is inscrutable, something that sounds far beyond our ability to really understand!

Let’s look at from the viewpoint of curiosity about our future! God has not only put things in perspective by having a time table in which events run their course but He also has put within every human being’s heart a curiosity about tomorrow...and about life...and about life beyond.

Now, as much as you love your dog or cat, they will never be concerned about their eternity! They may worry about a meal or some water, or protecting their young ones, or maybe even finding another one of their species in heat, but they will not be concerned about tomorrow! Because God has not placed eternity in their hearts! And since that is true and since we will not find out about tomorrow or the beginning from the end without God, our pursuit must be of Him. Meaning that you are not really ready to handle life until you are ready to handle death and eternity. And when you have eternity squared away, it’s remarkable what it will do with time! And that’s what happened to Solomon after his eight experiments!

Here’s a quick summary of what we’ve learned and what we will learn concerning the experiments of Solomon. Solomon will tell us in the end that the key to the enjoyment of time is Bible doctrine saturating the soul. Solomon researched the whole thing! He tried to get along without Bible doctrine and he said:
“I will get along without Bible doctrine, I’m in a position to!”
“I’m the wealthiest man in the world!”
“I’m the king of Israel”!
“I have everything at my disposal and I can prove that I can get along without doctrine.”

Solomon neglected Bible doctrine and therefore he didn’t have the capacity for pleasure and every pleasure turned sour! Now, if you do have pleasure, would you remember who allotted you the time to have pleasure and the capacity for pleasure. It is a gift that comes from Bible doctrine.

Solomon’s third experiment was the inevitable result of frustration the failure of pleasure to make one happy. “What I need, says Solomon, is someone to carry on the family name. I’m going to find my pleasure in heritage.”ECC 2:12-26. So he went that route and he had a son and his son was the dumbest ruler who ever ruled in Israel! So it didn’t work out!

Solomon’s next quest for happiness, he is going to say in chapter 5, “What I need that will really make me happy is money! Now, some believers are going to get rich! And what are they going to do with all that money? Well, you know how people are, they’re going to give it to the church. They’re going to give it all to the Lord. No, I’ll tell you what they’re going to do with it! If they have Bible doctrine, they’re going to enjoy it! They’re going to have a ball with it! But then, if you don’t have doctrine in your soul, there’s nothing worse than to have than money! It adds to your trouble!

So after discovering that money won’t give him happiness and pleasure, Solomon said “What I really need to do is just to build a reputation so people will never forget me. ECC 7:1-20. And he went all out to do things so that people would never forget him! He put his name on every sign post! If there wasn’t a post, he’d put one in....make it out of gold! He said in effect, “I’m going to have a reputation, no one is ever going to forget me!” But the trouble was in ECC 7:1-20, no doctrine in the soul!

Next, Solomon said, “It isn’t worth it to build up a reputation like that, so I’ll tell you what I’m going to do, I’m going to pick out one thing that I enjoy doing more than anything else and that’s all I’m going to do for the rest of my life” “I’m going to go sex crazy” in ECC 7:26-29. And he said “I’m going to do it and do it and do it and do it!” Do you know what happened? He ran out of gas! He had no doctrine and no capacity to love and that’s why he says that out of his thousand women, there wasn’t one good one that he could find.

So he says in ECC 7:27-28, “Behold, I have discovered this,” says the Preacher, “{adding} one thing to another to find an explanation, which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these.

And he tried a few other things but he finally came to the conclusion that while there are a lot of wonderful things that God allots to us in time, they’re no good without Bible doctrine in the soul! And he came to realize that without Bible doctrine in the soul, the believer with the best of everything is the most miserable of all. And, secondly, that the believer was designed in time to have his capacity for these allotments through Bible doctrine in the soul.

ECC 3:11, He has made everything meaningful in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, without which [the setting of the desire for eternal things] mankind will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

Money is good, in its own time. Sex is good, in its own time. Pleasure is good, in its own time. Hard monotonous work is good, in its own time! There’s a time for everything! And doctrine can make everything meaningful and bring everything to its literal conclusion.

ECC 3:11, He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart,

The phrase “He has also set eternity in their heart” describes the tremendous grace of God reaching down to fallen man! Eternity is ‘ethaa`olaam which means the eternal or the desire for the eternal. In other words, God has placed a deep desire in man for that which is eternal! There is a deep desire or a yearning for that which is eternal placed in the hearts of all mankind (PSA 42:1). It is a very delicate and sensitive desire that can be hindered by arrogance or emotionalism and it can be put out by hardness of the heart, scar tissue of the soul or occupation with the details of life. This is the reason the majority of the world reject the desire which God has placed within them! Arrogance! Emotionalism! Hardness of the heart! Scar tissue of the soul! Occupation with the details of life!

So there is a desire for that which is eternal placed in every person’s heart! However, although this desire is in every person, every person does not have this desire fulfilled. The interesting thing is that the more this desire or need is fed, the stronger it becomes. Now, you will never this desire fulfilled and met until you understand dispensational truth. Unless the believer understands this and divides the Bible accordingly (2Ti  2:15), he will become overwhelmed and confused by its vast scope and perplexed by its differences.

All the Bible’s major differences can be reconciled with some study (sometimes even a very little), but if the believer neglects to study and sort these differences out, he will cheat himself out of understanding not only God’s plan and purpose for man in general, but also for himself in particular. However, even though the Bible is in some areas complex and difficult to understand at times, one notable indication that it is the very word of God is the most vital and important subjects found in it are easy to understand.

God has purposely made the crucial subjects of sin, man’s accountability to God, Christ’s substitutionary death, and personal salvation so simple a small child can understand them. He made these matters clear and easy to comprehend so any person wanting the truth about them could by faith act upon them and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as his salvation. These clear yet vital doctrines are referred to as the “simplicity that is in Christ” (2CO 11:3). Though the more complex subjects reveal more of the mind and intentions of God, knowledge of them is not necessary for one to be saved.

Needless to say, the Bible contains both simplicity and complexity by God’s direction. He wanted to provide a salvation so simple that a person could understand it and get saved after only being presented with the gospel once. He also wanted some other matters more detailed and complex so one would have to labor in the Scriptures a certain degree to sort them out. If a person reads the Bible he is soon confronted with various laws, judgments, ordinances, commandments, doctrines, kingdoms, covenants, testaments, dispensations, gospels, priesthoods, feasts, tribes, churches, etc.

Then we begin to see some of the Bible’s complexity. Then we are further introduced to events known as the Exodus, Israel’s Captivity, Daniel’s Seventieth Week, the Rapture, the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Tribulation, the Millennium, the White Throne Judgment, the New Heaven and New Earth, etc. This is where the doctrine of dispensations becomes vital to understand. Once a person gets to this point questions usually arise: Where do all these subjects belong? Do they all apply to everyone in every age? Is salvation exactly the same in every age?

Does every precept mentioned in the Bible apply doctrinally to a Christian? What about the doctrines that seem to contradict each other? How is one to account for the differences? The major differences in the Bible can be reconciled by rightly dividing it into dispensations and keeping the different doctrines found in the dispensations in their proper place. Then you are able to understand and answer the questions that many people have.

Throughout the O.T., we see that God commands the Israelites to steal and plunder livestock and goods of their neighbors. Why? There is a reason for it that the doctrine of dispensations will answer! Think about it, in the Gospels God impregnated Mary without asking or even informing Joseph about it first. So did God broke the commandment of “Thou shall not steal” and “Though shall not commit adultery ?” Not at all, says dispensational truth.

PSA 137:8-9, O daughter of Babylon, you devastated one, How blessed will be the one who repays you With the recompense with which you have repaid us. How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones Against the rock.

How can this be? Well, it depends upon the rules in the dispensation! In DEU 14:26 we read, “And you may spend the money for whatever your heart desires, for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household.”

LEV 10:9, “Do not drink wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you may not die‑‑ it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations.”

Which one is it? Look at JDG 13:4, Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. Or ROM 14:14, I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. PRO 23:31, Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly. And yet what was said about Lord? LUK 7:34, “The Son of Man has come eating (good food) and drinking (good wine); and you say,   ‘Behold, a gluttonous man, and a drunkard, a friend of tax‑gatherers and sinners!’

How do we answer things like this? By the doctrine of dispensational truth! Actually, as long as you pay attention to language, context, and cultural and historic context then there are no contradictions. God often commanded the Israelites into wars with other nations as a way to punish the other nations for their wickedness. “Thou shalt not kill” refers to murder, not war.

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