Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
Doctrine of Dispensations.
The Tower of Babel.
The next dispensation is called the Dispensation of Promise with the Abrahamic Covenant as the major doctrinal principle behind the dispensation.
Dispensation = Promise Opening Event = God calls Abraham and gives him promises - Gen 12:1-7; 13:41-17; 15:5; Repeats these promises to Isaac and Jacob -- Gen 26:1-5; 28:10-15. Man’s Responsibility = Believe and obey - Rom 15:6; Rom 4:3. Man’s failure = Promised blessings pursued by fleshly means; Abram Gen 16:2--Jacob; Gen 27:19; Moses Acts 7:22-29. Man’s Tendency = Away from God - God’s promises disregarded by Lot --- Gen 13:10-13; Esau --Gen 25:31-34; Sons of Israel - Gen 37:18-20. Closing Event = Judgment - Bondage in Egypt -- Exo 1:7-14; 2;23-25. Personal Salvation = By Grace through Faith - Rom 4:3-5; Hen 11:8-22; Gen 22:8; 15-18. Gen 49:8-12,18.
Nine generations after Shem, Abraham was born. Abraham was about 75 years old and living in Ur of the Chaldees when God one day spoke to him. Gen 11:27-32, Now these are the records of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran became the father of Lot. And Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. And Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah. And Sarai was barren; she had no child. And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter‑in‑law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.
God, through His amazing grace, wanted to make another covenant with man and chose Abraham as His partner. The covenant He made with Abraham was again unconditional and contained many promises. Gen 12:1-3, 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.” The only hint of a condition appears to be that Abraham had to forsake his home and family and go to a land God would show him.
When Abraham obeyed and entered the land the promises became fixed. God promised to do the following: Make Abraham a great nation (verse 2), this promise has been fulfilled both physically and spiritually. Physically through Isaac and Ishmael, spiritually through all those who have Abraham’s faith (Gal. 3:7). To bless him (verse 2), and He did this also both physically (13:14-18) and spiritually (15:6).
Gen 13:14-17, And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” Then Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
To make his name great (Gen 12:2), still today the name of Abraham is known and respected by millions. Make him a blessing to others (Gen 12:2). Abraham blessed people in his own time and blessed humanity by his seed Jesus Christ. To bless those who bless him (Gen 12:3). And curse those who curse him (Gen 12:3). God has not only blessed those who blessed Abraham, but He also blessed those who blessed the nation that sprang from his loins, Israel. On the other hand, those who cursed Israel (Babylon, Assyria, Rome, Germany, etc.) must suffer. Some have suffered already, but these promises will not be completely fulfilled until the future. Bless all the families of the earth in him (Gen 12:3). The fulfillment of this is Christ himself, who blesses all those who believe on Him with salvation and who will also physically bless all who are in the Millennium. Though this covenant is unconditional it does not apply universally to everyone. Doctrinally, it only applies to the Hebrew race through Isaac and Jacob (Israel). Gentiles can only get in on it by receiving Abraham’s promised Seed—Jesus Christ. Those who refuse to receive Him, Jew or Gentile, will be judged by Him.
Like the Noahic Covenant this covenant also has a sign, and it is circumcision Gen 17:9-14, God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
Circumcision was the only obligation Abraham and his people, the Jews, had under this covenant. If they performed it by faith, they had full access to all the promises. God again reconfirmed this covenant in Genesis chapter 15 after Abraham “believed in the Lord...” and asked for more details. God also revealed the boundaries of the land given to Abraham. Moreover, God promised all of this to Abraham while Abraham was asleep! This proves the covenant is unconditional. God reconfirmed the covenant again after Abraham passed his severe but revealing test of offering Isaac.
Gen 22:15-18, Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
The dispensation that began with this covenant is called the Dispensation of Promise for obvious reasons. For the first time God has made promises to one group of people at the exclusion of all others. From the time of Abraham on in the Old Testament, the only way someone other than an Israelite could partake of the promises was to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ himself. The promises He made to Abraham He reconfirmed to his son Isaac, his grand-son Jacob, and then to Jacob’s sons, the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. The manner of behavior God expected in this dispensation is much like the previous except that He told Abraham to go to a certain land and stay there (Canaan).
We begin with a profile of Abraham so that you will know something about him as an Arab and how he became a Jew. Abraham was called Abram in the Bible before God changed his name. Abraham was a Gentile who became a Jew when God started the Jewish race through him at age 99. He was the ninth generation descended from Noah’s son, Shem. He was born in the city of Ur about 2161 BC and this passage picks up Abraham around 2086 BC (where he had just entered Canaan or was about to.
The accounts about Abraham are found in Gen 11:26‑25: with the focus on four important aspects of his life.
First, his migration or his moving from one place to another. Abraham’s story begins with his migration with the rest of his family from UR of the Chaldeans in ancient southern Babylonia.
Gen 11:26-32, And Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. Now these are the records of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran became the father of Lot. And Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. And Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah. And Sarai was barren; she had no child. And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter‑in‑law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.
He and his family moved north along the trade routes of the ancient world and settled in the flourishing trade center of Haran, several hundred miles to the northwest. While living in Haran, at the age of 75, Abraham received a call from God to go to a strange, unknown land that God would show him. Remember at this time in human history, there was no Bible so God spoke personally to those whom He chose. He did do so, sometimes personally, sometimes in a dream or a vision, sometimes through the stars.
The Lord promised Abraham that He would make him and his descendants a great nation, according to Gen 12:1‑3. However, like many promises from God to His people, because they are so fantastic, they seem unbelievable. And the promise must have seemed unbelievable to Abraham because his wife Sarah (called Sarai in the early part of her life) was childless and he had no children, Gen 11:30‑31; 17:15.
Gen 11:26, And Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.
Terah was an Akkadian unbeliever and according to Jos 24:2, he was an idolater (Jos 24:2). His name means delayed and he’s well named for he delayed Abraham from getting to the place where the Lord wanted him. Be careful of those in your life who are sent by the kingdom of darkness to delay you. God had a plan for Abraham, but as long as Abraham stuck with his father he was delayed in fulfilling the will of God.
Now, the king of Ur was a very well known worshipper of the moon God called Ur and Ur was the great center of moon-god worship and other forms of idolatry. The Muslim bible called the Qur’an or Koran never explains tenets of their faith: it assumes familiarity with them and that the name Allah is assumed to be well known to the reader. It should not come as a surprise that the word “Allah” was not something invented by Muhammad or revealed for the first time in the Koran. The reason that Muhammad never had to explain who Allah was in the Koran is that his readers had already heard about Allah long before Muhammad was ever born. The word “Allah” comes from the compound Arabic word, al-ilah. Al is the definite article “the” and ilah is an Arabic word for “god.” It is pure Arabic.
According to Middle East scholar E.M. Wherry, whose translation of the Koran is still used today, in pre-Islamic times Allah-worship, as well as the worship of Ba-al, were both astral religions in that they involved the worship of the sun, the moon, and the stars. The symbol of the worship of the moon god in Arabian cultures and elsewhere throughout the Middle East was the crescent moon. Archaeologists have dug up numerous statues and ancient inscriptions in which a crescent moon was seated on top of the head of the deity to symbolize the worship of the moon god.
While the moon was generally worshiped as a female deity in the Ancient Near East, the Arabs viewed it as a male deity. In Arabia, the sun god was viewed as a female goddess and the moon as the male god. The moon god was called by various names, one of which was Allah. The name Allah was one of the names used as the personal name of the moon god, in addition to other titles that could be given to him. The use of the crescent moon as the symbol for Islam which is placed on the flags of many Islamic nations and on the top of mosques and minarets (tower on a mosque) is a throwback to the days when Allah was worshiped as the moon god in Mecca.
Now, the Quraysh tribe into which Muhammad was born was particularly devoted to Allah, the moon god, and especially to Allah’s three daughters who were viewed as intercessors between the people and Allah. The literal Arabic name of Muhammad’s father was Abd-Allah. His uncle’s name was Obied-Allah. I give you all of this to show you that these names reveal the personal devotion that Muhammad’s family had to the worship of Allah, the moon god.
Many of you are also familiar with the phrase praying toward Mecca. This is done because an Allah idol was set up at the Kaaba, a Muslim shrine in Mecca along with all the other idols. The pagans prayed toward Mecca and the Kaaba because that is where their gods were stationed. It only made sense to them to face in the direction of their god and then pray. Since the idol of their moon god, Allah, was at Mecca, they prayed toward Mecca.