The Tree of Life from the week ending 06/22/08

 

Principles the Lord has established which guarantee that the human race will not self-destruct: Part 3.

 

We are noting the sixth and final principle that the Lord uses which guarantees the continuance of the human race until the end of human history. This final principle deals with the divine division and provision of the different dispensations.
Throughout human history there are different dispensations given for the continuance of human history. We need to understand this subject as it relates to the biblical interpretation of history. These divine divisions of dispensations are periods of time in human history expressed in terms of divine revelation for that period. This means that the inerrancy of the Word of God is the only true source for looking at history, for this is divine viewpoint. There are many interpretations of history, but the only accurate interpretation is from a dispensational viewpoint.
Dispensations are the means that God uses by which believers, living at a specific time in history, can adjust to God’s will; God’s plan and God’s purpose for their lives. This is very important to understand because God’s plan is not the same for every dispensation. The key to understanding each dispensation is based upon the courtroom trial of the angelic conflict. The oldest book in the Bible, from the standpoint of writing, is not the book of Genesis, but the book of Job. This book was written long before Moses wrote the first five books in the Bible. The book of Job starts out with a scene in the courtroom of heaven, and the angelic conflict with man being entered into evidence testing.
Human history began in a courtroom, the Garden of Eden, with two individuals Ish and Ishshah (Adam and the woman), being interrogated by Satan (called the serpent in Gen 3). Human history ends in the last book of the Bible with mankind standing in another courtroom, the Supreme Court of Heaven, before the Great White Throne Judgment. Here they are pleading their case before God. They, in effect, have said that during their lifetime that they did not need God, and so God will honor their free will by letting them live forever without Him. Since God is light, and since He won’t be there, there will no light where they will live forever. In fact, they will live forever in a place where God will not be, and therefore the following attributes will be missing, and even longed for:
  1. The sovereignty of God.
  2. The integrity or holiness of God.
  3. The love of God.
  4. The life and personality of God.
  5. The omnipresence of God.
  6. The omniscience of God.
  7. The omnipotence of God.
  8. The faithfulness of God.
  9. The happiness of God.
  10. The grace of God.
Human history is divided into different phases, and one of the definitions we use to describe those phases is dispensations. The Church-age, the dispensation of the mystery, is what we call the intensified stage of the appeal trial of Satan and the angelic conflict.
“Of this church I was made a minister according to [not the stewardship but the oikonomia or administration] the dispensation from God bestowed on me for your benefit that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to his saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the glorious riches of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the confidence of the glory [the indwelling of the Lord Jesus Christ, which only takes place in this dispensation].” (COL 1:25-27)
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope; to Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus, in order that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the dispensations [not administration] of God which is by faith or literally associated with doctrine. (1TI 1:1-4)

There are six dispensations in history and they fall into three categories:

The first is the Theocentric dispensations which refer to the Old Testament periods of time emphasizing and glorifying God the Father’s purpose in the divine provision relating to the angelic conflict. There are two of these:

  1. The age of the Gentiles in the Old Testament, from Adam to the Exodus generation, 1441 B.C.
  2. The age of the Jew, from 1441 B.C. to the first Advent of Christ, 4-5 B.C.
Secondly, there are Two Christocentric dispensations where the Lord Jesus Christ is the center of the dispensation.
  1. The Hypostatic Union, 4-5 B.C. to His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, 30 A.D.
  2. The Church-age, 30 A.D., to the Rapture, which has not yet occurred.

Finally we have Two Eschatological dispensations.

  1. The Tribulation, from Rapture to the Second Advent of Christ.
  2. The Millennium, from the Second Advent, to the last Judgment.
Those six dispensations are divided into three categories. In each dispensation, there is one member of the Godhead or the Trinity exalted. In the Church-age, the dispensation of the mystery, our role and goal is to become invisible heroes glorifying our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord accomplished the strategic victory of the angelic conflict through His salvation ministry on the Cross plus his physical death, burial, resurrection and ascension. The believer accomplishes the tactical victory of the angelic conflict through his advance to spiritual maturity in the PPOG, at this point he becomes an invisible hero. If enough believers grow to spiritual maturity to form a pivot, there will be prosperity where they reside. If believers reject doctrine and do not grow in grace, then Satan dominates using either angelic power, or human power organized for influence and control. The Royal Family of God (RFOG) on earth represents Jesus Christ. In this way, we function as royal ambassadors under the PPOG.
Our Lord will have representation on earth until the Second Advent when the devil’s kingdom comes to an end. The application is that Jesus Christ doesn’t come down to the earth today to bail you out as He did with believers in the past. You have a portfolio of invisible assets and the PPOG. As RFOG, you do not need Christ present. Even miracles do not compare to your portfolio of invisible assets. In the Old Testament, Jesus Christ was present many times on earth, including His incarnation, which occurred in the dispensation of Israel. In the Millennium He will be on the earth ruling for 1000 years. Today, it is not necessary for our Lord to be here, because the provision for the RFOG is infinitely greater than the grace provision of any other dispensation in history. God’s grace provision of the portfolio of invisible assets plus the PPOG in time duplicates the grace provision of eternity past and the angelic conflict. If even one believer in the Church-age fully  utilizes this grace provision through metabolized doctrine, the prosecution, the Lord Jesus Christ can use this believer as evidence to prove Satan’s appeal invalid. We are the very center of the angelic conflict. All the demon activity, wars, invasions, and violence of the coming Tribulation period is nothing compared to your challenge in the Church-age. The invisible impact of history resides in you; it is dependent upon your routine, your daily perception of doctrine. God is demonstrating during this phase of the Church-age, the dispensation of the mystery, the most important lesson of the prehistoric angelic conflict. As a winner, you demonstrate the validity of the sentence to fallen angels in eternity past.
The Church-age exists to challenge Satan during the absence of Christ from the earth. This is why you have many problems and difficulties in your life (EPH 6:12; 2CO 10:3-4). While Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, the Church exists to challenge and to defeat Satan’s purposes. Because of the great power experiment of the Church-age, this dispensation is the crossroads of history, the final blow to Satan’s power on earth in the spiritual realm. Satan’s power on earth will not be broken until the Second Advent of Christ. In the meantime, we live in the most exciting and unusual period of history.
In the angelic conflict, Satan tries to convince people that God is unfair, unjust and a God who is not merciful or gracious. In this dispensation of grace, the dispensation of the mystery, God demonstrates the fallacy of that satanic lie through people who are graced-out. There has never been a time where so much power has been released toward merit less objects for the fulfillment of the plan of God. There’s an infinite gap between divine perfection and human imperfection, and grace is the filler. Only the grace of God toward man can fill that gap. You have more opportunity, power, and assets from God to glorify God than any Old Testament Saint had. We are all ordinary believers, but we have the grace and power offered to us to become extraordinary invisible heroes.
Invisible heroes are found in 2CO 6:9 where the apostle Paul says that we are unknown yet well-known. Invisible heroes are the least publicized of heroes. There heroes are not written about in history books. They are usually considered the last, but always remember, the last, one day, will be first! Invisible heroes are born again believers who execute the PPOG, and who recognize that they are a vital part of the angelic conflict. They avoid the distractions of life and religion, especially legalism. They are unknown in terms of human history but are well known in terms of the angelic community who are watching them.
“If indeed you have heard of the dispensation of God’s grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation [not by Old Testament scriptures but by revelation] there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which [mystery] in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by means of the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body [meaning that we are in union with Christ], and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles [all of you] the unfathomable [the word means the incomprehensible, mysterious, baffling] riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the [not administration, the word is oikonomia and it means dispensation] of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things; in order that [here’s the purpose or the reason] in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places [the elect and fallen angels]. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (EPH 3:2-11)
Bible doctrine is the least publicized of priorities in this world because this is the devil’s world. Likewise, invisible heroes are the least publicized of heroes, and the angelic conflict, or trial, is the least publicized of all trials. That which is the least publicized is that which pastors must major in. The entirety of pastor’s message is directed toward that which Satan, the god of this age, is attempting to crush and suppress. That’s why you should always pray for communicators of Bible doctrine (EPH 6:18-20). They are charged with the communication of the very message that millions of angelic beings are charged to hide and destroy. The pastor is charged to “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” This is also another reason why your prayers should also consist of praying for those who operate with their time, talent, and treasure, and function in their spiritual gift to support the communication of doctrine.
“For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, {let each exercise them accordingly}: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without hypocrisy. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;” (ROM 12:3-10)
That there should be no division in the body, but {that} the members should have the same care for one another. (1CO 12:25)
Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing. (1TH 5:11)
This happens when believers understand that they are a part of the most intensified stage of the angelic conflict and that they have a divine calling on their lives and therefore, they should be a part of building up one another not destroying and distracting one another.
For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. (2CO 4:6-12)
Paul’s life report, and life support, is recorded in 2CO 11:23-33. He said, “I’ve worked much harder than most, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, at death’s door time after time. I’ve been scourged by he Jews’ with thirty-nine lashes, stoned to death with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. I was exposed to danger from rivers, danger from bandits, threats from my own government and nation, threats from the Gentiles and other people, dangers in the city, and desert places, dangers in the sea, dangers from those posing as believers, accusations from those who think that have doctrine but are really destitute of Christian doctrine and knowledge; struggle with friends and enemies, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, betrayed by those I thought were my brothers.”
“Likewise, in no way be intimidated by your enemies, which to them [this intimidation] is a manifestation of destructive ways [toward you] but with reference to you, [these destructive ways] are an opportunity for divine deliverance, in fact, this [deliverance] is from the source of God. [here’s the reason why] to you it has been graciously given with reference concerning Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer on behalf of Him,” (PHI 1:28-29)
Today the kingdom of darkness is succeeding in blinding arrogant young men. Unfortunately, in this generation (not dispensation), even arrogant females, who willfully disobey the apostle Paul when he commanded: “Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet” (1TI 2:11-12). The kingdom of darkness is succeeding in blinding these individuals who are more interested in getting numbers and huge crowds with their dog and pony show than to teach. The kingdom of darkness is also succeeding in the life of believers who become distracted by the details of life, and waste hundreds of hours considering nonsensical things in life. They then try to squeeze in a minute or two of devotion for the day.
Paul refers to this when he says, “Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.” (EPH 3:13). Paul is saying do not grow weary because of the adversities that I must face, because they are in honor of you, they are for the purpose of your glory. This is why so many things happened to Paul in terms of adversity. He was committed with the message that meant the undoing of the god of this age, the unraveling of the whole cosmic system, and Satan’s appeal trial. Paul realized that he was in God’s plan for the Church-age, the dispensation of the mystery. Paul taught that long before God laid down the foundations of the earth, God had us in mind, and had chosen us as the special focus of the Church-age, the dispensation of the mystery (EPH 1:4).
Paul also taught that long ago God decided to adopt us into His family through our Lord Jesus Christ, and He also took tremendous pleasure in doing so (EPH 1:5). God wanted us to enter into the celebration of His grace and His lavish gifts, given by the hand of His beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who freed the justice of God to bless the righteousness of God in us all. This all began because of the sacrifice that our Lord Jesus Christ made upon the Cross.
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