By Oscar M. Baker
As we study the scriptures, we note that God has not dealt with all men in all ages in the same manner. We have come to call these changes DISPENSATIONS. They are not so much periods of time as they are descriptive of the way that God deals with men.
Without taking time to go into details here, we must say in passing that there are three main sections of time covered by history that may roughly be called DISPENSATIONS. The first is covered by about the first eleven chapters of Genesis in which God is dealing with the nations. Romans 1 tells how they were given up for two reasons; they did not glorify God and they were not thankful. Then God called out a man from one of these nations who was to be a beginning of a special people or nation. All the rest of the Bible except the last seven of the New Testament deals with that nation. The last seven epistles of Paul deal with a new revelation in which we find that Israel has been set aside as a chosen people and that God in grace again deals with all the nations including Israel on an equal footing. These three may be further divided, but that is not our purpose here.
In going thru the Bible we find another interesting fact. There are three places of spheres in which future blessing is promised. We give here two passages in which all three spheres are brought together in one place. “Will God indeed dwell on THE EARTH? Behold, THE HEAVEN and HEAVEN OF HEAVENS cannot contain thee.” (1 Kgs 8:27) Behold, THE HEAVEN and HEAVEN OF HEAVENS is the Lord’s thy God, THE EARTH also.” (Deut. 10:14) Read also Psalm 148.
Here we have three spheres, earth, heaven, and heaven of heavens, each of which is connected with future blessing.
There is a time coming when the earth will be peopled with nations, chief of whom will be the Jews. Some of these nations will be the sheep of Matt. 25:32. All will be ruled by THE KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS with other kings under Him. The heavens, that better country, where that city for which Abraham looked will be found, is the hope of the heavenly calling and will contain both Jew and Gentile blessed with faithful Abraham. It will go to the heirs of promise the Israel of God. They are called citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, which is above, also called the BRIDE.
The heaven of heavens is also called the heavenlies, glory, superheavens, above-heavens, heavenly places, and far above all. This does not mean it is outside the Heavens, but that it is the highest in the heavens. It was typified by the Holy of Holies. It is where Christ sitteth. In it the church which is His body is blessed with all spiritual blessings. It is at the right hand of God. It is a special sphere reserved for those who are members of His body.
Our ministry, Truth For Today, deals especially with this last sphere and all the blessings that go with it.
One by one, beginning with Jerusalem, the synagogues rejected the message of the apostles concerning the kingdom and the return of the King. The last one was at Rome. Then was the SECRET or MYSTERY revealed to Paul. No longer were the nations blessed through faithful Abraham, but in Christ. The Jew had lost his place in pre-eminence.
This failure of Israel was a blessing to the Gentile and also resulted in a greater blessing to such Jews as are saved in this dispensation of GRACE. For both Jew and Gentile now have access to that highest sphere of blessing and have hope of an earlier resurrection. Read Ephesians and Colossians.
However, before the death of Paul, there was revolt against his message. In his last Epistle to Timothy is recorded the heart-broken cry, “Are they which are in Asia be turned away from me?” That revolt has never ended. The early church turned back to the rituals and the laws of the Jews and rejected the grace of God. Of the 226, more or less, denominations in this country, I know of none that has a place in its creed for the ”mystery which has been hid from ages and generations.”
So far as I can find from the scriptures, the only hope left to all these is the resurrection at the time of the GREAT WHITE THRONE judgement. This is the only resurrection in which there will be a question as to the life or death of the ones resurrected. Those saved at that time will take part in the NEW EARTH, or PARADISE. The nations before Abraham, Job, and the repentent malefactor will be in that number.
Israel is set aside. No one can join them and inherit the earth. The Apostolic church was discontinued at Acts 28:28 and is not now open to membership. But the greatest of all outcallings is open today. There us still an opportunity to join, enjoy an earlier resurrection and be manifested with Him in Glory. See Col. 3:4. Orig. published August 1948