By Joseph L. Watkins
If the Spirit of Truth had not given us a direct command to divide the Word of Truth rightly, our God-given ability to reason demands that we do! For any servant of any master soon must learn to rightly distinguish "the Master's Orders" and separate the orders of the day from the old orders given in some bygone day.
"And this I pray, that your love = (high regard of the word of truth) may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all discernment; That ye may approve = (upon testing) things that are excellent = (differ); that ye may be I sincere land without offence till the day of Christ." Phil. 1:9,10
We are to test the things and having found them to differ must not join them together, but "Rightly Divide" them - see note in The Companion Bible. Yes - we must distinguish the difference between the Creator's direct orders, and we must not mix them, for to do so hereafter will constitute a direct act of "rebellion" and "disobedience" toward His Divine Word of Truth.
In our last two issues we have shared with our readers the first six major dispensations out of God. They are as we have discerned them to be...
1. The Dispensation of Blessing--
Gen. 1:28-30; 2:16,17.
2. The Dispensation of Sorrow--
Gen. 3:16-19; 3:23-24.
3. The Dispensation of Covenants--
Gen. 6:13 to Gen. 9:17.
4. The Dispensation of Promise--
Gen. 12:1 to Gen. 36:1.
5. The Dispensation of Law--
Gen. 19:1 to Acts 28:28
6. The Dispensation of Life--
John 1:1 to John 20:31
And now we shall consider together--
The Seventh Major Dispensation
Roget's Thesaurus says one synonym for the word dispensation is: "the will of Heaven," or "the will of God," and one of the best synonyms for the word "will" is the word "desire."
Now - we all should know that the written word of God is the Revealed Will of God. So then we conclude that a Dispensation is "The Message - out of God" that makes His "WILL" known - and that is exactly what we read in Ephesians 1:9:
"Having made known unto us -The Musterion of His will, according of His good pleasure(= desire)which He hath purposed in Himself."
Yes, without controversy the seventh major dispensation out of God is "The Desire of His Heart" - and it is at the heart of His "Eternal Purpose" and its rightful title is: "The Dispensation of The Musterion."
And without controversy, ALL we know, and All we can know of this divine message is limited to the seven post-Acts epistles of Paul - the prisoner of The Lord. We give them in the order we understand he wrote them- Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, First Timothy, Titus, and Second Timothy. Not one word of it, or even a hint of it, have I found in any other portion of Scripture. Paul alone was the one single divinely authorized "depository" of this great Dispensation out of God. Even - The Revelation of The Musterion.
"Whereof I (Paul) am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to FULFILL the word of God. I Col. 1:25
Now, if you get nothing else from this study "learn this" and be "assured" of the Spirit of all Truth - that this is the very last word that our Maker has given to men, this message was given to "complete" His divine revelation to all mankind. From that day to this, God has not given one word to any man to give to another man. Should anyone tell you that God told me to tell you "anything" - then know for sure, that man is a liar among liars (Rom. 3:4).
Turning to Eph. 1:9&10, once again we find more assurance of this truth from the Greek Text. It reads: ... which (He) purposed in Himself ...with a view to (the) dispensation the one (that is to) "fill-up" the times.
We are compelled to ask, what times? And the only logical answer must be, The Divinely Appointed Times of Revelation! The "great musterion" truth concerning Christ and the out-called (Eph. 5:32), is the great "Cap-Stone" of all divine revelation. Nothing in all the Scriptures relating to mankind can compare with it, for it has in view His eternal purpose.
Now, it shall greatly profit you to know that when God gave this "New Message" to Paul, many, perhaps most, "Saints" - both Jew and Gentile - who had "proelpizo-ed"= before hoped, in the"parousia"= coming kingdom of "Messiah" - did not exchange that hope for a place in the higher "Calling" as they did not, could not believe such a message. These folks are referred to in Phil. 3:15 as "the otherwise minded." No new folks were being added to that Kingdom Hope, but God or Paul did not forsake them either. They are very much on his heart, especially as he is writing Philippians, 1 Timothy and Titus. Consequently, we have many things in all his post-Acts writings that have the edification of these Saints in view, as well as the Faithing Ones - in the Body Hope. Continued in our next article.