By Joseph L. Watkins
In our previous article, we had been sharing with our readers our identification of the seven major dispensations found in the Holy Scripture. The first is in Gen. 1:28-30 and 2:16-17, we have titled it, The Dispensation of Blessing - this seems to characterize it the best.
The second we call The Dispensation of Sorrow - and it also came down to Adam. We hope you have read it, if not let us know.
We were in the midst of sharing The Third Divine Dispensation as we closed out our last paper. This great message out of God is recorded for our learning in Gen. 6:13 to Gen. 9:17, and we have chosen to call it The Dispensation of Covenants, for we find this word seven times in Gen. 9, its root idea being "My Unconditional Promises".
Yes, the Creator God cave Noah His solemn promise to bring the judgment on the world, and to bring him safely through it.
"God spoke unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish My covenant with you, and your seed after you" (Gen. 9:6,9). And in Gen. 9:13-17, the Lord said,"I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth (= the world). I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you, and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh."
And The Lord God of Creation has kept His Covenant with you and the earth - yes Great is His Faithfulness - Amen.
The Fourth Dispensation - came down to the man Abram, later renamed Abraham, meaning the father of many nations. We have called this divine message out of God The Dispensation of Promise. Much like the covenant-promise made to Noah and his sons, and to their seed after him, so was the promised blessing given to Abraham and his seed after him. The great difference being, all humanity is in view after the flood, and are still sharing in those covenant-promises yet today. Whereas the seed of Abraham had become very limited, being in the end restricted to that seed line and posterity in his son Isaac. "My covenant will I establish with Isaac." Gen. 17:21
And we see further restriction set forth by divine decree in Gen. 35:10-12, when to Jacob, and his seed after him, even the twelve sons of Israel, were the promises made - the rest of the human race having been set aside and become estranged from The Creator God of ALL.
The Fifth Dispensation - was also given to the people Israel. We must call it The Dispensation of The Law - and it is by far the most extensive body of truth that God has given. The man Moses received most of it, however many others were given minor portions of all that The Creator had to share with that people .
When we see the great creator God of all dispense out of Himself such a major Word as this, we can be sure a major change is being called for. This one new nation has now become the central focus of the Creator's attention. All that He is to work out on the earth and in the affairs of mankind, is to be in relationship to that one people - Israel.
It is not easy to draw a defining line between the fourth and the fifth dispensations and yet there are distinctions that we will do well to make. And we might do well, and profit greatly in our understanding of the principle of right division, if we consider The Law of Moses as "The National Constitution" of that one nation Israel. For it is essential that we understand that "The People" were bound under that Constitution until the "lo-ammi"
(not My people) judgment of God at Acts 28:28, and A.D. 70, with the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem.
Today that nation is numbered among all nations of the world and in the out-working of God in the affairs of mankind. "The Nations", as such, are a "non-factor". Today, the Father's focus is on the world and not on nations, and on His children and all the lost and dying seed of Adam's race, even the world of men. If the Lord has a "special interest" today, it is on The Saints and The Faithful in Christ Jesus.
The Sixth Dispensation - from the God of all grace came down to us as "The Direct Result" of The Spirits Declaration in Acts 23:28 and "The lo-ammi judgment". As the sun set on Rome that fearful night, and on the kingdom hopes of that one nation Israel, that day was, perhaps, one of the darkest in all history of mankind. For in effect, man was momentarily without a Word of hope from our Maker. With the "Fall of Israel" He has lost that one channel of His blessings to man.
"For salvation is of (out of) the Jews." However, the all-knowing, creating, Saviour had already worked out the great work of The Reconciliation of All in Adam on the cross of the Lamb. His great love for mankind had already moved Him to dispense out of Himself a new "Salvation-Bringing Message" to the world. He had also been moved to give hearing to all men. And as a new day dawned on the world, a new order for that day was made known. Without restriction on any man - "life" can be had by all - so we are compelled to call it "The Dispensation of Life". To be continued....