December 2018   
SMTWTFS
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031   
Bible Search
OLD TESTAMENT - DISPENSATIONS AND COVENANTS

GOD'S DISPENSATIONS AND COVENANTS

A Dispensation is a period of time determined by God during which He deals in a particular way with humans. Each separate Dispensation is based on  human decisions and actions at the time. The word means “administration” and is determined by God based on human decisions and activities.

The Dispensation of Innocence, the innocent or unfallen state of man when he was on probation, extended from the Creation of Adam and Eve to their Fall (Genesis 1:26‑3:15).

From the Fall of Man to the Flood was the Dispensation of Conscience. Fallen man was guided by conscience with knowledge to choose between good and evil, and he chose evil. Until man has a personal fellowship with God, Satan rules him. Abel's blood sacrificial offering of the best animal was by faith. Cain's non‑blood offering was a refusal of the divine way probably due to Cain’s attitude of general disobedience toward God in everyday life. Mankind became so wicked after this God decided to destroy His crea­tion with a flood (Genesis chapters 3 to 7). Part of this was probably Cain’s attitude of general disobedience toward God.

The Dispensation of Human Government began with the universal flood. Noah found favor with God, so he and seven others were spared. Noah was given the same position as Adam, to govern for God until Christ takes over the government. He was given the power of capital punishment, which is still in effect today. Noah lost his privileges due to drunkenness. The Tower of Babel was a major political and religious rebellion against God. The moral condition was at its worst, so God confused them by creating different languages among the people. God showed mercy on them by seeking another man who would follow Him (Genesis 8:1‑11:9).

The Dispensation of Promise lasted from the call of Abraham to the Exodus from Egypt. Abram (later called Abraham) was probably practicing idolatry, but listened to God who told him to go to a new land, leaving his country, people, and family. God promised several things. He

(1) will be the father of many descendants

(2) will receive a personal blessing

(3) will receive personal honor

(4) will be the channel of blessing forever

in the nation of Israel to inherit a particular land forever,

to the church as in Christ,        and

to the Gentile nations.

God would bless those who believed Abraham and would curse those who cursed Abraham or persecuted the Jews (promises and warning to Gentiles). Everyone will be blessed through Abraham based on individual obedience. This is the great promise fulfilled in Abraham's seed, Jesus Christ. This confirms the promise the Adamic Covenant concerning the Seed of woman (Christ). It shows God's purpose to provide the Savior through Abraham for Israel, based on God's power instead of human faithfulness (Genesis 11:10‑15:21; Genesis 26:2‑3; Genesis 47:1; Exodus 1:8‑14; Exodus 20:7-9).

The Dispensation of Law for Israel extended from the Exodus (Sinai) to the Cross. At the beginning of this dispensation, man was trusting in himself instead of in God. Through Moses, God gave the Law that pointed out the holiness of God, the sinfulness of disobedience, the necessity of obedience, man's failure, and a temporary blood sacrifice of animals as a prelude to Christ's final blood sacrifice. The Law was for those already under the Abrahamic Covenant (Exodus 19:1‑8; Romans 2:12;  Romans 9:4; 2 Kings 17:1‑6; 2 Kings 7‑17; 2 Kings 25:1‑11; Acts 2:22‑23).

The Dispensation of Grace or Church is from the descent of the Holy Spirit to the descent of Christ (Second Advent). We are in this dispensation, with people being saved through God's grace through faith in Christ as their Savior (Romans chapters 9‑20; Ephesians 2:2; John 3:36; Acts 16:31; John 1:11‑13; Romans 5; 5:1‑2; Ephesians 2:8‑9; Galatians 5:6; Titus 3:5;  2 Timothy 3:1‑7; 1 John 5:10; 1 Timothy 4:1‑3; 2 Timothy 4:3‑4).

The Dispensation of Tribulation starts with the Rapture. This leaves a race on earth not able to prevent corruption. The Holy Spirit will still be present to deal with sinners, but not to be active with the church as the church no longer exists on earth. Man's responsibility at this time is to believe in Christ. Through man's failure of unbelief, God will finally give up on the people who won't believe (Revelation 6:19; Daniel 12:1; Jeremiah 30:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:16‑18; 2 Thessalonians 2:10‑12; Revelation 14:6;  Revelation 9:20‑21;  Revelation 18:21‑24; Psalm 2:1‑6; Revelation 14 :20; Zecheriah 14:4; Revelation 19:17‑21).

The Kingdom or Last Dispensation (1000 years - Millennium) begins with the descent of Christ and lasts until the Great White Throne Judgment of unbelievers. Jesus Christ reigns personally earth. Man's responsibility is to obey the King, but f There will be destruction caused by fire coming down fr God out of heaven. The moral condition of man will be fallen and unrepentant. God shows mercy by providing a new heaven and a new earth for the saved (Psalm 2:; 11; Acts 14‑17; Matthew 24:29-30; Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 65:20; Psalm 67: 86-89; Zecheriah 14:17; Psalm 66:3; Rev elation 20:7‑9)

When looking at dispensations, it is important to relate each dispensation only to itself, as dispensations can't be cross‑referenced. Each dispensation ends with a world crisis:

(1) expulsion of man from the garden

(2) the flood

(3) confusion of tongues and the people scattered

(4) bondage of Israel in Egypt

(5) the Cross of Christ fulfilling the law

(6) Armageddon, the wrath of God and the binding of Satan

(7) fire from Heaven, the casting into the Lake of Fire.

 

A covenant is an agreement or contract between men or between man and God. They are conditional (depends on man) and unconditional (depends on God). Some signs of covenants are: rainbow (Noahic), Sabbath (Mosaic), unconditional circumcision (Abrahamic), the Son (Davidic).

Genesis 2:16. The contents of the Edenic Covenant are:

(1) man responsible to replenish the earth

(2) to subdue the earth to the needs of the human race

(3) to have dominion over animals of the creation

(4) to restrict himself to a vegetable diet

(5) to dress the garden

(6) to keep the garden

The conditions were to abstain from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Failure to do this resulted in death.

Genesis 3:15. The Adamic Covenant was made with Adam in Eden before the expulsion. This unconditional covenant consists of a curse and a promise. The contents of the covenant are:

(1) curse of Satan

(2) the judgment on the woman (multiplied conception, maternal sorrow of pain, subordination to man with man the head of the family)

(3) judgment on man (must labor for his living)

(4) curse on creation (thorns, thistles weeds, etc.)

(5) the promise of a Redeemer.

Genesis 9:16. The Noahic Covenant is unconditional, made with Noah after coming out of the ark. The contents of the covenant are:

(1) God will no longer curse the ground

(2) no more to destroy the earth

(3) the natural order of the seasons will prevail

(4) men, starting with Noah and his family, are to replenish the earth

(5) man again has dominion over animals and animals will fear man

(6) man is allowed to meat with as little blood as possible (because blood carries disease); God is impressing on man the sanctity and holiness of blood; points forward to Christ

(7) the law of capital punishment is established; man deals with murderers from now on with death as punishment

(8) beasts shall prey upon each other.

 

Genesis 12:2.  The Abrahamic Covenant has a seven-fold promise:

(1) God will make Abraham a great nation

(2) God will bless him

(3) God will make his name great

(4) Abraham will be a blessing

(5) God will bless those that bless Abraham

(6) God will curse those that curse Abraham and persecute the Jews

(7) all people on earth will be blessed through Abraham.

Circumcision is the sign of this covenant setting the Jewish people apart as marked people; a mark distinction, of separation, of purity , and of possession.

Exodus 19:5. The Mosaic Covenant was one made to the people of Israel through Moses, who chose to serve the people of his nation rather than to retain the position of honor as the son Pharaoh's daughter. Moses was

the founder of a nation,

not the father of a nation.

The contents of this covenant are:

(1) ten commandments; moral law accompanied by over 600 laws to include, (2) civil law; ordinances covering the religious life, and

(3) spiritual laws; based on love to God and man (Christ and the apostles based the Gospel on the Law).

The conditions of the covenant were:

(1) the promise of blessing for obeying the Law

(2) the promise of punishment if they disobeyed His commandments of the whole Law.

The spiritual law (The Ten Commandments) is based on love to man, as Christ taught. Love to God inspires the first three commandments; love to man the last seven. The sign covenant, the Sabbath Day, was given to Israel (never to the gentiles). The Sabbath ended when the age of Grace began being fulfilled in Christ. There is no such thing a Christian Sabbath day. Christians celebrate the Lord's Day (the first day of the week or Sunday). Christians rest not in a day, but in a Person (Christ). The Mosaic Covenant merges with the Palestinian Covenant and ends with the restoration of Israel and the new heavens and the new earth.

ISRAEL ENTERED INTO THE MOSAIC COVENANT WITH GOD STATING THAT THEY WOULD BE HIS PEOPLE AND THAT HE WAS THEIR GOD. THEY WERE TO DO HIS WILL ACCORDING TO HIS LAW. THE RESULT WAS SIN BECAUSE THEY COULDN'T KEEP THE LAW PERFECTLY. THERE WERE 613 SEPARATE LAWS TO KEEP WHICH WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO DO.

YET, SIN HAD TO BE PAID FOR, SO GOD CREATED THE “SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM” TO “COVER” OR “FORGIVE” SIN AS IF IT HAD NEVER HAPPENED. GOD KILLED ANIMALS FOR THEIR HIDES TO COVER ADAM AND EVE AFTER THE SIN IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN–THE FIRST BLOOD SACRIFICE. BLOOD SACRIFICES OF PERFECT ANIMALS SYMBOLICALLY BORE THE PENALTY OF SIN. OLD TESTAMENT SACRIFICES WERE A PREVIEW OF THE SACRIFICE ON THE CROSS THAT WOULD FORGIVE SINS FOR ALL TIME. AS WE SEE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, GOD FORGAVE OUR SINS BY USING CHRIST TO TAKE THE SINS AND SUFFER AND DIE ON THE CROSS. THE CRUCIFIXION WAS PLANNED BY GOD FOR OUR SALVATION TO DEFEAT SATAN.

Deuteronomy 30:3. The Palestinian Covenant is a continuation of the Mosaic Covenant. It concerns the Lord's return, the re-gathering of Israel's people and restoration to their land, the conversion of Israel, judgment upon nations which persecuted Israel, and promises of great blessing and prosperity for Israel. This covenant was established in view of the worldwide dispersion of the Jews because of their disobedience. It ends with the new heavens and the new earth. The condition of this covenant is the repentance of scattered Israel.

When comparing Judaism and Christianity, there is complete contrast. Israel under Judaism performed their cleansing through its ritual, its forms, and its ceremonies which were typical of Christ's sacrifice. These functions were a kind of "sin covering." Christianity provides a living union to Christ; who is Substance and Antitype of all that Judaism prefigured. This means that Christianity can't incorporate anything of Judaism. Christianity is Christ, the unlimited, unrestrained love of God in Christ and its final result in the ages to come. Judaism, as a religion, is no longer sanctioned by God.

2 Samuel 7:16. The Davidic Covenant was made with David through the prophet Nathan. It provided for a political Davidic house. The physical house of David (temple) was to be built by his son, Solomon. It provided for a Davidic Throne‑Davidic House, royal authority for the Messiah, and a Davidic kingdom. The promises concerning David's Son (Christ) are:         

(1) David would have a perpetual throne and a perpetual Son on that throne

(2) This Son was to be a Man of two natures (human and divine)

(3) David's Son would have a perpetual throne, but He must go through rejection, suffering, death, and resurrection before He would rule.

(4) David's Son would have two thrones (heavenly and earthly)

(5) the Son is both kingly and priestly in the order of Melchizedek

(6) the kingdom of the Son would be set up by His descent from heaven and judgment upon His enemies.

(7) this coming to earth will introduce this kingdom with the Son in universal rule.

When speaking of the son, we are talking about David's physical son who later built the temple. When speaking of the Son we are talking about Christ being born into the line of David, not in the house of David. This covenant is unconditional.

Hebrews 8:8. We are now under the New Covenant which promises judgement,  restoration, and inward renewal as predicted by Jeremiah. Christ's blood is the blood of this new and everlasting covenant made strong through His blood. Like the old covenants, the New Covenant was made with Israel, but the present Christians are the ones enjoying the blessing. Some Jews today Christians, as they have accepted Christ as their Savior.

The unsaved Jews of today do not have a priest, a temple, or sacrifice, which has been true for over eighteen centuries. This covenant promises sanctification by being written on people's hearts so that obedience will follow naturally. All shall know God through the study of His Word. The Bible is the written revelation, and Christ is the Living Word, the manifestation of God. Christ is the High Priest and Mediator of this covenant. We come into unconditional blessing through Him securing the eternal blessedness under the Abrahamic Covenant (Ezekiel 36:26-38; Galatians 3:17‑24; Hebrews 8:7‑13; Hebrews 9:1‑10:18).

THE INVITATION

You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).

To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).

You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:

         Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed.

      Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.

      I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.

      Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.

                     In Your name I pray, Amen.