A LOT OF CHANGE!
When God reveals new information in the course of the Bible’s timeline it changes the Bible’s ‘context.’ The new information divides from the old information. We need to take serious note of that ‘division’ within the Bible’s timeline. These divisions have marked the changes occurring over the course of the Bible’s ‘several dispensations of God.’ They must be recognized in our study of Scripture since noting these divisions changes the context such that we can then correctly interpret Scripture.
Noting the relational changes between God and man that occur with the several Biblical dispensational ages in time are critical to proper Bible study. Apart from the dispensational approach to Bible Study, it is impossible to understand the Bible without running into the ‘seeming contradictions’ and confusion as is so commonly found in Christendom today.
All of these problems are preventable if we heed the instructions of Paul who tells us not only to study the Bible but also “How to study the word of truth.’
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, [BY] Rightly DIVIDING the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV, emphasis added)
Note first this greatest of changes in dispensation, which blesses us Gentiles today with ‘pure grace.’
- Paul calls the information he received from the Lord a “dispensation” (Col. 1:25). This information changed the prophetic context of God’s instructions for the Gentiles. According to Paul’s teaching;
- God today is dealing with a different people, Not Israel, but ‘the Gentiles.’
- Through a different apostle, Paul, as “the [singular] Apostle to the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13)
- Offering a different way of “salvation … by grace through faith” as “the gift of God, not of works” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- By a different gospel than Jesus’ “gospel of the kingdom” that He delivered to Israel for Israel. Paul’s gospel is called “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24)
- This leads us to a different ‘eternal destination’ … to ultimately dwell “eternal in heavens” (Philippians 3:20-21, 2Cor. 5:1b, 1Thes. 4:13-18, 1Cor. 15:51-55), not on earth as will be for Israel.
Consider this above in the light of what was of God for Israel before … Paul’s “revelation of the Mystery [Greek, musterion, ‘God’s secret plan]” for the Gentiles … THAT’S A LOT OF CHANGE!
- A smaller change occurred between Abraham and Moses. Abraham was given the promises of God and the covenant of circumcision for the children of Israel (Gen 17:1-10). Four hundred years later, “the law” was added for Israel because of transgressions (Gal 3:17).
The “law” did not negate or remove God’s “promises” for Israel but rather made them a part of a ‘Testament.’ Abraham was not under the Old Testament which came after him, known as the Mosaic covenant.
- Another change occurred when Jesus ushered in the “New Testament” for Israel. But this New Testament would not be in effect until Jesus Christ died (Heb 9:16-17). Jesus was born humanly under the Old Testament and He died to thereby institute the New Testament for Israel (Gal 4:4).
Jesus’ New Testament for Israel replaced the Old Testament for Israel but it did not remove the “promises.” The ‘covenant of circumcision’ and ‘promises to the fathers’ were being fulfilled by a change in the law and the priesthood (Heb 7:12).
- When the Messianic kingdom comes “on earth” there will be another dispensational change as the promises are kept by God and “the kingdom of heaven” comes to Earth beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:47). This is made possible by the full operation of Jesus’ New Testament promises for Israel.
All of these changes in Israel’s program had been ‘prophesied’ and revealed in accord with God’s ultimate purpose. We can read about them in ‘the prophets’ and the Hebrew epistles of the so-called New Testament.
The dispensational change given to Paul was separate and different from prophecy entirely. Paul wrote that it “was a Mystery [a God planned secret], kept secret since the world began.”
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel [Paul’s gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was ‘kept secret’ since the world began,” (Romans 16:25 (KJV)
When reading Paul’s epistles, we are reading about a change ‘more excellent’ than both the Old Testament and the New Testament. We are reading about “Christ according to the revelation of the mystery” of God in Christ to pay for the sins of humanity without a covenant or a law system.
“… the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that BELIEVE: for there is no difference: Romans 3:22 (KJV)
Today, during this age of “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:2), there are no priests, no more physical sacrifices, no covenants, no vows, no rituals, no holy days, no Israel, no land promise.
God has revealed ‘new information’ that has ‘changed the dispensational context’ of Scripture pertaining to the “dispensation” in which we live today. Today we do Not live in a time that was prophesied. We now live in during the dispensation that is called “the Mystery” that “was kept secret since the world began.”
Thus, it is possible to say All Scripture is ‘Biblically’ correct… but at the same time a Scripture taken out of the context of its ‘dispensation,’ is NOT ‘dispensationally correct’ and … so is not necessarily applicable in the next dispensation. In fact, the new information is often in opposition or contrary to that of the previous ‘dispensation.’ By example consider the following two verses.
James wrote this to “the lost sheep” of Israel under the Law (cf. James 1:1):
“… FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD ….” James 2:26b (KJV)
But Paul wrote this to the Gentile members of “the Body of Christ” “under grace” (Rom. 6:14)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)
Again, … THAT’S A LOT OF CHANGE!