Dispensational Truth, What is it?, where did it come from?, why is it important, if it is at all?, where is it going in the pursuit of bible knowledge? From the things written on the subject these are some of the questions that have risen from the curious. The word “Dispensation” is a “Biblical Term”, found in 1 Cor. 9:17, Eph. 1:10, 3:2, Col. 1:25. The Greek word from which it is translated from is “οἰκονομία, oikonomia”, which is also translated “Stewardship” in Luke 16: 2-4.
Strong’s Concordance defines “οἰκονομία, oikonomia”: the management of a household or of household affairs specifically, the management, oversight, administration, of other’s property the office of a manager or overseer, stewardship administration, dispensation.
Since the word “dispensation” is a “Biblical Term” it is important and the topic is deserving of being rightly divided! The study of “Dispensations” falls into the area “Progressive Revelation”, (a Theological term) and thus directly related 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The definition of “Progressive revelation” (Christianity), the concept that the sections of the Bible that were written later contain a fuller revelation of God compared to the earlier sections. However, the study on the Revelation from God will need to wait for another blog.
Each writer of the 66 books of the word of God were given an oikonomia whether stated so or not according to Strong’s definition. For the apostle Paul he says it was placed upon him, 1 Cor. 9:16-17, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.” God gave Paul the responsibility to reveal things that were hidden since the world began, Eph. 3:1-5, “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;” Paul states some things were not revealed right away, Rom. 16:25 “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,”
Paul was given knowledge which no one knew about but was later revealed the other apostles by the Holy Spirit as stated in the verses above! Remember when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with those who were teaching in order to be saved they needed to be circumcised, Acts 15. It was Paul who the Holy Spirit used to reveal the mystery hidden noted by the phrase “my gospel,” in the verse above. Paul took ownership of his stewardship calling it “my gospel”. Up until Paul came along the gospel of the Kingdom was still being preached to Israel. The nation of Israel have not received the promises that were made unto them even to this day, they have not due to their rejection of the Godhead. They rejected the Father in the Old Testament, rejected Jesus when he walked among them, and rejected the Holy Spirit at the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7. Yet, Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, (past, present, and future), was buried, and was raised from the dead the third day according to the scriptures, on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus went on to the building of his church, just like he said he would, moving the “οἰκονομία, oikonomia, dispensation” from salvation through the Law of Moses (works) to salvation by Grace through Faith alone revealed and preached by the apostle Paul, hidden from all since the world began. Jesus is doling out salvation Freely, (not conditioned on works,) in this dispensation to all who put their faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. (based on Faith alone).
This dispensation, of Grace through Faith, will end with a spectacular climax named in Latin as the “Rapture”, translated in English, found in the Pauline writings of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. The Rapture is the catching away of the Church in the twinkling of an eye. THERE IS NO DATE SET FOR THIS EVENT! However, a person could state an assumption that it could happen on the Day of Pentecost like on the day the Church was empowered by the Holy Spirit, (Acts 2). Others have thought it may happen on the Feast of Trumpets, Tishri, the first month of the Jewish New Year, because of the phrase “the last trump”, (1 Cor. 15:52). Other hints are found by the phrase “come up hither” found in Revelation 4:1, 11:12. Both these passages are the raptures of the church (4:1) and tribulation saints (11:12), respectively. Yes, Two Resurrections, however, there’s a third, Matthew 27:50-53. “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” These three resurrections make what is called in Revelation 20:5-6 the First Resurrection, on such the second death has no power.
Another hint about the Rapture of the Church has to do with her as the Bride of Christ being called by her husband to be. King Solomon wrote in The Song go Solomon in Chapter 2:10-13 “My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.” The time of year Solomon was writing about was spring, late May-early June, about the time of the Day of Pentecost would fall on! (note Jewish Wedding Ceremony)
How many dispensations are there one may ask? The answer depends on who you ask! Different Dispensationalist, trying to rightly divide the Word of God, have given many many different answers to that question. The most notable person is Clarence Larkin with his books of charts. The best of his works is “The Greatest Book on Dispensational Truth in the World”! Dispensational Truth, Daniel, Revelation, Spirit World. Hardcover Binding · Printed in the USA · Original Publishers. www.larkinbooks.com (864) 618-4796
I would like you, the reader, to see this amazing thing in the salvation process in both dispensations of Faith and Works, they are the two sides of the same coin. Eph. 2:8-10, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Salvation is obtained without works. However, works is very involved in the evidence that a person is in fact a son of God, John 1:12. James says, James 2:14 “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?” Paul answers above, “it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” James continues, James 2:17 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” How amazingly this is true, note Eph. 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” When compared to Paul’s teaching on “the Judgement Seat of Christ, 2 Cor. 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” cf Romans 14:10 “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”
Like I said, “they are the two sides of the same coin.” Under Paul’s Doctrine we are not saved by what we do or don’t do, we are saved by Grace (unmerited favor, the getting of something we do not deserve, the Gift of God, everlasting life which we can never lose). Under James’ Doctrine the condition under which they are redeemed was through the keeping of the law, which they often couldn’t or wouldn’t do resulting in the loss of the promises given to them, which they have yet to receive! Their salvation can be lost according to the whole chapter of Ezekiel 18, a quote from this chapter, Ezekiel 18:26-28 “When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die”. According to this passage, 18 of Ezekiel a man is declared righteous by what he does or doesn’t do. His works are of extreme importance to his soul living or dying. However, under Paul’s doctrine a man’s works are important to his reward. 1 Cor. 3:11-15, ” For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”