The Lord’s Progressive Revelation To Mankind
The Lord has dealt with man through the years with progressive revelations that can be described as dispensations, eras, or ages. These periods of time can be broken down into 7 periods of time or dispensations. They are as follows:
Innocence – This began with the creation of man in God’s own image and after His likeness. The Lord formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed into him the “breath of life.” Adam was created with superior intelligence evidenced by him naming all the living creatures the Lord had created. Adam and Eve were created with a free moral agency to choose for themselves. When they disobeyed the Lord’s command not to partake of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they lost their innocence and died spiritually. This was the birth of the sin nature that is found in all those that came after them. They were cast out of the Garden, but not before the Lord, in His love for them, made a covering of animal skins. This was to show Adam and Eve that sacrifices were to be offered which pointed ahead to the Redeemer that would come to restore fellowship between mankind and the Lord.
Conscience – This dispensation began with man’s expulsion from the Garden with the loss of the perfect life of fellowship and communion with God. During this dispensation, man was to live by his conscience. It lasted 1656 years until the flood. This was a period of time when the Lord allowed man to make decisions according to his own conscience. Would he choose to serve the Lord or Satan? It did not start well with Cain killing Abel, and ended with the wickedness of man being so bad that the Lord had to destroy all mankind with a flood with the exception of Noah and his family. Man had failed this test and it resulted in the judgment. But again, the Lord, in His love for mankind, gave man hope in the promise of the rainbow.
Human Government – Instituted by God after the flood and consisted of God giving Noah and his descendants particular laws by which man was to be governed. The laws were as follows: repopulate the earth, exercise dominion over the animals, eat meat along with fruits and vegetables, do not eat the flesh of animals that contained blood, and capital punishment for murder was instituted. It is to be noticed that the first two laws mentioned were also part of the first two dispensations. By these laws, man, under God, was to administer the affairs of all mankind to show that he could be faithful to God by his obedience to the laws under man’s own human government. The result was that man failed in this dispensation. In governing himself he forgot God as evidenced by man erecting the Tower of Babel with the result being the Lord’s judgment in confusing the languages and scattering the people.
Promise – This dispensation lasted 430 years and was called the Dispensation of Promise because of the covenant God made with Abraham (Gen 12:1-3). The Lord promised that by this covenant “shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” Idolatry and the worshiping of many gods were prevalent in the world of that day led by Nimrod. It resulted in the religious system of Babylon. Because of this widespread idolatry, God would for the first time separate one family, one lineage, apart from the rest of mankind to become His people and worship and serve Him only. The Lord would birth the nation of Israel and bring forth the Messiah through the lineage of Abraham. The only thing required by God during this dispensation was for man to believe God’s promises and the covenant He made with Abraham. Civil laws were to be followed as well. The idea was that people down through the years would have knowledge of the One true God through Abraham and His descendants. They were to be His witnesses on earth. The dispensation ended with God delivering His people from Egyptian bondage and bringing judgment on Eygpt. Also, Israel fell short of believing God’s promise at times. So, the Dispensation of Promise ended in judgment just as the previous dispensations had.
Law – Man had failed to obey God in the previous dispensations. Through the Law, God would give Israel His will in totality. Israel would see through the Law the holiness of God and what God desired of man; that He would have a holy people set apart to Himself. Although God required Israel to keep the Law during this dispensation; Israel would find that they could not keep the Law. The Law was added because of transgressions and pointed to the need for a coming Redeemer which had God shown them through the sacrificial system. But Israel failed in this dispensation. Israel’s attempt to live by the Law and not realizing the significance of the sacrificial system resulted in failure and disobedience to God. They became self-righteous and crucified the very One the sacrificial system pointed to. Rejecting their Messiah cost them the Kingdom of God that was offered to them by Christ at that time and resulted in the destruction of Israel in A.D.70.
Grace – The Law showed man his total inability to keep it and prepared the way for the dispensation of grace through the Lord’s sacrificial death on the cross. Man was to see through the previous dispensations and his utter failure in each, that he could not obey God by his efforts and needed a redeemer. Grace was offered to all by faith in the Lord, with the Lord Himself paying the price owed for man’s disobedience, and providing a way for man to walk out a victorious life of obedience to God through faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. We are in the dispensation of grace currently. It will be followed by the judgment of God on those that reject the love, mercy, and grace that He offers to all. A Great Tribulation is coming upon mankind. Those that are disobedient to the Lord in this dispensation will face this final judgment.
Divine Government (The Millennium) – This final dispensation will begin with The Second Coming of the Lord when He will set up His earthly kingdom that will last 1000 years. Satan will be bound and God will establish His government here reigning through Christ. This final dispensation will contain both saints and sinners. At the end of this thousand-year period, sin will be totally and finally dealt with. Satan, who had been bound for the thousand years, will be released and lead a short-lived rebellion with many joining him. This final rebellion will be put down quickly by the Lord and Satan and all those that joined him in the rebellion will be cast into the Lake of fire. The Great White Throne judgment will take place at the end of the Millennium with all the unredeemed standing before the Lord and being judged and cast into the Lake of Fire for eternity. There will be a New Heaven and a New Earth with a new Jerusalem “coming down from God from Heaven.” With the end of this last dispensation comes the Perfect Age with the Lord dwelling with us and with no more sin, no more sorrow with all things made new as the following verses tell us:
“Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things have passed away.”
“And He Who sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new…” Revelation 21:3-5)
GOD LOVES YOU!!!
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Here I Am, Lord – Tom Quinn Ministries – tqministries.com 2022