dispensationalism

 

In our current series on Dispensations we have looked at the first two dispensations, the Dispensation of Innocence and the Dispensation of Conscience. The Dispensation of Innocence, where the man and the woman were living in the Garden in a state of moral and spiritual innocence; was the shortest of the dispensations lasting perhaps no longer than six days, and very likely no more than forty (forty being the biblical number of probation).

 

The Dispensation of Conscience was a period of 1,656 years. It began with the expulsion from the Garden, and ended with the Flood of Noah. During this period man was responsible to God on the basis of only their conscience. There was no Law as such. The only test of this Dispensation was to see if man would indeed follow and obey God on the basis of conscience. Of course, man miserably failed the test. So much so in fact that the Lord came to regret having ever created man in the first place! We looked at what the ultimate sin was causing God to move in judgment against the human race, with only Noah and his family surviving.

 

We see an interesting fact about Noah in Genesis 6:9. The Bible says, These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.I want to call your attention to the word translated, perfect in the KJV. This is the Hebrew, tamim. It can be translated, “Whole, entire, complete, sound, and healthful. It is from the primitive root word, tamam. This word can be, clean. The implication is clean in a moral or ethical sense. Some scholars have suggested this could also be clean in a genetic sense. This would hearken back to that which again moved God to judgment against humanity.

 

We speak of the intrusion of the Sons of God into the Earth realm [See Gen. 6:2], descending on Mount Hermon in the days of Jerod (according to the Book of Enoch, I Enoch 6:6), and consequently cohabiting with human women, the sexual unions producing a hybrid race known in Hebrew as, Nephilim (meaning, fallen ones). History verifies that these fallen ones were of great size, some scholars suggesting up to twenty-five feet tall! We know that Goliath of Gath (1 Sam. 17:4) was of the giants and he stood, according to the King James Version, “six cubits and a span.” That is approximately 9′ 9” tall!

 

At any rate, these Sons of God, fallen angels, were interacting with mankind for some 430 years, corrupting the blood-line of humanity and even the animal kingdom (again, according to The Book of Enoch). Satan’s plan in all of this, I believe, was to pollute the blood-line of humanity so that the promised “Seed of the woman”, that he knew by prophetic declaration would spell his doom, would never be born [See Gen. 3:15].

 

Let us not forget that he was almost successful! Apparently Noah and his line had not been corrupted, and thus God chose him and his wife, their sons and their wives, to escape the judgment that would destroy the whole earth and everything and everyone in it, including all animal life. The Lord instructed Noah, as we shared last time, to take two of every species of animal in the Earth (he was further instructed to take seven pairs of the clean animals), in order to perpetuate the animal kingdom.

 

When Noah and his family emerged from the Ark, the first thing they did was to give thanks to the Lord. God was pleased with Noah’s offering and made a Covenant with him saying, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. [Gen. 8:21, 22] God blessed Noah and his family, and interestingly, gave them the same command He had given to Adam and Eve: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. [Gen. 9:1]

 

There are in fact other similarities between the first family and Noah’s family. Both were given the responsibility of repopulating the Earth after a major calamity. Both existed at the beginning of a new Dispensation. Both were eyewitnesses of God’s punishment upon sin. Both offered sacrifices to God.

 

The Dispensation of Human Government is the third Dispensation of man and covers the events after the flood to the call of Abraham, a total of 427 years. Again, as in calculating the length of the Dispensation of Conscience, you can calculate the length of the Dispensation of Human Government by studying the genealogy, in this case the genealogy in Genesis 11:10 -32.

 

This Dispensation is called the Dispensation of Human Government due to the fact that God gave Noah and his descendants certain laws with which to govern the human race:

 

  1. To repopulate the Earth (Gen. 9:1, 7)
  2. To exercise dominion over the animals (Gen. 9:2)
  3. To eat meat in addition to fruits and vegetables (Gen. 9:3)
  4. Not to eat the flesh of animals containing the blood (Gen. 9:4); and,
  5. To institute capital punishment for murder (Gen. 9:5, 6)

 

This was the first time that man was given the authority to govern the affairs of man, under God (although that fact seems to be lost on much of modern society). It should be noted that the first two laws were also in effect in the Dispensation of Innocence and the Dispensation of Conscience. The addition of animal flesh to the diet, it would appear, was allowed by God due to the scarcity of produce following the Flood. Man, however, was not allowed to eat meat that contained blood. God intended man to respect the sanctity of life (again, something that has been lost on much of modern society).

 

I have been asked, “Brother Kevin, are you pro-life?” My answer is an unequivocal, yes! I believe the wholesale slaughter of the innocent unborn through legalized abortion is an absolute blight on our nation that will bring judgment on this land, and some would argue already is. Many of my pro-life friends however don’t have a complete biblical world-view and base their opposition to abortion and infanticide largely (or so it would seem), more on emotion than on conviction. The problem with that is many of the so-called “pro-choice” and pro-abortion (or one could say, “pro-death”) proponents in this Country do the same thing. As a result we have two highly emotionally charged factions, and although I respect and understand the emotion that this issue generates, I don’t base my opposition to abortion on emotion. I am pro-life, regarding the sanctity of life, because it is biblical. In short, I am pro-life because God is!

 

I said all of that to say this. Because I am pro-life, I also support capital punishment for capital crimes. Some would argue that is an impossibility. I would respond that I am in favor of capital punishment because it is biblical. God instituted capital punishment, in the Dispensation of Human Government, to increase further man’s regard for life. Although God did not require death for the sin of murder in the Dispensation of Conscience, due to there being no stated law, He did so in this Dispensation, the Dispensation of Human Government, and has in every Dispensation since then. Under the Law, God commanded the death of all murderers (Ex. 21:12).

 

What about in this Dispensation, the Dispensation of Grace? In this Dispensation of Grace, God upholds civil governments and their duty to administer capital punishment to deserving criminals. The Word of God says: Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. [Rom. 13:1 – 4 NASB]

 

Capital punishment will also be administered during the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ (See Isa. 11:3 – 9; 65:20). It is necessary to punish criminals according to the crimes committed, otherwise society would crumble. Although there may be many inequities in the present judicial system, there will not be when Jesus Comes back to Earth again! God has ordained human governments to assist Him in administering justice until He personally returns.

 

I want to be very clear about this. I am not a fan of our present President. I personally believe he is taking our country in a very wrong direction. However, I and every other other Christian have the responsibility to support the government and our elected officials. Think about this. Even in the most wicked times of the Roman Empire, the Apostle Peter wrote:

 

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. [1 Pet. 2:13, 14, 17 NASB] The Apostle Paul also admonished Timothy:

 

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. [1 Tim. 2:1, 2 NASB]

 

Christians have a moral obligation to become involved in the electoral process, to see that godly officials are elected to administer the laws of the land. Christians should also pray for those who hold public offices.

 

I want to delve deeper into the Dispensation of Human Government next time. Please join us if you can.

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