When we are first brought up within Church life and also with other believers we meet they will influence our thinking from that moment on. Why? Because we are to make disciples according to our Lord’s command and so we will teach new converts what we believe to be the truth. In other words we will make disciples in our image/thinking defending our corner vigorously with proof texts and verses!
The problem is that the Word of God tells us we all look through the glass dimly in 1 Corinthians 13:12.
If we retain teachable hearts we will have open minds to be more fair minded as the Bereans were (Acts 17:10-11) and to test and prove all things as Paul instructs us through the Scriptures set before us. 1 Thessalonians 5:21.
It is then the Scriptures that speak of God’s Covenants, Dispensations, Mysteries and Secrets.
The first two have produced two camps that have sharpened each others swords down through the centuries. Perhaps it would be better for us to admit that the Word of God teaches both and we will be the richer for it by looking into and learning from these two very valid and biblical doctrines.
A covenant is an agreement or contract which God enters into with man. These covenants are generally self-explanatory, self-contained and exclusive.
There are eight of these as follows…..
The Edenic. – Genesis 1:28-31; 2:8-17.
The Adamic. – Genesis 3:14-19.
The Noahic. – Genesis 9:1-27.
The Abrahamic. – Genesis 12:1-4; 13:14-17; 15:1-18; 17:1-8.
The Mosaic. – Exodus chapter 20.
The Land edict. – Deuteronomy chapters 28-30.
The Davidic. – 2 Samuel 7:8-19.
The New Covenant. – Jeremiah 31:31; Matthew 26:27-28; Hebrews 8:8.
Our God has not always dealt with mankind on the same terms or conditions, but He has always dealt with us in the same way and so there is a difference. Sin is a disease and causes a separation between us and God. Repentance then is the life and death principle within the whole of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
When we therefore use the rules of exegesis to rightly divide the Word of Truth (see 2 Timothy 2:15) we can note that there have been well defined periods where God has dealt with mankind and that His administration has not always been the same from one dispensation or period to another. We may also note that at times they have overlapped for a short period within His plans and purposes for Israel, the Gentile Nations and His Church (The Messianic Community).
There are nine of these dispensations as follows…..
Innocence. – Genesis 1:28-3:13.
Conscience. – Genesis 3:22-7:23.
Human Government. – Genesis 8:20-11:9.
Promise. – Genesis 12:1-Exodus 19:8.
Law. – Exodus 19:8-Matthew 27:35.
Grace. – Acts chapter 1 to Revelation chapter 3.
Judgement. – Revelation chapters 4 to 19.
Kingdom. -Revelation 20:1-3.
Eternity. -Revelation chapters 20 to 21.
We should note two things from the above. Firstly, the difference between the two main dispensations of Law and Grace are that under the Law the keeping of it and works were predominate. Under the Dispensation of Grace which Paul writes of in Ephesians 3:2, it is about grace and mercy followed by faithful good deeds to the glory of our risen King. Secondly, when we examine each of the above dispensations we can see that each
of them ends in judgment followed by a new beginning. The exception being eternity!
Paul writes of the mystery of Christ and the Gospel in Ephesians 3:9.
Our Lord Jesus tells us in Matthew 13:11 and Mark 4:11 that the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven have been given to us to understand.
It is no longer a mystery or hidden truth for those who believe, for we shall not all sleep but be changed in the twinkling of an eye. 1 Cor 15:51-55.
Paul and the apostles spoke of the wisdom of God as a mystery which none of the rulers of this age understand. 1 Cor 2:7.
In 1 Timothy 3:16 Timothy is told of the ‘Great Mystery’ or the hidden truth of godliness which is without controversy.
2 Thessalonians 2:7 speaks of the mystery of iniquity working and being allowed!
Key Verse:- Psalm 25:14. ‘The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.’
Deuteronomy 29:29 establishes these.
Proverbs 25:2 tells us why and
Revelation 1:6 is the outcome.
Only those who spend time reading the Word of God will have it opened up to them as a reward and blessing from on high.
Date : 30/11/-0001