Question? How many dispensations are there really?
Answer: There are Eight mentioned in scripture.
Most churches today ONLY TEACH seven and some SADLY and FALSELY teach fewer than that or NONE AT ALL.
To teach the bible in any other way than Dispensationally is going to lead to doctrinal problems, for example some try to teach the Rapture taking place in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John when it is referring to the Second Coming of Christ, IN FACT...
The Apostles and the early christians of this time period KNEW NOTHING of the Rapture or the Church Age in which we live in today, That is WHY the Apostles thought that the Lord Jesus was going to setup the kingdom then.
IF the Jews would have NATIONALLY received him as their Messiah(saviour) Jesus would have setup the 1,000 year kingdom for he (Jesus) had preached about the kingdom for the king (Jesus) was here.
The simple interpretation of Matthew 24:40 – 41 is:
1. The one taken: is the one taken unto judgement, (cast into hell, then 1,000 years later into the Lake of Fire) – Matthew 25:41, Revelation 20:11-15
2. The other left: is the one left to enter into the 1,000 year Kingdom of Christ.
This is WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT to RIGHTLY DIVIDE the word of truth, if you don’t you will have a jumbled up mess NOT KNOWING what prophetic event or teaching belongs where The Pentecostal and Charismatic churches are PRIME EXAMPLES of this, Their FALSE TEACHING and PRACTICE of Speaking in Tongues, Faith Healing, Casting out Demons, Revelations and Visions is excellent proof.
(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 Gifts of the Holy Spirit are NO LONGER in operation since we have the COMPLETION OF the Word of God.
(1 Corinthians 13:8-10) Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away (9) For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. (10) But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
In V10 he word PERFECT in the Greek is TELEIOS and it means the completion of the revelation of God i.e. the scriptures (bible).
If the Greek was referring to Christ the Holy Spirit would have used a noun which would have referred to a person, but the Holy Spirit used the Greek word TELEIOS which is in the NEUTER SENSE referring to an object The Word of God.
This SAME PRINCIPLE (2 Timothy 2:15) MUST BE APPLIED in the same way when teaching and studying the bible to know exactly What, When, Where, and To Whom the scriptures are speaking of or to, which leads us to the above question asked… How many dispensations are there really?
Before an architect begins to build, he must first have a strong foundation upon which to build. In the same way, to understand Bible prophecy, you must first have the foundation. The foundation of Bible prophecy is an understanding of the Eight Dispensations.
A Dispensation is a particular period of time in which God deals with man concerning his sin and responsibility to God.
A Brief Overview of the Dispensations.
First Dispensation: Innocence.
Genesis, Chapters 1-3: From the Creation to the Expulsion. Man’s responsibility: was not to eat of the forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:8-9, 16-17). The fruit was all right, only it had God’s prohibition against it. The test was to see if man would be obedient to the will of God.
Second Dispensation: Conscience.
Genesis, Chapters 3-8: From the Fall to the Flood. Since man now knew the difference between good and evil, man was to do things right (Genesis 4:7) and to avoid evil. Unfortunately, your conscience will tell you to do right; but, only God’s Word can tell you what is right. God made the way of approach to Him by way of the blood sacrifice.
Third Dispensation: Human Government.
Genesis, Chapters 8-11: From the Flood to the Dispersion at the Tower of Babel. Man’s responsibility is to govern the Earth (world) (Genesis 9:1-6). Capital punishment is introduced.
(Genesis 9:6). When a man slays another man, he kills one who is made in the image of God.
This is a direct attack against God.
Fourth Dispensation: Promise.
Genesis, Chapter 11, to Exodus 12:41. From the Call of Abraham to Bondage in Egypt. Man’s responsibility was to abide in the land. Genesis 26:1-3: A famine came after obedience to God!
Isaac didn’t have to go to Egypt. When God calls or leads, He will provide! It would have been better if he hadn’t gone; but, he disobeyed God and went to Egypt. Like many today, he did what his father, Abraham, had done; and looked to the flesh, rather than to God. Abraham should have stayed in the land, too (Genesis 12:10). In going “down” to Egypt (always a type of sin), he brought Hagar back with him, and through her has sprung up the greatest enemy of Israel today—the Mohammedans. “Every time you go to Egypt you will have trouble.”
Fifth Dispensation: Law.
Exodus: From the Exodus to the Cross; or, from Sinai to Calvary. (Exodus 19:1-5; Romans 10:5) Man’s responsibility was “To render a perfect obedience unto the Law.”
Sixth Dispensation: The Church Age.
Acts and The Epistles: This dispensation extends from the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to the ascent of the Holy Spirit when the Church is raptured. “Ye must be born again (i.e., “from above”). (John 1:11-12; John 3:36; Romans 4:5; Galatians 5:6; Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5) A sinner cannot come to God alone by depending on some work of righteousness or ritual. He must come by the ONLY WAY, the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
Seventh Dispensation: The Tribulation.
Revelation 6-19; Daniel 9:27; Jeremiah 30:7. Also called “Jacob’s Trouble.” From the Ascent of the Church at the Rapture to the Descent of Christ at the Second Coming. People will be saved after the Rapture of the Church. All are saved by the precious blood of Christ. (Revelation 7:14; 14:6-7; Ephesians 1:7)
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Ephesians 1:7)
Eighth Dispensation: The Millennial Kingdom
Isaiah 2:11. From the descent of Christ to the Great White Throne Judgment.
Psalm 2:6-12 means to submit to Him, in His reign (Psalm 86:9; Zechariah 14:16-19).
The MOST IMPORTANT thing to know IS Jesus Christ as savior, just simply believe that Jesus Christ went to the cross and DIED and shed his blood, was BURIED and three days later RESURRECTED from the dead to pay for your sins.
-Christ DIED for you – Romans 5:8
-Christ PAID your sins in full – 2 Corinthians 5:21,1 Peter 2:24
-BELIEVE (Trust In Completely) in Christ ALONE as the complete payment of sin for salvation – John 3:16, Acts 16:31, Ephesians 2:8,9
“For the wages(payment) of sin is death (eternal torment in hell, but the GIFT(salvation) of God is eternal life THROUGH Jesus Christ our Lord”. Romans 6:23
IT IS THAT SIMPLE – THE GOSPEL TRUTH
For a MORE DETAILED explanation please read Dr. Max Younce book titled ” I Know Who Holds Tomorrow”
available to read online or download at:
<http://rightdoctrinematters.com/Books> by Dr Max Younce or www.heritagebbc.com