Understanding Dispensation







Dispensation - A Moral Time


1.) Dispensation defined: The word itself is used 4 times in the Bible (1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10; 3:2; Col. 1:25). The Greek “oikonomi” means an administration, stewardship, dispensation, or guardianship.  It refers to a moral or probationary period in angelic or human history, during which time God dealt with angels or men according to a particular test or responsibility, under which each was to remain true to his trust of administering affairs for God under His direction.


2.) 9 Features of Each Dispensation:

1.      Definition or name

2.      Length of time

3.      Favorable beginning

4.      Test for responsible agents

5.      Purpose of God in each one

6.      Means of God in accomplishing His purpose

7.      Failure of responsible agents

8.      Judgment of God upon responsible agents

9.      God's provision of reconciliation for fallen agents


When these 9 points regarding each age or dispensation are understood, then God's plan for man as a whole becomes clear.  Each dispensation has its own particular beginning and ending; each is characterized by distinctive principles of God's dealings; each has a favorable beginning; each has a definite test; and each ends in failure and judgment, except the final and eternal one.  Much confusion can arise from reading certain meanings into Scripture that do not apply to a particular age.  In each God has a definite and different immediate purpose, all working toward the ultimate purpose of ridding the universe of all rebellion so that all free moral agents will be willingly and eternally subject to God, Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ), and the Holy Ghost, as originally planned, with God all in all forever (I Cor. 15: 24-28; Rev. 21-22).


In one age there may be some part that may apply to another age, but to force the purposes of God to be the same in every age would be to distort Scripture and confuse the understanding.  One should study the history of each period carefully, and the prophecies given in each that predict some definite change in God's dealings or plan to the ultimate end.  One must harmonize all passages with the whole plan of God as revealed in all Scripture.  Then one can see from God's standpoint the many purposes and plans for free moral agents who prove worthy of eternal trust (Eph. 2:7; 3:11).


3.) Bible Divided Dispensationally:

1.         The creation of the heavens, the spirit world, the earth, plants, living creatures, and man (Gen. 1:1 - 2:14; Ex. 20:11; Col. 1:15-18; Ps. 8:3; 95:5; 102:25; Isa. 40:12, 18, 26; 45:12; 48:13; Heb. 11:3).   

2.         Dispensation of Innocence (Gen. 2:15 - 3:21)

3.         Dispensation of Conscience (Gen. 3:22 - 8:14)

4.         Dispensation of Human Government (Gen. 8:15 - 11:32)

5.         Dispensation of Promise (Gen. 12:1 - Ex. 12:37)

6.         Dispensation of Law (Ex. 12:38 - Mt. 2:23)

7.         Dispensation of Grace (Mt. 3: 1 - Rev. 19:10)

8.         Dispensation of Divine Government, or Millennium (Rev. 19:11 - 20:15)

9.         Dispensation of faithful Angels and the Redeemed - the New Heavens and New Earth, the eternal perfect state (Rev. 21:1 - 22:5).



See some thoughts about Reasons for God's Dispensational Dealings



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