It is quite common to hear the word “dispensation” mentioned in conversations concerning the events which will transpire at, around, or leading up to the return of CHRIST to the Earth. In fact, a very prominent “theory” (or system of thought) is often described as “Dispensationalism”. This “theory” seems to have begun with the teachings of J.N. Darby and was made popular by C.I. Scofield through his annotated Bible of the same name. The basis of this theory is that the LORD has divided up the annals of time into various ages in which HE has dealt with the people of the Earth according to various standards, most especially centered upon HIS dealings with the carnal nation of Israel. This theory relegates the redemptive work of CHRIST to just one of these ages. It makes the carnal nation of Israel to be at the center of all of the LORD’s dealings with mankind, and makes the Kingdom of GOD to be a fleshly kingdom in which the LORD returns to sit upon a “throne” in the same Jerusalem in which HE was crucified, and over which much blood has been shed through the ages.
Any theory or system of thought which does not recognize that the redemptive work of CHRIST is the very purpose for which the world was created cannot be the gospel. Those sent with this gospel are determined to preach nothing but CHRIST and HIM crucified. As Paul declared, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1Cor 2:2) This gospel, as we now see it revealed, was hidden from the world in its fulness until a time appointed by the LORD. “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph 3:9-11)
When CHRIST JESUS was born of a virgin, taking upon HIMSELF the likeness of sinful flesh, this “day of salvation” was ushered in and the clouds of mystery which hid the purpose of GOD were parted. This “day of salvation”, though not clearly seen by those men who confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims in the earth who looked for a CITY which had a foundation, was nonetheless the same in every era which dawned upon the Earth. No man in any age has ever had one sin expiated except by the blood of CHRIST shed on Calvary. This desire for the ONE who would take away the sins of the world, was stirred up in the people of GOD in all ages and CHRIST JESUS, (though unseen and unknown by NAME) was their HOPE and EXPECTATION.
Every prophet in every age has prophesied of CHRIST who is the fulfillment of all prophecy from the BEGINNING. When the LORD prophesied to Adam, that he would surely die when he ate of the forbidden tree, HE set the stage for the ANTIDOTE of death which HE promised to the woman that she would bear HIM who would bruise Satan’s head. When the BOW was set in the clouds after the flood, CHRIST was that PROMISE even as HE was that ARK into which Noah and his family were sealed. When Abraham would sacrifice his son Isaac, the LORD JESUS CHRIST was that RAM caught in the thicket. When Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt only to become the deliverer of his father’s house, we see CHRIST the SAVIOR of those given to HIM by HIS FATHER.
That BURNING BUSH which Moses saw was CHRIST. CHRIST was that PASSOVER LAMB which was slain and HIS blood was upon the door posts and lintels of the houses of the children of Israel. HE was that CLOUD which shielded them from the heat in the wilderness and that PILLAR of FIRE which followed them by night, dispelling the darkness. CHRIST was that MANNA which fell from heaven and fed them even as HE was that ROCK from whence WATER flowed to quench their thirst. HE was that JOSHUA which led them into the promised land. HE was that ARK of the covenant, that TABERNACLE of refuge, and that MERCY SEAT where they could offer an ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE unto the LORD.
The SUBJECT of every word written by the sweet Psalmist of Israel, was CHRIST who is that MAN who walked not in the counsel of the ungodly nor stood in the way of sinners. HE is that WORD which was hid in the heart, as HE promised to write HIS law upon the people of HIS choice. HE is that ONE who pursued HIS beloved in Solomon’s song, even as HE is the WISDOM demonstrated in the Proverbs. HE is that ONE whom Isaiah said would be called the EVERLASTING FATHER and the PRINCE of PEACE whose government shall never pass away. HE is that ONE whom Nebuchanezzar saw in the fiery furnace with the three Hebrews and later the same ONE who HE confessed, “doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Dan 4:35) HE is that SUN of RIGHTEOUSNESS who arises with healing in HIS wings as Malachi prophesied.
Thus, we see no different “dispensations” relating to various ages in the Earth, but rather we see the DISPENSER of grace in every age to that blessed people which HE chose in CHRIST from before the foundation of the world. This was HE whom Paul declared that HE would preach and in whom alone he would boast. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Gal 6:14-15)
Paul was a man specifically blessed and called to declare the glorious “dispensation” of grace unto all men, (i.e.; other than the Jews.) He plainly stated, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Rom 2:28-29) This is in reality a practical demonstration of the exact message which the LORD brought to Nicodemus, when HE said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) This “new birth” cannot be earned, purchased, nor gained through any religious exercise regardless of its sincerity. Rather it must be “dispensed” by the ONE who kills and makes alive according to HIS good pleasure. This “birth from above” is manifested as those whom HE calls believe HIS WORD which they are given ears to hear. “But as many as received him, (whether they be Jew or Gentile) to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
The LORD “dispenses” grace as HE is pleased to send men into the Earth to preach the everlasting gospel of JESUS CHRIST the RIGHTEOUS. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom 10:13-15) There is no sweeter message that can be proclaimed than this one whose AUTHOR and FINISHER is HE who is the DISPENSER of LIGHT and LIFE to as many as HE shall call. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Rom 8:28-30) HE will never leave nor forsake those to whom HE is pleased to “dispense” this glorious saving grace. Have you believed the WORD spoken by the DISPENSER of grace?