Every now and then I hear someone comment that Adam and Eve really made a mess for the rest of us to live with. One well-known pastor likes to say, “I’m going to kick Adam right in the shins when I get to Heaven.” But to be honest, would we have done any differently?
God has dealt with people in these many years we have been upon this earth via seven different dispensations. The seven dispensations are shown as follows:
1. Innocence: from the Creation to the Fall
2. Conscience: from the Fall to the Flood
3. Human Government: from Noah to Abraham
4. Promise: from Abraham to Mt. Sinai
5. Law: from Mt. Sinai to Pentecost, concluding with Daniel’s 70th week
6. Grace: Church Age
7. Kingdom: the 1,000 year Millennium
Honestly, I cannot understand why some do not see this and get so upset over the reality of this doctrine. God’s dispensations are easily seen and definitely have a purpose. In my opinion, there are at least two purposes.
· To prove a point to Satan, and
· To prove a point to mankind
1. God started out dealing with man in total innocence, but even in a perfect environment, man eventually fell by sinning against God. We really don’t know how long this era lasted.
Adam and Eve had one command to obey and that was “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
We all know what happened. Curiosity killed the innocence.
2. Next God allowed man to govern himself by his own conscience, but the conscience of man is corrupt.
“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:1-7)
Man cannot live by his own conscience without defiling himself.
3. After the Flood, God allowed man to govern himself via forming a government of men. That failed as seen in the following Scriptures.
“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 11:1-9)
4. Next God worked through a man He named Abraham. He called him out and made of him a nation. He provided promises to Abraham and his progeny, but Abraham couldn’t wait on God to fulfill the promise of a son. He and his wife, Sarah, thought they would help God out.
“Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.” (Genesis 16:1)
From Isaac and Ishmael and Jacob and Esau we today are still paying a heavy price made by the Father of the Israelite nation, Abraham.
5. Then God gave His people Israel His own Law for them to follow. The intent was for Israel to obey God’s Law and witness to the other nations about the one and only true God. It didn’t happen.
Man became so full of pride in thinking he was keeping the Law he soon lived as though he were above the Law.
Jesus explained to those in His day (1st Advent) that the Law of God could not be kept by man. Only He could keep the Law (Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount). Paul explained that the Law was a guide to lead us to Christ.
6. For the last two thousand years God has dealt with man through a group of people He calls His Church, the bride of Christ. He has dealt with man strictly through His own grace.
I am so glad to be living in the Church Age. God’s grace is poured out in abundance upon all man. Those who are willing are saved by legitimate child-like faith in Jesus Christ and kept for eternity by His power. That’s it!
When this age comes to an end, the Son of God will personally come for all who have come to Him in faith and remove us to Heaven before His judgment falls upon the earth during Daniel’s 70th week (the 7-Year Tribulation).
[PARENTHETICAL: DANIEL’S 70TH WEEK, OR THE 7-YEAR TRIBULATION]
When the Church Age ends the seven remaining years of Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:20-27) will begin. These years are seven years of 490 that are still due Israel from the Dispensation of the Law.
God says, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24)
The remaining seven years are just as important as the first 483, so they are coming. After the completion of the full 490 years (483 + 7), there will be the Millennial Age.
7. Finally, after the Church is removed, and the seven years of Tribulation ends, man will enter one last dispensation, and here is where we come full circle, with one exception. Everything will be just like it was in the Garden of Eden, but instead of just two people, there will be millions living on the earth during the Millennium. But again, man rebels.
At the end of the Millennium, Satan and all his followers (angels, demons, and mankind) are all consigned to the Lake of Fire for all eternity. Those who are left belong to God and enter eternity with Him.
So what’s the point you say? The point is that without God living within us, we cannot live for Him.
1. We can live in total innocence, then temptation comes along and we sin.
2. We can follow our conscience, but our conscience is flawed.
3. We can form a government, but governments become corrupt.
4. We can accept God’s promises (and He will keep all of them), but still stray in sin.
5. We can have God’s Law spelled out for us, but we can’t keep it.
6. We can even be privileged with grace, and reject it.
7. We can live without Satan’s influence and still sin.
The point is spelled out to Satan and to all mankind, that without the righteousness of God, we cannot be qualified to live in His presence. Furthermore, the only way to obtain the righteousness of God is through His Son. We are not qualified regardless of our environment.
Sin was here long before man came upon the scene, and we can live in any generation under any type of dispensation and still not be qualified to be in God’s presence.
Throughout every dispensation, there was always one thing that needed to be exercised and that is “true faith.” Additionally, the object of our faith can only be Jesus Christ. From the Age of Innocence to the Church Age all looked forward to the cross. In the Church Age and even the Millennium it’s all about the cross.
Pick your dispensation. You cannot save yourself regardless of which one you choose. We must be saved by Jesus Christ, and if our faith is not rested in Him, we will leave this world lost for all eternity.