People who do not believe that god is a “dispensationalist” mislead themselves terribly. Their strongest argument AGAINST dispensationalism is to say that “God does not change… He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow!” To which we dispensationalists wholeheartedly agree! God does not change, but the ways in which He deals with mankind, in fact does.
In the beginning was that period of time (or dispensation) of innocence. Adam and Eve were created perfect, eternal and completely innocent, only knowing what God wanted them to know and nothing of “good and evil”. (We cannot discern one without comprehending the other.)
How blissful that must have been! Ecclesiastes 1:18… “For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseeth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” Yet because of that “fall of man”, we must now face things we were not created to know.
Following Adam’s (mankind’s) fall, God instituted the dispensation of conscience. A conscience was placed into man that he would know when he was engaged in something “inappropriate”. This lasted some 1,500 years.
Genesis 3:7… “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”
Man failed to govern himself and to heed the conscience God gave him, and the Antediluvian world, not surprisingly, became completely evil. God destroyed it utterly saving only 8 out of an estimated (by population growth standards over time) 6 billion people. When Noah and his family exited that gracefully saving Ark, God instituted the dispensation of human government where men were given authority over other men.
Genesis 9:6… “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”
Capital punishment was instituted that if a man murdered another man, by men (not God) should that same man be killed. Noah’s sons scattered and repopulated the earth as God would have them; but after a while the first “One World/New World Order” came into being and all the world became of one language and had the same goal. To be “like gods” and “not die”; (remember the garden conversation between satan and Eve… sounds much like our evolution worshiping, technology loving, transhumanist counterparts today, such as Michio Kaku, Ray Kurtzweil, Stephen Hawking and the like) and build a tower that extended their reach (be “like” God) and their very selves (not see death) into heaven. Oh will these surely be disappointed in eternity! God never created us to die, as Adam and Eve were created immortal. We killed ourselves by choice and cannot fix this deadly condition alone or technologically.
Genesis 11:1-4… “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.”
Here we see the “end” of human government in the hands of fallen men. Ultimate power and ultimate control in the hands of very few… well, one really. satan, as that is satan’s ultimate goal (as we learned in the last post); to be like the Most High and rule the universe. God puts a stop to this, not by destroying the world as in the flood, but by confusing the people’s language that they could not communicate with one another. Their progress ground to a halt, they then scattered once again into separate nations and God changed the parameters of His dealings with man once again.
It is here God calls Abram out of the general population, to eventually form of his seed the nation Israel, where the dispensation of the Law was instituted. (Interesting fact that the “Old Testament” in the Bible does not begin until Exodus 19.) This dispensation of Law continues through the crucifixion of Israel’s Messiah (the “New Testament” does not begin until Christ’s death) and comes to an end at the calling of the Apostle Paul in Acts 9. We currently, as you now know, live in the dispensation of the free grace of God. The yellow “but now” period on the Bible Chart.
Romans 3:20-21… “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. BUT NOW the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;”
The Law has been suspended as it had been in the centuries before God called the nation Israel His own, and grace is “but now” instituted. As we saw in the last post, the dispensation of judgement and war will (likely) begin very shortly after Gods longsuffering grace is concluded; and after that, the dispensation of God’s Kingdom come to earth for 1,000 years.
Question: has God changed throughout any of this? Of course not. He just alters the way He deals with us, that His ultimate purpose may be fulfilled. So what is that ultimate purpose (the ultimate purpose of this post)?
Ephesians 1:10… “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”
That God can and will re-create the perfect universe He always intended… with “beings” who DESIRE to be there!
Revelation 4:11… “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and FOR THY PLEASURE they are and were created.”
We were created FOR Gods own personal pleasure! He created, because He could… simply because it is His nature to create and only to destroy when man and fallen angel have taken things too far. This destructive activity is reserved to re-constructive purposes. Destruction itself, destructive activity for destruction’s sake, is reserved for satan and mankind.
Creation itself will eventually be purged completely of sin and the universal curse sin resulted in, which we now know as the second law of thermodynamics. He will gather together all things: What things? 1) Those which are in heaven. We are going to be in heaven, so these would be Gods heavenly people – the body of Christ. Also the non-fallen angels. 2) Those which are on earth. Israel will be on earth, Gods earthly people – the nation of priests ministering to those Gentiles who will listen to them. These two “programs” will ultimately be combined IN CHRIST and a “new” eternity will begin for God’s creation. Those who now CHOOSE to be separate from God, both men and angels, will be separated from God for all eternity in the lake of fire where their worm dieth not (Mark 9:43-48).
Whereas we NOW have spiritual and judicial redemption (with the nation Israel “on hold”):
Romans 5:8-10… “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being NOW justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have NOW received the atonement.”
…we NOW long for physical redemption from this world of sin and death.
Romans 8:19-23… “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
The “creature” is creation itself and those saved are the sons of God. Saved humanity and creation itself will be radically changed by God during this ultimate death defying resurrection. Our bodies will become celestial as Christ’s body was after His resurrection. Our consciences will be cleansed to a state of innocence once again. Does this sound too good to be true? With God all things are possible (Mark 10:27); Paul writes…
1 Corinthians 15:35-44… “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”
Our terrestrial bodies must eventually die, since we ARE corrupted by sin and death, and therefore it is appointed unto man once to die (thank God, as death frees us, Hebrews 9:27) and then judgement. But if one is in Christ, whether of the earth (Israel and Gentiles who bless them) or in the heavens (the body of Christ); these are all eventually resurrected in celestial “transfigured glorious” bodies.
Philippians 3:20-21… “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
Romans 8:14-17… “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
Wonder beyond wonder! Joint heirs of EVERYTHING CREATED with Christ! Superman ain’t got nothin’ on me 🙂
Only, however, for those who are Perfect as God is Perfect. “But, nobody’s perfect”, you rightly cry.
Next Post: “Nobody’s perfect.“