Dispensationalism I. What does dispensation mean? II. Dispensationalism

Dispensationalism I. What does dispensation mean? II. Dispensationalism

Dispensationalism I. What does dispensation mean? II. Dispensationalism is a system of theology III. Divisions of Dispensationalism IV. Concluding Observations. What does Dispensationalism mean? 1. The English word dispensation is an English form of the Latin dispensatio, which the Vulgate uses to

translate the Greek word oikonomia. 2. The Latin verb means to weigh out or dispense. What does Dispensationalism mean? 3. Three principle ideas are connected to the meaning of the English word: (a) The action of dealing out or distributing; (b) The action of administering, ordering, or managing; the system by which things are administered; (c) The action of dispensing with some requirement. What does Dispensationalism mean? 4. Defining the use of the word theologically, the Oxford English Dictionary says that a dispensation is

the following: a stage in a progressive revelation, expressly adapted to the needs of a particular nation or period of time.Also, the age or period during which a system has prevailed. What does Dispensationalism mean? 5. The Greek word oikonomia comes from the verb that means to manage, regulate, administer, and plan. The word itself is a compound whose parts mean literally to divide, apportion, administer or manage the affairs of an inhabited house. 6. In the papyri the officer (oikonomos) who administered the dispensation was referred to as a steward or manager of an

estate, or as a treasurer. Thus, the central idea in the word dispensation is that of managing or administering the affairs of a household. What does Dispensationalism mean? 7. The various forms of the word dispensation appear in the New Testament twenty times: (a) Verb oikonomeo is used once in Luke 16:2 where it is translated to be a steward. (b) Noun oikonomos appears ten times (Luke 12:42; 16:1, 3, 8; Rom. 16:23; 1 Cor. 4:1-2; Gal. 4:2; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 4:10) and is typically translated steward or manager (but treasurer in Rom. 16:23). (c) Noun oikonomia is used nine times (Luke 16:2,3,4; 1 Cor. 9:17;

Eph. 1:10, 3:2,9; Col. 1:25; 1 Tim. 1:4). In these instances it is translated variously, stewardship, dispensation, administration, job, commission. II. Dispensational Theology is a System of Theology: A. Dispensational theology is a system that embodies three essential, fundamental concepts (sine qua non): 1. The consistent use of a plain, normal, literal, grammatical-historical-literary method of interpretation; 2. Which reveals that the Church is distinct from Israel; 3. Gods overall purpose is to bring glory to Himself

(Eph. 1:6, 12, 14). 1. a. Normative Interpretation: Fundamental and unique is the belief that we consistently seek to give each word the same meaning it would have in its normal usage. 1. It is also known as plain interpretation because we recognize symbols, figures of speech, types, etc. These are interpreted plainly in order to communicate their intended meaning to the reader. In other words, symbols, figures of speech,

and types are normal literary tools that are used to clarify or emphasize thoughts and ideas; 2. Literal, plain, or normative interpretation results in accepting the text of Scripture as its face value. 3. The text taken at face value leads one to recognize the distinctions in the progress of divine revelation whereby God uses different economies or dispensations in the outworking of His program. 1. Normative Interpretation:

b. We are able to validate the assumption of using a plain, normal, literal, grammatical-historical-literary method of interpretation with the following three reasons: 1. Philosophically: Language was given by God for the purpose of communication with humanity. Therefore, God would give His linguistic communication in the most understandable way-literally and normally. It seems unlikely that God would go to all the trouble of revealing Himself to people in a manner that only caused people confusion and uncertainty in their understanding of who God is and how He works.

1. Normative Interpretation: 2. Biblically: The O.T. prophecies concerning Christs birth and rearing, ministry, death, and resurrection were all fulfilled literally. 3. Logically: In order to maintain objectivity the literal method of interpretation must be employed. This ensures that impartiality is maintained and prevents the interpreter from overlaying biblical truth with personal thoughts. Thus, normative dispensationalism is the result of the consistent use of the basic hermeneutical principle of literal interpretation. And though dispensationalists have not all been consistent in their usage at all times, this claim for literal interpretation can be made by no

2. Clear Distinction between Israel and the Church: a. The church is seen as distinct from Israel for two fundamental reasons: 1. Its character: In O.T. God was dealing primarily with the nation of Israel, which consisted of the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. On the other hand the church consists of believing Jews and Gentiles baptized into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:14) and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. 2.

Its time: The church age began after the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:20-22), and His ascension (Eph. 4:7-12). Therefore, since believers of this age are baptized into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13), the church age began with the baptizing ministry of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2; 11:1516). 2. Clear Distinction between Israel and the Church: Its time: The church is a mystery that was not revealed to past generations (Eph. 3:3-5, 9; Col. 1:26-7). This mystery, now revealed, includes the uniting of Jewish and Gentile believers in one spiritual body, Christ

indwelling believers, and the future rapture of the unified body (1 Cor. 15:50-58). 2. Therefore, this distinction between Israel and the church is the result of historical-grammatical interpretation. Literal interpretation is not used solely by dispensationalists, but its consistent use in all areas of biblical interpretation is. 3. Doxological Purpose: Gods overall purpose is to Glorify Himself.

a. Gods ultimate purpose for the ages is to glorify Himself. Scripture is not human-centered, as though salvation were the principle point, but God-centered, because His glory is at the center. b. The glory of God is the primary principle that unifies all dispensations, the program of salvation being just one of the means by which God glorifies Himself. Each successive revelation of Gods plan for the ages, as well as His dealing with the elect, non-elect, angels, and nations all manifest His glory. III. Dispensational Divisions:

A. Though the sine qua non is what distinguishes a dispensationalist: 1. Consistent use of a normative interpretation; 2. Leads to a distinction between Israel and the Church; 3. Gods overall purpose is to glorify Himself. The recognition of distinctions in the progress of revelation reveals different dispensations that God uses in the outworking of His plan for the ages. III. Dispensational Divisions:

1. First Dispensation of Innocence: Genesis 1:28-3:6: Adam was the key person and his responsibilities involved the upkeep of the garden and not eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As a result of failing the eating test came far-reaching judgments on him, his wife, all of humanity, the serpent, and the entire creation. III. Dispensational Divisions: 2. Dispensation of Conscience (Gen. 4:1-8:14):

The conscience is whereby God chose to govern people. In other words, human responsibility was to be obedient to the dictates of their consciences. During this period there was murder (Gen. 4:8), unnatural affection (Gen. 6:2),and widespread evil desire and purpose of heart (Gen. 6:5). God closed this period with the universal flood. God spared Noah, his wife, his sons, and their wives by grace (Gen. 6:8). III. Dispensational Divisions: 3. Dispensation of Civil Government

(Gen. 8:15-11:9): This period began after the Flood and included the animals fear of people, animals given to people to eat, the promise of no more flood, and the institution of capital punishment. God gave people the right to take human life which established the right to govern others. From the beginning people failed this test when Noah became drunk with wine and thus was incapable of ruling. This period ended with the tower of Babel. III. Dispensational Divisions:

4. Dispensation of Patriarchal Rule or Promise (Genesis 11:10-Exodus 18:27): During this period God chose one family and one nation which He used as a representative test of all. Until this dispensation all humanity had been directly linked to Gods governing principles. The patriarchal obligation was to believe and serve God, and God provided many material and spiritual provisions. A specific land was promised and blessing as long as the Israelites stayed in that land. The nations failure ended in slavery in Egypt. III. Dispensational Divisions:

5. Dispensation of Mosaic Law (Exodus 19:1Acts 1:26): The people were responsible to do all the law (James 2:10) but they failed (Rom. 10:1-3). Failure brought judgments: the ten tribes were carried into Assyrian captivity, the two tribes to Babylon captivity, and they were ultimately scattered throughout the world (Matt. 23:37-39) because of their rejection of Jesus Christ. III. Dispensational Divisions: 6. Dispensation of the Church (Acts 2:1Revelation 19:21):

Human responsibility is to accept the gift of righteousness which is freely offered by God to all (Rom. 5:15-18)- both Jews and Gentiles. No longer does God deal with just one nation but to anyone who believes. This dispensation will end with the second coming of Jesus Christ. III. Dispensational Divisions: 7. Dispensation of the Millennium (Rev. 20:1-15) After the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the millennial kingdom will be established in fulfillment of the biblical, unconditional covenants of

the Old Testament (Abrahamic, Davidic, Land, and New Covenant). The Lord Jesus will rule from Jerusalem on Davids throne and His government will last for one thousand years, and human responsibility will be obedience to the King and His Laws. Satan will be bound, Christ will rule, righteousness will predominate, and obvious disobedience will be dealt with swiftly. This period ends with an unsuccessful rebellion against Christs government. This results in those rebels being cast into eternal punishment. IV. Concluding Observations: A. Stewardship responsibilities are placed on all who live under a dispensation. This responsibility means active participation for those who respond to the principle of administration and judgment for those who reject its standards.

B. Aspects of a dispensation do not necessarily end when another begins. There are promises given in one dispensation that are not always fulfilled during that period (e.g., the promises in O.T. about Christs first advent were not fulfilled until He came). Too, there are things instituted in one dispensation that continue on through every age (e.g., people made in the image of God). There are those things that are set out in one period and then presented again in another period (9 of the 10 commandments of the Law are restated as part of the dispensation of church, though restrictions concerning specific foods are done away with). IV. Concluding Observations: C. The requirement for salvation is the same during all dispensations_ it is through faith, though the content of faith differs in different ages.

Dispensationalism answers the need of Biblical distinctions. E. It answers the need of a philosophy of history. F. It provides consistent hermeneutics. G. Dispensations does not make one a dispensationalist. Covenant theologians like Berkhof and John Calvin held to 4 dispensations. Rather, it is the sine qua non that distinguishes a dispensationalist from all others.

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