Biblical history is best understood as a series of dispensations and covenants. A dispensation can be defined as the particular means God uses to deal with man and creation during a given period in redemptive history. The term “covenant” is of Latin origin (con venire), meaning a coming together. A Biblical covenant is an agreement between God and Man, to make a contract, agreeing on promises, stipulations, privileges, and responsibilities.
Viewed together, over a timeline of 7,000 years, the dispensations and covenants can give us a grand view of the Lord’s plan.
The Age of Innocence
God, with his son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, created the universe and everything in it and he said it was good. He then said, “Let us make man in our image.” About 6,000 years ago, he breathed into man and Adam came alive and was a being that had a will of his own. He could make his own decisions. God choose that for man. He gave Adam dominion over the earth and all its inhabitants. Adam was alone so he then created Eve for him to have a help mate. It was a perfect life in paradise.
The Edenic Covenant – The Age of Conscience
The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:15-17)
There were two trees in the garden. The first was the Tree of Life (a symbol of the Holy Spirit). The second was the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil (a symbol of the law). This was the only tree in the garden that God told them they were not to eat the fruit of. There was no sin until Eve was tempted by Satan (an evil angel) to eat the forbidden fruit of that tree. Adam followed her in the sin of disobedience to God. They knew they had rebelled.
They lost their innocence and realized that they were naked. They covered their nakedness with fig leaves. That is when man first sinned (disobeyed the known will of God). God had to sacrifice an animal to cover their sin and nakedness. This was the first sacrifice to cover sin, and a lesson from God that the payment for sin will always be death. They died spiritually and morally and where alienated from God. They transmitted their sin nature to all of their offspring. Since then, sin has remained in the world, all people are sinners, and death remains the punishment for sin.
The Noahic Covenant – The Age of Human Government
Men and women then reproduced and populated the earth. The wickedness of man was great, the earth had become filled with violence, and God was grieved. However, one man named Noah found grace in the eyes of God. About 2,350 B. C. God destroyed the wicked by flooding the earth with water. During the flood, he saved Noah and his family by protecting them in a large boat along with animals of every kind. After the flood waters had receded, God confirmed a covenant with Noah:
“I will require the life of every animal and every man for your life and your blood. I will require the life of each man’s brother for a man’s life.
Whoever sheds man’s blood,
his blood will be shed by man,
for God made man in His image.
But you, be fruitful and multiply; spread out over the earth and multiply on it.”
Then God said to Noah and his sons with him, “Understand that I am confirming My covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you—birds, livestock, and all wildlife of the earth that are with you—all the animals of the earth that came out of the ark. I confirm My covenant with you that never again will every creature be wiped out by the waters of a flood; there will never again be a flood to destroy the earth.”
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all future generations: I have placed My bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. Whenever I form clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and all the living creatures: water will never again become a flood to destroy every creature. The bow will be in the clouds, and I will look at it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all the living creatures on earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have confirmed between Me and every creature on earth.” (Genesis 9:8-17)
The Abrahamic Covenant – The Age of Promise
About 2,000 B. C. God appeared to a man named Abram and told him to leave where he was and to go into another land that God would show him. Abram had faith in God, obeyed him, and this pleased God.
After these events, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield;
your reward will be very great.
But Abram said, “Lord God, what can You give me, since I am childless and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Abram continued, “Look, You have given me no offspring, so a slave born in my house will be my heir.”
Now the word of the Lord came to him: “This one will not be your heir; instead, one who comes from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “Your offspring will be that numerous.”
Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:1-6)
God later changed Abram’s name to Abraham (which means father of many nations). God told Abraham that in his offspring all the nations of the earth would be blessed, because he obeyed God’s voice. Abraham gave birth to Isaac, Isaac gave birth to Jacob, and Jacob’s name was changed to Israel. Israel had twelve sons who were the fathers of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel.
The Mosaic Covenant – The Age of the Law
Later the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians, and around 1,500 B. C. God used a man named Moses to deliver them from their slavery. After leaving Egypt, the Israelites wandered through the wilderness on their way to a good land, which God wanted them to live in. While they were in the wilderness, God gave Moses the law, which Moses taught the Israelites to obey. This law provided the infrastructure for their society, for generations to come, and still impacts us today.
Then God spoke all these words:
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.
Do not have other gods besides Me.
Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands.
Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God, because the Lord will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses His name.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: You are to labor six days and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the foreigner who is within your gates. For the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.
Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
Do not murder.
Do not commit adultery.
Do not steal.
Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:1-17)
The Israelites did not always obey the law which God had given them. Fortunately, God provided them with a way to be forgiven. If a person sinned, they could bring an animal to a priest and offer it to God. Its blood was then shed for the forgiveness of sin.
The New Covenant – The Age of Grace
About two thousand years ago, God the Father sent Jesus Christ (the Son of God) into the world so that the world might be saved through Jesus. Jesus is the Word, which was with God in the beginning, and was God. The Word was made flesh by God causing an Israelite virgin named Mary to become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Mary was the mother of this child, but there was no earthly father who had caused her to become pregnant. This child was named Jesus. He was the Son of God, who had now become fully human as well. Many years before Jesus appeared on the earth, there had been prophecies which foretold of him. While on the earth, he fulfilled all the prophecies concerning him.
At that time John the Baptist was baptizing in the Jordan River for repentance of sins. Jesus came to him and asked to be baptized. When John did this, a voice from heaven spoke and said, “This is My Son, in whom I am well pleased!” John declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
By the power of God, Jesus performed many miracles. Some of these miracles included healing all kinds of diseases, bringing dead people back to life, casting out demons, controlling the weather, walking on water, and turning water into wine.
Jesus showed people that God loved them. He taught them to love God and to love one another. He is the King of the kingdom of heaven and his kingdom is not of this world. Jesus had many disciples who followed him, men and women. He chose twelve to be apostles (leaders). He preached the gospel of the kingdom of heaven to people. Those who believe in Jesus and do the will of God will enter his kingdom. He taught people to lay up their treasures in heaven, not on earth where moth and rust corrupt and thieves break through and steal. He taught them how to pray and ask for what they or others needed. And he told them they could have victorious lives through faith in Him. He initiated the New Covenant just before being betrayed:
When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”
In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you. (Luke 22:14-20)
Jesus lived a perfect life and did not sin. There were some people who did not like what Jesus was doing and plotted to have Him crucified. He was scourged, mocked, and hung on a cross until he died. Then, he was placed in a tomb. Just like the Passover lambs were offered and their blood was shed for the forgiveness of sin, Jesus was offered and his blood was shed. His perfect sacrifice was better than an animal sacrifice and by the shedding of his blood came the forgiveness of sins for all people once and forever.
Jesus paid the price for all mankind when he suffered on the cross. He took on himself the rebellion and sin of all mankind from the past, present and future. So, even we have caused him the pain he suffered. He was the final sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice for all time. No longer did man have to sacrifice animals to cover their sin because his ultimate sacrifice PAID the price for all time.
The Tribulation Covenant – The Age of the Law (part 2)
One of the critical signs are pointing to the Tribulation and the imminent Rapture of the Church is a comprehensive peace plan (a covenant with the Antichrist) that allows the rebuilding of Jewish Temple. Over the last 2 years, efforts have accelerated rapidly in that direction.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.”
We believe that this Peace Treaty will begin the dark one “week” or 7 year period called the Tribulation, and that this will start very shortly. The Rapture will occur before then.
The agreement will be violated by Israel’s enemies half-way through the 7 years, and the Islamic leader will take the Lord’s place in the Temple and declare himself to be God. He is the Beast (or Antichrist).
What did Jesus Christ say about this “abomination of desolation”?
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:15-22)
The Millennium Covenant – The Age of the Kingdom
The seventh and final dispensation brings about the culmination of life on Earth and the closest thing yet to how God really wanted to live with us on this planet. As its name suggests, the Millennial Kingdom of Christ will be the true peace covenant, and will last for 1,000 years.
I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. I will establish and multiply them and will set My sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be My people. When My sanctuary is among them forever, the nations will know that I, Yahweh, sanctify Israel.” (Ezekiel 37:26-28)
Then I saw thrones, and people seated on them who were given authority to judge. I also saw the people who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of God’s word, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and who had not accepted the mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with the Messiah for 1,000 years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the 1,000 years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of the Messiah, and they will reign with Him for 1,000 years. (Revelation 20:4-6)
.When the 1,000 years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle. Their number is like the sand of the sea. They came up over the surface of the earth and surrounded the encampment of the saints, the beloved city. Then fire came down from heaven and consumed them. The Devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
The End of the World
Then I saw a great white throne and One seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from His presence, and no place was found for them. I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books.
Then the sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead; all were judged according to their works. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:7-15)
The end is coming – sooner than we think!.
.For we know that if our temporary, earthly dwelling is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal dwelling in the heavens, not made with hands. Indeed, we groan in this body, desiring to put on our dwelling from heaven, since, when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. Indeed, we groan while we are in this tent, burdened as we are, because we do not want to be unclothed but clothed, so that mortality may be swallowed up by life. And the One who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment.
So, we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight, and we are confident and satisfied to be out of the body and at home with the Lord. Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or worthless. (2 Corinthians 5:1-10)
If you are not sure that you are a member of the family of God, you can accept Christ into your life right now, by praying:
“Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior.”
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The description of the dispensations was well done!
Gino, February 6, 2022
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