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DISP 6: Dispensations of Noah and Abraham

From Conscience to Law

According to Genesis 5, during early times, mankind was living by conscience. In addition, their lifespan was very long, up to 900 years. As time went by, we could see from the Bible that mankind’s lifespan deteriorated more and more.

As it was too easy for men to sin and fall into the depravity of their conscience, because of mankind’s sinful nature. God decided to cut short their lifespan and not let men live by conscience to judge their salvation anymore. God established laws and governmental systems to judge men’s sanctification.

Genesis 6:3 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.

The Abrahamic Covenant

Genesis 15:18 In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

If we bless the Jews, we will be blessed in return; if we curse the Jews, we will be cursed in return. It’s clearly written in the Bible, the Jews are God’s chosen people. God will deal with them, it is not up to us or the world political systems to cast judgments unto them. God is more than enough to take care of his own children.

According to dispensationalism, God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants was never broken, unlike how the anti-dispensationalists with replacement theology claim that they are no longer God’s children which is untrue.

Based on Judges 2:1 cf Genesis 17:2, God was speaking to Jews, not Christians. In addition, Genesis 17:10 stated that the Jews in the Old Testament were supposed to practice circumcision. However, the Jews nowadays do not have to follow that system anymore.

Abraham and Salvation

At this time, Abraham and his people’s salvation was based on faith and works combined.

James 2:21-22 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

Some people see there was so much promise in between God and Abraham; it seemed like Abraham and his children got away with a lot of sins which the law would demand the death of those sins. But since the law was not even born during the Abrahamic time period, those anti dispensationalists would assume that Abraham’s salvation was only by faith.

Nonetheless, even though Law was not formed during that time, God would judge Abraham and his people through both faith and works. Looking at those verses mentioned in the book of James, it was clear that from Abraham to his son Isaac, and to Jacob, their salvation was not justified only by faith, but they were also perfected by works.

Spiritual Dealings in the Abrahamic Covenant

We understand that since Adam and Eve have sinned against God, men’s spirits were dead, so God had to deal with them physically. It made sense that even though Abraham was chosen by God for his promise, and that he had faith spiritually, Abraham still needed to do work. In contrast, Christians deal with God spiritually.

Nevertheless, God’s Grace has been consistent throughout the whole timeline from Genesis to Revelation, so He would still involve some spiritual dealings with the Jews back then in the Old Testament.

Genesis 15:5 cf Romans 4:2-3
One thing very important from Paul is that he would indicate God’s spiritual dealings with the Jews in the Old Testament, and these are doctrines and words that we Christians can learn from and apply to us. This is unlike how some heretic and hyper-dispensationalists argue that none of the books from the Old Testament is applicable to us.

Psalm 103:17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;

If we seek to understand dispensationalism, we need to study the mind of God through His words in the Bible and rightly dividing His words.

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

When God was dealing with men, it was both physical and spiritual. Towards the Jews, it was predominantly Physical, but there were also aspects of spiritual dealings. Whereas with us Gentiles, it is mainly Spiritual in terms of our salvation; however our flesh will still be judged for our sanctification when the day arrives.