Understanding Dispensational Confusions

May 5, 2020

Dispensationalism can be difficult for many to understand, which can lead to its rejection as an essential mode of rightly dividing scripture. In this video, various reasons as to why people do not believe in dispensationalism are discussed, as well as discussing the difference between rightly dividing scripture through the use of the covenant system or dispensations. This video is part 3 of the dispensational proof series.

One of the reasons as to why people are often confused when learning about dispensationalism is that many verses are divided among different dispensations. Various examples of this can be seen throughout the Bible. For these examples, refer to the video “Bible Verses Proving Dispensationalism” in this series. Because the Bible is written by God through human writers, it encompasses higher thoughts that are difficult for us as human beings to comprehend. The complexity of scripture can lead us to simplify it for our own interpretation and by consequence, lose the original interpretation for the intended audience. Studying scripture is no easy task, especially when trying to decipher God’s thoughts, which are vastly more complex than our own. Given this dilemma, we are often faced with the desire, or rather the lack thereof, to study doctrine that challenges us and helps us grow spiritually. If we genuinely want to understand God’s word, we cannot assume the Bible contains one general idea but acknowledge that there are different things set apart for different people. For example, the following verses:

Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Exodus 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.

As believers of God, we know that God is always in the present tense (as He refers to Himself as “I Am”) whilst mankind is time-dependent (past, present, future). Therefore, when God (not time-dependent) deals with man (time-dependent), He deals with man in separate timetables in a specific time period. We cannot assume that God deals with all men in the same manner and at the same time since there are different time periods found throughout man’s existence. Another issue is that believers assume that the writers of each book understood what they were writing and for whom the message was directed. They try to apply all verses to church age under this assumption. This is not true since there are verses in which the writers express their confusion upon receiving a message from God. The Holy Spirit moves among the authors of each book to write according to the will and understanding of God, not to the understanding of men. As Christians, we trust that scripture is the word of God and not of the men that were inspired to write them via the Holy Spirit.

Daniel 12:8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?

Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

1 Peter 1:10-12  Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

There are numerous examples in the Bible in which God divides many things among various peoples based upon His perfect will. That being said, it is equally necessary to rightly divide His word for our understanding and continual spiritual growth. Just as we can agree that we all have different callings in our spiritual walk with Christ, we can agree that not everything written in scripture is applicable to us Christians.

Numbers 26:52-56 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names. To many thou shalt give the more inheritance, and to few thou shalt give the less inheritance: to every one shall his inheritance be given according to those that were numbered of him. Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit. According to the lot shall the possession thereof be divided between many and few.

Mark 6:38-43 He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.

1 Corinthians 12:8-11 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Rightly Dividing the word of God: Covenants vs. Dispensations

Dispensations are not limited to a period of time but rather how God chooses to administer things in a specific order (people, experiences, time, etc.). A covenant is an arrangement between two parties, in this case, God and the designated peoples of the arrangement. Rightly dividing through covenants is more accurate when wanting to divide each verse of the Bible since they are all ordained to a specific covenant. If we go by dispensations, then verses belonging to a different time period will be attributed to the wrong people. Church age scripture, in the context of time periods, addresses two different people: those in the tribulation period and those in the present church age.

The eight covenants in which scripture is divided are as follows:
– Edenic Covenant (innocence)
– Adamic Covenant (conscience)
– Noahic Covenant (human government)
– Abrahamic Covenant (promise)
– Mosaic Covenant (law)
– Davidic Covenant (kingdom)
– New Covenant (division 1: church, division 2: Jew and Gentile)
– Eternal Covenant (perfect)

When studying scripture, liberals come to the same distinctions between covenants as Christians. The only difference between our understanding and theirs is that they do not accept it as God’s word or that it has a perfect order. Because scripture is so heavily divided, it is their belief that the authors of the Bible contradict one another. Therefore, it is important to study scripture by rightly dividing so that we can help the lost intellectuals understand and grow spiritually.