Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dispensational principles

Can a spiritual principle be carried over dispensations?   For instance, is what’s written in Ecclesiastes 8:5 strictly to, for, and about Israel’s judgments? 

Ecclesiastes 8:5
Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment.

You ask whether this principle could be applied to all dispensations, or is it only for Israel. Well, although this verse is written to, about, and for Israel's interpretation, the statement also has spiritual application to any and all dispensations. Anyone who keeps God's word to them (during whatever dispensation they live in) shall keep themselves from the effects of evil, more than if they rejected God's word.

2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

Also, anyone who operates in God's wisdom will have godly spiritual discernment and prudence in order to understand what's going on.

Romans 13:11
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

So yes, although the verse is in reference to Israel, the spiritual application extends to every dispensation.

So how does that verse apply to us believers today? Well, God gives us discernment through his Apostle to us today, Paul, about the "time and judgment" for our present dispensation of grace.

1 Timothy 4:1-9
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. or every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:  For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.

Here we see that when Paul tells us about the "latter times" of our current dispensation of Grace, his focus is not on what is taking place in the outside world around us, but his focus is what will go on inside the church the body of Christ. So our focus—when looking at whether or not we are in our last days—ought to also be on what's going on inside the church. And what we see from this verse is that the issue of people—particularly those who are put in charge to teach the church—will "give heed" (i.e., pay attention to) "seducing spirits and doctrines of devils."  What I see about those two things from scripture is that (just like the beginning of our dispensation, particularly during the transition from the prophetic program to the mystery program, where "supernatural" manifestations were taking place), so will it be in the end of our dispensation, where not only will there be bad teachings out there that go against Paul's doctrine (originated by Satan and his angels), but there will be similar seemingly "supernatural" manifestations that will draw people away from God's rightly divided word.

And today, we do see just that taking place in the church. Many believers not only reject God's word through Paul, but they also are drawn away by some "spiritual experience" that they claim that they had (and no doubt some have), in which they attribute to God, but really are from other spirits. And this is not unusual because just like the beginning when we very very close to those supernatural manifestations of prophecy during the transition, the closer we get to the rapture and thus, the beginning of prophecy again, we will see more and more of those things. That prophetic time will be filled with all types of supernatural manifestations that draw people away from God's truth!

2 Thessalonians 2:11
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

In the bible, the way that God does this is simply by allowing Satan and his angels to do these supernatural "wonders" so that people will get the "lie" that they want!

Paul later gives Timothy and us more light on our last days...

2 Timothy 3:1-14
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.  But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

Again we see that Paul's focus is not on what's going on outside the church, but inside! He warns us about what's sure to come, and that is, people will not only be against his doctrine, but they will be as mean and evil as the lost people outside the church. Again, we do not have to look that hard to see those things among members of the body do we? So in my professional opinion as a bible student and a pastor, we are living in the last days of God's grace dispensation. 

Unfortunately, for those of us who think about these things, God chose not to give us the exact year/day/hour of the rapture, but instead gave us the general trend of what will take place right before it. He did that, I believe in order for us to not just sit around doing nothing while we await his return. But he desires us to keep working with him to see people saved out of this world headed on the collision course of his wrath to come, and to see saints edified in his truth!

Hopefully this helps!


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1 comment:

  1. It's so helpful to see how we can take truths from the OT and apply them to us today apart from the traditional, religious view that is a subtle form of Replacement Theology. One of the hardest things for me when I first came to understand right division was learning how to take spiritual application from non-Pauline books.