XI. Dispensationology -

The Doctrine of the Dispensations of God or the teaching of the Dispensations of God

The teaching of Godís dispensations or administration. This truth covers the seven dispensations of God and shows past, present and future history and it should be included in the studies of Systematic Theology.

The understanding of dispensations is not optional for today and dispensation give a clear systematic understanding of the workings of God. Accuracy is very important in Biblical studies not just in word studies, but also in God’s working out the history of humanity from the beginning of creation to the end of all things.

There is a theological approach to scripture called Systematic theology (the study of God and His orderly working). A dispensational study of scripture would be a sub-category under the discipline of systematic studies (the study of God's administration). The following categories are the most commonly accepted which dispensation should be included.

(There is a link on each study. The link takes you to the study of these doctrinal teachings.)

  1. Teaching of God (Theology),
  2. Teaching of the Bible (Bibliology),
  3. Teaching of Christ (Christology),
  4. Teaching of the Holy Spirit (Pneumatology),
  5. Teaching of Humanity (Anthropology),
  6. Teaching of Sin (Hamartiology),
  7. Teaching of Angeles (Angelology),
  8. Teaching of Salvation (Soteriology),
  9. Teaching of Dispensations (Dispensationology),
    (A new word to describe the teaching and study of God's administrations in the history of the world),
  10. Teaching of the Church (Ecclesiology),
  11. Teaching of End Times (Eschatology).

The Biblical definition of dispensation is the dispensing of the household rules of God.

The word dispensation (the Greek - oikonomian) is a scriptural term used a number of times in scripture and translated as follows:

{KJV Translated dispensation}, Colossians 1:25 {and in NIV Translated commission}, other translations, {NKJV, NASVB, DARBY},

{KJV Translated dispensation}, Ephesians 1:10 {and in NIV left out of the English translation}, other translations, {NKJV, NASVB, DARBY},

{KJV Translated dispensation}, Ephesians 3:2, {and in NIV Translated administration}, other translations, {NKJV, NASVB, DARBY},

{KJV Translated dispensation}, I Corinthians 9:17 {and in NIV Translated trust a paraphrase of the translator}, other translations, {NKJV, NASVB, DARBY},

{KJV Translated fellowship a paraphrase of translator}, Ephesians 3:9 {and in the NIV Translated administration}, other translations, {NKJV, NASVB, DARBY},

{KJV Translated stewardship}, Luke 16:2-4 {and in the NIV Translated manager, management}, other translations, {NKJV, NASVB, DARBY}.

Note: KJV - Authorized King James Version; NIV - New International Version; NKJV - New King James Version; NASVB - New American Standard Version Bible; DARBY- Darby version.

Dispensation or administration relates to God's dealings, rules, expectation, etc., and the failures of man. The term stewardship, which is inherent in the word is the one who carries out the dispensation but to have a dispensation a superior or sovereign had to design the parameters and responsibility for it. A study will show the similarities, differences and commonalities of God‘s rules through the historical administrations with humanity.

The study shows seven administrations which cover the beginning to the completion of redemption for humanity running in each dispensation. A study will reveal seven governing principles which move the dispensation forward in history from one dispensation to the next until the final one which fines competition in the dispensations of eternity, Ephesians 1:10. (NOTE: The word administration or dispensation are interchangeably because the meaning is the same.)

Dispensational teaching should not be considered a movement, but a truth that is found in scripture.

Dispensations clarify God’s dealings with humanity from the time He designed His plan and it covers how it was implemented and how life was to be carried out by humanity.
However, if history repeat itself there will be those who oppose a study of this type. They will misrepresent it with terms such a 'Dispensationalism' trying to make it a movement or something to be rejected. Why? It is hard to know the intent of every Christian, but most of the time it is because of ignorance or a refusal to change from what was taught, in some school or seminary. The understanding of the dispensational approach to the truth of God’s Word takes growth and if given a correct evaluation of dispensational truth will hold up. Other reasons for opposition is the threat to what they have always believed (a flesh problem). At times it will be a direct attack by the enemy Satan, who is trying to keep, one in confusion. Let us hope and pray as Paul did for the Ephesians that their eyes would be open. The challenge is to study the scripture to see if these facts are there. One who studies God’s Word will fine new strength understanding life with a greater ability to apply Scripture. No way studying the dispensations (administrations) is to be a movement! Symmetrical approach gives the understanding of past events, today's events, and the future events of God.


Evangelist, pastors and teachers need to have a clear understanding of dispensational truth in leading their flock into maturity. Knowing were a truth is found dispensationally will help brothers and sisters in their handling of their problems. Correct information is important in our witness to non-believer. Dispensational teaching gives believers today stability and guidance. It encourages other, keeping them from falling into errors were others have fallen. It keeps one from being deceived by false teaching or teachings spoken in error. Dispensational truths give freedom to worship with other believers without falling into their same errors they have embrace do to their lack of a dispensational approach to scripture. When understanding wrong teaching which came from a dispensational error you will be kept from the same error not being tossed 'to and fro’. The truth of God’s Word dispensationally will give clarity and understanding to why other religions which claim to be Christian are wrong with their religious practices that accompany their belief (Ephesians 4:14-16).

Dispensational truths shows how God has worked through the ages since the world began providing redemption to all who will receive His Word. It gives order and understanding to tough question. Dispensations give systematical understanding to the whole Bible, clearing up the confusion which has plagued the church since the first century. It puts in order the historical, progressive revelation of God’s dealings with man since the beginning of the world and will show how future events all tie together. Dispensations show the differences between historical events and changes. Christians do not have to ‘spiritualize' God’s word or tell 'spiritual lies’ which harm the working of Christ in the world. Dispensations give the understanding of – who the passage was written to - the purpose it was written – why it was written and how it all ties together in God’s working. All the scripture comes alive in an orderly, progressive, and understandable way helping us understand our creation in real life examples. (II Timothy 3:15,16, II Peter 1:19-21, Romans 15:4)

The gathering by the church of God’s written word the Bible (by the Apostles and prophets) gives the complete and total revelation of God. We learn the total of the existence of man from the beginning to the end of the world. The Apostles and prophets were spokesmen of God and put the exact words which God spoke or inspired them to write and by using their personalities God completed the Bible. The whole of scripture is for our learning with numerous examples showing the character and nature of God and revealing man’s character, Job 40: 1-9;42:1-6; Psalms 19; 8. The Bible reveals man’s fallen nature in response to God and man’s future. The historical past needs to be seen from today’s administration for accuracy and clarity for living.

1.NT:3622 oikonomia (oy-kon-om-ee'-ah); from NT:3623; administration (of a household or estate); specifically, a (religious) "economy" KJV - dispensation, stewardship.
2. NT:3623 oikonomos (oy-kon-om'-os); from NT:3624 and the base of NT:3551; a house-distributor (i.e. manager), or overseer, i.e. an employee in that
capacity; by extension, a fiscal agent (treasurer); figuratively, a preacher (of the Gospel): KJV - chamberlain, governor, steward.
3. NT:3624 oikos (oy'-kos); of uncertain affinity; a dwelling (more or less extensive, literal or figurative); by implication a family (more or less related,
literal or figuratively): KJV - home, house (-hold), temple.
4. NT:3551 nomos (nom'-os); from a primary nemo (to parcel out, especially food or grazing to animals); law (through the idea of prescriptive usage), genitive case (regulation), specifically (of Moses [including the volume]; also of the Gospel), or figuratively (a principle): KJV - law.
1,2,3,4 (Biblesoft's New Exhaust)

This study has been broken down examining the different administrations (dispensations) found in scripture. It is broken down in the order of their occurrence.

The dispensations are given names which represent the major way, within each dispensation, God guided humanity. God was looking for them to trust and assume obedience to Him. In all the dispensations, God wanted humans to trust Him and obedient, bringing Him glory, Ephesians 1:6. In return God gives forgiveness, purpose, freedom of chose, security of life, and heavenly pleasures. Because of one man's sin all the righteous and holy intent of God was corrupted for humanity and the human race was corrupted and condemned, Romans 5, 8:18-25. And, because of the corruption, God has been working on humans, demonstrating His love, showing His long suffering, mercies and grace.

God's love has been shown in Christ Jesus and offered to all and given to those who receive Jesus Christ as Lord, Romans 5; John 3:16; I John 5:9-14. God is working to redeem man back on an individual bases and allowing those who reject to perish by their own choosing, John 3:18-21. This working of God is called redemption and is found in the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Those who individually receive Jesus as Lord and savior receives His provisions. We see the redemption plan represented on the chart by the red line. It is representing the redemptive covenants leading from eternity pasted through the historic event of the cross going into eternity.

Let us go through each dispensation briefly trying to show continuity and clarity of the past, present and future hoping it gives a clearer understanding of the symmetry and how recorded Biblical events tie together, but before we take each individually we need an understanding of some basic truths in the understanding a dispensation.
The Names of the Dispensations and historic order of the Dispensations:
Match the numbers which correspond to the names of each Dispensation of God throughout the history of the world on the chart:.
1. Dispensation of Innocence - Genesis Chapters 1 through 3
2. Dispensation of Conscience - Genesis Chapters 4 through 8
3. Dispensation of Human Government - Genesis Chapters 9 through 11:26
Dispensation of Promise - Genesis 11:26
Exodus 1 through Acts 7, James, I & II Peter, I, II, & 3rd John
5. Dispensation of Grace or Equality Romans through Hebrews
6. Dispensation of the Kingdom - Matthew through Mark, James, I & II Peter, 1st, 2nd & 3rd John, Jude Revelation
7. Dispensation of Eternity - Eternity Eph.1:10, Revelation 21
There are Seven Keys or governing principles in all dispensations.
Without all seven a dispensation has not changed.
  1. Rules which Govern the new Dispensation's operation. These are unique to this dispensation not found in the proceeding dispensation.
  2. Universal rules and moral principles relating to God's character, His creation and of man that go through all dispensations. Some had been revealed in the proceeding dispensations and some new one revealed to man in the new dispensation.
  3. Failure of Humanity's obedience - With the failure we see changes which happened in time, not that time was or is the controlling factor, but the events of man's failure and God's long-suffering coming to an end. Coupled with the foreknowledge, purpose, patience and the love of God the dispensation ends. Man fails in every dispensation except the Dispensation of the fullness of time. The eternal dispensation never ends it is completely under the redemption brought about by God through Christ Jesus, which is eternal, Ephesians 1:10.
  4. Rule which changed because of man’s failure in the former dispensation (living environment, dietary rule, governing rules, leadership, approach to God, etc.)
  5. Transition to the New dispensation - which is seen in every dispensation moving from the old to the new dispensation. It starts at the failure and end some point into the new dispensation. 
  6. There is the institution ordained of God to carry His plan out. God chose this institution to carry out the operation of His administration historically. (family heads, Select family, personal equality through the Church call His body and finally Christ’s ruling reign on earth)
  7. Judgment from God - after His long-suffering and the exercises of  His attributes the judgment is carried out and with the completion of the judgment the new dispensation starts. (Expulsion from Garden of Eden, Flood, Languages confounded, Captivity, Tribulation wrath, and Great White Throne Judgment)

All events since the creation of this world are moving to the eternal Kingdom of God, which is God’s end purpose.  Dispensations are related to the different ways God has shown mercy and grace. And, each dispensation shows how man responded in faith to Him and His grace and mercy. (Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, special promises, law, equality of grace, special position grace). All dispensations has/or will fail from man ability.  But God’s efforts and His provision in His love, long-suffering, grace and mercy has redeemed some. His actions will bring about the Eternal Kingdom dispensation where there will be no failure, sin and Satin because they are gone forever, Ephesians 1:10.

The broken and solid red line on the chart represents Christ’s death on the cross for the redemption of humanity.  The broken line is before the historical fact when animal sacrifices covered sin. The solid line is after the historical fact which became applicable for all the dispensations.   Note: that  the broken line is red and extends before the creation of the world which represents Christ’s death being the plan of God before the world began. The broken line represents the time of the Old Covenant and the solid red line represents the New Covenant. These are the only two stages of the Redemptive Covenant that relates to redemption for humanity from his condemned state, and it was a blood sacrifice.
 On the bottom of the chart are the different covenants supposedly recognized throughout the Bible and where they were given. (For more understanding see chapter on Bible covenants.)
    I.   A covenant agreement, in pl., Iliad:—settled government, order, Aeschylus.
   II. An arrangement between two parties, covenant Aristophanes, N.T.
   III. Covenant: A pact, treaty, alliance, or agreement between two parties of equal or of unequal  authority. The covenant
or testament is a central, and a dispensational understanding is important in unifying the covenants in  Scripture. God’s covenants with individuals and the nation  Israel finds final fulfillment in the new covenant fulfilled in  Christ Jesus' work. God’s covenants can be understood by humans because they are modeled in human covenants or treaties.
The covenants on the chart are the groups of people God was dealing with in His program (dispensation) to reach humanity.   Note: how the stewards in which God was working with relates to the other aspects of the chart. Each Dispensation ends with man’s failure and God revealing a new dispensation where He provided salvation and hope based on His covenant of redemption, (See Redemptive Covenant history).
Today the Nation of Israel is experiencing a delay in the prophesized Kingdom fulfillment which will come after the rapture.  This delay is occasioned by God’s dealing with today’s program which He inserted when the Nation of Israel rejected the Holy Spirit and stewardship. When the last person is saved in today dispensation God will finish dealing with Israel and will pick up where He left off, finishing the prophesized 70th week of Daniel.

If you would take the 5th dispensation out of the chart all of prophecy of scripture would have been fulfilled even if we did not have a Church administration called His Body. God inserted the dispensation for today which was a mystery hide in God and He revealed it to the Apostle Paul, Acts 7-10; Ephesians 3:1,2, and the other Apostles when Israel rejected the third person of the Godhead, Act 7;15; 13:46-48, 14:2; 18:6, 22:21; 28:28,29; Romans 11:11-14. The Apostles received it by revelation from the Lord, Galatians 1:14 - 2:2; 2 Corinthians 12:1-7 (Paul after his conversion received the fullness of it in a number of revelations and Peter in Acts 10). Paul was the thirteenth Apostle and called to be the specific apostle for today’s dispensation, Acts 9; Romans 11:13; 2 Timothy 2:11.

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