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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : False views concerning the church going through the great tribulation!

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 Re: Overcomers Will Reign In Christ

I tried the Video link, but no luck. This is another link, with choice of Video or Audio to the sermon given on February 10, 2006:

[url=]Overcomes Will Reign In Christ- Zac Poonen[/url]




Lysa wrote:
I was trying to finish up to take my mom somewhere and forgot the link... I'm sorry.

It's from a series "Testing and Deception" #10
[url=]mp3 - Overcomers Will Reign In Christ[/url]

[url=]video - Overcomers Will Reign In Christ[/url]

 2009/4/10 20:00

Joined: 2005/11/2
Posts: 3708


Who is He that has overcome the world on our behalf? 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

This is what happens to those that think they can overcome on their own; 2 Peter 2:17-22 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Dogs and Pigs, these are not saved, washed in the Blood of the Lamb, and have Lambship, that is true son's of God by His working, not the working of the dogs and pigs.

In Christ: Phillip


 2009/4/10 20:41Profile


Excellent message -

[url=]Prophetic Reality versus Fantasy[/url] by Art Katz

[b]Description:[/b] [i]How do we distinguish between the false and the true prophet as both use Scripture to validate their position? The fate of Israel was at stake in Jeremiah’s time—and so also today. Art shows that the false prophets were themselves deceived about their knowledge of God. Then, as now, nothing has changed.[/i]

 2009/4/10 21:37

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4582


Hi hmmmhmmm...

you dident answer my question chris....

how are you? :-)

It is well, brother! I must have overlooked the question.
i agree with you , we see in part now and as i said, i dont know so much, i just have much "contradicting" scriptures and havent come to a final conclusion on when the Lord comes, what i do believe to have gotten some little light on and feel is important is sitting by his feet until he comes.

by doing so we can not go wrong, whenever he comes

I suppose that I identify with Krispy when he says that there is quite a bit of finger pointing toward those of us who hold to the possibility of the Lord taking His Bride just before He pours His wrath upon this world. It seems like we are looked down upon for such views. In reality, I don't think that the Scriptures are entirely clear on this matter -- at least for those of us on this side of Eternity who still peer through a veil and look through [i]a glass darkly[/i].

The ultimate question is not whether we have a right to share our views, but whether or not we should even proclaim our views as "truth." There is quite a bit of room for discussion in this matter. I sometimes wonder if we are even supposed to concern ourselves so much with the timing of the Lord's return. Even such a "spiritual" thing can serve as a distraction from what truly matters -- to know and fellowship with the Lord as we walk through "the wilderness of this world."

Knowing Him is all that truly matters. To live is Christ...and to die is gain.


 2009/4/12 17:06Profile

 Re: 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in

I also believe God’s people will not suffer wrath in shows how God’s people are in fact protected from the judgements but they do infact go threw tribulations.. I am also committed to walking in our Lords command to love and love is definitely not rude, I am very zealous about following our Lord in love and this leads me to the next purpose of posting this, love always protects. I believe pre . trib. is teaching escapism and is doing great harm to the body of Christ. Do we really believe that God would require all these new born; baby Christians to walk threw the hardest time in history with out any mature leadership? I believe this view point is a selfish view point and is contradictory to God’s nature which is love and love is never self seeking .I believe a pri .trib. view point is motivated in self preservation which is in direct conflict to the Lord’s command because there is no greater love than to lay ones life down for another. I know I would not have made it in tribulations as a new believer, but 18 years of being saved I am much more mature. I know nothing will shake me because love always perseveres, that’s why love never fails because love never gives up. So after many years of stumbling and getting back up, walking through the fire of tribulation of life and relationship. Growing from faith to faith I can now say I know I will trust God threw any situation. Trust or faith comes from knowing someone for a long time and we build trust or go from faith to faith. God has always asked mature believers to go threw the hard test. I for one am signed up to help lead this multitude of new believers threw the tribulations. Love never fails. No greater love does a man have than he lay down his life for his friends.

God does protect his people threw this time,but they are still there.

Revelation 9:3-4
3And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. 4They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those PEOPLE who DID NOT have THE SEAL of God on their foreheads.
The saints are God’s church. If God is going to let the to witnesses go threw the tribulations and they are God’s people ?

Revelation 11:4
4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.
Dearly loved by the Lord!

"For if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" - 1 Corinthians 14:8

Joshua 1
6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

John 13:1
[Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet] it was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

Daniel 11:33-35
33 "Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. 34 When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. 35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the TIME OF THE END, for it will still come at the appointed time.
Christians are made for hard times. All of the apostles when they reached maturity laid their lives down. Not immature Christians but mature Christians. The bible tells us that this glorified God. I know people don’t want to hear this. It takes great faith to believe God for strength to walk threw the tribulation. I would rather us count the cost now than be caught off guard later.

17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of DEATH by which Peter would GLORIFY God. Then he said to him, "FOLLOW ME!"
Revelation 12:11
11They overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

The church that shrinks back from death will not overcome.

Revelation 21:7-8 (New International Version)
HE WHO OVER COMES will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8BUT THE COWARDLY AND THE UNBELEAVING, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
My intention is not to be rude but I along with a lot of other pastors an over whelming since that the church is not ready and judgment must come according to the word.

Ezekiel :14
1 Some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat down in front of me. 2 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 3 "Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? 4 Therefore speak to them and tell them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When any Israelite sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet, I the LORD will answer him myself in keeping with his great idolatry. 5 I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols.'
6 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!
7 " 'When any Israelite or any alien living in Israel separates himself from me and sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet to inquire of me, I the LORD will answer him myself. 8 I will set my face against that man and make him an example and a byword. I will cut him off from my people. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
9 " 'And if the prophet is enticed to utter a prophecy, I the LORD have enticed that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel. 10 They will bear their guilt—the prophet will be as guilty as the one who consults him. 11 Then the people of Israel will no longer stray from me, nor will they defile themselves anymore with all their sins. They will be my people, and I will be their God, declares the Sovereign LORD.' "
Judgment Inescapable
12 The word of the LORD came to me: 13 "Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its men and their animals, 14 even if these three men—Noah, Daniel [a] and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign LORD.
15 "Or if I send wild beasts through that country and they leave it childless and it becomes desolate so that no one can pass through it because of the beasts, 16 as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, even if these three men were in it, they could not save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved, but the land would be desolate.
17 "Or if I bring a sword against that country and say, 'Let the sword pass throughout the land,' and I kill its men and their animals, 18 as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, even if these three men were in it, they could not save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved.
19 "Or if I send a plague into that land and pour out my wrath upon it through bloodshed, killing its men and their animals, 20 as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they could save neither son nor daughter. They would save only themselves by their righteousness.
21 "For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: How much worse will it be when I send against Jerusalem my four dreadful judgments—sword and famine and wild beasts and plague—to kill its men and their animals! 22 Yet there will be some survivors—sons and daughters who will be brought out of it. They will come to you, and when you see their conduct and their actions, you will be consoled regarding the disaster I have brought upon Jerusalem—every disaster I have brought upon it. 23 You will be consoled when you see their conduct and their actions, for you will know that I have done nothing in it without CAUSE, declares the Sovereign LORD."


 2009/4/23 14:30

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4582


Hi dmoney...

I think that I mentioned this in the reply to your PM.

People who believe in a "gathering of the Bride" before the period of the "wrath of God" certainly understand that we will have tribulation in this world. The Church has historically endured many terrible tribulations, trials and persecutions. The early Church had members who were burned to the stake, stoned, crucified and even sawed in half (as mentioned in Hebrews 11:36-37). Yet this is mere earthly tribulation.

What sets this period apart is the wrath of God. At that time, God will pour out the wrath that He has been storing up. He will pour it upon entire portions of the Earth. It will be so terrible that the people of Earth will cry out for the mountains to fall upon them in order to hide them from the face of God (Revelation 6:16-17).

I am fairly convinced that the Lord will not pour out His judgment upon the Bride of Christ. I cannot find a single anecdote from Scripture where God pours out His wrath upon His own people. There are anecdotes, however, in which God provided a way of escape for His people. Noah escaped the flood...Lot escaped the fire...the Israelites escaped the death of firstborns.

To this end, I think that many pre-trib and post-trib believers are in accord. I think that we all believe that God has not appointed us to wrath (I Thessalonians 5:9). The question is regarding the extent of the wrath that God will pour out upon the Earth. Will we be the middle of it...but protected (even though everything around us is destroyed...including food and vegetation)? Or will we be somewhere else...taken a Bride picked up by her Groom...and taken to a great wedding supper? We know that there will be people who come to the Lord during that time. But are they under a different sort of period...different than the period of grace following the cross?

God does protect his people threw this time,but they are still there.

Of course, this is an opinion in the sense that we don't know if these people are those of us who are alive BEFORE that period begins...or those who are saved during that time.

This question is far from settled. That is why I tell others to simply be prepared. We should be prepared to endure ANYTHING for our Lord. We might go through that period...or we might be taken out. The important thing is to keep our eyes upon Jesus.



 2009/4/23 14:59Profile

 Re: "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and th

In the Exodus the Israelites went threw the same kind of wrath and were past over because of the lamb. Were there 7 plagues also? Sounds like a shadow of what is to come .In fact the saints are past over the same way.

Revelation 9:3-4
3And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. 4They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people WHO DID NOT HAVE THE SEAL of God on their foreheads.
By the blood of the LAMB!

Revelation 12:11

11They overcame him
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.

 2009/4/23 15:31

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4582


You may have a point. Then again, you may not. There will certainly be converts during that time. We don't know if they are the ones mentioned in Revelation.

The Hebrews were "passed over" because of the blood of the Lamb. However, they did not die at the hand of God if they were under His blood. During the time of God's wrath, the Lord will pour out His wrath upon entire portions of the Earth. Our Lord promises to keep us FROM that hour of trial that will come upon the whole Earth (Revelation 3:10). He didn't say that He would keep us IN or DURING that trial.

The point that I am trying to make is that we should refrain from speaking in [u]absolutes[/u] about a details that are not [u]absolutely[/u] certain. We should be very wary of using the word "facts" when we are merely persuaded about such things.


 2009/4/23 15:58Profile

 Re: Chris thanks for the reply. Chris look at “if you hold to my teachings.”and then look at this po

One of the common arguments used to support a pretribulational rapture is the belief that since the Bible says God's people are not appointed unto wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9) then the Church will therefore not go through the great tribulation, which, they claim, is characterized by the pouring out of the wrath of God (Revelation 15:1, 16:1). If God pours His wrath out upon the world during the final years of mankind, then the Church cannot be there. This reasoning has influenced many Christians into a false hope, for the argument is based upon a complete misunderstanding of the Greek language and the nature of the wrath of God.


It all sounds good until a more careful examination of the Greek word for 'wrath' is accomplished. In the New Testament, there are two distinct Greek words for our English word 'wrath': orge and thumos, just like there are different Greek words for our English word 'love'. Both words for 'wrath' have a very distinct meaning, and must not be confused with each other.

-Orge is defined as judiciary wrath, or retributive wrath, being punishment for crimes as implemented by a judge.

-Thumos is defined as passionate anger that flares up but after subsides.

An example of the word thumos can be found in Galatians 5 verse 20, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath [thumos], strife, seditions, heresies..." Paul is not speaking about justice, but passionate rage. Another example is in Acts 19:28, "And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath [thumos], and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians." Notice that the wrath here spoken is not a justifiable wrath against transgression, but the flaring up of anger that comes from passionate emotion. When someone says they have a bad temper, they are talking about this thumos wrath, not the retributive wrath of calculated justice. The word thumos is only found 18 times in the New Testament and always describes this passionate type of wrath.

Orge wrath can be clearly seen in Romans 2:5-6, "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath [orge] against the day of wrath [orge] and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds." Here the wrath of God is portrayed as judiciary righteous judgment against the ungodly. Orge wrath is directly connected to transgressing the law of God: "Because the law worketh wrath [orge]: for where no law is, there is no transgression." (Romans 4:15) Sin deserves punishment, and that punishment is the orge wrath of God. The word orge is used 36 times in the New Testament and virtually always refers to the righteous legal judgment of God.


Now let us return to our immediate question. The pretribulationists claim that since God's people are not appointed unto wrath, we shall not experience the wrath of God poured out upon the world during the great tribulation as described in Revelation 15:1 and 16:1. With our new knowledge of Greek terminology, let's examine the key passages of Scripture used in their argument:

1 Thessalonians 1:10 - "And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come." The word 'wrath' here is orge, the judiciary judgment of God against sin. Praise God that we are indeed saved through the Blood of Christ from the retributive wrath of God when His righteous judgments shall be revealed! "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath [orge] through him." (Romans 5:9) Hallelujah! We are justified in His sight!

1 Thessalonians 5:9 - "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." Again, the word used here is orge. Like in the verse above, Jesus has redeemed us from the punishment we deserved for our transgressions against the law of God! "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." (Galatians 3:13) Through our faith in what Christ has done we shall obtain salvation from the wages of sin. As John the Baptist said, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath [orge] of God abideth on him." (John 3:36)

Revelation 15:1 - "And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God." Proceeding from the beginning of chapter 15 to the end of chapter 16, the vials of wrath are poured out upon the earth by the seven angels of God. Since this takes place before Jesus returns and during the great tribulation, the pretribulationists assert that the Church cannot be present, for they are not appointed unto orge wrath. What they have failed to see is that the word 'wrath' used here and throughout these two chapters is not orge wrath at all, but thumos wrath, the hot anger of God being demonstrated against a wicked world PRIOR TO the revelation of Jesus Christ, when He at last comes to tread "the winepress of the fierceness and wrath [orge] of Almighty God." (Revelation 19:15) When Jesus comes He shall judge the earth for all it's wickedness, bringing with Him the righteous retributive judgment of God against His enemies. He shall separate the wheat and the tares, and cast all those who obeyed not the Gospel into the Lake of Fire which burns for ever and ever. That, my dear readers, is the true orge wrath of God, of which we are saved from, and of which we are not appointed to. The thumos wrath of God is something entirely different.


God's wrath has been displayed all throughout history and will again be unleashed upon a wicked God-hating world in the last days; this is not surprising. But we are not to confuse God's thumos wrath with His orge wrath. When the Lord poured out the plagues upon Egypt in the days of Moses and Aaron, that was His thumos wrath; the passionate anger of the Lord expressed against that hardhearted and tyrannical nation, who oppressed His beloved people for 400 years. We must also remember that when God was pouring out the plagues upon Egypt, the children of Israel were preserved safely throughout it all. Likewise, during the great tribulation when the vials are poured out upon the earth, God's people will be protected safely throughout it all. When God closed the Red Sea over top of the pursuing Egyptian army, that was His thumos wrath bringing an end to the captivity of Israel. The Egyptians experienced God's thumos wrath when the waters toppled over them, but they experienced God's orge wrath when they lifted up their eyes in hell. In the same way, this sinful world will undergo God's thumos wrath against it during the great tribulation, and also when Jesus Christ physically destroys them at His coming, but this is nothing to be compared with the orge wrath men will experience when Jesus Christ sits upon the throne of eternal judgment. Oh Lord, God save us from that dreadful day!

 2009/4/23 16:12

Joined: 2005/11/2
Posts: 3708


And so begins the difference in a heavenly being and an earthly being. Christ is birthed, not created. Adam was birthed of the breath of God, Jesus was birthed by the Seed of God by the Holy Spirit. This is where the big problem of dispensationalism and pre, post, and ah, millennialism come into the biggest problem in doctrines when it comes to man's interpretation of the end times.

Christ is the first born, among many, Who are the many? We are the born a second time believers that now have a new creature nature, that is the Nature of God, by the Christ that is born again in us by the Incorruptable Seed of the Father, Jesus Christ our, Life, Lord And Lover of the Body of His Body, His Church, a complete and totally different dispensation of God when it comes to the children God the Father has prepared His House for, before the foundation of the World began. Eph 1: 4.

Here is and excerpt from a most enlightening article; "The difference is in the dispensations".

It is quite long, it will take different posts at different intervals to complete without using too much space for the whole article.

Chapter Ia, Chapter Ib, Chapter II, Chapter III, Chapter IV, Chart

The Difference Is In The Dispensations
How to make sense of the differences in the Bible

Introduction and Chapter Ia

Timothy S. Morton


Copyright 1997, Timothy S. Morton, All Rights Reserved. Presented with personal permission given from Timothy S. Morton. "Christinyou2"
All Scripture references and quotations are from the
Authorized King James Version of the Bible


When a person receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior, he, with the Lord, also receives a desire to know more about his salvation and the one who saved him (John 15:26). This desire causes the new believer, possibly for the very first time in his life, to open the Holy Bible in a serious attempt to learn what God has to say. Once in the Scriptures the believer soon realizes that the Bible speaks of much more than just personal salvation and Christ dying on the cross; it speaks of God's whole program for His entire creation from eternity to eternity. It reveals what God wants man to know about God Himself, His creation, and His purpose with His creation. Unless the believer understands this and divides the Bible accordingly (2 Tim. 2:15), he may become overwhelmed by its vast scope and perplexed by its differences. All the Bible's major differences can be reconciled with some study (sometimes very little), but if the believer neglects to study and sort these differences out, he will cheat himself out of understanding not only God's plan and purpose for man in general, but also for himself in particular.
However, even though the Bible is in some areas complex and interwoven, one notable indication that it is the very word of God is the most vital and important subjects found in it are easy to understand. God has purposely made the crucial subjects of sin, man's accountability to God, Christ's substitutionary death, and personal salvation so simple a small child can understand them. He made these matters clear and easy to comprehend so any person wanting the truth about them could by faith act upon them and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as his salvation. These clear yet vital doctrines are referred to as the "simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3). Though the more complex subjects reveal more of the mind and intentions of God, knowledge of them is not necessary for one to be saved.

Needless to say, the Bible contains both simplicity and complexity by God's direction. He wanted to provide a salvation so simple that a person could understand it and get saved after only being presented with the gospel once (Acts 10:43-44, 16:31, etc.), but He also wanted some other matters more detailed and complex so one would have to labor in the Scriptures a certain degree to sort them out. In this respect some Bible subjects are so mysterious and far-ranging in their scope that no one yet has done much more than scratch the surface of the treasures within them, let alone fully grasp them. Sometimes the Lord even spoke in "parables" to purposely confound those who listen to His words with the wrong "heart" or attitude: those who don't have "ears to hear" (Matt. 13:9-15).

If a person reads the Bible very much at all he is soon confronted with various laws, judgments, ordinances, commandments, doctrines, kingdoms, covenants, testaments, dispensations, gospels, priesthoods, feasts, tribes, churches, etc., and begins to see some of the Bible's complexity. He is further introduced to events known as the Exodus, Israel's Captivity, Daniel's Seventieth Week, the Rapture, the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Tribulation, the Millennium, the White Throne Judgment, the New Heaven and New Earth, etc., that add even more to its broad variety of topics.

Once a reader gets to this point questions usually arise: Where do all these subjects belong? Do they all apply to everyone in every age? Does every precept mentioned in the Bible apply doctrinally to a Christian? What about the doctrines that appear to contradict each other? Is salvation exactly the same in every age? How is one to account for the differences? With this book we will show that the major differences in the Bible can be reconciled by rightly dividing it into dispensations and keeping the different doctrines found in the dispensations in their proper place.

In 2 Timothy 2:15 the Holy Spirit states His word has divisions and the "workman" must "study" to "rightly" divide them. When a believer obeys God's word and with study finds these divisions and applies the truths found in them to their proper place, much of the Bible's complexity disappears and many of its alleged contradictions vanish. Furthermore, many of the different manners, methods, and doctrines in the Bible which often trouble people are reconciled, and the believer begins to see the "big picture" of what God is doing.

Since properly understanding the Bible's divisions is the key to being sound in doctrine and making sense of its differences, failure to do so can lead to dangerous heresies and spiritual chaos. When a preacher or any other believer fails to rightly divide the Bible and discern its differences, he will nearly always end up wresting it. This is one reason there are so many "Christian" cults today. Instead of rightly dividing the Bible, they ignore some or all of its divisions and produce a religious system that is littered with heresies, some of them deadly. When a person takes a precept or doctrine peculiar to one dispensation and forces it to apply doctrinally to another, he ends up with a heresy every time. He may quote several Bible verses to "prove" his doctrine, but it is still a lie once it is divorced from its corresponding dispensation.

In view of this, it is essential that every believer keep in mind that God spoke the words recorded in the Bible in "sundry times and diverse manners" (Heb. 1:1): to different people at different times. Thus the Scriptures were not written only for believers in the present Church Age, they were written for believers (and unbelievers) of all the ages. In short, the Bible was written FOR everyone for their learning (Rom. 15:4) but not addressed TO everyone in every age for doctrine. True, every verse in the Bible applies doctrinally somewhere, but many verses found in it do not apply doctrinally today. Of course, any Bible passage can be used inspirationally in any dispensation to help teach a present truth, but doctrine is another matter. For instance, most will agree the laws God gave to Israel through Moses do not apply doctrinally to Christians. The Israelites had strict religious, social, and dietary laws they had to comply with (Lev. ch. 1-15), but none of these laws, as laws, apply to believers today (Col. 2:14). A Jew at that time even had to have a human priest to work in his behalf towards God; today, every Christian is a priest himself (1 Peter 2:9). If one doesn't rightly divide the word of truth he can't help but wrest it, no matter how "sincere and devoted" he is.

Concerning the dividing of the Bible into dispensations, even the most liberal Bible readers (who often criticize "dispensationalism") will acknowledge at least one division in the Scriptures: the division between Malachi and Matthew dividing to Old from the New Testament. This division is so obvious that even an atheist can find it. Anyone who has read the Bible much at all knows the Old Testament is different from the New Testament and by doing so he admits to two dispensations. This makes him a "dispensationalist" whether he refers to himself as one or not. If these critics would study their Bibles a little more and believe what they read, they would find at least six more important divisions, each one revealing vital lessons.

A very large work would be required for one to try to exhaustively categorize and reconcile every difference found in the Bible, thus this is well beyond the scope of this relatively small book. The main purpose of this book is to present to the reader in a concise manner the principal and most important divisions of the Bible by examining its covenants and dispensations.

In addition, since the subject of personal salvation from sin is the most important and relevant issue to a sinner in any dispensation (and also probably the subject that causes the most debate and controversy among professing Christians today), we will also look at the dispensations from this perspective. In the first chapter we will briefly examine each covenant and its accompanying dispensation, noting the major elements of each; then in the following chapters we will take on the crucial subject of personal salvation in the different dispensations and examine the differences between them in this context.

The Covenants and The Dispensations
Over the centuries believers have developed several methods of studying the Bible. Some study it systematically by topic, others use an inductive or deductive method to arrive at conclusions, still others divide the Bible into "stages" or sections to make it more manageable, many study guides outline studies by book, chapter, or topic, and yet others study it dispensationally. Although there is merit in all of these methods, studying the Bible dispensationally with the covenants marking the divisions is the easiest and surest way one can see the various systems God has placed in the Scriptures and get a sufficient understanding of what He is doing. The Bible's divisions do not neatly divide between books, chapters, or subjective "stages," so the best method to get the overall picture of God's program is to study the Bible using its own terms of "covenant" and "dispensation," letting them mark the divisions.
Defining the Terms
A covenant is generally defined as a mutual agreement between two parties. In the Scriptures some covenants are unconditional and continue regardless of the conduct of man, while others are conditioned on obedience. Each covenant God makes with man (with few exceptions) marks the beginning of a new dispensation. The dispensation carries on the doctrines God established with the covenant.
Another word for covenant in the Bible is "testament," thus the 27 books known as the New Testament proclaim the new covenant God has made with man through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Technically, much of the first four books of the New Testament (the gospels) refer to events that occurred under the old covenant of the Law, but the atonement Christ made with his death and resurrection as revealed in the gospels made possible the new covenant of grace in effect today.

A dispensation is usually defined as a "period of time" in which God works with and in His people in a particular way, but this is only partially true. Calling a dispensation primarily a period of time will not bear up under close scrutiny of the Scriptures. In the Bible the term "dispensation" refers to a manner, method, or particular arrangement of dealing with people God has chosen to dispense during a period of time, not the time period itself. Usually the length of time is not emphasized or even mentioned, it is the doctrines God has established to be valid during that time that distinguishes one dispensation from another. In short, a dispensation is a certain mode of testing God has dispensed to man, while a covenant is a contract or promise between God and man.

The term "dispensation" is found four times in the Scriptures (1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10, 3:2; Col. 1:25), and each passage makes it clear that God is dispensing something. In Eph. 3:2 it is "grace" itself that is dispensed, not a period of time called the "grace of God." God revealed through Paul how He was dispensing His grace to all men by making a free salvation available to them in Jesus Christ. This is contrasted with the Dispensation of the Law where God gave mainly law (though grace can be readily found in every dispensation). Under the Law obedience was demanded, obey the laws and live; break them and die (Gal. 3:10-13). In this Church Age of Grace, however, it is not obey the law but only receive Christ to be saved. In a nutshell, God simply uses covenants and dispensations to deal with man in different manners under different circumstances to teach and show him things about himself and his Creator.

The Edenic Covenant and The Dispensation of Innocence
Obviously, all things begin with God, and God's dealings with man began the moment He created Adam. Genesis chapters 1-3 tell us God didn't create Adam to only lounge in a beautiful garden, He gave him specific commands to obey and jobs to occupy him. This contract between God and Adam is the first covenant between God and any man; it is commonly known as the Edenic Covenant. In this covenant God supplied Adam with many blessings, among them life, a perfect body, a perfect environment, a world without pain, hunger, sickness or death, and also a wife. All Adam (and Eve) had to do was to keep six conditions God had laid down to keep the covenant in effect with all its blessings. God told them to:
1. Multiply and replenish the earth (Gen. 1:28).
2. Subdue the earth for their use (Gen. 1:28).
3. Exercise dominion over the animal creation (Gen. 1:28).
4. Have only a vegetable diet (Gen. 1:29).
5. Dress and keep the garden they were put in (Gen. 2:15).
6. Abstain from eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 2:17).

This covenant remained in force until Adam broke it by eating of the forbidden tree. God kept his part but man did not keep his. A trend that will sadly continue through every dispensation.

The Edenic Covenant introduced the Dispensation of Innocence. The doctrines or requirements God established with the Edenic Covenant (above) expressed the kind of behavior He desired from Adam while it was in force. Remember, a covenant is an agreement or contract between God and man, it may be conditional (as this covenant) or unconditional. On the other hand a dispensation is the particular method of dealing WITH man God works under (the doctrines He has dispensed to be valid during that time), and the manner of behavior He requires OF man during the time period which began with a covenant.

The Dispensation of Innocence is so named because Adam was created as an innocent creature and had no natural inclination towards evil or righteousness. Although Adam was not a "sinner" until he ate of the tree of knowledge, neither was he righteous in God's sight. He was merely an innocent, untested creature who had no evil in him to separate him from God, nor any righteousness in him to commend him to God. Before he fell Adam was in a kind of moral "limbo" which God apparently never intended him to stay in long.

Some believers mistakenly believe the condition Adam was in at creation is the position a born again believer has before God in this present dispensation. They think salvation only puts them back like Adam was before the fall; that is, in an innocent state. If this were true a Christian could lose his salvation! Adam fell from his innocent position! This is a good example of failure to properly divide the Scriptures, and the Christians who hold this view are robbing themselves of some of the most precious truths concerning New Testament salvation. More on this later.

With this case of Adam alone we can already see how dispensations differ from each other. There is very little the Dispensation of Innocence has in common with any other dispensation. Nowhere in the dispensations of Family, Law, Grace, etc., does God command anyone to subdue the earth, keep a garden, eat only vegetables, or not eat of a certain tree. These doctrines were valid ONLY as long as the covenant and following dispensation were in force. When Adam broke the covenant, its doctrines were superseded by the next one.

When Adam ate of the Tree of Knowledge he died spiritually (Eph.2:1) and acquired an evil nature, but God in an act of mercy and grace did not yet allow him to die physically. His body did begin on its trek toward the grave, but God quickly made another covenant with Adam which contained a promise of ultimate deliverance.

The Adamic Covenant and The Dispensation of Conscience
When Adam ate of the forbidden tree at the bidding of his wife, they both acquired something they before thought desirable but soon turned out to be a curse; that is, knowledge. After Adam ate they both quickly learned the knowledge they obtained was quite different from what the Serpent represented it to be. It was not just "knowledge" for knowledge's sake, but the knowledge of EVIL. Contrary to many not all knowledge is beneficial. There are some things a person should not try to learn or seek after, and the greatest of these is a knowledge of evil (Rom. 16:19; 1 Co. 14:20). It is the knowledge of evil that condemned Adam and Eve to death, and it is the same that separates one child who is accountable for his actions from another who is not. In fact, it is the knowledge of evil or sin that condemns every man as a sinner, and every person born of Adam inherits the capacity for this knowledge. That the Serpent deceived Eve and led her to think all knowledge was desirable is immaterial. Adam knew exactly what God said; he made his choice for Eve knowing they both would die (1 Tim 2:14).
After he ate, Adam knew at least three things he didn't know before. He knew he had eaten of the forbidden tree and would die; he knew he had broken God's covenant; and he knew he was naked. This new knowledge caused him to feel fear and guilt for the first time and these in turn caused him to flee from God's presence. In spite of Adam's blatant sin, God did not abandon him. Though the Edenic Covenant was now broken, God did not cast aside His new creation. By His foreknowledge and grace He made another covenant with Adam, and unlike the first one this covenant was unconditional and is still in effect today. It is called the Adamic Covenant.

Knowing the end from the beginning and the whole scheme of events He would allow to follow, God made such a far-ranging covenant with Adam, including all of his descendants, that it remains fully valid with its effects still felt today. This covenant testifies to all mankind the willing act of disobedience their father Adam performed in a garden so long ago. This covenant, given to Adam and Eve before they were expelled from the presence of the Tree of Life, is composed of several curses and a promise. The curses affect all three parties involved in the sin.

1. The Serpent, which was the fleshy tool of Satan, was cursed to crawl upon the ground and eat dust (Gen. 3:14). This curse remains in effect through the Millennium (Isa. 65:25).
2. a. As for the woman, she was to have multiplied conception. One reason for this is because the earth will be harder to fill with people with the entrance of death.
b. She also was to bear children in sorrow. She is going to have more children but will have to bear them in sorrow because she is bringing another "sinner" into the world.
c. Thirdly, the woman will have a desire for her husband and will be in subjection to him (Gen. 3:16).
3. As for the man, first of all the ground that so freely gave forth its fruit was cursed. Man must now till the ground in sorrow and sweat and endure weeds that will choke and weaken his crops. Then, after a life of labor and toil, he must pay for his sin in the garden and physically die, returning to the earth he worked (Gen. 3:17-19).

Man has spent the last six millennia trying to undo everyone of these curses (with drugs, chemicals, technology, etc.) with only superficial success, but, of course, the curse he is most desperately trying to stop is death. Ever since Adam man has sought ways to overcome death or at least delay it for even a short period (Satan knows this well, Job 2:4), but eventually death wins out. The death rate remains 100%. God cannot be beaten, what He has cursed is cursed. These curses will not be completely lifted until the renovation of the earth by fire after the Millennium.

Among these sorrowful curses, however, God has thrown in a precious promise (Gen. 3:15). Its purpose was to show mankind what kind of God the Lord is and to show him He will provide a means of deliverance that can ultimately release him from the curses. The promise (which was actually addressed to the Serpent) was the "seed" of the woman (Christ) would bruise the head of the Serpent (a mortal blow) while the seed of the Serpent (the Beast) will bruise the woman's seed's heel. To Adam (and to those many centuries after him) this likely meant that a future "seed," born of a woman, would somehow redeem them and destroy the Serpent in the process, releasing them from his bondage. This is apparently all that was revealed to Adam about a future redeemer. There is nothing mentioned about a "cross" or a "new birth," all he knew was somebody was promised to come. Anyway, by God's grace Adam now had a hope to look forward to, even though he remained joined to sin and death.

Although the Dispensation of Conscience, began with the Adamic Covenant, it does not last as long as the covenant. It is replaced by another dispensation when Noah departs the ark; long before the end of the Millennium. Here is an important lesson: even though a covenant usually introduces a particular dispensation, the covenant and dispensation do not have to end together. A covenant can still be in effect long after its original dispensation has been replaced. Unconditional covenants can overlap each other or be in effect simultaneously, but by strict definition dispensations can not. This should become clearer as we go along.

The Dispensation of Conscience is so named because during this period man had nothing to guide him but his conscience. God did not give any specific commands to anyone during this dispensation. There were no "thou shalts" or "thou shalt nots;" God just left man to his own heart to guide him. Needless to say, man utterly failed in following his conscience. For the most part he hardened it and became extremely wicked. This wickedness was the cause of the flood (Gen. 6).

Some may ask here, "How could God hold them accountable for being wicked when He gave them no specific laws to keep?" The answer is man has an unwritten law written in his heart or conscience (Rom. 2:14-15). Though this law is vague compared to a written or verbal law, it will still convict a person of guilt when he contemplates evil. For instance, when Cain slew his brother Abel, he did not break any written law against murder because none was yet given, but he did break the law God had written in his heart and was therefore guilty. Like his father, Cain had a knowledge of good and evil, and he willingly chose evil. Every accountable person even today, no matter where he is, knows murder, adultery, stealing, and the like are wrong whether he has heard of the word of God or not. These laws are embedded into every man's conscience, but the conscience imparts no power to keep man from breaking it.

Man's responsibility in the Dispensation of Conscience (and to those in every other dispensation who have had no contact with the Scriptures) was to simply follow his conscience. If one listens carefully to his conscience, it will convict him of sin and lead him to God for salvation (Cornelius, for example, Acts 10). But if he doesn't listen to it and hardens it, all he has to look forward to is judgment. Since the people from Adam to Noah ignored their conscience and followed wickedness, God was forced to bring judgment—the flood. Man fails again.

The Noahic Covenant and The Dispensation of Human Government
When Noah left the ark after the flood, God made His third covenant with man; the Noahic Covenant (Gen. 8:20-9:17). Like the previous this covenant is also unconditional and lasts until the renovation of the earth by fire (2 Pet. 3:10). In many ways God is starting over with man. Having destroyed everyone except Noah and his family because of extreme wickedness, God sought to replenish the earth through Noah because Noah found grace in His eyes (Gen. 6:8). Like the others before, this covenant contains promises TO man and responsibilities required OF man. The promises were:
1. God would not curse the ground anymore or smite every living thing (Gen. 8:20).
2. He would not flood the earth again and destroy it (Gen. 9:11).
3. The seasons and day and night will not cease (Gen. 8:22).
4. He would set the sign of a (rain)bow in the clouds as a token of His covenant (Gen. 9:12).

These promises are valid and continue regardless of man's conduct, but God also had some requirements for man to follow:

1. He was to again multiply and replenish the earth (Gen. 9:1,7).
2. They were not to eat blood from any source (Gen. 9:4).
3. They were to exercise capital punishment upon man and beast (Gen. 9:5).

God also made two other statements related to this covenant:

1. Animals would fear and dread man (Gen. 9:2).
2. Animals were now available for food (Gen. 9:3).

Through the great object lesson of the flood, God showed humanity His hatred of sin. Though man often takes sin lightly, God proved He does not and will always ultimately punish iniquity. Also seen in this is God's long-suffering nature. The Lord will sometimes delay punishment to allow space for repentance. This is clear from the grace found in the above promises to Noah. God knows that because of the fall of Adam, every man is born inherently wicked. Because of this He will not smite the earth again in the same manner since He has made His will clearly known about sin with the flood. In the future He will destroy the Antichrist and all his followers at the second advent, but he will not destroy the earth itself until his great scheme of things concerning it is over, and then only with fire.

Much of man's obligations under this covenant are still in effect today and will continue until the elements melt with fervent heat (2 Pet. 3:10). The command against the eating of blood is also found in the New Testament (Acts 15:29) and capital punishment is still God's will even if many today ignore it (Rom. 13:4). Remember, the subject of capital punishment was first brought up by God. There is no record it was ever practiced before God made the command to Noah. It is solely His idea and shows the sanctity of human life and the consequences of taking it with malice. Under the law God gave more details concerning its implementation.

Rebellion at Babel
The primary responsibility of man in the Noahic Covenant was to "be fruitful and multiply and REPLENISH THE EARTH," but in this also he miserably failed. The earth's population did rapidly increase after the flood, but all the people stayed near an area later known as Babel. God wanted man to scatter and repopulate the whole earth, not remain in one area. The failure of man to do this brought upon him another judgment.
The descendants of Noah directly rebelled against the command to scatter and sought to stay united around a great city and tower in the plain of Shinar. In a few short years they also abandoned God in all their thoughts like those before the flood, and their greatest fear was not to displease God, but that they would be scattered. They thought safety was in numbers. It appears they built the city, with its tower, to act as a political, cultural, and religious center for them to gather around and become as a group, self-reliant. They thought they did not need any God and could "make the world a better place to live in" by themselves. God looked down and saw how they were one in language and purpose (what man says he strives for today), and how they were on the verge of making their imaginations real (likely with autos, airplanes, spacecraft, computers, or similar), and He decided to scatter them Himself.

God was not yet ready for man to advance in knowledge and technology as much as the people of Babel were capable of, so He did the simplest thing; He confounded their language. There were some vital lessons God wanted man to learn about himself and his Creator over the coming centuries before He would allow them to advance that far. Clearly, God is a segregator. The world at that time was determined to stay united and integrated, but God had other plans. The confounding of their language (certainly Hebrew) and resulting scattering was also a punishment for their disobedience. The different tongues made the respective groups unfamiliar with each other, and each language group became primarily occupied with getting and keeping territory, goods, and wealth from the other, now strange, groups. Building a one world empire was in the meanwhile forgotten. Most of the wars, famines, and other forms of suffering found throughout history are a direct result of the rebellion of the world at Babel.

The Dispensation of Human Government, which ran from Noah to Abraham, made man responsible for governing himself when he did wrong. God gave him very basic principles (listed above) to guide him in this, and man was required to keep them. Since man would not listen to his conscience and let it lead him to God, God made mankind as a whole responsible for punishing the sins of individuals and keeping iniquity in check. Of course, in this also man failed, but now he cannot come to God and say he wasn't given a chance to try! Instead of forming a government that was consistent with God and His commands, man developed one that was directly against him. As the one world, global, universal, United Nations, common market, Babel of today, the Babel of 4300 years ago was more concerned about unity and progress than about their sins and God.

Before we move on there is another covenant-like setup found in this dispensation between God and Noah's three sons (Gen. 9:20-29). After Noah heard the details of the above covenant, he planted a vineyard and became drunk from the wine it produced. While he was in this drunken state his son, Ham, came in unto him and saw his "nakedness." In other words Ham sodomized his father (Gen. 9:24; Lev. 18:6). When Noah recovered from his wine and realized what Ham had "done unto him," he cursed Ham's seed in the person of his son Canaan. He didn't curse Ham himself because God had previously blessed him (Gen. 9:1). Noah then continues to make a series of prophetic statements that may have been somewhat vague to his three sons (the fathers of the three races), but events that have occurred down through history since make them clearer to us.

1. Canaan (Ham's seed) is cursed to be a servant of his brethren (Shem and Japeth). Since the descendants of Ham moved south toward Africa, making him the father of the black race, this curse begins to fall into place. For millennia members of the black race have been slaves to other men.

2. Shem on the other hand is blessed. Noah said "blessed be the Lord God of Shem," and we learn later Shem is an ancestor of Abraham and the Lord Jesus Christ. God blessed the world with a Savior through Shem.

3. Japeth also is blessed, and he was to be enlarged and dwell in the former dwelling places (tents) of Shem. If at no other time, this has come to pass in the last 500 years. Thousands of Japethites (Europeans) crossed the Atlantic into North and South America, into dwelling places of Shemites.

These blessings and curse have come to pass in every detail. Shem is the religious race (every major religion came from him); Japeth is the worldly, materialistic race; and Canaan is their servant. Of course there are many individual exceptions to this, but racially they are consistent.

Go To Chapter Ib

You can go to the article if you would like to study and begin your refutation of dispensations and premillennial standing.

In Christ: Phillip


 2009/4/24 11:54Profile

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