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The Dispensation of the Law
Keep this in mind as we go through the dispensations: The interpretation of Scripture is a fundamental factor in understanding the Dispensations. Proper Scriptural interpretation follows standard dictates of grammar. If there is any confusion about this issue there is a great-unbiased pamphlet by Mr. Frank X. Braun available for Bible students on Amazon and elsewhere. It is called “English Grammar for Language students”. Since the Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek an understanding of grammar is indispensable to understanding the Bible. Don’t make the mistake of listening to others tell you that basic nouns actually mean something other then their normal commonly accepted definition. Therefore Israel and the Church are two separate entities. Don’t be misled into believing that Israel is the so-called Church of the Old Testament.
One New Testament verse that some use as a “proof text” affirming that the term Israel is the Church is found in Acts 7:38. In this text we find Stephen’s address to the council.
This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and [with] our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us (KJV).
There are other verses used as a “proof text” and all fail to persuade when examined in the light of proper grammar. The term used here is ekklesia. It is a feminine Greek noun meaning an assembly. Vines describes this as such:
From ek, “out of,” and klesis, “a calling” (kaleo, “to call”), was used among the Greeks of a body of citizens “gathered” to discuss the affairs of State, Act 19:39. In the Septuagint it is used to designate the “gathering” of Israel, summoned for any definite purpose, or a “gathering” regarded as representative of the whole nation. In Act 7:38 it is used of Israel; in 19:32, 41, of a riotous mob.
It has two applications to companies of Christians,
(1) To the whole company of the redeemed throughout the present era, the company of which Christ said, “I will build My Church,” Matthew 16:18, and which is further described as “the Church which is His Body,” Ephesians 1:22; 5:23,
(2) In the singular number (e.g., Matthew 18:17, RV marg., “congregation”), to a company consisting of professed believers, e.g., Acts 20:28; 1Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:13; 1Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 1Tiothy 3:5, and in the plural, with reference to churches in a district.
For each dispensation there are 7 aspects.
1) Each dispensation has a “Name”
2) Each dispensation has a “Chief Person”
3) Each dispensation has been provided a “responsibility” to God.
4) Each dispensation has been given a “Test” from God.
5) In each dispensation man has “Failed” the test.
6) For each dispensation God has provided a “judgment”.
7) God has provided a measure of “grace” for each dispensation.
Further, a new covenant is often the basis for a new dispensation. We will look at the covenants at the conclusion of the Dispensations.