Interpretations: Dispensation of law
|1||The Dispensation of law|
|2||The Dispensation of law: The Remnant|
|3||The Dispensation of law: Israel Stumbled|
God appeared to Abram on a few occasions, but during one, God made a covenant with Abram that was for his descendants. This covenant was to give a specific land with identified boundaries. God also gave a time frame that Abram’s descendants would be out of the land, enslaved, but in the fourth generation they would return to the land promised to Abram, and they would retake the land. This 400-year delay was to wait for the iniquity of the Amorites to be completed, Genesis 15:5-21. The count of four generations began when Joseph and his 11 brothers first went into Egypt, and the fourth generation was when Moses led them on their exodus back to the promised land. At the start of the exodus, the Lord led Moses and children of Israel to the base of Mount Sinai, where God first met Moses in the burning bush, Exodus 3:1-12. It is from this location that the Lord appeared to all Israel, with Moses being the mediator between God and them. God told Moses that if the children of Israel obeyed God’s voice, kept his covenant that they would be a peculiar treasure to Him, above all the people, Exodus 19:5. Then the people replied to Moses that all the Lord had spoken, they would do, Exodus 19:8. So while the nation of Israel camped at the base of the mountain for a year, God gave them His commandments and law for them and all their descendants to follow and obey. This covenant was conditional, based on their obedience to God’s word. All that the God spoke at the mountain was directed to the nation of Israel, not to the Gentile nations. God’s plan was to reveal Himself to the world through Israel, Isaiah 42:1.
Identification of the party involved is:
- Israel, whom God separated from all humanity as a nation of priests to reveal His glory and purpose to the world, Romans 3:1, 4:1-10, Exodus 19:6
The dispensational test was:
- Obedience to the law
- If one breaks one point of the law, that person has transgressed against the whole law, James 2:10, Galatians 3:10
The dispensational failure was:
- Not keeping the law, John 7:19
- Within the first 40 days of their commitment to God, the people worshiped other gods in defiance of God’s law, Exodus 24:7
- They told Aaron to make a golden calf to worship because they thought Moses had died, while up on the mountain with God, Exodus 32:1-8
- Yet, the whole time they defied God, He still provided Israel their manna six days a week and a continuous supply of water
The dispensational judgment was and will be:
- The day Moses came down the mountain from being in the presence of God for 40 days, he confronted the people about their sin. Immediately, the sons of Levi gathered with Moses, and they walked through the camp slaying about 3,000 men for the sins they committed, Exodus 32:25-28
- About 1,300 years later, Jesus would die on the cross to fulfill the law, shedding His blood for the remission of our sins, though He knew no sin, Matthew 5:18, Romans 5:8, Matthew 26:28, Colossians 1:14, 20, 2Corinthians 5:21
- What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, Romans 8:3
- Peter admitted that the Jews could not keep the law, to substantiate the fact that Gentiles were not to be under the law and be circumcised, Acts 15:5-11
The following timeline illustrates the beginning of the dispensation of the law with Moses and the giving of God’s law to the children of Israel. By the law, came the knowledge of sin, Romans 3:21, whereby all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23. The dispensation of the law ends with the death of Christ Jesus on the cross, who as the testator died, Hebrews 9:16-17, and shed His blood for the remission of the world’s sins, Romans 3:25. It is by God’s grace that this gift is given, but we must accept this gift in faith, Ephesians 2:8-9, to attain eternal life, Romans 6:23.
Throughout Israel’s history, there had always been a remnant of believers that trusted in God, such as in the days of Elijah, 1Kings 19:10, 14, Romans 11:1-5
- During the earthly ministry of Jesus, there was only a remnant who believed that He was the only begotten Son of God, Matthew 16:13-17
- After telling His disciples to seek the kingdom of God, Jesus called this remnant of believers in Israel His “little flock”, Luke 12:31-32
- Jesus told them that it was the Father’s good pleasure to give them the kingdom
- The Lord revealed Himself to about 500 believers after His resurrection, 1Corinthians 15:6
- It was this small number, about 120 who waited in Jerusalem as the Lord told them, for the Holy Spirit to come, Acts 1:4-8, 15
- It was this remnant that preached the kingdom message after the Holy Spirit fell on them, Acts 2:38-41, Acts 3:19-23
Even though God had separated a people, the Jews, to reveal Himself to all mankind, yet only a few of the entire Jewish population in the day of Jesus’ earthly ministry, believed Him to be the Son of God, Matthew 16:16, John 9:35-38, John 11:25-27. The timeline for the fifth dispensation illustrates the origin of this small remnant, the Little Flock, which Christ Jesus recognized during His earthly ministry. The Little Flock continued to preach the gospel of the kingdom after the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord. They were the ones who received the power of the Holy Spirit promised by God the Father, Acts 1:8, Luke 24:49.
Paul asks the question “have they (Israel) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” Romans 11:11, 9:32 (KJV)
- Israel, as a nation, did not accept Jesus as their Messiah, the Son of God, so they stumbled at the cross by delivering Jesus to Pilate. Despite their rejection of Jesus as their Messiah, the Lord gave them more time to repent before judgment would follow, when Jesus asked the Father to forgive them while He was on the cross; they did not know what they were doing, Luke 23:34
- The Lord spoke a parable concerning His rejection by Israel, Luke 13:6
- A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, but it produced no fruit for three years. He told the dresser of the vineyard to cut it down. The vine dresser asked to wait for another year so that he could fertilize and care for the tree. Then, if it did not produce fruit after that additional effort, then it would be cut down
There is a direct connection of this parable to Israel after they had stumbled by delivering their Lord and Christ to be crucified. As a nation Israel continued to fall following the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus, except for a remnant of Jews who responded to the preaching of Peter, Acts 2:30-39. The nation of Israel chose not to believe in what they were told by the Lord’s apostles, and they remained in a state of rebellion against God.
During Paul’s ministry, he wrote an epistle to the believers in Corinth that God chose the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. A person has to act on faith to belief in Christ Jesus for his or her salvation, since faith comes from hearing the word of God, Romans 10:17. Paul further characterized the reason for unbelief by both Jews and Gentiles, where the Jews require a sign and Greeks seek after wisdom, but Paul preached Christ crucified, which to the Jews was a stumbling block and foolishness to the Gentiles, 1Corinthians 1:21-25.
The following timeline is showing the succession of events of Israel that ultimately led to their spiritual fall, but not their demise. First, the timeline shows the point when Israel stumbled, which was at the cross. The timeline also identifies two groups in Israel. One group were the unbelieving mass of Jews in Israel and the second group were the small remnant of believing Jews, the Little Flock. These two groups moved into the next dispensation after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ Jesus.