Dispensationalism: God's Dealings With Man

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Beginning with this issue we plan, Lord willing, to present a series of articles on the vitally important truth of dispensationalism as taught in the Word of God.
Introduction
During the last 20 years or so, there has been a strong reassertion of classic Amillenialism, a system of teaching which denies the Millennium as a definite period of 1000 years, still in the future. This movement, which seems to be carrying away a large number in professing Christianity, is marked by the giving up of the truth of dispensationalism a truth once held by many Christian leaders. This course is in sharp contrast to an earlier trend among several well-known, conservative evangelicals, who along with some large, evangelical Bible colleges have embraced and taught dispensational truth. The dispensational writings and teachings of J. N. Darby and other brethren of the 1800s were a fundamental tenet in the propagation of this truth.
Current opposition to dispensationalism may be due at least in part to the rapid expansion and increasing popularity of certain Christian radio programs, whose commentators categorically reject the Biblical truth of dispensationalism.
The question may be asked, “Does the move away from a dispensational view of the Scriptures matter all that much?” We believe that the answer is a resounding “Yes, it does matter very much!”
There is potential for much confusion and misunderstanding of Scripture when God’s differing ways of dealing with man down through the ages are not clearly understood. Failure to discern the unique position of the church in the counsels and purposes of God affects almost all aspects of our lives. It affects our goals and how we live our lives more than we might suspect. If we do not clearly understand the dispensational dealings of God with man, there is a real danger that we believers becoming in our ways like “earth-dwellers” with our horizons and hopes connected to this world will forget that our true place is with Christ, as part of His bride, in that glorious world to come.
Though capable and respected brothers have differed as to the number and names of the dispensations, they saw and understood the major change in God’s dealings when Israel was set aside and God began to do something new in taking out of the nations (Gentiles) a people for His name (Acts 15:1414Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. (Acts 15:14)). Romans 9-1114What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. 17For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 19Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? 22What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? 25As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. 26And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. 27Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: 28For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. 29And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha. 30What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 1Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 19But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. 20But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. 21But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. 1I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, 3Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. 5Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. 7What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded 8(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. 9And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: 10Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. 11I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? 13For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: 14If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. (Romans 9:14‑11) examine that line of things in the light of the special place Israel enjoyed in the purposes of God in the previous dispensation or administration.
Understanding God’s dispensational dealings is, we feel, fundamental to our walking as heavenly pilgrims, in a way which is pleasing and glorifying to our Lord Jesus Christ. Confusion or ignorance of this important subject may easily result in believers becoming involved in the politics and social programs of the world. “Ye are not of the world” ( John 15:1919If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (John 15:19)). “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:1515Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15)).
R. K. Gorgas