God's Ways of Working in the Past,
the Present, and the Future

By WordExplain.com

Introduction to the Dispensations
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Before God created the Earth, our Solar System, our Galaxy, the Universe ... did He have a Master Plan?  When God created the first humans, Adam and Eve, did He have to change His plans when they disobeyed Him?  Does God always work the same way throughout the thousands of years of human history?  If we are to understand how God will work in the future, we must understand how He used to work in the past.  First, as we study through the Bible, we quickly observe that God works with different people in different ways at different times.  

For example when God was working with Adam and Eve before they sinned, God had a very limited set of ground rules. Adam and Eve could eat of any tree of the Garden except for the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  If they ate of this tree, God said, they would die.

We know that Adam and Eve both ate of the forbidden fruit.  When they did so, they died spiritually instantly (they hid from God), and the process of physical decay and physical death began to work in their bodies instantly, although it would take many years before their bodies perished.  After they sinned (The Fall of Man), God's ground rules changed dramatically.  First, God predicted enmity between the woman and the serpent, and between her seed (a certain offspring) and his offspring.  Second, God told Eve she would bear children in great pain, yet she would still have a desire for her husband, and he would rule over her.  Third, God cursed the ground that Adam had to work.  He would have to toil strenuously to grow food, and thorns and thistles would always oppose him.  Work would become arduous and Adam would succumb to death and would decay into the soil from which he had been made.  Fourth, God sacrificed the life of an animal or animals to make skins for clothing for the pair. Fifth, God banished man forever from the Garden of Eden, lest man eat of the Tree of Life and live forever in a decaying, increasingly decrepit body.

I say all that to say this again:  Throughout man's history, God has worked in DIFFERENT WAYS with DIFFERENT PEOPLE at DIFFERENT TIMES.

Let me now outline very briefly the ways in which God has worked with man in the past, how He is working now, and how He will work in the future. Theologians call these different eras DISPENSATIONS, taken from Ephesians 1:10  (King James Version - KJV):  "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him."   The word dispensation is translated in The New American Standard Bible (NASB) as "administration."  Frequently the same Greek word is translated in NASB as management (Luke 16:2-4), and sometimes as stewardship (1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 3:2; Col. 1:25).  The idea is that God entrusts to mankind, and at times, to certain groups of people, a stewardship -- a responsibility to run the earth and manage it for the glory of God, fulfilling God's plan for us to serve Him.  So a Biblical understanding of our time here on earth is this, that we are not here for our own pleasure.  We exist on earth to cooperate with God, to serve as benevolent stewards over the earth and its people, to endeavor to bring people into right relationship with God.  There follows now, a brief list of the Dispensations, or Administrations, or Stewardships -- the ways in which God has worked with man in the past.  These different arrangements that God has entered into with man will show us what man's responsibility used to be, what it is now (in the Church Age), and what it will be in the future..

It is important to notice that certain features carry over from one dispensation to another, while other features may end with the closing of a dispensation.  For example, faith in God and what He says is of paramount importance in any dispensation.  The Law (Torah), with all of its ceremonial and sacrificial commands was imperative for Israel during the Dispensation of Law, but "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes" (Rom. 10:4) in the dispensation of Grace or Church.

Here are the Eight Dispensations.  Some believe there are fewer, some, perhaps more, but I have chosen eight different ways God works in eight different eras:  Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, Promise, Law, Grace (or Church), Millennial Kingdom, and Eternal Kingdom.

The Dispensation of Innocence
Genesis 1:26 - 3:6

Beginning Creation.  Gen. 1:26-27
Human Responsibility (Test) 1. Reflect the image of God. Gen. 1:26
2. Multiply and replenish the earth. Gen. 1:28
3. Subdue the earth and rule the animals benevolently. Gen. 1:28
4. Cultivate the Garden of Eden. Gen. 2:15
5. Eat freely of any tree in the Garden. Gen. 2:16
6. Do not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Gen. 2:17
7. Trust God and His command (exercise faith)
8. Name the animals. Gen. 2:19
Advantages 1. Supremely beautiful environment.  Gen. 2:9
2. Positive goodness; absence of any sin or sinful motives. Gen. 1:31
3. Man had a wonderful companion and helper. Gen. 2:18-25
4. Intimate fellowship with God. Gen. 2:7-25 (Cf. Gen. 3:8)
Human Failure Man disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit. Gen. 3:1-6; Rom. 5:12
Divine Judgment 1. Loss of innocence (ashamed of nakedness). Gen. 3:7
2. Instant spiritual death (separated from fellowship with God). Gen. 3:8
3. Perpetual enmity between the serpent and the woman, and between their offspring. Gen. 3:15
4. Eve would have painful childbirth, and would be ruled over by her husband. Gen. 3:16
5. The ground Adam was to till was cursed.  Work would be difficult and nature would oppose him with thorns and thistles. Gen. 3:17-19a
6. He would eventually age and die physically. Gen. 3:19b; 5:5.
7. The pair were expelled from the Garden. Gen. 3:24
Divine Grace 1. Man was promised a redeemer who would destroy the serpent. Gen. 3:15
2. Man was prevented from eating of the Tree of Life, which would have perpetuated him in a sin-cursed, decrepit body. Gen. 3:22-24
3. Man was given longevity. Gen. 5
End of the Dispensation Expulsion from the Garden. Gen. 3:24
Application Even in the most perfect environment and without any sin nature, man will fail his moral test, disobey God, and suffer disastrous consequences.

The Dispensation of Conscience (or Moral Responsibility)
Genesis 3:7 - 8:19

Beginning An experiential knowledge of good and evil.  Gen. 3:8
Human Responsibility
1. The same as Innocence.  (Reflect the Image of God; Multiply and replenish the earth; Subdue the earth and rule the animals benevolently.  But now also:
2. Live in accordance with the curses God placed on them
3. Live according to conscience. Rom. 2:15
4. Apparently, acknowledge God with an offering. Gen. 4:3-4
5. Trust God. Rom. 1:17
Advantages 1. They lived with a first-hand knowledge of God. Gen. 4:1
2. They interacted personally with God. Gen. 4:4-15.
Human Failure 1. Cain offered an offering apparently without faith. Heb. 11:4
2. Cain became angry at God. Gen. 4:5
3. Murder. Gen. 4:6
4. Great evil. Gen. 6:5
5. Great corruption and violence. Gen. 6:11-12
Divine Judgment 1. The ground was cursed for Cain.  He could no longer grow crops.  He became a fugitive nomad. Gen. 6:11-12
2. God  destroyed all animals on the earth and all mankind except for selected animal representatives and Noah's family through a world-wide Flood.  Gen. 6 - 8
Divine Grace God preserved Noah's family and selected animals.  Gen. 6:8 - 7:8
End of the Dispensation The Great Flood.
Application Left to his own devices, man becomes utterly corrupt, worthy only of annihilation.

The Dispensation of Human Government
Genesis 8:20 - 11:9

Beginning The Covenant with Noah after the Flood.  Gen. 9:8-17
Human Responsibility
1. "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth ... abundantly" Gen. 9:1, 7
2. Man may eat animals, but not the blood of animals. Gen. 9:3-4
3. If any man or animal sheds human blood, men are to shed his (or its) blood to protect the image of God in man. Gen. 9:5-6
Advantages 1. With the presumable decrease in vegetation, man was now permitted to eat meat.  Gen. 9:3
2. With animals becoming carnivorous also, God placed a dread of mankind in the animal kingdom for man's protection. Gen. 9:2
3. Capital punishment, implying the existence of human government, would help control violence and anarchy on the earth. Gen. 9:6
4. God covenanted never again to destroy the earth with a flood.  The rainbow is the sign of God's covenant.  Gen. 9:8-17
Human Failure Instead of filling the whole earth, mankind united (Tower of Babel or Babylon) to avoid being scattered. Gen. 11:4
Divine Judgment 1. God proliferated human languages. Gen. 11:7
2. God scattered mankind upon the face of the earth. Gen. 11:8
Divine Grace God put none to death for their rebellion.
End of the Dispensation The dispersion of the human race at Babel. (Gen. 11:8-9)
Application Even with the knowledge of God's catastrophic judgment for evil (the Flood), man still chooses to defy God and go his own way.

The Dispensation of Promise
Genesis 11:10 - Exodus 19:2

Beginning The Promise to Abraham.  Gen. 12:1-3
Human Responsibility
1. Abraham was to leave his country, his relatives, and his father's house and travel to the land God would show him. Gen. 12:1
2. He was to be a blessing. Gen. 12:2
3. He was to travel about through the land God had promised him and his descendants forever. Gen. 13:14-17
4. It is implied that he was to believe in God's promises. Gen. 12:1-3; 15:1-6; 17:19-21, etc.
Advantages 1. God's promises were initially conditioned on Abraham's faith, as evidenced by his obedience (Gen. 12:1-4).  Once Abraham responded, however, those promises, reinforced by a unilateral Divine covenant (Gen. 15), were worded in unconditional, eternal terms.  In other words, God's promises to Abraham are guaranteed.  These promises included that
(a) Abraham would become a great nation;
(b) God would bless him;
(c) God would make his name great;
(d) God would bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who cursed him;
(e) in Abraham all the families of the earth would be blessed (all Gen. 12:1-3);
(f) God would give Abraham and his descendants the land of Canaan forever (Gen. 13:14-17; 15:18-21; 17:3-8);
(g) and that God's chosen line of Abraham's descendants was Isaac through Sarah (not Ishmael through Hagar) (Gen. 17:15-22; 21:9-12).
2. The blessings to Abraham, God passed on to Isaac (Gen. 25:11; 26:2-5).
3. Isaac passed on the blessings of Abraham to his son Jacob (Gen. 27:26-29, 37; 28:1-4), and God confirmed his actions (Gen. 28:12-15).
4. God's blessings to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob included vast material prosperity (Gen. 13:2; 20:14-16; 26:12-14; 30:43).
5. The descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob experienced God's powerful deliverance on their behalf . Exod. 14
Human Failure 1. Abraham departed from the land of blessing (Gen. 12:10-20).
2. Abraham and Sarah didn't believe God would given them a son, so they had Abraham impregnate her servant girl, Hagar (Gen. 16).
3. The Israelis repeatedly failed to trust God in difficult circumstances.  Exod. 14:10-12; 16:2-3; 17:1-4
Divine Judgment 1. When Abraham went to Egypt, his wife probably acquired Hagar there.
2. When Abraham and Sarah had a child by Hagar, great strife erupted in the family.  The strife is still seen between the descendants of Isaac (Israel) and the descendants of Ishmael (the Arabs).
Divine Grace 1. Even through Abraham and his descendants were imperfect, God still made unconditional promises and covenants ultimately guaranteeing Abraham's descendants through Isaac and Jacob God's blessing, supremacy in the world, a title to the land of Canaan, and being a great blessing to all the clans of the earth.
2. God blessed the Hebrew people by delivering them out of great bondage in Egypt (the Exodus) Exodus 7 - 14.
End of the Dispensation The Giving of the Law in Exodus 19 - 20 ff.
Application Man is flawed sinner at heart.  The only way he can be redeemed is if God sovereignly reaches into a his life and chooses to bless him.

The Dispensation of Law
Exodus 19:3 - Gospels

Beginning The Giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai. Exodus 19:3 - 23:33
Human Responsibility (Test) 1. Obey God and keep His covenant. Ex. 19:5
2. Be God's unique national possession. Ex. 19:5
3. Be to God a kingdom of priests (i. e. be a priesthood to bring people from other nations into right relationship with God). Ex. 19:6
4. Be God's holy nation (set apart from sin to Himself). Ex. 19:6; Lev. 20:26
Advantages 1. God would continue to provide for them and protect them as He already had. Ex. 19:4
2. God would guide them to Canaan and help them conquer the land so they could inhabit it. Ex. 23:20-33; 34:10-11
3. God would live among them. Ex. 25-27; 40:34-38
4. God would be their invisible King.  1 Sam. 8:7
5. God would bless them in every possible way. Deut. 28:1-14
Human Failure 1. Israel refused to believe that God could give them the victory over their opponents and conquer the Promised Land. Numb. 13:31 - 14:4
2. Israel repeatedly worshiped false gods. Exod. 32-33; Judges 2:11-13; 1 Kings 12:26-33, etc.
3. Israel repeatedly broke the Law.  Numb. 15:32-36; Numb. 25; 2 Chron. 36:21; Amos 2:4-8, etc.
4. Israel rejected God as her invisible king, desiring instead a visible human king.  1 Sam. 8:4-22
5. Israel ultimately rejected the Divine / Human King God sent, and had the Romans crucify him.  Isaiah 53; Psalm 22:1, 7-8, 15-18; Matt. 27:20-54; Acts 4:25-28
Divine Judgment 1. Under Moses, God consigned the nation to wander in the desert for 40 years until the older generation had died off.  Numb. 14:27-35
2. God gave Israel what they asked for - a human king who would draft their sons and daughters and tax them heavily. 1 Sam. 8:9-22
3. God divided the Kingdom into two because of King Solomon's idolatry. 1 Kings 11:1-8
4. God used the Assyrians to conquer the Northern Kingdom and carry the people into captivity. 2 Kings 17:7-23
5. God used the Babylonians to conquer the Southern Kingdom (Judah) and carry the people into exile. 2 Kings 24:1-4; 10-17; 25:1-22; 2 Chron. 36:11-21
6. God allowed the Romans to occupy Israel during the days of Jesus. Matt. 22:21; Luke 2:1-4.
Divine Grace 1. God provided sacrifices whereby Israeli citizens could stay in fellowship with God. Leviticus 1-7
2. God provided the Day of Atonement whereby the nation could, annually have its corporate sins forgiven. Leviticus 16
3. God promised David an ultimate descendant who would sit on David's throne forever as an obedient King.  2 Sam. 7:1-16 (See also Isaiah 9:6-7; Psalm 2; Psalm 110; Isa. 11:1-10; Daniel  7:9-14.)  The people of Israel will mourn for having pierced this king and God will forgive their sins. Zech. 12:10 - 13:1.
4. God promised Israel a New Covenant in which He would give them soft hearts so they would obey Him, and He would forgive them their sins. Jer. 31:31-37; Ezek. 11:19-20; 36:21-36.
End of the Dispensation The Crucifixion of Christ on the Cross. Matt. 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 19
Application Even with a complete revelation of God's righteous standards as given in the Law, reinforced in the Writings and the Prophets, the Jewish people were unable to worship God exclusively or keep His commands. Even when God reveals to us all His standards, we are incapable of meeting them without His assistance.  Man needs a heart of flesh to replace his heart of stone.  God has promised that in the New Covenant.

The Dispensation of Grace
(The Church Age)
Acts - Revelation 5

Beginning The Day of Pentecost, the beginning of the Church. Acts 2
Human Responsibility (Test) 1. Believe in Jesus Christ, the only way to the Father (John 14:6), who died to pay for our sins and rose again that we may have eternal life.  John 1:11-12; 3:16-18, 36; 5:24, 11:25-27; Acts 4:12; 16:31; Rom. 3:21-26; 4:23-25; 5:8-10; 1 Cor. 15:1-8; 1 Pet. 3:18.
2.  Be witnesses to all the world of Jesus, making disciples for him and teaching them to obey him. Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:16-20.
3. Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Col. 3:17
4. Preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. John 17:11, 20-23; Eph. 4:3
Advantages 1. We are saved by grace through faith apart from the works of the Law. Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-10.
2. Christians today are sealed with the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 1:21-22; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30), whom Jesus gave us in His absence to indwell us and motivate us, (John 14:16-17) for evangelism (John 16:7-11), and for guidance and empowering (Rom. 8:14, 18; Gal. 5:22-25).
3. Jesus is the complete propitiation (legal satisfaction) for our sin (Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10) something the Law could never accomplish (Rom. 3:21-25).
4. There is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ. Rom. 8:1
5. Jesus Christ is forever our great high priest who constantly intercedes for us. Heb. 3:1; 4:14-16; 7:23-27
6. Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant, the New Covenant, which alone can provide the hearts needed to obey God. Heb. 7:22; 8:6-12
7. Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God in Christ. Rom. 8:35-39
Human Failure 1. The Jewish people repeatedly failed to trust in Jesus as their Messiah / King. Acts 13:44-47; 14:1-2; 17:1-5, 10-15;  18:4-6, 12-13; 19:8-9.
2. Few of any people, whether Jewish or Gentile, accept God's salvation in Jesus. Matt. 7:13-14; 22:14.
3. Some within the church were fleshly, acting like unregenerate men, exhibiting disunity (1 Cor. 3:1-3),  immorality (1 Cor. 5:1), litigation by believers against believers in an unbelieving law court (1 Cor. 6:1-6), and divisive, discriminatory worship (1 Cor. 11:17-22).
4. The Church would experience apostasy (1 Tim. 4:1-3), savage dismemberment of the flock (Acts 20:29-30), doctrinal defection (Jude 1:3-4), losing its first love for Christ (Rev. 2:4), incomplete obedience (Rev. 3:1-3), and apathy (Rev. 3:15-17).
Divine Judgment 1. Those who reject Jesus' sacrifice for their sins remain under God's wrath and judgment. John 3:16-20, 36; Romans 1:18-32; 2:1-9; 5:9; Eph. 2:1-3.
2. Believers in Christ who live loosely can experience disciplinary sickness and even physical death.  Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor. 5:1-5; 11:27-32; 1 John 5:16; Rev. 2:20-23.
Divine Grace 1. Grace is the distinctive feature of the Church Age:  John 1:17; Rom. 3:21-24; 5:15, 17, 20-21; 11:5-6; Eph. 2:4-9; 1 Tim. 2:12-16; Titus 2:11-14.
2. God's grace is displayed in that, though all mankind is deserving of eternal death because of sin, yet God has chosen some to salvation without reference to any merit on their part.  Rom. 9:10-16; Eph. 1:2-6; Col. 3:12; Tit. 1:1-2; James 2:5; 1 Pet. 1:1-2.
3. God's grace is displayed in that, though He chose Israel as his special nation (Ex. 19:1-6), when they rejected Jesus, God's anointed King, God gave the other nations of the world (Gentiles) the opportunity for reconciliation with God through faith in Jesus! Rom. 9:22-25, 30-33; 11:5-11, 25; 15:8-12.
End of the Dispensation The Rapture of the Church (Christ's return to the air near earth to draw all believers, living and dead, from Acts 2 onward -- to be His Bride):  John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:50-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 3:10; Rev. 4 - 5
Application Even despite the personal presence of Jesus of Nazareth, the God / Man Messiah upon the earth, paying the death penalty for the sins of the entire world. the Jewish people did not receive Him (John 1:11), and most of mankind has not received Him.  When offered forgiveness in Jesus by God, most humans will reject God's gracious gift.  "...[F]or the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."  Matt. 7:13-14
The Dispensation of the Millennial Kingdom
Revelation 6 - 20

Beginning The Second Coming of Christ.*  Psalm 2:4-6; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-14; Zech. 14:1-4; Matt. 24:30-31; 26:63-64; Luke 21:27; Acts 1:11; 2 Thess. 1:6-10; 2:8; Rev. 19:11-21. [* Most dispensationalists say that Christ's return to the earth to set up His kingdom is the starting point.  But that leaves the 7-year Tribulation period in no man's land.  Unquestionably the Tribulation period, which begins with the false Messiah (The Antichrist), brokering a peace treaty between the Arabs and Israel (Dan. 9:27), is the beginning portion of The Day of the LORD (Isa. 13:6-13; Ezek 30:1-3; Joel 2:30-31; 9-17, etc.).  The Day of the LORD is the time when God proactively and personally enters into human history to bring about His Son's Millennial reign and His own Eternal Kingdom.  The Tribulation Period is the Day of the Wrath of God and the Wrath of the Lamb (Rev. 6:14-17; 11:16-18; 14:9-11, 19-20; 15:1, 7; 16:1, 19), culminating in the Wrathful return of Christ to take out His vengeance on a defiant world with a Rod of Iron (Rev. 19:11-15, cf. Psalm 2:6-9; Rev. 12:5).  Since the Tribulation is God's purification of the earth in preparation for His Son's reign, I incorporate it as the start of the Millennial Kingdom.]
Human Responsibility (Test) Jesus Christ, God's Son, Jewish and Gentile Messiah, will reign as the most powerful, benevolent, and righteous King the world has ever known. Man's responsibility is simple:  Submit to the King, obey His laws, and worship Him!  Psalm 2:10-12; Isa. 2:1-4; 11:1-5; 66:23-24; Zech. 14:16-17.
Advantages 1. Universal righteousness and goodness.  Throughout the course of the Tribulation, in excess of one-half the earth's population will have been destroyed (Rev. 6:8 + 9:15-18).  When Jesus returns he will slay, simply by so commanding, all the wicked who have opposed him in battle (Isa. 11:4; Zech. 12:8-9; 14:12-15; Rev. 19:11, 15, 21).  All of the survivors of the great Tribulation Period will then have to face him in a court of law.  He will be able to see through every defense they make (Isa. 11:1-5).  The righteous will be permitted to inherit His kingdom, while the wicked will depart into eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:31-46).  Consequently, there will be only righteous people left to inhabit the Millennial earth, and so the Kingdom of Christ will be filled with righteous people who desire to obey the King!
2. Satan, the ultimate deceiver, will be captive for the 1000 years, and thus unable to trick people into disobeying the King. Rev. 20:1-3
3. People from all over the world will desire to come to Jerusalem to learn the ways of the King, and so the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea!  Isa. 2:1-3; 11:9; Jer. 31:34; Hab. 2:14
4. There will be world-wide peace!  Isa. 2:4; 9:6-7; Micah 4:3-4
5. The poor and the weak will be protected. Isa. 11:3
6. There will be bounteous crops. Isa. 27:6; 35:1-2, 7; Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13
7. The curse upon nature will be largely reversed, and man will live in harmony with the animal kingdom. Isa. 11:6-9; 65:11
8. The Arab - Israeli feud that has existed for millennia will be solved, and Israel will be able to dwell in her own land in peace and prosperity without intervention and meddling from the Palestinians, Muslims, European Union, United States, or United Nations.  Isa. 65:18-24
9. Longevity:  Earth's conditions will apparently return to pre-Flood conditions (Genesis 5), when people lived hundreds of years.  Undoubtedly many will live throughout the entire Millennium.  Isa. 65:20
10. Efficiency in government:  A monarchy is the most efficient form of government, and a benevolent monarchy will be the most beneficent.  Jesus will be King over all the earth (Zech. 14:9).  Billions will be saved in governmental management, and organizations such as the impotent and corrupt United Nations will be obsolete.
Human Failure 1. Prior to the Millennium, the earth's nations will be in utter revolt against God, His Anointed King, and His people, whether Christian or Jewish (Psalm 2:1-3; Ezek. 38:1-16; Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 16:9, 11, 21; 17:1-6). The vast majority of earth's peoples will give their allegiance to Satan's Messiah, the Antichrist, and his administration (Rev. 13).
2. Even after 1000 years of the greatest world peace, greatest world-wide economy, greatest environment, and the personal presence of Jesus, the God / Man Messiah, Satan will be able to deceive a significant portion of earth's population into revolting against the King and His administration in Jerusalem. Rev. 20:7-9
Divine Judgment 1. During the Tribulation, over half the world's population will have been destroyed (Rev. 6:8; 9:15-18).
2. At the end of the Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:13-16), all the enemy combatants will be destroyed (Joel 3:1-17; Zech. 14:12; Rev. 19:17-21).
3. After the conflict, all the survivors will come before King Jesus to be judged by Him. All the wicked will be cast into eternal fire (Matt. 25:31-46).
4. All of the rebels who revolt against the King at the close of the Millennium will be destroyed by fire from heaven (Rev. 20:7-9).
5. The entire universe, corrupted through man's sin and depravity, will be destroyed (2 Pet. 3:7-13; Rev. 20:11).
6. All the wicked dead of all ages will stand before Christ, where they will be evaluated by their deeds.  All whose names are not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone (Rev. 20:10-15).
Divine Grace 1. Under the gracious terms of the New Covenant, the remnant of Israel will be forgiven and be given hearts to follow God and Jesus. Jer. 31:31-34; Zech. 12:10 - 13:1; Mal. 3:1-6; Rom. 11:25-27.
2. By God's grace many citizens of the nations (Gentiles) of the world will be permitted to enter Jesus' Kingdom. Matt. 25:31-46.
3. The world will be graced by the personal presence of Jesus, the Great King! Isa. 23:5-6; 42:1-4; Zech. 14:9; Luke 1:32-33; Rev. 20:4-6
4. See all of the details under Advantages, above.
End of the Dispensation The dispensation will end with the quelling of the final revolt inspired by Satan, the destruction of the existing heavens and earth, and the Great White Throne judgment of the wicked dead of all ages.
Application The world will have been blessed with the greatest king, the greatest peace, the greatest economy, the most benevolent government, the greatest longevity, the greatest wisdom, and, with Satan's removal, the greatest freedom from temptation man has known since the Garden of Eden.  Those who enter Christ's kingdom in their natural bodies will be believers in Christ.  But they will have children, and apparently there will be huge numbers who will not share their parents' faith in Christ.  When Satan is unleashed again on the planet, he will deceive multitudes into revolting against the King to destroy Him and His City, Jerusalem.  The lesson to be learned is that, in the most ideal environment and observing Jesus alive, sadly, huge numbers of people will defy God and Jesus.  Man's heart is basically corrupt, and man's persistent rebellion against God cannot be blamed on environment.

The Dispensation of the Eternal Kingdom
Revelation 21 - 22

Beginning The Creation of the New Heavens and Earth.  Rev. 21 - 22
Human Responsibility (Not a Test) 1. Worship God and Christ. Rev. 4:8-11; 5:8-14
2. Serve God and Christ. Rev. 21:24-26; 22:3
3. Reign forever. Rev. 22:5
Advantages 1. Confirmed universal righteousness and goodness.  
2. Satan and his angels will forever be banished from the New Heavens and Earth. Rev. 20:10
3. There will be no discord.  Those who want to do unwholesome things will not be present. There will be no more lies, murder, cowardice, immorality, idolatry, or any other sin. Rev. 21:8, 27
4. Everything will be new. Rev. 21:1, 5
5. God will be living with us humans forever. (This is what He always wanted!) Rev. 21:3
6. There will be no more death. Rev. 21:4
7. There will be no more tears, weeping, sorrow, or pain. Rev. 21:4
8. There will be incredible beauty. Rev. 21:10-21
9. There will be meaningful, productive commercial, business, and agricultural pursuits on the new earth. Rev. 21:24-26
10. There will be incredibly delicious food. Rev. 22:1-2
11. There will be incredible friendship with God and Jesus. Rev. 22:3-4
12. There will be no more night. Rev. 21:25; 22:5
13. The pleasure of serving  God and Jesus and reigning with them will last forever. Rev. 22:5
Human Failure There is no human failure.  All sinners and all sin have been banished forever.
Divine Judgment There is no judgment in the New Heaven and Earth, for there is no sin.  All (unforgiven) sinners are forever judged in a remote lake of fire that is not part of the New Heaven and New Earth.
Divine Grace All existence in the New Jerusalem, New Heaven, and New Earth is solely traceable to God's grace.  None deserve to be there.
End of the Dispensation There is no end to this dispensation.  It will continue forever!
Application Any and all who wish may take part in the New Jerusalem in the New Heaven and New Earth.  There is an extended invitation. "The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost." (Rev. 22:17)
Jesus said,  "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. {29} "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. {30} "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Mat 11:28-30)

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE , Copyright 1960, 1962,
1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.  Used by
permission. (www.Lockman.org)

WordExplain.com by James T. Bartsch
Contact:  jbartsch@wordexplain.com

This Page Updated September 11, 2007