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The Dispensation of the Fullness of Time

Query for the Month

of

February 2012

Next up-date: March 1st 2012 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!
 

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read! 

(when you get to the site just click "cancel" and it will let you in.  Then click "order" to obtain a copy. )

In the meantime, try this site.    And here's one where you can read it online.

 

Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.

In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own.   


Query: 

Ephesians 1:9-10

“Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in [by] Himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness 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 . . .” 

What is this “Dispensation of the Fullness of Times” and when will it be?

 

Answer:

The word “dispensation” as used in the Bible indicates a period of time with a beginning and an ending, or the granting of a special attribute of God for an interlude.  For instance, there are:-

  the Dispensation of Grace ..............................     Ephesians 3:2

  the Gospel Dispensation ................................     1 Corinthians 9:17

  the Dispensation of God ................................     Colossians 1:25

  The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times ......   Ephesians 1:10

There are others which are mentioned in books in my library.

*     every dispensation from Adam ......................     4T 476

*     the Old Testament Dispensation ...................       7BC 953

*     the Mosaic Dispensation ................…….......       AA 189

*     the Jewish Dispensation ................................      GC 324

*     the New Testament Dispensation ..................      7BC 953

*     the Christian Dispensation ............................      6BC 1061

*     the Gospel Dispensation ...............................      7BC 971

*     the Dispensation of Mercy .............................     DA 243

*     the Dispensation of the Holy Spirit ................     TM 511

The most obvious of them all is the division of the work of God into two time periods, which are covered by the OLD and the NEW testaments, for they describe first, the time when the LORD was often on earth personally guiding the work, and second, the time after He left and the Spirit took over the day-to-day running of the church in the world.  Then there other examples, such as the time before the Flood and the time after it; the time before the ceremonial law and the time during it; the time of the kings and the time of foreign dominance, and so on.

Paul mentioned to the Colossians that he had been given a special mission to preach to them the fact that Gentiles as well as Jews were eligible for the gift of the new life.  Not until after the crucifixion did this understanding come to those who were diligently following the way of the LORD, which is why Paul calls it a “mystery”!   But that “dispensation” continues to the present day.

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Colossians 1:

23 If you continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; 24 who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body's sake, which is the church:

25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the DISPENSATION OF GOD which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 even the mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints:

27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

28 Whom we preach, warning every man [Jew and Gentile], and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to His working, which works in me mightily. 

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To another group of new Christians he named his work position as being a Dispensation of the Gospel.

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1 Corinthians 9:

16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is to me, if I preach not the gospel!  17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, A DISPENSATION OF THE GOSPEL is committed to me [laid before me as a duty].

18 What is my reward then?  Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel [I don’t ask for support]. 19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant to all, that I might gain the more.

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He used different words the third time but we can see that these also mean the same thing, so the same dispensation may have more than one name.

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Ephesians 3:

1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 if you have heard of THE DISPENSATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD which is given me to you-ward:

3 How that by revelation He made known to me THE MYSTERY; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 whereby, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effectual working of His power.

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The “mystery” was not of God’s making, for He had worked with many Gentile  generations during the 2,000 years or so before calling the children of Abraham, but the enemy of souls had cunningly suggested to the Hebrews (and later, the Jews) that they were somehow special and unique and therefore should be exclusive.  And this is correct – but Satan put a spin on it which fed the arrogance of God’s people.  Where God had wanted them to stand alone and call people to them, the rebel suggested that they stand alone and shun the others as unworthy!     

Paul’s part in such a dispensation was only a small piece of a larger whole which is also called “The Everlasting Gospel” (Revelation 14:6), for it spans the time from Adam’s confession in Eden to the last saint who repents at the end of time.

Some dispensations began and finished in a relatively short time, while others have started but are not yet finished.  Sometimes they are not even called by the name “dispensation” – such a one is THE TIME OF THE END, which is referred to in the book of Daniel.        

When Gabriel was describing the terrible persecutions the people of God would endure during the 1,260 years of Papal rule in Europe, he mentioned that the public slaughter would cease (but only for a while) during the latter part of that period.  “And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days [many years]. Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries [professing to be Christians].  And some of them of understanding shall fall [in martyrdom], to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to THE TIME OF THE END: because it is yet for a time appointed”.  Daniel 11:33-35.  That "time of the end" period began in 1798 when the Papal political power was broken by the nations, but it will end when the “deadly wound is healed”.  Revelation 13:3.  (See the endnote for more on this time.)

"Dispensations" are titles given (sometimes by the Spirit and sometimes by men) to periods which have a common subject, and therefore the one in our query is very plainly one which covers the last end of time when all things are to be gathered together – when all things are to be finished.

One thing to be noted is that dispensations do not suddenly start or finish, but often overlap by various time-periods, although sometimes that may not be clear at first glance.  An easy one to see is when the Son of God walked on earth.  He lived and behaved as a Jew, keeping to the rituals of the Mosaic law as given by God (He repeatedly ignored the man-made extras), but at the same time He ordained the twelve to be ministers of the Christian Dispensation.  (Luke 17:11-14; Mark 3:14.)  That overlap period was seven years long, from His baptism in 27AD when the Christian Dispensation began, to the stoning of Stephen in 34AD when the Jewish Dispensation finished in fulfilment of the 70th week of the prophecy of Daniel 9:27. 

The identity of “The Times of Restitution” with “The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times”, (Ephesians 1:10) is also apparent.  Peter told the Jews of his day, “But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He has so fulfilled.  Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the LORD; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached to you: whom the heaven must receive until THE TIMES OF RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began”.  Acts 3:18-21.

Peter was here presenting the two cardinal points in the atonement, first the personal conversion required, and then the future blotting out of the record of sins for the whole universe, the gathering together of all things.  

So Paul in his letter to the Ephesians writes, “in whom [Christ] we have [the beginning of] redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”  Ephesians 1:7.  Just before writing our query verses, Paul also wrote; “[God the Father,] having predestinated us to [having designed that we should be led to] the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved, in whom we have redemption [the re-instating] through His blood [His death], [which starts with] the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself [not according to our good works]: that in The Dispensation of the Fullness 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 [Christ].  Ephesians 1:5-10.

So first we receive the Holy Spirit of promise, the “earnest” or “down payment” of  our full inheritance, verses 13-14, who then makes known to us the mystery of God’s will [desire], that none should perish, but that all should receive everlasting life.  (John 3:16.) 

It will be a time of rewards, of learning that which we missed while here on earth, and an understanding that some have chosen not to be in heaven with the saints.

It will literally be “an Age of Repairs”, a time of restitution, a period of blotting out of sins, beginning with the judgment of the righteous, the giving of the final warning, which will be followed by the seven last plagues, the judgment of the rejecters, and a fulfilment of the Jubilee (the 50th year) during which the saints will have restored to them their “own land”, the new earth.

In the law it is written:

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Leviticus 25:

8 And you shall number seven sabbaths of years to you, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. 

9 Then shall you cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month [of the 49th year], in the Day of Atonement shall you make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.

10 And you shall hallow [set aside] the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee to you; and you shall return every man to his possession [in the land of Israel], and you shall return every man to his family [a general release of individuals].

11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be to you: you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of your vine undressed.

12   For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy to you [a sabbath “rest” time]: you shall eat the increase thereof out of the field [that which grows naturally]

13 In the year of this jubilee you shall return every man to his possession.

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And in the prophecy it is written:

“But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever . . . And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him”.  Daniel 7:18 and 27.

It is an era in which the heavenly sanctuary will be “in the midst of them”.  See Ezekiel 37:26-28.  “And I saw thrones, and they [the righteous] sat upon them, and [an investigative] judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years”.  Revelation 20:4. 

It includes, but is not limited to, the 1,000 year period, for it also extends to the “little season” which follows. Verse 3.  This in turn is followed by; “a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more [great] sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He [the Son] will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself [the Father] shall be with them, and be their God’.”  Revelation 21:1-3.

Then, as the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times commenced when the saints of God began to be judged in 1844, and the Gospel Dispensation reaches to the end of the preaching of the Everlasting Gospel at the BEGINNING of the 7th trumpet of Revelation 11:15, it is manifest that the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times begins before the Gospel Dispensation ends.  It coincides with the change of ministration as shown in the sanctuary services, when the final atonement was made by the goat’s blood in the second apartment of the Day of Atonement.  

In other words, forgiveness and cleansing of sin is still being offered today (1 John 1:9), but because of this change of venue, the activities symbolised by the actions of the priests in the first apartment are now being administered to us by our one High Priest from the “second” apartment, while He also prepares for the last work.

There is a period of overlapping or running together of the two Dispensations, in which the peculiarities of both mingle like the twilight, minglings of light and darkness, something similar to the time of the 3rd advent, but in a spiritual way.

“And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.  And you [the newly resurrected rejecters] shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal: yea, you shall flee, like as you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints [shall be] with you [but in the city].  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: but it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.  And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea [the Mediterranean], and half of them toward the hinder sea [the Dead Sea]: in summer and in winter shall it be.  And the LORD shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His name one”.  Zechariah 14:4-9.

 

Conclusion:

The “Dispensation of the Fullness of Time” is the name given to the period when all the events of the great controversy on earth are finishing, and the people of God have been resurrected to be with their LORD for the period of a thousand years.  This “rest” period is to be in heaven while all the “repairs” are made to their minds, and it is then continued by a period on earth when the “repairs” are to be made to the earth.  It therefore extends from the beginning of the judging of the saints to the new world.

 

 

 

Endnote:

***************(Begin Quote)

Daniel 8:16-17.

And I heard a Man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, “Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision”.  So he [Gabriel] came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said to me, “Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision [it shall be understood]”.   

Daniel 11:40

And at [in] the time of the end shall the king of the south [those against Christ] push at him [those who profess Christ]: and the king of the north shall come against him [retaliate] like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.   

Daniel 12:4-10

“But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro [in the prophecies], and knowledge shall be increased

. . . and when he [the king of the north] shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished”.  And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, “O my LORD, what shall be the end of these things?”  And He said, “Go your way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.  Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand”.   BACK

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Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated,

but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

 

Next query. To be discussed from March 1st 2012,

Genesis 3:6-7

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her; and he did eat.  And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.   

Was Adam with his wife when she took the fruit, and why did they make aprons of leaves?   Also, how many women would talk to a snake?

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