by Matthew McGee
Below is a summary of all of the dispensations: This was taken from an article
Eternity Past – Even before God created the world, He always was, having no beginning or end.
1. Innocence – from the creation to the fall of man (the first sin) – Although the Bible does not say specifically, this dispensation probably did not last very long, perhaps only a few days. It ended about 4000 BC. This dispensation is covered in the scriptures from Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 3:22.
2. Conscience – from the fall of man to the great flood – This dispensation lasted from about 4000 BC to about 2350 BC and is covered in the scriptures from Genesis 3:23 to Genesis 8:19. With very little instruction from God during this time, man acted according to his own conscience. The evil became so overwhelming, that this dispensation ended when God destroyed all but Noah and his family in the great flood.
3. Human government – from the great flood to the call of Abraham – This dispensation began in about 2350 BC and is still in effect. Although Abraham and his descendants went under the dispensation of promise around 2000 BC, as explained below, the remainder of mankind remained under the human government dispensation. It is covered in the scriptures from Genesis 8:20 to Genesis 11:32. God began allowing humans to govern themselves and to punish criminals.
4. Promise – from the call of Abraham to the giving of the law to Moses for the children of Israel – This dispensation applied only to Abraham and his descendants through his son, Isaac, and Isaac’s son, Jacob (Israel). It lasted from about 2000 BC to about 1500 BC is covered in the scriptures from Genesis 12:1 to Exodus 19:7. God promised Abraham that He would give land to Abraham’s seed and that all the nations of the world would be blessed by his seed. Although Israel went under the law described below around 1500 BC, the promise God made to Abraham is still in effect.
5. Law – from the giving of the law to Moses for the children of Israel to the calling of Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles (those not of Israel) – This dispensation applied only to Jacob’s descendants, Israel. It began about 1500 BC and lasted until it began to fade away about 37 AD and stopped in 70 AD. It will resume for seven years during the future tribulation after the dispensation of grace listed below. It is covered in the scriptures from Exodus 19:8 to Acts 8 and from Hebrews to Revelation. The book of Acts is a book of transition from law to grace. During the period covered by Acts 9 to 28, we see the grace dispensation coming in and the law dispensation fading away. God chose Israel as the apple of His eye. He gave Israel strict laws, harsh punishments, and prophecies of worldwide prominence in the future kingdom of their coming Messiah.
6. Grace – from the calling of Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, to the rapture of the church – We are now in this dispensation. It began in about 37 AD and will last until the future rapture. Hopefully it will be soon, but we do not know when the rapture will occur, except that it will occur before the seven-year tribulation. This dispensation of grace is covered in the scriptures in Paul’s letters from Romans to Philemon. When Israel refused to accept Jesus Christ, who had ascended to heaven, as their Messiah, God turned to the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy (Romans 11:11).
7. Kingdom (or divine government) – from the return of Jesus Christ to the great white throne of judgment – This begins at the end of the seven-year tribulation mentioned above and lasts for 1000 years. During this time, Jesus Christ will reign as King in Jerusalem. This dispensation is covered in Revelation chapter 20. However, much more detail on this dispensation may be found in many prophecies in various other parts of the Bible. I have summarized many of these in my article, “The Millennial Kingdom Reign of Jesus Christ”.
Eternity Future – This dispensation begins at the end of the 1000 years mentioned above and lasts forever. It is covered in the scriptures in Revelation chapters 21-22. Read More of Article