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Volume 28 - Page 87 of 217 Index | Zoom | |
shall be manifested, they will be there with Him, not in the air, or in the New
Jerusalem, but "in glory".
The interested reader will find articles dealing with the distinctive hope of the Church
of the Mystery as compared with that of the early Church in the following Volumes:
The Hope of the Mystery . . . . .
Vol. 11: 125.
The Hope of I Thess. 4: . . . . .
Vol. 12: 61-63; 1: 122 (1: 112);
3: 74 (2:/3: 120).
Parousia and Epiphaneia . . . . .
Vol. 20: 169, 224-230; 3: 70 (2:/3: 117).
pp. 159, 160
The word "dispensation" is in continual use in these studies, and it is important that
we should not misunderstand its meaning. It has sometimes been confused with the word
"age", with the result that some have thought it to be impossible that two or more
dispensations could be running together. While, of course, a dispensation must occupy
time, and have a beginning and an end, the question of time is not so much in view as the
characteristics that mark any special period in the outworking of the purpose of the ages,
particularly in so far as this purpose has to do with various spheres and callings. The
word comes particularly into prominence in the ministry of the apostle Paul. Until the
time came for God to recall to favour the far-off Gentiles, there was no need to lay great
stress upon the necessity of right division or of distinguishing dispensations. With the
call and commission of the Apostle to the Gentiles, however, came the necessity to
distinguish between Kingdom and Church, Jew and Gentile, and Bride and Body.
The word translated "dispensation" means "stewardship" or "house management".
When, therefore, Paul claimed that to him had been given the dispensation of the
Mystery, he claimed to be the God-given steward and administrator of the Church of the
One Body. While Paul fulfilled his appointed commission among the Gentiles, Peter,
James and John were equally fulfilling theirs among the circumcision; and for many
years the two dispensations, represented by Paul and Peter, ran concurrently.
A "dispensation" in Scripture indicates that some distinctive phase of the
purpose of the ages is in view, and that some group of characteristics mark it off
from other phases. Usually some chosen instrument--for instance, Moses or
Paul--is identified with the revelation of its terms and the administering of its
"Dispensational truth" indicates a particular revelation of God's will to man
during some particular administration. It is not so much concerned with doctrine
common to all ages and to all men (e.g., the fact of sin, the inspiration of