Even though the fifth dispensation, The Law, is not complete, a new dispensation has begun. The judgment ending the fifth will not occur until the Tribulation, or the Seventieth Week of Daniel's prophecy. In Daniel 9:24-27, God reveals the future judgment upon Israel. Beginning with the command to rebuild Jerusalem, there would be seventy "weeks" or four hundred ninety years until God's judgment upon Israel would be complete. At the end of the sixty-nine weeks (483 years), the Messiah would be killed, and the people, from whom the Antichrist will one day come, would destroy the city and the temple. Of course, the Messiah was Jesus Christ, and the Roman army completed the destruction mentioned about forty years later (A.D. 70). That leaves one "week" or seven year period yet to be fulfilled. Daniel wrote that the future Antichrist would make a treaty with Israel for seven years, but would break it after only three and a half years. The latter half of the Seventieth Week of Daniel would be known as the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21).
The sixth dispensation also begins with God speaking to man, but this time it as the second person of the trinity, Jesus. The Lord came to offer Himself to Israel's Messiah, but Israel rejected Him. As a result, Jesus offered Himself to any and all who would believe in Him (John 1:11-12). God's new group He would hold accountable as stewards was the Church. Jesus spoke of the Church as being a mystery to Israel. He told His disciples that He would establish it in Matthew 16:18, and it officially began on the Day of Pentecost, just ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 2:1-4). The major difference between the believers of the Old Testament and those of the New, was the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples that the Spirit was with them, but that He would be in them (John 14:17).
I mentioned last time that the first coming of Jesus was pictured in the first three feasts of Israel, and that His second coming was pictured in the last three feasts. Of the seven feasts Israel was to celebrate, only one was set apart from the others. The fourth feast was known as the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of Loaves. Unlike the first three feasts which were to be celebrated without leaven, this feast included two loaves of leavened bread. Because the Church began on the day of this feast, because the Church is made up of both Jews and Gentiles, and because leaven in the Bible refers to sin, the fourth feast clearly is a picture of the Church. In addition, because it is between the first three (His first coming), and the last three (His second coming), it has to represent the Church. The Church is a parenthetical period within the dispensation of The Law.
The Dispensation of the Church might be described as:
Stewardship: Spread the Gospel and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20)
Foods: All plants and animals (Acts 10:10-15)
Command: Love one another in unity (John 17: 11, 21-23)
Response: Division and apostasy (1 Corinthians 1:10-23; 2 Timothy 3:1-7; 4:3-4)
Judgment: The Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)