The Scriptures, when interpreted in their natural, literal sense, reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life which define man’s responsibilities in successive ages. A dispensation is a unique stage in the outworking of God’s program in time, whereby mankind is responsible to believe God and to be a good steward of the particular revelation which God has given (Eph. 3:2,9; Col. 1:25; Ex. 34:27-28; Gal. 3:10-12; 1 Tim. 1:4; Eph. 1:10; etc.). Three of these—the dispensations of Law, Grace, and the Millennium—are specifically mentioned in Scripture (Jn. 1:17; 1 Cor. 9:17; 2 Cor. 3:9-18; Gal. 3:13-25; Eph. 1:10; Col. 1:24-25; Heb. 7:19; Rev. 20:2-6).
In order to be “rightly dividing the Word of truth” it is essential to distinguish things that differ and to recognize certain basic Biblical distinctions. Examples of these would be the difference between God’s program for Israel and His program for the Church (Acts 15:14-17; Rom. 11:25-27), the separation of 1000 years between the two resurrections (Rev. 20:4-6), the difference between the various judgments which occur at different times (2 Cor. 5:10; Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 20:11-15), the difference between law and grace (Jn. 1:17; Rom. 6:14-15 Rom. 7:1-6) and the difference between Christ’s present session at the right hand of the Father as the Church’s great High Priest and Christ’s future session on the restored Davidic throne as Israel’s millennial King (Heb. 1:3; 10:12-13; Acts 15:16; Lk. 1:32).
The Church is a distinct body of believers which was not present on earth during the Old Testament period and which was not the subject of Old Testament prophecy (Eph. 3:1-9; Col. 1:25-27). According to God’s timetable, the Church is on earth between the two advents of Christ. The beginning of the Church took place after the conclusion of Daniel’s 69th week (Dan. 9:24-26), on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. The completion of the Church’s ministry on earth will take place at the Rapture, just prior to the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week (Dan. 9:27). During this interval of time God is visiting the nations to call out a people for His Name (Acts 15:14-16; Eph. 3: 1-11; Rom. 11:25). Indeed, the Church is God’s called-out assembly.
God will literally fulfill His covenant and kingdom promises to the nation of Israel just as the prophets foretold (Gen. 12:2-3; 15:18-21; Deut. 30:3-10; 2 Sam. 7:4-17; Jer. 31:31-37; 33:15-26). The promises of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12,15,17), the Davidic covenant (2 Sam. 7) and the New covenant (Jer. 31), were made unconditionally to national Israel, and they will be literally fulfilled during the Millennium (Jer. 31:31-37; 33:14-26; Ezek. 36:25-28, 40-48; Rom. 11:23-32).
Dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose, and in every dispensation, salvation has been by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8; Gen. 15:6; Heb. 11:4-7; Rom. 4:1-8).
God's will during this dispensation is that you tell others about Jesus!