I firmly believe that “dispensationalism” is taught in the Bible. In fact, we have two direct scriptures that confirm this. In Ephesians 1:10 we read, “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—in Him” (NKJV). Later, in Ephesians 3:2 we read, “If indeed you have heard of the DISPENSATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD which was given to me for you.” Before we comment on what these TWO DISPENSATIONS are referring to, we need to define the word. Simply put, a “dispensation” is “a stewardship or administration.” Mr. C. I. Scofield defined it by saying, “A dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God.”

Using Mr. Scofield’s definition, Ephesians 3:2 is referring to the “present Church Age (which began on the Day of Pentecost and will end with the Rapture of the Church to heaven) where God is testing man with the revelation of His grace in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” God’s grace has been fully revealed to man in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ and they are responsible to act on this revelation by “believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.” As we know, most people are NOT responding in faith to the Gospel so they are FAILING THE TEST. Ephesians 1:10 is referring to the period of time that we call the MILLENNIUM, when Jesus Christ will come to reign over the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords for 1,000 years (see Matthew 24:29-31; 25:31-46 and Revelation 19:11-20:6). Men will be tested during those 1,000 years to see if they will submit to Christ as King and there too they will FAIL THE TEST, for Satan will lead a great rebellion against Christ and His saints and they will be destroyed (see Revelation 20:7-10).

To use a simple illustration, dispensationalism views the world as a household run by God. In this household God is dispensing or administering its affairs according to His own will and in various stages of revelation in the process of time. In each dispensation God gives to men a particular revelation of Himself and they are responsible to live up to the light that He has given them. There are differences of opinion as to how many dispensations there are in Scripture, but I favor the view that there are SEVEN DISPENSATIONS, beginning with Adam and Eve and ending with, as we saw, the “dispensation of the fullness of times” (when Christ’s reign over the earth will be God’s final revelation of Himself to man before eternity begins). Each dispensation has a definite beginning and ending, with each ending in God’s JUDGMENT because of man’s FAILURE TO PASS THE TEST. Here is a brief outline of those SEVEN DISPENSATIONS.

  1. The “Dispensation of Innocence”….Genesis 1:26-3:24
  2. The “Dispensation of Conscience”….Genesis 3:7, 22, 4:1-7:24
  3. The “Dispensation of Human Government….Genesis 8:15-11:9
  4. The “Dispensation of Promise”…..Genesis 11:10-Exodus 18:27
  5. The “Dispensation of Law”….Exodus 19:1-Acts 1:26
  6. The “Dispensation of Grace”….Acts 2:1-Revelation 19:21
  7. The “Dispensation of the Kingdom….Revelation 20:1-15. (351.5) (DO)