Dispensations and Covenants

Dispensational theology recognizes seven separate dispensations where God works with man in slightly different ways. These dispensations can be related to individual covenants between God and man. This stands to reason that man’s relationship with God would change with each new covenant.

In each dispensation God reveals something to man and man is expected to respond in obedience and faith. Often dispensations build upon one another, adding knowledge without doing away with what God had previously taught. In every age man doesn’t live up to the standard which God expects. Some individually may follow but collectively man rejects God’s revelations even up to today when they reject the gospel of Jesus Christ.

To read more about each dispensational and how they relate to the covenants, click the links below.

Innocence – Genesis 1:28 Edenic Covenant – Genesis 2:16
Conscience – Genesis 3:7 Adam Covenant – Genesis 3:15
Human Government – Genesis 8:15 Noahic Covenant – Genesis 9:16
Promise – Genesis 12:1 Abrahamic Covenant – Genesis 12:2
Palestinian Covenant – Deuteronomy 30:3
Law – Exodus 19:1 Mosaic Covenant – Exodus 19:5
Church – Acts 2:1 New Covenant – Hebrews 8:8
Kingdom – Revelation 20:4 Davidic Covenant – 2 Samuel 7:16

In each dispensation God reveals something to man and man is expected to respond in obedience and faith. Often dispensations build upon one another, adding knowledge without doing away with what God had previously taught. In every age man doesn’t live up to the standard which God expects. Some individually may follow but collectively man rejects God’s revelations even up to today when they reject the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Salvation in every dispensation is through the cross of Jesus Christ. Earlier dispensations look forward to the coming of the Messiah even while not understanding all there was to know. Humanity was responsible for responding to what they did know based on what God told man during each dispensation.

Covenants are agreements between God and man. Some address an individual person, some a specific family, some are to the nation of Israel, and finally others are for all of mankind. Covenants and dispensations intersect because with each covenant God reveals something about Himself or His expectations of humanity. These new revelations lay the cornerstone for new dispensations.

Most covenants are unconditional in the Bible. God declares that He will do something regardless of how humanity responds. God is faithful to His word and we can expect these to be fulfilled. Even though God has certain requirements of humanity that He expects in each dispensation as mentioned above, the covenants are nonetheless unconditional. A few promises in the Bible are conditional. These promises are laid out as “if… then…” statements. Often these refer to punishments that humanity can expect if they do not follow God’s commands.

Perfection at last

Every dispensation shows the depravity of mankind. We are sinful through and through. While a remnant is saved, most of humanity rejects God and will not acknowledge Him as Lord. The work of Jesus on the cross opens the door for the forgiveness of sin and many accept it but still many do not. Even in a time of tranquility under the reign of Christ, man’s sinful nature comes out and some rebel.

Perfection awaits humanity though. Like Christ, we will be resurrected and given a new body. It won’t be fleshly and sinful. Satan won’t be around to tempt or deceive us. The flesh will have no power over us. And the old world will have passed away. We will spend eternity in a new heaven and new earth in the presence of God Almighty!

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