“You will know them by their fruits.”

When Christians approach spiritual problems – when they see conflict or paradoxes between spiritual truths and natural facts – they have the following choices:

  1. They can enter into their prayer closet, asking God why they are not experiencing His truth as revealed in the Bible;
  2. They can find someone who functions in the spiritual realm in which they’re having a problem and
    1. learn from them, or
    2. let them solve their problem;
  3. They can create a doctrine explaining why something doesn’t work.

As an example: Cessationism

Case in point: when observing suffering in the world, and the failure of prayer and supplications to solve suffering (as the disciples apparently did), we wonder, is there something wrong with the Bible, rather than wondering is there something wrong with us? But since the Bible nor we can be wrong, there must be a third option: thus, we assert an unknown or misunderstood principle.

Dispensationalism is one of those principles we’ve created.  It’s used to explain the ages of Law and Grace (the Old Testament vs. the New Testament) and the cessation of some spiritual gifts. Likewise, it has been used to create a variation of the Apostolic Age, and consequently, it commonly confuses people by empowering the traditions of men rather than God’s truth.

The Law of the Sowing and Reaping

As with many things of God, the truth is so much simpler.  Before we learn something in the spirit, we must first understand its sibling in the natural.  At least that’s the pattern God had used.

Consider the law of sowing and reaping.  In the natural we understand that if we sow corn, we will reap corn and we will reap more than we sow – it’s why we have farmers.  But also consider that God provided it as a fundamental spiritual axiom.  He explicitly stated that if you follow my law, good things will happen to you, but if you disobey my law, bad things will happen:

See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known.

Deut. 11:26-28

In other words, what they sowed, they also reaped: obedience in the natural resulted in blessing in natural and vice-versa.

The Law of Blessing

In the law of sowing and reaping, we receive based upon what we have done.  In the law of blessing, we receive based upon what God has done.

The law of sowing and reaping is the law that points us to the better or higher law, the law of blessing.  In the Old Testament, we experience the law of sowing and reaping, but in the New Testament, we experience the law of blessing.

In other words, in the OT, it’s about what we do.  In the NT, it’s about what God has done.

The Law of Repetition

Nowhere in scripture are the ideas of dispensations expressed. They are wholly man-made.

While we may be able to casually observe different seasons of time (e.g., the thousand-year reign of Christ), declaring one season from another is not the method by which God provides guidance to His people. A fundamental tenant within dispensationalism is the idea of God doesn’t do that anymore.

In other words, the age of Human Government has been tried and found lacking, so God isn’t going to do that again; neither will the thousand-year reign of Christ will happen more than once.

But there are at least two laws established by God to provide enlightenment. First is the law of seasons and signs, and secondly, the law of repetition:

What has been, it is what will be, and what has been done, it is what will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times {those} things which have not been done – saying, ‘My plan will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure;

Isaiah 46:10

In simplest terms, if you want to know what is coming in the future, then look to the past. However, this cannot be done in human terms: we can’t just cherry pick some verses and say with confidence, “we’re in this or that season of time”, or “God is doing this again today, or in the near future.”

In order to get on page with God, there must be a prophet:

Certainly, the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret plan to His servants the prophets.

Amos 3:7

However, because of the prevalence of dispensational thought within our congregations, we simply ignore that verse: we strip it of its God-breathed relevance – making it not the word of God to be believed or used today – because God doesn’t do that anymore.

The Principle Axioms

In the OT, a primary lesson or axiom is the power of sin. As such, we find that if you touch a leper, you become unclean. 

But in the NT, the primary lesson is the power of God’s love: if you touch a leper, they become clean.

Summary

So then, we find that the economy of God dealing with Man has nothing to do with various dispensations, but with precept upon precept, line upon line (Isa. 28:10), teaching us in the natural the principles of the spiritual, as the author of Hebrews explained when suggesting that his audience leave the elementary doctrines of the Christ.

My suggestion is that we leave dispensationalism where it belongs: in the annals of the doctrines and traditions of men. Where such things are created to explain away the spiritual truths of God that stand in conflict with the facts of the natural observed by those who place their faith in reason rather than truth.