Dispensationalism -- Is there a progressive plan?
To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
See Acts 10:43. Noting the development of systems such as "Dispensationalism," discuss whether or not the Bible recognizes the progressive development of God's plan through various dispensations. If not, explain your view of salvation. If so, explain how people were saved in the Old Testament, noting specifically how salvation in that dispensation relates to the salvation of this dispensation, the Church Age. Were there different plans of salvation for different dispensations?
This concept of revelation is found in other Pauline writings as well. For example, in Colossians, Paul writes:
Colossians 1:24-26 (KJV)
24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: 25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
The Greek of v25 is translated as dispensation or stewardship in its occurrences in the King James version. It covers the concept of an administration or economy in the sense of the management of a time period. This type of meaning for “economy” is infrequently found in modern usage. It’s Scripture usage, thus, signifies the various arrangements used by God to reveal seasons by which God has set forth His plan in terms humans may understand. These are the “secrets” shared with His prophets (Amos 3:7).
This dispensational approach is also noted by the author of Hebrews.
Hebrews 1:1-4 (KJV)
1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
The “sundry times” and “divers manners” are the progressive revelations made by God to His prophets in the various dispensations. The concept of progressive revelation might be defined as follows:
God has not revealed everything at once. He lays down different conditions for various time periods. Later revelations build upon those that proceed. Sometimes the earlier revelations contain commands or events that appear to contradict earlier ones. For example, Adam could eat only plants (Gen. 1:29–30), while God allowed Noah was told to eat meat. The Mosaic Law then restricted the ability to eat all meat by declaring certain animals as “unclean” for food (Leviticus 11). Jesus, then, pronounced all animals as clean. This means that all animals are available for food (Mark 7:19; Acts 10:14–15; 1 Tim. 4:4).
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