The fourth dispensation is Promise. Through conscience, restraint of the Holy Spirit, government, and promise, God would attempt to administer His rule. In Genesis 12 God promised to Abraham personal, national, and universal blessing. First of all, on a personal level, God said that He would bless Abraham and make his name great. Secondly, from Abraham He would make a great nation and bless it. God would bring the nation of Israel into existence through him. God would bless Israel and give it the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession. Thirdly, God said that all the peoples of the earth would be blessed through him. This blessing would ultimately come through Abraham’s descendant, Jesus, who would take away the sins of the world. (John 1:29)
This promise was to encourage Abraham and his descendants to live in accordance with God’s rule. “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son…” (Hebrews 11:17) Abraham was motivated to live by faith based on the promise. However, like all of us, he had times when he wavered. He begat Ishmael through Hagar and created a line of descendants that has continually caused strife with Israel throughout these many years. Furthermore, when Jacob and his family fled the famine and went to Egypt, they failed to return to the promised land. As a result, judgment came upon them as they were made slaves of the Egyptians and were threatened with death.
After 400 plus years, God would supernaturally secure their freedom and bring them back into the land. However, before doing so, He would enter into a covenant with the nation of Israel. This covenant is referred to as the Mosaic Covenant and is the fifth dispensation. In addition to the other ruling factors, God would exercise His administration through the law given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. This new revelation consisted of 613 laws detailing the moral, civil, and ceremonial requirements of His people, Israel. Israel was to obey God based upon conscience, restraint of the Holy Spirit, human government, promise, and the Mosaic Law. Israel failed in her obedience to the Mosaic Law. The Lord called them, “This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, who follow the dictates of their hearts…” (Jeremiah 13:10) Because of their failures, the Assyrians and the Babylonians brought severe destruction to the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. Under the Mosaic Covenant, Israel rejected and crucified the Messiah. As a result of Christ’s rejection, “…blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” (Romans 11:25)
More next time.