The Holy Scriptures plainly presents the three dispensations of man’s relationship with God. The first dispensation is referred to as the patriarchal age which lasted from the creation until 2513 A.M. This period covered the time of the global flood when Noah, his wife and three sons with their wives were the only human survivors. Then after the population was again large, God promised faithful Abraham that by his seed, all the nations would be blessed. A promise of
the coming of His son, Jesus, who would make it possible for all men to be forgiven of their sins.
Abraham’s seed through Isaac and Jacob were chosen to furnish this lineage for Jesus the Christ. Jacob’s family grew large but was in Egyptian captivity, After this God, through miraculous actions, freed these people who were called Israelites since God had changed Jacob’s name to Israel. When they escaped their bondage and moved through the wilderness to Mount Sinai, it was here that God issued the first written law to His people. This law was for the Israelites only and the rest of the world populace remained under the original dispensation.
This second dispensation was called the Mosaical because, whereas the original law was given through the patriarchs, this law was given through Moses. The children of Israel remained under that law from 2513 A.M. (1491 B.C.) until Jesus came and grew to adulthood.
The third dispensation came to us through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The specific day that it began is seen differently by some, yet all agree that it was the beginning of the law given by Jesus. Jesus taught the Jewish disciples and particularly his apostles. Some reason that this is part of the ‘last days’ while others contend that it did not begin until Jesus had ascended into heaven and the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles on the first Pentecost after Jesus death, burial and resurrection. We do know that this is the precise day when Jesus church was established and some 3,000 souls were added to it that day. This began the Christian dispensation, which is also shown to have been referred to as the ‘last days’ or the ‘latter days’. But there is no disagreement that those periods referred to in the Old Testament and then also in the New Testament are assuredly now here and have been since the church was first established. The writer of the Hebrew letter starts his writing like this:
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 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;” (Hebrews 1:1-2) (emphasis added)
The Bible plainly asserts that this will be the final dispensation since this fulfills the plan God had when he created this universe. The plan was that His son would come to earth, live and give his life to create a method whereby man can be forgiven of his sins and thereby spend eternity in heaven.
In addition to determining the dispensation, many have attempted to deduce the final day of this dispensation from scriptures. This cannot be done since here is nothing to indicate when it will occur. In fact we are told by Jesus himself that no man knows that date except the Father in heaven.
The condition of the world’s population insofar as following in Jesus doctrine will probably be the determining factor as to God’s patience. It has caused drastic steps to be taken in the past and we know that He has shown that mankind can reach a point that ‘enough is enough’. And if one will look at the world condition at present, it even makes us wonder what is causing His continuing long suffering.
Christians are being selected for tortuous slaughter in many areas. And in those areas who still profess to serve Him, in many cases have strayed into false doctrines, unauthorized forms of worship, and upholding sinful life styles in opposition to His commands.
There is also the fact that the length of time each of the preceding dispensations have been approximately 2,500 years and 1,500 years. If these periods have any significance in God’s plan, our present ‘last days’ period has now surpassed 2,000 years.
Man has been able to influence God in the past, and there is little doubt that we could yet, if a concerted effort was made to bring mankind back to following Him. But, this appears to be more than a daunting task, but rather an impossible one.
Following are a few of the many scriptures which prophesy of the coming of the ‘last days’.
Genesis chapter 49 tells of Jacob (Israel) telling his sons what will happen to their progeny in the ‘last days’.
Isaiah 2:2 speaking of the coming of the Lord’s church.
2 Timothy 3:1-9 The apostle Paul explains to Timothy of problems to come.
James 5:1-11 Apostle James warns the wealthy of the ‘last days’.