Bible Study Outlines

Volume 3, Lesson 2
by C.I. Scofield

The Dispensations, Part II

NOTE: Several of the subjects touched in Volume 3 of these Bible Study Outlines are also dealt with in Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, by the same author. While the material in the two publications is very similar, there would be profit in doing an initial study in one publication and then reviewing the subject in the other. Both publications, and the associated Chart of the Seven Dispensations, can be accessed via the Resource Menu.

D. Promise
Out of the dispersed descendants of the builders of Babel, God now calls one man, Abram, with whom He enters into a covenant. Some of the promises to Abram and his descendants were purely gracious and unconditional. These either have been, or will yet be, literally fulfilled. Other promises were conditonal upon the faithfulness and obedience of the Israelites. Every one of these conditions was violated, and the Dispensation of Promise resulted in the utter failure of Israel, and closed in the judgment of the Egyptian bondage.
E. Law
Again the grace of God came to the help of the helpless man and redeemed the chosen people out of the land of the oppressor. In the Wilderness of Sinai, He proposed to them the covenant of Law. Instead of humbly pleading for a continued relation of grace, they presumptuously answered: "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do" (Exodus 19:8). The history of Israel in the wilderness and in the land is one long record of flagrant, persistent violations of the Law, and at last, after multiplied warnings, God closed the testing of man by the Law in judgment. First Israel [the northern kingdom], and then Judah [the southern kingdom], were driven out of the land into dispersion. A feeble remnant returned under Ezra and Nehemiah, of which in due time, Christ came: "Made of a woman, made under the Law" (Galatians 4:4). Him, both Jews and Gentiles conspired to crucify.
F. Grace
The sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ introduced the dispensation of pure grace -- which means undeserved favor, or God giving righteousnessd instead of God requiring righteousness, as under the Law. Salvation, perfect and eternal, is now freely offered to Jew and Gentile upon the one condition of faith.The first event in the closing of this dispensation will be the coming of the Lord [for His own] (1Thessalonians 4:16,17).
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