by Adlai Loudy

        SOMEONE said, "Words are the vehicles of thought," and gave us a quotation expressing an important truth. But the amazing thing about it is that we sometimes use the vehicles for years without comprehending the thoughts which they convey. This was especially true in my own experience with the word "dispensation." I was continually using the vehicle with little recognition of the true thought which it transmitted. And a quarter century of teaching experience has proved to me that this is a common impediment standing in the way of a clear assurance of understanding with saints and students of the Scriptures on many important subjects.

        As thought is expressed in words, it becomes evident that, in order to think and understand as God has spoken, on any subject in the Scriptures, we must give patient, technical study to the inspired usage of the words in order that we may clearly and unmistakably grasp the true thoughts which they express. Failure to do this has resulted in a flood of immature, unscriptural teaching on the subject of "dispensations" today, provoking strained relationships among the saints of various fellowships throughout the world. It is far from my thought or intention to attempt to correct the various theories extant on the subject, but, out of the grace which is given to me, I will endeavor to set forth a constructive study which has proven a blessing, in a richer measure of understanding, to many saints in my spoken ministry, and which I now pray that God may be pleased to use for a similar blessing to all who may read.


        How vividly I recall my early experience in the study of "dispensation truth." My first teaching on the subject used the words "dispensation" and "age" interchangeably, as though they meant one and the same thing. Three "dispensations" or "ages" were set forth, namely: the Patriarchal, the Mosaic, and the Christian. But as I continued my study and search, I became acquainted with other works and charts on the subject revealing seven dispensations! This was a considerable advance in the truth and rejoiced my spirit exceedingly for the time being. However, further investigation revealed that there were even more! Then it began to dawn upon me that we were not using the word "dispensation" correctly. This led to a technical study of the word. My first impulse was to seek aid from the dictionary, not realizing that it could not be trusted to give us the thoughts of scriptural terms in their inspired purity. And to confirm this fact with my reader, I will give the definition of "dispensation" as it is recorded in the American Standard Dictionary, by Funk and Wagnalls, New York City:

DISPENSATION: 1. The act of dispensing; a dealing out; distribution. 2. That which is bestowed on or appointed to one of a higher power. 3. The divine arrangement and administration of the affairs of the world, as the dispensation of Providence

Theological: 1. One of the several systems or bodies of law, in which, at different periods God has revealed His mind and will to men, or the continued state of things resulting from the operation of one of these systems, as the Mosaic dispensation. 2. The period during which a particular revelation of God's mind or will has been directly operative on mankind.

        This definition is confusingly mixed as follows: The first and second meanings given accord with the word diakonia in the Scriptures, which denotes work done for the welfare of others, service; or that which is served out, dispensation. The third definition approximates the thought found in another word of the Scriptures, oikonomia, which denotes the stewardship or administration of affairs. The theological definition is made up of a jumble of unsound expressions of human tradition, and is sure to confuse anyone who attempts to give it serious thought. Our only safe course to pursue for gathering the true thoughts of these words in accord with the Scriptures, is to study the inspired usage.


        The word diakonia, THROUGH-SERVice, occurs some thirty-three times in the Scriptures, and as may be observed by its usage, it denotes work done for the welfare of others, service; or that which is entrusted to one to be dispensed or served out to others, dispensation. A careful study of its usage in the following Scriptures will help confirm this correct definition for our assurance of understanding.

diakonia, THROUGH-SERVice, service, dispensation
Luke 10:40 distracted about much serving...left me to serve alone
Acts 1:17 chanced upon the allotment of this dispensation
25 to take the place of this dispensation and apostleship
6: 1 that their widows were overlooked in the daily dispensation
4 Yet we shall be persisting in prayer and the dispensation of the word
11:29 to send to the brethren dwelling in Judea, for dispensing
12:25 Now Barnabas and Saul return from Jerusalem, completing the dispensing
20:24 till I should be perfecting my career and the dispensation which I obtained from the Lord Jesus
21:19 he unfolded, one by one, each of the things which God does among the nations through his dispensation
Rom. 11:13 as, indeed, then, I am the apostle of the nations, I am glorifying my dispensation
Rom. 12: 7 or dispensing, in the dispensation
15:31 that I should be rescued from the stubborn in Judea, and my dispensation for Jerusalem may be becoming well received by the saints
1 Cor. 12: 5 and there are apportionments of service
16:15 they set themselves to the service of the saints
2 Cor. 3: 7 Now if the dispensation of death by letters chiseled in stone came in glory
8 how shall not rather the dispensation of the spirit be in glory
4: 1 Therefore, having this dispensation
5:18 is giving us the dispensation of the conciliation
6: 3 We are giving no one cause to stumble in anything, lest flaws be found with the service
8: 4 with much entreaty beseeching of us the grace and fellowship in a service for the saints
9: 1 For, indeed, concerning the dispensation for the saints
9:12 seeing that the dispensation of this ministry is not only replenishing the wants of the saints
13 through the testedness of this dispensation
11: 8 I despoil other ecclesias, getting rations for dispensing to you
Eph. 4:12 with a view to the work of dispensing
Col. 4:17 Look to the service which you accepted in the Lord
1 Tim. 1:12 He deems me faithful, assigning me a dispensation
2 Tim. 4: 5 fully discharge your service
11 for he is needful to me for service
Heb. 1:14 ministering spirits commissioned for service
Rev. 2:19 I am aware of your acts and love and faith and service and your endurance


        We also find that the Scriptures use the compound Greek word oiko-nomia, the basic thought of which is HOME-LAW. This hyphenated English expression, however, is too literal, standing alone, to be comprehensible. Therefore, it is necessary to study the inspired usage of the word in order to grasp the true thought for understanding. A concordant study of the word will reveal nine occurrences in the divine vocabulary, three of which are applied to the stewardship of private affairs, and the other six are concerned with the administration of divine affairs. A thoughtful study of the following Scriptures will help to fix in our understanding this correct definition.

oikonomia, HOME-LAW, stewardship, administration
Luke 16: 2 Render an account of your stewardship
3 my lord will be wresting the stewardship from me
4 whenever I should be deposed from the stewardship
1 Cor. 9:17 I have been entrusted with an administration
Eph. 1:10 to have an administration of the complement of the eras
3: 2 since you surely hear of the administration of God's grace which is given to me for you
9 to enlighten all as to the secret administration which has been concealed from the eons in God
Col. 1:25 in accord with the administration of God which was granted to me for you
1 Tim. 1: 4 charging some not to be teaching differently, nor to be heeding myths and interminable genealogies, which are affording exactions, rather than God's administration which is in faith

        These Scriptures unmistakably reveal that oikonomia is concerned with the stewardship or administration of affairs, and, therefore, must be clearly distinguished from diakonia, denoting service or dispensation, if we are to think and understand and speak as God has spoken in His usage of these words.


        We are now prepared for clear, scriptural definitions of the words dispensation and administration sufficiently comprehensive to express their full meaning in accord with their inspired usage.

Diakonia, THROUGH-SERVice, denotes work performed in behalf of the welfare of others, service, or that which is given or entrusted to one to be dispensed or served out to others, a dispensation.

Oikonomia, HOME-LAW, denotes the stewardship or administration of affairs with mankind under given conditions, characterized and empowered by a special dispensation from God, by which He further fills up His purpose of the eons which He made in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

        Failure to recognize and clearly distinguish the dispensations (what is given or entrusted) from the administrations, the arrangement of affairs to accord with the gifts entrusted, is the cause for the deplorable confusion and spiritual loss among the saints in the understanding of this most important revelation of God. Thoughtful study will reveal that the dispensations are cumulative to the degree that mankind, today, enjoys in varying measure, the benefits accruing from all the gifts which God has bestowed from the beginning down to the present. But the administrations--the arrangement and management of affairs in accord with the dispensations entrusted--are not cumulative. They cease, usually through human failure of stewardship, drawing down divine judgment, and are superseded by new dispensations and their administrations. Another important thing for the reader to note is that the words dispensation and administration are not time words like eon. The dispensations are the gifts which characterize and empower the stewardship or administration of affairs, which God makes with man during a period of time.

        I entreat my reader to carefully study these definitions with the Scriptures until he comprehends, with full assurance of understanding, all that they express. This will enable him to follow the unfolding of God's dispensations and administrations with man for an increasing blessing and joy to his spirit.


        Students of the Scriptures recognize that numbers play a significant part in God's revelation. And a thoughtful study of God's methods with man during the eons reveals that He is conducting the affairs of His eonian purpose in an orderly series of twelve dispensations and administrations. As twelve is the number of administration, our findings accord more with the divine arrangement of affairs than three, seven, or other numbers we have considered on this subject.

        In these twelve dispensations and administrations we find God, in His wisdom and gracious provisions, beginning with mankind in innocence, and step by step leading them up to maturity and the full knowledge of Himself in glory. To blaze the effulgence of His glory upon them all at once, would have been unbearable. Therefore, He begins with the natural, the temporal, and ritual, and leads on to the spiritual, the abiding, and real. With each administration, God dispenses to mankind some revelation of His wisdom and knowledge, grace and truth, love and glory, usually richer and fuller than was known or enjoyed before, which becomes the characterizing and empowering gift that distinguishes the new administration from the preceding one.

        The twelve dispensations and their consequent administrations may be graphically displayed with italics and SMALL CAPITALS as follows:

            12. Love and Glory             COMPLEMENT
           11. Righteousness            KINGDOM
          10. Judgment           INDIGNATION
         9. Transcendent Grace          SECRET
        8. Justification and Conciliation         READJUSTMENT
       7. The Spirit with Power        PENTECOSTAL
      6. Emmanuel       GRACE AND TRUTH
     5. The Commandments      LAW
    4. Promise     HOPE
   3. Authority    HUMAN GOVERNMENT
  2. The Knowledge of Good and Evil   CONSCIENCE
1. The Garden of Eden INNOCENCE

        By these twelve dispensations and their consequent administrations, mankind is entrusted and tried, taught and admonished, schooled and disciplined from the state of innocence up to maturity or perfection, conformed to the image of the Son of His love in glory, when God will be All in all. And that all this is in accord with the clear, positive teaching of the Scriptures, it now becomes my delight, by His grace, to point out, in a more extended presentation.


        The first (dispensation) of God to mankind was that of entrusting the garden of Eden--Paradise--to Adam, to serve it and keep it (Gen.2:15). Adam assumed the (stewardship) or (administration) of the affairs of Paradise in (negative innocence). This fact is the basis of all that follows, and it must not be passed over or minimized in our study. Sentimental tradition, born of human imagination, has so insidiously perverted our thinking from the clear teaching of the Scriptures concerning Adam and his true status when placed in the garden of delights, that it is almost impossible to get people to consider the truth of his case. Therefore, to press the truth home to the heart of my reader, I emphasize again that Adam assumed the stewardship or administration of the affairs of Eden in negative innocence, knowing neither good nor evil. And that this is truth, is revealed by the unmistakable language of Scripture which declares that the knowledge of good and evil was in the tree which Jehovah God planted in the midst of the garden and directed Adam not to eat. Of this one positive law or command, it is written for our learning in Genesis 2:16,17.

        "And Jehovah God is directing the man, saying, 1Of every tree of the garden you shall eat to eat. Yet of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it, for in the day You eat of it, you are dying to die.'"

        Concerning Adam's failure in this administration, it is written,

"Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death, and thus death came through into all mankind, on which all sinned" (Rom.5:12).

"...it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation" (Rom.5:18).

"...through the disobedience of the one man the many were constituted sinners" (Rom.5:19).

        Upon Adam's transgression, disobedience and offense, the Administration of Innocence ended with the divine judgment that followed (Gen.3:9-24). Adam's sin threw the grand machinery of creation out of gear, producing its groaning and travailing, grinding itself to pieces and turning all into corruption (Rom.8:18-23). As a disobedience it brought down the curse of a righteous God (Gen.3:14-19; Rom.5:16,19). As an offense, it ached the heart of God and brought estrangement between Himself and the creature upon whom He had lavished so much affection (Rom.5:10; 16:25-27; 2 Cor.5:18,19).

        The Administration of Innocence filled up an era of probably 41 years--from the dispensation of Eden to Adam, "to serve it and keep it," until his judgment and expulsion under the curse-- B.C. 4043 to 4002.


        When Adam ate of the forbidden tree, he received "the knowledge of good and evil" (Gen.3:22), by which a "conscience joining its witness...accusing or defending" in right and wrong doing, became the fruit (Rom.2:14,15). This dispensation or gift characterized and empowered the direction of the affairs of mankind in the new HOME-LAW or Administration of Conscience which followed. But mankind, left to direct their affairs by the light of Conscience, waxed worse and worse and filled the earth with corruption and violence in the days of Noah, that administration ending in the divine judgment of the deluge (Gen.6:11-17; 7:10- 12; 21-24).

        The Administration occupied an era of 1615 years--from Adam's expulsion from Eden to the judgment of the flood--B.C. 4002 to 2387.

NOTE: The chronological dates given in this study are taken from The Chronology of the Sacred Scriptures, by Mr. Fred H. Harris, of Lake Worth, Florida. It is the most thorough and satisfactory work on the subject I have ever examined. I am suggesting the dates in order to aid the reader to more definitely recognize the eras which the various administrations fill up, and will assume full responsibility, if objections or criticisms are offered.
A. L.


        After the flood, both a new Eon and a new Administration began. "The present wicked eon" (Gal.1:4), which is marked off in the past by the deluge and in the future by the great day of His wrath, had its beginning. And immediately after the flood, we find God dispensing the authoritative sword of justice to Noah (Gen.9: 1-6), for characterizing and empowering a new Administration of authorized Human Government. Doubtless there had been some attempted rule before this, but it was of the unauthorized or "bully type," of "might is right," and "let your conscience be your guide." But all authorized Human Government of the world today, traces its origin and authority back to the sword of justice committed to Noah by God after the flood.

        The Administration continued in accord with the Divine authority dispensed to Noah until the civil revolution or anarchic revolt led by Nimrod, a grandson of Ham "the mighty opposer before the face of Jehovah," in the building of his kingdom of cities, Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. To cut short the plans and purposes of the revolt, Divine judgment was sent at Babel, confounding the language of the people, so they left off building the city, and Jehovah parted the sons of Adam into seventy languages and nations and spread them abroad upon the face of all the earth (Gen.10:8-10; 11:1-9; 46:27; Deut.32:8; Acts 14:15-17; 17:26-28).

        The Administration took up an era of time in God's eonian purpose of some 427 years--from the dispensation of the sword of justice to Noah after the flood to the judgment and dispersion at Babel, and the call and dispensation of Promise to Abraham--B.C. 2387 to 1960.


        With the Divine judgment and dispersion of the sons of Adam at Babel, He "leaves all the nations to go on in their ways, although He leaves Himself not without the testimony of good acts, giving showers from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with nourishment and gladness" (Acts 14:15-17). Then out of "Ur of the Chaldees," God called a solitary man--Abram, a Shemite--to whom He dispensed the gospel of Promise, which characterized and empowered a new Administration of Hope (Gen.11:29-32; 12:1-4; Gal.3:8).

        The Administration continued for an era of 430 years -- beginning from the dispensation of Promise to Abraham (Ex.12: 40; Gal.3:14,17), during which his seed fulfilled the sojourn and period of affliction of four hundred years in Egypt, as God had decreed, and was brought to an end by His judgment on that nation as He specifically foretold (Gen.15:13,14; Ex.12:35-42; Acts 7:1- 7)--B. C. 1960 to 1530.


        With the deliverance of the sons of Israel from Egypt, a new HOME-LAW, the Administration of Law, was inaugurated with them, characterized and empowered by the dispensation of "the commandments" through Moses (Ex.19:1,5-25; chap.20; 34:1-17,27, 28; 35:1; Lev.26:46; 27:34; Mal.4:4). Through the law and the prophets God administered His affairs with the nation of Israel until John (Luke 16:16), who came as the herald of a new administration.

        The Administration of Law characterized an era of some 1559 years--marked off by the dispensation of "the commandments" through Moses at Sinai--until John the baptist--B. C. 1530 to A. D. 29.


        With the dispensation or gift of Emmanuel, "God with us" (Matt.1:23), to the nation of Israel, of the seed of David according to the flesh in fulfillment of the promise God made to the fathers (Matt.2:6; Luke 1:26-33; Acts 13:22-24; 32-37), a new Administration of Grace and Truth was inaugurated with the nation (John 1:17). Of this blessed dispensation or gift of God to the people of His choice, we read,

For a boy is born to us,
A son is given to us,
And the chieftainship shall be on his back (Isa.9:6).

I set up for David a sprout that is righteous,
And a king reigns and is intelligent,
And He deals out judgment and justice in the earth

"And the messenger said to her, `Fear not, Miriam, for you found favor with God. And lo! you shall be conceiving and pregnant and be bringing forth a Son, and you shall be calling His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall be giving Him the throne of David, His father, and He shall be reigning over the house of Jacob for the eons, and of His kingdom there shall be no consummation'" (Luke 1:30-33).

"And the Word became flesh, and tabernacles among us, and we gaze at His glory, a glory as of an only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).

"From this one's seed [David] God, according to the promise, led to Israel the Saviour, Jesus" (Acts 13:23).

"Into His own He came, and those who are His own accepted Him not" (John 1:11).

        After a brief ministry, the Administration of Grace and Truth is concluded with the solemn pronouncement of Isaiah's judgment on the nation as recorded in Matthew 13:14,15 and John 12:36-44. With the door of the kingdom locked against the nation, Christ commits the "keys of the kingdom" to Peter (Matt.16:19), and begins to unfold "the mysteries" or "secrets" of the kingdom to the disciples (Matt.13:10,11,16-52). In due time He fulfilled the Scriptures by presenting Himself to the nation as their lowly King, riding on the colt the foal of an ass (Zech.9:9; Matt.21:1- 11; Luke 19:28-44). But the "chiefs of the people and elders"--the "builders" of the nation--rejected Him (Matt.21:42-46; Acts 4:8- 12), and in accord with "the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God," they give Him death on the cross (Acts 2:23; 3:17,18; 4:23-28). On the third day, according to the Scriptures, God raised Him from among the dead (Acts 2:24, 31-33; 3:15; 1 Cor.15:4), and "for forty days He showed Himself alive by many infallible proofs, speaking the things concerning the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3; 10:40,41).

        This Administration lasted only a brief era of time, probably about three and one-half years--from His baptism and anointing (Matt.3:13-17) until He was "cut off" in accord with the Scriptures (Isa.53:2-12; Dan.9:26)--from A. D. 29, the seventh month, to the first month of A. D. 33.


        On the day of Pentecost, ten days after Christ's ascension to the Father, in answer to His crucifixion prayer, "Father forgive them, for they are not aware what they are doing" (Luke 23:34), a new administration of affairs with the people of Israel was inaugurated, characterized and empowered by the dispensation or gift of the Holy Spirit with power from on high (Luke 24:49; John 14:16,17,25,26; 15:26,27; Acts 1:4,5). And Peter, standing with the eleven, under the power of the Spirit, takes the "keys" and unlocks the door of the kingdom again to the nation (Acts 2:14-40).

        While endeavoring to be as brief as possible in my explanation of the dispensations and administrations, yet for the sake of my readers, I feel it is necessary to emphasize a fact here, which is so generally overlooked to the confusion and spiritual loss to many. It is this: The commission given just before the Lord was taken up into heaven, was limited in its scope and purpose, as a careful study of the wording will verify. It reads,

"You shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, as well as in entire Judea and Samaria, and to the limits of the land" (Acts 1:8).

        The twelve, in carrying out the Administration of Pentecost, never went outside the four spheres ordained for them in this commission, namely: Jerusalem, entire Judea and Samaria, and to the limits of the land. And furthermore, as a discriminative study of the Acts will reveal, their ministry was confined to Israelites, Samaritans, and proselyte Gentiles, like the Ethiopian eunuch and Cornelius, within the borders of the land of Palestine (Acts 3:25,26; 5:30-32; 8:1,5-17,25,26-39; 10: 1-6,23-48). Beyond this they did not go. When God was ready to send the witness to representatives of the nation outside the land, He called Saul of Tarsus and commissioned him for the work (Acts 9:15,16; 13:45-48). And in accord with the commission given to the twelve for the Administration of Pentecost, he and Barnabas carried on the witness in Antioch for "a whole year....teaching a considerable throng" (Acts 11:25,26).


        In the thirteenth chapter of Acts we find Barnabas and Saul severed by the Holy Spirit for the work whereunto they were called (Acts 13:2). It is then that Saul takes up the ministry in accord with the program which the Lord outlined to Ananias at the time of his call. It reads,

        "The Lord said to him, `Go, seeing that he is a choice instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the gentiles as well as kings, besides the sons of Israel, for I shall be intimating to him how much he must suffer for My name's sake'" (Acts 9:15, 16).

        The separation of Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto they were called, marks the inauguration of a new oikonomia, or HOME-LAW, which may be termed the Administration of Readjustment (Heb.11:3), wherein Saul becomes Paul, conducting a twofold or double ministry until the close of the Acts era, first, going into the synagogues of the Jews outside the land, and witnessing concerning the kingdom of God, and persuading both Jews and proselyte Gentiles concerning Jesus, from the law of Moses and the prophets (Acts 13:14,16,17,43; 14:1; 17:1-4,10,11,16,17), and, when driven out, he would proclaim the gospel of the grace of God for which he was separated (Rom.1:1-5), to Gentile and Jew alike for the obedience of faith for His name's sake (Acts 13:46-48; 14:27,28; 18:4-6; Rom.3:29,30; 4:3-16; Gal.3). Of this latter ministry, outside the synagogues, Paul writes,

"...because of the grace given to me from God for me to be the minister of Christ Jesus for the gentiles, acting as a priest of the evangel of God" (Rom.15:15,16).

        And during that time or in that era--from the thirteenth chapter until the last public witness made to representatives of the nation of Israel in Acts 28:17-28--two distinct administrations ran parallel with each other, namely, the Pentecostal and the Readjustment, with the former decreasing and the latter increasing. In the readjustment administration, we find Paul's ministry continually changing from glory to glory. With his separation, he acted as a priest of the evangel of God to the nations (Rom.15:16), in accord with the Scripture, which, perceiving that God is justifying the nations by faith, preaches before an evangel to Abraham, that "in you shall all the nations be blessed" (Gal.3:5-9). This is the evangel which Paul called "my gospel" (Rom.2:16; 16:25; 2 Tim.2:8), "the gospel which is preached by me" (Gal.1:11), "that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles" (Gal.2:2), and "the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust" (1 Tim.1:1), by which God justified the Circumcision (Jews) out of faith and the Uncircumcision (Gentiles) through faith (Rom.3:30). It is of the utmost importance for a clear understanding here, that the reader recognize the fact that the twelve Circumcision apostles (Gal.2:8-10) had no part nor lot in preaching this evangel. On reaching Acts 19:21, we find recorded, "Now as these things were fulfilled," which marks for us the central crisis in Paul's ministry. Jerusalem and the ministry there has long since faded from the scene of action. In Antioch, Paul labored for a whole year in accord with the administration of the twelve. After his separation, he continued to use Antioch as a base for his missionary journeys, while Corinth became the place of his correspondence with the ecclesias. Now his ministry in the synagogues is at an end, for the Jews among the nations have rejected their Messiah even as those in the land had done. All that now remain is his testimony before kings and in Rome. In his epistles written at this juncture, Paul declares that he has fully preached the evangel ofChrist in these parts (Rom.15:19). Now a radical change takes place in his ministry, especially in the evangel he has been proclaiming. He has gone about proclaiming Christ as Israel's Messiah "after the flesh," yet "from now on" he would do so no longer. He would recognize no man after the flesh. He would proclaim the "conciliation," which does away with the distinction between the Circumcision and Uncircumcision (2 Cor.5:14-21; Rom. 5:12-21). His gospel to the nations--"justification by faith" was based on the promise to Abraham, that all the nations should be blessed through his Seed (Gal.3:14-16). Now he preaches the secret of the evangel--"the conciliation"--to all mankind because of a common descent from Adam. As this ministry is not in line with the proclamation of the kingdom to Israel, which is the subject of the book of Acts, it is not recognized in that scroll, but is recorded in the second epistle to the Corinthians and in Romans.

        It must be remembered that even though Gentile believers, in the Administration of Readjustment, received through Paul's priestly ministry the dispensation of special graces--the evangel of "justification" and "conciliation"--as well as spiritual endowments, such as "apportionments of graces, apportionments of service, and apportionments of operations.... with a view to expedience" (1 Cor.12 and 13), they were, nevertheless, subservient to the nation of Israel, and considered their "debtors," for they were "participating in their spiritual things glorifying God for His mercy" and "making merry with His people" as "guests of the promise covenants," and as such, were enjoined to "pay" them in the form of offerings out of their fleshly things (Rom.15:9,10, 16,26,27,31; Eph.2:12; 1 Cor.16:1-4; 2 Cor.9:1-15), just as the Gentiles will do in the millennial kingdom (Isa.60:10-12; 61:5,6; Zech.8:20-23). This should help the readers to clearly recognize the status of Gentile believers "in that era" of the readjustment administration. And Paul, when revealing the Secret Administration, reminds them of this, saying,

"Wherefore, be remembering that once you, the nations in flesh--who are being termed `Uncircumcision' by that being termed `Circumcision,' in flesh, made by hands--that in that era you were apart from Christ, being alienated from the citizenship of Israel, and guests of the promise covenants, having no expectation and without God in the world" (Eph.2:11,12).

        I repeat for emphasis, that it is of paramount importance to a clear understanding and appreciation of the grace glorious which graces us in the Beloved, in the Secret Administration which obtains today, that we recognize that in the era of the readjustment administration-- Acts 13:2 to Acts 28:28--the Lord's declaration to the Samaritan woman, "salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22), was still in effect, and Gentile believers were receiving their spiritual blessing through the priestly ministry of Paul just as the nations will be saved and blessed in the day of the Lord, when Israel will be a royal priesthood to bless all the families of the earth in accord with the Abrahamic covenant (John 4:22; 1 Peter 2:9; Rev.1:6; 2:26,27; 20:6; Gen.22:15-18). This also reveals why Gentile believers "in that era" of the readjustment administration were subject to the "handwriting of ordinances" or "decrees" made by the sovereignties and authorities -- the apostles and elders at Jerusalem (Acts 15:19-29; 16:4; Eph.2:15; Col.2:14-23). So shall it be again in the kingdom, in the day of the Lord, when Israel shall "disciple all the nations... teaching them to be keeping all," whatever He directs them (Dan. 7:14,22,27; Matt.28:18-20). Thus it may be clearly seen and recognized that, at no time or place, during the readjustment administration, or in the millennial kingdom in the future day of the Lord, will Gentile believers ever be considered on the same standing or level with the Jews or Israelites. These distinctions must not be overlooked or minimized if we are to think and understand as God has spoken, and appreciate the transcendent grace which is ours now, in the present Secret Administration, when Israel, as a nation, is calloused and enemies of the evangel for our sakes (Rom.11:25,28).

        In the spring of A. D. 61, we find Paul arriving in Rome, "bound with a chain for the hope of Israel" (Acts 28:20). Three days after his arrival, he calls together the chief or foremost of the Jews for a conference.

        "Now, setting a day for him, the majority came to him in the lodging, to whom he expounded, certifying to the kingdom of God, and persuading them concerning Jesus, from the law of Moses as well as the prophets, from morning till dusk. And some, indeed, were persuaded by what was said, yet some disbelieved. Now there being disagreements one with another, they were dismissed, Paul making one declaration, that, `Ideally the holy spirit speaks through Isaiah the prophet, to your fathers, saying,

`Go to this people and say,
"In hearing, you will be hearing
and may by no means understand,
And observing, you should be observing
and may by no means be perceiving,"
For the heart of this people is made stout,
And they hear heavily with their ears,
And they shut their eyes,
Lest at some time they may be perceiving
with their eyes,
And should be hearing with their ears,
And may understand with their heart,
And should be turning about,
And I should be healing them.'

        Let it be known to you, then, that to the nations was this salvation of God dispatched, and they will hear" (Acts 28: 17- 28).

        As the Lord locked the door of the kingdom against the nation with this declaration of Isaiah in Matthew 13:14,15 and John 12: 36-41, and closed the Administration of Grace and Truth, thus now, Paul, in his last public witness to representatives of the nation, used the same declaration for pronouncing judicial blindness on them again and closed the Administration which began on Pentecost.

        The Administration of Pentecost extended over an era of some 28 years--from the dispensation of the Spirit with power on the day of Pentecost until the last public witness of the kingdom to the chief of the Jews in Rome and the pronouncement of Isaiah's declaration of Acts 28:17-28--A. D. 33 to 61--.

        The Readjustment Administration made an era of 18 years--from Paul's separation in Antioch, A. D. 45 to 63--which includes the two whole years of ministry in his own hired house of Acts 28:30,31, when Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians were written, by which the eons were readjusted and a new oikonomia-- the Secret Administration--was revealed.


        With the kingdom door locked and Israel set aside nationally, the Pentecostal Administration, with its kingdom hope and blessings--the evidential signs, miracles, and wonders-- "the powers of the future eon" (Heb.6:5), and the Readjustment Administration, with its "spiritual endowments" ceased (1 Cor.13:8-13). Paul is no longer "bound with a chain for the hope of Israel," but becomes "the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you the Nations" (Eph.3:1), and God reveals the secret which He designates before the eons for our glory (1 Cor.2:7; Eph.3:3,6; Col.1:24-27), and the so-called "dispensation of the mystery," correctly translated "the Secret Administration" (Eph.3:8-10).

        The Secret Administration, revealed through Ephesians and Colossians, is characterized and empowered by the dispensation of transcendent grace (Eph.1:7; 2:7; 3:2). Now, believing Gentiles are "no longer guests and sojourners" as they were in the Pentecostal and Readjustment Administrations, but are "fellow- citizens of the saints and members of God's family" (Eph.2:19). Now, Gentile believers are no longer "without hope and God in the world" as they were "in that era," but are "blessed with every spiritual blessing among the celestials, in Christ" (Eph.1:3), and have a "hope laid up for them in heaven" (Col.1:5), "the hope of glory" (Col.1:27). Now, believing Gentiles are no longer Israel's "debtors" and subject to the "handwriting of the decrees" of the sovereignties and authorities at Jerusalem (Col.2:14,15), but with "a remnant according to the choice of grace" out of Israel (Rom.11:5), in spirit, they become joint enjoyers of an allotment, and a joint body, and joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the evangel of which Paul became the dispenser (Eph.3:6,7). Now there is one body, one spirit, one expectation of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is over all and through all and in all (Eph.4:1-6).

        The Secret Administration will be the first one to be completed or finished, closing not with Divine judgment, but due to the fact that the pleerooma, the FILLing or complement of the nations, "saved for grace," has come in to "fill up" the secret--the joint body ecclesia. It characterizes the current era from the revelation of the Secret Administration through Paul, A. D. 61 (Eph.3:1-3,6-9; Col.1:24-27), until the complement or full number of Gentiles has come in to complete "the church which is His body" and the saints are assembled with Christ in glory (Rom.11:25,26; Eph.1:22,23; 2 Thess.2:1,2; 1 Tim. 3:16; Phil.3:20,21; Col.3:4; 1 Thess.4:15; 1 Cor.15:23, 51-55).


        After the glorification of the saints of the ecclesia which is Christ's body, the Administration of Indignation on the sons of Stubbornness will follow (1 Thess.1:9,10; 5:9,10; Matt.3:7; Eph. 5:6; Col.3:6). It is spoken of as the era of lawlessness, when the man of lawlessness will be unveiled, who will exalt himself above everything termed a god or an object of veneration, and will seat himself in the temple of God, demonstrating that he himself is God (2 Thess.2:3-13). He will be the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel (9:27), and reaffirmed by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24:15. His lawlessness will correspond with the anarchic revolt led by Nimrod, "the mighty opposer before the face of Jehovah" in the Administration of Human Government. "Then shall be great affliction" or tribulation on the sons of Israel (Matt. 24:21-23), called "the season of distress for Jacob" (Jer.30:7). But a "Deliver shall come out of Zion" and "every one written in the book shall be delivered" (Rom.11:26,27; Dan.12:1-3). This will be the coming of Christ on the clouds of heaven with power and much glory (Matt.24:29-31), with the vengeance of God (Isa. 35:4; 63:1-6), in "the great day of Their indignation" (Rev.6: 15-17) "Then shall Jehovah go forth, and fight against those nations as when He fought in the day of battle. And His feet stand in that day on mount of Olives; which is adjoining Jerusalem on the east" (Zech.14:3,4).

        The Administration fills up an era of seven, and possibly forty and seven years--from the glorification of the saints of the church which is Christ's body until He comes on the clouds of heaven with power and much glory (Micah 7:15; Ezek. 20:33-38; Dan.7:13,14,27; Matt.24:29,30).


        Then, with the Son of Mankind present in power and much glory, He will "sit on His throne of glory," and the Administration of the Kingdom will be inaugurated, which is commonly spoken of as "the millennial reign," but is scripturally termed "the kingdom" (Dan.7:13,14,27) or the thousand-year reign of Christ and His saints (Rev.20:6). This will be that new HOME- LAW or Administration characterized and empowered by the dispensation of righteousness, when God will "judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by the Man Whom He hath ordained" (Acts 17:31). "All the peoples, the races, and the languages are serving Him..." "And the kingdom and the authority and the majesty of the kingdom under all the heavens, is granted to the people of the saints of the Supremacies: the kingdom is an eonian kingdom, and all authorities shall serve and hearken to it" (Dan.7:14,27; Isa.60:10-12). It is the administration when the sons of Israel will go out under the so-called "great commission" of Matthew and "disciple all the nations,...teaching them to be keeping all," whatever He commands them (Dan.7:13,14; Matt.28:18- 20; Zech.8:20-23). Then will be another era when the nations or Gentiles will be "apart from Christ, and alienated from the citizenship of Israel, and guests of the promise covenants, having no expectation and without God in the world." Then, again, "salvation will be of the Jews," and the Gentiles will receive their blessings through the royal priesthood, the holy nation of Israel, and "glorify God for His mercy" and "make merry with His people," but will be considered "subjects," "servants," and "debtors," and compelled to pay the priestly nations for their blessings out of their temporal treasures (John 4:22; Deut.7:6-8; 1 Peter 2:9; Zech.8:20-23; Gen.22:15-18; Rom.15:9,10,27; Isa.60:10-12; 61:4-6; Zech.14: 16-19).

        But even this wonderful Administration of the Kingdom, when "full is the earth of the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters for the sea floor are a covering" (Isa.11:9), and all the families of the earth are blessed in accord with the covenant promise to Abraham, will close with a rebellion of the nations and Divine judgment on them and their Deceiver (Rev.20:7-10).

        The Administration includes the era of the thousand years, in which the Melchizedek priesthood reign of Christ will be carried through (as the Greek expresses it) to a finality (Heb.7:3,17; Rev.20:6).


        After the "great white throne" judgment there will come "the day of God" when all things will be made new--a new heaven and a new earth, wherein righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:12,13; Rev.21: 1-5). Then will be inaugurated "the administration of the complement of the eras," in which all things, in the heavens as well as on the earth, will be headed up in the Christ (Eph.1:10). In that new and abiding creation (Isa.66:22; Rev.21:1-5) with the universe headed up in the Christ, as the Son of God's love, in Whom our lot is cast also (Eph.1:10,11; Col.1:13), love and glory will be the dispensation that will characterize and empower the administration until "all things," or, as the Greek puts it, ta panta, the universe, is reconciled to God, whether on the earth or in the heavens, through the peace made in the blood of His cross (Col.1:20). And when He has reigned until all sovereignty and all authority and power has been abrogated, and all His enemies have been placed under His feet -- the last enemy being abolished is death -- "Then cometh the end" or consummation, when the Son will turn over the kingdom to the Father, becoming subject Himself, that God may be All in all (1 Cor.15:22-28). It is thus that the Administration of the Complement of the Eras "fills up" or completes all the eras of time in God's purpose of the eons which He makes in Christ Jesus, our Lord, and brings all to a glorious consummation or finish, when the Son Himself will abdicate the throne and turn over the kingdom to God, even the Father, that He may be All in all. What a marvelous outcome of God's administrations with man! What a glorious goal this reveals to our hearts!

        The Administration of the Complement of the Eras has its fulfillment during the eon of the eons. Just what the length of this last eon will be, we have no clear statement. So the best we can do is to form a rough estimate from the Scriptures bearing on the subject. In the Authorized Version we read of the glory of the church, "throughout all ages, world "without end" (Eph.3:21). The words "world without end" obscure this last eon in darkness. The correct translation reads,

"...to Him be glory in the ecclesia and in Christ Jesus for all the generations of the eon of the eons!"

        Here we are informed that in the last eon of glory there will be generations. The nations in the new earth, the paradise of God, will continue to multiply. And in that new creation when the abiding glory of God will replace the temporary luminaries--the sun, moon, and stars--of the old creation, time will be marked by generations. And concerning these generations, it is written,

"He hath remembered His covenant for the eon,
The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, which He made with Abraham,
And His oath unto Isaac,
And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a statute,
To Israel for an eonian covenant" (Psa.105:8-10).

        This Scripture seems to indicate that this covenant of a thousand generations began with Abraham, was sworn to Isaac, and confirmed to Jacob for a statute and to Israel for an eonian covenant. But the matter of determining the length of these generations is not definite. Luke's genealogy, covering four thousand years of human history, averages more than fifty years to a generation. Today a generation averages about twenty-eight years. Therefore, to form a basis for an approximate estimate, we will assign thirty years to a generation. A thousand generations of thirty years to the generation would give us a period of thirty thousand years. Beginning the count of the generations with Abraham, something like one hundred and thirty have been added to the human race down to the present. How many more will be added before this eon is finished, we have no way of telling. But using our suggested count for the millennium, some thirty-three more will be added then, making a total of one hundred and sixty- three. This would leave eight hundred and thirty-seven for the eon of the eons, or a period of time of more than twenty-five thousand years. This approximate estimate of the length of the eon of the eons, and the number of generations that will be added to the human race, when death will be no more, nor mourning, nor clamor, nor misery, and God will be tabernacling with mankind and will be brushing away every tear from their eyes, brings before our hearts an era of time marked by transcendent glory and bliss beyond anything the heart of man has ever conceived.

        In this outline, we have considered a brief summary of the twelve dispensations and administrations of God with man, wherein He achieves His purpose of the eons which He makes in Christ Jesus, our Lord, Who is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Origin and the Consummation (Rev.21:6; 22:13). It also reveals to us that God, in His wisdom and gracious providence is orderly, dispensing and administering, entrusting anddisciplining, teaching and training mankind from the state of innocence up to maturity, when they will be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be the Firstborn among many brethren, in the kingdom of the Father, of which there is no consummation.


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