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Dispensations, Administrations, Ages
Part 3

We have briefly considered the Paradise Administration, the Patriarchal Administration, the Law Administration, and the Christ Administration. Understand, at best, we have barely skimmed the surface of these administrations. The depth of spiritual knowledge and wisdom God has provided in each of these administrations is a lifetime of study and contemplation and require God’s gift of holy spirit for comprehension. Many smaller and shorter teachings on subjects and events are necessary to extract the precious jewels and gems stored within. 

The Word of God is a complete book. It expresses God’s desire for a family and how God moved and acted to achieve that family. From the Garden in Eden until the ministry of Jesus all that had been written was contained in Genesis through Malachi. Some have complained that other books were left out of what we have labeled the Old Testament, books like Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, and Esdras, even the Book of Enoch. Side note, the separation of Old Testament and New Testament, although agreed upon by most, are not designations God has made in His Word.

What I will bring to your attention is that no writer of the New Testament ever quotes one of these missing books, although a prophecy of Enoch is recorded, a point to consider. But even more importantly, Jesus never speaks of books being missed or forgotten, yet he spoke of all the scriptures that pertained to him.

Luke 24:27
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

John 5:39
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

John 5:46
For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me.

Jesus KNEW the words of God, for he was the Living Word of God.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the spokesperson for Civil Rights and remains so to this day. Nelson Mandela was the spokesperson for equality in South Africa, taking a stand against apartheid. We have had many spokespeople for many things in our culture. Jesus was THE spokesperson for the words of God, as the Living Word of God.

John 1:18
No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [exegeomai = to unfold, to reveal] him [God].

Jesus revealed God’s grace, God’s truth, God’s glory. 

Understanding what Jesus had to say about what was going to follow his ministry on earth is especially important in understanding God’s Word. It is not just a matter of looking at the transition between administrations, it is also important to understand his understanding of the scriptures.

4 – Christ Administration (Preparations)

Matthew 24:3
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [aion = age]?

We have not discussed ages yet. What is an age as opposed to a dispensation or administration? 

Vine’s Expository Dictionary says of aion (age), “a period of indefinite duration, or time viewed in relation to what takes place in the period.” 

Thayer’s Expanded Definition of aion says in part: “by metonymy of the container for the contained…” meaning what is in the age is more important than the duration of the age.

Helps Word-Studies defines aion as, “/aiṓn “an age, having a particular character and quality." Again, the emphasis is placed on what happens in an age, “character and quality,” and not the duration of time of that age. An Age can be years, centuries, millennia, the duration is not as important as what is contained in that time frame.

Depending on the context, aion or age, is used synonymously as a dispensation or administration. 

When used as an administration it is an indefinite period, meaning it could be a day, a decade, a century, or thousands of years. The point is not the length of time but rather what is taking place during that period.

Some have thought aion could mean everlasting or time without end. Koine Greek has a word for eternity, aidios. Koine Greek also has a few different words for world. The first is kosmos, which is the order or arrangement of the world; another is the word oikoumene which is used to speak of the inhabited world; and a third word is ge which refers to land.

It is in looking at this word aion that God’s Word gives us an idea of how many Ages or Administrations are in the second heaven and earth. 

Ephesians 2:7
That in the ages [aion- plural] to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Here Ephesians is speaking from the point of view of our current Age. So, after our Age there are at least two other Ages to come. We see this because of the use of the plural for “ages” in Ephesians 2:7. So, along with our current age, plus at least two more Ages, still to come, we have a minimum of three Ages. 

Colossians 1:26
Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation [oikonomia = administrations] of God, which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages [aiōn = plural] and from generations [genea], but now is made manifest to his saints:

Colossians just showed us that our Age was a mystery and that God had hidden our Age, or Administration, for “ages and generations;” giving us plural Ages after us and plural Ages before us. This now gives us a total of at least five Ages in the Bible, with the plural use possibly adding more Ages.

So, what did Jesus do with his complete comprehension and understanding of scriptures? Did he prepare his disciples for the times to come after his ascension?

Just as Jesus endeavored to prepare his disciples for his coming death, burial, and resurrection, he also endeavored to prepare his disciples for the administration or age that was about to begin after his ascension.

Matthew 24:3
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [aion = age]?

Jesus understands an administration; therefore, he describes for them the events of the coming age. Again, Vine’s, “what takes place in that time. Thayer’s, “content not the container.” Helps Word-studies, “the character and quality.” Jesus cannot give them a timeline in years, but he can give them the events as the Law and the prophets had spoken and as God gave him revelation.

The disciples of Jesus have a few questions in this verse.
    1.When shall these things be?
    2.What shall be the sign of your coming AND the end of the age?

What appears to be two questions at the end of verse 3 is really one question brought together by a conjunction.

The first question, “these things,” brings a question to the mind of the reader, what things?

Matthew 24:2 gives us part of the answer, the destruction of the Temple. But that is one thing, not plural things. To see the plurality, we need to go back to Matthew chapter 23.

Matthew 23:35-36
That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily, I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation.

After pronouncing “Woes” upon the religious leaders of Judea, Jesus declares the coming judgment upon all unbelief, going all the way back to Abel in Genesis chapter 4.

Remember Jesus, while in Nazareth, read from Isaiah 61 to open his public ministry.

Isaiah 61:1-2
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.

The acceptable year of the Lord was the earthly ministry of the lamb of God, a lamb of the first year. Jesus read up to, “the acceptable year of the Lord” and stopped. He stopped because “the day of vengeance of our God” was not during his earthly ministry, it was another administration. Jesus knew and understood administrations. That is why Jesus understood the disciples’ question about the end of the Age.

After the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the time of God’s wrath against all unbelief was coming. It is the Administration I have called the Revealing Administration.

Romans 1:18
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold [katecho = hold down or suppress] the truth in unrighteousness.

The Law Administration closed with the ministry of John the Baptist, but the Covenant of the Law continued and still has not been fully completed.

Romans 10:4
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.

Christ is the end of the Law if you believed. That is a huge statement. Was Jesus the end of the Law for the Pharisees that crucified him? No, he was not! Was Jesus  the end of the Law for the God rejecter? No, he was not! Jesus was the end of the Law for "everyone that believes."

Galatians 3:10
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Galatians chapter 3 brings us back to Romans chapter 10, if you believe Christ is righteousness for you, the curse is gone for you. If you do not believe, then you are still under the curse of the Law. Until the judgment of God has been carried out, the Covenant of the Law is not finished.

Hebrews 8:13
In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

The Covenant with Israel is ready to vanish away, but it has not vanished yet for the vengeance of our God has not yet come to pass and will not come to pass until after Our Time. But understand, God is not a man that He should lie, when He has said it, He will do it, He will perform it.

Romans 12:19
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Israel rejected the Living Word as he stood before them and revealed God unto them.

The Revealing Administration has the antichrist because men love darkness more than light.
The Revealing Administration has the wrath of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness.
The Revealing Administration has men of God who stand and speak God’s Word of Light and Life.

Jesus understood these things because he understood the words of God from Genesis to Malachi. Jesus was sending his disciples into this next administration to be witnesses. Jesus wanted them prepared and ready for what they would encounter.

Matthew 24:6-8
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

This is only the beginning of the Revealing Administration’s problems.

Matthew 24:9-10
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

Matthew 24:14
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Israel shall take God’s Word over the world, to all nations and to all peoples. God’s Word will be spoken and lived throughout the entire world. Israel shall take the gospel of the kingdom to the entire world. No, it will not be believed by everyone. But everyone will have had the opportunity to hear and believe.

Matthew 24:21
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

As if everything before verse 21 was not bad enough, in verse 21 comes the great tribulation. Not all in Israel will believe, not all in the world will believe. BUT there will be believers and their home will be in eternity with their Heavenly Father.

Even in a world brought to such a place of darkness by rejection and unbelief, God will stretch forth His hand of mercy and forgiveness, sending forth His servants with an offer of redemption and salvation. 

Matthew 24:29-31
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Jesus taught them about the events of the next age, not the year and day the next age would end. Jesus did not know that answer.

Matthew 24:33
So likewise, ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

You will recognize the approaching end by the events that are taking place. An Administration or Age is not about its duration, it is about the content. An Administration or Age is not about men, it is about God working to redeem and save mankind. It is about God working to build, protect, prosper, His beloved family.

Matthew 24:34
Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Not the day and hour but within a generation. The Apostles where approximately 30 years of age and Jesus is saying their generation will not pass before these things are fulfilled. Once this time of judgment begins, before that generation passes, all this tribulation will come to pass.

Matthew 24:35-37
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Only God knows the hour of His son’s return. Consider the parables of the groom going away to prepare a place for his bride in his father’s house. Consider the elements of the first century Jewish wedding.

Matthew 24:38-39
For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so, shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Even with all the tribulation that Matthew and other places in God’s Word speak of concerning this time, the world of unbelief will continue as though nothing is out of the ordinary. The eyes and the mind can become adjusted to darkness. But the Light of God’s Word on the lips of a believer shines all the brighter in a darken world.

Jesus did not leave his disciples to handle such days all on their own. Jesus prepared them by teaching them about what was to happen and by teaching them about the coming gift of God’s holy spirit, the Comforter.

We will pick it up there…

Our Time