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An Outline of Dispensational Truth

Harry Bell (1905-1976) was a mighty expositor of the Word of God. Between 1943 and 1973 – when blindness finally overtook him – Harry Bell preached the Word of God full-time throughout all parts of the United Kingdom. A tall man with a photographic memory and a gracious manner, Harry Bell was much used of the Lord in the edification of the people of God. The following is an edited transcript of a sermon Harry Bell gave to a large crowd in Llanfanfechan, Wales, UK, in 1961 called “An Outline of Dispensational Truth”.

Prophecy in the Bible is a most interesting and thrilling subject, but it is also an extensive subject covering a tremendous part of the Word of God. I want to take you with me through all the ages of God’s dealing right back into the past, then right on into the future, and to show how in every age God has been dealing with His creature man; to show that in all the ages there is a Divine purpose like a golden thread running through all those ages, and God will work steadily onward until He has accomplished that purpose.

First of all, then, I want you to think with me of a ‘past eternity’ before the universe came into being – when I say a ‘past eternity’ that is really a contradiction in terms; eternity can never pass, but you know I am directing your minds back into the eternal past. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Away back then in eternity, go as far back as ever you care to go, millions and millions and millions of years ago, eternally back, without beginning, and the Lord Jesus, God the Son, was with His Father God; He ever was with God. Also the Spirit of God is called in the epistle to the Hebrews, the Eternal Spirit, so that right back in eternity, going as far back as ever you care to go, there was the Father, the Son and the Spirit, the triune God, without beginning or end from everlasting to everlasting.

Now we come to that point when God created the heavens and the earth. In six days He makes heaven and earth. He brings the earth out of the water, separates the vapour which surrounds it, and makes the firmament appear. On the sixth day as the triumph of His handiwork, God makes man. He makes Adam, and He says of Adam “Let us make man in our own image and in our likeness”. Thus God has made a perfect world, clothed it with grass and flowers, trees and shrubs etc. and fills the world with animals, birds, fishes and so forth and above it all He places a perfect man – “And God gave Adam dominion”. The Word says that Adam had dominion over every living thing; Adam could say to a lion “Come here” and it would come; he could say to a bear “Go yonder” and it would go; he could call a fish out of the sea. God gave Adam dominion over everything in creation. Psalm 8 says “Thou hast set him over the work of Thine hand” and so Adam was made in the likeness of God, a little lower than the angels, and he had dominion over all God’s creation, and Adam gave names to all of God’s creatures.

How long that period lasted int eh Garden of Eden I cannot tell. Somehow I think that it did not last very long, but I do not know. There was Adam in the garden with his wife, Eve. God placed him there in all that beautiful serenity, and they were so completely one that in Genesis 5 it is said “He called their name Adam”; and there they were in innocence in the Garden of Eden. But sin came in, the tempter appeared; Satan himself in the form of a serpent, and you know how he tempted Adam and Eve.

When Adam and Eve fell their fall had a result spiritually, morally and bodily. Spiritually – “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”, and Adam was cast out of the garden, he died spiritually; he was separated from God. Morally – before Adam sinned, he did not know good or evil. If you had talked to Adam about stealing or telling lies or about unkindness, he would not have know what you were talking about. Adam had not the knowledge of sin and evil. He knew no such thing as sin. He was an innocent man, but when he disobeyed God he partook of that forbidden fruit, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam gained a knowledge of sin. He and Eve looked upon themselves and saw themselves as horrible, naked, exposed sinners. Adam now had what he never had before –  a knowledge of sin. He fell spiritually, he was separated from God; he fell morally, he gained a knowledge of sin; then he fell bodily. God said “Of dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return”. If Adam had not sinned he would have been alive now, in the body, but because of his sin “to dust thou shalt return”. The first dispensation of man then is the DISPENSATION of INNOCENCE, in Eden, when Adam and Eve lived there in all the untramelled purity of the garden. Now from the fall there enters in the DISPENSATION of CONSCIENCE – Adam passed out of the presence of God. What has he got to ieip him and guide him – he has a conscience. If we read in Romans 1 about those days it says three times “God gave them up” -God gave up men because of their sin. But in Romans 2 it speaks of conscience; it speaks of men having the work of the law written in their conscience. The moment Adam sinned he had a conscience. He looked upon himself. He saw himself naked, and he fled from the presence of God. The word conscience comes from two words – “con” meaning “together” and “science” which is “knowledge” – so conscience = knowledge together; that is, knowledge that we hold in common with God. Man has a moral sense of right and wrong, and that is conscience, a knowledge he holds in common with God. That dispensation of conscience began with the fall of Adam, and it goes on until the time of the flood, and if you look in Genesis 4 you will find there is a line of men – Cain, Lamech, etc. – and they are all wicked men. They are inventing the harp and organ. They are discovering brass and iron. They learn the making of tents and so on. That is the line of Genesis 4. But in Genesis 5 there is another line, the line of Seth, and he is “the son of God “. It reads “and men began to call upon the name of the Lord”. So the age of conscience started with the fall of Adam and it issued into two lines of descent – Cain’s line and Seth’s line. Cain’s line discovering things down here on earth; Seth’s line discovering the things of God.

Now that condition of things went on until the flood. Then men went worse and worse and worse, until God said He could no longer go on with man; so He allowed them a further 120 years. And in those 120 years Noah preached righteousness and at the end of that period the flood came, and only eight of them (Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives) were saved out of the flood. The flood came and destroyed that world, which makes a break in history at that point. The apostle Peter in his 2nd Epistle, speaking of before the flood says “the world that then was”. Again he uses the expression “if God spared not the old world “so the world before the flood was the world that “then was” – it was the “old world”. Here is God making a dispensational break, bringing a new age into being at the end of the flood. So Noah comes out of the ark and there begins the third dispensation.

We have had the dispensation of innocence, the dispensation of conscience, and now the dispensation of HUMAN GOVERNMENT. God indicated to Noah that He was to put human government in his hands, and says “I will put the dread of you on all cattle”. Now you will note that is very different from Adam, for Adam could call the animals of the earth and they would come to him – they were all subject to him. Noah had not that power, but God said to Noah “I will put the dread of you on all cattle”, and it is true today, the beasts have a fear of mankind. Then He told Noah He would put a change in his diet – “every clean animal and bird was given to him for food”. But up to the flood man had been vegetarian, for “God gave Adam every green herb to feed upon”. So there is a change of status a change of food; and there is a change of government. God tells Noah He is going to put government in his hands – “and whoso sheddeth man’s blood by man shall his blood be shed”. That had never been said before, it had not been said to Adam or Abel; so comes into the hands of man the responsibility of human government.

At this point perhaps we may pause, and ask, Why is God dealing in these diferent ways? Innocence, Conscience, Human Government; what is God’s purpose? Man has fallen, and God is trying him under every circumstance, in every possible way to see if man will obey Him, and praise and glorify Him, so He brings in all these different ways of dealing.

The age of human government reached its climax, its height, with the Tower of Babel. There in Genesis chapter 11 they said “Go to, let us build us a city, a tower…And let us make us a name”, and they built this great tower in rebellion against God. The previous chapter (10) says they were led by Nimrod the mighty hunter, Nimrod the Cushite, the mighty hunter, and they were led by him in this revolt against God. God had said there would not be a flood any more. Ah, but they said we will protect ourselves, we will not trust God, we will build a city, a tower, lest we be scattered upon the earth. Thus they showed ignorance of God, ignorance of heaven, and ignorance of themselves. Ignorance of God in that they said “lest we be scattered upon the earth” on which God had promised He would not scatter them; God had promised He would not send a flood. Ignorance of heaven; they said “Let us build a tower whose top shall reach to heaven”. They did not realise that they could not get to heaven by any works of their own. Ignorance of themselves; it says “they had brick for stone”, brick of their own make, instead of stone, God’s provision. And they had slime for mortar – typical of their own works. Such is man’s utter rebellion against God.

Now in the next chapter (12) begins the new age, the PATRIARCHAL DISPENSATION, of Abram and his family. In Genesis 12 God calls Abram out saying “Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee…And I will make thy name great…and I will make thee a blessing [God promises seven things here by the way] and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed”. You will have noted that the men of Shinar who built the tower said “Let us make us a Name”, but God says to Abram “You come with me and I will make you a name” (“I will make thy name great”). They tried to make their own name, but God says to Abram “I will make thee a name”.

Now begins the patriarchal age – Abram, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and the fathers of Israel down in Egypt. This period lasted for 400 years. What was the character of that age? Just this, they had no home on earth – God called Abraham into Canaan, and he did not own a foot of it. God said “Walk up and down in the land”, and he was a stranger. God said to him that He would give him the land, but for the present he would be a stranger and a pilgrim in it. You may ask why that was; why would God have Abraham a stranger in the land He was to give him? In Genesis 15 God tells Abraham “The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” – God had been suffering the wickedness of this people for centuries but their “iniquity was not yet full”, so God did not feel it was the time to drive them out. By and by He would drive them out, because of their wickedness, but meantime Abram was not to possess the land for 400 years. At the end of that four centuries when the iniquity of the Amorites was full, God would call the children of Israel out of Egypt and bring them into Canaan.

In the patriarchal age we have four outstanding men: Abraham, the man of faith. It says in Genesis 15 “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness”. Isaac, the man of love. The first mention of love in the Bible is in connection with Isaac, and three times over in Isaac’s life we read of the word “love”. Jacob the man of hope. Jacob goes over the brook Jabbok and he has only a staff in his hand; he has nothing else at all, no home, no shelter, no friends, but God says “Jacob, I will guide you all the way, and I will bring you back into your own land and I will enrich you and multiply you”, and for twenty years the vision of hope burns brightly in Jacob’s mind, until after those long years his hopes are fulfilled. Abram the man of faith, Isaac the man of love, Jacob the man of hope. And so Joseph comes in, and in Joseph we find all those three things – the faith of Abraham, the love of Isaac and the hope of Jacob. Joseph’s life is divided into three sections – Joseph with his parents; Joseph in the pit and the prison; Joseph in the palace. Joseph with his parents was the man of faith. God gave him two visions showing him that he would be the ruler over his brethren, and Joseph believed God. Joseph in the pit and in the prison was the man of hope; he hoped for the day when God would deliver him. But Joseph in the palace was the man of love. His rascally, cut-throat brethren came, and he forgave the lot of them, and richly met their needs, and blessed them super-abundantly – the man of love on the throne. He is the man of faith with his parents, the man of hope in the prison, and he is the man of love in the palace.

So we come to the age of law. God brought Israel out of Egypt after 400 years and God brought them into the wilderness. In Exodus chapter 19 God prepares to give them His law. Now this DISPENSATION of the LAW lasted for 1,400 years, and I want you to think with me about the character of it. For 1,400 years God had an earthly people, a nation on the earth. For 1, 400 years you could have gone to a certain geographical spot, a definite place on the earth, and you could have said “The people of God are here; this is God’s place; this is God’s earthly people” – that place was the land of Canaan. In Deuteronomy chapter 7 verse 6 God says He has chosen them to be a special people unto Himself, above all nations that are on the face of the earth. So then, here is a “special people” whom God owns, on the earth; an earthly nation belonging to God. In Joshua chapter 4 when the ark is going over Jordan, God tells Joshua to erect stones – “that all the earth may know”. Here is a testimony to God on earth. In Amos chapter 3 verse 2 God says to Israel “You only have I known of all families upon the earth, therefore will punish you”. Thus the dispensation of the law ushers in an earthly nation a people on earth whom God owned as His own.

Now why did God give them a law? It was for two reasons, (1) Conviction, (2) Construction. First God gave them a law to teach them that they were sinners. Moses said in Exodus 19 when God was giving the law, “God is come here to prove you”. He gave the law to prove them, to show that they were sinners. Romans chapter 3 says “By the law is the knowledge of sin”. God gave the law to teach Israel that they were sinners. In 2nd Timothy chapter 1 Paul tells us that the law was given to lawless ones. It was given to criminals and sinners to prove that they were guilty before God. The law was given to Israel to show that they were sinners, to give them knowledge of guilt, so that when Christ came, knowing that they were sinners, they would turn to Him in repentance, seek forgiveness, seek the pardon of the cross of Calvary. But then the law had another purpose. It is called in Ephesians chapter 2 “the middle wall of partition” – God put a fence around Israel, a wall, to wall them off from the other nations, to wall them off as His own, and that wall was the law, the middle wall of partition bracketing Israel off from the Gentiles, fencing of Israel as being the people of God. Now that law was given by God in love. Deuteronomy 33 says “From His right hand went a fiery law. Yea He loved the people”. It was a fiery law, it tried Israel, it tested them, it searched them, it involved trouble. Ah, but it was given in love; there was love behind it, the love of God, for it was all intended to show them they were sinners, with a view to bringing them to Christ.

Now the dispensation of the law can be divided into three sections, in this way: (1) Israel without a king, (2) Israel with a king, (3) Israel under another king. What I mean is this: in the book of Joshua, Judges and the early chapters of 1 Samuel (up to chapter 9), Israel were in the land without a king. God was their king. But then in 1 Samuel 9 they lust after a king like the Gentiles. God gave them a king, and that condition of things lasted right through 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings and 1st and 2nd Chronicles. Then at the end of 2nd Chronicles their king is taken from them and they get another king, and from that day onwards Israel has always been under another king; they have always been under the yoke of the Gentiles. At the end of 2nd Chronicles Nebuchadnezzar comes in and captures them and takes them off to Babylon, so they came under another – a foreign – king. Since then they have always been under a foreign yoke and they are today. So we trace Israel’s three stages under the law – without a king, with a king and under the rule of another king (through Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther and right until the time when the Lord sets aside His earthly people in the cross of Christ – when Christ died for sinners).

Now, the dispensation of the law ended with the cross of Christ. Scripture is most definite about that. Hebrews says “Once in the end of the age hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself”. In Galatians we read “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ “, or literally “The law was our schoolmaster up to Christ “. The law was intended to last until Christ came and died, and then it was the end of the Law. So, then, the dispensation of the law ended with Christ crucified. Now God has brought in another dispensation – and what dispensation is that? It is the dispensation of grace; the dispensation of the grace of God. Now what characterises this age? Well, first, it is the climax of all ages, the summit of them all. We read in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 “All these things happened unto them for examples, and were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world (literally ‘of the ages’) are come”. Now, all dispensations then are finished. This is the summum conum, this is the apex, the goal of all dispensations, it is the crowning point of God’s purposes. There never was an age like this, and (on the earth) there never will be – it is the height, the peak of all ages. You know, it has troubled some of God’s children, as to how it is that there will be sacrifices on the earth when the Church is gone. They feel that in going backwards – of course it is going backwards, because this is the climax, the crown of all dispensations, so the dispensations after it can only go backward, they cannot go forward. Well now, what makes this age such a distinct, such a crowning dispensation, high above all others? We have had Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, the Patriarchal age, the Law, but now we have come to the greatest age which stands out among them all. What makes it so different? “Thus it was written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead…that repentance and remission of sins might be preached in His name among all nations” (Luke 24). That never happened before. We are living in an age when through the death and resurrection of Christ “repentance and remission of sins are being preached among all nations” – all may live, for Christ has died. That is something which was never heard before. Again, in Colossians chapter 1 we read of “the mystery which hath been hid from the ages and generations” (but now is made manifest), which is “Christ in you the hope of glory“. Now the word “mystery” means “secret”. Colossians speaks then of a secret which was hidden from all the other ages, and it is “Christ in you the hope of glory”. Today, God is gathering out a people from the Gentiles, a people saved by precious blood, saved by the grace of God, and Christ dwells in them, and He is the hope of heavenly glory. Now you can read the Old Testament through, and you will never read anything like that – of the gathering in of the Gentiles, of Christ dwelling within them – (in them) the hope of glory, heavenly glory. It is something of which the Old Testament speaks absolutely nothing. The Old Testament speaks of blessing to the Gentiles, but it is always inferior to Israel; it is “rejoice ye Gentiles with His people”. There is joy for the Gentiles but the Jews in particular are God’s people. But here is something where Jew and Gentile are alike, where “in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all”.

Then thirdly, this dispensation is above all other dispensations because God promises to you and me blessings that the Old Testament saints never had or ever will have. Hebrews chapter 11 says “These all died in faith” – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and so on – “not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off”. “God having provided some better thing for us in that they without us should not be made perfect”. God has provided “some better thing” for you and me, that Adam never knew, nor Abraham or Isaac or Jacob or Joseph or David. We are going to be the aristocracy of heaven, the very apex of the purposes of God; God gives blessings to you and me far above any order of His creatures. We read in Ephesians chapter 1 “But God hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. He never says that of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. It is something reserved distinctly and specially for His own.

Now exactly what characterises this age? James says (Acts 15) “God has visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name”. You remember that under law God had an earthly people He has none now. God had an earthly nation He has none now. God is gathering out of the nations a people for His name. Our Lord said (in John 17) that we are “not of this world” even as He is not of it. C.F. Hogg said, “If ever pick up a book or a pamphlet and I read about the Church on earth I say to myself there is no light here. There is no such thing as the Church on earth”. And it’s true – the Church is a heavenly Church linked with a heavenly Man in the glory, identified with Christ for ever – and so our Lord says “They are not of this world, even as I am not of it”. Ephesians chapter 1 says “Christ is set at God’s own right hand in the heavenly places, and became Head over all things to the Church, which is His body”. The Church is linked with the heavenly Man in the glory – the Lord Jesus Christ. There is the church locally of course, but there is no such thing as the Church on earth. The Church is linked with the heavenly Man in the glory Who is taking out of the Gentiles a people for His name

There are two outstanding characteristics of this present age. We have God on earth, and we have a Man in the glory – something which does not belong to any former age, but it belongs to this age. God on earth. The Lord said “If I go not, the Comforter will not come, but if I go I will send Him unto you”. God the Holy Spirit is dwelling on earth and God has a redeemed people in whom the Spirit of God dwells, and He says “Ye are the temple of God”. The Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost, and He has been down here ever since, and He will be down here until we are caught up – so we have got God dwelling on earth. Then secondly there is the Man in the glory. The Word says our Lord (true man) ascended up and He sat down on the right hand of God. The scripture says He entered (He passed through) the heavens, and the scripture says He went far above all heavens. There is a preeminent Man at God’s right hand – a man Who bears the scars of Calvary, and the thorn marks upon His brow, a man with a riven side – crowned above all; and as I look at that Man I see what God thinks of me. God says I am in Christ. God sees me in the person of His risen Son. He has taken Christ, and He has placed Him far above all, and that is where He has placed me. You and I are seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. You and I, then, have God on earth – and a Man in the glory.

For fourteen hundred years God had Israel with a temple, with sacrifices, with offerings, with ritual and so on – now there are none of’these things. Hebrews says (Hebrews 12) “We have not come unto the mount which might be touched” – that is, God does not deal with us through the senses; He does not deal with us by things which we can touch and handle. We have not material sacrifices or a material altar. We have none of these things. We live in the age of the Spirit, where God communicates and helps us by the Spirit (Paul says “If we have known Christ after the flesh from henceforth know we Him no more” – we know Him now not by the flesh, but by the Spirit, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ) and the only two things that God has given us of a material chartcter are the two ordinances of this age – baptism and the breaking of bread. Baptism, which speaks of our death in Christ, and the breaking of bread which speaks of Christ’s death for us. The breaking of bread – the Lord’s last command before He died; baptism – the Lord’s last command before He ascended; the only two things of a material character which God has given to us.

Someone has said, and that truly, that it is so easy to practise Christianity. All that you need is a Bible, some bread, a bottle and a bath. A Bible, God’s precious word; some bread to remember the Lord; a bottle, the bottle of wine which we pour into the cup on the Lord’s Day, and a bath big enough to baptise people in. Of course when I say a bath it has, to be rather a big bath, for both the baptiser and the baptised go down into the water. It says in Acts 8 “they went down both into the water and he baptised him there”.

So then, what comes after this age. The Lord is coming – and He might come at any moment. He said “If I go, I will come again and receive you unto myself”, and He is going to take us to the Father’s house to be “forever with the Lord”. And what then? Well, in Jeremiah 30 we read of a time of Jacob’s trouble, when the nation of Israel will pass through a time of terrible trouble. Jeremiah says “I see every man with his hands upon his loins”, “Alas for that day…that none is like it”, “it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it”. Or see Matthew 24, “There shall be a time of great tribulation such as never was in this world”, and Revelation 3 says “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation (trial) that is to come upon all the world to try them that are on the earth”. After the Church has gone, then there is to come a time of great tribulation – it is for Israel and it is for the world. “But how do you know,”says somebody, “that the Church will go home before that tribulation commences? I know it because God says it! God says it in language as plain as John 3:16 – that the Church will not, and cannot, pass through the tribulation. In Revelation 5 you have the Church in glory. The four living creatures and the four and twenty elders are there, with the Lord, and the tribulation does not start until the next chapter, chapter 6. So the Church is home then, before the tribulation begins. Look through Revelation from chapter 6 to chapter 18. You will read all about the tribulation, but you will never read of the Church in it. Men put the Church there; God does not. God says the Church is not in it, but home – forever with the Lord.

Nor is the Church in Matthew 24. The Church has no connection with that chapter; it is never mentioned. The Lord said the temple would be destroyed. What has the Church got to do with the temple? The Lord distinctly said “Let them which are in Judea flee to the wilderness”, and the Lord said they would see the Son of Man coming and they would mourn because of Him – but when my Lord comes I am not going to mourn, I am going to rejoice. How clear, how gloriously clear is the word of God if only we take it in its beautiful simplicity.

Well, after the Church has gone there will be that seven year period of tribulation. In that day they will cry for vengeance (you and I do not want vengeance, it is the age of grace). In that day there are two peoples; there are the 144,000 out of Israel and a multitude out of the Gentiles – but today Jew and Gentile are one. In that day they have a temple, but today you and I are God’s temple. So then clearly the present age must pass before the tribulation commences. The tribulation ends with the Lord coming back with His saints – in Revelation 19 He appears with the armies of heaven following Him, then in Revelation 20 He reigns for a thousand years, and you and I are going to reign for a thousand years, with the Lord over the earth. Revelation 21 from verse 9 onward describes that day – the Lord reigns from above, the city Jerusalem is in the air, but in touch with the earth, and the kings of the earth bring their glory to the Lord, and the Lord rules completely for a thousand years – and if you want to know what it is like turn to Isaiah chapter eleven. The animals will lose their wildness; the wolf will lie down with the Lamb, the cockatrice will lose its poison – “they will not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain and the earth will bring forth its fruits to the full, and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11). In Zechariah 8 we find that death will be held in abeyance, for it says that old men will lean on their staffs for very age. Undertakers will go out of business in that long thousand years of millennial reign – sin will be held in control, and Christ will reign. Then at the end of the thousand years there will be Satan’s last revolt (Revelation 20). He will be loosed for a little and will gather the nations together, and, after a thousand years of God’s blessing, they will hurl themselves at Jerusalem, and God will destroy them. Then (see Revelation 21:1-8) after that there will be the judgment of the Great White Throne. Then heaven and earth will pass away, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and Peter says (2 Peter 3) in that new heaven and new earth righteousness will dwell, and in the whole universe God’s glory will be manifested. Philippians chapter 2 tells us that just before that new heaven and new earth, Christ will be acknowledged as Lord in heaven, earth and hell – the heaven above, the earth around and the depths beneath – celestial, terrestrial, infernal. “Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Then this new heaven and new earth will come; you and I will be in heaven for ever with the Lord. Israel will be the centre of the new earth and the nations of the earth will be blessed under the beneficent, kindly reign of God through His blessed Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians chapter 3 says that “to God there will be glory in the Church through all eternity” and the Church for ever and ever will be the vehicle of God’s glory – “unto Him be glory in the Church through all ages, world without end. Amen”.

We have seen the ages of mankind, the dispensations. Firstly, the dispensation of innocence that ended in the Fall. Secondly, the dispensation of conscience that ended with the flood. Thirdly, the dispensation of human government that ended with Babel’s confusion and the call of Abraham. Then fourthly we read the patriarchal age ended with the exodus from Egypt. Fifthly, the age of the Law lasting for fourteen hundred years until the Lord came. We are currently in the sixth age, the present age of grace. Then when the Church has gone home there will be the Great Tribulation lasting for seven years, then the thousand years of the Lord’s millennial reign, then the last revolt, and the new heaven and the new earth.

God is working with a purpose through all the ages – to one end – the glory of His Son.

And He shall have dominion
O’er ocean, sea and shore,
Far as the eagle’s pinion
Or dove’s bright wings shall soar.