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God Eternal Purpose in the New Covenant - Part 9
Dr. Allen M. Barber

Hebrews 13:20-21 NKJV

20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant , 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Dispensationalists refer to the present age as the Dispensation of the New Covenant and that is partly right. However the more correct terminology is the Age of the New Covenant. Is that just semantics or is there a significant difference. Traditional Dispensationalists, which pretribbers are, break the administration of God's dealing with mankind into seven dispensations that I will not give here for that is not the purpose of this Insight. Basically, they stress that God has acted differently in terms of grace and salvation in each of the dispensations, particularly the two dispensations of Law and Grace. The crux of their doctrine is that God can only act a certain way in each of the dispensations. Therefore, a dispensation is a period of limited divine authority (God chooses to limit Himself).

The word "dispensation" is used only twice in the New Covenant (Eph. 1:10; 3:2) and is translated from the Greek word "oikonomia," which is derived from two Greek words, oiko  meaning household, family, estate, etc. and nomia  meaning law. Taken together, they imply God's jurisdiction or stewardship over His people. That hardly denotes a fragmentary system of differing acts of God's dealings with His people or the world. For example, the TD's say that in the dispensation of Law, God's grace is not seen or hidden. I strongly disagree with that as God's grace had been involved with the human race since the Garden of Eden. The heresy of dispensationalism has corrupted the Scriptures and caused much confusion concerning God's prophetic program.

A careful study of the Bible reveals there are three primary Ages (an age or epoch is a period when God reveals His will in a fuller understanding in which such concepts as grace, mercy, salvation, etc. are not stand alone precepts, that is, defined only by the age or epoch, but seen as the progressive revelation of God; for example, the Church is seen in embryo form in the Age of Passover [Old Covenant] but not fully revealed until the Age of Pentecost; therefore, the revelation of God is always progressive never regressive), the Age of Passover, the Age of Pentecost, and the Age of Tabernacles. The Age of Passover began with the Law (actually the first Pentecost as it was given to Moses on Mount Sinai on Sivan 3, the day of Pentecost [50 days from 16th day of Abib - the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread during which time Jesus' body lay in the grave]).

The Age of Passover ended with the First Advent of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the second Pentecost. The Age of Pentecost then began and with the coming of the Holy Spirit the grace of God in salvation was fuller understood, not that a complete and new dispensation ensured in which grace and atonement were new concepts. To say there was no grace in the Age of Passover or a so-called dispensation of Law and no law in the Age of Pentecost or a so-called dispensation of Grace is foreign to the Scriptures and confuses God's eternal purpose in the New Covenant. This error has bred both dispensationalism and pretribulationism, as well as a gross misunderstanding who the chosen people of God are. The New Covenant refers to the people of God as the "elect" of God, which includes saved Jews and Gentiles. Peter also refers to the house of God as a chosen nation or a spiritual nation, but never a chosen ethnic group. Believers need to get their head around this truth and they will not be confused by dual covenant teaching.

I said that the Church was seen in embryo form in the Old Testament (see Jeremiah 31), but it was not fully revealed until the Age of Pentecost and the inception of the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus Christ. To say that the Church in God's progressive revelation was not seen in the Old Covenant is like saying a fetus does not exist in the womb of the mother. Before a human being becomes a living entity in the human race, it has to first be a live being in the womb as it develops in stages or progresses to a full human being. The point is, the fetus is a LIFE, it just has not fully developed. The Church of Jesus Christ was prophesied by the Old Covenant prophets, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, before it came into being hundreds of years later. Failing to understand this has caused much confusion in that many do not see how the Old Covenant has merged into the New Covenant, and that the Israel of God has superseded the old economy of physical Israel.

Today, God recognizes a Jew as someone who has come into the New Covenant. The question I often get is, "Yea, but what about the nation of Israel that we see today in the Middle East?" Well, I do not have time to answer that in this brief Insight, but the answer is found in the meaning of the barren fig tree in Matthew 21, 23, and 24 as well as the history of the Zionist state. We are dealing with the House of Jacob - Esau  today and two groups of Israelites - the physical descendents of Abraham that rebel against the New Covenant and will be the rebels God judges and destroys in the tribulation, and the spiritual remnant that is coming to Christ today and those who survive the tribulation that will accept the Lord when He returns. There will be many surviving Gentiles who also accept the Lord when He returns, otherwise there would not be anyone to populate the kingdom, as the resurrected and raptured saints in their new glorified bodies no longer reproduce. This is a great mystery, but part of God's eternal program for the Ages.

Again, dispensationalism has causes a lot of confusion about God's prophetic program teaching that God is going to reinstate a form of the Law for the Jews during the tribulation and that a special group of saints referred to as the "tribulation saints" will emerge during this time, but will not be part of the Church or the nation of Israel. That is a ludicrous doctrine not supported by the Scriptures and makes no sense!  I address this heresy in detail in my new book, which I hope to be out by this summer entitled, Re-examining the Pretrib Rapture by the Posttrib Day of the Lord . I had hoped it would be ready by the time of the Prophecy Conference, but doesn't appear that it will (I will have some updated news for the prophecy conference in the next two weeks).

One amazing thing about the New Covenant is that during the 3 1/2 years the Lord ministered on earth, He never mentioned the New Covenant until the night before He was crucified. During the last Supper or the Lord's Supper that night, He not only mentioned it, but said that it was established in His blood. That is perhaps the most profound statement ever uttered by man, howbeit, the Son of man, and at the same time the least understood, even today in many religious and theological environments.

In a few days, we will celebrate, not Easter, (the Catholic version), but the Resurrection of our Lord. If the blood had not been shed, there would have been no resurrection. The Age of Pentecost was predicated on the Age of Passover as the Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, had to be sacrificed before the New Covenant could be established. In today's world, including a large segment of Christendom, clergy and laymen alike are trying to achieve eternal life by going around or denying the cross. Had Jesus not shed His blood and died there would be no New Covenant. God's covenants are based on blood and without the shedding of blood, there is NO FORGIVENESS OF SIN (Heb. 9:22).

On Resurrection Sunday, April 25, 1971, I was born again by the Spirit of God and joined to Jesus Christ. Therefore, this Resurrection Sunday, even though it is not on the same identical day, marks the beginning of my 38th year as a Christian and minister of the gospel (I was called to the ministry the same day). It has been a trying journey with both joy and heartache, but I would not trade my life in Jesus Christ for all the money in the world. How could something so mediocre compare with the eternal blood of the New Covenant that makes it possible for me and you to be forgiven of our sins and placed in right relationship with the God of the universe? It cannot!

Dr. Allen M. Barber, a Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.