Monday, September 17, 2012

Covenants and Dispensations - Biblical Binoculors

Hebrews 1:1-2 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

Being able to see up close in 3-D
A set of binoculors enables a viewer to peer at our world through two eyepieces.  Whenever we think of how the human brain processes visual information - it is quite remarkable.  If you take one of your hands and hold up a finger at arm's length - close one eye, and then alternate with the other eye while watching your finger move back and forth. God has designed a region in your brain called "The Occipital Lobe". Located in the back of the brain, it is the chief area where visual information is taken in by the eyes, through the optic nerve, and through electrical impulses transforming information  into three-dimensional images.  Truly our God is to be praised, since the wonders of creation ever proclaim his glory and wonder! (Psalm 19:1-6) 

Biblical Binoculors
A pair of binoculors is designed around this feature of human vision.  We need two eye pieces to get not merely a better view, but a better three-dimensional view of objects.  Why? Depth perception, range of motion and other features God has so built into our world to reveal His glory.  Whenever I look at the Bible as both the Book of Ages and the Book of Covenants, I'm looking through a set of binoculors.  By means of both the dispensations and covenants, I can by the Spirit's help see God's plans and purposes in all their depth and range of motion - so as to appreciate the glory of God in Jesus Christ. 

Sampling scripture's outline through the biblical binoculors
So when I look at the Bible as both a Book of the Ages and Book of Covenants, what features stand out?  Below is a suggestion:

Bible Book of Ages (Dispensations)    Bible Book of Covenants
1. Beginning Age-----------Adam---------------Covenant of Works
                                                                    The Fall
2. Old Testament Age----Adam & Eve-------Covenant of Grace

         Preflood era------Adam to Noah--------Noahic Covenant
         Post-flood era----Shem---Abraham
         Patriarachal era--Abraham--Moses----Abrahamic Covenant
         Giving of the Law---Moses and Israel---Mosaic Covenant
         History and Kings--------------------------Davidic Covenant
         Prophets-------------------------------------New Covenant
         John the Baptist and Jesus
         Cross and Resurrection--closing out Old Testament

3. New Testament Age----Pentecost---------Birth of the church
                                                                  (New Covenant is
                                                                   inaugurated in church)
4. Kingdom Age------Christ's Return, Israel restored, Christ reigns  
                                                                                   1,000 years
                                                                   (New Covenant
                                                                   fulfilled completely
                                                                   in restored Israel)

5. Age to Come---Final Judgment----Eternal state

Like our pair of eyes or like a pair of eye-pieces on a set of binoculors, the ability to see in three dimensions is accomplished by "overlapping areas" on each side.  When viewing the Bible through the ages, the ages will lead one into another.  The Covenants too will see initial and then ultimate fulfillments. 

The whole point of today's blog is not only to see the Bible as a whole pictured in its unity and diversity of major themes, but to begin seeing it as God's moving picture of Divine revelation revealed in words.  The thumbnail sketch above is not meant to be exhaustive - however I pray that the reader has been moved to see the grandeur of scripture through the binoculars of Covenants and Dispensations.