Dispensation of Promise, from Scofield Reference Notes (1917)

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The Fourth Dispensation: Promise. For Abraham, and his descendants it is evident that the Abrahamic Covenant (See Scofield “Genesis 15:18”) made a great change. They became distinctively the heirs of promise. That covenant is wholly gracious and unconditional. The descendants of Abraham had but to abide in their own land to inherit every blessing. In Egypt they lost their blessings, but not their covenant. The Dispensation of Promise ended when Israel rashly accepted the law Exodus 19:8. Grace had prepared a deliverer (Moses), provided a sacrifice for the guilty, and by divine power brought them out of bondage Exodus 19:4 but at Sinai they exchanged grace for law. The Dispensation of Promise extends from Genesis 12:1 to Exodus 19:8, and was exclusively Israelitish. The dispensation must be distinguished from the covenant. The former is a mode of testing; the latter is everlasting because unconditional. The law did not abrogate the Abrahamic Covenant Galatians 3:15-18 but was an intermediate disciplinary dealing “till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made”; Galatians 3:19-29; 4:1-7. Only the dispensation, as a testing of Israel, ended at the giving of the law.

Genesis 12:1

Now the LORD had said unto , Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

Genesis 15:18

In the same day the LORD made a with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

Exodus 19:4, 8

4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on , and brought you unto myself.

8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the unto the LORD.

Galatians 3:15-18

15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s , yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is .

17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the of none effect.

18 For if the be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

Galatians 3:19-29

19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of , till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was by angels in the hand of a mediator.

20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but .

21 Is the law then against the of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be .

24 Wherefore the law was our to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

26 For ye are all the of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all .

29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the .

Galatians 4:1-7

1 Now I say, That the , as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

2 But is under tutors and governors until the time of the father.

3 Even so we, when we were children, were in under the elements of the world:

4 But when the was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the of sons.

6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an through Christ.


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