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Dispensation of Law (Ex. 12:38-- Mt. 2:23) It is So- called because of the law given to Moses, which became part of the rule of faith and practice during the period between Moses and Christ. Men of this dispensation had the gospel also (Gal. 3: 8; Heb. 4: 2). Length-- from the exodus from Egypt to the preaching of the kingdom of heaven by John the Baptist, or from Moses to Christ-- 1,718 years or more (Mt. 11: 12- 13; Lk. 16: 16) as follows: (i) From the exodus to the entrance into Canaan, 41 years - Over a year at Sinai (Num. 10: 11- 12) (ii) And Forty years of wandering in wilderness (Num. 14:33- 34; 32:13; Dt. 2:7; 8:2- 4; 29:5; Josh. 5:6; Acts 7:23- 42; 13:18; Heb. 3:9, 17) (iii) From the entrance into Canaan to the reign of Saul, over 520 years (iv) From Saul to the Babylonian captivity, over 513 years - The 480- year period ending with the fourth year of Solomon's reign (spoken of in 1Ki. 6:1). From the beginning of the Babylonian captivity through the restoration to Nehemiah's day in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, 164 years (v) From the time of restoration from Babylon to the preaching of the kingdom by John the Baptist was 480 years which, added to totals of other periods above, make the 1,718 years or more in this dispensation. Not since the fall of man had any people experienced a more favorable beginning than Israel at the beginning of the dispensation of law. They saw the power of God in signs and wonders in Egypt and the wilderness. He made personal appearances to them (Ex. 24: 9- 11; Josh. 5: 13- 15) and spoke with an audible voice (Dt. 5: 22- 24). There were visible manifestations of His presence day and night (Ex. 14: 19- 21). God took sickness from Israel (Ex. 15: 26; 23: 25; Ps. 105: 37; 107: 20); gave them the riches of Egypt (Ex. 12: 35; Ps. 105: 37); gave them revelations and a complete code of laws; made covenants with them; and gave them the gospel (Gal. 3: 8; Heb. 4: 2). Test-- to obey the law of Moses in every detail (Ex. 19: 8; 24: 3, 7). Jews failed and they killed Jesus on the cross. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How often I wanted to gather your children as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings; but you were not willing" (Mt 23:37) Jesus concluded His last sermon with this lamentation. He used this image of hen and chicks to explain divine patience. God is never in haste. Especially in His dealings with people He is graciously patient. He is called the "God of Patience" (Rom 15:5). None of us can survive if God is impatient with us as we are with one another. At the same time we cannot take His patience for granted and go on in our own ways. The Jews were guilty of misunderstanding the patience of God. Apostle Paul warned them sternly, "Do you despise the riches of God's goodness, tolerance and patience, not realising that the kindness of God should lead you to repentance?" (Rom 2:4). Jerusalem was called the "perfection of beauty" and the "joy of the whole world" (Lam 2:15b). But she always had her enemies. Her safety was under the wings of Jehovah (Psa 17:8; 36:7). Her prosperity was because of the warmth of His fellowship. She despised it by rejecting God's message that came to her through prophets and wise men. She heaped for herself false prophets and teachers who would speak to her taste. She was not willing to listen to those who preached what she needed but only what she wanted. She not only kicked away true messages from God but also killed truthful messengers. Jesus warned the Jerusalemites that God's patience was running out as they were martyring one by one every true messenger of God, A to Z (Abel to Zechariah)! (Mt 23:35) The hen calls the chicks at the distant sight of an eagle. Safe are the ones which run into the mother's wings. Others will be easily snatched away. Our safety is only in immediate and implicit obedience to the mildest whisper of the Spirit of God.
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