To understand the Bible, one must understand what Scripture refers to as “administrations.” We today live in the Administration of Grace, during which those people who are born again receive a guarantee of salvation.
Throughout history, for the accomplishment of His purposes and the benefit of His people, God has changed the “rules” by which He wants people to live. Many theologians call the time period covered by a given set of rules an “administration” or “dispensation.” The systematic theology that recognizes these different administrations or dispensations is referred to as “Dispensationalism.”
Examples of God changing the rules from administration to administration are plentiful. In the Garden of Eden, He told Adam and Eve to eat plants only (Gen. 1:29), but after the Flood, God changed the rules and allowed man to eat meat also (Gen. 9:3), and He still allows us to eat meat today. Another clear example concerns the Sabbath. Before the Mosaic Law, there was no specific law concerning the Sabbath. When God gave the Law to Moses, He changed the rules, and commanded that anyone who worked on the Sabbath should be put to death (Exod. 31:14). Today, in the Administration of Grace, God has changed the rules again, and it is not a sin to work on the Sabbath (Rom. 14:5; Col. 2:16 and 17). When Christians do not recognize or understand the administrations in the Bible, the Bible abounds with apparent contradictions.
We believe God’s Word shows eight administrations. Knowing exactly when they begin and end, and the rules distinctly associated with each, is vital if we are to understand the Bible. The eight administrations are:
- Original Paradise (Creation to the Fall)
- Conscience (the Fall to the Flood)
- Civil Government (the Flood to the Mosaic Law)
- The Mosaic Law (the Mosaic Law to Pentecost)
- The Administration of the Grace of God, also called the Administration of the Sacred Secret (Pentecost to the Rapture)
- Tribulation (the Rapture to the end of the Battle of Armageddon)
- Paradise, or Christ’s Millennial Kingdom (1,000 years)
- Everlasting Kingdom (after the Millennial Kingdom it will last forever)
The Grace Administration, in which we live today, began on the Jewish holiday of Pentecost (Acts 2), when the gift of holy spirit was given via New Birth to everyone who believed. It is called the “administration of God’s grace” in Ephesians 3:2, but we usually call it “the Administration of Grace” because now, by God’s amazing grace, salvation is guaranteed to every Christian. That guarantee did not exist in the Old Testament or Gospels, so Jesus did not mention it. Jesus taught according to God’s rules for the administration in which he lived, the administration of the Law.
Today, by God’s grace each Christian has the guarantee of salvation that was given to him when he got born again, and that guarantee stands whether or not a Christian is faithful to live a godly life.