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Breaking with the Old

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Part 10: Treaty Covenant contrasted with Covenant of Gift

(Content of this section: Discover how each covenant was wrapped in its own unique dispensation)


The Old Covenant had an intricate and detailed system of ordinances and regulations with the Levitical priestly system at the heart of it. It was by these that the covenant was administered and managed. There was a rigorous and complete legal framework, wholly based around the Levitical priesthood, for the divine administration of the Old Covenant. This was that covenant’s dispensation. It was a legal dispensation. The ordinances spoken of were the way of ordering the things of the first covenant.

The legal dispensation of the Old Covenant was its supporting ecosystem. We refer to it as the Dispensation of the Law. As noted above, the writers of the New Testament, when referring to the Old Covenant, were always referring to the whole covenant package, namely, the Treaty Covenant wrapped up in the Dispensation on the Law. Likewise, whenever the New Testament writers were referring to the New Covenant, they were always referring to its whole package, namely, the Covenant of Grace wrapped up in the Dispensation of Grace.

(Content of this section: Here is set forth the two different dispensations of the covenants)


The apostle John was referring to the two different dispensations of the covenants when he wrote,

And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1:17 - NKJV


Dr Thomas Constable writes in his expository notes, “This verse (John 1:17) clearly contrasts the two dispensations in view. Even non-dispensationalists acknowledge this and admit that they recognize two different economies, the Old Testament legal economy and the New Testament gracious economy.”

Preview of content in next part:

  • Comparing a spiritual dispensation with a computer's operating system

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