III. FROM THE DECREE OF THE LAW THROUGH MOSES
TO THE FIRST COMING OF CHRIST
The third dispensation is the period of time from the decree of the law through Moses to the first coming of Christ. This is called the dispensation of the law.
A. God Decreeing the Law
to Expose the Incapability of the People
of Israel in Keeping the Law
Due to the blindness and stubbornness of the people of Israel, God decreed the law through Moses (Exo. 19:8, 16—20:21) to expose the incapability of the people of Israel in keeping His law (Rom. 3:20b; 5:20a; 7:7). God gave Abraham the promise, yet his descendants did not know themselves, considering that they could do everything God required. The law was given to test them, to prove that they did not have the capacity and the capability to do so.
B. God Granting the People of Israel
the Tabernacle with the Priesthood
and All Kinds of Offerings
God not only gave the people of Israel the law, but God also granted them the tabernacle with the priesthood and all kinds of offerings for them to worship Him, serve Him, contact Him, and partake of Him as their enjoyment (Exo. 25—Lev. 27). The tabernacle, the priesthood, and the offerings all typify Christ. Christ is the tabernacle, our priesthood, and our offerings. Through Him we worship God, serve God, contact God, and partake of God as our enjoyment.
C. God Promising the People of Israel
That He Would Be Incarnated
through Them to Be Their Christ
In this dispensation God promised the people of Israel that He would be incarnated through them to be their Christ (Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7).
D. God Promising the People of Israel
That Christ Would Come to Them
as Their Everything
Furthermore, God promised the people of Israel that Christ would come to them as their everything and as the centrality and universality of God’s economy for their revival and for the restoration of the universe (Micah 5:2-6; Psa. 2:6-7; Mal. 3:1; 4:2; Hos. 6:2; Isa. 2:2-4; 11:6-10; 65:17-25).
E. God Promising the People of Israel
That He Would Pour Out His Spirit upon All Flesh
As another part of His relationship with man, God promised the people of Israel that He would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh (Joel 2:28-29, 32a). This would be for the producing of God’s chosen people in His New Testament economy—the church.
F. God Promising the People of Israel
That He Would Covenant with Them
to Work Himself into Them
Finally, God promised the people of Israel that He would covenant with them to work Himself into them to be their life, their law of life, and their everything (Jer. 31:31-34).
Job and his friends probably lived in the age of Abraham. At that time the Pentateuch of Moses was not yet written. Surely they had received some divine revelation from their forefathers verbally. However, what they had received of their forefathers could reach, at most, only the level of the revelation in the age of Abraham. Hence, in their debates concerning God’s relationship with man, there was no hint that indicates that they had received divine revelation beyond the matters of God’s judgment and God’s regard for man in his burnt offering. And they did not speak any word that implies anything concerning Christ and the Spirit of God. They were in the primitive stage of the divine revelation.
(Life-Study of Job, Chapter 32, by Witness Lee)