Study of God – Part 7
By: John Ankerberg Show
The Works and Government of God
I. The Works of God
A. Creation: Immediate and Mediate.
- Immediate creation, or creation Ex-nihilo, “out of nothing” refers to the free act of God, whereby He brought into being the entire universe, directly and instantaneously, without the use of preexistent materials. This includes the visible and invisible (angelic) worlds; Gen. 1:1; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 11:3.
- Mediate creation is the act of God whereby He fashioned, adapted or transformed the created materials into the forms and patterns He desired and determined, directly through secondary agents; Gen. 1-2; Heb. 10:5.
- The Purpose of God in Creation was to reveal His glory; Ps. 19:1; Isa. 43:7, to display His Goodness; Gen. 1:31, to satisfy His good pleasure and fulfill His will; Rev. 4:11.
By His continuous power, God maintains all the things He has created; Neh. 9:6; Heb. 1:3. This includes all the laws, properties, powers and processes of the universe; Ps. 104:30; 1 Tim. 6:13.
C. Providence: God continues to control all things, bringing about the certain fulfillment of His all-wise plan; this includes God’s direct intervention and supernatural acts, and His involvement with normal and natural laws in behalf of the just and unjust; Ps.148:8; Matt. 5:45; Eph. 1:11.
II. The Government of God
In the outworking of the Purpose or Decree of God, there are distinguishable economies called dispensations, each one occupying a period of time, including a specifically revealed purpose, which man is responsible to fulfill. The word dispensation comes from oikonomia, “law of the house” and is used in 1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10;3:2; Col.1:25.
A. Distinguishing Features of a Dispensation;
Lk. 16:1-4 The Parable of the Steward, the oikonomos.
- There must be One to delegate authority: The rich man of v. 1 is a picture of God. Compare Eph. 3:2.
- There is a Person set over the affairs of another: The steward of v. 1 is a picture of mankind. Compare Col. 1:25.
- There is a definite responsibility toward the Owner: Caring for the rich man’s goods, v. 1 is a picture of man’s responsibility to obey God’s revealed will. Compare Eph. 3:9
- There is a day of reckoning to come: In v. 2. the owner asked the steward about his fulfilling his stewardship. This is a picture of man being judged for his works. Compare 2 Cor. 5:10.
- There is a specific test of faithfulness: In v. 2, “Give an account of thy stewardship.” This is a picture of individual responsibility. Compare 1 Cor. 4:1-2.
- There is a time element involved: v. 3, “Thou mayest no longer be steward.” This is a picture of the end of each dispensation. Compare 1 Cor. 3:13-15.
- There is a final judgment: “I am put out of the stewardship” v. 4. This is a picture of future judgment, either of the saved or the lost. Compare Matt. 24: 45-51.
- Summary of a dispensation: God delegates authority and responsibility to man during a period of time. The thing to emphasize is that it is a stewardship. God tests man and finally judges man for obedience or disobedience to that particular revelation.
B. Relation of Covenants to the Dispensations.
The Hebrew word is berith, “to cut in pieces” Gen. 15:9-17; Jer. 31:31-34. This probably refers to the cutting in pieces of animal sacrifices when covenants were made with God. The Greek word is diatheke, “to place beside” probably a reference to God and man placed side by side by means of a covenant; Heb. 8:6-13; Heb. 9:16-17.
- Unconditional Covenant: A sovereign disposition of God, whereby He establishes a declarative agreement with man, obligating Himself by the formula, “I will” to bring to pass, by Himself, definite blessings for the people. Examples: Abrahamic Covenant, Gen. 12:1-3; Palestinian Covenant; Deut. 30; Davidic Covenant; 2 Sam. 71-17; New Covenant; Jer. 31:31-34.
- Conditional Covenant: A proposal of God wherein He promises, in a conditional or mutual pact, with the formula “If you will” to grant special blessings to the people if they fulfill certain conditions, and, He promises to execute definite punishments in case of their failure. Example: The Mosaic Covenant; Ex. 19-24 The Law of Moses.
- The dispensations and covenants work together.
|Innocence: Gen. 1||Edenic|
|Conscience: Gen. 3:14-19||Adamic|
|Human Government: Gen. 8-9||Noahic|
|Promise: Gen. 12:1-3||Abrahamic|
|Law: Ex. 19-24||Mosaic|
|Grace: John 1:17; Lk. 22:19-22||New Cov. for Church|
|Kingdom: Jer. 31:31-34||New Cov. for Israel|
4. God’s Decree, or Eternal Purpose, includes His governmental dealings with three great areas of humanity, namely, the Jew, the Gentile, and the Church of God. I Cor. 10:32. This entire prophetic program is included in the doctrinal study of Eschatology.
The Names of God
Names in Scripture had special meanings, many times descriptive of the person or place. Jacob, “the supplanter” became Israel, “the prince with God.” Marah or “bitter” was the place of bitter waters. So it is with the names of God; they tell something of His Person or character.
A. Primary Names of God in the Old Testament.
(LORD or GOD in the King James Version). The original pronunciation has been lost due to the unwillingness of the Jews to speak “The Name.” (see. Lev. 24:11,16). Instead, they have substituted the vowel pointings for Adonai (Master) to the consonants of the verb, “I AM” and the result is JeHoVaH. The four letters JHVH have been called the “Ineffable Tetragrammaton.”Jehovah means ‘the self-existent One Who reveals Himself,” or “He who was, and is, and is to come.” This name is associated with redemption; Ex. 20:2, and the covenants made with Israel; Ex. 34:5-7; Jer. 31:31-34. It shows His holiness; Lev. 11:44; His righteous judgment; Deut. 32:35-36; and love for the lost; Gen. 8:20-21.
(God in the King James Version). In the singular it is El or Eloah, and means “The strong One Who is to be worshiped;” Gen. 31:42. Elohim is a plural noun which can take either singular of plural verbs. (See p. 31 of these notes.) Elohim shows the faithfulness of God; 1 Ki. 8:23; it is also used of false gods in many instances; Ex. 20:3, 23; Judges 2:11-12.
(Lord in the King James Version). The root meaning is “Master.” Like Elohim, Adonai is used of God and others. In reference to God it speaks of His divine authority; Ps. 110:1. He is to be the master of our lives; Isa. 6:8-11. As applied to man, the word expresses the relationships between master and servant; Gen. 24:9-12, or husband and wife; Gen. 18:12.