For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Revelation 22:18

The believer would understand that this warning extends beyond the addition of words to include the expansion of the meanings of words. An example of this is the Roman Catholic practice of expanding the definition of the word "saint." In all fairness, it must be pointed out that many misunderstand this change in meaning. Officially, the Roman Catholic church recognizes that the Bible describes all believers as saints and that this must necessarily mean that all saints must finally end up in heaven. They would insist, however, that canonized saints pass directly to heaven, while the remaining saints must first endure purgatory. The believer recognizes this expansion of definition constitutes a deceitful use of God's Word, a use which is accepted as a means of advancing a false teaching, and is a direct violation of the above warning in Revelation.

However, I recently realized that millions of Christians and hundreds of thousands of Christian pastors regularly do exactly this same thing. And, I mean EXACTLY!

Of course, Christians do not add to the definition of "saint." There is, instead, another word involved, and you might believe that you have the proper understanding of this word.

1. Distribution; the act of dealing out to different persons or places; as the dispensation of water indifferently to all parts of the earth.

2. The dealing of God to his creatures; the distribution of good and evil, natural or moral, in the divine government.

Neither are Gods methods or intentions different in his dispensations to each private man.

3. The granting of a license, or the license itself, to do what is forbidden by laws or canons, or to omit something which is commanded; that is, the dispensing with a law or canon, or the exemption of a particular person from the obligation to comply with its injunctions. The pope has power to dispense with the canons of the church, but has no right to grant dispensations to the injury of a third person.

A dispensation was obtained to enable Dr. Barrow to marry.

4. That which is dispensed or bestowed; a system of principles and rites enjoined; as the Mosaic dispensation; the gospel dispensation; including, the former the Levitical law and rites; the latter the scheme of redemption by Christ.

Yes, this is the definition for the word, "dispensation." It was obtained from the 1828 Webster's dictionary.

1 Exemption from a rule or usual requirement.

‘although she was too young, she was given special dispensation to play before her birthday’

1.1 Permission to be exempted from the laws or observances of the Church. ‘he received papal dispensation to hold a number of benefices’

‘the Pope granted Henry a dispensation to marry Elizabeth of York’

2 A political, religious, or social system prevailing at a particular time.

‘scholarship is conveyed to a wider audience than under the old dispensation’

2.1 (in Christian theology) a divinely ordained system prevailing at a particular period of history.

‘the Mosaic dispensation’

2.2An act of divine providence.

‘the laws to which the creator in all his dispensations conforms’

3The action of distributing or supplying something.

‘regulations controlling dispensation of medications’

Finally, these are the definitions for the same word from the modern Oxford dictionary. It's not too difficult to find the expansion of the word's definition. Since 1828, the word has acquired the additional meaning of a period of time. What caused this? Why was it added?

The answers to these questions are found in the appearance of two heretics in the nineteenth century. These were John Nelson Darby and C.I. Scofield. And, it was a number of false teachings that these men wanted to advance. Actually, this enhanced definition of "dispensation" serves as the linchpin for a couple of other false doctrines: Christian Zionism and the concept of a "secret" or "pretrib" rapture of the church, for, in order for the success of the manipulations of the Word of God planned by Scofield, in his reference Bible, it was necessary to direct the attentions of Bible believers by controlling their opinions as to the applicability of certain Bible passages. This was accomplished by the teachers of the new "dispensationalism." These teachers of false doctrine would have you believe that they are teaching obvious truths which have always existed, when, in fact, it would have been as difficult to find a "dispensationalist," in the eighteenth century, as it would have been to find a TV repairman. The 1828 dictionary clearly indicates that people could only respond to that request with a blank expression.

Consider the four times when the word "dispensation" appears in the Bible:

For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
First Corinthans 9:17

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Ephesians 1:10

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
Ephesians 3:2

Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
Colossians 1:25

Note that, in each of these four cases, the word "dispensation" is either:

1 - The act of dispensing


2 - That which is being dispensed.

NEVER does it have the meaning of a period of time.

(Don't allow yourself to be confused by Ephesians 1:10. In this case the dispensation is "away" and not "to," as in the expression, "We'll dispense with the reading of the minutes of the last meeting.")

We tend to dismiss the opinions of Roman Catholics as simply those of people who follow a man-made religion. But, what are we to make of Christians who, after having been saved and sealed for eternity, reject God's Word and continue to follow false teachers? Obviously, many simply cannot pursue extended Bible study for lack of time or lack of other resources. However, we must also consider the pressures and temptations which exist in our present society. Our public school system, for example, has taught us that the universally accepted practice is to avoid efforts to excel and to seek, instead, the acceptable norm.

Pastors and Bible teachers, on the other hand, have devoted their lives to Bible study. Surely, they must know that the teaching of a dispensation as a period of time is a false teaching which serves to deceitfully use the Word of God and acts to promote the teaching of other false doctrines.

In most cases, pastors and Bible teachers who call themselves "dispensationalists" earned degrees from institutions that eagerly promoted the Scofield Reference Bible. You can be certain that these schools received all kinds of encouragement from the publishers of this very popular Bible. It was first published shortly after the beginning of the twentieth century and it did not take very long before pastors, after giving the book and verse citation to which the congregation should turn, would also give the page number in the Scofield Reference Bible. And, it also did not take very long for pastors and Bible teachers to realize that, if they were to retain and increase their popularity, they would have to support the Darby/Scofield heresies. This should certainly not be the case, but an attempt to find a nearby Baptist church which doesn't teach dispensationalism, Christian Zionism, and a pretrib rapture quickly confirms this conclusion.

Fortunately, there is an ever increasing number of those who preach that which the Bible teaches, with no regard for personal cost. As the days become increasingly stressful as we approach the end, they deserve our continued prayer and support.