A Study on Right Division Chapter 3

Posted in: Current Issue
By Tom L. Ballinger
Jan 15, 2019 - 12:01:23 AM


Issue # 428





In the last chapter, we considered the fact that TRUTH THAT BELONGS ONE PART OF A PAST DISPENSATION MUST NOT BE READ INTO ANOTHER PART OF THE PAST. Chapter Three will continue with the second great principle in Bible study as we follow the command to RIGHTLY DIVIDE the Word of Truth.

2.  Truth that belongs to a PAST DISPENSATION should not be interpreted ofor read intothe PRESENT DISPENSATION.

This has resulted in confusion, frustration, discouragement and disappointment on every hand by Christians who fail to rightly divide the Word. Many, therefore, have placed themselves under the Law.

(a). Law and Grace ─The Law was given from Yahweh to Moses at Mt. Sinai. Thus John 1:17 says, “For the Law was given by Moses (to Israel) BUT grace and truth came by Jesus

Christ.” Here, in this one verse, we note the contrast of Law and Grace. Law was associated with Moses and Israel; Grace is associated with Jesus Christ. The “BUT” of John 1:17 should cause the reader to recognize that a change in Dispensation was either taking place, or that a change was eminent.

This is not to say that during the Law there was no grace, for there was (Ex. 4:6-7), but when Jesus Christ came, He was Himself the Truth, the very personification of it (John 14:6), and His life and death were the supreme manifestation of grace.

Moses was the great Law giver to Israel. The Law spoke to those who were under the Law (Romans 3:19), that is to say, Israel. Under the Government and Law in the Old Testament economy, the Jew looked for the Law to be his righteousness; “And it (the Law) shall be our righteousness, if we (i.e. the Jew) observe TO DO all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He hath commanded us” (Deut. 6:25). Notice, the Law spoke concerning things TO DO. Grace, on the other hand, speaks of things TO BELIEVE. Grace speaks to those who believe and says, “Therefore by the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified in His sight” (Romans 3:20). Romans 3:21 says, "BUT NOW the righteousness of God WITHOUT THE LAW is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the prophets." The "BUT NOW" marks a change in the Dispensations. This corresponds with “For the Law was given by Moses BUT Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ.”


For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” (Romans 10:4).

”For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the Law” (Romans 10:5).

The passage in Deuteronomy 6:25 was true then, concerning Israel and was in harmony with the Dispensation to which it belonged. In 2 Timothy 2:15, rightly dividing the Word of Truth allows both Deuteronomy 6:25 and Romans 3:20 to be true.

As Moses was the great Law giver to Israel, so was the Apostle Paul the great explainer of the Grace of God. The two statements are true. During the Dispensation of the Law, the former was PRESENT TRUTH. After the Apostle Paul explained the Grace of God in the all sufficient work of Christ on the Cross, we learn that the latter supersedes the former. “For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness,” shows that the former statement of Deuteronomy 6 was set aside, and right division identifies it as Truth of a PAST Dispensation.

If we recognize that both statements are true, even though they state the opposite of each other, and if we apply each statement to the Dispensation that it belongs to, the Word of Truth is divided aright, and harmony is the result.


Law says, DO ─ Grace says, all is DONE ─ Believe! 


(b). Sabbath Days─ Being obedient to 2 Timothy 2:15 clears the table for the believer. There is no longer a call for any believer to be in confusion, or under bondage to the Law. However, through disobedience to that great precept to “rightly divide the Word of Truth,” many are still bound, hand and foot, as to Sabbath Days.

The laws concerning the Sabbath were ceremonial laws and were given to Israel. While it is a good idea for the nations of the world to set aside one day out of seven to rest from servile work, the fact remains that the Law concerning the Sabbath was given to Israel. There are those who believe the Law to still be in effect and to be obeyed now. They have no liberty at all, then, to alter the Law, or modify it to fit their own designs, or imaginations. Rather, they are bound to “keep holy the seventh day.” They have no choice in the matter and dare not take liberty altering the Law of God.

Under the Law, no work was permitted on the seventh day. If a man even picked up sticks on the Sabbath, he was to be stoned to death. This incident occurred in Numbers 15:32-36. Those, today, who insist on “keeping the Sabbath holy” need to fully obey the Law. The man who mows his yard on the Sabbath needs to be “brought without the camp, and stoned” with stones until he is dead. Now, that is the Law regarding the Sabbath. I read nowhere in the news media of those who pretend to be observing the Sabbath stoning to death any of the members who fail to keep it holy.

The Sabbath was plainly given to Israel as a sign between them and the LORD (Ezekiel 20:20). No-one, between Adam and Moses, knew anything about the Sabbath (see Nehemiah. 9:14).

The observance of days was a problem during the Pentecostal Dispensation (Acts 2 to Acts 28). The Jew, having the priority during the Acts economy, found that many of his customs from the past Dispensation lingered on. He who was weak in faith found that he still esteemed some days above others; whereas, some during the Book of Acts esteemed every day alike (Romans 14:5). So, Paul said; “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” concerning days. It was a matter of every man being persuaded in his own heart, not a matter of Law. The Dispensation changed from the Dispensation of Law to the Pentecostal Dispensation. As long as the Jew was first (Romans 1:16), the problem existed between Jew and Gentile concerning the observance of days. The reason being; the Jew carried over a background of ceremonial days from the Dispensation of the Law.  

After Israel was set aside and the salvation of God was taken from them and handed over to the Gentiles. When Acts 28 ended, we read in Colossians 2:16; “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days.” While we do not let them judge us in this respect, they do so anyway. Even though we quote the Word of God, we shall be met with arguments that are based upon the principle of total disregard to the binding command of the Lord concerning “rightly dividing the Word of Truth.”

The Sabbath Laws are either still binding, or they are not. The Sabbath Law was part of the Law of Moses, and it “gendereth to bondage” (Galatians 4:24). Paul, also, referred to Sabbath keeping as “weak and beggarly elements” (Galatians 4:9). If we read Truth from the PAST Dispensation into PRESENT TRUTH, we bring into the “Church of this age,” confusion, error, and disobedience to 2 Timothy 2:15.

(c). The Kingdom of God ─ In order for us to properly understand the dispensational place the Kingdom of God occupies in God’s plan, we will refer to it as—the Pre-Millennial Kingdom of God


There are some PAST Dispensational truths, like that concerning the Pre-Millennial Kingdom of God as being “at hand,” which pertains, also, to a FUTURE Dispensation when the Kingdom is a reality. Some truths from the PAST leap over the PRESENT Dispensation as if the PRESENT age did not exist. This age is like a parenthesis, and the PAST and the FUTURE could have come in succession, but an unpredicted interval of the PRESENT Dispensation separates the two.

The PAST and FUTURE Dispensations have to do with the Pre-Millennial Kingdom of God. Matthew referred to it as the “Kingdom of Heaven;” the two terms are synonymous. The PRESENT has to do with a secret purpose of God—the Mystery. The Kingdom is related to the “Hope of Israel,” the Church of the Mystery is related to a more “Blessed hope.” The PAST Dispensation was related to Law, the PRESENT is related to Grace, and the FUTURE will be related to Divine Government.

If we read into PRESENT TRUTH that which belonged and pertained to the PAST or that which belongs to the FUTURE we veil the glory of the High and Holy calling of the Church of this parenthetic interval. To do this, means the loss of appreciation for the spiritual blessings which are the member’s of the Church which is His Body. The shroud over present truth introduces confusion to the mind and contradiction into the Word of God.

The nearness of the Kingdom of God belonged to a PAST Dispensation. It was proclaimed as being “at hand” by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2) and, also, by the Lord Jesus Himself (Matthew 4:17). The religious leaders of Israel demanded the death of their King, saying; “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him . . . We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). 


Peter used the “keys of the Kingdom” in Acts 10 when Cornelius, a Gentile, was made a partaker of the Kingdom blessings as an alien to the “Israel of God.” Thus, in Acts Chapter Ten, Gentiles gained admittance into the hope of the Kingdom of God, and they were grafted into Israel, the olive tree, as wild olive branches (Romans 11) until Acts 28. At the crisis of Acts 28:17-28, God set Israel aside and with the setting aside of Israel, the “hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20) was set in abeyance. Thus, the hope of the Kingdom of God and all of its multifaceted phenomena were postponed; God ushered in a new Dispensation, the Mystery of His Secret Purpose (Ephesians 1:9; 3:11).

We hear people, today, refer to “the extension of the Kingdom” and “the advancement of the Kingdom;” but these are unscriptural expressions when used of the Church, which is His Body, and they are non-scriptural expressions when used of the Kingdom.

We read of “heirs of the Kingdom” (James 2:5) but not of the Church of the Mystery; of “children of the Kingdom” (Matthew 8:12) but not of the Church. We read of receiving the Kingdom (Matthew 11:14), and of “entering it” (Matthew 18:3), of “seeing” it (John 3:3), and of “inheriting” it (Matthew 25:34). But, never once, do we read of any expression like that in reference to the Church which is His Body. It is foreign language to the epistles that pertain to Present Truth (i.e. the Prison Epistles).

The Kingdom of God is now in abeyance. When “the Church, which is His body” (Ephesians 1:22-23) realizes its “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), it will be when the Lord Jesus Christ begins to judge the living and the dead at the Appearing of His Kingdom (2 Timothy 4:1). This will bring to an end the Dispensation of the Mystery, and Jesus Christ will assume sovereignty over the world. This act of God displaces Satan from being the “god of this world.” Christ Jesus becomes “in His times” (the Day of Christ) the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15) and He begins to rule the world from Heaven. A myriad of changes, which are monumental, are brought to pass which the Kingdom of God becomes a reality. These will be discussed later.


So, we see that Kingdom of God Truth belongs to the PAST and FUTURE Dispensations. To read Kingdom truth into a place that God has not placed it (i.e. the Present), clearly, is disobedient to the one great principle of the Word of Truth which is ─ TO RIGHTLY DIVIDE.





Copyright © Thomas L. Ballinger 2018

First Printing 1975

Major Revision 2011