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Ephesians 3:2


2 If [eige] ye have heard [akouo] of the dispensation [oikonomia] of the grace [charis] of God [theos] which [ho] is given [didomi] me [moi] to [eis] you-ward: [humas]KJV-Interlinear


2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you; NASB


The word for dispensation, 'oikonomia,' means administration, stewardship, and generally is in reference to ones responsibility to a household or estate. In this case it is Gods management of the ages of history.

And as Paul develops this passage, the household being referred to wherewith stewardship or oversight has not been addressed in the past, will be in reference to the Church, or more specifically to this Church Age, wherein our era of time was not revealed in past times.

And this is an important principle. Since our dispensation was not revealed in the Old Testament, then all prophecies in the Old Testament refer only to those dispensations. None of them ever refer to this Church Age.

Likewsie, on another note, since our dispensation will end with the Rapture, and since the Rapture is always considered as imminent, then no prophecy could possibly apply to our dispensation, otherwise the Rapture could not be considered as an imminent event. The people back in Pauls day expected it, just as people in all generations since that time, have expected the Rapture to occur during their respective life times.

The Tribulation, which is a seven year period that will occur immediately after the Rapture, is a continuation of the previous dispensation, the Age of Israel. Likewise, the Millennium which will occur immediately after the Second Advent, which is the termination of the Tribulation, is a continuation of the Old Testament prophecy of the coming Kingdom of God. Both periods skip over our current dispensation, the Church Age.

These two principles combined should be sufficient, to quash all of the speculation, of current events as being fulfillments of prophetic events, which they are not. This is not to say that many of the current events are alignments of the historical puzzle pieces of Gods plan, that will put various things in place prior to when the Rapture occurs. But these events today only serve to give credibility to Gods plan, where the world will boast that it has been too long and that nothing really is ever going to occur. God helps each succeeding generation with various events that help maintain faith and expectaion of things to come.

The single event of what has been referred to as the 'great apostasy' that will occur at the end of our dispensation, could have easily been applied many times throughout that last couple of thousand years. However, now that we are in the year 2012, we who are alive today, have the unique opportunity of historical hindsight to see the various contemporary events, including the fast growing population, the fast pace of technology, the rise of liberalism and secularism, the push of a one world currency, government, and so forth, and which these things and many more, point to a far worse and greater apostasy that will exist at the end of our current dispensation, than has ever occurred before. Thus the reason for the extreme evil that will be present during the Tribulation.

Remember that during the Tribulation, one of the principle characteristics of that time, will be massive and severe government regulation over nearly control and ruin every aspect of peoples lives. This in turn will literally cripple and cause massive suffering throughout the populations of the entire world. This situation will not magically occur instantaneously, but will develop over time due to more and more government power, as populations will give away their rights and government will usurp more and more of the freedoms and rights away from populations.

We are able to see the patterns, even in other areas of life. The restored nation of Israel back in 1948, the development of the nations and world powers since the last world war, the development of liberalism since early in the last century with the first attempted League of Nations, and so forth.

God assembles things over time. And in many cases, events occur over the span of several generations.

And so Paul herein, teaches us that God has revealed to him, these secrets, regarding our dispensation, so that he could reveal them finally, to us.

No one knew of these things prior to Christ.

As far as the Old Testament believers were concerned, and as far as the apostles originally thought, the Messiah would come, pay the price for sins, deliver everyone, and then set up His Kingdom immediately. And of course even though the sequence is correct, the insertion of our dispensation into history, interrupted that sequence, thus postponing the end days events as well as the Kingdom of God.

So, Paul states here, that if you have heard of these things, then you know. But if you have not heard of these things, then he, Paul, is going to reveal them so that all may know.

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