I once read a letter that was addressed to my mother. As I read the letter, I gained a lot of information but could not act on it all. Why could I not act on it? Because the letter was not addressed to me. Could I learn from it? Certainly. But since it was not addressed to me, it did not apply directly to me. The same is true of God’s Word. Parts of it are addressed directly to us, and other parts of the Bible are written to those in other Biblical administrations and are for our learning (Romans 15:4). We will explore together what Biblical administrations are and see how they are vitally important to us in being able to rightly divide and understand God’s Word.
In the Bible there are seven administrations, which are periods of time in God’s historical and spiritual timetable governed by certain policies and spiritual truths. These policies and truths may change from one administration to the next, so having a clear understanding of these administrations helps us know which parts of the Scriptures are addressed to us and which are for our learning. These seven administrations are as follows.
- Original Paradise. This administration started to be put into operation in Genesis 1:3 and began with no sickness, sorrow, or death. Adam and Eve had dominion over every living thing on the earth. However, they chose to disobey God, and this administration ended in Genesis 3:24 after God drove them out of the garden of Eden.
So he [God] drove out the man; and he [God] placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
- Patriarchal. This administration began after Genesis 3:24 and included all of the patriarchs, such as Noah, Abraham, and Isaac. Men and women of this administration adhered to unwritten laws and precepts of life until the law of Moses.
- Law. This administration began when God gave Moses the initial ten commandments on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:12). Later during this administration, other revelation was given, such as Exodus and Deuteronomy, so that other aspects of the law were filled out in detail, as seen in Leviticus and Numbers. This administration ended when Jesus Christ began his earthly ministry after being baptized by John the Baptist (Luke 3:21-22).
- Christ. The Christ Administration differs from the Law Administration in that Jesus Christ was personally present on earth to keep and fulfill the law so that preparations could be made for the fifth administration. During this administration, Jesus Christ reduced the approximately nine hundred laws of the Old Testament down to two.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
The Christ Administration ended on the day of Pentecost.
- Church of Grace. We live in this administration today. The seven Church Epistles (Romans through Thessalonians) are specifically addressed to the believers living during this administration. The Grace Administration will end when Christ returns for his saints, the gathering together (I Thessalonians 4:16,17).
- Appearing, or Revelation. During this administration, Christ will come back to earth with his saints. The Church of the Body will already have been judged—not for punishment but for rewards—before the great white throne judgment of Revelation 20 takes place for all others during this time period. The Appearing Administration ends when Satan and death are destroyed.
- Final Paradise, or Glory. The Original Paradise Administration that terminated in Genesis 3:24 takes up again in Revelation 21. There shall be a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. This administration shall be in place for all eternity. What a joy to anticipate this great reality.
Understanding the Biblical administrations is vitally important to us in being able to rightly divide God’s Word. It is a subject that electrified my heart and soul when I first learned it because it put together so many “pieces of the puzzle” in my mind. It made so much sense and allowed the scriptures to interpret themselves with clarity and accuracy. God has a purpose for everything He says, where He says it, how He says it, and to whom He says it. Let’s enjoy enlightened understanding of the Bible because of the truth regarding the seven Biblical administrations!