Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part VII: Understanding The BOUNDARY LINES Of Dispensations In Bible Exposition
(Mark 2:18-22)
  1. Introduction
    1. One can point out apparent contradictions in the Word of God: (1) In Matthew 10:5-6, Jesus commanded His disciples not to go to the Gentiles, but only to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel." However, Matthew 28:19-20 commands us to go to the world, a direct contradiction to Matthew 10:5-6! (2) One of the ten commandments orders God's people to keep the Sabbath day holy, Ex. 20:8-11. Colossians 2:16 orders us not to let anyone judge us on the matter of Sabbath days, a d irect contradiction to Ex. 20:8-11!
    2. However, Matthew 5:18 teaches that the Word of God is inerrant, and inerrancy means it must not have logical contradictions, Pinnock, A Defense of Biblical Infallibility, p. 17. How then is the Bible inerrant?
    3. Mark 2:18-22 is Christ's teaching on overcoming this problem by viewing Scripture dispensationally.
  2. Understanding The BOUNDARY LINES Of Dispensations In Bible Exposition, Mark 2:18-22.
    1. There arose a dramatic religious difference between the righteous John and the righteous Messiah, Jesus:
      1. Both Jesus and John highly recommended each other as messengers of God:
        1. According to John the Baptizer, Jesus was the righteous incarnate Messiah, John 1:29-33,34.
        2. Likewise, Jesus said that John the Baptizer was the greatest of the prophets, cf. Mtt. 11:7-11.
      2. However, there arose a dramatic difference between the practices promoted by both parties:
        1. John's disciples, like the Pharisees practiced fasting on a regular basis, Mk. 2:18a.
        2. Jesus' disciples did not fast as a practice, Mk. 2:18c.
        3. This difference on the issue of fasting bothered John's disciples to the point that they approached Jesus about it, wondering why His followers did not fast if He was so godly as was John, Mk. 2:18b!
    2. This apparent contradiction was explained by Jesus as a dispensational change, Mk. 2:19-22:
      1. Jesus explained to John's disciples that since the Messiah, the Bridegroom of Israel had arrived to offer Israel's Millennial Kingdom, instead of fasting, there was feasting as at a wedding feast, Mark 2:19.
      2. However, there would come a time at the crucifixion when Messiah would have been rejected by Israel, and the Kingdom would be postponed, that the disciples would fast, Mk. 2:20.
      3. In summary, Jesus explained that one doesn't mix the different practices of the different dispensations lest it be too difficult on the established parties anyway, Mk. 2:21-22:
        1. Old pieces of cloth cannot take patches with new cloth, for then the old will continue to tear as it pulls against the firmer, new patch, Mk. 2:21.
        2. New wine cannot be put into old, stretched wine skins or the fermentation of the new wine will cause the old wineskins to burst; rather, new wine goes into new, unstretched wineskins, Mk. 2:22.
        3. In the same way, John the Baptizer was established in his whole frame of reference to the Old Testament law forms of practice. To have pushed him into the age of grace without glorification would have been too difficult on his psyche, and would have wounde d his conscience. Thus, Jesus did not force the liberties He offered upon John the Baptizer in his present, unglorified condition, cf. Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, ftn. to Luke 5:37.
Lesson: What appear to be logical contradictions in Scripture cease to be such when we note that in different eras called dispensations, God has given DIFFERENT rules for the godly. This being the case, the Scripture is inerrant as God INTENTIONALLY makes changes in His regulations!

Application: (1) The order to go only to Israel in Matthew 10:5-6 was given under the Law. As such, ISRAEL had to get right with God BEFORE God's blessings could go to the Gentiles, so the disciples AT THAT TIME had to go only to Israel. When Matthew 28:19-20 ordered the disciples to the nations, Israel's Kingdom was postponed since Israel had by then rejected Messiah, so God reached out to GENTILES until Israel could have her Kingdom supplied. (2) The Sabbath wa s to be kept in Ex. 20:8-11 under the law; in grace, it is not to be kept in Col. 2:16! (3) Thus, we handle apparent Biblical contradictions by discerning their respective dispensational contexts for solutions!