The foundation of dispensational Bible study lies in the doctrine of God’s two-fold plan revealed in Scripture. The understanding of God’s two-fold plan contains the key to understanding God’s purpose in all of Scripture.
While all of Scripture is unified in its ultimate purpose in Christ, there is a need to rightly divide the word of truth to understand what is being said, by whom, and to whom (2 Tim 2:15).
Contrary to how publishers print our Bibles, the most important division in Scripture is not the division between the Old and New Testaments. The most essential distinction we can recognize in understanding our Bible is the difference between prophecy and mystery.
Prophecy – God’s plan for the earth
The subject of prophecy pertains to God’s revealed plan to reign and rule over the earth. This information includes the utilization of the nation Israel as the channel of blessing to the entire world (Genesis 12:2-3: Isaiah 2:2).
This information and detailed plan culminates in the Lord’s coming to earth where he will set up his kingdom in Zion for ever (Micah 4:7).
Zacharias sums up this body if information as consisting of what was spoken by the prophets since the world began.
“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began” – Luke 1:70
Peter also taught this prophetic plan made known from the foundation of the world.
“Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” – Acts 3:21
Mystery – God’s plan for the heavens
The subject of the revelation of the mystery pertains to God’s plan to reign and rule over the heavens (Rom 16:25, Eph 2:6). This information includes the utilization of a new creature, without national distinction or status (2 Cor 5:17, Gal 3:28).
This corporate body resides under the authority of Christ as the head – it is known as the Body of Christ (Eph 4:12, 1 Cor 12:27). This pan culminates in the Lord’s receiving of the saints to reign and rule in heavenly places for ever (1 Thess 4:16-17).
This information is summed up in the clear statement by Paul that it was not part of prophecy.
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,” – Romans 16:25
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” – Ephesians 3:9
Rightly dividing the word of truth
Understanding this primary distinction in God’s plan for the earth in prophecy and God’s plan for heavenly places in the revelation of the mystery is the key to ‘rightly dividing the word of truth’ (2 Tim 2:15).
Rightly dividing which instructions pertain to the prophetic plan from the specific information revealed in the mystery plan allows us to become wise knowing the will of the Lord (Eph 5:17). Well-informed soldiers are better equipped for battle, and well-informed saints are better equipped to please him who died for them (2 Tim 2:4).
As we recognize the two-fold plan of God we can also better recognize God’s ultimate purpose for all things, both in heaven and on earth, to be in Christ.
“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
Whereas ‘in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth’ the Bible rightly divided reveals God’s two-fold plan to ultimately reign and rule over the heaven and the earth.