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“The Dispensation of the Fulness of Times”

Ephesians 1:10


Paul speaks of a period of time that he describes as “the dispensation of the fulness of times.” What period of time is this talking about? And what is meant by “the dispensation of the fulness of times”? As in all things, we must seek the answers to those questions in the Book of God alone.



The word “dispensation” simply means, “stewardship.” It refers to the management of a household, or the management, oversight, and administration of another person’s property or business. In Ephesians 3:2, the Apostle Paul speaks of the ministry God gave him as a “dispensation of the grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2). To be called of God into the work of the gospel ministry is to be given a “dispensation of the grace of God.” It is to be given a stewardship of grace in the house of God.

In Ephesians 1:10 the word “dispensation” specifically refers to the universal dominion of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which he executes the will of God in time (John 17:2; Romans 14:9). As Paul states it in verses 20-22, the Lord God gave his Son, our divine Mediator, the reins of universal monarchy “when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.” All power in heaven and in earth has been given to the God-man, our Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ, that he might execute his eternal purpose in the salvation of his people, to the everlasting “praise of the glory of his grace.” That is the meaning of the word “dispensation” in this passage.


Fulness of Times

But what is meant by “the dispensation of the fulness of times”? Again, let’s look into the Word of God for the answer. Here the Spirit of God tells us that God’s eternal purpose of grace is to be accomplished in the fulness of times by the gathering together of all things in heaven and on earth in Christ. The only other place in which we find a similar statement is in Galatians 4:4-6.

      The “fulness of times” obviously began with the first advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, his incarnation. Yet, Ephesians 1:10 tells us that it is something not yet fulfilled. So the fulness of times refers to the whole gospel age. It began with our Savior’s first advent and will continue until his glorious second advent, culminating in the fulfillment of God’s everlasting covenant and the full salvation of all his elect in Christ. This is what Paul speaks of in Romans 11:25-29.

      The contemplation of Christ’s dominion, executing all the will and purpose of God in providence, and that culminating in the complete salvation of all God’s elect, and the final gathering together of all things in Christ was glorious in Paul’s eyes (Romans 11:33-36), and ought to be glorious in ours.




Don Fortner








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