Brethren Archive

The Epochs and Dispensations of Scripture (Chart from The Scroll of Time)

by J.A. Savage

Click on image to expand

John said ...
I have a framed version of this, at the size BTP produce (18" x 12"). The small print give the engraver as Hofer & Co, Zurich, with printing also being in Switzerland. Mine has no date, but is rather faded, so could easily be from a century ago.

One question that I do have is what does Savage refer to by the numbers? He gives the dispensations by letter (just below the horizon line) - the numbers correspond with what others would call dispensations (e.g. Booth). I note that JBS is quite definite that there are seven dispensations, so I assume that this is what was commonly understood amongst the early brethren. That would Savage's ten a change in thinking (even by just having a slightly different definition of what a dispensation is). Does anyone have any answers?
Monday, Apr 26, 2021 : 00:10
Rodger said ...

The numbers indicate the “Epochs,” in which the God gives His "Dispensations," sometimes spanning multiple epochs.

See chapter 2 here:

Wednesday, Apr 28, 2021 : 10:17
John said ...
Many thanks Rodger.

I'm not sure that that is what Savage is meaning though - he numbers the Epochs at the bottom of the chart (between the dispensation letters), and states that there are ten of them. In chapter 1, he calls an Epoch a "period of time marked by some remarkable event or events", an example of which is the deluge (I think we would understand that better if he had just written "event").

The word epoch now usually means a long period of time (Cambridge Online Dictionary), but the OED gives it as "a point in time" or "the initial point in a system of chronology" or "the beginning of a distinctive period in the history of something or someone". I think Savage is using this latter sense.

That still leaves me puzzled by the original question - what do the numbers just below the horizon line refer to? I've not managed to find it in the book, but may have missed something.
Thursday, Apr 29, 2021 : 14:58
Rodger said ...
Ah, I see what you mean, John. My mistake. I overlooked that there are two sets of numbers. It is confusing because the upper numbers represent what have more traditionally been called “the dispensations,” but as you point out, Savage never gives an explanation of them.
Thursday, Apr 29, 2021 : 19:57

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