- teaches Biblical history as best understood in light of a number of successive economies or administrations under God, which it calls "dispensations," and
- emphasizes prophecy of the end-times and the pre-tribulation rapture view of Christ's second coming.
Dispensation is an English term excogitated from the Latin dispensatio, frequently used to translate the Greek oikonomia. The Greek word denotes the law or management of a household (to manage, administer, regulate, or plan).
Some consider Dispensationalism to be a nineteenth century distortion of Biblical history. Dispensationalists teach that there are seven distinct "dispensations" within biblical history. The seventh being the 1000 year reign of Christ or the millennium. According to some, the primary error is the "two covenant" teaching. Dispensationalists believe that God's covenant with Israel continues even through the present "church age." Many Protestants believe that the new covenant in Christ replaces the old covenant with Israel.
As a branch of Christian theology, Dispensationalism teaches biblical history as a number of successive economies or administrations, called dispensations, each of which emphasizes the continuity of the Old Testament covenants God made with His chosen people through Abraham, Moses and King David.