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Paul and Peter

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Paul and Peter

By Obed Kirkpatrick

 

Paul and Peter

There is a controversy in Christendom concerning the following passage of scripture.

Galatians 2:7-11: “But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.” (Underlining Added)

Let me direct your attention to several things in the passage above.

1)      The Gospel of the Uncircumcision committed to Paul.

2)      The Gospel of the Circumcision committed to Peter.

3)      Paul withstanding Peter because he was to be blamed.

Two Gospels

The controversy or point of contention among religious scholars pertaining to the passages above is: Whether or not there are two separate gospels here or if it is the same gospel presented to two different groups of people.

What many scholars do not see is that the hope for Israel and the hope for the Body of Christ are different.  These scholars fail to see the differences between the earthly inheritance for Israel and the heavenly inheritance for the Body of Christ, and believe me, there is a difference.

Those who take the Acts 2 position for the beginning of the Body of Christ have been the cause of confusion among their followers because they have corrupted the scriptures and refused to see the error of their ways, or see it and cannot bring themselves to admit they have been at fault.

The Gospel of the Circumcision committed unto Peter in the Dispensation of the Law

The gospel which Peter preached, as well as the other disciples chosen by the Lord, is often referred to as the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Kingdom reference is to a particular parcel of land that had been promised to Abraham and his seed, land to which the Lord will return to reign for 1,000 years.  It will be an earthly reign.

In our pamphlet, “They Didn’t Know”, we pointed out the problem the disciples had believing Christ when He told them He would be killed, be buried, and then be resurrected. We also pointed out that the reason why they could not comprehend this was because the meaning had been hidden from them. You can find that in Luke 18:34.

So what was the gospel the twelve apostles were charged to preach? We find it in all four Gospels (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:44-53 and John 20:19-31) but we will show you two of them here because they are the ones used and analyzed most often.

Matthew 28:19-20: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Mark 16:15-18: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

The Gospel of the Circumcision was given to Israel during the Dispensation of the Law. 

The Gospel of the Circumcision committed unto Peter is a works gospel that was to be preached to the Jews, not to the Gentiles. That fact is spelled out very definitively in Matthew 10:5-10 and Matthew 15:21-28.

Matthew 10:5-6, 8-9: “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,” (Underlining added)

Matthew 15:24: “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Matthew 15:26: “But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.”

What do we see in theses passages?

1)       Go not unto the Gentiles.

2)       Go to the house of Israel.

3)       Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils.

4)       Do not take money in your billfolds for your needs.

5)       I (Jesus) am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

6)       It is not right to take the Gospel of the Kingdom (the children’s bread) to Gentiles.

The scriptures speak for themselves.  Some will try to pervert them to fit their doctrinal position, but the verses say what they say; and they say the twelve apostles were not to go to Gentiles and were not to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to Gentiles.

The Gospel of the Kingdom is all about Christ coming back to earth to rule and reign.  It is the gospel of promise, specifically to the Jews.

What makes the Gospel of the Circumcision a works gospel? Baptism!  It is something one must do, it is just as much a work as circumcision was a work; and it, baptism, was necessary for remission of sins at this point in time.

Look at what Peter told the Acts 2 crowd of Jews when they were “pricked in the hearts” over having killed the Messiah: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

There is nothing in the passage that says Christ’s blood is for remission of sins, is there?

Peter continues his Pentecostal address in Acts 3:19: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”

The times of refreshing, as mentioned in the verse, are in reference to the second coming of Christ. It will be when the Lord appears on the mount of Olives, as found in Zechariah 14:4: “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”

The second coming of Christ takes place on the earth.  It is at that time that Israel’s sins will be blotted out, not before.

Therefore, I can say with complete certainty that the Gospel of the Circumcision which Peter and the other apostles taught was:

1)      To the Jews only.

2)      Their inheritance was to be on earth.

3)      Baptism was needed for temporal remission of sins.

4)      The blotting out of sins will not take place until Christ returns to the earth.

The Gospel of the Circumcision is a Law Gospel which can be traced back to Moses. With Moses and Peter, strict obedience to the Law was commanded by God. The law, of course was given by Moses: “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

Ah ha, some of you are saying. See there grace didn’t come through Paul, it came by Jesus Christ.  Hold on a minute.

Moses did not receive the Law from God until after the Passover Lamb had been killed and Israel had gone through the baptism of the Red Sea. Then Moses went up Mt. Sinai and received the Ten Commandments.

The same thing can be said of Grace. Grace and truth did come by Jesus Christ, but not when He was born, not when He called out the twelve apostles, and not when He died on the cross and rose from the dead.

Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ after He ascended into heaven and once He had done so, Christ chose to call Paul to be the messenger of grace. (Ephesians 3:2)

The Law was committed unto Moses and the dispensation of the grace of God was committed unto Paul.

Baptism, the new law

A new law is put into play with John the Baptist: the law of water baptism.

In Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-18, the Lord commanded the apostles to go to all corners of the world where Jews lived.  They were commanded to preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:16.

So I know that baptism is directly tied to salvation when preaching the Gospel of the Circumcision, and I also know that once they received the Spirit of power in Acts 2 they were endued with power to, “cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:16)

Contrary to what many teach, we are not endued with that power today. The 12 were given that power to prove they were sent from the Lord; just as the Lord performed miracles to prove He was Messiah.

1 Cor. 1:22 “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:” Jesus and the twelve perform the gifts so that the Jews would understand that this marked the beginning of the restoration for Israel.

 

The Gospel of the Uncircumcision committed unto Paul in the dispensation of the grace of God.

The gospel that Paul preached is called the Gospel of the Grace of God. It is a gospel whereby those who receive it by faith are given a guarantee of a heavenly inheritance, not an earthly one.

Ephesians 2:6 “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

It is a gospel that is absent of works for salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Underlining added)

Paul preached a specific message to Gentiles and he was not told to stay away from them as Peter was instructed to do.  His message to the Gentiles was one of hope not afforded them under the Gospel of the Circumcision.

Look at Ephesians 2:11-13: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” (Underlining added)

These Gentiles were:

1)       without Christ,

2)       aliens from Israel,

3)       strangers from the promise made to Israel,

4)       without hope, and

5)       without God

But now, because of the Gospel committed unto Paul, the Gentiles are drawn near to God by the blood of Christ.

Therefore, I can say with complete certainty that the Gospel of the Uncircumcision which Paul preached:

1)       was primarily to the Gentiles,

2)       concerned a heavenly inheritance,

3)       was devoid of works, and

4)       taught that Christ’s blood was for remission of sins and not baptism.

We are living in a time period known as the Dispensation of the Grace of God. We should follow the Apostle of the Gentiles – Paul.

Israel – Not God’s People Today

The Gospel of the Circumcision committed to Peter and the apostles became a “null and void” gospel somewhere around 70 A.D. The prophecy of Hosea, which states Israel would become Lo-Ammi, is found in Acts 28.

Israel failed to evangelize the world with the Gospel of the Kingdom and God raised up a new apostle with a new commission to preach a gospel of reconciliation.

Israel will become God’s chosen once again just prior to His second coming to earth; but for now, Israel is a non-entity as far as evangelizing the world is concerned, and the powers given unto them for healing, etc. vanished with their being set aside.

Any Jew saved today will become a part of the Church the Body of Christ.

Gentiles Rule Today

We are living in the age of the Gentiles, who were chosen before the foundation of the world to carry on the message of God when Israel became a non-entity.

Look at Ephesians 1:4 “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”

The Gospel of the Grace of God is the gospel that prevails today. It is being spread around the world predominately by Gentiles.

It is a gospel of hope for a heavenly inheritance with Christ as its head.

It is a gospel devoid of works and is totally dependant upon God’s grace.

It is a gospel that began with the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul. “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” (Romans 11:13)

It is a gospel that was a secret hid in God as well as in the Scriptures. “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)

“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, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” (Romans 16:25-26)

It is a gospel that was committed unto Paul who states that he is the pattern we are to follow.  1    Timothy 1:16: “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

It is a gospel devoid of signs and miraculous gifts because by Acts 28 Israel, who needed signs, is Lo-Ammi (1 Cor. 1:22: “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom”)

When Paul speaks of the gifts given to men, the following was said in 1 Cor. 12:28: “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”

But in the Book of Ephesians he says something different. Ephesians 4:11: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;”

What happened? The sign gifts vanished with the setting aside of Israel.

There is a difference between Paul’s gospel and Peter’s gospel

I mentioned three things of value in the very first verse we quoted, Galatians 2:7-11. We covered the first two; now let’s look at the third: Paul withstanding Peter because he was to be blamed.

Peter wanted the best of both worlds, but God had chosen him for a specific roll, to preach the Gospel of the Circumcision.  When he strayed from that roll, Paul chastised him for it, and rightfully so.

As we also said in the beginning of this pamphlet, the point of contention in Galatians 2:7-11 among religious scholars is whether there are two separate gospels or the same gospel being preached to two different groups of people.

And we said: “What most scholars do not see is that the hope for Israel and the hope for the Body of Christ are different.” Israel was looking for an earthly inheritance.  The Body of Christ will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and their inheritance is heavenly.

Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again for our justification to ensure our hope of eternal life.  But our Apostle told us to forget about the things Jesus did in the flesh. Look at 2 Corinthians 5:16: “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.” 

Why do you suppose he said that? Because all the miracles Jesus performed while on earth were to show Israel He was Messiah. But more important than that, Paul is emphasizing that the resurrection power supersedes all the powers used to perform earthly miracles.

We now have the power, through Christ, to conquer death and to live with God in a new and glorious body devoid of disease and pain. Therefore, even though we can applaud the miracles Jesus performed while living in the flesh, our ovation should be stronger when we acknowledge His resurrection.

I hope I have made all of this clear. I encourage you to search the Scriptures and find the truth God has in store for us today. Do not be misled by those who are afraid to admit they were wrong. “…Be strong in the Lord and the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10).

God’s Word is powerful, but it must be studied carefully.  It must be rightly divided. If you are saved, you have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of you.  You can understand what the Word says without assistance from a priest or a preacher, so exercise that right by following the principals outlined in 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

The Gospel Peter preached in Acts 2 has been superseded by the gospel Paul preached. In this present dispensation we should be followers of that Pauline doctrine, the Gospel of the Uncircumcision.

You cannot be saved by believing the gospel Peter preached in this dispensation. You cannot have your sins forgiven by being baptized. You must believe the gospel that Paul preached. Baptism is not for remission of sins; Christ’s blood is for remission of sins.

There are major differences between the gospel Peter preached and the gospel Paul preached.  If you are not getting your doctrine out of the books Paul wrote, Romans-Philemon, you are most likely confused.  You cannot mix law with grace anymore than you can mix oil with water.

There is an apostle for today, and that is Paul.  There is a right gospel for today, and that is the gospel committed unto Paul.  Who are you following – Peter or Paul?