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Limited Knowledge Series

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THE LIMITED KNOWLEDGE SERIES

 

GOD’S MYSTERIES UNFOLDEDONE AFTER ANOTHER

 

By Pastor Obed Kirkpatrick

 

 
Foreword
By Jerry Lockhart

Well over thirty years ago, Obed Kirkpatrick, chairman of the board of deacons at a large Alexandria, LA Baptist Church, was confronted with some Scripture which had never been brought to his attention. At first Bro. Kirkpatrick, not unlike most others, drew the too quick conclusion that it was being misinterpreted. After all, wasn’t the historic tradition held by his church more valid than what some man said to him about these verses?!

Since it was his sister, Mrs. Bill (Susie) Burrell, who had confronted him and had brought in the “man” who showed these things to him, Bro. Obed decided he should help Susie and Bill get their doctrine straight. So he went to the Word of God and began to try to prove Bro. E. C. Moore wrong. Respect for the Book took him on a new and exciting journey through it in a way he had never come to see it before—dispensationally.

It turned out the things Bro. Moore was showing him were the truth. Bro. Obed had to come to grips with how the “doing” of churchy stuff had kept his knowledge limited. Things which the Lord wanted us to know and apply to us today had been put aside or on the way-back burner so that they didn’t interfere with the current church emphasis. In his mind, then, things had to change. He began to show people. He began to understand that these things needed to be taught and preached. And before long Bro. Obed knew he needed to go preach it.  So he did. He still does.

In the course of finding God’s will in their life, The Kirkpatrick’s moved to Baton Rouge and started a “grace” church. The five compiled doctrinal books which follow were written while he was Pastoring in Baton Rouge.

My first recollection of Bro. Obed was from a visit to Pineview Bible Camp in Alabama about 1975. Much water has run under the bridge since then and many souls have been saved by his preaching of the gospel of Christ as the power of God unto salvation. Bro. Obed and I have had many occasions for fellowship and for preaching on the same pulpit at conferences, camps, and Academy of Bible Doctrine classes. I praise the Lord for the privilege of this association.

As to these doctrines which he saw in the early ‘70s and which are presented here; they are very important because they show how the Apostle Paul not only received first the gospel of Christ—that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised again for our justification—but that he also revealed in Scripture the great mysteries of God. How simple they are. How easily understood they are. How come churches and their ministers miss these great truths?

Many who would tell us they are Christians will reject these truths. Some for no more reason than that to receive these things, they would have to change…and they like themselves the way they are. Some for the simple reason that whatever they now believe was good enough for Daddy and Momma and it’s good enough for them, too. Others might reject these truths because they have read the “church fathers” and have not found any revealed mysteries.

But you who might not fall into any of those categories, yet in some way reject true doctrine as you make the scriptural comparisons; let me say to you, “try the words: compare scripture with scripture: then let the Lord lead you.” Perhaps you’ll find conviction as to your own salvation. If that would be the case, why not make that a sure and real thing for yourself right now? Believe that Christ died for your sins, was buried, and was raised again for your justification: put your total trust in His finished work and receive the gift of eternal life…do it now.

Your approach to these pages should include your King James Bible at your side and believe what you can prove in scripture. The prayers of thousands of saints are with you as you study. You will be blessed and edified, of that I’m sure.

 

 

GOD’S PLAN, RIGHTLY DIVIDED:

From the Beginning to the Beginning

 

 

 

 

 

Obed Kirkpatrick
1st Printing – 1990
Revised – November 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

—————————————1—————————————-

 

Eternity Past

Where Did God come from?

As a young parent, I was asked this question from my own children.  At the time I was not well versed in Scripture, so I blundered through what I had been taught from my parents.  The answer they gave me, and I in turn relayed to my children was: “God just always was.”  As Christians we must have enough faith in God to believe that.  Simple trust in God believes that God has always existed.  Before God, there was no one.
My first-born son, Wayne, asked me the “Where did God come from” question when he was about three years old. After giving him the answer that I had been taught as a child, I assumed he would be satisfied.  He wasn’t. He asked again, “Where did God come from?”  “Oops,” I said. “This is not supposed to be happening. He should just accept what I said and be content.”  But he wasn’t and said, “Daddy, where did God really come from?”

“I don’t know son,” I replied, “God has always been around. I have believed that for a long time. I really cannot tell you anymore than that, but I believe it with all my heart.” He began to cry and said, “Daddy that’s not good enough, tell me where God came from.”   Wayne would ask that question many times over the next two to three years.  My answer was always the same, and I have since found it to be accurate, but now I have a Bible verse I can quote.

The Bible says “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servants whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am He: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I even I am the Lord; and beside me there is no Saviour. … Therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God. Yea, before the day was I am He…” (Isaiah 43:10-13) John 17:5 “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”

God has always existed, along with the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. The very first sentence in a King James Bible says, “In the beginning God…”
So then, faith accepts that God was and is and shall always be. It is the hope of being together with Him one day that makes living worthwhile and every child of God should long for that day to come soon.

I believe that everyone that has been born, or will be born, was created for the purpose of having fellowship with God.  Or as Revelation 4: 11 states, all things were created for God’s pleasure: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Even though we were created for God’s pleasure, in order to have a relationship with God you must first get to know Him. You may ask, “How can you get to know someone that you cannot see?”

I have never met the first, second or third president, or any president of the United States as far as that is concerned but I feel like I know them from having read about them or from what someone reported about them. You can read about God in a King James Bible, for the Bible is the Word of God.

Who wrote the Bible?

God dictated every word that was written down in that Bible to a select group of men, who in turn penned those words for all to read and believe.
 “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1: 20-21
 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3: 16-17.

So before you can begin to determine, in your own mind, whether God is real or not, you need to read His autobiography – a King James Bible.  Many people say, “there are so many translations of God’s Word: there is the Christian Bible, the Jewish Bible and the Moslem Bible, how can I know which one to believe?”

Read them all if you must, but after having read each one you must determine which one is consistent, all inclusive and is alive. Oh yes, there is a Living Word. The truth is out there, written down in a Book that you can search, read and know that it is real. Jeremiah 23:36: “And the burden of the Lord shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the Lord of hosts our God.”

My King James Bible tells me, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8: 32

Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, exhorts them to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath MADE us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5: 1

So in your search to find the Word of God, look for the one that points you to a Savior, one that shows you that God is real and that He is alive. Fact: Man is going to die, but the soul of man will live on eternally. Where that soul resides is a matter of conjecture for many, but for those of us who believe in the God of our Salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ, we will live eternally with Him. Those who do not believe in Christ will spend eternity in the lake of fire and will be in torment forever. Revelation 20:15: “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Before the Earth was made, There was God.

Long before the world was made, God had mapped out a plan for earth and all its inhabitants. Since He is God over the entire universe, He knew:
1. That Lucifer would try to become God, and that God would have to kick him out of the heaven above all heavens to a lesser heaven and then to the earth and finally into the lake of fire.
2. That the earth, which He gave to Lucifer, would have to be destroyed.
3. That he would make man & subsequently woman from man.
4. That part of His creation, man (Adam), would sin, be separated from Him and need a way to return back to Him.
5. That He would introduce the sacrificing of animals for temporal forgiveness of sin, which He provided for Adam when He made them a covering from the animal’s fur.
6. That the angels who followed after Lucifer would cohabit with earthly women and produce generations of Giants whom would always be against God. He knew He would subsequently have to destroy the entire earth a second time with the flood of Noah.
7. That He would save Noah and his family from destruction and covenant with them to never destroy the earth by a flood again.
8. That man would disappoint God again and He would have to “confound their language” and scatter them all over earth.
9. That He would call Abram out of Haran “unto a land He would shew him,” (Gen. 12: 1) and that He would make Abraham a promise to be a great nation and have an earthly inheritance over a specified territory.
10. That He would call out Moses and give him the Ten Commandments.
11. That He would have to send His Son Jesus to die, because all other sacrifices instituted, either under the promise given to Abraham or the law given to Moses, were only temporal.
12. That He would have a secret concerning the Gentiles, and hide it in His heart until such a time that He would raise up Paul to whom He revealed this secret. Paul would then declare that secret to the world, but in God’s own time.
13. That the Church the Body of Christ would be formed and raptured out of the earth before Christ would return and restore Israel to that which had been promised.
14. That Satan would go into the temple in Jerusalem and declare that he is the one true God.
15. That He would bring about great tribulation.
16. That Christ would return to earth a second time, bind Satan for 1,000 years, and reign as king for the millennium.
17. That He would let Satan out of prison at the end of those 1,000 years and many people would follow after him, believing that he was God.
18. That He would cast Satan and all of his followers in the lake of fire.
19. That He would create a new heaven and a new earth with a New Jerusalem.
20. That the Church the Body of Christ would be an example of the goodness and grace of God.  (We’ll discuss this in detail later.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

——————- 2 ——————–

 

Original Creation

All of the before mentioned things in the previous chapter, the Lord God planned before Genesis 1: 1. Go there, but also look at the chart I call “God’s Time Chart.” This will be a helpful tool as we discuss the next topic. (The time chart is an insert.)

Genesis 1: 1
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a King James Bible you will find that heaven is singular.  Other translations make it plural.  Not so! God first created one heaven and then He created one earth. Yes, we know there are multiple heavens, but they are created after the initial one. (We’ll show you that as we go along. In the period described as eternity future, there is a new heaven and earth. Revelation 21: 1)

 

The Gap Theory (Some believe this and others do not.)

We believe there is a Gap, in time, between Genesis 1: 1 and Genesis 1: 2

Genesis 1: 2
“And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let us look at the words, “without form and void.”  In Hebrew, these words are tohuw va bohuw, and mean to lie in ruin or lay waste, empty, an undistinguished thing.

In Isaiah 45: 18 we read, “For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain (tohuw), He formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.”

It stands to reason, if God formed the earth in perfection, and He did, then someone had to destroy or alter its perfection, and they did.  We say the culprit was Satan, and we’ll use several passages of Scripture to validate it a little later on. But first, let us go back Genesis 1:2 “….and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” On the diagram below, the face of the deep is in yellow, the darkness below is in blue, and the blue represents water.  “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

I want you to look at the words “face of the deep” more closely.

Job 38: 30
“The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.”

Revelation 4: 6
“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal…”

Question, does frozen ice sparkle like crystal?  Yes it does.  So what do we learn from this?  There is a portion of heaven, known as the face of the deep that is frozen. Underneath the frozen ice there is water, very deep and dark water.

 

 

 
——————– 3 ——————–

 
DAY ONE – RE-CREATION

 

Genesis 1: 3
“And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.”

The light here cannot be the sun because the sun is not found in Scripture until the fourth day of re-creation. (Verse 18)  The passage here is only the first day of the re-creation process.  So what is the light here, or more correctly, who is the light? It has to be Jesus and I believe the next verse will validate that.

Genesis 1: 4-5
”And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning was the first day.”

You will notice that both Day and Night are capitalized in a King James Bible, as it should be, denoting a proper name – which I believe to be Jesus and Satan.  Scripture tells us that the light of the world is Jesus (John 1: 1-9) and that Satan is the power of darkness (Colossians 1: 13; Ephesians 6: 12); Jesus is good and Satan is evil; Jesus is righteousness and Satan is unrighteousness.

Still not convinced?  Look at Psalms 74: 16: “The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun.”

 

 

DAY TWO – RE-CREATION

Genesis 1: 6-8
“And god said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second
day.”

So what do we have here?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the middle of all that water God creates a firmament, which He calls heaven. It is the second day of re-creation, and it is the only day that God does not state that it is good.  Why? Simple, it is because that heaven has to be the home of Satan, and from where he operates as the God of this world.

In Ezekiel 28: 13-19 we find:
1. The three falls of Satan (Vs.13, 17, 18)
2. Satan being described as the most beautiful of all God’s creatures (V. 13)
3. That Satan was also the anointed cherub. (V.14)
4. That his wisdom and beauty was his downfall (V. 17)

 [13] Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
[14] Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
[15] Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
[16] By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
[17] Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
[18] Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
[19] All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.

God throws Lucifer out of the original heaven then down to the original earth.  Why did He do it? We need not guess because Isaiah tells us why.

I call this section the “Five I will” chapter. In it you will find all the reasons why God gradually reduced Satan from an anointed position in the High heaven, then to a lower heaven, then down to earth and eventually into the lake of fire.

[12] How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
[13] For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
[14] I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
[15] Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
[16] They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
[17] That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?
[18] All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house.
[19] But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet.
[20] Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.

So, Lucifer, in rebellion to overthrow God, is shown very clearly who is in charge and is kicked out of heaven to the only other place there was at the time – earth. He apparently destroys the earth’s original beauty and God destroys the first created earth by flooding it. This place in time is many years before the flood of Noah.

Paul alludes to this incident of rebellion and the subsequent overthrow of Lucifer in Ephesians 1: 4: “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation (katabole) of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:”

The word katabole in the Greek is – overthrow or destruction. The Church the Body of Christ was chosen in God before He kicked Lucifer out of heaven.  We’ll talk more about that a little later when we get to the chapter on the Age of Grace.

Then God created the firmament, which He calls heaven. (This is a newly created heaven, different from the original heaven. You will see two heavens in the diagram listed below.

        
    HEAVEN    
        
        
        
  WATER    WATER  
        
        
        
   HEAVEN   FIRMAMANT  
        
        
        
  WATER    WATER  
        
    EARTH    
        
        
1. It is from this newly created heaven that Satan resides and rules over the world today.
2. It is from this same location that he dispatches his devils (fallen angels) to attack the people of earth and to persuade them to believe his lie about God.
3. It is from this heaven that Satan has set up his throne and from where he governs his earthly empire as the god of this world.

 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them who are lost: In whom THE GOD OF THIS WORLD hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Corinthians 4: 3-4
In the city of Ephesus, Paul encountered men who made silver idols of the Greek goddess Diana, and they also worshiped an image that fell from Jupiter.

Acts 19: 35 “And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and the image which fell down from Jupiter?  You can also check Acts 14: 12-13.

Maybe Jupiter is where Satan now resides, maybe it isn’t.  The Scripture does not say it in just those terms, but it does imply that this image that fell from there is associated with idol worshipping Gentiles who opposed the teaching of Paul. (Read 2 Corinthians 4: 3-4 again).
DAY THREE – RE-CEATION
Genesis 1: 9-13
“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together in one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters call He Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and good sad that it was good. And the evening and the morning was the third day.”

 There are several things I want to emphasize concerning these verses.
1. Notice the waters under the heaven are affected, not those above heaven.
2. The things created reproduce from seed that is their own. (What do you suppose those who believe we evolved from a one-cell ameba think about that?)
3.  The waters that reached from earth to this new heaven form the oceans, seas and rivers of today.
DAY FOUR – RE-CREATION
Genesis 1: 14-19
“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

In these verses we see that the sun and the moon and the stars being created on the fourth day. The sun, which is a picture of the Son (Jesus Christ), is the greater light.  The moon, the lesser light, is a picture of Satan. The analogy is consistent with other Scripture that tell us about the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2: 2) and the rulers of darkness. (Ephesians 6: 12), etc.

 
DAY FIVE – RE-CREATION
Genesis 1: 20-23
“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of the heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.  And God blessed them, saying, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let the fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.”
Once again the Bible disproves Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Every created being produced another being just like itself or “after his kind.”  A female whale impregnated by a male whale had a baby whale; a fish’s eggs produced another fish just like the one that laid the eggs. Every living creature that lived in the waters produced another living creature just like itself. And every bird that flew in the air laid eggs fertilized by a male of that species, and the result was a baby bird that was the “spitting image” of its parents. The same can be said of animals.  A wolf begets a wolf, a fox begets a fox and an elephant begets an elephant.

Make no mistake about it; all the creatures of the sea and the sky and the earth reproduce a creature that was the same as its parents.

 

DAY SIX – RE-CREATION
Genesis 1: 24-31
“24- And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.  25- And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.  26- And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  27- So God created man is His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.  28- And God blessed them and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 29- And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of the tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.  30- And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.  31- And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.  And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

We have another section to undermine the Theory of Evolution. Once again the living creatures, the cattle of the earth and beast of the earth produce offspring – “after their kind.”

Now let me draw your attention to verse 26. “And God said, Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

We see that the Godhead, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, were involved in the re-creation process when we look at the phrase that says, “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness…”

We also learn that the original image of man is identical to the spirit image of God.  Even though God is a spirit, He has an image, and Adam was created in that image and took on that form until he ate the fruit and then his image is altered. (We will detail this when we discuss Genesis 3: 7.)

All the things that God made, he gave to man to utilize for sustenance and then He instructed man to have children, and then God gave man power over all of creation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
——————– 4 ——————–

 
Genesis Chapter Two

 

Now the re-creation process has ended and on the seventh day God rested from the work of the six preceding days and blessed it and set it apart from the others. “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He has made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.” (Genesis 2: 1-3.)

There are a lot of interesting things found in Genesis chapter two:
1) God had not caused it to rain on earth before this time – V. 5
2) The earth received its moisture from a mist (dew) – V. 6
3) Adam was formed from the dust of the ground – V. 7
4) Once Adam was formed, God blew life into him through his nose – V. 7
5) Once that was completed, Adam became a living creature – V. 7
6) God planted a garden eastward in Eden and put Adam there – Vs. 8
7) God lists two trees as being very significant – V. 9
a. The tree of life
b. The tree of knowledge of good and evil
8) A river flowed from the garden and branched off into four heads – Vs. 10-14
9) Then God put Adam in the garden and told him to guard it – V. 15

But the more significant verses in Genesis 2 are verses 16-17. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree in the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eastest therof thou shalt surely die.”

First, I want you to notice that God knew they would eat of the tree: “for in the day that thou eastest therof (noting they will eat) thou shalt surely die.” God did not say, if you eat you shall die.  He says when you eat you shall die. Now that is very interesting isn’t it? If God knew they would eat, and He did, why did He warn them of the consequences? Why not just say, “I have a tree over here of which you can’t eat from without dying, but I know you’re going to eat from it, so you have been forewarned of imminent death.”  That’s a good question, isn’t it?

Even though God knew they would eat, because God knows everything, He still left the option open for them to not eat.  We call that free will. And those words will present some very interesting discussions as you proceed to delve into God’s word. There are some in Christendom who believe God decides who will be a child of God and who will not be a child of God, thus eliminating the “free will” aspect of mankind. So this will be a challenge for you as you study.  Predestination has to do with foreknowledge but God allows man to choose Him or not choose Him.

We will discuss the death that followed the eating of the fruit in our discussion of Chapter Three. We will also explore the possibility that the fruit was not an apple, as some suppose, but something else.

After giving Adam his instructions concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, open up his side and took one of his ribs, closed up the flesh from whence he took it, and then made a helpmate whom Adam called Woman. Adam does not give Woman the name Eve until Genesis 3: 20.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
——————– 5 ——————-

 
Genesis Chapter Three

The Seduction of Eve
(1) “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
(2) And the woman said unto the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;
(3) But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
(4) And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
(5) For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
(6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

There is a lot going on in these first six verses of Genesis 3. Before we begin to discuss them, let me tell you something that will help you to better understand Scripture.  In the course of studying God’s Word you will see things that have never been mentioned before.  In other words, you will come across things that occur for the first time.  Note those things for they will be significant later on in your study.

You will notice in verse one that the devil does something of which he has become an expert – questioning God’s intentions. Such as, “hath God said Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”  He makes his first attempt of placing doubt into the woman’s mind. 

I imagine the conversation went something like this.

Satan: “Are you sure that God didn’t say you can eat everything in this garden?”

Now that really gets the woman thinking, so she responds.

Woman: “Sure we can.  But that tree over there in the middle, God said don’t eat it and don’t touch it or you’re going to die.”

Satan: “Ah, come on, you’re not going to die.  That’s only a scare tactic. You know why God doesn’t want you to eat it, don’t you?

Woman: “No, why?”

Satan: “Because God knows that when you eat the grape you’re going to become smart, as smart as God even.  Why if truth were known, once you eat that grape you’re going to be like the gods, who know the difference between good and evil. Now I ask you, what’s wrong with that?”

Woman: “Give me that grape. She pauses, waits a little while as she savors the taste. “Oh Adam, this is s-o-o-o-o-h good, why don’t you taste it too?”

Adam: “I don’t know woman.”

Woman: “Suit yourself, but I’m going to have another one.”

Adam: “But God said we would die if we ate.  O shucks, if you’re going to die I may as well die too. Give me that grape.”

Please excuse the freedom I have taken in this little melodrama, but I really do think that was the gist of the conversation that went on between all parties concerned.

Now let me direct your attention to what the woman says in Verse 3: “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”

Can you spot something that is wrong with the woman’s reply?  No?  Then let me direct your attention to what God told Adam initially. Genesis 2: 17: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

Do you see the difference now?  The woman does what so many under the influenced of Satan have done and continue to do – she adds to the Word of God. God did not say, “Neither shall, ye touch it.” The woman added those words.

John warns all that read the book of Revelation not to add or take away from the prophecy or face plagues and extraction from the Book of Life. Revelation 22: 18-19.

Genesis 3: 7 “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”

Here is another one of those first time events of which I spoke previously.  This is man’s first recorded attempt at self-righteousness.  What is self-righteousness, you ask? Before we can answer that we need to understand the meaning of righteousness. There are some scholarly definitions, but righteousness is simply God in perfection.  We know that God is holy, right?  Then holy defines righteousness.  We know that God is just, right?  Then just is a definition of righteousness too. Righteousness is all that God is, and God is holy, just, faithful, etc.

So then, self-righteousness is man acting as though he were God, it is man doing things in his attempt to justify what he has done as being holy, just, etc.  Here in Genesis 3, Adam and the woman eat the grapes and low and behold they take a look at themselves and they see something different and they are ashamed.

Interesting isn’t it.  It Genesis 2: 25 there was no shame in their nakedness: “And they were both naked, and the man and his wife were not ashamed.” Why are they suddenly ashamed?  Before we can answer that we must now go back and discuss the events that led to this malady, or unwholesome condition.

Let me set the scene for you.  The woman is in the garden.  The serpent tempts her into desiring the fruit from the forbidden tree and she eats it.  Most people have been led to believe that the fruit was an apple, but there is nothing in Scripture that tells us what fruit was on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In Joel 1: 12 there is a list of five trees, which were considered to be the most valuable of the region of Palestine, the apple being one of them.  “(1) The vine (grape vine) is dried up, and (2) the fig tree languisheth; (3) the pomegranate tree, (4) the palm tree also, and (5) the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.”

Why do I think the fruit was from a vine tree, or a grape, and not an apple tree?  In Deuteronomy 32: 12 you will find these words, “the blood of the grape.”  We also see that same reference in Genesis 49: 11: Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.” Now I will make an attempt to show why grape, not apple makes more sense as being the fruit.  Let me set the next scene for you.

Adam was created in the image of God.  Thus he was a spirit. But remember what we said earlier that even though God was a spirit He had an image, and that image is the same one Adam had. 

FACT: One thing a spirit does not have is blood.

Paul tells the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15: 50) that flesh and blood cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Blood is the key word here.  Before Jesus died, He shed His blood.  Yes, it was a covering for sin as well, but it was also something that was not a part of His original self, and subsequently must not be a part of Him when He ascended back into heaven.

With this in mind, let us play out the scene step by step. 
1.) Woman eats the blood of the grape; Adam eats the blood of the grape.
2.) God said you eat, you die.
3.) Adam and his wife, having sinned against God did die. Their image is not the same as God’s any longer, but their bodies have taken on another identity.
4.) They are naked and ashamed of it, whereas prior to eating the fruit they were not ashamed.

So, what do I think happened to cause this recognizable change in their looks?  I think they were spirit beings, with an image that glowed.  Ancient Hebrew scholars talk about the shechinah glory of God, or the visible majesty of the Divine presence of God. It might be liken to the time when God appeared to Moses and Moses could not look on the face of God or die.

20) “And He said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live
21) And the Lord said, behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
22) And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in the clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
23) And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” Exodus 33: 20-23

When Moses came down from the mountain he was unaware that his face shone.  When Aaron and the children of Israel saw that his face shone, they were afraid to go near him. Exodus 34: 29-30: “And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.”

Now Adam and his wife have no “shining glory” any more.  They have a body, with blood flowing through it.  That’s quite a change.  Once they realized what they had done, and seeing their changed bodies, they were ashamed of what they had become and the temptation to which they had succumbed.

And the first thing they did was try to hide their private parts, as if that would make everything right.  Well it didn’t!  They added insult to injury as they tried to make right (be righteous through their own works) the wrong they had done. They didn’t succeed in that endeavor either. They took leaves from the fig tree, sewed them together, and made a girdle, or loincloth, to cover their nakedness.

But then we read Genesis 3: 8-13.

8) “And they the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the garden.
9) And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10) And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11) And He said, who told thee that thou wast naked?  Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12) And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13) And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done?  And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”

My, My, My, what a dilemma in which these two find themselves. The sinners hide from the presence of God, and when “called on the carpet,” the first recorded instance of passing the buck is found. Adam blames everything on the wife; the wife blames it on the serpent. Isn’t that just like us all?  None of us want to take responsibility for the actions we have committed, especially when we know them to be wrong. That is only one of the many problems with sin.

Since God is righteous, He is faced with a situation that demands retribution. Romans 6: 23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ out Lord.” Wages can be defined as compensation received for work performed. The compensation for the work (sin) should be death (wages of sin is death). But we get to see the mercy of God for the very first time. Understand that God must maintain His integrity or diminish His holiness, so watch what happens!

The serpent is the first to fall under God’s wrath. Genesis 3: 14-19:
14) And the Lord God said unto the serpent. Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shall thou eat all the days of thy life.
15) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

The serpent in Hebrew is the word – nachesh – “snake, or snake’s image.”  Satan is the serpent and he is relegated to a lower position from the one he held prior to his fall. But the main part of the curse is that the seed of woman will crush him at some point in time.  There would be no escape from this curse.

Then God speaks unto the woman:
16) Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception: in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

The punishment for the woman, which would be passed on to all women from that day forward, will be the pain of child bearing. Since I am not a woman I do not have first hand information on the severity of this punishment, but I have experienced it second hand.  And believe me when I say this, I am so thankful that I did not have to give birth to my three boys, or we might not have had the second one.

The amazing thing about God though, He declares there will be sorrow in bringing forth children, but He allows joy to come when the woman realizes what she has just brought into the world. Only a great God can do that.

 Then God metes out punishment unto the man:
17) And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast harkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18) Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat of the herb of the field;
19) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Regardless of the entire buck passing that existed between Adam and his wife, and regardless of the fact that the wife is the one who was deceived and not Adam; (“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 1 Timothy 2:14) Adam was the one who received the warning because he was responsible for his wife’s actions. Consequently, Adam’s punishment was more severe.

Instead of guarding a garden, he will now have to work that garden in order to have food.  Instead of it being a perfect garden, it will have thorn bushes and weeds and most probably insects, which will keep the yield low.  He is going to work so hard he will be weary with sweat.  And that curse has been passed down to every generation since Adam.

After the curse had been pronounced, Adam gave woman a name – Eve. Eve has a meaning of “life or life giving.”

20) “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21) Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them.”

Verse 21 is a very important verse, and another first. This is the very first time that there was a death of an innocent creature and the shedding of blood in death of that innocent one. 

“I do not see blood and death in the passage,” you say. 

Look closer. “God made coats of skin to clothe Adam and Eve, right?”

“From where did those skins come? They came from an animal (creature), right?”

“And what must one do before he can skin an animal?  He must kill him then skin him, or skin him and he will die as a result of it.”  In either case, blood will be spilled in the process.

In essence, God sacrificed an animal to make a covering for sin.  God covered the bodies of Adam and Eve, thus making temporary restitution for their sin.  It was at this point in time that God most likely outlined the requirements for an animal sacrifice as a temporal remission of sin. Even though that is not recorded here, the implication of the sacrifice exists.

“Why wasn’t the covering that Adam and Eve made out of fig leaves good enough?” you say.

Because it was not what God required for justification, that’s the reason why. God required an animal to be sacrificed, that is why He provided the animal in the first place.

“But I do not see anything that tells them what God required,” you say?

The fact that God did what He did is proof that He required something other than what they had done.

22) “And the Lord God said, Behold the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever;
23) Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24) So He drove man out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep way of the tree of life.”

At first glance one might say God went too far when He threw them out of the garden.  But He didn’t.  By throwing Adam and Eve out of the garden He was showing His mercy once again.

“Why do I say that?”

Because eating from the tree of life would mean man would live forever in a vile and sinful body.  God had a plan for that body of sin to be replaced with a new body, fashioned after His own body, just as it was originally.

“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Philippians 3: 21

 

 

——————– 6 ——————–

 

Genesis Chapter 4
Cain and Able
1) “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.
2) And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of the sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3) And in process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
4) And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.  And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5) But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect.  And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6) And the Lord said unto Cain, Why has thy countenance fallen?
7) If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.  And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

I hope you read these verses very carefully, for in them you will find the basis of rebellion.  We have discussed previously that God instituted an animal sacrifice as temporal remission of sin when he provided coats of skin for Adam and Eve. In these verses, you will see that Able delivered the acceptable sacrifice and Cain did not.

One of the major problems in all of Christendom is rationalization. Mankind wants to rationalize everything they do that is outside the will of God. Many people read the above passages and say, “Cain brought the very best that he had unto the Lord, why wasn’t it accepted?”

Answer: “Because it was not what God required.”

“But is that fair? “ you say.

If I wanted to be belligerent, I would say, “What does fair have to do with it?” Man has a tendency to see things from a worldly perspective, he has a tendency to relate fairness issues to what mankind considers moral, not to what God’s Word says.

But if you want to discuss fairness, I can do that too.  Look at verse 7.  God tells Cain that if he will do what is right he will be accepted.  In other words, God says, “Go get an animal sacrifice and I will overlook the fact that you defied me and brought the wrong sacrifice.” 

“Now that’s fair, isn’t it?”
 
God goes on to say, “If you do not go and bring the acceptable sacrifice it is evidence that you have rebelled (sinned) and that rebellion (sin) will continue to be your desire and you will be the ruler of sin.”

Well, that comment from God did not change Cain’s way of thinking at all. Look what happened afterwards.

8) “And Cain talked with Able his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
9) And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Able thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
10) And He said, What hast thou done?  The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
11) And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;
12) When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
13) And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14) Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
15) And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
16) And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.”

Cain does not like what he just heard from the Lord. Since he was in no position to do anything to the Lord, he takes out his vengeance on his brother Able and kills him. Cain, now the king of sin, is simply living out what the Lord told him in Verse 7.

When the Lord confronts Cain with his latest sin, does he repent of his sin?  No, He says, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” So the Lord curses him from the earth and relegates him to be a fugitive and a vagabond.  In other words, Cain was committed to wandering to and fro and up and down in the earth.  One of the reasons he would be destined to wandering is because the ground will not grow food over a long period of time.  So he would have to move to new ground until it no longer produced, and then move again.

By now you should have realized that the consequences of sin are very grave.  You should have also seen a pattern unfolding.

1) If you honor the wishes of the Lord you will be blessed,
2) Rebel against God and be cast out without receiving a blessing.

“What about the mark of Cain, what is it?” you say.

While there is much speculation as to what this is, all we can say of certainty is what the Hebrew word means. The Hebrew word is – owth.  Sixty times the same word is translated sign; 14 times it is translated token, and only one time is it translated as mark.  I can only assume it was a token pledge from God to keep him safe.  Perhaps there was some identifiable thing that people knew about and stayed away from him, but I have no idea what it would be and refuse to be drawn in to speculative issues concerning the meaning.

17) “And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.”

We could spend hours over the issue of how Cain knew his wife. There are those who have determined that there could have been more than a half million people on the earth at this time, so he could pick and choose. Others say he married his sister. In Genesis 4: 25 we see that Adam knew his wife again and she had Seth.  So you might deduce that knowing his wife simply meant he had intercourse. None of that has any relevance to understanding what transpired over the course of time. Fact:  Cain took a wife, she conceived and had Enoch and he establishes a lineage.

Let us look at Genesis Chapter 4: 25-16.

25) And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
26) And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.

What you need to know from these passages is that Seth becomes the bloodline through whom Jesus is traced.

 

——————– 7 ——————
Genesis Chapter 5
Surviving Cain
This chapter deals primarily with the generations of Adam, but there are a couple of things I wish to emphasize that are necessary to understanding future things. 

Genesis 5: 3: “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:”

I must direct your attention back to the comments we made about Genesis 1: 26. Adam was created in the image of God.  Even though God was a spirit, He had an image, and Adam was created in that image and took on that form until he ate the fruit (grape) and then his image is altered and becomes flesh and blood.

Then in Genesis 3: 7, when they knew they were naked, this is the altered image we discussed.  Man now has blood flowing through his veins. Everyone that will be born of Adam will have blood flowing through his or her veins.  This is what is meant by “begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image.”  The curse that Eve received for eating the forbidden fruit was she would bear children.  This in itself is a major change.

God created Adam from the dust and God created Eve from one of Adam’s ribs. Cain, Able and Seth were made after the image of Adam, in his own likeness, with blood flowing through their veins.

 Fact: That likeness and image of Adam, after he sins, is not the likeness and image of God. 

There are far too many teachers who want you to believe:
1) We are all children of God. 
2) That we are all created in God’s image.

Those are very broad statement that may or may not be true. Let me explain.

You are a child of God if you have trusted what Christ did for you on Calvary i.e. He died for your sins was buried and resurrected for your justification. You are not a child of God if you have not trusted Christ as your Savior.

As we continue our Study of Genesis, there are seven men that stand our. They are:
 Man  Bible Location Spiritual Meaning
1) Abel Genesis 4: 1 Man of spiritual desire
2) Enoch Genesis 5: 18 Man of spiritual choice
3) Noah Genesis 6: 8 Man of spiritual renown
4) Abraham Genesis 12: 1 The life of faith
5) Isaac Genesis 21: 3 The life of sonship
6) Jacob Genesis 25: 26 The life of service
7) Joseph Genesis 30: 24 The life of suffering & glory
In Genesis Chapter five you will find a lot of people begetting people.  I will only mention a few at this juncture.
Enoch

Genesis 5: 18: “ And Jared lived an hundred and sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch.”

Genesis 5: 21-24: “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah; And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”

We see here in chapter 5: 22-24 that God took Enoch from this earth before he died. It is the only time that ever happened.  This too, is another first and worth remembering.

Hebrews 11: 5: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”

Jude 14: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,”

This is all the Bible tells us about Enoch.

Methuselah
There are two significant thing about Methuselah:
1. He lived longer than anyone else (969 years)
2. He is the father of Lamech, who was the father of Noah

 

——————– 8 ——————-

 

Genesis Chapter 6
Giants in the Land
1) “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2) That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose,
3) And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4) There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came into the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
5) And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6) And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at his heart.
7) And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them.
8) But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
We have a lot of information to bring to light in these eight verses. First, we need to understand who these sons of God were. To do that, we need to look at Psalms 82.

1) God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; He judgeth among the gods.
2) How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.
3) Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4) Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
5) They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
6) I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
7) But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
8) Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.
Sons of God

True, all believers are sons of God, but these sons of God in Psalms 82 are not believers, they are angels. Angels, like believers, are considered to be the children of God. God created Angels, just as God created Adam.

But verse 7 above states: “But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.”  Serious students of Biblical learning should be curious about why these particular angels are going: 1) to die in the first place, 2) die like men, and 3) fall like Satan.

In my opinion, these angels are part of the group that sided with Satan, who believed what Lucifer told God.

“And what did Lucifer tell God?” Please look at Isaiah 14: 12-15 once again.
12. “How are thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13. For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
 When God kicked Lucifer out of heaven those who sided with him had to go too.  These angels, like their leader Satan, had freedom to go between heaven and earth, as Job 1: 6-7 enlightens us.
6.) “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.
7.) And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”

We find the same words in Job 2: 1-2. 

So I know that there was a point in time past that Satan had free access to the earth, and I assume that his followers might have had that freedom also.  Why? Because Genesis 6: 1-8 talks about these sons of God taking earthly women as their wives.  This fits with Psalms 82: 7 and explains why they shall die as men and fall like one of the princes.

It is my opinion that once these angel sons of God co-habited with earthly women they lost their spiritual image, just as Adam lost his when he ate the grape.  I also believe that blood began to flow through their new physical bodies just as it did in Adam and Eve’s physical bodies.

I believe these fallen angel sons of God became the mighty men of renown in Genesis 6: 4: “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came into the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” And I believe that the marriage of these fallen angels to the women of earth produced a nation of giants with supernatural strength and size.

It is my opinion that the giants of Genesis 6 composed some of the tribes from which God’s chosen people were forbidden to associate. I also believe that Goliath was a descendant of these fallen angel sons of God.

“Just how big were these giants?” you might ask. Let us look at some Scripture and see.

Deuteronomy 3: 11:
“For only Gog king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; it is not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? Nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of man.”

A cubit was considered to be approximated 18 inches, so the bed was somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 feet long by 7 feet wide.  Let’s give him 2 feet stretching out room and that would make him about 10 feet tall.

In 1 Chronicles 20: 6 there is quite an oddity associated with one of the giants.
“And yet again there was war in Gath, where a man of great stature, whose fingers and toes was were four and twenty, six on each hand, and six on each foot: and he also was the son of the giant.”

2 Samuel 21: 16:
“And Ishbi-benob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David.”

The weight of the spear would be approximately 75 pounds. It would take a pretty big man to carry a spear this size.  It would take an even bigger one to be able to throw it.

When the men of Israel were sent into the land that God had promised, they reported the inhabitants were so large that they looked like grasshoppers in comparison to the men there.  We find that in Numbers 13:33.
“And there we saw the giants, the son of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

So, it is obvious that at one point in time men may have attained a height of 10 to 12 feet and have strength enough to wield a spear of 75 or more pounds.  They were obviously very intimidating.  But if you continue on with Biblical history, men of God had no need to fear them for God is mightier than any of His created beings.  Case in point would be the slaying of Goliath by David using a sling to hurl a stone he had gathered from a stream.

But be sure of this one thing – these giants existed.  They were big and they were strong and they were evil.  They were the cause of much trouble on the earth.  They were Satan’s henchmen. They did things that made God sad that He had created man in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
——————– 9 ——————-
The Generations of Noah

“But Noah found Grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6: 8
In Chapter 7 we talked about seven men that stand out, Noah being the third one.  What is so significant about Noah, man of spiritual renown and tenth in the line of Adam? 
Genesis 6: 9-10

9) “These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
10) And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”

God considered Noah to be a just man. Just is another word for righteous.  So I deduce that Noah was righteous in conduct and character or he could not have “walked with God.”

I do not want to go into detail about Noah at this time before we discuss his three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. If you trace the descendants of these three you will find they make up the three types of people in the earth: Mongoloid, Negroid and Caucasian.

Shem – Mongoloid
Ham – Negroid
Japheth – Caucasian

Shem – the eldest son of Noah and progenitor of the Semitic tribes and inhabitants of the east and mid-east.

Ham – 2nd son of Noah, father of Canaan and of various peoples which
were inhabitants of southern lands (Africa), later a collective name for Egyptians and

Japheth – the 3rd son of Noah whose descendants after the flood settled on
the coastal lands of the Mediterranean spreading north into Europe and parts of Asia.

There has been much debate over the issue of how Noah could have three sons whose skin took on various shades of color. A debate in which I am not prepared to offer a definitive conclusion. I simple do not know how that evolved, nor am I really concerned about it.

There are some things one simply accepts on faith.  This is one of those things for me.  I know there are some who delve into how this could be.  One of these possibilities is that either Noah or his wife was a darker color.

Genesis 6: 11: “The earth was corrupt before God and the earth was filled with violence.” Corrupt in Hebrew is shachath {shaw-khath’} – be marred, be spoiled, be corrupted, be injured, be ruined, be rotted, to spoil, ruin, destroy.

Genesis 6: 12-14:
12)   “And God looked upon the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13)  And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
14)  Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shall pitch it within and without with pitch.”

These giants of Genesis six, mighty men of renown, had so corrupted the earth that God chose to flood it a second time. In both cases, the culprits were these fallen angel sons of God.

“These two floods of the earth idea cannot be validated, can it?” You may ask.

I think it can.  I will not elaborate on it here, for we are more interested in presenting an overview of the Bible.  But I will direct your attention to archeological evidence that has placed skeletal remains of sea inhabitants in the Rocky Mountains, at two distinct sub-surface levels.  Look that up for yourself.  You should always check out anything that does not seem right to you.

If I could teach you one thing in this little booklet, it would be to always listen to or read through anything someone else espouses, and then go and check them out. Make sure that everything a preacher, priest, teacher or Pope says is Biblical.  Men will err.  God does not.
NOAH

Genesis 6: 17-18:  “And, behold, I even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy son’s wives with thee.”

Before discussing the next few verses, I want you to pay particular attention as you read, for I am going to challenge you as to your ability to put aside what you have heard from what you read.

Genesis 6: 19—20: “And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.”

How many of each species did the Lord tell Noah to bring into the ark?

“That’s easy,”  you say, “It was two.”

That is not the whole truth, but we’ll deal with that in a moment.

Second question,  “how was Noah instructed to get them into the ark?”

Noah was not to do anything.  The animals would come to Noah of their own volition.  Noah’s instructions were to keep them alive once they came.

“So, what was all that about two of kind not being the whole truth?” You ask.

Genesis 6: 19-20 must be read with Genesis 7:2-3: Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and the female: and of the beast that are not clean by two, the male and the female. Of the fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of the earth.”

Now let me ask you the question I ask previously, “How many of each species did the Lord tell Noah to bring into the ark?”

If you said two each of the unclean and seven of the clean beast and fowls of the air, look again!

The correct answer is two of the unclean, one a male and one a female.

But look at the clean beast and fowl.  How many of them were there to be brought aboard?

“Seven,”  you say.

Seven is the number, but it was to be seven females and seven males.  So the number would be fourteen of each, one male and one female times seven.

“Trivial?” you say.   Perhaps, but I am trying to prove a point, which is, most people believe what they have been told without checking to see if what they have been told is what the Word of God really says.

In my thirty plus years in the ministry I have heard a lot of horror stories.  The most appalling of all was my being told that a preacher or priest told their congregation it was the priests job to interpret the Scriptures, and the layman’s job to simple accept what they said about the Scriptures. I hope you have not been victimized by that kind of thinking.

FACT:  Satan does not want you to read a King James Bible.  He wants you to read an NIV, ASV, RSV or Living Bible.  Why? Because there are many things in those Bibles that discredit or deny the Deity of Christ and deny that the shed blood of Christ is necessary for salvation.

I am sure the translators of those Bibles would disagree, but I challenge you to check some passages out for yourself. There are many examples of false statements or omitted statements, but I would challenge you to look at just one – Galatians 2: 16.  In a King James Bible it reads: “Knowing that a man is NOT justified by the works of the law, but by the faith OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified BY the faith OF Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified”

Other translations change the words “faith of Christ” to read “faith in Christ.” The implication being that it is your faith that saves you and not Christ’s faith. (I detail this in my booklet, Faith of Christ.) But you nor I can do anything to be saved.  Jesus did it all. It was His willingness to go to the cross, shed his blood for sin, knowing (His faith) that God would raise Him from the dead, thereby justifying the sinner in resurrection.

Enough of that for now, let’s get back to the study of Noah.

Genesis 7: 6: And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of the waters was upon the earth.”

Genesis 5: 32: “And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham and Japheth.

It is not clear from these verses what amount of time elapsed from the day that Noah was given instructions to build it and the time he actually entered the ark, but it was obvious that the ark was not constructed in a few months time. If it was 100 years, can you image the ridicule Noah and his sons must have faced when trying to explain what they were doing.

When I was younger, Bill Cosby, a very good comedian, did a dialog on that subject.  I do not remember it as he gave it, but the general thought was something like the following.

GOD:  Noah?

NOAH: Yes, Lord.

GOD: I want you to do something for me.

NOAH: What would that be, Lord?
GOD: I want you to build me an ark.

NOAH: Okay, what’s an ark?

GOD: It’s a big boat that can float on the water.

NOAH: Why am I going to need a big boat that can float on the water?

GOD: Because it is going to rain for 40 days and 40 nights and there will be no more ground to stand on.

NOAH: Okay, what’s rain?

GOD: Rain is water that falls down from the sky.

NOAH: And where is all this water hiding?

GOD: I have some of it frozen and some in some lakes behind the clouds.

NOAH: Okay, what does the word frozen mean?

And on and on the conversation goes.  Cosby talks about housing the animals, etc.  But the point I want to emphasize here is that it had never rained prior to the flood. God used other means to water the ground.

Genesis 2: 6: “But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.”

So, we have Noah building this ark and drawing a lot of attention, I am reasonably sure, because this was a big boat. The instructions and dimensions of it are detailed in Genesis 6: 14-16.

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.  And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.  A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second and third stories shalt thou make it.”

Just how big was the ark? It was very long and very wide and was three stories high. A cubit was approximately 21 inches.  This would make the ark 525 feet long, 87 feet and 6 inches wide and 52 feet and 6 inches high.

In McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, they say this ark was larger than the largest British man-of-war.  They go on to say that Solomon’s temple, the proportions being listed in 1 Kings 6: 2, was the same height as the ark, but only one-fifth in length and less than half the width.

I do not know how long it took Noah to build this ark, but I do know that in all those years he never convinced one person to believe that there was imminent danger of their dying. Think about it.  It is possible that Noah preached for 80-100 years and never had one convert.

“Incredible,” you say?

Not to me. As each year passes by, I become more aware that there are far more people who are not interested in hearing the truth than there are people who believe the truth.

The United States of American was intended to be a haven for people who were persecuted for their belief in God, eternity, heaven and hell.  For years it was the largest Christian nation in the world.  But in 1951, statistics showed there were more people who did not call themselves Christian than there were those who did. And the number of professing Christians has gone downhill from that time to the present.

Yes, there are many that say they believe in God, but do not call themselves Christians.  For to be a Christian, one must believe that Christ is the Son of God and that no man can ever see God except they believe Christ is who He said He was – the Son of God and the very God.

John 1: 1-2:  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.”

John1: 14:  “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

John 14: 6-7: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.”

 John 14: 9:  “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”

I am acquainted with a number of very good, very moral and very kind non-professing Christians.  Some of them believe that there was a Jesus and that He was a great prophet; but they do not think it necessary to believe He was God or the Son of God, or that they must acknowledge that fact if they want to see God in the afterlife. I do!

Yes, I am a product of my upbringing, which was Christian.  But when I attained the age of thirty-three, I began to question what I believed.  And over the next four to six years I began to study the beliefs of Christians, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Christian Scientist, Jehovah’s Witness and others. The more I studied other religious beliefs, the more I became convinced that the Christian faith was the one faith that made sense and was more believable.

But I also learned that the Baptist faith, of which I had been a part for 38 or 39 years, did not fulfill my desire to grow in a deeper understanding of God and His Word. With information from many great men of God, I began to see the plan of God unfolding with such clarity I could hardly contain myself.  It was then I realized that God was calling me to teach what I was learning (I am still learning more and more each year and I have been teaching since 1972.) I left a successful business and moved away from a town I called home to a new place that later became home.

This booklet is an overview of that which I have learned and which I now call The Plan of God: Rightly Divided. It is through the study of right division that will enable those who search for the truth to find the real and living God with clarity.

Getting on the ark

So we have Noah building this great big ark.  Then one day a parade of animals began their journey to the place the ark was parked.  Remember Genesis 6: 20 stated the animals would come to Noah to keep them alive.  Before this happened, Noah and his family had already stored the food necessary to sustain the animals and his family for the required days of confinement.

The day finally came for which he had been preparing these many years. Genesis 7: 1:  “And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.”

Genesis 7: 16: “And they that went in, went in male and female of all the flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him up.”

Genesis 7: 23-24:  “Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.”

Notice the words of verse 16, “and the Lord shut him up.”

God closed the door.  This is an example of the security of a believer who trusts in the Lord. The Lord God closed the door and thus guaranteed all in the ark would live through the trials of the flood.  When God saves a sinner, He gives them a guarantee of life with Him in eternity.

How long were Noah and his entourage on the ark?

 1.  Noah entered the ark in the 600th year of his life.  Genesis 7: 6 On the 17th day of the second month it began to rain. Genesis 7: 11

 2.  “…the same days were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.” 

 3.  Genesis 7: 11-12.“And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.”  Genesis 7: 18-20

 4.  In the seventh month, or 150 days after the rain began it stopped raining. Genesis 7: 24; 8: 1-2. And the water started to drop.

 5.  The ark rested in the 17th day of the seventh month on top of Mt. Ararat. Genesis 8: 4.

 6.  “And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month, on the first day of the month were the tops of the mountains seen.” Genesis 8: 5

 7.  Forty days later, Noah opens the windows. Genesis 8: 6

 8.  Noah releases a raven, then he released a dove “… to see if the waters were abated.” Genesis 8: 7-8. But the dove returned with no evidence it had. Verse 9.

 9.  Seven days later he sends a dove out once more and the dove came back with an olive leaf. Genesis 8: 10-11.

10.  He stayed another seven days , sent a dove, and the dove did not return. Verse12/

11.  On the first day of the first month of Noah’s 601st year, Noah removed the covering of the ark and saw that the earth was dry. Verse 13.

12.  On the 27th day of the second month the earth was completely dry and Noah comes out of the ark,  (Verses 14-16)  having been on the ark for one year and ten days.

 

 

——————– 10 ——————-

 

A New Beginning
There are seven days in a week, and then you begin a new week.

There are seven notes in an octave, do, re, me, fa, so, la,  ti,  and then you start over again with do.

The number 8 is considered to be the number of resurrection or a new beginning.  Eight people went into the ark and thus begin to repopulate the earth:

Noah and his wife
Shem and his wife
Ham and his wife and
Japheth and his wife
The very first thing that Noah did, once off the ark, was to erect an altar of sacrifice.  Genesis 8: 31:  “And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.” 

The lord having smelled a sweet savour, made a pledge.  Genesis 8: 21-22:
“And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

Then the Lord blessed Noah and his sons and established some rules. Genesis 9: 1-5: “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. ”

The last part of the fifth verse is another first. “at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.” This is the prerequisite of establishing courts and capital punishment for a person who kills another person. Genesis 9: 6: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”
The Noahic Covenant

Genesis 9: 9-17

9.)  And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
10.) And with every living creature that [is] with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.
11.) And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
12.) And God said, This [is] the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that [is] with you, for perpetual generations:
13.) I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
14.) And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
15.) And I will remember my covenant, which [is] between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16.) And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that [is] upon the earth.
17.) And God said unto Noah, This [is] the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that [is] upon the earth.

The covenant promises that there will never be another flood of this magnitude again, and every time you see a rainbow in the sky that is evidence I will keep my promise.

Genesis 9: 19: “These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.”  The Hebrew word for overspread is naphats – to scatter, disperse, overspread, be scattered. I mention this to emphasize that the descendents of Shem, Ham and Japheth populated the whole of the earth.

Noah proceeds to do what God called him to do, be a husbandman. The same thing God licensed his great grandfather, many times removed, to do. He planted a vineyard.  The vineyard produced grapes and Noah made wine form the grapes, got drunk, took off all his clothes and went to sleep – naked.

That may not sit well with some, but I only write what I read from the Bible. “And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. Genesis 9: 20-21.

There was nothing wrong in all that Noah did, but something wrong happened.
“And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.” Genesis 9: 22-24.

“Why do you say something wrong happened?” you may ask.

Look at the next verse. “And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.”  Something wrong had to have happened or otherwise, why the pronouncing of a curse?

“But why did Noah curse Canaan, the son of Ham.  He didn’t do anything, did he?”  You ask. The answer is, “no he didn’t.”

But remember Genesis 9: 1?  “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.”  God had blessed Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth.  And when God blesses, his righteousness will not allow Him to undo the blessing.  So the curse falls on the eldest son of Ham, which is Canaan. (Genesis 9: 22)

“It doesn’t seem fair.” You say.

“Who am I to question what God deems fair?”

“ But what was the transgression that is the cause of the curse?”  You ask.

That is the subject of much speculation.  I will give you two of the most used thoughts on the subject. Let’s look at Scripture.

“None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 18: 6.

“Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!” Habakkuk 2: 15.

So when Noah awakens from sleeping off his drunk, he knows Ham has done something. “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.” Genesis 9: 24.

“Was that “something” simply uncovering his father to observe his nakedness?” I do not know.

“Or,  was that “something” implying there was some physical action that had taken place between Ham and his father?” I do not know that either.

There are some who subscribe to the theory that Ham is the first homosexual mentioned in the Bible. Maybe he is, and maybe he isn’t. But I do think that a “woe is he” is not as serious as a curse.

Whatever Ham did, Noah saw fit to curse his son, Canaan. Genesis 9: 25-27.

25.) And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26.) And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27.) God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

The curse carried with it a burden that would be hard for anyone to endure – that of being a slave to his uncle Shem and his uncle Japheth. This curse would be passed on to all the descendants of Canaan, many of whom were very evil in nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

——————– 11 ——————-

 

Nimrod and the Tower of Babel
One of Ham’s descendants was Nimrod, who was the son of Cush. Nimrod established the empire of Babylon.

Genesis 11: 1-9:

1.) “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
2.) And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
3.) And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.
4.) And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top [may reach] unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
5.) And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
6.) And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
7.) Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
8.) So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
9.) Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”

The people of Babylon are remembered for building the Tower of Babel. But I want you to remember that Nimrod, the Son of Cush, the son of Canaan, the one who was cursed by his grandfather Noah, founded it.

I also want you to remember what we discussed about these descendants – they were always rebellious toward God.

Genesis 11 begins with a declaration – all people spoke one language. Babel or Babylon was the ancient site and/or capital of Babylonia (modern day Hillah) which was situated on the Euphrates river. The Hebrew word – Babel – means confusion (by mixing.)

It seems that Cush, Canaan and his descendants were wanderers, not having any permanent housing until they came to Shinar.  It was in the plain of Shinar that they begin to establish a permanent residence. In verse three, they  proceeded to make brick.

This marks the beginning of world development after the flood and also the first notation of man rebelling against God. It starts with verse three.  Instead of using stone, they “substitute” something man-made, brick, for their outside walls.

“And what is wrong with brick?” you ask.

Nothing, but in order to understand why God confounded their language (V. 7) and scattered them over the face of the known earth, (Vs. 8-9) we need to see the spiritual significance of their act. You will learn, as you read the Scriptures, that Babylon was know for having much luxury, and many of its citizenry were famous for effeminacy as well as self-indulgence. Babylon, the city of the present evil world, as it became to be known, was not known for its love of God.

So why do you suppose the people of the region wanted to build a tower so high that the top of the tower would reach unto heaven? (V. 4)  I can name at least three reasons.

1. Pride – top to reach to heaven
2. Vain glory – “Let us make us a name.”
3. Determination to stay together – “lest we be scattered abroad.” (V. 4).

You will recall that pride was the reason for Lucifer’s fall, and pride was the downfall of many others and will be the downfall of many more. The fact remains, that because of their thoughts and actions, God scattered the people over the face of all the earth.

Lesson: Pride is the number one item on God’s hate list.

“Wait a minute,” you say.  “God does not have a hate list.  My pastor/priest tells me that God is a God of love.”

And they would be correct in that statement.  But God is much more than a God of love.  He hates some things.  Take a look for yourself.

 
Proverbs 6: 16-19

These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Tell me, is a proud look another thing for pride?  Of course it is.  The verse says that there are seven things that God hates and are abominations unto Him. Abomination in the Hebrew is – towebah – a disgusting or wicked thing.  Let’s look at them one-by-one.

1. A proud look
2. A lying tongue
3. Hands that shed innocent blood
4. A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations
5. Feet that are swift in running to mischief
6. A false witness, and
7. He who sows discord among brethren

You will notice that I have underlined numbers 2, 6 and 7.  Why?  Because all three deal with the tongue or with saying words. God hates liars, people who say false things about others, and the busy-bodies of this world that are quick to run and tell something they heard about to someone else, without checking to see if it is true or not. Down south, we call these people “biddies.”

“That old biddy said this and that old biddy said that. Don’t they have anything better to do than spread dirt about any and everybody?” we say.

The answer is, “no, they do not.”

Why? Because they think if they can spread enough dirt on others, people will not see the dirt in their own house.  Sooner or later it will all come out in the open.  But in the meantime, old biddies have ruined someone’s reputation by sowing discord among the brethren.

What can you do to stop the spread of this viscous form of character assignation? You can refuse to allow your ears to be the dumping ground for someone else’s garbage.

As bad as the things associated with the tongue are, God hates pride most of all.. So, God scattered the people of Babylon abroad upon the face of all the earth.

 

 

——————– 12 ——————-
Abram – Abraham

Genesis 11: 27-32:

27.) Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.
28.) And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.
29.) And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife [was] Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.
30.) But Sarai was barren; she had no child.
31.) And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.
32.) And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.

Genesis 12: 1-5

1.) Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2.) And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3.) And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
4.) So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
5.) And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

From the verses in Genesis Chapter Eleven, we discover:
1) That Abram’s father was Terah,
2) That he had a brother named Haran who had a son name Lot.
3) That Abram took Sari as his wife and she was barren.
4) That Terah, when he was 205 years old,  took Abram, Sari and Lot from Ur of Chaldees to the land of Canaan and to a place called Haran. Terah died in Haran.

From the verses in Genesis 12 we learn:
1.) The lord told Abram to get out of the country and away from his father’s people and his father’s house.
2.) God gave no specific destination in the orders to go, Abram was to go until the Lord told him to stop.
3.) God told Abram that He would bless him, make his name great, and that he would be a blessing.
4.) God also said He would bless those who blessed Abram and curse those who cursed him.
5.) Then God said that in Abram all the families of the earth would be blessed.
6.) Abram left his father’s land and took Sari and Lot with him. He was 75 years old when he left on his journey.

Abram left Haran and journeyed south to the place of Sichem in the plain of Moreh. (Genesis 12: 6) We are also told that the Canaanites were already living in the land, but the Lord appeared unto Abram and told him He was going to give Abram that land, so Abram built an altar unto the Lord. (Genesis 12: 7)

Leaving that spot, Abram went unto a mountain and pitched his tent, Beth-el on the west and Hai on the east, he also another altar and talked to the Lord. (Genesis 12: 8)

Journeying even father south he found there was a famine in the land, so Abram went into Egypt, but before entering into Egypt he was afraid the Egyptians might kill him if they knew Sari was his wife, for Sari was a very beautiful woman.  So Abram told her he would say she was his sister, fearing what might happen.

Sure enough, when they entered into Egypt Sari’s beauty was noticed and she was brought to Pharaoh’s house. Pharaoh treated Abram well because of Sari, giving Abram sheep, oxen, he asses, menservants, maidservants, she asses and camels.

Plagues abounded shortly after Abram entered into Egypt. Pharaoh realized that Sari was Abram’s wife and called Abram before him and dressed him down for the deceit and sent him on his way with all the possessions that were given him. (Genesis 12: 9-20)

When Abram left Egypt with Sari and Lot he was a very rich man. He went back to Beth-el and Hai, where he had previously pitched his tent and to where he had built the altar, and called upon the Lord again. Before they left Egypt, Lot had amassed a fortune too.  Fearing the land could not provide for them all, Abram suggested that Lot choose what portion of the land he wanted and he would take the rest.

Lot looked at the plain of Jordan with its abundance of water and choose that for himself. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan and Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom. (Genesis 13: 1-12)

Genesis 13: 13-18

13.) But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly
14.) And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:
15.) For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
16.) And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
17.) Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
18.) Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord.

Once Lot left, God told Abram to look to the north, south, east and west.  “All that you can see will I give you,” said the Lord. “And I will multiply your seed.” Abram picked up his tent and moved to Mamre in the land of Hebron and pitched his tent and built an altar.

A battle over Sodom and Gomorrah occurs and the reigning kings over them were defeated. The victors took all the goods of the land and took Lot, the nephew of Abram with them. Word gets back to Abram about what had happened, so he arms 318 men born in his household and pursued the conquerors by night, killing them all and bringing back all the goods which had been taken. 

Melchizedek

Genesis 14: 18-20: “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.”

  Here is another first in Scripture.  It is the first time Melchizedek is mentioned.

“Who was Melchizedek?” you ask.

1. He was king of Salem and priest of the Most High God to whom Abram paid tithe after the battle he fought to free Lot;  and
2. According to Psalms 110: 4: “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”  the order of Melchizedek is the order of the priesthood to which Christ belongs.

In Hebrews 7: 1-4 we read this about the man. (The name has been Anglicized in the New Testament and is spelled Melchisedec.) “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.”

The priesthood of Melchizedek is a higher order than the priesthood of Aaron. He is mentioned but twice in the Old Testament, but the Book of Hebrews says he is a type of the Messiah, of the seed of David. (Hebrews 5:6, 10; 6: 20; 7: 1-21.)

It is interesting, don’t you think, that he is both a priest and a king, just as Christ was,? Think about what Hebrews 7: 1 says: “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;”  He was given the title of “priest of the most High God.” A title not even given to father Abraham. So, Melchizedek was superior to Abraham and his priesthood was superior to Levi and his descendants.

Melchizedek had no predecessors and did not pass on the priesthood to any successors. We do not know where he came from nor if he ever departed, but he was made like the Son of God and remains a priest forever.  He was so great, that the patriarch Abraham paid tribute to him, giving him one tenth of all his goods.
The Abrahamic Covenant

Genesis 15: 1-18

1.) “After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
2.) And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house [is] this Eliezer of Damascus?
3.) And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
4.) And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
5.) And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
6.) And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
7.) And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.
8.) And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
9.) And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.
10.) And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.
11.) And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.
12.) And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
13.) And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
14.) And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
15.) And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
16.) But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
17.) And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.
18.) In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

There is a dialog between Abram and God in the first four verses of this chapter.  God promised a reward.  Abram questions it because he and Sari are childless and Abram fears his heir will be the steward of his household. God assures him that would not be so.

In verse five, God has Abram look up at the stars of heaven and declares that Abram’s seed will be impossible to number. Then in verse six we see another first. “And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”  The words “he believed in the Lord” means to trust.  So Abram trusted the Lord or had faith in God, and God counted that trust (faith in Him) for righteousness. 
I want to be perfectly clear on this issue.  It was not Abraham’s faith that saved him it was Abraham’s faith in God that saved him. Let me direct your attention to a verse of Scripture that is overlooked by many on this subject.

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Galatians 2: 16.

Paul also wrote the following.

“Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (Galatians 3: 6)

“But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” Galatians 3:11 (A quote from Habakkuk  that said his faith – look.)

“Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by His faith.” Habakkuk 2: 4. I believe that this is the faith of Christ as Paul recorded in Galatians 2: 16. (For more detailed information on the subject, read the author’s booklet, Faith of Christ.)

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3

“Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.” Romans 4: 9.

Abraham believed God was going to provide a sacrifice for sin, and God counted that for righteousness. It is the same faith he displayed when God tempted him to offer Isaac for a burnt offering.

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Genesis 22: 1-2

But notice what Abraham said:

“And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Genesis 22: 5.  You will notice that Abraham said that he and the lad would come again, indicating he would be coming back soon.

Now look at Isaac’s question and Abraham’s response to the question.

“And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” Genesis 22: 7-8

Isaac was familiar with offering sacrifices and asked his father where the lamb to be offered was.  Abraham said “God will provide himself a lamb.”  Abraham was not thinking about the ram that miraculously appeared, but the Son of God, the Lamb of God, that would appear on earth as the ultimate sacrifice.

Abraham’s faith was far more than thinking an animal sacrifice was the answer to sin’s problem.  Abraham believed God would provide a sacrifice that would satisfy His righteousness and Abraham’s faith (belief) in God was counted unto him for righteousness.

The covenant confirmed: Genesis 22:15-18:
15 And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————13————————-
Isaac 

Jacob

Before Abraham died he made arrangements with his servant to go and seek a wife for Isaac in the land of his father. Isaac married Rebekah.

Genesis 25:
19 And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begat Isaac:
20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.
21 And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord.
23 And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.
Rebekah had two boys, as was promised her by the Lord. God also told her that Esau, the eldest, would be a servant to Jacob, the youngest. The rule of law of that day and time was that the eldest son would receive the blessings of his father, but in this instance, God went against that rule, for in Genesis 26: 1-5 we read:
1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.
2 And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

In the passages above, God confirms the covenant he made with Abraham to be passed on to Isaac.  But the blessing that was to be passed on to Jacob would take a little help from the Lord.

Isaac loved Esau and when he grew old and neigh unto death, he asked his favorite son to go out to the field, kill a deer and cook it for him before he blessed him. Rebekah overheard him and went to Jacob and told him to go get two kid goats and bring them to her so that she could fix a meal for Isaac who would in turn bless Jacob.

Jacob realized there was a problem, Esau was a very hairy man and Jacob wasn’t. He was afraid his father would know of the deception and thereby bring a curse upon him. But Rebekah assured Jacob that the curse would be upon her. Isaac was almost blind and Rebekah knew she could pull off the scheme she had contrived to do. So she told Jacob, “You do as I say and all will be well.”

Just before the food was ready to be offered to Isaac, Rebekah took some clothes of Esau and put them on Jacob, and she put the skins of the goats on his hand and neck before Jacob presented himself to his father. Genesis 27: 22-29:
22 And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.
23 And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands: so he blessed him.
24 And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.
25  And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank.
26 And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son.
27 And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed:
28 Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:
29 Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed [be] every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.

So Jacob received the blessing of his father.  But before long Esau came and presented himself before his father and to receive the blessing. Isaac realized that he had been deceived but he knew he could not take back the blessing he had given. And Esau hated Jacob and plotted in his heart to kill him. These words were told to Rebekah and she sent for Jacob and had him go to her brother Laban to live. Look at Genesis 28: 10-19

10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
13 And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.
17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city as called Luz at the first.
 
And so the Abrahamic covenant is now passed from Isaac to Jacob., and in the passages above we see the sevenfold blessings given unto him.
1. V. 13 – God declares He is his God
2. V. 13 – God gives Jacob the land where he lies
3. V.15 – God declares He is with Jacob
4. V.15 – That He will keep him
5. V.15 – Bring him back to the land
6. V. 15 – That He will not leave him, and
7. V.15 – He would stay with him until he had done all He promised.

Jacob arose from his sleep and took the stone he had used for his pillow, poured oil upon it and called the place Beth-el. Then Jacob vowed that he would give a tenth of all his possessions to the Lord.  Jacob would work for his mother’s brother for many years, would eventually married three of his daughters, but Rachel was his one true love and would be the wife to whom Joseph would be born and from whose loins would be passed the inheritance of the Lord.
Changing the Name Jacob to Israel

23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had
24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

The Lord did bless Jacob, and He honored Jacob and the 12 tribes of Israel are from him and his seed. Look at Genesis 35: 23-26:

23 The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun:
24 The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin:
25 The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin:
26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram.

These are the twelve sons of Jacob and his three wives, but they are not the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph is not one of the tribes but two of his sons will be. Levi was the linage from whom the priest would come and his seed would dwell among all the tribes in their priestly capacity.
________ 14 ________
Joseph

We are first introduced to Joseph in Genesis 30: 22-24:
22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:
24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.

But the story of Joseph begins in Genesis 37

1 And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.
2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he [was] the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:
7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
The dream, of course is what will really happen a few years hence, but at the time at only increased the hate that Joseph’s brothers had for him. Let’s continue the story.

11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
12 And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem.
13 And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.
14 And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.
15 And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was]wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou?
16 And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.
17 And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.
18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.
19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.
20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.
22 And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.
23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;
24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.
26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?
27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.
28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.
So, this is how Joseph wound up in Egypt. But it is not the end of the story of deceit.  His brothers had to contrive a story to tell their father, or else be blamed for treachery.  Once they sell Joseph, Reuben determines what they will tell their father.

29 And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.
30 And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?
31 And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
32 And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.
33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.
36 And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard.

Now Joseph finds himself in the home of the captain of Pharaoh’s guards.
 
Genesis 39: 2-6:
2 And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.
5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.
6 And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.

About this time, Potiphar’s wife “cast her eye” on Joseph and tried to get him to take her to bed; but Joseph refused to do so because it would be a sin against God.  Potiphar’s wife did not give up that easily, so when all of the servants were out of the house she grabbed him and asked him once again to lie with her. This time he ran from her, but she had grabbed his outer garment and he left it there. This gave the scorned female the opportunity to discredit Joseph, so when the servants returned, she said Joseph had tried to lie with her. When Potiphar came home, he believed the lie of his wife and had Joseph placed in prison where the king’s prisoners were kept.

The Scripture says, the Lord was with him still.

Genesis 39: 20-23:

20 And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.
21 But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it.
23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.

Before too long two of the king’s servants, the butler and the baker, offended the king and he had them committed to prison and Joseph was charged with taking care of them. Before long both of them dreamed a dream.  When Joseph came to them the morning after the dream, they were very sad. Joseph asked them why?

Genesis 40: 7-23:
7 And he asked Pharaoh’s officers that were with him in the ward of his lord’s house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day?
8 And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
9 And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me;
10 And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes:
11 And Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.
12 And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days:
13 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler.
14 But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house:
15 For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.
16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head:
17 And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.
18 And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days:
19 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.
20 And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants.
21 And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand:
22 But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.
23 Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.

Two years after Joseph had interpreted the butler’s dream, Pharaoh had  dreams and called all the magicians of Egypt and all the wise men and told them his dream and asked them to interpret them, but they could not.  So, the butler tells Pharaoh that Joseph could interpret dreams . Pharaoh sent for Joseph.

Genesis 41:

14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.
15 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.
16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.
17 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river:
18 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow:
19 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness:
20 And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine:
21 And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning. So I awoke.
22 And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good:
23 And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them:
24 And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me.

After Pharaoh told the dream to Joseph, then Joseph gave him what God had revealed.

25 And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.
26 The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one.
27 And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are  seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.
28 This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh.
29 Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt:
30 And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land;
31 And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous.
32 And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; [it is] because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.
33 Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.
34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years.
35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities.
36 And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.

Pharaoh realizes that Joseph is the man to head this program and gave him his ring and dressed him in the finest clothes and made him ruler over all Egypt. He then gave Joseph an Egyptian name and a wife, who was the daughter of a priest. Joseph was thirty years old when all this happened.

Joseph then went throughout all the land of Egypt gathering and storing food. He gathered so much corn that he finally quit counting it because the harvest was so plentiful..  During these seven years of plenty Joseph fathered two sons. The first born he named Manasseh and the second son he named Ephraim.

When the era of famine came upon the land, the people of Egypt cried out to Pharaoh for help and Joseph open the storehouses and sold them the goods he had stored during the seven good years. Soon, other countries heard about food for sale and they came to Egypt to buy it.

Jacob, the father of Joseph, heard there was corn in Egypt and sent ten sons there to purchase food. He would not allow Benjamin, Joseph’s younger brother, to go with them because he was afraid that some mischief might befall him. When they came they bowed down to Joseph. Joseph recognized them but they did not recognize him.

He spoke roughly with them and called them spies, remembering the dream he had that caused all the problems with his kin. They denied they were spies and stated that they were all one man’s sons. They are called spies again and this time they say “Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold the youngest is this day with our father, and the one is not.” Genesis 42: 13.

Joseph continued to call them spies and said that one of them would have to stay in prison while the others went back to bring the younger brother to prove their story was true. Joseph gave them corn and put their money they paid for the food in the sacks and sent them on their way. On their way home they stopped at an Inn and one of them discovered the money Joseph had put in the bag. Fear overcame them.

When they arrived at their home, they told Jacob all they had encountered and about the money.  Jacob (now named Israel) and the brothers were filled with fear. Israel refused to let them take Benjamin back but when all the corn had been eaten they were faced with the situation of having to go back to Egypt. Judah steps up and tells Israel he will be personally liable for the return of Benjamin and so Israel relents and they go with plenty of money and gifts. Before long they stood before Joseph again.

Genesis 43: 16-33:
16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon.
17 And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house. And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses.
18 And they came near to the steward of Joseph’s house, and they communed with him at the door of the house,
19 And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food:
20 And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand.
21 And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks.
22 And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them.
23 And the man brought the men into Joseph’s house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender.
24 And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there.
25 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth.
26 And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?
27 And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.
28 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son.
29 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.
30 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.
31 And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.
32 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another.
33 And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin’s mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him.
Joseph plots against his brothers.

Genesis 44: 1-13:
1 And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man’s money in his sack’s mouth.
2 And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack’s mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.
3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses.
4 And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good?
5 Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing.
6 And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words.
7 And they said unto him, Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing:
8 Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord’s house silver or gold?
9 With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord’s bondmen.
10 And he said, Now also let it be according unto your words: he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless.
11 Then they speedily took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened every man his sack.
12 And he searched, and began at the eldest, and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.
13 Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city.

Realizing they could not go back home without Benjamin, they go back into town and to Joseph’s home, where they fell down before him on the ground. Judah pleaded with him not to keep Benjamin as his servant as it would kill their father. Judah said, “Let me take the boys place.”  Then Joseph could not stand it any longer.

Genesis 45: 1-14:

1 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.
2 And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.
3 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I [am] Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
9 Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not:
10 And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast:
11 And there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty.
12 And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you.
13 And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither.
14 And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck.

 When Pharaoh heard that Joseph’s brothers were in town he said they should go back to Canaan and get there father and bring him back to Egypt, where he would make sure they would be taken care of.  They go, laden down with goods and wagons, and Israel rejoices that his son is alive and goes to Egypt.

God spoke to Israel in a dream and told him to not worry about going to Egypt.  God said, “I will go down with thee into Egypt.” Genesis 46: 4. And they took their cattle and all their goods and came into Egypt, all sixty-six of them. If you include Joseph and his family,  the total of the household of Israel was seventy. When Joseph knew of their coming, he made ready his chariot and went to meet Israel, his father.

In the course of time Israel knew that his death was near and Joseph came to him with his two son.  Israel blessed Joseph and the boys, but he placed his right hand on the youngest, Ephraim.  When Joseph attempted to correct him, Israel said he knew what he was doing and that Ephraim would be greater than Manasseh.

Then Jacobs (Israel) called all his sons together and gave them his prognostication of the events that would transpire. He gave up the ghost and Joseph had his father embalmed and mourned him for forty days. And when the days of his mourning was past, Joseph went to Pharaoh and asked to take his father back to Canaan for final burial. Joseph then returned to Egypt and died and was buried there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
_______ 15 _______
Moses

After Joseph died, there arose a new king over Egypt who didn’t know Joseph. He reviewed the situation at hand and determined that the children of Israel were more and mightier than they. So he determined  to set taskmasters over them to inflict harm on them.  But that didn’t work and the children of Israel multiplied as the punishment increased.

The king devised a plan with two of the Hebrew midwives to kill any male child born unto them. But these midwives feared God and did not do as the king said and saved the men children. They said that Hebrew women were more lively than Egyptian women and therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the Israelites continued to multiply.

“And Pharaoh charged all his people saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.” (Exodus 1: 22)

Exodus 2 marks the beginning of the well known story of Moses. A daughter of Levi conceived and bare a son and managed to hide him for three months. As he grew it became evident that she could no longer keep his birth a secret, so she made an ark of bulrushes, laid Moses among the brush near the bank of the river with his sister standing near by to see what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to the river to take a bath and spotted the ark and told her maids to fetch it to her. When she opened it she discovered the baby and saw that the baby was crying. She had compassion on the child even though she knew that it was one of the Hebrew’s children. The sister of the baby asked the daughter of Pharaoh if she could call for a nurse of the Hebrew women, to which she said yes.

The sister returned with the child’s mother, who was to nurse the child and be paid for doing so. The child grew and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son, and she called his name Moses.

When Moses was grown he went and saw the tremendous burdens inflicted on the Hebrews.  Then he spotted one of the Egyptians hitting someone.  Seeing that there was no one around, Moses killed the man and buried him in the sand.

The very next day he went to observe his brethren and spotted two of them fighting.  He asked the one who seemed to have the upper hand, why was he fighting? This gave cause for the man to ask, “Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? Intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian?” Exodus 2: 14.
When Pharaoh heard about the incident, he decided that he was going to kill Moses, but Moses ran off to the land of Midian. As he sat by a well, the daughters of the priest came by to draw water for their flocks.  The shepherds drove them away, but Moses stood up and helped them water their flock. When they returned quicker than normal, their father asked how this could be? They told them and he asked them why they had not asked the man to dinner.

Moses did come for dinner and stayed for a long time. Reuel, the priest, gave Moses one of his daughters, Zipporah, to be his wife. In due time she conceived and bare him a son, who he named Gershom. And it came to pass that the king of Egypt died and they cried unto God about their being in bondage.

Exodus 2: 24-25: “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.”

One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law and this happened..
2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
7 And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.
10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.
11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?
12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.
13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 
15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this [is] my memorial unto all generations. Exodus 3: 2-15.

Then God instructed Moses to gather all the elders of Israel and tell them what He was about to say, that He would take them out of Egypt unto a land flowing with milk and honey.  But first, you and the elders must go before the king of Egypt and say the Lord God of heaven has said to let His people go. Then God said, I am sure he will not do that but I will stretch out my hand and smite Egypt with all my wonders and he will let you go.

Moses doubted that the elders would not believe him, as a matter of fact he did not think they would listen to him. Look at Exodus 4: 2-8:

2 And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.
3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.
4 And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:
5 That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.
6 And the Lord said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.
7 And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.
8 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.
9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.

Moses begins to give reasons why God should get somebody else to do the job. First he said he was not an eloquent speaker, as a matter of fact, he said, I speak very slowly.

There are too many in Christendom today that produce excuses as to why they cannot do the will of God.  Isn’t it ironic though, they can always find a way to do the things that interest them, like mow the grass so they can putt a golf ball, etc.  Those who have a tendency to never get involved should pay attention to what God told Moses.

Genesis 4: 11: “And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?”

All things are possible with God.  There is nothing that God cannot do if He has a willing mind and body to do it for Him.  Isn’t it time that you quit saying I can’t do that and start saying, I’ll try?

But the Lord was compassionate with Moses and said that He would let Aaron, his brother, became the mouthpiece for Moses and that He would be with both of them in this matter. Before the Lord departed, He reminded Moses to always take his rod with him. So Moses took his wife and children and returned to Egypt, the Lord warning him ahead of time that he would harden Pharaoh’s heart.

Before too long Moses and Aaron went before Pharaoh and told him all the Lord had instructed them to say. Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” Exodus 5: 2.

In the course of time the burdens of the Israelites increased and they complained more than ever. Then the Lord told Moses to tell the children of Israel that He was going to bring them out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, free them from bondage, redeem them with great judgments and take them to Me for a people; and I will be to you a God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God. And I will bring you unto the land that I gave to Abraham, to Isaac and Jacob; and I will give it to you for an heritage.

So Moses, who was 80 years old, and Aaron , who was 83 years old went before Pharaoh. When Pharaoh asked them to show him a miracle, Aaron through the rod down before Pharaoh and his servants and it became a snake. Pharaoh gathered all his wise men and magicians and they chanted and cast down their rods, which became snakes also.  But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. This only hardened Pharaoh’s heat even more than before.

The next morning Moses was instructed to go down to the river where Pharaoh would be and to smith the water with his rod and the water would be turned into blood and all that was in the river would die. Pharaoh’s magicians did the same and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and would not do as Moses suggested, let his people go.

In the course of time there would be eleven other curses poured out on Egypt:
2 The river produced frogs in abundance, there were so many they entered into the people’s houses and into their beds.  The magicians produced the same thing. Pharaoh said to tell the Lord to get rid of the frogs and he would let the people go.  The Lord did, but Pharaoh didn’t do as he said.
3 Moses struck the dust of the land and lice appeared all over the land. The magicians could not do that so lice were upon all people and beast of the land. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened even more.
4 The next day as Pharaoh went down to the river Moses told him that if he didn’t let his people go the Lord would send swarms of flies into his house and into all the houses of the land.  He did not repent and it happened just as Moses said it would.
5 Then came the pestilence upon the animals and they all died except the cattle of the children of Israel.  Pharaoh’s heart was still hardened.
6 The Lord told Moses to take ashes out of the furnace and to through it up in the air and it would cause boils to break out  all over the people.
7 Then came hail and fire mingles with hail and fell upon the people and the beast and upon the herbs until they were devastated.  But there was no hail in the land of the children of Israel.
8 Then the Lord smote the flax and barley, but the wheat and rye were spared.
9 Then came the locusts
10 Then came total darkness so that none could see
11 And last of all death came of the first born son of each household.  Only those who sprinkled blood on the side and top of the doors were spared.

This event became know as the Passover, for it was when the Lord passed through the land and spared those who observed the Passover. It is one of the three most sacred feast days for the Jews even unto this day.  It was to begin on April 10th and would be kept until the 14th day of the same month. Everyone was to take a lamb without blemish, a male of the first year.  They were to separate it from the sheep and goats for 3 days and then the whole assembly of the congregation would kill it in the evening of the 14th day. Then they were to take the blood and strike it on the two side post and the upper door post of the house, and then eat the meat.

Then on the 14th day they were to eat unleavened bread until April 21, or seven days.  This is know as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. There was to be no leavened bread in the house these seven days.

In the morning after the Lord passed over the land, all the people of Egypt cried out because of the deaths that had occurred, so Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron and told them to get their people out of Egypt. He also told them to take all their flocks, herds and goods and be gone.  The children of Israel had been in the land of Egypt for four hundred and thirty years before their exodus. And God led them, not the shortest way through the land of the Philistines, but through the wilderness of the Red Sea. Scripture says that Moses took the bones of Joseph with them. (Exodus 13: 19) And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud and by night in a pillar of fire.

Not too long after the children of Israel left, Pharaoh sent the Egyptians after them and overtook them where they had set up camp by the sea. The majority of the people was afraid and began to complain to Moses. Moses speaks in Exodus 14: 13-14:

“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”

The Lord moved the cloud that was over the Israelites and place it behind them and in front of the Egyptian army so that neither side went near the other during the night.

“And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.” (Exodus 14: 21-22)

The Egyptians pursued the children of Israel but the Lord removed the wheels of the chariots and the Egyptians were afraid and determined to go back but the Lord told Moses to stretch out his hands again and the waters returned, killing all of the Egyptians.

The amazing part of this trek across the bottom of the sea was that Israel walked across on dry land, but when the Egyptians pursued their chariot wheels fell of in the mud. How powerful the Lord is.

The children of Israel were amazed at what happened and they feared the Lord and believed the Lord and his servant, for the moment.  But over the period of the next forty years they forgot this event and began to complain at every turn.  Isn’t that the way of most Christians today?  We love the Lord and fear Him after he has performed for us, but we soon forget what He has done and start our bickering back and forth with one another.

As they began their trek across the desert the lord told Moses that He would rain down bread from heaven for them.  He told Moses that the people were to gather a certain amount of this bread from heaven daily, just enough for that days’ meal; but on the sixth day they would gather enough bread for two days, because they should rest on the Sabbath.

In Exodus 16: 8, we see these words: “And Moses said, This shall be, when the Lord shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the Lord heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord.”

So in the evening the Lord sent an abundance of quail and after the dew evaporated, behold there lay a small round thing, and when the children of Israel saw it they said one to another, it is manna, because they did not know what it was. The word manna means, “What is it?”

Moses proceeded to instruct them that they should gather a liter of the bread for every man in the household or who resided in their tent. Scripture tells us that if they gathered too much or too little there was nothing left over and no one lacked what they needed to relieve their hunger. Those who tried to hold back some for the next day found that the bread was full of worms and it stank.

In Exodus Chapter seventeen the Bible records a significant event.

1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.
2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the Lord?
3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
4 And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.
5 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.
6 And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.
7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?
Moses smiting the rock is a picture of Christ dying.  In Numbers 20, the children of Israel are back in the same spot they were in Exodus 17. But on this occasion the Lord tells Moses to speak to the Rock. Let look at Numbers 20:  “Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.”

This is a picture of Christ in resurrection with the water representing blessing and strength.

Moses doesn’t do as the Lord tells him, he smites the rock as before in Exodus 17 and for this act of unbelief, the Lord tells Moses that he nor Aaron will enter into the promised land.. (Numbers 20:12).

But let us go back to the book of Exodus chapter 19:4-6.

4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Obedience to the words of the law was a command and to receive a blessing required doing something. I want you to notice the word “if.” In the passage.

If – ye obey my voice and keep my covenant,

Then – ye shall be a peculiar treasure, (v. 6) a kingdom of priest and an holy nation.

Remember with every positive statement there has to be a negative alternative.  In this instance it is:

If – ye do not obey my voice and keep my covenant,

Then – ye shall not be a peculiar treasure to me, nor a kingdom of priest and a holy nation.

Now look at Exodus 19: 16-20:

16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
20 And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.

The scene: Moses is about to go before the Lord to receive the ten commandments.  What is interesting to me is that the Law was being ushered in with fanfare, denoting its significance as well as its obligation. However, the Law was NOT the answer for all of mankind’s problems. Galatians says the Law was our schoolmaster and by the Law was the knowledge of sin, and the Law could never justify man of his sins.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 2: 24)

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Galatians 2: 11

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3: 20)

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. (Romans 7: 7)

So, according to the Scripture, we conclude that the law was never intended to be something that mankind was to keep, for the keeping of it was impossible.  The law was nothing more than a guideline, a schoolmaster, to show us that there had to be another solution for sin.

Look at what James says to Paul: “Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:” (Acts 15: 24)

Now look at what James says in the Book of James. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all”. (James 2: 10)

With all that said, let’s look at Exodus chapter 20, which is where God gives Moses the Ten Commandments, and let’s list them.

1. V.3 –Thou shalt have nom other gods before me.
2. V.4-6 – Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
3. V.7 – Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
4. V.8-11 – Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
5. V.12 – Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
6. V.13 – Thou shalt not kill.
7. V.14 – Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. V.15 – Thou shalt not steal.
9. V.16 – Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10. V.17 – Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
Listed below are the Ten Commandments that the Catholic Church recognizes.
1. I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. V. 1
(The second commandment in a King James Bible is found in verse 4, but this is omitted in the Catholic list. Why? Look for yourself. The verse says: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; the statue of the virgin Mary would be an abomination to God, therefore the Catholic religion has chosen to eliminate this commandment.)
2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain – V. 7
3. Remember thou keep the Sabbath Day. V. 8
4. Honor thy Father and thy Mother – V. 12
5. Thou shalt not kill. – V. 13
6. Thou shalt not commit adultery. V. 14
7. Thou shalt not steal. V. 15
8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. V. 16
9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife. V. 17
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods. V. 17
(The Catholic faith has chosen to break verse 17 into two commandments in order to make ten, thereby, seemingly being true to Scripture. Not so! Anyone who will take the time to study the words will see that this is wrong.) The second commandment is: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
So, the Catholic religion errs in their judgment on this matter. The reason God demanded that there be no graven images was because the heathen nations worshipped idols as their gods, and God is a jealous God. That is exactly what the first commandment states, and that is why God commanded no images be forged for the purpose of worship of any kind.
The abomination of desolation is an idol.  Why do you suppose the Lord called it abominable? He hares idols!
In Acts chapter nineteen we find the people of Ephesus at odds with the Apostle Paul and with his doctrine. These people, like the Corinthians, were worshippers of Diana, and the silversmiths of the region made their living by forging out idols of the goddess. Paul’s address on Mars Hill culminated with his saying, “For I passed by and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD, Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him I declare unto you.” Acts 17: 23.
God has always been opposed to the worshipping of any idol, and those who place Mary on an equal basis with the Lord Jesus Christ have made her a god, and the Lord God does not condone that.
After the Lord finished delivering the Ten Commandments to Moses, Scripture says, “the people saw the thunderings and lightnings, and the noise and the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.”  Then in verse 23 of Exodus 20, we see these words: “Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of Gold.” And that’s exactly what they did not many days hence in Exodus 31 and 32, to the displeasure of God Almighty.

Requirements for Priesthood
Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. They are known as the Septuagint.  In them are the basic instructions and laws pertaining to all aspects of the Jewish existence; and in Exodus Chapter twenty-nine we see the requirements for being a priest. This will be very important when we discuss the ministry of Jesus later on in this booklet. Exodus 29: 1-7:
1 And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest’s office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish,
2 And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them.
3 And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams.
4 And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.
5 And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod:
6 And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre.
7 Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
The first step in becoming a priest was that the person must be hallowed. (V. 1) The Hebrew word for hallowed is qadash, to be set apart, to consecrate, to be holy. Then they were to offer a sacrifice.
The passages tell us there are two rites that must be performed before an individual could become a priest: 1) be washed with water (V. 4) and 2) be anointed with oil (V. 7). The Hebrew word for wash is rachats, which means wash away.  To be washed was for the purpose of legal purification. Our English word, baptism, is a rite of purification or initiation. We will discuss baptism in great detail later on.
Moses was up on the mountain for a long time and the children of Israel began to complain to Aaron that he should make them idols to be their gods. So Aaron instructed them to bring all the earrings made of gold, and they made a golden calf, and the people said, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 32: 4)
When the leader is away the children pretend they are in charge. The very presence of Moses was a deterrent to this kind of activity that was taking place.  They had seen and heard Moses commune with God and they feared him, but not so with Aaron, who was but a mouthpiece for Moses. So the children made their own god. Self-righteousness is a lot like that, isn’t it?
Things were going well for the children of Israel up to this point.  They did not have to plow a field, plant seed or weed the garden.  God had provided bread and meat, what more did they need.  So, what’s the problem? They forgot who was providing the goods. They no longer “needed” God, or so they thought. Well, as you would expect, this angered the Lord God.  Look at what He told Moses: Exodus 32: 7- 10.
7 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves
8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
9 And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.
If you are one of those people who think that God is only a God of love, what do you think about this? True, God is a God of Love, but He is also a jealous God and is subject to anger.  The Hebrew word for wrath is ‘aph, which means anger, nostril, nose, face. The root word for wrath is ‘anaph, to be angry, to breath hard. God was so mad his nostrils flared in and out. You get the picture, don’t you? To put things in the vernacular of today, God was so mad he was fuming.
You don’t believe me, do you?  You think I have taken artistic liberty with the Scripture, don’t you? Well the Hebrew word for “wax hot” is charah, and means to be hot, furious, burn, become angry, and be kindled.
But Moses was the voice of reason and told the Lord it would not look good to the Egyptians to think that you brought them out of Egypt only to kill them. “And the Lord repented of the EVIL which He thought to do unto His people.” Exodus 32: 14. The Hebrew meaning for evil is exactly what it is in English – bad.
When Moses came down from the mountain he saw the calf and the people dancing and he was furious.  He took the calf they had made and melted it down and ground it to power.  Once he had done that he took the powder and put it on the water and made the people drink it. Then he turned to Aaron and asked him why he had done such a thing? Aaron’s reply was a classic “pass the buck” answer: “…Thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief” Exodus 32: 22.
Aaron sounds like a lot of parents today. “Oh, don’t be too hard on them, they’re just kids; and you know that kids will be mischievous at times.” There is a time to let kids be kids and there is a time when they must be what they should be. When it comes to worshipping God, children need to be taught that this is serious business.
I know what you are thinking, “If I do that they will hate God, not love Him.” America, in the year 2005, is a country where the majority of its children are out of control. They are allowed to do whatever they want to do without any fear of retribution from their parents. Why?  There are many reasons:
1. Too many parents are working too many hours away from the home.
2. They leave their children to take care of themselves, the older ones taking care of the younger ones, or
3. They put them in day care centers that have very little control over them.
4. There is a  discipline. 
 A. They do not get it in schools because the laws have prevented it. 
 B. They do not get it at home because the law might arrest the parents for “child abuse.”
And who is to blame for this happening?  We all are.  We have not gotten involved in the lawmaking process, we have not stood up to those who have suggested the ways of our parents are antiquated and we have allowed things to come into existence because we are too busy making money that we have neglected our obligations to vote our convictions
I am not saying that spanking is the only means of discipline.  I have seen the “time out” idea work on some children.  You as parents must use the discipline that works for your child, understanding that each child is different and must be disciplined differently.  Do what works, but for God’s sake do something.
My parents believed in spanking and I did not stop loving them because they did.  When I became an adult I loved them more than ever for I knew they did what they did out of love.  I grew to understand what they used to tell me, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.” As a child, I was known to say, “Oh, then why don’t you just whip yourself.” As you can imagine, that didn’t go over so well. But I knew what they meant after becoming a parent myself and having to discipline my own children.
I was not the greatest dad, I must admit. I am a hardheaded, stubborn individual.  I sometimes act without thinking, and that’s not good most of the time. I used to visit homes when I was a fulltime pastor and there were times I wanted to grab a child and shake him.  I would be invited over to discuss things but could never have enough peace and quite to do so, the children were too noisy. My children were respectful in the presence of visitors, not because they were abnormal children, but because of having been disciplined to be quiet when others were talking.
God disciplines His children and He expects us to discipline our children. Moses was red hot mad when he saw what was happening and he stood up before the people and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”  And the sons of Levi responded and stood with Moses. Three thousand people were killed that day, as instructed by Moses. After Moses told the people they had committed a great sin, he goes back up the mountain to make atonement for their sins.
When Moses spoke to God he confessed the people’s sin and then asked the Lord to forgive them, and if the Lord would not, He asked Him to blot out his name from the book of life. The Lord told him those who had committed the sin would be the ones who would be blotted out from the book. “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” Revelation 3: 5.
Because of their gross sin, the Lord said that he would not travel with the people lest He “consume them in the way”, but He said he would send an angel to drive out their enemies. The Lord spoke to Moses face to face and Moses wanted to know if he had found grace in His sight.  The Lord said yes. Moses said, what about the people, and the Lord said yes to that also. Then Moses boldly asked to see the Lord’s glory. And this is what the Lord said: Exodus 33: 19-23:
19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
21 And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
After this happened we see the record of the writing of the ten commandments on slabs of stone. There are a lot more things about Moses that we will not take time to discuss here, but he is a very special person to God and the Hebrew people as well.

 
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The Gospels
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
The word “Gospel” means good news. The four gospels are about the good news of Jesus Christ. Each of them depict Jesus in a different light:
 Matthew King of the Jews
 Mark Servant of God
 Luke Son of Man
 John Son of God
Even though each gospel presents Jesus in a different light, they all deal with His relationship with the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. On the time chart you will notice the Gospels fall under the heading of prophecy, and prophecy pertains to the Jews alone. The disciples preached a gospel which was called the gospel of the kingdom, a time when Christ would reign on earth as King. This is a period, as listed on the chart, that is known as “Time Past.”  You will notice that Matthew – John is presenting the King and His kingdom.
To understand the gospel of the kingdom we must go back to Genesis 12: 1-3:
1 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
If you understand that the Lord God intended that Israel should evangelize the world, you will get a better grasp of the overall plan of God for her. She was to be God’s mouthpiece – love her and be blessed, don’t love her and be cursed.
In Genesis 17: 1-11:
1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
I want you to see two things in the verses above: 1) This is an everlasting covenant between God, Abraham and the descendants of Abraham through the linage of Isaac and Jacob. 2) The physical circumcision was a sign that the people were the chosen of God.
In the book of Deuteronomy God defines the conditions for being blessed and being cursed. As you begin to read I want you look for the word “if” because that is an indication of some action that must be taken in order for the blessing to become a reality. Deuteronomy 28:
1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
7 The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.
8 The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
9 The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.
10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee.
11 And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
12 The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
13 And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
And then he lists the curses that counteract the blessing listed above.
In 1 Chronicles 17: 8-14 we read about the 1,000 millennial reign of Christ on earth: 
8 And I have been with thee whithersoever thou hast walked, and have cut off all thine enemies from before thee, and have made thee a name like the name of the great men that are in the earth.
9 Also I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the beginning,
10 And since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel. Moreover I will subdue all thine enemies. Furthermore I tell thee that the Lord will build thee an house.
11 And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom.
12 He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.
13 I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee:
14 But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.
This kingdom on earth is for Israel, as promised to Abraham by the Lord God. It is not for the Church the Body of Christ, their inheritance is heavenly. The Lord Jesus Christ will establish an earthly kingdom for Israel that will last forever. And Daniel 2: 44 tells us the same thing.
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”
The book of Matthew opens establishing the genealogy of Jesus through David. The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”  Then in Matthew Chapter 6: 9-10 we read that all prayers should be for that earthly kingdom to be established: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Then the prayer continues, but look at verses 14 and 15 carefully.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Once again we see that the Lord places certain conditions on the people before they could be blessed or before their sins could be forgiven: forgive others and I will forgive you; do not forgive others and I will not forgive you.
Aren’t you glad you live in the dispensation of grace? Our forgiveness is not condition on our forgiving others, it is based upon the fact that Christ has forgiven us if we trust His faith.
In Matthew chapter one, verse one we see that Christ was the son of David, the son of Abraham. The passage establishes the fact that Jesus was from the lineage of Abraham , the father of the Hebrew nation and of  the Jews religion.
When Jesus approaches John the Baptist for the purpose of being baptized, John declares that he needed to be baptized of Him. But look at the answer Jesus gave in Matthew 3: 15: “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.”
The words, “to fulfil all righteousness,” are a source of confusion to some, but they need not be. The four gospels are all a part of what is called the dispensation of the law, and baptism was a function of the law. Notice that the Lord said, “for thus it becometh US to fulfil all righteousness.” It was John’s job to do what was required and it was incumbent upon Jesus to do that for which He was sent – fulfill the law.
In John 1: 31 we read: “And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.” Baptism had something to do with the manifestation of the Lord to Israel; and Jesus came, not only to die for the world, but also to fulfil all the righteousness of the law. Look at Matthew 5: 17: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”
The law said one must be baptized, so Jesus had to be baptized.  He was not baptized for the remission of sins for He had no sin; He was baptized because baptism was now a part of the law. If you believe you must be baptized to be saved today, you have placed yourself under the law and if you are going to be under the law you must do all that the law says.
But the baptism of Jesus was significant for another reason: the cleansing that must be done before one became a priest.  Remember what we said about washing in the Old Testament? We said a priest must be cleansed (baptized) and anointed with oil.
After His baptism, Jesus begins the task of selecting twelve men.  These twelve were going to be taught by the Lord so that they could carry on a ministry and to preach the gospel of the kingdom.  Remember we said that gospel meant good news, so they were to tell all Israel the good news of the promised kingdom of heaven on earth. These twelve were to be the start of a new evangelistic effort – to Israel.  They were the hope of God to be all that Israel was supposed to be from the start.  All others before them had failed and now the fate of Israel rested squarely on their sholders.
Once the twelve had been selected, they began their period of learning from the Lord. In Matthew 10 we see these words:
1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;
4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
5 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:
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,
10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
There are several things I want you to see.
V.1 – He gave power to do things – to twelve men, not to all men.
V.5 – He tells these twelve men not to go to Gentiles or Jews married to Gentiles.(go not to any city of the Samaritans)
V. 6 – They are told to go to the Jew only.
V.7 – They are to preach the gospel of the kingdom, or the kingdom of heaven is at hand., which is the 1,000-year millennial reign of Christ.
There is a teaching going on in the world today that states we should follow the example established by Jesus. The real problem is that most of those teaching this do not understand what that example was about, or if they do they fail to present it in the manner it was taught to the disciples. Look at what Jesus taught and the instructions He gave:
Look at Matthew 15:
21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
There is a lot to be learned from the passages but the first thing I want to emphasize is what Jesus said in verse 24: “I am not sent BUT to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Fact: The Lord came to Israel: 1) to train 12 men, who in turn would train others, 2) to show Israel that Messiah had come and that the kingdom of heaven was at hand and that the time of restoration was near.
The second and third things I want you to see is found in verse 26: “Children’s bread” is Israel’s good news about the kingdom. “Cast it to dogs” means take that good news about the kingdom and feed it to Gentiles. In other words Jesus told this lady that it was not intended that the message of the kingdom, which is for the children of Israel, be given unto the Gentiles, who were considered to be dogs in the eyes of God.
In Acts 1: 6-8, the disciples were interested in knowing if this was the beginning of the restoration that had been promised them. Remember that Jesus has already been crucified and resurrected.
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Jesus could not say, “Yes, this is the time of restoration;” Nor could He say, “No, this is not the time of restoration.” The Lord knew the restoration of Israel was not about to take place, for He knows all things, and He knew He would have to postpone that. He could not say no because He knew it would effect their ministry.
In Acts 2 and 3 Peter delivers his famous Pentecost address and Acts 2: 16-21 is a quote from Joel 2. The passages say there will be an outpouring of the Spirit of power and that God would show them wonders, the sun would cease to shine and the moon would turn into blood.  Joel 2: 25 reads: “And I will restore unto you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”
These insects represent four nations that ruled Israel after they had “gone a whoring” from the Lord, they are:
Palmerworm Babylon
Locust Media Persia
Cankerworm Greece
Caterpillar Rome
In the book of Hosea, we read that God told Hosea to take a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms. (Hoses 1: 2) So Hosea married Gomer and they had three children:
Jezreel, a boy, who name means scattering and sowing.
Lo-ruhamah, a girl, whose name means not having obtained mercy.
Lo-ammi, a boy, whose name means not my people.
These three children represent the stages the Lord allowed Israel to go through because they ceased to put God first in their lives and failed to complete their mission on earth – to evangelize the world. They were scattered among many nations and God did not show mercy to her for a period of time.  And then when Israel continued their departure from the things of God, and God Himself, the Lord declared her to no longer be His people. This happens in acts 28: 25-28:
24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,
26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:
27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.
At this point in time, God harden the hearts of the children of Israel and made sure they would not be able to see or hear the truth. Now this may seem harsh, but God had known what Israel would become and had made preparation for the time when that would happen, a time in which he would raise up Paul to be the apostle to the Gentiles, who would consequently carry on the work of evangelizing the world.
What have we learned about the nation of Israel so far?
1. God would bless them IF they did what they were supposed to do and curse them IF they did not.
2. He promised them that Christ would come and reign as king over a land that he would give them.
3. The earthly kingdom would be everlasting.
4. Israel did not become or do what the Lord wanted of them. (They were supposed to evangelize the world, be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. They did not evangelize the world and did not become a nation of priests.) So He curses them and they are, in this present age, a people without a God, they are Lo-ammi.

 

 

 

 
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The Dispensation of Grace
If you look at your time chart, you will see that this period of time is colored red.  You will notice that there is some red that goes back before Genesis 1: 1.  And you will notice I have a portion of Ephesians 1: 4 listed there. I want you to look at Ephesians 1: 4-9:
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.
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
In verse 4, the words “before the foundation” imply that the group of believers in red were chosen before God called Abraham to be a special nation   The word foundation in Greek is katabole and has an English meaning of overthrow or destruction. So, God chose the church the body of Christ before he kicked Satan out of the original heaven and before Satan destroyed the first earth. That is very important to a clearer understanding of truth, which we will attempt to prove later in this booklet.
You will also note that I have labeled the largest section of red as the Age of Grace, Mystery and as the “But Now” time period. Let me explain.  Please look at Ephesians 2: 11-13:
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
11 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;
12 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:
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
What I want you to glean from theses verses are very important in helping you see how the plan of God unfolds.
Fact: There were a group of Gentiles in the period known as “Time Past,” which is that period prior to the time the Scriptures listed above was being written. These Gentiles, in time past:
1 Were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel
2 Were strangers form the covenants of promise
3 Had no hope, and were
4 Without God
Verse 13 says “But Now” those who had no affiliation with God have been made part of Him by the blood of Jesus Christ. Let’s explore that.
The Jews were the chosen people of God, but they had strayed so far away from God that God refused to involve them in His plan to evangelize the world any longer. We have already seen how Jesus, in his earthly ministry, considered Gentiles to be “dogs,” or second-class people. But now all that has changed in this new dispensation – the Dispensation of Grace.
Were there Gentiles who did have favor with God in the Old Testament and in the four gospels? Yes! The reason they did was because they did what was necessary according to the command of God, which was – they blessed Israel or feared God and did works of righteousness.  Genesis 12: 1-3:
1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
In Acts 10: 34-35, Peter says: “Then Peter open his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”
So, if a Gentile blessed Israel and did works of righteousness, God would bless him. However, there were some Gentiles who hated Israel, just as they do to this day. It was those Gentiles who were without hope of salvation.  However, all that changed when the apostle Paul ushered in the dispensation of Grace. So in the present dispensation, anyone who believes Christ died for their sins, was buried and resurrected for their justification can be saved by trusting in the finished work of Christ.
Paul’s Calling
There was a certain Jew named Saul of Tarsus, who is present at the stoning of Steven in Acts 7: 58: “And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.” In Acts 8: 3, we read: “As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.”
In Philippians 3: 5- Paul, his name was changed from Saul,  tells us a little about his background and upbringing.
4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin, one of the two faithful tribes, and he was a Pharisee, one of the three sects of religious influence, the other two being the Scribes and Sadducees. We also know that he sat on the Sanhedrin Council, the supreme council of the Jewish nation, before and during the time of Christ. It would be a little like our Supreme Court.
I tell you this so that you will fully understand that Saul was politically well connected. In Acts chapter nine we find him before the high priest getting authority to hunt down and bring to justice any followers of Christ.
1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
But something happened on the road to Damascus that would change Saul’s life forever.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
So off he goes, having to be led by his followers into Damascus. Meanwhile the Lord had appeared unto Ananias, one of His disciples, and told him to expect Saul and to restore his eyesight.  But Ananias, knowing all about Saul, was cautiously pessimistic. Look at Acts 9: 13-16:
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
In Acts 26 Paul tells King Agrippa about his conversion on the road to Damascus..
11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
12 Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
So Paul was called to go to the Gentiles, Kings and Jews.  In Romans 11: 13 he says: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” In 2 Timothy 1: 11 he expands that to say he was a preacher and teacher of the Gentiles as well: “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” I want you to notice that he did not say I magnify myself. He said I magnify my office, or calling, which was the apostle to the Gentiles.
In Galatians 1: 1 we read: “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead;)” Paul was proud that the Jewish leaders had not called him to go forth, for he now knew that their religion denied that Christ was the Son of God. The Jewish religious leaders were more wrapped up in the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law; plus they refused to believe that Jesus was who He said He was.
In Matthew chapter twenty-three, Jesus warns the Pharisees eight times by saying, “Woe unto thee.”  Lets look at them.
1. Matthew 23: 13: But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
2. Matthew 23: 14: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
3. Matthew 23: 15: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
4. Matthew 23: 16-17: Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
5. Matthew 23: 23-24: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
6. Matthew 23: 25-26: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
7. Matthew 23: 27: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
8. Matthew 23: 29-30: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
You see, the Lord did not think to highly of the religious leaders of that time. He said:
1. You will not go into the kingdom.
2. You forcefully take houses of widows for a prayer, but you will lose the most.
3. You go all over the world to seek one proselyte and he’ll go to hell just as you will.
4. You chastise those who swear by gold but not those who swear by the temple, the altar is greater than the gift.
5. You pay tithes of gifts that are costly but neglect the more important things, such as judgment, mercy and faith.
6. You clean up the outside of the cup and platter but within you are spoiled and intemperate. Why don’t you clean up the inside first and the outside will be clean.
7. You look beautiful on the outside with all your priestly garb, but you are dirty on the inside and smell as the dead smell.
8. You build tombs of the prophets and say if you had lived in the times of their death you would not have allowed it to happen, but I say you are children of them that had the prophets killed.
Then the Lord says these words as the chapter comes to an end: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold your house is left desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Matthew 23: 37-39
Because the religious leaders of the day did not recognize Christ as the promised One, Israel, as a nation, was not ready for, nor accepted the Lord.  They were expecting Him to ride into Jerusalem with pomp and circumstance, but He came riding on a mule instead. They were expecting Him to establish His earthly kingdom without realizing He first had to be a Savior. That was what the religious leaders should have been teaching.  They did not, therefore the house of Israel was left desolate.
As Paul goes about chastising the Galatians for having removed themselves from the gospel of the grace of God unto another gospel, he also tells them that the gospel committed unto him was not of man.  Then he says this in Galatians one:
16 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
17 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
18 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
19 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
20 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
21 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
22 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
23 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
Paul did not want to be associated with any of the religious leaders of that day.  He knew they talked well and they dressed well but they failed to do that which was right in the eyes of God. Even though Paul had been a persecutor of Christians, God revealed that he had been called to do this job while he was still in his mother’s womb.
The Jewish leaders sent people to spy on Paul and those to whom he taught. After Paul left an area, these people would come in and tell the converts they still had to do the things of the law.
So in Galatians chapter two, Paul goes to Jerusalem to converse with Peter, James and John.
6 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:
7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
9 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.
Here is the first time we see mentioned that two gospels were being preached, one by Paul: the Gospel of the Uncircumcision, and one by Peter, James and John: the Gospel of the Circumcision.
There are those who teach there are not really two gospels being preached here, but there are only two different groups of people being taught the same gospel, Paul sent to preach to the Gentiles and the others sent to preach to the Jews, but both were preaching the same gospel of salvation. What do you think?
Please do not listen to what preachers say or teach without making sure that what they say is consistent with the word of God.  I ask you, “What is more important the words of men or the Word of God?” The Word of God, righ?.  So make sure the men who teach you teach you from the Word of God. Do not accept, “that’s the way it is,” without searching the Scriptures to see if that is true.  Be a Berean.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17: 11
Let’s compare the two gospels and see if they are one and the same.
 

 

 

 

 

 

These are just a few of the differences, but I think you can begin to get the picture. Peter’s Gospel was to a group of people whose inheritance was an earthly one, whereas Paul’s Gospel was to a group of people whose inheritance was heavenly.
They both preached Jesus Christ crucified.  They both preached Jesus’ blood for a sin covering but those saved under the Gospel of Peter will have to wait for their sins to be blotted out when the Lord comes to establish His earthly kingdom. (Acts 3: 19-21) However, those of us saved in the dispensation of grace have their sins blotted out the moment they trust what Christ did for them on Calvary.

The Mystery
What is the mystery and what is its importance for us today? There are many mysteries in the word of God but The Mystery revealed unto Paul is of utmost importance for the believer living in this century.
In 2 Corinthians 12: 1, Paul says: “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.” As a matter of fact, Paul did receive several revelations that resulted in his teaching new things he had not been allowed to teach before. Paul goes on to say in 2 Corinthians 12: 4: “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
After Paul was saved on the road to Damascus we see his teaching unfold in three distinct ways. For the purpose of teaching, and teaching only, I am going to say that Paul taught three Gospels, but I am not saying there are three different ways to be saved. I will try to explain that as we proceed.
The first gospel Paul taught we will call – The Gospel of God, the second – The Gospel of Christ and the third – The Gospel of the Grace of God.
1.  The Gospel of God
Paul preaches that Christ is the Son of God. Acts 9: 20: “And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.” You must remember that Paul had been a persecutor of Christians prior to his conversion. The first thing the Lord wanted him to do was to share that he was now a believer. So his first message was exactly the same as Peter and the other eleven.
In Matthew 16: 15-16 we read: He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Phillip was preaching in Samaria when the Lord told him to go and seek out a man.  When he sighted the man this is what Scripture records: And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. “ Then Phillip told him what the Scripture meant and the man asked why he should not be baptized and this is what Phillip said and the man’s response to it. “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Acts 8: 37.
At this moment in time Peter, Phillip and Paul are all preaching that Jesus is the Son of God. It was a shock to many Jews because they knew that Paul had been persecuting the followers of Christ. 
Look at Acts 9: 22: But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.”
Not too many days later Paul goes into the Arabian desert. “And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.” Acts 9: 23-24. Once he left the city I am sure he went to the desert, as Galatians 1: 15-17 states. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.”
While in the desert, I believe the Lord taught him the things he was to start preaching at a future time. When he comes back to Damascus he proceed to Jerusalem. “Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.” Galatians 1: 18.  But the disciples there were still a bit apprehensive around him. Look at Acts 9: 26-29:
26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.
1. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
2. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.
3. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.
Once he left Jerusalem Paul goes to Tarsus. “Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.”  After a while he is joined by Barnabas and together they begin a new ministry, as Acts 13: 1-4 states.
1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
I do not want you to miss the fact that Paul & Barnabus were sent forth by the Holy Ghost, not the Jewish religious authority.
Once Paul begins this missionary journey, he starts preaching the Gospel of Christ, which is Christ died for our sins, was buried and resurrected for our justification. Romans 1: 16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
2.  The Gospel of Christ
What is the gospel of Christ? It is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4:
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Just because Paul began preaching the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for salvation does not mean he quit saying that Jesus was the Son of God. You cannot preach the Gospel of Christ without preaching the Gospel of God. But you can preach the Gospel of God without preaching the Gospel of Christ. In other words, you can preach that Jesus is the Son of God and not believe that He died, was buried and rose again for the remission of sins.
In Romans 16: 25-26 we see this: “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:”
There is a lot of meat in these two verses, look:
a. Paul says people are established by his gospel.
b. The preaching of Jesus Christ was revealed to him as a mystery.
c. This mystery was kept secret since the world began before it was ever revealed unto him.
d. The mystery was in the Scriptures and the Scriptures are now being unlocked so that men can see the Gospel of Christ
Let analyze what we have here. Paul says that if you are going to be established in truth, you are going to have to do it from his teaching of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ. The question you must ask of yourself is, was Paul’s teaching of Christ any different from Peter’s preaching of Him. 
The answer is yes.  Paul taught that Jesus was the head of a living organism, the body of Christ.  Peter taught that Christ was the king of a physical kingdom. It is the same Christ but in a different relationship.
We also learn form the passage that this teaching concerning Christ was a mystery that had been hid in Scripture; but it had been kept a secret until God chose to reveal it to Paul.
What I am about to show you can be confusing, but if you will approach it with an open mind you will see the truth here. There are several Messianic passages of Scripture in the Old Testament, Psalms 22 and 23 are some but the best known is found in Isaiah 53. I want you to see all of it.
1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? (Quoted in John 12: 33 & Romans 10: 14)
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected (Fulfilled in John 1: 10-11; 8: 48; 10: 20) of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: (Quoted in Matthew 8: 17) yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Quoted in 1 Peter 2: 24)
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; (Quoted in 1 Peter 2¨25) we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (Quoted in Acts 8: 32-33)
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (Quoted in 1 Peter 2: 22)
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, (Quoted in Mark 15: 28 & Luke 22: 37) and made intercession for the transgressors.
The passages are all about Jesus. The verses tell us that Jesus was not considered to be a nice looking man, as a matter of fact He would be despised and rejected by His own people. Even though He would bear our griefs and sorrows, Israel would kill Him and go about doing what they had always done.  However the Lord God would allow His death to occur so that all our sins could be removed. He would go into hell and be among the wicked but the Lord God would divide him a portion of heaven.
Up until the time that Christ revealed His purpose to the disciples  and then to Paul, no one reading the passage had a clue  about its message.  Phillip revealed the meaning to the Ethiopian eunuch after Christ was resurrected, but Phillip revealed a Christ who would sit upon an earthly throne as king.  The mystery reveled to Paul concerned a Christ who would be the head of a living body.  Phillip and Paul presented Christ in a different light, but the fact of Christ coming to die for sins had been hid.
The reason it had to be hid is found in 1 Corinthians 2: 7-8: “ But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Think about it: Satan would not have been the instigator of the crucifixion had he known it would be his downfall.
When Paul went to the Corinthians on that first missionary journey, this is what he wrote them: And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Paul was simply preaching to these Corinthians the Gospel of Christ. He was preaching about the Christ the Scriptures alluded to but had been hid for the purpose we just stated.
Christ dying, going to hell and subsequently being resurrected was for forgiveness of sins, but it was also for something else as well. Let’s look at Hebrews 2: 14-15: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
If Christ had not died the world would be in fear of death and subject to everlasting bondage under Satan. By dying and being resurrected, the Lord destroyed any hope of Satan being lord over the earth for ever. The death of Jesus was also a confirmation of the New Testament. Hebrews 9: 16-48, 25-26:
“For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. …Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
We are talking about the Old Testament and the New Testament, which are the same as the Old Covenant and New Covenant passed on to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The first covenant was operational in the Old Testament and in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The New Covenant will not be operational until Christ comes back to establish his earthly kingdom, but the testator had to die before the New Covenant could be established. Look at Hebrews 10: 9-14:
“Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the father, but his enemies will become His footstool when the battle of Armageddon is over; and then Jesus will establish his earthly throne and the New Testament will be in effect.
So how does all this impact those of us living in the age of grace? Firstly, we are not going to go through the time of tribulation and secondly, we will not inherit the earth.  The Gospel of Christ was to the Jew first, because unto them had been committed the law. Romans 3: 1-2: “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
So, Paul began his ministry by going into the synagogues with the message that Christ had come. He spoke to Jews and Gentiles who feared God. Acts 13: 16, 26: “Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.”
Gentiles saved during Paul’s early ministry were participators in the promises given unto Abraham. “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3: 29.  “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.” Galatians 4: 28.
What we conclude thus far is that some Gentile believers who Paul ministered to were partakers of the promise and some were not. With that in mind it will be best to teach you how to rightly divide the Pauline Epistles so that we can differentiate between these two groups of Gentiles. Paul’s letters to the Romans, Corinthians, Thessalonians and Galatians deal with Gentiles who where  participants in the promises.  Reason, these Gentiles feared God and did works of righteousness.
3.  The Gospel of the Grace of God
With the setting aside of Israel, Paul begins to preach the Gospel of the Grace of God.  In the letters to the Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians as well as his letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon he begins to address those Gentiles who were not partakers of the promises. Let us look at Ephesians 2: 11-13 again.
“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.”
So, we must divide the Pauline Epistles into two categories: Pre-Prison and Prison.
The Pre-Prison Epistles are: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians.
The Prison Epistles are Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon. 
I do not believe that Paul wrote the book of Hebrews. There are several passages that support this claim, but the primary reason is that the book is address to Jews. It is here that we have already seen the comparison between the old and new covenant made with Israel.
However, look at what we see in Chapter 2: 1; “Therefore, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;” Paul did not heard the Lord teach when he was here on earth and could not give heed to the things he had heard.
Now look at Hebrews 3: 6, 14: “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;” These people had to hold fast to the end, whereas members of the church the body of Christ do not have to.
As Paul began to build up the church the body of Christ, he told the Corinthians that he was laying a foundation built upon Christ, the cornerstone. He is preaching the Gospel of Christ but according to the foundation God told him to lay. 1 Corinthians 3: 10-11: “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Even though Christ is the cornerstone for the kingdom as well as those who will inherit their heavenly home, the foundation that Paul laid is different from the foundation that Peter and the other apostles laid. “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:” 2 Timothy 2: 7-8.
The foundation that Paul laid concerned a resurrection that was different from the resurrection Peter preached. Paul preached Christ resurrected and seated in heavenly places.  Peter preached Christ resurrected to sit upon an earthly throne.
The gospel of the grace of God was a ministry given unto Paul alone. “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20: 24)
And this Gospel of the Grace of God is that Christ died for ALL men.
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” 1Timothy 2: 3-6.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2: 11-14.
The Gospel of the Grace of God does not put conditions upon the believer nor does it restrict the believer in any way.  The Gospel of the Kingdom does. For instance, after James heard what Peter said concerning Paul, this is what he said to Paul: “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” Acts 15: 19-21.
Since Paul had not begun preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God, he observed those things in the hope of saving more people.
So what have we learned thus far?
1. The Church the Body of Christ was built upon the foundation of the gospel committed unto Paul.
2. It could not have begun in Acts chapter two, because Paul was not saved until Acts chapter 9,  and did not start preaching the Gospel of Christ until Acts chapter 13.
3. That Paul laid a foundation upon Christ which involved a resurrection into heaven. Peter laid a foundation on Christ that involved a resurrection to be seated on an earthly throne.
4. The Church the Body of Christ could not have begun in Acts 28 with the setting aside of Israel for Paul began laying the foundation for it before that time. He spoke of it in Romans 12: 3-5: “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” He also spoke of it in 1 Corinthians 12: 12-12, 27: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit….Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”
5. Something did happen just prior to acts 28, but it was the entrance of the Dispensation of Grace, not the formation of the body of Christ.
6. So, the body of Christ had to have begun somewhere from Acts nine to Acts thirteen.
With the introduction of the Gospel of the Grace of God, Paul‘ s ministry changes  The things that were are not anymore.  The chosen from the seed of Abraham have lost favor with God, but you must remember all of this was in the overall plan of God.
Romans 11: 11-15: “I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? “
I know that the fall of Israel was a mystery and that the Gentiles would eventually be the people that God would choose to evangelize the world. But when the appointed time comes for the Church the Body of Christ to be raptured out of this world, the Jews will once again find favor with God and all Israel will be saved.
Romans 11: 25-28: For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.”
I also know there were two groups of Gentiles and there were some problems that arose because one group was under the promises and another was not.  I also know that this was a source of contention between the two until the Gospel of the Grace of God was ushered in. I know that once Israel was set aside this middle wall of partition between the two Gentile groups was broken down.
Ephesians 2: 13-17: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
I also know there were several things that were a mystery and all of them involved a radical change in the salvation process as well as inheritance.
What the Revelation of the Mystery reveals or contains:
   1. The Formation of the Body of Christ
  Romans 10: 12, 13; 12: 5; 1 Corinthians 10: 17; 12: 27
  Ephesians 4: 4, 12; 2: 6, 14-18; Colossians 1: 18; 3: 15
  1 Timothy 1: 13-16 
   2. Dispensation of Grace
  Ephesians 3: 2, 9; Colossians 1: 25
   3. Gospel of the Grace of God
  Romans 3: 24; Ephesians 2: 8, 9; Titus 3: 7
  A. Preaching of the Cross
   1 Corinthians 1: 17, 18; Galatians 6: 14; Colossians 1: 20
  B. Forgiveness by the blood
   Romans 3: 25: 5: 9; Ephesians 1: 7; Colossians 1: 14 
  C. Death, Burial, Resurrection of Christ necessary to Gospel of Salvation
   Romans 10: 9; 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4; 2 Corinthians 5: 15
   4. Temporary Setting aside of Israel
  Romans 11: 25
  A. Blindness
   Isaiah 6: 9, 10; Acts 28: 27, 28; Romans 11: 11-15
   5. Equality of Jew & Gentile
  Romans 3: 9, 19-23; 10:12- 13; 11: 32
   6.  One Baptism
  1 Corinthians 2: 13; Ephesians 4: 5
   7. A New Commission to Preach 
  Romans 5: 10; 11: 15; 2 Corinthians 5: 14-20; Ephesians 2: 12, 16    Colossians 1: 21
   8. Heavenly Position of Believers
  Ephesians 1: 3; 2: 6; Philippians 3: 20; Colossians 3: 1-3
   9. Christ is the Head of the Body
  Ephesians 1: 22, 23; 5: 23; Colossians 1: 18  
 10. Coming of Christ in the Air
  1 Corinthians 15: 51-52; Philippians 3: 20, 21
  Colossians 3: 4; 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18; Titus 2: 13
 11. The Judgment Seat of Christ
  Romans 14: 10-12; 1 Corinthians 3: 10-15; 2 Corinthians 5: 10, 11 
 12. The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
  Galatians 5: 16-25; Ephesians 5: 18 
  A. We must not
   Ephesians 4: 30; 1 Thessalonians 5 19

The Rapture

The rapture of the church coincides with number ten above.  It is the time when the church the body of Christ meets the Lord in the air. Look at 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18: But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

On the time chart you will see that it precedes the seven years of tribulation, thus indicating that the body will not go through the wrath of the tribulation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_____________ 18  _____________
The Wrath To Come

If you look on the time chart the wrath to come is located to the right of the section in red and labeled But Now/Mystery/Age of Grace.

Matthew 24 should be titled the tribulation chapter because the great tribulation is mentioned for the first time in this chapter. Look at verse 21: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

The chapter begins with Jesus and his disciples having left the temple on their way to the Mount of Olives. As they are looking at the temple this is recorded: “And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Matthew 24: 2.

In the very next verse we find the disciples coming to him privately asking the Lord:
1. When would the destruction happen
2. What would be the sign of His coming, and
3. When would the end of the world come.

The Lord cautions them to be careful and not let men deceive them, telling them there will be many that will come in My name saying that they are the Christ.  He also tells them you will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but do not let that trouble you for those things will happen now or anytime soon Nations are going to rise up against other nations and there will be famines, and pestilences and earthquakes in many places, but that will come at a later time.. 

In Revelation chapter twelve we read of a battle going on between Michael, the archangel, and the dragon (Satan) and his angels. Satan and his army lost and they were kicked out of the heaven they occupied. Revelation 12: 7-9

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

That is what the Lord was preparing His disciples for when He warns them that this is but the beginning or sorrows for they will be killed and are going to be hated in all countries. 

There is going to be a lot of betrayal and hatred in the world and there will be many false prophets that will come on the scene and deceive a large number of people.  There will be a lot of hatred for the law and the love for it will dwindle to nothing. But the Lord said that those who would remain faithful to the end would be saved.

Now look at Matthew 24: 14: And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand 🙂

The Greek word for “see” is eidon – to see: implying not the mere act of looking, but the actual perception of the object: therefore differing from the Greek word blepo – which means to have the power of seeing, to use the eyes, to look at.

The Book of Daniel gives us insight about the abomination of desolation.  Lets look at Daniel 12: 11: And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Daniel had several visions that all related to the end, or what we have label as the seven years of tribulation on our chart. It is the last seven years of the seventy sevens of Daniel chapter nine.

According to Daniel, the abomination of desolation will occur at the middle of the week, (a week being 2,520 days or one year)  or three and one half years from the start of the seven years of tribulation. Daniel speaks of the prince that will come, which is the Antichrist, who will make a covenant with the people for 3 1/2 years and then he will break that covenant.  The daily sacrifice is taken away and the abomination (idol) is set up. That is when Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7) commences and will continue for 3 1/2 years.

That is exactly what the Lord is telling His disciple in Matthew 24: 15.
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25 Behold, I have told you before.
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

The Lord is telling His disciple that the time of tribulation is going to be very bad.  He says you must prepare the people to go through those times.  When the people of Judaea find out that the idol (abomination) of Satan has been placed in the temple they should drop everything they are doing and run as fast as you can to the mountains for the times of tribulation is near and will be hard to bear.

In Revelation chapter twelve we see a battle going on between Michael, the archangel, and the dragon (Satan) and his angels. Satan and his army lost and they were kicked out of the heaven they occupied. Revelation 12: 7-9

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
9 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
10 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

This will mark the mid-point of tribulation and will be the beginning of the last 31/2 years. During this last 3 1/2 years the world will see a beast rise up. Look at Revelation 13:
1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
6 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
7 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

This forty and two months in verse five is the last 3 1/2 years of tribulation. This beast will be killed and raised from the dead by the dragon, which is the False Prophet. People will worship Satan because he had the power to resurrect the beast. Revelation 13: 11-17

11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

This second beast is the False Prophet. So, Satan is imitating the Lord Jesus, who was the Christ and for whom the Prophet Israel was waiting. We also see in the passage the mention of the number of the beast being 666. It is called a mark and was to be placed on the right hand or forehead. If you wanted to buy or sell, you had to have the mark to do so.

This is the time the Lord is speaking of in Matthew chapter 24 and the Lord also tells the disciples that immediately after the 3 1/2 year period the sun and moon shall cease to shine and stars will fall from heaven and the powers (the evil followers of Satan) of the heavens will be shaken.

Matthew 24: 29 quotes two passages from Isaiah.

Isaiah 13: 10: For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

Isaiah 34: 4:  And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.
In The Book of Revelation, Chapter six, we read:
12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

As we mentioned in the study of Genesis, we felt that the second heaven was the home of Satan and the angles that left with him. Isaiah 34 confirms that assumption. Just before the Lord comes back to set up His earthly kingdom all of these events listed above will take place.

Right after the events of Revelation Six takes place we see this in Chapter Seven:

1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

During the seven years of tribulation the Lord will put a mark on His chosen, 144,000 total, twelve thousand from each Jewish tribe. We need not speculate what the mark is, for Revelation 14: 1 tells us what it is: And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. 

These 144,000 will be the evangelist of that day and will go about teaching what the religious leaders in Christ’s day did not – they will tell the Jewish population that Messiah has come.

Now look at Revelation 7:

9  After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

Many speculate that these people in white robes are the members of the Church the Body of Christ, but that is not so.  The answer is found in Revelation 7: 14: And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

These people are the ones who will escape the tribulation and go to live in the 1,000 years millennial reign of Christ.  Now I want you to read Matthew 24: 40-41 again.  “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”

I Thessalonians 4: 13-16 told us about the rapture of the church the body of Christ.  In those verses the believer was caught up to meet the Lord in the air, right? Matthew 24: 40-41 speaks of one being taken and the other left doesn’t it?  Many people believe that the one being taken in the passages refers to the saved, just as it was in 1st Thessalonians 4.  But that is not the case here.  The one being left is the person that will be left to go into the kingdom which Christ is about to establish, and the one taken will be the one who will die and go to hell.

Those who do not rightly divide the word between prophecy and mystery make a mess of interpreting Matthew 24.  That is why it is so important that you study the Scriptures to see if what a preacher tell you is in fact what the Bible says.

Now look at Revelation 16: 13-17:

13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.

The thief in the night is the Lord. Paul tells the Thessalonians that they need not worry about this because they are children of light and not darkness.  Look at 1 Thessalonians 5:
1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

Paul, in other passages, makes it clear that those saved in the Dispensation of Grace will not see the wrath of the tribulation.  Look!

1 Thessalonians 1: 10: And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

Romans 5: 9: Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

As we continue reading in the Book of Revelation, we se this in Revelation 19:

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

The beast and the false prophet that deceived the people into taking the mark are the first to be taken and cast into the lake of fire. Satan will not be cast into the lake of fire until later, but he will be bound in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years.

Revelation 20:

1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
9 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Once Satan is loosed from his chains, he will circle the globe in an effort to gather enough people to battle and defeat the Lord, but to no avail. However, he will succeed in getting millions to follow him, but God will devour them all with fire falling down from heaven.  Then Satan will join the beast and false prophet in the lake of fire and they will be tormented day and night for all eternity.

There are far too many people that do not believe that God would allow torment for eternity.  I say they are not children of God.  Only an unbeliever would say such things. There are seven passage of Scriptures where the Lord speaks of weeping and gnashing (grinding) of teeth for those who will not be in the presence of the Lord.  Let’s look at them.

Matthew 8: 12: But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

You will see several references to “outer darkness.” The Lord will be reigning with His own for one thousand years.  And those people that are not permitted to be a part of that, because they did not believe, will be on the outside looking in, so to speak. This outer darkness pertains to being outside the area where the feast of the Lord is going on.

Matthew 13: 40-42: As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 13: 49-50: So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 22: 12-13: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 24: 50-51: The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25: 29-30: For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Luke 13: 26-28: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

Those being “thrust out” will be those who will be gazing across the great gulf that is being spoken of between Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

You cannot help but see that the rich man was in torment. The lake of fire is literal, not figurative as the unbeliever teaches. There is a literal place of eternal torment, make no mistake about that.

Job 19:26: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

I have said it before but I am going to say it again.  If you live in this present century and were saved in the period of time known as the Dispensation of Grace, you will not go though the tribulation that Jesus speaks of in Matthew 24. The bible is very clear on that point.

The church the body of Christ has been delivered from the wrath which is to come through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. This is part of the mystery revealed unto the Apostle Paul. Believe it! Quit worry about going through it and start living your life for the Lord.

Question?  Should all of this be a concern for those of us who have been saved in the dispensation of Grace? No!  We will not be going through this period, having been raptured before it starts.

The battle of Armageddon will start at the end of the seven years of tribulation.  Stan and his lieutenants will gather their forces and the Lord will bring His forces from heaven with Him. The lord will cast Satan into the bottomless pit and bind him I chains for 1,000 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Millennium

Millennium is a word derived from Latin that means one thousand years. Biblically, this is commonly referred to as the 1,000 year reign of Christ. However there are differences as to when this will occur or if it will occur at all.

Premillennialist believe that after the tribulation Christ will return and rule and reign on the earth for 1,000 years. They also believe that this is in the future, it has yet to come. This is the viewpoint of this author. There are other viewpoints about which we will not elaborate, but we will mention them for your own personal study. There is amillennialism, postmillennialism and preterism, most of who do not believe Revelation chapter 20 is literal, but figurative.

The Millennium, for the literalist, will be the only time when the known world will both know and be governed by Christ. This must occur in order that the prophecies concerning Israel’s earthly blessing may be fulfilled. Christ will rule with a rod of Iron.  He will be the head of government. 

The place for the second coming of Christ is foretold in Scripture.
 
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.”

During this 1,000 year reign of Christ you will see people attaining ages comparable with Methuselah in Old Testament times. The land that had become parched during the last 3 ½ years of tribulation will come to life and the nation of Israel will have their hearts softened.

Isaiah 35: 1-7:
1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.
3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.
4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

A land that had become barren will once again blossom and be much like what Joshua found when he was sent to spy out the land after the many years of wandering in the desert.

Joel 2: 21-25:
1. Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.
2. Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.
3. Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
4. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.
5. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

There will be peace on earth.  We have heard people talk about peace all of our lives but we have never been the recipients of it.  This will be a time of true peace on earth and Israel will once again receive God’s blessing and mercy. Israel will no longer be Lo-ami.

Hosea 2: 18
18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.
21 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth;
22 And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.
23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.

Christ will reign on David’s throne in Jerusalem and He will make wars cease. There will be no need for instruments of war, all the tools that will be needed will be those used for cultivating the gardens.

Isaiah 9: 7: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

Psalms 46: 9: “He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.”

Micah 4: 3: “And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

It is at this time that Israel will once again become spiritual, will become a God fearing nation.

Ezekiel 36: 22-28:
22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.
23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Jerusalem will once again be a righteous place.  Her judges, counselors and leaders will be God fearing once again.
Isaiah 1: 26: “And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.”

Israel will build houses and no other people will take their house and move in them. They will be able to live in peace, eat in peace and worship in peace and live among the animals in peace.

Isaiah 65: 21-25:
21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.
24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

As I am in the process of finishing this booklet I have just witnesses the forced withdrawal from the west bank.  That sort of this will not happen for the nation of Israel during the millennial reign of Christ.

Ass amazing as all this will be, there are greater things to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
_________ 20 _________
Judgment

Look on your time chart and find the period of Judgment.  It is just after the Millennial Reign and just before Eternity Future.

At the end of the Millennium, Satan will be released from the bottomless pit and will then be cast into the Lake of Fire.

Revelation 20: 7-8:
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

Why would God allow Satan an opportunity to ravage the earth again?  This causes much confusion among the masses, but if we are “searchers of the Scripture” as Paul suggest we should be, we can se patterns of Gods’ way that might show us why.

People are going to live along time during the Millennium. Everyone will know the Lord but not all will worship Him as Lord. How do I know that is possible?  I do not know that for a fact, but I do know that over periods of time people tend to not listen to their parents.

Mothers and fathers will teach their children about the Lord.  Some of the children will teach their children about the significance of the Lord, others will not; and before too long their children’s children will not know that Christ is their sufficiency.

Since God has always allowed creation to choose between good and evil, a multitude of people will choose Satan at the end of the Millennium. Verse 8 states they will be as the sands of the sea, and that will be a lot of people.

Those who choose Satan over Christ will follow Satan into eternal damnation

Revelation 20: 9-10:

9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Once this happens, Satan will be of no concern for anyone.  He is finished. His sphere of influence will vanish. But judgment is at hand, and another resurrection is about to take place.

When Christ raptured the Church the Body of Christ, a resurrection took place; and now there will be another resurrection and then a judgment.

Revelation 20: 11-13:
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

There are those that believe that there was a resurrection when Christ established His millennial reign.  I neither concur or disagree. I know that all the people who went into the Millennial Kingdom are part of that group in Matthew 24 who were not taken away, but stayed to live on this earth with Christ.

The resurrection that takes place here in Revelation 20 will be a resurrection of all the rest of the dead who had not been privy to a former resurrection.

The judgment referred to in Revelation 20 is just that, a judgment. It does not necessarily mean condemnation, even though it could. If you examine the passages you will notice these people are being judged for their works.

There are some people who’s names are in the Book of Life who are being judged for their works.  There are those whose names were not in the Book of Life who are being judged for their works, and these people, after judgment, were cast into the lake of fire.

But there are more books beside the book of life, and I believe that in those books are recorded works of all mankind. The names of the saved are in the book of life but the works of both the saved and the lost are recorded for judgment day.

In 1 Corinthians 3: 11-15 we are told of a judgment by fire for works. If the work survives the test of fire, the recipient will receive a reward.  If the work does not stand the test of fire that person will suffer loss.

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

I believe that this is a judgment for the saved; they will have good works and bad works. The good works earn them a reward and their bad works are recognized for what they are and they loose something, but not their salvation.

Over the years I have used the following explanation of the passage. Heaven might be compared to city of streets numbering 1-100. Those are first street having more favor with God than those on Street 100. Or perhaps heaven is like being in the military.  There are Generals and privates, and all those ranks in between.

I believe there are degrees of both heaven and hell.  I also believe that there will be those in hell that will receive the greater damnation, based upon their works that have been recorded in the books.

There are those who believe that there is a chance that those who refused Christ before dying will get a chance to trust Him at this judgment.  These are the same people who also believe there is a holding place for these people called purgatory. I do not believe that.

I believe that man was given free will to either trust Christ or reject Christ in his lifetime. If you refused to believe the requirements of God for salvation in the dispensation in which you lived, you were doomed to an eternity separated from God.; believe God and you spend eternity with God.

The saved will receive a new body and the doomed will live in their body of sin without any chance to keep it from decay.  But even though it is in a state of decay, it will experience pain and agony.

All people not recorded in the book of life will be judged for their works and cast into the lake of fire.  Some of them will receive a greater damnation than the others. Please allow me the freedom to say, “Some will be gagging on the smoke of hell and others will be getting their carcasses burned.
_________ 21 _________
Eternity Future

The last bit of information on your time chart deals with this subject.

Let us set the stage for you.

1. First we see God’s throne in the new heaven where the Church the Body of Christ lives.
2. Then we see the New Jerusalem suspended above the top of a mountain where faithful Israel resides.
3. Down below the mountain we see the new earth where all others live, and then
4. We see a great gulf separating the new earth from the lake of fire, where the damned live..

What we have here is segregation on a massive scale. The Church the Body of Christ is segregated from the people in the New Jerusalem; the people in the New Jerusalem are segregated from the people on the earth; and the people on the earth are segregated from the people in the lake of fire.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Once Satan has been cast into the Lake of Fire, Jesus will surrender the kingdom on earth to God and eternity future will officially begin with a new heaven and a new earth. Revelation 21: 1: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”

God is seated on His throne far above the earth with Jesus by His side and the Church the Body of Christ will be right there, having been chosen before the foundation of the world to be a part of Christ’s body.
 
John’s revelation records this about the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21.

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Israel will officially become the Bride of Christ. Revelation 21: 9: “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”

10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.
16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.
18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation [was] jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;
20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelation 22: 1
1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

Israel, the chosen of God, will finally be all she was supposed to be from the beginning.  She, not the Church the Body of Christ, will be the Bride of Christ. If you understand who is to inhabit the New Jerusalem, you can only conclude that Israel is the Bride of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Church the Body of Christ cannot be anything other than part of Christ’s body.

1 Corinthians 12: 13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12: 27: “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

The New Jerusalem is all Israel and it will provide light for the Gentile nations on the earth and the kings of those Gentile nations will bring their sacrifices into the city. The tree of life will be there for sustenance and the leaves of the tree will be for the healing of those living on the new earth, indicating their dependence on Israel.

At the bottom of the section we have labeled Eternity Future is the great Gulf between the earth and the lake of fire.

Luke 16: 26: “And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”

The lake of fire is the dwelling place for all who rejected Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world.  I also believe there will be those living in hell that will receive greater punishment than some of their fellow inhabitants. There will be those who will have the flames lapping at their rear ends and others who will be gagging on the some from those flames.  But make no mistake about it.  All of the inhabitants of the Lake of Fire will be in torment, night and day, for all eternity.

The only way a person will escape this death is to trust Christ as your Savior.

If you have not done so, will you do it right now?

 

 

 

 

 

Faith of Christ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obed Kirkpatrick

 

 

 
INTRODUCTION

 
THE GOOD LIFE

Picture this:  a house on a beautiful lake, snuggled in a peaceful valley; a winding river that flows through the center of town; a community of people who genuinely care for each other; a governing body whose one desire is to please you and honor you; a police force whose main purpose is to assist you any way they can as there is no crime; streets that glisten in the light because they are so clean; and beautiful music on every street corner; happy sounds everywhere you go, no Mister Scrooge, no locks on your doors, no bills to pay – only serenity!

It’s difficult to believe that there might be a place like that, isn’t it? But there is such a place, only better.  There is no way our finite minds can comprehend what God has in store for those of us who love Him and have trusted His Son as our Savior. That is how eternity with God will be, beautiful beyond imagination and comprehension.  What is even more amazing is all of this was provided for you and me long before we were conceived in our mother’s womb.

It is difficult to believe that before I was ever born someone would do something for me that would ensure me of a retirement free from all indebtedness, plus guarantee me satisfaction and happiness.  However, God has done that and Jesus Christ is our assurance of that reward.  As a matter of fact, Christ and Christ alone is the guarantor. You cannot buy this retirement plan, neither can you get it because you know somebody or because you know somebody who knows somebody. You cannot get this retirement because you won the world contest for being the kindest, sweetest, easiest to get along with, most compatible person in the entire world.

Entry into God’s retirement community is free!  Jesus Christ paid the price for those who are its inhabitants. He paid the price the gatekeeper of this community, God, demanded. Christ paid for it over 2,000 years ago and he has offered it to all who will accept God’s conditions for occupancy. The conditions are so simple many think they are too good to be true, so they refuse the offer, they refuse the gift.

BAD LIFE

Because people refuse the offer of a good life, their retirement community will be drastically different.  Instead of a quiet, peaceful atmosphere; theirs will be one of pain and agony.  The people who live in this community will never live in peace and harmony.  They will never enjoy the sounds of beautiful music.  The sounds they will hear will be those of fellow citizens crying out in torment because all peoples in this community will be in constant pain day and night. The people will cry out and ask God to be merciful and kill them so they can be free from this torment, but their cries will be in vain. They will not die.

People who have journeyed to this retirement community must live here for all eternity without any hope of escaping.  They will have to learn to ignore the smell of rotting flesh.  They will become indifferent to the decayed bodies of all inhabitants, for all who live here will have the stench of a body unattended by a funeral director. The pain of the people will be so intense they will grind their teeth together, making a noise that is annoying to all who hear, and believe me, all will hear. Sleep will not come here, because the torment is constant.  There is no beauty in this place, only ugliness; no joy, only sorrow.  This retirement community will be the most disgusting place in all of creation.

The reason someone would choose this kind of retirement is hard for us to understand, but many will choose this life because they refuse to believe in God and want no part of the promises he has in store for all those who do believe in Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you might be thinking, “I have never made that choice.”  But you have.  You made the choice when you refused to accept the free gift Christ offered you.  God does not force one to accept His life-style.  He does not use media bombardment or crafty sales techniques that his opponents do.  God’s Word, The Holy Bible, says, “Here is my Son, Jesus Christ.  Accept what He did for you: died for your sins, was buried and then resurrected, and you will inherit life everlasting with Me.”

Refusal to accept what God requires means automatic entrance into the other retirement community.

We want to explore with you what God has required, over the various dispensations of time, to be a participant in the Good Life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
1.God’s Plan

Long before He created the world, God made provisions for man to share eternity with Him: Jesus Christ would come to earth to die for the sins of fallen man. Even though man had not fallen yet, God, who is omniscient (all knowing), knew that He would create Adam, that Adam would disobey the command of God, thus committing a sin, and he would be in need of a Savior. Everyone who would be born into this new world would be the direct descendant of sinful Adam, would be of the seed of Adam, and be born with the sin of Adam.

Even though Adam was created in the image of God: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1: 27; when he and Eve had their first child, he was born in the image of fallen Adam. “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:” Genesis 5: 3.

Since God knows all things, he made preparations and provisions for all who would accept Christ:

1. All who would accept Christ as Savior would look like Christ.

2. He would send the Holy Spirit to call those who would accept and draw them unto Him.

3. Once they “heeded” the call, He would justify them (not let their sin be a barrier anymore).

4. Then He would glorify them and they would be like God.

Romans 8: 28-30:

28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 

All of these things were provided for mankind but not decided for them. Man must make the choice to choose Christ, but once he does then Romans 8: 28-30 becomes operational: man will be conformed to the image of the Son of God, will be justified and glorified.

In making these provisions, God is not only showing His intentions, but proving to everyone His veracity by following through. God’s plan for mankind’s salvation was and is simple.  All God would require of man would be simple faith in the faith of Christ. 

Today, man has a choice:

1. To do what God requires and live with Him forever.

2. Not do what God requires and live in another world, apart from God.

Let us explore some of the requirements of God.

 
1. THE FAITH THAT WAS

OLD TESTAMENT

 

ABEL’S FAITH

Rebellion against the command of God was the cause of Adam’s sin and subsequent fall.  When Adam sinned, God killed an animal and made Adam and Eve a covering for their nakedness: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Genesis 3: 21.

This is the first time that a sacrifice was recorded in the Scripture. It established a precedent and a requirement for rebellious and sinful man: THERE MUST BE A BLOOD SACRIFICE PROVIDED FOR REMISSION OF SINS.  Eradication of sin must come from the blood of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

NOTE:  The blood of animals was for remission of sins for the past year.  It was not for the blotting out of sins. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4. There is a difference between the temporal remission of sins and those sins being blotted out.

When we get to the fourth chapter of Genesis we are introduced to Cain and Able, the sons of Adam and Eve. There is no question but that these two sons knew the requirement of a sacrifice for their sins.

Genesis 4:

2. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

3. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

4. But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

5. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

6. If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Abel brings an animal sacrifice unto God, a blood sacrifice; Cain brings a sacrifice as well, but his was a bunch of fruit.  God had established the animal sacrifice when He provided the coats of skin for Adam and Eve.  Abel obeyed God and his sacrifice was accepted.  Cain did not obey God and his sacrifice was rejected. Cain made an attempt to substitute a non-blood sacrifice and God would not accept it, so Cain got a little upset.

Granted, the fruit was the very best that Cain had to offer, but the simple fact was that God required a different sacrifice. Faith does what God requires, at the time God requires it.  Anything else, regardless of how good it may be, is not acceptable to God.

Able offered exactly what God required and his sacrifice was accepted.

 “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Hebrews 11: 4.

God said: “Offer the right sacrifice and you will be accepted (saved; offer the wrong sacrifice and you will be rejected (not saved/lost).”

Cain could have offered the sacrifice God required and God would have welcomed it along with Cain, Genesis 4: 7 is clear about that. Look at it again.

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Cain did exactly what he wanted to do with no regard for what God wanted him to do, and then he got upset with God because the Lord did not think his sacrifice was good enough.  Because Cain was stubborn, prideful and unwilling to accept the requirement of God; his sacrifice was refused and Cain became a friend of the god of this world (Satan) and consequently an enemy of God.

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4: 4.

Mankind has ignored the lesson taught here in Genesis, for man has been trying to make substitutions, just as Cain did, for what God has required for salvation ever since that notable day of Cain’s failure.

There are “religious systems” built around substitutionary offerings this very day. You may be a part of one of them and not even know it. (We will cover this in detail in later chapters.)

Abel offered the required sacrifice and it was pleasing to God.  His faith, in offering the sacrifice which God required, was his salvation.  He simply did as God required of him and became acceptable to God. That is what faith does.  Faith does whatever God says to do at the time He requires it done.
ENOCH

There is very little written about Enoch, but there is enough for us to see that Enoch was a man that did what God said to do:

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11: 5.

Wouldn’t it be great if God could say we pleased Him? That is all he wants from us.  Is it too  much to ask considering all He has done for us?

Enoch did whatever God said do, and that pleased God.  Because he was obedient to what God asked from him, God took Enoch home with Him.  In other words, God saved him and transported him to live with Him forever.
NOAH

By the time Noah had reached the ripe old age of 500, the world was a pretty rotten place. God saw that the wickedness of man was great in that every thought of mankind was to do evil things continually, and God would have destroyed all of mankind, but for Noah.

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6: 5-8.

God told Noah what He wanted him to do:

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11: 7.

We have already said that faith will do whatever God says do.  In the case of Noah, God said: “Build me an ark and I will save you and your household.”  What did faith do? Faith, moved with fear, built an ark to the saving of his house.  Because of this act of faith, the building of the ark as instructed, God declared Noah to be righteous (a child of God).

It should be getting very clear to you by now: “If you want to please God, you need to do what He requires of you for the time in which you live.”
ABRAHAM
God required Abraham to do certain things for his salvation, just as he required it of Able, Enoch and Noah. God established certain things for Abraham to perform in order to test his obedience. The following are but two of those requirements:

1. God said: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” Genesis 12:1. He left, not knowing where he was going. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11: 8.

2. God said, “I want you to offer your son Isaac as a sacrifice.” Abraham prepared to do so, for he had faith that God would raise him from the dead. “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Hebrews 11: 17-19.

Abraham was rewarded for his faithfulness and is known as the father of many, even though he had become a very old man when Sarah conceived Isaac. “Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” Hebrews 11: 12.

Abraham was ninety-nine years old when Isaac was conceived, but he believed God and did what God asked of him. Because of his faith, Abraham was blessed of God and thereby assured that his seed would be many; for through the seed of Isaac and Jacob Jesus was born, in whom all the world would be blessed.

Abraham did all that God asked of him, believing that God would do all that He said He would do.  His faith and his actions (works) were pleasing to God, and God counted it to him for righteousness. “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4: 3.

In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews there are many names listed in “The Faith Hall of Fame). But time and space will only permit us to add two more: Moses and Rahab.
MOSES

In the time that Herod was the leader over Israel, he decreed that all male children born of the Hebrew women were to be killed. Moses’ parents knew there was something special about their newborn son, so they hid him for three months after birth before putting him in a place where he was sure to be found. Pharaoh’s daughter spotted the little one while bathing in the river and took him home with her, where he was raised in the house of Pharaoh.

When Moses became a man, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” Hebrews 11: 25.

God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.  Many know a lot about the plagues that God inflicted on the Egyptians but the most significant one was when God told Moses to have his people sprinkle the blood of an animal over the door and on the side post of their dwelling place, and if they would do so, the first born male of their household would live rather than die. (Exodus 12).  By faith, Moses instructed the people, and those who did as the Lord required, were spared their lives when the death angle passed over the land that night. God spared the lives of all those who obeyed His command.

By faith, Moses and the children of Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry land, but those of Pharaoh’s army were swallowed up by the water. (Exodus 14).

Moses, just like those of faith before him, did whatever God told him to do; and God did for Moses as He had done for those before him – saved him and counted the works he did for righteousness.
RAHAB

The story concerning Rahab is a most interesting one; you will find it detailed in the Book of Joshua – Chapters 2 through 6.

Rahab was a harlot (Joshua 2: 1).  Joshua sent two spies to scope out Jericho and they came to Rahab’s house. Even though the King of Jericho had sent messages to Rahab to turn the spies over to him, she did not, choosing to hide them instead and also to lie concerning there whereabouts (Joshua 2: 1-4). Rahab later told the two men that she knew the Lord had already given them the land and asked them to spare her and her family.

The only way she could have known Jericho would be taken was if God had revealed it unto her.  So when Joshua gave orders to destroy the city and its inhabitants, he excluded Rahab and her family: “And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.” Joshua 6: 17.

Rahab and her family were saved because they did as God instructed them to do. “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?” James 2: 25
SUMMARY

In the old Testament, if one was to be declared righteous, one would simply do what God said do.

1. If God said, “Cain and Able, offer an animal sacrifice.”  Faith would offer an animal sacrifice.  Abel did and was declared righteous;  Cain did not and was not declared righteous, but was cursed of God.

2. If God said, “Enoch, do what I say do.”  Faith would do whatever God said.  Apparently Enoch did just that, for the Scripture says “He pleased God.” “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11: 5. And we know God took Enoch home with Him.

3. If God said: “Noah, build me an ark and I will save you and your house”; faith would build an ark. That’s exactly what Noah did and God kept His promise.

4. If God said: “Abraham, get thee out of thy country, be circumcised and offer your only begotten son Isaac as a sacrifice”; What would faith do but get out, be circumcised and offer Isaac as a sacrifice? Abraham did all those things and they were counted to him for righteousness.

5. If God said: “Moses, put the blood over your door and on the side post and I will save your first born son; then walk across the Red Sea on dry land and I will save you.” Faith would do it, without hesitation. Moses did all that was asked of Him and God saved him.

6. If God said: “Rahab, hide the two messengers of God and send those looking for them away and I will save you and your house”; faith would hide the men.  Rahab did that and God saved her as well as her family.

It is faith and faith alone that saved the Old Testament saints.  Faith obeys whatever God requires for the time at hand. The Scriptures are clear about that.  There is no better explanation of what we just said than is found in James 2: 20-26:

 
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  20. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

  21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son       upon the altar?

  22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

  23. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

  24. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

  25. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

  26. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Old Testament faith had to be followed with the response of a work being performed by the individual. There is no way to separate one from the other.  In Old Testament times there would not have been an evidence of faith apart from works.

Do not be confused by this.  We will show in subsequent passages that individual works are no longer a part of the salvation process. But for the period of time under discussion faith must be followed by works.

 

 
3. THE FAITH THAT WAS:

IN THE GOSPELS

 

 

Webster’s dictionary defines “righteous” as: meeting the standards of what is right and just. 

With respect to Israel, the chosen people of God through the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, one was made righteous if he did as God demanded or commanded him. One’s sins would be taken care of temporarily until the time when those sins would be blotted out permanently by the blood of Christ. This blotting out of sins for Israel and all the saved of the Old Testament and the four Gospels as well, will take place after Christ sets up His 1,000 year millennial reign. It did not happen the moment they confessed Christ as the Messiah. (We will show you when that started later on in the booklet.)

In the Old Testament we saw God demanding certain works in order to be declared righteous. What we must address at this time is: Does all that change with the coming of Christ? The question is: “Are works by man still required in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in order to be approved of God”? The answer is, yes!

With the coming of John the Baptist we see the introduction of a new work – water baptism.  In Luke 3: 3 we see the following: “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;” The passage is about John the Baptist preaching that one must be baptized in order to have remission of sins.

What does that mean exactly?  It means that a new requirement for righteousness is being introduced. It means that God now requires a person to be baptized if they are to be accepted of Him. It is a work that has to be done. It is no different from the work of circumcision, the building of an arc or the offering of an animal sacrifice for the remission of sins.

I want you to examine the word “remission” for a moment. When we say that a particular disease, like cancer, is in remission; does that mean it no longer exists? It generally means the disease has only been arrested momentarily and there is a possibility that it may re-appear.  We will discuss this in more detail later, but I want you to think of what I just said as we continue with our commentary.

In the third chapter of the Book of Matthew, we find John the Baptist speaking to a group of people. He tells them that he comes baptizing with water unto repentance, but Christ will come and baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” Matthew 3: 11.

Not too long after this event took place, Jesus comes before John, requesting to be baptized.  John says, “That should not happen, Lord, you need to baptize me, not I you.”

Look at the Lord’s response: “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” Matthew 3: 15.

Now what do you suppose the meaning of the words, “to fulfil all righteousness” means? Jesus tells John it is necessary for Him, the Lord, to be baptized to fulfil all righteous. Just as Old Testament saints were to perform certain works before they were declared righteous, Jesus is saying He must do what is required in order that He might fulfil the righteous command for that day and age.

Would it not stand to reason that if God had some specific requirements for those living in the time period we are now discussing, all who wished to please God would comply?  Sure it would. Look at the following passage that elude to that thought.

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. John 4: 34.

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5: 30.

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. John7: 16.

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. John 8: 29.

These verses spoken by Jesus tell of the Savior seeking only to please God and to do God’s will. So, if the will of the Father was for all to be baptized, Jesus would be baptized, thus fulfilling all righteousness.

Unlike all others of that time period, Jesus was not baptized for the remission of sins, for He had no sin; He was simply doing the will of the Father.  God said do it. He did it.  God demanded obedience to His commands; Jesus was obedient and was baptized.

Baptism, like circumcision was never intended to blot out one’s sins. Baptism was a temporal cleansing until the blood of Jesus would blot out all sins.  If God said: “Be baptized and your sins will be remitted until the time of restitution when they will be blotted out”, faith would be baptized expecting the blotting out of their sins to be forthcoming.

Jesus was baptized simply because God required it for that time period.  His purpose was to please God and do His will. That was no difference from the requirements God imposed on Old Testament saints.

But His baptism was for another purpose in the fulfilling of all righteousness also. In Old Testament days the priest would wash the animal sacrifice before offering it on the altar of sacrifice. Jesus’ baptism was in fulfillment of that.  It was in preparation for His own sacrifice: His death on Calvary.
WHAT ABOUT AFTER THE DEATH OF CHRIST?

Were works still operational in order to fulfill all righteousness? Did the requirements of God change once Christ died? No, they did not!. In the command Jesus gave His disciples after His resurrection, we read these words:

“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.” Matthew 28: 1920.

“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.” Mark 16: 15-16.

In the following passages, the Lord has already gone back to be with the Father, and there doesn’t appear to be any change in what the apostles are preaching.

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?  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: 37-38. 

There are some who say there was a big change.  They will tell you that in Matthew and Mark the command was to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, whereas in Acts they are commanded to baptize in the name of Jesus Christ. The fact remains that baptism was still a requirement and that is the subject we are presently discussing.

What is sad is that there are those that based their entire religious belief over the fact that one must be baptized in Jesus’ name or they will not be saved.  They have missed the point entirely that baptism never saved, it was only a temporal thing, a work that must be performed at that time in order to please God.

If God said: “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins:; faith would do that.  Baptism was as much a work as:
1. The animal sacrifices of Abel.

2. The work Enoch did to please God.

3. The building of the ark by Noah.

4. The getting out of the country, being circumcised, and the offering of Isaac by Abraham.

5. The putting of the blood on the door and walking across the Red Sea by Moses.

6. The hiding of the messengers by Rahab.

There is not one bit of difference.  So we can add to our list of works.

7. The baptism of repentance for the remission of sins from John the Baptist up until the Dispensation of Grace.

Baptism is as much a work as the other six were.  It is something you must do.  It is something people can see. Yet, baptism was not something new, nor was it begun by John the Baptist as some suggest.  It only became a requirement for remission of sins when God instructed John to teach it.

The practice of washing (baptizing) the sacrifice was already established under the law.

“Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.” Hebrews 9: 1.

“Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings (baptism), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them (by the Law) until the time of reformation.” Hebrews 9: 9-10.

Israel, God’s covenant people, had so transgressed against God that John the Baptist was calling them to repentance and back to godly fellowship.  Animal sacrificial washing was not good enough, they would now need to present themselves as clean (baptized) vessels before Almighty God. Thus the call of John was to repent and be baptized (cleansed) for the remission of your sins.

This baptism of oneself, taught by John, like the baptism of animals, was never intended to be the answer for salvation.  It was a temporal thing. The purpose of John’s baptism was to be cleansed temporarily until the times of refreshing came. (The second coming of Christ.)

“Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. ….And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.  For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash (the same word for baptize), they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.” Mark 7: 1, 3-4.

Baptism was an act of cleanliness.  The animal sacrifice was washed (baptized) in order to present the sacrifice clean before the Lord.  A priest washed (baptized) his hands before he accepted the animal sacrifice, and so on and so forth it goes.

But certain denominations have turned baptism into a religious issue.  Let me try to get you to see what Jesus thought about that.  Continue to read with me in Mark 7: 4-7: “Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen (un-baptized) hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

When an entire denomination is based upon the doctrine of baptism, is this not commandments of men? Religion is destroying Christianity. Religious organizations emphasize their own doctrinal issues rather than teaching people how to understand God’s Word.

FACT: The way a denomination baptizes is not important in this Dispensation of Grace.  You can sprinkle, immerse the whole body or just the head, and as far as God is concerned you are nothing more than the hypocritical Pharisees he chastised above. Baptism, like the law it was a part of, has been replaced by the grace of God.

Baptism was a work that men could boast about. “I’ve been baptized, have you? You haven’t? Well if you haven’t you are lost and going to hell.”

Preachers talk to other preachers and say: “We baptized 50 people this quarter, how many baptisms did you have?” Shouldn’t they be saying how many people got saved?  Or do you suppose they think baptisms are synonymous with salvation? If so how do you justify the following

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. THE FAITH THAT IS – NOW

 

 

Most Christians will tell you that we are living in the age of grace or the Dispensation of Grace, but when asked to define what that is their answer is either weak or rote. For instance, they might say “It is a time when mankind is saved by the grace of God or it is a time that God is dealing graciously with man.”

That is a true saying but a very weak answer in that it does not really cover the depth of God’s purpose for this age. God has always dealt graciously with man in every generation and dispensation.  However, this present Dispensation of Grace is the only time God has dealt with man without requiring man’s work to be an integral part of the salvation process. Christ did the work for us when he shed His blood on Calvary. So, we are living in a dispensation where we are saved by grace through faith – NOT OF WORKS.

There are no animal sacrifices needed because God provided the perfect sacrifice – Jesus Christ.  There is no baptism needed because we are cleansed by the blood of Christ. Many Christians know this but they have limited knowledge about the requirements of faith that came before the Dispensation of Grace and will come again when this dispensation reaches its end.

Question: If works were necessary prior to the law and during the Dispensation of the Law; and if works were necessary immediately after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, when did faith without works start?

Question: If Peter did not preach faith alone apart from works at Pentecost, who started preaching it?

Question: Is it all that important to know who started preaching this message of grace? Does it make any difference who started preaching it?

We think it does make a difference and we want you to know why.

 

BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS
It is appalling that the majority of Christians do not care enough about the importance of knowing the truth as well as their refusal to study the Bible in order to find the truth.

We have become a complacent society.  We get upset more about lying politicians than we do about lying preachers.  If we catch a politician in a lie we go to great lengths to make sure they are exposed and removed from office; but we won’t even give one hour a day in studying God’s word to prove what a preacher is teaching is wrong.

Why do you suppose that is true? Could it be there are so many of us who just do not care?  Or could it be that we do not know enough about the Bible to even question their veracity? Perhaps both, but I would venture to say it is the latter and that is a most disturbing thought.

I believe that ninety percent of the people attending churches today get ninety-five percent of their knowledge of the Bible from what a preacher said the Scriptures said, not through searching the Scriptures to find what God really said.

Question: How do you know what your preacher is teaching is in fact truth? When the apostle Paul was evaluating two churches, listen to his praise for those at Berea and why he praised them.

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they (1) received the word with all readiness of mind, and (2) searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17: 11.

If we would be considered noble, based upon the criteria in Acts 17:11, we would:

1) Listen to what a preacher or teacher says and,
2) But we would not believe what was said without checking our Bibles first.
3) If what the preacher or teacher said is not the same as what the Bible says, do not believe the preacher or teacher.

And I say if the latter is true, you ought to quit listening to that person.  He is a false teacher.  We should make sure that the Scripture used to prove a point does not contradict with other Scripture.  If there is a question as to whether or not there is a contradiction then you need to determine where that Scripture fits and into what dispensation it applies.

You need to get in the habit of asking questions.  Such as, 1) To whom is the passage written, those under the law or those under grace. 2) In what time period does this Scripture refer: past dispensations or the present dispensation?

The Bible does not contradict itself, but false teachers will say it does when it does not agree with their doctrinal position, or when they are trying to get you to believe a lie.

Asking questions is a good way to study and to grow in understanding. Questioning a Bible teacher is a great way to determine their knowledge as well as there veracity. If a preacher or teacher will not tell the truth about one particular thing, he will not tell the truth about another and another. One lie leads to another lie.

The Bible warns us about these false teachers in 2 Corunthians11: 13-15:

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

If the word of God tells us: “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians 3: 23-25. Why do some preachers tell you that you are still under the law and must keep the ordinances of the law? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ.

If the word of God says: “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.” Ephesians 2: 8-9; why do preachers say you have to be baptized or speak in tongues (which are works) to be saved? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ. 

Paul was confronted with false teachers coming into an assembly after he had departed. Look what he says about them: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Galatians 1: 6-8.

There are false teachers in pulpits today masquerading as minister of Christ.  Their one objective is to deceive you into believing The Lie. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

1) Some give just enough truth so you will not question them.  Remember our training from school when taking a true/false exam? Weren’t you instructed that if one part of the statement was false then the whole statement was considered to be false? Yes!
2) Others act as though they are the sweetest thing this side of fresh honey, in the hope of your thinking they can do no wrong.  There is an old saying that goes like this: “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” Watch out for the sweet ones.
3) Still others deceive you with their eloquence and charisma.  Hitler was a charismatic individual and so was Jim Jones.  Look at what happened to their followers.
4) Some even get you caught up in their deceit by the music they sing and the excitement it brings. What is their objective, to get you so worked up emotionally in singing you will not know or care what is being said? Now that’s the best one yet.

Beware! Beware! Beware! Beware!

I am not saying that every charismatic, eloquent individual is a false person or that everyone who loves to sing is following untruth; nor am I saying that a man of God cannot be a sweet, loving and compassionate individual.  I am only showing you the possibilities and the probabilities out there.  If you are really interested in knowing the truth, always follow this suggestion from 1 Peter 5: 8: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

 

REGENERATION

In the introduction I stated it was very hard to believe someone cared enough for me to die for my sins; but God did and Jesus Christ was willing to be my sin offering. God cared enough to ask His only begotten Son to die for the sins of man.  Jesus Christ cared enough that He was willing to go into hell so my sins would be forgiven.

Christ’s death, and the blood He shed on Calvary, was for the sins of all men: before the law, under the law, under grace and after grace.

However, there is one question that haunts many believers today: when were sins blotted out or atoned for? There are two answers for that one question, but before we examine them we need to get a clearer understanding of the word atonement.

There are seven Jewish feast days, one of them is The Feast of Atonement.  The first time it is mentioned is in Leviticus 23: 27-32.

20 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
21 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
22 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
23 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
24 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
25 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the children of Israel were to bring their animal sacrifices to the High Priest.  The High Priest would receive the sacrificial animal and slit its throat, catch the blood in a vessel and then put the blood on the animal, symbolic for the blood being a covering for sin. Once this ritual was performed, all the sins of the past were “atoned for.” Then the next year, on the Day of Atonement, they would repeat the process. They must do this each and every year of their lives.

When Christ died on the cross, the symbolic animal sacrifice was not needed anymore. That sacrifice was part of Jewish law, and Christ abolished the law in His flesh.

“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;” Ephesians 2: 15.

It is Christ’s blood that atones for sins. The question is: “At what time does this atonement take place?” The answer is two fold.

1). At the conclusion of his Pentecostal address, Peter said the following in Acts 3: 19-21:

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;
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 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.

The passage states that the atonement will come when Jesus Christ returns the second time, known as the second coming of Christ. The times of refreshing will come during the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ.  Christ returns at the end of the seven years of tribulation and then established His 1,000 year earthly reign as King.

Peter is addressing a predominately Jewish crowd. Peter has been preaching “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.

What Peter tells the people is they must repent, be cleansed (baptized) so that their sins will be in remission until the time comes when those sins will be blotted out.

2) In Romans 5: 9-11, Paul is addressing a different group of believers, which we will call the Church the Body of Christ.  Look at what he tells them:

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
I want you to look at two parts of the passage above. In verse 9 you see the words, “shall be saved from wrath’; and in verse11 the words “we have now received the atonement”.

So, members of the Church the Body of Christ will not go through the wrath, which is the tribulation and the wrath to come, and their sins are atoned for NOW.

Are Acts 3:19-21 and Romans 5: 9-11 paradoxes, seemingly contradictory statements that may nonetheless be true? Yes they are! They are both truth, however, they speak to two different groups of people.  The passages do not contradict.  They are for two different dispensations and two separate time periods and are for two different groups of people.

Acts 3:19-21 is for Israel and all those who were saved under the Kingdom message preached by Peter.  Their sins will be atoned when Christ returns to earth the second time. Whereas Romans 5: 9-11 is for the Church the Body of Christ and those who were saved by grace.  Their sins are atoned the moment they trust Christ as their Savior.
SALVATION FOR ISRAEL

Let’s look at Acts 3: 21 again: “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.” What prophets spoke of this event can be seen in Jeremiah 31:31-34.  Lets go there.
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Let us look very closely at what we just read.

1. V. 31 states there will be a New Covenant established with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Judah is in reference to the two faithful tribes: Judah and Benjamin; and Israel is in reference to the ten unfaithful tribes.

2. V. 32: This New Covenant is different from the Old Covenant made with Israel, through Moses.

3. V. 33 says that God will put His law in their inward parts and write it on their hearts. In this dispensation, Israel’s heart has been hardened because they went a whoring from the presence of God. “My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.” Hosea 5: 12. God finally “put His foot down” and declared Israel to be Lo-ami, not my people. “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” Acts 28: 28.

4. V. 33 also says, “I will be their God and they shall be my people.” God will unlock their hardened hearts and bring them from the state of being Lo-ami (Not my people) to the state of being His people. The promised restoration of Israel will be realized. Look at Acts 1: 6: “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

The restoration of Israel was what they were looking for, but that time did not come.  Look at what Jesus said: “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Acts 1: 7. The disciples knew about the prophecy of Jeremiah and were anticipating the earthly kingdom.  But that did not happen in Acts.  It will happen when Christ returns to earth.

5. V. 34: When Christ establishes His earthly Kingdom, all Israel will know the Lord. It is obvious that they do not know Him at this time.

6. V. 34: When the earthly Kingdom is established the lord will blot out Israel’s sins. But for now, they are waiting for that day. All the saved of the Old Testament and all those who believed the Kingdom message that Peter preached are waiting for their Day of Atonement. It is a future event.

Fact: The Church the Body of Christ is not a New Covenant group of believers. The New Covenant is to be made with Israel and Judah. The New Covenant will become operational when Christ returns at the end of tribulation, establishes His 1,000 year millennial reign and sets up His earthly throne.

You have witnessed seemingly contradictory verse of Scripture, but if we learn to rightly divide the Word of Truth, as 2 Timothy 2: 15 states; “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We can see that the passages under consideration involves two separate dispensations.

 

SALVATION FOR THE CHURCH THE BODY OF CHRIST
Our salvation is by grace and not of works. We become a child of God by trusting in the Faith of Christ.  What is the Faith of Christ? He believed the father would raise Him from the dead if he was willing to die for the sins of man.

 If you or I are saved today, it not because of anything we did.

 You/I cannot do anything to earn our salvation.

 You/I cannot do anything to make our salvation better or more meaningful.

 Your/My faith cannot save us; that would be a work.

 You/I cannot add anything to what Christ has already done.

Look at Titus 3: 4-7: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
THE FAITH OF CHRIST

The finished work of Christ means just what it says: “It is finished.” It was finished the moment He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.  When we accept the finished work of Christ we die, and yet we are made alive: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2: 20.

This is another paradox: How can one be dead and still be alive?  The Bible teaches we become a part of Christ’s body the moment we believe the Gospel of Christ.  Christ died; we died too.  Christ rose from the dead; we rose from the dead too.  By accepting the Faith of Christ we have been made alive spiritually, but dead to sin. That does not mean our flesh will not sin, it does.  But it means that since Christ conquered sin, we will too, in resurrection.

If we believe that Christ did everything for our salvation and that we (mankind) can do nothing, and I do believe that; then the following Scriptures are very important for a clearing understanding of what we are saying.  These verses of Scripture state our position without the need of a deep theological explanation.

Galatians 2:

16 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Galatians 3:

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Romans 3:

23 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Philippians 3:

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
What do all of these verses have in common?  In a King James Bible, it is the Faith of Christ. They tell me I am justified by the Faith of Christ, I am made righteous by the Faith of Christ, and I live by the Faith of Christ.

So, what exactly was the Faith of Christ? Christ, who left His throne in Glory, had faith that the Father would restore Him to the position He had before he became flesh and blood. He also had faith that if He were to die and go into hell for the sins of the world, God would not leave his soul in hell. That was the faith Christ had.  He believed that God would do what He said He would do.

Christ became a human sacrifice for the world’s sins.  It was a work that He was willing to perform and it was that work that justified all of mankind.  It is His faith that saves me.  I can do nothing for my salvation; it was completed when Christ died over 2,000 years ago.

 
THE GOSPEL UNTO SALVATION

Since salvation was taken care of by the Lord Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago, how can it be mine?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1: 16.

“So what is the Gospel of Christ,” you ask? It is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4:

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

There are a lot of people who believe that Christ died, was buried and rose again but are as lost as they can be. You might be one of those. The Bible says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2: 19. But it is impossible for the devil to be saved and live with God eternally because God has already condemned him to a life in the lake of fire.

There are many who have spent their entire life going to church.  They will tell you they have always been a Christian.  They believe in God, Jesus Christ, Easter and Christmas, but that does not mean they are saved and that does not mean they are a Christian.

Every person in this world has to understand that they are sinners.  They were born sinners and will die sinners. But if a sinner believes that Christ paid the price for their sins and trust what He did for them on Calvary, then they are Children of God.

Some things you should understand scripturally:

1. You are a sinner: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23. You need to understand you are lost before you will understand the need to be saved.

2. The penalty for sin: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6: 23. Since you are a sinner, you should die, but Christ intervened on your behalf, if you will trust what He did.

3. The gospel of your salvation: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.

4. The free gift of God: “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.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

The power of God unto salvation is the Gospel of Christ.  The gospel is not the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The gospel is Christ died for our sins, was buried and resurrected.

Satan knew Christ did not die for his sins, for Satan’s sin separated him permanently from God. He knows there is a God and he knows who the Son of God is too.  He believes in them and you’d better believe he knows that Christ rose from the dead, because when Christ did that he conquered death and Satan’s power of death.  Look at Hebrews 2: 14: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”

So you see, just believing in God, Jesus Christ and His death burial and resurrection does not save unless you believe all He did was for you and your sins. Christ died for your sins and you must accept His work for you if you are to be saved.

One other thing, the Gospel is the power of God UNTO salvation. Christ is our salvation. There is nothing you can do to earn this salvation for it is the gift of God. Salvation has always been available to you.  Now all you must do is believe the Gospel. Once it become personal for you, you will become a part of Christ’s body and His Spirit will dwell in you.
SECURE: CHRIST LIVING IN ME

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12: 13.

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” 1 Corinthians 12: 27.

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Colossians 1: 27.

Think about it, Christ living in you! And if He does, that guarantees you eternal life with Him. You are part of Christ’s body and that means that wherever He is, you are. He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father:

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 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.” Ephesians 2: 4-9.

I underlined the words hath quickened so that you would understand this is “past tense.” That means I have already been raised up into heaven spiritually. My Spirit is already with Christ, who is in heaven.

How can one teach that you can loose your salvation if they read the Scriptures listed above? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ.  Beware! Beware!

God knows everything so He would know I was going to sin after I believed, wouldn’t He? Sure He would. So when Christ died for the sins of the world, He died for all those sins I would commit a hundred tomorrows from now as well as for the ones I committed yesterday.

This question remains: “Did Christ die for ALL my sins or not”? And the answer is and always has been a resounding yes.  How do I know that?  I know that because the Word of God says so.

“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2: 10-15.

Christ has already quickened those who trusted Him and has already forgiven them ALL their trespasses.  Then how can some preacher say if I sin I will loose my salvation?  He must be a false teacher acting as though he was a minister of light.  Beware!  If you continue to listen to him you will be his roommate in hell.

 
GOOD WORKS vs. BAD WORKS

Sin does not rob me of eternal life with Christ, but sin does rob me of something. Sin robs me of my reward.  A Christian can do things (works) that are bad as well as good.  My bad works, things done in my flesh, will be burned and I will suffer loss, but I will not suffer my inheritance.  My good works, things done in the Spirit, will stand the test of fire and I will receive a reward. Look at 1 Corinthians 3; 11-16:

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 

The gold, silver and precious stones of verse twelve are good works. When they are subjected to fire they are purified, not destroyed.  The end result is reward. The “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” of 2 Timothy 2: 12 could very well be the reward spoken of in 1 Corinthians.

The wood, hay and stubble of verse twelve are bad works.  When they are subjected to fire they burn completely, they are destroyed. The child of God will suffer loss, but he will still be secure in Christ, as verse fifteen states.

There are many skeptics, or false teachers who might wonder why we did not include 1 Corinthians 3: 17 in our commentary. “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

Fact: This body can be destroyed.  It will be before we ascend into heaven, but God may also allow it to be delivered into the hands of Satan at anytime it ceases to be productive.  Look at 2 Corinthians 5: 5: “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Good and bad works are contrasted with the spirit and the flesh.  The two are not compatible.  There is a war going on between the flesh and the Spirit and often times it is very frustrating for the believer.  Look at what God’s Word say on the subject.

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5: 17.

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7: 18-25.

Paul, the author of both Galatians and Romans, was aware of the battle of the flesh and the Spirit. He had problems with his flesh too.  He was constantly fighting to overcome the desires of his flesh.  But at least he was trying, unlike the majority of us who call ourselves Christians. We seem to be content with the fact that we are saved and already seated in heavenly places and go about living like children of the devil, rather than walk as children of God.  Watch out! God could turn you over to Satan for the destruction of your flesh.

“But don’t we have liberty under grace, as stated in Galatians 5: 1: Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” one might say?

Yes! But you need to look at Galatians 5: 13: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” We must not abuse the liberty we have or we will prostitute the grace of God.
WHAT REGENERATION IS NOT TODAY

Regeneration in the Dispensation of Grace is not works performed by mankind. Salvation has always been accompanied with works, regardless of the dispensation. That is why proponents of it today quote James 2: 20: “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” or James 2: 26: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” The works James speaks of are those that man can do.

There was a time when this statement applied to the believer. But in the Dispensation of Grace, in which we currently reside, man’s work plays no part in salvation.  The work that must be done has already been done by Christ.

1. Able had to offer the right sacrifice or not be accepted of God.

2. Noah had to build an ark before he and his family could be saved.

3. Abraham had to offer Isaac or not be declared righteous.

4. Moses had to put blood over the door so the first born male child could be saved.  He also had to walk through the Red Sea to be saved.

5. Rahab had to send those looking for the men of God in another direction so that she and her family would be saved.

6. Those believer in the gospels had to repent and be baptized before they could be saved.

All these works were necessary because God said do them to show your faith. So then BY their faith, plus doing the required work, God saved them. Salvation has always been doing what God required, at the time He required them to be done.

Well, God does not require you to perform any work today.  God says that people living in the Dispensation of Grace CANNOT DO ANYTHING that will save them.  Let me be more emphatic, you MUST NOT DO ANYTHING in an attempt to be saved or you will frustrate the grace of God.

Salvation in the twenty-first century is a free gift, given by God because of the WORK of His Son. So then, the work that had been necessary for man to perform has been replaced by the work that Christ performed. “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.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

Why would God say, “and that not of yourselves” if it had not once been of yourselves? In prior dispensations, salvation was BY faith doing whatever God said do.  It was man’s faith doing what God required at the time.

In this present dispensation it is all about Christ’s faith that saves, and Christ has already done what was necessary: He died for the sins of the world; he became the sacrifice for sins. Salvation for this age involves the work of Christ.

Those of us living today cannot perform any work, cannot add anything to Christ’s finished work.  Persons in prior dispensations were saved BY their faith, accompanied with works.  In the present dispensation, we receive our salvation THROUGH faith believing in Christ’s faith and His work. Look at Romans 3: 30: “Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.”

God has always required a work (by man) to follow an act of faith in every dispensation, with the exception of the dispensation of Grace. In this present dispensation Christ has done the work necessary.  We must accept, through faith, the work of Christ for our salvation.

The uncircumcision of Romans 3:30 speaks of the Church the Body of Christ.  This body of believers is a unique group of people, chosen in God before the foundation of the world.

“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:” Ephesians 1: 4.

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2: 7.

The Bible says that the Church the Body of Christ will be an example to the world of the grace of God.  For the first and only time, God is not requiring works of man as a show of faith.  He allowed Christ to perform the work for us.  That, my friend, is what grace is about. God has given us a precious gift, the gift of life through Christ Jesus our Lord. He died, became the sacrifice for sins, thus performing the work necessary to please God.

Let us look at James 2: 20-26:

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Works WERE necessary to show faith.  Without the work there would have been no justification.  This has always been the truth and it still is today.  But it is the work of Christ that saves today, not the work of man. In other dispensations the work that was required was a work that men did. In the present dispensation it is a work that Christ has done. This is grace.

This teaching is not something that has been known for only a short time. It is not some doctrine that I have espoused on my on. I was taught it by someone who was taught it by someone else. Songs written long ago declared it: “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

In past dispensations if a man did not do works he could not be saved.  In the present dispensation if man thinks his works saves him he is not saved.

Paul said: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

Do you want to frustrate the grace of God?  Do not allow some false prophet to hoodwink you into believing you must be baptized or speak in tongues to be saved. That would be frustrating the grace of God.  That would be a work you could perform, thus frustrating to God and to Christ who did the work required for your salvation.
WHAT WILL IT BE – HEAVEN OR HELL?

Question: If you were to die today, would you spend eternity in heaven or hell?

If you said heaven, praise God and go and share your faith and your assurance with a lost friend, relative, fellow worker or neighbor.

If you said hell or you do not know, read on.

Would you like to know about heaven? If one is to go there they must be saved, they must trust in what Christ has already done for them.  How does one come to that point?

1. Recognize you are a sinner: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3: 23.

2. Understand the penalty for sin: “For the wages of sin is DEATH; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6: 23.

3. Believe the gospel of your salvation: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.

4. Accept the free gift of God: “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.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

Everyone who is alive is a sinner.  You are, and so am I. Adam was made in the image of God, but Adam sinned, and everyone who has ever been born is born of fallen Adam. Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was a sin.  Everyone that was born of Adam was born in sin and falls short of the glory of God. Since all who are born are born sinners, what we sinners deserve (wages of sin) is death. This death means to be separated from God eternally.  But if I accept the gift of God, which is Christ dying for my sins; I will be saved from the wrath of eternal damnation.

God gives us eternal life with Him because of what Christ did on Calvary. And when Christ was resurrected from the grave he conquered death for all who would accept His gift.

Salvation is accepting the gift that has already been provided for you.  It is free for you, but it cost God and Christ a lot in order for you to have it. Christ had to die and spend three days and night in hell before God resurrected Him from there.

When Christ died on Calvary over 2,000 years ago, God placed the sins of man, past, present and future, on His shoulders.  Jesus Christ redeemed you from your sins. To redeem is to buy back. Until you accept what Christ did, you remain a salve to sin. That sin has separated you from God.  Jesus Christ, in redemption, paid the necessary price (His life) and performed the work God required, the shedding of His blood, to restore fallen man’s standing with God.

Since you are a sinner, you have all been on “Death Row”. The sentence has been handed down by the eternal judge and you have been found lacking. You must die, but you have one last chance to escape eternal death: Accept the gift of Christ.  If you do, you will pass from death to life.

 
ONLY BELIEVE
Most of you reading this will have never met me, but let me speak to you as if I were your closet friend. There is a heaven and there is a hell.  When I was a child that was an accepted fact by the majority of the people living in the United States of America, but sadly, it is not the case today.

One day you are going to die.  I want you to image that you are in prison and on “Death Row”. You’re only hope of escaping death would be if someone intervened on your behalf.  You’ve been informed that that someone, Jesus Christ, is coming today. He enters your cell and speaks:

Jesus:  “My child, you are in a precarious situation, are you not?”

Doomed Soul: “Yes Sir, I am. Can you help me?”

Jesus: “Yes, I can.”

Doomed Soul: “Will you?”

Jesus: “I already have.  But up until this point you have refused to accept my gift to you.  Will you trust that I have already done what is necessary for you to be free? Will you believe that what I have done will give you a get out of jail free card?”

Doomed Soul: “I would like to believe, but how can I be sure that your word is true?”

Jesus: “Because I just told you. I am the way the truth and the life.  The words that I speak are truth. I did everything for you to be free.”

Doomed Soul: “What did you do?”

Jesus: I died for your transgressions over 2,000 years ago.  Men buried me, but my Father raised me from the dead three days later and I ascended back to my Father.  Believe I did that for you and you can walk away from here a free person.  Nobody will keep you from walking out of here.”

Doomed Soul: “Do you think I’m crazy?  Why would you die for me?  I’ve never met you before. There must be something in it for you, so what’s the catch? I’ve always been told you don’t get something for nothing.”

Jesus: “I did it because I loved you and I want you to be a part of my family, but you must trust me.  Will you?”

Pause

Jesus: “Will you trust me? If you will, let’s get of here and go home to my Father.”

Doomed Soul: “The minute I walk out of that door those guards will think I’m trying to escape and they will shoot me. You are asking me to put my life in your hands and I do not even know you.”

Jesus: “If you knew me you would trust me.  Will you?”

Doomed Soul: “I want to but I am afraid.”

Jesus: “What is there to be afraid of?  You are going to die if you don’t trust me, and you’re going to live forever in a place of torment eternally.  So what have you got to lose?  If I walk out of here and you do not follow after me, you will surely die.  I am offering you everlasting life in a wonderful place, all you have to do is trust me to be who I say I am.  Will you let me save you or not?  Believe in me and you will be free.”

The man slowly, but a little reluctantly, walks out the cell door and past the guard and out the doors to freedom.

Doomed Soul: “I believe He meant what He said so I put my life completely in His hands.”

Jesus: “My words are true, you can believe them.”

Saved Soul: “Thank you Lord, for saving my soul and giving me eternal life with you in heaven.”

If you are a lost sinner, Christ’s words are true and you will find those words in a King James Bible.  His Word says believe I died for your sins, was buried and resurrected and you will be saved.  Jesus says believe I did that for you and that salvation is by my grace and the work I did on Calvary. Trust my words and salvation is yours.  It is God’s gift to all who will believe.

 

BE CAREFUL
There are many people in pulpits who will tell you that you must do this or that in order to be saved.  They want you to add something that you can do to the finished work of Christ. The fact is that if you add anything you will loose everything. Jesus Christ redeemed you by the shedding of His blood. “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.”

Circumcision never saved anyone.  Keeping the Law could not save anyone.  Water baptism will not save anyone, nor will doing good works save anyone.  Jesus saves! You do not have to walk down an isle and give a preacher your hand; that does not save you. You might cry or you might not, but crying will not save you. Actions and emotions do not aid in your salvation; they may occur, but they do not save.

Jesus paid the price for your salvation. He is all you need.  If you add anything to His finished work you prostitute the grace of God. All you can do is trust in what He has already done.  You can do that wherever you are: riding in a car, in a motel room, in your home or in the woods. The question is, “Will You?”

If you will, you are saved. Go and serve Him. Find a place that teaches the Bible and begin to grow in the knowledge of Him. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2: 15.

 

You can obtain additional information on the ministry of Obed Kirkpatrick by viewing www.soundwordsministry.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
After Salvation

The Bible: A Christian’s Operation Manual

Rules! Rules! Rules!

Everybody at one time or another falls under the various rules of conduct.  If you are an American, the Constitution of the United States of America clearly defines specific rights and freedoms of its citizens.  The sports world has rules. Your local YMCA has rules.  The company one works for has rules.  Most of these rules are found in a company’s Operation Manual.  Although these rules vary from company to company, the purpose of the Operation Manual is to provide a ready source of information. Have a question? Check the Manual.

Christians have a ready source of information to help govern their lives too. It is the Bible.  If you have any spiritual questions, check your Bible.  My prayer for every Christian: Fall in love with God and His Word.  Read your Bible everyday. Use it as a guide to run your business and your home.  If you do, you will have a peace you never dreamed possible.

Some religious denominations have discouraged their members from reading their Bibles.  In the 1800’s they reprimanded those who did read the Bible on their own, saying it s the responsibility of the priest to interpret the Bible. The Council of Trent actually forbade the reading of the Bible in any language other than Latin.  That act in itself restricted many from reading.

Even though God has inspired holy men to write down His words in the scriptures of the Bible, remember God is the author,

     “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…” 2 Timothy 3:16.

     “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture if of any PRIVATE INTERPRETATION. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but by holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”  2 Peter 1:20-21.

God had men write down the scriptures so that when listening to a Pope, priest, minister, rabbi, we could search the scriptures to see if they were teaching truth.

     “These were more noble then those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so.”  (Acts 17:11)

Why would a denomination want to discourage the reading of the Bible?  It could be that people would find the Bible contradicting denominational issues imposed on them by the mother church.  It could be that people would learn they need not fear the Pope, priest, minister, rabbi, they need only fear God.

In recent weeks there has been a lot of media on The Heaven’s Gate cult and its leader Charles Applewhite. Thirty nine people committed suicide because they believed what their leader said, rather then believing the Word of God.  They saw the Hale-Bopp comet and believed it was a space craft that God had sent for them.    So these people killed themselves in order to be transported to the comet and on to heaven.  Absurd you say. No, not at all!  In the late 1970’s hundreds of followers of the late Jim Jones killed themselves. In 1993 the Branch Dividian Cult near Waco, Texas, headed by David Koresh was under siege by the FBI as they feared children were being used by Koresh for sex.  The building caught fire and over seventy people died in the flames.

I have often wondered why people would rather place their trust in some charismatic human being rather than simply trusting God.  When religious organizations teach there is no possible salvation for anyone who does not sincerely believe what the head of the church teaches, they are nothing more than an occult practice.  The heads of religious organizations do not speak for God. God Speaks for Himself through His Word.

God does call preachers/teachers!  But God never called a preacher/teacher to usurp His authority or place oneself on the same plane as God.  First and foremost, He called preachers/teachers to share the gospel of salvation.

     “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”  Romans 10:13-14.

Preachers and teachers alike are servants of God, not equal with God.  God has no equal!  God has never chosen or appointed any man to act as His equal.  The apostles and prophets of old were only a voice for God.  The Bible has always been the final authority of the mind of God.  Use it, read it, study it, for in it alone will you find supreme comfort.

The Bible has sixty-six books.  The printed Bibles of today have been divided by man into two divisions: Old Testament with 39 books and New Testament with 27 books.  Within these two divisions we find certain distinctive divisions which, in theological circles, are called dispensations. (Greek-oikonomia)

Strong’s Concordance defines oikonomia as: administration (of a household or estate); specifically a (religious) “economy”; dispensation, stewardship. Oikonomia comes from the Greek work, oikonomos, defined as: a house-distributor (i.e. manager) or overseer, i.e. an employee in that capacity: by extension.  A fiscal agent (treasurer); fig. a preacher (of the gospel): chamberlain, governor, steward.

For the purpose of this writing, I wish to use the definition: management of a household to emphasize my point. When managing our earthly households, we make budgetary changes from time to time.

Example:  A young married couple establishes a budget when they first get married.  They allocate $150.00 a month for groceries.  Plenty, they say for two people.  As the years go by the family gets larger;  prices go up, and the size of the family doubles.  So, there is a need to do away with the old budgeted amount for food and establish a new one, say $300.00 a month.  Ten years out and this need to make changes will once again become a necessity.  So, we make necessary adjustments: add to, subtract from, or do away with and start all over.

God has managed His people throughout the Bible in just the same way.  When Adam was created, he was created innocent of sin.  God dealt with or dispensed instructions to Adam in a state of innocence.  Then Adam sinned.  With the conscience awareness of sin, God had to deal with him differently than He did in innocence.  Many theologians have listed the first three dispensations as Innocence, Conscience, and Human Government, the third coming about when man was given the responsibility to govern the world for God.

When God called Abraham, He made a promise to bless him and his seed.  So the Dispensation of Promise is suggested as being the next dispensation.  There are numerous scriptures that mention the promises of God to Abraham and the passing on of those promises through Isaac and Jacob.

Then along came Moses and a need for a new dispensation:  The Dispensation of the Law.  The law was given specifically to Israel.  It consisted of not only the Ten Commandments but some six hundred plus laws found in the Book of Leviticus.

In Ephesians 3: 1-2 we read of another dispensation: The Dispensation of the Grace of God.
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of  the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:”.

It is in this dispensation, the dispensation of the grace of God, we of the 21st Century live.  And if you study your Bible, you will find that this dispensation of the grace of God, given to Paul and specifically given to Gentiles, contains information and instructions to be followed today unlike any given in past dispensations.  Many of the things found in the Pauline Epistles (Romans through Philemon) you cannot find anywhere else in your Bible.

If God has changed the way He deals with His people in the past, and He has: and if Paul in the above scripture tells of a new dispensations given to him specifically for Gentiles, it would behoove each of us to diligently find out what this new dispensation is all about. Let me hasten to say that all scripture has a purpose and all scripture is for us, Old and New Testament alike.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3: 16-17.

But if one is a good student of the scripture, one must not overlook another passage found in 2 Timothy:  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15.

We believe that every book in the Bible is FOR us. But we also believe that the Pauline Epistles are exclusively TO us. Example:  In the Old Testament, an animal sacrifice was to be made as an offering for the remission of sin. 

In the dispensation of the grace of God we know that the blood of Jesus Christ is the only sacrifice we need.  There is no longer a need to offer up animals as had once been required. The animal sacrifice has been done away with. Even though you can read about it in your Bible where an animal sacrifice was required, it does not apply TO us today.

The mailman delivers our personal mail along with a lot of mail addressed to occupant.  It is the personal mail that is meaningful, often times uplifting, sometimes bringing bad news.  Nonetheless, it is mail intended for you and I individually.  The Pauline Epistles are representative of our personal mail.  These epistles were written directly to the Church the Body of Christ and are to be followed even though they say things which seemingly contradict other scripture

Let me be very clear.  The Bible does not contradict itself!  Those who say it does are being used of the devil to get you to swallow that “hog wash” and keep you from enjoying what God has for you.  Do not fall into the trap of getting spiritual answers from men, preachers, and non-preachers.  Listen to them, but then check their words with the words of the Bible.  If there is contradictory information, men are always at fault.  God’s word is true!  Remember, it is not what one thinks the scripture says it is what the scriptures say that matters.  Start your Christian walk depending on the God of Truth, not the man of God.

If you were given this booklet to read after you trusted Christ as your Savior, let me be very clear about something.  The moment you became a child of God the Holy Spirit came into your body.  You and Christ are one and the Spirit that now dwells inside you will reveal truth unto you.

“But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.  But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?  Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”   1 Corinthians 2:9-12

If you are saved, learn to depend upon the Word of God. Get into a regular habit of study.  Reading is good but study is better.  Remember, man will let you down;  God will never disappoint you nor confuse you.  Only man will do those things.  While there are many pastors, priests, and rabbis who may have been a source of blessing for us all, man is still man and is subject to err. If your total trust is in man and man alone you are subject to become puppets, manipulated into doing anything, even committing suicide.  Sooner or later man will be the source of disillusionment.  Do not despair and turn away from God, but run to Him and away from man as quickly as your legs will carry you.

As you start your Christian walk, start by depending upon God and His Word.  He has made sure you have a Bible in your own language to read and study.  The Bible is the Christian’s Operation Manual.  A church creed or code of ethics should never be placed with equal authority along side the Word of God.

The Bible gives us comfort when we are comfortless; strength when we are weak; joy in the midst of sorrow; hope for the future and it lifts us up when we are down.  God never said that once you are saved that everything would be “a bed of roses.” What He did say was: “Let your conversation be without covetousness and be content with such things as ye have; for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  Hebrews 13:5

Rest assured God is never the One that leaves. Man strays from God, not God from man.  Learning to trust completely in Him will lead to eternal happiness, even in the midst of sorrow.  There is a light at the end of the darkness.  Patiently wait! It will come.

Salvation/Regeneration

We have learned that we are living in the dispensation of the Grace of God.  So we are going to focus on how we are saved in this dispensation.  Remember, God in dispensations past may have required certain things (animal sacrifices) but later on decided to abolish those things.  We are not going to concern ourselves with past dispensations and their requirements for salvation.  We will focus on the subject at hand for this present day dispensation.  Let us look at two passages of scripture.

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves;  it is the gift of God;  not of works, lest any man should boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which ye have also received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scripture and the He was buried and that He rose again on the third day according to the scriptures.”  1 Corinthians 15:1-4

In a nutshell, what do these scriptures tell us?

1. We are saved by grace. (Even though we do not deserve it, God gave His only begotten Son to die for us.
2. Salvation is a gift. (a gift is something someone else gives, most of the time it is because they care for you)
3. Salvation is not of works. (Work is doing something and expecting something in return.  It is getting paid for a job well done)
4. The gospel saves.  (The word gospel is often defined as “good news.”  So what is the “good news?” that saves?)
5. The gospel is: Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day.

In this dispensation of the gospel of the grace of God, man is saved believing that Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross of Calvary for man’s sin.  If He had to die so that man could be saved from sin, we must conclude that all men are sinners and in need of a Savior.

Remember. We said that one must not take what man says without having scripture to back up his words, right?  So what does God’s Word say about the subject?  “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Scripture clearly tells us that all men are sinners and all men fall short of what God requires for entrance into the family of God.  Sin stands in the way between man and God.  “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Romans 6:23

1.   “Wages if Sin”    This implies there is some payment one should get for being a sinner.  We already know from Romans 3:23 that we are all sinners, right? That all definitely includes you and me and everyone else in the whole wide world.

2.  “Wages of Sin is Death.”   Now I know that because I am a sinner I should make a payment for sin.  According to the passage, the only payment God will accept is Death.  Why? Sin is an act of rebellion against God’s demand for holiness, and payment for that rebellion is death.

3. “But the gift of God”….What was the gift of God? Jesus Christ!  Christ died on the cross for all men so that they might be saved.  What a precious gift. What a wonderful faith Jesus had.

4,   “Is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”   If I believe that Christ had enough faith in God to raise Him from the dead so that He could give this gift of eternal life to man, I am saved-for eternity.  And it is not because of anything I did, but because of what He did. Christ died for my sins.  I trust in His saving grace and I get to live forever with Him in heaven.

God is just.  If we are to stand before God in eternity we must be made just, or be justified.  Jesus did that for us also. Look what the scriptures have to say about that.  “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by the Faith OF Christ, even we have believed IN Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the Faith OF Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”  Galatians 2:16

We have eternal life through Jesus Christ because He (Christ) had faith that God would not leave His soul in hell and would raise him from the grave.  “For thou will not leave my soul in hell; neither will thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”  Psalm 16:10

If we believe that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day, we are saved.  We are justified.  Not because of our faith, but because of HIS faith we are saved. (I detailed this in my book: Faith of Christ).

The Scripture says that when Jesus died, we died. “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith OF the Son of God. Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  Galatians 2;20

How can someone be crucified and yet live?  Christ, who lives in me, died in my place.  There is a song that says “He paid a debt He did not owe,” for He was not a sinner, as the song continues it states, “I owed a debt I could not pay.”  I could not die for my sin or offer an animal sacrifice that would please God.  Jesus Christ paid the price for my sin. He died on the cross. He alone met God’s requirement for settling the sin issue. 

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  Romans 10:9

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:13

You will not find one verse of scripture that says you have to walk down an isle to be saved.  Nor will you find any passage of scripture that says you must pray through until you receive the victory in order to be saved.  I have been unable to find one place in the Pauline Epistles, our authority in the dispensation of the grace of God that says you have to be sorry for your sins if you are to be saved.  Yet there are fundamental churches across the world that tells their members these things are necessary.  Don’t believe them.

There are too many churches today that play upon your emotions.  But emotions have nothing to do with your salvation or your regeneration.  Does that mean you will not get emotional once you see the real truth about salvation? Not at all!  You may cry or you might shout for joy.  But then again, you may not do either.  Whether you get emotional or do not get emotional does not determine whether or not you are saved.  The determining factor for salvation is what Christ did for you and your believing it, trusting in it completely. Jesus paid it all.  All to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain.  He washed it white as snow.  What great words from a wonderful song.

What is salvation?  It is a free gift of God. That gift was Jesus Christ.  He died as a sacrifice for sin.  He took that sin into the grave and left it there when He rose the third day.  Because of His resurrection, we have power over death and hell.  We also have eternal life because we have become part of Christ’s body.  We become a part of Him and He becomes a part of us.  In the book of Ephesians we are told about the quickening, the raising up, and the seating together of Christ.

“Even when we were dead in sin, hath He quickened us together with Christ. (By grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  Ephesians 2:5,6

There are other passages of Scriptures that talk about “to quicken”, or “make alive”, but only here and Colossians 2:13 do we find the words “with Him”.  It is a teaching that is exclusive to the teaching of the “Mystery.”

It is amazing that there are seven (the number of perfection) associations the believer has with Christ in this Age of Grace.  These seven associations :

1. The Cross:  We are crucified with Christ 
2. The Death:   We are dead with Christ
3. The Burial   We are buried with Christ
4. The Present Salvation Experience:  We are quickened with Christ
5. The Resurrection:  We are raised with Christ
6. The Ascension:   We are seated with Christ
7. The Glory:  We are manifested with Christ
 
Christ died.  We died.  Christ was buried.  We are buried.  Christ was raised from the dead.  We are raised from the dead.  Christ ascended and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  We are to be resurrected and seated at the right hand of the  Father.  Christ is glorified  with the Father.  We are glorified with the Father.

I settled the issue of my salvation over 50 years ago.  Do you remember having done so?  If you  did, you have eternal life with God in heaven.  If you didn’t you have eternal life, but with Satan in hell. Salvation is a gift.  Have you received it?  If you haven’t, will you?  Right now- trust in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Chapter Three:  Eternal   Security

Can you know you are saved?  Can you have complete assurance that you will live with God in eternity when you die?  Yes, you can!!!  But let me hasten to say, not all religions believe that.  Why?  They built a religious organization based upon man’s interpretation of the Scripture.  They do not rightly divide the Scriptures.  They do not believe that the church the body of Christ is any different than the church in the wilderness.  They believe we are still under the law today and not under Grace.  They believe works, being good, going to church regularly saves, and on and on and on.
Paul, the apostle of  grace warned the Galatians of a false gospel:  “I marvel that ye are so soon removed (Greek: metecho – turned away, deserting from) from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another (Greek heteros – different or altered) gospel. Which is not another (Greek: allos – of the same kind) but there be some that trouble you (Greek: tarasso- disturb or agitate) you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which We have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9

Paul, the Apostle of Grace, preached grace to those of Galatia.  After his departure from the area others came who preached a different gospel than Paul had preached.  Paul was more than a little upset that these folks had removed themselves from his teaching, the teaching which led to their salvation, and were following after another whose teaching was not after grace. Paul was emphatic when he stated there was but one gospel, and the correct one was the one he had preached unto them.

Fact:  If we do not believe that Christ did everything necessary for our salvation, we will not believe we have eternal security.  Herein lays the problem with those who “hope they go to heaven when they die.”

Religions that add works as a part of salvation/ regeneration: baptism, speaking in tongues, etc. must base their hope of eternal life on works or being in a state of goodness when they die.  They live constantly in fear, always hoping that God will forgive them for any sins they have committed once they were saved.  They do not believe what their Bible says.

“And you being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision  of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, HAVING FORGIVEN YOU ALL TRESPASSES.”  Colossians 2;13

Let’s look at the above passage of scripture carefully:

1. “You being dead in your sins”  To better understand these words, we need to look at several other passages of scripture.  “Know ye not, that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death.”  Romans 6:3  “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.”  Romans 6:8

How is one baptized into the death of Christ?  By sprinkling water over one’s head? By dunking someone in a baptismal pool? I think not! The Bible says:  “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body”…..1 Corinthians 12:13

“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:27

Baptism into Jesus Christ is a work of the Holy Spirit.  It is a spiritual baptism, not a physical one.  Baptism with water does not do anything but get one wet. We are dead in our sins or dead to sin because of the relationship we have with Jesus Christ after we have trusted Him.

“ Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more;  death hath no more dominion over Him, for in that He died, he died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God, likewise reckon yourself to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Romans 6:8-11

We are dead to sin because Christ died for our sins.  Death has no dominion over the saved, just as it had no dominion over Christ.

2. “Quickened together with Him.”  When we accept what Jesus did for us we died with Him, we were buried with Him and we were resurrected with Him.  We are part pf Jesus Christ and He is part of us.  Where He is, we are.  The very fact that we are part of His body assures us of a position in heaven, where Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father.  Look and see for yourself, then believe: 

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together WITH CHRIST, (By Grace ye are saved) and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-6

“That we should be to the praise of His glory who first trusted in Christ.  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the work of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed ye WERE SEALED with that Holy Spirit of promise. “ Ephesians 1:12-13

God not only promised us a heavenly position, He placed a seal on us to guarantee our getting there.  We are sealed by the Holy Spirit of God.  Nothing we do can undo that sealing.  We are assured the sealing will be good until Christ redeems us from this present world.  “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30
3.   “Having forgiven you all trespasses.”   Having forgiven is past tense, indicating our sins were taken care of in a prior time period.  When was it?  It was some 2000 years ago at Calvary that the price for sin was paid.  Sins were taken care of with the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ.  If I worry as to whether or not my sins will be forgiven I do not believe the death of Christ was sufficient.  It stands to reason if Christ’s death was sufficient enough to save me, it is sufficient enough to sustain me.

Christ died for sin one time and that one time was good enough to last throughout all time.  If you fear separation from God every time you sin, you are saying the death of Jesus Christ had no lasting effect, making it necessary for Him to die over and over again each and every time anyone sins.  How ridiculous to think that!! How can anyone swallow that kind of garbage? Yet many do.

When Jesus offered up His body for the sins of man, He sat down with God.  He could not have sat down if the work He came to do had not been completed.  Look for yourself!

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL…..but this man, after He had offered ONE SACRIFICE for sins FOREVER, SAT DOWN ON THE RIGHT HAND OF God….for my ONE OFFERING he hath perfected FOREVER  them that are sanctified.”  Hebrews 10: 10,11,12.

Christ paid the price for the barrier that separated man from God- Sin.  If you fully understand that, then you cannot but conclude that eternal life is part of the gift God gave us in Christ.  There are so many passages of scripture that speak of eternal life, but we will only quote two.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to  separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:35-39

What can we be sure of?

1. Christ died for our sins some 2000 years ago.
2.  His death was for all sin of all people, past, present and future.
3.  He only had to die once.
4.  We are already spiritually seated in heavenly places, so how is it possible to not go to heaven? It isn’t.
5. Christ is in me. Because He is, I have a hop of eternal life. “…which is Christ in you the hope of glory.”  Colossians 1:27

 That hope is to be with Him in Glory.  This is not “ I hope I will get there.” This is a positive statement.  Since Christ is in us, and He is if we have trusted him as our Savior.  We have a promised hope of being in glory with him.

6. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
            
      Who had eternal security?  All who have accepted the finished work of Christ.  Christ
  Died for our sins, was buried , and rose again the third day, ascended up into heaven and 
   Is seated at the right hand of the Father.

Can you lose your salvation in the Age of Grace? No!  No! No!  A thousand times, no!  “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:3-4.

Now, are there any more questions? If there are, you have either not believed the Scriptures listed above, or are lost, or you need someone to go a little slower.
BAPTISM

In all my 30 plus years in the ministry,  I know of no other single subject that has been the center of so many arguments and bitterness as the subject of baptism.  It places men into separate camps and creates divisions you would never have imagined.  Many years ago Mr. J.N. Darby was asked what he held as to baptism. He said, “I hold my tongue.”  But we need not do that today.  Nay!  We must not for it is too important.

I was brought up in a Southern Baptist Church and for years fully supported the practices of that faith.  After many years of study I came to understand the truth of rightly dividing as revealed through the teaching of  the Apostle Paul.  When I learned of the “mystery hid in God,” I also learned of the one baptism associated with the mystery, which is spiritual and is completely different from  the baptism of John.

There are verses in the Bible that state baptism is necessary for the remission of sins.  Peter and the eleven were commissioned to go into the world, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  But in another passage of scripture they are told to baptize in the name of Jesus Christ.

“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 always, even unto the end of the world.  Amen.” Matthew 28: 19-20

“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

To emphasize just how divisive the subject of baptism is, let us look at just one point: how to baptize.  One group of believers baptizes in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Another baptizes in the name of Jesus Christ.  Both believe the others to be wrong.  And so the arguments begin. See what I mean?

The traditional view of water baptism is that baptism is an ordinance of the denomination and is to be observed by all members of The Body of Christ.  John Calvin has stated “that baptism is to us the seal of salvation which Christ obtained for us.”  But I have a problem with water baptism being the baptism of importance for today.  Indeed, I have a  problem with water baptism being  necessary at all.  Why?  If Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles, and he is; then why would he say, “Christ sent me NOT to baptize” in 1 Corinthians 1:17 if water baptism is so important.

Having made the above statement, I have already placed a wedge between me and those who do believe that water baptism is included in God’s plan for this dispensation.  I wish this weren’t true.  But it is.  I stand on the scripture.  “ There is ONE BODY  and ONE SPIRIT, even as ye are called in ONE HOPE of your calling.  ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM, ONE GOD and  FATHER of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”  Ephesians 4:4-6.

That ONE BAPTISM is spiritual, not physical.  The question is not whether water baptism is found in the scriptures, it is.  John came preaching water baptism.  He baptized Jesus and Jesus instructed his disciples to baptize, as we have already seen.  But the questions that need to be answered: 1) Is water baptism for us in the dispensation of the grace of God?  2) Should it be administered or practiced today?

Ask any fundamental preacher today to define the gospel of salvation!  Will they say, “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins?” or  “Christ died for our sins?” Is there any difference in those two statements?  Yes, there is.  Which statement bears true to the dispensation of the grace of God? Answer: Christ died for our sins!

What affects the way one thinks about baptism is the view that an individual takes concerning the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ.  Did it begin with Peter at Pentecost in Acts two or did it in fact begin with Paul and the revelation of the Mystery?

If your preacher believes that the Church the Body of Christ began with the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost in Acts two, he must also believe what Peter preached on that day.  Peter did not preach that Christ  died for their sins. He preached,  “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”  Acts 2:38

Most fundamentalist who hold to the Acts two position for the beginning of the Body of Christ have learned to waltz around the true meaning of the scripture.  For instance, when you ask them to explain Mark 16:16  “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved but he that believeth no shall be dammed.”

They have one of two answers:
1. The passages from verse nine to the end of Mark 16 are not found in the two most ancient manuscripts.
2. Or they will say the passage really says, “He that believeth and is saved should then be immersed in believer’s baptism.”

We can eliminate the first objection by simply showing the other passages of scripture emphasizing repent and be baptized for the remission of sins that are in the older manuscripts: Matthew 28: 19-20; Mark 1:4, Acts 2:38.

John’s baptism was a “ baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Mark 3:3

Question?  Why did Jesus come to John “to be baptized of him?”  Matthew 3:13.

Did Jesus have sins that needed to be confessed?  I think not.  God’s Word says otherwise: “For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.”  2 Corinthians 5:21

But when John, who knew that the Messiah should be the one to baptize him said, “ I need to be baptized of thee.”  Matthew 3:14 What did Jesus say?  “And Jesus answering said unto him, suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.  Thus he suffered Him.”  Matthew 3:15

Jesus came to be the sacrificial Lamb of God and was baptized to fulfill all righteousness of the law.  Jesus was not guilty of sin, even though He eventually goes to Calvary and dies for the sins of men.

The one baptism of Ephesians 4:5 is the same baptism of Romans 6:3-4 and Galatians 3:27.  “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?  Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 5:3-4  “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”  Galatians 3:27

Those who attempt to put water in these passages of scriptures must believe that water baptism is essential to salvation and should receive it before the believer can become a member of the Body of Christ.  The baptism in all of the above passages is not water, it is spiritual.  You are alive, yes?  Then how can you be baptized into Christ’s death unless it is spiritual?  You can’t.!  It can only be accomplished by a spiritual baptism.

There is not one true grace preacher today that will say water baptism is required for salvation.  Most of them are dogmatic in their belief that we are saved by grace through the faith of Christ.  Baptism may make one a member of a particular religious organization, but it does not make one a member of the Church the Body of Christ.  Which membership is more important? Which membership guarantees eternal life?  Then of which membership should you want to be a part?

It would be very difficult for a  religious organization that has been in existence for many years to one day stand up and admit their doctrinal statement on baptism was wrong.  It would be wonderful if they would do that, but I do not think I will live long enough to see it happen.  So what choice do they have but to say something like, “what that really means is once you are saved you should follow Christ in believer’s baptism.”

What should they say?  “I have discovered the meaning of the mystery that Paul preaches and recognized that the practice of water baptism is not for the Church the Body of Christ today.”  To adhere to tradition, in deference to the Word of God is to lead people into confusion. Guess what? God is NOT the author of confusion, the devil is.  “ God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” 1 Corinthians 14:33

So our adversary, the devil, is up to his subtle trickery trying to divide believers.  Satan uses all kinds of devious methods to rob believers of true spirituality and a fulfilling life with Christ.  Don’t allow him to do it to you.  The test of a true believer is to check the scriptures to see if the minister, priests, rabbi, evangelist, denomination or whatever is telling you what the Word of God says. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”  Acts:17:11.
LIVING IN A SYSTEM

Once when I was chairman of the Deacons at one of the fastest growing Southern Baptist Churches in central Louisiana, a saved Methodist friend who had been attending our services regularly, inquired about membership in our church.  The pastor, whom I loved and dearly love even today, said, “ We would love to have you as a member. Have you been baptized in a Baptist Church since you believed?”  The answer from this friend was, “no!”  “However, I have been baptized in a Methodist Church.” To which the pastor replied, “it is a doctrine of our church that you must be baptized of like faith (Baptist) and order (Southern Baptist) if you are to be a member of our fellowship.”

This person never joined our church.  Feeling that Baptism was nothing more than a church ritual, he saw no need to be re-baptized.  He was right!  Baptism only made one a member of that church.  It had nothing to do with one’s spirituality or one’s membership in the Church the Body of Christ.

My sister and younger brother had been subtly giving me grace reading material for birthdays and Christmas gifts.  I read them and agreed with most of the things about salvation by grace, eternal security, etc.  But I had a problem believing that water baptism was not part of God’s program for today.  But the incident with the Methodist friend challenged me to prove once and for all the necessity for, or the elimination of, baptism.

I spent months studying.  Every piece of literature I found on the subject challenged me to dig deeper.  I read material written by the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Church of Christ.  The more I read, the more confused I became.  The more confused I became, the madder I got. “Can’t any of these denominations agree on the issue of baptism,” I said.

Then I finally realized that water baptism was not important in this Age of Grace.  My brother and sister had tried to tell me that for months.  They had been right, but I hated to admit they were.  I was a deacon, a Sunday school teacher for ten plus years.  How could I not have known that before now?  Answer: I had allowed myself to become enamored with my denomination rather than the Word of God.

My intense study made me realize how little I really knew about the Bible.  The more I studied, the more I realized I had not been fed adequately on the important things of God’s Word.  The longer I stayed in my church, the more disappointed I became.  I needed more meat.  I was tired of being fed milk.

OUT OF BONDAGE AND INTO FREEDOM

As I reflect back to my years of being in denominational churches, I have realized I had been a bond slave to a religion.  There were too many “don’t do this and don’t do that” kinds of sermons, rather than on positive things of God.  There were constant prodding’s to get more involved in the activities of the church: choir, visitation, bus ministry, deacon meetings, committee on committee meetings, finance meetings, church softball and on and on it went.  There was too little emphasis on getting to know more about who we are in Christ, what we have in Christ and what is right for today.

The more I studied the more zeal I had to tell the world about the freedom we have in Christ.  I had discovered the Bible is easy to understand if you but know who you are in Christ and in what dispensation you are living.  God had challenged me on the one issue of baptism, but in doing so, He had opened my eyes to so much more:  the distinctiveness of Pauline doctrine, the mystery, the dispensation of the grace of God and how to rightly divide the Word of truth.

I had been in a system that spoke of liberty in Christ Jesus, but in practice placed you under the bondage of the law; a system that spoke of salvation by grace, but stated the need for works: to be baptized in water; that said the church places few restrictions on what you say or do, but condemned you if what you said or did was not in complete agreement with the governing body of  deacons or the Southern Baptist Convention.

I left my church and began having Bible classes in my home.  Friends and neighbors came, listened and learned. God blesses His word.  For the first time in years I felt free.  Without knowing it, I had been in bondage to the law, but now I knew the truth.   Dear friend, “ the truth will make you free.”  John 8:32

Facts:

1. Peter was commissioned by Jesus Christ to preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
2. Paul said: He was not sent to baptize.
3. If Peter did not preach the necessity of water baptism he would have been an unfaithful servant to our Lord.
4. If Paul did preach the necessity of water baptism he would have been an unfaithful servant of our Lord.
5. The baptism of John (water) was a part of the dispensation of the law.
6. The one baptism (spiritual) of Ephesians 4 is a part of the dispensation of the Grace of God.
7. Water baptism does not make one a member of the Church of the Body of Christ, spiritual baptism does.

We are living in the Age of Grace and are no longer under the law.  “And if by grace: then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.” Romans 11:6

Even though the word baptism does not appear in the Old Testament does not mean the ordinance did not exist.  The Jewish religion had many baptisms.  “Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances imposed on them until the time of reformation.” Hebrews 9:10

The Greek work for washings is baptismo and is derived from two other Greek words: bapto and baptizo.  The meaning is to wash or cover with fluid.  The priests would wash every sacrificial animal as well as their hands.  It was symbolic of cleansing.  It was also ceremonial.  We find it mentioned in Exodus 12:22 and Leviticus 4:6-17 where it refers to the priest dipping his finger or hyssop in blood.  In Numbers 19: 18-19 it is used in a ceremony to make something clean which had otherwise been considered unclean.  In Hebrews 6:1-2 baptism is referred to as elementary and something they should stop doing. “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”

If you check the Scriptures you will see baptism was an integral part of the Jewish religion.  That is why the Pharisees never asked John the meaning of baptism.  All they wanted to know was why he was performing the ritual if he were neither Christ or Elijah the prophet.  “And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizeth thou then if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?” John 1:25

This baptism of John was not some new ceremony he had devised.  It had been a practice of the Jewish religion long before John the Baptist was ever born. Baptism was a command.  It was essential to cleansing and forgiveness of sins.  It was an act of purification and that subject became a matter of dispute.  “Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying.” John 3: 25

During the time baptism was being performed, it was a part of the law and a direct command from the Lord.  “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 28:19

Baptism was not an arbitrary thing before the ministry of Christ or during His ministry.  It had to be done or you would be in violation of the command of God.  But that no longer is true.

Christ shed His blood and He nailed the ordinances of the past to the tree on which he died.  “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to  us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.”  (Colossians 2:14) Water baptism is not in God’s program for today.
Tongues, Healings, and Signs

Speaking in tongues, public healing meetings and looking for “signs and wonders” is sweeping the world at an alarming rate.  Are these things for us today?  Many think so.  But I for one do not.  I believe that millions of sincere Christians are being deceived by Satan on these issues thus frustrating the grace of God. 

It all comes down to this one issue:  people not knowing the difference between the gospel committed to Peter and the gospel committed unto Paul.  “But contrariwise, when they saw the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter: 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 to unto the heathen, and they to the circumcision.” Galatians 2: 7-9

I believe that were it not for the ministers of grace preaching the gospel of the grace of God,
 Satan would deceive the whole world.

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world…” Revelation 12:9

Ministers who persist on taking one back to Pentecost for the beginning of the dispensation of grace have taken Christian minds off the goals and objectives of the Pauline books of Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians.

We are always hearing the works “Back to Pentecost” from full gospel fellowships.  And I say, “What for?”  What sound minded individual would want to go back under the bondage of the law?  Not I!  I hope I have matured enough to know when I am being given information no intended for me today.  We are warned by Paul of just that.  “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, wherby they lie in wait to deceive.” Ephesians 4:14

Mark 16: 15-18 is invariably used by ministers of the signs movement. Let us look at what it says.  “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 dammed.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name they shall 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.”

TAKE WHAT YOU WANT, LEAVE OUT WHAT YOU DON’T WANT

Upon examining Mark 16, this is what we find:

1. If you believe and are baptized you shall be saved.
2. If you do not believe, you shall be damned.
3. Those who believe shall be able to do all of the things that follow:
A. SHALL cast out devils
B. SHALL speak with new tongues
C. SHALL take up serpents
D. SHALL drink any deadly thing without it hurting them
E. SHALL lay hands on the sick and
F. They SHALL  recover.

Question?  What does the word “shall” mean?
      
                   Does it mean maybe?
                   Does it mean ought to?
                   Does it mean if you have enough faith?

The word shall carry the meaning of inevitability, determination, or promise.

It is very clear that if you were a believer, you would be capable of performing all those things listed in the passage.  But that is not what is being taught.  Only some people heal, some cast out devils and a few take up serpents.  But the verses specifically say all believers shall be capable of performing all the things listed.

The verses DO NOT SAY:  “A few will be able to do one thing and another few will be able to do another thing.”

Nor do the verses say:  “Pick out a few signs that fit your personality and let them be for you.”

There is one more thing that makes me question so called faith healers.  When you pin them down as to why one particular person was not healed after the laying on of their hands, they usually always reply “They did not have enough faith to believe they would be healed.”

Show me one passage of scripture that said faith was a pre-requisite to healing.  For that matter, show me any scripture that required the person being healed to be a believer.  So then, what was the purpose for signs, etc.? They were to announce the coming of the Messiah.

“…..Your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense:  He will come and save you.  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deft shall be unstopped.  Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing:  for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.”  Isaiah 35:4-6

Miracles were performed by the Lord to authenticate He was Messiah.  That is why John sent two of his disciples to question Jesus.  “Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?  Jesus answered and said unto them,   Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:  The blind receive their sight , and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are  raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.  And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”  Matthew 11:2-6

Pentecost was one of the seven Jewish feast days.  It was held fifty days after the feast of Passover.  When the feast of Pentecost was come (Acts 1) Peter and the 120 others were assembled together in what has been called the upper room.  First they appointed two to be considered for taking the place left vacated by Judas.  The majority vote was given to Matthias.

Then in Acts 2: 1, 3-4, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, ..and there appeared unto them cloves of tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

The next verses go on to say there were devout Jews from every nation under the sun there hearing everyone speaking to them in their own language.  They were so astonished that this was happening, they accused them of being drunk.  But Peter was not confused at all and began quoting from the Book of Joel.

“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  and on my servants and on my handmaids I will pour out in those days of my Spirit and they shall prophesy.”  Acts 2: 16-18

You will note that the Spirit’s coming was accompanied by a noise that sounded much like a tornado or hurricane.  Anyone who has ever been around one of those two things know it is quite a wake up call; an attention getter.  After getting the Jews attention, God sends a sign: a cloven tongue, like as fire, sat upon each of them. If the noise of the wind didn’t get their attention, this surely would.  God was sending a message to Israel:  Messiah has come and the time for the restoration of Israel is near.

God Had promised the nation of Israel he would restore to them all lands that conquerors of the past had taken from the. (Joel 2: 25-32)  This would be accomplished when He returned to establish His 1000 year reign on earth.  Know what?  God never promised the Gentiles that!

True, the Holy Spirit was given to some of the first Gentile converts, but not by the laying on of hands.  They spoke in tongues, but this was a sign to convince the Jews that Paul’s message that there was no difference between Jew and Gentile was true.  You will find that after Israel was declared “Not my people,” there is never a mention of tongues nor signs or miracles.

There was a very small gathering of Jews assembled in the upper room on the day of Pentecost.  They were the first to see the advent of the Holy Ghost into the world.  But you will only find the doctrine of the indwelling Spirit in the Pauline Epistles.  In them alone will you find how you can be filled with the Spirit, quench the Spirit, be baptized by the Spirit; how we can know that the Spirit who is in us is greater than he that is in the world.

The Pauline Epistles reveal things exclusively for the age of grace; the mystery hid in God before the foundation of the world, the mystery kept secret since the world began; the formation of a new group of believers-the Church the Body of Christ.

In this dispensation of the grace of God, we do not have to ask for the outpouring of the Spirit.  If we are saved, we have the indwelling Spirit with us at all times.  To be filled with the Spirit, one only has to empty oneself of the flesh not speaking in tongues.

Signs were for the purpose of showing the Jews that the Messiah had come. When that had been accomplished, the sign gifts ceased.  In the latest Epistles of Paul there is no mention of the sign gifts at all.

In Philippians 2: 25-29,  Epaphroditus is “sick nigh unto death.”  Not because of any sin, but because he had been working so hard and had found that his friends were “full of heaviness” because they had heard he was sick.  Why didn’t Paul heal him?

In 1 Timothy 5: 23, Paul tells his beloved Timothy to quit drinking water “but use a little wine for they stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.”  Why didn’t Paul heal him?

In 2 Timothy 4: 20, Paul had to leave Trophimus at Miletum because he was sick.  Why didn’t Paul heal him and take him with him on his journey?  Answer!  Healing was no longer included in the dispensation at hand.  Paul gave Timothy a lot of instructions about what he was to do when he died, but he never left one word to him about healing.

Paul said he gloried in his infirmities.  I am sure he had taught Timothy and Trophimus to do likewise.  Both knowing that the sign gifts were no longer operative for them. There is no foundation in the Word of God for the prevailing Pentecostal doctrine of  “divine healing.”

Does God heal today?  Yes He does!  But His miracles are sovereign.  Just because God heals someone every now and then does not mean that He will heal everyone who asks it of Him.  I would not dare to limit the power of God and His ability to do whatever He wants to do.  But I must warn you that teachers who say they have the power to heal are to be watched very carefully.  There has been so much damage done by some of them.  Remember, Satan has his ministers just as Christ has His ministers.

The following quotes are from a pamphlet by A. E. Bishop.  It is published by Moody Press. I got these quotes from a pamphlet written by the late J. C, O’Hair.

1. There is a corrective passage in God’s Word for every error, every heresy, every delusion, every hobby, every fanaticism and every unbalanced position.
2. For some years after Pentecost the church was exclusively Jewish, clinging to their rites and ceremonies, the converts sometimes receiving the Holy Spirit subsequent to their conversion, by the imposition of the apostolic hands. (Acts 8: 14-17)
3. There is no foundation in the Word of God for the prevailing popular doctrine of divine healing. It is not true that healing is as much the will of God for every Christian as salvation is for the unsaved.  Some of the choicest of saints by the elective will of God have been patient sufferers for years upon sick beds.
4. Also after careful restudies of the book of Acts and of the Epistles written before its close, I am convinced that those who contend for a purely kingdom dispensation covering the book of Acts period are those who contend that the sign gifts are still in the church and would be in manifestation everywhere if God’s people were in a healthy spiritual state and exercising faith to that end.
5. In the latest Epistles of Paul not only is it noticeable that the sign gifts are nowhere in manifestation, but a different order is brought forth by the Holy Spirit for the correction of prevailing hobbies and fanaticism.
6. A careful study of the Epistles especially of the latest Epistles of Paul, which give the normal course of the church during the present dispensation, would dismount all from their hobbies, eliminate the last vestige of Judaism from their lives and teachings, and would adjust things in general, placing secondary things in their place and first things where they belong.
7. Is it the Spirit of God or Satan who attempts to revive the sign gifts that were divinely retired after having fulfilled their purpose?  Every widespread attempt to revive them, has without exception, resulted in confusion, divisions, injury and disgrace.
8. This was an overlapping of the former and present dispensations, as some years elapsed before the dispensation of grace took its normal course.
9. In contrast with the sign gifts of 1 Corinthians 12, limited to a portion of the believers and operative only during the book of Acts period, let us note the non-sign gifts of Ephesians 4: 10.
10. The fact that the Bible does not give a hint of the manifestation of the sign gifts after the close of the book of Acts, must carry convincing evidence to the careful student who compares Scripture with Scripture, that they have been retired.
11. If we give heed to this fact, it will be easy for us to see later on why God, who is sovereign in the giving of signs, afterwards retired completely the sign gifts.
12. Is it the Spirit of God or Satan who turns the eyes of sincere Christians back to Pentecost and away from the goal placed before them in Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians?

Who Are We To Believe?

I want to be perfectly clear.  If you want to know whether the sign gifts are for you today, study the Scriptures.  Not just the ones your pastor/teacher gives you, Get a good concordance and tract down every available verse you can find on the subject.  If there seems to be a contradiction between what the pastor/teacher said and the Word of God, let me give you some suggestions as to hoe you should study.  First of all, ask questions:
1. Do the verses fall under the dispensation of the law or the dispensation of grace? (We are living in the dispensation of Grace.)
2. To who are the verses speaking – Jew or Gentile?  While all Scripture is FOR us, remember all Scripture is not TO us in the present dispensation.
3. Do the verses you are reading seem to contradict with other verses elsewhere?  If they do, you need to take the verse that is for the present dispensation.  Chances are you will find that God has seen fit to do away with certain practices in the present dispensation.

Thos of us who are privileged to live in the dispensation of Grace have certain responsibilities: Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. (1 Corinthians 4: 1-4)

We are to be stewards of the mysteries of God.  It does not say stewards of the law.  You will only find the mystery concerning the Church the Body of Christ in the Pauline Epistles.  There will come a time when we will all stand before God to give an account of our stewardship, if you are found lacking of knowledge of what was expected of you, you will not escape the judgment of God by saying, “My preacher taught me differently.”

God holds each and every one of us responsible for our own actions.  It is time we took the responsibility for learning what is truth and what is not.  Search the Scriptures. We all have a ministry.  Are you performing yours? And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. (Colossians 4: 17)

You have been given: But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (Ephesians 4: 7) Do not overlook what you have nor neglect the responsibility that goes with it.  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2: 15)

Chapter Six – The Gospel of the Circumcision

According to Galatians 2: 7, this gospel was committed to Peter. But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

What is the Gospel of the Circumcision?  Is it the good news we are to follow today?  Is it different from the gospel of the uncircumcision given to Paul?  These are questions you should be asking, and we will attempt to clear that up in this chapter.

The four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John record the commission of out Lord to go to the world and teach this gospel.  You will find them in Matthew 28: 19-20, Mark 16: 14-18, Luke 22: 44-47 and John 20: 19-23.  Since the account in Matthew is better known, let us examine it.  Many call this the Great Commission:  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. (Matthew 28: 19-20)

These are the marching orders for the gospel of the circumcision.  Look at what they say.
1. Go and teach all nations and baptize them. Teach them what?
2. Teach them to observe all the things that Christ taught and commanded of them.

The baptismal message they were to teach was nothing new.  It was the same message that John the Baptist began preaching prior to the ministry of Jesus:  And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; (Luke 3: 3)  It is also the message that Peter preached in Acts 2: 38:  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.

John the Baptist and Peter were definitely teaching the same kind of baptism, were they not?  What about marching order number two?  Do you really know what Jesus taught His disciples?  Probably not, so let’s do a quick run though of all He taught in the book of Matthew.

Matthew 2: 2: Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.  Even though this is not a command of Jesus, it does give us some insight into the overall theme of the book.  Israel had been looking for a king to come and restore them to their rightful earthly inheritance.

Matthew 3: 2-3:  And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John the Baptist is declaring that the long awaited kingdom was close at hand and that the Messiah spoken of by Isaiah had arrived.

Matthew 3: 13-15:  Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.  Jesus had no sins, so why was He asking to be baptized?  Answer:  To fulfill all righteousness.  The law required baptism.  Jesus placed Himself under the laws of man and had to do all the law required.

Matthew 4: 17:  From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  The kingdom of heaven spoken of in the passage is the 1,000 year millennial kingdom, an earthly kingdom.

Matthew 4: 23: And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.  This is the same gospel but now He is beginning to perform the miracles that prophets of old had foretold would be a sign to Israel of Messiah’s eminent return.

Matthew 5: 2, 5:  And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying …Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.  What is the teaching concerning the kingdom of heaven?  It is on earth.

Matthew 5: 17-18:  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. The declaration of Jesus is that He came to fulfill the law.  It is obvious that the law was still operative.

Matthew 6: 10:  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. When teaching His disciple what has come to be known as the Lord’s prayer, He instructed to pray for the kingdom on earth to come.

Matthew 6: 14-15:  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  Check it out!  Forgiveness of sins could not take place as long as you had not forgiven others for any sins against you.  Is that true today?  It is not.

Matthew 10: 5-6:  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.  Does Jesus say stay away from the Gentiles?  Isn’t that strange?  No, it is not.  Israel must be converted so she can become a blessing to the world, and the world come to the knowledge of God through Israel.

Matthew 10: 9-10:  Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.  Do you know many preachers today that have little thought for money?  They are one in a million.  Then why were they instructed to teach this?  In the new kingdom, of which they were to be a part, there would be no need for anything because everything would be provided for them.

Matthew 12: 39:  But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:  So why do men look for signs today?  They must be evil and adulterous or have listen to evil teaches and believed what they said.  How many denominations do you know of who are advocates of the sign gifts?

Matthew 15: 22-26:  And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.  There are several things in these verses you need to look at carefully.  The lady asked for mercy and called Him Lord.  He did not even answer her at first but when He did He told her he was not sent to Gentiles – He was sent to Israel.  Bread refers to salvation, which He said should not be given to Gentile dogs before Israel had received it.  Is that the message for today?  It is not.  But at the time Jesus spoke the words it was the program of the day and His disciples were instructed to follow that program.

Matthew 16: 21-23:  From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.  Can you believe it?  The disciples had no idea what Jesus was talking about.  They did not understand anything about the death, burial and resurrection that was to come.  Why?  Luke 18: 31-34 says it was hid from them.  In other words it was a mystery hid in Scripture and they were not to understand it at the time.

Matthew 24: 13:  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.  Those who do not believe in eternal security use this to state their case.  It is sad they do not realize this message was to Israel and has no such application under the message of grace in the present dispensation.

Matthew 24: 14:  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.  Matthew 24: 13-14 was a part of the gospel of the circumcision.  The Jew will live with Christ for 1,000 years on the earth.  That is their inheritance but it is not ours.

The sixteen items listed above paint a clear picture of what Jesus taught and did during His three year ministry on earth.  He chose twelve men to carry out the work He had begun.  He trained them, taught them everything they needed to know to carry out the task that was before them.  What He did not want them to know He kept hid from them.  What they were instructed to do is clear:
1. They were to teach – “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins.” (Matt. 28: 19-20; Acts 2: 38)
2. They were to begin their ministry at Jerusalem. (Luke 24: 47)
3. They were to wait for the power that would come from the Holy Spirit before they were to begin their ministry. (Acts 1: 8)  They had already received the Spirit (John 20: 22) but now they were to wait for the power to come.
4. Once they had that power, they were given instructions as to where they should begin their ministry:  beginning at Jerusalem, then to all Judea, then to Samaria, and after all that to go to the uttermost parts of the earth. (acts 1: 8)
(Let me explain Acts 1: 8.  Judea and Samaria were the Southern and Northern sections of Israel.  The disciples were instructed to begin their ministry in Jerusalem and then go to the rest of the Jewish nation before seeking out Jews in the rest of the world.)
5. They were to teach everything the Lord had commanded them to do.  (Matt. 28: 19-20)
6. As a part of that command, they were to tell everyone who would listen that the kingdom of heaven, which was on earth, was at hand.  If one wanted to be a part of that kingdom, one would have to repent and be baptized and believe what the prophets of old foretold.  Peter said as much in Acts 2: 16-30.
7. When the people of that day asked what one needed to do to be saved (Acts 2: 37), Peter said repent and be baptized. (Acts 2: 38)  One does not need to be baptized today in order to obtain a heavenly inheritance with God.

The Gospel of the Uncircumcision

But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;(Galatians 2: 7)  The gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto Paul.  Contrary to Peter’s gospel, which was to the circumcision (Jews), Paul’s gospel was to the Gentiles:  For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: (Romans 11: 13)

Whereas Peter’s gospel message was to “repent and be baptized,” Paul’s gospel was just the opposite:  For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. (1 Corinthians 1: 17)

Peter’s gospel was centered on prophetic things concerning Israel’s restoration; Paul’s gospel was center on things kept secret, both those hid in Scripture and those hid in God.

The Mystery Hid in Scripture

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)

What was Paul’s Gospel?  It is define in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4:  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

This Gospel was hidden in Old Testament Scripture, as in Isaiah 53.  While Old Testament Scripture tells of the death of Christ and John the Baptist said “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world,” (John 1: 29) neither Isaiah nor John say that is good news. Why?  God had chosen to keep the meaning of certain Scripture a secret, as is stated in 1 Corinthians 2: 7-8:  But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Before God created the world, He planned to have Jesus come to earth and die for man’s sins.  Even though He planned it before He created Adam and recorded it in Old Testament Scripture, He chose to keep its meaning a secret until He raised up Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles.  Had God not done so, Satan would not have plotted to have Him killed, knowing it would be his demise.

God’s wisdom surpasses all other wisdom.  Even though Lucifer was the wisest of all of God’s creation, his wisdom pales when compared with the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1: 18-24:  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Paul’s Gospel of the Uncircumcision is about:
1. Christ dying for our sins.
2. Christ being buried, and
3. Christ being resurrected from the grave on the third day.

In Ephesians 6: 19-20 Paul asks people to pray for him to have boldness to preach about the mystery (secret) of the gospel.  Look at the verses:  And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

So Paul was talking about the secret of the good news (Gospel).  That secret had been hidden and now it became Paul’s responsibility to tell others about the good news.  Why would he need boldness to teach Christ died for your sins?  Because the Jews believed that salvation for the world would come through the nation of Israel, and it did at one point in time.  The good news is that Christ is all you need was kept a secret.  You will not find that anywhere but in the Pauline epistles.

Oh, there is plenty of good news in all of the Bible, but none like the good news revealed unto Paul.  The good news God revealed to Paul is centered on Christ, not Israel.  No longer was the blessing of God predicated on one blessing Israel, as you see in Genesis 12: 3: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

True, Christ is the seed of Abraham and all who trust Christ as Savior will be blessed.  But salvation, in the Age of Grace, is accomplished through the death of Christ and not through Israel.  You do not have to love or bless Israel to receive the gift of salvation, all you nee to do is accept what Christ did for you.  That was the mystery of the good news.  The revelation that the cross was the focal point in God’s plan for salvation was a shock to the Jewish religious order.  Jesus was a threat to that order and that is why they plotted to kill Him.

Peter delivers a stirring message to Israel in Acts 2 and 3. He told them the nation denied the Holy One and set a murderer free.  He told them they killed the Prince of Life but God had raised Him from the dead.  He also said, “I know you did it through ignorance.”  But what He doesn’t say is very important to understanding why his gospel is not for us today.  Peter does not say that salvation is believing Christ died for your sins when  the people asked what they must do, he says:  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)

Then he says: 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; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 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: 19-21)

Peter doesn’t say your sins will be blotted out the moment you trust Christ as Savior; he says your sins will not be blotted out until Christ returns to earth the second time.  That will be just prior to the 1,000 year millennial reign.  Peter’s statement is absolutely true, for that particular group of people, but it is not true for us today. Israel’s sins will not be blotted out until Christ returns to earth again.

Those who are saved believing the gospel Paul preached are:
“Justified by His blood” Romans 5: 9.
“Reconciled to God by the death of His Son” Romans 5: 10.
“Have redemption through His blood” Ephesians 1: 7, and
“Are made neigh by the blood of Christ” Ephesians 2: 13.

The mystery of the good news Paul preached is centered in Christ and on His death, burial and resurrection.  The Scriptures tell about the death of Christ, but until God revealed that to Paul it was nor known.

It was not know by Peter in Acts 1-8 because Paul is not saved until Acts 9.  Paul was the one who made known the mystery; he was God’s ambassador to make it known:  And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6: 19-20)

The story of Paul’s conversion is found in Acts 9: 3-5; 13-16:  And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks. …Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

He tells King Agrippa about his conversion in Acts 26: 13-18:  At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Paul began his ministry to the Gentiles as the Lord instructed him, but everywhere he taught the Jews caused problems for him.  On one occasion the Lord, in a vision, warned him to leave Jerusalem:  And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.

During the time of his ministry Paul was always defending the message of grace.  In his letter to the Galatians he is concerned:
1. That those at Galatia had departed from what he taught them about Christ and were being led to believe another gospel. (Galatians 1: 6-9)
2. He tells the Galatians the gospel he preached came from God and not men. (Gal. 1: 11-12)
3. He tells them he had gone to Jerusalem and communicated t5he gospel he preached among the Gentiles.  However, he said he had to speak privately to the Jews or his efforts would have been in vain. (Gal. 2: 1-2)
4. Then he says that Peter, James and John accepted the fact that he was to preach to the Gentiles and they preach to the Jews. (Gal. 2: 7-9)
5. He explains it is Christ’s faith that saves, not man’s faith. (Gal. 2: 16)
6. Paul declares that no man is justified by the law. (Gal. 3: 11)
7. He also said the law was a curse and that Christ had redeemed mankind from that curse. (Gal. 3: 13)
8. He also states that men had been kept under the law and shut up to the faith of Christ that was to be revealed. (Gal. 3: 23)
9. He states that the law was only a schoolmaster to point us to Christ, and after Christ exercised His faith to die, we did not need he law anymore. (Gal. 3: 24-25)
10. Then Paul encouraged them to stand fast in the liberty of the grace of God and challenged them to not go back to the bondage of the law; for if you do your will prostitute the grace of God. (Gal. 5: 1-4)
11. He closed the letter to the Galatians by saying it is not circumcision or uncircumcision that matters at all, but become a new creature in Christ. (Gal. 6: 15)

The gospel of the uncircumcision is about becoming a new creature.  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5: 17)  The word creature comes from the Greek word ktisis:  which is translated as an original formation.

In algebra, X + X= 2X; 2X + 2Y = 2XY.  Thinking in algebraic terms, the formula for a new creature would be X + Y = Z.  The Church the Body of Christ is a brand spanking new formation, a new formula.  You do not take a Jew and a Gentile and get Jews and Gentiles united together.  You take Jews and Gentiles and get a group of believers that are one in Christ but are neither Jew nor Gentile.

The Mystery Hid in God

What is it?  Look at Ephesians 3: 1-9:  For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 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:

God hid the fact that Gentiles would be saved apart form going through Israel.  But after Acts 28, Israel is declare Loammi and now the hidden comes to the forefront.  God reveals to Paul what he had “hid in Him” since before the foundation of the world. 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. (Eph. 2: 11-13)

Comparing the Gospel of the Circumcision with the Gospel of the Uncircumcision
Gospel of the Gospel of the
Circumcision Uncircumcision
1. Inheritance I earthly Inheritance – heavenly
 Jeremiah 23: 5-6 Ephesians 1: 3; 2: 6
 Matthew 5: 5; 6: 10 Colossians 3: 1-3
2. Christ is King Christ – head of the Body
 Matthew 2: 2 Eph. 1: 22-23; Col. 1: 18
3. Prophesied in Scripture Hid in God before the
 Since the world began foundation of the world
 Acts 3: 21 Ephesians 3: 9
  Chosen before the
  Foundation of the world
  Ephesians 1: 4
4. Concerns Israel Concerns Jew & Gentile
 (A nation) (A body)
 Ezekiel 37: 21-23 1 Cor. 12: 13; Rom. 10: 12
5. Gentile blessing came Gentile blessing came
 Through Israel through fall of Israel
 Isaiah 60: 1-3 Romans 11: 11-12
6. The message, Repent & The message – not to baptize
 Be baptized (Acts 2: 38) 1 Corinthians 1: 17
7. Committed to the 12 Committed to Paul
 Matt. 10: 5-8, 16-20 Gal. 2: 7; Eph. 3: 1-2, 8-9;
 Galatians 2: 7 Colossians 1: 25-26

In the Dispensation of Grace the Gospel of the Uncircumcision teaches:
1. Jew and Gentile are made one by Spirit baptism. 1 Corinthians 12: 13, 27.
2. Christ is the head of the body. Ephesians 1: 22-23.
3. Our inheritance is heavenly. Ephesians 1: 3.
4. We are to set our affection on heavenly, not earthly things. Colossians 3: 1-3. We are told to forget the things Christ did on earth. 2 Corinthians 2: 16.  We are to remember what transpired after His death and not the things He did in the flesh.
5. We are complete in Christ. Colossians 2: 9-14.

When Christ rose from the grave He defeated Satan and He delivered us from the bondage of the law (Eph. 2: 15).  We are complete in Him, risen with Him and seated in heavenly places with Him.

Man and his religious organizations want you to “do things, suggesting that mere faith alone can never satisfy God.  Then they quote James 2, which says faith without works is dead.  What they fail to realize, or perhaps refuse to accept, is Colossians 2: 9-14 and Ephesians 2: 15 say something different.  And those books were written specifically to we Gentiles, James was written to those under the law.

I am complete in Christ.  The dictionary defines complete as: having all necessary or normal parts, components, or steps: entire; whole; having come to an end; concluded; thorough; consummate: complete control.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2: 20)

Paul speaks of the last days for the body of Christ in 2 Timothy 3: 1-5:  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Most fundamental churches teach a revival will occur before Christ returns.  That will be the case before His 2nd coming, but the church will be rapture before that time and we will see churches in a state of apostasy.  Look at how he describes it in 2 Timothy 4: 3-4:  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

The elected leadership of this country has allowed Satan a foothold in government.  They have eliminated prayer in public schools, they have taken out “one nation under God” from the pledge of allegiance, they are debating the removal of “In God we Trust” from our currency, they have made states remove any copy of the ten commandment from public buildings, they have prohibit the displaying of the Nativity scene in public places and soon they will not permit the name God to be aired on radio and TV.

If that is not apostasy, what is it?  I believe we are nearing the time when God will be as fed up with us as He was with Israel and will called His own to meet Him in the air.  Who is responsible for the debacle? We are.  We do not question the teaching emanating from the pulpits across the land.  We accept what they say without checking the Scripture to see that what they are saying is what God’s word says.  Let these preachers be accursed. You must never forget that Satan has his ministers and I would venture to say the number of them in church pulpits will boggle your mind.

The world is being led astray by apostate preachers whop try to mix the things of the law with grace.  We cannot do anything in the flesh which will satisfy God.  That includes water baptism, speaking in tongues, walking down an isle or praying through until you receive the victory.  God has already given us the victory, his name is Jesus Christ.  The works of man are filth in the eyes of God.  If man thinks by doing works he can please God or that his works will save him, man has been hoodwinked.  Put your trust in no man. Put your trust in God.

The Right Approach to Studying the Bible

The Bible is a wonderful book full of inspiring words.  For those of us who believe it is the Word of God, it not only inspires us but fills us with joy and hope.  However, there are far too many question the validity of the Word of God, saying they are but words that men wrote. The Bible is God speaking to us.

The Bible says what it says and is not open to speculation or private interpretation.  True, a verse may speak to you in some significant way which may differ from the way it affects someone else, but that does not alter what the words are.  As one grows in  the knowledge of the Lord a particular passage of Scripture may suddenly turn a light on to a deeper understanding of God’s purpose for your life.

For example: I love to listen to different types of music: country, gospel, classical oldies of the 5o’s.  I can even read music.  However, when it comes to the science and theory of music I am completely ignorant.

I may listen to and enjoy a great classical melody because it is beautiful and soothing to the ear; another person may hear the same song and it does nothing for them.  It is boring, too melodic, without beat or rhythm.  A third person, a trained musician, will hear the same piece and every note and phrase are meaningful.

The music was the same regardless of how the three of us perceived it.  Our individual interpretation of the song did not mean the writer did not know or understand music, he did. He wrote it.  What it does mean is two of the hearers were not qualified to make a fair appraisal of what the writer intended.  The music was there for all three to hear, but only one was tuned into its full meaning.

That is how it is with the Bible.  The words are simple, with a clear fixed meaning, but they are oftentimes twisted to fit theories or one’s own convictions.  Does that make the Bible wrong, or the interpretation wrong?  Fact: God is never wrong.

There is the real and the unreal in today’s world.  Men will continue to “buy” both as long as there are those offering them a choice.  You can buy imitation pearls for just a few dollars and you can find them almost anywhere.  Real pearls are more expensive and their supply is often times limited. The same is true about the Bible.  Many will “buy into”  the imitation because of their abundance, but the real Bible is not stocked in great supply.  The King James Bible is the word of God, not the New King James, the Old King James.

The false teachers of this world win converts to their cause by discrediting the real Bible, saying the Bible is unreliable in that it contradicts itself.  They go even further with words like, “Anyone with any intelligence would dismiss mush of the Scripture as a myth or old wives tales.”  Yet Jesus said the word of God is written top be understood by babes, not the wise: At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. (Matthew 11: 25)

So what are we trying to get across to you?  The Bible contains many wonderful things which only a child of God is equipped to understand.  Babes accept the truth because their minds are open and have not been clutter by the thoughts of men.  Babes are teachable because they do not have things to unlearn.  The Bible was written for hearts willing to receive, willing to learn and willing to prepare to be fit for service.  Too many choose not to hear:  And when Jesus knew [it], he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? (Mark 8: 17-18)

Helen Rowland Promell penned the following:
Grandfather has grown dull of ear
He claims that he can scarcely
Hear the words we speak,
Unless we shout
And aid our speech by pointing out
And indicating what we say
With gestures made a certain way.

But go with him in any wood,
And, though his hearing is not good,
He listens to the talk of trees,
And nods agreement to the bees,
And says he knows
The clear-cut note
Each Harebell holds within its throat
Which sounds whenever Harebells sway
In rhythm with a breezy day.

I cannot catch a thing he hears.
It makes me wonder if his ears
Have grown beyond the commonplace,
And are attuned with time and space
Outrunning ordinary kin
Of all of us who,
Would give a lot if we could hear
The music of some unknown sphere.

To understand the deeper truths of the Bible one must get his heart and mind conditioned to receive them.  First you have to believe in order to hear.  Jesus said: … everyone who is of truth heareth my voice.” (John 18: 37b) The verse implies there are some who cannot hear the truth of the Word.  Only those of truth (the saved) can hear.

Unbelievers can read the Bible, but cannot understand the hidden truths reserved for the believer.  To the lost, the Bible seems confusing, hard to read and outdated.  So, men oftentimes fabricate their own book, such as Joseph Smith, who supposedly found some ancient tablets which he transcribe into the Book of Mormons.  He later got some revelation from God and wrote Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price.  Mormons think the Bible is holy, but it assumes second place to the book bys Joseph Smith.

I have some friends who are Mormons.  They are some of the nicest people I have ever met.  They ar5e very family oriented and have high morals; they are very good people. But I believe if they think the words of Joseph Smith should take precedence over God’s word, they are deceived.  I am not saying they are not saved, they are if they have believed the gospel, but they may not have a clear understanding of truth found only in God’s words.

Joseph Smith does not stand alone in this arena of false teaching or false books .  The Catholic church has its missals, the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Church of Christ, Christian Church, Pentecostal and most all other denominations have their very own creeds that are oftentimes revered more than the Word of God.  If any denomination places their creed or words of their leaders above the Word of God, they are not to be trusted.

The real Bible is for those who have eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts that welcome truth, from it comes forth a light so bright that shines like a beacon that guides ships through a foggy night.  When the Bible speaks to you it will speak with a voice, not muffles, but with a sound so magnificent and loud it would astonish those who frequent rock concerts.

Clara H. Scott wrote the following song, Open My Eyes.
Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me; place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free.  Silently now I wait for thee, ready my God thy will to see;  open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine.

Open my mouth and let me bear gladly the warm truth everywhere; open my heart and let me prepare love with thy children thus to share. Silently now I wait for thee, ready my God thy will to see;  open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine. 

Ms Scott knew she must be willing to open her eyes to see truth before she could share the message of truth.  To be spiritually illuminated by the Word of God, there must first be an enlightening of the mind by the Holy Spirit.  That only comes with study.  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2: 15)

To the saved person, the Words of God are treasures above monetary value, but to the lost, they are just words.  To the children of darkness the Bible is nothing more than a novel they may have read, but for the children of light it is a symphony played by a 1,000 stringed orchestra.  The Spirit which inspired the writers of Scripture waits to illuminate the children of light.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (1 Corinthians 2: 9-12)

Once you have prepared your heart to receive truth, then commit yourself to studying the Word on a regular basis.  Understand that the entire Bible is FOR you, but there are some books written specifically TO you.  For the saved of the 21st century, the books written by Paul, Romans through Philemon, are the books written specifically TO you.

Too many people get saved but never grow in the knowledge of truth.  One of the reason they do not grow is they do not serve.  Serve the Lord, and you begin that by studying.  Once you have learned something, share it with someone else.  The more you learn and share, the more you grow.  Go out and have fun, child of God, for God wants your service for him to be enjoyable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Restoration
Think on These Things
What kind of person would we be if we agreed to make life-changing decisions based upon hearsay?  We would be foolish. Decisions that affect what a company will pursue, invest in, and lay its reputation on the line requires diligent study and long hours of debating the pros and cons.

If it is important to be prudent and resolute in business, why shouldn’t it be of equal importance in things spiritual?  Why are we so ambitious in things related to business and so lazy in the pursuit of understanding the Word of God?

You might think you are ambitious in your Bible study when in fact you are not a studier but a reader.  You might think you have a good understanding of truth but you do not.  “What makes you say that,” you ask?  Let me ask you a question.  “This knowledge that you say you have, how did you acquire it?  Did you receive it from parents, from a Sunday School teacher, a preacher, rabbi, priest, a denominational creed or a friend?” 

Now any and all of these may be reliable sources of information, but then again they may not be.  I would need to know where they obtained their information before I could be sure of it authenticity.  I would want to know if theses sources obtained their data from hearsay or from actual study. 

Wouldn’t it be wise to be as prudent and resolute in the things that will affect your spiritual life, at least on an equal basis with the things that affect a business?  It should be, so why not take the same approach as you would in business:  study, diligently, spend long hours sorting out all the pros and cons.
Pentecost

For most Christians, this is a word that has significance.  What mental picture do you get when you see it in print or hear it spoken?  Do you recall when you first heard about it?  I imagine that if you have heard of it you probably received your knowledge of it through some traditional form of church teaching.  You have probably accepted whatever the authoritative figure at home or church told you. In other words, if it was good enough for Mom and Dad, it’s good enough for me syndrome.

So, perhaps you have been told that Pentecost marks the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ; that on this day there were assembled Jews and Gentiles having all things common and thus establishing the way Christians should conduct themselves in the 21st Century.  You were probably told that the events that transpired on the day of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the speaking in tongues, the healing of the sick, raising of the dead, etc. are things that we can do ourselves today.  Are they? 

If you want to be a workman that needeth not to be ashamed you will learn to rightly divide the truth. (2 Timothy 2: 15)  You will have to come to the decision that there must be a Book that has the truth in it, and for me it is a King James Bible.  You must also believe what the Word says, not what flesh and blood said.  I will be the first to admit that this may be difficult because it may mean admitting you have been wrong for many years.

Do you realize how hard it is to admit you may have been wrong?  It is as hard as it is for most of us to say I’m sorry.  But if you really want to know the truth about Biblical things, you must ask yourselves some serious questions:
1. Do I really want to know the truth if it means I may be the object of ridicule?  I can assure you there will be many that will ridicule you, perhaps curse you and call you names if you go against the way they believe.
2. Do I really want to be satisfied with the limited knowledge I have even if it is wrong?
3. Do I want to know what God has for me or will I be content in having a small portion?

Suffering for the truth is nothing new, most true believers have had to suffer.  Jesus Christ chose to suffer, and you and I have been called on to suffer with the promise of reigning with Christ if we do. (2 Timothy 2: 12)
THE STARTING POINT

Before we can get a clear picture of the events that transpired on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) we need to understand why the Jews were gather together and for what purpose.  Was it a law, or was it just a church fellowship?  Please read Leviticus 23: 15-21:
15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord.
17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord.
18 And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the Lord, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the Lord.
19 Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.
20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the Lord, with the two lambs: they
21 And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.

Fact:  Pentecost was one of the seven Jewish feast days.  It is a part of the harvest which begins with the Feast of First Fruits;  “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:” (Leviticus 23: 10) and it ends with the Feast of Trumpets “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord.”  (Leviticus 23: 22-25)

Listed below are the seven feast days recorded in Leviticus 23:
1. PASSOVER
2. UNLEAVENED BREAD
3. FIRSTFRUITS
4. PENTECOST
5. TRUMPETS
6. ATONEMENT
7. TABERNACLES

The following chart lists the seven feasts as they were observed.  We have included the month and number of days they were to be observed.  I have also included a time line starting with the death of Christ and where that coincides with the feast days.  Since the Church the Body of Christ was a mystery hid in God before the foundation of the world, it plays no part in Israel’s time line, but we have shown it as a break in time.  Israel is Lo-Ammi (not God’s people) today., and the time for Israel will resume when the Body is raptured.

Fact:  Feasts for Israel are not feasts for The Church the Body of Christ in the Dispensation of Grace.

           FEAST OF THE LORD
 │          Harvest │
  │ │

 

 

 
 1St Feast

 ↓ 1st Coming          Rapture↑   ↓ 2nd Coming
 │ │ │ │ │ Dispensation │31/2 yrs. │ 31/2 yrs.│ │
 Death                    Burial           Resur-              Acts 2 │     of Grace │ 7 yrs. Tribulation           Millennium
                                                   rection 

 

 

 

 

In the 21st Century, we are living in the time listed as the Dispensation of Grace. You will notice on the chart it is a period of time between Pentecost and Trumpets.  Even thought the Feasts are to be observed in real time, they represent the events concerning Messiah in both real time and future time.  The first four feasts have already taken place and there are three more to come, after the rapture of the Church the Body of Christ.  Lets look at a brief overview of each of the feast days. (we will discuss them in detail a little later)

PASSOVER:  (Leviticus 23: 4-5)  This represents death, in this instance the death of Jesus.  It has to do with redemption from bondage out of Egypt.  The blood on the two side posts and on the upper doorpost had a two-fold purpose: identification and sanctification (Exodus 12: 1-12).  Please note that the offering of blood was made by the head of the household and not by the high priest.  This blood was not for the blotting out of sins; that would come on the day of the Day of Atonement.  This blood was for temporal deliverance from bondage, but the atonement for sins would come at a later date.

UNLEAVENED BREAD:  (Leviticus 23: 6-8)  This represents the burial, of Jesus.  In Matthew 16: 6, 12 this leaven is spoken of as doctrine, in this Matthew account we learn of the evil doctrine (leaven) of men.  There was no evil doctrine in Jesus and therefore feeding on the unleavened bread of the Lord means one receives good spiritual food.

FIRSTFRUITS:  (Leviticus 23: 9-14)  This represents the resurrection of Jesus.  It marks the beginning of the harvest (see chart) and is the feast of thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest yet to come.  It is a reminder that as long as the corn is in the ground it is nothing, but it is being transformed into something new for harvest.  The corn seed must die before it can be resurrected into something new.

PENTECOST:  (Leviticus 23: 15-22)  This represents the gathering of the crops, which in this case is souls.  The Greek word “Penta” means fifty, thus the fifty days of verse 16.  Israel had been sown to the world.  In Acts chapter two she is being restored as God promised in Joel 2: 25-32.  However, something happened and God delayed the restoration.

TRUMPETS:  (Leviticus 23: 23-25)  This signals the calling of Israel to Mount Zion (Isaiah 27: 12-13), in anticipation of the Lord coming back to redeem them and to blot out their sins.

ATONEMENT:  (Leviticus 23: 27-32)  This marks the second coming of Christ to the earth. Purpose: to redeem His people in fulfillment of His promise.  The time of restitution of all things in Acts 3: 19-21 takes place at this time.  Israel will be gathered back into the promise land.

TABERNACLES:  (Leviticus 23: 33-44)  This represents the time of the 1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth.  It is from here that Christ will rule and reign with a rod of iron.  During this time Satan will be bound and Israel will be safe.
GOD’S PLAN FOR THE NATION ISRAEL

When God chose Abram, it was His plan that through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a nation would emerge – Israel.  That nation’s purpose was to be fruitful for the Lord and gather souls for His Kingdom. 

By the time Noah, who was in the lineage Abraham, came along it was evident that the Noahtic Covenant (Genesis 11) had failed for God had scattered the people and confounded their language.  Then in Genesis Chapter Twelve, God separates Abram, asking him to leave his father and his country and go to another land.  Once Abram did that, showing his faith in God, the Lord promised Abram his seed (Israel) would be a blessing to the world.  Abram would pass on a message to his lineage that there was one true God, and God would bless him and his seed.

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.  (Genesis 12: 1-3)

The majority of the Old Testament deals with the promises of God to the nation Israel and the prophecy concerning them.  In those Scriptures you will see documentation of Israel’s failure to fulfil her obligation, how God chastises her and what He has in store for Her if she is faithful and repents.  The feasts were ordained to be a reminder of her obligation and responsibility.  As time transpires, Israel became a nation more concerned with the ritual and not with the purpose of the feasts, and that eventually led to her loosing favor with God.

Israel was to be a peculiar treasure, a kingdom of priest and a holy nation.

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.  (Exodus 19: 5-6)

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.  (1 Peter 2: 9-10)

She was chosen to represent God on earth and lead the lost to the Lord by working the fields of the world.  Those of the world whom Israel harvested would then receive the blessings of Abraham.  But Israel failed miserably, so God scattered them to the four winds and into the land of the Gentiles.

The Book of Hosea tells the story of fallen Israel.  God instructs Hosea to take a wife of whoredoms (Gomer).  Hosea is a type of Jehovah and Gomer is a type of Israel.  They have three children, which represents the stages that Israel must go through.  The names of the children of Hosea and Gomer are a picture of the state of Israel during their time of departure from the Lord.

JEZREEL:  This was the firstborn.  The name means scattering and sowing and can be found in Hosea 1: 4.

LORUHAMAH:  The name means not having obtained mercy.  This was the second child and the name means not having obtained mercy. (Hoses 1: 6)

LOAMMI:  This was the third and last child.  The name means not my people and is found in Hosea 1: 9.

So it was with Israel.  God scattered her among Gentile nations and she did not learn from that so God refused to have mercy on her and allowed her to come under bondage.  When God raised up Moses she reformed temporarily, but by Acts 28 she had become Loammi, not the people of God.  She is still not the chosen of God today.

First she is scattered and sown.  Four nations will rule over her.

That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten. (Joel 1: 4)

The insects in the passage represent four nations:

PALMERWORM BABYLON
LOCUST MEDIA-PERSIA
CANKERWORM GREECE
CATERPILLER ROME
After being sown among Gentile nations, God has no mercy on her for a period of time with the promise to bring her back into favor.

And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God. (Hosea 2: 21-23)

The third part of Israel’s demise is found in Acts 28.

And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. (Acts 28: 25-28)

But God had Joel write that He would restore the people who had been declared “not my people” back to favor.  And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. (Joel 2: 25)

When will that be?  When the restoration is complete. The start of the restoration began in Acts.  The disciples were aware that restoration was to come, for they were familiar with Joel’s prophecy. 

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.  (Joel 2: 28-32)

 So after Jesus was resurrected, they asked Him when that would happen.  When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  (Acts 1: 6)   Look at Jesus’ reply.  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  (Acts 1: 7-8)  The Lord did not say the time of restoration was near, nor did He say it wasn’t, and then He was taken away to heaven.

Armed with this limited information the disciples make preparations to observe the Feast of Pentecost, and when the people began to speak in tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance, some questioned what was going on but Peter knew what was happening, and said:  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;  (Acts 2: 14-16)

Peter then quotes the prophecy of Joel 2: 28-32.   Acts 2: 17-21 is the same as Joel 2: 28-32. So it is evident that Peter thought that the restoration had begun, which it had.  However, it is also evident as to why the Lord could not answer that it had or had not been the time for it to begin. Why?  Because it takes a downward turn in Acts 5 when Ananias and Sapphira keep back part of their possessions for themselves rather than giving them all to the disciples for equal distribution among the people.

From Acts 5 Israel begins her slide from favor to disfavor, and by Acts 28 she had completely lost favor with God and was declared Loammi.  Acts 2 does not mark the beginning of  the Body of Christ, it is the start of the expected restoration of Israel.

Let us explore what happened in Acts 2: 1-13.

2: 1 On the day of Pentecost, a group of Jews were gathered together and were all in one accord.
2: 2 They heard something that sounded like a mighty wind.  The sound was so loud that it filled the room.
2: 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
2: 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
2: 5 The scene is Jerusalem.  We find in that city devout Jews from many countries.
2: 6 These devout Jews were confounded because they heard people speaking in their native tongues.
2: 7 They were even more amazed when they discover these people were uneducated Galileans.
2: 8 They cannot seem to get over the fact they could see people talking but hearing their native tongue being spoken
2:9-11 List of all the countries from whence these devout Jews had come.
2:12 They could not figure out the meaning of all this.
2:13 That’s when they determined they must be drunk with wine.

But Peter knew exactly what was happening and said: But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; (Acts 2: 14-16)

He says it is virtually impossible that these men are drunk since it is but 9: 00 am.  He is certain that this is what the Prophet Joel predicted, and he proceeded to quote Joel 2: 28-32.  Not only that, Peter remembered what the Lord had said prior to this day, as is found in Acts 1: 6-8.

Peter knew about the promised restoration and he knew that the events that were taking place marked the beginning of Restoration.  He knew that the power Jesus said would come was here, being evidence by action of the Spirit – the Spirit of power.  Let’s look at what the Lord promised one more time.  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  (Acts 1: 8)

What was this Spirit of power for?  It was to enable them to perform miracles which should have been evidence they had favor with God and that they were God’s chosen to evangelize the world. You will notice that the Lord told them they were to go to Jerusalem, all Judea, Samaria and the uttermost part of the world.  Lets look at that for a moment.

Judea is the southernmost region of Israel and Jerusalem is its capital.  It is also the territory of the two more faithful tribes of Israel – Judah and Benjamin.

Samaria is the capital of the northernmost region of Israel and is the home of the ten less faithful tribes.

The uttermost part of the earth may be a problem for some people since there are definitely two viewpoints.  Does this mean going to all of the known world or to the parts of the world where there are Jews dwelling there after having been scattered?  We believe it is the latter.

In James 1: 1 we read: James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. 

But the main reason we believe it is the latter is found in the words the Lord addresses to the disciples.  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.  (Matthew 10: 5-6)  He also said the following in Matthew 15: 25:  But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. 

In Matthew 10 Jesus tells His disciples they must not go the Gentiles, their commission is to the Jews only; and in Matthew 15 the word children means Jews and bread means the good news for the Jews.  Some say that was before Christ’s resurrection and now that has changed since His resurrection.  Has it?  Then why do you suppose Peter said: And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.  (Acts 10: 28)

In Acts 10 we can clearly see that Peter is operating under the guidelines given Him by the Lord when He was on Earth.  It is also evident that the Lord, in a vision, revealed unto Him something new.  It was not that he should now go to the Gentiles but that He was preparing Peter to accept the ministry of Paul.  It is the same thing he did with Ananias in Acts 9: 15:  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 

Paul is not an apostle to the Gentiles in Acts 2.  He does not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, as Peter believed.  As a matter of fact Saul (the name of Paul in the beginning) is a non-believer. In Acts 8: 1 we see that he is consenting unto the death of Stephen; and Acts 9 he has been commissioned to go to Damascus and bind believers in Christ and take them back to Jerusalem for sentencing to death.

There is no need for one to speculate as to what happened in Acts 2, one only need to believe the Scriptures. In Acts 2 Peter is addressing a group of Jews from many countries; all of whom had gather there for the purpose of observing the Jewish Feast of Pentecost..

The passages that Peter quoted from Joel was prophecy concerning Israel, looking forward to the outpouring of the Spirit of power, not the indwelling Spirit associated with the Body of Christ.  The outpouring of that Spirit of power was to be the evidence of the beginning of restoration.  Only part of Joel’s prophecy happened in Acts 2, the rest of the prophecy will come later.

How do I know that only part of the prophecy was fulfilled in Acts two?   What part do I think is future?  Joel 2: 30-32: And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.

And that coincides with Acts 2: 19-21:  And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

So what do I see in these passages that are future?  Even though there have been eclipses, the sun has never gone out and the moon has never turned to blood. I also know that the day of the Lord is when He returns to earth the second time, and that event occurs after the rapture of the church.

Christ is presently seated at the right hand of the Father, far above all heavens, waiting to return and establish His earthly kingdom and the complete restoration of Israel.  I know that Israel’s sins have not been blotted out, and will not be until Christ returns to earth the second time. How do I know that?  I believe what the Scripture says.  Acts 3: 19-21:

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;
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 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.

Verse 19 tells us that Israel must repent and be converted.  If they do, their sins will be blotted out when the times of refreshing come – from the presence of the Lord. Verses 20 and  21 states that God will send Jesus from heaven when the restoration (times of restitution) happens, and that cannot happen until Christ returns to the earth.

In verse 19 look at the words “blotted out” carefully and compare them with the words of Acts 2: 38:  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. The baptism for the remission of sins was a temporal thing until Jesus returns to blot them out.  Sins were covered by the blood of Christ by the cross, not at the cross.  But the blotting out of Israel’s sins will not happen until the second coming of Christ.  Don’t get mad at me.  If you must get mad you’re going to have to get mad at the Word of God.

The times of refreshing will occur after the seven years of tribulation and at the start of the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ.  Satan is bound in the bottomless pit. 

 Now look at how acts 3: 21 ends: “God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”  All the prophets of old wrote about the events leading up to the restitution of all things.  What were the prophets talking about? Isreal’s sins being blotted out at the time of the restoration of all things. So why don’t most theologians understand that?  Answer: they have limited knowledge, or they have limited their knowledge so as not to make their doctrinal position invalid.

Please do not misunderstand my statement.  I am not implying that I have knowledge and others do not.  What I am saying is that many people have limited knowledge of Scriptural truth because they have accepted their denominational views rather than searching the Scriptures for the truth.  Still others have limited their knowledge of Scripture based upon what they know to be true for the Dispensation of Grace.  What they do not know is that things were different before Paul was given the message of grace. You cannot mix the things of the law with the things of grace.

Example:  If you believe in eternal security you most likely believe the moment you accept Christ as Savior all your sins have been blotted out.  You would be right – for today.  However, that would not be right in Matthew-John and Hebrews-Revelation.

There are things in the Scripture that are excellent and things that are more excellent.  There are things in the Bible that have been hid in the Scriptures and there are things that have been hid in God and revealed in the Scripture whenever God wanted it revealed.  In Acts 3: 21 the fact that Israel was promised restoration on earth was written by all the prophets of old, but the mystery God revealed unto Paul concerning the Gentiles position in heaven, not on earth, were hid in God (not Scripture) before the foundation of the world.

Ephesians 1: 3-4:  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 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:

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)  Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;  That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: (Ephesians 3: 1-6)

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)

Fact:  Paul does not acknowledge Christ as Savior until sometime after His death, burial and resurrection.

Fact: Joel’s prophecy does not mention one word about Gentiles being fellowheirs or being of the same body in Christ.  You can only find that in the Pauline Epistles.  Joel promised that once again Israel would be a blessing.  If a Gentile was to be saved, they would be saved through the nation Israel.  Ephesians 3: 6 (above) states that today Gentiles are being saved by the gospel that Paul preached.  Romans 1: 16 states the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.

Fact:  Israel cannot be a source of blessing today for she is Loammi, not God’s people.

I believe that in the 21st century if I accept the gospel, my sins are blotted out and I am eternally secure in Christ.  However, in Acts 2 & 3 that was not the case.  Even though the blood of Jesus Christ was supplied for sins by what happened on Calvary, the blotting out of sins will not take place until Christ return to earth the second time, the times of restitution of all things.  That is what Acts 3: 19-21 says and I believe it to be true.  But Acts 3: 19-21 does not apply to believers who are saved believing the gospel committed unto Paul – the Gospel of the Grace of God.

There are too many teachers who want to mix the things of the law with the things of grace.  The two do not go together anymore than oil and water do.  You must learn to rightly divide the Word of Truth or you will forever be confused.  Believe God’s Word.  If your preacher, priest, rabbi or whatever says anything contrary to the Holy Bible do not believe them.  Trust God to reveal unto you the truth.  But you will not receive truth apart from studying it.

If you are grounded in the Word of Truth you will be able to read any author’s works and know if what they write is fact, fiction or denominational hype. The same applies if you listen to someone teach or preach.  If you are grounded in truth you will know whether they are speaking the truth or telling you a fairy tale.  Please quit depending totally on the words of men and start trusting in the Word of God.  Learn how to study so that you may reach conclusions based upon real truth and not upon biased and preconceived ideas handed down through the ages.

WHAT HAPPENED IN ACTS TWO?

After the outpouring of the Spirit of power, not the indwelling Spirit, Peter stands and addresses a group of Jews who had gathered there for the Jewish Passover Feast.

V. 14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

V. 22 Ye men of Israel hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

V. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

He is telling his Jewish brethren that the things they are witnessing should not surprise you if you have read God’s Word.  The events which are transpiring on this day, were prophesied by Joel the prophet.  If you are not familiar with Joel’s prophecy let me tell you what was written. Joel said: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:  (Acts 2: 17-18 is a direct quote from Joel 2: 28-29)

Peter was confident the last days were at hand.  That being the case he knew that meant Christ would be returning to establish His earthly kingdom and they would be restored to the land of promise.  Look at Acts 2: 39:  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.  The promise was to those Jews dwelling in Jerusalem and those dwelling long distances away from Jerusalem.  There is no doubt about this; Peter was addressing his fellow Jews, to whom God had promised a King and a kingdom.

Sensing they might need more proof than that of Joel, Peter quotes a passage from Psalms 110:  25-31:  For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

What is Peter trying to tell them?  He is saying, “In case you have misunderstood Scripture, let me enlighten you.  David was not speaking about himself in the Psalms, he was telling of the future resurrection of the Messiah who is to sit on David’s throne.  Well brethren, part of that has happened.  Messiah has come and you killed him.  He has resurrected back to God, but He will return again to sit on David’s throne at some future date.  What is he waiting for?  He is waiting for Israel to repent and be baptized.”

Look at it!  This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 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.

This is not the preaching of a new gospel, and this is not the beginning of the Body of Christ.  Peter had been teaching the same gospel since Jesus called him to be a disciple.  It is the same message that John the Baptist and Jesus Himself preached.  Both were calling Israel to repentance because the kingdom of heaven on earth was at hand.  Once Israel repented they had to perform the required work for the time at hand – baptism.

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 3: 1-2)  When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.  (Acts 13: 24)  John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. (Mark1: 4)  From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  (Matthew 4: 17)
IS ACTS TWO SOMETHING OLD OR SOMETHING NEW?
Have you been led to believe that in Act 2 we received a new commission to preach a new doctrine to a new group of people that will become the Church the Body of Christ?  Scriptural evidence does not permit me to believe that.  But the question is, “What do you believe?”  Do you really think Acts 2 marks the beginning of something new or is it the realization that something promised long ago has begun?  If you have read what we have presented thus far, the evidence tells you Acts 2 marks the beginning of the promised restoration of Israel into the kingdom of heaven on earth.  Let’s look at that evidence again.

1. Pentecost is a Jewish feast day.  (Leviticus 23: 15-22)
2. It represents the beginning of the harvest for souls.  (Acts 2: 41)
3. Israel was told she would be a peculiar treasure, a kingdom of priests and an holy nation, but she must keep the covenants (law) for that to happen.  (Exodus 19: 3-6)
4. God scattered Israel among the Gentile nations, after a period of time having no mercy on them, eventually cutting them off from Him. However, He promised He would call them back and restore them to Himself.  (Hosea 2: 21-23)
5. Joel speaks of a restoration of Israel from those who had dominion over her.  (Joel 2:  25)
6. Joel also declares that once the restoration begins God would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh.  (Joel 2: 28-29)
7. In Acts 2: 16 Peter says that what they are witnessing, the outpouring of the Spirit of power, is that which Joel prophesied.

So, with all this information, it is evident that Acts 2 was not the beginning of a new commission or a new gospel but the fulfillment of a long-standing promise.  What happened in Acts 2-4 was the long-awaited restoration, but it soon became the beginning of the end.  It was not the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ but, due to the fall of Israel; it was the diminishing of them, which culminates in Acts 28 with their being declared “Loammi”.

Here’s a question for you:  If Pentecost was the continuation of something old, how could the Church the Body of Christ, which is something new, have begun? It could not have!  It did not!  If you say it did, you may as well throw away your Bible for it will be of no use to you.
THE FEAST DAYS DETAILED

The First Passover:  (Exodus 12: 2-12) God instructed the head of the household to put blood all around the door.  What was the purpose?  So that when the death angel came he would pass over that house and the firstborn male within the house would have his life spared. 

Note:  The blood was not for remission of sins even though the feast is representative of the death of Jesus. Why?  Because it was the head of the household who administered the blood on the door, the High Priest must administer blood from the sacrificial lamb in order to obtain remission of sins.  Israel’s deliverance was from bondage, not sin; deliverance from sins takes place on the Day of Atonement.

Jesus observing the Passover meal with the twelve:  What was that all about?  He told the disciples that as often as they ate or drank the Passover Meal they should remember Him, or as 1 Corinthians 11: 26 states, remember his death until He comes back.  In other words Christ was preparing them for the time He would come back to blot out their sins.

Members of the Body of Christ have their sins blotted out the moment they believe.  They do not have to wait for Christ to return for that to happen, but Peter, the twelve and those saved under the gospel of the circumcision do have to wait.

FEAST OF PASSOVER:  Passover began on the 14th day of the first month, at evening (probably 14 days after the Spring equinox).  It represents the death of Christ and deliverance from bondage.  But just as the blood over the door and on the side post did not atone for Israel’s sins at the time the angel of death passed over them in Egypt, neither did the blood shed by the Lord on Calvary atone for Israel’s sin at that moment in time. We will see that happening on the Day of Atonement.  Just as the blood over the door and on the side post was necessary for deliverance from bondage, so too, the blood at Calvary was necessary for remission of sins awaiting the time when their sins would be atoned for– three feast days later.

Do not be confused.  What we have today is different from what the saved had before the time of the Lord’s first coming and even after His death, burial and resurrection.  Israel will have their sins blotted out (atoned for) when the Lord returns to earth the second time.  Our sins were blotted out (atoned for) the moment we believed.  If you do not rightly divided the Scriptures you will have limited your ability to have a clearer understanding of the Word of God.

FACT:  The blood for remission of sins was provided for everybody by what happened at Calvary; but Israel’s atonement for sins did not take place AT Calvary – that is future. 

The Passover Feast represents the death of Jesus but the Feast of Atonement is not observed until there have been three other feasts: Firstfruits, Pentecost and Trumpets.  Look at the following two verses with an open mind and without limiting yourself.

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)

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; (Acts 3: 19)

The passages are clear.  Israel sins will not be blotted out until Christ’s 2nd coming.

FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD:  This feast began one day after the Feast of Passover, on the 15th.  It was also observed on the Sabbath.  In John 19: 31 the Jews sought to have the Lord’s body taken down from the cross to be buried before the Sabbath, which also happened to be the day of observance for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

This feast represents the burial of Jesus Christ.  “Unleavened” is symbolic of purity and represents the body of the Lord Jesus.  As you read your Bible, you will find numerous passages of Scripture describing Christ as “The Bread of Life.”  As you study, you will understand that the Scriptures are the true, pure words of God.  Feed on them and not on the words of men.  Be aware that all who preach or teach the Bible do not necessarily preach the truth contained in the Bible.  These people seem to have their own agenda and if the Bible conflicts with their denominational views or creed they allow those things to take precedence over the Word of God.
FEAST OF FIRSTFRUITS:  This feast day represents the resurrection of Jesus and was observed eight days after the start of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The number eight is seven (the number of perfection) plus one (the beginning); it is the number associated with resurrection, regeneration and the beginning of a new era.  Eight souls went through the flood, Noah, his three sons and the wives of each. Christ’s grave was found empty on the first day of the week (John 20: 10) and He is the firstfruits of the dead.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (1 Corinthians 15: 22-23)

It is no coincidence that Christ was not in the grave on the day the Feast of Firstfruits began, which was a Sunday.  That is the reason Christians observe the first day of the week rather than the Sabbath, which is a Saturday.  That is why we, who are saved under grace,  are to forget about ordinances of the law and of the things that were of an earthly nature.  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.  (2 Corinthians 5: 16)

The feast days were important for Israel; they need to be understood by Gentiles in order to have a clearer understanding and appreciation of what we have under grace.  The Feast of Firstfruits marks the beginning of the harvest; in this case it is the harvest of souls.  It does not mark the beginning of a new body, but it marks the beginning of the restoration of Israel.  Israel, who had gone a whoring from God, was to begin to lead souls to the knowledge that Messiah had come and would soon establish His earthly kingdom.

FEAST OF PENTECOST:  This is the beginning of the gathering of the harvest (Israel); it begins with the first 3,000 souls being saved in Acts 2: 41:  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. The restoration of Israel began at this point in time, but it did not last very long for the restoration is now in abeyance because Israel is Loammi.

The following passage is often times a confrontational point, as there are many opinions about it.  Leviticus 23: 17:  Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord.

There are those that say the two loaves typify Christ, but I say that it cannot because:  1) They are made with leaven, and we have already stated that leaven is associated with evil doctrine; 2) They are the firstfruits, but we have already read the Christ was the firstfruits.

God knew Israel would become divided into two groups: 1) The two faithful tribes, and, 2) The ten unfaithful tribes.  The two leavened loaves was for each of these groups.  God is saying, even though you have become separated, I will make you one again, as we see written in Ezekiel 37: 22:  And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:

The confusion about the two loaves is carried even further by some. For they say the two loaves represent Israel and Gentiles; which is yet another effort to justify their belief that the Body of Christ began with Pentecost in Acts two.  I will not even attempt to give you their explanation of the verse above for they are so ludicrous.  If they would read verse 21 it would be clear:  And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: Do not let someone quote you one verse without looking at several verses before it and after it.

Ezekiel’s prophecy was happening in Acts 2.  The children of Israel were all in one accord and had become one nation again.  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,  (Acts 2: 46).  It is clear isn’t it?  So why do denominations not see it?  Could it not be pride or prejudice?

I can tell you something about pride.  When I was first introduced to rightly dividing the truth I tried to find fault with it.  Even when I saw the truth of it, I refused to acknowledge it as being truth.  “How can so many Baptists be wrong,”  I said.  “I have been teaching the Baptist belief that the Body of Christ began in Acts 2.  What are those people going to think about me if I tell them I was wrong?”  Pride, it was the downfall of Lucifer and it was beginning to be mine. It was hard to leave the life I had known for so long; but I had to because it was the wrong life.  When we refuse to believe the Word of Truth we do not enjoy a perfect life with Christ.  The teaching of men will rob you of that joy if their teaching is not based upon the truth, rightly divided.

There are too many people who are looking for that calm assurance they believe should follow salvation, when it does not come as quickly as they think it should, they turn to self gratifying experiences that do nothing more than edify self.  He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. (1 Corinthians 14: 4)

After the tongues experience ceases to satisfy your need, try studying the Truth rightly divided.  You will never get tired of it for it is of God and not of self.  Only God can give us peace within.  Oh yes, there will still be mountains and valleys you will have to go through here on earth, but the hope that lies ahead for us in heaven is worth all we must endure.  Unlike men, God’s Word does not contradict itself.  If you think it does, it could be because you have limited your knowledge of Scripture by believing what your ears have heard and not what your soul knew to be true.

If we see that Pentecost marks the beginning of the restoration of Israel, we can also see the necessity of Matthias being appointed as the twelfth apostle.  This is lost when we try to make Acts 2 the beginning of the body, for there must be twelve apostles in the New Jerusalem.  And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.  (Revelation 21: 14)  Paul could not be the twelfth apostle, as many people believe, for his home is far above all heavens.

FEAST OF TRUMPETS:  This is the calling of Israel together to wait for the Lord’s 2nd return to earth.  So the trumpet sounds to announce His coming.  The trumpet is a common instrument used throughout the Bible:  1) It was used to proclaim liberty in the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25: 8-10);  2) We see in connection with the Feast of Trumpets in Leviticus 23: 24 and ; 3) 1 Corinthians 15: 52 it is used when discussing resurrection.  The trumpet was used in connection with judgment and liberty; judgment being necessary before liberty could be proclaimed.

FEAST OF ATONEMENT:  Of all the feasts, this one is most important for it is the feast when Israel’s sins will be completely blotted out.  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; (Acts 3: 19)

Okay, let’s see what has transpired: 1) We had the Feast of Passover, which represented the death of the Lord; 2) Then we had the Feast of Unleavened Bread which represented the burial of Jesus; 3) The Feast of Firstfruits represented the resurrection of the Lord.  Then we came to 4) The Feast of Pentecost, which, we said, marked the beginning of the Harvest.  In Acts two the disciples began harvesting souls, anticipating the restoration of Israel. After Pentecost we come to 5) The Feast of Trumpets which is to announce the 2nd coming of the Lord and which ends the harvesting for souls; for the time has come for the kingdom to be established, and that happens with the 6) Feast of Atonement and the Lord’s physical return to earth.

Let us be clear, the blood for the remission of sins was provided by what happened on Calvary, i.e. Feast of Passover and the death of Jesus Christ.  However, Israel’s sins would not be blotted out until the Feast of Atonement, which represents the 2nd coming of Christ.

If this is confusing to you it is probably because you have knowledge of what is promised us under the gospel of the uncircumcision (grace/Paul’s Gospel), which is different from what Israel had been promised under the gospel of the circumcision (Peter’s Gospel).  The blood of Jesus Christ was shed for both groups of people, but one group receives the benefits of it before the other one does.

Those who teach that baptism is necessary for repentance to those of us under grace err because they do not understand that Pentecost was a Jewish feast day for remission of sins, but those sins would not be blotted out until the Feast of Atonement.  Our sins were blotted out the moment we believed.  So you can see why it is necessary to understand the feasts days in order to rightly divide that which was for Israel and that which is for us.

Once Christ was resurrected we see Peter with a group of about 120 people gathered together in an upper room.  What were they there for?  They were waiting for the Spirit of power to come, which would be instrumental in their harvesting lost souls before the 2nd coming of Christ.

Look closely at Acts 1: 1-2:  The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

What did Jesus teach His disciples? Let’s look and see.
1) 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: (Matthew 10: 5-6) Is it not clear the disciples were to go to Jews and not Gentiles?
2) When the woman from Canaan (a Gentile) asked for mercy from the Lord, what did he tell her?  But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  (Matthew 15: 24)  Fact:  Jesus was sent to Israel. 
3) Jesus knew that water baptism was a temporal act representing the remission of sins, therefore John the Baptist was ordained of God to announce this new requirement.  And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; (Luke 3: 3)  That is why Peter said what he did in Acts 2: 38:  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.
4) What would happen if they repented and were baptized?  They would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
5) And what was the next order of the day for Israel?  Their sins would be blotted out. 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;
6) When would the blotting out of sins take place? When the times of refreshing shall come, and that happens at the 2nd coming of Christ. (Acts 3: 19)
7) Where is Jesus Christ now?  In heaven, and Acts 3: 21 states that He must be received in Heaven before and until He will return to earth.  (Acts 3:20-21)

If you will take the time to study the Scriptures you will see what has been presented is truth, and you would know that the blotting out of sins for Israel and the Body of Christ do not occur at the same time.  Those who want to start the Body of Christ at Acts 2 have missed the purpose of the Feast days.  They were for Israel.  They were a picture of that which was to come. And they would culminate with the last feast day – the millennial reign of Christ.

FEAST OF TABERNACLES:  This feast is all about the millennial reign of Christ, or as it is more commonly known, the 1,000 year reign of Christ. (Revelation 20: 4)  The Jew is waiting for the day when God will restore them into the land of promise.  Why?  Because they know that at that time Messiah will reign as King over the earth..  This period of time is not the final kingdom of God, which comes after Satan has been cast into the lake of fire.
Are there differences of opinion concerning Acts two?

Yes, there are several opinions about this verse.
1. Some say this is where the Church the Body of Christ began and the speaking in tongues and the prophesying are things we should be doing today.
2. Some say this is where the Church the Body of Christ began but tongues and prophesying are not things we should be doing today.
3. Some say that baptism is necessary for salvation.
4. Some say that baptism is not necessary for salvation.
a. Some of these say the “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins” means: get baptized with the understanding you already have remission of sins.
b. Others say baptism was a part of the law and is not valid under grace for salvation.
5. Some say Acts 2 is for Jews only.
6. Some say Acts 2 is for Jews and Gentiles.

So, whom do you believe? Do you believe the teacher who is the most eloquent speaker?  Do you believe the person who is more passionate?  Do you believe the individual who is the kindest?  None of these should be the determining factor in choosing what is right.  The only sensible thing to believe is the Word of God, not what someone said the word of God said.  Make sure you have a Bible that is not tainted by men.  My recommendation is that you get a King James Bible.  There are many translations, but I have found a King James Bible to be the most reliable.

Baptism – the most divisive subject in Christendom.

Baptism In the Old Testament

The word baptize is found twice in: 1) 2 Kings 5: 14, used of Nathan when he “dipped” himself in the Jordan River; 2) Isaiah 21: 4.

Bapto is found 18 times, nine of them in the Law of Moses where it is used of dipping in blood, oil or in water.

Baptos is found only one time in Ezekiel 23: 15.

In the New Testament there are three references to Old Testament baptism: 1) The Ark and the Flood (1 Peter 3: 21)’ 2) Crossing of the Red Sea (1 Corinthians 10: 2) and, 3) Carnal ordinances of the Tabernacle (Hebrews 9: 10).

Baptism In the New Testament

The teaching of baptism is broken into the following categories:
1. John the Baptist.
a. It was a baptism unto repentance, looking forward to atonement prior to entry into the kingdom. (Matthew 3: 1-2)
b. It concerned Israel.
c. It was a baptism of water that spoke of a future baptism with fire and the Holy Ghost.
2. The baptism with the Holy Ghost, as promised by John, was fulfilled at Pentecost (Acts 1: 5).
3. During the Acts period, water baptism and baptism of the Spirit went together. (Acts 2: 38; 10: 37)
4. Practiced by Paul during his early ministry (1 Corinthians 1: 16), but baptism was not a part of his gospel for salvation. (1 Corinthians 1: 17) It was an important part of Peter’s gospel.  Peter could not say, “Christ sent me not to baptize”.
5. In the Prison Epistles of Paul water baptism gave way to spiritual baptism.

Baptism in the Pauline Epistles

Paul’s Epistles are divided into two segments: Pre-prison and Prison/Post Prison.

Pre-prison:  These are Epistles written prior to Paul being confined to a Roman prison. They are: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians.  We often refer to these books as the works of Paul’s early ministry.  You will find that in these Epistles Paul is “all things to all men.” (1 Corinthians 9: 19-23)  He did a lot of things early on that he ceased doing after receiving revelations from the Lord to stop.

Prison/Post Prison:  These Epistles are: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon.  In teaching, we often refer to the Epistles as relating to his later ministry. As you read these books you will see that ordinances practiced early on became stumbling blocks.  In these seven books Paul no longer tries to be all things to all people.  Why?  Because Israel has become Loammi and the ordinances the church were to keep have been set aside.

The one baptism of Ephesians 4: 5 is spiritual baptism, not water baptism.
Acts:  Battleground of Dispensational Truth.

For the most part, Acts is about the ministries of Peter and Paul. Peter dominates the first 12 chapters before being supplanted by James, the brother of Jesus.  Paul is seen as Saul in Acts 8; he is converted in Acts 9 and his missionary journeys begin in Acts 13 and culminate in Acts 28.

Galatians 2: 7: But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter.  Paul speaks of the gospel committed unto him and the gospel committed unto Peter.  He clarifies that by stating his was the gospel of the uncircumcision and Peter’s was the gospel of the circumcision.  In 2 Timothy 1: 11 Paul is called the apostle of the Gentiles.  If you can see that Paul and Peter have separate callings you will be better prepared to understand what transpires in Acts.

Acts 2 is not about the Body of Christ, but about Israel. As you proceed through the chapters you will begin to see that the Book of Acts is all about Israel’s decline, and finally being declared Loammi in Acts 28.  While there is Body truth in Acts, the Book focuses on Isreal’s decline.

The Three Major Divisions in Acts

  Acts 1-12 Acts 13-16 Acts 17-28
 City Jerusalem Antioch Rome

 Figure Peter Paul & Others Paul

 People Jews Primarily Jews & Gentiles Gentiles Primarily

 Gospel  *Gospel of *Gospel of *Gospel of the
 Preached   God   Christ   Grace of God

 Message Beginning  Gentile Loammi
 For The Of Reconciliation Rejection
 Jews Restoration  

*  I am not saying there were three separate Gospels, what I am saying is that the teaching of Jesus Christ changes as Paul is given Divine revelations.  For instance:

The Gospel of God is simply teaching that Jesus is the Son of God.  Peter and Paul both preach this.

The Gospel of Christ  teaches Jesus, the Son of God, died for your sins.  Peter and Paul both taught this, but Peter taught that sins would be blotted out when Christ returned the 2nd time; Paul taught sins were blotted out the moment one trusted Christ as Savior.

The Gospel of the Grace of God  teaches Jesus, the Son of God, died for your sins, even those Gentiles who were without hope. (Eph. 2: 11-13) Paul taught this and Peter never preached it.
Restoration For Israel Started In Acts

If you read the Book of Isaiah you will find that it is divided into two major sections.  The first 39 chapters pertain to the rejection of Israel and chapters 40-66 pertain to the restoration of Israel. Isaiah 40: 1-3:

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare (appointed time) is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  The Hebrew word for warfare is tsaba’ and in Daniel 10: 1 that word is translated as time appointed.

What I hope you see here is that the prophecy of Isaiah speaks of an appointed time when Israel’s iniquities will be accomplished.  Isaiah is prophesying about restoration.  I underlined “The voice of him crying in the desert” because this makes reference to John the Baptist, who announced the coming of the Messiah, without whom there could be no restoration.

Peter had a clear understanding of the prophecy of Daniel, Isaiah, Malachi, Hosea and Joel, that is why he was sure that what was transpiring in Acts 2 was in fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy concerning the restoration of Israel. (Joel 2: 25-32)

In Malachi 4: 5 we read: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:  Perhaps that prophecy also came to mind after Jesus spoke theses words: For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias (Elijah), which was for to come. However, Israel did not receive it and Elijah must come at some point in the future.  That will happen at some point during the seven years of tribulation.

Can you not see that what transpired in Acts 2 was a partial fulfillment of prophecy?    Organized religion may not see this, but the apostles did.  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1: 11)  These words were spoken to them by angels, which perhaps brought to mind this passage from 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. 

With the words of the angels ringing in their ears and the prophetic passages hidden in their hearts, the Apostles must have been chomping at the bits over the prospect that fulfillment of the promised restoration was at hand. So, the Apostles got down to business and elected someone to take the place of Judas; for they knew that, in the regeneration, twelve thrones must be occupied by twelve Apostles.  They elected Mathias.

With everything in order, they were almost ready, but one more thing had to happen before restoration could begin – the power to go forth and reach Jews everywhere. They were waiting for the Holy Ghost of power to descend upon them, and it did on the day of Pentecost.  Israel had been a rebellious nation but this day marked a dramatic change in her; but sadly the change was short lived.  The harvest began with many souls turning to God, but almost as quickly as it came so came the demise. Several thousand repented and were baptized but hundreds of thousands did not.  Israel failed one more time, and before too long God would say He had enough of Her and she was declared Loammi.

God knew this would happen, for Scripture tells us He had made preparations for this event before the foundation of the world, before the calling of Abraham.  God chose to raise up the Gentiles to carry on where Israel had failed. “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:” Ephesians 1: 4.

Reconciliation

The Apostle Paul was chosen to lead these Gentiles into a far greater commission than that which Jesus gave his disciples. (Matthew 28: 19-20)  That commission is known as the ministry of reconciliation. Paul had been chosen for this task long before he believed Jesus was Messiah. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: (Galatians 1: 15-16)

But the religious leaders of the Jews refused to acknowledge Paul’s apostleship.  They went to great lengths to discredit his authority and the message he preached.  People in the 21st century do the same thing.  Too many religions refuse to believe the uniqueness of the complete message of Paul, but they will take some of it (the liberty it preaches) and discard most of it as being nothing significant.

Our Greater Commission – The ministry of Reconciliation:

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5: 18-21)

Under the ministry of Paul the Gentile comes to a place of prominence and blessing.  At a certain point in time we cease to read the words “Jews Only” or “Ye men of Israel.”  As a matter of fact, God in His wisdom had to bring Israel down in order that the Gentiles could be raised up. “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” (Romans 11: 7-11)

Paul is the only apostle to use the word reconciliation for he is the APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES.

 

 

THE BEGINNING OF THE CHURCH THE BODY OF CHRIST

Before we analyze the subject it is necessary to define a few words.
Definition # 1 – CHURCH

The Greek word for church is ekklesia and has been translated in English as ecclesia and is defined as: a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly. In the Old Testament the Greek word ekklesia is used to translate the Hebrew word qahal, which means to call or to assemble. It is from this verb form that we get the noun congregation or assembly.

In Acts 7: 38, Stephen referred to Moses’ leadership and the history of Israel: This is he, that was in the CHURCH in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:  Israel was the church of that period, she was called out of Egypt and assembled together under the leadership of Moses.

You need to understand that the word ekklesia (church) does not always mean a gathering or an assembly of God-fearing people.  We can see that in Acts19.

Verse 32: Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly (ekklesia) was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
Verse 39:  But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.
Verse 41:  And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly (ekklesia).

There was a church before Pentecost.  Look at Matthew 18: 17: And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

So if you say the church began at Pentecost, shouldn’t you ask what church? Was it:
1. The church in the wilderness? (Acts 7: 38)
2. The church of Christ’s early ministry and before Pentecost? (Matthew 18: 17)
3. The future church spoken of? (Matthew 16: 18)
4. The seven churches of Asia as found in Revelation chapters 1-3?  It is interesting that one of those churches is at Pergamos, which will be the city “where Satan’s seat is”. (Revelation 2:13)
5. The Church the Body of Christ? (Ephesians 1: 22-23)

Interestingly enough, the first four churches above speak of an assembly of people, whether saved or lost.  But the church mentioned in number five speaks of those who are a part of Christ’s body.  The first four are physical and number five is spiritual.  The Church the Body of Christ is a living organism with Christ as its head.  The other churches mentioned are but a group of people assembled together on earth.

Definition # 2 – BODY

The English word “body” is translated from the Greek word soma.  In almost all cases it refers to the actual physical body.  In Corinthians, Ephesians and Colossians it is used of believers which are made part of Christ’s body by spiritual baptism. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12: 13)
Ephesians 1: 22-23:  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. We see here that Christ is the head of this particular body. Col.2:19: And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.  The two (body and Head) are inseparable and this Church will be exalted with Christ, as seen in Ephesians 2: 6: And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

It is interesting that the Church the Body of Christ is the fullness of Christ. The thought is that without this group of believers, this Church, Christ is not or will not be complete.  It is also interesting that Paul is the only apostle who preached of this church.  Why do you suppose that is true?  Because the church that Peter and the other apostles spoke of will be physically situated on the earth, not far above all heavens.

Definition # 3 – The Church the Body of Christ

The Church the Body of Christ is a called-out group of people who are joined to Christ by spiritual baptism and is seated together with Christ in heavenly places. Christ is the head of this church. Members will make Christ complete, therefore equal with Him.

Definition # 4 – The Church that began at Pentecost

Is a called-out group of people who will be gathered together on the earth at the 2nd coming of Christ. Christ will be its King.  Members of this church will not be a part of Christ’s body, they will be subservient to Him, for He will rule them with a rod of iron.

Three viewpoints concerning the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ.

Acts 2:  Those who take this position say the outpouring of the Holy Ghost was indication of a change, therefore a new beginning.  They are of the opinion that the Spirit that came down was the indwelling Spirit.

Mid-Acts:  Those who take this position believe the Church the Body of Christ could not have begun before the salvation of Paul, who is the Apostle of the uncircumcision and the only one who speaks specifically about the Body.  Paul is not saved until Acts 9 and begins his missionary work in Acts 13.

Acts 28:  Those who take this position believe in the unique ministry of Paul but believe the body could not have begun before Israel became Loammi, which happens in Acts 28. They acknowledge a body of believers in mid-Acts who have a heavenly inheritance, but not far above all heavens.  They propose a split body.

So, how can one know which viewpoint is the real one?  You will find it by studying. We have already given you sufficient information as to why it could not have begun in Acts 2 because that was not the start of something new, it was the continuation of something old.  However, you need to understand that the majority of professing Christians do take this position.  That does not necessarily mean they are right.  The religious leaders of Jesus’ day wanted Him crucified.  But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify him. (Mark 15: 9-13)

It takes little courage to follow the majority but it takes great courage to stand for the truth when so many oppose it. In Acts 6 & 7 Stephen was preaching in the power of the Spirit and drew unfavorable comments from the Jews, (6: 9) who stirred up the people against him.(6: 12)  He doesn’t pay any attention to their ridicule, but uses the occasion to preach truth unto them.  Though he was only one against many, he preached the truth until they gnashed on him with their teeth. (7: 54)  All he could see was the Son of Man standing at the right hand of the Father, (7: 56). When he told the crowd that, they cried out and stopped their ears (7: 57) and then overpowered him and stoned him to death (7: 58-60). For Stephen, the truth was more important than opposition, even if it meant death.  Is truth important to you?

Saul:  The opposition leader

The first mention of Saul is found in Acts chapter seven.  The witnesses of the stoning of Stephen laid down their clothes at the feet of Saul, who in Acts 8 consented (approved) unto his death.  Saul was one of the most villainous of the Christian haters. Look at Acts 8:3:  As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

In the beginning of Acts 9 you will find more evidence of Saul’s passion against the followers of Jesus.  He presents himself before the High Priest and asks for authority to seek out these people, intent on having them brought back to Jerusalem for execution. This is how Paul described himself after he was saved. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. (Acts 26: 10-11)

Saul was a zealot for the traditions of the Jews and was very vocal against those who questioned the veracity of the Jewish religion.  Look at his own words in Galatians 1: 13-14:  For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.  You can see that being zealous for a cause may not be a good thing.  As a matter of fact Paul said as much in his letter to the Romans.  Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. (Romans 10: 1-2)

There are far too many zealots for God who do not have the knowledge of Pauline truth.  Saul, the zealot for the law, became Paul, the zealot for Christ.  But Paul spent many days and nights in one-on-one conversations with the Lord.  As you read the Scriptures you will see that Paul had many revelations from the Lord concerning his job and the words he would teach.  Some of those revelations had been hidden in Old Testament Scripture, others had been hidden in God.

How much do you know about the mystery revealed unto Paul?  How much do you know about Paul, period?  Did you know that apart from the Pauline epistle you would never find salvation by grace?  Too many professing Christians want to enjoy the liberty of grace but insist upon practicing the restrictions of the law. Is there any wonder why there is so much confusion in the churches today?

Saul: Confronted by Jesus

Saul left for Damascus with letters of authority against the followers of Christ, but he never presented those papers to the priests at Damascus. Before reaching his destination he was blinded by the light of God and heard the voice of God: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. (Acts 9: 4-6)

Saul, the persecutor of Christians, had met the God-Man, Jesus Christ, whom he opposed.  He didn’t ask who He was; Saul knew it was the Lord talking.  He was never the same again.  Neither will you be, if you have truly met the Savior face-to-face.   Perhaps you are one of those people that discredit Paul’s teaching.  Are you truly a child of God?  You cannot be if you do not believe the Gospel committed unto Paul. Why not trust Christ right now?  He will save you if you accept what He did, died for your sins, was buried and raised up for your justification.

The Lord did not tell Saul that things were going to be easy from that point on; He told Ananias he was going to have to suffer.  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. (Acts 9: 15-16)

And suffer he did.  He constantly had to defend his apostleship and the message revealed to him to preach.  Denominationalists look upon preachers of Pauline truth as though they were a cult.  But it doesn’t matter what they think, the Jewish leaders thought the same thing, but Paul persevered and so must we.  Our job, like Paul’s, is:  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)

Paul’s Apostleship

He was not the twelfth apostle, as some suppose; but he was an apostle chosen of God.  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. (1 Corinthians 15: 5-8)

This apostle, chosen of God, was given a message which was different from the message God had given the twelve.  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.  The twelve were called during Christ’s earthly ministry and Paul was called after the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord.

Paul: Sent to the Gentiles

For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: (Romans 11: 13)

Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. (1 Timothy 2: 7)

Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. (2 Timothy 1: 11)

As an apostle, sent to the Gentiles, he was given revelations concerning the mystery. The Greek word musterion is translated mystery twenty-seven times in the New Testament, twenty of them in the epistles of Paul, three in Matthew, Mark and Luke, and four in Revelation.

The Mystery Hid in Scripture

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)

Why did God have to hide something in Scripture?  But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2: 7-9) God hid the fact that through His death he would destroy Satan, who had the power over death. (Hebrews 2: 14)  Also the death of Jesus would be a sacrifice for the sins of the world. (Hebrews 9: 26)

These above facts were either not known, or not understood by the 12 apostles, but they were revealed unto the apostle Paul.  If the 12 obtained any understanding of these facts, they would have gotten them from Paul; for when Jesus mentioned His death to the disciples they did not know what He was saying, as is seen in the following:

And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and [of] the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. (Mark 8: 31-33)

And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. (Mark 9: 9-10)
And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it. For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him. (Mark 9: 30-32)

Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again. (Mark 10: 33-34)

Why didn’t the twelve understand?  Why did they not believe the Lord?  They did not believe because the Lord was not ready for them to believe.  They did not see what Old Testament Scripture reveals to us today because the meaning was hid from them at the point in time.  And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.  (Luke 18: 34)

Today, we preached that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again and that our sins are blotted out the moment we trust the completed work of Christ. Peter and the others did not preach that.  This is what they preached:  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 not one word in the passage that talks about Christ’s blood for remission of sins or for blotting out of sins.  Why?  It was a secret that would be revealed unto Paul, and Paul is not saved until Acts 9.

The Pauline Epistles emphasize atonement for sins through the blood of Christ.  Look at it:  “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Ephesians 1: 5-7) The preaching of the cross is all Pauline. 

The Mystery Hid In God

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 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: 8-9)

In Ephesians 3, we see that Paul was given:
1. A Gentile ministry (3: 1)
2. The Dispensation of Grace (3: 2)
3. The Mystery (3: 3)
4. The mission to proclaim to the Gentiles the grace ministry (3: 6-8)
5. The job of revealing what had been hid in God (3: 9)

Paul received the Mystery and passed it on to other apostles and prophets of the day.  The Mystery is mentioned twelve times in the Prison Epistles:
The mystery of His will (Ephesians 1: 9)
The mystery (Ephesians (3: 3)
The mystery of Christ ((Ephesians 3: 4)
The fellowship of the mystery (Ephesians 3: 9)
A great mystery (Ephesians 5: 32)
Them mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6: 19)
The mystery….hid from ages and generations (Colossians 1: 26)
The mystery among the Gentiles (Colossians 1: 27)
The mystery of God (Colossians 2: 2)
The mystery of Christ (Colossians 4: 3)
The mystery of the faith (1Timothy 3: 9)
The mystery of godliness (I timothy 3: 16)

If you study these passages of Scripture you should notice:
1. The church the Body of Christ comes to the forefront.
2. This formation of the Body in this new dispensation signifies completeness in Christ and fullness for the Gentiles.
3. The mystery came about after having a revelation from God. God chooses to whom He imparted that revelation.
4. Paul was a chosen apostle with a special ministry, communicating his revelations to a select group of people during a specific period of time.

The Mystery Concerning the Gentiles

Perhaps you are wondering, “What is the importance of this Mystery and it’s implications for the Gentile?  Are Gentiles treated any differently today than they were in A.D. 33 or B.C. 40?”  Those are good questions and there are Scriptural answers.

We have already seen the Jews considered the Gentiles to be second class citizens, they were often referred to as “dogs.” (Matthew 15: 26)  God had chosen the Jews to be a peculiar treasure. Psalms 135: 4: For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself and Israel for his peculiar treasure.  In God’s eyes, they had an advantage; that is why he gave them the law.  Romans 3: 1-2: What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
 
In Paul’s early ministry, he acknowledged the gospel of Christ was to the Jew first. Romans 1: 16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it. …Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.  (Acts 13: 16-17; 26)

After having read the verse above, I see:
1. The Jew definitely had an advantage at one point in time.
2. The Jewish proselytes (Gentiles who had been circumcised) also had an advantage.
3. Salvation was sent to the Jew first, and those who feared God. (Gentiles)

Being a Gentile during Old Testament days and in Matthew – John, meant one was at a disadvantage.  God gave the promises to the Jews.  If a Gentile was to receive the promises, he would have to renounce his pagan ways and be circumcised.  Even then, upon entering into the Synagogue, he was relegated a seating position behind those who’s birthright was Jewish.  The Gentile was alienated because of their birthright.

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. (Ephesians 2: 11-13)

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Colossians 1: 27) What is the riches of the glory of this mystery among Gentiles?  Redemption!  If a Gentile refused to fear God, do works of righteousness and become a circumcised proselyte, he had no hope and was without God. But the mystery concerning the Gentiles provided hope.  When Israel became Loammi God revealed the mystery concerning the Gentiles.  The Gentiles would become the chosen ones to spread the good news of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection for the remission of sins.

And so, the Dispensation of the Grace of God is all about Gentiles being the favored of God.  Israel had to be set aside before this dispensation could begin.  With the diminishing of the roll of the Jew in spreading the gospel came the rising of the Gentile. Now that Israel has been set aside, temporarily, God could show grace to every Gentile, those who blessed Israel and those who did not.

FACT:  In this dispensation, whether or not you bless Israel or curse Israel has no bearing upon your relationship with God.  Genesis 12: 1-3 does not apply in this Age of Grace.  It did at one point in time, but not today.  Jewish people can be saved today, but they have to go against their religious leaders and believe Christ has come and that He alone can guarantee them an inheritance with God.

The foundation laid by Paul is the only acceptable way of salvation for the 21st Century.  If you are basing your salvation on the foundation laid by Peter, you are in for a rude awakening.  Peter is not the Rock upon which God will built His church in this dispensation.  Christ is the Rock, whether in this dispensation, past dispensations or future ones.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16: 17-18)

There is a religious organization that has based their entire doctrinal position based upon Peter as the rock for the formation of the church.  They believe that Peter was the first leader, and the church of the verse above is the Catholic church.  They err! When shown 1 Peter 2: 4-8 they can never give a satisfactory answer.  Look at the verses:

To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

The chief cornerstone contained in the Scriptures was Jesus Christ, not Peter.  Anyone who will believe on Christ, not Peter, shall not be confounded.  Jesus is the rock on which the disobedient stumble. It is Jesus who is the rock of offense, not Peter. 

If an entire religious order has been formed believing Peter is the founding father, the cornerstone, the rock, it cannot afford to change that position even though they know their founders made a mistake.  Change is not going to happen for this religious persuasion.  Why?  Because they would have to admit that they were wrong.  They would lose credibility and probably lose members.  So what can they do?  They will continue covering up and teaching a lie.

FACT:  The foundation and cornerstone of the real church, whether it is the Church the Body of Christ or the physical church centered at Jerusalem, is Jesus Christ the Lord. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3: 11)

So then, what is Paul speaking of in 1 Corinthians 3: 10?  According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

Paul says:
1. I have laid the foundation
a. What is it?
b. What is it for?
c. To whom does it concern?
2. He cautions us to take heed on how he builds on that foundation.

Paul laid a foundation upon Christ, and that foundation is for the erection of a temple: Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Corinthians 3: 16) That temple is you and me – the Church the Body of Christ. The foundation is not the gospel, for the gospel was laid out in Old Testament Scripture. So the foundation that Paul laid, with Jesus as the cornerstone of the temple, has something to do with the order of resurrection. Look at the following verses.

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1: 18)

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. (1 Corinthians 15: 22-25)

In the Corinthians passage, you will notice a definite order of resurrection: Christ and they that are Christ’s at His coming.  First, Christ comes in the air for the Body of Christ, and second, He comes back to earth for Israel. Then the end comes when he puts all enemies under his feet and all the lost will be resurrected to stand in judgment.

The fact that Jesus was coming again was no secret.  Israel was waiting to be restored. But the fact that He would come for the Body of Christ before He came to restore Israel was a mystery, a secret hid in God.  That is why Paul said: Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: (2 Timothy 2: 7-8)

Peter spoke of Christ being resurrected to sit on David’s earthly throne.  Paul spoke of Christ being resurrected to sit at the right hand of the Father – a heavenly throne.

Did Peter and Paul preach the same gospel? No, they preached the same Christ, who is the chief cornerstone for both messages, but they preached differently concerning the resurrection.

Peter – Prophecy Paul – Mystery
1) Gospel of the circumcision (Gal. 2: 7-9) 1) Gospel of the uncircumcision (Gal. 2: 7-9)
2) Sent to baptize (Mark 16: 14-18) 2) Not sent to baptize (1 Cor. 1: 17) 
3) Baptism was for remission of sins (Acts 2: 38) 3) Remission of sins and blotting out of sins
    The blotting out of sins is future (Acts 3: 1921)     is by the blood of Christ the moment one   
     Believes. (Eph. 1: 7)
4) Ministry to Jews all over the world (Acts 1: 8) 4) Ministry to the Gentiles (Acts 9: 13-15; 26:15-17)
5) Message at Pentecost to Jews (Acts 2: 14-38) 5) Taught his believes to follow him as he followed Christ (1 Cor. 11: 1)
6) Pentecost, the beginning of restoration and 6) Last days for Gentiles concerns apostasy,
    Revival for Jews (Acts 2: 16-21)     not revival (2 Tim. 3: 1-5; 4: 3-4)
7) Preached Christ resurrected to sit on David’s  7) Preached Christ resurrected to sit at the
    throne on earth. (Acts 2: 25-31)     right hand of God in heaven (Eph. 1: 20)
8) Earthly inheritance (Jer. 23: 5; Mat 5: 5) 8) Heavenly inheritance (Eph. 1: 3; Col. 3: 1-2)

Differences Between Prophecy and Mystery 

Prophecy concerns Israel, the Old Testament prophets, the teaching of Jesus and Peter.
1. It concerns a literal kingdom on earth. (Jeremiah 23: 5)
2. It had been prophesied “since the world began.” (Acts 3: 21)
3. Israel will be the dominant nation. (Isaiah 60: 12)
4. All people will follow Israel’s lead for they know she is the chosen of God. (Zechariah 8: 23)
5. Christ returns for Israel to the earth. (Zechariah 14: 4)
6. Christ prepares twelve men to proclaim the start of restoration. (Acts 1: 6-8)

Mystery
1. This concerns a group of people with a heavenly inheritance (1 Cor. 12: 12, 27; Eph. 1: 3; 2: 6; 4: 12-16; Col. 3: 1-3)
2. It was chosen in Christ before the world began, but kept secret since the world began. (Eph. 1: 4; 3: 5-9; Rom. 16: 25-26)
3. There is one authoritarian figure and everyone is equal. (Rom. 10: 12; 11: 32; Eph. 2: 16-17)
4. Israel will not be the avenue of blessing because she is Loammi; Gentiles will be blessed because of Israel’s fall. Rom. 11: 11-15; Acts 28: 27-28)
5. The mystery is about setting our affections on heaven and not earth. (Col. 3: 1-3; Eph. 1: 3)
6. The Lord prepares Paul to proclaim the mystery. (Eph. 3: 1-9; Col. 1: 24-27)

The saddest thing I have observed in the thirty plus years I have been in the ministry is the limited knowledge professing Christians have about the Word of God.  Most do not realize what God has given them. They take grace for granted. They think the dispensation of grace has always been in existence. That is not so.  Why do you think God chose the Body of Christ before the world began but chose to keep it a secret until He revealed it to Paul? Answer: to show His grace and so that Christ could be head of the body, which would be His fullness. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1: 22-23)

Once the body is complete Christ will be complete and the restoration of Israel can resume and be completed.  Elijah will return and the full restoration will have begun.  But until the rapture of the Church the Body of Christ, the restoration for Israel will not start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Middle Wall
When did the Church the Body of Christ Begin? 

That is a subject of much debate throughout Christendom.  Many Bible believers do not think it is important, but I ask, what do you think?”  If it is important, is there a passage of Scripture one must turn to for comfort and guidance? The answer is a resounding yes, and that verse is: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2: 15.

This verse is the foundation for right division, words you will see often in print throughout this book; for it is the point of beginning for what I believe is the correct view in establishing the beginning of the body truth.

A high IQ is not a prerequisite to learning. I am not a Biblical scholar, and please do not get the impression in the following pages that I think all Biblical scholars are more interested in analogy rather than simple truth. I have read many books of some scholarly Biblical expositors and have been enlightened by some of their exposes. However, the man who has been most influential in my search for truth has been E. C. Moore.

E. C. Moore is not a college graduate, but he is a Biblical scholar. He has taught me how to allow the Word of God to speak for itself. He also taught me to read my Bible without preconceived ideas as to the meaning of a particular passage of Scripture.  He said, “Read the Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to direct you.” When reading this booklet, you should heed that advice also.

In your search for the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ it is very important that you rightly divide the Scriptures. In your search for truth, we will attempt to show you how you can draw your own conclusions on the subject at hand.

If you are a new Christian or if you have been a Christian without the benefit of having sat under a teacher of truth; you might not be aware that there are at least four views as to when the Church the Body of Christ began.

1. Covenant theology teaches the church of the Old Testament and the New Testament is one and the same.
2. Most fundamental evangelicals and many dispensationalists teach that the Body had its beginning on the day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts chapter two.
3. There are other dispensationalists who recognize the distinctive ministry of Paul and take the mid-Acts (Acts 9-13) position for the starting point.
4. Then there are those dispensationalists that take the position that the Body began with the setting aside of Israel, which we find in Acts 28.

What I hope you will see from the four viewpoints listed above is that there is much emphasis placed by many Biblical scholars as to when and where the Church the Body of Christ began. Since that is the case, shouldn’t it be a subject matter that is important enough to you to find who has taken the correct position, or more importantly to ask who has taken the correct Biblical position?

I want to be very clear.  I have taken the position that the Church the Body of Christ began with the conversion of Paul in Acts chapter nine. I tell you this now so that you will not be wondering where I stand.  You should know that the Acts 9 position I now take is different from what I grew up believing.  My background is Southern Baptist, and for thirty-seven years I was, as most Baptists, of the Acts 2 persuasion.

I have written the following in a basic outline form.  It is not intended to be a literary composition, it is meant to be informative. While I have a definite position, I hope the information given will allow you to make an informed decision based upon Scriptural evidence alone.  My prayer is that you will allow the Holy Spirit to guide you through the following pages without any preconceived ideas from your denominational ties, if you have any.

Ephesians 2: 11-12: “11) 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; 12) 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:”

Time Past: The time past of verse 11 is referring to a period of time prior to when Paul is writing this letter. It also is in reference to a period of time when the Jew considered the Gentiles to be an abomination to God. Whether or not that is true, it was the consensus thinking for that day and time.

In verse 12 Gentiles of time past were:

1) Uncircumcised,
2) Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,
3) Strangers from the covenants of promise,
4) Having no hope, and
5) Without God in the world.

As you read any of the books I wrote, you will see me writing the following: “When you see a positive statement there is always a negative alternative.” For instance, Romans 10:13 states: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  The negative alternative to that statement is: “For whosoever shall NOT call upon the name of the Lord shall NOT be saved.”

In Ephesians we see a group of Gentiles who were definitely NOT saved. But apparently there were Gentiles:
1) Who had been circumcised,
2) Who were NOT aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,
3) Who were NOT strangers from the covenants of promise, or
4) Who did fear God.

It is a known fact that there were some Gentiles in Old Testament times that had favor with God.  However, it is also a known fact that the Jew had more favor.  When Abram was called by the Lord to leave his country and go to a place that the Lord would lead, he was a Gentile in the truest sense.  He officially became a Jew when he was circumcised.

In Genesis 12: 1-3 we read:
1. Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

A Gentile could receive the blessings of God if they would bless Abraham’s seed. Using the positive and negative form of rationale, a Gentile would not receive the blessing of God if they did not bless Abraham’s seed.

Fact:
1. At one time the Jew had the advantage over the Gentile: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1: 16.
2. There was some advantage in circumcision, or being a Jew. “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” Romans 3: 1-2.  If, during that time, there was no advantage to circumcision, then why did Paul suggest that Timothy be circumcised?

 Look at Acts 16: 1-4: “Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.”
3. Paul began his ministry teaching in the Jewish Synagogues. “And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” Acts 19: 8-10.

After some of the Jews of Ephesians disputed (argued) with him about what he taught, he left the Synagogue and began preaching in the home of a Gentile.  Then he catches some flak from idol worshipping Gentiles about the teaching, known as “that way.”  If you will look at Acts 19: 23, you will see “that way” mentioned again. “And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.”
a.) In Ephesus, there were idol-worshipping Gentiles of the goddess Diana. “For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;”
b.) Many of them were silversmiths who made idols of the goddess Diana for sale.
c.) The sale of those idols was profitable and when Paul teaches they have no need for idols, it cuts into their profit. Paul is definitely hurting their business. “Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.”
d.) The silversmiths realized that if they did not get rid of Paul their businesses might fold. “Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.” Acts 19: 26-27.

So it is evident there are a group of Ephesian Gentiles who did not believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  They also did not like the way that Paul taught concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Why?  They were idol worshippers.

Remember Genesis 12: 1-3:
1 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

With that in mind, let us look at what we have in Ephesus in Acts 19 and 20.
1. There were a group of Ephesian Gentiles meeting in the synagogue who were blessing Israel and therefore partakers of the covenants of promise.
2. There were a group of Ephesian Gentiles who were idol worshippers and they did not like Israel and therefore they were not partakers of the covenants of promise, they were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and without the true and living God.
3. Careful study of Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians and Galatians will reveal that the majority of these people were Gentiles that were partakers of the covenants of promise, and they were also members of the Church the Body of Christ, the foundation laid by Paul. Look at 1 Corinthians 3: 10-17:
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

a) Paul laid the foundation of the temple (which is you and me), the Church the Body of Christ.
b) It is NOT the laying of the foundation of the gospel, as some believe, for the gospel was laid out (though hidden) in the Old Testament Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15: 1-4:
1. Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2. By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
    
I have underlined the words “according to the Scriptures.”  This can only mean Old Testament Scripture.
c) The foundation that Paul laid is for the Church the Body of Christ – the temple of God, or if you will, the dwelling-place of God in this present dispensation. 1 Corinthians 3: 10-17, listed above, matches perfectly with Ephesians 2: 19-20: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;” as well as with 2 Timothy 2: 19-20: “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.” The foundation that Paul laid is Jesus Christ, and then Church the Body of Christ is built on the same foundation the Jews have – Jesus Christ.
d) Anyone who does not believe the gospel of Christ that Paul preaches is not a member of the Body of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4: 3-4: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
e) The foundation of the Church the Body of Christ, which Paul preached, has to do with the order of resurrection. “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.”
f) And Paul’s preaching of resurrection is different from that which Peter preached. “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:” Paul preached being resurrection to be seated at the right hand of God – in Heaven.  Peter preached being resurrection to live with Jesus, the King, on earth.

When speaking concerning the Jews, Paul, in his letter to the Romans said: “I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” Romans 11: 11.

We see that God, in His wisdom, raised up Paul to be an apostle to the Gentiles, knowing that eventually it would provoke the Jews to jealousy and then perhaps they would turn back to God. This was prophesied to happen, even though God always kept Jacob as the apple of His eye, as is found in Deuteronomy 32: 9-10: “For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.” He knew they would turn from Him, as we see prophesied in Deuteronomy 32: 15-21:

15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.
17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.
19 And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.
20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.

It was God’s intention to one day make Gentiles a special people even before he called Abram out of Haran. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 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: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Ephesians 1: 3-6.

Did this mean that God intended Israel to be a second class people? God forbid! For Paul also was informed by the Lord that even though Israel would fall, their fullness would be complete in due time. “Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?” Romans 11: 11.

It must be noted, according to the prophecy of Deuteronomy 32, the Lord would hide His face from Israel for a period of time.  This time period would come to be known as the Dispensation of Grace, the period of time in which we now live, the 21st Century. Israel is Lo-ammi (not my people.) She has gone a whoring from God, and God has been provoked to anger and turned His back on her.  And He will not bring her back into favor until the time of the fullness of the Gentiles.

In real time, today, Israel is cut off from the blessings of God Almighty. In the eleventh chapter of Romans, the olive tree represents Israel’s privileges and unbelieving Israel is that broken branch. “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;” Romans 11: 16-17.

The Gentiles are being grafted into that tree and receive their blessings because of Israel’s fall, but Israel will be rewarded in the end. Romans 11: 25-27: “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”

In Romans 15: 25-27 we see Paul taking up a collection for the Jewish saints who are still alive and living in Jerusalem. “But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.”

A Gentile who feared God could be grafted into the tree also. Acts 13: 16: “Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. Acts 13: 26: “Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.”

During the Acts period, we find that the hope of Israel was extended to the Gentiles. But we also see that Paul was imprisoned for the hope of Israel. “For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” Acts 28:20

In Acts 28: 24-28, we see that Israel became Lo-Ammi. “And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

Israel’s hope had to do with a city in the heavens, not far above all, heavens, for that is reserved for the Body of Christ.

When the setting aside of Israel happens, a new hope was extended to the Gentiles. Ephesians 3: 1-6:
1. For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
2. If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
3. How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4. Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5. Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6. That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

This new hope for Gentiles means that the religious privileges for Israel have been set aside – temporarily. It also means that God can fulfil His commitment to the Gentiles which he had planned before the foundation of the world. “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:”

Ephesians 2: 13-18:
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

In verse 13, the “now in Christ Jesus” is set in contrast to “time past” as mentioned in the verses 11 & 12. The people to whom verse 13 is addressed used to have no hope, but now have a hope.  Those who were without God now have God. Those who were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise are now nigh by the blood of Christ. Why?  They have been reconciled (v.16) by the cross. 

Notice it does not say they were reconciled at the cross. For the believer who studies the Word of truth rightly divided, will see that the Jew was still the means of hope up to and until the time of their being set aside.

Those Who First Trusted vs. Those Who Trusted At a Later Date

Look at the following verses. Ephesians 1: 9-13:

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10 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:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
You need to take the time to read Ephesians 1 & 2.  When you do, I want you to look at some key words in the passages of these two chapter, they are: us, we and ye.  They will play an important role in helping you understand the truth of the Word rightly divided.

1. In verse 12 we are apprised of a group of believers who first trusted in Christ.
2. In verse 13 we see another group of believers who also trusted. Paul refers to those as “ye”.
3. Both groups of people are members of the Body of Christ.

Ephesians 2: 1-7:

1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

After having read the verses above, you should have noticed several things in the passages. The people listed as “ye” were dead in trespasses and sin and walked according to the world and Satan. You will also notice in verse 5 that they were saved by grace.

You should have also seen that the first group of believers had problems with the flesh and were children of wrath the same as the “ye” group.

Both groups are loved by God and have been quickened together with Christ and raised up together to sit in heavenly places, thereby indicating that both groups were a part of the Body of Christ.

Ephesians 2: 8-16:

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
11 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;
12 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:
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 

These two groups of Gentiles had some issues among themselves, and Ephesians 2: 14 says there had been a middle wall of partition between them that was now broken down. Then in verse 15 we find this wall had been abolished by Jesus Christ.  The verse explains it was the law of commandments contained in ordinances that had been abolished and had been the problem between the two groups of Gentiles.

In Ephesian 2: 16 he notes that the reconciliation of the two groups was a result of the death of Jesus Christ.  Notice the passage says “by the cross.”  It does not say the reconciliation occurred at the cross. I know that to be true because of what Peter said in Acts10: 28: “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”  Peter knew that the law of commandments contained in ordinances was still very much in operation for the Jew.

In Ephesians 2: 15 we see that with the abolishing of the enmity, the law, these two groups could be made one – become one new man. This new man had not been in existence before.  The body of Christ was fragmented because those who first believe had an obligation to continue to observe certain ordinances.  Look at the following passages.

James is speaking in Acts 15: 19-21: “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” He is telling the Jews that Gentiles who had turned to God should not be troubled, but they should be asked to refrain from things strangled and from blood.

Acts 16: 1-3: “Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.”  Because Timothy was part Jew, Paul thought it best that he be circumcised, thereby observing the ordinance of circumcision.

Galatians 2: 1-3:  “Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.”  Paul did not consider having Titus circumcised since he was a Greek (Gentile).

When Paul began his ministry, he was to be all things to all people.  He did not want to offend the Jew, nor did he want to burden the Gentile with Jewish commandments.  His early ministry was filled with instances where the Jewish hierarchy was always questioning his authority and the validity of his message. By the time he wrote the Ephesian letter God had revealed unto him it was time to quit appeasing the Jew, for they had been set aside (become Lo-Ammi).

As we have mentioned before, the letters Paul wrote to the Romans, Corinthians and Galatians were filled with things they were to do, in the hopes that by doing them they might not offend the Jew and thereby help them see the truth.

The Gentiles who first believed and those who believed later were all part of the Body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12: 12-14:  “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.”

1 Corinthians 12: 27-31:   “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 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. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”

You will notice that in Paul’s early ministry there were categories of importance.  There were those who had certain gifts.  But it was evident that all the people did not have all of the gifts. It should also be note that when Paul lists the gifts in Ephesians, he eliminates quite a few of those listed in 1 Corinthians 12.

Ephesians 4: 8:  “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”

Ephesians 4: 11:  “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;”

When the two groups of Gentiles become the “one new man,”  one does not think of himself as getting better or worse but the same.

Ephesians 3: 1-3, 6:
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,… That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:”

The Body of Christ is a unified body of believers and one of its goals is to become a perfect man.

Ephesians 4: 11-16:
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

This perfect man in Ephesians 4: 13 is the same one new man of Ephesians 2: 15: “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;”

That man is made perfect and new by the breaking down of the middle wall of partition, and both of them becoming united in one body in Christ Jesus; and none being better than the other, none having the restrictions of ordinances being imposed on them.

The reason it is necessary to become this new and perfect man is stated in Ephesians 4: 14:  “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, …”

If you are a Christian, you have probably been more confused about ordinances than any other topic. Should we do this or shouldn’t we?  How do we do it?  When do we practice it?  In what name are we doing it?  This issues that arise over baptism and communion have been the reason many in Christendom have left the church., and that is so sad. Why? These ordinances were abolished by the cross.

The second chapter of Colossians gives a pretty good picture of the condition of the new and perfect man. Colossians 2: 6-23:

6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

What do these verses say about those of us who are members of the Body of Christ?

v. 10 We are complete in Christ
v. 11 We are circumcised with Christ
v. 12 We are buried with Christ in Baptism
v. 12 We are dead with Christ
v. 13 We are quickened together with Christ
v. 13 Christ has forgiven ALL (not just a few) of my trespasses
v. 14 Christ blotted out the ordinances that were against us, nailing it to His cross
v. 15 Christ spoiled Satan and his follower’s hope when he was resurrected
v. 16 Christ warns of those who would impose restriction of the law
v. 18 Christ said do not listen to those who would have you get involved in angel worship
vs. 19-23 Since you are dead with Christ, buried with Christ and risen with Christ, you are not to be concerned with the perishable things of this world.  To do those things only proves you have a will power, something in which you can boast.  Doing them does
 not bring honor to your Lord.

Religious organizations want their members to be obedient to the doctrine of the physical church.  They are constantly bombarding members with “you must be baptized, you must go to confession, you cannot eat certain foods, and you must not associate with a certain crowd.” While some of these might be good for your physical bodies, they do nothing for improving the spirit.  Ritualistic tools used in worship are not of God for the Dispensation of Grace, the period of time in which we now live.

The Scripture says that when Christ died, ordinances died.  Who are you going to believe, the Bible or a church ordinance? Christ fulfilled the Law.  To continue observing ordinance is to rebel against the Word of God. We are to put away earthly things and think about heavenly things.

Colossians 3: 1-4:
1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

And why do you suppose we are to think about heavenly things? Because we are already there, spiritually. Ephesians 2: 6: And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Conclusion:

The Church the Body of Christ had to have begun with Paul. Why? Israel failed in her responsibility to be the spokesperson for the Lord Jesus Christ, so God raised up Paul to be the apostle to the Gentiles. Romans 11: 13: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” So the Body of Christ could not have begun before Acts 9. Paul was called to present the gospel to the uncircumcised Gentile and Peter and the twelve were called to present the gospel to the circumcised Jews.

Galatians 2: 7-9:
7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
8 For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
9 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. 

At the beginning of this book, we said:
1. Covenant theology teaches the church of the Old Testament and the New Testament is one and the same.
2. Most fundamental evangelicals and many dispensationalists teach that the Body had its beginning on the day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts chapter two.
3. There are other dispensationalists who recognize the distinctive ministry of Paul and take the mid-Acts (Acts 9-13) position for the starting point.
4. Then there are those dispensationalists that take the position that the Body began with the setting aside of Israel, which we find in Acts 28.

If you have read the information we have presented, you should have seen that people who take position number one are way off base.

Those who take position number two, do so because it is here that we see the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as evidence of something new. However, the disciples were not looking for the creation of a new body of believers, they were looking for Christ to restore the promised early kingdom.

Those who take position number four say the body must have begun when Israel was declared Lo-Ammi. If that were the case, why do we see body truth in the early writings of Paul?  There was a change in Acts 28, but it was not concerning the formation of the Body of Christ, but rather to the finalization of dispensational change.

Perhaps you are wondering why religious scholars differ so much on the subject.  I do not know of a certainty, but I suspect it has something to do with their lack of regard to the distinctive ministry of Paul.

Let me show you how I divide the Book of Acts.

Chapters City Figure People Gospel Paul Preached
  1-12 Jerusalem Peter Jews Gospel of God
13-19 Antioch Paul & Others Jews & Gentiles Gospel of Christ
20-28 Rome Paul Gentiles Gospel of the Grace of God

Do not get the impression that I believe Paul preached three separate Gospels, he did not.  But for the purposes of teaching, I want to show you how his teaching progressed according to the revelations (plural) he received from God.

2 Corinthians 12: 1: “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 12: 7:  “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.”

In acts 9, Paul is on his way to Damascus to capture followers of Jesus. “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”  Acts 9: 1-2.

But instead of capturing followers of Jesus he becomes a follower of Jesus.
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
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.

So, Saul is saved and God says that he is a pattern, someone to be followed,  to Gentile believers.

In early Acts Saul/Paul preaches what we have labeled the Gospel of God.  “And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” The Gospel of God is simply that Jesus was the Son of God. Saul had authority from the Jewish High Priest to bring people who confessed that Jesus was the Son of God back to Jerusalem for trail of heresy.

So Saul began to teach exactly what the disciples were teaching about Jesus. First Peter, “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16: 15-16.

And then Philip, Acts 8: 5: “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.”

Acts 8: 29-37:

29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

The passage the eunuch was reading was Isaiah 53: 7:  “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” So, the Old Testament predicted that Jesus would come and die for the sins of many.

So Saul begins to teach to the ones he was sent to destroy. “But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.” Acts 1: 23.

Peter, Philip and Paul are proving that Jesus is the Christ of prophecy. “But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.”

Paul goes into the Arabian desert.  Galatians 1: 15-18:

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. 

If we are following Paul’s teaching in Acts, this coincides with the events of Acts 9: 23-25:  “And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.”

When he leaves the desert, he comes back to Damascus.  “Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.” Galatians 1:17.

Soon after he arrived in Damascus, he goes Jerusalem.  “Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.” Galatians 1:18.

Following the events in Acts, we see this in Acts 9: 26-29:  “And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.”
Fearing for his life, he is led of the Lord to leave Jerusalem and go to Carsarea and on to Tarsus.  “Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.”

Barnabus goes to meet Paul.  “Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:”  Acts 11: 25.

The two then leave Tarsus and go to Antioch.  “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Acts 11: 26.

In Antioch they take up an offering for the Disciples being persecuted in Jerusalem and depart for the city to deliver the money collected in their behalf.  “Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.”  Acts 11: 29-30.

Paul tells the story of his conversion a couple of times in the Book of Acts.  And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled [their] ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.” Acts 12: 25.

In Acts 22 we are apprised of the reason they leave Jerusalem and go back to Antioch.  “And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” Acts 22: 17-21.

In Acts 13 we find his ministry taking a significant step forward. Acts 13: 1-4:

1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.

Paul begins preaching what is labeled The Gospel of Christ. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16. 

Does Paul quit saying that Jesus is the Son of God?  Most definitely not.  But he begins to say that the Son of God died for all mankind.  The Gospel of Christ is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for the remission of sins, which you can clearly see in1 Corinthians 15: 1-4:

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

You cannot preach the Gospel of Christ without preaching the Gospel of God, but you can preach the Gospel of God without preaching the Gospel of Christ.  What do I mean by that statement?  There are some who will tell you that Jesus was the Son of God without saying that He is the only way you can have remission and blotting out of sins.

There are those who say you must be water baptized for remission of sins, and then they quote Acts 2: 38:  “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.” In other words, there are those that still believe you must do a work before you can be saved.  And since baptism is a work they practice that belief.

Many followers of Acts 2: 38 will tell you one cannot be saved apart from water baptism. They err.  They prostitute the grace of God. “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.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.
 
So, Paul preaches the Gospel of God plus starts adding the Son of God died for our sins. How was the Gospel of Christ revealed?  It was revealed to Paul from Old Testament Scripture and is manifest now, by the prophets, for the purpose of obedience.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15: 3-4.

Even though the Gospel of Christ was in the Scriptures, it had been kept secret since the world began. Look at Romans 16: 25-26:

25 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,
26 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:

The mystery in the passages above is not the mystery of the Dispensation of the Grace of God that you will find in Ephesians 3: 9:  “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:” The mystery in this passage was one hid in God and not in Scripture.

The mystery hid in Scripture concerns the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for the remission of sins. 1 Corinthians 2: 1-2, Paul states that he came to simple preach Christ crucified.
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

Why do you suppose God chose to hide this fact?  Because if Satan had know that Christ death would be to the saving of the world from death, he would not have been instrumental in Christ’s crucifixion. Look at 1 Corinthians 2: 6-8.

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

It was God’s plan for Jesus to be crucified so that He could destroy Satan, who has the power over death. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2: 14-15.

The ministry of Paul on his first missionary journey is preaching Jesus Christ, and Him crucified for the sins of the world. Even though that message can be found in the Scripture, it was not understood until God revealed it to Paul.

So, Jesus was turned over to the Devil to deliver the world from bondage. From 9: 00 am to 3: 00 pm God allowed Satan have the fate of Jesus in his hands, and our Lord was crucified for the sins of the world, thus confirming the New Testament.

Hebrews 9: 16-18; 25-26:
16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
18 Whereupon neither the first [testament] was dedicated without blood.
 
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

When Jesus was crucified, the Old Testament law was terminated. Hebrews 10: 9-14:
9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

With Jesus’ death, the Old Covenant God made with Israel was taken away in order that a New Covenant could be established – with Israel.  It has not been established yet for Israel, for they have been set aside, become Lo-Ammi.

But let us get back to the discussion of Paul’s ministry.  Paul wrote thirteen books: Romans through Philemon. Since we are tracing Paul’s ministry in the Book of Acts, you should know that Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians were written during Acts 18, 19 and 20.

A little earlier in this book, we stated that In Romans 11: 11-18:
1. The olive tree represented the religious privileges of Israel but not Israel perse.
2. That unbelieving Israel is the broken branch.
3. A Gentile who fear God and did works of righteousness could be grafted in.
4. The hope of Israel was extended to the Gentiles.

You need to understand that the Gospel of Christ is to the Jew first until Acts Chapter 20.
Romans 3: 1-2:  “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”

Be very clear, the Jew HAD the advantage at one point in time and circumcision was profitable, especially for the Gentile who, by the act of circumcision became Jewish proselytes.  Salvation, in the beginning, was to the Jew first and those Gentiles who feared God.

Acts 13: 16: “Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.”

Acts 13: 26:  “Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.”

That is what Paul preached in his early ministry.  The Gentiles that were being saved during this time period were partakers of the promises given to the Jews. Look at his teaching as recorded in Galatians 4: 28:  “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.”

In Ephesians 2: 11-12 there are Gentile believers who were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise. If we use deductive reasoning, we can say that the saved Gentiles in the churches of Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Thessalonica and some in Ephesus were in the covenants of promise.  

In Acts 20: 19-21 we read:  “Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”

If you look at verses carefully, you will notice that repentance is toward God and not Jesus Christ.

Later on there were saved Gentiles who were not partakers of the promises of Israel. These are the ones Ephesians 2: 12 addresses.  “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:”

These Gentiles had no hope of salvation, but something happened to change that.  Look at Ephesians 2: 13:  “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

So we can summarize that there were two groups of believers in the church at Ephesians, those who first trusted and those who also trusted later on. “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” Ephesians 1: 12-13.  These two verses compare favorably with Ephesians 2: 12-18.

The Gentiles of time past were partakers of the covenants of promise and the Gentiles of the “now” times were not. Why?  Because Paul has been given a further revelation from God and he starts preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God.  Acts 20: 24:  “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

The Gospel of the Grace of God is the Gospel of Christ but according to the foundation laid by Paul. A foundation that he started building in his early ministry, but was not consummated until God revealed to him the missing pieces. 

In 1 Corinthians 3: 10-11, we read: “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Now look at Ephesians 2: 20:  “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;”

What we have here is Paul acknowledging that he is preaching Christ is the foundation, just as the apostles and prophets before him were doing, but he cautions those to take heed how one builds upon that foundation. The foundation that Paul built on Christ was a foundation for the temple, which is the Body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 6: 19:  “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

That foundation built on Christ for the Body of Christ involved an order of Christ’s resurrection. 2 Timothy 2: 7-8.  “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:”

Peter also preached Christ as the foundation, but Peter’s foundation had Christ being resurrected to return to Earth and reign for 1,000 years.  Did Paul preach that?  No, he did not.  Paul’s preaching of Christ’s resurrection was all about Christ seated at the right hand of the father, far above all heavens. 

Ephesians 4: 10:  “He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)”

Ephesians 1: 20:  “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,”

That is why he wrote that followers of his gospel ought to set their minds on heavenly things and not earthly things. Colossians 3: 1-4:

1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

So, I know that Peter’s preaching of Christ and His resurrection are not the same as Paul’s preaching of Christ and His resurrection. If that is true, and it is, then I also know Peter did not lay the same foundation that Paul did.

Peter and the twelve were laying a foundation for the restoration of Israel to the land of promise, as is seen by their question in Acts 1:6:  “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

It is no wonder that the Lord did not answer that question directly, for He who knows all things, knew that God would raise up Paul before Israel was restored.  Acts 1: 7-8:  “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

*  The Gospel of the Grace of God is the good news that Christ died for ALL men.  1 Timothy 2: 1-6:
1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Titus 2: 11-14:
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Titus 3: 4-7:
4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

*  The Gospel of the Grace of God does not put restrictions on anyone.  When the Gospel of the Grace of God began to be taught by Paul, Gentiles did not have to bless Israel, keep the law, or refrain from observing ordinances or things offensive to the Jew, as we saw in Acts 15: 19-21:

19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

The middle wall of partition has been broken down,   (Ephesians 2: 14-15:  “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;”) 
and the two groups of Gentiles are now one in the Lord. 

There are those who teach that the two being made one are Jew and Gentile, but I think the evidence presented here shows otherwise.  You must search the Scriptures yourself to verify that.  I believe the two groups to be Gentiles who either kept certain ordinances or did not keep those ordinances. This was accomplished by what happen on the cross, and not necessarily at the time of the cross.

Final Conclusion:

1. The Church the Body of Christ could not have begun at Acts 2 because Paul said he laid the foundation for it and Paul is not saved until Acts 9.
a. An integral part of this foundation concerns a resurrection in heavenly places. 2 Timothy 2: 7:  “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:”
b. Peter preached Christ resurrected to sit on an earthly throne.
2. The Church the Body of Christ could not have begun at Acts 28 because Paul was laying the foundation before that, as is evident in 1 Corinthians 12: 13:  “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
3.  The Gospel of the Grace of God is mentioned in Acts 20 and in Acts 28, Israel became Lo-Ammi.
4. True, there were some Gentiles being saved and becoming a part of the Body of Christ having blessed Israel, but they were part of that which was built upon the foundation laid by Paul.  Ephesians 2: 20  “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;”
5. So, we conclude that the Body of Christ had to begin with Paul immediately after he was saved in Acts 9.
6. With the breaking down of the Middle Wall of Partition also came the dissolving of ordinances imposed on the Gentiles who first believed.  When that happened, the Gentiles who were not partakers of the promise and those who first believed became one unified body.