Sunday, June 29, 2014

When Did the Church Begin by Brother Mark Phillips

From the Acts 28 blog of Brother Mark Phillips, Appear In Glory, June 26, 2014:

When did the Church begin?
There are three main views as to when the Church of which Christ is head
began. Probably over 95 percent of believers are confused on this issue, and fail to rightly divide the Scripture to determine what things belong to Israel and what things belong to the Church in our age. That 95 percent fails to see that Acts 2 did not begin the Church today, but was prophecy taking place for the Jewish believers called the Church of God in the book of Acts.
The second group of believers try to see the difference in Paul's messages to the Kingdom Church of God and the Church today. Most of these believers believe the Church today started around Acts 9-13. They believe that throughout the book of Acts, Paul moved gradually away from the Gospel for the earthly Kingdom Church of a God and finally preached only to the Gentiles. The following is a general article that outlines their belief as to when the Church for our age began. Unfortunately, they fail to see that all through the entire book of Acts, Paul's hope was entirely in line with the earthly hope of the Jewish kingdom Church. One can read in Acts many times throughout Acts, in Paul's very own words, stating how his hope was of his father Abraham. It was not until Paul's last effort to get through to the Jewish leaders to accept their Messiah, that they refused to believe and God cut them off calling them "not my people " in Acts 28:28.

It was not until after Israel was cut off from God for the time being, in Acts 28:28, that God revealed to Paul in Prison about a new Creation, the Church which Jesus is the head. Finally One New Man, where both Gentile and Jewish believers are equal in stature. We finally read about this mystery that was finally revealed to Paul for the first time in history. It was a secret hid in the mind of a God and not revealed in the Old Testament or in prophecy about God's church for our age. Our Church age did not begin until after Acts 28:28.
When Did the Church of the One Body Begin?
We believe the passage in Acts 28:28-31 is when the Apostle Paul declares to the Jewish leadership that the final opportunity for their acceptance of Jesus as Christ is over. From that point on the message for the plan of salvation is now authorized to be sent from the Gentiles, apart from Israel. Prior to this point in scripture, salvation was always either through or with the Jew. At this point the nation of Israel has been put on hold but will be still receive the promises and blessings made to them through Abraham in the future (when Elijah restores the revealed plan of God). However, for the first time in scripture, Paul declares that whosoever will accept Christ, they become a member of the body of Christ where Christ is the head. This is now the beginning of the church which is of His body which has its own calling, blessings, and inheritance separate from Israel. To explain this “hidden plan”, Paul then begins to write the final 7 books in scripture, chronologically (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Titus, Philemon, 1 and 2 Timothy.) The reason we describe this calling as the hidden purpose is that it was hidden in God, before the foundation of the world and not revealed until Paul was told to do so in Ephesians 3:9. The primary name given to us by the Apostle Paul for the special body of truth during this timeframe is called “The Mystery” (Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:25-26) and it is our calling for today. There are several positions in Christendom on when the Church of the One Body began. Those would be in Acts 2, Acts 9, Acts 13, and Acts 28. We obviously claim it was after the announcement Paul made in Acts 28:28."
Thank you, Brother Mark, for that easy-to-understand comparison!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Answers to Certain Arguments Against the Acts 28 Dispensational Boundary

Dispensational Frontier

by Charles Welch (

Dispensational FrontierThe Dispensational Frontier of Acts 28:23-31.  The Analogy of a Frontier.  It is but reasonable to expect that any system of doctrine or interpretation that differs from or challenges orthodoxy, will be subjected to a fair amount of criticism, and this should be welcomed, for if our pursuit be the TRUTH, the faults discovered even by an enemy should be acknowledged and the quest continued. We believe that many whose interest has been quickened, but who have received a setback by some of the specious arguments advanced against us, would value a careful and constructive presentation of the reasons why Acts 28 should be considered a dispensational boundary. This we hope to provide in the text below.
Supposing Acts 28 to be a "frontier," what should we reasonably expect to justify the claim? The word "frontier" is a geographical term denoting the extreme limits and boundary of a country. Up to that limit the laws and customs, language and currency of one country will obtain, and immediately beyond that frontier other laws customs, languages and currency will obtain, and if we are justified in the use of the term in speaking of Acts 28, it will be incumbent upon us to show that certain features that are characteristic of the dispensation covering Acts 1-28 run from one end of the book to the other, and that immediately beyond the confines of this chapter a new set of features are in force. However, before we demonstrate these essential characteristics it will be necessary to deal with a related objection and to show that it has no bearing upon the question as to whether Acts 28 be the dispensational frontier or not. The objection we have in mind runs something like this:
"Whether we are in the 'Acts' or the 'Prison Epistles,' there is but One Saviour, One Redeemer, One God and Father. We read the same Bible, and resurrection is the constant factor in our hope whatever differences there may be in the way in which that hope is described. These features are fundamental and are of much more importance than the differences so often enlarged upon, and their due recognition reveals that we are all one family of faith, on whichever side of Acts 28 we may find ourselves."
It is difficult to be fair when attempting to summarize the many objections made by others, but we believe the spirit of these objections will be evident from this presentation. Let us rewrite this objection in geographical and racial terms and see how far we can then endorse the argument contained in them.  (Read more...)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

ABC's of Right Division Series by Dr. Wayne Stewart - Listen or Watch!

This study is presented by Dr. Wayne Stewart and it is intended to help the Christian understand the basics of the principles of rightly dividing the word of truth which is mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."  This is a fundamental skill if you as a Christian is going to handle the word of God accurately.  All scripture is written for our learning providing us doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.  It is very important to understand what is written to...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


I recently read an article by Charles Welch in the Berean Expositor (begun to circulate in 1909) that considers the plight Gentiles believers that had been allowed to share the hope of Israel's kingdom glory coming in their lifetime found themselves in when they realized Israel had been cast aside by God as pronounced by the Apostle Paul at Rome (Acts 28:23-28).  I'll share it with you here and I know you'll find it enlightening as I did:

Taken from

The Dispensation of the Secret. pp. 52-54
When this series of studies was commenced we desired to set forth the wonderful truth contained in the Prison Epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and II Timothy), but we found it necessary to prepare the way by showing the position of the pentecostal dispensation, its kingdom and Abrahamic connections, and the great division that occurred in the dispensational dealings of God recorded in Acts xxviii.
Election and predestination, a choice that antedates all time, and unconditional purpose are at the very threshold of this dispensation (Eph. i.). Why is this? Let us endeavour to place ourselves in the position of the Gentile believers somewhere about A.D. 68-70. Let us suppose that we have been brought out of heathen darkness into light and liberty through the ministry of the apostle Paul. We had heard of that glorious kingdom which was to be set up over all the earth when the Son of God and Son of man should reign upon the throne of David. We had bowed before the teaching that we were but wild olive branches grafted into the true olive tree; that the “Jew first” was the divine order (Rom. i. 16), and that “in that day” not the Gentiles, but Israel, shall be a kingdom of priests. Very willingly we took our appointed place, glad that we Gentiles should find any place of blessing at all. We earnestly joined our prayers with the apostles that Israel might repent, so that the long promised kingdom, with all its blessing, might be set up.
Imagine our consternation when tidings came to us that the apostle Paul had been inspired by God to pronounce the words of judgment written in Isa. vi. upon the apostate nation. How would this affect us? Could the blessings flow to us if the channel were cut off? What was our dispensational position now? Were we still to look for the return of the Lord, and the setting up of the kingdom? None could answer the question, until one day a letter written by the apostle Paul came to our little assembly (the Epistle to the Ephesians). Therein we read no more of earthly blessings, or Abrahamic promises, but heavenly, and a secret purpose hitherto unrevealed. How we praised the infinite wisdom and grace that, out of such apparent failure, could bring forth such a glorious treasure. We did not quibble about predestination; it was the word of our salvation. We did not seek to explain away “chosen in Him before the foundation of the world,” for it answered all our misgivings as to our relationship with Abraham. We no longer looked forward to “inheriting the earth,” nor to the “heavenly country,” nor to the “city that cometh down out of heaven,” for we read that we were “blessed with spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ, according as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. i. 3, 4). “Who blessed us. . . . according as He chose us.”
This is the key to all favour in this dispensation of grace. In whom did He choose us? In Abraham? No! In Christ. Abraham is never mentioned by Paul after Acts xxviii. When did He choose us? Since the foundation of the world? No! Before. What are the blessings? Are they connected with an earthly kingdom? No! They are “all spiritual
blessings,” and all “in the heavenlies.” Before the apostle could unfold the subject of the great mystery and the truth of the one body, he must first reassure his hearers that their case was not so hopeless as they may have imagined. He had to tell them that although Scripture itself was silent as to any hope of blessing apart from Israel, yet that upon Israel’s defection the Lord had revealed a purpose of grace hitherto kept secret, that these things were but the working out of His eternal purpose.
Two mysteries in particular are referred to in Eph. iii. 2-9, viz.:-- 1. The mystery of Christ.
2. The mystery of the
present dispensation,
the one being more completely revealed than ever before; the other being revealed for the first time in the history of man. The one, to many apostles and prophets, the other, to one - Paul. Care is required in reading the passage which contains these statement, otherwise we shall be making Scripture contradict itself. We set out the scriptures in their harmony and structure, showing the difference there is between the mystery concerning Christ and His heavenly glories, and the mystery concerning the present dispensation.
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 a few words (viz. Eph. i. and ii.), 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 fellow-heirs and fellow-members of the same body, and fellow-partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel whereof I was made a minister.
The structure of the passage will help to show this distinction even more clearly. A | 2. The dispensation of the grace of God.
B | 3. The mystery made known to Paul. C | a | 4. The mystery of Christ.
b | 5. Apostles the ministers (plural). C | a | 6. The mystery of the dispensation.
b | 7. Paul the minister (singular). B | 8. The mystery made known by Paul.
A | 9. The dispensation of the mystery (R.V.).
Vitally connected with the “mystery of Christ,” which involves His ascension far above all principalities and powers, is the mystery of the present dispensation, which gives us the standing and hope of believers now. Eph. iii. 6 contains a condensed summary of the essential elements of the “dispensation of the grace of God,” the “dispensation of the mystery” given to Paul.
Those who have access to the original will not have failed to observe the threefold repetition of the little word sun, meaning “together with.” “That the Gentiles should be heirs together, and a body together, and partakers together of His promises in Christ through the gospel.” One has only to read such passages as Rom. xi. 24, 25; Isa. lxi. 5, 6, &c., to see that Eph. iii. 6 introduced something entirely new. It was no secret that the
Gentiles should be blessed through Christ, but nowhere in the pages of the Old Testament Scriptures is there anything to lead us to believe that a dispensation was reserved by God in which He would bless Gentiles in entire independence of Israel, and bless them together with any Jewish believers on an entirely equal footing, absolutely ignoring all distinctions of circumcision or uncircumcision, dispensing His favours in pure grace, and lifting the whole sphere above the distinctions of flesh or earth to the possession of spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in harmony with a choice and a promise that was made before the disruption of this world’s system—a promise made before the age-times.
Eph. iii. 2-9.
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:
7. 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.
8. 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;
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:
Rom. xi.
Isa. lxi.
24. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
25. 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.

5. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
6. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.
Berean Expositor Volume 1
Some differences between the dispensation before Acts xxviii. and that which followed.
“When that which is PERFECT is come, then
that which is PARTIAL shall be done away” (I Cor. xiii. 10).
pp. 25-29
In our preceding articles we have been considering various passages of Scripture which tend to show that the present dispensation began when Israel was set aside by the apostle Paul in Acts xxviii., and the Gentiles became peculiarly the objects of grace. In this article we shall endeavour further to demonstrate the difference between the earlier epistles written before Acts xxviii. and those written later. We first of all call attention to the testimony of the inclusion and exclusion of certain words. Christ is never referred to as “Shepherd” by the apostle Paul, and after Acts xxviii. the Lord’s people are not called a “flock,” or referred to as “sheep,” whilst in the Gospels, Acts, Hebrews, and Peter all these titles are used. Israel were, and will yet be, “the sheep of His pasture.”
The following list speaks for itself, the Holy Spirit definitely keeping certain words and phrases within the bounds of the various dispensations.
Expression used.
Before Acts xxviii.
After Acts xxviii.
I & II Thess., I & II Cor., Gal., Romans
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians.
I Tim., II Tim., Titus.
To baptize
Baptism (
baptisma) Lord’s Supper
The loaf (in connection with the Lord’s Supper) The cup (in connection with the Lord’s Supper) Gifts (charisma) (referring to “Gifts of the Spirit”) Miracles
Interpret, interpretation, interpreter Healing
To circumcise
\ As

/ Gifts. /
1 2 - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - - - 1 6
- - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - 2 - -
Many more could be added, but we feel that this list will be sufficient to make it clear that there is an appreciable difference between the economy obtaining from Pentecost to Acts xxviii., and that commencing at the close of Acts xxviii. and still continuing, which is called by Paul “The dispensation of the grace of God to you-ward” (Gentiles).
It will be remembered that in our last paper we found that in I Cor. xii. the one body was explained as being “partial,” in contrast with the “fulness” of Eph. i. 23. Upon examining this subject more closely we shall see that during the pentecostal or transitional period, the essential elements of the one body are found scattered through these earlier epistles, but not gathered together and invested with the new and full meaning, as is the case in Ephesians. The unity of the Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father. In this wonderful seven-fold unity the triune God is given His place.
In I Cor. xii. 4-6, in connection with the diversities, administrations, and operations of the gifts which formed the basis of the ecclesiastical body of I Cor. xii. 12-27, we read that it is the same Spirit, the same Lord, and the same God who worketh all in all. In verse 13 we read, “For by one Spirit are we baptized into one body.” In I Cor. viii. 6 we read, “Unto us one God, the Father. . . . and one Lord, Jesus Christ.” In I Cor. xiii. 13 we read, “And now abideth faith, hope, and love.” The words printed in italics are the seven wonderful components of the unity of the Spirit, not yet, however, brought together in order, nor invested with their higher meaning.
I Cor. xii.
4. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

12. 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.
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.

14. For the body is not one member, but many.
15. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16. And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17. If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18. But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19. And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20. But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23. And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
Had the nation of Israel repented, and the kingdom would have come as a consequence, these passages would have exactly fitted the prophecy of Zech. xiv. 9, “And the Lord shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one.” As it is, the kingdom is in abeyance, and instead of one Lord being King, He is exalted as Head of the church, His body; not “over all the earth,” but “in the heavenlies,” for “earthly things” (John iii. 12) are connected with regeneration and the kingdom of Israel.
The one body of I Cor. xii. is essentially and inseparably connected with gifts. Such gifts as are there described are absent to-day, and it is as foolish to endeavour to regulate an assembly to-day by I Cor. xii., as it would be to try to navigate a sailing-ship with the regulations and orders suitable for a steamship.
“All these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will, 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 the Christ; for by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body. . . . and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
The fact that all had a gift is compared to a body having many and varied members, yet all composing one body. The words, “all made to drink into one Spirit,” refer to the promise of John vii. 38, 39:--
“He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water; but this He spake of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive, for the Holy Ghost was not yet (received), because that Jesus was not yet glorified” (compare Mark 16:14-20; Acts 2:33).
It seems hardly possible that an intelligent Christian should teach that “drinking into one Spirit” meant partaking of the Lord’s Supper, but we mention it here in order that any reader who may have received this interpretation may give the passage a prayerful and contextual re-consideration.
A question arising out of what we have been considering is, Does the term “The baptism of the Spirit” of the pentecostal dispensation mean the same as the baptism of Eph.4? We sometimes meet a Christian who tells us that he has “received the baptism of the Holy Ghost,” or that he is “praying for the second blessing.” “Second blessings” are delusions, resulting from undispensational views. The believers’ charter commences (Eph. i. 3) with the fact that God “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings.” The book of the Acts gives us very clear data as to what the baptism of the Spirit meant in pentecostal times. Acts i. 5 and xi. 14-16 make it quite clear as to what the term refers:--
“And began to speak with other tongues” (Acts 2:1-4).
“When Simon
saw. . . . the Holy Ghost was given” (Acts 8:18). “They heard them speak with tongues” (Acts 10:44-46).
spake with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6).
Almost without exception miraculous gifts followed the baptism of the Spirit, but such is nowhere hinted in the epistles written after Acts xxviii. Ministering the spirit and working miracles is connected with justifying faith in Gal. iii. 5,6. Is it so now? The one
baptism of I Cor. xii. is essentially connected with miracles and supernatural gifts. Is it so now? Do members of the one body possess the power to prophesy, speak with tongues, take up serpents, and drink deadly things unhurt? Why not? Do Christians really believe the words to be true of themselves; “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover?”
The baptism of the Spirit in pentecostal times was subsequent to salvation, often by the space of days, weeks and months, whereas Eph. i. 13, 14 says that “we are sealed upon believing with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the earnest of our inheritance.” Eph. ii. 15, 16 links the one body with Calvary; “For to make in Himself of twain one new man.” “That He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross.” When the Holy Spirit quickens a dead sinner into life, He at the same moment links him for ever with Christ. This union with the risen Saviour makes the believer a member of the one body, and neither the laying on of hands can confer, nor the excommunication of men take away this blessed grace-given position. This difference between the baptism of the Spirit before and after Acts xxviii needs careful consideration. The one body of I Cor. xii was evidenced by “signs and wonders.” The unity of the Spirit is without any such evidence; it is among the things “not seen” yet “eternal,” which are seen by faith.
Some have made havoc of truth by the failure to realize that the one body of Eph. iv. is not the same as I Cor. xii. If we look for corporate unity on earth we shall be sadly disappointed, but if we obey the Word of truth, and “endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit,” we may expect blessing as a result.
Jn. iii. 12
If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
Acts i. 5 Acts xi.
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
14. Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.
15. And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
16. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
14. Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
15. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18. 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.
19. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

20. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
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.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


When I adhered to the Mid Acts position of dispensational theology, I was taught and believed that when Paul was converted and commissioned on the road to Damascus, he was given a new gospel – a gospel of grace to offer to Jew and Gentile alike, as opposed to the "kingdom gospel" which required not only faith in the Messiah Jesus Christ but also obedience to the works of the Law as a demonstration of that faith.   This kingdom gospel of faith + works would gradually diminish away when the members of the kingdom church passed off the scene, but would return when Israel's program comes back into play following the culmination of the dispensation of grace.

I must admit that I always felt a little sorry for the kingdom believers that they weren't offered the pure grace that we in this grace age enjoy.  It was explained to me that Israel was under a series of curses (Leviticus 26) and thus had something to prove to God in order to gain a right to dwell in the earthly kingdom.  It troubled me that the Scriptures make it clear that the Lord Jesus Christ died as a "ransom," so why did Israel need to add to that?  I know the gospels say, "ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45), and only Paul declares him a "ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:6), but a ransom is a ransom.

Paul's gospel of grace through faith in Christ alone and not by works was not something new but actually something very, very old!  It was the basis by which God desired men to come to him since the beginning of time!   If Adam and Eve had trusted God completely, they would not have allowed the serpent to tempt them away from him.  Cain would have brought the blood sacrifice God desired and not been convinced his own way was better.  The Israelites would have gone immediately into their promised land if they had trusted God to be their all in all.

Paul uses the example of Abraham when he describes this faith God is seeking and mentions King David who described the "blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works."  (Romans 4)   God gave Israel the entire Acts period to turn from their rebellion to faith in his Son, Jesus Christ, who gave his life's blood as their ultimate Passover for their redemption. Some will object that James insists that Abraham was "justified by works" (James 2:17-26).  This justification has to do with being approved of God by works of righteousness after being justified and declared righteous by faith.  Abraham had been justified by faith long before his willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac.  (Genesis 15:5-6)

Paul quotes from the Old Testament prophet Habbakuk, "the just shall live by faith."   (Romans 1:7; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).  He does this to convince his hearers that grace by faith was God's plan all along for all believers!   Romans 16 ends with, "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 [like Habbakuk?], according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith; To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever.  Amen."   1 Corinthians 2:6-8 speaks of this mystery, this glorious secret kept from the princes of this world, for had they known Christ's sacrifice and subsequent resurrection from the dead would make salvation possible for all men, they would "not have crucified the Lord of glory."  This mystery was "kept secret since the world began," not since before the world began like the mystery of our new hope and calling of Ephesians 3, which "hath been hid from ages and generations," and was revealed to Paul only after Israel's official rejection of their kingdom in Acts 28:23-28.   (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2

Peter, in Acts 15:11, simply states, regarding the inclusion of Gentiles into the kingdom hope of Israel, "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they."  The kingdom church was still "all zealous of the law" as late as Acts 21:20.  Is that grace?  It is if by grace through faith they were saved even as the Gentiles invited in were saved.  The law was observed by these Jewish kingdom saints because by their obedience, they would be rewarded in the kingdom they received through God's grace. 
Paul's gospel during the Acts period was adjusted slightly for the Gentiles that believed so they would not be burdened by Jewish law and rituals, although they were instructed to observe four "necessary things."  (Acts 15:28-29)

Today, in this dispensation of the creation of the one new man, Jew and Gentile in the same body, destined for heavenly places, revealed following Acts 28, our works will be rewarded with crowns and positions of authority in those heavenly places, and all laws and ordinances are nailed "to his cross."  (Colossians 2:13-14)

God desires "all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."  (1 Timothy 2:4)  This was his desire from the beginning when he made man in his image, that man would have fellowship with him.  Sin necessitated that he send his Son to die for sin in our place so that all who trust him will be saved - no conditions attached other than that.  Christ's cross work opened the floodgates of God's marvelous grace to be offered to all that love him - past, present, and future.  This is God's everlasting gospel!

Monday, March 10, 2014

"I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation" – what does that mean?

Rom 10

19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

Deut 32
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.

Many teach that the foolish nation in these verses is the believing REMNANT.  They say that it cannot be the Gentiles because it says nation, singular, not nations, plural. Even though I believe that Romans 10 speaks of the the Gentiles who were grafted into Israel’s program to make Israel jealous, it is difficult to argue against the ‘nation, singular’ stance.  Help please?
Brian Kelson answers:

Let us start with the obvious. In Romans we cannot separate the Gentiles, the believing ones, from the remnant because the believing Gentiles are part of the remnant. The nations or gentiles who did not believe were not the provocation. The Gentiles who believed were there to provoke Israel and that is Paul’s explanation at the end of the section 9-11, thus;
What then? Israel has not obtained that which it seeks, but the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened even as it is written, "God gave to them a spirit of slumber, eyes not seeing, and ears not hearing" until this day. And David said, "Let their table become for a snare and a trap and a stumbling block and a recompense to them. Let their eyes be darkened so that they may not see, and their back always bowing." I say then, Did they not stumble that they fall? Let it not be! But by their slipping away came salvation to the nations, to provoke them to jealousy.
But if their slipping away is the riches of the world, and their default is the riches of the nations, how much more their fullness?
For I speak to you, the nations; since I am the apostle of the nations, I glorify my ministry;
if by any means I may provoke those who are my flesh to jealousy, and might save some of them. Rom 11:7-14
Romans 11 is an expansion of the provocation in chapter 10:19 where we are assured the people, or Gentiles were the means whereby God would provoke His people.
Rom 10:19  But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
So, does the word nation as opposed to people create any problems? No!
Here is the problem solved. The original word for “nation” in Roms.10:19 is the very selfsame word “people” in the same verse thus;
Rom 10:19  But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no ethnos (people), and by a foolish ethnos (nation) I will anger you.
The Jews understood ethnos to mean those who were not Jews or Israelites and they would read it thus;
Rom 10:19  But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no ethnos (not Jews), and by a foolish ethnos (non-Jews) I will anger you.
Here is the verse in some other translations to show their consistent translation of the same word ethnos, and they use nation each time;
Rom 10:19  But I say, Did not Israel know? First, Moses says, "I will provoke you to jealousy by a non-nation (people), by an unwise nation (people) I will anger you."  LITV (literal)
Rom 10:19  But again I ask, didn't Israel understand? First Moses says, "I will make you jealous by those who are not a nation (people); with a senseless nation (people) I will provoke you to anger.  NET
Rom 10:19  But I say, Did Israel not know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation (people), With a nation (people) void of understanding will I anger you  ASV
Here is the verse in which we use people twice;
Rom 10:19  But I say, Did Israel not know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is a no people, with a foolish people will I anger you.
Where is the problem?
In other words, people refers to the Gentiles who were cast off in Gen.10 and without understanding, did they make up a nation per se? No, the two original words are the same. These people (Gentiles) were previously without hope, but now included by the grace of God as members of that elect remnant of grace of prophesy. Their hope was also the promises made to the fathers. This is the “nation”, the Gentile “people” who were God’s requiting instruments to provoke his people, Israel.
Let us go back to Romans 11 and put the word ethnos where it belongs to show the link between 10:19.. First 10:19, then 11:7-14;
But I say, Did Israel not know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is a no ETHNOS/people, with a foolish ETHNOS/people will I anger you. Rom 10:19 
What then? Israel has not obtained that which it seeks, but the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened even as it is written, "God gave to them a spirit of slumber, eyes not seeing, and ears not hearing" until this day. And David said, "Let their table become for a snare and a trap and a stumbling block and a recompense to them. Let their eyes be darkened so that they may not see, and their back always bowing." I say then, Did they not stumble that they fall? Let it not be! But by their slipping away came salvation to the ETHNOS/people (nation in 10:19), to provoke them to jealousy.
But if their slipping away is the riches of the world, and their default is the riches of the ETHNOS/people, how much more their fullness?
For I speak to you ETHNOS/peopole; since I am the apostle of the ETHNOS/people, I glorify my ministry;
if by any means I may provoke those who are my flesh to jealousy, and might save some of them. Rom 11:7-14
See how Paul’s original words tie 10:19 with 11:7-14? Nation, people, Gentiles it’s the same word translated different ways. I’m sorry; I know the KJV-only arguments, but here we see a problem created that doesn’t really exist. Nation of People means the Gentiles who believed.
While we are here in Romans 9-11, it is helpful to see that both Peter and Paul use the same prophesies of Isaiah and Hosea to describe this remnant of the Acts period which included Jews and people (Gentiles or nation).
Here is Peter and Paul using Isaiah 28;
1Pe 2:6  Therefore also it is contained in the Scripture: "Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner Stone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him shall never be ashamed."
Isa 28:16  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.Rom 9:33  As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Rom 10:11  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Both Peter and Paul use the cornerstone image of prophesy:
1Pe 2:7  Therefore to you who believe is the honor. But to those who are disobedient, He is the Stone which the builders rejected; this One came to be the Head of the corner,
Psa 118:22  The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.Rom 9:33  As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Rom 11:9  And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:
Rom 11:11  I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall?
Both Peter and Paul speak of the appointment by God of some to wrath and some to honour:
1Pe 2:8  and a Stone-of-stumbling and a Rock-of-offense to those disobeying, who stumble at the Word, to which they also were appointed.
Rom 9:21  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Rom 9:22  What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Rom 9:23  And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Also note that stumbling block and foolishness occurs in 1Cor.1:20-. The remnant would have been considered a foolish bunch, certainly by the Greeks and it was certainly spoken against, Acts 13:45 (x2), 28:19, 22 and Roms.10:21.
Both Peter and Paul use Hosea to speak of the believing remnant;
1Pe 2:9  But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for possession, so that you might speak of the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
1Pe 2:10  you who then were not a people, but now the people of God, those not pitied then, but now pitied.
Hos 2:23  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.Rom 9:24  Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
Rom 9:25  As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
Rom 9:26  And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.
Rom 9:27  Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
Here are some other passages speaking of this remnant from again, Isaiah and Hosea:
Isa 10:20  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
Isa 10:21  The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. Isa 10:22  For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
Isa 10:23  For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.

Hos 1:10  Yet the number of the sons of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered. And it shall be, in the place where it was said to them, You are not My people, there it shall be said to them, You are the sons of the living God.
Hos 1:11  Then the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel shall be gathered together, and shall set over themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land. For great shall be the day of Jezreel.

As a side note, isn’t it interesting that the remnant in prophesy is linked to the restoration of the entire nation in the prophesy context? In Romans the goal of chapters 9-11 is the salvation of all Israel, perfectly in harmony with the prophesies about the remnant Paul uses in that section.
In 2Peter3 the apparent delay of the Lord is for the repentance of Israel.
It is very critical that we acknowledge Peter and Paul are using the same prophesies when referring to the saved one of the Acts period, whether Jews or Gentiles and there really wasn’t any difference, because by faith, the Gentiles were in Christ and the seed of Abraham.
During Acts, the Lord would bestow prophetic blessings on the cast off nations/people, they would receive Israel’s spiritual things, Roms.10:27. This would provoke Israel to see Gentiles with the Old Testament blessings of promise. The fact that these Gentiles/people spoke in strange languages was another provocation. This is seen in 1Cor.14:21 which is straight from the very Isaiah 28 passage we have already seen in Peter and Paul;
1Co 14:21  In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.
Isa 28:11  For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
Isa 28:12  To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
The rest, the refreshing that was promised to Israel would be seen in the no-people, those with stammering lips (the gift of tongues) and yet despite the provocation and Gentile inclusion, Israel would not hear.
Thus far we have seen that Roms.10;19 refers to a no-people and a foolish people (nation). The remnant included gentiles the no-people. These Gentiles, so far as God’s wisdom is concerned, were certainly void of the “oracles of God”, Roms.3:2, and 9:3-5. The word foolish, (asunetos) has already appeared in Romans in 1:21, 31 (without understanding). It was these Gentiles who sought the Lord while the ancient people who had the oracles of God, ignored Him, Roms.10:20, Is.65:1-2, & 11:10.
These Gentiles were to provoke Israel to jealousy and let us put Roms.10:19 and 11:11, 11:14 and 1Cor.10:22 together since they are the only verses in the NT which contain the original word, parazeloo = to provoke to jealousy. This should really seal the answer that THE nation is THE people already mentioned in Roms.10:19 and refers to the Gentiles. Here it is again;
Rom 10:19  But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke (you) to jealousy by them that are no PEOPLE, and by a foolish PEOPLE I will anger you.
Rom 11:11  I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the PEOPLE, for to provoke (them) to jealousy.
Rom 11:14  If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
1Co 10:22  Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
(interesting context about “no-gods” Deut.32:21, and the devils of 1Cor.10:21)
Roms.10:19 has the word ethnos twice in the original but the translators used people the first time and nation the second. The same word people or nation appears in chapter11 in the provocation passage. There is no doubt the nation is the people or Gentiles included who were to provoke Isael.
Finally, Romans 10 concludes with Isaiah 65 which confirms the foolish nation was the foolish (Gentile) people who did not seek the Lord (see also in Is.52:15).
Rom 10:20  But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
Rom 10:21  But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
The Gentiles who had not the oracles of God (foolish) were now included and were also the elect, the chosen ones, those without the knowledge of God, those who did not seek and were included to provoke Israel theo ones to whom God was stretching out His hands all through Acts.
I hope this helps.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What is the difference between "Zion" and "Sion"?

What is the difference between "Zion" and "Sion"?

Brian Kelson of Acts responds:

Zion or Sion, same place, is a mountain upon which the Lord, after He descends at the last Trumpet, will rebuild the Millennial Temple and from where He will reign and the kings of the earth bring tribute to Him. When Hebrews was written those saints had "come" to wonderful things on 2 grounds.
1. The Hebrews were those who had drawn near to Christ by faith. This means they had drawn near to all the privileges those of faith enjoyed when they endured, kept going unto perfection. But they hadn't reached the end yet and Hebrews appeals to them to keep going.
They were thus members of the elect remnant which would share with Abraham in the inner portion of the Promised Land. Thus they had drawn near to (come to) all the privileges that company were given in Christ. They, not the entire nation, would be with Christ where Christ would dwell, on His holy Hill. They had drawn near to the very center of the earthly Kingdom. However, being justified by faith through grace was one thing and continuing in obedience to the end was the other, that is being perfected. Justification THEN the added perfection. Their participation in the glory written about in Hebrews 12 was theirs IF they continued. Only then would they share in that great festive assembly with the spirits of (other) just men made perfect. Hebrews 11 lists ones who were made righteous by faith AND who had kept going.  If they drew back however, gave up, then the Lord would have no pleasure in them and they would miss out on some things. Hebrews is about perfection or perdition or waste the two alternatives. So do you see how much the writer of Hebrews urged them to keep going? They had drawn near, or come to wonderful blessings, but turning back, giving up would be a costly mistake. No one in any dispensation serves the Lord for nought.
2. When Hebrews was written, the trumpet coming of the Lord had "come" that is, had drawn near.
When the Lord returns to the earth with all His angels accompanying Him, those believers (who kept going) would have been taken up to the air to a meeting in the clouds which is commonly called the rapture. They had the honor of going out to meet him like the wise virgins who watched and were ready in Matt.25.
Then they would descend with him to the earth, where a joyous festival gathering would take place on Mount Zion in which they and all those saints who had been perfected would participate.
So they would be on Mount Zion soon after the Lord descended for that marriage supper of the Lamb. They would judge the world and angels, they would be there when the Lord built the millennial Temple and (later) they would be privileged to enter the New Jerusalem which would descend to the same location.
All those things had drawn near when Hebrews was written but were postponed at Acts 28.

What are the spirits of just men made perfect in Hebrews 12 – and how are they (already) come to Mount Zion?