Two weeks ago I posted an introduction to the doctrine of dispensationalism which may be described as ‘Rightly dividing the word of truth’ (2Tim2vs15).
This is necessary to distinguish changes in doctrine that have occurred with the process of time as God has made new covenants with mankind, and with the outworking of his purposes … each ‘stage’ and ‘Milestone’ being understood as Dispensationally relative.
Today I want to jump in boots and all.
I chose my title (why I follow St Paul… not Jesus) to provoke thought.
I have no doubt that a majority of readers will have already torn their shirts, accused me of heresy, … and are now not even reading these words that I’m typing.
They have already switched off.
How dare this Upstart Wikiriwhi teach people to follow Paul…not Jesus????
He must be deranged!
For those of you whom are still reading let me tell you that I am about to show you one of the most important…yet least understood biblical truths… Indeed nothing less than the ‘Revelation of the mystery’ *Which was given to St Paul to reveal*
“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 fellow heirs, 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:”
Thus I am about to show you that Paul was given his special ministry By Jesus Christ, and that by following St Paul… *we are being obedient to Christ.* to refuse to follow St Paul… is to reject the Doctrine that Jesus Christ Specifically gave to Paul…for us.
Note that this mystery revealed to St Paul *Was Hidden* in other ages. Thus St Paul opens up hidden truth unknown in other ages, and ironically not to follow St Paul is to be both ignorant and disobedient to Christ!
Paul said …” Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” 1Cor11vs1.
*We do not worship Paul. He is not our savior…Christ is yet Paul is our God appointed Apostle, minister, teacher whose authority comes from Christ himself*
Why God saved the Antichrist Saul.
Most Christians are blind to the primary reasons God saved St Paul and made him an Apostle. They think he is just a late comer to the faith, virtually a tag a long. This is because they have been taught to think that Jesus ministry is the most important part of the Bible, and that Christ made St Peter the Chief Apostle. This is a gross error, founded upon poor teaching, false assumption, and ignorance. I pray that the Lord uses my testimony here to open your eyes to the mystery he revealed to St Paul and made him the Chief minister.
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. 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.
(1Tim 1vs 15,16.)
Here we Read that there was something very special about Paul’s salvation.
1. It was a demonstration of absolute grace.
2. It was for a pattern of Salvation for those whom would believe afterwards.
Thus Pauls conversion is a Dispensational milestone. A Marker for a dispensational change. A change from what you may ask? I will attempt to show you. If you do not harden you hearts to what I am saying, the Lord may grant you understanding. Ultimately this will open up to you the realization that the purpose of the Book of Acts is not merely to record the history of the deeds of the apostles, but to show the dispensational change and transition from the God’s Jewish ministries through Christ and St Peter to that of an outpouring of Grace upon the Gentiles via St Paul.
Do not loose track of the fact that Paul *preached Christ* yet I hope to show you he preached Christ in a completely new way via *a completely new Gospel.*
Are you still with me? I know for many of you the news that Paul preached *a different Gospel* than was preached by Jesus or by St Peter is a mind blowing thing to contemplate… and that many of you will flat out refuse to consider it. Such people have blinders over their eyes. I will continue my message for the sake of those bold readers whom at least wish to see where I am coming from.
Enter Saul of Tarsus.
Before St Paul became the Apostle of the Gospel of Grace unto the gentiles he was a Zealous Jewish Pharisee of very high standing, and he was the chief persecutor of the Jewish followers of Christ. He was an Anti-Christ, whom rejected the notion that Jesus Christ was the true messiah of the Jews. He saw the Apostles and their followers as just one group of many heretical sects that followed one of many false messiahs that popped up from time to time, and that as a Zealous Jew it was his duty to suppress this heresy.
To understand the dispensational change that occurred at the conversion of St Paul on the Damascus rd it is essential to understand exactly what was going on prior to his conversion firstly under the Ministry of Christ before the crucifixion, and then under the ministry of Peter, who preached to the Jews that the crucified Christ was their Messiah… their King, and that they ought to repent from murdering him and be baptized as a token of their submission.
To understand what Peter was preaching after the cross we must go back to the ministry of Christ himself before the cross and see what he preached, and how he trained his disciples to preach and teach in his name.
Thus we will be looking at the chronological order of the ministries of Jesus, Peter, and Paul, and distinguishing what was common doctrine among them, and what was dispensationally distinct
Each of these ministries deserves thorough investigation, yet for the sake of maintaining the thread of this message I must necessarily skim over a great body of scripture and hope to go into greater detail at a later date.
Why did Jesus visit Israel?
St Paul tells us this:
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” (Rom15vs8)
Now those are very important things to understand!
1. Jesus was specifically a minister to the Jews.
2. He came to confirm promises God had made to their fathers.
These promises are scattered through the Old testament and are the special deals/ covenants God made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacoob, Moses, King David, King Solomon…
and are the subject of many Messianic prophecies.
These prophecies take on a mysterious form, and are much easier to understand with the wisdom of hindsight …after their fulfillment none the less many devout Jews of the first century suffering under the Roman yoke lived in earnest expectation that God would soon deliver them from this subjection by raising up a Messiah born of the lineage of King David, who would overthrow the enemies of Israel and establish his Kingdom from which he would rule the world.
*This is the Redemption they expected from the Messiah* Not personal salvation from sin which they believed they already had via circumcision which made them part of the Abrahamic covenant, and the Temple sacrifices which atoned for their breaches of the mosaic Law), but National salvation from under the Yoke of the Gentiles!
This thread is found through out the four gospels.
Read Luke chapter 1vs68-74, Luke 2vs38,
They did not expect Christ to die a criminals death…but to rule as their King.
*Christs work of Salvation on the cross was unknown to them… It was a hidden mystery.*
It was to fulfill Gods Kingdom promises to the Jews Christ was born of the house of King David.
God visited his people. Luke1vs68.
Yet Christ came unto his own and his own (The Jews) received him not. John1vs 11.
And it is with this in mind that we can understand ‘The Gospel’ which Christ preached which is specifically called ‘The gospel of the Kingdom’
…Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
Notice what Christ does not say! He does not say he has come to die on the cross to save mankind from their sins! That is a completely different gospel which st Paul would later preach… after the Jews had twice rejected their Messiah. Once before the cross when they rejected Christ and had him crucified, and they again reject him when he is preached as their Messiah by Peter after the resurrection, who preaches the cross…not as salvation… but as condemnation and the resurrection as evidence that Christ is indeed the prophesied Son of David.
It will be a surprise to many of you to be told that even after the resurrection St Peter did not understand the cross of Christ as we do today… as the Divine work of atonement. That was still a secret. In the early book of Acts Peter preaches the cross as a heinous act of murder and rebellion against God. He warns the jews that to continue to reject their messiah will result in the wrath of God falling upon Israel… thus for Peter the cross was not a glorious act of Love on the part of God, but a shocking crime against God perpetrated by Israel.
What most Christians fail to understand is that Christ preached the Kingdom…not the cross, and Christ trained his disciples about things pertaining to his millennial kingdom, and sent them to preach the kingdom was at hand. And he specifically sent them *to the Jews*. Why? Because it was to their fathers God had made his promises! Read Mat 10vs1-7, and Mat15vs-22-28.
Furthermore to enter his kingdom was not by grace alone but required obedience to the Law, and other special works of repentance.
It required Baptism.
They had to be faithful to Christ unto death…(Mat
It required the wealthy to sell their possessions and give their wealth to the poor to prove they were prepared to forsake all the benefits they had under the worldly system of Mammon, and to follow after Christ. Thus Christ said it would be easier of a camel to pass thorough the eye of a needle (a very narrow canyon-like passage) than for a rich man to enter his kingdom. Many people mistake these conditions of the kingdom gospel as evidence that Christ was anti-wealth, when in fact these are merely temporary conditions to pass trough the transition from the Kingdom of Mammon into the millennial kingdom of Christ. (See Mark 10vs17-27)
All these conditions do not apply today under Pauls gospel of grace.
The greatest proof that the Cross had nothing to do with the Gospel of the kingdom is that Christ began to progressively tell his disciples about his betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection very late in his ministry
… after they had been for a long time preaching the gospel of the Kingdom and that when he told them what would Happen they did not understand it at all! Peter in fact tried to correct Christ on this very thing because it did not make any sense to them.
“Be it far from thee Lord!” declared Peter.
He believed Christ was supposed to lead a revolution against the Romans and conquer them,…that was the what the gospel of the Kingdom was about!… Christ was not supposed to be defeated and killed!
Read Matt 16vs 21-23. Note this is when Christ began to show his disciples about his death, burial, and resurrection.
Grasp that before this time…when they were preaching the ‘Gospel of the kingdom’ (eg Matt 10vs1-7) they did not have a clue about the cross or the resurrection…thus it is impossible that they the gospel they preached said anything about it.
Whatmore even after he told them he would die on the cross and rise again the third day…they did not understand it…*and it was hidden from them*
Read Luke 18vs31-34.
Thus Peter and his fellow Disciples were completely ignorant of work of Salvation which Christ would achieve at Calvary! That’s an amazing fact! *It was a Hidden mystery* which was kept secret until The Jews rejected their Messiah twice, and God raised up St Paul and revealed to him the wonderful Gospel of Grace…and the secret of the cross…It was Christ’s sacrifice for the Sins of Mankind, and his resurrection was evidence of his victory over sin and death, and that whosoever simply believes and calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!
The one and only condition upon the sinner is believing that Christ died on the cross for his sins, was buried, and rose again the third day for our justification.
Here we see the Pattern which God showed us when he saved the Anti-Christ Saul. (St Paul).
In perfect Accord with his conditional covenants with the Jewish fathers, God postponed his kingdom and set Israel aside because they rejected their Messiah. Instead of establishing his kingdom in Israel, and them receiving all the blessing that would flow from that. Israel was to be destroyed, enslaved by the gentile powers…because as Christ prophesied
“knewest not the time of their visitation” (Luke19vs42-44)
Thus Christ visited his people Israel… to fulfill the promises God made to their Fathers, yet because he did not appear as they expected him to appear…(Like a conquering King) they rejected him, and framed him, and gave him over to the Romans to be wrongfully crucified.
Another evidence that the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ was hidden from the understanding of his disciple is the confusion that occurred when Christ was betrayed and killed.
While Jesus was as harmless as a lamb, Peter resisted the party which came to arrest Jesus and sliced off one of the guards ears. (In his mind it was revolution time…yet Christ restored the ear and went peacefully into custody.
This was absolutely contrary to what the disciple believed the messiah would do! They began to doubt that Christ was the messiah and before the cock crew Peter denied Christ three times.
Then after the crucifixion and Christ was buried, They disciples were full of doubts about Christ because they thought he was to ‘redeem Israel’ and when the woman reported Christ was risen…they did not say ‘We knew this would happen’…we have been preaching about it to the people for years!…. They had to go and see for themselves…Thomas refused to believe it untill he put his finger in the nail holes of the risen Christ!….Thus The death, Burial and resurrection were complete mysteries to the disciples….even after Christ had told them it would happen… they did not understand it because it did not fit into their comprehension of the Messiah overthrowing the Romans and Ruling as King of Kings…Gods Kingdom on Earth…which they had been preaching. Read Luke 24!
Yet still when he was on the cross Christ prayed “Father forgive them for they know not what the do” (Luke 23vs 34)
And it is in accordance with this prayer that God gives Israel a final chance to receive Christ…after the resurrection when he sends out Peter and the Apostles yet again to the Jews, this time preaching that They had murdered their Messiah, and that God was wrath with them for this wicked deed, and that The Death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ was actually the fulfillment of prophesy , and Peter called them to repent…”Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts chapter 2.)… and God would send them Jesus their King.
Though many thousands of Jews did repent, ultimately Peters re-offer of the Kingdom was rejected…and they began to persecute Peter and the rest of the believers… culmination in the stoning of St Stephen. He preached to them about the Lord Jesus Christ and called them “Stiff necked and uncircumcised of heart and ears”…called them “Betrayers and Murderers” of Christ….and they cried out and ‘stopped their ears’ and ran upon him… And they stoned him to death. (Acts 7 vs51-60)
Saul was present. Before he died Stephen declared that he saw Christ ‘standing on the right hand of God’. Christ was ready at that very moment to descend from heaven and wipe out all the unrepentant Jews, and to overthrow the Romans and set up his kingdom…ie Christ was ready for Armageddon, Yet God the Father had other plans. God Indeed instead of establishing his kingdom at this point in time, he would judge Israel as Christ had prophesied, yet he had a most wonderful surprise in store for the rest of humanity! And to reveal this surprise he chose the very chief of Sinners Saul of Tarsus ( St Paul).
Up to the Conversion of St Paul, in the early part of the book of Acts the Cross of Christ was not preached as salvation but as condemnation. Yet the Jews having rejected their messiah as reoffered to them by St Peter, In the ultimate act of grace…God saved st Paul…”He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts9vs 15)
From this part of the book of Acts Peter and his Kingdom Gospel to the Jews fades out and is superseded by St Paul and his Individualistic Gospel of the Grace, which is a completely New Gospel… nothing to do with the establishment of God’s kingdom on Earth… and it is to Paul That God reveals the Mystery of the Cross of Christ as Salvation from sin for whosoever believes.
Paul tells us His gospel was received be special revelation (Gal1vs11,12)
He calls the Gospel of grace “My Gospel” Rom2vs 16.
“ 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: Rom 16vs25,26
Paul tells us the Gospel of Grace to the gentiles was given to him, just as the Jewish kingdom gospel was given to Peter (Gal2vs 7,8)
Paul declares that he is the Apostle of the gentiles.
“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” Rom 11vs13
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
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:
Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. Col1vs 23-29
Paul declares … That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. Romans 15vs 16.
The return of Christ in Power and Glory…as King of kings and Lord of lords.
The current Dispensation of grace will not last for ever. It will finnish at the appointed time of God known as ‘The Rapture’ Then begins the short but terrible dispensation known as the Great tribulation period which will be the Kingdom of the Antichrist. During this time the Kingdom of Christ will again be ‘At hand’ and christ will return in Power and Glory and destroy the Antichrist and save Israel from their enemies…and then will establish his Kingdom on Earth.
Christ will indeed appear in power and glory as the Jews expected and will overthrow the AntiChrist and set up his Kingdom upon the Earth, and rule from Israel… yet that is still dispensationally/ chronologically specking still in the future.
I must leave off now. I pray that you may see the truth of dispensational right division and realize that while all scripture is given by inspiration of God and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness… that none the less there are important distinctions to be made, and that not every scripture is applicable doctrine for today. This means that we must be careful to give the doctrines of grace as taught by St Paul pre-eminence over the doctrine of other teachers and prophets…even over The 4 gospels which contain the teachings of The lord Jesus Christ himself! As Paul said to the Thessalonians…”For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which ye herd of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God which effectually worketh also in you that believe…” (1Thes2vs13).
*Understand that Pauls words are Christs words!* specifically given to him for us Gentiles living in the present dispensation of grace.
“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” (1 Cor14vs37)
Thus if any of my readers truly desire to serve God as they ought and to understand Gods plan and purpose for our dispensation… you must receive St Paul’s Gospel and doctrines which specifically apply to our age, and you must appreciate the The four Gospels primarily deal with Christ’s kingdom gospel and ministry ‘to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’ … most of which is not applicable doctrine for our age. I will expand upon these truths in future posts and contrast many differences in doctrine between What Christ taught pertaining to his Kingdom, from what Paul teaches us as being applicable today…here, and now. Thus I hope to secure in your minds the absolute importance of “Rightly dividing the word of truth”.
My next message will focus upon the political distinctions to be made between St Pauls doctrines and those of Christ’s conditions for Jews to enter his Kingdom.
(I will be editing this post over the next few days. I post it in the Raw as Sunday is fast evaporating… God Bless those of you whom have taken the time to read this message)
Tim Wikiriwhi Dispensational truth.