Paul and Dispensationalism #14

Friday, August 21, 2015

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

From Genesis chapter 12 (call of Abraham) until Acts chapter 9 (salvation of Saul of Tarsus), JEHOVAH God dealt almost exclusively with the nation Israel, promising them various covenants, the backbone of their prophetic program. Romans 9:4,5 comment: “[4] Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; [5] Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”

When God dealt with Gentiles prior to Acts chapter 9, He did so through or related to the nation Israel. The Abrahamic Covenant described how God blessed Gentiles who blessed Israel and He cursed Gentiles who cursed Israel (Genesis 12:1-3). Ultimately, God would convert and commission Israel to bring His Word to all nations in His earthly kingdom (Exodus 19:5,6; Isaiah 60:1-3; Zechariah 8:20-23). At Calvary and during early Acts, Israel refused to become that kingdom of priests!

Ephesians 2:11-13 explains how prophecy gave way to mystery: “[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.” (Verse 13 is true now that we have come to Paul’s ministry!)

God’s grace that brings salvation “appeared to all men once the risen, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ saved and commissioned Saul of Tarsus. Now, God’s Word and the Gospel of His Grace have come to us Gentiles through Paul’s ministry without Israel (Romans 11:11-13). That grace message is Israel’s rejected Messiah Jesus and His finished crosswork can save Gentiles (including lost Jews) into a body of believers who are alive with God’s life!

Paul and Dispensationalism #13

Thursday, August 20, 2015

“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 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

Previously, Paul explained why Jesus Christ commissioned him as our apostle: “[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;” Continuing with today’s Scripture: 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 risen, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ had information to tell all nations, information that He had not revealed during His earthly ministry. So, He took wretched Saul of Tarsus, leader of Israel’s apostasy and the world’s rebellion against Him, saved him by His mercy and grace in Acts chapter 9, and commissioned him to testify to all nations of the divine knowledge he had received and would receive later on. Firstly, Paul was to “preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” This was spiritual wealth found in Christ, apart from Israel and her kingdom program, not spoken of in her Old Testament Scriptures. Secondly, Paul was to “make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery.” This secret (verse 6) is how believing Jews and believing Gentiles are saved into the Church the Body of Christ, apart from Israel and her prophetic program—Saul of Tarsus being first (1 Timothy 1:11-16).

Lost people today are to see us members of the Body of Christ (believing Jews and Gentiles harmoniously) living according to the grace doctrines revealed to Paul. Saints, our dearly beloved brother Paul has since moved on to heaven, but we are still here, and until Christ comes for us, let us, in word and deed, carry on the divinely-ordained ministry he left behind (2 Corinthians 5:14-21)! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Was Luke a Jew or a Gentile?

Paul and Dispensationalism #12

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

“Brethren, be ye followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

Many earnest Christians say, “I do not follow man. I go by what Jesus said.” Bless their dear hearts—they follow the traditions of men by following Jesus’ words to Jews. Jesus Himself said He was not God’s spokesman to us Gentiles: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). Are you a lost sheep of the house of Israel? Then, Jesus’ earthly ministry does not apply to you (2 Corinthians 5:16)!

Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13) whereas Jesus Christ is Israel’s Apostle (Hebrews 3:1). It thoroughly astonishes Bible readers to learn that the Apostle Paul is the person we should follow, not Jesus in His earthly ministry. Jesus never said we Gentiles need to follow Him. However, we do find Jesus Christ speaking through Paul and instructing us to follow Paul as he follows Jesus Christ. “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:9).

Friend, if you do not know where to go in the Bible to retrieve God’s Word to and about you, you have no hope in ever understanding the Bible. You will not know the baptism valid for you; you will not know how to handle sickness; you will not have a clear Gospel message to believe; you will not know how to pray; you will not know how God’s Spirit works in you today as a believer; you will not know how to function as a spouse, child, student, parent, boss, employee, pastor, teacher, neighbor, citizen; and so on.

You cannot find victorious Christian living in the Old Testament, the Four Gospels, the early part of Acts, or Hebrews through Revelation. If you want victorious Christian living, you must go to the Holy Spirit’s instructions found in Paul’s 13 epistles, Romans through Philemon. This is the key to Christianity’s doctrinal dilemma!

Paul and Dispensationalism #11

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

“As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (1 Timothy 1:3-5 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

The goal of dispensational Bible study, particularly Pauline dispensationalism, is not simply to fill one’s head with Bible knowledge. There is no spirituality in drawing the Bible timeline. No spirituality is in merely talking about God’s grace and Paul’s special ministry. Spirituality is when you know where to go in the Bible to find your information and then using that information to benefit others (“charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned”). Grace doctrine is not meant to be kept secret, spoken only when you want to argue. Grace living is to be… lived!

Our goal in sharing dispensational truths should never be to pick fights, debate, et cetera. Religion has deceived many, many precious people. We should seek their highest good (“charity”). They need to learn God’s truth, and we who know God’s truth should share that truth in love and gentleness. We have the doctrine that can save them from their sins, renew their minds, mature them spiritually, et cetera. How marvelous! How exciting!

Unlike modern-day Ecumenists who minimize doctrine, bulldoze denominational barriers, and simply “fellowship with all ‘Christians’ around the love of ‘Jesus,’” today’s Scripture says Paul approved sound doctrine and exposed false doctrine. Paul commanded young Timothy to rebuke false teachers in Ephesus. They were not to teach any other doctrine than what the Lord Jesus Christ had taught them through the Apostle Paul. Actually, the Bible says their error was legalism (1 Timothy 1:6-11), forcing the Mosaic Law into Christian living. Paul had predicted this apostasy years earlier in Acts 20:28-35. Paul had encouraged them, verse 32, to embrace “the word of [God’s] grace.” This was the Bible rightly divided—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, the grace doctrines!

Paul and Dispensationalism #10

Monday, August 17, 2015

“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. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

Just what is the test for true spirituality? How many hymns we sang? How many large tithes we gave? How many “unknown tongues” we uttered? How many long prayers we recited? How many theology books we read? How many miracles we performed? How well we know Hebrew, Greek, and Latin? How many confessions we made? How many times we attended church? How high we jumped and how well we danced during “worship?” While in religion these are seen as “marks” of true Holy-Spirit-led Christian service, the Holy Spirit Himself has quite a different opinion (today’s Scripture).

In Corinth, carnality and Biblical ignorance abounded among Christians. It broke Paul’s heart to see that assembly in spiritual shambles… the very same saints he had taught personally for 18 months (Acts 18:11)! Pagan philosophy had enticed and deceived them, they were suing each other, they behaved as drunken gluttons at the Lord’s Supper, they abused spiritual gifts for personal gratification, et cetera. The Corinthians thought they were so spiritual and so wise, while in reality they were so fleshly and so silly! (Like today’s professing “church!”)

Today’s Scripture declares that a Spirit-led Christian, one speaking on behalf of God, acknowledged Paul’s apostolic authority over us Gentiles. The Corinthians were not spiritual—they rejected Paul’s apostleship in chapters 10 through 13 of 2 Corinthians. Paul knew, however, some Christians would continue deliberately ignoring his apostleship. His advice? Let them stay “ignorant!”

First Corinthians 2:6-8 says God’s “hidden wisdom” is manifested for all to see in the writings of Paul the Apostle, Romans through Philemon. Sadly, like the Corinthians, most true Christians today are too deceived, too weak, and too immature to appreciate “the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery.” They cannot handle the deeper things of God. May we be as patient with them as possible, but when they persistently resist God’s truth, do not waste time. Friend, move on to others!

Paul and Dispensationalism #9

Sunday, August 16, 2015

“[His mighty power] Which he [Father God] wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 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 1:20-23 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

Many decades ago, a dear elderly lady approached her Bible teacher with the following question: “Just why is the concept of dying and going to heaven not taught in the Old Testament?” Realizing she was correct, but not having an answer, he said he would get back to her about it. He spent the next 40 years delving into dispensational Bible study!

The Bible’s oldest book, Job, chapter 19, describes the hope of all Old Testament saints: “[25] For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: [26] And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: [27] Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Old Testament saints died with the faith of Abraham—the hope of an earthly kingdom (still future; Hebrews 11:8-16; Revelation 1:5,6; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:4-6).

However, when we come to Paul, we learn about God’s plan to restore heaven unto Himself (cf. Colossians 1:16-20). As per prophecy, God would use redeemed Israel in the Earth. Through Paul, God disclosed that He would reconcile the heavenly places to Himself using the Church the Body of Christ. Ephesians 2:6,7: “[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” (cf. Philippians 3:20,21). Thereby exalting Jesus Christ in earth and heaven forever (Ephesians 1:8-12)!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does Hebrews 10:25 really teach we must attend church?

Paul and Dispensationalism #8

Saturday, August 15, 2015

“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 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

Indeed, 95 to 99 percent of professing “Christianity” is doctrinally weak. Most alleged “Christians” and most true Christians have an extremely feeble grasp of Scripture. This ignorance applies not only to church members but also to preachers and priests and theologians… the “blind” leading the “blind” (Matthew 15:14)! How did such a spiritual mess arise? Honestly, the “church” has focused on founding religious organizations and defending denominational tenets. There was no sound and proper Bible study. The Bible was merely scanned and appealing verses were chosen—that weak foundation produced the current frail, teetering structure.

More commentaries (further confusing them) have been read than verses in the Holy Bible! More time has been spent recounting worthless stories, telling jokes, singing and jumping, and re-teaching and re-teaching basic verses, than time spent preaching a clear Gospel message and teaching a profitable Bible lesson! More energy has been spent organizing weddings, baby showers, dances, food and clothing drives, and bingo nights than energy expended in planning Bible conferences and Bible camps! The average church almost entirely neglects the Bible, especially Paul’s epistles. No wonder the average local church is not “dying” but dead!

The professing “church” has utterly failed to grasp today’s Scripture. They usually cannot adequately delineate Paul’s Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day). They do not understand Paul’s special ministry, “the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery.” They do not know how those Pauline books fit with the overall Bible scheme. Basically, they have not been “stablished” (stabilized) and spiritually matured. Therefore, they are “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). Such ignorance is the result of ignoring Pauline dispensationalism!

Paul and Dispensationalism #7

Friday, August 14, 2015

“Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;” (Titus 1:1-3 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

A certain body of divine truth applies today—“the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2). Today’s Scripture calls it, “the faith of God’s elect” and “the truth which is after godliness.” If our lives are to be godly, we must have the doctrine that produces godlikeness. Paul says that he was made a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to reveal that doctrine to us. God Almighty Himself commanded that Saul of Tarsus be made the Apostle Paul. Through Paul’s writings, God has manifested the doctrine that will not only produce eternal life in heaven but eternal life right now on Earth!

God had promised a special eternal life before the world began. It would be His life manifested through the Church the Body of Christ (1 Timothy 3:16). However, God kept that secret for 4,000 years. When “due times” came, God revealed the secret to the Apostle Paul. All the world, through Israel’s fall, could access Him by faith in His Son’s finished crosswork! What was once limited to Israel (Isaiah 53:8; Matthew 20:28; Acts 5:31; et cetera), is now available to all nations—righteousness through Jesus Christ’s death for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection. This we learn only from Paul’s ministry!

“[3]…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. [7] 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 2:3-7).

Paul and Dispensationalism #6

Thursday, August 13, 2015

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

A preacher recently described his former days in Bible College. Students were to pick sides in the infamous “Paul-James debate,” better known as the “faith-without-works-versus-faith-plus-works clash.” There were those who would quote verses from Romans chapters 3 and 4 and then there were those who would cite verses from James chapter 2. The loser of the debate would be the one who ran out of verses to quote!

All religious absurdities aside, James chapter 2 is quite a simple passage. However, cults mindlessly quote James chapter 2 out of context. Before James wrote chapter 2, he wrote chapter 1, the key to grasping chapter 2! For example, James wrote, “to the twelve tribes scattered abroad, greeting…. The trying of your faith worketh patience” (1:1,3). Firstly, James is writing to the nation Israel, not us Gentiles! James would know more about his own epistle than today’s theologians and ecclesiastical leaders, yes? Secondly, James is encouraging believing Israel in their “trial of their faith.” They are being tested. Satan’s evil world system (the Antichrist) is tempting believing Israel to follow him. In chapter 2, James tells Israel to follow believing Father Abraham, to have works that demonstrate their salvation (verses 14-26).

Paul, however, writes to us Gentiles (Romans 11:13). We are under grace, not law (today’s Scripture). Fellowship with God today is not dependent on our performance—it is Jesus Christ’s performance at Calvary. Romans through Philemon never tell us we must work to be saved or to prove our salvation. Israel must demonstrate her faith with works, but we are under no such requirements in our Dispensation of Grace. It is important that we get this, for if we place ourselves under law, sin will dominate our lives. However, if we understand how the grace life begins (Romans chapters 3-5), how it operates (Romans chapters 6-8), and what it looks like (Romans chapters 12-16), we will not fall prey to legalism. We will not mix law and grace as the Galatians did. Pauline dispensationalism spares us from misery, frustration, and defeat!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did God ‘testify’ of Abel’s gifts?

Paul and Dispensationalism #5

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

Today’s Scripture is part of a larger context (verses 1-15). Paul rarely writes about prophecy, so when he does, we had better take note. Verses 1 and 2 explain Paul’s purpose in writing it: “[1] Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, [2] That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”

Erroneous (false) teaching had distressed Thessalonica. Someone had forged a letter using Paul’s name! The Thessalonian believers were suffering immense persecution for their Christian testimony (see 2 Thessalonians 1:4-6)—actually, some had already been killed (1 Thessalonians 4:13)! Evidently, that forged letter taught the Thessalonians that they had missed the Rapture, and they were now experiencing the horrors of the Daniel’s 70th week, the seven-year Tribulation! (Sound familiar?) These poor Christians were like many poor Christians today—“shaken in mind” and “troubled.” It is not uncommon for “Christian” people to say today, “I refuse that Mark of the Beast! Look at this computer chip, this smartphone, this I.D. card! Oh Lord, help me resist the Antichrist!” Frankly, beloved, this is foolishness! Paul wrote today’s Scripture to correct such flawed theology.

Our Dispensation of Grace has—we have—nothing to do with Israel’s program. Nothing! Theologians may not see it (because they refuse), but today’s Scripture says our program is postponing Israel’s prophetic program. Paul’s words in this second chapter of 2 Thessalonians can save us from sensationalistic prophecy preaching. May we let the Holy Spirit use today’s Scripture to comfort and encourage our souls—the Body of Christ is appointed to heaven, not wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9)!

For more information about this, you can see our study, “Is prophecy being fulfilled in the Dispensation of Grace?

For more information about the King James Bible’s wording in 2 Thessalonians 2:2, you can see our study, “Should the King James’ term “Christ” actually be “Lord” in 2 Thessalonians 2:2?