Satan and Dispensationalism #19

Saturday, October 24, 2015

“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:” (Ephesians 3:1,2 KJV).

Satan knows that Dispensational Bible Study is the key to understanding God’s Word. Thus, he denies it and corrupts it every chance he gets!

Pauline dispensationalism is the method whereby we determine God’s will for us today. The books of Romans through Philemon, the 13 epistles of the Apostle Paul, are our primary instructions books for Christian living. We consult them first because they are God’s Word to and about us. Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), the Lord Jesus Christ’s spokesman to us. Whatever Paul’s epistles are silent about, we consult the rest of the Bible. Never do we throw away any of the 66 Bible books. We simply recognize their place in the program of God, and how those non-Pauline books do not describe God’s current operations.

There is the temptation to take Pauline dispensationalism to the extreme and thus destroy it. Because people needlessly struggle with Paul’s “Acts” ministry, wondering why he did all those “Jewish” things, they erroneously conclude that his “Acts” ministry must have been a continuation of Israel’s program and covenants. Hence, they say Paul’s epistles written during Acts—Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and 1 & 2 Thessalonians—have no relevance to us. Some “grace” people encourage us to toss those six epistles out entirely! (Heresy!) They say Paul quit working in Israel’s program when Acts ended, and that only his seven post-Acts (prison) epistles apply to us—Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. (Heresy!)

Paul’s “Acts” epistles and his “prison” epistles are not two dispensations—one dispensation not for us and one dispensation for us. They are one dispensation, and that dispensation is given to us through Paul, for Paul wrote them all (today’s Scripture). The “Acts” epistles are the basic doctrines of the Dispensation of Grace while the “prison” epistles are the more advanced doctrines of the Dispensation of Grace. Again, we need to quit the nonsense and stop complicating God’s Word. Satan does that enough in denominational circles!

Satan and Dispensationalism #18

Friday, October 23, 2015

“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:” (Ephesians 3:1,2 KJV).

Satan knows that Dispensational Bible Study is the key to understanding God’s Word. Thus, he denies it and corrupts it every chance he gets!

As aforementioned, Acts is historical not doctrinal. In it, Luke documented Israel’s persistent rejection of God’s Word, how God was just (right) in setting her aside. During the first seven chapters, Israel largely ignored the preaching of Peter and the 11 apostles. From Acts chapter 9 onward (the beginning of Paul’s ministry onward), Israel again largely ignored God’s Word. She persecuted Paul as she had mistreated Peter and the 11.

During Acts, Paul wrote: “…the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is [present tense] come upon them to the uttermost (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16). God’s wrath had fallen on Israel. She had no special spiritual status anymore. These angry, unbelieving Jews persecuted Paul for preaching that he, not they, was reaching allnot some—Gentiles for JEHOVAH! Israel fell during Acts, not at the end of or after Acts. Romans 11:11-13,28—also written during Acts—makes this abundantly clear.

Until they learned of that new divine revelation, Israel’s 12 apostles faithfully continued their ministry they had received from Jesus Christ. In Acts chapter 15, Paul taught them about the new program (mystery), the new message (Gospel of Grace), and the new agency (Body of Christ). Thereafter, Israel’s little flock was sealed off to new members. Its members eventually died off. Israel’s apostles released themselves from their commission to preach to lost Jews and Gentiles (Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 1:8). Collectively, lost people were “heathen”equally hell-bound. Peter and the 10 agreed that these “heathen” were Paul and Barnabas’ responsibility to convert into the Body of Christ (Galatians 2:6-9). The Body of Christ, which had started with Paul in Acts chapter 9, then gained preeminence.

Satan and Dispensationalism #17

Thursday, October 22, 2015

“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:” (Ephesians 3:1,2 KJV).

Satan knows that Dispensational Bible Study is the key to understanding God’s Word. Thus, he denies it and corrupts it every chance he gets!

Israel had a small believing remnant during the opening chapters of Acts. The 12 apostles’ preaching was largely ignored: most Jews persisted in unbelief and rebellion. Lost Israel was hopeless! God’s all-consuming wrath was about to fall on Israel when they blasphemed the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter 7.

But, God in His grace suspended Israel’s prophetic program. Consequently, He was able to create a whole new arrangement of how to deal with lost Israel and lost Gentiles. That dispensational change—“the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (today’s Scripture)—occurred especially to save and use Saul of Tarsus, the most defiant sinner at the time, and make his salvation our “pattern” (1 Timothy 1:13-16). Once Saul was saved in Acts chapter 9, he literally became the epitome of God’s grace. The same grace that saved him, he was now to preach as a new Gospel message. It was Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for all people’s sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21). Salvation would reach Gentiles through Paul’s ministry, without Israel (Romans 11:11-13). Also, Paul’s Gospel meant all those lost Jews like Saul had one last chance to escape God’s impending wrath.

From Acts chapters 7 through 15, Israel’s apostles were mostly unaware of any dispensational change. Peter got a glimpse in Acts chapter 10 when dealing with Gentile Cornelius, but he and the other apostles did not fully comprehend it until they met with Paul and Barnabas (chapter 15). Paul’s account of that Jerusalem Council is Galatians chapter 2. Galatians says Israel’s apostles finally discovered the radical dispensational change. See, the dispensational change did not come in late Acts or post Acts. Paul learned about it from Jesus Christ in Acts chapter 9, and Israel’s apostles learned it about 20 years later in chapter 15. Paul taught them, all about that delay in prophecy. Let us heed Paul’s testimony and not get confused ourselves!

Satan and Dispensationalism #16

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

“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:” (Ephesians 3:1,2 KJV).

Satan knows that Dispensational Bible Study is the key to understanding God’s Word. Thus, he denies it and corrupts it every chance he gets!

While Acts is certainly not easy reading, theology has complicated it. Historical rather than doctrinal, “The Acts of the Apostles,” simply documents Israel’s overwhelmingly negative response to God’s Word preached by the Apostles.

In Luke 13:6-9, Jesus spoke a parable. Please read it in your own time. We can only interpret it here. Father God planted a fig tree (Mosaic Law) in His vineyard (Israel’s land). For three years, Christ’s earthly ministry, God sought any righteousness in Israel. But, no spiritual fruit was there! The Law could only identify and condemn sinners—it had no power to make them right before God. Father God was ready to destroy Israel’s religious life. Jesus intervened, “Father, give them one more year before You cut it down.”

Confirming the parable, Israel ignored Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, and demanded His crucifixion. But, Jesus intervened at Calvary, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). So, Father God gave Israel a one-year opportunity to repent, to think differently, and turn from their vain works-religion. That one year was Acts chapters 1-7. The 12 apostles preached their hearts out, desperately trying to convert stubborn Israel. It was useless. Finally, in Acts chapter 7, Stephen, filled with the Holy Ghost, accused Israel of persistent unbelief and rebellion. He was stoned to death! Jesus Christ was arising in the third heaven, to return in wrath and destroy those apostates (Acts 7:55,56; Psalm 110:1)! Israel had blasphemed the Holy Ghost, and could not be forgiven (Matthew 12:31,32). She had nowhere to go now but hell!

Leading Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ was Saul of Tarsus, one of Stephen’s challengers. Saul would become the Apostle Paul. The only way to save such a wicked man as Saul was for God to radically depart from Israel’s program and covenants. The Dispensation of Grace came to save Saul first (1 Timothy 1:12-16)!

Satan and Dispensationalism #15

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

“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:” (Ephesians 3:1,2 KJV).

Satan knows that Dispensational Bible Study is the key to understanding God’s Word. Thus, he denies it and corrupts it every chance he gets!

Acts is a transitional Bible book. Therein, the most drastic dispensational change in all God’s Word. Where in Acts does God Himself place our dispensational boundary? Is it as 99 percent of Christendom says—Acts chapter 2, Pentecost, the “birthday of the ‘church?’” Certainly not. Our dispensation was given to Paul (today’s Scripture). Saul of Tarsus was still lost in Acts chapter 2. Paul was hellbound until chapter 9!

According to Scripture, our Dispensation of Grace and the Church the Body of Christ began no earlier than Acts chapter 9. But exactly when did they start? The general label “Mid-Acts Dispensationalism” encompasses those who hold to a dispensational change in chapters 9, 13, 15, or 18. The title “Ultradispensationalism” is reserved for an extreme (or late Acts) view, mainly chapter 28 or beyond. Leave it to sinful man and his religious tomfoolery to complicate God’s simple Word! Shame!

The primary truth in the Dispensation of the Grace of God is that national Israel is blinded, fallen before God, and salvation is going to the Gentiles without Israel (Romans 11:11-13). When did salvation go to Gentiles without Israel? When Paul’s apostleship began! Romans 11:11,13: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.”

Acts 26:17 is Jesus Christ’s words to Paul in Acts chapter 9: “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send [Greek, apostello] thee.” Acts chapter 9 is when Paul was divinely “sent” (“apostle” means “sent one”) to Gentiles. If we just believe the simple testimony of Scripture, and do not have a theological system to promote, we concur with God’s Word, the Dispensation of Grace began in Acts chapter 9.

Satan and Dispensationalism #14

Monday, October 19, 2015

“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:” (Ephesians 3:1,2 KJV).

Satan knows that Dispensational Bible Study is the key to understanding God’s Word. Thus, he denies it and corrupts it every chance he gets!

If there is confusion about any one Bible book, it is definitely Acts. That book has been so pathetically mistreated, so twisted out of shape—it makes one’s spiritual stomach turn and churn. Sadly, within a growing segment of the “Grace Movement,” we find people who have corrupted the book of Acts to promote their agenda just as denominationalists do with their own traditions.

Friend, learn exactly where all the trouble originates and guard yourself. Dispensationalists often needlessly struggle with Acts chapters 7 through 28. True, therein is much “rapid scene-switching” in the Biblical narrative. Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome. Peter, Paul, Peter, Paul. Israel, Body of Christ, Israel, Body of Christ. Jews, Gentiles, Jews, Gentiles. Strangely, we find Paul engaging in “Jewish” behavior amongst Gentiles. He physically circumcised Timothy, water baptized Gentile converts, raised a dead man, healed the sick, took a Jewish vow, went to the Temple to offer a sacrifice, and so on. What people assume is that our program and our Body of Christ did not operate until Paul ceased those activities. They want to say Paul continued Israel’s covenants and program for a time (Acts). After Acts, they assume our program (dispensation) and our Body of Christ began.

Listen, friends. Let us stop the nonsense. If we are confused about Acts, the best thing to do is stay silent and study instead of babbling about something we know little about. More harm than good has resulted in people prattling about Acts, even some in the Grace Movement. It is quite simple, beloved. Acts is Paul’s provoking ministry to unbelieving Jews! Go read Romans 11:11-14. Paul was not conducting that odd ministry for our benefit. He was doing it for lost Jews to join our program because their prophetic program had been interrupted. Like him, their only hope of eternal life was to join—not Israel—but the Body of Christ.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who are those ‘afar off’ in Acts 2:39?

Satan and Dispensationalism #13

Sunday, October 18, 2015

“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:” (Ephesians 3:1,2 KJV).

Satan knows that Dispensational Bible Study is the key to understanding God’s Word. Thus, he denies it and corrupts it every chance he gets!

There are various “dispensations” in the Word of God, different instructions God gives to a people group in history to believe and obey. The “Dispensation of the Grace of God” is the one that affects us Gentiles today. Paul says in today’s Scripture that the risen, ascended, and glorified Jesus Christ gave him this dispensation so that he could give it to us. That dispensational boundary and change is of critical importance. It involves these last 2,000 years—one-third of human history! It affects the formation and function of the Church the Body of Christ. If Satan can introduce the least amount of uncertainty regarding this dispensation, he confuses the Body of Christ and disrupts two millennia of God’s working in the world.

The most confusion concerning dispensational Bible study is exactly when the Dispensation of Grace began and when our Church the Body of Christ began. Some say Acts chapter 2, others say chapter 9, still others chapter 13, and still others chapter 18, still others chapter 20, or even chapter 28, or even beyond. Confusion! Confusion! Confusion! Some start the Body of Christ in one part of Acts and start the Dispensation of Grace in another part of Acts. We have those who say, “Grace began at the cross but the Body of Christ did not begin until Acts 2.” We have those who say the Body of Christ began in Acts 9 but the Dispensation of Grace did not begin until late Acts or post Acts. We have one group that says the Dispensation of Grace and the Church the Body of Christ both began in late Acts or post Acts. Confusion! Confusion! Confusion!

When did the Dispensation of Grace begin? When did our Church the Body of Christ begin? Unless we have a denominational or “traditional grace” system to promote, we will just agree with the Bible. Let us see what God’s Word says.