The Secret Things #12

Monday, September 27, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

In the beginning, Father God intended to glorify His Son, Jesus Christ, in Heaven and Earth. From Adam onward, an earthly kingdom exemplified the Creator’s message to man (Matthew 25:34; Acts 3:19-21). In this prophetic program, once Adam sinned by following Satan (a spirit being who had already corrupted Heaven with sin), the LORD began forming a new people in the Earth to be His kingdom of priests. The nation Israel was born, eventually receiving God’s words through Moses (today’s Scripture). As more centuries transpired, however, it became clearer Israel would not receive their King or their kingdom. In unbelief, they crucified Him, the Lord Jesus Christ! Israel’s temporary spiritual fall before God concerning Messiah’s rejection was no secret (Luke 2:34).

Of course, the God of Scripture is omniscient: Satan would not outsmart Him at Calvary’s cross (1 Corinthians 2:6-8). In eternity past, the Godhead had already determined to use that blood shed on the cross to form a second group of believers. Here is the mystery program, information God never told anyone about until He revealed it to and through the Apostle Paul (Romans 16:25,26). What would happen to the world through national Israel’s temporary fall? To save Paul (Saul of Tarsus) and those Jewish and Gentile unbelievers like him, God revealed a new Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3,4): through Israel’s fall and Paul’s ministry and message (Romans 11:11-14), the Lord would make an heavenly kingdom of people: the Church the Body of Christ.

Now, with all prophetic truth revealed through the non-Pauline Scriptures, and the Pauline Scriptures unveiling “mystery” (previously hidden) truth, we know all God’s will (Ephesians 1:8-10). As Israel was without excuse concerning the “prophetic” things revealed to them through Moses (Dispensation of Law), so we are without excuse concerning the “secret” things revealed to us through Paul (Dispensation of Grace). We know what God is doing today (Romans through Philemon), and what He is not (the rest of Scripture). “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:38).

The Secret Things #11

Sunday, September 26, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

Father God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit were not surprised when Israel murdered their Messiah-King by nailing Him to Calvary’s cross in unbelief. Jesus’ death was already known to the Godhead, planned since eternity past: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:22-24).

Centuries beforehand, the Old Testament prophets glimpsed Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection in types and shadows (Genesis chapter 22; Psalm 16; Psalm 22; Psalm 69; Isaiah chapter 53; et cetera; cf. Hebrews chapter 9)—although God intentionally withheld all details until later (see 1 Peter 1:9-11). By Satan and his angels participating in Jesus’ death, they assumed the prophetic program was forever destroyed—the King’s very people had rejected and executed Him! Yet, in God’s wisdom, after Calvary transpired, He revealed to the Apostle Paul the “mystery” or secret things, the full scope of Jesus’ finished crosswork.

Had Satan been omniscient (all-knowing), he would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)! Not only would that blood shed on Calvary pay for Israel’s sins via the New Covenant, that shed blood would become the basis for another entity—the Church the Body of Christ. Both the nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ would thereby become God’s people in Earth and Heaven (respectively), thus glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ in both realms—just as Father God had wisely purposed all along (Colossians 1:14-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; Ephesians 3:1-11).

We now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

The Secret Things #10

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

As there was a secret coming of Jesus Christ to save and commission the Apostle Paul, thus commencing the mystery program and starting the Church the Body of Christ, so another secret coming of Christ (the Rapture) will close the mystery program and finish the Body of Christ. If we are ignorant of the first secret coming, then we will be of the second secret coming—and most church members are aware of neither!

In Acts chapter 9, the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saul of Tarsus to justify him unto eternal life and reveal his apostolic commission: “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles(2 Timothy 1:10,11). Again, this un-prophesied appearance of Christ anticipates His “Rapture” appearance for us yet future. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 6:14).

First Corinthians chapter 15: “[50] Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. [51] Behold, I shew you a mystery [secret, un-prophesied truth]; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” This resurrection of saints, not that of Revelation 20:1-6, is the bodily resurrection of the Body of Christ (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), our corporation translation into the heavenly places so the mystery program can stop and the prophetic program can resume….

Bible Q&A #880: “Did Moses write about his own death?

The Secret Things #9

Friday, September 24, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

First Timothy chapter 1, Paul’s own testimony: “[12] And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; [13] Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. [14] And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

According to the prophetic program, there was no justification of Saul of Tarsus. Nothing in prophecy delivered anyone from blaspheming the Holy Ghost: what could not be forgiven was speaking against the third Member of the Godhead working through Israel’s Little Flock during the early Acts period: “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 12:31,32).

Yet, Saul of Tarsus opposed the Holy Spirit working in and through Stephen and other Little Flock believers (Acts 7:51-60; Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1-22; Acts 26:9-11). The dispensational change is striking! Jesus Christ’s next scheduled appearance on Earth was to pour out wrath and wage war. Yet, in Acts chapter 9, the Lord returned in grace, mercy, and peace to save Saul of Tarsus unto eternal life and commission him as the Apostle Paul, having thus begun the mystery (un-prophesied) program and the mystery (secret) Church the Body of Christ….

Impetuous Peter! #13

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid (Mark 9:5,6 KJV).

When in doubt, close your mouth!

A tremendous dispensational change occurred once apostate Israel stoned (murdered) her Prophet Stephen in Acts chapter 7. Saul of Tarsus is subsequently converted to Jesus Christ and commissioned as the Apostle Paul in chapter 9. The Apostle Peter needs to be notified of God’s transitioning from prophecy to mystery, Israel to Gentiles. Remember, Peter is still operating as per Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Peter started preaching in Jerusalem in chapter 2 of Acts: the order of his ministry is Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and the uttermost part of the earth. He knows he is not to preach to Gentiles until Christ returns, for Israel must be converted first: “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come” (Matthew 10:23).

As Acts chapter 10 opens, an angel directs Roman centurion Cornelius to send for Peter. To prepare Peter to preach to this Gentile (without Israel’s national conversion), the Lord gives Peter a vision of various animals. The ascended Christ speaks in Acts 10:13: “And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.” Instead of obeying, “But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean” (verse 14). Peter’s strict adherence to the Mosaic Law is commendable, but his refusal of the Lord’s updated instructions was his twelfth and final rash statement recorded in Scripture. “And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common” (verse 15). Suffice it to say, many years later, Peter’s encounter with Gentile Cornelius enabled him to defend Paul’s Gentile ministry (Acts 15:7-21).

Let us summarize this devotionals arc….

Who Will Go? #4

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

May we agree with the Prophet Isaiah!

Saul of Tarsus, now the Apostle Paul, recounts his salvation and subsequent call to the ministry in Acts chapter 26 (historically, it happened in chapter 9, many years earlier): “[14] And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

“[15] And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. [16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee [apostello], [18] To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

“[19] Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: [20] But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” Paul’s own words concerning his Divine commission were identical to Isaiah’s reply: “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.” After opposing Jesus Christ for decades as a lost man, Paul finally trusted Him as his personal Saviour and then went by faith to conduct His grace ministry for over 30 years. He thusly penned: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Romans 11:13).

Having regarded at Paul’s commission, let us look at our (related) grace commission….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “At what age did Jesus Christ die?

Who is a Christian? #8

Sunday, February 23, 2020

“King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:27,28 KJV).

Just who exactly is a “Christian?”

Our English word “Christian” is a transliteration of the Greek “Christianos.” In its most basic form, it means “follower of Christ.” When we look at the Bible’s usage of the title, we can fine-tune the definition. The term was first applied to Gentiles who followed Jesus Christ in Antioch of Syria (Acts 11:26)—modern Turkey. It specifically described the disciples or students of the Lord’s doctrine committed to Saul’s (the Apostle Paul’s) trust. Their core belief was faith or trust in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for sins (cf. today’s Scripture and its context).

Finally, the name became attached to the Apostle Peter’s converts, especially in the sense of following Christ in suffering persecution according to God’s will. First Peter chapter 4: “[12] Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: [13] But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. [14] If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. [15] But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. [16] Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

Paul’s final recorded words to King Herod Agrippa II were: “I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds” (Acts 26:29). That is, “King Agrippa, I would you and all my listeners to be like me in trusting the Gospel of Grace!” Whatever subsequently happened to Agrippa is unknown. Regardless, he had heard directly from God’s Apostle of the Gentiles how to become a Christian… and now have we!

Who is a Christian? #7

Saturday, February 22, 2020

“King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:27,28 KJV).

Just who exactly is a “Christian?”

Verses 22 and 23 again: “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.”

It is greatly helpful to notice Herod Agrippa II had Bible awareness before he ever met the Apostle Paul. Even as a Gentile, Agrippa was familiar with the Hebrew Old Testament. Read today’s Scripture again: “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Herod did not deny he believed the Hebrew Scriptures. What he refused to do was agree with—believe—Paul’s Gospel presentation.

Moreover, it is surely insightful to appreciate how Paul was not trying to influence Agrippa II to join a local church, get water baptized, say a “sinner’s prayer,” walk an aisle, “feel sorry” for his sins, keep commandments, partake of a holy meal, confess his sins, ask God for forgiveness, kneel and weep at an “altar,” promise to “do better,” or obey any other such common appeals prominent at “invitation time” in most local churches today. Paul wanted Agrippa to believehave faith in—the Word of God’s Grace!

Agrippa had head knowledge and head belief, but not heart knowledge and heart belief. It was just intellectual assent with the Old Testament, which therefore rendered him unable to receive Paul’s further revelation in heart faith. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10a). The same is true of most people today—even church members. Aware of the Bible, seeing some historical facts in it, they nevertheless cannot trust it in the heart. They speak of “God,” “Jesus,” “the Holy Ghost,” “grace,” “righteousness,” and so on, but there is no faith in the soul concerning Jesus Christ.

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Who is a Christian? #6

Friday, February 21, 2020

“King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:27,28 KJV).

Just who exactly is a “Christian?”

The Old Testament prophets were aware of the doctrine of bodily resurrection (Job 19:24-27; Psalm 16:10; Daniel 12:2,13; et al.). In fact, Paul knows that King Herod Agrippa II is familiar with such Jewish religious beliefs (verse 3; cf. today’s Scripture). He therefore skillfully uses Agrippa’s knowledge of the Old Testament in an attempt to lead him to Jesus Christ: Paul twice mentions the idea of resurrection.

Re-read excerpts of Acts chapter 26: “[6] And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God, unto our fathers: [7] Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. [8] Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?…. [22] Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: [23] That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.”

It is here that Festus interrupts and ridicules Paul, dismissing Bible truth as mere lunacy (verses 24-26). Paul then turns to the king, and we read today’s Scripture once more: “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.” The soul of Herod Agrippa II hangs in the balance. He can either trust God’s words, or disbelieve them. Surely under tremendous peer pressure from Festus, Agrippa takes the latter route and derides the truth as well. “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Agrippa has made his decision: he is not swayed! His tone is one of surprise and condescension. “Paul, you will have to try much harder than that to influence me to become a Christian!”

Now, by carefully considering this, we see what a Christian really is….

Bible Q&A #695: “What ever happened to Joseph, Jesus’ stepfather?

Who is a Christian? #5

Thursday, February 20, 2020

“King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:27,28 KJV).

Just who exactly is a “Christian?”

Upon hearing the Apostle Paul speak about his conversion for the last 23 verses, King Herod Agrippa II and Governor Porcius Festus respond: “[24] And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. [25] But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. [26] For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. [27] King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. [28] Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”

Festus, not convinced, raises his voice to interrupt: “Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad” (verse 24). He accuses the Apostle of being crazy! Paul sounds like an educated man, but he seems “too educated.” To Festus, Paul’s testimony is the simply ramblings of an insane, renegade Jew! “But the natural man receiveth not the things of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Paul replies to Festus’ charge of madness: “I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:25,26). Festus and Agrippa could check the record to see if Paul was fabricating lies or telling the truth. His radical transformation was a historical fact to the land of Palestine, and his apostolic ministry has been conducted for last 30 years. However, sinful Festus is not interested in truth. He finds an excuse: “I do not believe the Gospel of Grace because its preacher is nuts!”

Let us expound Agrippa’s response in today’s Scripture….