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….

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!

James and Dispensationalism

Friday, August 28, 2015

“And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things (Acts 15:13-17 KJV).

What can the Apostle James teach us about dispensational Bible study?

In the famous Jerusalem Council of A.D. 50; James, Peter, and John heard Paul and Barnabas give their testimony of Paul’s ministry (verse 12). Israel’s God had indeed left her and was now reaching the Gentiles through Paul. James commented with today’s Scripture, quoting Amos 9:11,12: “[11] In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: [12] That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this.”

Obviously, “After this” was not in Amos’ original prophecy: James added it to interpret the passage according to the divine revelation he learned from Paul. Interestingly, Amos knew nothing of our Dispensation of Grace or of the Church the Body of Christ. (Simeon/Peter had an experience with Gentile Cornelius years earlier, in chapter 10, helping both him and James understand God was going to the Gentiles.)

Like the other Old Testament prophets, the Prophet Amos foretold that, one day, Jesus Christ would return to fulfill the Davidic Covenant (cf. Luke 1:31-33). He would be Israel’s King, thereby making her His kingdom of priests. But, what happened to Peter and Paul caused James to realize prophecy was delayed. Peter wrote about it in his second epistle, chapter 3, also learning from Paul. Yes, James agreed, Israel’s kingdom is coming, just not today!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “I experienced difficult times. Was God chastening me?