Prophecy, Peter, Paul, Postponement, and Preservation

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance…. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:9,15,16 KJV).

The prophetic program has been paused for nearly 20 centuries. Why?

Romans chapter 11 says: “[25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery [secret], lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:….”

After our Dispensation of Grace ends with the Rapture—the Church the Body of Christ completed and caught up into Heaven—Israel’s prophetic program will resume where it stopped in early Acts. Israel’s spiritual blindness will finally be lifted and she will return to her preeminent national status in the Earth. Her Little Flock of believers will read today’s Scripture and the Pauline epistles. Where has their kingdom program been for the last 2,000 years?

Today’s Scripture demonstrates the preservation of the Holy Bible. Not only will Peter’s inspired writings exist beyond our dispensation, but even Paul’s epistles will be read in the end-times. Israel’s believing remnant will look back on us—God’s work amongst the Gentiles apart from the kingdom program—and know just why their believing ancestors in Acts never saw Christ returning to judge His enemies and bring that literal, physical, visible, earthly, Davidic kingdom!

Exercising prudence, the Holy Spirit penned today’s Scripture not merely to answer scoffers (whether A.D. first century, or beyond our dispensation). He also purposed to enlighten curious believers in the Jewish program (whether A.D. first century, or beyond our dispensation).

Fury Turned Away? #7

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away; Until thy brother’s anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day? (Genesis 27:44,45 KJV).

How does this “fury” compare to Almighty God’s anger?

The Holy Spirit, in Acts chapter 7, pled with Israel’s unbelieving leaders one final time. After one year of post-Calvary ministry, they still refuse conversion: “[55] But he [Stephen], being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, [56] And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. [57] Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, [58] And cast him out of the city, and stoned him….”

Why did they kill Stephen? How did he upset them? They knew their “Old Testament” Scriptures, the prophecies about Messiah standing at God’s right hand. Isaiah 3:13: “The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.” Psalm 68: “[1] Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. [2] As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. Finally, Psalm 110:1: “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

Messiah would sit at the LORD’S right hand only until it would be time to rise/stand and return in wrath and judgment. (In an earlier study, we saw Peter quoted Psalm 110:1 in Acts 2:34-36, approximately a year prior to Acts chapter 7.) Convicted by the message of God’s wrath coming on them, Stephen’s audience mercilessly kills him. At the end of Peter’s life, 2 Peter chapter 3, scoffers are asking about that “looming” wrath of God that should have come some 30-plus years earlier. So, where did God’s wrath in Acts chapter 7 go? Peter provides an interesting explanation….

Fury Turned Away? #6

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away; Until thy brother’s anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day? (Genesis 27:44,45 KJV).

How does this “fury” compare to Almighty God’s anger?

In Acts chapter 3, the Holy Spirit preached through the Apostle Peter: “[18] But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. [19] Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. [20] And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: [21] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

“[22] For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. [23] And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people” (verse 23). The “destruction,” of course, is the consuming “baptism with fire” John the Baptist warned unbelieving Israel about in Matthew 3:7-12 years earlier. Acts 3:20 above forecasts this coming of Christ.

One full year after Calvary, the Prophet Stephen, standing before Israel’s wicked and unbelieving leaders, concludes his lengthy sermon. Acts 7 reports: “[55] But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, [56] And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Jesus Christ is standing in preparation to come back and judge the wicked Jews who still reject Him and contradict the Holy Spirit! God’s wrath is closer than ever, and Stephen’s guilty audience is outraged to hear of it….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who are the ‘these’ in the ‘more than these’ of John 21:15?

Fury Turned Away? #5

Monday, October 16, 2017

And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away; Until thy brother’s anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day? (Genesis 27:44,45 KJV).

How does this “fury” compare to Almighty God’s anger?

Second Peter 1:16 again: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” This, along with verses 17 and 18, refers to the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-8. To silence contemporary Bible critics, Peter insists he personally witnessed a preview of the glory of Christ’s coming; he is writing at the end of his life (1:13-15), approximately 30 to 35 years after Calvary. Throughout Christ’s earthly ministry (Matthew through John) and early Acts (chapters 1-7), the Lord Jesus and His 12 Apostles preached about divine wrath coming upon Israel.

John the Baptist preached to the unbelieving Jews just prior to the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Matthew chapter 3: “[11] I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: [12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.This “fire,” “unquenchable fire,” is said to be coming within their lifetime. Yet, there was no such wrath at Christ’s First Coming, even after Israel rejected and crucified Him.

After Calvary and Christ’s ascension to Heaven, the Holy Spirit led Peter to preach on Pentecost, Acts chapter 2: “[34] For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, [35] Until I make thy foes thy footstool. [36] Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Christ is again said to be coming in wrath to judge His enemies….

Growing, Multiplying, and Prevailing

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31 KJV).

Despite the persecution, the Word of God will be proclaimed, it will grow, it will multiply, and it will prevail!

In chapter 3, Apostles Peter and John heal the lame man who has sat at the Temple gate for many years. Peter begins to deliver his second sermon in Jerusalem, urging apostate Israel to repent and prepare for (resurrected) Jesus Christ’s return. As chapter 4 opens, the nation’s religious leaders are very displeased to hear about the Lord Jesus. They imprison Peter and John, releasing them after threatening them and telling them not to preach at all in Jesus’ name. Today’s Scripture is believing Israel’s prayer to God that they might speak His Word with confidence in the midst of mistreatment.

We read in Acts 6:7, several months later: “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Once chapter 12 begins, King Herod kills the Apostle James brother of John. He is trying to silence God’s message by slaying God’s messenger. As prideful Herod gives a speech, “immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten with worms, and gave up the ghost” (verse 23). In contrast to its now-deceased opponent, But the word of God grew and multiplied” (verse 24). Describing the Apostle Paul’s Gentile ministry out in modern Turkey, far from Jerusalem, Acts 19:20 says: “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” These pagans gave up their witchcraft and other occult practices, and they embraced sound Bible doctrine!

While Satan throughout the Book of Acts tried his absolute best to stamp out God’s Word, to prevent it from spreading, he failed. It “prevailed.” However, he is active today, 20 centuries later, still tirelessly opposing it via governmental oppression and corrupting it through religious tradition. As Acts demonstrates, however, he is fighting a losing battle! Praise the Lord! Like before, “so mightily grew the word of God and prevailed!

Christ Liveth in Me

Sunday, April 16, 2017

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

“He is risen” is not a simple blasé cliché!

When Jesus’ disciples came to His tomb on that glorious Sunday morning nearly 2,000 years ago, they were startled to find it empty! Angels inform them that He has resurrected, but they are still in shock (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8). Jesus Christ Himself must later explain the Scriptures to them regarding what happened those last few days (Luke 24:44-46).

However, until Paul’s ministry, Christ’s finished crosswork is not preached as good news for salvation. Peter and Israel’s other apostles simply preach that Jesus Christ is now resurrected to “sit on [David’s] throne” (Acts 2:30)—that is bad news for much of Israel, for they still reject Him, weeks and months after His resurrection and ascension. Throughout early Acts, Israel’s apostles warn her that Jesus Christ is coming back to judge them.

When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, we learn that we Gentiles can benefit from Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Israel’s rejected Messiah is now our way to heaven! Yes, Israel hated Him, and demanded that He experience the most awful method of execution devised, but God allowed it in order to accomplish His will. Satan attempted to hinder God’s will by having Christ killed, but all that did was provide the method whereby God could save us pagan Gentiles. Calvary’s finished crosswork frees us from Satan’s evil system and gives us a chance to be God’s people (Acts 26:17,18)!

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins, that crucifixion is our death to self and sin, and that resurrection is our raising to walk in newness of life—His life (today’s Scripture; cf. Romans 6:1-11)!

Indeed, Jesus Christ is alive, and He lives in and through those who walk by faith in God’s Word to them, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon! 🙂

HAPPY EASTER!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study by the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

Household Rules #12

Monday, January 16, 2017

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 (Colossians 1:25 KJV).

And, just what is this “dispensation of God which is given to [Paul] for [us]?”

To repeat, some people hate dispensational Bible study. Modern English Bible “scholars” eliminate “dispensation,” therefore hiding the system’s biblical foundation. If they omit the term from Scripture, then they quite easily argue dispensationalism is false. However, while refusing to admit it, even they understand some dispensational boundaries. They know a dispensational boundary exists between an animal-sacrificing Old Testament Jew and us today. They understand animal sacrifices were God’s directions to Israel under the Law, not directions to us under Grace. They know God’s directions to Noah to build an Ark are Scripture, but not to us. Yet, they claim and follow other verses not to or about us. How silly!

Certain “church people” loathe dispensational Bible study—especially Pauline dispensationalism—because it prevents them from ripping out of context verses from Jesus’ earthly ministry and early Acts. They enjoy claiming the gifts of healing and tongues; they like the Beatitudes, Sermon on the Mount, and so-called “Lord’s Prayer;” they harp on Christ’s parables; they revel in water baptism, Sabbath-day keeping, and confession of sins. If they were to recognize dispensationalism as true, and apply it consistently in Scripture, then they would see only Paul’s doctrine as applicable to us (today’s Scripture; cf. Ephesians 3:2).

They dislike Paul since he was not sent to water baptize (1 Corinthians 1:17); did not have the gifts of healing and tongues his entire ministry (1 Corinthians 13:8-13; 1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:20); did not quote the “Lord’s Prayer,” Sermon on the Mount, or Beatitudes; did not emphasize confession of sins; directly opposed forced giving/tithing (2 Corinthians 9:6,7); and outright condemned Sabbath-day keeping (Galatians 4:9-11; Colossians 2:16). Paul emphasized grace rather than works. Thus, some groups have removed Paul’s “nuisance” epistles entirely from their Bible!

Dispensational Bible study—specifically, Pauline dispensationalism—threatens church traditions (works-religion). They must ignore dispensational boundaries in order to keep people working and striving in church programs and denominations. In doing so, they underscore Law, thus refuting the Gospel of Grace and hindering victorious Christian living….