How many “secrets” did Paul reveal in his epistles?
It may help us…to understand that there were several secrets referred to by Paul. The discussion which brought about this study of when did the Body of Christ begin had to with the secret hidden in God for the ages, Ephesians 3:9 which is about the new administration being a joint body and so when was this particular secret first revealed by Paul, before or after Acts 28?
The Acts 28 view is that it was not revealed by Paul until he writes of it in Ephesians and even those who are not in that particular sect will agree that secret was not revealed until after Acts 28.
From what we have seen in this very lengthy supplement with our review of the four letters written by Paul before Acts 28 it seems that he revealed information not known before and which was pertinent to his evangel. When we say “his evangel” we are referring to what was given him through revelations by Christ and this is why Paul says my evangel or the evangel I was entrusted with. His evangel was a secret until given to him through revelations from Christ. That evangel is of a joint body, Jew and gentile becoming a new administration with a calling and destiny different from that given to the bride church based in Judea.
Christ gave Paul an evangel which Paul said had been a secret hidden in God for the ages and that was the new administration, the Body of Christ. We read that Paul after his severing taught at Acts 13:39 something different from what the bride church was teaching, concerning justification being given to those who believed in Jesus Christ. This was so different from what Peter as head of the bride church and or the elders in Jerusalem taught and that of the Judaisers professing Jesus as their messiah but opposing Paul as they were unable to accept what Paul was teaching his disciples among the nations about justification. They were clinging to the Mosaic Law by which works were required for righteousness.
Also Paul wrote of many other, new things pertinent to his evangel found in the letters he writes between Acts 13 and before Acts 28. 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians and Romans contained these things which would mean that Paul had also spoke of these specific things when with his disciples in person and his teaching was for those saved through his evangel from the revelations and instructions he had received from Christ for the new administration…the Body of Christ.
Paul began teaching that information following his severing in his Holy Spirit appointed role of an Apostle and with his commission to the nations or to those of the Uncircumcision. Acts 13:1-3
Let’s take a look at the times Paul said, I tell you a secret or the secret of in his letters
I have placed the secrets in the order of when each is given with how I feel the letters were written as it shows a progression of Paul revealing the information given to him for the Body of Christ, beginning with the minor or immature ecclesia, building precept upon precept.
Please read these through in the order given and see if it seems possible that Paul may have explained much more concerning these secrets when in person with them. As I said earlier, some things Paul said in the epistle addressed to the Ephesians are pretty deep for him to be revealing for the very first time and through a letter? How would they hope to understand what he was writing about if he had not spoken of those truths earlier, when he was with them in person?
The secrets or mysteries Paul writes of in his epistles
The secret of God’s wisdom, concealed, from before the eons…1 Corinthians 2:6-11
The secret the deputies of Christ were administrators of God’s secrets….1 Corinthians 4:1, 2
The secret of the saints change in resurrection….1 Corinthians 15:51,52
The secret of Israel’s callousness…Romans 11:25
The secret hushed in times eonian….Romans 16:25
The secret of His will….Ephesians 1:9,10
The secret of Christ….Ephesians 3:3-5 Colossians 2:2 4:3
The administration of the secret…Ephesians 3:9,10
The secret of the joint body…Ephesians 3:6
The secret of Christ and the church…Ephesians 5:32
The secret of the evangel….Ephesians 6:19,20
The secret concealed.. Colossians 1:26
The secret of Christ among the nations…Colossians 1:27
The secret of God and (even) Christ…Colossians 2:2
The secret of the snatching away… 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
The secret of iniquity or lawlessness….2 Thessalonians 2:7
The secret of the faith 1 Timothy 3:10
The secret of Godliness….1 Timothy 3:16
Lets take a close look at the first two secrets on this list, 1 Corinthians 2:6-11 “Yet wisdom are we speaking among the mature, yet a wisdom not of this eon, neither of the chief men of this eon, who are being discarded, but we are speaking God’s wisdom in a secret, wisdom which has been concealed, which God designates before…before the eons, for our glory, which not one of the chief men of this eon knows, for if they had known, they would not crucify the Lord of glory.” Notice the underlined phrases which sound very much like what we find in Ephesians 3:9 concerning the secret hidden in God for the eons. The first letter written to the Corinthians was in the Acts 19 time period.
Those who maintain that the Body of Christ did not begin until after Acts 28 say, that Paul did not reveal the secret of the joint body until he writes about it in Ephesians 3:6. Paul begins this chapter speaking of the secret of the new administration and of the secret of Christ…which they say is not referring to the joint body until Verse 6. We will discuss that argument a little further on…lets first go through these two passages in Corinthians.
In 1 Corinthians 2:6-11 it seems to me that Paul certainly alluded to a secret known among the more mature, as he says, that secret, or that wisdom had been concealed implying it was no longer concealed as he also says the wisdom we are speaking of was not of this eon…meaning not known, not taught by anyone in this eon. Also, before the eons, for our glory!
The eons, plural would be of course before the disruption of the world as he later explains in Ephesians 3:1-3 and this eon is the eon Paul lived in and we are still living in now. We might also make note that Paul did not say this was wisdom only God or he knew about or that I can’t tell you about it yet? He is speaking to those who know what he is talking about!
Let’s look at what Knoch said in his Concordant Commentary. “This wisdom is fully unfolded in Paul’s later epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. It cannot be grasped, even today, by carnal saints. It is for the spiritual, who have seen the end of the flesh. The secret here hinted at by Paul can be none other than the secret economy unfolded in his Ephesian epistle, which is based upon the secret of Christ or His exaltation as the Head of the whole universe.”
So Knoch felt Paul was hinting at or alluding to the secret in Ephesians in this first Corinthians letter. Paul said he was speaking this wisdom among the mature and as Knoch says he has hinted at the glory they are called too. It seems to me Paul had to of revealed the secret to them in person much earlier by what he said to them in this letter. Yes, perhaps hinting or alluding to something which they already knew, or else why hint at something they had no comprehension of whatsoever? For me, Paul’s words imply his readers were aware of what he is talking about?
So we might ask why then did he just not write in this letter what he later writes in Ephesians and Colossians? Not only were the Corinthians for the most part immature but the ecclesia was just a minor and in other words likened to a child, needing to be tutored until its members as the new administration was brought to maturity or in other words the spiritual realm as a spiritual entity. We must also factor in that they were considered a minor while they were in the dispensation of Holy Spirit and Paul was following the rule to the Jew first. Full maturity could not be realized until the physical gifts had ceased.
Paul knew he was to go to Rome as that would perhaps be his final place to obey that rule and so when he arrives in Rome the first thing he did was to call the Jewish leaders to meet with him. Acts 28: 15-28 gives the events following his arrival and meeting with the Jewish leaders on two separate occasions in which Paul explains his arrest in Jerusalem and gives his testimony with meeting Christ, seeking to convince them that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed their promised messiah.
He also again quotes Isaiah 6 and seems to be then at peace that he had followed the rule to the Jew first as well as his commission to herald Christ to the nations…remember the King James incorrectly says “is to be sent” to the nations when in fact it says, “was sent” and as we have read all through Acts, Paul was indeed going to the nations establishing his ecclesia.
Getting back to this first letter to the Corinthians and taking a look at 1 Corinthians 4:1,2 Paul said something else which also seems to indicate that he had already shared the secret or secrets with them. He refers to their being “deputies of Christ” and “as administrators of God’s secrets.” To be an administrator of a secret one must know it in order to teach it. Also we need to note the plurals, as secrets more than one and administrators more than just Paul.
Paul was the one given the secrets to reveal, so those who were deputies and administrators of those secrets had to be taught them by him? I cannot help but feel that Paul shared and taught the secrets to those whom he said were mature and thus they would be those who were deputies and administrators of the secrets in order for them to care for the disciples and teach the immature.
It is most likely that the secrets were not made public knowledge until the time was right as I said earlier, is it possible they would become public knowledge and official when Paul completes the word by the writing of the prison epistles…as they are then recognized as inspired scripture? The letters were Holy writ and were thus then copied and circulated and so were available for any and all to read even those who were not a part of the new administration. The time for public knowledge was probably delayed until after the rule to the Jew first had ended with the ending of dispensation of Holy Spirit.
Paul has said, the minor ecclesia would then become mature, in spirit when he had completed the word of God. Colossians 1:25,26 Paul’s letters reveal the secret hidden in God, revelations given only to him of God’s next phase of salvation through a group of saints called and justified in Christ and who are to share Christ’s heavenly allotment. Also, we might review Paul’s words which fall in the time frame of Acts 15, at Galatians 2:2 “Now I went up in accord with a revelation, and submitted to them the evangel which I am heralding among the nations, yet privately to those of repute…..”
Paul went to Jerusalem, being told to do so by a revelation and when there, he shared with the elders and apostles the evangel he was heralding. It did not say the evangel he was about to herald or would herald at some later date but says he was already heralding it among the nations….what evangel would this be, but his? If it was the same as the elders were heralding why would Paul need to even talk with them about it. This letter was written in the Acts 19 time period. The context shows the discussion had to do with circumcision and that Paul was teaching justification and that his disciples did not need to follow the Mosaic Law and or be circumcised thus the opposition. To his evangel!
So, I think we have settled that Paul was heralding His evangel about the Body of Christ as being a new administration, whose home law was that of grace in person and in the first four letters written before Acts 28. We have just, pointed again to the first letter to the Corinthians where he does speak of the secret, which is the wisdom of God that had been concealed for the eons and have also established this is the secret spoken of in Ephesians 3:3-9. Also that, those whom he speaks of as mature must have been given that information when he was with them in person as in that first letter he says that they were deputies of Christ and administrators of Gods secrets.
Perhaps understanding just what or who is a deputy will also be helpful, a deputy was one who was placed in authority over others and also is translated as minister, officer, servant and proconsul. Let’s look at some examples. In Acts 13:5 we are told that Barnabas and Saul began their journey to the nations and that someone traveled with them as it says they “had John also as deputy.”
This was the Apostle John one of the 12 for the bride church, and so he traveled with them for a time in his role of a deputy which showed the approval of the apostles and the elders in Jerusalem for Paul and Barnabas in fulfilling their commission of being sent to the nations. In Verse 13b,14a we read that John departs and returns to Jerusalem.
Now Knoch has said, this was likely some sort of weakness on John’s part? But, I wonder if perhaps, the reason John left, since his departure followed Paul’s first miracle as the Apostle Paul and that is the reason. As the previous verses tell us that “Paul was filled with Holy Spirit and called down blindness on Elymas the Magician and thus the proconsul Sergius Paul a gentile was saved.” The power to heal and or blind as on this occasion as well as to cast out demons proved one was a chosen Apostle of Christ as they had to have personally seen Him in order to be an apostle.
So, all that Paul had told them of his meeting with Christ on the road to Damascus and the commission that was given to him by Christ was proven by this miracle in this account, as it is acknowledged that Paul was filled with Holy Spirit. So I am wondering, if this then meant that the Apostle John was no longer needed to travel with them in that role of deputy and so he was then free to return to Jerusalem.
There were also many other witnesses to this incident and what Paul did would be told and retold establishing him as a chosen apostle. We also must recognize it was not John’s commission as one of the twelve apostles out of Jerusalem to go to the nations with Paul. It seems to me John’s role as deputy was over after that event and Paul was then an established deputy and apostle himself.
The next place we can look at, using of the word deputy is in Acts 26;16-18. Paul is giving his account of meeting Christ on the road to Damascus to King Agrippa and as we learned earlier in this study, each time he relates that event, he seems to add more details of what Christ said to him that day. “Now the Lord said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet, for I was seen by you for this, to fix upon you before, for a deputy and a witness both of what you have perceived and that in which I will be seen by you, extricating you from the people (Jews) and from the nations, to whom I am commissioning you, to open their eyes, to turn them about from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God, for them to get a pardon of sins and an allotment among those who have been hallowed by faith that is in Me.”
So from Paul’s words we can see that he knew from that first meeting with Christ that he was to be a deputy, one in authority in other words. So his words at 1 Corinthians 4:1, about the deputies and administrators, as we see they are in the plural and so those under Paul…were given that authority and it would seem to me, that he must have shared with these ones the secrets he had received through the revelations given him, in order for them to be able or qualified to teach Paul’s disciples and make disciples.
The minor ecclesia would need pastors or teachers to guide and instruct them into their particular truth. A teacher, a deputy, an administrator must be versed in the home law before they could be put into those offices as a deputy, an administrator in order to teach others! Okay now, let’s look at what the differences are with three of these secrets Paul taught.
The secret of the Christ, Ephesians 3:5 and the Joint body and joint partakes at Ephesians 3:6 with the new administration of the secret at Ephesians 3:9
What are the differences with the secret of Christ, the new administration and the secret of the joint body or allotment in Ephesians 3:3-9? I ask this because in my discussion with the Acts 28 teacher which caused this supplement to come about she had emphasized the importance of these differences as having bearing on when she believed the secret was revealed and thus when the Body of Christ began. She maintained the joint body or she phrased it as the together bodies did not come about until Paul writes of it in Ephesians and thus the Body of Christ could not begin until after Acts 28:25-28. Let’s look at these different secrets.
Now concerning, the secret of Christ, in Ephesians 3:5 it seems to me that Paul had already explained much of this in Ephesians 1:8b-11 “In all wisdom and prudence making known to us, the secret of His will…which He purposed in Him to have an administration of the complement of the eras, to head up all in the Christ both that in the heavens and that on the earth…”
First, Christ was not the secret, as He was foretold as the promised seed of Genesis 3:15 and thus the promised messiah for Israel as the One to come as their rescuer and King in other prophecies. His sovereignty was understood as king of Israel and in His kingdom Israel would have dominance over other nations bringing foretold blessings.
In regards to this, Knoch said, “the secret of Christ was partially known. God’s purpose had been only partially made known before and seemed confined to earth. His headship over the earth had been made known to the prophets of old. His headship in the heavens was made known to the apostles, especially Peter...1Peter 3:22. But the secret economy, the present administration of grace, was never disclosed to anyone except through Paul. Ephesians 3:9. It (the new administration of grace) was not partially hidden, like the mystery of Christ, but was an absolute secret, hidden in God.”
We can remember that Paul teaches that God has a family and or a large household made up of those in the heavens and those on the earth and that his evangel for the new administration was that those called into it are to be taken to heaven to rule. While Israel’s saints will rule on the earth as was promised and foretold all along in the Old Testament.
Jesus Christ is Head of both churches…He is over all….that in the heavens and that on the earth. Also, Paul explained that the saints of Israel would be judging the earth’s inhabitants but that his disciples would be judging messengers at 1 Corinthians 6:3 and that would be hard for humans on earth to do, since the messengers are spirit beings and live in the celestials.
Thus the secret of Christ is not the mystery or secret given to Paul concerning the secret administration, which is the secret of the joint body, of Ephesians 3:6. Which that passage also says “joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus, through the evangel of which I became the dispenser.” Or as Verse 9 clarifies this mystery or secret, “To me less than the least of all saints, was granted this grace; to bring the evangel of the untraceable riches of Christ to the nations and to enlighten all as to what is the administration of the secret which has been concealed from the eons in God.”
Okay, so the secret of Christ was only a partial secret as Israel knew of Him, as He is their messiah and coming King. But, what was not known until revealed to Paul is this new administration which is a joint body, or a body of joint enjoyers (from all nations joined together into one body of saints) of a joint allotment with Christ and His allotment in the heavens, (going to heaven to be with Christ and to share His glory in that realm.) This is the secret hidden in God, not known before by any men…until revealed to Paul.
So, the Acts 28 teacher argues then that the secret is the joint body and that was not known of or had remained hidden in God until Paul writes of it in Ephesian 3:6, is she correct? To answer this, I first would ask this question, who did the disciples in the nations discipled under Paul think they were if not a joint body? Weren’t they aware that they were a body of believers made up of different nationalities and placed together as one body, one unit, saved through Paul’s evangel?
Jews, idolatrous Israelites and Gentiles discipled by Paul into a new administration and who were not well received by the Judaisers from Jerusalem even though the Judaisers also professed a belief in Jesus Christ. So they obviously knew there was a difference? It seems she was stuck on the use of the exact term, joint body but is that enough to make the claims that the Acts 28 adherents claim to be absolute truth for when the new administration began?
Let’s look elsewhere as it seems that Paul also speaks of joint enjoyers before Ephesians at Romans 8:17b? “Yet joint enjoyers of Christ’s allotment, if so be that we are suffering together, that we should be glorified together also.” Is not a joint enjoyer close enough to joint body to be referring to the same group of saints?
And what of Galatians 4:7 “So that you are no longer a slave, but a son. Now if a son, an enjoyer also of an allotment from God, through Christ.” Am I imagining things or isn’t he talking about the same things as in the letter to the Ephesians? I will say again, I agree, that in the prison epistles Paul gives far more details which give us a fuller or more complete understanding, but how can we say he did not teach those very things to his deputies earlier? And thus would they not be teaching the disciples left in their care?
Let’s review some more comments on Ephesians in the Concordant Commentary. In the first paragraph, on Page 286 Knoch says, “Paul’s perfection epistles are emphatically the truth for the present. The Ephesian letter, being addressed to all believers in Christ Jesus, in contrast with the Circumcision who hardly knew Him by this title, is the ranking revelation for the members of the joint body of Christ. Here first are revealed those secrets which distinguish this administration from all others.”
I understand what he has said and yet I don’t? Did we not just read in the first letter to the Corinthians about the secret concealed by God and in Romans and Galatians, of the joint enjoyers of an allotment? I agree far more details are given in the Ephesians and Colossians letters, but to say those things were not talked of before and were kept secret or had not been revealed by Paul in person before he writes the prison epistles is hard for me to understand? How would they know what he was alluding to in any of those early letters if he had never discussed any of these things while with them in person?
Also was not this administration distinguished by Paul as early on as Acts 13:39 we are told he was teaching, those in Christ were being justified outside the Law of Moses and that circumcision held no value any longer? If that did not distinguish a difference in what was being taught by Paul to his disciples, what were the Judaisers so upset about? Paul’s evangel caused a separation from the old administration, based on Law and the promises of the fathers given to Israel as a nation and so was not that obvious to them by the fact that they were being infiltrated and opposed by the Judaisers who were disagreeing with what Paul was teaching his disciples?
Paul’s disciples, were of the nations, and were quite aware that they were being taught different things from the believers governed by Jerusalem. They had to of known they were a new administration, why else was all the counsel given them by Paul on showing love to one another if not because they, were already a joint body, made up of a diverse group of people, from different localities and sects or religious persuasions, as well as being a mixed group of Israelites and Gentiles with a few Jews thrown in the mix.
Paul told them, no one nation or nationality held superiority over the other, nor did any social standing, but that his disciples were equals. In everything he teaches them, it was always in relation to their being a unit, many members but acting as one body who were being called out from all the nations…is not that a joint body?
Now we can also read where Paul tells his disciples they are joint heirs with Christ and will be glorified together in Romans 8:17. If he had not talked about these things to some degree in person with his disciples wouldn’t this letter leave the reader dumbfounded as to what was he talking about? Christendom doesn’t get this because they have all believers going to heaven. But Israel knew nothing of going to heaven; all of their promises are earthly promises. So when Paul talks about enjoyers of a celestial allotment that was new and very different.
What we can see that Paul wrote in these first four letters, are things related to the secret and secrets he was given for the new administration. Knoch said Paul hinted at or alluded to the secret of the joint body, so yes these references may be vague because those to whom he is writing would recognize what he was alluding to as they had discussed it in person. This might be similar as to how Jesus would give parables in his talks with the crowds and of which most who were listening to Him did not comprehend them, but Jesus had explained or would give the explanation of those parables to His chosen disciples?
Knoch continues with his comments, “Ephesians, then unfolds the truth of the joint body in which all the members are of equal rank. Colossians makes Him the Head over the body and the members subordinate to Him.” Ephesians 3:4 is where we first find the exact term of a “joint body.” Did not Paul tell the Corinthians they were members of one body, Jew and Gentile alike and also that they were the Body of Christ at 1 Corinthians 12:27?
Paul also, gave instructions on their placement in the Body of Christ, by telling them they were equals and this was speaking to Jews, the sons of Israel and Gentiles, as being members of one body…..which is obvious that it was a joint body in Galatians 3:26b-29 “for you are all sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus For whoever are baptized into Christ put on Christ, in Whom there is no Jew nor yet Greek, there is no slave nor yet free, there is no male and female, for you are one in Christ Jesus.” Now is this not a description of a joint body made up of believers from all walks of life and nationalities?
We might notice also, how Paul repeatedly uses the title Christ in speaking with them as this is Who he saw and Who he received his revelations from and Who we are as His body are to relate too as our Head. Israel relates to the man, Jesus as their messiah. The use of the title of Christ has to do with His heavenly station and glory, while the name of Jesus has to do with his earthly sojourn and of His time of humiliation.
Paul also in Romans 10,11 gave the illustration of the olive tree, with the explanation of the grafting in of the nations to the root of the Olive tree which was Israel? Was not the question raised, of what was going to happen to Israel, in relation to were they being thrust away forever? Paul helped his disciples to understand that the casting away was not permanent, but that the new administration would temporarily replace Israel as Gods People, but that one day….all of Israel will be saved. Romans 11:25
This too shows us they knew they were no longer part of Israel and her promises and so what were they part of? Since it was obvious that they knew they were made up of mixed nationalities how far a stretch was it for them to realize they were a joint body without that specific term being used by Paul in his first four letters?
Knoch continues with his comments on the Ephesian letter, “Never before had the celestial destiny of the present ecclesia been declared.” Again I have to ask, what was Paul talking about in the 15th Chapter of that first letter to the Corinthians? He begins that chapter with reference to his evangel which he had shared with them in person but was now being challenged by the Judaisers and so he says to them at 1 Corinthians 15:1 “Now I am making known to you, brethren, the evangel which I bring to you, which also you accepted, in which also you stand and through which also you are saved.”
Paul then lays out the argument for the resurrections and goes into detail about them. The Pharisees of Israel were very well aware of the Old Testament teachings on the resurrection from the dead, they knew of the just and the unjust class spoken of at Daniel 12:2 and that the resurrection for the faithful of Israel, the just class was to take place on this earth when their messiah was ruling as king. So we have to ask, didn’t Paul write of or add something new and different concerning the resurrections in this 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians? Did he not add information about another resurrection…by describing two different glories, it seems so to me?
In that chapter which is fondly referred to as the resurrection chapter, he speaks of the firstfruit and of those at His presence and of those at the consummation. Verses 23,24 Then he begins to explain in Verse 35 with a question, “How are the dead being roused?”
Moving to Verses 38-44 Paul gives the answer God gives a body as He wills…why say this unless there is to be a difference in the bodies given in the resurrections? Does he not then continue to explain this by saying, “There are bodies celestial and well as bodies terrestrial but a different glory indeed is that of the celestial yet a different that of the terrestrial..?” Does he not also say, “according as we wear the image of the soilish we shall be wearing the image also of the Celestial?”
I also noticed, Celestial, is capitalized in the King James in this passage in referring to Christ in His Glorified Celestial body? Paul is telling them they will have that same image...or body. I have always felt this was speaking of the different glory that those called to heaven will be given, a celestial glory from that which will be given to those of Israel who will be raised as vivified saints, with a terrestrial glory. Celestial implies a vivified, immortal, glorified body suited for the celestial realms and the terrestrial glory a vivified, immortal, glorified body suited for the earth.
In the letters to the Circumcision saints…I find 1 Peter 1:4 speaking of sharing His glory, and this is obviously the glory Jesus Christ as Messiah and King of Israel in that He will share with the faithful of Israel and the 12 apostles who will sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel in the millennial reign of Christ and so Peter also said that they will “become participants of the divine nature fleeing from the corruption which is in the world by lust.”
They will be raised again on this earth and in a world amongst mortals who they will be evangelizing to Christ. With their new vivified terrestrial glorified bodies they will be free of all corruption and lusts. They will be given bodies just as Jesus had after his resurrection, and as free from sin as Jesus was in His earthly ministry, like Him, spirit led, and filled with God’s Spirit, thus vivified, immortal but bodies suited for earthly life. That is why two types of glories are described, celestial and terrestrial.
But it is only Paul who speaks of the celestial calling in relation to those called into his evangel and whose destiny is to be snatched away to meet the Lord in the air, and live in that realm, thus needing celestial bodies as Christ now occupies. He is depicted as sitting on the throne in heaven waiting for the time to stand up and take action, first for His body, bringing them to their home and then later to return to Israel as their King.
And then in Verse 51, Paul says “I tell you a secret, We all, indeed shall not be put to repose, yet we all shall be changed, in an instant, in the twinkle of an eye, at the last trump.” This chapter may not state specifically that Paul’s administration is going to heaven but it certainly has laid the groundwork for it. Or, is he supplying details of what he told them before while with them in person.
Now in his describing the celestial glory and the terrestrial glory he did not say that was a secret…but when he gets to where he tells them a secret, by saying not all would die, with the term, put to repose, but that all would be changed in an instant. Paul explains this change in more detail at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
But as I am writing this, I am reminded that those of Israel were told by their Prophets of the last days and of those living through the tribulation time period, with some being alive when Christ arrives to establish His kingdom with the promised resurrection of the just in the Lords day and so didn’t they already know that some would not die? If the common saint did not understand this, Paul certainly understood Israel’s evangel as he had mastered the scriptures. So what is Paul telling his disciples, if it was a secret as he said? It must have had to do with what he had previously told them of the bodies’ celestial, as the celestial glory?
I do agree and see that when we get to the prison epistles all of these things are elaborated on in minute detail and we can then fully understand the spiritual nature of who and what is the Body of Christ with its calling in Grace. But how can the perfection of the prison epistles negate what we have read in the first four letters Paul wrote before them?
It is said, well we know the whole story and so maybe I am seeing more in them than is really there? It seems to me that we can know the whole story by viewing all the letters today, and so I wonder if it was possible that the disciples back then, also knew the whole story from personal teaching from Paul?
I am open to anyone’s comments on this as I just don’t understand why some are so emphatic in their belief that those early letters are either not for us today or that the Body of Christ did not begin until after Acts 28. Or that the early letters do not reveal that Paul was sharing the secrets given him by means of revelations from Christ for and about the new administration or even reference them. At this point I have to disagree. I feel that perhaps we need to separate what was taught in private with that which was public and made knowledge through his letters?
I have said many times, we need to discern what fits for us today in this world and what does not because of things which were spoken and applicable 2000 years ago for those of Israelite heritage from that which would apply to a true gentile as well as being of a different culture and time. So again, the tool of rightly dividing must be used even within our own Apostles letters….as not all applies to us today.
Moving on, I have debated whether I would go through the rest of the secrets on the list but have decided to forgo doing so, since this supplemental article has grown, exceeding my initial thoughts when I began it many months ago. So, I will give as homework for the reader to look up the rest of the verses in the list, becoming familiar with the secrets Paul speaks of in his letters as it would make a good study for each of us. I do have thoughts of another supplement with going through the rest of Paul’s letters like we have gone through these first four and so will save my study of these passages until then.
Now in bringing this study to its conclusion lets see if we have found the answers for the other questions that we were looking for.
When did the Grace dispensation and the Conciliation of the world begin?
I have said that Saul was given absolute grace when he met Christ on the road to Damascus…as we are told that he was an example of an enemy of Christ chosen by God to display His Grace because of the work of Christ on the cross. But we must remember this was the dispensation of Holy Spirit, with direct and active involvement by God and or Christ. Have we even entertained the thought that Saul could have resisted and or rejected that meeting with Christ? I thought I would review that day with him. Acts 9:5 Saul said “Who art thou Lord?” he acknowledged that the person he was speaking with was the Lord.
Then the Lord says in answer to Saul, “I am Jesus Whom you are persecuting.” He is told to rise and enter the city and that he would receive further instructions. Saul was blind and needed help and he followed the instructions and entered the city and house and waited. The Lord sent Ananias to him and he is healed and is then baptized and then we are told that he spent time with the disciples in Damascus. So as we have discussed, Saul followed the pattern for those of Israelite heritage. Repentance, gives the pardon of sin with baptism and the confession of Jesus as Lord. Verses 17-22
Saul it seems was absolved of the unforgivable sin for which only was the nation of Israel liable for and thus as a Jewish Pharisee of the tribe of Benjamin he was guilty, very guilty indeed as he was one of the foremost opposers to the disciples of Jesus. Philippians 3:4-6. Please also read 1 Timothy 1:12-16 for more of Paul’s own words of his sinning and note, the use of Jesus Christ and then Christ Jesus. Ponder on this, as to why he switches in this way in relation to either Jesus or Christ?
But to continue, we have established that Saul was called during the dispensation of Holy Spirit, and also when he was severed and becomes the Apostle Paul and takes up his commission to the nations. And during that dispensation God exercised judgments on the conduct of saints and unbelievers. Not only in the bride church but even later in the ecclesia that Paul began as is indicated at 1 Corinthians 11:27-32. Paul plainly refers to judgments from God upon some in relation to their partaking of the Lords Supper unworthily. If one could partake of this unworthily, how can this be a ritual for us today in absolute Grace?
So it seems to me that any condemnation for conduct during that time would mean that absolute grace was not reigning. Paul writes a year or two later at Romans 8:1 that there is no condemnation for those in Christ.” So, how are we to reconcile what is said in these two letters? It would seem a change had taken place sometime between 1 Corinthians and Romans…in between the time period of Acts 19 and Acts 20?
I would also make mention, I cannot find Paul talking about the Lords Supper or dinner in scripture again? I would think this is very important…if this was a ritual or dinner we were to carry on, why wouldn’t we read of Paul’s seeing that it was done in his ecclesias properly and or any mention of his observance of it?
But getting back to the time frame for when did grace begin to reign fully and when also would the conciliation of the world reign fully…It seems to me that they work together, hand in hand and how could they fully reign while the dispensation of Holy Spirit is also operating? But first, maybe we should back up in time to get a perspective of why and when Saul was severed and becomes the Apostle Paul. Why at that particular juncture was it time for his severing, why not earlier? We first must go back to Acts 12 when James one of the 12 apostles, the first one to be killed, and this was….breaking the circle of the twelve.
In the past during the ministry of Jesus it seemed that the power and authority was only with the 12 when they were in unity either spiritually or later physically when Mathias replaces Judas that the 12 were a unit again, and that then the Holy Spirit came to them and thus I feel began the dispensation of Holy Spirit. “The Circle of the Twelve” by John Essex is an excellent article concerning this and can be found on the concordant website. www.concordant.org. So what I feel is relevant here is that it was after James was killed that Saul was severed from Israel and officially sent to the nations as an Apostle, it was then time to begin his commission.
Perhaps if we also keep in mind that before Acts 13 and his severing he was not yet, an apostle, nowhere do we read of him being referred to as one nor do we read of him doing any of the signs or making any disciples. It seems he associated with believers outside the land of Israel and mostly in Antioch. He himself says, he wished to herald the evangel of Christ amongst those who had not heard of it yet so as not to be building on another’s…..disciples, which meant that his travels have taken him and will take him further and further from Jerusalem. Romans 15:20,21.
The way this is worded in the Concordant, “Yet, thus I am ambitious to be bringing the evangel where Christ is not named…” It may sound like from that point on…but in Bullinger’s notes…he points out that the term in the King James which is, “have I strived = earnestly endeavoring” or in other words to mean, I have strived to do so…to take the evangel into the nations to those who had not heard of Christ. Paul did not build on Jewish saints, he found new converts amongst the nations.
Paul himself said his apostleship began at his severing, at Romans 1:1 and that severing occurred at Acts 13:1-3 thus giving us the time frame of when he became the apostle to the nations. He also states his apostleship was to the nations at 2 Timothy 1:11. This was agreed upon by him and Peter as stated at Galatians 2:9. Peter, an apostle for Israel would herald Christ to the Circumcision, Jews! While Paul would herald Christ to the Uncircumcision…which as we learned included the sons of Israel living in the nations and who were not practicing Judaism.
Of course in the absolute viewpoint, Paul was chosen to be the apostle for the uncircumcision far earlier than Acts13. In Gods mind, just as you and I, as Paul will write of much later, the Body of Christ chosen before the disruption of the world at Ephesians 1:1-3. And this is why he also says, he was severed from his mothers womb and had called him to this grace at Galatians 1:15.
So, at this point, and in the absolute viewpoint we must acknowledge from scripture all was foreknown and planned from before the disruption of the world, the lamb was slain and the new administration was foreordained before the disruption. Please refer to 1 Peter 1:20 and Ephesians 1:1-3.
This is important as the reasons of, before, the disruption…sin had not entered humanity as that was before Adam and Eve. Thus this administration and its member were chosen before and thus not tainted by sin in the spiritual and absolute divine viewpoint. While Israel is said to have been chosen from the disruption and so involved in the divine aspect as being part of the sin here on earth, the physical realm. Israel, was chosen by Jehovah because of sin and would be the means by which in the relative and human viewpoint…Gods righteous standard through the Law would be revealed.
In the relative sense and in our reality, in the physical realm, was the man, Jesus, Israel’s messiah, who was without sin as He was the Son of God a direct creation in the womb and not a descendant of Adam through the blood or flesh of Mary. He died on the cross paying for the Sin and thus all sins and He was raised from the dead as Head of Gods entire family. That on the earth, Israel, and that in the Heavens, the Body of Christ when taken to heaven will be above all other sovereign beings there.
In the absolute sense, and in the spiritual realm, as God’s divine viewpoint and purpose, His blood paid for the sins of His People (Israel) Matthew 1:21 as well as “the sins of the world.” John 1:29 and thus our sins, transgressions and offenses as Paul says at 1 Corinthians 15:3 as well as what Paul also tells us at Colossians 1:20 “through Him to reconcile all to Him making peace through the blood of His cross, through Him whether those on the earth or those in the heavens.” And as also Paul tells us at Romans 4:25 and 2 Corinthians 5:19
As we have previously discussed, Paul explains “the Sin” is the curse of death inherited from Adams transgression. Thus the death of Christ paid for the release of Adams descendants from that Sin which carries the penalty of death to Adams descendants inherited through the blood. Christ’s being roused out of death, guarantees also the rousing out of death for all humanity as Paul said, “in Christ shall all be vivified” and Paul tells his disciples, “His rousing is for our justifying.” Christ was justified, without Sin or sins and thus His justification and or righteousness is imputed through Grace and Conciliation to the new administration. Paul explains this in many places but please read, through these passages at 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 Romans 4:23-25.
What happened on the cross, in the relative sense, as viewed from the human viewpoint was the physical death and resurrection of Jesus as both events were witnessed by humans and in the relative sense because it takes place on earth. But what was not seen with human eyes was that which was accomplished with God in the absolute or spiritual realm.
The divine viewpoint was not understood completely until it is revealed by Paul in his letters as he gives us the spiritual aspects of what the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ meant and accomplished for humanity as well as the entire universe. This is an example for us, that first comes the physical and or literal interpretation of scripture and later we can delve into the spiritual aspects….as I do believe there are many of these. Remembering there is the human and the divine viewpoint to everything.
At the resurrections of Jesus Christ, He became the official Head of Gods family, of both those on the earth, and those in the heavens. Ephesians 1:9,10 But, while we are living in the realm of the relative sense or human viewpoint, not everything has been put into action or officially instituted at the cross. Sin and death continue. Satan is still ruling over this earth. Evil continues and the world is not reconciled to God! Christ has not exercised His headship over the earth or over death and sin.
It does not seem to me that He has exercised His headship in the celestials since Satan and his gang still roam the heavens as well as the earth. The heavens are to be cleansed in the future when Satan and his organization are cast out of heaven and down to this earth as explained by the apostle John at Revelations 12:9.
So even though it was foreordained that Saul would become the Apostle to the nations, he did not realize it until that eventful day on the road to Damascus. He certainly did not understand it at his birth or during his life as a Jewish Pharisee, the realization of these things came later, at some point after he met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. Just as we in the Body of Christ at our birth did not realize or understand this for many years following! Paul aptly uses this as an explanation of our happening upon the truth or coming to a realization of the truth, or of God. Please read 1 Timothy 2:4. 2 Timothy 2:10, Colossians 1:9,10 and Colossians 2:2
In the mind of God…rests the divine viewpoint, the Universe is reconciled to Him! Because it is a done deal, there is no chance whatsoever that it will not be accomplished…that is the absolute viewpoint. In the relative viewpoint which is where humanity dwells, we are still living and dying in an evil unreconciled Universe!
But the contract between God and humanity was signed with the blood of Christ at Calvary! So perhaps for the new administration once a secret was revealed in Paul’s letters it then became official?. Grace, absolute grace is the home law of the new administration which is the Body of Christ. The world enjoys conciliation but are ignorant of it…only those who are reconciled and have insight into Paul’s distinct and separate evangel recognize that they are reconciled to God in Grace and that they are the firstfruit or foretaste of this Grace which will eventually be given by God to the entire Universe in the oncoming eons or ages.
The only headship…Christ is exercising at this time is through Paul’s evangel of Grace and by means of that Grace, He is our head and we are His body or complement. God is conciliated with the world while the process of building or adding to the new administrations continues. The members of Christ’s body are unaffected in the absolute sense by sin or death as they are pre expectant in Christ…given life eonian and the guarantee that there is no possibility of losing it by means of the earnest of the spirit. 2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5 and Ephesians 1:14.
It seems like, then, that Grace and Conciliation are linked together within Paul’s evangel for the new administration as to when they officially began to rule after the dispensation of Holy Spirit had ended? Also perhaps this is reinforced as when the Body of Christ is snatched away…the dispensation of Grace is over and thus also is the conciliation of the world as what is foretold to follows the removal of the Body of Christ is also the end of Gentile domination over Israel, the times of the gentiles ends with Israel’s restoration under the Mosaic Law Covenant again.
Prophecy shows that the nations of the world will be judged by their actions with Israel right up until the end times with the wrath or indignation of God poured out against those nations who are fighting Israel. Again read these two chapters in Revelation 12,13
It seems then and is entirely reasonable that God has an order to everything which is not always apparent to the human eye or mind. One thing or event in relation to another, and so I have been trying to understand when would things become official, or put in place. Such as absolute grace in which Paul tells us, there is no condemnation for the Body of Christ. If a saint receives judgment, is it the time of absolute Grace?
Also with the conciliation of world, or nations. I ask again, if judgment is present is it a true representation of God being conciliated and not holding offenses against them? It does not seem so to me and so our answer must be that while the dispensation of Holy Spirit is going on, those of Israel were held accountable for their rejection of Jesus Christ as proved by the works of the Holy Spirit…thus they were liable to the unforgivable sin…so grace was not reigning nor was the conciliation.
Paul writes of the conciliation at 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 and this is the first we see it spoken of in scripture. And yes, we are told conciliation was brought about on the cross by the death of Jesus…but who was truly aware of it until Paul writes of it in his second letter to the Corinthians. He then, later in his letter to the Romans tells us “Nothing consequently is now condemnation to those in Christ Jesus” at Romans 8:1 and he ends that chapter with more promises that nothing will remove this new administration from what God has purposed it to be and or from Gods love. Keeping in mind that Roman was written in the Acts 20 time frame.
But I wonder at his words in that passage, of, is now….? Was that then at the writing of this, the time when judgment for wrong acts would cease? Remember saints had been judged by God earlier and so does this mean that grace began to reign fully from that point on and thus there was now no condemnation. It seems that in the Acts 20 time frame, that I suspect the dispensation of Holy Spirit has ended or is fading out of sight…if we are to understand his words at Acts 19:21 “Now as these things were fulfilled”….?
So, we have been looking for an official beginning for when the Body of Christ began and also when did absolute grace and conciliation reign. An administration begins when its officers take office. And so for me it seems that if we pick a spot for the Body of Christ, it has to be after Saul is severed at Acts 13:1-3 as that is where we are told several times that he not only begins his commission amongst the nations but also that is when he takes office as an Apostle, as well as Prophet and Priest for the new administration.
But as we have been discussing…the officers of absolute grace and conciliation of the world did not become fully operational or officially in office until the dispensation of Holy Spirit had ended which seems to be what is meant by the words at Acts 19:21 and Romans written in the Acts 20 time period.
It makes perfect sense that the transition of one dispensation to another would be a gradual process. Participants or the apostles of both would need to be educated in order to understand what was happening. A sudden take over is not usually well received. Paul was the only one given direct revelations from Christ concerning this take over and so he was the only one capable of teaching those called into that administration.
The contents of those revelations concern who we are in the Body of Christ and what we represent, absolute, grace. As said earlier he, instructed those mature, in the wisdom given him, and they were said to be deputies and administrators of the secrets. His first four letters revealed details of the home law, given by God for his specific evangel of grace for the Body of Christ. …said to be secrets.
But until the rule to the Jew first is completed at Rome, that new administration with absolute Grace was not fully in office? How could Grace rule alone until the rule of going to the Jew first and dispensation of Holy Spirit was over? Paul does reveal….the absolute Grace that was given him as he himself writes that he was chief among sinners because of his opposition and his first topic after his severing in Acts 13 was to show they too were severed from Israel by telling them, they were given justification outside the Law of Moses in Acts 13:38,39.
So it is in his second letter to the Corinthians that he reveals the reconciliation of the believer and the conciliation of the world which is because of his evangel bringing in the dispensation of grace. The Corinthian letters were written around Acts 19 and Romans was written around Acts 20…which by that time, it seems the dispensation of the Holy Spirit was fading if not over and thus Paul could tell them, that they through Christ were reconciled to God and that those in Christ were now under no condemnation. Those letters were written from 2 to 4 years before he arrives in Rome.
So to sum up my rambling on and on, is it possible that we might think of Paul’s letters as being official proclamations…announcing what was in effect…but until it was announced; or made public through his letters, perhaps it was not official or fully operational?
With the rule to the Jew first, Peter’s evangel for Israel announced their Messiah had come and gone…but would return to establish His kingdom on earth…after all Israel repents. When and how that is to come about, one must go to Old Testament prophecy. But all in relation to Israel as a nation takes place on this earth and in the physical realm. While, Paul’s evangel announced or proclaims the complete work done by God in Christ on the cross of Calvary. Not just the work done as Israel’s messiah for that nation…but what was accomplished for all humanity as well as the entire Universe…all would be reconciled to God.
Paul teaches the many things accomplished on the cross, but in stages at least in his letters….building precept upon precept. Paul also explained that Christ’s work on the cross was not just for humanity but for the entire Universe as only his evangel reveals the awesome Plan of the Eons through Christ’s work on the cross; that God will bring about the reconciliation of His Creation in the entire Universe! Romans 8:18-25 Ephesians 1:15-23
Nothing is said of any sign or miracles being shown the Jewish leaders in Rome when Paul arrives there and so the dispensation of Holy Spirit seems to be over and that would mean Grace and Conciliation were officially in office as the new administration. This would be after Acts 28 but to say the new administration or the joint body did not begin until then I believe is in error.
What most discount, is it’s beginning as a minor; Paul’s word used as a figure of speech, a minor was a child tutored until mature. So the new administration, the joint body, began during the dispensation of Holy Spirit and grew in wisdom and knowledge thus maturing into adulthood with the written which made public proclamation of Paul’s evangel by means of the prison epistles which completed Gods Word or His revelation for His saints.
With Paul’s house arrest, the rule of going to the Jew first ended, as the dispensation of Holy Spirit was over for this era…but according to Joel’s prophecies it will return after this administration is removed from the world and Israel is restored as a nation and kingdom again. God will begin working through Israel again, in fulfillment of much prophecy and bring that nation through the latter days and end times, during which more will be called out of Israel to faith in Jesus Christ and added to the Jewish remnant of the first century, the church begun by Jesus, added to by Peter and the 11 called to be the bride of the lambkin in the kingdom for when Christ returns. His bride waiting for the arrival of the groom and with the resurrection of the faithful saints from Peter’s day the bride will be complete and the wedding celebration will begin.
In that past era, when the witness was over for the Jew, then Paul’s ecclesia, called through his evangel and named the Body of Christ with its own specific home law, of Grace became completely dominant, fully operational, with the Grace and Conciliation dispensed to the world. The new administration entered the realm of a spiritual entity with Grace and Conciliation reigning. Paul’s letters became public, recorded knowledge as to what God has done in spirit and in secret and was then in operation and revealed not just to Paul’s disciples but to all as it is inspired scripture.
Even through the majority of mankind do not realize these truths, they have been revealed, written and recorded, made official in the divine and absolute viewpoint and have been proclaimed down to this day by those with spiritual understanding and one day those secrets, and those truths will be recognized and acknowledged by all.
And so it seems this would also answer our other questions, when the grace dispensation and the conciliation of the world began, as we learned, Paul was called through His grace in Acts 9 but the dispensation of grace was not fully operational it seems until the dispensation of Holy Spirit was over. Obviously grace was not extended to Elymas the magician and also with other incidents recorded in Acts. Likewise, the conciliation of the world was in place at the cross, with the death of Jesus, but that also was not revealed until Paul writes of it in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20. Which is perhaps 27 years after the cross?
Paul was given an evangel of conciliation and grace, but conciliation does not seem to fully reign until Grace is fully reigning. Why do I say this? The dispensation of Holy Spirit had to first run its course as the Jew was given preeminence in hearing the evangels, as we have read over and over in Acts, to the Jew first. We must also factor in that judgment did come down on disobedient saints and to those opposing the heralding of the evangel.
If absolute Grace, provides, no condemnation as Paul tells us at Romans 8:1 and Conciliation, gives that same grace of no condemnation with the words of, not holding the worlds offenses against them as Paul revealed in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20, and so this I why I don’t see how we can say they were fully operational during the Acts account at least up until Acts 20 when Romans was written and Paul then began his journey to Rome? So while the gifts were operational, also judgment was being rendered.
Paul had told us the nations were subservient to a degree to the Jewish church evidenced by Paul taking the handwritten decree to the disciples amongst the nations of Acts 15 which was written by James the elder at Jerusalem. Paul said that the saints of the nations were expected to provide physically or monetarily to the Jewish church just as they had shared in “their spiritual things” at Romans 15:26,27. We might review what were these spiritual things?
First of all, Israel provided the oracles of God or in other words the scriptures. Secondly, Paul and his disciples shared in the gifts of the Holy Spirit with the Jewish church. The disciples living in the nations seems to have a better life in regards to monetary things while the saints in Jerusalem were said to be poor and struggling…and so Paul collected monetary gifts from all he visited in his travels and took it to Jerusalem. A tithe of sorts?
Paul’s evangel, given him through revelations and visits with Christ enlightened him as to the differences with the new administration; they were being given spiritual gifts or blessings in the celestials. In other words these were not the things of this earth or world. These spiritual blessings first given were grace, justification and conciliation as he explains much of in his first four letters. He speaks of the sealing, the earnest of the spirit being given the faith of Jesus Christ, the spiritual baptism into Christ, the celestial glory, Christ’s allotment.
There was a progression of understanding given by Paul over a period of years in his first four letters, leading to the ceasing of the gifts, the end of the dispensation of Holy Spirit and following the rule to the Jew first. Once in Rome Paul is under house arrest and rests from his work, yes I would say Paul worked in the flesh in his travels and in his many travails for the new administration. In Rome at rest, physically, the spiritual takes over and he completes the Word of God by revealing fully in minute detail why and how they were given the spiritual blessings amongst the celestials because it was foreordained before the disruption of the world.
The disruption refers to a time when Satan, whose name means the adversary, caused some sort of revolt or trouble, opposing, thus interfering with Gods work which is what he was created for by the very meaning of his name. The adversary’s role is to oppose God in order for God to teach His creation not only good and evil through experience but Who He is by example! Please read these passages concerning Satan and his creation as the adversary. Job 26:13; Revelation 12:9; Isaiah 45:7
What Paul is telling us, the Body of Christ in Ephesians 1:1-3 is that, we were chosen, foreordained before “the disruption” and so before the Sin which brought death and before any sin had entered the world we were chosen in Him. The word world in this passage is the Greek word Kosmos and may mean the universe and not just this planet. We are not told exactly when Satan began his opposition…but I would think since, that was his role from his creation and it was not through a fall as is wrongly taught, that he began opposing God in the celestial realm.
So in Satan’s role as the adversary he would have begun opposing God long before the earth was created or made ready for life. It is possible we were foreordained before Satan was created? At any rate Paul is telling us, in the spiritual, and absolute, divine viewpoint we are without sin as we were already chosen as Christ’s Body, and He as our head before sin entered the Kosmos! Now let us just try and wrap our minds around that concept.
As already discussed it was Paul who fully revealed God’s next phase of His Divine Plan of the Ages. Paul explains how Jesus Christ is head of His family both in heaven and on the earth Ephesians 1:10,11 and through Him, Christ, God purposes to reconcile His Universe to Himself. Thus eventually all humanity will be saved and all in the heavens will be reconciled to Him as God and He will have His family in which He as Spirit will dwell, in each and everyone on the earth or in the heavens, this is what is meant by Paul’s Words that God may be All in all. 1 Corinthians 15:28.
So it is my opinion then, because of this study that the Body of Christ, the new administration began in Acts 13 with Paul being severed and taking up his commission, for the nations, but that administration in its infancy did not become fully operational as the spiritual entity ordained by God to be in the realm of the spiritual blessings…of which absolute grace, and thus conciliation for the world are part of until the dispensation of Holy Spirit had ended.
These things did not become fully operational until the rule of going to the Jew first ended which was after Acts 28 closes, whilst Paul is in Rome under house arrest and writes the prison epistles completing the word of God which those letters are also called the perfection epistles as they explain the absolute and divine viewpoint of God for the new administration. Anyway, that is how I see it at this time….? I am open to any thoughts or questions either way…?
Before we conclude this study, I thought we would look at a few other things which raised some other questions for me as we were going through Paul’s first four letters.
The four ministries of Paul as put forth by A.E. Knoch in the Concordant Commentary
I mentioned earlier that I was trying to find where I had read something Knoch said about Paul’s three or four ministries in the Concordant Commentary. I have found it and have been trying to understand what he meant and so thought I would go through his comments on this. In the Concordant Commentary, Page 246 with his notes at Romans 15:28 he says, “During Paul’s first three ministries the nations were dependant on Israel and received of their spiritual things.”
The, reference to Paul’s first three ministries is what I was wondering about, my first thought was that the ministries he might be referring to were the monetary gifts Paul collected from the ecclesias in the nations for the saints in Jerusalem. As I said earlier sometimes that was said to be a ministry. But that is not what he was referring to. Knoch said that Paul had “three ministries before Rome and then later with his writing of the prison epistles,” takes him into “his fourth and final ministry.”
I had not thought of Paul having several ministries but instead, of one ministry with several phases? So I have gone back and read Knoch’s comments through several more times and will try to explain what I think he was saying. I am going to give his thoughts on these three ministries and then give my thoughts on this according to how I see it in the scriptures. I encourage everyone to read his comments on Pages 245 and 246 which deal with Romans 15:16-30 in hopes we are able to get an accurate understanding of what he was saying. I will paraphrase what he says these three ministries consisted of.
So Knoch says, Paul’s “first ministry” began at Acts 13:1-3 with his severing, being “a crisis” and ran to Acts 19:21 where it is said these things have been fulfilled as meaning Paul had completed or fulfilled the evangel of Christ by his heralding the Christ and working more of the signs and miracles than Peter or the other apostles put together.
Knoch next says, “After the completion of his Antioch commission, as was marked by the expression of his desire to go to Rome. In Acts his previous ministry is declared to be fulfilled, at Acts 19:21” Knoch said Paul had performed “more signs and miracles that the rest of the apostles.” I would add also, this is when he becomes an official apostle as proven by the signs and miracles that he performed and that this was during the dispensation of Holy Spirit. I don’t see Knoch or any others making this distinction, but it seems we need to as it must have bearing on the things which do not fit for us today.
I also do not understand this…how was his Antioch commission complete? Paul was severed at Antioch and it states that his commission was “to go to the nations” with the evangel given him by Christ for the new administration. How did that commission end at Acts 19:21? He continued his travels and writes letters to the ecclesia he had established before Rome as well as while in Rome and afterwards, he continues to carry out his commission through his recorded epistles….even though dead, we learn from Paul’s letters today.
Is Paul not our apostle today by means of his letters? Paul was made the apostle for the nations as stated by him at 2 Timothy 1:11 and he had explained much earlier that this was agreed upon with Peter as stated at Galatians 2:9. As discussed already what seemed to be ending at Acts 19:21 with Paul’s words, all these things have been fulfilled…..was the dispensation of Holy Spirit.
It seems to me, that Paul’s commission to the nations does not end until it is finished or complete and when it is, the new administration, the Body of Christ will be removed from this earth! Even though Paul is asleep in death…his evangel still operates and his work continues by means of his letters, He is our apostle today and we are of the nations! After Saul was severed and became the Apostle Paul, he went to the nations and found a remnant from the sons of Israel who were being called out of those nations through his evangel in order to begin the new administration adding into it any other nationalities called by God as evidenced by their response to Paul and that work continues in spirit!
Perhaps Knoch meant his commission was complete in relation to the signs and miracles being over or that he had done more than the Jewish church and or that he had fulfilled prophecy concerning the outpouring of Holy Spirit amongst the nations? Which we will talk about that thought a little further on. Or perhaps Knoch’s statement is tied to the premise that Israel was not thrust away until Acts 28? But, in order to try and understand his thoughts let’s read through the scriptural account in Romans 15 and compare it with Acts 19 and see if all of this will become clearer for us.
At Romans 15:17-20 Paul says, “I have, then, a boast in Christ Jesus, in that which is towards God. For I am not daring to speak any of what Christ does not effect through me for the obedience of the nations, in word and work, in the power of signs and miracles, in the power of Gods spirit so that, from Jerusalem and around unto Illyricum, I have completed the evangel of Christ.”
So, Knoch says this passage is tied to Acts 19:21 which says, “Now as these things were fulfilled, Paul pondered in spirit, (about traveling to Jerusalem and thus when he did leave on his trip he planned to do these things) passing through Macedonia and Achaia to go to Jerusalem, saying that, After my coming to be there I must see Rome also.”
So, we see it said in Romans 15 that Paul had completed or fulfilled the evangel of Christ…and this is the time period spoken of in Acts 19:21, the writer of Acts says these things were fulfilled. We must back up and look at the preceding verses in Acts 19 to see what “things: he was saying “were fulfilled.”
The context of Acts 19:8 tells us “Paul is in Ephesus and he speaks to the disciples there, about 12 men and he asks them whether they had obtained the Holy Spirit and they say they had not heard if there was Holy Spirit. He also asks them what baptism had they received…and their answer was Johns baptism…telling me these men were then of Israelite heritage or Jews. And then we are told Paul tells them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus…and then Paul places hands on them and the Holy Spirit came on them…they then spoke in languages and prophesied….” Obviously the dispensation of Holy Spirit was still in operation.
Next we are told in Verses 10-12 while in Ephesus for 2 years, Paul entered the synagogues…and spoke boldly for three months…arguing and persuading that which concerns the kingdom of God….many rejected and spoke harshly and so Paul withdraws himself and the disciples….and then it is said he was arguing day by day in the school of Tyrannus….for two years”
We are also told that “powerful deeds, not the casual kind…God did through the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons from his cuticle are carried to the infirm” which heal them “of diseases “ and also “wicked spirits go out of them” Again this shows us the dispensation of Holy Spirit was still operating.
Next in this account in the city of Ephesus we are told in Verses 13-20 of some wandering Jews, who are exorcists and who were using the name of the Lord Jesus and claiming to be following Paul’s example and command a wicked spirit to come out of someone and yet the wicked spirit answers them and denies that those men are true followers of Jesus or Paul and leaping on them, causing them to flee naked and wounded. Now this became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, dwelling in Ephesus. And fear falls on them all, and magnified was the name of the Lord Jesus.”
What follows next in the account is of those whom Paul had discipled “give up their practice of the meddling arts….burning their scrolls and books.” I have to conclude that the full operation of Grace does not begin until the dispensation of Holy Spirit is over as a witness for the Jews and this was continuing these two years in Ephesus.
So these were the things then which had been fulfilled by the words at Acts 19:21 “Now as these things were fulfilled” the King James says, “After these things were ended.” And Bullinger’s note says, “After = As soon as. Ended = fulfilled or accomplished...Frequently used of the O.T. prophecies. Also of any plans being carried out. The reference is not to the affairs at Ephesus only, but to the things recorded in Acts 13:4-19:20”
So Bullinger seems to have been thinking along the same lines as Knoch. Perhaps as this is now the beginning of his trip to Jerusalem which is when he will be assaulted by the Jews and thus arrested and begin his journey to Rome. This seems then to be indicating by those words these things were ended or fulfilled to mean the ending of the dispensation of Holy Spirit and Paul was ready to head to Rome going by way of Jerusalem to first drop off the monetary collection for the poor saints there.
So, Knoch is saying, that the evangel of Christ and the powerful signs and works of Holy Spirit given or shown through Paul for the obedience of the nations…was Paul’s first ministry. The second ministry according to Knoch is the teaching of justification and the third teaching of the conciliation. If this is true then all three of these began after Saul was severed and was then sent to the nations as the Apostle Paul and they overlapped and or were operating at the same time.
As one of these ministries did not begin and end with the next, but instead they co-exist, as Paul goes to the nations with his evangel of Justification and Conciliation and the works of the Holy Spirit supported him as an Apostle of Jesus Christ. The word in Romans 15:17-20 was complete and in Acts 19:21 is fulfill. We might recall that the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Pentecostal era were foretold through Israel’s prophets, that Holy Spirit would come upon them giving signs as a witness from God and thus this was fulfilled in Paul’s ministry to the nations also.
So, Knoch said that the first ministry of Paul’s was that “he duplicated every sign done by Peter and performed more miracles than the rest, this ministry he has now completed” Then he says that was “the completion of the proclamation of the evangel of Christ” and “marking the central crisis in Paul’s ministries” He continues to say, the first crisis was his severance from the rest at Antioch with the last crisis being at Rome followed by the writing of the prison epistles” I find his way of explaining this confusing but will continue with his thoughts and then see if I can clarify them.
It does seem that the dispensation of Holy Spirit was ending and may indeed be evident by what was said at Acts 19:21 and yet we do hear of a few more incidents of Paul healing some in Acts 20 and in Acts 28 while on the way to Rome, when he was shipwrecked on the island of Melita and while spending time there before continuing on to Rome. But there is no recorded healings or signs given by Paul with the Jewish leader he meets with in Rome. He meets with them twice not do we read of any more of the gifts of Holy Spirit after that time. But we will discuss this more further on also.
Knoch says Paul’s “second ministry was concerned with justification.” Now this was declared by Paul early on right after his severing and so I was confused, but if we back up to that time we have the first miracle by Paul as an Apostle at Acts 13:8 which as we discussed earlier gave proof of his apostleship and John an apostle of the Jewish church leaves Paul then and returns to Jerusalem. So it is after that miracle with Elymas the magician and the first true gentle recorded, Sergius Paul as being saved by Paul and that is then followed by when he first speaks of justification outside the Law of Moses in Verses 38, 39.
Knoch also said, that his “third ministry deals with conciliation.” This was not proclaimed in writing until he writes his second letter to Corinth, 2 Corinthians 5:17-20. Okay, again this letter was written in the Acts 19 time frame. We don’t read of it being declared in Acts though? But according to what Knoch is saying, following his severance at Acts 13 and through to Acts 19:21 Paul had fulfilled the evangel of Christ by displaying the signs and gifts, teaching justification and conciliation. All of this is true what I have a problem with is separating these into ministries?
But this then is how Knoch viewed and explained “The three ministries of Paul.” (1) The evangel of Christ with signs and miracles, (2) justification and (3) conciliation. The fourth ministry begins in Rome, with the writing of the prison epistles. Teaching that the new administration was the joint body which is the Body of Christ and then became a spiritual entity and that is what the Body of Christ is today.
So it seems that Knoch felt those words in Acts 19:21 signify and end to three ministries as we have gone over what occurred during that time. Signs with healing, and his teaching of justification and conciliation. But only three letters have been written by Acts 19 as Romans is written in the time frame of Acts 20.
In that letter to the Romans, Paul reinforces the teachings of his first three letters and adds more information concerning reconciliation for the saint and conciliation for the world and explains what God is doing with Israel and the nations. Knoch says in Romans “chapters 5 through 8 of Romans deal with the individuals conciliation and the 11th chapter deals with the nations conciliation.”
To put this in perspective, lets itemize the details, during this time period from Acts 13:1-3, to Acts 19:21 Saul becomes the apostle Paul and he ministers in the roles of an Apostle, Prophet and Priest in fulfilling his commission concerned with his evangel. Knoch used the term, his Antioch commission which I don’t like that label as Antioch was the city he was severed at and not his commission?
Paul’s commission was to go to the nations and the sons of Israel even kings. While at the same time he was also obligated to follow the rule to the Jew first while the dispensation of Holy Spirit was still operating. Paul exhibits the signs given by the Holy Spirit and abundantly so! He declared the evangel of Christ and I believe his evangel also as is evident by what he said in Acts 13:38,39 and by the new things he writes about in his first four letters.
Paul began sharing information pertinent to his evangel, first was justification outside the Law of Moses….he later writes three letters containing information concerning his disciples being the Body of Christ and that he had been entrusted with an administration at 1 Corinthians 9:17.
Paul writes of the conciliation of the believer and of the world at 2 Corinthians 5:17-20. And in Galatians he writes of Jews and Gentiles being equals in his ecclesia which is in fact describing a joint body. That letter also supposed to be written in the Acts 19 time period. Then again we have the words at Acts 19:21 all these things were fulfilled…and he is pondering in spirit about going to Rome. But Rome is another couple years away.
If the first ministry which Knoch said fulfilled the signs of an Apostle and was also tied to the dispensation of Holy Spirit…and fulfilled meant that it, the dispensing of signs was over or ending, would we hear of anymore healing? We do not read of anymore healing from the bride church in Acts as the second half of Acts is devoted to Paul and his ministry.
But we do in Acts 20:9,10 find the account of the man who fell out of the third story window while Paul preached late into the night and it is said that he was picked up dead. Did Paul raise him from the dead? The account says that Paul falls on him and then tells them life is in him and this has been interpreted to mean that Paul brought him back to life. The account does say he was picked up dead.
Perhaps Paul listened to his heart and or saw that he was still breathing? I don’t really know…as we are not told precisely that he was brought back to life as in the other cases of the miraculous waking up the dead? It may mean the miracle was downplayed as the time was ending for these signs? But I have found nothing to be able to say for sure.
We continue to read at Acts 20:21 that Paul was “testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” And Paul makes an interesting statement in Verse 27, Wherefore I take you to record this day that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the entire counsel of God.” Should we consider this to mean, that Paul shared all that he had received from God through the revelations he had received with his disciples? It would seem so to me, if he held anything back that God had given him for the new administration how could he have said that?
And so it was during the Acts 20 time period, perhaps the three months in Macedonia, Paul writes his letter to the Romans….where I feel he begins to teach more details about the joint body made up of Jew and Gentile with his illustration of the grafting in of the nations to the olive tree as well as much more. In the letter to the Romans, Paul explains the conciliation in more detail. As said earlier Knoch said “Chapters five through eight are for the individual aspect of conciliation and for the national Chapter 11”
In Chapter 21 A prophet name Agabus…told Paul that he would be bound at Jerusalem….and delivered into the hands of the Gentiles or nations. So, the gift of prophecy or knowledge was still in operation.
Next at 21:15 Paul has arrived at Jerusalem and in Verses 19-25 we are told that he and some men traveling with him are greeted by the Jewish saints and so they share their experiences amongst the nations and the Jewish saints then tell Paul of the 10’s of thousands of Jews who have come to Jesus and yet all are inherently zealous for the Law and who had heard that Paul was teaching, the Jews amongst the nations apostasy from Moses…not to be circumcising their children…they tell him this because they are concerned at how these Jews will react when they hear Paul is in Jerusalem and in the temple purifying himself.
Paul explains to them, that they have taken a vow and shaved their heads in order to be purified in the temple, (which was a Jewish custom in preparation of the Sabbath) and saying they are observing the elements of the law for the purification in the temple. Paul also refers to the written edict from James concerning Gentiles, which he had faithfully handed out in his travels. That edict from James had established that those of the nations did not need to follow the Mosaic Law and or be circumcised.
So the Judaisers, who were zealous for the Law, were not following the elders of Jerusalem and the edict James had written as they fought Paul and sought to take away his disciples. Paul’s words to the elders showed he was not doing anything illegal in regards to the Law and in regards to that edict from James and so his words must have satisfied them as the rest of the chapter shows Paul going to the temple to begin his 7 days of purification.
Again all of this seems to show some degree of subjection to the Jerusalem elders and church there even though Paul did not hold back from teaching his disciples amongst the nations, his evangel, which began with justification outside the Law of Moses and that they indeed did not need to circumcise their children or follow the Law any longer!
I feel it shows Paul knew Jerusalem and the land of Judea were not his assigned territory and he showed respect for that. His territoty was to the nations and there he boldly carried out his commission. In his letters written to his ecclesia amongst the nations, he was also teaching Israel was thrust away, temporarily while his ecclesias would be Gods People, and that Jew and Greek or Gentile were equals. Many things which the religious Jews would not like to hear or believe to be true.
His trip to Rome turned into a two year journey from Jerusalem after his arrest he was taken to Caesarea and after spending time there, he is finally sent to Rome, to appeal to Caesar and boards a ship and is shipwrecked on the island of Melita. The Holy Spirit is with him as he is not harmed by the viper’s bite and Paul heals the father of the chief and the rest on the island also come to him for healings.” So how do we reconcile these events with the man who fell out of the window and was thought dead and then the healings done on the island with Acts 19:21 signifying the ending or fulfillment of Holy Spirit giving signs?
Knoch said something interesting in regards to this seeming conflict, concerning that account in Acts 28, in the Concordant Commentary, “that those people on that island had not heard the evangel and so they were being given it with the signs of the Holy Spirit and thus God actually caused Paul to be shipwrecked to do so.) We find no accounts of healing after this. Please read Acts 21:30 to Acts 28:14 for Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem and his two year journey to Rome.
So we see this trip began shortly after those words given at Acts 19:21. All these things where fulfilled or completed, all that Paul had done and accomplished from his severing at Acts 13 up to this point…his assignments, were or were being fulfilled or completed perhaps in preparation for his time in prison, when he would be restrained from physical contact with the ecclesias thus requiring him to write the prison epistles revealing or making public the purpose of the new administration.
Knoch felt the signs had ended earlier at Acts 19:21, except for the time on that island. He points out it was unusual that they would land on that Island without divine intervention as it was so far off course to Rome. Knoch also indicates Paul’s asking for a healing for himself three times and being denied could have meant that the gifts had begun to cease as early as 2 Corinthians 12:8. If this is true, then this letter fits as it was written in the time frame of Acts 19,20. This would seem to fit in with the overall picture of the ending or fulfillment of the signs by Paul and his beginning his trip to Jerusalem which ends in Rome.
He also makes the comment concerning the poisonous viper which Paul was protected from when it bit him and shook it off his hand and into the fire, Knoch tied the serpent being destroyed, with the future “binding of Satan at the beginning of the thousand years, and then blessing flows out to the nations.” I am not sure, but the serpent or dragon which is figurative of Satan is going to be thrown into the lake of fire when the thousand years are over. Also, I feel this may typify that Satan cannot harm us in this dispensation of Grace in the aspect of causing us to lose out on our calling to the celestial realm.
There is no record of Paul doing any signs or miracles when he arrives in Rome and calls the Jewish leaders in to share with them why he had been arrested, Acts 28:19,20 “for on account of the expectation of Israel for which this chain is lying about me.” He spoke to them again on another day later in the week and told them of what he had been heralding among the nations, “of the kingdom of God besides persuading them concerning Jesus, both from the Law of Moses and the prophets from morning till dusk.” Verses 23-25.
Knoch had said Paul’s second ministry deals with justification and that his third ministry was characterized by the conciliation and so then all three were in the same time frame of Acts 13:1-3 to Acts 19:21. Is this confusing…yes it can be…if we are looking for a definite start and stop to this and that. I am sorry but I find his way of explaining Paul’s commission as three or four ministries far to complicate things.
As they seem to overlap or are together as parts of one evangel and thus one ministry and so how do you decide when one begins or ends? As far as I can see the only thing that ends, would be the dispensation of Holy Spirit and the rule of going to the Jew first, which those things are that which are associated with the flesh…what remains and are added to would be the spiritual entity with the spiritual blessing.
For me it seems Paul had a ministry, and he was given a commission to carry out and also was given a lot of new things to teach his disciples and thus during his ministry he takes them step by step through the many new aspects of being called into the new administration. First, laying a foundation to build upon and then taking the minors to maturity. Paul was held back some in what he shared as his ministry to the nations began while the dispensation of the Holy Spirit was operating.
So, for me it just seems so much easier to explain His ministry as one ministry with different phases in a time of transition from the Jew holding preeminence to the new administration which was replacing them which perhaps we could say is fully in office while Paul is under chains in Rome. Paul was restrained from physical work…the evangel, his evangel for the new administration was Gods Work, His achievement are we and thus entering the spiritual realm and the prison epistles explain these things for us.
Once, Paul is at Rome…and bound as a prisoner of Christ…and writes the letters which reveals the complete work of God through the new administration, the transitional time is over and Paul and his new administration would be operating solely in Grace and that is where you and I are found today, solely in grace as a spiritual entity, reconciled and as ambassadors of conciliation, sharing in every spiritual blessing amongst the celestials.
His writing of the prison epistles provides a record of the calling and purpose of the new administration in God’s Plan of the ages and what had been hidden in God was that it was foreordain by God from before the disruption of the world and so we might be able to say with those letters, what was hidden was made public to any and all who read the letters as they were inspired scripture.
The new administration with its corresponding dispensation of Grace and the conciliation were then an official proclamation! Signed, sealed and delivered! Before the letters it had been talked about privately amongst the disciples, how else could they be growing from minors to maturity. Now the new administration was made known to all.
It’s also very important to keep in mind, the new administration as in the absolute and divine viewpoint, created before the disruption of the world while the kingdom of Israel is said to be from the disruption of the world. Before signifies that which was before flesh and the Sin which brought death to humanity, thus we were already in the celestials in grace and that is why Paul says that is where our home has always been. While in relation to Israel, it is said to be from the disruption of the world signifies the earth and the flesh and the Sin, thus Israel’s role was in the relative realm of the flesh and soulishness at its best or worst. Thus through them God began revealing Himself and also through Israel, His Law for righteousness revealed sin.
I continue to be amazed at how I am never seeing and end to our need to rightly divide even amongst our own apostle’s letters. As well as into the spiritual dimensions of separating the absolute from the relative…a whole area I wish to explore even more, God willing.
And so, for all of these things we have looked at in this study and with our related questions, perhaps this is why some reject Paul’s early letters as being for the Body of Christ because so much applies to those of Israelite heritage while we are Gentiles and so does not apply to us. For that reason some cannot reconcile the Body of Christ beginning during the dispensation of Holy Spirit because we had not shared in it. Some misunderstand is partly the fault of how the King James translation insistence on the translation of ethnos as Gentile instead of nations.
That clouded over that many sons of Israel living in the nations were the first members of the Body of Christ. While I feel also since Paul was in the Body of Christ and as the Apostle for the Body of Christ, we must acknowledge that he was a Jew chosen or called and severed to go to the nations during the dispensation of Holy Spirit this is something to accept and understand and not to ignore.
As the Apostle Paul he had been severed from Israel, then those whom he discipled was also in the Body of Christ. While the dispensation of Holy Spirit was reigning, those members of the new administration experienced things we have not and will not. That only means that we must carefully study all of Paul’s letters recognizing there are things related to the heritage and culture of Israel which we as true gentiles will not apply to ourselves, but they indeed did apply to the new administration in its infancy and we just need to rightly divide what is for us today in the Body of Christ.
It is evident to me that we cannot deny that the Body of Christ began during the dispensation of Holy Spirit? So instead of ignoring that fact we must face it and try to understand it. We mustn’t attempt to draw lines here and there and break things up which don’t fit for us today.
Let’s …just test the things which differ and rightly divide those that don’t apply today? After all Paul is the one who gives this counsel and perhaps we are seeing how much that counsel needs to be applied within our own evangel as well as between the two evangels. Without Paul’s early letters we don’t have the whole story or the whole truth as to when or how the Body of Christ began.
We must also understand that we are now in the mature Body of Christ, even though its members may not be mature or understand all truths related to it. But, because Paul’s later letters completed the word of God making it official! In those letters the divine viewpoint and the absolute realm in which the new administration exists is revealed! Paul also reveals God’s purpose and plan of the ages for the salvation of all and reconciliation of the Universe.
No wonder, as Satan has covered over Paul’s evangel and brought Peters to the forefront, deceiving Christendom as to what the new administration truly represents. Grace and Conciliation! Paul encourages us to live in that Grace by living a peaceable life and we can do so because we are under no condemnation and are blessed with every spiritual blessing and so we rest in the knowledge that God will call us home when it is time and that He will save all humanity through His Grace.
We are not to imitate the minor church while it was under the dispensation of Holy Spirit, and so in this way, I can understand why there are those who push strongly that we are to follow only the prison epistles and not Paul’s other letters. It is what it is! We don’t need to struggle with or deny the facts; just accept them and thereby we will come to understand the facts and how to apply Paul’s counsel to rightly divide and test the things which differ. We need to know and understand the whole story, not just parts of it.
It is either that or, we would have to ask, did Paul disciple into the Kingdom on earth as the bride church and the Body of Christ at the same time, it seems some think so….? But it seems to me that would be very confusing for those whom he discipled? A disciple usually looks to their teacher to teach and guide them.
How could Paul walk down two paths, one to the earthly kingdom and another to the celestial kingdom? One evangel requires faith and works the other is given faith in absolute grace and told, no works are required to prove faith. He certainly was capable of teaching his Jewish brethren from the scriptures about Jesus being their messiah, as the Christ and the Son of God without speaking of two different destinies? The foundation for both evangels is Jesus Christ.
The writer of Acts it seems was purposely vague in relating what Saul spoke of for sure. We are not told what he taught besides the evangel of Christ, which was Jesus was Israel’s messiah, and the Son of God until after his severing which means he was then cut away from something, from Israel and becomes the Apostle Paul sent to the nations.
Why wouldn’t Paul from that time on be free then to teach his evangel…? The evangel which had been hidden in God for the ages until revealed to Paul for the new administration made up of those from all nations. We are told of the first thing, he spoke of after his severing and that was justification outside the Law of Moses and that meant his disciples did not need to follow the Mosaic Law…with circumcision which brought about persecution from fellow Jewish believers…in Jesus Christ!
For me it is easier to view that time with both churches existing together except that the bride was in the land of Judea and Paul’s ecclesia the Body of Christ were outside the land of Judea amongst the nations. Paul was severed and sent on his commission to the nations, so a transitional phase began with the work in Judea of selecting the bride diminishing while Paul and his helper apostles, the deputies and administrators of the secrets were evangelizing a group of saints outside Judea.
Paul’s disciples were growing in number and being brought to maturity, needing to understand who they were in the Body of Christ, transitioning from its physical birth and sharing the spiritual gifts of the bride church for a time, they too ceasing as the new administration grew into a spiritual entity being given every spiritual blessing among the celestials. To the human soulish mind, time would be needed to bring them to maturity helping them to understand the superiority of the spiritual blessings over the things of the earth and the flesh, helping to take the sting out from what would seem the loss of the physical gifts.
So my conclusions are…the new administration which is the Body of Christ began at Acts 13 with Paul’s severing but Grace and Conciliation could not fully reign until the dispensation of Holy Spirit had ended with the rule of going to the Jew first. I do believe Paul taught the secrets and especially the secret of the joint body before he writes of it in Ephesians even though that exact term is not used. It seems the dispensation of Holy Spirit began to end or did end following Paul’s words at Acts 19:21 and so it seems in the Acts 20 time period.
God works things out in the mode of the human inability to accept change which is not easily accepted and so actually from Acts 20 to Acts 28 would have been a two year period of time for this process perhaps of the waning of the physical gifts. It is very hard for humans to give up things, can we imagine having the gift to heal or speak in a foreign language as evidence God was with us and then it ceased?
Perhaps this contributed to why Paul speaks of those who had left him. But at any rate that two year time period would have given enough time for Paul’s helper apostles to teach and instruct these things to the ecclesias amongst the nations helping them to adjust to the changes through the ending of the dispensation of Holy Spirit.
Paul’s letters from Rome were certainly needed by his disciples at that time and definitely for all of Paul’s disciples called into the new administration by God from that time down to us today; Also the revelations given to Paul of God’s secrets needed to be written down, recorded, made official as inspired scripture and also their spiritual impact much needed by his disciples who were facing persecution from all sides and so a deeper understanding of the uniqueness of their calling into the new administration. The minor church was growing to maturity through his letters; it had begun in the physical realm with outside sources, the gifts and signs from the Holy Spirit which manifested God.
With Paul was imprisoned that church was moving into to the spiritual realm coming to understand that each individual saint had been given the inward source of strength, given Jesus Christ’s faith, the indwelling of Christ which enabled one to believe and understand His Word. They were leaving the physical and the flesh behind and moving into the spiritual realm of which also is their destiny and what learning to comprehend what they had been given, with every spiritual blessing in the celestials.
I thought we might next review the different evangels spoken of in scripture.
The evangel of God….. we discussed this earlier in this article…and it seems to me, the evangel of God would be what was revealed by God and known at a particular time as to what was His Plan and Purpose. For His People Israel, that plan and purpose involved them as a nation through which comes the seed by means of which every family of the earth was to be blessed.
Would not God’s evangel grow with succeeding revelations from Him as given through the Prophets. The evangel of God would include the foretold Messiah for Israel of which Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled most of the prophecies, those regarding His first advent. The evangel of God would also then include the evangel of Christ…after Jesus came and fulfilled the prophetic word concerning Him. Jesus also gave prophecies foretelling Jerusalem’s destruction which did occur in A.D. 70 and He gave prophecies for the end times in the latter days which would take place before His return to Israel. God’s evangel grew in scope.
In the days of Paul, who is our Apostle, Prophet and Priest, for the new administration, God’s evangel increased again to include the revelations of the secrets Paul received from God for that new administration as well as Paul talks of the reconciliation of the Universe and the Salvation of all.
The evangel of Peace….Acts 10:36, It is in the account of Peter and Cornelius that Peter speaks of the evangel of peace and so this was in relation to Gentiles no longer being considered unclean by God and that Jew and Gentile were on equal footing with God and salvation. In other words, God had made peace between the Jew and Gentile through the blood of Jesus. So Jew and Gentile should then be at peace with one another.
We can also find references to peace by Paul as he speaks of the peace from God because of Christ’s work Lets look at Ephesians 2:16-18 “making peace and bringing the evangel of peace to you, those afar and peace to those near…” and Colossians 1:20 “making peace through the blood of His cross.” Also Paul uses it again at Ephesians 6:16
I also have another correction for Manual one…where I refer to the time of Peter and Cornelius and Peter having proclaimed the kingdom evangel to him as I noticed in Acts 10:36 that Peter refers to the evangel of Peace and so I looked to see what Knoch had to say about it…which he did not address the evangel of peace, but said, that “Peter proclaims Jesus as, the life of our Lord and his ministry up to His resurrection. In contrast to Paul’s message which begins with His death and resurrection and proclaims His ascension and His heavenly glories. In a word Peter proclaims Jesus Christ while Paul preaches Christ Jesus. Peter lays stress on His rejection on earth, the latter (Paul’s) on His acceptance in heaven.”
This is something we might pay attention too when we read our Bibles, Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus, recognizing the use of the name Jesus speaks to his time of humiliation, living in a fleshly body with His rejection and death on this earth…while the use of the title Christ refers to His exaltation and heavenly glory. This is a study on my list of many studies I wish to expand on…some day
The evangel of Christ, “Christ” is a title and means the anointed one….sometimes translated as messiah. Jesus was Israel’s promised Messiah, the one anointed to rescue them from Gentile domination. This messiah was foretold to be the coming King in Israel which would bring into effect all the promised glory and blessings, not just for Israel but for the nations being blessed through them.
This would be the evangel first heralded by Jesus and the twelve apostles chosen by Him out of Israel and in relation with, Jesus being their promised messiah and the Son of God. His life, His death and subsequent rising out of death, fulfilled prophecy. Paul also heralded this evangel from his calling and after his severing in his following the rule to the Jew first but mainly if not solely outside the land of Israel. Jesus Christ is the basis for both evangels, to Israel and to the nations.
Saul spent three years in Arabia after his calling by Christ on the road to Damascus….and as said before; no doubt that time was spent pouring over the scriptures and the gospel accounts which we feel sure he had access to. Those gospel accounts written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John laid out the life of Jesus and his ministry in Israel, going to the lost sheep of Israel and thus then could be matched up with prophecy in the Old Testament….prophecy which proved he was the promised Messiah.
We can read of Paul defending himself to the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem but not of evangelizing in the land of Judea. We read of him spending a lot of time in Antioch outside of the land of Judea. It is only after his severing in Acts 13 that we are given specific details of his journeys and his ministry. It is after Acts 13 that his first miracle is recorded and the first Gentile discipled. And it is only after Acts 13 that we read of his going to the sons of Israel who were not practicing Judaism.
But, he was still following the rule to the Jews first all through Acts by going to the synagogues of the Jews in each city at his arrival, first. The basis for churches, whether it was Peter’s or Paul’s is Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection.
My evangel…or the Secret evangel given to Paul….that which was given solely to Paul through revelations directly from Christ, for the new administration the Body of Christ made up of a joint body, joint partakers, called to the celestial realm to share in Christ’s heavenly allotment.
I feel for a time, Paul in some respects was subject to the Jewish Church while the dispensation of Holy Spirit was operating which appears to have ended around Acts 20 but for sure by the close of Acts 28. Paul wrote his first four letters and in them reveals new and specific things for his disciples. Also all during Acts he followed the rule to the Jew first. That rule and the signs given by the Holy Spirit were linked together. I believe now that we see a remnant of those of Israelite heritage was used by God to begin the Body of Christ and so the use of all of Paul’s letters help us understand his work in that era and our calling today.
Knoch said, that the gifts ceased before Acts closes…and he points to 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 where Paul asked for a healing and was not given it….but instead he was told by the Lord, My Grace is sufficient as meaning the gifts had ceased. Now that letter was written around Acts 20.
Knoch also compares the time in Acts 16 when Paul was imprisoned and the door to his prison cell was miraculously flung open, with how later, in his imprisonments he was not miraculously rescued…and in relation to those times, Paul says several things, such as in Acts 28:20 he says “For on account of the expectation of Israel this chain is lying about me” Paul also later used the expression, while under house arrest in Rome, “I am the prisoner of Jesus Christ.” at Ephesians 3:1.
The expectation of Israel, was that Israel’s expectation was the waiting for their messiah and their kingdom to be restored to them, which they mistakenly assumed would happen at the same time. Their own prophecies must be rightly divided, when done, it is clear He came and was rejected and will come again as a conquering King from Heaven. Paul preached that their messiah had come just as did the bride church, but Israel rejected their messiah and rejected the apostles for Israel, persecuting and killing them, just as they had done with Jesus. So Paul had been in chains for declaring Israel’s evangel, to the Jew first.
His being a prisoner of Jesus Christ…..we see the name of humiliation; Jesus is first used here as he continued to proclaim Jesus as Israel’s messiah and also as Lord and head of the new administration.
Paul also suffered humiliation as he said “I am no rejoicing in my sufferings for you , and am filling up in my flesh, in His stead, the deficiencies of the afflictions of Christ, for His body, which is the ecclesia of which I became a dispenser in accord with the administration of God, which is granted to me for you to complete the word of God…the secret which has been concealed from the eons and from the generations, yet now was made manifest to His saints, to whom God wills to make known what the glorious riches of this secret among the nations which is: Christ among you, the expectation of glory….”
What ended at Acts 28 was not the casting away of the nation of Israel, as she had been cast away centuries earlier…but what ended was the following of the rule to the Jew first with the dispensation of Holy Spirit. Paul’s evangel of Grace was then in full operation, the new administration in office, grace ruling.
God’s People were then, People from all nations becoming a joint body with a remnant out of Israel, becoming a body of sanctified, justified saints said to be Body of Christ, or the complement of the eras. The complement of Christ, this body completes Christ in the celestials. Paul said that this body is a temple in which God dwells. We are His temple on earth today!
While Paul is under house arrest in Rome, he speaks of himself as a prisoner of Christ and in his prison epistles he takes the new administration out from under the thumb of men, the flesh and teaches that it is a spiritual entity with a celestial calling given every spiritual blessing in the celestials…and so they were no longer bound by any man made decrees or ordinances. So we might ask again, what of the Lords supper?
The eonian evangel is spoken of in Revelation 14:6,7 And so this evangel is still for the future…the context seems to indicate a call to recognize and worship their Creator. Paul’s evangel will have ended many years earlier with the removal of the Body of Christ. The evangel for Israel is for Israel…this eonian evangel will be carried out by Israel in the messianic kingdom but it is for all the inhabitants of the earth…every nation and tribe.
The messenger issues the warning that The Maker of heaven and the land and the sea….is now ready to render judgment, signs and miracle have been present for quite some time in the world, when signs are given individuals are responsible for their actions.
The question of the Lord’s Supper seems to have been answered at least for me through this study concerning whether we today should be observing it? Some among us who understood rightly dividing say no and some others will say yes. Bullinger says no and Knoch being one of those who says yes.
This has always bothered me once I began to understand rightly dividing our evangel from Israel’s, as it seemed to me to be a ritual given by Jesus to His chosen 11 apostles for the Jewish bride church. (Judas had left to do his deed) That church is the Bride of the lambkin and destined for the earthly kingdom. Sharing a supper related to the fleshly body of Jesus does not seem to fit with our celestial calling by the glorified Christ. I have read all the arguments for both viewpoints and yet I was not satisfied that it was something the Body of Christ should be observing.
Knoch and others will say that Paul affirms the Lords Supper for us but again I have to ask, the time frame pointed to was while the dispensation of Holy Spirit was in effect with the gifts of languages and healing and etc.. So when we look at when Paul said he had received it of the Lord…in 1 Corinthians 11:23 was he not still working within the dispensation of Holy Spirit and with the physical gifts? Was he not still following the rule to the Jew first? Were not most of those disciples of Israelite heritage?
Knoch had said, Paul and his disciples were subservient to the Jewish church during that time and so couldn’t that mean it was something they were to do, along with the Jewish church because most were Israelites? The first step in their salvation process was to recognize and accept the fact that Jesus was Israel’s messiah and He was coming back to Israel to sit and dine, drinking the wine with them as he promised in the earthly Kingdom.
Paul and His disciples will have been in heaven for quite some time before that will occur on the earth. I also wonder if this ritual ties in with what Paul said, “we know Jesus by the flesh no more” 2 Corinthians 5:16,17. The bread and wine are symbolic of his flesh and blood and those of Israel are yet to recognize this. Paul has stressed that we have no fleshly ties to Jesus, but Israel still does. We are Christ’s Body and Paul gave later instructions that we are tied to no rituals or decrees….our blessings and rituals are all spiritual.
In Ephesians 2:15 Paul says Christ nullified the law of precepts in decrees. And at Colossians 2:14 “erasing the hand writing of the decrees against us…which was hostile to us, and has taken it away out of the midst, nailing it to the cross.” So some point to this as merely being the Old Law Covenant but could it mean more than that …any decrees or rituals observed in the fleshly realm?
Next looking at Verse 20-23 Paul asks them “why as living in the world, are you subject to decrees. You should not be touching, nor yet tasting, nor yet coming into contact, (which things are all for corruption from use), in accord with the directions and teaching of men? Which are (having indeed, an expression of wisdom in a willful ritual and humility and asceticism) not of any value toward the surfeiting of the flesh”
Was not the Lord’s Supper or Memorial a ritual of the flesh? Aren’t we as a spiritual entity remembering Christ by means of the indwelling spirit within each of us and which communes with our spirit daily? The meal we should be partaking of needed far more is spiritual food from Gods Word. This is needed on a daily basis, reminding us to always be thankful and remembering what Christ has done and is doing with the new administration? These are just some of the questions I have had…the reader may have more and or answers for me?
A review of the different baptisms we talked about at the beginning of this study.
Now we briefly touched on the different baptisms earlier, there was John’s baptism and then a few times we read that they were also baptized in the name of Jesus. At Pentecost, Peter said those there were baptized in the name of Jesus at Acts 2:38 and when he met with Cornelius it is said that he and his household were baptized in the name of Jesus Acts 10:48.
We read of those 12 men at Ephesus were said to of had received Johns baptism and then Paul has them baptized in the name of Jesus and they received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Acts 19:1-7
Also there is the baptism Jesus told His eleven disciples at Matthew 28:19 to use, when they go into all the nations and be baptizing in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Also then Paul says, we are baptized into Christ at Galatians 3:27 and also that for us there is but, one baptism, the spiritual. Ephesians 4:5. So maybe we should do a review of these baptisms.
Another thing we should also understand is, that baptism can be and was done by several; methods, sprinkling or bathing or dunking…it was a symbolic ritual signifying a change of mind or heart and thus if one was not by a body of water, they could sprinkle themselves with water. Thus should end the controversy over dunking or sprinkling!
John’s baptism…was for those of Israel and was for the repentance of sins….John was preparing the way for Jesus and His ministry in Israel also in his role of the friend of the bridegroom. The friend of the bride groom would look for a bride. John was raised up also a Prophet announcing the coming messiah and Israel’s need to repent from her National sin. As Israel had not had a prophet since Malachi four hundred years previously, and Johns baptism had to do with Israel being lo ammi and needing to repent of their national sin.
Baptism in the name of Jesus….again this was for those of Israel as Jesus was their messiah. Their baptism in the name of Jesus signified their acceptance of Him as their messiah and that was an act of faith, believing and making the public symbol of that belief, that He was Israel’s messiah and the Son of God.
Baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…There is no record of the Jewish church under Peter and the eleven or of Paul ever using this formula? It is the baptism which will be used in the kingdom of Christ. They did not use it as the understood it to be the baptism they would use in the millennial kingdom. Christendom again wrong with their use of it. Also I like what Bullinger said about it, even though he leaned towards the Trinity Doctrine… “that this baptism will be the baptism into God” As God is the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.
The differences with the Trinity Doctrine and how I view this is that the Trinity has three persons and the scriptures teach there is but One God and I view the One God as One Person, Who reveals Himself through many different modes….or offices and titles. Hebrews 1:1
The three modes and or roles are as Father, Son and Holy Spirit but these three are not three separate persons but are the essential characteristics of the One God and One Person. We might relate these three offices or roles or characteristics…. to the three Omni’s, Presence, Power and Knowledge.
In the Millennial Kingdom, Israel will be evangelizing the world of mankind, those of the Gentile nations to God, through Christ and so they will be baptized in the name of the Father, the son and the Holy God, in other words, baptized into God, their Creator. Different from in the past in Israel, with the Israelites being baptized in the name of Jesus…because He was Israel’s messiah, in other words that was their door to God.
For those in the new administration, Paul taught a Baptism into Christ…one baptism …baptized into the one body. A spiritual baptism, remember we are given every spiritual blessing in the celestials. Whatever Christ has, we have, now in spirit, when called home we will have in fact! 1 Corinthians 12:13 “For in one spirit also we all are baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and all are made to imbibe of one spirit”
Galatians 3:27 “For whoever are baptized into Christ, put on Christ, in Whom there is no Jew nor yet Greek, there is no slave nor yet free, there is no male and female for you all are one In Christ Jesus.”
Romans 6:3-7 “Or are you ignorant that whoever are baptized into Christ Jesus, are baptized into His death? We, then, were entombed together with Him through baptism into death, that, even as Christ was roused from among the dead through the glory of the Father, thus we also should be walking in newness of life. For if we have become planted together in the likeness of His death, nevertheless we shall be of the resurrection also, knowing this, that our old humanity was crucified together with Him, that the body of Sin may be nullified, for us by no means to be still slaving for Sin, for one who dies has been justified from Sin.”
This is a powerful statement, one who dies has been justified from Sin...we might ask how can there be any future judging then? We are told that there will be and so we need to understand why? Always remembering judging is setting things right…not a time to punish. God may use chastisement; as discipline with always the goal to bring everyone into a realization of the truth and eventual reconciliation with Him.
Notice the capital Sin, the Sin, the death inherited from Adam. When we die we have paid the price just as Adam did, with our life, death is the payment. But what of our own sins, committed during our life? We also have no way to redeem ourselves from them, to fix them or remove them. But, Christ did that for us upon the cross with His sinless blood. So the Sin and our sins are paid for but when we die we are still dead, unable to release ourselves from that state. We do not have the power of life, but God in Christ does.
We have done nothing to earn a release from death; our death paid for sin but is not a sufficient payment for the release from death, the penalty! Thus, we need a Saviour, Jesus Christ paid for our release from death with His sinless blood and because at His resurrection He was given the keys to death and hades. And yet with all of this, we still read of judging and so it seems each and every one of us answers for our personal sins, works, lack of and or acts in one way or another.
Paul tells us that the Body of Christ will have their works of no value burned up at the Dais of God. We are told that the rest of the dead….will be judged for their acts…although released from the death brought to them by the Sin through the resurrection at the Great White Throne. And we are told that some are cast into the Lake of Fire said to be the second death…because of their acts or works? If this were literal fire, then indeed we would have a problem with judgment being a punishment?
If it is literal death we then also have the problem as what good will be accomplished by being placed back into the unconscious state We need to ask, are these ones so bad that God cant deal with them and so hide them away? But, what if the second death is life, mortal life, amongst the immortals? What if the Lake of fire is a yet again a time of learning good and evil through experiencing them, and learning Who God is by witnessing Him in the world and in His saints?
The purpose of the Sin and the Death or the Second Death is not to torture, punish, or annihilate humanity, which is Gods own creation being made in His image, but to teach humanity what He knows without sinning, two simple elements Good and Evil which one cannot be learned or understood without the other and this education process all brought about in order for God’s Universe through this knowledge will willingly become reconciled to Him and His family.
Let’s now conclude this study with, “the Snatching Away” for the Body of Christ
There is also a controversy within the many denominations of Christendom, concerning 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, where Paul is speaking of “the snatching away” for the Body of Christ which is translated as the rapture in the KJAV which causes some to discredit Paul’s words. The reason for the translating of that term using the word, rapture, is that word comes from the Latin, with the definition being, “the raptor a bird which snatches its prey.”
Doing some study into the history of our Bible and of its being translated from the original languages into different languages helps us to see and understand how some truths taught in the original text were lost, or covered over and or changed by the translating process.
The Hebrew Scriptures were translated by Jewish scribes into the Greek during the reign of the Roman Empire as that was the language of the day, which that translation is the Septuagint. Later, following the death of the apostles in the 2nd and 3rd centuries the Greek scriptures were translated into Latin, as that language became dominant and actually twice as the first Latin translation was done sloppily and Jerome attempted to improve it and his work was named the Jerome Latin Vulgate.
In the 15th century the Latin scrolls were translated back into the Greek as that was the fad of the day, so much so that scholars took Greek names. Like the Dutch theologian Geert Geertsen took the name of Desiderius Erasmus, mostly known for his work in creating the Textus Receptus on which the King James of 1611 was later based on. It is said that Erasmus hurriedly, translated from the Jerome Latin Vulgate and some assorted old Greek New Testament manuscripts he had acquired. It was first published in 1516 with his friend the printer John Froben. This was the Greek Latin Parallel New Testament.
I have read that it was a hurried attempt to beat some Spanish priests who were also working on a new Greek translation, Erasmus wanted to get his printed and published first….the printing press was newly invented and thus mass copies could be more easily made. And so there were many revised editions to follow as he made many corrections. Erasmus lived from 1466 to 1536 and it sounds like he did not think much of organized religion even thought he was a Catholic priest he did not officiate as one.
And then in the 16th century a translation, was authorized by King James of England to be made from the Greek Textus Receptus into the archaic English language of the day, thus, the King James Authorized Version of 1611 came about.
So, during this process some of the Latin words were kept, not only rapture but also the use of the words, eternal, forever and ever, wrongly translated from the Hebrew word Olam and the Greek word Aion or Aionios. In the Latin, the word eternus could fit an age or speak to endlessness but when the Latin scrolls were translated back into the Greek and then into the English the true meaning of the original words was lost coupled with erroneous theology and a word meant to express a period of time became eternal, everlasting, forever and forever and ever.
Both words in the original languages as dictated by Holy Spirit, Olam and Aion do not imply endlessness but speak to periods of time of undetermined length, thus, a more accurate translation would be an eon, the eons or eonian life and or of the ages. But that is another study already very well covered by others and so will not go into it here. I highly recommend Bob Evely’s book “At the end of the Ages, the Abolition of Hell” for a complete review of these words.
The rapture or snatching away is taught or explained with three basic views on when the rapture or snatching away will take place, these viewpoints are called pre trib, midweek and post trib.
The Pre Trib view is that, the Body of Christ will be snatched away before Gods indignation is poured out on those who are persecuting Israel and on those of Israel who have apostatized in what is called the last days. The snatching away is based upon 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Corinthians 15:52 and Philippians 3:21.
This is what Paul describes is going to happen before Israel enters the latter days based on his words at 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 5:8-11, telling his disciples they were not appointed to that time of indignation, as well as the fact that we are the dispensation of Grace and are the ambassadors of Gods Grace, and of the conciliation. Ambassadors are alien residents living in foreign lands as representatives of their own governments and are called home when war breaks out in the lands in which they may be living.
Paul has told the new administration, the Body of Christ, our home has all along existed in the heavens at Philippians 3:20 ‘For our realm is inherent (has all along been) in the heavens, out of which we are awaiting a Saviour also, the Lord, Jesus Christ, Who will transfigure the body of our humiliation to conform it to the body of His glory,” we might ask, how can this be, all along in the heavens…take that statement right over to Ephesians 1:1-3 “We were chosen in Him before the disruption of the world.”
In other words the Body of Christ was foreordained to live in heaven, which has all along been our home; we are alien residents of the earth and of these, temporary, earthly bodies. The spirit of Christ which dwells inside those chosen for the new administration…longs for that which is spiritual and for the spiritual realm…if you have ever felt like you did not fit in this world, now maybe that feeling is understandable?
Also, Paul again explains to his disciples that…in those future times of the end of which Israel was aware of in their Prophetic Word would occur before Christ, or their messiah would arrive, is that something was detaining his or its arrival. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 “And now you are aware what is detaining, for him to be unveiled in his own era. For the secret of lawlessness is already in operation. Only when the present detainer may be coming to be out of the midst, then will be unveiled the lawless one (whom the Lord Jesus will dispatch with the spirit of His mouth and will discard by the advent of His presence.)”
Some teach the detainer is the Holy Spirit, but how could that be? Will not the Holy Spirit be active with Israel and in the world by means of the judgments poured out from God? Wouldn’t the Holy Spirit also be active with the calling out of the remnant, the vast throng as well as the 144,000 Israelites, who it is said are sealed thus protected…during those last days? Will it not be the Holy Spirit protecting the faithful who flee to the wilderness? Revelation 7: 3, 4 and 9, Matthew 24:15,16, Daniel 12:11 Revelation 12:6
Joel 2:28-32 foretells those last days or more accurately, should perhaps be referred to as the end times as it seems the times of restoration for Israel which lead up to Christ’s arrival are the last days or latter times. The book of Joel shows before Christ returns there will be again a time when the Holy Spirit will be active with the gifts of the spirit, such as healing, languages, prophesy and knowledge given and use in calling out a remnant from the nation of Israel just as in the Pentecostal era. That early era was a foretaste of the future time yet to come in Israel after she is restored as a nation and kingdom again.
So, I put forth that in my view, the detainer, taken out of the midst…is the Body of Christ, who are being called during the dispensation of Grace and are ambassadors of conciliation in the world. It is our removal which opens the door for Jehovah to begin working with Israel as His People again, in Covenant relationship, just where He left off with in past times. Some explain it as though they were put on hold so to speak or that the clock stopped and will start again with the completion and removal of the new administration. Or some call this the gap…a period of time falling in between Israel’s past and her prophetic future during which God revealed and will complete the secret administration.
The removal of the Body of Christ, with it’s dispensation of Grace… allows, Israel to be restored under their Old law Covenant again, returning to the worship of Jehovah and after a time of peace and prosperity, the lawlessness of apostasy will come again in Israel. And as in the past, when Israel was unfaithful Jehovah withdrew His protection and they were subject to their enemies.
In those end times some of the Jewish leaders will apostatize by looking to the wrong person as their messiah, the man of lawlessness and as the lawless one, he will become the antichrist, demanding to be worshipped as god and will wage war with the saints who refuse to do so.
The two chapters of Revelation 12, 13 explain this scenario foretold for the end times. During that time, there will be some who have come to Christ and so will follow the warnings given by Jesus as recorded in the gospel accounts and flee to the wilderness and thus will be supernaturally protected. Some Judaisers, remaining faithful to Jehovah will resist this man of lawlessness turned anti christ and will refuse to worship him and it sounds like they will be fighting him and his armies in Jerusalem when Christ arrives to rescue them. The Jews will then come to the understanding of Jesus Christ of Nazareth having indeed been their messiah…Who has arrived as their conquering King.
So the snatching away of the ambassadors of grace and conciliation, the Body of Christ must occur first, as they are the detainer which prevents Israel’s restoration and the unveiling of the lawless one. The administration of Grace must be removed as that then allows for God to turn His attention back to the unfinished business with Israel, thus the times of restoration will begin and will then be a time when Jehovah will judge any nation who comes against His People, Israel.
Prophecy shows that the will be reunited will all 12 tribes returning to Israel and also to the Law Covenant, with Jehovah their God having not recognized that their messiah had come centuries earlier. How else could they be restored as a nation again under Jehovah if all of this were to take place when Christ arrives, they then would be in the messianic kingdom worshipping Christ?
No they first must return to Jehovah before He will come again as Jesus their messiah and King. I suspect that the times of restoration leading to Christ’s return will fulfill the complete prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27. The Law covenant is spoken of as being under the rod, at Ezekiel 20:37 and there is also foretold they would be given by Jehovah a covenant of Peace, at Ezekiel 37:6
The standard evangelical view is that there are only seven years left in Daniel prophecy of the seventy weeks and so the evangelical Pre trib viewpoint is that the Body of Christ would be snatched away and then those seven years would begin.
Those seven years are also called the last days but would be more accurate to refer to them as the end times as it is possible that the entire prophecy of the seventy weeks in Daniel would be the last days taken from the Hebrew, word Achairth more accurately meaning the latter days. If this is true, then following our removal, Israel and the world will have 490 years before Christ returns to establish His messianic kingdom.
This needs more study but at the moment I am of the opinion there is a strong possibility that this will be the case due to reviewing some articles in The Differentiator Publication, which was a publication similar to the Unsearchable Riches, but was out of England and is now out of print.
Those articles were written at least 50 years ago by Commander Steedman and Major Withers on the different interpretations of Daniels prophecy, and in their articles the view is put forth that the entire the seventy weeks of Daniels prophecy are yet to come in the future. Once again Christendom would be wrong if Steedman was correct in his studies, and my own personal review of his articles along with researching Israel’s times of Restoration, using the tool of rightly dividing, I consider his view to be a legitimate one.
In Chapter five of Manual One I have discussed this view in more depth and also in Study Manual Two which is devoted exclusively to Israel’s past history and her Prophetic future. This subject of Daniels Prophecy and Israel’s times of restoration before Christ returns….are explored at length.
The pre trib view is the only view which really even considers the need to rightly divide our evangel from Israel’s. But most feel there is only seven years left and if Steedman was correct there would then be instead the full 490 years. So, I fall into the class of the Pre trib view, except with it being highly probable that the entire 490 years of Daniels prophecy of the seventy weeks is yet ahead to be fulfilled before Christ returns to Israel. And that we will be removed before any of it begins, so I jokingly say I am a pre, pre tribber.
If we remember, the circumstances which brought about this prophecy, was Daniels prayer and his question to His God Jehovah which was, when will Israel be restored? The angel gave him the answer by means of the prophecy in Daniel 9 of the seventy weeks for when Israel would be restored as a nation and kingdom again.
Other prophecy linked with Daniels tells us that when that happens all 12 tribes will return to Jerusalem or the land of Israel and be reunited as one nation again. Returning to Israel, rebuilding cities, the city of Jerusalem with their temple and re-establishing the worship of Jehovah in a covenant relationship, back again as His People, which is the meaning of the name ammi! My People.
These fulfillments of Prophecy will be The times of Restoration of which Peter spoke of in Acts 3:17-21 for Israel. All of this is needed to occur before Christ returns to set up the Messianic Kingdom. The articles by Steedman and Withers can be found on Rick Farewells website. http://www.geocities.com/tws490/
The Mid week view…is also that there are only seven years left of Daniels Prophecy, but that the Body of Christ will be here during the first half of those seven years, for 3 1/2 years. Believing then at the middle of those seven years which is when the treaty or covenant will be broken between Israel, and the man of lawlessness.
The beginning of the seven years is marked by the making of the peace treaty, it is going to be broken midway and that marks the 31/2 years, which are 42 months and the 1260 days of Israel being persecuted and fighting with the antichrist. Satan will be thrown out of heaven at the midway point in those 7 years and incarnate the man of lawlessness, becoming the antichrist. The breaking of the covenant seems to begin his 42 months of waging war against the Jews. Revelation 12:7-13 and 13:5,6.
The Mid week view is then that the Body will be there during the first half of the last seven years and will be snatched away, or rescued out of that conflict, as Gods indignation will be poured out on the earth fro their treatment of Israel. Some sects with this view also feel the faithful of Israel are going to be snatched away along with the Body of Christ.
These people are not rightly dividing and so they mix up the snatching away with the description of the woman fleeing to the wilderness. The Book of Revelation is written for Israel and for after the Body of Christ is removed and so it all pertains to her evangel and not ours. Also some with the mid trib view call it a pre trib view because the tribulation or time of Gods indignation does not start until the middle of the last seven years.
So there are several variations to the midweek viewpoint. I will say that each viewpoint has a scripture or two that they base their assumptions on and if we just viewed those scriptures alone they would seem to support each of the views. But, again if we don’t rightly divide the two evangels and the two different callings wrong conclusions are reached. Also if the traditional viewpoint of Daniel 9 is wrong to begin with as I am suspecting that it is, then all that is built upon that assumption will be in error also.
Now another area that some of those with the Mid week view use to show that the Body of Christ is going to remain here until the middle of that last week, or the middle of the last seven years is based on one verse which is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 “the Day of Christ.” So, lets look at that before we discuss the Post trib view.
The term or phrase, found many times in the scriptures, the day of the Lord is for Israel, while it seems the term, the Day of Christ is for the Body of Christ as Paul uses that term in Philippians 1:10 and 2:16
The Midweek viewpoint using the King James Authorized Version of 1611 point to 2 Thessalonians 2:3 because it reads the day of Christ. But according to Knoch and many other translators and scholars it should read the day of the Lord. The person I discussed this with, at length and was also in the camp of the King James only people and they go as far as to claim that the translation, of the KJAV of 1611 is or was inspired of God. Which means whatever those translators did to change scripture was authorized by God! Wrong!!
This person also professed to rightly divide Paul’s ministry from Israel’s, up to the point of the snatching away and there he stopped. He believes the faithful of Israel are also snatched away with us, he said they were not Body but are also are going to be rescued out of the indignation coming on Israel. When I asked him where did he draw a line on rightly dividing, separating Israel from the Body and he said that I was an ultra dispensationalist? I had never heard that title before so I investigated and guess I am.
I would also add that this person still clings to the false doctrines of Hellfire, the Trinity and of the Immortal Soul and rejects the truth of Gods Word as found especially in Paul’s writings, regarding the salvation of all and the reconciliation of the Universe, thus it seems to me he has only a glimmer of truth concerning Paul’s unique and distinct evangel.
The Salvation of All should be the basic foundation from which we build upon and through using
the tools Paul counsels us to use in our stud of Gods word, to rightly divide Gods word of truth and test the things which differ. Understanding these instructions gives us the correct tools for study and the correct foundation to build upon.
I did research on this midweek theory with the use of the term, the day of Christ but since I am not a Greek scholar I cannot say who translated this passage correctly, I can only point out that Knoch and other Scholars say that passage in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 should read day of the Lord instead of the day of Christ. Even Bullinger’s notes in the Companion Bible…states that in the original texts, it is Day of the Lord and not Christ as it is tied also to Verse 1, the coming (presence) of our Lord Jesus Christ and so Verse 3 should also read, that the day of the Lord is at hand.
The King James only people will say, God inspired that translation and wanted it to say Day of Christ? That is certainly taking liberties for several reasons, implying that the original was not correct so God had to correct it? Also it is well known that the KJAV translation is said to have over 20,000 grammatical and translation errors. If inspired of God wouldn’t it have been perfect?
The context of the Thessalonian letters indicate they were being written to those of Israelite heritage and were aware of the prophecies concerning the latter days for Israel and so because of the persecution they were enduring began to wonder if they were in the day of the Lord and if so, what Paul had told them previously when with them in person must be wrong.
Paul had told them of their removal before those times that they would be gone before that day or era began and his disciple so would be no part of Gods indignation. 1 Thessalonians 4:9 These people taught by Paul that they did not share Israel’s evangel any longer, what was foretold for her, they would be no part of. But they doubted what he had told them so he is reassuring them.
My only answer to this one verse in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 used by those to prove the midweek snatching away, besides what I have just placed here, would be that, if indeed their view was correct…there would be more than one verse to base it on. Gods Word tells us, that we are to believe…by the mouth of two or three witnesses.
Anytime we form a doctrine or viewpoint on one verse we are in trouble. I also told him, my goal is to find the truth of Paul’s words for when the Body is gong to be snatched away and not to prove a position of pre, mid or post…as it will happen as God has ordained it. So I wasn’t to trying to prove one view over the other for any other reason that seeking the truth. That is still my position and so I continue to read any information that comes my way on all viewpoints.
I have also read L. Ray Smith’s Manual, Exposing Those Who Contradict and Exposing the Rapture Theory although he has some excellent information and arguments on there being no Hell….his theory on the rapture being false is based on spiritualizing the scriptures. I have also found many websites which teach the Salvation of All and that Hellfire is a lie but who will not rightly divide Gods Word of Truth and deny the rapture or snatching away because they are spiritualizing the Word of God.
The Post trib view is that the Body of Christ must go through the tribulation or time of indignation and prove their faithfulness just like Israel. Their main thoughts are that those who believe in the snatching away do so because they do not want to suffer hardship for their Lord and that indeed we must go through that time to prove our faith in order to be saved.
In my opinion, these folks do not understand Paul’s evangel of Grace which teaches we have nothing to prove…but God does! And He does so through the giving of unmerited GRACE…His unmerited favor is given to those whom He chooses and not because of the recipient deserving or having earned it…but because it is God’s means of displaying His Righteousness to the rest of His creation.
Without rightly dividing, nor do they understand the reasons why Israel is to go through that time period or of why or that she is to be restored again, as His People. Israel was made a nation, to be His People by Jehovah for a reason. That nation was called of God to be His Witnesses…they were given visible signs and miracles…they were given Gods Law in a covenant, a marriage type relationship with Jehovah. They agreed to the contract.
The Jews were used by God to record and safe guard His Holy Scriptures…they were privileged to produce the great prophets and leaders who recorded the history of creation and of Gods bringing forth the nation of Israel out of Egypt. That nation was also privileged to bring forth the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. In the future that nation will be used again to glorify their God, Jehovah on this earth amongst the nations.
Israel held much honor and religious privilege as His People, but they failed from the human viewpoint and in the relative viewpoint, but not in the absolute and divine viewpoint. They accomplished, exactly what Jehovah chose them for and to do. Out of that nation also came the bride for the lambkin and the foundation for the new administration, the Body of Christ whose work is ahead yet, in the celestial realms.
The Prophetic Word assures Israel that they will be given another chance to honor that privilege and I believe during the larger portion of those 490 years of their times of restoration they will be His witnesses to the whole world as Jehovah will actively intervene against those who try to come against Israel. They will be His witnesses, not so much by their faithfulness to Him, but by the Faithfulness of Jehovah their God. to Israel fro all the world to see.
We need to raise our eyes off of Israel’s failures and look to what God is doing through them. Humanity focuses on the failings of each other seeking to feel superior to others through their failing…that is the work of our flesh! For me it is very humbling to remember, the Body of Christ began with those of Israelite heritage…God being faithful to His People, began the new administration with a remnant out of Israel…our own Apostle Paul was a Jewish Pharisee!
If we are to be spiritually minded…we must rise above the flesh and let the indwelling spirit of Christ show us the absolute and divine viewpoint. To look past humanities failures also means to look past our own and those around us and accept the fact, that it is what it is and instead of looking at human failures, look to the unfailing Faithfulness of our Great God! All is ordained of Him and for our learning and His Glory!
Prophecy for Israel shows that towards the end of those years, some in that nation will fail again, as foretold by Jesus and by John in the book of the Unveiling; these are to be the end times of the latter days. But the faithful of Israel who live through that time of tribulation and indignation along with those raised by Christ, who remained faithful under Peter and the eleven apostles will be the bride of the lambkin and rule and reign in the Messianic Kingdom with Jesus Christ. They will be His Witnesses in the fullest sense and well able to carry out their commission in all the earth amongst the nations, bringing them to God through Christ.
In Christ’s kingdom, Israel will not fail, because they will be given what you and I have been given today….justification….in Christ, plus the faithful given immortality by means of the promised new covenant which will take them from the physical into the spiritual realm through vivification, which means life within oneself…and that is because they will be filled with Gods Spirit, never to fail again.
Getting back to the differing views on if the Body of Christ will be raptured and or when, there are those who do not accept Paul’s words of a snatching away at all and deny that there will be a rapture of the church. In their disbelief and arguments, they will point out that the snatching away was not taught by the early church, following the death of the apostles, basically the Catholic Church and not taught until the 1800’s. Some blame it on Darby who pointed out what Paul had to say on this subject in 1827.
In a newsletter I receive from someone who continues to spiritualize, he points to a two volume book published in Spain in 1812 by Manuel Lacunza who lived in the time period of 1731-1817, “The coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty.”
Also another book published by Morgan Edwards, a Baptist minister in Philadelphia in 1788. This newsletter says Darby probably had access to these two books and based his theory then on them. Completely ignoring the possibility that those men discovered a truth covered over by the main culprit, the Catholic Church.
It is understandable that the Catholic Church would not be teaching the snatching away, as they were and are following Peter and he never talked of a snatching away nor do any of the other Jewish writers because it is not pertinent to their evangel and their hope of the earthly kingdom. This information is found only in Paul’s letters because his evangel concerns the heavenly kingdom a completely different calling from what was given Israel and that calling was never taken away from them.
They did not write of it because they were called to the Kingdom to come on this earth when Christ returns to Israel and thus the snatching away does not apply to the Jewish church of which Peter was made the head of by Jesus before his death.
Paul’s letters were pretty much ignored and thus, his counsel to rightly divide Gods word of truth was overlooked or forgotten. As discussed already, it is quite clear that once Paul and Peter were dead, the Judaisers claiming to accept Christ but also insisted on holding onto the Mosaic Law is what apostasied both early churches and what evolved out of all that error was the Catholic Church and the others competing with them for supremacy such as the Greek Orthodox and the Church of England, they to held to the ceremony and rituals with robes, candles and priests officiating over the lay person of the Old Jewish system.
There was a power struggle and The Catholic Church grabbed onto Peter as proof that they were the rightful Church begun by Jesus in an attempt to squelch any of those who broke away from them. Put that with Augustine, the father of spiritualizing and thus prophecy was ignored and forgotten since they believed it had all been fulfilled. The Catholic Church also steeped in pagan doctrines promoted the immortality of the soul with going to Heaven or Hell immediately at death and or following a time in purgatory.
So if these things which they taught were true, what need then would there be for a snatching away of any saints? Or of a resurrection of the dead although they have made a feeble attempt to explain the scriptures which speak of a resurrection by saying, the soul or spirit is either in heaven or hell but will be reunited with the body out of the grave to be judged by God and then sent back to heaven or hell. Which is so stupid in its logic and lack of scriptural basis that it merely shows their blindness even more? It also shows the power of the adversary as his first lie in the Garden of Eden has enveloped this earth with a spirit of delusion that is beyond explanation to my human mind.
Except that, it, the first lie, appeals to the soulish and willful flesh…not wanting to accept the truth of the scriptures which tells us that the soul ceases to exist and the body rots in the grave and that we must wait and trust in God to raise us out of death.
That lie seduced Eve when Satan said to her…you will not really die but be like God…Mankind for the most part has follow Eve’s example and believe Satan’s lie and teach that the person is a spirit clothed in flesh and that spirit is eternal, or immortal and lives on after the body dies…thus the phrase they have passed on. They choose to believe the lie instead of the truth of Gods Word, which tell us the person at death, is dead, likened to being asleep and needs someone more powerful than they to wake them up and restore life to them again. That means we must trust in God…that is not what they want to hear, because they want to trust in themselves!
In regards to the Thessalonian letters, and the teaching of the snatching away by Paul as recorded it is obvious the so called early church fathers ignored Paul’s information and instead followed Peter and the Jewish church in apostasy focused solely on the gospels and following the man Jesus, Israel’s messiah.
Paul instructed his disciples in the many secrets which had been revealed to him by means of direct revelations from Christ. Paul discipled a group of saints separate from Peter and Israel’s evangel with a separate calling and destiny. Even though the Christians following the death of the apostles claimed to follow Jesus they did not understand his ministry was to Israel and that it was Paul’s evangel they should be heeding.
They also did not live up to their claims of following Jesus as He taught Love for your fellow eelier and to also love your enemies while the Church persecuted fellow believers in Jesus as well as unbelievers to the point of using torture and death. So they did not follow Him in truth but instead followed the error of Israel’s religious leaders and the Judaisers of Paul’s day. They also did not follow Paul’s counsel to deal graciously with others ….just as God has dealt graciously with each one of us.
I would ask this, do we have the right to judge others…to blame and criticize even when they are wrong and have wronged or offended us….when we who have done our own wrongs and have offended God and He has graciously acquitted us? Jesus said turn the other cheek, Paul said deal with others in grace…that means…even though they don’t deserve our kindness but give it to them anyway as we glory daily in the kindness of God towards us…He has chosen and graced us….in our own sin and offenses. Ephesians 4:32
This is the personal battle for each of us, which is to subdue the soulish nature and try and rid ourselves of the doctrinal error which surrounds us and pervades the soul yet cherished by Christendom in her apostasy, borrowed from the Judaisers of Paul’s day on down through Christendom’s sects. We instead look to Paul as our God ordained, Apostle, Prophet and Priest and when we want truth we must be using the tools given to us by Paul to rightly divide, and testing what differs, in this case …divide truth from error.
As I previously mentioned there are different ideas concerning when the two letters of Thessalonians were written, before or after the prison epistles. In Bullinger’s chart at Appendix 180 he has them written before in about 52-54 A.D. If they were indeed written before the prison epistles this would create a flaw in the Acts 28 position which is that the church did not begin until after that point in Paul’s ministry and that all books written before Ephesians contain no information for the Body of Christ or that he did not reveal the secret of its calling.
And so the purpose of this long study was to decide if we could who was right and when did the Body of Christ truly begin. And did Paul teach his disciples these truths before writing of them in the prison epistles. I think he must have as we have found much information in his early letters that would be hard to explain if he had not done so.
If the Thessalonians letters were written before the prison epistles then it is obvious that they knew of their celestial calling by his telling them of the snatching away to meet the Lord in the air which would be strange if they did not know of the secret or their calling to heaven before Ephesians was written. But it is thought by some that these letters were written after the prison epistles.
The reader can review that information and decide for themselves which theory to accept. For me I feel they were written after the prison epistles but that does not discount all the other information we have read in the early letters by Paul which certainly point to his sharing the new evangel in its entirely with is disciple when with them in person as he alludes to many things which were of his revelations and to their calling and destiny.
We also read where Paul reminds them that he had talked to them about these things earlier when he was with them in person at 2 Thessalonians 2:5. So he is saying what I have been trying to say, which is that he would have, of course discussed all of these things with his disciples while he was with them in person. In 2 Thessalonians 2:1 Paul speaks of their assembling to Him, the Lord Jesus Christ…and putting that with what he told them in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 that God did not appoint us to Indignation, meaning they would not be on this earth while the indignation or the day of the Lord is operating.
In relation to the snatching away he did not say this information was a secret but in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 but that he did not want them to be ignorant concerning those who were reposing or in other words those who had died and were still in the graves.
So this information in both these letter is clarification of their calling to heaven and that they all go together as a unit…those who are alive when Christ calls will not outstrip those who are dead as Paul said the dead in Christ shall be rising first and then we shall all be changed and together, we go to meet the Lord in the air. In the succeeding article, I have added Ted Mc Divitt’s articles on when he feel the Thessalonian letters were written.
I hope going through this lengthy study of Paul’s early letters and his ministry, we now have a better understanding for when the Body of Christ began. In the absolute sense, and divine viewpoint the Body of Christ was chosen before the disruption of the world. Ephesians 1:1-3 But in the relative view point which is the area we humans deal in, we can point to Acts 13 since this was when Saul was severed to become the Apostle Paul, taking up his commission with his evangel for the nations to begin a new administration separated from Israel’s bride church destined for the earthly kingdom when their messiah Jesus Christ would return to them.
With a clearer understanding that the new administration began during the dispensation of Holy Spirit with the rule to the Jew first being followed by Paul. This was also because Paul’s commission to the nations involved discipling the sons of Israel…these being from the scattered 10 tribes who were living amongst those nations and still in idolatry.
So some Jews such as Paul and many sons of Israel were actually the first members of the Body of Christ and thus explains the Jewish nature of much that Paul spoke of in his early letters. The majority of his disciples were of Israelite heritage being severed from Israel’s evangel like Saul had been called into the new administration.
We can look to Acts 19:21 and the words of having fulfilled all these things, which seem to imply Paul had done his work among the Jews with the signs and miracles and his ministry would become different or move from the physical to the spiritual as the gifts of the spirit were ceasing as he foretold they would and that would mean the dispensation of Holy Spirit was ending and with that the dispensation of grace and the conciliation of the world would take office, unhindered by judgment which could be and was rendered on saints during the dispensation of Holy Spirit.
It is my feeling that is what was ending from Acts 20 to Acts 28 and not that Israel was cast away again….but the rule to the Jew first ended in Rome and Paul’s evangel and commission became fully operational in Rome and with Paul under house arrest for two years.
The writing of the prison epistles made an official record of the revelations he had received from Christ. His evangel then became inspired scripture, the Word of God was completed by Paul with the addition of his evangel, of Grace, justification and the conciliation of the world and the reconciliation of the saints called into Paul’s evangel, all of this information had been the secret hidden in God for the ages now a public record of this new administration….which is the Body of Christ destined for heavenly glory with Christ.
In the meantime, let’s always keep our minds open for more information which may come our way to add to this study and or cause us to make some adjustments.