Our next letter for review is 2nd Corinthians
I am going to first add some of the comments given by both, Bullinger and Knoch in their
Introductions to the second letter Paul wrote the saints in Corinth.
Bullinger’s introduction in part: “From various passages we learn that the apostle Paul wrote this epistle under much pressure of spirit. The personal part of his first letter to the Corinthians had its effect upon the obedient members of the church. See Chapters 2 and 7, and he wrote a second time to comfort such, as well as to warn a disobedient element, Chapter 13:2,10. It is plain that certain ones altogether denied his authority and in Chapters 10-13 he once more, powerfully vindicates his apostleship, especially in connection with false teachers, against whom he earnestly warned the Corinthians. The specific claim of authority as proceeding from his Lord and Master alone occupies a large part of the epistle. Hence also, the admonition if, he came (to visit them) he would enforce that authority. There is much to indicate Paul’s anxiety for all the churches, while in the doctrinal portions occur some unsurpassed presentations of the Divine love in Christ.”
Knoch’s introduction in part “One short verse in the book of Acts 20:2 hurries us over the whole period referred to in this epistle. This alone should suggest the total divergence of their respective themes. Acts deals with Christ after the flesh, as the Messiah of Israel, and always gives the other nations a place subordinate. At the juncture when this epistle was written Paul first made known the truth of the conciliation that God, in Christ, beseeching all men to be reconciled to Him. Physical relationship to Christ no longer counted with Paul after this.”
Lets read the passage Knoch referred to, Acts 20:1-3 “Now after the tumult ceased, Paul, sending after the disciples and consoling and saluting them, came away to go into Macedonia. Now, passing through those parts and entreating them with many a word, he came into Greece, besides, spending three months.”
Bullinger’s notes on these verses also say “the whole time of Acts 20:1-3 covers about 9 months.” So this would be the time period in which Paul writes this next letter to the Corinthians maybe while in Macedonia, Greece.
2 Corinthians 1:1 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God and Timothy our brother….”
It would be good for us to consider the background or climate of these saints in Corinth as well as in the other ecclesias to whom Paul wrote his letters since he is speaking to them personally about their present circumstances. I do think we can learn from them as the principals involved may affect us today but at the same time we need to remember Paul was specifically speaking to those of another culture living in a different time than we and thus some of the counsel may not apply to us in the Body of Christ today. Also in those days, all believers in Jesus Christ as the messiah of Israel and as the Son of God…were being ridiculed or persecuted by non believers especially the non believing Jewish leaders.
The believers discipled by Paul were also receiving opposition from many of their own Jewish brethren who professed a belief in Jesus Christ but some were ridiculing and expressed unbelief as to Paul being an apostle and especially towards the evangel by which Paul’s disciples had been saved through. This alone, again shows us, Paul’s evangel was different and new and he was teaching things for the Body of Christ long before he writes Ephesians. His teachings were different from the basic evangel given to those of Israel under the ministry of Jesus and then by the twelve apostles based in Jerusalem, thus the opposition!
In Paul’s letter, he assures the saints in Corinth that God is aware of and consoles those in their afflictions and that (consolation) would also enable them to console others. It is very much a part of human nature, to have no true understanding of what someone else is going through or has gone through unless we also have experienced it. I feel those words are telling us that we use what we have personally gone through in order to comfort others in similar situations.
Now, we also will notice when reading another of Paul’s letters that these new saints wondered if the afflictions they were under going meant they were in the time of tribulation or the Day of the Lord which they were aware of as sons of Israel, that there were many prophecies in their scriptures foretelling that terrible time ahead for Israel. Especially in the first letter written to the Thessalonians do we see Paul speaking to that issue?
We might think again, about whether that letter was written before early on and before the others or later because in it Paul talks of the snatching away of the Body of Christ and before “the times of indignation” at two places in 1 Thessalonians 4: 14-18 and 5:9.
Many Acts 28 teachers believe this was one of his first letters written and yet state that Paul wrote nothing to or about the Body of Christ and its celestial destiny until he writes his letter to the Ephesians. Have they never read this letter or perhaps they don’t believe in the rapture of the church? I did ask the Acts 28 teacher about this and never did get an answer from her nor does she address it in her articles on this subject on her website.
It does not matter to me if these were early or late letters, what they say does not change my feeling that the body of Christ begin after Paul was severed in Acts 13. But as I have said earlier in this article, I feel it is very possible the Thessalonians letters were written later by Paul based on the article done by Ted McDivitt and so will not use what Paul is teaching in it about the rapture in the first letter as proof that Paul taught his disciples about their calling to the heavens before he writes Ephesians.
Although, if I was in a discussion with the Acts 28 proponents, I would use what Paul says in Thessalonians of the snatching away with those who believe that letter was written first because with that viewpoint they then are contradicting themselves. But I will add here, that this is probably why some accept the mid week snatching away theory and some others also believe the faithful of Israel in those days will be snatched away with the body of Christ. Some believe they are part of it and some do not but believe that they are body, and that they are taken to heaven with the Body of Christ…???
I feel we are seeing in these first two of the four letters written during the Acts era and before the Ephesian letter that he gives lots of information applicable only to the Body of Christ. So it seems to me we have enough evidence thus far in Paul’s first letters and which everyone agrees were written before Acts closes to refute their arguments. Such as, what we have already read, with what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:7,8 and 12:14-31 which is how he refers to the saints in Corinth as being the body of Christ. As well as the new information he gave about the resurrections in Chapter 15.
When we have a wrong premise or foundation to begin with, and then try to build on it, error just spawns more error. One important element of our foundation for finding truths must be the Salvation of All and the elimination of the false doctrine of Hellfire.
Next we must understand Paul’s counsel, which was to rightly divide, this means to separate Israel’s kingdom hope on this earth from the heavenly kingdom expectation for only the Body of Christ which was the secret hidden in God for the ages until it was given and revealed through the Apostle Paul.
The two other areas, of forming a foundation to build on are as we have been discussing in this supplement. Israel’s status with Jehovah, did she remain lo ammi or was she returned to the ammi state. Which side of this issue we take on this will then become a foundation or springboard for a belief pattern? As discussed earlier, if believing Israel was restored after the 70 years of captivity in Babylon and that before God can reveal the secret to create a new administration, Israel has to be divorced again.
Thus those who believe Israel must be cast away again before they God could begin the Body of Christ and thus they point to Acts 28:25-28 and I believe it is because they don’t know what to do with the dispensation of Holy Spirit and Paul’s commission going on at same time and probably because of the KJAV which uses gentiles over ethno…missing the point that the remnant according to choice are the sons of Israel called out from the nations into the new administration. Understanding Israel’s role is key.
The second premise which is in the foundation of a belief pattern or a way to interpret prophecy is the traditional interpretation of Daniel 9:24-27 believing that it has been partially fulfilled with only the one seven left, which are seven years and taught to be the last days in the scriptures. With that viewpoint, much is then ignored or not seen in Old Testament prophecy as applying to Israel’s times of restoration. Actually most do not believe she will ever be restored thus missing so much in Gods word.
In Manual Two we thoroughly discuss the strong possibility that none of Daniel’s prophecy in Chapter 9 has yet been fulfilled and with that premise to start with, comes the understanding, that the whole seventy weeks is yet for the future and becomes the foundation for Israel’s times of restoration to be followed by the last days, in the last one seven, 7 years, leading to Christ’s return to Israel.
A whole new picture begins to unfold if we contemplate, the 490 years of that prophecy are yet waiting a future fulfillment, which is incredible and yet that view does fit far better with all the other prophecy given concerning Israel’s times of restoration than does the traditional viewpoint. Which I might add, how much has Christendom gotten right, so far, not much?
And so why would we accept their interpretation on Daniel and throw in that they don’t even consider Paul’s words to rightly divide Israel’s evangels from the evangel given to him for the new administration…they do not separate these at all…but have melded them into one evangel. But, I digress; let’s get back to our subject of Paul’s letters.
In getting back to our purpose for this study, which has grown far beyond my expectations, which is when did the Body of Christ begin and or when did Paul begin to teach “his evangel”? I hope we are seeing through this study, that Paul wrote and spoke of things which were specific for the Body of Christ in each and every one of his letters. These four we are going through written in the time period of Acts 19, 20 and thus before the infamous Acts 28:28. Also this study has broadened our understanding of the term used, of Paul’s going to the nations did not mean that he solely went to Gentiles. And that it would seem the majority of the early members in the Body of Christ were mostly those of the sons of Israel. Because many were still in idolatry and not practicing circumcision as they were living amongst the nations they were most likely considered gentiles by the practicing Jews and also if they were still in their divorced status, of lo ammi would be considered gentiles or peoples of the nations by Jehovah. But, their heritage was still that they were the sons of Israel, as members of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
This is why we need to understand the differences with those who are called Jews and those called the sons of Israel which at that time, the name of Jew was given to those who were of the religion of Judaism which was the following of the Mosaic Law and they were based in Jerusalem and these were primarily of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin…said to be Judah or the Southern kingdom after the split.
While the sons of Israel would Include all Israelites, Jews or not, if descendants of one of the 12 tribes and of which the 10 tribes had left the two tribes Judah and Benjamin centuries earlier and for the most part, the 10 were then still scattered and even more so amongst the surrounding nations after the Babylonian captivity ended.
So they were said to be in dispersion amongst the many nations of which Paul traveled to with his new evangel and of whom he discipled many. There are many prophecies concerning these people and the name of Ephraim is also given them…this also we go through in Manual Two. Sometimes we read of Jacob, the name given them in rebellion. But the point of understanding all of this history of the sons of Israel ties to how this then explains the Jewish nature of Paul’s letters especially his early ones.
There are also Jews said to be in dispersion…this mean they were not living in their homeland but were living in the other nations also…thus the synagogues we read about in Acts which Paul would visit first. After Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70…the rest of the Jews also scattered in the world, in dispersion.
This does not mean we are to discount those early letters written by Paul as not being written to the Body of Christ as it seems some do because of the Jewish nature of many things said in them. So, it seems they then want to place the beginning of the Body of Christ with Paul ministering only to, true gentiles. I think we have seen in our research that if Israel was still lo ammi, then all the nations in Gods eyes were gentiles because He no longer was in a covenant relationship with one nation as in the past, Israel.
And here again is where we find the need to use our tool learned in Manual One and also expanded on in Manual Two, which is to rightly divide Gods’ Word of Truth. We will have to separate some of the information Paul gave to those called out of Israel and into a new administration and which was begun during the dispensation of Holy Spirit from the counsel given to that same new administration when the complete evangel which had been a secret was revealed in scripture through Paul’s following letters…the purpose for his imprisonment and those letters was to bring the minor body to maturity in spirit.
This means that we need to learn when and where to separate the things we would view as physical and or fleshly from that which is spiritual as Paul’s instructions progress in his letters written to his disciples. The Body of Christ was to grow into a mature ecclesia existing solely in the spiritual realm when the dispensation of Holy Spirit with its gifts of healing, tongues and etc ended, of which we today in the Body of Christ find ourselves….solely in the spiritual realm.
We today are to be following Paul’s sound doctrine given for the spiritual entity, the new administration of Grace, coming to understand the spiritual blessings given to us and perhaps ignoring the physical blessings the early church practiced while the dispensation of Holy Spirit was operating. Which I feel we can apply the rule which Paul followed, to the Jew first as being tied to the dispensation of Holy Spirit, a time period of when signs were given for the nation of Israel.
Once Paul recorded God’s revelation of the secret hidden in Him for the ages, Gods word was complete and thus that which was physical, visible, and fleshy was over for sure or officially and only that which was spiritual and invisible remained and we today are bound together in one body not by visible signs but only by the invisible, spirit of God. Colossians 1:21-28
Let’s continue now with our study and continue looking for clues or hints in this next letter, on whether or not Paul taught these saints that they were the Body of Christ with a celestial destiny different from the destiny of the Jewish saints based in Jerusalem?
Paul makes mention of how he had intended to come to Corinth again for a visit but his plans were according to the flesh and when it was Gods will that he should come again, it would happen. This seems to be what he is saying in 2 Corinthians 1:17, “Or what I am planning, am I planning according to the flesh, that it may be with me Yes, yes and NO, no?”
But he also says that he wanted to spare them by not coming to see them yet as he did not want to bring them sorrow and this would be in relation to the conduct of some in the ecclesia of which he would have to be stern with his counsel as there were some immoral conduct which he certainly could not condone but he also wanted to write them and assure them of his love for them. Earlier in 1 Corinthians 5 Paul had told them to expel the one with immoral behavior….but now he encourages them to deal kindly with either that person or others in similar circumstances.
In 2 Corinthians 1:21,22 Paul refers to being “established with them in Christ and that God has anointed them and sealed them and is giving the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” The word, earnest is used here and in Chapter 5:5 and in Ephesians 1:14. This term is found only in Paul’s letters and so let’s also look at the definitions of these three spiritual blessings which Paul just said have been given to those called into the Body of Christ.
Anointed….anoint, to choose or designate….to be set apart for a specific purpose.
Sealed… a sign of security, a document was sealed with the stamp of the owner or author.
Earnest of the Spirit…..a guarantee of a full payment later…a pledge or foretaste of something future.
I thought Knoch’s comments on this verse also were good, “The operation of God’s Spirit is here seen under three distinct figures: the anointing, the seal, and the earnest. Prophets and priests and kings were anointed for their office. They were anointed with oil. We are anointed with the spirit, as Christ, the Anointed, was at His baptism. This qualifies us for service. The seal is the sign of possession. We belong to God. The earnest is that small installment of the spirit which we have received, which is the pledge of it’s fullness in the day of deliverance.” Please read these words over and let them sink in to your hearts!
In getting back to our quest for clues or hints as to what Paul was teaching those whom he discipled during Acts. Is not this passage describing spiritual things for those in the Body of Christ? Paul later in his letter to the Ephesians again refers to the earnest of the spirit and the sealing. Ephesians 1:14, “you are sealed with the holy spirit of promise (which is the earnest of the enjoyment of our allotment, to the deliverance of that which has been procured) for the laud of His glory!”
So as we see, Ephesians is not the first time he speaks of these things but in Ephesians he does give more details of their calling into a new administration, which gives a deeper understanding of these spiritual blessings.
I looked to see if I could find a sealing for those in the church Jesus began and or for the disciples of the 12 and found this word used by the apostle John two times. First we find it in John 3:32-34 “He who is coming out of heaven is over all. What He has seen and hears, this He is testifying, and no one is getting His testimony. He who is getting His testimony sets his seal that God is true. For He Whom God commissions are speaking God’s declarations, for God is not giving the spirit by measure.”
In this passage, John is referring to Jesus as the One which God had commissioned and Who was given a full measure of His Spirit. And it seems the rest of the passage is also referring to Him.
Let’s also read the next verses as the subject continues in reference to the Father and Son and then of him who believes in the Son. John 3:35, 36 “The Father is loving the Son and has given all into His hand. He who believes in the Son has life eonian, yet he who is stubborn as to the Son shall not be seeing life, but the indignation of God is remaining on him.”
I looked in the Concordant Commentary again to see what Knoch had to say on this passage and he stated that what John is saying was for the future as “Israel was set aside” when John wrote his gospel….But, Knoch’s comment was based on his understanding that John’s gospel had been written after Acts closes? But as we have learned it seems highly probable that John’s and the other Gospel accounts were written early on and Paul would then have had access to them.
If John wrote his gospel, let’s say in the months following Pentecost, his words would then seem to also indicate Israel’s lo ammi status at the time of his writing his gospel which was long before Acts 28. John was comparing those who believed in Jesus, (of Israel) versus those who did not believe with saying that the believers would see life, but for the stubborn unbeliever, he says that “the indignation of God remains on him.”
If the gospels were written far earlier than has been commonly thought, then it is more likely that John in his gospel account was referring to the time he was then living and he was speaking of those of Israel in the lo ammi status, who were stubborn unbelievers during the ministry of Jesus and naturally all through Acts. If the nation had been restored, the indignation of God remaining would not be applicable if in the ammi status, as His People, and so would indeed then be something for the future when they would be cast away again. But that is not what John said; he said the indignation remains on him, the stubborn unbelievers.
Some of the information in those gospel accounts and in the other letters written by Israel’s apostles and teachers will also apply in the future in the last days. It seems to me when Israel is restored again, that the scenario of their past history will play out again, going back to their beginnings with the 12 tribes united as one kingdom again in the land of Israel worshipping Jehovah and still looking for their messiah to come.
But during that time there will be some called out to Jesus Christ just like in the first century those called out of Israel and into the remnant church, which will be the bride of the lambkin in the messianic kingdom….they will be hated by their Jewish brethren as they will view them as false prophets. This is where we can apply the words of Jesus for the last days. The Body of Christ will be gone from this world. Please review, Matthew 10:19-23, 13:31, 24:9-14 and John 15: 20,21.
The next time the Apostle John speaks of a sealing is when he writes the Book of the Unveiling, or Revelation which is after Paul’s death. This book is prophecy for the last days following the future times of restoration of Israel and so towards the end of those years and before Christ returns. John received his visions while he was imprisoned on the isle of Patmos; and it is thought to have been years after Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70.
John was most likely the last surviving apostle of the 12. His visions are for the ecclesias of believers in Jesus which will develop some time during the times of restoration of Israel. It is thought the reason those ecclesias are in Asia is because they will not be tolerated by the Judaisers based in Jerusalem in the latter days. The rest of his book is for the end times of the latter days and primarily for Israel although the world will participate and witness these events. The end times will be the last seven years, the one seven of Daniels 9:24-27.
John also describes a sealing for some saints of Israel in those end times, writing that there would be 144,000 Jews sealed, with 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes. Revelation 7 and 14.
In Chapter 7, John lists the 12 tribes….two of the tribes are different from the original tribes of Israel. Dan and Ephraim are omitted from this list and Levi and Joseph take their places. Bullinger’s notes give the scriptures for the reasons why, please take the time to look these up and understand it, as the reason is tied to their being in the Northern kingdom, the 10 tribes which kept the name of Israel when they left Jerusalem and for encouraging idolatry by setting up altars for worship, with again golden calves in order to keep the people from traveling to Jerusalem to worship Jehovah.
The 10 tribe Kingdom, made their capital in Assyria were first conquered by Assyria and then later by Babylon and so they were the first to become lo ammi. Bullinger’s notes, “Leviticus 24:10-16, Deuteronomy 29:18-21, Judges 18:2-31, 1 Kings 12:26-33, Hosea 4:17. Their earthly restoration to earthly inheritance is shown in Ezekiel 48, the reason being given in Romans 11:29”
The sealing of the 144,000 will protect these saints physically and spiritually. I wondered if these ones are those who will come to Christ in the era leading to the last days and so looked a little more at these passages. In Chapter Seven we see it is giving events happening in the Throne section and the first half of those last seven years, we also notice that it says these are “servants of God.” Remember the Throne section has to do with power or political rule.
In Chapter 14 which is speaking of events coming later in time mostly likely in the second half of the seven years and this in the Temple section which has to do with worship and is where they are referred to again. This is also after Satan is cast out of heaven (In chapter 12) and it says the 144,000 are “standing with the lambkin on mount Zion and have its name and the name of the Father written on their foreheads.” This reference to the lambkin indicates they belong to Christ and so these would be either the remnant church or part of the remnant which make up the bride for the lambkin and having come to believe in Jesus Christ.
In order to understand the order of events leading up to these 12 tribes being chosen from and brought to Christ, we need to back track, with what leads up to the last days being described in John’s account. Before those things can occur, the nation of Israel first must be restored as a nation or kingdom with all 12 tribes gathered back to Israel and that is scheduled to happen after the Body of Christ is snatched away or removed from this world. I go into detail on this restoration in Manual Two, “Israel in Prophecy and the times of Restoration”
According to my understanding at this time of Paul’s information, it appears that Israel will be restored only after the Body of Christ is completed by God and removed from this world. Then the prophetic times of restoration for Israel as foretold will begin to unfold and the nation of Israel will be restored to God’s favor as a nation and a kingdom again and this will occur before Christ returns to them as their messiah and conquering King.
Much must happen with Israel and in their land before He can return to them. So much confusion is taught in the many denominations concerning this as many prophecies are for Israel to be restored, returning to Jehovah and the Mosaic Law to set the scene for the much later arrival of Jesus Christ as their messiah. They also have lumped Christ’s return to Israel with what Paul foretold would be a separate event for the Body of Christ which is also spoken of as an advent by Paul in 2 Timothy 1:10 and Titus 2:11-13.
The differences being…with the advent for the Body of Christ, is that He does not come to the earth but He calls from heaven and the Body of Christ will rise “to meet Him in the air” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 5:8,9
What is commonly called the Second Advent of Christ is when He will return to the land of Israel to set up the messianic Kingdom on this earth…so, yes it would be His second advent to Israel as their messiah, His first was as the man, Jesus of Nazareth and His second will be as their, rescuer, a conquering King. The prophecies given in Zechariah 9-14 speaks to both His advents and 14:4 speaks to the second advent with His standing on Mount Olivet, indicating His physical presence…and his riding into the city with the wounds from His crucifixion at 12:10
At his arrival, the Jews defending Jerusalem will be rescued from the antichrist’s armies seeking their destruction while as we just read in Thessalonians; Paul assured his disciples they were not appointed to that time, of Gods indignation which will have begun years earlier against those in the world persecuting the Jews..
A good study would be to look into the words advent, and coming. In the Greek language our English word of advent is, Epiphaneia used by the Greeks for an appearance of gods. It is also said to mean shining or brightness. While the coming of Christ in the King James needs adjustment as coming is translated from the word Parousia which means a presence which can be either visible or invisible?
Getting back to the times of restoration, God will be gathering those of Israel scattered in all countries of the world to the land promised them in order that the 12 tribes will be reunited and established in Israel again as one nation or kingdom. Her enemies will not be able to stop this, once God is in charge of this return He will deal with their enemies just as He did in the early days of Israel’s formation as a nation with Him as their husbandly owner in covenant relationship.
In Manual Two, I have also presented several different viewpoints on how Daniel 9:24-27 is interpreted. This is where Daniel was given the prophecy of the seventy weeks in answer to his question on when would Israel be restored as a united nation or kingdom again. That prophecy also brings Israel to the coming of their messiah.
Those 70 weeks are to be a time period of 490 years and if brother Steedman’s research is correct the traditional interpretations may be in error and in actuality Israel may still have that entire time of 490 years ahead for them. That new thought opens up many possibilities for all scripture referencing that time to be fulfilled in what seems a much more logical manner.
The times of restoration of all things, is of their being restored as a nation and the twelve tribes return and are reunited in the land of Israel. When that occurs according to prophecy they will return to the Mosaic Law and be back in the covenant relationship with Jehovah again. The temple rebuilt, priests officiating and a time of peace and prosperity for Israel. I have said before and will say again, look at King David and Kings Solomon’s reigns and think of them as a picture for Israel’s times of restoration.
These passages we have just read in Revelation are showing us that Israel is in a restored state with the Jews in dispersion having returned home, to the land of Israel because we are told that Jehovah calls out 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes making up the 144,000. Many have scoffed at the literal interpretations of this passage because all records of the tribes were lost in A.D. 70. The majority of Jews for centuries have not known to which tribe they belonged, but just recently, DNA technology has come about and is being used in Israel now to determine their ancestry and the tribe they belong in.
Today when I began writing this in the year of 2007, it has been estimated that there are between 12 and 20 million Jews or those of Israelite heritage living in the world. Only a small portion of those numbers are now living in Israel. Next to those numbers, a 144,000 does not sound like such a big number anymore. Okay back to our subject of 2nd Corinthians.
Chapter One gave us specific information for the Body of Christ in regards to the anointing, sealing and being given the earnest of the spirit and Chapter Two dealt with personal things with Paul and his dealing with that particular ecclesia in Corinth. In Chapters 3 through 5 there seem to be some more new information for our consideration.
In 2 Corinthians 3:6 something is said by Paul, confusing for some. “Who also makes us competent dispensers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the spirit, for the letter is killing, yet the spirit is vivifying.” In Bullinger’s notes, he links this verse to Jeremiah 31:31 which as we know is the promise for Israel in the messianic kingdom of their being given a new covenant, which will be a spiritual covenant, written on their hearts by God.
That prophecy is in the next few verses, Verses 31-34 “Behold, the days come saith the LORD that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the days that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt: which My covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God and they shall be My People. Israel is promised a spiritual covenant with physical blessings in their land.
Christendom has wrongly applied this promise in Jeremiah given to the house of Israel and the house of Judah to the Body of Christ in the framework of this new administration having replaced Israel permanently and or of the Body of Christ being a spiritual Israel. Christendom’s’ framework is not accurate but, I have to ask why, did Paul say we were dispensers of a new covenant if we have not been given a new covenant? We could not dispense something that had not first been given to us?
We are not a spiritual Israel, and we do not permanently replace Israel, because her promises are yet to be fulfilled. But, the new administration is indeed a spiritual entity, chosen by God, called in grace, placed in Christ and thus declared righteous, given justification and eonian life. If these blessings are not a spiritual covenant then I don’t know what is? We are a temporary replacement for Israel, in God’s plan of the ages, as Jehovah said, He would always have some faithful to Him in the world, and this is because He sees to it!
The justification given the Body of Christ is manifesting another facet of the Great God of us all. The new administration became the guardians of God’s Word while Israel undergoes chastisement for her failures, preparing her for her future work on their God, Jehovah’s behalf. We must never forget, it was those of Israel which God used to record His Holy Word and those of Israel used by Him to utter all prophecy and to put together the books of what we call the Bible. And as we have learned the principal characters used to begin the Body of Christ were those first of Israelite heritage.
The trials, those of Israel have undergone through the centuries following their divorce from Jehovah and following the new administration replacing them as God’s People in the world, I believe rather than viewed as punishment it should be viewed as God’s work once again. He has been preparing her for a grand role once again in this world in which Jehovah will be glorified through them. It is in weakness that He is able to show His strength! Also, remembering the words, God disciplines those whom He loves….He loves His firstborn Israel, She too is His workmanship!
So I am wondering if this new covenant Paul refers to has to do with those to whom he was primarily speaking to in the new administration which as we have seen began with the sons of Israel. Paul’s words would seem to be primarily speaking to those of Israel who had been in or knew very well all about the Old Covenant with Jehovah and who were aware of the promise in Jeremiah of the New Covenant, promised to the nation of Israel in the kingdom on earth under Jesus Christ their messiah.
We also want to consider the context of Paul’s discussion and looking for the subject matter we see that in 2 Corinthians 3:3 Paul gives a comparison of the old covenant which had been written on tablets of stone to the new covenant of which he was speaking to them about by saying that, their hearts had been written on by Gods spirit.”
Why would he use the reference of the old mosaic covenant in this discussion if it was not in fact pertinent to the new covenant he was telling them as members of the Body of Christ they had been given? In Verse 6 Paul explained that they are now competent dispensers of a new covenant, not of the letter, which is again referencing back to the comparison of the law put on stone tablets. He tells them, the new covenant written on their hearts is with the spirit which has been given to them. So I have to ask another question, which isn’t this what was promised to Israel within the terminology of the prophecy given at Jeremiah 31:31?
What is promised Israel, for which she had been seeking for through Law keeping……righteousness! Jeremiah promised they would have it, one day under their messiah and His kingdom. He told them Israel would be given….a new heart…with Gods Law written on it…would not that be a spiritual covenant and would not the benefit of it be….righteousness given? What was Paul telling those Jews and those sons of Israel, called into the new administration? That they had been given the new covenant in spirit, being declared righteous, justified in the flesh and under no condemnation of sin. Being sealed, gave them spiritual protection. The nation of Israel must wait until Christ’s Kingdom to receive these things.
Only the nation of Israel had been given the Law, as we keep in mind that the Gentile nations had not, so it was those of Israelite heritage who would understand the comparisons he had given and the seeming reference to Jeremiahs prophecy for the nation of Israel. Those in this new administration, given justification…already, had their hearts written on by God’s Spirit right then and now, and what they had been given, seems to me to be that promise, given early to a remnant, the elect, before the rest of those of Israelite heritage will receive it because of not being called into the new administration. The Jewish church does not receive it until they are in the Messianic kingdom, is this that which or part of what makes Israel jealous?
So, let me put forth this thought, in hopes of clarifying it, those called out of the tribes of Israel scattered in the nations and obviously some like Paul from the two tribe kingdom of Judah into the Body of Christ were acquitted of Israel’s national sin, the reason for their past divorcement. Their acquittal came by being placed in the Body of Christ with the indwelling spirit and the faith of Christ.
Again, there seems to be something technical, in that Israel follows Jesus, looks to His return as their messiah, while the Body of Christ, looks to the glorified Christ and waits for His call and the promise given to us by Paul, that the body is to be snatched from this world, rising together as one unit, the dead in the graves and those who are alive at the call, all going together, to meet Him in the air! 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
We must always remember this is God’s work; those placed in the Body of Christ did not seek it nor ask for it, this had been a secret revealed only to Paul to dispense so how could they have? And just as we read earlier in Chapter One, Paul said that they were anointed, sealed and given the earnest of the spirit. These are spiritual blessings which meant that their hearts had been written on by His spirit and so could we consider this then to mean that as a remnant or a firstfruit called out of Israel and into the Body of Christ that they had received the promised new covenant?
I think it does, but that does not mean that Jeremiah 31:31 was fulfilled in the Body of Christ because those words are promised to the nation of Israel in the kingdom on earth after Christ returns to them. Another place Paul describes something which is similar is when he speaks of the circumcision of the heart…Romans 2:29
So we then as Gentiles are grafted into those sons of Israel, becoming a new administration, a joint body…join those of Israel in a new covenant…a spiritual covenant written in our hearts in spirit. Are we not the firstfruit of the spirit? Let’s also keep in mind, something else Paul taught, which is, that in our realm of humanity, the physical comes first, then what is to follow is the spiritual. Does not God do all the work in and for us in the Body of Christ? Are we not given every spiritual blessing?
Does this not mean we are in a spiritual covenant with God by being in Christ? Those of the house of Israel and the house of Judah are promised a new covenant…were not the first members of this new administration…taken from those two houses made of up Israelites? The house of Judah and the house of Israel make up the 12 tribes of Israel.
I read something interesting this week (October 2007) in a newsletter I receive, on this very thought, having to do with how far from their own scriptures have the Jews gone, and relying instead on the human reasoning given in the Talmud’s and Midrash, which are rabbinical legal and interpretative literature.
Let me quote for you the thoughts in that newsletter which caught my attention, it is of Jews seeking acquittal, “The rise of Jewish Mysticism; Judaism while traditionally having relied on the substitutionary sacrifices of the Torah, but then stripped of both a Messiah and the Temple, (A.D. 70) gradually evolved to become a program of ethical and moral efforts of the Jews to acquit themselves before God. Constant ideological readjustment involved the infiltration of concepts from external sources, including Babylonian and Greek mysticism and the reactions against them.”
What is interesting is that this is also what Christendom has done; they are following in the footsteps of Israel, or Judaism, the blind leading the blind. Christendom’s many denominations are teaching its converts salvation depends on their own works, their decision to accept Christ and then by practicing…ethical and moral works. These works are needed in order to be acquitted before God!!! Just the opposite of Grace and of what Paul teaches his disciples.
Getting back to the promised new covenant, I would ask, since those of Israel were promised it and God began a new program and moves some who are of Israelite heritage (of which the promise in Jeremiah is theirs) from the physical nation of Israel into a new administration, and who are also said by Paul to be a remnant or the election in grace, what happens to the promise in Jeremiah, which is rightfully theirs as Israelites? I am wondering if Paul was telling them that one of their spiritual blessings was that they had received that promise, and partake of a new covenant……early!
Please don’t mix this up with those who believe in Covenant Theology….because that is based on Israel being lost forever and that we are a spiritual Israel. The Body of Christ has been formed by God during the time period of Israel’s lo ammi status…once we are removed from this world God will bring Israel back into the ammi status of being His People again. In order to appreciate this marvelous purpose which Jehovah has for Israel, please ask for Manual Two. email@example.com
It seems for me to be obvious by the words Paul used, that those in the Body of Christ are placed in a new covenant in spirit, with two of the many spiritual blessings of that covenant being declared righteous and justified, acquitted of all sin. So those Jews and those sons of Israel which were chosen by Jehovah and placed within the Body of Christ received a spiritual new covenant, early, before the rest of Israel does, before she will be taken into the spiritual arena with Jesus Christ in His earthly kingdom.
And what then of those of us who are not of Israelite heritage? Does not Paul explain that nicely, when he speaks in Romans 11 of the nations being grafted in with those sons of Israel? Is not that the new administration? Paul described the new administration as a joint body made up of Jews and Gentiles. Ephesians 3:6
In the new administration, under the Apostle Paul’s teaching both were called, those of Israelite heritage and Gentiles forming a joint body. The Gentiles were grafted into……the sick and dying Olive Tree (Israel) in order to give it new life. The branches lopped off, the Jewish leaders rejecting their messiah and the work of the Holy Spirit through Him and His chosen apostles.
It’s important to understand the figure used of the Olive tree as it literally gave fruit which was eaten and also produced oil which was primarily used for light in their lamps. God’s Word is the light, Israel were the caretakers of that light but as a divorced nation, deaf, blind and dumb and destined to be scattered even further into all countries of the world, to be hated and persecuted beyond what you or I can even imagine. During that time, or interval, that light, God’s word was handed over to Paul’s new administration for safe keeping until it is time for Israel to be restored.
We will discuss the grafting later in more detail when we review the letter written to the Romans….but maybe now it is getting clearer as to what Paul was trying to teach in Romans concerning the grafting of the Olive tree with the wild olive?
Can we also see the principle here of first the physical, then the spiritual…First came the physical or the fleshly or the soulish Nation of Israel with the Old Law Covenant written on stone tables and with Moses as its mediator. In the nation of Israel, the Jew held prominence in the world with God…a Gentile who wished to worship Jehovah could only do so by becoming a proselyte to Israel and that meant adhering to the physical requirements of that nation’s covenant. It was foretold that they would be given a New Covenant in their kingdom on this earth with their messiah as its mediator, and this new covenant will be a spiritual covenant given to the resurrected, vivified, saints of Israel, His law written on their hearts!
To review….God chose the 12 sons of Jacob to become the nation of Israel…several hundred years after the divorce…Jesus came and began to build His church, which would be the bride of the lambkin in the earthly kingdom. He chose out of those living in the land of Judea a remnant of those of Israelite heritage for that church. After He died for the sins of Israel and the sins of the world….He called Saul a Jew. Saul is chosen to go to the nations even kings besides the sons of Israel Acts 9:16.
He is later severed, Acts 13 and sent into the nations to fulfill that commission. God again first used Israel by calling Saul, who was a prominent Jewish Pharisee from the tribe of Benjamin, one of the two tribes of the kingdom of Judah and which were the ones who had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild 400 years earlier. Saul was severed from his Jewish heritage and sent to the nations as the Apostle Paul.
As we have learned, Paul all through Acts, goes to the Jew first, specifically to the Jewish leaders in each city in those nations, and in those nations he discipled not only Gentiles but also the sons of Israel scattered there who were from the 10 tribe kingdom of which many were still in idolatry. God throughout Paul’s ministry called into the Body of Christ, Israelites out of the entire 12 tribes, these ones would be another remnant called out of Israel as the foundation for the new administration. A remnant merely means, a piece taken from the whole.
We might refer back to Acts 13:38, 39 where Paul first speaks of justification. “Let it then be known to you, men, brethren, that through this One is being announced to you the pardon of sins, and from all from which you could not be justified in the law of Moses, in this One everyone who is believing is being justified.”
This statement holds a lot of things to consider, first he reminds them, this One, being announced to you, (Jesus Christ) the pardon of sin, this was for those of Israelite heritage….we learned they went through the pardon of sin and then baptism…This is told us many times, but we can refer to Acts 2:38 and at 5:30,31 Peter says, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, Whom ye slew and hanged on a tree, Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”
But Paul takes it further; he takes it to being justified in this One, Jesus Christ. I underlined….everyone who is believing is being justified. Now, does everyone mean all saints no matter which economy they were placed in? Or does it only apply to those discipled under Paul’s evangel?
Let’s go back in time a bit and remind ourselves, that John the Baptist was preaching repentance and baptism long before Jesus was hanged on a tree. Also the baptism, for those after His death was still the baptism of John’s and also being baptized into Jesus. My thoughts on this are that the nation was lo ammi and repentance was needed for their national sin…which involved turning from Jehovah and breaking their covenant. Now this is not taught as most believed Israel had been taken back…which would mean, remarried and in covenant relationship with Jehovah again. I may be wrong but that scenario does not fit for me as I have laid out my reasons in the early stages of this study.
We also add to this, that when we read of a Gentile being discipled they were not given John’s baptism……and when the rule, going to the Jew first was fulfilled….baptism, by water, dunking or sprinkling ended….as Paul taught, the spiritual baptism was the one baptism for those in the spiritual body of Christ. Ephesians 4:5
I keep remembering the words of Jesus that those the Father had given Him, He would not lose. John 10:29 I feel this is referring to His apostles….and yet He lost Judas? I suspect, that those of the bride church could be justified without the Law if they were faithful to Jesus Christ while the new administration are justified because they are given Jesus Christ’s faith, His faithfulness is imputed to us.
But, if Paul’s words apply to all saints no matter which administration they were placed…then some of those in the Bride church were also justified. If Paul words are to be accepted as simply as they sound, believing in Jesus Christ gives justification. And so that makes me wonder, then about the apostasy that took over that church. James the brother of Jesus seems to be in charge and Peter let him lead the elders in Jerusalem and nothing was done by those elders to stop the Judaisers imposing the Law of Moses and circumcision on the saints even though they accepted Jesus as their messiah?
Wouldn’t obeying the Law, with its rituals and decrees nullify what Christ accomplished on the pole? Law and Grace do not mix…when a believer tries to justify themselves through works….that is ignoring that Jesus Christ has already accomplished it what those of Israel only needed to do what accept that Jesus was their messiah and remain faithful to Him. All other sin was taken care of through the confession of sins.
When we get to the review of Romans in this study, we will see how the words of Paul, of those that believe on Jesus and testify with there mouths are saved……..applies to those of Israelite heritage and is not applicable today. The Israelite had to repent, be baptized and confess that Jesus Christ was their messiah and the Son of God….and as Paul also said they could not do that unless they had the spirit of God upon or in them. Why?
Because to the unbelieving Israelite that was blasphemy deserving of death…remember they were bound to their heritage of the Law Covenant…Today and for all Gentiles, that is not applicable….one could mouth the words as something expected and not fear death. But I am getting off the subject again….these are just many things to think about and make fit.
What we see when we study Paul’s ministry, beginning with the history of his calling and severing and his missionary journeys amongst the nations as recorded by Luke in the book of Acts and then into the letters he wrote to the ecclesia’s he had discipled is that this group of saints, was first a minor or immature body of believers.
These early believers were human, soulish in nature just as you and I. They had many things to overcome and many things to leave behind as they grew in knowledge and understanding of their calling. It would be only through Paul’s guidance personally or by means of his letters and his helper apostles that they could grow into mature believers and a mature ecclesia. For us today, it is the indwelling spirit of Christ and His word which we rely on for guidance.
Paul said when that which was perfect or mature arrived, that which was primitive or for minors would be left behind. 1 Corinthians 13:10. That which, is perfect is the complete and revealed evangel, operating in its completeness in the new administration. Not that we as individuals or the church, the Body of Christ as a whole will ever reach perfect maturity this side of glory but it is perfected in Christ, with His righteousness imputed to us and in His faithfulness are we counted as faithful and all of this because of His fondness for humanity. Titus 3:4
For me, the evidence was given in our journey through the book of Acts that the Body of Christ began during the dispensation of Holy Sprit, a time of signs given for the Jews. I think many teachers have skirted around that issue and instead we just need to acknowledge it. That era is what was the primitive; as the physical, visible gifts given to minors, to satisfy the flesh’s need for visible proof, but Paul told them they were to be weaned from the primitive, the physical, the milk of the word and be taken into what was spiritual and the meat of God’s Word which was being revealed through Paul’s teaching of his evangel with the sharing of his revelations received from Christ for the new administration.
His revealed information given in order for it to grow into a mature, spiritual entity with their hearts written on by Gods spirit…a spiritual covenant, which entailed being declared righteous, acquitted of all sin and because of that fact, God was able to deal with believers as son’s in the spiritual realm….living by faith!
But, this was not living by their own faith; they would be living within the faith of Jesus Christ, which is given and placed within the heart of each believer, enabling them to believe Gods Word, as completed by Paul. God’s full revelation was given him and he explained in the letters that he wrote to the ecclesia he had founded and thus God’s words through Paul were copied, recorded for all generations of those who would be called into the new administration. Our learning has not been easy; Satan has masterfully made it hard for the true believer chosen by God to find truth amongst the twisted satanic doctrines perpetrated by organized religion claiming they are founded in God’s Word when they are not!
On the subject of the physical versus the spiritual, this would be good for each of us to take the time to find all the places where Paul contrasts the physical which comes first to the spiritual which follows. One example we all are so familiar with is 1 Corinthians 15:45 “If there is a soulish body there is spiritual also. Thus it is written also, the first man, Adam became a living soul; the last Adam a vivifying Spirit. But not first the spiritual, but the soulish, thereupon the spiritual” He ends this paragraph with “And according as we now wear the image of the soilish, we shall be wearing the image also of the celestial” And Paul then continues to explain the change from being mortals to what is promised for us, immortality and changing from the corruptible to incorruptible.
Lets continue to reason some more on what Paul had to say about this new covenant when he said, “God makes us competent dispensers of a new covenant” 2 Corinthians 3:6. In Verse 8 he referred to the dispensation of the spirit and compares it with the dispensation of condemnation in Verse 9, comparing the two glories, Law and Grace, but telling them the glory of righteousness was the better one. Verse 14 is interesting as he refers to the sons of Israel having their apprehensions calloused until this very day, even when the old covenant is read, they do not comprehend it. So this whole chapter has been comparing things which pertain to the old covenant in comparison to the new covenant which they have been given.
In Chapter 4:1 he continues with this same subject, “Therefore having this dispensation, according as we were shown mercy, we are not despondent. But we spurn the hidden things of shame…..,” Those from Israel who were then in Christ and having been given the indwelling spirit in their hearts, were given the dispensation of the spirit…and they were then dispensers of that new covenant of the spirit to those who were also chosen.
Paul also reminded those of Israelite heritage that they were shown mercy, how? By being called out of the sinful nation into the Body of Christ…while the rest of Israel, calloused still lives in the shame, of the divorce, with being in the lo ammi status. I think somehow, we need to factor in that Israel had the sacrificial system in place which dealt with sin.
But while divorced, and out of the covenant relationship, would that system have been of any value even for those who were still trying to follow it? But we must remember that Jehovah honored those of Israel who were seeking to be faithful to Him even while the nation was lo ammi. So there would also be those with whom Jehovah dealt with and used in Judea, like John the Baptist and his mother and father and perhaps others not mentioned in scripture, but obviously the nation as a whole was not in favor and not able to respond.
How about the Gentiles, who were never in a covenant relationship and so, did not need to repent for breaking a covenant with Jehovah as Israel did, and still does. Yes, the gentiles were in sin, that sin inherited from Adam was upon them and their own personal sins, which the death of Christ took care of and thus they too were justified, acquitted of sin when God placed them in the Body of Christ and so those Gentiles and those lo ammi Israelis, who were not then His People but became His People in the new administration under Paul’s evangel.
Paul will expand on this even more in his letter to the Galatians. The law was a tutor leading them to Christ, Who freed them from it and takes them into a spiritual realm with these words at Galatians 4:1-7 “Now I am saying, for as much time as the enjoyer of an allotment is a minor, (child) in nothing is he of more consequence that a slave, (servant) being master of all, but is under guardians and administrators, (tutors and governors) until the time purposed by the father. Thus we also, when we were minors, (children) were enslaved (in bondage) under the elements of the world. Now when the full time came, God delegates His Son, come of a woman, come under law, that He should be reclaiming (to redeem) those under law, that we may be getting the place (receive the adoption) of a son.
Now seeing that you are son’s, God delegates the spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father!” So that you are no longer a slave, (servant) but a son. Now if a son, an enjoyer (heir) also of an allotment from God, through Christ.” I have put in parenthesis the words used in the King James as sometimes it is easier to understand.
Israel was likened to a child, under tutors and until a child matured he was also likened to a servant in bondage, to the tutors or guardians which compares to the Law Covenant, a tutor leading to Christ. Paul is saying why would you want this, you are free, you have been declared to be sons of God and given an allotment by God through Christ? From children, and servants to sons of God….from the old to the new! In the secret dispensation of Grace, God created the new administration to be the representative of Christ in the world and to the spirit world…..how? By demonstrating His Grace through them with the gifting of righteousness!
Would you say or could we say…..the failure of the Body of Christ is the demonstration of God’s grace? I think so, He cast Israel away for her failure….but He does not cast the Body of Christ away……that’s Grace! That is the lesson for us…one day for the world…..and now and on into the next eons to those in the spirit realm viewing Gods work with the Body of Christ, learning what Grace is!
In getting back to Paul’s words of a new covenant, I have said this before and I will say it again….I see no other way to explain Paul’s words concerning it other than, the Body of Christ being chosen in grace, justified and declared righteous in Christ are in a new covenant with God! Paul said it and he compared it, with the context of his discussion to the old covenant given to the nation of Israel through Moses. If what Paul said was given to those in Christ is not to be the new covenant that Israel will receive in the future why was it compared to the old covenant at all?
This does not mean that we can point to Jeremiah 31:31 as being ours, as that was given as a prophecy for Israel and does not apply to us. The new administration given to Paul was a secret hidden in God when Jeremiah penned those words. But, at the same time is not this new administration of Grace a foretaste of what Israel will be given in her kingdom with their Messiah and also eventually what the entire Universe will receive when God is All in all?
Paul certainly would have been aware of the promise given Israel by Jeremiah concerning a new covenant for which they looked for in the kingdom of their messiah. So, I wonder if he isn’t telling those saints, called out of Israel into the Body of Christ, that they were no longer bound to the old covenant because they had then been given a new covenant, early, long before the nation of Israel will receive it?
In the kingdom on earth, the resurrected, vivified Israeli saints will enter the spiritual realm; of GRACE, mercy, justification, and righteousness just as Paul had been given by Christ and which are the spiritual blessings of his new evangel given to those chosen and called into the Body of Christ of which we have learned the early members were of Israelite heritage living amongst the nations.
Do we remember how God said, that He always has a faithful remnant? He said that to Elijah who thought he alone was faithful to Jehovah. Israel was created to be, a nation, as His Witnesses to the other nations. It is also said that Israel was created to be His Servant, but as a whole the nation failed and yet there were always a remnant of faithful ones which God did not forsake but continued to work with them.
In Christ’s messianic kingdom, Israel will be given a spiritual covenant while again, through resurrection be physically walking this earth. They will have the terrestrial, glorified bodies, which Paul spoke of concerning the resurrections in 1 Corinthian 15:40-46 but they will be living in the spiritual realm even though living on earth, in flesh and bone bodies as they will be raised as Jesus was raised, with an immortal, vivified body filled with Gods spirit never to fear of sinning again! Will they not receive the same spiritual benefits of the covenant we have now, except that they will be in vivified human bodies. Jeremiah said Israel would have a new covenant written on their hearts by means of His Spirit.
Also, if Paul was speaking only to Gentiles, why bring into the discussion the Old Covenant with Moses of which Gentiles had never been a part of? He is telling those sons of Israel of which were his disciples that they had been given a new covenant which was in spirit. Why was he stressing this, because the Judaisers were telling Paul’s disciples they needed to be in the Mosaic Covenant with its rituals and ordinances? And that his disciples already had the spiritual covenant of which Israel waits for.
Lets jump ahead to the letter to the Romans…as it seems to expand on what Paul is saying in Galatians about the new administration being first to receive the covenant among other blessings in Romans 8:23 “Yet not only so, but we ourselves also, who have the firstfruit of the spirit, we ourselves are groaning awaiting the sonship, the deliverance of our body.”
Again this language is Jewish in nature, the firstfruit, was an annual holy day of offering to Jehovah the firstfruit of their crop in order to have future crops blessed by Him. Those in the Body of Christ are given a firstfruit of the spirit; this takes us back to Paul’s words of being given the earnest of the spirit, and the sealing, which is the guarantee of the future deliverance from these bodies of humiliation and to be clothed in the new body of glory.
We do not work for this spiritual covenant, it was freely given with only God bound to keep it. The new administration was given what Israel was seeking all along and unable in the flesh to achieve, sonship with Jehovah! Is that not what Paul said many times, God was turning to the nations to take out of them a people who were not My people, to be My People, in order to provoke Israel to jealousy? Romans 10:19 “Moses is saying, I shall be provoking you to jealousy over those not a nation;” and 11:11,14 “I am the apostle of the nations, I am glorifying my dispensation, if somehow I should be provoking those of my flesh to jealousy and should be saving some of them.”
With these words of Paul’s and his thoughts in mind please read the entire 11th chapter of Romans, and we will discuss it more in this article when we review the entire letter of Romans.
In 2nd Corinthians Paul closes Chapter three by again comparing the old covenant with the new with these words, from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the spirit.” First, from the glory of the Law Covenant as he has talked about, how Moses glowed from being in the presence of the Glory of Jehovah when receiving the law written on the stone tablets. Paul compared that glory radiating from Moses to the glory of the new covenant founded solely in grace and written on their hearts by His Spirit.
As I said, I don’t understand why the old covenant would be in the context of his discussion unless somehow these two covenants were linked or to be compared? He was talking with those who were mainly of Israelite heritage, well aware of the old covenant and the promise given Israel by their prophet Jeremiah of a new covenant with Jehovah their God.
Remember the Judaisers came from Jerusalem seeking to turn these new believers from Paul’s evangel and to the Old Covenant which they were not willing to give up even though they claimed to have accepted that Jesus Christ was their messiah. Obviously they did not understand that the death of Jesus on the cross fulfilled that covenant. Paul was teaching those whom he discipled that the old covenant was fulfilled with Jesus and they were in Christ and so they had been given a spiritual covenant which gave them righteousness outside the Mosaic Law.
It seems to me by the Jewish nature of so much that Paul speaks of that the large majority of those Paul discipled were Israelites and that is why the Judaisers came from Jerusalem and interfered with those following Paul. They told them that they needed Moses and the old covenant to enhance their relationship with God through Christ.
So, Paul laid out his arguments in this letter in order to show them that what the Judaisers were telling them was a lie and that yes, God did take something away from them, the old physical, death dealing bondage to the old covenant, but He had replaced it with something far superior! A new, spiritual covenant, which imputes righteousness through justification without works. Why else would this whole chapter have been needed if Paul was not telling them that they had received a new covenant and so he was telling them to not cling to the old, they had been set free from its bondage.
The flesh had been liberated by the Spirit of God!!! Paul compared the old glory which had faded away with the new glory freely given them which freed them from the condemnation of sin, justification outside of the old law covenant…..as Paul said, from glory to glory.
Paul continues this discussion in the next chapter. 2 Corinthians 4:1 “Therefore, having this dispensation, (the dispensation of a new covenant) according as we were shown mercy, (given the pardon of sin, Israel’s sin as a nation) we are not despondent. But we spurn the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor adulterating the word of God, by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every mans conscience in God’s sight.”
Is not Paul telling them that those Judaisers seeking to turn them from his evangel…were walking in craftiness and twisting the scriptures, seeking to bind these new believers to their conscience, but the Judaisers who were blind as to what God had given the believers discipled under Paul.
He continues to explain this in, Verses 3, 4 “Now, if our evangel is covered, also, it is covered in those who are perishing, in whom the god of this eon blinds the apprehensions of the unbelieving so that the illumination of the evangel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, does not irradiate them.” Who are these unbelievers he speaks of….it must be the Judaisers! They were not believing in the complete work of the cross as accomplished by Jesus, they still wanted religion to bolster themselves up with. Just as Christendom today!
What did he mean by “our evangel” that which he had brought to them and that which was specific to the Body of Christ of which the Judaisers did not comprehend, they did not even understand their own evangel? If they did they would not have held onto the Mosaic Law because their messiah Jesus Christ had fulfilled it for them! So I think we could say that Jewish church was in apostasy and can we see how after Paul died, those Judaizing, so called Christians is what became the foundation of what we know as Christendom today.
The main culprit was the Catholic Church, from her sprang the denominations! Thus, Paul’s message of grace was sprinkled into Peter’s kingdom evangel of works earning their way into the kingdom and also in the 3rd century through Augustine, spiritualizing the scriptures and prophecy concerning Israel’s kingdom hope took over, covering over Paul’s evangel! What did he say; the evangel of the glory of Christ is covered by the lies of the god of this eon, Satan.
The soulish nature of men, could not comprehend the spiritual nature of Paul’s evangel…why even Peter had said “the things Paul writes are hard to understand?” 2 Peter 3:14-16. Why did Peter say this, when he first acknowledges the wisdom Paul had was given to him…and of course he meant by God? Peter knew Paul’s evangel was legitimate even though hard to apprehend even by him.
Paul’s evangel was different from Israel’s evangel of an earthly kingdom and only those called into it are capable understanding it by means of the indwelling spirit if they are earnestly searching and not blindly following those in error. Both evangels are based on Jesus Christ and His work on the cross…but Peter and Israel look to the future for their “Jesus” to return and with Him will come their blessings, as promised, on this earth in the messianic kingdom with a new spiritual covenant in vivification, the biggest blessing.
While those in Paul’s evangel are called to the celestial kingdom and are immediately given spiritual blessings to enjoy now in this life, all wrapped up in grace which gives, freedom from guilt and bondage to religion with its laws and ordinances and rituals and being under no condemnation for failure! The new administration waits for Christ to call the completed, Body of Christ to meet Him in the air and that is when Paul taught that we will receive our change and take our place with the Lord in the celestial realm with our new bodies, the celestial glory. Our call and change will come long before Christ returns to the land of Israel and when the faithful of Israel will be raised out of the dust and receives the terrestrial glory.
The last few verses in 1 Corinthians 4 were given by Paul in order to encourage the saints he had discipled and they should also encourage us today. Verses 16-18 “Wherefore we are not despondent, but even if our outward man is decaying, nevertheless that within us is being renewed day by day. For the momentary lightness of our affliction is producing for us a transcendently transcendent eonian burden of glory, at our not noting what is being observed, but what is not being observed, for what is being observed is temporary, yet what is not being observed is eonian.”
We live now in these fleshly, (temporary) tabernacles, our imperfect and dying bodies, with its soulish nature which fights that which is spiritual, but our spirit has been made alive in Christ…something which we cannot see, but Paul has just told us it is being renewed daily even though our bodies are at the same time, dying daily. He continues this topic into Chapter 5.
2 Corinthians 5:1,2a “For we are aware that, if our terrestrial tabernacle house should be demolished, we have a building of God, a house not made by hands, eonian, in the heavens.” Paul is not telling us of a mansion in heaven but of the body we will be given. He continues in Verses 2b-4a “For in this also we are groaning, longing to be dressed in our habitation which is out of heaven, if so be that, being dressed also, we shall not be found naked.”
How could we be found naked? In the grave, the flesh decays and we are naked until God raises us and clothes us, or more literally He will clothe our spirit with the new spiritual body, the celestial glory. He explains this with his next words, “For we also, who are in the tabernacle, are groaning, being burdened on which we are not wanting to be stripped, (no longer to be naked in the grave) but to be dressed, (clothed in our new celestial body) that the mortal may be swallowed up by life.”
In Verse 5 Paul tells us this longing that we have for our new bodies was given to us by God and it is He, Who also gives us the earnest of the spirit.” As we learned earlier, this is the sealing which is the promise given to us of Christ’s allotment, the celestial glory and immortality, needed for the future glory and work we will share with Christ in the celestial realm.
The next two verses are so misquoted and so misinterpreted by Christendom, but we now should have the complete understanding of what Paul was saying in context with what we have just read. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 “Being, then courageous always, and aware that, being at home in the body, (our fleshly bodies now) we are away from home from the Lord (away from our future home in the heavens with the Lord, and not yet clothed in our promised new body) (for by faith are we walking, not by perception), yet we are encouraged, and are delighting rather to be away from home out of the body and to be at home with the Lord.”
We would rather be away from this home, our fleshly body and instead to be at home with the Lord in heaven in our new bodies. Knoch expressed it nicely, “Our present condition is aptly expressed in the two words, groaning and longing. We groan to be rid of our temporary tabernacle. We long to enter our eonian habitation. We have, however, no desire for any intermediate condition.” (The grave!)
Paul next refers to what will take place when we will be at home with the Lord in Heaven, “we all shall be manifested…in front of the dais of Christ, that each should be requited for that which he puts into practice through the body, whether good or bad.” The word translated as bad…really carries the note….of no value. We do not need to fear standing at the Dais….we will have left our bodies of decay and or of humiliation and so all of that which is sinful and shameful will be gone. We will be clothed in the celestial glory, the allotment of Christ, which leaves no room for anything that is of no value. We shall have been purified in Divine fire.
Paul explained this earlier in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. The things of no value, are described as perishable items such as “wood, hay, straw, these are the works of the flesh and Paul says they will be burned up or in other words removed from the saint. Divine fire is a purifier and it is something we should seek for and we should not fear. I think of it as being immersed in God, as He is the great healer and restorer, we each should yearn for His touch, removing all that which is of no value and making us into true saints, free of sin and given the mind of Christ! Paul said there will be no rewards or wages given for those things of no value.
The wages given most likely will be positions of authority or responsibility….would it not be grand to be assigned to travel with Paul throughout the universe with the mission of reconciling that realm to God? Also contemplate on who is going to have the task of reconciling Satan and his angels?
Again Knoch has some good words to explain the dais, “The dais, or raised platform from which games were judged and awards given, must not be confused with a judicial bench. The quality of our acts may determine the award to which we are entitled, but the question of condemnation is entirely foreign to such a tribunal. We are absolutely absolved from all condemnation, but we are eligible to an award for meritorious service. These awards will be distributed at the dais of Christ, according to our acts in “the” body, that is, our present soulish bodies.”
Paul continues in his teaching of just what the death of Jesus means for them. 2 Corinthians 5:14,15 “For the love of Christ is constraining us, judging this, that if One died for the sake of all, consequently all died. And He died for the sake of all that those who are living should by no means still be living to themselves, but to the One dying and being roused for their sakes.” He has explained, Christ died for all but note how he points out that it is for those who are living in Christ, for those called and chosen in this dispensation.
What did he mean when he said by no means still be living to themselves? The Law was a religion a way to present oneself to God as seeking righteousness….Christ accomplished it and in Paul’s evangel that righteousness is given them….they do not need to strive to earn it…Paul says just live your life in a manner which shows appreciation for the gift given! Not as a means to boast in oneself!
This takes the conversation to his next words, Verses 16,17 “So that we, from now on, are acquainted with no one according to the flesh. Yet even if we have known Christ according to the flesh, nevertheless now we know Him so no longer. So that, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: the primitive passed by. Lo there has come new!” Paul has added another new term, found only in his writings….the new creation.
Paul is again taking his disciples from the physical into the spiritual realm, which is the new manner of living on this earth, in our bodies of humiliation yet declared righteous. We are still sinful in the flesh and dying but our spirit has been vivified with Christ, given justification because of being placed in Christ, clothed with His faith and righteousness, a new creation.
Knoch points out in his commentary that, we in the Body of Christ are a new creation in that when we receive our resurrection or change at His call for us to meet Him in the air; we will be given a new body, created for us, which enables us for life in the celestial realms. Knoch said, as to the new creation, fitting more with the time of our resurrection than the new administration. He said, “That will be when the new creation comes into its own,” because as he says on Page 271 of his Concordant Commentary on Verse 16, that “we are to be given a newly created body suitable to live in the heavens.”
Paul later explains for us in the Body of Christ at Ephesians 2:10 that we are Gods workmanship or achievement. So was the new administration a new creation replacing the old…Israel and the Mosaic Covenant or is it just a new administration replacing the old administration? This may be important to differentiate as Christendom teaches all who believe go to heaven….thus they do not appreciate the uniqueness of the celestial calling for the Body of Christ.
Also, we must remember, this is not a reward for being good…as they teach…but is an assignment from God…as His achievement we are going to be carrying out a ministry in heaven, the grace bestowed on us will be used as a witness to the glory of God to all the spiritual beings also needing to be reconciled to God.
The earth is Israel’s assignment in Christ’s kingdom. As those of Israel are said to be raised out of the dust, and thus the words used in their writings are, regenerated, and a new birth….their life will be regenerated again, to live on the earth in bodies suitable for the earth not heaven. And so we might then ask how is the resurrection for the Body of Christ going to be different from those who will be raised on this earth…? Paul is the one who describes the differences, the terrestrial versus celestial glory.
As we have previously discussed, in 1 Corinthians 15:40-46 Paul described a celestial glory and a terrestrial glory. The terrestrial glory is an earthly resurrection. The first resurrection on the earth, is said to be for the just, and so is for the faithful of Old Testament times and the Israeli saints which were promised a new birth…by Jesus. Since they are going to be raised on the earth they receive a body suitable for living on this earth, regenerated human bodies yet the saints will be given a vivified body, immortal, just as Jesus had after His resurrection and the body He used during the 40 days before He left them to return to Heaven.
The faithful of Israel are in the resurrection of the just as said in Daniel 12:1,2. John explains that resurrection to be the first or as the former resurrection which takes place at the beginning of Christ’s millennial reign of 1000 years. The rest of the dead, are those of the unjust class and will be made up of the unfaithful and unbelievers and it take place at the end of the 1000 years. Revelation 20:5,6
Daniel spoke of the just and the unjust class at Daniel 12:1,2. The unjust, being raised from the dust to contempt or shame and John explained that will be the second resurrection on this earth, in and will happen after the 1000 years and also refers to these ones as the rest of the dead, standing before the Throne of God in Verses 11,12 Obviously, they will also be regenerated but with mortal bodies just as they had before their deaths….described as the rest of the dead as they will be living in mortal, dying bodies and will be living a world with vivified, immortal saints. They will need the waters of life and the trees whose leaves are for the healing of the nations…Revelation 22:1,2
The unjust class will be a mixture, first of the unfaithful of Israel, which is why Daniel said raised to shame or contempt as they were Gods People and had access to Him and the written oracles which the world of unbelievers did not. The rest of the dead will also include all of the unbelievers from the beginning of Humanity down till it is time to raise them out of the dust to stand before the Great White Throne and meet their God. Revelation 20:13 John sees them being put into the Lake of Fire, which is said to be the second death. Verses 14,15. This is wrongly taught to be Hellfire by Christendom or some teach it is put to death again and then they will be raised again at the consummation?
I am working on Manual Three which is devoted to this subject. But there are some very good studies already done by other who do not believe that the second death and the lake of fire are literal fire or literal death…but instead should be viewed as figurative for Gods divine purifying process and another time of His working directly with humanity in a way we have never witnessed before. Phil Scranton has a book out now, Journey to and through the Second death it is on Amazon.com….Back to our subject.
Now this brings to my mind, the word justified….in relation to how the scriptures speak of the first or former resurrection which will take place on this earth and it is to be for the just class, which is said of the Old Testament faithful and the saints who believed in Jesus, those who exercised faith… are said to be the just class? Yes it is, but at the same time there is a slight difference we must keep in mind….their reward to be in the Kingdom depended on their faithfulness.
The Jewish saints received a pardon…and if remaining faithful they will receive the reward of ruling and reigning with Christ in the Kingdom era of 1000 years. The unfaithful miss out on that honor and that era as they are not resurrected until that time period is over….they are a part of the rest of the dead which is the unjust class.
Those who live through the tribulation time period….but if unfaithful will also not be allowed in the city of Jerusalem, they will be on the outside looking in…suffering reproach for their unfaithfulness…this is where the weeping and the gnashing of the teeth Jesus spoke of will come in, on the earth, not in the mythical place of torment which is taught as Hell. Hell is Sheol, the unseen place of the dead, who are unconscious, unaware of where they are…..asleep in the dust of the ground, but kept in Gods memory for the time allotted for their rising out of the dust, their time of salvation. Revelation 20:5,6: Daniel 12:1,2, 12
The purpose of the resurrection of the unjust is to bring these ones into belief and thus also vivification, with the ultimate outcome being the reconciliation of all and when this is accomplished is when the words given by Paul will be fulfilled, “that God may be All in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:28.
This is God’s purpose of the ages and this is His will, it is not dependant on humanity’s will one way or the other, it will be accomplished, as God is the Creator of humanity and Jesus Christ paid for every last person with His blood, none will He allow to be lost or forgotten… as Paul said, who can thwart or withstand God’s intention? Romans 9:19
We in the Body of Christ are going to be given the celestial body spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:40-46 which is the form and glory Jesus Christ assumed when He entered into the heavens and after He left the view of the disciples and apostles, disappearing into the clouds. The use of clouds in the scriptures is given as a figure of speech and typifies invisibility and or Glory.
The glory of Jehovah was evident by a pillar of clouds and or a cloud filling the tabernacle. I did find some verses used both ways besides the literal references. The cloud which led the Israelites by day through the wilderness after leaving Egypt and also which later would fill the temporary tabernacle, a tent used for the temple in the wilderness and when the temple was built in Solomon’s reign it was very real………but it was a supernatural cloud of light. I have placed here a list of verses for you to read on the use of clouds in the scriptures.
Exodus 16:10; 19:9; 24:15, 16; 34:5; the clouds seen by Israel while at Mount Sinai and in the desert.
Numbers 11:25; 40:34, 38
1 Kings 8:10, the clouds fill the house of the Lord
2 Chronicles 5:13
Psalms 78:14; led by a cloud, 105:39 denoting invisibility
Luke 12:54 coming in a cloud but will be seen visibly
Revelation 10:1 angel clothed with clouds; 11:2; 14:14-16
In Ezekiel 10:4,18 we read of the glory (Shekinah) leaving the temple and the city before Babylon conquers and burns it to the ground. In Ezekiel 11:16,17 we read of Jehovah’s promise to gather them from all the lands and restore them to the land of Israel.
In Ezekiel 11:19,20 we read of the promise for the times of restoration, note it is similar to the time of the promised new covenant in Christ’s Kingdom and yet if we read it carefully it indicates a restored nation of Israel and back in covenant relationship with Jehovah. “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will given them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in My statues and keep Mine ordinances and do them: and they shall be My People and I will be their God.”
I think with the references to ordinances, statues…this is in reference to their restoration as a nation or kingdom again, with the 12 tribes regathered to the land of Israel and of a time when they will be back under the Mosaic Law again. The reference to their stony heart, is their condition while lo ammi, insensitive to spiritual things and thus is compared to a heart of flesh, a sign of their repentance, with their hearts softened towards Jehovah and wanting a return to the worship of Him. This will occur before Christ returns perhaps a long time….if the thought is correct of Daniels prophecy….490 years before Christ returns. After Christ returns…Israel will be given a spiritual heart, sensitive to spiritual things.
Ezekiel was given a vision of Israel’s times of restoration and later he sees the glory of the Lord returning to Israel and this is found in Ezekiel 43:2 “And behold the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and His voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with His glory.” Verse 4,5 “And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is towards the east and the glory of the LORD filled the house.”
This is said by some to be in reference to the millennial Kingdom with Christ while some say this happened in the past when Ezra and Nehemiah rebuilt the temple after they were set free from Babylon. I have not found many who recognize the restoration of Israel is truly foretold to come about before Christ returns. The articles in the Differentiator Publication written by Steedman and Withers shed much light on this missed view with a new understanding of many prophecies given for Israel and which I find to be very credible as the pieces of the puzzle seem to fit so much better than with the other theories.
In the past, the return to Jerusalem after the Jews were freed from the Babylonian captivity, was a small group or remnant of Jews mainly those of the two tribe kingdom, Judah, led by Ezra and Nehemiah, two faithful priests of Jehovah and who obviously had a burning desire to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple and to restore the worship of Jehovah.
We are told of the dedication of that temple but there is nothing recorded of the glory returning to that rebuilt temple and its absence is even talked about in the Talmud. If Jehovah had remarried the nation of Israel, would not His glory have entered that temple to show the People of His presence just as in the past before the divorce? So we read where it is foretold that glory will return to a temple, but when? When that nation is restored….then will be the times of restoration for Israel Jehovah returns to His wife.
As for the words of Ezekiel 43 being thought to be for the Messianic kingdom lets read more in this chapter and see if we can discern when those words would apply, looking at Verse 11 says “And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion there of….etc. and it then also speaks of them following or obeying the ordinances.”
This sounds like, when they are back under the Mosaic Law with its ordinances and rituals again and is not how it is described when Christ returns and sets up His kingdom. At that time with the promised New Covenant, His law will be put in their hearts which seems to indicate the vivifying of His saints.
Also, when we read the preceding chapters in Ezekiel we see they are filled with directions on how to rebuild the temple; specific instructions are given for its size and etc. I always wondered if these were directions for before or after Christ returns. But since they are written down it is more logical that they are before He returns, after all in the Kingdom they will have direct communication with Him. If Israel is going to return to the worship of Jehovah and follow the Mosaic Law once again before the last days and before Christ returns….of course they will need to rebuild their temple and so it would seem these specifications given by Ezekiel, are for the times of restoration.
The restoration is foretold to follow a time of trouble…specifically Jacobs trouble…Jeremiah 30:7 and is then followed by a cry for help to their God Jehovah…..which is the repentance required for Jehovah to return to them. By the way it is recorded in Hosea 5:14,15 of Jehovah’s answering that cry, “after two days He will revive us; in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.” but for the complete story please go to Manual Two.
The many prophecies given about Israel’s times of restoration indicate many things will take place with this nation long before Christ returns, a temple will have been rebuilt in Jerusalem and Jews will be practicing their religion again. Both in Daniels prophecy and John in the book of Revelation tell us that in the last half of the last seven years, the temple will be desecrated by the man of lawlessness, and those worshipping Jehovah will be persecuted, showing us the restoration comes first. That time period is what is referred to as in the last days or end times.
The foretold man of lawlessness is he who becomes the antichrist after Satan is cast down to the earth, he will be seeking to annihilate all Jews and end the worship of Jehovah in the world and will demand to be worshipped as god and will desecrate the temple with an image…. this occurs before Christ returns and rescues Jerusalem from him and his armies.
Most do not understand what the times of restoration truly are, they feel they are speaking of Christ’s millennial kingdom but, Israel will be restored as a kingdom under Jehovah and the Mosaic Law again long before Christ comes again.…I feel the verses in Ezekiel among many others speak to those times before His return.
Most prophecies are placed in the millennial kingdom with Christ and this is because without rightly dividing, the Bible student cannot even begin to understand any of the prophecy given to and about Israel. Israel will build a splendid temple and a king will sit on its throne and the priests will carry out their duties officiating for the twelve tribes of Israel who will have returned to the land and will be following the Mosaic Law.
All Israel will not recognize Jesus is the Christ until He returns. One last thought, we spoke earlier of Jehovah taking back His wife….and she will become unfaithful again…compare this to in the Kingdom of Christ….he takes a bride…..a remnant of faithful out of the nation of Israel. Can we see more clearly….different times….different prophecies?
Let’s return to our previous subject….on the new creation and those who are in Christ.
Further thoughts on the term, of those who are said to be in Christ. This has nagged at me for some time….as I have tried to resolve it for myself. The only thing I know to do is look at all the passages which use the term “in Christ” and see if the answer will reveal itself.
I have said in the past that I could not see how anyone who believed in Jesus as the Christ would not then be in Christ, as all saints, in either church, would then be in Christ? But, then I wondered if perhaps that was not correct as some say it pertains to only those called into the Body of Christ. So several times now I have tried to figure this out and now that we are getting a clearer understanding of the beginnings of the Body of Christ and of the term, going to the nations, primarily seemed to mean going to the sons of Israel who were living amongst those nations. And so maybe a fine line needs to be drawn with this term, in Christ and so I decided to go through the verses again.
But in my search for the answer, I found that there are scriptures which seem to go both ways? For the complete list go to the Concordant Keyword Concordance, Page 49 and under the heading in Christ, please review them all for yourself
In looking into all the times Paul uses this term, I could write another lesson…but will just refer to a few of them which would seem to imply that the term, in Christ is only for the Body of Christ. Here are a couple of the ones in which Paul uses it which seem to be in relation to those called into the Body of Christ. Let’s look at Romans 12:5 “we, who are many, are one body in Christ, yet individual members of one another.” Also let’s look at 2 Corinthians 5:17 “So that, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: the primitive passed by. Lo! There has come new!”
We can also see, when we read these various passages there are several ways that, the term, in Christ is expressed, in Christ, in Christ Jesus, as well as these, Jesus Christ, Christ Jesus, Christ….and Lord Jesus Christ or Lord Christ Jesus, thus in Christ and in Christ Jesus.
This could be another area for study in trying to understand why Paul uses so many different titles, I have not been able to explain it fully and have not found anyone who has and yet, I do believe there are reasons why he would use these different titles at different times, again in relation to Israel, and the nations as some things we hold in common and some things we do not?
A title denotes an office or work and Christ fills many offices and roles in his work of salvation and reconciliation. And so somehow each term used has to be tied to with whom he is speaking to or about at the time and or in relation with, as with those called into his evangel there were some like him, who were Jews, practicing Judaism and some were from the scattered 10 tribes, thus, the sons of Israel many of which were not practicing Judaism but living in gentile nations and living as gentiles and who had been in idolatry as well as the true Gentiles, all of which called into the Body of Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul has linked, the term, in Christ, to another term which is also said to be only for the Body of Christ….the new creation. So what is the new creation? Is it the new administration…a joint body of those of called out of Israel who are the sons of Israel and of those who are called out of all other nations, which we usually refer to us as, gentiles?
Or is it as Knoch said, the creation of a new body for those called to live in heaven. These were and are chosen by God the Father and placed in the lineage of Christ, which is what it means to be given the allotment of Christ and thus we are no longer in the lineage of Adam and sin and death? But does not this actually apply to all humanity, since Christ bought and paid for all mankind with His blood.?
We also might ask just what is the allotment of Christ? Righteousness, Faith, celestial glory.
Paul also says “the primitive has passed by….Lo! there has come new! What was the primitive? The old administration given the nation of Israel under the Law…? The new is the new administration under Grace? And so I then turned to Galatians 3:27 where it seems Paul is describing the Body of Christ and so let’s add those words to the equation. “For whoever are baptized into Christ, put on Christ, in Whom, there is no Jew nor Gentile…….” Verse 29b continues with, “for you all are one in Christ Jesus.” It does not say, in the Body of Christ, but in Christ Jesus. So, I wonder in Christ versus in the Body of Christ? Should we keep these separate?
So which administration does the statement in Galatians 3:27-29 fit? Certainly it would seem to not fit the Jewish church which is to be the bride of the lambkin in the earthly kingdom. Because, the bride of the lambkin is made up of those of Israelite heritage and who retain their nationality as Israelites and so we consider the bride to be Jewish in nature. While Paul just said, those in the body are neither Jew nor Gentile.
Also we ask what baptism is Paul speaking of, all of those, who were of Israelite heritage, whether a Jew or the sons of Israel, were given John’s baptism. Those who were discipled by the 12 in the land of Judea given John’s baptism, which was of water, a physical sprinkling or dunking, was it ever said they were baptized into Christ? All of Israel heritage received John’s baptism as we have discussed, it seems to be because of the lo ammi status of Israel although baptism, even self baptism was a Jewish ritual for repentance of sins.
We know that it was Paul, who in a later letter tells us, that those in the body of Christ were baptized into Christ, having received a spiritual baptism. Actually Paul’s words may mean, in Gods eyes, Israel or the Jew hold no pre eminence in the world, after all we are told God is conciliated to the world…thus God creating saints from all nations forming the Body of Christ.
Paul must have been talking about the spiritual baptism in Galatians 3 of which he will later explain in more depth. But he had already taught much of what I feel the spiritual baptism had to do with and that is, the anointing, the sealing and the giving of the earnest of the spirit. So again we have to ask, which administration did Paul teach these things pertained to? This was his evangel for the Body of Christ which was the new administration. The statement then concerning the new creation seems to fit only those called into the Body of Christ as a joint body, leaving behind their nationalities and becoming equals in Christ.
Unless, our understanding of these passages needs to be considered again? Could Paul have been meaning, all saints are in Christ, no matter which church they are called too. So whether a Jew or a Gentile…or Jewish and those called out of the nations? I say this because there is one place which does not seem to fit the Body of Christ, and Paul is the one who says it, Galatians 1:23 “Yet I was unknown by face to the ecclesias of Judea which are in Christ.”
Judea was assigned to Peter and the 11 by Jesus. Judea was not Paul’s territory and there is no record of Paul going into Judea to preach his evangel and so those were not his disciples the ecclesias in Judea…he says they had never even seen his face., this showing us he did not begin those ecclesia, these were those called into the remnant church destined for the kingdom on the earth. So if the ecclesia’s in Judea were in Christ then how can we say that term, in Christ applies only to those called into the Body of Christ? At this point I again don’t see how we can…but let’s keep looking.
Paul taught of something else given those in Christ, the indwelling spirit of Christ, different from the Holy Spirit falling on a person or giving them the physical, visible, gifts. (Galatians 4:6 God delegates the spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying Abba Father) this is within each believer’s heart and it, enables our spirit to respond to the God breathed words as are recorded in His Word.
Our specific words given from God for our calling and destination come from our Apostle Paul. The minor or immature, remember is that which is soulish or fleshly and the flesh does not know how to separate the soulish from the spiritual…we can only grow in spiritual understanding through daily time spent reading the words of God….feeding our spirit so it will grow and mature thus becoming mature and spiritually discerning.
One other side point…in the preceding verse in Galatians 4 notice what Verse 5 has to say, “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” It was the nation of Israel which was under the law…not the gentile nations, and so again, another reference being used by Paul showing us that he was speaking to those of Israelite heritage.
This also agrees with Paul’s statement that Peter was made the apostle for the circumcision while he for the uncircumcision. Those practicing Judaism would be the circumcision. It is obvious that there were some in the land of Judea called into the Body of Christ, such as Paul himself…and there is Barnabas and others that Paul says were relatives of his and who it seems actually had seen the risen Christ. Paul speaks of those who were in Christ before him….he also speaks of some who were apostles under him and who had been in Christ before him at Romans 16:7, 11,21, “Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives and my fellow captives who are notable among the apostles, who also came to be in Christ before me……..”
Those who responded to Paul’s evangel associated with him and it seems they were not a part of the ecclesias in Judea. These one he names in Romans had to be apostles in the Body of Christ because there were only 12 apostles for the Jewish church begun by Jesus.
In Galatians 1:17, he speaks of those who were apostles before him but does not say anything about their being in Christ before him. He was referring to those who would have been of the 12….Israel looked to Jesus the man and it is Jesus the man who will return to set up His millennial kingdom with them in the land of Israel.
Yes, He will arrive as a glorious powerful king but then it is said He will be seen in the body with its wounds from the crucifixion when He enters Jerusalem. And it is said they will ask where did you receive those wounds and He will say in the house of my friends….which means from his own Jewish brethren, this then causes recognition in Jerusalem that the Jesus of Nazareth who their forefathers had killed had indeed been their messiah and it is said that there will be mourning in Jerusalem.
To see how this is foretold please read Zechariah 13:6 and then turn back to Zechariah 12;10-14 which also speaks to this. Next turn forward to Chapter 14:4 but realize this goes back in time before these two earlier scriptures which are speaking to His arrival and rescue. Remember we cannot read or expect everything to be in chronological order in the prophecies given for Israel.
This may be why Paul said, to those saved through his evangel, that they were not look to the man, Jesus any longer, as we know him not by the flesh anymore. Paul did not know the man Jesus but it sounds like some he was talking to did! Paul stressing that in his evangel they were not to look to the man, Jesus any longer but were to look to Christ, specifically the glorified Christ. Jesus will return to the land of Israel and be recognized as their messiah, the Christ. But Paul made it quite plain that Christ will call for the Body to meet Him in heaven long before he returns to Israel.
As I said earlier when I looked, in the Concordant’s Keyword Concordance for all the places this term in Christ is used and at first glance it appeared to be only in Paul’s letters and then the last three verses given are found in Peter’s writings…1 Peter 5:10 “Now the God of all grace, Who calls you into His eonian glory in Christ, while briefly suffering, He will be adjusting, establishing, firming, founding you.” And Verses 13,14, “Greeting you is the ecclesia in Babylon, chosen together with you and Mark, my son,. Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all that are in Christ. Amen!”
So being in Christ seems to cover all saints as Peter was referring to the Jerusalem saints as being in Christ and they are the bride and were not in the body of Christ or of the new creation…?
Knoch says nothing in his Concordant Commentary on Peter’s use of that term, in Christ. Yet Peter refers to those to whom he is writing, as being in Christ? Knoch does say that he felt that Peter understood Paul’s evangel took precedent over his evangel and that would then mean Peter recognized the Jewish church begun by Jesus and carried on by the 12 apostles would have to wait for the realization of their kingdom hope until Paul’s evangel was completed in the world. We can also remember that Peter knew he was going to die without seeing the return of Jesus. As he says as much at 2 Peter 1:14,15
So how are we to reconcile these words of Peter and Paul’s with our thinking, that those in Christ pertain only to the Body of Christ? Let’s go back to our first step as to whom was a letter written to and thus we must make note that Peter’s letters are titled as being written to the dispersion? Was not the dispersion, the sons of Israel living outside the land of Judea Paul’s assignment? Yes it was.
So here is another question….was Peter writing to those to whom Paul had discipled? So I began to dig again as this was something I had never even considered. I will also say, some Jews, those practicing Judaism were also living amongst the nations, was Peter writing to them? Yet we are told he did not know those to whom he was writing, so they were not Peter’s disciples? Some say Peter was writing to his Jewish brethren in the other lands and others say he was writing to Paul’s disciples.
So was Peter encouraging the disciples of Paul because they were his brethren by race….as the sons of Israel? And also, because as we learned earlier, many Judaisers were seeking to discredit Paul and to bring those of Israelite heritage into their belief system of Judaism which was in effect, to corrupt his disciples. Could it be possible that Peter was backing Paul’s credentials by writing to these ones?
Again, I feel there are more things we need to understand about the situation in that time period, things of which we have no understanding or experience with today. I then looked to see if Bullinger had anything to say which would help with our understanding of Peter’s use of the term and speaking to those in Christ.
Bullinger’s comments in the Companion Bible in reference to the 5th Chapter of 1 Peter are interesting and something I had never considered before… “So Peter may be uniting all the brethren with him here, and ellipsis should be supplied, not with ekklesia, which occurs nowhere in either of his epistles, but with the diasporas, the dispersion, whom he addresses as elect….Chapter 1:1. Those in Babylon were elect with them. A great many sojourners of the dispersion were in Babylon.” So I then turned back to Bullinger’s introduction in the Companion Bible on 1 Peter and this is what he also had to say about those to whom Peter was writing.
“Written to literally “the elect sojourners of the dispersion” Also spoken of at (see John 7:35 and James 1:1) These were Christian Jews of the dispersion…Peter refers to his lords’ command to feed the flock of God. So far as is known he had never seen those to whom he wrote, nor does he make reference to a single one of those strangers by name who had doubtless been taught by Paul and his fellow workers in their “journeying often.” Thus the teaching, delivered to them by “our beloved brother Paul” is that which Peter refers as “the true grace of God wherein ye stand” Paul’s words at (1 Corinthians 15:1).”
Now, it seems to me is that Bullinger is saying here, that Peter was writing to those Paul discipled which indeed were those of the dispersion. The use of the word “strangers” in the scriptures was applied to gentiles or those of the nations while the use of “friends” was for their fellow Jews as also brethren in relation to those of the Judaism. The King James uses….strangers…and elect while the Concordant uses expatriates and chosen.
But the significance of Peter’s use of the word, strangers or expatriates would seem to signify those he is addressing are not of Judaism…as they were brethren. But would apply to the sons of Israel, of which the descendants of the 10 tribes living amongst the nations for the past 4 to 5 hundred years and who it would seem, most had not been practicing Judaism and are those to whom Paul brought his evangel to. But Bullinger referred to them as Jews and yet why did Peter call them strangers or expatriates and not brethren? Fine details here again that I and others many have missed.
Now lets keep in mind, by Peters own words, he was sent to the circumcision, primarily in the land of Israel and would be those of Judaism, which Paul also stated at Galatians 2:7. Peter spent time with Paul who told Peter of his evangel and commission to go to the nations as given to him by Christ in Galatians 2:1,2. So it would have been evident the differences from the evangel Peter was to herald to those he was commissioned to.
By his own words he and others had read Paul’s letters. So this is a new thought that Peter was writing to the ecclesia under Paul in order to give them encouragement since they were being persecuted by the Judaisers? Those of Judaism considered those living in the nations not practicing Judaism the uncircumcision even if they were of Israelite heritage as the sons of Israel. But there were also Jewish saints in the bride church dispersed amongst the nations also and would be in some sort of association with Paul’s disciples as they were both believers in Jesus Christ.
The usual explanation given of Peter’s letters is, their being written to those in the future, those who will be called out of the restored nation of Israel after we are gone as the modern remnant called into Peter’s bride church. But it just may not be so cut and dried, or perhaps it is a combination of all of them?
I am beginning to wonder if this is something we have missed or overlooked and it may go back to the general way of looking at, the evangels as being either to the Jews or Gentiles with Paul discipling only Gentiles. Now that we know those termed Gentiles and the Uncircumcision also applied to the sons of Israel who were not practicing Judaism and living amongst the nations, adjustments need to be made in our understanding.
When I read the 5th chapter of Peter with this new thought, I noticed other things….like Verse 4…unfading wreath of glory, Verse 10.. the God of all grace, Who calls you into His eonian glory in Christ…Verse 12 The true grace of God, in which you are to stand. Verses 13,14 Greeting you is the ecclesia in Babylon, chosen together with you and Mark, my son. Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all that are in Christ !
Here again is that term in Christ…I have to ask, does it only apply to the Body of Christ or does it apply to all saints no matter which church they are in? Or was Peter writing to those of Israel who were called into the Body of Christ? I don’t know and this certainly needs more study.
The answer as for who are in Christ had seemed simple except for the passages which seem to differ, first where Paul said the ecclesia in Judea were in Christ and I believe they were of the Jewish church under Peter and second also in trying to understand what Peter said in the letters he writes to those in dispersion. Was he writing to those ecclesias of Paul’s to encourage them or to Jews who also were in dispersion, living in other lands?
I am not sure that I can figure that one out. But the one kink in the armor of the term, in Christ applying only to those called into the Body of Christ is that Paul said that the ecclesia in Judea were in Christ and they were Jewish saints under Peter and thus called to the earthly kingdom.
Now another thought, on the term in Christ, presents itself in the passage, of 2 Corinthians 5:17 which is that Paul says, “God was in Christ conciliating the world unto Himself.” Is God the Father in the Body of Christ…? I don’t think so, so can this be a general term and one in which the context must be considered? I cannot conclusively say one way or the other at this point….except that with the passages which seem to conflict, I feel the term in Christ must then apply to all saints.
Let’s return to the 5th chapter of 2 Corinthians and look at Verses 18-20. Paul speaks of something else which is new and that is of conciliation. He explains the conciliation of the believer is done by God, He conciliates us to Himself through Christ, and how that gives us the dispensation of the conciliation, and also that God was in Christ, conciliating the world unto Himself and not reckoning their offenses to them….”
Paul is the only Apostle to speak of these things. I think we first need to reflect on, what Paul said, which was, first that the believer is conciliated and then that God was in Christ conciliating the world and compare these two things, the conciliation given to the believer…and then in regards to the world, it is conciliating and conciliated! It seems to me that we are missing something, as it is obvious it is not the same? Conciliating is a work in progress, conciliated or conciliation is a work done!
God has done the work for each one chosen by Him and placed into the Body of Christ. How? Because God does the choosing and the saving and each one placed in the Body of Christ has been anointed, sealed and given the faith and righteousness of Jesus Christ with also the indwelling spirit of Christ which allows us to recognize who we are in Christ and is what enables us to believe.
It makes no difference if we are ignorant of it or not. If we are ignorant of our calling or if we thoroughly understand it, just as many saints, in denominationalism and are ignorant of many things concerning Paul’s evangel and their own calling. I say this because they have been taught the Free Will doctrine which meant that they must choose to serve God or accept Christ and thus they think they made the first move into a relationship with God.
Free will is only one amongst the many false doctrines the denominations have taught God’s chosen saints. It makes no difference in regards to those chosen as it is God Who does the choosing and that process is also His work, which is the doing of the reconciling of the believer He places in the Body of Christ, to Himself in Grace! But I do believe, our role as ambassadors of conciliation includes our being ready to educate fellow body members, doing so graciously!
We also can read…Romans 16:7, where Paul speaks of those who were apostles which were in Christ before him…..and he speaks of fellow workers in Christ at Romans 16:9 and then I notice in Verses 12 and 13 he then speaks of the laborers in the Lord….again a change in terms, why? Perhaps, being in Christ denotes security….being in the Lord denotes…Him as the master. Again, we must keep reminding ourselves….these four letters which were written before Acts closes were written during the dispensation of Holy Spirit and that means the gifts or spiritual endowments were yet active and judgment was still also a part of the scene and yet those called into the Body of Christ were justified outside the law.
Knoch wrote an interesting article in Volume 9 of the bound volumes of Unsearchable Riches, Page 4,5 on the differences between being in Christ in position and faith and being in the Lord, in obedience for our feet or our walk? It is short and so I will add it to the supplemental articles section at the back of this study as I think it needs to be considered and perhaps added too? Briefly, he says, in the term, in Christ, there is no class or nationality distinctions…..but with the term, in the Lord …as it covers both evangels and those in the world, it has to do with conduct and the class distinctions do apply….But lets get back to the subject of this lesson.
The gifts were signs for the Jews given as aids, to instill faith, the rejection of those signs as coming from their God Jehovah brought judgment upon them. Now, if it was 100% impossible for them to recognize the signs then why the judgment? I feel a clearer understanding of ..blindness, being described as spiritual insensitivity needs to be understood. But there is a big difference from the indwelling spirit given to those in the Body of Christ which enables them to believe and the visible signs given to Israel.
And yet we must remember the first members of the Body of Christ were first given signs and gifts. Paul saw the risen Christ…can any of us claim that experience? No….the circumstances were different in those days and we cannot compare them to our day. This is why some reject all Paul’s letters before Ephesians and Colossians as they cannot reconcile the physical and spiritual existing side by side…but the facts are plain for me, they did! So instead of rejecting that which does not fit with our experience today as not being valid why not just accept it and try to understand the differing circumstances. We are joint members with those early saints, we do not have the gifts or signs today but we are still in the same body!
For me that is the only answer to the Apostles having the power to judge others and as Paul did on several occasion, curse those who rejected Jesus as their messiah because the dispensation of Holy spirit was operative for those of Israel and as long as the rule, to the Jew first was being followed, the judgment to those Jews rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit through the apostles, which was the unforgivable sin was also still operational. Yes, Paul was acquitted of that sin….but not all of Israel was.
We will keep discussing these things which have caused many to form doctrines or sects based on some of what went on in that time….but I am seeing how they would focus on one aspect or a few passages, in some cases one passage and decide that was a truth and would then dismiss other passages which seemed to contradict. In order to find truth we must use all the passages and they must harmonize somehow. Again the tool of rightly dividing solves many of the problems with contradictions. But in the time frame of Paul’s calling and severing and ministry.
I hope we are seeing two groups of saints were being called out of Israel, with Paul’s evangel going to all the nations, not just Israel. And so it was not black and white or cut and dried. The dispensation of Holy Spirit was in operation for a time along side the Grace given to Saul and later as the Apostle Paul he was to dispense that grace. And so I do not find where a line can be drawn, as said earlier the only way to explain it is a time of transition from one dispensation to another and this was because Israel was afforded the honor of hearing the evangels first! Jehovah, faithful to His People and the promises given the fathers.
In Romans, Paul attempts to explain to those of Israelite heritage, how the nations were being grafted into the sons of Israel and those Jews like Paul, called to a new administration. Once the dispensation of Holy Spirit ended and the dispensation of Grace was in full operation it then would reign alone in the world until it has accomplished its purpose. I believe that we must recognize that there were two administrations or perhaps better to say two dispensations going on simultaneously when the Body of Christ first began which we do not have going on today. So that means we have to fine tune, once again our tool for understanding scripture, rightly dividing what does not apply to us today.
But lets not throw out the baby with the bath water and discount Paul’s early letters as not being written to those being called into the Body of Christ…lets just understand them as being written to the early church, as a minor and as immature and to those especially of Israelite heritage which needed to be taken through the physical and into the spiritual realm of their new calling. So everything Paul said, in those early letters will not apply to us today, as gentiles. His prison epistles are then what completes the Word of God and takes the body into maturity……because it is a spiritual entity.
So concluding with what the term in Christ means or who it applies too…it would seem, when we view all the passages of scripture which use the term, in Christ…we see a varied use, yes, it is used for those discipled by Paul but then he used it of those ecclesias in Judea who were not discipled by him and also he used it in relation to God being, in Christ conciliating the world to Himself. It seems to me, unless I am missing something, that these diverse uses makes it a general term and not specific to the Body of Christ?
Maybe the answer lies in some other things Paul tells us. We are also told by him several times, that all is headed up in Christ, that which is in the heavens and that which is on the earth…Ephesians 1:10. Paul says Christ is completing all at Ephesians 4:10.
Christ is the head of the Body which will carry out its mission for reconciliation in the heavenly realms and He as Jesus Christ will be the bridegroom to the bride called out of Israel which will rule the earthly realm bringing the world to salvation and reconciliation, when all humanity will then come to be in Christ, salvation will be complete. Again, both churches, the Bride and the Body were beginning in Peter’s and Paul’s day, if we do not recognize this and divide appropriately confusion will reign as it does in Christendom who believes the bride and the body are the same church.
We have read how Paul explains the conciliation and we can also read how Paul speaks of conciliation, as a work done or accomplished in the believer and that means the saints were then and are now reconciled to God. The world is not yet reconciled to God. The conciliation allows God to choose individuals from all nations for His new administration as revealed through Paul’s evangel. Reconciliation is two sided, with both parties agreeing. We agreed with God after He did the work in and for us. God is conciliating the world, in that He has made provision for the world’s eventual reconciliation…but they are not there yet. Is not this comparable to the work done on the cross?
Has sin been taken care of on the cross by the blood of Jesus Christ with the world’s sin, inherited from Adam with its penalty of being dead….lost forever in nothingness paid for and yet humanity is still sinning and still dying.
So, is the world conciliated to God? No! Is God conciliated to the world, Yes, Why or how? Because this is the dispensation of Grace…in order to build or complete the Body of Christ. How could we be graced and the world not? Does humanity still die? Yes. Does the world have any understanding of what God has done for them through Christ? No. Until God makes them aware of these truths, they are not reconciled! So we come back to the question, on what exactly did Paul mean when he said, “God was in Christ conciliating the world to Himself not reckoning their offenses against them.” 2 Corinthians 5:18,19
In order to understand perhaps what I am trying to understand myself and put into words, let’s look more at the word conciliation. The first place he uses that word is at 1 Corinthians 7:11 which is in relation to a man and wife. The passage we just read in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 is where Paul uses the word conciliating two more times in relation to us and our ministry.
He next speaks of conciliation in the letter to the Roman ecclesia and if Bullinger’s chart is correct that letter was written after the Corinthians letters, but at least we know it was written during this same period of time before Acts is closed. Romans 5:10 tells us, “being enemies, we were conciliated to God through the death of His Son, much rather, being conciliated, we shall be saved in His life.” For the believer it is a done deal. Paul’s words in Romans 5 tell us conciliation comes through the death of His Son…and it is in relation to believers, but it does not say specifically it went into force at the cross? Yes a fine point but let’s keep that in mind.
When do we become believers? When God chooses and calls giving us His spirit which enables us to believe that Christ is the Son of God and died on the cross for not just our sins but for the worlds. Just as we are told that Christ’s death on the cross, pays for all sin and abolishes death for all mankind and yet mankind is still sinning and still dying. The price was paid at the cross; the deal was signed or sealed but not yet enforced or not immediately put into effect. In the absolute sense, and in the divine viewpoint it is a done deal……..but in the relative and human viewpoint it is not, mankind does not see the benefits of it yet…..the world is wicked, sin and death still reigns in the physical….this is the relative sense and the human arena.
What we are told was accomplished on the cross and with the blood of Jesus Christ is believed in faith and that faith is what enables us to believe these things not yet realized will come about! We also accept that those benefits are in the spiritual realm but not yet brought to the physical realm in which we are still living. Hebrews 11:1 defines what faith is and as we know, we are given Jesus Christ’s faith; we can do nothing but believe even though when we analyze it with our human minds it seems unbelievable.
But notice what Paul said…yes, we were conciliated…but much rather….we shall be saved in His life. Being conciliated and saved does not seem to be the same thing? Paul also tells us it is His rousing which justifies us at Romans 4:25 and dying and being roused for our sakes at 2 Corinthians 5:15.
Being conciliated to God has not changed our mortal bodies…we are guaranteed (the earnest of the spirit given each saint) that we are to be saved but we are not saved yet? Salvation is to be made whole, or healthy, or sound… the words salvation and saved go back to made sound or being made healthy or whole that will come at the snatching away of the Body of Christ. Right now we stand in faith and rest in the promise.
Until we are free of death we have not received salvation….only the promise and the guarantee. When we are called out of the grave (roused) and or are snatched from this earth and given our immortal, glorified bodies (changed) this is when salvation will be completed… because, through the death of Jesus Christ, humanity is saved from death…not from sin.
We sin because we are dying. Romans 5:12,13 We are dying because we are mortal….fleshly, soulish and soilish, inherited the dying process from Adam. Paul said it was His (Christ’s) rousing which justifies us from sin and thus saves us also from the death state, we are saved out of death, the staying dead with no hope of living again, which is what humanity inherited from Adam…when we are placed in Christ we then inherit life, His life. Please read, 1 Corinthians 15:12-28, 2 Corinthians 1:9,10 and 5:14,15
But, as Paul also teaches us, we, the joint body are pre expectant in Christ….the sealing, anointing with the earnest of the spirit is our contract with God which guarantees that we will either be roused out of death and or changed which will be death to the old soulish body….when we receive our new spiritual bodies……all sin and dying will have been removed never to plague us again. This is promised to all humanity, the Body of Christ is the firstfruit offering to God, saved out off death, guaranteeing life to all humanity in Gods due and appointed times.
You know awhile back…in Manual Two, I think is where I said, that our evangel was simple to understand in comparison to Israel’s…while true to some extent, I have come to have a new appreciation for our evangels beginning with this clearer understanding. Just the other day as I am working on this and trying to understand when did the conciliation of the world truly begin, I am feeling like He says oh so you think your evangel is simple? And then I believe He brought Joyce Pollard into my life the Acts 28 teacher that this study is the result of and of which, I feel I am going deeper and deeper into our evangel.
I am coming to feel that we understand the basic premise or the overall picture of our evangel and of God’s purpose for the ages, I fear we do not understand all of the finer elements or details of Paul’s day. I am seeing such an intertwining of details which make up the whole story….it just never seems to end.
So what I am trying to say is that things can be legal or valid with God but not put into effect immediately for humanity. The earnest of the spirit is our example…a partial payment; the legalities are in place, ready and waiting for the time for when God is ready to give the full payment. Those called into the Body of Christ are given the faith to believe those promises are theirs and which are yet to come in the future without any signs.
Those who are spoken, of faith, before the nation of Israel was formed, would be because Jehovah made Himself known to them, visibly and by speaking to them. Later, the same was true with those He chose as His prophets and whom He spoke to and were also given powerful signs which instilled faith in them.
They believed God and knew that they had to wait on Him to fulfill His word to them. Job believed….he knew he would go into the dust and sleep until it was Gods time to raise him and when we read his story we see that Jehovah talked with Job. The physical and visible inspired faith, after all were they not in His presence? For us, He speaks through His word and through the indwelling spirit which helps us to understand His written word and never forgetting the spiritual blessings of His sealing which has sealed our hearts to Him. So outwards aid versus, the inward giving of Faith and His Spirit.
Let continue with more thoughts of the conciliation…Romans 5:11 “Yet not only so, but we are glorying also in God, through our Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom, we now obtained the conciliation.” We are also told by Paul that Jesus, “Who gives Himself for our sins, so that He might extricate us out of the present wicked eon, according to the will of our God and Father….” Galatians 1:4.
God conciliates us to Himself when He chose us, calling us and placing us into the Body of Christ. Now Paul uses the word reconciling in Ephesians 2:16 and reconcile in Colossians 1:20,20, briefly before looking at these verses lets first understand these two words, conciliate and reconciliate.
In the King James the words are wrongly translated as most verses will have, reconcile or reconciliation when they should say conciliate. In the Romans and Corinthian letters the word used in the Greek was (Kat all a’ ass o) for conciliate and (Kat all a ge’) for conciliation.
In Ephesians and Colossians the word is (apo kat all a ass o) for reconciliation. The importance of this is that…conciliation is one sided….while reconciliation is two sided. In other words in Corinthians, it tells us God was in Christ conciliating the world, so I first noticed that it says conciliating…not conciliated…conciliating is a process while conciliated is a done deal.
So the passage says that God is conciliating the world not reckoning their offenses against them even though the world does not know this or understand it and are not conciliated to HIM. The world has not made peace with God, so how is God conciliating the world? If this is a process, then it began with Christ when He paid for the sin humanity inherited from Adam as well as the sins of humanity. So the price was paid for all.
Lets now look at reconciling in Ephesians 2:16 “this passage is in relation to creating the two, in Himself, into one new humanity, making peace; and should be reconciling both in one body to God through the cross, killing the enmity in it.” Again this is in relation to believers, Jew and Gentile reconciled by God not only to Himself but to each other in the one Body of Christ.
And reconcile and reconciles in Colossians 1:20,21 “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 you being once estranged and enemies in comprehension, by wicked acts, yet now He reconciles by His body of flesh through His death, to present you holy and flawless and unimpeachable in His sight…..”
This passage again shows that the work done on the cross paves the way for the eventual reconciliation of all…but now during this dispensation of Grace it is only held by believers…..and believers are those who were chosen by God and given it! Notice that Paul said, to reconcile…all, those on earth or those in the heavens…a process it is not happened yet. Satan has not be vanquished from heaven yet….The price paid at the cross….the door was opened for the reconciliation of all….and will come about in Gods due time.
Also, God is the one who reconciled the Jew and the Gentile by placing them together into one body, the new administration which is a joint body and who were made equals to one another, united by His Spirit. God removed the wall of enmity. The wall of enmity; that wall was of sin and Himself as well as the enmity between Israel and Gentiles. God chooses, and God saves.
The words reconcile and reconciles are used by Paul in Colossians 1:18-21 “And He is the Head of the body, the ecclesia, Who is Sovereign, Firstborn from among the dead, that in all He may be becoming first, for in Him the entire complement delights to dwell, and 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 you, being once estranged and enemies in comprehension, by wicked acts, yet now He reconciles by His body of Flesh, through His death, to present you holy and flawless and unimpeachable in His sight….”
It is God which reconciles believers and thus we are representatives of that conciliation. Paul said we are to be ambassadors of conciliation….so how are we ambassadors?
What does an ambassador do? They do not go out into the country they are living in and try to convert the citizens of that country or government to theirs. They represent a government and they minister to those of their own country who are living in the foreign land. We have learned we do not save anyone, God does the choosing and the saving and so how or why are we to offer conciliation? I believe first of all we are a demonstration to the spirit world of Gods grace and His intent of reconciliation. They certainly can see that we have done nothing to earn it or deserve it and that the world or the heavens are not yet conciliated.
Secondly, our circumstances are different from those of Paul’s, we are not Jews, but Paul was. He had a dual commission, we do not. His work was to go to the nations and call out of them a remnant of the sons of Israel as well as grafting in Gentiles for the purpose to begin the Body of Christ. Our role as members of that Body is to encourage fellow members with sound doctrine and not to evangelize unbelievers. Those who were the sons of Israel, first needed to repent and be baptized….we do not! We recognize we are sinners because of the indwelling spirit and through Gods word explain sin and righteousness.
We don’t beg for forgiveness, we Praise God for the forgiveness freely given to us, without our even asking! Again, I think the way we are ambassadors of conciliation is that God has made us a demonstration of it! He created a new administration in Christ….He did not beg us to be conciliated with Him…He conciliated us to Himself….this is Grace demonstrated.
As Paul said, “For the One not knowing sin, He makes to be a sin offering for our sakes that we may be becoming Gods righteousness in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21. True peace comes only when both parties are conciliated to each other….which that then is reconciliation. God’s ultimate goal is the reconciliation of all…but is He going to use the same method for all?
I don’t think so, in that He has different economies or administrations and or dispensation, yet all have the same goal in view. Yes they all have as their basis, Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection, but the Nation of Israel was an economy or demonstration of Law. The Body of Christ is the economy, or demonstration of Grace.
A lot has been foretold which is to come for this world in the future after we are gone? When the Body of Christ is snatched away, the grace dispensation ends. Does the conciliation of the world end also? If God brings about judgment for wrongdoing in the world it would seem so? With visible signs from God returning with and through His People Israel…could we say the dispensation of Holy Spirit returns…?
Maybe we could explain it like this….God will be using a different administration or economy in His conciliation process…after this dispensation of Grace ends with the removal of the Body of Christ to the celestial realm. His goal of reconciliation does not end but His methods for attaining it on this earth will change again.
After we are snatched away to our allotment He will use the nation of Israel, who will return to the ammi status as God’s People….thus the nations in the world will be judged on how they treat God’s People. Does that not mean, the conciliation present in this administration comes to an end? Paul said at 2 Corinthians 5:19, God was in Christ conciliating the world unto Himself, not imputing their offenses to them….and yet when we read the prophecies for the world of nations and Israel after we are snatched away….do we not read of God bringing judgment against wickedness? Is that not the imputing of offenses against those who are guilty?
Some have trouble with this and point to the cross…did not Jesus pay for all sin? Yes He did…all mankind will be saved in Christ and all mankind will be reconciled to God. But God has different dispensation through which He is bringing humanity to Himself. God will be glorified through them all but that is only accomplished by those being saved coming to understand why and how they are saved!
Why do I say this, hopefully a study of the prophecies for Israel in Manual Two will enlighten us as to Gods plans for the nation of Israel? But briefly we know that after the Body of Christ is removed God will restore Israel and they will be under the rod of the Old Law Covenant again, Ezekiel 20:37.
If Israel is going to be judged by the Mosaic Law again, they will also enjoy Jehovah’s protection from their enemies and the nations in the world which will try to harm His People will not be ignored by Jehovah as they are being ignored today and have been for the past 2000 plus years! It seems to me that the world has enjoyed the grace of God unbeknown to them while His work is going on of the calling out of all the nations, individuals into the Body of Christ, called in Grace. The Body of Christ is under no condemnation and God has not brought judgment upon the nations committing unspeakable acts of wickedness.
Jesus foretold a time of tribulation would come upon the world and also the Apostle John received visions and recorded them in what is called the book of The Unveiling or more commonly known as Revelation, which concerns that same time period, the time of the end, the last days not of the world, but of this eon, and of Satan’s reign and the reign of terror carried out by wicked governments of this world under him.
So what are the tribulation and end times all about, if not God bringing judgment on the nations of the world for their treatment of His People and on those nations which will be attacking His People as well as those of Israel lapsing into apostasy again?
Let’s not forget the Glory Throne judgment, which Jesus foretold would happen after His arrival at Matthew 25:31-46. The sheep and goats are nations who will be judged by Christ, as to how they treated His brethren, the Jews, some nations will be given rewards or blessings and other will not be…it appears they will lost their status as independent nations and become servants of the faithful. But my point here is that the administration of Grace is just that an administration that began at a certain time and will end also at a certain time.
The spiritual blessings given to the Body of Christ are not a blanket which covers all evil in this world indefinitely. Evil must be dealt with, in order to bring about the reconciliation of all.
I think we need to understand that the conciliation is with believers and not the world, as Paul tells us, the believer is reconciled, but the world certainly isn’t! Until God brings all mankind into the realm of being believers there will be no reconciliation! God in Christ conciliating the world unto Himself….does not mean that He will always ignore sin, evil and wrong doing. I think perhaps it means since Christ paid the price, purchasing humanity with His blood, God could then let the nations go their way while He calls out of every nation a people to be His People and place them in the Body of Christ.
Yes, Christ has paid for all sin…but that does not mean that God is going to allow sin to run rampant in the world. What it means is, Christ has paid the price for all sin, which clears the way, or paves the road for God’s dealings with sinful, humanity, bringing them to the goal which is reconciliation. He has chosen to use different methods….first, He used Israel as the keepers of His Righteous Law…then He again used Israel and Gentiles making a joint body, a new creation….a new administration of Grace.
He is not through using Israel…they have a role yet to play out in this world which will magnify Jehovah and then it will be time for Christ to return and set up His kingdom….yet another new administration or economy or dispensation, all for the purpose of reconciliation. Christ’s millennial reign will be followed by the day of God…and the new heaven and new earth….yet again another new economy or dispensation for reconciliation of which we do not even comprehend the methods God will be using to put the finishing touches on His intention which is His will for the ultimate Reconciliation of all.
When Christ returns to Israel and sets up His kingdom and institutes the New Covenant with Israel…that administration will again be different from ours, they will actively evangelize the occupants of this planet. The Holy Spirit will fill the saints and they will be performing signs and miracles in their work of educating mankind on Who the True God is. The world will consist of mortals and vivified immortal saints resurrected from the dead! We cannot judge how God will deal in the future by how He has dealt with us. There are many facets to His Purpose and all are designed to bring Him the Glory as Creator.
In the new administration and dispensation of Grace, God has made peace with the world while He is building the Body of Christ and justifying those He places within it and while this process is taking place He also does not impute the world’s sins to them. But does this mean, the world is justified or are those outside of the Body of Christ also being given justification.
No, definitely not. I think again rightly dividing comes in, as to the times or seasons for which God brings about, justification, salvation and reconciliation. We are the demonstration of those spiritual blessings given with God’s work in redeeming humanity from sin and death: Jesus Christ paid the price for redemption and it is through Him that in Gods due time all will be justified, saved and reconciled. 1 Corinthians 15:22 “ For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified….Yet each in his own class:”
Those called into the Body of Christ are the firstfruit of reconciliation…the firstfruit offering in Israel also called the wave offering was the first harvest of the growing season and it was offered to Jehovah and that guaranteed a promise from Him that all future crops that season would be successfully harvested. In the spiritual realm the Body of Christ, in Christ are to be the first raised out of death, and that is the guarantee that the rest of humanity will also be raised out of death. In other words that God will also do a similar work in the rest of humanity and in fact the entire Universe.
Sometimes I think, we make the mistake and try to hurry the process since we have come to see that God’s goal is the salvation of all and the reconciliation of the Universe but those two things are not yet accomplished! With God they are as good as done as He is control of bringing it about, but with humanity and the Universe….it is not yet a reality.
Christ paid for sin and sins on the cross with His blood. He bought humanity, but did the world see sin and death done away with at the Cross. No. What took place was that the payment was made, God was satisfied and escrow began. We know the outcome, it is like reading the last chapter of a book…..but there are lots of things in between the beginning and the end, of that book, a process of events leading to that last chapter which must not be overlooked or discounted. We cannot assume that God will reconcile the rest of humanity in the same way that He has done it for the Body of Christ.
So, it is in relation to believers is where we see reconciliation as we are reconciled to God but we have nothing to do with it, He does it to us, just like He met with Saul on the road to Damascus uninvited by him. He makes us believers by means of His spirit, giving us the earnest of it which anoints and seals us into the new administration. A proper study leads us to realize these deeper truths of which most are unaware of is that He gives us Jesus Christ’s faith and His Spirit, both of which is what enables us to believe His Word as given to us through the sound doctrine from our own Prophet and Apostle Paul.
In Chapters 6 through 10 Paul gives some counsel for the Corinthians and his thoughts on their feeling sorry at his first letter as well as talking about the collection he was gathering to take to Jerusalem for the poor saints. Chapter 7: 5 Shows us he is in Macedonia. He indicates that his first letter to them brought about repentance and he is glad of that.
In Chapter 8:2 he again mentions being in Macedonia and he speaks of their generosity in the following passages. In Verses 16-18 he refers to Titus and of the brother whose applause in the evangel is through all the ecclesias, and who was also their fellow traveler. This is thought to be Luke. Chapter 9 continues with the collection referring to it as a dispensation for the saints and he refers to their bounty as promised before. In Verse 9 he quotes from Psalms 112:9. In Chapter 10 and Verse 17 quotes Jeremiah 9:24.
In Chapter 11 Paul continues to persuade those of their specific evangel and warning them to not be deluded by others who would bring them a different evangel from what he has already brought them. Verses 4-6“For if indeed, he who is coming is heralding another Jesus whom we do not herald, or you are obtaining a different spirit which you did not obtain or a different evangel which you do not receive, you are bearing with him ideally. For I am reckoning to be deficient in nothing pertaining to the paramount apostles.”
Paul clearly telling them they are to receive nothing from those coming down from Jerusalem and who were trying to discredit him and persuade his disciples to follow them instead. He continues with these strong words… “Yet even I am plain in expression, nevertheless I am not in knowledge, but in everything being made manifest in all for you.”
He then warns them that these ones are false prophets in Verses 13-15 “For such are false apostles, fraudulent workers, being transfigured into apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for Satan himself is being transfigured into a messenger of light. It is not a great thing, then, if his servants also are being transfigured as dispensers of righteousness….whose consummation shall be according to their acts.”
In Chapter 12 Paul continues to defend his authority as their apostle and reminds them that he was given revelations from Christ. He does not wish to boast that he was given such an experience as though he were so special or was so deserving of it…. but he wished to boast in what the revelations revealed for the new administration. Chapter 12 is a continuation of Chapter 11 and so must be read together in order to see the subject in its context.
The subject is first his apostleship and that he is not inferior to those of the 12 based in Jerusalem. He tells them, of his position as a Jew…how he had suffered through many trials, all for the evangel he was given to bring them. How he was persecuted, of his escapes and of the visions and revelations given to him….for them!
Paul was indeed speaking of himself, he continues with 12:1,2 “If boasting must be, though it is not expedient, indeed, yet I shall also becoming to apparitions and revelations of the Lord.” He next relates the experience in the third person and then in Verses 5,6 he returns to the first person and explains that he does not mean to boast of this experience. “Over such a one I shall be boasting; yet over myself I shall not be boasting, except in my infirmities. For if ever I should be wanting to boast, I shall not be imprudent for I shall be declaring the truth. Yet I am reticent. No one should be reckoning me to be above what he is observing of me or anything he is hearing of me.”
He did not want to be looked up to or looked at differently, just because of having been given such a vision, or because of experiencing what he did not even know for sure himself whether it was a vision or if he had been transported to heaven, he wanted them to remember he was just a man, commissioned to be their apostle Paul.
In Verses 7,8 he continues speaking of himself in relation to the man which he spoke of earlier in Verses 2-4 “Wherefore also, lest I should be lifted up by the transcendence of the revelations, there was given to me a splinter in the flesh….a messenger of Satan, that he may be buffeting me, lest I may be lifted up.”
This is showing us that man he spoke of was himself, as the Lord would not let him think too much of himself for having been given that experience. His use of I, and to me….the revelations…also shows that he was the man who had been taken to the third heaven and shown amazing things.
Who but Paul was given revelations concerning the Body of Christ and the third heaven where the Body of Christ will rule and reign from? Who but Paul spoke of the reconciliation of the Universe? Paul would not have been talking about an anonymous other man….as only he was given the secrets for the Body of Christ.
He continues to chide them for even doubting that he was their apostle and reminds them he had not been a burden to them by requiring any gain from them or any who he had sent to them as teachers, such as Titus.
He reminds them of his love for them and his concern was for their growth spiritually. He tells them he does not want to come to them yet, for fear they have not ceased with their immature conduct. Chapter 13:1 “Lo this is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” This is quoted from Deuteronomy 19:15 and then this letter close with affection.
In reviewing these two letters Paul wrote to the Corinthians, we have seen that he first spoke of the Body of Christ made up of many members but who are equals and counsel was given them on their need to get along with one another.
He speaks of the gifts or spiritual endowments, active during the dispensation of Holy Spirit and warns them they will cease. He also gave them a deeper understanding of the resurrection that the Body of Christ will experience and what kind of bodies they will be given…celestial. He gives information on the salvation of all and of conciliation and reconciliation. He also taught those saints that they were in a new covenant, a spiritual covenant with God and that they were a new creation.
Now, I have to ask how can it be said that these two letters sent to Corinth and which seem to be the first two of the four letters Paul wrote before Acts closes, are not discussing specific doctrine for the new administration, which is the Body of Christ and the joint body he calls it in Ephesian.
Our next letter for review is Galatians
Estimated to be written from Macedonia in the winter of A.D. 57
Bullinger’s introduction to Galatians “As with the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, a large part of this letter is taken up with proofs of the apostle’s Divine authority. The major portion however is devoted to refuting the teaching of such as would lead back the Galatians to bondage for many of them desired to be under the Law. And Paul declared to them that this was a removing unto a different gospel altogether, although, there being in reality no other gospel, it was a perverting of the gospel of Christ.”
“The likeness to Romans is noticeable, and although, this Epistle was written before that to the Romans, Paul had taught the Galatians the same truth as he records in the later epistle. Galatians has been happily likened to a sketch for the finished picture, Romans. In both is maintained the fundamental truth that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile before God.”
“There would be many Jews among the churches of Galatia, for Paul ever went to the Jew first; yet the majority would be Gentiles, apparently too ready to yield to the persuasion of Judaisers who taught the necessity of circumcision. Of profound interest to all believers is the record of the apostle’s reception of the gospel which was preached by him. For he received it not from man, nor was he taught it, but it came to him through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”
“There are differences of opinion as to where the churches of Galatia were situated. The province was a central one in Asia Minor, occupied in the northern parts by a mixed race in which the Keltic predominated; and some think there were no churches at all in that portion of the province but only in the southern parts, and that they probably included Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Derbe and Lystra. It may be added that in Galatia proper, the people spoke the Keltic language until at least the time of Jerome.”
Notice here with Bullinger’s comments what I have underlined….the use of the words Jews and that the majority called into Paul’s evangel at that time were Gentiles…I just feel that is not correct in the sense of how we use the terms Jews and Gentiles. So I want to keep clarifying this for us. Jews…were those practicing Judaism and were specifically of the two tribe kingdom of Judah…That two tribe kingdom was made up of Judah and Benjamin.
The 10 tribes were living in the nations having left Judaism and thus had been divorced for Idolatry….but we must not forget that the two tribe kingdom also fell into idolatry. As we have learned through this study, Paul went to the sons of Israel living in those nations. To the Jew, those having left them, and still living in idolatry and were not following the Mosaic Law thus not practicing circumcision would be considered gentiles or the uncircumcision.
But, also, God considering the Jew and Gentile as equals would also tie to the fact that the nation of Israel was still lo ammi….so all in His eyes all nations were gentiles…as God no longer had a specific nation. Thus He could also then be conciliated to the world not holding their offenses against them.
We must always factor in the history of Israel and thus I feel that it is forgotten or ignored that the 12 tribes split into two kingdoms four to five hundred years before Jesus was born. The ten tribe kingdom kept the name of Israel, and the two tribe kingdom remaining in Jerusalem took the name of Judah.
The nation originally made up of the 12 tribes was called Israel and its people were called Israelites and were also Hebrews. They were not called nor used the name Jew until much later; history shows us that name was given them by the Gentiles. Judaism was the religion of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin practicing the Mosaic Law and thus given the label or name of Jew.
As we have learned in going through the book of Acts, it was said over and over that Paul did go to the Jew first, in each city Paul visited amongst the nations, he would first go into the synagogue of the Jews and herald the evangel of Jesus Christ. I think this was for the purpose of giving the witness to the Jewish leaders; and of which a few did respond, and of course the congregations were made up of those who were practicing Judaism. So the Jew, during the dispensation of Holy Spirit were first to hear the evangels.
Usually Paul and his message would be rejected and he would then say to those religious leaders, I now go to the nations, and thus he would go into the streets and the public squares and from house to house. That term going to the nation maybe would be more understandable if we view him as saying I now will go to those of the nations of which the sons of Israel were living in those nations and living amongst the Gentiles and as being lo ammi, were viewed as gentiles. Especially since they for the most part were not practicing Judaism but the religions of those nations and so were viewed also by God as Gentiles.
So in Paul’s ministry, he discipled some Jews, and the sons of Israel, those in dispersion from the 10 tribe kingdom scattered in all the nations and not practicing Judaism and also the true gentiles which when I say this I mean those not of Israelite heritage. These are all of those which would hear Paul’s evangel and if they were chosen by God for the Body of Christ they would respond to Paul’s evangel.
To review once again Paul’s commission in Acts 9 as stated by Christ, he was to go to the nations and kings, besides the sons of Israel. A son of Israel would be any descendant of those from the 12 tribes. But then we remember it was agreed upon in Acts 15 by the elders in Jerusalem that Paul would go to the nations…with his evangel. The King James continually translates this as going to the Gentiles.
Yes the other nations were considered the Gentiles but…..what is overlooked is that the ten tribes lived amongst those gentile nations and many if not most were living as the nations….not practicing Judaism! Thus they were considered gentiles by those of Judaism. We also can add in here where we read that Paul was sent to the uncircumcision and Peter to the circumcision. Our Gentile minds have always just assumed the uncircumcision were Gentiles…not so…it would also include those of Israelite heritage living amongst those nations and who were not practicing Judaism thus were not being circumcised!
Yes, Paul discipled some Jews, he himself would fit that category as he was of the tribe of Benjamin, one of the two which constituted the two tribe kingdom of Judah and he was a religious Pharisee. We read of the baptism of most with whom he spoke with and were those of Israelite heritage who were given Johns baptism while the few recorded Gentile disciples were not given John’s baptism. So only a few cases of a Gentile in the true sense are recorded.
Now, we still must keep in mind that in the divine viewpoint, if Israel was lo ammi as I feel she was, then God viewed those of Israelite heritage as Gentiles. The situation at that time was not so simply cut and dried, as Jew and Gentile as it is so easily spoken of. I hope we are seeing the many details of what was going on in that time was sort of complicated.
So the main thing I feel we need to grasp and strive to use the correct terminology concerning, Jews and the sons of Israel and the true, Gentiles. So if as is so often said, that Paul went to the Gentiles why then if the majority of Paul’s disciples were, true Gentiles of no Israelite heritage, would Paul have needed to give so much counsel which was Jewish in nature and to those wanting to go back to the Mosaic Law? Gentiles had never in it in the first place. Okay, lets look at how Knoch introduces the letter to the Galatians as we continue with this letter.
Knoch’s Comments from his Concordant Commentary “Paul’s Galatian epistle is the divine commentary on the doctrine of justification as set forth in the first four chapters of his epistle to the Romans. Some time after Paul had been severed. Acts 13:2 and had gone among the nations preaching justification by faith., Acts 13:39 and had returned to Antioch. Judaising teachers came down from Jerusalem teaching that “If you should not be circumcised after the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Acts 15:1. The matter was taken up in the council of the apostles at Jerusalem and Paul and Barnabas were sent with the decrees which made it manifest that circumcision was not necessary for the nations who believed.”
Galatians 1:1,2 In the first chapter Paul begins this letter defending his apostleship “ Paul an apostle (not from men, neither through a man, but through Jesus Christ and God, the Father, who rouses Him from among the dead), and all the brethren with me to the ecclesias of Galatia:” Notice also, the plural ecclesias as Bullinger pointed out in his introduction, several in the province of Galatia.
Notice how Paul immediately gets to the point of his letter…first by telling them it is “Gods will that they are to be extricated out of this present wicked eon and so he marvels that they so swiftly have left the call in grace to a different evangel….which is a distortion of the evangel of Christ.”
In Verses 3-8a. He next uses the Jewish custom which was used for centuries by them of calling down a curse on what was not true or on a false prophet whose words did not come about. Also note, the evangel of Christ was being distorted….even those in the bride church were distorting the freedom they had been given. The law of Moses had been taken care of by Jesus Christ!
He continues in Verse 8b,9 with these words, “But if ever we also, or a messenger out of heaven, should be bringing an evangel to you beside that which we bring to you, let him anathema! As we have declared before and at present I am saying again, if anyone is bringing you an evangel besides that which you accepted, let him be anathema!” What was this evangel they only were to heed?
Paul clearly explains which one in Galatians 1:11 “For I am making known to you, brethren, as to the evangel which is being brought by me, that it is not in accord with man. For neither did I accept it from a man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Again these words are clearly telling us Paul was teaching the evangel he received from Jesus Christ through direct revelations and which came not from a man…..in other words his evangel was different from that of Peters and those in Jerusalem……and Paul’s evangel contained, “the secret hidden in God for the ages.”
Remember before leaving this earth, Jesus made Peter the head of the 12, the church begun by Him in his earthly ministry, although James the brother of Jesus seems to have taken over the elders in Jerusalem. But what Paul is saying. Is that he did not learn under Peter or the 12 or the elders in Jerusalem…why not, if he was teaching the same evangel as they? That is the point, he did not learn from them because his evangel was different and new and came directly from Christ! Those Paul discipled were saved through his evangel…and so he fights for them and asks them…why would you leave your calling and take on another’s…?
Paul wants them to know, he completely understands Judaism, as he reminds them of his history as a Pharisee and that he had been zealous for Judaism to the extent that he persecuted the believers in Jesus. He continues with his account giving many details concerning his Damascus road experience and emphasizes what he learned was not given him from men and this is enforced in that he went into Arabia for three years. After those three years is when he goes to Jerusalem and visits with Peter for 15 days and apprises him of his calling and evangel.
There is a good article in the Unsearchable Riches, Volume 9, Page 53. Written by Vladimir Gelesnoff, “Paul’s Meeting with Peter.” In it he states, “The journey to Jerusalem was undertaken for the express purpose of historicizing Peter…of apprising him of the impending inauguration of a work among the nations. Paul went to impart something to Peter not to learn from him. He was keen enough to foresee that his gospel of unaided grace was bound to cause a cleavage, and felt that, ere the crisis came, the Jewish apostle should be prepared for it, that there should be a thorough understanding between himself and Peter. Accordingly, before the crisis came, and before the doctrinal difference came up for public consideration, he prepared Peter for what was coming.”
He continues to state that the 14 years Paul next refers to was from that first meeting with Peter, so we have some who say the 14 included those three years of Galatians 1 and others who say in addition to the 14 years? He emphatically shows in his article that he believed, Paul’s evangel was entirely separate from Peters and the Jewish church…..from the beginning. I bring this out as some teach and or believe Paul taught the Kingdom evangel for a time. We are not told that, we are told that he heralded the evangel of God and the evangel of Christ. We are not told of Saul making any disciples before Acts 13.
But we are told that he did not remain in the land of Israel. We read of him in Antioch and we read of him and Barnabas being responsible for collecting monetary funds for the saints in Jerusalem. I agree that Paul completely understood Israel’s evangel and would be able to discuss it quite well. He would be well able to prove from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ, Israel’s messiah. And as we have seen many of his first disciples were those of Israelite heritage and so this would indeed be important.
But for me, the very fact that he did not proselyte in Judea but went outside the land of Israel which was his commission, shows that he was not teaching or discipling those under the jurisdiction of the Jewish, bride church. If as Saul he was discipling into the bride would he not have preached in the land of Israel? Saul was met by Christ outside the land of Judea, in Gentile territory and he was given a grace not seen by anyone in the Jewish church inside the land of Israel.
From the very beginning Saul was dealt with differently by Christ, and he was told he would be going to the nations, to the sons of Israel. I too can’t help but believe that his evangel was different from the beginning. I recommend those who have these UR volumes to read that article.
The details given in this first chapter of Galatians were given as proof that Paul’s evangel was distinctive from that of Peters and that he did not need the approval or permission of the Jerusalem saints to herald his evangel. He points out, that he did not bring the saints in Galatia the evangel of circumcision and so why are they listening to those who wanted to place them under that bondage and so he said to them “I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another evangel.”
Paul goes on to tell them of after being in Arabia for three years he then goes to Jerusalem and meets with Peter, spending 15 days with him and becoming acquainted with no one other than the apostles except James the brother of the Lord. He tells them in Galatians 1:15-20 he knew his calling and that he was to be evangelizing Him among the nations and he did not immediately submit it to flesh and blood but went away into Arabia for those three years.
This sounds like he knew more than what we were told in Acts. Next in Galatians 2:1, 2. He also says that “Thereupon, after the lapse of fourteen years, I again went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas taking Titus also along with me. Now I went up in accord with a revelation and submitted to them the evangel which I am heralding among the nations.”
This meeting is spoken of in Acts 15 and the evangel he speaks of would have been the evangel given to him by revelations from Christ! The, I again, sounds like the fourteen years followed the three years…but as I said there are differing viewpoints on those years.
When reading Acts through carefully we see many times, the special relationship Paul had with the Lord, he spoke to Paul on several occasions and many times it is said that the Holy Spirit spoke or directed Paul to go or not go to certain places. Paul wants the disciples in Galatia to understand his evangel was different from Peters and the Judaisers and thus he says, it came not from men but from Christ through revelations. Galatians 1:10-14
At that second visit to Jerusalem recorded in Acts 15, that meeting was called to discuss circumcision, and he pointedly tells the disciples at Galatia in Galatians 2: 3 that he had taken Titus who was a Greek, with him, and Titus was not compelled by the elders to be circumcised, showing that the elders had accepted that Paul’s evangel and commission was different from theirs and that circumcision was not required by those Paul discipled.
Paul next writes, stating that those who were compelling them to be circumcised were false brethren sent in to spy on the freedom they were given in Christ. Pretty strong words, he further tells them not to put up with that teaching but to hold to what is true in Verses 4, 5.
Paul continues with telling them what was said at the meeting with the elders in Galatians 2:7-9 “the evangel of uncircumcision was given to Paul and the evangel of circumcision was to Peter.” Those of the nations are said to be uncircumcision but remember this does not just apply to Gentiles but also to the son of Israel in dispersion. Also we might digress a bit and remind ourselves….Peter was given his commission from Jesus and he and the 10 were told before He leaves them at Acts 1:8 “they were to herald their evangel in Judea, Samaria and as far as the limits of the earth.” The 12th apostle Matthias replacing Judas, was chosen after Jesus leaves them.
The expression to the limits of the earth or the entire earth has confused the situation, Bullinger’s notes point to this word being “ge” which is translated earth, ge is used of land distinct from water or a land with boundaries. So there instructions for that time period were the limits of the land of Israel. There is another word which would have been used if the meaning was for the world, Kosmos or cosmos if it meant they were to go into the entire world. It is obvious in the first century they only knew of the land they lived in and the surrounding nations on that continent or that which was easily traveled to by ship.
Also we see no effort was made by the 12 to go outside of their own land of Israel except to herald Jesus to the Samaritans because they were half Jewish and Samaria was inside the land given to Israel. So either they were disobeying Jesus or they understood something which the simple translation does not relate to us very well. Christendom has wrongly taught the Jewish church and the 12 apostles are for the Body of Christ which we know is not true and that the Body of Christ was to carry out the great commission spoken of by Jesus at Matthew 24:14
This also is not true and so once again we must rightly divide the commissions Jesus gave to those men he had chose for the bride church, some prophecies were for them in that day and some others were prophetic for their brethren in the last days and others for in the Kingdom.
We must closely examine each of those commissions to test what differs and learn to place them where they belong. Christendom has mistakenly placed them where they do not belong. Peter and the 11 were not and did not go out into all the nations and herald Jesus. Their commission was for their Jewish brethren and they stayed within the land of Israel, Judea and Samaria.
It had been settled by the Jerusalem elders in Acts 15 that a Gentile did not need to conform to Judaism, which circumcision was part of and yet we read of the Judaisers from Jerusalem going to Paul’s disciples in Corinth and Galatia and compelling them to accept the Mosaic Law with circumcision. So again to remind ourselves, Saul and Barnabas were Jews and called into the Body of Christ, we have a few incidents of Jewish leaders also accepting Paul’s evangel. But Paul did not disciple in the land of Israel.
We have come to see the term, going to the nations for the most part really could be said going to the sons of Israel who were living amongst the nations as they were the descendants of the 10 tribes which had left Judaism when Israel had her civil war 4 or 5 hundred years before Jesus was born. Also, Gentiles from those nations were being discipled by Paul but as said earlier we read of only a few being specifically mentioned….and we learned they did not receive John’s baptism.
Gentiles did not use circumcision and so those of Israelite heritage not practicing Judaism also would not have been using circumcision as they were not following the Law of Moses while living in dispersion. Thus it is logical that the Judaisers were anxious to bring those sons of Israel in dispersion and who were descendants of the 10 tribes, back into the fold, so to speak.
In fact there is a prophecy which shows that Judah will be instrumental in bringing home to the land of Israel the 10 tribes scattered in the world. Keep in mind that the Judaisers are still an element alive and well today amongst the sects of Israel. The 12 tribes will reunite, that will be accomplished during the times of restoration which are yet ahead for Israel. Jeremiah 50:4-6. Followed by a perpetual covenant with their God Jehovah.
Getting back to Paul, he also says in Galatians 2:15-17 “We, who by nature are Jews, and not sinners of the nations, having perceived that a man is not being justified by works of law, except alone through the faith of Christ Jesus, we also believe in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by the faith of Christ and not works of Law, seeing that by works of law shall no flesh at all be justified.”
Again we see Paul is addressing those of Israelite heritage and who only had been in the Law covenant. Also notice that Paul clearly states, it is through the faith of Christ Jesus that they are justified not by their own faith. To say those called into the Body of Christ had enough faith on their own in order to make the decision to believe God is to say we had done work worthy of salvation all on our own. Would that not mean we did not need Christ? Paul emphasizes, that no flesh is justified by works! Paul is telling the Galatians and all of us, who are called into the Body of Christ; our justification comes from the faith of Jesus Christ. How?
We are given the indwelling spirit of Christ, we are given His Faith as it was tested and true and we are given the anointing, sealing and thus justification. This is what it means to be in the Body of Christ, our sins are not just covered over but removed as though they had never occurred, because we are hidden in Him….because of His faithfulness and not of our own.
But, we must keep in mind that Paul was a Jew and he was teaching those of Israelite heritage, some from Judaism like himself and I believe many who were of Israelite heritage but living amongst the nations in idolatry…referred to as the dispersion. Yes we know there were Gentiles also discipled but how many actual cases did we read of…..few indeed. Today it seems the tables are turned as those of Israelite heritage are in the minority as Paul’s evangel is calling the majority from all nationalities in the world.
In Chapter 3 Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 27:26 at Verse 10. From Leviticus 18:5 in Verse 12 and he also quotes from Deuteronomy 21:23 in Verse 13. In Verse 16 a reference is made to Genesis 21:12.
Again we can see how Paul is talking to those of Israelite heritage and or Jews as we note his referencing the Law Covenant continues…of course applicable to Israelites only.
Paul tells them in Verses 23-28 “Now before the coming of faith we were garrisoned under law, being locked up together for the faith about to be revealed. So that the law has become our escort to Christ, that we may be justified by faith. Now at the coming of faith, we are no longer under an escort, 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 all are one in Christ Jesus. Now if you are Christ’s consequently you are of Abraham’s seed, enjoyers of the allotment according to the promise.”
Being the descendants of Abraham was a big thing for those of Israel and the Judaisers. Paul is telling them, they are still of Abraham’s seed and enjoyers of the allotment according to the promise. What was Paul saying, those in the Body of Christ would not be in the kingdom on this earth or be given the land allotment promised to each of the 12 tribes of Israel? Christ is the seed of Abrahams promise…those in Christ share that promise. Through Paul’s evangel, the kingdom of God under Christ has been expanded….past the earthly and into the heavenly spheres. This was new information for Israel.
Knoch gave a good explanation in the Concordant Commentary of Paul’s words concerning “the law being an escort to Christ.” He says, “It was the custom in well to do Roman families to have the boys escorted to and from school under the guardianship of a slave, or have them instructed at home by a learned Greek…tutor.”
“Those who believe are not under law. The grown sons would scorn the escort of their boyhood days. His presence would be an insult to their manhood. So those who know their maturity in Christ refuse the bondage of law as both unnecessary and humiliating. We are not children but sons. Law leads minors. Faith controls sons.”
In this passage we also should be able to see the clue concerning those baptized into Christ, put on Christ which is referencing the Body of Christ. How often were we told in Church that we were to imitate Jesus Christ? Is that even possible? Putting on Christ by being baptized into Christ seems to me that we are clothed with His righteousness and His faith…..which does not mean we can be little Christ’s, but that our failures are not imputed to us.
Paul also shows the equality of believers in God’s sight, when placed in this new administration, again stating there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free which is in relation to the equality of faith and justification given to each member. While…the Jewish believers receiving Johns baptism…were baptized for repentance of Israel’s national sin and followers of Jesus and were looking for His return to establish their kingdom. Being baptized in the name of Jesus, denoted acceptance of Him as being their messiah. This is why Paul says we in the Body of Christ are baptized into Christ….put on Christ…ours is a celestial destiny.
Those of Israelite heritage called into the Body of Christ are moved past the physical relationship that Israelites have with Jesus the man born into the nation of Israel and are instead placed in the spiritual realm with Christ as their head and they are His body, needing to understand what it meant to be baptized into Christ.
I think it is necessary to understand those of Israel were considered covenant people; even though the covenant had been broken by them and that they were lo ammi. As I said earlier, they are always His People even though out of favor and not in the covenant relationship. Remember that relationship was likened to a husband and wife. Jehovah is their God no matter what. Jehovah provided ahead of time for the failure of His chosen People.
He promised Abraham in the first covenant made with him or for him which was an unconditional covenant, as Abram slept through it and did not have to agree to anything. What was promised him through that covenant by Jehovah was that his descendants would possess the land that Jehovah had shown Abraham was to be his….and through him would come the seed.
Jehovah had also told him his descendants would be as the sand of the sea, innumerable and another times as the stars in the heavens, also innumerable. And that it would be that through his descendants, the seed would come, by which every family of the earth would be blessed. Jehovah has a really big promise to keep and He is able and willing to do so.
The very fact is that Paul also tells us that the nation was not thrust away….. forever, but will one day be brought back into that covenant relationship with Jehovah. The comparison of Abram and of faith…we can look to the first covenant Jehovah made with him, remember Abram slept through it, showing that only Jehovah was bound by it, all Abram did was believe what Jehovah told him and that was constituted as righteousness unto him. That first covenant was based on faith and it occurred before the second covenant of circumcision and was also when his name was changed to Abraham.
He obeyed Jehovah and was circumcised, he and his household. Later his descendants which came through the promised son Isaac and then by means of Isaac’s son, Jacob who fathered twelve sons and those 12 sons and their families and households moved into the land of Egypt. Living there for four hundred years during which they became slaves in Egypt. Jehovah delivers them through the leadership of Moses and they become the nation of Israel with 12 tribes.
They stood at Mount Sinai and agreed to the covenant relationship with Jehovah, promising to do all that He said. It is important to make note that, two covenants were made at Mt Sinai, the first one was far more benevolent, but within a few weeks it had been broken by the people who turned to idolatry. Jehovah was going to wipe them out but Moses begged for their lives and Jehovah made the second covenant with this People but added to the first which made it a hard taskmaster.
That covenant was recorded on stone tablets with its many added ordinances given for them to follow in obedience in order to receive blessings and protection. They were promised that disobedience would bring curses instead of blessings. Moses also gives the first prophecy of their future failure and for which they would receive the divorcement by Jehovah, also that prophecy gave the promise of restoration.
The contrast of the first covenant Jehovah made for Abram and the covenant Jehovah later made with Israel is of righteousness through faith versus righteousness through works.
As I said Paul quotes from the Old Testament many times…so here in this chapter are some more. Galatians 3:6 is quoted from Genesis 15:6. And in Verses 10-16 are found quotes from Deuteronomy 27:26, Habakkuk 2:4, Leviticus 18:5, and Deuteronomy 21:23.
In Chapter Four, Paul wants them to understand what they have received by being placed in the new administration, the Body of Christ which was not possible when under the law. When under the law they were minors or children. Christ took upon Himself the curse of the law, setting them free of it’s death dealing curse and making it possible to become a son, or joint heir of Christ’s allotment which is a heavenly allotment of glory.
Again Verse 9 shows he is speaking primarily to Jews…as he says…why would you turn back to infirm and poor elements for which you want to slave again? His reference to Days, months and seasons and years….again this counsel is Jewish in nature, having to do with their annual holy days all of which had to do with observing the rituals required for the forgiveness of sin, those were the poor elements of the Law.
Paul wants them to understand that God’s Son reclaimed them from the bondage of the law. But alas, as Paul also says, even those based in Jerusalem, professing to believe in Jesus as their messiah were holding onto slavery through the holding onto the Mosaic Law.
Galatians 4: 21-26 “Tell me, you who want to be under law, are you not hearing the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, one out of the maid and one out of the free woman. But the one, indeed, out of the maid is begotten according to flesh, yet the one out of the free woman through the promise: which is allegorizing, for these women are two covenants; one, indeed, from mount Sinai, generating into slavery, which is Hagar. Yet Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia; it is in line with the Jerusalem which now is, for she is in slavery with her children.. Yet the Jerusalem above is free, who is mother of us all.”
Isaac was born of the spirit and the promise, Ishmael born of the flesh and of unbelief…they illustrate the relationship of law and promise, the flesh and spirit. Paul telling us that those in Jerusalem compelling circumcision and observance of the Mosaic Law were still in slavery with her children….that was not how the church which is the bride were to live either.
The Concordant Commentary has this to say on this chapter. “It could hardly be that the Galatians are listening to any but so called believing Jews who were associated with the apostles and with James. They would not have listened to the persecutors of the ecclesia in Jerusalem. Tens of thousands of Jews believed but they all were zealous of the law. Acts 21:20.”
“This shows that those associated with the Pentecostal administration were virulently opposed to Paul and his doctrine of grace. When he was in Jerusalem they led the multitude against him and nearly killed him. These Jewish Christians were the most troublesome enemies of the ecclesias among the nations which had been founded by Paul.”
Chapter 5:1 “For freedom Christ frees us! Stand firm then, and be not again enthralled with the yoke of slavery.” These words sum up Paul’s arguments of Chapter 4.
In this letter Paul has elaborated on why the Mosaic Law was no longer operative…and how foolish they were to be led back into its bondage. Verses 2-4 “Lo! I, Paul, am saying to you that if you should be circumcising, Christ will benefit you nothing. Now I am attesting again to every man who is circumcising, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Exempted from Christ were you who are being justified in law.” By following the Judaisers they were thus falling out of the Grace which was so freely given to them by Christ. Galatians 5:5 “You fall out of grace.”
What Paul means is not that God takes grace away; they are still in it because it is freely given by God but by ignoring that Grace they are in, they take themselves out of the freedom it gives them and are placing themselves back into bondage….which held no value with God. Turning back to law is the same as denying Christ and accepting another master, living in Grace is the understanding of, which is our true master.
Verses 6-12 Paul again explains….they are in faith which is operating through love…God loves them and they should show love to one another. They are to ignore those who are misleading them….and he asks them, why is he being persecuted by these Judaisers, if he was heralding circumcision he would not have been! This statement by Paul sounds like perhaps some were telling them he supported what the Judaisers were teaching?
Paul next cautions them to not sin just because they are free in Verses 13, 16 and in Verse 14 He tells them that the whole law is summed up in one word, “You shall love your associate as yourself” quoted from Leviticus 19:18. Were these also not the very words of Jesus? Matthew 22:39,40 “the whole law and the prophets based on loving God and your associates.”
The works of the flesh were addressed by the Law Covenant…teaching that they were displeasing to God and His righteousness and were also a detriment to humanity. Just because the law was no longer able to condemn the saint, it was not a license to sin.
Paul tells them, Galatians 5:16-18 “Walk in spirit and you should under no circumstance be consummating the lust of the flesh. For the flesh is lusting against the spirit yet the spirit against the flesh. Now these are opposing one another, lest you should be doing whatever you may want. Now if you are led by spirit, you are not still under law.” The spirit placed within each chosen believer guides the conscience as to what is right and what is wrong.
If we are in doubt, Gods Word clearly outlines the conduct which is displeasing to God and a detriment to humanity whether a believer or not. There are consequences to sin for all. For the Body of Christ, Paul’s letters also clearly outlines…the ideal conduct for us in how to behave with our families, neighbors, and fellow believers as well as how to live in this world peaceably. Knoch explains the differences with being in Christ and being in the Lord…In Grace, we are under no condemnation…but to be pleasing in the Lord we would want our conduct to be pleasing…I have placed his article on this at the end of this study.
In Galatians 5:19-26 Paul gives the comparison of the works of the flesh which are enmity with the fruits of the spirit. Verse 21 is hard for many of us to understand this passage in contrast with Grace given to those in the Body of Christ. It has been used as a whipping post in the denominations. Knoch comments in his commentary on this verse are short and not much help. “In the kingdom of God there will be no one practicing such things.”
In the King James, Bullinger points out in his notes that the doing is the word, the practice of such things as these were things being practiced in the nations before learning they were contrary to Gods Law of righteousness. Perhaps, the practice of such things is a sign that one does not have the spirit of God?
Many questions arise on what Paul says here in view of the doctrine of Grace and justification and in Romans 8:1 Paul takes grace even further, “there is no condemnation for those in Christ” But Paul also makes it very plain…Grace is not a license to willfully continue to sin! Paul also balances that statement and makes it plain that we cannot out sin Gods grace at Romans 5:20.
So how do we harmonize all these seemingly conflicting statements? Perhaps as simply as first remembering they were operating still in the dispensation of Holy Spirit with the spiritual endowments. Next we might also view those words having to do with the fact that the lusts of the flesh will be no part of the allotment given the saints in the kingdom….whether in heaven or on the earth, because the saints in either realm will fully operate through the spirit of God which will fill each of the vivified saints.
Obviously in the kingdom of which the Body of Christ are called to, which is the heavenly realm, we will be in our new, vivified, celestial bodies and there will be no desire or temptation to sin as there will be no fighting a soulish nature. In the kingdom on this earth for which the nation of Israel is called to…we can read that it is said that the vivified saints will be living in Jerusalem as the holy city, they too will no longer have a soulish nature, but will finally be just like Jesus, without sin, in their terrestrial glory, immortal bodies.
While the unfaithful of Israel will be on the outside of that city with the unbelievers looking in, and still in mortal bodies, this is where the words of Jesus fit, the warning for the unfaithful, spoken of being darkness and the weeping and the gnashing of the teeth! They are weeping as they are missing out on the glories of the millennium reign of Jesus Christ. They will be ashamed as they are relegated to the realm of mortals and unbelievers.
Once we remove the heinous doctrine of Hellfire from our minds and rightly understand the words of Jesus concerning Gehenna and the weeping and gnashing of the teeth of those in the darkness outside the city this all makes sense and is perfectly clear. If the reader has not settled this issue in their minds, I suggest reading Bob Evely’s excellent book, “At the End of the Ages and The Abolition of Hell.” I have copies on hand and would be glad to send them out…email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
So just what was Paul meaning with those words in Galatians 5? Perhaps as to the ideal, because in Gods kingdom in heaven and or on earth those things will not be practiced by His saints and so perhaps he is reasoning with them, why would they as chosen saints want to participate in the works of the flesh then? In the context we might also go back to Verse 5 which says, “For we through the Spirit wait for the expectation of righteousness by faith.”
Right now in our soulish, fleshly bodies, we are declared righteous because of being in Christ and because of His righteousness and all that is His has been given to us in spirit. Literally none of us are righteous in our flesh, but as Paul just said, we are told that we have it now in spirit and in the future our expectation is that we shall have it literally!
Again we have to remember that he was speaking primarily to those of Israelite heritage and those who were familiar with the Mosaic Law Covenant. Any Gentiles reading this counsel would then be also learning Gods righteous law as it had been given to His chosen People, Israel. It was written in prophecy and for Israel and it was preached by Jesus, that those who practiced such things would not be ruling and reigning with Him in His millennial Kingdom.
I think Paul needed to remind those placed in the new administration founded upon the home law of Grace that God was a righteous God and His righteousness does not change just because He was then operating in Grace with them.
It would seem Paul needed to help them understand this, human nature can go to extremes and say well no condemnation, I can do whatever I please. Is not that the fear of the denominations when told of what Grace means for us and of the salvation of all? They are so afraid at hearing this everyone will run out and live it up in sin! I will say this, and that is it might be true for any attending church solely out of fear of hellfire and not because they are called by God, and so once learning there is no hell fire to fear and if without Gods spirit some may then follow the desires of the flesh.
Paul was actually accused of the encouraging of sin by teaching Grace and so His answer was that the Law was good in expressing what was right and wrong….and that it should be followed in the spirit of that knowledge but not in the spirit of fear and for the earning of ones own righteous standing with God.
With Paul’s evangel, God had given them a free gift, a righteous standing with Him because of Jesus Christ’s righteousness and faithfulness. The understanding of this gracious gift should generate love in the believer and a desire to live accordingly.
The Law Covenant instilled fear of failure and fear of punishment or loss…it did not generate love for God…instead it created a self righteous attitude and a lack of tolerance for others. Religion does that! Paul wanted them and us to understand that and to accept His Grace into our hearts and let it generate love for God and a love for doing what was right.
At the same time Paul said we cannot out sin Gods grace…but again that is not a license to sin willfully but to understand that our human failures will not take us out of His Grace and His Love! But we all know sin has consequences in this life, in our bodies and in our consciences.
The Law written on stone tablets was an outside source illuminating sin…..in Paul’s administration each of us has an inside source, the spirit of God. But I think it is evident if the fleshly desires become habits or practices what will happen, is what Paul warns against, the quenching of the spirit at 1 Thessalonians 5:19. It is that spirit with which our spirit fellowships….we need it we do not wish to become completely soulish.
It is interesting in the Key Word Concordance, this word quench is placed under extinguish and is used other places for putting out a fire. If the spirit is quenched or extinguished it would seem this would mean that the conscience becomes dulled, unable to respond to the spirit? So with this in mind, it may be that Paul was explaining if one practiced the works of the flesh which he listed them for us, those practices would quench the works of the spirit which Paul also lists and are far more desirable and beneficial in ones life.
Paul concludes this chapter with these words, “We may not become vainglorious, challenging one another, envying one another.” Remember where he also spoke of not judging another by our conscience, each one in the Body of Christ has been given the indwelling of Christ and thus living rightly or wrongly affects their own relationship with Him.
We must not force our conscience on another. But instead we need to learn to trust God in His work within each one of us…we are all individuals and God knows what we each need and are able or capable of and or not capable of. When Paul continues in the next chapter, he emphasizes how the saints should show love and encourage one another and this is the opposite of judging one another by means of a written standard.
In Chapter 6:1-5 Paul concludes this letter as he gives them counsel on not finding offense with one another but to focus on themselves and their own spiritual growth and to support each other in theirs, in order to fill up the Law of Christ….which what did we learn that was…? Love! We are not talking about the mushy feelings of love, we may not love another person, we may not even be able to like them, but we can show or demonstrate love…by being kind and not judgmental!
It seems to me that Paul was also telling these saints called into the new administration through his evangel of Grace and who were being persecuted and or misled by the Judaisers, that they were not to in turn judge them? Notice what he says in Verse 10.
Galatians 6:10 “Consequently, then, as we have occasion, we are working for the good of all, yet specially for the family of faith.”
n Verses 12-16 Paul again speaks of those “who were compelling them to circumcise in order to not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.” Paul says those who are circumcising are not maintaining the Law, but they want you to be circumcised that they should be boasting in that flesh of yours. Now may it not be mine to be boasting, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything, but a new creation. And whoever shall observe the elements by this rule, peace on them and mercy, also on the Israel of God.”
Paul again reaffirming, they are a new creation in which circumcision or uncircumcision means nothing, what they are to boast in is the cross of their Lord Jesus Christ. Observe the elements of this rule…the home law on which the new creation is founded. He then asks for peace and mercy on them and on the Israel of God.
Some teach the Body of Christ is the Israel of God but this is not what Paul is teaching at all. That doctrine came in through those in the third century who began to spiritualize the scriptures and taught Israel was cast off forever and applying all prophetic prophecy in a spiritual sense to the Body of Christ…teaching only the good who chose Christ would go to heaven while the rest of mankind would end up in hellfire to burn for all eternity.
Paul’s evangel was clouded over with the lies and myths he foretold would take the church he began into apostasy, but God always has a faithful remnant….His spirit has stirred the hearts of His chosen to search and uncover truth down to this very day.
The Israel of God are those whom God placed in the church begun by Jesus and which were added to through the ministry of the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus and who are called to be the bride of the lambkin for the kingdom on earth after Christ Jesus returns to Israel. He will then raise his church or bride from the dust of the ground as vivified saints they will be ruling the world from Jerusalem…..and whose work will then be evangelizing the world for Christ. God always sees to it that He has a faithful remnant.
Yes, the Second Coming or the Second Advent which is the return of Christ to Israel is not the end of the world as is commonly taught…..but the beginning of yet again another, new administration…headed up by Jesus Christ and His Millennial Kingdom ruling, with the goal of reconciling the entire inhabited earth.
In that Messianic Kingdom, for the very first time in the history of humanity, there will be a perfect righteous government ruling the earth….their God Jehovah will be on His throne in the person of Jesus Christ, One who can read all hearts and the One Who died for all will be operating the all with one sole intention and that is to bring all to Salvation on the earth and in the heavenly realm, Universal Reconciliation as Paul spoke of at Philippians 2:9-11.
Also at that time if we can imagine a world without Satan and his deceiving spirits, thus no false religion or political governments run by them. Criminals will be dealt with swiftly and in perfect justice as the vivified saints ruling with Christ will be in all the earth having His abilities to read hearts and thus able to judge correctly. If Isaiah’s prophecies of the lion and the lamb are literal animals, then we can surmise that the animal kingdom will also be at peace with each other and with man
Israel, the bride church will carry out their commission to evangelize on the earth and the Body of Christ will also be at work bringing the celestial realms into reconciliation with their Creator and we need not doubt the ultimate outcome, just as Paul our Apostle and Prophet said, Who can thwart His intention? Romans 9:19. His intention is the reconciliation of His entire creation do we believe our God…is God? If so then we have no doubts as to this being true and that is….the good news evangel.
And yet…despite all these blessings during those 1000 years once Satan is freed it appears there will be some who will follow him and try to overthrow Christ’s rule. This is the evidence needed to prove even under ideal circumstances the soulishness of humanity does not seek God without His spirit to aid them.
So following Satan’s final action…will be the Great White Throne in which the rest of the dead will be awaken, some to life and some to the second death. It is the view of the writer that the second death is not literal death…but a state of mortality as you and I have today…living in dying bodies amongst those who are immortal…that alone should encourage many to ask how do I attain immortality?
But for the incorrigible and the very wicked persons this may take time and so the next eon, the Day of God or of the New Heavens and Earth is perhaps the time period that Great White Throne continues to operates. I feel the second death likened to a lake of fire will be God as a consuming fire working out their salvation and reconciliation with and for them in perhaps a way slightly differently in how He did it for you and I in the new administration and a yet different way for the nation of Israel. The point being this is His program and He has used different modes to reveal Himself to His creation and diverse programs or administrations and dispensations for the sole purpose of reconciling His Universe.
Revelation 20 -21:1-4