From Brother Kopiyo Felix
, a reminder of the 3 dangers in Bible study that lead to bad doctrine:
Three categories of bad doctrines:
2.Bible plus tradition,
3.Scriptural but not Dispensational.
We will use this last point and revisit the topic of understanding the Lord's earthly ministry as distinct from the hope and blessings of this current age.
Iēsoûs Christós (as the Holy Spirit has preserved our Savior's name in Greek), in his earthly ministry came for Israel
. He forbade "the gospel of the Kingdom
" to be preached to anyone apart from Jews, in the land. And that gospel is not what we preach today.
These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
The Lord specifically stated that he was not sent to Gentiles in his earthly ministry. Is he a liar?
But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Paul verifies his earthly ministry in his Acts Age Romans epistle. The gospel was "to the Jew first" in the time of the gospels and Acts, and then to the Gentiles.
Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the [Jewish] fathers, 9 and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy
The Jews kept parts of the Law in the Acts age, but Gentiles (temporarily grafted in to the blessings of Israel for the sake of making Israel, still part of the plan, jealous) were limited to only four "necessary things
." Twice this is made clear [Acts 15, 21]. Gentiles are delineated as separate from the Jews in the Acts Age ("concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing..."
) and alone Gentiles are warned they could be "cut off
" FROM ISRAEL.
This distinction no longer exists in this current age
. Being "cut off
" was not "losing salvation," it was being cut off from the earthly blessings of Israel in the Kingdom (unless you believe you can lose your salvation by being haughty against Israel).
As for the whole of the Law, obviously they were no longer bringing sacrifices to the Temple. And after AD70, there was no more temple. Jews, in the Acts Age, kept parts of the law. There was rumor that Paul was teaching Jews to forsake Moses. It was not true. In the Acts Age reflected in the Acts Age epistles, Paul still taught parts of the Mosaic Law to Jewish believers (not for salvation, but for blessings and promises).
And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; 21 but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs... that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself [Paul, a Jew] also walk orderly and keep the law..."
As noted, Gentiles are then specifically separated from the Law. The separate groups in distinguished in the Acts Age. This clear, Biblical distinction is explained away by theologians (even many theologians who call themselves dispensationalists) as being "transitional truth." By doing so, they render the Acts Age meaningless. Are we to obey Acts 15 or not? How about Romans 11 or Romans 15? What do we do with the distinctions in the Galatians? Etc. And these are nothing compared to the problems presented by trying to cram the Body into the Lord's earthly ministry.
But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing
The Gospel of Matthew is Jewish in its scope. The "Gospel of the Kingdom
" has no cross, no death, no resurrection. It was the declaration of the promised Kingdom by the present King (if Israel would repent and accept). The Kingdom was "at hand.
" Prepare the way of the King. No thought of the cross in either John the Baptist's or the Lord's preaching of the Kingdom. This same message went out at Pentecost. As with Pentecost, this message was for Israel alone.
"Ye men of Israel... Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was [d]preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. 22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. 25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”
You cannot read Gentiles or some "Spiritual Israel" into this. Gentiles are specifically referred to as secondary and outside the covenant of Exodus. The covenant itself is restricted to Israel alone (and was not given until 2400 years after the foundation of the world [ages]).
And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel [not to all nations]: 4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” 7 So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him.
This was a covenant specifically for Israel alone
. She was to be a "kingdom of priests
." That begs the question: priests for whom?
The answer is, for the Gentile nations. This is the plan FOR THE EARTH in the coming KINGDOM IN ISRAEL. It is the plan FROM the foundation of the world.
God separated Israel for Himself for an earthly purpose. Adam knew nothing of this. Noah knew nothing of this. Abraham knew nothing of Sinai. We have to separate God's plans for the land and the earth from hi plans for heavenly places where the true tabernacle of God sits. We do not practice earthly ordinances for they are of the earth. They are shadows.
Zechariah teaches us that in a coming day Gentiles will grab the shirt of a Jew and ask to be taken to God. That is the NEW COVENANT, which is also for Israel alone (Jer 31, Heb 8) and yet future. Is the knowledge of God everywhere? Do we have no need to teach our neighbors? That's part of the New Covenant given only to the people who had the Old Covenant.
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them [Israel is the Bride], says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that **I will make with the house of Israe**l after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” -Jer 31
Here it is in the Book of Hebrews. Note is was not yet in place (future context). The Old Covenant was still slowly passing away.
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
When it comes in, and Israel takes her place as a Kingdom of Priests for the nations [Gentiles], Zechariah's prophecy will come to pass.
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
The current age was hidden from BEFORE the foundation of world [ages]. It is was from before the Law. It deals with heavenly places and not the things of the earth. In Matthew the Lord speaks of those who will "inherit the EARTH.
" In the coming Tribulation ("the time of JACOB's trouble
"), they will pray for God's will to be done ON EARTH, as it is in heaven.
In Matthew 8, the Gentile Centurion (not a law-keeper) is said to have greater FAITH than all in Israel. He is juxtaposed against the children of Israel who did not have his faith.
When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Who are these "sons of the Kingdom?
" Would we apply this today, in this age? No. Sons are "heirs." There will be some Jews who are cast out among the Gentile nations during the Millennial Age who will miss out on the blessings of Abraham and David in the Land (Matthew starts with the Lord's genealogy back to Abraham and David on Joseph's side).
How do we handle the "parables of the Kingdom" in Matthew 13? Or the parables of Matthew 24 and 25? We cannot understand these unless we understand the Lord's ministry in Matthew (and his earthly ministry in general). These all concern the Gospel of the Kingdom.
In the Tribulation, this Gospel will again be preached. The Lord is speaking to Israel alone in Matthew 4, Matthew 9, and Matthew 24. As we saw, he forbid his disciples to preach to anyone but to Jews. Note the context of the Tribulation in Matt 24.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations [Gentiles], and then the end will come. 15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand)...
The Lord here utilizes a quote from Daniel 12:11
. Daniel prophesied to Israel concerning the Tribulation.
Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days. -Daniel 10:14
Ironically, many in thinking they are honoring Israel's law, are stealing from Israel's promises and denying her rights. Even worse, some are ignoring the greater blessings "in heavenly places" and the "unsearchable riches in Christ
" which were "hidden in God
" before the Ages, Before the Law.
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship [dispensation] of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created [the] all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that NOW the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places...
was part of God's plan for Israel
for the Earth
. The current gospel concerns heavenly places and was hidden from BEFORE the foundation of the world and revealed to Paul alone.
In the Acts, Paul preached NOTHING that was not taught by Moses and the Prophets.
Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come— 23 that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”
But Paul received the truths hidden from Moses and the Prophets which were from BEFORE the foundation of the ages [before Moses and the Prophets].
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery..., 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.
We cannot go back to Matthew for gospel truths of this age. The Gospel of the Kingdom necessarily had no cross, no shed blood, no tomb, no resurrection. They didn't know he was to die until Matthew 16 (and even then, the disciples resisted the idea). So when John the Baptist, and the Lord, and the 12 go out and preach to Israel alone, they could not possibly teach what we teach in this age.
Is this the message we teach? Or would you accuse the Lord of being a liar?
Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” 17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
Salvation by the law and philanthropy? Of course not. As with all rewards and positions, they are earned (attained). Resurrection life is a free gift by grace
, position, order, crowns, blessings, rewards, are based on our service and obedience. BUT that obedience must be to our own calling, not to another's calling.
Paul prays for BELIEVERS that they might know and understand and walk in the current calling in Ephesians.
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus [Believers] and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling to which you were called
In this current calling of the current age (dispensation, economy, hope) , there is only one faith, one hope, one baptism (spirit). In the parallel book of Colossians, he warns these believers not to fall back into shadows of another calling and another hope.
Again, this is brief overview. But we must "rightly divide the Word of Truth.
Please search this site for greater details on the parables, the "heart of flesh" prophesied by Ezekiel or any of the other commonly taught passages supposedly applying to this hour. When read in context, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we see that these passages must refer to Israel and must refer to an earthly calling (not to a calling in the far above the heavens as we have in this current age).