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Answers to Bible Questions
Scriptures are from the KJV of the Bible
(Q) The Bible says the “Dispensation of the Grace of God” was given to the Apostle Paul in his epistles; (Romans through Philemon) and no one else. But some teach that it can be found in the Old Testament scriptures. Is that true?
(A) In Ephesians 3:8-9 we read the following verses: (Paul talking) 8Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
There are some who are using the “Grace message” given (only) to Paul, saying it can be found all over the Bible, even in the Old Testament scriptures. This however is a very clever device used by Satan the devil to deceive people into believing a “false Gospel.” None of Paul’s “Gospel of Grace” can be found anywhere else in the Bible, but in Paul’s writings alone, (Romans through Philemon).
When we see the word “Grace” anywhere in the Bible just remember it is the same Grace, because it all comes from God, but it is “administered” differently in the Old Testament than it is in the New Testament. This is why some believe they can find Paul’s Grace message in the Old Testament. NOT TRUE!
Let’s take a look at the word “Grace” and see what it means in the Greek. (Taken from Strong’s complete Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries)
Grace is used in the Old Testament (41 times) in the KJV of the Bible
Grace is used in the New Testament (122 times) in the KJV of the Bible
Following is the meaning of the word Grace in the Old Testament, and the New Testament:
Grace in the OT is #2580 in Strong’s
#2580. chen, khane, from 2603; gracious-
ness, i.e. subj.kindness, favor) or obj.
(beauty):- favour, grace (-ious), pleasant,
precious, well – favoured.
Grace in the NT is #5485 in Strong’s
#5485. xapls charis,khar’-ece; , from 5463; gra-
ciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act
(abstr. or concr.; lit., fig., or spiritual; espec.
the divine influence upon the heart, and its
reflection in the life; incl. gratitude.- ac-
ceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (-ious),
joy, liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, worthy)
The primary definition of the word in the Old Testament is “well-favored” while the primary definition of the word in the New Testament is “acceptable or worthy.”
People in the Old Testament were well-favored by God’s grace, but until they did what God required them to do ( a Work ) they could not be saved by that grace. However, people today under the “Dispensation of Grace” given “only to Paul are immediately saved by God’s Grace when they just BELIEVE in Christ and what He accomplished at Calvary on their behalf. Today there are no works required for salvation, only “belief.” This is why the word “Grace” in the New Testament given “only” to Paul means we are immediately “acceptable or worthy” of salvation when we first believed the Gospel of our salvation, because it is based 100% on what “Christ did for us” to make us “acceptable or worthy.” Of and by ourselves, we could never do any works that would make us acceptable or worthy. It’s all what Christ did and nothing we did, or ever could do.
Below, Fred Bachand, a Grace minister, teacher, and author will give us more insight on this subject.
The following is taken from a book written by Fred Bachand who is now deceased. Many have written on Dispensationalism, but none have presented a study on the “Dispensation of the Grace of God” with depth and clarity as Fred Bachand has done here. Because of Fred’s unique way of tying Scripture with Scripture, which is edifying to the Body of Christ, the reader senses a richness of vitality in each of the chapters written below. Fred wrote so that the truth would be revealed no matter what the cost.
The Dispensation of The Grace of God
UNKNOWN UNTIL REVEALED
Inasmuch as Paul’s gospel was a mystery, hid in God before its publication, it should be evident that Paul knew nothing of the Dispensation of the Grace of God among the Gentiles, the Mystery, until it was revealed to him by the Lord. And in turn, Peter, James and John, and all the rest at Jerusalem, knew nothing of the Dispensation of the Grace of God which was committed to the apostle Paul for the Gentiles until it was revealed to them by Paul. Now since this was not done until the time of the events recorded in Acts 18:22, this means that when Paul was in Jerusalem before, in Acts 15, he had to keep his mouth shut (as did Barnabas also) concerning this mystery which he had already begun to preach among the Gentiles in Galatia; who likewise could have known nothing of the Dispensation of the Grace of God which was given to Paul for the Gentiles until it was revealed to them by Paul. Therefore, even we can know nothing today of the Dispensation of the Grace of God among the Gentiles; we can know nothing of the revelation of the mystery which was made known to Paul concerning the Gentiles and the Church which is Christ’s Body; this glorious truth will remain unknown by us until it is revealed to us: as we go to that portion, the only portion of God’s Word which deals with this doctrine; the epistles of Paul to the Church of this Dispensation of the Grace of God which was given to him for the Gentiles.
“POWER TO STABLISH YOU”
In Rom. 16:25,26, Paul wrote; “Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and [or better – even] the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by [or with addition of] the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.” Let us notice two things here. First, Paul’s gospel is described by him here as “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest.” This corresponds to Eph. 3:2-5, where he speaks of “the dispensation of the grace of God, the one having been given to me for you,” the one which “according to revelation He made known unto me.” It is “the mystery, which was not made known to the sons of ‘men in other generations,” but “now it has been revealed.” Second, notice that the “power to stablish you,” Gentiles in Christ in this Dispensation of the Grace of God, is according to Paul’s gospel.
We cannot be established in the faith today by the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the “Four Gospels;” Matthew, Mark, Luke and John: even though these along with all “the scriptures of the prophets,” the older revelations, were, in addition to the new revelation of the mystery, given to all the nations for obedience of faith. We can be established in the faith today only according to Paul’s gospel, even the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, which was given to Paul for the Gentiles – not according to the prophets of Israel. We can be established in the faith today only as we seek to know Christ as He is presented to us in Paul’s gospel; as the Son of God according to the Spirit – not as He is presented to Israel in the “Four Gospels;” as the Son of David, according to the Flesh.
The Publication of the Dispensation of the Grace of God was “by revelation of Jesus Christ” to Paul, who, as the apostle of the Gentiles, published it among the Gentiles; calling out from among them the Church which is Christ’s Body; “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Col. 1:27-28
On account of this I Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you the Gentiles since ye have heard the dispensation of the grace of God, the one having been given to me for you, that according to revelation He made known to me the mystery – as I wrote before in brief; on account of recognizing this you are able to observe my discernment in the mystery of the Christ – which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as now it has been revealed to the holy apostles of Him even prophets in spirit. Ephesians 3:1-5
The Preacher of the Dispensation of the Grace of God is the apostle Paul. This we have seen from verses 1 and 2. The Peoples of the Dispensation of the Grace of God are Gentiles. This also we have seen from verses 1 and 2. In verses 3 and 4, we found that the Publication of the Dispensation of the Grace of God was by Revelation to Paul, who, in the proper time, revealed it to the Gentiles, and finally to the Jews at Jerusalem. At this time we shall look again at verses 3 and 4, along with verse 5, to see something of the Peculiarity of the Dispensation of the Grace of God which was given to Paul for the Gentiles.
In Eph. 3:3, we read; “How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery.” (A. V.). The word here translated “mystery” is the Greek word musterion, which means, primarily, knowledge which is obtainable only through initiation. It does not refer to intuitive knowledge, nor to knowledge which may be gained by effort, but to secret knowledge which is disclosed or revealed to one who is initiated. It is from a root word, muo, which means to shut the mouth; hence, to keep a secret. The devotees to the Greek mysteries (as well as the Roman mysteries, the Egyptian mysteries, etc.), having obtained secret knowledge by initiation into a particular “mystery,” commonly called a “heathen religion,” were sworn to secrecy concerning that knowledge. This is still the practice today among various religious groups, clubs and secret societies.
The Greek word musterion occurs twenty seven times in the common Greek text (Stephens 1550) and is always translated “mystery” (in the A.V.). It first occurs in Matt. 13:11, where, in answer to the question of the disciples, in verse 10, “Why speakest Thou unto them in parables?” the Lord said, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given” (v. 11). In this first occurrence it can be seen that this secret knowledge, in this case the “mysteries” concerning the kingdom of heaven, was not to be made known to the masses, but only to the disciples, those who were initiated into that kingdom, or, to the ones to whom the Lord refers in verse 9, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” But concerning the multitudes, the Lord said; “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand” (v. 13). And yet we are told by many today that the Lord used parables in His teaching as an aid to understanding. Maybe those who say such things are among them that do not have “ears to hear.”
So then, the Dispensation of the Grace of God which was given to Paul for the Gentiles Eph. 3:2 is said by him to be associated with a “mystery,” or a secret, the knowledge of which he received “by revelation,” through initiation. Therefore it should be evident that if the knowledge of this dispensation still retains its character as a “mystery,” and the scriptural evidence indicates that it does, then it must of necessity remain a secret from them that are uninitiated, and an enigma to those who have been initiated improperly.
Looking back now at Eph. 3:3-5, let us notice three things which stand out concerning the Dispensation of the Grace of God which was given to Paul for the Gentiles. First, we find in verse 3 that it was a “mystery,” or a secret. In verse 4, Paul relates it to “the mystery of the Christ.” Now Christ Himself, as Israel’s Messiah, God’s Anointed One, was not a mystery as such. He was prophesied from ancient times. Even as far back as Gen. 3:15, He was prophesied and looked for as the Seed of the Woman, the One Who should come someday to bruise the head of “the old Serpent.” Paul refers, therefore, to that secret knowledge concerning Christ and “the church which is His body” Eph. 1:22,23, concerning which Paul writes, in Col. 1:24-26; “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body’s sake, which is the church: whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints.” Second, we find in Eph. 3:5, that this secret” was not made known to the sons of men in other generations.” The Authorized Version has “other ages” here, but the Greek word is geneais (which means generations). Third, verse 5 goes on to say that this “mystery” is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets. (A. V.)
Hidden From Ages And Generations
In Eph. 3:8,9, we read; “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God.” The expression, “from the beginning of the world,” is apoton aionon in the Greek, which is simply “from the ages.” So we may translate this part of verse 9; “the dispensation of the mystery, which from the ages hath been hid in God.”
When we compare verse 9 with verse 5, we see that the Dispensation of the Grace of God which was given to Paul for the Gentiles was indeed a secret: “not made known in other generations” (verse 5), but hid, or concealed for the purpose of retaining its secrecy, “from the ages” (verse 9). And so, in Col.1:26, Paul brings both of these facts together when he speaks of the “mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations.”
Now the Peculiarity of this dispensation is not simply that it was a mystery, or a secret, because the Dispensation of the Kingdom of Heaven contained also many “things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 13:35). It is the manner in which this dispensation was kept secret, or hidden, that distinguishes it so peculiarly. We read in Luke 10:24, where the Lord said to His disciples, “that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” The fact that these prophets and kings had a desire to see and hear, or to understand those things of which the Lord spoke indicates that they were aware of their existence through some comprehensible means. In I Pet. 1:9-12, Peter wrote concerning one aspect of those things which the Lord revealed to His disciples; “the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you.” And in Luke 18:31-33, we read that the Lord Jesus “took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death: and the third day He shall rise again.” Now concerning the things the Lord told His twelve apostles, He said, “All things– are written by the prophets” (verse 31). Yet, we read in verse 34: “And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”
It would appear, then, that the secret character of the Dispensation of the Kingdom,”the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow,” and “those things” relating to that which was “written by the prophets,” lies in the manner in which they were “hid from them.” The prophets were inspired to write those things in what may be called “dark sayings,” or “mysterious utterances,” which required fulfillment or personal enlightenment to be understood. And so we have the many parables of the kingdom spoken by the Lord Jesus to the multitudes; which pictured the facts in figures, thereby hiding them from all except those to whom He spoke plainly; His disciples.
Now while the Dispensation of the Grace of God which was given to Paul for the Gentiles, or the Dispensation of the Mystery, has a secret character like the Dispensation of the Kingdom, it is peculiar because of the manner in which it was hidden. The mysteries of the kingdom were hidden in mysterious prophetic utterances and parables. The Dispensation of the Mystery was “hid in God” (Eph, 3:9). As for the Lord Jesus Christ, in contrast with “all things that are written by the prophets” concerning Him, the Dispensation of the Mystery has the peculiar character of being “unsearchable” (Eph. 3:8). All that which the Lord proclaimed while He was on the earth in the flesh concerning Israel, the Gentiles, and the kingdom; all that which happened by Him and to Him, ministry, His death, His resurrection; all that which was recorded in the book of Acts, the out- pouring of the spirit on the day of Pentecost, the sending of the Salvation of God to the Gentiles; all this, can be searched out and found in the writings of the prophets. But that which the apostle Paul wrote and proclaimed concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and His relationship to the Church which is His Body; that which Paul wrote concerning the salvation of the Gentiles under the Dispensation of the Grace of God which was given to him for the Gentiles; that which was written and proclaimed by Paul among the Gentiles, all the things pertaining to the dispensation of the Mystery; not any of these can be searched out – they cannot be found – neither in the writings of the prophets, nor in any subsequent writings of the “New Testament” other than those of the apostle Paul.
Therefore, the apostle Paul said, in Eph. 3:8,9; “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery, which from the ages hath been hid in God.”
THE MYSTERY, THE HIDDEN AWAY ONE
In Rom. 16:25, Paul speaks of his gospel; which he says is “ the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, the one having been kept silenced during the times of the ages” (our translation). Here we have the mystery, Paul’s gospel, distinguished from the mysteries of the kingdom. They were hidden, or veiled, in dark sayings and mysterious utterances, but the mystery which was revealed to Paul concerning Christ and the Church of this dispensation was not spoken nor written before. It was “kept silenced.” “But now is made manifest” (verse 26). So in this scripture we have a reference to the Peculiarity of this mystery, the dispensation of which was committed to Paul for the Gentiles, and the emphasis is on the revelation of it.
In I Cor. 2:7, Paul speaks of “ the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world [before the ages] unto our glory.” Here the emphasis is upon the Divine wisdom contained in this mystery. This Divine wisdom is that which, though hidden with the mystery during the ages, was nevertheless ordained, or determined before, even before the ages, “unto our glory.” In speaking of “our glory” here, Paul identifies this Divine wisdom as that concerning the Church of the mystery, which is to be distinguished from that concerning the glory of God’s peoples of prophecy.
In Eph. 3:9, Paul speaks of “the dispensation of the mystery, the one having been hidden away from the ages in God.” The mystery itself is identified here as the hidden a way one. It is said to have been “hidden away from the ages in God,” not hidden in the “scriptures of the prophets.” Here the emphasis is upon the dispensation of it. So again we have a reference to the Peculiarity of the Dispensation of the Mystery, which was given to Paul to manifest or bring to light among the Gentiles.
In Col. 1:26, Paul speaks of “ the mystery, the one having been hidden a way from the ages and from the generations,” (our translation), or hidden a way from all times and from all peoples. Again Paul identifies this mystery as the hidden away one. He says that it is that mystery which concerns Christ’s Body, “the church: whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, (verses 24 and 25). So once again we see the Peculiarity of Paul’s dispensation, the dispensation of the mystery, the hidden away one, “from the ages and from the generations, but now it was manifested to His saints: to whom God desired to make known what is the richness of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ among you, the hope of the glory” (verses 26 and 27 – our translation). Now the emphasis here is upon the richness of the glory of the mystery; which we shall examine briefly.
“THE RICHNESS OF THIS MYSTERY
We have translated the Greek word ploutos here, in Col. 1: 2 7, “richness” (the A. V. has “riches”). The word means riches or wealth. It is used here to express quality, as is typical of Paul’s usage of this word. So Paul speaks here of “the richness of the glory of this mystery. ” Now “Christ in you,” as the Authorized Version has it, is not the “richness of the glory of this mystery.” The construction of this passage, both grammatically and structurally, shows that the expression “Christ in you” should be”Christ among you,” and that it corresponds with “this mystery among the Gentiles.”
Christ among the Gentiles is the substance of the mystery. This is in contrast with Christ among the people of Israel, according to prophecy. The richness of the glory of this mystery is indeed Christ, but it is much more than the fact that Christ is now among the Gentiles. It is Christ – “Whom we preach,” Paul says, “warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect [or mature] in Christ Jesus” (verse 28). This is nothing less than “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the Mystery, not as He is proclaimed in the “Four Gospels” – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is this richness, concerning the hope, the conduct, the glory of Christ and the Church which is His Body, which God “would make known” to the saints of the mystery, even to us, for our perfection, or maturity in Christ. “Whereunto I also labour,” Paul says, “striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily” (Col. 1:29).
The Peculiarity, therefore, of this Dispensation of the Grace of God is that it was a MYSTERY – hid in God – not made known in other ages; by any means, to anyone, at any time. But now it has been revealed and manifested among all nations through the apostle Paul, by his faithful administration of the stewardship of the mystery which was committed to him for the Gentiles. The writings of Paul concerning the mystery as well as the writings of the prophets concerning the kingdom – the entire revelation of God to men through His Word has been published among all the nations “for the obedience of faith” (Rom. 16:26).
The Untraceable Richness Of Christ
The apostle Paul said that this same “Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel” (II Tim. 2:8). Paul’s gospel we found to be “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25). Now, since the richness of Christ which Paul proclaimed through his gospel was “kept secret,” it cannot be traced out in the “Old Testament,” neither can it be traced out in any of the “New Testament” writings other than those written by him. So the untraceable richness of Christ, proclaimed by Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, must not be confused with the traceable richness of Christ, which was proclaimed by Peter, and the other apostles of the circumcision. Indeed we must observe the distinctions.
In Acts 2:30, we found that Peter preached Jesus Christ “according to the Flesh.” But in II Cor. 5:16, Paul said that we are to know Christ according to the flesh “no more.” In Acts 2, Peter preached the traceable richness of Christ as having to do with this present, physical creation; even with regard to the resurrection. But in II Cor. 5:17, Paul said, concerning the untraceable richness of Christ, that there is a new creation: “ old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” The main distinction, of course, between the traceable and the untraceable richness of Christ is the peoples with whom each is concerned. The traceable richness of Christ concerns, and was proclaimed primarily to, the people of Israel. But it also concerns the peoples of the nations, regarding this physical creation on the earth. The “untraceable richness of Christ” concerns, and was proclaimed to, “the Gentiles;” as a new people, a new humanity, “a new creation;” spiritual, and heavenly.
Therefore, Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, writes to the Gentiles who are a people of a new creation in Christ, in Eph. 1:17-23; “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him That filleth all in all.” The richness (it should be) of the glory of Christ’s inheritance in (or among) the saints, which Paul speaks of here, is further expounded by him in Eph. 3:6-8 (our translation); that “The Gentiles are to be joint-heirs and members in a joint-body and joint-partakers of the proclamation in Christ Jesus through the gospel of which I became a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God, that having been given to me according to the active energy of His power; this grace having been given to me, the least of all saints, to preach the gospel, the untraceable richness of Christ, to the Gentiles.”
Inasmuch as the revelation of the mystery given to Paul is untraceable, it cannot be tracked out in the prophetic writings of the “Old Testament” scriptures.
May God grant all that read this article, “understanding” to see and know that God Himself does not want anyone to adulterate the “Grace message” given to the Apostle Paul (ONLY)!
In closing I want you to see what Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:11-16: 11According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. 12And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 13Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Notice what Paul said in the last part of verse 16: “for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him ( Christ ) to life everlasting. This is saying that the “Gospel of Grace” given ( only ) to Paul is the one and only way to salvation for all people living today. Remember, Christ gave this message to Paul, to give to us. This is serious stuff! Your eternal destiny depends on the Grace message given to Paul by Christ! Think about it.
May God be your strength and sure hope.
Maranatha (Lord come)