Why Paul? Are Paul’s teachings any different from what the 12 Apostles taught? PART TWO

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PART TWO

(Q)  Why Paul? Are Paul’s teachings any different from what the 12 Apostles taught?

(A)  In part one of this series about Paul, we learned that Paul is our Apostle today, and what Paul writes in his epistles are the commandments of the Lord. Romans 11:13: 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office, and  I Corinthians 14:37-38: 37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

In part one, I left you with this scripture in II Corinthians 5:16 which say’s: 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Why is Paul telling us not to follow Christ after the flesh anymore? Why would Paul make such a bold statement? Is not all scripture given by divine inspiration through the Holy Spirit? Yes it is!!

Paul said in I Corinthians 14:37 which I quoted above; let him acknowledge that the things I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” So, it is really God Himself telling us not to follow Christ after the flesh anymore. Now the question is; why would God through Paul tell us not to follow Christ after the flesh? What all this about anyway? Let’s find out!

God is telling us through Paul that we need to be “rightly dividing” His Word of Truth, as it says in II Timothy 2:15: 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. How do we “rightly divide” the Word of Truth?

God through Paul, in II Corinthians 5:16, begins to bring Dispensational Truth to light. The word Dispensation means administration, stewardship or household law. God is the one to whom men are responsible in the discharge of their stewardship obligations. Faithfulness is required of those to whom a dispensational responsibility is committed, I Corinthians 4:2.  Dispensationalism views the world as a household run by God. In this household-world God is dispensing or administering its affairs according to His own will and in various stages of revelation in the process of time. These various stages mark off the distinguishably different economies in the outworking of His total purpose, and these economies are the dispensations. The understanding of God’s differing economies is essential to a proper interpretation of His revelation within those various economies.

The dispensations are God’s distinctive method of governing mankind or a group of men during a period of human history, marked by a crucial event, test, failure, and judgment. From the divine standpoint, it is an economy, or administration. From the human standpoint, it is a stewardship, a rule of life, or a responsibility for managing God’s affairs in His house. From the historical standpoint, it is a stage in the progress of revelation.

I hope the following will help you better understand what “Rightly Dividing,” and Dispensationalism are all about. It’s really very simple to understand, when you look at it from this point of view: Postal employees must be very careful to read the address on the envelopes they receive, to make sure the right people get the right envelopes. If the envelopes don’t get to the correct person that they were intended for, then there will be a problem. If someone opens an envelope address to a different person, not realizing it was intended for someone else, when he read it, he will be getting a message intended for that other person. The message in the envelope will not apply to this person, even if it is a true and accurate message. It would be a mistake to apply the message in that envelope to himself because it was addressed to a different person.

The books in the Bible are like the envelopes in our above story. The books in the Bible are addressed to a particular group of people. The whole Bible is about Jews and Gentiles. So when you read a book in the Bible, you need to find out who that book is addressed to. Is it for the Jews or is it for the Gentiles? If you’re a Gentile, and are reading a book address to the Jewish nation of Israel, you can learn something from that book, but you cannot apply the laws, rituals, ceremonies, baptisms, works, etc. as your own, because they belong to the Jewish nation of Israel.

If you are looking for things that that apply to you as a Gentile, then you need to read the books in the Bible that are addressed to you personally. The books addressed to the Gentiles today are: Romans through Philemon. These books are for our doctrine, and our obedience. All other books in the Bible are for our learning, because they are addressed to the Jewish nation of Israel, Romans 15:4: 4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

One very important book in the Bible is the book of ACTS. This book is different from the rest, because it is a Transitional book, or “the book between.” We call ACTS a transitional book because it starts with the prophetic program given to Israel under the law, and then takes us to the new mystery program of grace, given to Paul our Apostle for today.

The book of Acts, from beginning to end is the account of the fall of Israel. It explains, step by step, how and why the chosen people had to be set aside and salvation sent to the Gentiles apart from them; how and why the commission to the  twelve had to be suspended and another apostle, Paul, raised up to go to the Gentiles with “the gospel of the grace of God.” Hence Acts is a record of successive crises: Pentecost, the stoning of Stephen, the conversion of Paul, the council at Jerusalem etc. Peter dominates the scene in the first part of Acts; Paul in the latter portion. The transition from the prophetic program, in which salvation was to go to the Gentiles through Israel, to the new program, under which salvation was to go to the Gentiles apart from Israel, takes place entirely under Paul’s ministry and can be traced in the gathering force of the statements made to and by Paul in this connection at Jerusalem, Antioch, Corinth and Rome.  At Jerusalem the Lord said to him with respect to the Jews there: “They will not receive thy testimony concerning Me” Acts 22:18. At Antioch Paul said: “Lo, we turn to the Gentiles” Acts 13:46 at Corinth: “From henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles” Acts 18:6 and at Rome: “The Salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles” Acts 28:28.

Acts presents a clear line of teaching and explains why the fulfillment of prophecy was interrupted, some twenty centuries ago, to make way for “the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery.” Appropriately this book has been called “the book between.” As far as the structure of the Scriptures is concerned it fits perfectly between the four records of our Lord’s Earthly ministry and the epistles of Paul.

So God is now going to make a change through Paul, in the way He is dealing with mankind. God, through Paul, is simply telling us that we are not to follow any man after the flesh anymore. Then God say’s through Paul, even though we knew Christ after   the flesh (in the past), henceforth or from now on, we will not know (or follow) Him (Christ) after the flesh anymore. In other words, all the rituals, laws, baptism, even the means of salvation, were all going to be done away with, because Christ had now died, was buried, and resurrected back to Glory in Heaven. Christ was now going to make a change from “His Earthly ministry” to “His Heavenly ministry” through His newly appointed Apostle; Saul of tarsus who was later called Paul.

All the things Christ taught in the flesh were directed to the Jewish nation of Israel, not the Gentiles. Matthew 10:5-6: 5These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Again in Matthew 15:24 Christ told a Gentile Woman: 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

We see in the scriptures above, that Christ was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This was the ministry of Christ while He was on the earth; it was only to the Jewish nation of Israel. If a Gentile wanted to be saved during this time, they would need to become a Proselyte, which means they had to convert to Judaism.

In  II Corinthians 5:16, where we read “henceforth know we Him no more,indicates as I said above, a change is taking place. Something else that is changing here is that we are no longer to view men as Jews or Gentiles. Believers among these two are now one in Christ, all one body, and everyone members, one of another, Galatians 3:28; I Corinthians 12:13; Romans 12:5 and unbelievers have no part in the Body of Christ. Thus we are rather to view men as “complete in Christ,” or completely out of Christ, having no part whatsoever in the riches of His grace. All, whether Jews or Gentiles, are either members of the “One Body” or they will have no part in it.  What a vast difference there is between our Lord, as He walked this earth “in the flesh,” and after His ascension back to glory in heaven.

To be continued in PART THREE.

Have a good day!

Maranatha (Lord Come)

John

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