Part 29: God Almighty — The I Am

“AND WHEN ABRAM WAS NINETY YEARS OLD AND NINE, THE LORD APPEARED TO ABRAM, AND SAID UNTO HIM, I AM THE ALMIGHTY GOD, WALK BEFORE ME, AND BE THOU PERFECT.” GENESIS 17:1.

WHEN GOD APPEARED TO MOSES, GOD SAID TO MOSES: “AND I APPEARED UNTO ABRAHAM, UNTO ISAAC, AND UNTO JACOB, BY THE NAME OF GOD ALMIGHTY, BUT BY MY NAME JEHOVAH WAS I NOT KNOWN TO THEM.” EXODUS 6:3.

“AND GOD SAID UNTO MOSES, I AM THAT I AM: AND HE SAID, THUS SHALT THOU SAY UNTO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, I AM HATH SENT ME UNTO YOU:” EXODUS 3:14.

More than 400 years after God appeared to Abraham as “God Almighty,” He appeared to Moses as “JEHOVAH, the I AM.”

Now note the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in Revelation 1:8: “I am Alpha and Omega the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

Note again the words of Christ in John 8:24 and 8:58 and 59:

“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins; for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.” “Jesus saith unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”

Most interesting and significant. statements. They should be studied with John 10:30 to 33. In those verses we learn that the Jews sought to kill Jesus, because He said, “I and Father are one.”

Jesus Christ, the Man, was accused of making Himself God. He called Himself, the I AM. He said, “if ye believe not that I AM, ye shall die in your sins.” Then how are we to be saved from our sins? “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9.

Note also I John 5:5—“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Note again the consequences and penalty of denying the Deity of Jesus Christ.

“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because be believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” I John 5:10 to 12.

There have been many arguments “pro” and “con” as to whether the Jehovah of the Old Testament was the Christ of the Four Gospels. We are sure that Christ was God manifest in the flesh. John 1:14, John 14:9 and John 20:28.

THE DEITY OF CHRIST

“IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD, AND THE WORD WAS WITH GOD, AND THE WORD WAS GOD.” “HE WAS IN THE WORLD, AND THE WORLD WAS MADE BY HIM, AND THE WORLD KNEW HIM NOT.” John 1:1— John 1:10 and John 1:14.

“But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom.” Hebrews 1:8.

“And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and My God.” John 20:28.

“In Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him, and for Him; And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” Colossians 1:14 to 17.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” Philippians 2:5 and 6. “And now, O Father, glorify thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” John 17:5 and 14:9.

“Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” I Corinthians 2:8.

Speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ John wrote, “that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us!” I John 1:2.

Then again in I John 5:20, “We know that the Son of God is come. This is the true God and eternal life.”

JESUS CHRIST – THE I AM

I AM the Bread of Life. John 6:35.

I AM the Light of the World. John 8:12.

I AM the Messiah. John 4:26.

I AM the Door. John 10:9.

I AM the Good Shepherd. John 10:14.

I AM the True Vine. John 15:1.

I AM the Resurrection. John 11:25.

I AM the Way. John 14:6.

I AM the Truth. John 14:6.

I AM the Life. John 14:6.

“Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I AM, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things.” John 8:28.

“ I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I AM, ye shall die in your sins.” John 8:24.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the “I AM” more than twenty times in the Gospel of John.

Thus we see that the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ was God before He became flesh. He was in the form of God and in the bosom of the Father. John 1:18. We also see that the Bible clearly teaches that faith in the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ is essential for salvation.

Note Christ’s own words in John 5:22 and 23: “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him.”

Again John 6:47: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.”

Again Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The one and only way to God, salvation, heaven and eternal life, is Jesus Christ. “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot; Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” I Peter 1:18 to 20.

“And without shedding of blood is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22.

“To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:6 and 7.

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13.

“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” II John 9.

The Lord Jesus Christ is “the Second Man from heaven”; “the Lord of Glory” and “the Prince of Life.” I Corinthians 15:47— I Corinthians 2:7 and 8 and Acts 3:15.

GOD AND CHRIST IN SALVATION

“And all things are of God, Who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” II Corinthians 5:18 to 20.

“For, God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but hath everlasting life.” God gave His Son. God spared not His own Son, but offered Him up for us all. John 3:15—Romans 8:32.

“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17.

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” I Timothy 1:15.

“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus: Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” I Timothy 2:4 to 6.

“But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Hebrews 2:9.

“`For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” I Peter 3:18.

Why should any person be ignorant of God’s way to God’s heaven? It is clearly, simply, and dogmatically stated in God’s Book. “Ye which were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13.

THE RESURRECTED CHRIST AND SALVATION

“Wherefore He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25.

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” Hebrews 10:12.

“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Hebrews 9:12.

“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.” Acts 2:23 and 24.

“And when they had fulfilled all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree, and laid Him in a sepulchre. But God raised Him from the dead.” Acts 13:29 and 30.

“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.” Ephesians 1:19 to 23.

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1 to 3.

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” I John 2:1.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12:1 to 3.

The same wonderful, supernatural story is woven into every part of the Divine message, from Matthew to Revelation:

1. The incarnation of God in Christ for the specific purpose of dying for sinners.

2. The sinless perfect life of the God-man, Christ.

3. His supernatural miracles to prove His eternal Deity, His unity, and equality with God the Father.

4. His once-for-all sacrifice in fulfillment of prophecy and God’s foreordained redemption for sinners.

5. His triumphant bodily resurrection and ascension into the highest heavens.

6. His work of intercession, forgiveness, keeping, cleansing, for saints as He appears in heaven itself, in the presence of God, as the believer’s Advocate. Hebrews 9:24.

7. The promise that He will come for His redeemed ones and take them in glorified bodies to see and share His glory.

God was with Christ on earth. Acts 10:38. God was in Christ. II Corinthians 5:19. Christ was with God before He became a man. John 1:1 to 3. Christ was in the form of God. Philippians 2:6. Christ was God.

The Holy Spirit caused Isaiah to write concerning the Virgin’s Son. Emmanuel, meaning God with us. Isaiah 7:14. Christ was Emmanuel. Matthew 1:23. Mary, the Virgin was a Jew. So Emmanuel was Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew. He worshipped as a Jew. Luke 4:16. He said, “We know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22.Do not forget those solemn words of the Lord Jesus, “if ye believe not that I AM, ye shall die in your sins.” John 8:24.

Part 28: Who Are the Other Sheep?

Note the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in the tenth chapter of John

“I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD: THE GOOD SHEPHERD GIVETH HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP.” “MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, AND I KNOW THEM, AND THEY FOLLOW ME.” “AND OTHER SHEEP I HAVE, WHICH ARE NOT OF THIS FOLD: THEM ALSO I MUST BRING, AND THEY SHALL HEAR MY VOICE; AND THERE SHALL BE ONE FOLD, AND ONE SHEPHERD.” John 10:11, 27 and 16.

In John 10:14, Christ again calls Himself “the Good Shepherd”. In Hebrews 13:20 and 21, Christ is called “the Great Shepherd” of the sheep.

In I Peter 2:25, Christ is called “the Shepherd of your souls”. In I Peter 5:4, Christ is called “the Chief Shepherd”.

We know that while Christ was on earth He was talking to Israel. We know that Hebrews was written to Israel. We know that I Peter was addressed to the dispersed twelve tribes of Israel. I Peter 1:2.

But now this question: “to whom did Christ refer as “the other sheep?” Read carefully the conversation between Christ and the Gentile woman, recorded in Matthew 15:24 and 26: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs.” “Sheep” and “dogs.” Who were the sheep? Israel. Who were the dogs? Gentiles. Did some of these Gentile dogs later on become sheep?,

PETER’S VISION

One of the most interesting studies in the Bible is Peter’s housetop vision, at the time the Lord sent him to preach to .the household of Cornelius. Cornelius worshipped Israel’s God and prayed to Israel’s God. Cornelius was a devout upright man and loved Israel. Acts 10:2 and 22.

But note Peter’s vision. He saw a sheet let down from heaven. “And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things; and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord: for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” Acts 10:11 to 14.

Note what was in that sheet. Then note what followed. “When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” Acts 11:18.

Those fourfooted animals and wild beasts were all unclean, according to Israel’s law, and symbolized Gentiles who were unclean in God’s sight. Gentiles were aliens from Israel, alienated from the life of God, no people and a foolish nation. Ephesians 2:11 and 12— Ephesians 4:18 and Romans 10:19. Even the respectable, religious, God-fearing, Jew-loving Cornelius was represented by an unclean fourfooted beast. There were no sheep in that sheet, not even one. A sheep was clean to Israel. Unclean animals typified the Gentiles. God called the Gentiles, “dogs.”

So we see that dogs and unclean beasts spoke of Gentiles. Israelites were sheep. The gods which the Gentiles worshipped were images made like to corruptible man, and to birds and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Romans 1:23.

Note God’s statement concerning Israel at the time that people left Egypt. “But made His own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.” Psalms 78:52.

Note also Psalms 79:13 and Psalms 95:7. “So we Thy people and sheep of Thy pasture will give Thee thanks for ever; we will shew forth Thy praise to all generations.” “For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and he sheep of His hand. Today if ye will hear His voice.”

God has much to say about His sheep in, Israel’s Scriptures. “Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away; first the king of Assyria hath devoured Him; and last this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.” Jeremiah 50:17.

“My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains; they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.” Jeremiah 50:6.

“Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God.” “He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:9 and 11. “I the Lord have spoken it. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land; and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.” “And they were scattered, because there was no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill; yea, My flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.”

The sheep are going back to the land of Israel. Note carefully Ezekiel 37:24, 25 and 26.

“And David My servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever; and My servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.”

Now note Hebrews 13:20 and 21. “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.”

ISRAEL NEAR AND FAR OFF

The sheep of Israel are divided, in Daniel 9:7, into the two classes, “all Israel, near” and “far off.”

On the day of Pentecost Peter said, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Acts 2:39. This message concerned “all the house of Israel”. Acts 2:36.

Peter later wrote to the twelve tribes dispersed. I Peter 1:1. Note John 7:34 and 35: “Ye shall seek Me, and shall not find Me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come. Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will He go, that we shall not find Him? will He go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?”

Note James 1:1—“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. “

James and Peter went to Israel. Galatians 2:9. The Lord Jesus said to Peter, “feed My sheep and lambs.” John 21:15 to 17.

Note again Galatians 2:9—“And when James, Peter, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.”

After the sheep finally rejected the Shepherd, an Israelite was chosen to go to the Gentiles. He wrote: “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.” “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.” “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief.” Romans 1:14— Romans 11:13— Romans 11:30.

Note Paul’s words to the lost sheep of Israel: “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Acts 13:46.

Then later on, the Apostle to the Gentiles wrote—“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world; But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, Who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments, contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain One New Man, so making peace.” Ephesians 2:12 to 15.

Note Jeremiah 13:17 and 23:1 to 3. “But if ye will not hear it, My soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock is carried away captive.” “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed My people; Ye have scattered My flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them; behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord. And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.”

It was about this time that Isaiah wrote—“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6.

The Gentiles were not sheep that strayed from the Shepherd’s flock or fold. They had not been in the fold. They were alienated from the life of God. God had given them up before He even chose Israel, and cut them completely off with the covenant of circumcision. Romans 1:18 to 30 and Genesis 17:8 to 18. Certainly lost Gentiles are not called sheep. Israelites saved or unsaved are called “sheep” in the Bible.

DAVID – CHRIST – THE SHEPHERD KING

David was a shepherd, and became a king. David was Israel’s shepherd-king. Jesus Christ came to earth to be Israel’s Shepherd-King. He was born in the city of David. This was the message to Israel’s shepherds. Luke 2:6 to 14. Christ was born in the house of David, to take the throne of David and be King of Israel. This was Gabriel’s message. Luke 1:26 to 33.

In Luke is recorded the parable of the lost sheep. “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” Luke 15:4. All of the hundred sheep were in the fold. The one sheep here represents the publican. He was a Jew. The only Gentiles who were in the fold were proselytes. This chapter tells of “the lost sheep”, “the lost coin”, “the lost boy”, “the prodigal son”. The older son was the Pharisee; the younger son was the publican. If we say that the publican was an unsaved Gentile, we support the teaching of the Universalists, that all are the sons of God. That prodigal spake of his father’s house when he was with the hogs in sin.

But note again the words of the Lord Jesus, in Matthew 15:24.

“I AM NOT SENT BUT UNTO THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.”

Now note His words in Luke 19:9 and 10—“And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost. “

Whom did the Good Shepherd come to seek and to save? The lost sons of Abraham.

Note the prophecy of Ezekiel.

“FOR THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; BEHOLD, I, EVEN I, WILL BOTH SEARCH MY SHEEP, AND SEEK THEM OUT.” “I WILL SEEK THAT WHICH WAS LOST.” Ezekiel 34:11 and 16. “My sheep,” “My people”; Israel.

Now read the story in Ezekiel 34:12 to 14—Ezekiel 34:22 to 25 and Ezekiel 34:5 and 6.

“As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; SO WILL I SEEK OUT MY SHEEP, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the river, and in all the inhabited places of the country, I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be; there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.” “Therefore will I save My flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even My servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them.

The Bible does not refer to unsaved Gentiles as “sheep”. The Shepherd said “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish.” There are many Christians who believe that when the Gentiles receive Christ they become sheep—They do become joint-sharers with the saved Jews in the Joint-Body of Ephesians 3:6. All believing Jews and Gentiles are one in Christ. Galatians 3:28. They are altogether with Christ, one flesh. Ephesians 5:31 and 32. They are altogether “One New Man.” Ephesians 2:15.

Now the question, “Is the one flock of John 10:16 the One New Man of Ephesians 2:15?”

The One New Man of Ephesians 2:15 is called “the Joint-Body” of Ephesians 3:6. Ezekiel did not know anything or say anything concerning that Joint-Body (Colossians 1:24 to 27) (Ephesians 3:3 to 5); but Ezekiel did prophecy concerning the one flock and one shepherd.

Some Christians are dogmatically opposed to calling saved Gentiles “spiritual Israel”; but they are not opposed to calling them “spiritual sheep”, because of Acts 20:28—“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” Undoubtedly the Lord Jesus was not speaking of “the Church of the Mystery” when He spoke of the one flock or fold in the tenth chapter of John.

Part 27: Luke and Acts

The Holy Spirit chose Luke, the beloved physician, to write one of the four Records of the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ; and also the Book of Acts, the Acts of the Holy Spirit and the apostles.

The Christian who really desires to know the Bible should diligently study Luke’s Gospel and Luke’s Acts together, continuing out of the Gospel into the Book of Acts.

Note Luke 1:3 and 4 and Acts 1:1 and 2. “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus; That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. “

“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which He-was taken up, after that He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen. “

Here we learn that Luke expected Theophilus to know the truth of the third Gospel before he could understand the Book of Acts. It is significant that Luke is the only one of the four writers who recorded the prayer of the Lord Jesus on the cross. “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” This prayer, in Israel’s behalf, brought to that nation a continuation of God’s favor and mercy and another offer of national blessing.

Note the pronouncements of Christ, in Luke 13:35 and 21:20. “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate; and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.”

The Lord Jesus pronounced that terrible judgment upon Israel and Jerusalem about 32 A.D. But the Divine judgment did not fall upon “the land and wrath upon this people” (Luke 21:23) until 69 to 70 A.D., several years after the Apostle Paul had died. Perhaps Luke was still alive.

The Book of Acts covered a period of about 30 years, and never was Rome more gracious to Israel, never did Rome give more liberties to the Jews in their land, than during those years covered by the Book of Acts. The desolation was postponed. The temple stood. Israel’s high-priest continued to minister to the people in their religious program. Acts 23:3 to 6.

In another message, we have referred to the contrast between Matthew 23:33 and 38 and Acts 3:25 and 26.

BEFORE CALVARY

“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”

AFTER CALVARY

“Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”

What a change in God’s attitude towards Israel! “Serpents” and “vipers” become “the children of the covenant,” tenderly and affectionately addressed with great compassion: “And now brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.” In the shadow of the cross the Lord Jesus declared, “your house is left unto you desolate.” Then His prayer on the cross, “Father, forgive them”, and then Acts 3:26—“Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”

Then Acts 5:30 and 31:

“THE GOD OF OUR FATHER’S 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 SAVIOUR, FOR TO GIVE REPENTANCE TO ISRAEL, AND FORGIVENESS OF SINS.”

If Israel was “a generation of vipers” and their house was left desolate, why should the resurrected Christ send to them such a message? God hath exalted Christ to be a Prince and a Saviour for Israel. To Israel first is the message of forgiveness sent.

Many Christians have followed the erroneous teachings of their leaders without “searching the Scriptures daily to see if these things be true”, and have assumed or presumed that “the dispensation of the grace of God”, for Gentiles, began with the message of Peter and the Eleven on the day of Pentecost.

They seem to know the truth of Romans 11:15, that reconciliation was sent to Gentiles when and because Israel was set aside in blindness by God; but they have accepted the statements of others that Israel was set aside when Christ spoke, in Matthew 23:31 to 39, and that on the day of Pentecost God ushered in this present “grace” economy, which is called, in Ephesians 3:9, “the dispensation (economy) of the mystery.”

It is a blessed thing to know the truth of Romans 11:15 concerning the why and when of reconciliation for and to Gentiles, and the truth of Titus 2:11, Romans 10:12 and Ephesians 2:17.

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.”

“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him.”

“And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.”

But no one knew this truth during the first years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Study these messages of grace for Gentiles in the light of Acts 2:5 and 36—Galatians 2:8—Acts 10:28—Acts 11:1 to 3 and Acts 11:19.

“And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.”

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, Whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

“For He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles.”

“And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”

“And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the Word of God. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.”

“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the Word to none but UNTO THE JEWS ONLY.”

Thus we see that there was no dispensation of grace for Gentiles during the first years after Christ’s resurrection.

GOD OPENED THE DOOR

But later on something else happened.

“AND WHEN THEY WERE COME, AND HAD GATHERED THE CHURCH TOGETHER, THEY REHEARSED ALL THAT GOD HAD DONE WITH THEM, AND HOW HE HAD OPENED THE DOOR OF FAITH UNTO THE GENTILES.” Acts 14:27.

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am an apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.” Romans 11:13.

Then remember the turning-point in Asia, marked by the words of Acts 13:46, “Lo, we turn to the Gentiles”. Note the turning-point in Europe, marked by Acts 18:5 and 6. “And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads I am clean; FROM HENCEFORTH I WILL GO UNTO THE GENTILES.”

Then carefully note that every message of Peter and the Eleven, and of their fellowlabourers, recorded in the first nine chapters of Acts, was addressed to “ye men of Judaea”, and “ye men of Israel”; that is, to the Jews. It was not lawful for them to go to the Gentiles. Acts 10:28. When Peter did go to Cornelius, the other apostles contended with him. Acts 11:1 to 5. In the light of Acts 10:28 and Acts 11:19, we must decide that the people to whom Philip preached in the city of Samaria, and also the eunuch, in the same eighth chapter of Acts, were all Jews. Some of the Jews of Acts 2:5 were called in Acts 2:10, proselytes. The eunuch had been up to Jerusalem to worship, and was doubtless a proselyte, a Jew by religion. The Grecians of Acts 6 were Greek-speaking Jews.

Again all of the messages proclaimed by the apostles, during the first eleven chapters of Acts, were in fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures. By way of contrast note Ephesians 3:8:

“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.”

The word “unsearchable” means “untraceable”; that is, “unprophesied”. In the ministry of Paul we find much truth to both Jews and Gentiles that was in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy; but there is a very distinctive message in some of his writings designated“the Mystery” or “the Secret” which was not prophesied. It is called “God’s eternal purpose”. It is truth concerning the Church of the Mystery, the Joint-Body of Christ. The members of that JointBody were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. They are seated in the heavenlies in Christ. Ephesians 3:11—Ephesians 1:3 and 4. All of this is included in the “UNSEARCHABLE” riches of Christ.

We shall study these profound truths in some of our last messages, but let us note in passing, Ephesians 1:5— Ephesians 1:11 and Ephesians 1:9. “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” “In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself.”

Also II Timothy 1:9—“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

In Ephesians 1:19 to 23 we learn that the Lord Jesus Christ is far above in the heavenlies and there He is Head of the Church, which is His Body, the fulness of Him. In Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Gentile. All, with Christ, constitute the One New Man of Ephesians 2:15, the Joint-Body of Ephesians 3:6.

All of this is so different from the message of Acts 5:29 to 32 concerning the exalted Christ as Israel’s Prince and Saviour.

LUKE AND ACTS

Now let us note several verses in Luke and compare them with several statements in Acts.

Luke 1:32 and 33

“He shall he great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”

CONCERNING JOHN THE BAPTIST

Luke 1:16 “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.”

Luke 1:80

“And the child grew, and waxed strong m spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.”

Luke 3:3

“And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”

Luke 3:16

“John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of Whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

Luke 3:11

“He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.”

THE KINGDOM

Luke 9:3

“And He said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.”

Luke 10:9

“And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.”

Luke 12:32 and 33

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.”

NOTE CAREFULLY

Luke 1:68 to 70

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people; And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David; As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began.”

Acts 1:5

“For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”

Acts 2:5

“And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout man, out of every nation under heaven.”

Acts 2:28 to 32

“Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; Thou shalt make me full of joy with Thy countenance.

“Men and brethren. let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

“Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on His throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses.”

Acts 2:36

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, Whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Acts 2:38

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost”

Acts 2:45

“And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”

Acts 4:32

“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul; neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.”

Acts 3:19 to 22

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And He shall send Jesus Christ Which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto Me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you.”

Acts 5:30 and 31

“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 Saviour for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”

What an interesting comparison! Both John the Baptist and Peter preached to Israel “baptism unto repentance for the remission of sins” to precede Holy Spirit baptism. In Luke, we learn that Jesus Christ was born of David to sit on David’s throne. In Acts, we learn that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead to sit on David’s throne. The kingdom messengers, in Luke, healed all manner of diseases. The kingdom converts, in Luke, sold their property and gave their money away. The kingdom converts, in Acts, did likewise. It was the Father’s good pleasure to give them the kingdom, in Luke 12:32. It was the Father’s good pleasure to give them the kingdom, in Acts 3:19 to 21.

Note the same language in Luke 1:70 and 71 and Acts 3:21, concerning the restitution, Israel’s kingdom. “As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began.” Luke 1:70.

Now let us note that in the first three chapters of Luke we find angels visiting Israelites, John the Baptist appearing to Israel and preaching to Israel. About 33 years later we read, “And in the day time He (Christ) was teaching in the temple; and at night He went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.” Luke 21:37. Then after the death and resurrection of Christ we find Him (Christ) in Luke 24, appearing to Israelites.

Then we turn to the first chapters of Acts and we find 120 Jews in an upper room after the Lord had appeared to more than 500 of His disciples. Acts 1 and I Corinthians 15:6. Then we find twelve Jews speaking to devout Jews from all over the world. Note again carefully Galatians 2:7 and 8:

“But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; For He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles. “

Then Peter, by the authority of the risen Christ, again presented the kingdom to Israel. In the seventh chapter of Acts, Stephen addressed the nation Israel.

And as we come to the close of Acts we read Acts 28:17 and Acts 28:23 to 28. “And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together.” Yes, Acts begins with a company of Jews in Jerusalem. In the last chapter we find a company of Jews in Rome.

“And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Spirit by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, saying, Go unto this people, and say; Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known, therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it” Acts 28:25 to 31.

It was several years after this radical change, stated in Acts 28:25 to 28, that the judgment of Luke 21:20 and Matthew 22:7 fell on Jerusalem and the Jews.

“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.”

“But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth; and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.”

Let us learn from this study the all important lesson, in obedience to II Timothy 2:15, that Israel was not set aside during the recorded ministry of Peter and the Eleven, in the Book of Acts. And never forget the changes in God’s program mentioned in Acts 13:46—Acts 18:6

Romans 11:9— Romans 11:11— Romans 11:30—and in Acts 28:28. All of these changes took place during the “Acts” period.

“Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.”

“And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.”

“And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them.”

“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid; but rather through their fall salvation is, come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.”

“For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief.”

“Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.”

When we have learned this lesson we shall not follow the blunder of many who believe that the “dispensation of the grace of God” and the “dispensation. of the mystery” began on a Jewish Pentecost.

Part 26: Consolation of Israel

What an interesting story in Luke 2:25 to 32, the story of an aged Jew by the name of Simeon, who took the Child Jesus in his arms.

Simeon was just and devout, and he was waiting for the consolation of Israel. Luke 2:25.

The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he would live to see the birth of Israel’s Messiah and Deliverer. With the Messiah in his arms, the Holy Spirit was upon him and he said, “A light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel.”

Here we see the great difference between the Gentiles and God’s people. At that time the Gentiles were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel. Ephesians 2:12.

Note that Simeon took Jesus in his arms right after He was circumcised; and Mary had observed the religious purification ceremonies required by the law of Moses. Luke 2:21 to 24.

Let us note carefully the fact of Luke 2:24—“And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, and two young pigeons.”

This was an Old Testament sacrifice. Jesus Christ was born under the law. “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” Galatians 4:4.

It is most interesting and significant to carefully study the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, to learn how He lived as a circumcised Jew under the law. When He was thirty years of age we learn that He had regularly attended the Jewish religious services in the Jewish synagogue at Nazareth. Luke 4:16. Jesus had just been baptized, with water, by John the Baptist. Luke 3:21.

Note why John baptized with water, “And I knew Him not; but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.” John 1:31. John the Baptist was God’s messenger to the nation Israel. Luke 1:16 and 1:80.

So we see that Jesus Christ was both circumcised and baptized. We see that Jesus Christ regularly attended Jewish services in the Jewish synagogue, on the Jewish sabbath. So when we say that a Christian is one who follows Jesus Christ, we must qualify our statement. Some speak of following Christ in baptism, who do not follow Him in circumcision or in His sabbath synagogue worship. But we are circumcised with the circumcision of Christ. Colossians 2:11. Some Christians dedicate their children, following Lake 2:21 to 25, but no turtledoves or pigeons are offered for the mothers. When sprinkled, children are not always eight days old. Neither are they circumcised according to the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants. The public dedication of children may be a sweet religious ceremony, permitted under grace, but is not mentioned in God’s message and program of grace.

Some Christians use water on the head instead of circumcision in the flesh, persuading themselves that they must have some religious ceremony for the children. So their teaching is, sprinkling to take the place of circumcision. But with such teaching, no baby girls should be sprinkled, because no baby girls were circumcised. Moreover, we will learn by the study of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, that no one was baptized who had not first been circumcised. Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel, 1940 years ago.

STILL WAITING FOR ISRAEL’S CONSOLATION

Eighteen million Jews are today scattered among all the Gentile nations, and there Israel will remain “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Luke 21:24. When that time comes the consolation of Israel will be at hand. The consolation of Israel will be realized when Israel’s rejected Messiah and King returns to take David’s throne, and “He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever.” Luke 1:30 to 33. The consolation of Israel is thus stated in Luke 1:69 to 71 and 1:74 and 75.

“And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David; As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began; That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us.”

“That He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life.”

But something went wrong. Israel was not delivered from the hands of their enemies (Gentiles). Instead, note Luke 19:42 and 43.

“If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things, which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side.”

No consolation for Israel here.

“Behold, your house is left unto you desolate; and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Luke 13:35.

“And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

“So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” Luke 21:27 and 31.

The consolation of Israel, stated in Luke 1:69 to 71, was by Zacharias, filled with the Holy Spirit, right after the message of one angel to the Virgin Mary, and right before the message of another angel to the shepherds. Note the two messages “And behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:31 to 33.

“And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid’.” “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:9, Luke 2:11, Luke 2:14.

THE KINGDOM AND THE BODY

Jesus Christ was born to occupy David’s throne, in fulfillment of Isaiah 9:6 and 7. Instead of taking David’s throne, note where He is and what He is now doing.

“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.” Ephesians 1:19 to 23.

Christ is not where He now is and is not doing what He is now doing, in fulfillment of prophecy. But note II Peter 1:19—“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.”

The clock of prophecy has stopped during this parenthetical “grace” dispensation, but Jesus Christ is coming back to take David’s throne to reign over the house of Jacob, and to bring about the restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets of Israel. “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which Good hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:21.

So THE CONSOLATION OF ISRAEL has been postponed.

Peace on earth will not be realized until Jesus Christ returns as Prince of Peace to occupy David’s throne. Then the government will be upon His shoulder, and of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end. Isaiah 9:6 and 7 will be fulfilled. That will be the consolation of Israel.

NO PEACE—ANOTHER BAPTISM

Note the plain words of the Lord Jesus, in Luke 12:49 to 52:

“I AM COME TO SEND FIRE ON THE EARTH; AND WHAT WILL I, IF IT BE ALREADY KINDLED? BUT I HAVE A BAPTISM TO BE BAPTIZED WITH; AND HOW AM I STRAITENED TILL IT BE ACCOMPLISHED SUPPOSE YE THAT I AM COME TO GIVE PEACE ON EARTH? I TELL YOU, NAY; BUT RATHER DIVISION; FOR FROM HENCEFORTH THERE SHALL BE FIVE IN ONE HOUSE DIVIDED, THREE AGAINST TWO, AND TWO AGAINST THREE.”

What a contrast and seeming contradiction as we compare these words with the message of the angels, in Luke 2:9 to 15. In Luke 2:14, “Peace on earth.”

Now, “No peace on earth.” Note how the Lord Jesus stated it in Matthew 10:34 to 36. Note when the Lord announced “no peace on earth,” He spoke of another baptism, His death on the cross of Calvary. His death baptism. Jesus, the Anointed King, would not go to David’s throne for “peace on earth,” but to Calvary’s tree, to make peace for individual believing sinners. Note what Jesus Christ did. “And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:20.

Christ made peace for believers by His baptism on the cross. Christ’s baptism brought peace. When the sinner believes on the Lord Jesus Christ and accepts His death baptism, note what happens to that believing sinner. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:3 and 4. Christ was both circumcised and baptized, so with every member of the Body of Christ—”In Whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, Who hath raised Him from the dead, And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” Colossians 2:11 to 13.

“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:3.

ANOTHER JEW WAITING FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD

As we saw that the Book of Luke began with a devout Jew, waiting for the consolation of Israel, with Jesus in his arms, so we see that the Book of Luke closed with a devout Jew “waiting for the kingdom of God,” with Jesus in his arms.

“And, behold there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just; (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathea, a city of the Jews; who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.” Luke 23:50 to 54.

Not only were Simeon and Joseph waiting for the kingdom of God, the consolation of Israel, but so also were all of the Lord’s most intimate and faithful apostles. Note the request of the mother of two of Christ’s apostles

“Then came to Him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping Him, and desiring a certain thing of Him. And He said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto Him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on the left, in Thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask, Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto Him, We are able.” Matthew 20:20 to 22.

Note the expectation and desire of all the waiting Jews:

“BUT WE TRUSTED THAT IT HAD BEEN HE WHICH SHOULD HAVE REDEEMED ISRAEL; AND BESIDE ALL THIS, TODAY IS THE THIRD DAY SINCE THESE THINGS WERE DONE.” Luke 24:21. “WHEN THEY THEREFORE WERE COME TOGETHER, THEY ASKED OF HIM, SAYING, LORD, WILT THOU AT THIS TIME RESTORE AGAIN THE KINGDOM TO ISRAEL?” Acts 1:6.

THE KINGDOM REWARD FOR THE TWELVE

“Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Matthew 19:27 and 28.

“But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another; for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not (may not) have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” Matthew 10:23.

Note very carefully the words of the Lord Jesus, in Matthew 10:23. “Ye shall not (may not) have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of man be come.” Note in Acts 8:1 that the twelve apostles remained in Jerusalem. They trusted it had been Christ Who should have redeemed Israel. They were promised twelve thrones when Israel was redeemed. Matthew 19:28. They didn’t know one single thing about “the dispensation of grace” of Ephesians 3:1 to 3, or “the eternal purpose of God” of Ephesians 3:11; that is, what Christ revealed to Paul.

Even during the first chapters of Acts Peter and the Eleven knew nothing and preached nothing concerning the truth of Ephesians 3:6.

“That the Gentiles should be jointheirs, and of the same (joint-) Body, and jointpartakers, of His promise in Christ by the gospel.” Ephesians 3:6.

Hence their question: Wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? The kingdom will be restored to Israel. But this is quite different from the “Joint-Body” of Ephesians 3:6, which is God’s purpose and program, while Israel’s Messianic kingdom is in abeyance.

That kingdom will be established when the King comes, and then the prophesied CONSOLATION OF ISRAEL will be realized.

Let us not confuse the Consolation of Israel with the blessed hope of the Church which is Christ’s Body. Titus 2:13.

Part 25: The Son of Man is Lord Also of the Sabbath

“AND HE (JESUS) SAID UNTO THEM, THAT THE SON OF MAN IS LORD ALSO OF THE SABBATH.” Luke 6:5.

We find in the Four Gospels that Jesus Christ calls Himself “the Son of man” about eighty times.

Very solemn words were spoken by the Lord, in John 5:25 to 27—“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.”

Note also His statement, in Luke 5:24 “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins (he said unto the sick of the palsy), I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.”

Again, note John 1:51, Luke 22:69 and Matthew 25:31. “And He saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. “

“Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand, of the power of God.”

“When shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory”

Here we learn something of the power, authority and Divine glory of the Son of man.

Note this strange question of the Lord Jesus—“What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before?”

Then in John 8:58, Christ said, “Before Abraham was I AM.” Where was the Son of man before? Before what and when? Not only before His incarnation but before Adam was created. Hear His own words: “And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the word was.” John 17:5.

Yes, the Lord Jesus had glory with the Father before the world was. If Jesus Christ was the Jehovah of Israel, He Himself wrote the ten commandments on the two tables of stone. One of those commandments was, remember the sabbath day.

In God’s message of grace we read: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Romans 10:4.

In writing concerning Old Testament Israel, the Holy Spirit said:—“But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which is done away in Christ.” II Corinthians 3:14.

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.”

“LET NO MAN THEREFORE JUDGE YOU IN MEAT, OR IN DRINK, OR IN RESPECT OF AN HOLYDAY, OR OF THE NEW MOON, OR OF THE SABBATH DAYS.” Colossians 2:14 and 16.

Christ is the end of the law. Christ abolished the law. Christians are not under the law. “For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14.

THE LAW A YOKE

“Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we: were able to bear?” Acts 15:10.

Concerning the law given at Sinai, note:

“For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart.” Hebrews 12:20.

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10.

By carefully studying the history of Israel under the law we learn that they had a sabbath but no rest; but the spirit of bondage unto fear. Romans 8:15. They were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:15. They could not endure that which was written on those two stones. The Psalmist cried out, “it is time for Thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void Thy law.” Psalms 119:126. “They have broken thy law.” Since the law was given no man, saint or sinner, with the single exception of Jesus Christ, the Righteous, has ever perfectly kept God’s perfect law. “Therefore the law made nothing perfect.” Hebrews 7:19. Note condemned Israel under the law.

“But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” Galatians 3:23.

Note carefully these words, “under the law the people of God were shut up.” Then note Galatians 3:24 and 25: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

The law was Israel’s schoolmaster. Justified Israelites were not under the schoolmaster after they believed Paul’s gospel of grace.

Why did God give the law? “That sin might abound.” Romans 5:20. The law was added because of transgressions till Christ should come. Galatians 3:19. The law was given that every mouth might be stopped and all the world become guilty before God. Romans 3:19. The law worketh wrath. Romans 4:15.

Jesus Christ made peace by the blood of His cross. Colossians 1:20.

“I do not frustrate the grace of God for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Galatians 2:21.

It is a spiritual crime to preach grace and law mixed for salvation.

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Romans 3:28.

When the zealous religious legalists insisted on giving Israel’s law to the Gentile Christians, an important conference was called. Read about it in Acts 15:1 to 23. Note the results: “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our, fathers nor we were able to bear?” Acts 15:10.

THE DECISION AT JERUSALEM

“FORASMUCH AS WE HAVE HEARD, THAT CERTAIN WHICH WENT OUT FROM US HAVE TROUBLED YOU WITH WORDS, SUBVERTING YOUR SOULS, SAYING, YE MUST BE CIRCUMCISED, AND KEEP THE LAW; TO WHOM WE GAVE NO SUCH COMMANDMENT.” Acts 15:24.

It was not the ceremonial law that Israel could not endure. What were the commandments against us and contrary to us that God blotted out on the cross? Colossians 2:14. The ceremonial law was taken away, but the commandments that were against Israel were “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not”. Note Galatians 4:7—“Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

Under the law the Jews were servants.

They received the spirit of bondage unto fear. Christians are in the Household of the Father. We are a race of sons.

Under grace the sinners have a new law that just fits the sinner’s needs; namely, “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:2. This law does for the believer what the ten commandments could never do. Romans 8:3. Why? Because of the sinner’s weakness, his inability to perfectly keep God’s perfect law. That same Divine law enables the justified believer to fulfill the righteousness of the law by walking- in the Spirit. Romans 8:4.

THE LAW WAS ADDED

Note Galatians 3:19. “The law was added.” “The Old Covenant was added.” “Then the Old Covenant was done away.” II Corinthians 3:14. To what was the law added? When the law was added, Israel’s sabbath was added. When the promised Seed came, the law was taken out of the way. So also was Israel’s sabbath. The law was added that sin might abound. Romans 5:20. The law was added to the gospel which God preached to uncircumcised Abram. Galatians 3:8 and Romans 4:7 to 11. The law was added to the promise which God made to Abraham more than 400 years before the law and the sabbath were added. Galatians 3:16 and 17.

“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.”

The law economy was a parenthetical and temporary economy.

Abram believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:1 to 6, Galatians 3:6 to 8. Abraham was not an Old Testament character. The old Testament was added when Moses was 80 years old. That was several centuries after Abraham had died. Abram was not under the law. Abram was not given a sabbath or any holy days to keep. Those holy days belonged to Israel, and “were imposed on them until the time of reformation.” Hebrews 9:10. Members of Christ’s Body are not under the law. They are not to be judged by sabbaths.

“Sabbath” is “cessation or rest.” God rested on the seventh day. Genesis 2:2. Gad had accomplished a perfect work of creation; and “sabbathed.” Now note Hebrews 10:12

“But this man (Christ), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”

Christ sat down. He rested in a perfect work of redemption. Christ “sabbathed”. God, at Sinai, gave Israel a perfect work to do, and with that perfect work a sabbath to keep. What did they do? Note Christ’s words, in John 7:19—“Did. not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill Me?”

The religious sabbath-keepers had their own King, Messiah and Lord nailed to the cross. They were sabbath-keeping murderers. Sabbath-keepers are always religious, but never spiritual.

Note the words of the Saviour: “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. Those who accepted Christ found rest. Note “He that hath entered into his rest hath ceased from his own works as God did from His.” Read Hebrews 4.

Christ is the believer’s peace, hope and life. Ephesians 2:16 to 18. I Timothy 1:1, Colossians 3:4.

The believer is seated with Christ far above in the heavenlies, and is blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies: Ephesians 2:6, Ephesians 1:19 to 23, Ephesians 1:3.

Note again Colossians 2:16 and Galatians 5:1. These are plain instructions. God intends that members of the Body of Christ should obey them. Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath set you free.

NO UNIVERSAL SABBATH

Note God’s Word to Israel. “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. IT IS A SIGN BETWEEN ME AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL for ever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.”

Exodus 31:16 and 17.

Members of the Body of Christ are seated in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus and are not living in Canaan. The Sabbath was a sign between Jehovah and Israel. It was kept from what we now call, Friday sun-down until Saturday sun-down. At this present time when it is night here it is day in the orient. Therefore we cannot have a universal sabbath. None but an ignorant Christian would confuse Israel’s religious program with the God-given spiritual program for the Body of Christ. In the dispensation of the grace of God there is no religion.

Note what God says in Galatians 4:10 and 11 and Galatians 5:3 and 4: “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

God warns His children against religious days under His reign of grace. Every man who makes the Sabbath binding makes himself debtor to the whole law. No sinner or saint perfectly keeps the whole law without offending in one point; for no man ever lived on this earth, except Jesus Christ, who could honestly say, “I do always the things that please My Father,” “I love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and my neighbor as myself.”

There is no Christian sabbath. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. He is the believer’s Sabbath.

Note the following verses in which we read of the first day of the week. Luke 24:1, John 20:1, John 20:19, Acts 20:17, I Corinthians 16:2.

There was nothing legalistic or obligatory about the gathering of saints on the first day of the week. It was a day of privilege for the saints who gathered in the name of the Lord. It was neither the Christian sabbath nor the Lord’s day of Revelation 1:10. It is a great blunder to call Sunday “the Lord’s day.”

We leave with you Romans 14:5 and half of verse 6 and I Corinthians 8:13. “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.”

THE SIN OF OFFENSE

“Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”

So many religious members of the Body of Christ know very little about the Divine program of grace, and toward them others who have knowledge have to obey Romans 14 and I Corinthians 8, and be careful because of the ignorance and weaknesses of other members of the Body of Christ. In closing we quote, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Romans 6:15.

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him Who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” Romans 7:4.

“But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” Romans 7:6.

“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:4.

Love is the fulfilling of the law.

Romans 13:8 to 11. Love is the fruit of the Spirit. “Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:21 to 26.

Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Christ is the believers’ righteousness. Romans 10:4, I Corinthians 1:30.

Part 24: Peace on Earth — At Peace With God

In Romans 10:15 we read of the beautiful feet that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings.

Concerning the gospel of peace and the benefits and blessings of that gospel, note Colossians 1:20 and Romans 5:1.

“HAVING MADE PEACE THROUGH THE BLOOD OF HIS CROSS, BY HIM TO RECONCILE ALL THINGS UNTO HIMSELF; BY HIM, I SAY, WHETHER THEY BE THINGS IN EARTH, OR THINGS IN HEAVEN.”

“THEREFORE BEING JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.”

The good news is, that Christ on the cross made peace by His shed blood. The good news is, that any sinner, who will believe that Christ actually accomplished this on the cross and will receive Christ, will realize the blessing of Romans 5:1, and be at peace with God. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1.

Note in Ephesians 2:14 that the Lord Jesus is the believer’s Peace. “And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.” Ephesians 2:17.

After the Lord Jesus had made peace by the blood of His cross and had been raised from the dead, He appeared in His resurrection body to His disciples. “And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.” John 20:26.

Before the Saviour went to the cross He said to His disciples-” These things I have spoken unto you that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Matthew 24:6.

“For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Matthew 10:35 and 36.

Here we read, not of peace on earth but of tribulation, wars and divided households. In the midst of all of this sorrow and suffering they were to have peace.” “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27.

Then note the message of peace, in Philippians 4:4 to 7:

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. AND THE PEACE OF GOD, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds, through Christ Jesus.”

Believers in this period of grace are to rejoice, to be anxious for nothing, and the peace of God will garrison, or protect, their hearts and minds. But “all who will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution.” II Timothy 3:12. God’s promise for believers; tribulation and peace, persecution and peace, peace in the midst of war.

PEACE ON EARTH

Now let us note Luke 2:11 and 14.

“FOR UNTO YOU IS BORN THIS DAY IN THE CITY OF DAVID A SAVIOUR, WHICH IS CHRIST THE LORD.” “GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, AND ON EARTH PEACE, GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN.”

Hear this prophecy.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6 and 7.

The Prince of peace is to sit on David’s throne and bring peace to a troubled world. That “peace on earth” is to begin with Jerusalem. Jesus Christ was born in the City of David, in the house of David, of the seed of David, in fulfillment of God’s covenant with David, to establish peace on earth, Luke 1:29 to 33.

What did the rulers of God’s covenant people do with Jesus which is called the Christ? They said, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” Luke 19:14. Then what did Jesus do with them? “But those Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before Me.” Luke 19:27.

“AND WHEN HE WAS COME NEAR, HE BEHELD THE CITY, AND WEPT OVER IT, SAYING, IF THOU HADST KNOWN, EVEN THOU, AT LEAST IN THIS THY DAY, THE THINGS WHICH BELONG UNTO THY PEACE, BUT NOW THEY ARE HID FROM THINE EYES.”

“For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee; and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” Luke 19:41 to 44.

A short while after this judgment, the rulers of Israel said to Pilate concerning Christ, “away with Him; crucify Him.” Pilate asked, “shall I crucify your King?” They answered, “we have no king but Caesar.” John 19:15.

“PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM.”

What has been the condition of Jerusalem, and the predicament of Israel during the last nineteen centuries? Just what Christ predicted after Israel’s rulers had rejected Him.

“Woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Luke 21:23, 24 and 21:27.

When Christ saw the evil hearts of His people and their murderous attitude toward Him, He said,

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Matthew 10:34 to 36.

“I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.”

There is quite a difference between this message of Luke 12:49 to 52 and the proclamation of Luke 2:11 and 14. Read again Luke 2:11 and 14: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

“Peace on earth.” “No peace on earth.” Peace on earth will be a reality when the true King David is in Jerusalem on David’s throne. Jesus Christ is coming back to build again the tabernacle of David. Amos 9:11 to 15. The angel said to the shepherds, “behold I bring you goad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Luke 2:10. “Peace on earth.” That was the kingdom gospel. The kingdom gospel of peace. If Israel’s rulers had accepted their Messiah and King, the nation Israel would have been planted in their own land, delivered from Gentile domination. That kingdom has been postponed. It is yet to be established when the Son of man shall come to redeem Israel. Luke 21:27 to 32.

In the meantime we have “the gospel of peace” to proclaim in this period of grace.

“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him.” Romans 10:12. “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach THE GOSPEL OF PEACE, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:15. This “grace” gospel of peace is for any member of the human race, while the prophesied kingdom is in abeyance.

Between the moment that the Lord Jesus shall appear to take the members of His Body to appear with Him in glory, in accordance with Philippians 3:20 and 21 and Colossians 3:3 and 4, and the day that He shall come as the Son of man to redeem Israel and bring about the restitution of all things, there will be a time of sorrow, called, in the Bible, “the great tribulation.” Matthew 24:13 to 24.

The four horsemen, of Revelation 6:1 to 8, will usher in the tribulation. The fifth Horseman, of Revelation 19:11 to 20, will bring an end to this great tribulation.

Note the second horseman, of Revelation 6:4. This “red horse” symbolizes and speaks of some horrible wars that are yet to be so horrible that peace shall be taken from the earth. “He shall take peace from the earth.”

“For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” I Thessalonians 5:2 and 3.

Note Exodus 15:3 and Psalm 46:9.

“THE LORD IS A MAN OF WAR: THE LORD IS HIS NAME.” “HE MAKETH WAR’S TO CEASE UNTO THE END OF THE EARTH; HE BREAKETH THE BOW, AND CUTTETH THE SPEAR IN SUNDER; HE BURNETH THE CHARIOT IN THE FIRE.”

Jesus Christ is coming as Prince of Peace to inaugurate a reign of peace and righteousness on the earth. But He is coming as a man of war on the white horse. The government will be on His shoulder. At that time He will be in Jerusalem on the throne of David. Isaiah 9:6 and 7.

But note that Jesus Christ is coming as a man of war to bring peace after war.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war.” “And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations; and He shall rule them with a rod of iron; and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” “And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth; and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” Revelation 19:11, 14, 15 and 21.

Note what is to take place. The political world ruler and the religious world ruler are to be sent to the lake of fire. The prince of this world (Satan) is to be made a prisoner in the bottomless pit.

Then the kingdom saints will be raised to reign with Christ for a thousand years. Read Revelation 20:1 to 9. Christ will come in wrath to establish peace.

When Christ came the first time He established peace for believers by receiving God’s wrath on the cross. “And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:20.

The result—“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1.

Now each justified believer is thus instructed—“Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4 to 7.

The peace of God shall “keep”. This word “keep” is an army or war word. It is “garrison”. The figure is an outpost of sentinels protecting.

Yes, thank God, in the midst of tribulation, persecution and war, temptations, trials and afflictions the redeemed of the Lord can be at peace with God, and conscious of the peace of God that passeth all understanding.

Part 23: Different Gospels

No intelligent student of the Scriptures believes, or teaches, that there is only one gospel in the Scriptures; but all such students should agree that there is only one gospel by which sinners are saved in this day of grace, the gospel of the grace of God, which is called in Ephesians 1:13, “the gospel of your salvation.” No one has ever been saved except on the grounds of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But now let us compare I Corinthians 15:1 to 4 with two other portions of Scripture, namely, Luke 9:1 to 6 and Luke 18:31 to 34.

I CORINTHIANS 15:1 to 4

“MOREOVER, BRETHREN, I DECLARE UNTO YOU THE GOSPEL WHICH I PREACHED UNTO YOU, WHICH ALSO YE HAVE RECEIVED, AND WHEREIN YE STAND; BY WHICH ALSO YE ARE SAVED, IF YOU KEEP IN MEMORY WHAT 1. PREACHED UNTO YOU, UNLESS YE HAVE BELIEVED IN VAIN. FOR I DELIVERED UNTO YOU FIRST OF ALL THAT WHICH I ALSO RECEIVED, HOW THAT CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES; AND THAT HE WAS BURIED, AND THAT HE ROSE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.”

LUKE 9:1 to 6

“Then He called His twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And He sent them to preach the Kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. And He said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. And they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.”

LUKE 18:31 to 34

“Then He 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. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”

Here we learn that the gospel by which we are saved is the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins, that He was buried and that He was raised again. We learn that all of this was “according to the Scriptures.”

Note how this is stated in Acts 13:29 and 30: “And when they had fulfilled all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a sepulchre. But God raised Him from the dead.”

This is the gospel by which we are saved. Presently we shall consider Ephesians 6:19 and 20:

“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known “THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.’

Here we learn that Paul was in prison at Rome for “THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL.” We know that when Paul mentions “the mystery” he specifically tells us that it is called “the mystery” because the truth was not “according to the Scriptures,” not a spiritual message or program that was in fulfillment of prophecy. At once then we see that there is a difference between, “the gospel by which we are saved,” in I Corinthians 15:1 to 4, and “the mystery of the gospel”. Paul was not in prison for preaching I Corinthians 15:1 to 4, but for. “the mystery” of the gospel.

But now let us look into Luke 18:31 to 34 and Luke 9:1 to 6. We learn in Luke 18 that when the Lord Jesus told the twelve apostles in advance the truth of I Corinthians 15:1 to 4, “the gospel by which we are saved”, they understood none of those things. That truth was hid from them. Peter even said “Be it far from Thee, Lord, this shall not be unto Thee.” Matthew 16:22. Most assuredly, if this Divine Truth was hid from them and they did not understand,they were not preaching it to others. They were not preaching the gospel by which we are saved. This we can learn by studying every line in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But note Luke 9:6:

“And they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing every where.”

For two or three years the Twelve preached the gospel, while they companied together all the time that the Lord Jesus Christ went in and out among them. Acts 1:21. What gospel did they preach? They preached, “Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”; the Kingdom gospel.” Matthew 3:2— Matthew 4:17— Matthew 10:7— Matthew 4:23. Note Matthew 9:35:

“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. “

Let us always keep in mind that while the Lord Jesus was on earth, God was carrying on a two-fold program, in that Christ was offering salvation to individual Israelites and presenting the prophesied Kingdom to the Nation Israel. Therefore, in “the gospel of the Kingdom”, the nation Israel was always in view, as was David’s throne.

PAUL’S MY GOSPEL

Now by way of comparison, note Romans 16:25 and 26:

“Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to MY GOSPEL, and 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 the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.”

To these Romans the Apostle Paul wrote:

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the Apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.” Romans 11:13. When the Lord Jesus told His twelve messengers to preach the gospel of the Kingdom, He specifically instructed them, “go not into the way of the Gentiles;” “go to Israel;” Matthew 10:5 to 8. Paul also wrote to the Romans:

“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office, So we, being many, are one Body in Christ, and all members one of another.” Romans 12:4 and 5. He wrote in Romans 10:12 and in I Corinthians 12:13 that things had been very much changed since Christ was on earth; that there was now no difference between Israel and the Gentiles, but that all Jews and Gentiles who believed the gospel were baptized into one Body and were joined thus to Christ and to one another. Then in Romans 16:25 and 26 he wrote that these Gentile members of the Body were to be established “ACCORDING TO MY GOSPEL”; “according to the revelation of the mystery.” They were not to be established by “the gospel of the Kingdom”, although every member of the Body of Christ should be informed concerning “the gospel of the Kingdom” and know when and how this gospel fits into the plan and program of God.

Was Paul presumptuous or conceited or. deluded when he called the gospel “MY GOSPEL?” Romans 16:25— Romans 2:16—II Timothy 2:8. Why did he not call it “our gospel?” Perhaps Galatians 2:6 and 7 will help us to answer this question. We quote Galatians 2:7:

“But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel OF the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel OF the circumcision was unto Peter.”

Then note I Timothy 1:11:

“The glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to MY TRUST.” Then note again II Timothy 1:9 to 11:

“ Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: WHEREUNTO I AM APPOINTED A PREACHER, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. “

This grace was given in Christ before Adam was created and made efficacious by the death and resurrection of Christ. Then Paul adds:

“WHEREUNTO I (PAUL) AM APPOINTED A PREACHER, AND AN APOSTLE, AND A TEACHER OF THE GENTILES.” (II Timothy 1:11.)

THE GOSPEL FOR SAINTS

The Greek word translated “gospel” means “good news”. There are different aspects of the gospel. We have quoted from I Corinthians 15:1 to 4 the good news by which believing, sinners are saved from the penalty of sin, from the wrath to come. Surely every unsaved person should. hurry with all speed to Calvary, receive Christ, the forgiveness of sins. Divine righteousness and eternal life, and be at peace with God.

Then when we learn that more than ninety per cent of the instructions in the Epistles of Peter, John, James and Paul, instruct the saints how to appreciate the blessings of the Lord, how to enjoy salvation, and how to live to please the Lord, we should know that all of these messages contain the gospel, or good news, for the saints. Note Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ.” The redeemed sinner is blessed with all spiritual blessings. Every single spiritual blessing and benefit that is available in Christ for the believer in Christ, is a part of the gospel. So let us not be foolish enough to say that there is only one gospel and only one aspect of that gospel.

THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL

Now note Paul’s words in II Timothy 2:8 and 9 and in II Timothy 1:8:

“REMEMBER THAT JESUS CHRIST OF THE SEED OF DAVID WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD ACCORDING TO MY GOSPEL: WHEREIN I SUFFER TROUBLE, AS AN EVIL DOER, EVEN UNTO BONDS; BUT THE WORD OF GOD IS NOT BOUND.”

“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor, of me His prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.”

Read Ephesians 6:19 and 20:

“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL, For which I am an ambassador in bonds; that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

Note Colossians 4:3 and 4:

“Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”

Why did Paul suffer as an evildoer? For the gospel. For what gospel? He said, “MY GOSPEL”. All of the apostles were preaching I Corinthians 15:1 to 4.Paul was not referring to that. When Paul wrote Timothy to be a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, he was not referring to “the gospel of the kingdom”, or merely to the gospel of salvation of Ephesians 1:13. No, Paul was referring to the Divine truth designated “the mystery.” This truth was not revealed by Christ to the twelve apostles. What they knew of the mystery they first learned from Paul.

If you will refer to the Greek in II Timothy 1:12, you will learn that Paul called it “MY DEPOSIT.” God had kept this glorious secret hid from all of Israel’s servants and prophets. Christ had kept it hid from the Twelve. But later on He revealed it to Paul to complete the Word of God. Note Colossians 1:24 to 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.”

Always keep in mind that “the mystery” is peculiarly Gentilish truth.

From the Roman jail Paul urged his fellow Body-members to pray for an open mouth and for open doors for the proclamation of this glorious truth. The Lord is still waiting for open mouths and open doors. How about your mouth? “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself.” “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.” Ephesians 1:9, 17 and 18.

God also wants us to pray that saints may receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation to understand the mystery of His will: “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, Who created all things by Jesus Christ.” “According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 3:9 and 11.

Let us remember that the truth of Ephesians and Colossians concerning members of the Joint-Body (Ephesians 3:6) seated and blessed in the heavenlies, is truth that was predestinated, given us in Christ before the foundation of the world, truth which God held as His own secret and that it is therefore called, “God’s eternal purpose”, “the dispensation of the, Mystery”, “the Secret of His will. “

Now read carefully the prayers of Ephesians 1:17 to 23 and Ephesians 3:14 to 21.

Part 22: Christ’s Miracles — The Gospel of John

“AND MANY OTHER SIGNS TRULY DID JESUS IN THE PRESENCE OF HIS DISCIPLES, WHICH ARE NOT WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK; BUT THESE ARE WRITTEN, THAT YE MIGHT BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD; AND THAT BELIEVING YE MIGHT HAVE LIFE THROUGH HIS NAME.” John 20:30 and 31.

Here we see why the miracles of Christ are recorded in John’s Gospel. Note. John 10:30 to 33”—I and My Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from My Father; for which of those works do ye stone Me? The Jews answered Him, saying, For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God.” Christ, being a man, made Himself God.

Now, note that Christ, being God, became a man. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” John 1:1 and 2.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth,” John 1:14.

When Thomas beheld the resurrected Christ, he said, “My Lord, and my God.” John 20:27.

God wants every one to believe and know, concerning Christ, what Thomas believed and knew. Therefore, certain miracles which Christ performed before His death are recorded in this Divine Record; just seven miracles. We believe that “seven” is a Divine number.

Now note the miracles

1—Turning water into wine. John 2:1 to 10.

2—Healing the Nobleman’s Son. John 4:49 to 53.

3—Healing the Impotent Man. John 5:1 to 8.

4—Feeding the Five Thousand. John 6:9 to 13.

5—Jesus Walking on the Sea. John 6:19.

6—The Blind Man Healed in Siloam. John 9:11.

7—Raising Lazarus from the Dead. John 11:43.

Several of these miracles are not recorded in Matthew, Mark or Luke. Before we Consider these, we suggest a few other facts concerning the Gospel of John.

More than eighty per cent of the contents of John’s Gospel is not found in the other three Gospels which are called “The Synoptics.”

In this Divine Record we find a combination of the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of grace. John is the only one of the four writers whom the Holy Spirit used to record the ministry of Jesus Christ with the woman at the well in Samaria. But she was not a Gentile. She said, “our father Jacob”. John 4:12. And true, we have the “whosoever” in John 3:16. But every scene, except Christ’s visit to Samaria, is set on a Jewish scene. There is no record in John’s Gospel that Christ spoke to even one Gentile while on earth. The word “Jew”, “Jews”, is found in this Record 70 times.

In the miracles, all who were healed and blessed were Jews. These miracles began with a Jewish wedding and ended with a Jewish funeral or grave. We also find an impotent Jew, in a Jewish religious city; a healed blind man in a Jewish religious meeting-place.

With special reference to these four miracles, “turning water into wine”, “healing the impotent man”, “healing the man born blind in Siloam” (which means Sent—John 9:7) and “raising the dead man”, let us note these messages in John:

1—“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” John 3:5 and 7.

2—“No man can come to Me, except the Father Which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44.

“John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” John 3:27.

“Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent.” John 6:29.

3—“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. “He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing:” John 9:7.

“And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and they which see might be made blind.” John 9:39.

4—“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” John 5:24 and 25.

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believeth thou this?” John 11:25 and 26.

In John’s Gospel we learn that the sinner is unregenerated, impotent, blind from his mother’s womb, and spiritually dead.

“Turning water into wine” speaks of the new birth by the Spirit and water, and the joy that follows.

The impotent man was unable to do anything to bring about his own cure. He could not. That is the helpless predicament of the unregenerated, blind, dead sinner, in John’s Gospel. Note again John 6:28 and 29 and John 6:40.

“Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom God hath sent.”

“And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

THE POOL SILOAM (SENT)

More than forty times, in John’s Gospel, Christ is called the “Sent One”. The pool of Siloam was the pool of Sent. This spoke of the blood of Jesus Christ, the Sent One. Apart from faith in the shed blood the most cultured, moral, religious individual will remain spiritually blind. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I Corinthians 2:14.

“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” I Corinthians 1:21.

PASSING OUT OF DEATH INTO LIFE

In John 5:24 and 25, we learn that the sinner, in John’s Gospel, is a dead man. Lazarus was a dead man. It was near his grave that Jesus Christ spoke one of the greatest truths in the Bible

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?”

Note with this, Ephesians 2:1 and 6, Romans 6:13 and 6:3 and 4.

“And You hath He quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins.”

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Then note I Thessalonians 4:14 to 17.

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Here then we have the answer to both of Job’s questions; so far as the saint is concerned. “But man dieth, and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?” Job 14:10. “If a man die shall he live again?” Job 14:14.

Sinners are made alive spiritually the moment they believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and accept Him as their resurrection and life.

Then they will be made alive in resurrection bodies at His coming: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.” I Corinthians 15:22 and 23.

JESUS APPROVED BY MIRACLES

The miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ were to prove to Israel that Jesus Christ was God’s Apostle. Miracles were the signs of an Apostle. II Corinthians 12:12. Christ was God’s Apostle to Israel. Hebrews 3:1. Note the words of Christ, in John 5:36: “The works which the Father hath given Me to finish the same works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father hath sent Me.”

Jesus of Nazareth was a man put on display by God in the presence of Israel by miracles and signs. Acts 2:22.

There are some Christians who still endeavor to prove the Deity and omnipotence of Christ by carrying on a healing program. They use the slogan, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8. They generally have their bottles of oil to anoint the sick and the afflicted and claim that all Christians could perpetuate or duplicate the miracles of the Lord Jesus, if they had the same faith that the first century disciples had.

Timothy was a disciple of genuine faith and courage. Paul instructed Timothy to take a physical remedy for his physical disease. There are no miraculous healings recorded in the writings of Paul after God’s Divine judgment upon Israel recorded in Acts 28:25 to 28.

But if we are to prove that Jesus Christ is Divine by perpetuating His miracles let us be sure that we perform all seven miracles of John’s Gospel, feeding the 5000 with a few fish and loaves, walk on the water, raise the dead, turn water into wine.

Part 21: The Children of the Kingdom and the Gentiles

Note these three interesting verses of Scripture:

“BUT JESUS SAID UNTO HER, LET THE CHILDREN FIRST BE FILLED: FOR IT IS NOT MEET TO TAKE THE CHILDREN’S BREAD, AND TO CAST IT UNTO THE DOGS.” Mark 7:27.

“BUT THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM SHALL BE CAST OUT INTO OUTER DARKNESS; THERE SHALL BE WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH.” Matthew 8:12.

“I SAY UNTO YOU, THAT MANY SHALL COME FROM THE EAST AND WEST, AND SHALL SIT DOWN WITH ABRAHAM, AND ISAAC, AND JACOB, IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.” Matthew 8:11.

The Jews, or Israelites, were called “the children of the kingdom.” Note how Peter addressed them in Acts 3.12, “Ye men of Israel”—And in Acts 3:25, “Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which Gad made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.” “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His Son Jesus; Whom ye delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.” Acts 3:13.

But now the two statements, “LET THE CHILDREN FIRST BE FILLED”; and “THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM SHALL BE CAST OUT.” With the second statement let us read Romans 11:7, 11 and 15:

“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.”

“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid; but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.”

“For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?”

Something happened to the children of the kingdom. The Lord Jesus, on earth, foretold God’s awful judgment upon Israel. Note Matthew 22:7 and Luke 21:20, 23 and 24.

“But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth; and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.”

“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.”

“But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days? for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

Several years before the terrible judgment fell upon Israel and Jerusalem the Apostle Paul pronounced God’s judgment of blindness upon Israel, in Acts 28:25 to 27, and then added “the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles and they will hear it.” Acts 28:28

Here we learn that the children of the kingdom were cast into the outer darkness of blindness; and we learn, in Romans 2:7 to 9, that a far worse judgment was the portion of the individual Jews who died without faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

During the “Acts” period (from about 33 A.D. to 63 A.D.) the children were first being filled. This we learn in Acts 3:25 and 26, Acts 10:28, Acts 13:46, and Acts 18:5 and 6.

“Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. UNTO YOU FIRST GOD, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”

“And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”

“Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the Word of God SHOULD FIRST HAVE BEEN SPOKEN TO YOU; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, LO, WE TURN TO THE GENTILES.” “And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.”

THE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM

Note the words of the Lord Jesus and the response of the Jews. “I know that ye are Abraham’s seed, but ye seek to kill Me, because. My Word hath no place in you.” John 8:37

“They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.” John 8:39

The saved and the unsaved Jews were called “the children of the kingdom.” They were the children of Abraham.

Note these significant verses:

“And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” Luke 13:16

“And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:9 and 10

Jesus Christ was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. Matthew 15:24. He was a minister of the circumcision. Romans 15:8. It was God’s decree that no uncircumcised man should have fellowship with God’s people. Genesis 17:8 to 14. Peter stated that this fellowship was unlawful. Acts 10:28

Jesus Christ, on earth, was the circumcised Son of Abraham. Matthew 1:1 and Luke 2:11 to 16. He took His place with the Jews as a worshipping Jew, with the God-given religious program. Luke 4:16 and John 4:22

Christ had kingdom blessings for the children of the kingdom, the sons and daughters of Abraham.

In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we read of but one Gentile man who received a blessing from the Lord Jesus. Note why this one Gentile man received the blessing from Jesus Christ

1—Because he was of great faith. Luke 7:9

2—Because he was very humble. Luke 7:7

3—Because he asked the sons of Abraham to intercede for him. Luke 7:3

4—Because he loved the sons of Abraham and built them a synagogue. Luke 7:5

All of this is most significant. The story is told in Luke 7:1 to 10 and in Matthew 8:5 to 12. Read the two records.

Note why one Gentile woman received a blessing from Jesus Christ:

1—She was of great faith. Matthew 15:28 and Mark 7:26

2—She overcame every obstacle to reach Jesus. Matthew 15:23 and Mark 7:24

3—She took her place as a Gentile dog. Matthew 15:25 to 27 and Mark 7:28

This is the only record of any Gentile woman who received a blessing from the Lord while He was on earth. The woman at the well, in John 4:7, was not a Gentile. John 4:12—Matthew 10:5

So the two Gentiles who received blessings from Jesus of Nazareth give us one of the dispensational outlines of Acts. “Let the children first be filled” and “Let the children be cast into outer darkness.

God’s order was, “to the Jews, and not to the Gentiles”, while Jesus Christ was on earth. Matthew 15:24—Matthew 10:5. God’s order was, “to the Jews and not to the Gentiles” during those first years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ covered by the first nine chapters of Acts. Acts 5:29 to 32. Acts 10:28. Acts 11:19. God’s order from the new commission to Paul in Acts 13:2 to the Divine judgment upon Israel in Acts 28:28 was, “to the Jew first and also unto the Gentile,” Romans 1:16. All through the Book of Acts the children were first being filled, then the children were cast out. From the close of Acts down to the present time God’s order has been, “to the Gentiles and also to the Jews.”

A blindness in part is happened unto the children of the kingdom until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. Romans 11:25. Then the children of the kingdom will be brought back into Divine favor. Romans 11:26

In the meantime all saved Gentiles have been translated into the kingdom of the Son of God’s love. Colossians 1:13. They have been adopted into the household of God, and are the children of God and joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:5. Romans 11:13 to 17

Part 20: Christ Came Unto His Own

“HE WAS IN THE WORLD, AND THE WORLD WAS MADE BY HIM, AND THE WORLD KNEW HIM NOT. HE CAME UNTO HIS OWN, AND HIS OWN RECEIVED HIM NOT. BUT AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM, TO THEM GAVE HE POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, EVEN TO THEM THAT BELIEVE ON HIS NAME.” John 1:10 to 12.

Here we have the statement that Christ’s own received Him not. His own refers to the Jews. But note these statements:

John 2:23; Many believed in His name.

John 4:39 to 41; Many more believed on Him.

John 7:31; Many of the people believed on Him.

John 8:30; Many believed.

John 10:42; Many believed on Him.

John 11:45; Many of the Jews believed on Him.

After reading these statements then read John 12:37 to 40:

“ But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”

Thus we have the statements that “many believed on Him” and “His own received Him not”. Note the question of the Pharisees: “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on Him?” John 7:48

Most of the rulers of Israel neither believed nor received Christ. We see then that the Lord Jesus, while on earth, was not only offering salvation to individual Jews, but was presenting Himself and His kingdom to the Nation Israel. “But His own received Him not.” They knew not the time of their visitation. Luke 19:44. They knew not the things that belonged to their peace. Luke 19:42.

Note Christ’s words concerning John the Baptist: “But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto Him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of Him.” Mark 9:13

“And if you will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.” Matthew 11:14. Then note Luke 13:34 and 35: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate; and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

In what sense was Israel’s house left desolate? On the day of Pentecost 3000 Israelites believed and were saved. Acts 2:41 to 43. Then note Acts 4:4—“Howbeit many of them which heard the Word believed; and the number of men was about five thousand.” These were all Israelites.

Then note Acts 5:14—“And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” All Jews. “And the Word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:7. All Jews.

Then note Acts 11:19—“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the Word to none, but unto the Jews only.”

Many of Christ’s own did receive Him. What is meant then by the statement, “His own received Him not?”

HOW ABOUT GENTILES?

Now search the Scriptures diligently from Matthew 1:1 to Peter’s statement in Acts 10:28, about seven years after the death of Jesus Christ, and count the Gentiles to whom Christ or His twelve apostles preached.

When the Twelve met one Gentile what did they say? “And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.” Matthew 15:23. Why did they do this? “These 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: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 10:5 and 6.

Why did one Gentile man receive a blessing from Jesus Christ on earth? “For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.” Luke 7:5. “And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto Him the elders of the Jews, beseeching Him that He would come and heal his servant.” Luke 7:3

AS MANY AS RECEIVED CHRIST

“As many as received Christ.” Think of this in the light of Acts 10:28 and Romans 10:14

“Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”

“How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”

If it was not lawful for the Jewish disciples of Christ to go to the Gentiles, how could they hear and receive Christ? If the Gentiles did not hear the gospel they could not believe and receive Christ.

How do we reconcile Matthew 15:24 with John 3:16. “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

In the light of Matthew 15:24 and Acts 10:28 and Acts 11:19, we must conclude that there was no “whosoever” message for the Gentiles until the words of Peter, in Acts 10:34 and 43. “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respector of persons.” “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.”

The proselytes, of Acts 2:10, were Gentiles by nature, but Jews by religion. The Grecians, of Acts 6 and 11, were Greek-speaking Jews. Philip did not preach to Gentiles, in the city of Samaria. Acts 11:19.

In the light of Acts 10:28 and 11:19 we may be sure that the Ethiopian was a proselyte. Acts 8:27.

Several years after Philip preached to the Ethiopian, the other apostles condemned Peter for preaching to the household of Cornelius. Acts 11:1 to 5.

Note what happened after Peter told them of Christ’s instructions to preach to Cornelius. “When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” Acts 11:18.

Now compare

1—Go not into the way of the Gentiles. Matthew 10:5.

2—It is an unlawful thing for a Jew to go to a Gentile. Acts 10:28.

3—”And when James, Peter, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” Galatians 2:9.

Here we learn concerning the twelve apostles; from first to last their ministry was to and for Israel.

DOGS AND NO DIFFERENCE

WHILE JESUS CHRIST WAS ON EARTH

Now let us compare Matthew 15:24—26—27 with Romans 10:12 and 13.

“I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

“It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs.”

“And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.”

ABOUT 25 YEARS LATER

“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

There is a very great difference between a sheep and a dog. This was the difference between the Jews and the Gentiles, while Christ was on earth.

But twenty-five years later there was no difference. Something had happened.

ISRAEL REJECTED

Now let us compare the statement of Christ to the Jews, “your house is left unto you desolate”, with Paul’s statement to the Jews, in Acts 13:46: “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.”

Why was it necessary that the Word of Christ should be preached to Israel first, some years after Christ had said “your house is left unto you desolate”?

The answer is, Luke 23:34—Acts 3:1718 and 3:26,

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

“And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.”

“Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”

Christ on the cross prayed for Israel. God gave Israel another chance. And for several years after the prayer of Christ, God’s order was “to the Jew but not to the Gentile.” And then for some years, God’s order was “to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.” Romans 1:16—Acts 13:46—Acts 18:6 and Acts 28:28.

Then what happened? Study, “as many as received Christ” and John 3:16, in the light of Romans 11:30 and Ephesians 3:1 and 2 and 3:6.

As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name. “

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

“For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief.”

This was written years after Christ died.

“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.”

“That the Gentiles should be jointheirs, and of the JOINT-BODY, and jointsharers of His promise in Christ by the gospel. “

Israel’s blindness, unbelief, and rejection brought mercy and salvation and reconciliation for and to the Gentiles. Romans 11:11 and 11:15.