With Adam God began the human race. With Noah God began the human race anew. With Abraham God began the Jewish race. With Paul God began “the dispensation of the grace of God” for Gentiles. Ephesians 3:1 to 3.
Let us compare what God said to Adam with what He said to Noah.
“SO GOD CREATED MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE, IN THE IMAGE OF GOD CREATED HE HIM; MALE AND FEMALE CREATED HE THEM. AND GOD BLESSED THEM, AND GOD SAID UNTO THEM, BE FRUITFUL, AND MULTIPLY, AND REPLENISH THE EARTH, AND SUBDUE IT; AND HAVE DOMINION OVER THE FISH OF THE SEA, AND OVER THE FOWL OF THE AIR, AND OVER EVERY LIVING THING THAT MOVETH UPON THE EARTH. AND GOD SAID, BEHOLD, I HAVE GIVEN YOU EVERY HERB BEARING SEED, WHICH IS UPON THE FACE OF ALL THE EARTH, AND EVERY TREE, IN THE WHICH IS THE FRUIT OF A TREE YIELDING SEED; TO YOU IT SHALL BE FOR MEAT.” Genesis 1: 27 to 29.
“AND GOD BLESSED NOAH, AND HIS SONS, AND SAID UNTO THEM BE FRUITFUL, AND MULTIPLY, AND REPLENISH THE EARTH. AND THE FEAR OF YOU AND THE DREAD OF YOU SHALL BE UPON EVERY BEAST OF THE EARTH, AND UPON EVERY FOWL OF THE AIR, UPON ALL THAT MOVETH UPON THE EARTH, AND UPON ALL THE FISHES OF THE SEA; INTO YOUR HAND ARE THEY DELIVERED. EVERY MOVING THING THAT LIVETH SHALL BE MEAT FOR YOU; EVEN AS THE GREEN HERB HAVE I GIVEN YOU ALL THINGS.” Genesis 9:1 to 3.
God very definitely began things with Adam. Adam was given headship by God. Satan appeared on the scene. The serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty. II Corinthians 11:3. Adam sinned with Eve. Note the Divine judgment “And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.” Genesis 3:17 and 18.
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Romans 5:12. With Adam sin began.
The first man born of woman (Cain) was of the devil and murdered his brother. I John 3:12. After sixteen centuries, what was the condition of the human race?
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:5 to 8.
Note then what God did:
“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” II Peter 2:5.
“And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.” Genesis 7:7.
“And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven, and they were destroyed from the earth; and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.” Genesis 7:23.
God began anew with Noah and his family. But then note what happened to the human race within a few centuries.
“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech:” Genesis 11:1.
“And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language; that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city.” Genesis 11:6 to 8.
“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” Romans 1:22.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Romans 1:28 to 32.
They became alienated and enemies by wicked works. Colossians 1:21. They were alienated from the life of God. Ephesians 4:18.
Out of the human wreck God called a man who lived in Ur of the Chaldees. His name was Abram. With Abram God began a new movement for the human race. God said to Abram,
“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, And curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall fall families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:2 and 3.
Then God gave to Abram the covenant of circumcision. Acts 7:8—Genesis 17:10 to 17. Then Isaac was born. From Isaac came Jacob (Israel) and his twelve sons, the nation Israel.
“But thou, Israel, art My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My friend.” Isaiah 41:8.
“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not; for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” Isaiah 43:1.
“I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.” Isaiah 43:15.
“Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art My servant: I have formed thee; Thou art My servant; O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me.” Isaiah 44:21.
“For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel Mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name; I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known Me.” Isaiah 45:4.
“In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” Isaiah 45: 25.
God declared in Isaiah 43:7 that Israel was created for His glory. Then we read in Luke 2:32 that Jesus Christ was the glory of Israel.
Note carefully Romans 9:4 and 5.
“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, Who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”
Something new very definitely began with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The rest of the human race was cut off. They became aliens from the commonwealth of Israel. Ephesians 2:12. They were alienated from the life of God.
The first eleven chapters of Genesis deal with the human race from Adam to Abram, 2083 years. The remaining 39 chapters of the first Book of the Bible and all of the other thirtyeight Books, from Genesis to Malachi, deal with the one people, Israel, the children of Abraham; and only such other nations and individuals as had dealings, during those centuries, with Israel. This is likewise true concerning the contents of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In this connection note Romans 15:8, Matthew 15:24 and John 1:11.
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.”
“He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
“ He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.”
We quoted Romans 9:5 concerning Christ and Israel, “of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, Who is over all, God blessed for ever.” Here we learn the truth, that God was a Jew on this earth for about 33 years. Christ was born King of the Jews. Matthew 2:2. Christ was saluted “King of Israel.” John 1:49.
Note Christ’s instructions to His twelve Jewish messengers. “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.
“But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another; for verily I say unto you, ye shall (may) not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” Matthew 10:23.
Plain instructions these, “go not into the way of the Gentiles”, the children of Adam. “Go to the children of Abraham.” “Ye may not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of man be come.”
Then note again, those twelve apostles remained in Jerusalem. Acts 8:1. Those twelve apostles are yet to sit upon twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28.
After the twelve apostles had preached in Jerusalem something happened. In the Jerusalem temple the Apostle Paul was met by the Lord Jesus Christ. Note what happened
“And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; and saw Him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.” “And He said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” Acts 22:17-18 and 21.
A new movement this. Christ spoke to Paul:
“I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.”
Note 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.” No such program had ever been carried on before. This man of God, who was born out of due time (I Corinthians 15:8), received orders from the Lord Jesus Christ to go to uncircumcised Gentiles with “the gospel of the uncircumcision.”
Then Paul made known the truth of Romans 4:9 and 10 and Galatians 3:8, the fact that Abram was declared righteous by faith, years before he was circumcised. That was 430 years before the law was added.
“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.” Galatians 3:17.
“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom, the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” Galatians 3:19.
This truth, that Abram was declared righteous by faith, without works or religion, when he was Abram and not Abraham, 24 years before he was circumcised. and 430 years before God gave the law to Israel, was revolutionary truth when Paul went forth to proclaim it. Genesis 12:1 to 6, Genesis 15:4 to 8, Galatians 3:8, Romans 4:9 to 11.
Since the time of Genesis 17:10-17, no uncircumcised Gentile could have fellowship with God or His people. God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. Acts 7:8.
But now what? Christ, by revelation, gave Paul a new message. Galatians 1:11 and 12. What did Paul do? He went up to Jerusalem.
“And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I – preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.” Galatians 2:2.
When Paul went up to Jerusalem he did not receive his gospel from those who were apostles before him. “But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter.” Galatians 2:7. Do not lose the force of “But contrariwise”. Then and there Peter and the other Jewish disciples of Christ learned that Paul had received a new and different message. It was not that any one had ever been, or ever would be, saved apart from the shed blood of the. Lord Jesus Christ. But in the Lord’s revelation to Paul He told him why Abram, the heathen, was justified in uncircumcision.
Note again Galatians 3:8—“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” Abram was 75 years old when he was called by God. Genesis 12:1 to 5.
Note Genesis 15:6:
“And he believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness.” Genesis 15:6.
Then note Genesis 17:13, 14 and 24:
“He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised; and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man-child, whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken My covenant.” “And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.”
All of this is so important for us to know, if we are to understand Galatians 2:7.
When Abram was called and justified years before he was circumcised and became “Abraham”, the Scriptures foresaw the new message and ministry that Paul was to receive by revelation from Christ to inaugurate “the dispensation of grace.” The Scriptures foresaw that God would declare heathen righteous by faith, without circumcision or religion, during the time the circumcision people were set aside. Although the Scriptures foresaw this, no man foresaw it. Paul learned it by revelation. He went forth to proclaim “the gospel of the. uncircumcision”. But everywhere he went other missionaries followed him and preached the gospel of the circumcision.
“And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” Acts 15:1 and 5.
“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.
In spite of that conference and the important decisions there reached, the zealous, religious preachers continued to mix law and circumcision with grace.
Note Paul’s words—“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel; Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” Galatians 1:6 and 7.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is debtor to do the whole law.” “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision availeth anything.” Galatians 5:1 to 3 and 15.
Concerning these religious missionaries with their perverted gospels, Paul wrote:
“And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. I would they were even cut off which trouble you.” Galatians 5:11 and 12.
In Genesis 17:10 to 17, we learn that those who did not preach and practice circumcision were to be cut off. In Galatians, we learn that those who did preach and practice circumcision were to be cut off. What is the explanation? Different Divine economies, with different Divine programs. The Greek text of Philippians 1:10, is, “test things that differ.”
Another example, note Colossians 2:16—“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.”
What would have happened to any man who had preached such a doctrine while Israel was under the law, from Moses to John the Baptist? He would have been stoned to death. Jesus Christ Himself was made under the law. Galatians 4:4. No one was authorized by Him to preach Colossians 2:16 while He was on earth.
Paul wrote to members of the Body of Christ “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 every one members one of another.” Romans 12:4 and 5.
“For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14.
In closing this message, let us compare Romans 15:8 and Luke 2:21, Luke 4:16 and Matthew 5:17, with Paul’s words in Galatians 2:7, Romans 11:13 and Romans 1:14.
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.” Romans 15:8.
“And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, His name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before He was conceived in the womb.”
“And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.”
“Think not that I am come to destroy, the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”
“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 I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.”
“I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.”
A great difference between “the Minister to the circumcision” and “the apostle to the Gentiles.”
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.