“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made.” Galatians 3:19.
“The law and the prophets were until John (Baptist): since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” Luke 16:16.
“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 to 17.
“And unto the Jews I (Paul) became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law.” I Corinthians 9:20.
“Behold the days come, saith the Lord when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt . . . For all shall know me from the least to the greatest . . . He hath made the first (covenant) old.” Hebrews 8:7 to 13.
“For His Body’s sake, which is the Church, whereof I (Paul) am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God to fulfill (Complete) the Word of God, the Mystery which had been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints . . . this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of Glory.” Colossians 1:24 to 28.
God took the fathers by the hand to lead them out of Egypt about 1500 B.C. That was about 2500 years after Adam was driven from Eden. Sin entered the world by Adam and passed, with death, upon all men. Romans 5:13 to 14. The law was given by Moses. The Law entered that the offense (by Adam) might abound. Romans 5:16 to 20. The law and the old covenant were given at Sinai. God preached the Gospel to Abram before the law was given. Galatians 3:8.
The gospel to Abram was God’s promise concerning Christ, the Seed. This gospel was preached, this promise made, to Abram, when Abram was in circumcision, 430 years before the old covenant was given to Israel through Moses. Romans 4:8 to 15. Galatians 3:17. Abram was circumcised 24 years after he was justified by faith. Genesis 12:4 and Genesis 17:24. Abram was circumcised about 1900 B.C. From 1900 B.C. to the time God granted repentance unto life to Cornelius, about 41 A.D., God’s spiritual blessings for Israelites and Gentiles were on the grounds of circumcision. Acts 11:18; Acts 11:3. Up to that time it was an unlawful thing for a man that was a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation.” Acts 10:28. Several years later the risen Christ by revelation committed to Paul the gospel of the uncircumcision. Galatians 2:7 to 9. When Christ was born of Mary He was made under the law. Galatians 4:4. The Holy Child was circumcised at the same age that Abraham’s son Isaac was circumcised, “eight days old”. Genesis 21:4. Luke 2:21. Everything that was written in the law was performed for Jesus by His mother. “When they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord”. Luke 2:39. When Jesus was 30 years of age, “as His custom was, He went into the Synagogue on the sabbath day.” Luke 4:16. More than one year later Christ instructed one who received a blessing from Him, in this language: “shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded.” Matthew 8:4. Two years later, the year of His death, Christ commanded His own disciples to observe the instructions of crooked, corrupt, blind hypocritical guides, because they sat in Moses’ seat.” Matthew 23:1 to 17. Christ observed the feasts of Israel all the days of His ministry, one of His last acts being to keep the passover. Matthew 26:17 to 19.
When Christ presented to His few selected apostles, whose names were written in heaven, the gospel by which we are today saved, His death, burial and resurrection, “they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” Luke 18:31 to 34. I Corinthians 15:3 to 5. For several years the Twelve had been preaching some gospel, “the gospel of the kingdom”. Matthew 9:35 and Luke 9:6. Matthew 10:5 to 8. There was not one word in that gospel concerning salvation by the grace of God on the basis of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the saving message that God’s servants preach today. Christ was born as king of the Jews: He was saluted as the King of Israel: He presented Himself to Israel as King: He died as King of the Jews. Matthew 2:2; John 1:49; John 12:12 to 19; John 19:19. Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision to confirm promises God had made to Israel by the prophets of old. Romans 15:8. God made no promise concerning the Church, Christ’s Body, or concerning Christ’s present ministry in the heavenlies. Christ was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; “not in the way of the Gentiles.” Matthew 15:24 and Matthew 10:5 to 8. Blessings from Christ, while He was Jesus of Nazareth in the midst of Israel, were for the sons and daughters of Abraham, rather than for all the sons of Adam, as was the program later given by Christ to the apostles of the Gentiles. Luke 13:16. Luke 19:9. One Gentile man received a blessing from Christ while He was on earth, because the sons of Abraham interceded for him; because this Gentile had built a synagogue for Israel and loved that people of God. Luke 7:1 to 10. That is the only Gentile man to whom the Lord Jesus, on earth, ministered as far as the Four Gospels record. Therefore, the “whosoever” message of John 3:16 was not preached to Gentiles until after the door of faith was opened to Gentiles, according to Acts 14:27 (except the household and friends of Cornelius, the God-fearing, alms-giving, Jewloving Gentile.) All Scripture should be studied interpreted and applied as to whether it records that which took place before or after the open door of Acts 14:27.
Even the babe in Christ should know that the middle-wall of partition was not broken down while Jesus of Nazareth ministered on earth. His teachings in Matthew, Mark or Luke should be studied with the understanding that He had not yet blotted out and nailed to His cross the handwriting of ordinances. Therefore we are not to interpret Luke 16:16 to mean that the reign of law ceased with John’s proclamation of the Kingdom. The law was still in the way when Christ was on earth and overlapped far into the Book of Acts. The truth of Colossians 2:11 to 16 was wholly unknown to the Twelve in the early chapters of Acts.
The Twelve and Paul were under the law to those under the law all during the Book of Acts. Acts 10:28; Acts 16:3; Acts 20:16; Acts 21:18 to 28; Acts 23:1 to 7.
Much of the truth of the Gospel of John is pure grace based upon what Christ was to do and did on the cross, as the Lamb of God mentioned in the very first chapter and is therefore in many points compatible with Paul’s Grace Gospel.
Christ gave to the Eleven the so-called great commission. Matthew 28:19 and 20. Mark 16:14 to 18. But before He permitted them to preach to Israel on the day of Pentecost He added the twelfth apostle, Matthias. Acts 1:19 to 26. Their message was for all the house of Israel, devout Jews from every nation under heaven, including Israel that was far off. Acts 2:36 to 39; Acts 2:5; Daniel 9:7. When they had preached, by the mouth of Peter, (Acts 15:7) to Cornelius and his company, the record of their preaching ministry in Acts ceased. Then one of the Twelve died, and no successor was chosen to take the place of James. Acts 12:2. Judas died and a successor was taken. James died and no successor was chosen. After that, Paul is mentioned in the Book of Acts more than 130 times. He is the chief actor. He speaks of himself in Acts and his epistles, in the first person pronoun, “I”, “me”, “my”, nearly 1300 times. A number of times he emphasizes the fact that he was the apostle, the minister, the preacher, the teacher, the prisoner of the Lord Jesus for Gentiles, with “my gospel”, with “my deposit” (II Timothy 1:12), (original text), the unsearchable (not-to-be-tracked) riches among the Gentiles (Ephesians 3:8), the revelation to me. “the mystery” Galatians 1:11 to 17. Ephesians 3:1 to 11. In his epistles, written after the close of Acts, Paul mentions “the mystery” 12 times. He committed his deposit to Timothy, “that good thing” (that good deposit). II Timothy 1:14. The Twelve had a ministry of confirmation and preached what was in fulfillment of Scriptures, in the Acts. Acts 2:14, Acts 2:29 to 33, Acts 3:16 to 26, Acts 10:41, Acts 15:13 to 18. Paul declared that Christ’s revelations to him, committed to his trust, were truths concerning which Israel’s prophets were both ignorant and silent. God instructs students of the Scriptures to distinguish between things that differ.” Philippians 1:10 (original text). That which was prophecied must differ from that which had to be told for the first time to Paul, because it had not been prophesied. Paul had the gospel of the uncircumcision and Peter had the gospel of the circumcision. Galatians 2:7 to 9. Peter did not receive his message by revelation, but in the commissions of Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19 and, 20, Mark 16:14 to 18, Matthew 10:5 to 20. He did receive Divine authority to go to Cornelius, by a vision; but preached to him the word which God sent to the children of Israel, which included the earthly ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Acts 2:22 and Acts 10:36 to 39. Paul was never instructed to preach concerning the earthly ministry of Jesus of Nazareth to Gentiles when he was sent to them with the gospel of grace. He never referred to the earthly ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, in preaching that gospel to Gentiles; nothing of the Lord’s prayer, the sermon on the mount, the kingdom parables; no reference to the miracles of Christ. He mentioned several times the birth of Christ, but with the same stroke of the pen immediately His death and resurrection. His was the ministry of reconciliation which took the human race (back beyond the Abraham of the Four Gospels to Adam. Romans 5:13 to 20. Christ never mentioned Adam, while on earth: for He was the son of David the son of Abraham, a minister of the circumcision, confirming and fulfilling the covenants, the law and the prophets. Luke traced his ancestry, from Mary back to Adam. In the shadow of the cross the Lord Jesus said, “This is my blood in the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28. Under the terms and guarantee of the new covenant, all Israel shall be saved. Hebrews 9:9 to 12, Romans 11:24 to 30. The Twelve Apostles are to sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28.
The Premillenarians teach that, beginning with the death of Christ, God postponed Israel’s kingdom; interrupted or suspended His Abrahamic and Davidic covenants, so far as the guarantee of national blessings to Israel were concerned; ushered in a new dispensation with the advent of the Holy Spirit, declaring His purpose to build that Church spoken of by Christ in Matthew 16:17 to 19, which was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3 and 4; Ephesians 1:19 to 23). They teach that God, by the Holy Spirit, put into operation on the day of Pentecost, the new covenant, which has since gone on, without interruption from the day of Pentecost down to the present and will continue until the Body of Christ is raptured when Christ descends with the shout and trump of I Thessalonians 4:13 to 18. II Corinthians 3:5 to 12. Hebrews 10:9 to 15. Therefore they teach that the Body of Christ is the New Covenant Church, but they absolutely refuse to call that Church “Spiritual Israel”, teaching that Israel is something entirely different. They claim that Israel, by the terms of the new covenant, will be saved in the tribulation and kingdom, immediately following the rapture of the “New Covenant Church”.
The Postmillenarians declare that this will mean two different “New Covenant Churches”, (ekklesia), inasmuch as Israel, under the old covenant was called the “ekklesia” more than sixty times and while they were under that old covenant they were promised the new covenant. They intelligently ask the two questions. First, if God suspended or interrupted His Abrahamic and Davidic covenants, covering Israel’s national restoration, at some point in the past, why did He not at the very same point suspend the new covenant, which guarantees national redemption to Israel, if the Body of Christ is not Israel? And second; if under the terms of the new covenant there is to be such universal blessing, and, the new covenant has gone on uninterrupted since the day of Pentecost, why interrupt it by having Christ come back? The Premillenarians, who present the above described program for Israel and the Body of Christ, call themselves “dispensationalists.”
Some other dispensationalists are called by them “ultradispensationalists”, because they declare that all three of the covenants, the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New Covenants, with guarantees of blessings to Israel, were suspended at the same point along the line but not at the time of Christ’s death; but some years later as Israel was not set aside at Calvary, but after Acts 28:28. At that time there came the proclamation of “the dispensation of the “mystery”. Therefore they doubt very seriously whether there is Scriptural authority for calling the Body of Christ the “New Covenant Church” unless, by the same Divine authority the Church may be called “Israel”.
So far as the eternal Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ is concerned and salvation by faith in His shed, blood, the infallibility, inspiration and authority of all the Scriptures, redeemed postmillenarian, dispensationalist and ultradispensationalist are agreed. And let us beware of trying to take God’s place and pronounce His anathema upon any messenger of the Grace of God whose dispensationalism may differ from ours.
Personally I am an “ultra-conservative” dispensationalist. What are you?
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.