For nearly fifteen centuries many of the blessed truths of redemption were lost and the so-called Christian Churches carried a program of a Christian religion so corrupt, so paganized, that even the simple message of salvation was lost in the religious mixture. We doubt not that there was a remnant according to the election of grace, but so far as the masses were concerned, they knew nothing of the Pauline truth.
With all Christendom under the control of corrupt religious leaders, with ecclesiastical man-made hierarchies, it was no easy task to deliver the deluded people from the corruption. How to get at them with the message was a real problem. It required much suffering, much prayer, much labor, and much time, to get to them with the message of justification by faith. But multitudes were reached and thousands delivered, and the reformation was on. It was truly a religious revolution. It was a glorious step toward the recovery of lost truths.
Other “reform” preachers followed Luther. Little by little the grace message was uncovered and glorious church truths were recovered.
About one hundred years ago, a number of servants of the Lord sounded forth the Blessed Hope of the Church. Many messengers of grace proclaimed the truth that there was but one Church of Christ; that that Church was not Israel; that the members of that Church are not under the law; that God’s purpose in this age is not to Christianize the whole world and bring in the kingdom, but to gather out a people for His Name. They are called Premillenarians, or Premillennialists, because they teach that when the last member of the Church has been added, the Lord will return for His Church. Then He will return with His Church to deliver the Nation Israel out of the great tribulation and then establish His kingdom on earth.
Surely these Premillennial Grace preachers recovered for the Church many blessed truths that were buried beneath the decrees, traditions and heresies of ecclesiastical lords over God’s heritage. The messengers of grace, who sought to separate Israel and the Church, to shew that there were dispensational changes in God’s dealings with different people, to deliver Christians completely from the law, and to convince believers that God has a special election purpose in this dispensation of grace, were branded as false teachers, heretics, and trouble makers. They were maligned and persecuted. False charges were brought against their characters in an effort to discredit their testimony. Their opponents would not meet them with an open Bible but hated them, condemned them, because they dared to teach contrary to established Church practices and denominational doctrinal creeds.
But observe what has taken place within the past century. There are multitudes of Premillennialists who are looking for the Blessed Hope and who are not entangled with Israel’s yoke of bondage, or expecting the Kingdom to come before the King comes. But the majority of these Premillennial Grace preachers have followed their forerunners and instructors into the serious blunder of believing that the Nation Israel was set aside with the death of their Messiah. The truth is, that Luke 21:20 and Matthew 22:7 did not have fulfillment until after the close of the “Acts” period, some thirty years after the death of Christ. Israel had the privilege of national life, temple worship, and peaceful habitation in Jerusalem until after Paul reached Rome as the prisoner of the Lord; first for the “hope of Israel” and then for “the mystery.” Acts 28:20; Ephesians 6:19; Colossians 4:3.
Because of this serious blunder these Premillenarians could not, or did not, recover the high and blessed truth concerning the One New Man of Ephesians, Beginning the Dispensation of the Grace of God and the Dispensation of the Mystery with the day of Pentecost, continuing with Israel’s water baptism, they have made little or no attempt to obey Ephesians 4:3 to 7 or Ephesians 3:9.
Until students of the Word of God are willing to advance from 33 A.D. to 63 A.D. with the desolation of Israel, they cannot see the difference between the Pentecost Church of Acts 2 and 3 and Body Church of Ephesians 1:19 to Ephesians 2:21 So long as they insist on the baptisms of the Pentecost Church, instead of the one baptism of the Body, they will not see, or make others to see, the dispensation of the mystery.
Most of the Premillenarians who will not see, are resorting to the same tactics and methods as their opponents employed in the beginning of their movements. But regardless of the sacrifice, persecution, and suffering, we must march on for the recovery of the glorious truths concerning the Body of Christ.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.