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Part 61: The Scriptural Answer to Those Who Teach That the Body of Christ Began After the Close of the Acts Period

Acts 28:25 to 28 has been called Israel’s “Ichabod.” Note these verses:

“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.”

These words were first given to Isaiah to proclaim to Israel at the time of spiritual declension. They are found in Isaiah 6:9 and 10. Then when Jesus Christ was on earth as Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of man, in the midst of Israel. After Christ had spoken of Israel’s unpardonable sin, in Matthew 12:31, He quoted these Isaiah verses in Matthew 13:14 and 15. Again they are recorded in John 12:37, 39 and 40:

“BUT THOUGH HE HAD DONE SO MANY MIRACLES BEFORE THEM, YET THEY BELIEVED NOT ON HIM.” “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.”

The fact that this same Divine judgment was spoken three different times to Israel, and each time when they rejected a very definite testimony from the Lord, seems significant. Each pronouncement seems to have marked a crisis in the history of Israel. So also did Romans 11:15 and Acts 18:5 and 6.

There are many Bible teachers who, though they fix the historical beginning of the Body of Christ in the second chapter of Acts, teach definitely and dogmatically that there was just as definite an offer of the kingdom to Israel in Acts 3:19 to 21, as there was in any of the Four Gospels before Christ’s death and resurrection. Some say that this offer was withdrawn with Stephen’s message in the seventh chapter of Acts. Others extend the offer to the tenth chapter of Acts. But the so-called “Ultra-dispensation-lists” say that the words of Acts 28:25 to 28 prove that the offer of the kingdom continued until this Divine judgment was pronounced by Paul in Rome, and that any Church before the close of the “Acts” period was different from the Church, which is called the Body of Christ, in Ephesians.

The Christian who teaches that the nation Israel was set aside with the words of Christ in Matthew 23:31 to 39, that that pronouncement marked the postponement of the kingdom, is guilty of a very serious blunder. Israel was addressed in Matthew 23, as “fools,” as “hypocrites,” as “blind guides,” as “serpents,” as “a generation of vipers.” But Israel was very affectionately and tenderly addressed, in Acts 3:25 and Acts 3:17: “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.” “And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.” Something transpired between the message of Matthew 2:3 and the message of Acts 3. It was Christ’s prayer on the cross: “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. And the Father postponed the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jews for about 35 years.

Then note again the significant words of the Holy Spirit in Acts 5:30 to 32: “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. And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, Whom God hath given to them that obey Him.” Here Christ was again presented to Israel as Prince and Saviour. Israel had not then committed the unpardonable sin and salvation had not yet been sent to Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy.

Thus we learn of these definite offers to Israel. First: during the days of their prophets in the Old Testament. Second: during the days of the Son of man. Third: during the “Acts” testimony of the Twelve to Israel. Read the parable of the Vineyard in Matthew 21:33 to 46.

It is also significant that the Book of Acts closes before the acts of the Apostle Paul were finished. It was several years after the close of the “Acts” period when Paul said, “I have finished my course.” The last sixteen chapters of Acts is the record of the spiritual activities of this one apostle, and only those who had dealings with him are mentioned in those chapters. Why then did the “Acts” end before Paul’s acts ended? Why did Paul write about one-half of his Epistles before the close of Acts, and about one-half after they closed? Why is it that in the Epistles of Paul, written after the close of the “Acts” period, there is no mention of any of the sign-gifts of I Corinthians 12:8 to 11? Why no mention of signs, miracles, tongues and physical healing? Why, in Acts 19, did Paul perform miracles of healing and then some years later leave Trophimus at Miletum sick and write faithful Timothy to take wine for his sickness? II Timothy 4:20, I Timothy 5:23.

Many men of God, have learned from diligently studying the Scriptures that a change in God’s spiritual program took place after the close of “Acts”; that God then sent salvation to the Gentiles as had never been done before. A few men have gone so far as to imagine that anew and entirely different Church of God began after the close of the “Acts” period.

We here present some of the Scriptures which they use:

1. Acts 28:20

“For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you and to speak with you: because that for THE HOPE OF ISRAEL I am bound with this chain.”

2. Romans 15:27

“It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made PARTAKERS OF THEIR SPIRITUAL THINGS, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.”

3. II Corinthians 3:6

“Who also hath made us able MINISTERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth but the spirit giveth life.”

4. Acts 26:21 and 22

“For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying NONE OTHER THINGS THAN THOSE WHICH THE PROPHETS AND MOSES DID SAY SHOULD COME.”

5. I Corinthians 12:28

“AND GOD HATH SET SOME IN THE CHURCH, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”

6. Galatians 4:26

“But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” 7. I Corinthians 12:17

“If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? “If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?”

8. Romans 11:17

“And if some of the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree.”

9. Acts 14:22

“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

10. Acts 17:7

“Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another King, one Jesus.”

11. Galatians 3:7

“Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are THE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM.”

Presently we shall consider Paul’s statement “for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” But now let us consider the statement always used by these “extreme” brethren in defense of their theory concerning two Bodies.

“SAYING NONE OTHER THINGS THAN THOSE WHICH THE PROPHETS AND MOSES DID SAY SHOULD COME.” Acts 26: 22.

Now let us do what they seldom do, let us study verse 22 in the light of verse 23: “That Christ should suffer, that He should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people (Israel) and to the Gentiles.”

These brethren frequently quote the “none other things” of Acts 26:22; but they generally fail to quote the qualifications in verse 23. Paul was referring to very specific Divine Truth. He was in trouble for preaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ and for telling the Jews that the resurrected Jesus had sent him to the Gentiles. Acts 22:17 to 21. Acts 23:6.

Again note Acts 26:22 and 23. Paul there stated that Israel’s prophets said that Christ should suffer, that He should be the first to rise from the dead, and should show light unto Israel and to the Gentiles. Paul was not in any way making any dogmatic statement that all of the spiritual program, which he received from Christ and presented in Thessalonians, Corinthians, Acts, Galatians and Romans, was prophesied by Israel’s Old Testament prophets. Such an idea is absurd and erroneous. Paul did not even hint at such an affirmation; for such a statement would have been contrary to fact.

UNPROPHESIED TRUTH

In Paul’s statement in Romans Six and Eleven and in II Corinthians 5, we have the negation and repudiation of any such foolish claim. Note Paul’s statement in Romans 11:15:

“FOR IF THE CASTING AWAY OF THEM (ISRAEL) BE THE RECONCILING OF THE WORLD, WHAT SHALL THE RECEIVING OF THEM BE, BUT LIFE FROM THE DEAD?”

The casting away of Israel meant the reconciling of the Gentiles as proclaimed in II Corinthians 5:16 to 21 and in Romans 5:9 to 11. No prophet of Israel ever mentioned or knew anything concerning the dispensational change stated in the eleventh chapter of Romans. That radical change brought in the unprophesied ministry of reconciliation.

We may observe that reconciliation, in Romans 5:10 and 11, is mentioned in connection with the two men, Adam and Christ. Reconciliation is related to the old creation and the new creation.

Surely no prophet of Israel foretold the truth recorded in the sixth chapter of Romans; that by one Divine baptism the believer, whether Jew or Gentile, would be joined to Christ, identified with Him in death, burial and resurrection, under grace, and not under law. The reign of grace mentioned in Romans 5:20 and 21, is identical with the dispensation of grace in Ephesians 3:1 to 3, which was God’s mystery until revealed to Paul. The Divine baptism of Romans 6:3 is identical with the Divine baptism of Colossians 2:12 and Ephesians 4:5. The “MY GOSPEL” of Paul, in Romans 2:16, and Romans 16:25, is identical with the “MY GOSPEL” of Paul in II Timothy 2:8.

No prophet of Israel ever had the slightest intimation and therefore, said absolutely nothing concerning much of the “Acts period” ministry of the apostle born out of due season. The brethren who teach that the “Post-Acts Church” was a different Church from the “Acts” Church declare that the Body of Ephesians and Colossians is not the Body described as follows in I Corinthians 12:12 and 13.

“FOR AS THE BODY IS ONE, AND HATH MANY MEMBERS, AND ALL THE MEMBERS OF THAT ONE BODY, BEING MANY, ARE ONE BODY: SO ALSO IS CHRIST. FOR BY ONE SPIRIT ARE WE ALL BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY, WHETHER WE BE JEWS OR GENTILES, WHETHER WE BE BOND OR FREE; AND HAVE BEEN ALL MADE TO DRINK INTO ONE SPIRIT. FOR THE BODY IS NOT ONE MEMBER, BUT MANY.”

However, we know that the Church is still one Body and that every sinner saved by grace becomes a member of this one Body by the Divine baptism which unites all believers together, one in Christ and members one of another. But these brethren ask “how about I Corinthians 12:28? Where are the sign-gifts?” These signs and miracles and gifts are missing. Is this because present-day members of the Body of Christ are not as spiritual and not as faithful as were those Corinthian saints, or have they been dropped from God’s spiritual program somewhere along the line, by God’s will? Did God begin a new Church when the signs and miracles ceased?

We learn as we read all of the two Corinthian Epistles, that the Corinthians were the least spiritual and the most carnal of any saints to whom Paul ministered. They were carnal; they defrauded one another. They misbehaved when they partook of the Lord’s Supper. They were divided. But remember, they exercised all of the sign-gifts. I Corinthians 12:8 to 11.

Thus we see that performing miracles, tongues, healing, casting out demons, and raising the dead, etc., was not the proof of extraordinary faith, or spiritual conduct. But note I Corinthians 13:8: “Love never faileth; but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail: whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” The verbs in this verse have the same thought “shall be done away.”

None of the Corinthian saints were more spiritual or more faithful than Trophimus, Epaphroditus or Timothy. Let us read II Timothy 4:20: “Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.” Philippians 2:27: “For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.” And I Timothy 5:23: “Drink no longer water but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake, and thine often infirmities.”

Note here, three faithful saints were sick. One was raised up in answer to prayer; one was told to take a physical remedy; and one was left sick. But not a trace of any “sign” healing or miraculous healing by Paul or any other Christian with the gift of healing. A great change! When did it take place? Again we affirm that the judgment of Acts 28:25 to 28 marked a crisis in God’s dealings with Israel and a change in God’s spiritual program. But there is no scriptural proof that an entirely new and different Body began after the close of Acts.

NONE OTHER THINGS—Acts 26:22

The so-called “Extremists,” “Bullingerites,” .. Welchites,” or “Hyper-dispensationalists” use the statement of Paul in Acts 26:22 to prove that during the “Acts” period, in Paul’s Epistles to the Thessalonians, Galatians, Corinthians and Romans, all written before Paul’s statement in Acts 26:22, Paul taught only such Divine truth as was in fulfillment of prophecy mentioned in the thirty-nine Books, from Genesis to Malachi. They claim that every message of Paul’s, as well as of the Twelve, in the Book of Acts, was a “confirmation” message; that nothing of the Church of the Mystery was revealed to or by Paul in his pre-prison Epistles. If Paul knew anything about the Mystery of Ephesians and Colossians, “the unsearchable riches” of Ephesians 3:8, before he reached Rome, they declare that he never said anything about it during the “Acts” period. They try to prove by Acts 26:22 that the Church of God of the “Acts” period, was an Israelitish prophesied Church and not “the Church of the Mystery,” the Body of Christ, described in Ephesians.

Israel’s prophets were silent and ignorant concerning Paul’s message and ministry of grace recorded in Romans, Galatians and Corinthians. They were as wholly ignorant and silent concerning “the reconciliation,” “the new creation,” “the identification” and “the one Divine baptism” of Paul’s “Acts” ministry, as they were concerning the one Body of Romans 12:4 and 5 and I Corinthians 12:13.

In Romans 8:28 to 30 the Holy Spirit directed Paul to write concerning the eternal purpose of God, which is the very heart of the mystery, the same eternal purpose declared in Ephesians 3:11, 1:4 and 5 and 11, and in II Timothy 1:9.

Read I Corinthians 2:6 to 8 where Paul wrote of that which was ordained to our glory before the world was, that which was hidden, that which was the mystery.

The carnal babes of Corinth could never have received the profound truth later addressed to the faithful in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 1:1 and 2. Moreover, there is no Bible proof that Paul wrote during the “Acts” period of some of the phases of the mystery which are recorded in Ephesians and Colossians.

But this by no means proves that the “Acts” Church had an Israelitish hope and that a new Church, with a different hope and calling, began with the close of the “Acts” period.

THE HOPE OF ISRAEL

Just what did Paul mean when he said, “BECAUSE THAT FOR THE HOPE OF ISRAEL I AM BOUND WITH THIS CHAIN?” In Ephesians 3:1 and 2, Paul calls himself the prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ for Gentiles. In Ephesians 6:19 and 20 and in Colossians 4:3 and 4, he declares that he is bound for the mystery. Most assuredly Israel’s “Kingdom” hope was different from “the Mystery,” After reading Paul’s Epistles the diligent student will believe, as many Bible teachers teach, that Paul experienced more than one imprisonment in Rome.

In I Timothy 1:1, the Apostle Paul called the Lord Jesus, “our hope.” As members of His Body we are to look for His glorious appearing, which is our blessed hope. Titus 2:13. His death on the cross is called, in Hebrews 7:19, “the better hope.” By His resurrection from the dead believers have been begotten into “a living hope.” I Peter 1:3 to 5. With the realization of the blessed hope, Christ, our life will appear and we will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:3 and 4.

Note Christ’s words spoken while He was in the midst of Israel: “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?” John 11:25 and 26. Then note I Corinthians 15:13 and 17: “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen.” “And if Christ be not raised your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” The believer’s hope is the resurrection hope. No resurrection; no hope.

Paul, in Acts 28:20, when referring to “the hope of Israel” was speaking of resurrection. When did he become a prisoner? The answer is in Acts 21 to 26. Hear His own words: “Of the hope and resurrection of the dead, I am called in question.” Acts 23:6. “Believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.” “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” Acts 24:14 and 15. Note the charge against Paul: “But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, Whom Paul affirmed to be alive.” Acts 25:19. Now note Paul’s words to Agrippa: “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers. Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” Acts 26:6 to 8.

You now can easily answer the question, What is meant in Acts 28:20 by “the hope of Israel.” Here we have Paul’s own explanation of his statement of Acts 28:20. Let us consider another hope of Israel in the statement of Romans 11:26

“AND SO ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE SAVED: AS IT IS WRITTEN, THERE SHALL COME OUT OF SION THE DELIVERER, AND SHALL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.”

What is the meaning of the statement, “all Israel shall be saved?” We read in Jeremiah 31:31 to 37 and in Hebrews 8:7 to 13 that God will make the New Covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah: “And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me from the least to the greatest.” Hebrews 8:11.

Certainly we know, in the light of the second chapter of Romans and many other Scriptures, that every individual Israelite is not going to be saved. But we do know from Jeremiah 30:11 and other Scriptures, that Israel is going to be saved out of the great tribulation. We do know from the vision of the resurrected dry bones of Ezekiel. 37 and from Amos 9:11 to 15, and scores of other prophecies, that the House of Israel is going to be reestablished in the land of Canaan. We do know that the twelve apostles are yet to sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28. We do know that God’s ancient people shall fulfill Zechariah 12:10: “They shall look upon Him Whom they have pierced.” And we do know that a nation shall be suddenly born: “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” Isaiah 66:8.

Note Ezekiel 37:21 and 22: “And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one King shall be King to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.”

I WILL BUILD AGAIN THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID

Then there is scriptural authority for believing and teaching that building again the tabernacle of David and again planting Israel in Canaan, never to be uprooted, is “the hope of Israel.” Of course, all Christians, in dealing with the subject of Israel’s future, “see through a glass darkly” as to the kingdom place of Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah and Shem. They were not Israelites and they were not members of the Body. No one seems to know whether or not Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Joseph, Moses, and Daniel, and others, are going to reside on earth in Canaan in their resurrection bodies. If these Israelites are to live as human beings on the earth, then surely their bodies must be quite different from the bodies of the redeemed Israelites who will be alive during the great tribulation and who will not die. These living Jews will go to the holy land in bodies of flesh and blood, and live in earthly houses in their land, eat and drink, and worship the King of Jerusalem. Of course we know, from Ezekiel 36:26: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” So the “Kingdom” Israelites will experience the new birth.

But Paul, in Acts 28:20, was not in any way referring to Israel’s restoration and occupation of Canaan when he mentioned the hope of Israel.”

Before Paul uttered these words in Rome, he had written to the Romans, Jews and Gentiles, concerning the one Divine baptism that had joined them to Christ and had made them members of the one Body. Note the strangers of Rome present at Pentecost. Acts 2:10. Paul had written that henceforth they should not know Christ after the flesh; that they were now new creatures. II Corinthians 5:16 and 17. He had written I Thessalonians 4:13 to 18 concerning the rapture of the sleeping and living saints. He had written that believing Jews and Gentiles had been baptized into one Body by one Spirit. I Corinthians 12:13. Hence it is the height of folly to teach that the hope of believers in Thessalonians, Corinthians and Romans was Israel’s “Canaan”. hope. “The hope of Israel,” which Peter presented to Israel’s rulers in Acts 3,19 to 21 proved by the statement of Acts 3:24, was not the hope presented in I Thessalonians 4:13 to 18.

Some of the so-called “Ultra-dispensationalists,” who are frequently called “Bullingerites,” but who really follow the more extreme “dispensationalism” of Mr. Chas. Welch, of London, England, state that there was another hope of Israel during the “Acts” period. They teach that there was an “Israelitish Church” until after the pronouncement of Acts 28:25 to 28, and it might be called “a body,” but that it was neither the Church, nor the Body, mentioned in Paul’s Prison Epistles. They claim that the members of the “Acts,” “Israelitish Church” was not an earthly hope, but a heavenly hope. However it was not the super-celestial hope of “the Church of the Mystery.”

Because Paul said, “we are able ministers of the New Covenant” and that New Covenant was made with Israel, Paul wrote to the Corinthians concerning their place in “The New Covenant Israelitish Church.” They quote Romans 11:24: “For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree; how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?” They attempt to prove by the eleventh of Romans, the saved Gentiles became a part of an Israelitish Church, which was separate, different, and distinct from the Church of Ephesians. They think they can prove this with the statement in Romans 15:27, where it is stated that the saved Gentiles were made partakers of Israel’s spiritual things.

They have neglected to compare this statement with the “joint-sharers” of Ephesians 3:6, which repudiates their fallacy.

TWO FATHERS—ONE FATHER

But they ask how are we to reconcile the statement of Romans 4:16 with the statement of Ephesians 4:6? In Ephesians 4:6 we are told that we have “one Father,” whereas in Romans 4:16 we are told that Abraham is our father, and in I Corinthians 8:6, we are told God is our Father. Therefore during the “Acts” period members of the Israelitish Church had two fathers. We might refer them to the two statements of the Lord on earth. Note John 8:39 and 41, where the Jews said first “Abraham is our father.” Then they said, “We have one Father, God.” Then note what Christ said, `And call no man your father upon the earth: for One is your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 23:9. And yet Christ acknowledged that Abraham was the Jews’ father.

Then note Galatians 4:26: “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” And Hebrews 12:22: “But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.” These brethren link up these statements with the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21:2 to show the sphere of blessing and distinction of the “Acts” “Israelitish Church.” They prove that it is “Israelitish’.’ by the “twelves” in Revelation 21:12 to 14, “twelve gates,” “twelve angels,” “twelve tribes of Israel,” “twelve apostles.”

Of course you and I should ask ourselves this question, “what does this city have to do with Paul’s message and description of the Church of the Mystery in Ephesians and Colossians?” As we should ask ourselves how any one can place “the Church of the Mystery” in the first three chapters of the Revelation?

These brethren teach three spheres of blessings, three hopes: 1, “terrestrial,” 2. “celestial,” and 3. “super-celestial.” Some of them say when Paul spoke of “the hope of Israel,” be was not referring to the first,” the terrestrial,” but to the second, “the celestial.” But they affirm that when Paul uttered the words of Acts 28:20, the Lord had not yet revealed to him “the super-celestial” sphere of blessing, mentioned in Ephesians 1:3 to 23, where Christ is in the “far above heavenlies.” It is specifically to this “super-celestial” sphere of blessing that Paul refers in Ephesians 4:1: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” They affirm that this hope and calling has nothing to do with the hope and calling of the “Acts” Israelitish Church. This makes the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ different redeemed groups. These brethren declare that the rapture of the saints, in I Thessalonians 4:13 to 18 refers to the Lord’s “parousia” and is quite different from the blessed hope of Titus 2:13 and Colossians 3:3 and 4.

Those who teach that “the hope of Israel” was their “Canaan” hope, quote Acts 17:7, where Paul taught that there was another King, Jesus. He was proclaiming the Canaan Kingdom hope here. They confirm this by the statement in Acts 14:22 that the people had to enter the kingdom of God through much tribulation, as Israel will go from their great tribulation to Canaan.

THE BODY OF I CORINTHIANS 12:103 NOT THE BODY OF EPHESIANS

The disciples of Dr. Bullinger and Mr. Welch claim that the Body of Ephesians could not be the Body of I Corinthians 12:13, for several reasons. One we have noted, I Corinthians 12:28, that God does not set these gifts in the Body today. Again they claim that human beings made up the head of the Body in I Corinthians 12:14 to 23, whereas only the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Body in Ephesians.

But we have observed that the one Divine baptism of Romans 6:3 and 4, that joins believers to Christ, is the one Divine baptism of Ephesians 4:5 and Colossians 2:12. And we learn by comparing the result of the one Divine baptism in Romans 12:4 and 5, as to the one Body, joined to Christ, and joined to one another, is the same as the “Ephesians” baptism and one Body. The same unity of the same Body is set forth in both Epistles.

These brethren have failed to note the dispensational change taught in Romans 11:15.