When? How? Where? Why?
I wonder how many, or rather how few, Christians begin to comprehend the statement of Romans 5:20: “Where sin abounded grace did much MORE (over) abound. Much more Super-abound. But God Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved). Ephesians 2:4 to 6.
Some years ago I was called to the bedside of a dying saint. A dying saint seventy-two years of age. He had been a saint for two years. He became a saint at the age of seventy. I shall never forget that scene. What an expression of peace and joy was in his eyes! But mingled with that look of joy were tears. His face was wet with tears. As he gripped my hand in his he cried, “O, the love of God, O, the matchless grace of my Saviour.” “Just to think”, he continued, “God spared the life of this blaspheming, profane, wicked infidel until one night two years ago He wonderfully saved me by the precious blood of the lord Jesus Christ when I was seventy years of age.” He had learned by experience the truth of Romans 5:10: “For if, when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
That man had blasphemed the Holy Spirit, the Holy Son, the Holy Father, the Holy Book, the Holy Church and everything else holy, not only once, but time and again, and yet he was gloriously saved. None of his sins were unpardonable, for they were all pardoned. According to Acts 13:39, when he believed, he was justified from all things. According to Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 2:11, Romans 3:24, God forgave that wicked man all of his sins for Christ’s sake. God forgave him all his trespasses; and without a cause, by His grace, through the redemptive work of Christ, God declared that believing sinner a righteous man, fit for His presence in heaven.
If that sinful man had died at the age of seventy or seventy-two, still rejecting the gospel of grace, without faith in what the Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross of Calvary, all of his sins would have been unpardoned; but not one of them unpardonable. They were all pardoned when he believed.
Christ committed to the Apostle Paul “the dispensation of the grace of God”. Ephesians 3:1 and 2. Under the reign of grace many condemned sinners have gone to their graves despising the grace of God, refusing to respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, failing to receive Christ as Saviour. They have, therefore, left this world with all of their sins unpardoned; but not one of them unpardonable, if they had accepted the pardon.
The sin of unbelief is no more unpardonable than is the sin of adultery, murder, or any other sin. There is no unpardonable sin in this day of grace. Christ said: 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. But now to our question: “Who committed the unpardonable sin?” “When?” “Where?” “How?” “Why?”
First, we dogmatically affirm that it was Israel who committed the unpardonable sin. It was the “why” of the unpardonable sin that caused Paul to write the words of Romans 11:33: “O the depth of the riches both of the knowledge and wisdom of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!”
Perhaps after reading the words of the Lord Jesus concerning Israel, in John 12:37 to 41, you too have cried out: “O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!”
Let us read again John 12:37 to 41: “But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him: That the 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 hear, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory and spake of Him.”
If we cry out Romans 11:33, after reading these verses, we will say it again after reading Acts 28:25 to 28, where the language of John 12:39 and 40 is found.
Note the language of John 12:39: “Therefore they could not believe because Esaias said again.” “They could not believe.” Why? Because the unsearchable riches of Christ for Gentiles had to be committed to Paul before all Israel could be saved. Because the reconciling of the world depended upon the blindness and casting away of Israel. Christ had to be rejected, crucified, buried and raised from the dead. The “past-finding-out” ways of God meant that Israel had to commit the unpardonable sin so that the dispensation of grace for Gentile could be committed unto Paul.
The Bible student, who begins the dispensation of the grace of God, or the reconciling of the Gentiles, before Israel was cast away, before Israel committed the unpardonable sin, doth greatly err, not knowing the Scriptures.
What then is the unpardonable sin, and when did Israel commit it” All Bible teachers, when speaking on the subject of “the unpardonable sin” read Matthew 12:31 and 32. Let us read these two verses:
“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”
In connection with these verses concerning Israel’s pardonable sin and Israel’s unpardonable sin, let us study the Parable of the Vineyard, in Matthew 21:33 to 46, especially verses 35, 37, 38, 39, 40 and 45, and the words of Stephen, recorded in Acts 7:51, 52, 55 and 56. “And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard His parables, they perceived that He spake of them.” Matthew 21:35, 37 to 40 and 45.
“Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always RESIST THE HOLY SPIRIT: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which chewed before of the coming of the Just One; of Whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and THE SON OF MAN STANDING on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:51, 52, 55 and 56
In Acts 7 we learn that Stephen recited Israel’s history from Abraham to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. He was addressing Israel. No doubt they thought again of the Parable of the Vineyard spoken against them by Christ on earth. Although Christ, on earth, many times referred to Himself as “the Son of man”, Stephen was the first man to call Him the Son of man (except John 12:34). Israel had betrayed and murdered the Son of man. Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit. Now Israel was sinning against the Holy Spirit. Israel was committing the unpardonable sin of Matthew 12:33. Let us quote again Matthew 12:31 and 32: “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world (age) neither in the world (age) to come.”
Israel’s pardonable sin was their sin against “the Son of man”. They were His betrayers and murderers. But Christ said, “The Son of man must be lifted up.” John 3:14. “The Son of man goeth as it is written of Him,” Matthew 26:24 “As it is written of Him.” What happened when Israel and Pilate put the Son of man to death on the tree? “For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” The Son of man had to go just when He did and just as He did. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister “and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45.
This then is why Israel’s sin against “the Son of man” was pardonable. This is why those tender words of Acts 3:14 to 18 and 26: “But Ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to he granted unto You: And killed the Prince of Life Whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things which God before hath 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.” Knowing the Father’s plan and purpose, Christ on the cross prayed “Father forgive them: for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34.
The Son of man went to Calvary and then, through the open heavens, Stephen saw Him standing at God’s right hand. That was a reminder of Israel’s great sin. What a sin! But it was pardonable. Israel had only to receive the pardon. The rulers refused the pardon in the holy land. The Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost. Many Israelites repented and received the Holy Spirit. More of them, including the high priest and rulers, resisted the Holy Spirit and blasphemed. They committed the unpardonable sin.
It is interesting to compare Matthew 12:14 and Acts 5:35: “Then the Pharisees went out and held a council against Him, how they might betray Him.”—“When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.”
The first was at the time the Lord told of Israel’s unpardonable sin; the second was when Israel’s rulers were committing the unpardonable sin. We shall presently quote the verses immediately preceding Acts 5:33. But let us remember that God from Matthew 1 to Acts 7 was dealing with a Nation as well as with individuals.
The question as to when Israel committed the unpardonable sin is a very important one. The correct answer will save us from the common blunder of so many spiritual Bible-teachers, who have the ministry of reconciliation, the dispensation of the grace of God and the dispensation of the mystery begin on the day of Pentecost. No dispensation of grace, no reconciling of the world until the casting-away of Israel.
Surely we are quite stupid, if we have carefully read Acts 3:14 to 26 and teach that Israel had been cast away at that time. Now carefully study
Acts 5:30 to 33.
“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.
When they heard that they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay him.”
Note several facts here: Christ raised up. For whom? Remember His words in Matthew 15:24: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Christ exalted! For whom and for what purpose? “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.” Acts 5:31. What was the Holy Spirit doing? Witnessing the fact that the Son of man, Whom Israel had sinned against, was Israel’s Prince and Saviour, to give Israel repentance and forgiveness. The commission of Matthew 10:5 to 8 was still binding: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles;” “go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Nothing for Gentiles in Acts 5:30 to 32. No reconciling of the world yet. No casting-away of Israel yet. No sending salvation to Gentiles because of Israel’s fall at the time of Acts 5:30 to 33.
God wanted all Israel to know that the Jesus Whom they had slain was both Lord and Christ. Acts 2:36. The Holy Spirit was bearing witness of that fact. Israel now had the opportunity to sin against the Holy Spirit and commit the unpardonable sin. Stephen’s message, in Acts 7, shows us that Israel had not yet been cast away; In that chapter we learn how Israel was committing the unpardonable sin.
We should be interested to compare Christ’s prayer for Israel in the hour of His death, with Stephen’s prayer for Israel in the hour of his death. “And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:60.
Just what did Stephen’s prayer accomplish for Israel? It is interesting to note that shortly after this prayer, Philip went down to Samaria. It is equally interesting to note another fact, namely, that for some time after Stephen’s prayer, the disciples preached to none but Jews only. Acts 11:19. Another interesting fact: “And at that time there was a great persecution against the Church which was at Jerusalem: and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles:” Acts 8:1. And still another interesting fact: It was several years after Stephen’s prayer before the first company of Gentiles received the message of salvation from any of The Twelve. Even then salvation was not sent to Cornelius to provoke Israel to jealousy, for the dispensation of the grace of God had not yet been committed to Paul, No one then had the ministry of reconciliation in accordance with Romans 11:15—Israel had not yet been cast away.
It is after the death of one of the Twelve and the commission of Acts 13:2, that the Scriptures tell us of the new program given to the Apostle to the Gentiles. We are introduced to this new program by the experience of three men, “Bar-Jesus”, “Sergius Paulus”, and “Saul” who became “Paulus.”
We quote first
Acts 12:1 and 2.
“Now about that time Herod the King stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the Church. And he killed James, the brother of John, with the sword.
“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”
Acts 13:6 to 12.
“And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-Jesus: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the Word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul), filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, And said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing; the sun for a season. And immediately there fall on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord:”
The student of the Word who misses this dispensational miracle, which gives us the key to the mystery of Romans 11, the blindness and casting away of Israel, and the reconciling of the Gentiles, misses a very important lesson.
The fall of Israel is indicated first by the death of one of the Twelve and then by the dispensational miraculous judgment upon “Barjesus”, that is, blindness upon the child of Jehovah-Saviour. Israel is the child of Jehovah-Saviour. “Israel is My son.” Exodus 4:22.
Concerning the death of James, one of the Twelve, we might ask two important questions. First, why was a successor chosen to Judas to keep the number twelve, whereas no successor was chosen to take the place of James? It was necessary to have twelve from Acts 1 to Acts 11. Twelve Apostles—Twelve Tribes. Second, why does the Holy Spirit after Acts 13:2 cease to record the spiritual activities of any of the Twelve in the Book of Acts except as they have dealings with Paul?
Now as to the dispensational miraculous judgment. Bar-Jesus blind for a season. What happened to the Gentile Paulus? “When he saw what was done, believed” “He was astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.” Here is another appropriate place for Romans 11:32. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!”
Bar-Jesus—“the child or son of Jehovah Saviour”—blind for a season. This is the mystery of Romans 11 in miracle. Israel’s blindness for a season the doctrine of God so that Gentiles might be reconciled as well as astonished. Saul became Paul and then follows Romans 11:13, “I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.”
Today most Bible teachers delight to minimize Paul’s office and count his office the same as Peter’s. Perhaps they have failed to study Galatians 2:7 to 9; Ephesians 3:8; I Timothy 2:7; II Timothy 1:11; Romans 15:16 to 20 and I Corinthians. 3:10.
In our study, Romans 11:15 is a very important verse.
“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?”
The casting away of Israel meant the reconciling of the world. When did the reconciling of the world begin? When did Israel commit the unpardonable sin? Surely the eleventh chapter of Romans is a dispensational chapter. showing that Israel has been set aside, in blindness, until God accomplishes another purpose in this age of grace. Of this mystery God would have no one ignorant. Some dispensational Bible teachers teach that Israel was set aside with the judgment pronounced by Christ on earth, recorded in Matthew 23:33 and Matthew 23:37 to 39:
“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not. BEHOLD, YOUR. HOUSE IS LEFT UNTO YOU DESOLATE. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
They declare that was the end of Israel as a nation until the second coming of Christ. Then and there Israel, the serpents and generation of vipers, were set aside. “Your house is left unto you desolate.”
But it is strange that these men of God have not studied, with Matthew 23:33 to 39, such other Scriptures as Luke 21:20, Matthew 22:7 and Acts 3:15 to 26. We quote
“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.”
Acts 3:17 and 25
“And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. 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.”
Why were the same serpents and generation of vipers tenderly addressed as children of the covenant and offered the return of Messiah and His Kingdom? Why was their crime of killing the Prince of Life to be forgiven on the grounds of ignorance? Because of the prayer of the Son of man on the cross: “Forgive . . . they know not.”
According to Luke 21:20 and Matthew 22:7 the execution of the Divine judgment pronounced in Matthew 23:33 to 39, which would bring desolation to Israel and Jerusalem, would not take place until armies were surrounding Jerusalem. Surely this did not take place before or on the day of Pentecost. Neither did it take place at any time during the thirty years covered by the Book of Acts.
At the time the Son of man warned Israel of the unpardonable sin, at the time He pronounced the judgment of Matthew 23:33 to 39, the Holy Spirit had not yet been given. John 7:39. Therefore Israel could not have committed the unpardonable sin of Matthew 12:31, against the Holy Spirit, before the day of Pentecost. Moreover, Israel never enjoyed the favor and protection of Rome more than they did during the thirty years covered by the Book of Acts. During these thirty years not only did the city of Jerusalem continue to stand in peace; but the temple stood, and both saved and unsaved Israelites had access to it. More than twenty-five years after the pronouncement of Christ, in Matthew 23:33 to 39, Paul hurried to get to Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. Acts 20:16. After that James, the Lord’s brother, had access to the temple in Jerusalem. Acts 21:18 to 25. Even after that, note Paul’s apology to Israel’s highpriest: “And they that stood by, said, Revilest thou God’s high priest? Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shall not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.” Acts 23:4 and 5.
There is no record in Acts that Peter, or any other servant of God, preached reconciliation to Gentiles during the first nine chapters, or for some seven or eight years after Pentecost. Certainly the words of Peter in Acts 5:29 to 33, prove that Israel at that time had not committed the unpardonable sin. Israel had not been cast away at that time.
Perhaps you have also observed that about six years elapsed between the day Saul of Tarsus was converted (chapter 9) and the day repentance unto life was granted unto the first Gentiles. Acts 11:18.
Then remember that at the time the Holy Spirit, in Acts 13:2, said, “separate unto me Barnabas and Saul for the work”, Saul had been saved for about ten years and had been preaching the faith which once he destroyed. Galatians 1:23. The faith which Saul once destroyed was quite different from the message and ministry mentioned in II Corinthians 5:16 to 21: “hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:18) ; “hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation”. (II Corinthians 5:19). When was that committed? Not when Saul was first preaching the faith which he once destroyed, for at that time the reconciling of the world had not begun; because Israel had not yet been cast away. Israel had not yet committed the unpardonable sin. Those who committed the unpardonable sin were blinded. “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Romans 11:7.
Thus we can see the absolute folly of beginning the reconciling of the Gentiles with the judgment of Matthew 23 or on the day of Pentecost or before Paul received his “grace” revelation from Christ. Galatians 1:11 to 21.
Concerning Israel’s unpardonable sin, let us note in Romans 11 some of the facts that preceded Paul’s declaration of God’s ways “past finding out”. Note Romans 11:11, 12, 15, 19, 25 and 30: that the Gentiles obtained mercy and salvation, the Gentiles were reconciled; because Israel fell, because Israel was diminished, because Israel was cast away, because Israel was broken off, because of Israel’s blindness and unbelief: “For I would not brethren that ye should be ignorant of the mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” Romans 11:25.
The reconciling of the world began with the pasting away of Israel. When was Israel cast away? Salvation was sent to the Gentiles because of Israel’s fall. Romans 11:11. In other words, Christ in heaven gave to Paul, for Gentiles, “the dispensation of the grace of God” because, and when, Israel committed the unpardonable sin. “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 youward: How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery (as I wrote afore in few words).”
Note the significant words in the ministry of Paul about 46 A.D. recorded in Acts 13:45 and 46: “But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. “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 13:45 and 46. Again, about 54 A.D., in Acts 18:6: “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.”
We note in these Scriptures why the Lord turned Paul to the Gentiles: because the Jews blasphemed.
During the “Acts” period Paul declared that the gospel was, to the Jew first. Romans 1:16; Acts 13:46. In Matthew 23:33 Christ called the Jews “serpents:” Why should serpents have the preference? What transformed the serpents of Matthew 23:33 into the children of Acts 3:24? Surely it was the prayer of Luke 23:34 explained in Acts 3:16 to 18. After the prayer of Christ on the cross, God began again a kingdom program with Israel on the day of Pentecost.
Some teachers say, “yes, the Lord did give Israel a second chance in the early chapters of Acts, but God knew that they were not going to repent; so He began the dispensation of grace on that Israelitish feastday and there the Body of Christ had its historic beginning.” “God was doing two things at the same time, offering the kingdom to Israel and baptizing individual Israelites into the Body of Christ.”
We might offer several objections to this exegesis. But we merely state this one. We know that the blessing in the Body of Christ is much more desirable than the blessing in the earthly kingdom promised to Israel. We cannot believe that Peter became a member of the Body of Christ in Acts 2 and offered other Israelites a place in the kingdom in Acts 3. He would have advised all of them to reject the kingdom offer and get into the Body with him.
No sound Scriptural argument can be advanced to prove that the reconciling of the world began before Acts 13.
Now let us consider the other extreme; that is, that the fall of Israel took place with Acts 28:25 to 28. The careful student of the Scriptures must admit that something happened to Israel with the close of “Acts” that had not happened on the day of Pentecost. Paul wrote to Titus, a full Gentile, after the close of “Acts”, to ordain elders for the Body of Christ. According to Acts 10:28, it was unlawful for The Twelve to associate, or preach to Gentiles, some seven years after Pentecost.
Quite a revolutionary change between the year of Acts 10:28 and the year that Paul wrote to Titus.
In studying Romans 11:11 to 30, we should study with them, Acts 13:46, Acts 18:6 and Acts 28:25 to 28. But let us keep in mind Romans 11:15, which we again quote: “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?”
The reconciling of the world began with the casting away of Israel, when Israel committed the unpardonable sin. Certainly Paul wrote II Corinthians before Acts 28:25 to 28 and it is in that Epistle that he wrote of the same reconciling of the world that he mentioned in Colossians 1:20 to 23. The world was being reconciled to God before the year Paul wrote II Corinthians. Therefore, Israel had, in a sense, been cast away before that year. Israel had committed the unpardonable sin.
Even at the time of Acts 28:31, the armies of the Lord, mentioned by Christ in Luke 21:20, and in Matthew 22:7, had not surrounded Jerusalem, killed the murderers of Christ, and burned up their city. That was when their desolation was to take place. The teacher who moves the fall of Israeli from Matthew 23:30 to 39 to Acts 28:25 to 28 should move it to the year 70, when Titus destroyed Jerusalem and Israel. That was two or three years after Paul had written his last Prison Epistle and had died.
With the words of Acts 28:28: “Be it known therefore unto you that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it”, and the close of the “Acts” period, certainly God’s spiritual program began to change. Surely then the administration of God’s spiritual program began to pass into the hands of the Gentiles. As the times of the Gentiles politically began with Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Jerusalem, about 600 B.C., so the times of the Gentiles spiritually began after Acts 28:31, about 63 A.D. The absence of Israelitish terminology and Jewish signs in Paul’s Epistles, written after Acts 28:31, is significant,
So in conclusion, as we again read Matthew 12:13 to 18 and John 12:39: “Therefore they could not believe”, we learn that Israel could not believe but had to sin against the Son of man so that He might be rejected and go to the cross to be the Saviour of the world’ (Acts 3:18 and Acts 4:27 and 28). And as we read again Romans 11:30, that Israel had to fall through unbelief so that the Gentiles might be reconciled, we again say with Paul, Romans 11:33: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” Now the Greek word translated here “past-finding-out”, is translated “unsearchable” in 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; 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.” Ephesians 3:8 and 9.
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