- Published: 09 December 2010
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Acts 9:15 - Eph. 4:11
On the Damascus road, the Lord said to Paul, I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee (Acts 26:16). Note the two divisions here.
Beginning at Damascus, Paul preached what he had seen the 12 and others preaching for the next 27 years, ending in Rome (Acts 28 ).
Paul made a visit to Jerusalem 3 years after his conversion, the first of 5 visits there. And while he was in the temple, he had a vision in which the Lord told him what to do. It was a ministry among the Gentiles. See Acts 22:17. But Paul did not begin this ministry until 6 years after he received it. He began this second ministry at Acts 13:46, 9 years after his conversion. This gospel of the grace of God was preached by Paul for the next 18 years, it ending also at Acts 28.
So in all, the first course Paul was to run lasted 27 years , Damascus to Rome. There it ended, after an all day meeting with the Jews.
When Paul uttered the words, The salvation of God is sent to the Gentiles , his apostleship was finished. He had run his course. There was no more for him to say, for finally the Jews had fallen. There has been no valid offer of the kingdom and the King from that day to this. The doors of the kingdom were firmly closed at that time and will not be opened again until the times of the Gentiles have run their course. Then, after a baptism of fire, Israel will again be dealt with. The Prophectic clock will start again. Over 1900 years have passed and this has not happened yet. But God will keep His covenants with Abraham and His people, Israel. this is still future.
Since the nations were to receive blessing thru Israel as a channel, and Israel failed, this blessing of the nations has also been postponed . But it will be done some day. The work of the apostles outlined in Matt. 28:18-20 will yet be done in resurrection in the millennium .
Since these things happened, and Paul's great apostleship, which he so courageously maintained in the first chapter of Galatians, was over, our question then is; What became of Paul?
And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers (Eph 4:11). Among these apostles, Paul was the leader, the foremost. To him alone was given the revelation of the mystery, a secret that had been hid in God from ages and generations up till that time. So then, Paul was an apostle twice.
Paul's calling as an apostle the second time must have been very shortly after that day in Acts 28. For 2 years he carried on a ministry in his own hired house. He was released, then again arrested, imprisoned and executed. His second apostleship lasted about 4 years. What was it?
We ended the preceding article with the question as to what Paul's second apostleship might be. It is centered around the salvation that was sent to the Gentiles. The 12 apostles were to make known the salvation that was of the Jews. This was done in the land. Paul made known the same salvation to the dispersion of Israel, and when they rejected , he offered it to the Gentile believers in the synagogues.
But at the end of Acts that all changed. Paul had a new salvation to offer to the Gentiles, (and to such Jews as would receive it on the same terms). This salvation is first spoken of in Eph 1:13. But it is not defined. But we gather that it was something they had heard from those who had visited Paul as a prisoner in Rome.
By grace are ye saved (Eph 2:5). This we find right in the midst of terms that tell us something about that salvation. It is about a people that are quickened, raised, and seated with Christ in heavenly places . And this tells us a lot. This is something new. The salvation during Acts had to do with an earth people, the nation Israel . They had an inheritance and hope here on earth, not in heaven. But now a new thing is revealed. A chosen people are made to sit in heavenly places and blest there with all spiritual blessings in Christ.
This salvation was a mystery or secret that had been hid in God from ages and generations till revealed to Paul by a special dispensation of God to reveal to the world after Ac 28:28.
This gospel of our salvation began to be made known about 60-64 A.D. and still is in effect. This may be the time of the 2 days we find mentioned in Ho 6:2. After that 2 days the Lord will come with clouds (angels, saints), and the dead and the living will be caught up to meet Him in the air and come with Him to set up the great kingdom, the hope of Israel. But when that happens, the church will not be here. It will leave as silently as it came into being. The world will know nothing about it.
But after the little parenthesis in Eph 2:5, the apostle goes on in verses 8-10, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Now the salvation that had been of the Jews and which was proclaimed till the end of Acts was also unto good works, that they should make known to the nations of the earth the name of Jehovah their God. They were the real Jehovah's witnesses.
But in Eph 3:10 we discover that a part of the good works today is to make known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places the manifold wisdom of God. This is a far wider outreach than Israel ever had.