Friday, October 20, 2017

Introductory Study

Owing to the fact that Matthew, Mark and Luke confine themselves to the Galilean ministry of our Lord, and do not speak a word of any visit to Jerusalem until His last solemn journey, there to die, these three Gospels have been called "The Synoptic Gospels", i.e. Gospels having a common point of view, and differing very materially from John's Gospel which gives detailed accounts of our Lord's several visits to Jerusalem and His ministry there. While this subdivision therefore sets forth a truth, it is not the whole truth, for upon examination Matthew manifests a different approach to his theme than either that of Mark or Luke, even as these two differ materially from each other. Even more striking and important than the geographical setting of these Gospels, is the character of their writing. Matthew, Mark and Luke give little comment, adding nothing by way of personal observation or doctrinal inference from their record of parable, miracle, discourse, death and resurrection. John however not only provides a prologue (John 1:1-18) and a stated purpose (John 20:30-31), but delivers a historical testimony as from the chair of an apostle. Again, neither Matthew, Mark nor Luke claim in so many words, to have been eye-witnesses of the facts they record, although the record of Matthew's calling, necessitates this feature in his case. John however insists in a number of places that he wrote as an eye-witness.

We shall therefore be wise to recognize that God has given us four inspired accounts of the earthly life and ministry of Christ, and that each writer was guided in the selection of his material so that in each case one special aspect of that wondrous life should be thrown into prominence.

We are indebted to men of God from earliest times for the construction of a "Harmony of the four Gospels", but any reader who has either diligently studied these attempts or, better still, has endeavored to construct a harmony from his own findings, will have discovered that such "harmony" is often spoilt either by the author doing violence to the arrangement found in the Gospels, or by arbitrarily adopting one aspect or order to the exclusion or distortion of the rest. The truth is, that there is so much material omitted that it is beyond the ingenuity of man to supply the missing links and, moreover, it is evident that had God wished the church to have one harmonious record,

He and He alone could have supplied it. We must therefore not only thankfully accept the four gospels as they stand, but recognize that four facets or aspects of truth are intended, and instead of wasting precious time in attempting the impossible, spend our time and strength in discovering "the things that differ", so learning the Divinely intended lesson.

Before we study each Gospel in turn, let us enquire into the question of authorship, for we speak of the Gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

Matthew. From the earliest days, the authorship of the first of the four Gospels has been ascribed to Matthew the son of Alphaeus and called by Mark and Luke by the name of Levi (Mark 2:14, Luke 3:24). The name "Matthew" and not Levi is used when speaking of him as one of the apostles (Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15). There are, as we well know, other examples of a change of name; Simon was called Peter, Saul was called Paul, and just as we do not read of "Levi" as one of the apostles, but "Matthew", so we never read of the "apostle Simon" or the "apostle Saul". These names "Levi" and "Matthew" need cause no trouble to us, they were evidently accepted without comment at the beginning. The testimony of antiquity moreover is unanimous in placing Matthew's gospel first among the evangelists. The actual date has been put at "eight years after the ascension" (Theophyl), "fifteen years after the ascension" (Niceph. Hist.) and "at the stoning of Stephen" (Cosmos Indic:). A.D. 38 is the date adopted by Webster and Wilkinson.

Mark. The writer of the second Gospel has been universally believed to be Marcus, the same person who is called "John Mark" in Acts 12:12, and Mark in Colossians 4:10 and 2 Timothy 4:11. We learn from Acts 12:12 that his mother's name was Mary, and that she was a sister of Barnabas (Col. 4:10). We gather that Mark owed his conversion to Peter (1 Pet. 5:13); that he joined in the first missionary journey undertaken by his Uncle Barnabas and Paul (Acts 12:25), and owing to this blood relationship partly caused the disruption recorded in Acts 15:37-40.

Later, any reflection on his character is effectively removed by the gracious words of Paul (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11). It is the unanimous tradition of antiquity that Mark was the secretary of Peter.

While it is evident that Matthew had Hebrew readers in mind we can deduce from the writing of Mark that Gentile readers were also before him. This would account partly for the omission of our Lord's genealogy, the general omission of Old Testament citations, except, of course, where the Lord Himself is reported as quoting from the Scriptures, and the interpretations offered of Hebrew and Aramaic expressions and the explanation of Hebrew customs.

Luke. While the author of the third Gospel and of the Acts does not give his actual name, there can be no doubt that Luke, the one spoken of in Colossians 4:14, is the writer. We find the writer of the Acts personally associated with Paul in Acts 16:10, and at intervals afterwards, his personal presence being indicated by the appearance of the pronoun "We". Unlike the gospels of Matthew and Mark, Luke's gospel was primarily written for the benefit of one named Theophilus, but even if Luke had no other intention than that of helping this enquirer, God intended that it should provide a companion to the Epistles of Paul, and when we exhibit the peculiar features of Luke's gospel this will be made abundantly clear and we shall see that of the four, Luke's gospel should be the one most studied by the Church of the One Body.

If the "Acts" is the second treatise written by Luke, and was published soon after the events recorded in Acts 28, it is evident that the gospel called "the former treatise" must have been published some time earlier, and Alford by a series of arguments indicates A.D. 50-58 as the probable limits within which this gospel was published.

John. John is named the son of Zebedee, and was the brother of James. His family seemed to have belonged to the middle class, as they had hired servants (Mark 1:20), and his mother was one of the women who ministered to the Lord of their substance (Luke 8:3 and Mark 16:1). He seems to have been known personally to the high Priest (John 18:15) and possibly had some place of residence in Jerusalem (John 19:27). He is identified as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" and an eye-witness of the things recorded in his gospel.

Tradition places his closing years at Ephesus, where having outlived all the other apostles he died and was buried at about the age of 94. By the many explanations that John offers of matters which would be common knowledge among the Jews, together with the definite statements made in the gospel itself as to its scope, it is evident that this message is addressed to "the world", its avowed object is to establish the truth that "Jesus is the Christ the Son of God", so that "life" should be received "through His name" (John 20:31). The revelation of the Person of Christ, "The Word, Who was with God and was God " Who became flesh and dwelt among us" is the distinctive feature of this gospel, and where Matthew stresses "fulfilment" of the words of the Prophets, John emphasises personal testimony " "one thing I know". There seems to be some reason, however, unstated but generally known, that called forth the gospel so long after the synoptics had been written, and Irenaeus, Tertullian, Epiphanius and Jerome taught that John wrote to controvert the teaching of Cerinthius and the speculations of the Gnostics.

It has been put forward by one authority that there were three classes of writing that arose in the apostolic age (1) the simple narrative, such as Matthew and Mark; (2) the compilation which attempted a more complete account, set out "in order" " such as Luke; (3) the third class, which would arise out of growth in the faith, that would not only desire historic fact, but would enquire into doctrinal meaning, and to this class John's Gospel belongs (see Lucke, quoted by Alford).

Some features that are peculiar to John may well have become subjects of discussion among believers. For example, the rejection of the Lord by the Jews and the need to establish the perfect sinlessness of the One thus rejected. John stresses the fact that the Saviour "laid down His life of Himself", no man taking it from Him. Signs are discovered in Paul's writings that believers were not above questioning the authority of the apostles and John devotes several chapters in which the equipment by the "Spirit of Truth" was assured to the Twelve. These items lie upon the surface, a deeper and more intimate acquaintance with this gospel reveals richer and fuller grace than could have been called forth by mere controversy. To the "faith" engendered by the synoptic gospels, we may add "knowledge" as we read John.

In the A.V. and R.V. these four gospels are denominated "the Gospel according to Matthew (Mark, Luke or John)", Euaggelion kata Matthaion, Markon, Loukan or Ioannen. Euaggelion is Anglicised as the Evangel, and means "good news". Kata "according" denotes, not that the gospel was in any sense Matthew's nor does it mean that the present gospel was compiled from material gathered from Matthew's teaching, it signifies simply that Matthew was the author of the narrative so named.

It lies beyond our immediate purpose to discuss in fuller detail the testimony of antiquity, the canonicity of each book, and the many literary and historical side issues that naturally arise. Our chief aim is indicating the fundamentals of Dispensational Truth". The four gospels yield their richest treasures to those who put into operation the principle of "Right division", and in the studies that follow these introductory notes, the dispensational aspect will be kept steadily in view.

The number of books which make up the New Testament is twenty-seven, and they are distributed thus :

Gospels                             4       Matt., Mark, Luke, John
Acts                                  1
Early epistles of Paul          7       Gal., Heb., Rom., 1,2 Thess., 1,2 Cor.
Later epistles of Paul          7       Eph., Phil., Col., Phile., 1 Tim., Tit., 2 Tim.
Epistles of Circumcision      7       James, Jude, 1,2 Peter, 1,2,3 John
Revelation                          1
                                        ----
                                        27

These books fall into three groups :

(1) Historic.           Gospels and Acts.
(2) Doctrinal.         Epistles.
(3) Prophetic.        Revelation.

With this initial and introductory study, the way is clear for a consideration of the four gospels.

An approach to the Four Gospels

Four inspired accounts of the earthly ministry of the Son of God have been given to the people of God and it is the Divine intention that these four accounts should be understood as providing four distinct aspects of the truth represented by the earthly life and ministry of Christ. Four texts of Old Testament scripture can be used to set out these four distinctive aspects of truth, namely :

Matthew       "Behold thy King"          (Zech. 9:9).
Mark            "Behold My Servant"     (Isa. 42:1).
Luke            "Behold the Man"           (Zech. 6:12).
John            "Behold your God"          (Isa. 40:9).

These four references can be supplemented by observing the use in the Old Testament of one peculiar title of the Messiah, namely "The Branch". The figurative use of a great tree to set forth in symbol a great man, leads to the use of a "branch" to indicate some notable offspring or descendant both in the Hebrew of the Old Testament and in modern usage.

"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him"  (Isa. 11:1-2).

Here we have the figurative use of rod and stem; branch and root, disposed in alternating pairs. This title is endorsed and expanded in Revelation 22:16 :

"I am the root and offspring of David".

In the prophet Jeremiah we have the promise :

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper" (Jer. 23:5).

The gospel according to Matthew sets forth the Lord as King, and traces His genealogy back through David.

The prophet Zechariah addresses Joshua the high Priest saying :

"Behold, I will bring forth My Servant, the BRANCH" (Zech. 3:8).

It is in this capacity and office of a SERVANT, that Mark presents the Saviour; hence there is no genealogy in the opening chapter, but immediate service, and this feature persists even unto the resurrection, the Gospel closing with the words "The Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with signs following" (Mark 16:20). Luke sets forth the Lord as the MAN and traces His genealogy back to Adam, it is of Him Zechariah speaks when he says "Behold, the MAN whose name is the BRANCH" (Zech. 6:12). Some two centuries earlier Isaiah, looking forward

to the day of restoration, says "In that day shall the Branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious" (Isa. 4:2), and so provides the text which is appropriate to the Gospel according to John.

The four gospels point to the Lord Jesus Christ as the One in Whom all these promises were or shall be fulfilled. These four phases of prophecy however are all closely connected with Israel; there is another fourfold promise that goes back to the days of Adam that must also be fulfilled in Christ as set forth in the four gospels. From the earliest times, the Cherubim have been associated with the four gospels and it will be remembered that these living ones are described as having four faces :

"The face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: ... the face of an ox on the left side; ... also ... the face of an eagle" (Ezek. 1:10).

That these cherubim are not of passing interest, but seem to be woven as it were into the very text of Scripture, a moment's consideration will prove. There are six different periods marked out in the Scriptures, where the cherub or cherubim (im Heb. plural) accompany the unfolding of the Divine purpose :

Ezekiel 28. A supernatural being, who held the title "the anointed cherub that covereth". He was cast out as profane. The word "anointed" is used of "The Messiah" or "The Christ" when applied to the Lord Jesus.

Genesis 3. At the fall of Adam and at the expulsion from Eden, the cherubim are seen associated with the flaming sword that kept the way of the tree of life. "Paradise lost".

Exodus 25. The cherubim now appear in the holiest of all and form a part of the mercy seat at the meeting place of the priest and God. They are intimately connected with the plan and purpose of redeeming love as set forth in the typical teaching of the tabernacle.

1 Kings 6. The cherubim are a feature in the temple built and dedicated by Solomon, whose reign of peace and abundant prosperity sets forth in type the glory that is yet to be.

Ezekiel. In the opening and closing sections of Ezekiel we see the glory of the Lord leaving and returning to Israel accompanied by the cherubim.

Revelation 4 Under the term "the four beasts" (lit. "living creatures" as in Ezekiel 1), the cherubim are associated with the great prophecy of restoration that leads up to "Paradise restored" in the last chapter.

If we attempt to set out these references to the cherubim in structure form, we become conscious of a gap, or something missing, but if we include the four gospels as indicating that the cherubim find their fulfillment in Christ, Who is set over against the fall and failure of the anointed cherub of Ezekiel 28, the pattern is complete.

A The Anointed. His pride and fall.

B Paradise lost. Pledge of restoration.

C Tabernacle and Wilderness.
   Temple and Land.
   Glory and Temple.

A The Anointed. His humility and triumph.

B Paradise restored.

We therefore believe that it was a sound sense of fitness that led the early Christians to identify the four gospels with the cherubim.

Matthew       The LION        The King.

Mark            The OX           The Servant.

Luke            The MAN        Back to Adam.

John            The EAGLE    My Lord and my God.

Christ is set forth in Matthew in the highest earthly position, that of King, and in Mark as the lowest, that of a Servant. Luke presents Him as the second Man the last Adam, and John as "The Word made flesh", "The Son of God".

It has been said concerning the fact that we have four gospels "The marvel is that we have not had more". Luke tells us that many had "taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of things which are most surely believed among us" (Luke 1:1). Some find a difficulty in believing the doctrine of Inspiration when faced with these four separate accounts. Yet a consideration of the duplication of another important event might enable the reader to see that purpose, influencing choice of material under Divine superintendence, may fully answer the case.

Paul's conversion is recorded in Acts 9, again in Acts 22 and yet again Acts 26. To which must be added his own references in the epistles. The first record made by Luke places the conversion and commission of Paul in its historic setting, the accounts given by Paul himself follow this primary record, but with that freedom which must ever mark the retailing of first hand knowledge. Moreover, there is one item of information which neither Acts 9 nor Acts 22 record , namely, the words actually spoken from heaven to Paul himself. These are found for the first time in Acts 26:16-18 and their absence from the earlier accounts can be satisfactorily explained for dispensational reasons. In like manner we shall discover that there is a definite and sufficient reason for the fourfold presentation of the Gospels " each has a purpose to fulfil and each has been written with a specific object. The critics" view is that because there are similar passages in each of the four gospels, that there must, therefore, have been an earlier common original which is now, apparently, "lost". The critics however cannot agree among themselves as to which Gospel denotes this supposed original. Urquhart has given a table showing six different theories, in which Matthew, Mark and Luke have respectively been "proved" to be the original, and he comments :

"In other words, criticism tells us (1) that each of the three was the original Gospel; (2) that each of the three was derived from another; and (3) that each of the three was derived from the two others!"

There has probably occurred to the reader, as it has to the writer, that a trite comment of Euclid namely, "which is absurd", could be quoted very fittingly here.

Dr. E.A. Abbott wrote :

"It is well known that in many parts of the four gospels the same words and phrases are curiously interlaced, in such a way as to suggest that the writers have borrowed either from each other or from some common source".

This conclusion has stultified research and led its followers into the blind alley of self contradiction.

John Urquhart replies :

"But why? Is the explanation not at least equally good that they have come from One Mind, by which the similarity was preserved when no variation was called for?"

This is illuminating, it involves us in no contradictions, it accepts both the differences and the agreements as coming from ONE AUTHOR, God the Holy Spirit, who caused the four-fold Gospel to be written in harmony with that Divine purpose which it was the blessed object of the Son of His love to bring to glorious fruition.

The accompanying diagram may help the reader to visualize this fourfold gospel.

The Structural outline of Matthew,
exhibiting key words and correspondences.

Having seen that the four Gospels form a unity, though each of them has its own individuality and its subject matter so chosen that it will develop and illustrate the peculiar purpose set before the writer of each; we shall now endeavor to set out some of the essential differences and so arrive at a just appreciation of the individual purpose of each.

First of all we must seek the underlying structure, then the disposition of its subject matter, and learn by the inclusion or exclusion of certain facts and features what the distinctive message of each record may be. Here however the reader is caused to halt by reason of the many outlines and structures that men of God have offered.

Bengel in his Gnomon of the New Testament published in A.D. 1742 has set the course for one type of analysis which has influenced many subsequent writers. It occupies six pages of print, and cannot be reproduced here. Its main divisions are :

(1) The nativity, and the matters immediately following (Matt. 1:1 to 2:23).
(2) Our Lord's entrance on His ministry (Matt. 3:1 to 4:11).
(3) The deeds and words by which Jesus proved Himself to be Christ (Matt. 4:12 to 16:12).
(4) Our Lord's prediction of His passion and resurrection (Matt. 16:13 to 20:28).
(5) The events at Jerusalem immediately before the passion (Matt. 21:1 to 25:46).
(6) The passion and resurrection (Matt. 26:1 to 28:20).

In recent times, the outlines prepared by Dr. Campbell Morgan are suggestive, and even if the reader is conscious that the alliteration may sometimes have run away with the theme, these outlines are nevertheless worthy of attention and respect. Dr. Campbell Morgan's outline of Matthew is in the main threefold, with many subdivisions which we cannot here reproduce.

Matthew 1:1 to 4:16. The Person.
(1) Relation to earth Matt. 1:1 to 3:12.
(2) Relation to heaven Matt. 3:13-17.
(3) Relation to hell Matt. 4:1-11.

Matthew 4:17 to 16:20. Propaganda.
(1) Enunciation of law Matt. 4:17 to 7:29.
(2) Exhibition of benefits Matt. 8:1 to 9:34.
(3) Enforcement of claims Matt. 9:35 to 16:20.
Matthew 16:21 to 28:20. Passion.
(1) His Cross and His subjects Matt. 16:21 to 20:34.
(2) Rejection of Hebrew nation Matt. 21:1 to 23:39.
(3) Prediction Matt. 24:1 to 25:46.
(4) Passion 26:1 to 28:20.

The Companion Bible gives the structure in the form of an introversion, and as most of our readers have access to (if not possession of) this valuable work we will not occupy space by reprinting it here.

While recognizing all the labor that has been expended by other believers in the past, let us once more turn to the gospel of Matthew itself and see what fresh light the Lord may be pleased to give. We observe in the opening verse that Jesus Christ is set before us as the Son of David and the Son of Abraham, and that the genealogy itself is artificially subdivided as follows:

"So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations" (Matt. 1:17).

Here we have two patriarchs with whom covenants were made and promises given that find their fulfillment only in Christ. The failure of Israel led to their rejection and to the rise of Nebuchadnezzar, with whom commenced the "Times of the Gentiles", and it is suggestive that we meet the word musterion "mystery" for the first time in the book of Daniel (LXX, Chapter 2).

This great prophetic event throws light upon the turn taken in the Gospel at chapter 13, where we meet, for the first time, the expression "The mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven". We cannot prove from Matthew 1:1, but we receive a suggestion from that verse, that Matthew may have subdivided his theme so that his gospel shall set before us first, Christ as the Son of David, and secondly, Christ as the Son of Abraham, the former title stressing kingship, the second title referring to the anti-typical death and resurrection of the true "Isaac" offered on one of the mountains of Moriah at a place called Calvary. We discover by reading through the gospel, that there are two great time periods which cannot be ignored, and these therefore we present as our first pair of items in the discovery of the structure of Matthew.

"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17).

"From that time forth began Jesus to show unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day" (Matt. 16:21).

Here most evidently we have two distinct departures, two ministries, two themes. The first stresses the kingdom, the second the cross. The former ranges under the name "David" the second under the name "Abraham". One finds its type in Solomon the Son of David, the other in Isaac the son of Abraham.

The next repeated feature which our reading brings to light, is found in the records of the baptism at Jordan and the transfiguration on the Mount.

"And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17).

"And behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him" (Matt. 17:5).

We now have two pairs of corresponding terms,

A The voice from heaven.

B From that time ... began.

B From that time ... began.

A The voice from heaven.

We observe moreover that in chapter sixteen, just before the new revelation is made concerning the Lord's sufferings, that Peter makes his great confession.

"He saith unto them, But Whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:15-16).

With this we must place the confession made by Christ Himself when adjured by the High Priest :

"I adjure Thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said" (Matt. 26:63-64).

The words "Thou hast said" are in the original su eipas and in the early Greek manuscripts (where there were many contractions employed to economize space and where no space was allowed between one word and another) we find that where, in Matthew 16:18 we now read su ei Petros "thou art Peter", the earlier contraction was sueips, which would naturally be expanded to su eipas "thou hast said", had Peter not been in the immediate context. This matter needs much more examination and proof than these few notes can supply, but we are convinced that in both cases the words stand for one and the same thing " an emphatic affirmation, and that Peter's name does not come into Matthew 16:18 at all. We now have sufficient data to build the complete structure of the Gospel according to Matthew, not by alliteration however useful such a method may be, but by recording the actual facts as found in the Scriptures.

Matthew

A 1:1 to 3:16.          From Birth to Baptism.
The ministry of John the Baptist.
"Born King of the Jews".

B 3:17.         a The Voice from Heaven.
                        b 4:1-16.       The Threefold temptation
                                            of the King.
Son of                   c 4:17.   Time. "From that
David                                           time ... began".
the King
                                 d 16:16-18. Confession "The Christ"
                                                   su eipas
                                                  
"Thou hast said".

In this section comes the Sermon on the Mount, giving rules for guidance during the rejection of the King. In this section also come the Parables of Matthew 13, showing the character of the kingdom, its mystery phase, during rejection.

B                      c 16:21.      Time.   "From that time ... began".
                a 17:5.                The Voice from heaven.
Son of
Abraham       b 26:36-44.      The Threefold agony of the Priest the King-Priest.
                            d 26:63,64.     Confession     "The Christ"
                                                                        su eipas
                                                                       
"Thou hast said".

In this section the parables are largely connected with service during the absence of the Lord. The Sermon on the Mount changes to Prophecy on the Mount and speaks of the end of the "mystery" phase of the kingdom, by the personal presence of the King in glory.

A 27,28.        From Baptism of suffering to birth in Resurrection. Ministry of those
                    who are to baptize all nations. "This is Jesus the King of the Jews".

This structural outline is put forward, not as in any sense exhaustive, but suggestive. To produce a complete structural outline of a book containing twenty-eight closely packed chapters as those of the Gospel according to Matthew, is beyond our range in this booklet. Such however could be built up by the student working methodically within the bounds now presented.

The two time periods, chapters Matt. 4:17 and Matt. 16:21, are decisive factors in the division of the Gospel. The two "voices" and "confessions" supplement, and the threefold temptation of chapter four finds its complement in the threefold agony of chapter twenty-six, and in both the tempted Saviour emerges triumphant. When we come to compare the Gospels, we shall then be able to throw into relief those distinctive teachings that will demonstrate without peradventure the key note of each Gospel, although as the reader will remember we have tentatively put forward the well-known headings " Matthew, the King; Mark, the Servant; Luke, the Man; John, God.

The Distinctive Character of both "Mark" and "Luke".

After detailing a series of differences observable between the Gospel of Mark with that of Matthew and Luke, A.W.F. Blunt, B.D., in the Clarendon Bible, says of Mark's gospel "Thus the Marcan Jesus is neither, as in Matthew, the giver of a new law, nor as in Luke, the preacher of a catholic paternity ... His portrait is drawn with the utmost economy of line and color. Practically all is subordinated to the emphasizing of His Messianic intention. First He announces the Messianic kingdom, then He admits His Messianic position, then He publicly assesses the Messianic role, goes up to Jerusalem to die, and dies for His Messianic claim".

We appreciate the note in the Companion Bible, p. 1381, which reads :

"The Four Gospels are treated in the Companion Bible not as four culprits brought up on a charge of fraud, but as four witnesses whose testimony is to be received".

The difference between these four witnesses however must wait until, as in the foregoing articles on Matthew, we have attained some idea of the structural outline of the gospel itself. Blackwall in his Sacred Classics wrote of Mark's Gospel :

"Simplicity and conciseness are its characteristics; for the majesty of the subject, the variety of the actions recorded, and the surprising circumstances attending them together with the important doctrines and precepts laid down, this is the shortest, the clearest, the most marvellous, and at the same time the most satisfactory history in the world".

Written across the Gospel according to Mark are the words recorded in Mark 10:45, thus :

The Son of Man came (Mark 1:1-13).
To minister (Mark 1:14 to 8:30),
And to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 8:31 to 16:20),

which three sub-divisions are summed up by Campbell Morgan as :

Sanctification, " Service, " Sacrifice.

Like Matthew, who was also called Levi, Mark is referred to as "John whose surname is Mark" (Acts 12:12, Acts 12:25), and the Latin surname suggests some association with a Roman family. Mark has a fair sprinkling of Latin words; he translates the meaning of the Aramaic expressions introduced and explains Jewish customs. The fact that Mark wrote for the Romans would explain the omission of the genealogy and the general absence of quotation from the Old Testament Scriptures. The passage quoted at the beginning of the Gospel is the only exception, for the quotation given in Mark 15:28 is omitted in the R.V. Writing for Romans--who were men of action and whose ideals differed materially from both those of the Greeks and the Hebrews--Mark emphasizes the acts rather than the discourses of the Saviour, a feature which his frequent use of the words "immediately" and "straightway", intensifies. Mark differs from Matthew not only in the omission of the genealogy and quotations from the Old Testament, but in his treatment of a common theme and his selection of material. For example, where Matthew records fourteen parables Mark records but four; where Matthew occupies a whole chapter of forty-two verses (Mark 10:1-42) to record the call and commission of the twelve apostles, Mark compresses this subject into seven verses (Mark 6:7-13); where Matthew's purpose demanded thirty-nine verses (Mark 23:1-39) in setting forth the denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees, Mark's purpose is served by the use of but three (Mark 12:38-40); where Matthew records in detail the temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11), Mark simply records the fact that the Lord was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of the devil (Mark 1:13). Perhaps, with his Roman readers in mind Mark makes one addition to the record, namely, that the Lord was "with the wild beasts" (Mark 1:12,13). Mark does not record the "Lord's Prayer", a strong echo in chapter Mark 11:24-26 satisfying the requirements of his gospel. In the face of so much abbreviation and omission, the full report of the prophecy of the second coming found in Mark 13, shows the extreme importance that must be attached to this epoch-making event for Israel and the nations of the earth.

While this article was in preparation, a very precious letter was received from a valued fellow-worker, which so beautifully brings to light what we were feeling after, that we can do no more than quote it here, trusting that the reader will be as helped by its reprint as we were at its first reading

"I think there are four portions of Scripture which refer to the Lord as "Servant", namely, Isaiah, Zechariah, Mark and Philippians, with perhaps the addition of such passages as Luke 22:27 and John 13:16.

"Is it correct to say that in His "servantship" lies the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (the stripping of Himself John 13; Phil. 2) the Servant being the sufferer, and is the servantship a priestly one? If it is, a completed work, as in Hebrews, seems indicated in Mark 16:19, "Sat down at the right hand of God". This seems to have been the line taken by Campbell Morgan, but he links Mark with the Pentateuch " the answer to the unfulfilled aspiration and sigh of humanity for a priest. (This aspiration is fulfilled for Gentile believers, by Christ as the one Mediator and Head. Paul never refers to Christ as a Priest outside of the epistle to the Hebrews. "That they should be WITH Him, and that He might send them forth to preach" (Mark 3:14).)

"Amongst the omissions (no miraculous birth; no reference to childhood at Nazareth; no claim to authority, e.g., in the parable of the tares where the command to the reapers is omitted; no woes upon the Pharisees; no reference in Gethsemane, to the legions of angels; no statements as to His having all power in heaven and in earth) " amongst such is the omission of nomos "law" which occurs in Matthew eight times, in Luke nine times, in John fifteen times. Service SUCH AS HIS was the free offering of His heart of love and knew no urge save that of His own nature or that He came to do the will of His Father.

"There is something that is very comforting in the thought that of all of whom God might have used to write along the lines of this gospel for our learning, it is the failing servant, who draws back from the path of service he had entered, but who later, through grace, was made "serviceable" to whom it is given to set before us, so graphically and so entrancingly, the unfailing, the perfect Servant, Christ Jesus our Lord (see Acts 12:25; Acts 15:36-41).

"The narrative in Mark seems to have behind it the training of the twelve; in the book from which the prophecy of Mark is quoted, namely Isaiah, the disciples would have read of a ministry to be exercised by the Servant of God" now they SEE IT LIVED OUT under their very eyes; there they would have read the passages containing, I suppose, the fullest setting forth of Messiah in the Old Testament, now they are in daily contact with One Whose very living amongst them draws from them (one being spokesman for the rest) "THOU art the Messiah" and immediately (Mark 8:29-31) He began to teach them concerning His suffering, as if He would lead them on from Isaiah chapters 40 - 42 to 52:13 - 53:12 (compare Isa. 53:1 and Mark 8:27), while the whole gospel ends with His quietly dismissing them FOR SERVICE, but going forth "working with (them)"".

"They went forth, and preached ... the Lord working WITH (them)" (Mark 16:20).

"How dependent we are on Him both for equipment and then for performance. There seem to be two avenues to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus--through the Book and by companionship with Him. It is possible to know more of the Book than of Him " oh for commensurate knowledge" "That I may know HIM". Living, walking, with Him, they learnt Him to be what the Book says He is and was. Blessed fruitful knowledge. May it be ours".

A word must be given on the last twelve verses of Mark 16. The Revised Version margin reads "The two oldest Greek manuscripts and some other authorities omit from verse nine to the end".

Scrivener, one of the foremost authorities in textual criticism wrote :

"The twelve concluding verses of this gospel are still found in every Greek Manuscript except the two oldest. Cod. B, however, betrays consciousness on the scribe's part that something is left out, inasmuch as after ephobounto gar verse 8, a whole column is left perfectly blank (the only blank one in the whole volume), as well as the rest of the column containing verse 8, which is usual at the end of every book of Scripture".

In the Companion Bible Appendix 168, the reader will find a summary of the controversy, and will observe that Dean Burgon's work is indicated as the basis of the argument presented.

It lies quite outside the scope of our pages to attempt textual criticism, for if it is not dealt with exhaustively it is valueless. Those of our readers who are interested can find all the material necessary for arriving at a sound judgment in the various volumes written on the question of Textual Criticism, and of Mark 16, in particular those of Scrivener, Dean Burgon, Hammond and Gaussen may be cited as authors to be consulted early in the enquiry.

For our own part we are satisfied with the evidence at hand (whether these last twelve verses be the work of Mark himself, or added by another) that they form a part of those canonical Scriptures given by inspiration of God which we ignore at our peril.

Luke's Gospel Sets Forth Christ As "The Man".

According to Eusebius and Jerome, Luke was born at Antioch, in Syria. He is reckoned among the uncircumcision by Paul (Col. 4), and was by profession a "physician" (Col. 4:14). Tradition also has it that Luke was a painter of no mean skill. A fellow-laborer of Paul, he joined the apostle at Troas and accompanied him to Macedonia as far as Philippi (Acts 16:7-12), where he apparently left him for a time. Van Doren says of Luke's gospel "we are plainly not listening to the Galilean fishermen, but to the educated citizen of Antioch, well versed in the literary language of empire".

"Origen, Eusebius and Jerome understand the expression "my gospel" is used in Romans 2:16 of the Gospel of Luke. But the language of Luke's preface forbids the notion of any exclusive influence of Paul" (Van Doren).

The truth concerning this expression lies midway, though Paul did not come into contact with Christ during His earthly ministry, the peculiar Gentile trend of Luke's Gospel would provide a complete background for the gospel preached by the apostle of the Gentiles.

The outline suggested by Dr. Campbell Morgan for Luke's Gospel is an adaption of the words found in Luke 13:32. Omitting lesser subdivisions, here it is in substance:

Luke's Gospel. The Man.

A 1:1 to 3:38.                  PERFECT
   1:1-4                  Prologue.
(1) 1:5 to 2:39        Being and Birth.
(2) 2:40-52             Childhood and Confirmation.
(3) 3:1-38               Development and Anointing.

B 4:1 to 9:36.                  PERFECTED
(1) 4:1-14                Temptation.
(2) 4:15 to 9:27        Teaching.
(3) 9:28-36              Transfiguration.

C 9:37 to 24:53.             PERFECTING
   9:37-50                  Prelude.
(1) 9:51 to 18:30        Purpose and Preparation.
(2) 18:31 to 24:12      Approach and Accomplishment.
(3) 24:13-53              Administration.

Of the four Gospels Luke's is the one that is associated with the gospel as preached by Paul, not merely because Luke was a fellow-worker with the apostle, but because he so evidently wrote with the Gentile convert in mind.

Sadler has devoted a considerable portion of his introduction to Luke's Gospel to the links that are observable between the Epistles of Paul and the Gospel of Luke. For the benefit of the reader, we will epitomize these observations, but their full force can only be felt when the parallel passages are actually read together, unfortunately limitations of space make it impossible to set out these parallels here.

Paul's Gospel had an historic basis (1 Cor. 15:1-10). It had moreover a definite doctrine of the Person of Christ (Rom. 1:1-4), the birth, death and resurrection of the Son of God being basic.

In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul says of the risen Christ "He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve". Luke alone mentions the appearance of Cephas (Luke 24:34).

Luke lays great stress upon the fact that the ceremonial law was observed at the birth of Christ (Luke 2:21), which provides a background to the words of Galatians 4:4 and Colossians 2:11.

Paul's description of a "widow indeed" (1 Tim. 5:5) is foreshadowed by Anna (Luke 2:37). The acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:19 and 2 Cor. 6:2); the title "steward" (Luke 12:42 and 1 Cor. 4:1); the condition of alienation as one of death (Luke 15:24,32 and Eph. 4:18); the use of the word "revealed" in connection with the second coming (Luke 17:30 and 1 Cor. 1:7); the comment "for all live unto Him" (Luke 20:38 with Rom. 14:7, 2 Cor. 5:14); the reference to the "times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24 and Rom. 11:25) and the close association of the ascension with the resurrection observable in the gospel and the epistles.

Luke's record of the institution of the Lord's supper (Luke 22:19-20) is followed very closely by the record of 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, and it must be remembered that in both this institution, and the summary of the gospel given in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul declares "I have received of the Lord" and "that which I also received".

Verbal coincidences as the use of katecheo "catechise" (Luke 1:4; Gal. 6:6); "children of light" (Luke 16:8; 1 Thess. 5:5); the possible reference in 1 Timothy 2:15 "the childbearing" to the account given of the birth of the Saviour in Luke's Gospel and the use of the word ophthe in Luke 22:43 and 1 Timothy 3:16 "seen of angels".

If the exhortation "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" (Col. 3:16) refers to a scriptural record, a record moreover that contains the only Christian hymns recorded in the New Testament then Luke's gospel may be intended by the apostle under the heading "the Word of Christ" (e.g. Luke 1:46-55, Luke 1:68-79, etc.). Again when the apostle beseeches the Corinthian Christians "by the meekness and gentleness of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:1) some such record as that of Luke seems intended.

Other links with Paul's Gospel will be brought to light when we institute a comparison between the Gospel of Matthew and that of Luke.

The Distinctive Purposes of the Gospels according to Matthew and Luke Demonstrated.

The words used by Luke and Paul have been tabulated, and it has been found that "every second word in the Gospel of Luke is also used by Paul" and so close is the language of the Acts of the apostles to the diction of Paul's epistles, that there is actually a volume of considerable interest published, entitled "Paul, the author of the Acts" (H. Heber Evans). Moreover, among those who deny that Paul was or could be the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, are those who maintain that its author was Luke. This we do not believe, and have every confidence that Hebrews is one of Paul's fourteen epistles--yet the closeness of language between Paul and Luke is emphasized by this suggestion.

The message which was given to the apostle Paul for the Gentiles, and the ministry of the reconciliation committed to him, arose out of the failure of Israel (speaking after the manner of men) to repent and believe the good news of the kingdom. The great teaching of the apostle, which included the Gentile within the sphere of the promise of Abraham (Romans and Galatians), is scarcely suggested by Matthew's Gospel. We have already seen that Matthew's Gospel is divided into two parts, each part is connected with the relationship and covenants indicated in Matthew 1:1. The first part, covering Matthew 4:17 to Matthew 16:20, is associated with the kingly title "Son of David"; the second portion, commencing with the announcement of suffering, death and resurrection (Matthew 16:21), is the fulfilling of the title "Son of Abraham". The second phase of the Lord"s ministry could not be made a matter of public proclamation until the great transaction of Calvary had removed the curse, and made it possible for the blessing of Abraham to flow out to the Gentiles (Gal. 3:13-14). The Acts opens with a renewed witness concerning the kingdom of Israel and David's throne, but also links with it the wider covenant made with Abraham. Luke, who wrote the "Acts", had already written a "former treatise of all that Jesus began to do and teach" and in that treatise he laid a foundation for Paul's Gospel of the reconciliation. He does not stay at Abraham when he gives the genealogy of the Lord, but goes back to Adam.

The unfolding of the divine purpose is closely connected with the revelation of Christ Himself. It will be found that the circle of truth widens and deepens as the time arrives for some richer title of Christ to come forth.

The inner circle, latest in time of revelation, and first to be fulfilled and exhausted is associated with David. To this the first portion of Matthew is devoted (Chapters 1 to 16). The next circle, which goes back in history, and looks forward beyond the confines of the rule of David, is connected with Abraham. The second portion of Matthew (Chapters 17 to 28) and the Acts belong to this section of the purpose. Luke's gospel goes back beyond both Abraham and David, and traces the genealogy of the Saviour back to Adam. This forms the basis of Paul's message to the Gentiles; and indeed it is Paul alone of all the New Testament writers who makes known the wondrous and far-reaching connection that is established in the purpose of God between Adam, mankind (including Jew and Gentile) and Christ.

Let us now examine one or two passages that are found in both Matthew and Luke, and see what divergence there is, if any, and what significance may be attached thereto.

(1) THE FORERUNNER.

(a) The Time and Period.
Matthew 3:1, "In those days".

Luke 3:1,2, "Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrach of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrach of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrach of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests".

Matthew, the Hebrew writer for the Hebrews, is unconcerned about the bearing of Gentile rulers upon the date of John's commission, whereas Luke the writer for the Gentiles, gives the utmost attention to the Gentile powers that be.

(b) The Preaching of John.

Matthew 3:1,2, "Came John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand".

Luke 3:2,3, "The word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins".

Here once more the divergence is according to plan. Matthew, the writer of the gospel of the King for the Hebrew Christian, stresses "repentance in view of the kingdom of heaven"; Luke, companion of Paul, and writing for the Gentile convert stresses "the remission of sins".

(c) The Quotation from Isaiah.

Matthew 3:3, "For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight".

Luke 3:4-6, "As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God".

It will be seen at once, that Luke could not be satisfied with the brief quotation made by Matthew. He must go on until "the salvation of God" seen by "all flesh" is reached, for such a theme coincides with the purpose of his gospel.

(2) THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.

(a) The Time and Period.

Matthew 2:1, "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king".

Luke 2:1,2, "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed (and this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria)".

Matthew's circumference is "Judaea" and its centre Herod; Luke's circumference is "all the world" and its centre Caesar Augustus.

(b) The Worshippers.

Matthew 2:1, "There came wise men from the east to Jerusalem".

Luke 2:8,15, "There were in the same country shepherds ... Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us".

Matthew makes no reference to the shepherds; Luke makes no reference to the wise men. Each is divinely guided in his selection as the sequel will show.

(c) The Purpose of the Nativity.

Matthew 2:2,5,6, "Where is He that is born King of the Jews? ... they said ... In Bethlehem of Judaea".

Luke 2:11, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord".

Here the contrast is most marked Matthew says in Bethlehem is born the King; Luke says in Bethlehem is born a Saviour, each evangelist keeping strictly to his aim and purpose.

Luke supplements his account of the shepherds" and of the Angels" testimony by the added doxology "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14), whereas Matthew quotes the prophet Micah saying "that shall rule My people Israel" (2:6). In addition, in Luke, old Simeon is brought before us, an Israelite looking for the consolation of Israel, but when he saw the infant Christ, and took Him in his arms, Israel is not mentioned first, but strange as it may seem, he said, "A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel" (Luke 2:32).

(3) THE LORD'S OPENING MINISTRY.

(a) The Context.

Matthew 4:1, "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil".

Luke 4:1, "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness".

No comment is here necessary, the only reason these passages are quoted is to show that the next statements are rightly compared together.

(b) The Subject of the Ministry.

Matthew 4:17, "From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand".

Luke 4:18,19, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor: He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord".

Here once again each evangelist is true to the purpose of his gospel, Matthew consistently speaks of the kingdom, Luke of the Gospel. In Luke the Lord continued His discourse and drew attention to the fact that in the days of Elias there were many widows in Israel during the great famine, but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet, and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. Just as with the supplement in the second chapter, so here, the Gentile, not the Jew, is pre-eminent " both the widow of Sarepta and Naaman being Gentiles.

One further illustration will suffice.

(4) THE SECOND COMING.

(a) The Context.

Matthew 24:19, "and woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!".

Luke 21:23, "But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!".

As above, these two passages are quoted to establish the fact that both passages record the same prophecy.

(b) The Prophecy.

Matthew 24:21, "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be".

Luke 21:23-24, "For there shall be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled".

Here therefore is a demonstration of the distinctive point of view of each gospel. Matthew traces the Saviour's descent back through David and Abraham and stays there, Luke however pursues it back to Adam.

Matthew speaks of the quest of the wise men, and their question concerning the King of the Jews, Luke tells of the angels and the shepherds, and that the child born in the city of David is a Saviour. Old Simeon supplements by putting the Gentile first. The opening ministry of Christ as recorded by Matthew speaks of the kingdom as does that of John the Baptist, whereas in Luke the opening ministry of our Lord stresses the gospel of mercy and deliverance, while instead of announcing the kingdom John preaches remission of sins.

We all know what a prominent position is given by Matthew to the parables of the mysteries of the kingdom, in no lesser prominence the distinctive parables of Luke set forth his peculiar teaching. Who but Luke could record the parable of the Good Samaritan? How fitting is the parable of the Prodigal Son! The parable of the Unjust Steward with its use of oikonomia illustrates Paul's usage of the word when translated "dispensation". The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican is the doctrine of Romans in picture form, and contains the only evangelical use of "justification" found in the four gospels. The parable of the "ten pounds" is similar, but not the same as the parable

of the "ten talents" recorded by Matthew. The special point of Luke's parable is the statement that it was uttered to correct the impression "that the kingdom of God should immediately appear". Consequently this nobleman "went into a far country to receive for Himself a kingdom, and to return".

The reader will find upon careful comparison, that in the smallest details, Matthew and Luke can be discovered consistently heading for their distinctive goals, and while such an examination cannot be conducted in these pages, the reader who has never attempted it, has a joy awaiting him that no second hand acquaintance with Holy Writ can provide.

The Dispensational Place of John's Gospel.

For the full exposition of the Gospel of John, the reader will be able to consult the book Life Through His Name, (now obtainable from the Believer.com Bookstore), but in order to make this study as complete as possible yet without undue repetition, we will discuss the dispensational place which this Gospel occupies.

In the first place let us get well into mind the fact that the early church (before Acts 28:28) had three gospels, and three only.

So far as we have any knowledge neither Matthew, Mark, Luke, Peter nor Paul saw or knew of the Gospel according to John. Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus, at the end of the second century, and Irenaeus, the scholar of Polycarp, who was himself a disciple of John, record the fact that John remained in Ephesus till the times of the Emperor Trajan, and that he died there in extreme old age, as is testified by Eusebius also. The mistake concerning John that is exposed in John 21:23, may have obtained some credit by the fact that John outlived all the other apostles. It is evident that the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke contained all the teaching that was essential during the period

governed by the Hope of Israel and that the statements concerning the "world", "whosoever" and the "other sheep" found in John's Gospel would have been premature or "undispensational" at the time. The relative place of the different sections of the New Testament, with particular reference to John's Gospel might be set out thus:

(1) Gospels.' New Covenant in operation. Matt., Mark, Luke.
King and Kingdom rejected.

(2) Acts.' New Covenant in operation.
King and Kingdom re-offered. Israel rejected.
Hope suspended.

(3) The Mystery. " New Covenant NOT in operation.
Paul's prison epistles.
"All the saints in Asia be turned away from me".

(4) John's Gospel." New Covenant NOT in operation.
The world. The other sheep.
The gospel of eternal life.

(5) The Revelation."Resumption of the New Covenant.
The Day of the Lord.

In Matthew's gospel is recorded the parable of the marriage of the King's Son, which is divided into three distinct phases, corresponding with the periods covered by the three Gospels, the Acts and the gospel according to John.

First Invitation (Matt. 22:3), "They would not come", the three gospels.

Second Invitation (Matt. 22:4-7), "They made light of it", the Acts period; the servants were entreated spitefully and slain by the remnant, who in turn were destroyed and their city burned by the King in his wrath.

Third Invitation (Matt. 22:8-10), "Gathered all ... both bad and good", John's gospel.

The punishment of those who did not accept the second invitation took place between Acts 28 and A.D. 70 during which period the dispensation of the mystery was revealed, believed and then largely forsaken. After Paul's death John wrote his gospel, giving a message and a calling to the "world" and revealing that the Lord had "other sheep" who were not of Israel's fold, which must be gathered, so that at last there may be "one flock and one shepherd".

At the present time there is an inner circle, embracing that small company of believers that are members of the Body of Christ and blessed under the terms of the Mystery, with Paul the prisoner as the appointed channel of teaching and truth, and a large outer circle embracing a vast number of believers, who while they have life, have no clear idea as to what is the hope of their calling. These find their gospel, comfort and teaching in John's Gospel.

Let us consider the character of the times in which John's Gospel operates, as compared with the character of the times covered by the three synoptic Gospels and the Acts. During the earthly ministry of Christ, He pointedly limited His ministry to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and forbade His disciples to go into the way of the Gentiles. This limitation is most definitely set aside by John's Gospel. There, the most prominent word indicative of sphere and scope is "the world", where it occurs about seventy-nine times, as against fifteen occurrences in the three synoptics. The bulk of the Scriptures, whether Old or New Testaments, was written for Israel, about Israel, or written for the guidance of believing Gentiles who were "blessed with faithful Abraham". To-day Israel has long been in the condition known as Lo-ammi "not My People" (Hos. 1:9), and if the Gospel of John belongs to the period when Israel is not a living active factor, then, it should contain evidence that it was written for non-Jewish readers. We turn to the Gospel, and are not only struck with the title Logos "the Word", which is more intimately associated with Greek Philosophy than it is with the Law and the Prophets, but we discover that John goes out of his way to interpret terms which every Jew would know from childhood. Consider the following passages in the light of the argument that John wrote for non-Jewish readers, as over against the idea that John, like the writers of the three gospels, addresses the same people on the same theme.

"They said unto Him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master) where dwellest Thou?" (John 1:38).

"We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ" (John 1:41).

"And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews" (John 2:6).

"The Jews" Passover was at hand"; "The Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh"; "The Jews" Passover was nigh at hand" (John 2:13; John 6:4; John 11:55).

"The Jews" feast of Tabernacles" (John 7:2).

"And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the Dedication, and it was winter" (John 10:22).

"The Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans" (John 4:9).

"Go, wash in the pool Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.)" (John 9:7).

"Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone" (John 1:42).

It is evident that no Jew needed to be told the meaning of Rabbi, Messiah, or Cephas, neither did he need to be instructed that the Passover or Tabernacles were feasts of the Jews. Let us take the reference in John 10:22 as a proof text. The fact that John felt called upon to add the words "and it was winter" to his reference to the feast of Dedication is a proof that non-Jewish readers were in mind. Upon opening each of the three synoptic Gospels, we discover Christ presented to the people as the long promised King and Saviour, not until we are some distance through the narrative does it appear that Israel will reject their King. With John's Gospel, rejection is imprinted on the opening chapter.

"He came unto His own, and His own received Him not" (1:11).

Here the rejection of Matthew 12 and 13 and Acts 28 is assumed as it also is in the words of John 9:39 "For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind", where an allusion to Isaiah 6:10 (quoted in both Matthew 13 and Acts 28) is apparent. The synoptic Gospels operate under the terms of the New Covenant and consequently the New Covenant memorial feast, known also as the Lord's Supper, is given a prominent place in them all. It is somewhat surprising, if one does not possess the dispensational key, to discover that John makes no mention of the institution of the Lord's supper in his gospel!

If, however, the point of view advocated here be correct, then, seeing that before John's Gospel was written the people of the New Covenant had passed off the scene, it is but right and proper that John should leave the New Covenant feast unrecorded.

The revelation of the Mystery through the prison epistles of Paul had been made known some years before John's Gospel saw the light of day, consequently although John did not teach the truth of the Mystery, he need not have been ignorant of it, and a comparison with the doctrine of Christ, as made by John with the earlier revelation found in Colossians will show how this twofold ministry could run together, John ministering to the world, Paul ministering, through his prison epistles, mainly to the Gentile believer.

John 1.                                                           Colossians 1.
The Word                                                       The Image
(No man hath seen God).                                 of the Invisible God.
The Only Begotten.                                         The Firstborn.
All things made by Him.                                  All things created.
His fulness.                                                    All fulness.
The Word made flesh.                                     The body of His flesh.
Preferred before me.                                        He is before all things.
He was before me.                                          He has pre-eminence.

In the record of our Saviour's conversation with the woman of Samaria, John slips in a note of time in order to indicate that what the Saviour had then said to the woman, had at the time of writing been fulfilled. At the time that Christ spoke to this woman it was still true that salvation was of the Jews and that Jerusalem was the place divinely appointed for worship. He, however, revealed to this woman that a day was coming when this would be changed, saying:

"Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father".
"The hour cometh (and now is, adds John), when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth" (4:21,23).

John's gospel covers the period indicated by the words "and now is", a phrase repeated in John 5:25-28 and referring to the gift of life which is the central message of his gospel.

The complete structure of John's gospel, both as a whole and in its separate parts can be found in the book entitled Life Through His Name by Charles. H. Welch, (available in our bookstore) which is an exposition of John's Gospel in its entirety.

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Good Newsflash

Did you know that The Great Mystery or Secret was hid in God from Ages and Generations until it was first revealed to the Apostle Paul?  Ephesians 3:9 states "And to make all {men} see what {is} the fellowship of The Mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:"  Click to read more.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. In John 16:12,13 we read, I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth . Does this refer to the administration of the mystery?

In Eph 3:1-4 the apostle Paul makes it clear that it was by a special administration of the grace of God that he was the sole recipient of the gospel of the mystery which he might give to the Gentiles. Down in verse 8 he speaks of himself as less than the least of all saints, but that he should make known the administration of the mystery. The 12 had a part in the administration of promise. They are to sit with Christ in the millennium and judge the nations of the earth and evangelize them. The Church of the mystery has no such mission. The 12 have their names written in the foundations of the New Jerusalem which is to be here on the earth. There were things that the 12 could not bear to hear at that time, but which had reference to further truth in the administration of promise. There was a perfection to be attained in that administration as well as in the other. They were to be given all the truth that they would need to proclaim the coming of the King and His kingdom during the period of the Acts.

2. Some claim that the term Israel refers to the 10 tribes and that Jew refers to Judah (with Benjamin and Levi). Is this true?

The Word of God makes no such distinctions. This is another example of men bending the truth to fit the lie. The 10 tribes were in Persia at the time of Esther, yet in that book they are called Jews 6 times. Our Lord came to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, according to His own words. But some would have you believe that the 10 tribes were in Ireland at that time. Did the Lord go to Ireland seeking them? Paul said he was a Jew (Acts 22:3) yet he was of the tribe of Benjamin. Our Lord Himself was a Jew (John 4:9) while Nathaniel called Him the King of Israel (John 1:49). If you use the concordance, you will find many more examples.

3. I still have a little difficulty about the deity of Christ. Where does He come out and say that He was God?

May I ask, Where did the Lord ever come out and say that He was the Messiah of Israel? The signs and the testimony were sufficient and those who could read the OT and see the signs had all the testimony they needed. It is the same with the deity of Christ. Every attribute of God is also attributed to Him. So where is the difficulty? There is no lack of proof, but there is a great lack of belief. That was also Israel's trouble. As for Scripture references look at John 1:18, John 5:18-27, John 8:23-24, John 10:30-38, John 20:28, Eph 3:9 and there are many others.

4. If people do not really die, then why did the Lord say, Because I live, ye shall live also (John 14:19)?

It was not God that said, Ye shall not surely die, but Satan (Gen 3:4). All in Adam do die. Man's only hope for survival is in resurrection. All in Christ will be made alive. He is the first fruits of them that slept. No hope is given for those outside of Christ.

5. Does the Holy Spirit indwell the believer of this age, those in the administration of the mystery? If so, why?

Yes. The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit (new nature within), that we are the children of God. Although found in Romans 8:16 this statement is undispensational, truth for all time. Verse 9 tells us that if we do not have the spirit, the new nature, we are none of His. And verse 11 tells us that there is a quickening here and now in our bodies, in our lives, that comes from this indwelling spirit. So it is this indwelling Spirit that seals the believer (Eph 1:13) and it is this indwelling Spirit that can be grieved (Eph 4:30). It is by this indwelling Spirit that God can make The Church, the temple, which is the body of Christ, His habitation (Eph 2:22). The vain and foolish philosophies of the Gnostics of course would have no place for this doctrine.

6. What is this mystery in Romans 16:25 which had been hid since the ages began?

This is not the mystery that had been hid in God from ages and generations which you will find in Colossians and Ephesians. The context of this verse reveals that it is the mystery of Christ which Paul is preaching to the Romans. The mystery of Christ began with the creation in Gen 1:1 of which we find later He is the Creator. Eph 3:3-5 tells of the mystery of Christ. It was known to the sons of men in past ages. But not as fully as when Paul finishes the Word of God, the canon of Scripture, showing Christ to be Head of The Church which is His body. Romans 16:26 tells that this mystery of Christ is manifested by the Scriptures of the prophets. Now the prophets of Eph 4:11 had not written Scriptures at this time of writing. A part of the mystery of Christ is well set forth in Isaiah 53. In fact all the Scriptures speak of Him and further reveal the mystery concerning Him. And in Romans, Christ is brought out as a federal head in contrast to Adam, showing that by Adam came sin and death, but the hope of resurrection by Jesus Christ. So Romans 16:25 tells nothing about the great secret or mystery which had been hid from ages and generations in God that the Salvation of God is now sent to the Gentiles.

7. What is the gospel of the grace of God in Acts 20:24?

It is the gospel of the uncircumcision that we find mentioned in Acts 15 and also in Gal 2:7. It is the good news that the Gentiles could become a part of the congregation of Israel and partake of their blessings (Romans 15:27) without being under the law. So in that early church the Jew walked by law, the Gentile by grace.

8. What gospel must one preach today lest he be accursed (Gal 1:9)?

No one can be accursed today for preaching any so-called gospel. For one to be accursed, he had to be subject to the law. Israel and the law are set aside today and so no one has been accursed for about 1900 years. Where there is no law, no sin can be imputed. We are under grace today.

9. Why at the end of the prophecy of Jonah does it speak of over 120,000 children and then mention much cattle? What can be the connection?

God definitely said by the mouth of Jonah that He was going to destroy Nineveh in 40 days. There were no conditions or if's about it. But the people, including the king, believed God and they repented. So God in mercy and kindness did not do what He said He was going to do. No one can find fault with a judge that will excuse one at the bar thru mercy. We have 2 other instances of like doing by the Almighty. Adam did not die the day he ate of the fruit, and God did not destroy Israel and make a nation from Moses and his family as He said He would. The sentence was lifted in mercy each time. But there is something there to connect the children and the cattle. In Ecc 3:19,20 we see that in dying there is no difference between man and beast, and they go to the same place. But we also find in Deut 8:3 that even though man was barred from the tree of life, he can live by faith, by believing what God has said. These children were not yet old enough to believe unto life, so like the cattle they would have no resurrection.

10. What does repentance have to do with salvation? What is it?

According to the usage of the word, it means a change of mind, and that for the better. We cannot read any more than that into the word. It does not occur in John's gospel which is the great salvation book for the human race today. But it is obvious that if a man believes, he has changed his mind from unbelief. However, the word repentance is used much more in the case of those who belong to God and rarely of those who do not believe. It was Israel that was called to repent for the kingdom of heaven was at hand. Today this word has lost much of its original meaning and most folks think it means penance. But the word penance cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. It is not there.

11. Did Paul write any epistles while in the prison at Caesarea?

There is no evidence that he did. And there is strong evidence that he did not. When Paul's testimony was not received at Jerusalem, the Lord said to him, Depart; for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles. This cannot be said of Caesarea, for it was not far from Jerusalem. Paul's ministry was in Asia, Europe, and ended at Rome.

12. Can it be true„that God will raise up the unbelievers in their original bodies, punish them, and then destroy them?

Resurrection or raising up these people would be an act of creation. Does God create sin or sinners? Would that be according to His attributes? Furthermore why should He punish them? They were slaves of sin and could not help themselves. Also 2Cor 5:19 tells us that Christ died for their sins and no trespasses are imputed. So there is no reason for punishment. The question is just this; What part would this play in redemption?

13. It says in 2Cor 5:18 that all things are of God. Does this include sin and death and also Satan himself?

In the verse before, it says that old things have passed away for the believer and that all things have become new. So all things that are of God are these new things. Never neglect the context. If all things were unlimited, as some suggest, then we can go back to Ecc 1:2 and prove that all things are vanity. But in that case it is the human labors referred to in verses 3-8 that are vanity. Always look for the antecedent.

14. What does the Bible say about birth control?

Nothing, absolutely nothing. There are some things written in 1Cor 7 which seem to pertain to the subject, but it is in view of the coming tribulation and is in keeping with what is revealed in Matt 24:19. After Acts 28:28 Paul advised the younger widows to marry and no longer spoke of the coming distress which was postponed.

15. How did the tradition get started that the church began at Pentecost?

Rome said so. There is no other evidence either historical or Biblical.

16. Some say that Paul never proclaimed the kingdom of God, but preached only the mystery. What is the evidence?

Paul was told first of all by the risen Lord to preach the things which he had seen (Acts 26:16). What he had seen was what the 12 and others were doing. So if Paul preached only the mystery, then we will have to say the same of the 12 and also of Stephen whom Paul heard. In Acts 17:7 the men of Thessalonica heard Paul preach and reported that he preached another King instead of Caesar. Evidently Paul was preaching the kingdom, the same as the 12, up to Acts 28:28.

17. Did not Paul begin a new ministry when he turned to the Gentiles in Acts 13:46? Was not this the beginning of the church?

If you read the next verse you will find that Paul quotes from Isaiah 49:6 for his authority to turn to the Gentiles. Then this was no mystery or secret hid from ages and generations.

18. What was the purpose of the ministry of Peter in the house of Cornelius?

We must note some things that are not true in order to appreciate that which is true. Nothing is said about Cornelius attending temple or synagogue. All we know is that he was a centurion at the head of an Italian band of soldiers and that he was devout, feared God, gave alms to poor Jews, and prayed to God always. This sums up all we know about him. Even after his experience at the preaching of Peter there is nothing said about him, whether he went to the temple or synagogue or whether he ever joined with the band of Christians at Jerusalem or elsewhere. With that out of the way, we can see that this was a preparation for Paul and his ministry to Gentiles during the Acts period of time.

19. How shall I choose a church or place of worship to attend?

In John 4 you will find that this was also the question of the Samaritan woman. And what was the answer? But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. So today worship has no place designated, but the quality is stressed. It is to be a true spiritual worship. What better place to start it than in the home?

20. You have said that John was preaching to Israel only. What proof do you have for saying that?

Acts 13:24.

21. What would be the condition of our country if there had been no churches? Have they not been a great force in keeping our civilization?

We have a great many people today who have gotten all mixed up and they equate civilization and salvation. There are many ministers today dedicated to the task of saving our society at any cost. We have the do-gooders who want to improve the world and the old nature of man so that he will finally reach the peak of evolution and become as God and be fit for heaven. It is true that the churches have improved and preserved a moral tone of our civilization. But that does not save men. Billy Sunday once said, "There is no difference between the up-and-out and the down-and-out. They are all out." That is right. So we cannot say how many would have been saved today without the churches. Many are being saved in spite of them. We do not know how much of the message of salvation would have been preserved in the families of our country if there had been no churches. We just cannot answer your question, for there is no way of knowing. Conditions might have been better or they might have been worse as far as true worship is concerned. Speculation is useless.

22. What are the basic differences between the kingdom and the church?

The kingdom is a part of the promise made to Abraham and pertains primarily to Israel; but The Church is made up of nations without any distinctions. The kingdom will have a King; The Church has a Head. The kingdom is to be here on the earth where David's kingdom was with Jerusalem as the great world center; The Church has its place in the heavenlies. The kingdom has laws; The Church walks by grace. In the kingdom there is a promise of a bride; but The Church is the body of Christ of which He is the Head. But there is one great common truth; all are saved by grace.

23. Is it true that the nation Israel must repent before the Lord can set up His kingdom?

From the human standpoint, Yes. For prophecy tells us that they will mourn and that they will say blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. From God's standpoint, the day cannot be hastened. He will come in the fullness of time.

24. It is said in Rev 1:7 that when the Lord comes every eye shall see Him. Does this mean that all people of all ages will be there to see?

This is a figure of speech, synedoche, where a part is used for the person. Only those who have eyes and can see with them when He comes will see Him. Dead folks cannot see. And some living folks may be blind. They will not see either. We have a similar figure in Ph’p 2:10 where at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord. This points to a time farther on than that in Revelation. But it will all be voluntary and only the living and the resurrected will do it. No one will be forced to bow. There are many other Scriptures in which this figure can be found.

25. Is not Christ reigning as King now in the heavens and will not this rule continue? How come some say that he is coming down to earth again to Jerusalem and rule over the nations here?

At the present time Satan and his angels are in the heavens. They will be cast out in the midst of the last week of the 70 weeks determined on Israel (Dan 9:24). This is described in Rev 12:9. So it is patent that Christ is not supreme ruler in the heavens now, but rather that He is hid (Col 3:3), and that whenever Christ is manifested in the heavens the members of His church (not the bride) will be manifested with Him (Col 3:4): That is the hope of The Church of the administration of the mystery. But Christ will come and reign on the earth on the throne of His father, David. In Acts 1:6 the apostles wanted to know if the kingdom was going to be set up at that time. Now since the kingdom is primarily of Israel and they are to be a blessing to the nations of the earth, how will the Lord and Israel reign over the earth as pictured in Psalms 2 if they are in heaven? It is wise to take what the Word says instead of trying to force some private interpretation upon it, or change it.

26. Was the prophecy of Joel fulfilled at Pentecost and the kingdom established there and then?

No, the prophecy has not been fulfilled yet. At Pentecost the Spirit was not poured out upon all flesh in Mt. Zion and Jerusalem. There were many Roman soldiers that did not even know about it. There were no wonders in heaven and signs in the earth at that time. There was no change in the sun and the moon. True, Peter spoke of it as the last days when these things should happen, but many years later John says that he is in the last days (1 John 2:18), and Peter many years later speaks of the last days as still future (2 Peter 3:3). At Pentecost Peter mentions the prophecy of Joel merely to show that what was working in the apostles was the same Spirit as Joel spoke about. Peter did not say that Joel's prophecy was being fulfilled. The Lord's house was not established (Isaiah 2) but was totally destroyed shortly later. David's throne has not been occupied by Christ yet. No kingdom was set up and the apostles set on thrones.

27. What is a mortal sin?

It is a sin unto death (1John 5:16). Under the law, murder was a sin unto death. In the case of Ananias and Sapphira lying unto the Holy Spirit was a sin unto death. In 1Cor 11:30 Paul speaks of some who sin and are sickly, and some even died. That was a sin unto death. Mortal sin was never spoken of a Gentile. It was to those under the law. Today the law is not in effect, so we see no examples as above among Christians.

28. Should a Christian go to war?

When Jews who had hired out as soldiers came to John at the Jordan, he baptized them, but never told them to quit the army. Our Lord healed the son of a centurion, but never told this man to quit warfare. Peter was in the house of Cornelius, but there is no record that he told Cornelius to leave the army. No Scripture can be quoted for either side, except that we are to be subject to the powers that be. One who is in the will of the Lord and trusts Him, will have no difficulty with the question. The Lord will put him where he wants him, whether it be on the battle front or in some peaceful occupation. Such questions as this are from the fearful and unbelieving.

29. Can Satan leave hell and wander on the earth at will?

There is no Scripture that says or even hints that Satan was ever in hell or ever will be. At the present time he is just where he has always been from the time of his creation. Some day he will be cast down from that position in heaven to the earth with no power to ascend to heaven again. Hell is for those who are made of the dust of the earth. Satan is not such a creature.

30. What about men taking upon themselves the title of Reverend?

This word occurs in Scripture just once, Psalms 111:9. It is used of the name of God. It is blasphemous for man to take to himself that which pertains to God and His holy name.

31. Did our Lord wear long hair when here on the earth among men?

No. Unless a man were a Nazarite, it was a shame for him to have long hair (1Cor 11:14). Our Lord was not a Nazarite, for a Nazarite was not permitted to drink wine, and our Lord did.

32. Can a Christian become wealthy?

There is no reason why he cannot. Of course those who take the story or parable of the rich man and Lazarus as literal, make it mandatory that one has to get rid of all personal property and beg if he is to be saved. But there is no premium on poverty in God's Word. Abraham was wealthy and was a friend of God. David was wealthy and he was a man after God's own heart. Isaac and Jacob both were wealthy. Solomon had much wealth. And Joseph who buried the Lord was reputed to be the wealthiest Jew of the time. Wealth can be a curse, and it can be a blessing. But poverty can make a man steal. We have wealthy men today who have contributed much to the spread of the gospel.

33. I hear that you teach that there are two churches instead of one. Is this true?

Why not read what we write and see for yourself? From time to time we have written about the 7 churches in Asia. We have recognized that there was a church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38). We have taken note of the fact that the Lord was going to build His church on a rock (Matt 16:18). And besides these were the churches at Rome, Corinth, and many other places to which Paul addressed letters. But it is noteworthy that after Acts 28:28 the word church is never in the plural and it is The Church, not A church. And every church is a body. So today there is one body (Eph 4:4), One Church.

34. According to 1Cor 16:1 should there be a collection taken up in the meeting each Sunday?

There is one collection only in this passage. It is for the saints at Jerusalem. These saints were believing Jews. This one collection was to be taken up on the first of the weeks. The word day is not in the Greek. This is the first week after the Passover. Paul would then take up this collection and carry it with him to Jerusalem.

35. What is this resurrection in Php 3:11?

The out resurrection from among the dead is the prize of the high calling and is for those who have remained faithful and suffered like unto the suffering of Jesus Christ. Paul is saying he is not sure if he will attain to it so as to show it is a prize for believers that suffer and remain faithful to the end and to contrast it with other hopes and resurrections taught by the apostle. In Hebrews 11 he does speak of some who attained to a better resurrection. But they were of a different administration. It is not the resurrection that is the result of believing and obtaining everlasting life. For that is by faith, and not by attainment. By 2 Timothy Paul is confident of attaining the prize and also knows his life shall soon end by the hands of his captors.

36. I have heard, life defined as union with Christ and death as separation from Christ. Does this fit the Scriptures?

Try it for yourself. Read Romans 6:1-10 and use these definitions for life and death. Does this fit?

37. I notice that in the records of the baptism of our Lord in Jordan, that it says that He came up out of the water. Does this mean that He was immersed in the water?

Not necessarily. A river flows, as a usual thing in a bed, for water seeks the lowest level possible. So to get into the river it was necessary to go down into the water and to get out, meant going up out of the water.

38. Who are the other sheep of John 10:16?

The word other is allos which means others of the same kind. Since Israel are the sheep and these are of the same kind, they cannot be Gentiles. That fold ceased to exist at Acts 28:28. There is no fold now. But God will deal with Israel again some day and then there will be another fold and other sheep, not the same ones of this fold in John 10. The present era is between the folds. For, other references to these sheep, see Matt 22:9,10 and 24:31. Are not these all the same?

39. How is it that you teach Pauline doctrine, but do not advocate the Lord's table (1Cor 10 & 1l)?

We do not teach Pauline doctrine for the simple reason that there is no such thing. Paul preached 4 separate gospels during his ministry. In 1Cor 10 and 11 Paul is writing to Jewish believers whose fathers had crossed the Red Sea (10:1). And the feast he is talking about is the Passover which was observed in the homes, not in public. This feast was a supper, observed in the evening, never at morning or noon. These 2 chapters cannot be used for a proof text in support of the observance of the heathen Baal's supper which had been taken up by Christendom.

40. I wonder why that Satan is usually pictured as a black man with horns, hooves, and a tail, when it says in 2Cor 11:14 that he is transformed into an angel of light. What did he look like when he appeared in the garden to Eve?

The popular conception of Satan is really a picture of Nimrod, the great rebel of Babylon. It is told in the legends that he killed a wild bull of extraordinary strength and fierceness. He is supposed to have taken the horns of the bull and made himself a headdress. It did not take the artists long to add the hooves and the tail (always pointed as a spear) and you have the concept of Nimrod the great hunter of his fellow men. We are told in Ezekiel 28 that Satan was created as a covering cherub and when he appeared to Eve it was as the Nachash (shining one). So to Eve he did appear as a great and shining angel, one to revere and believe. No snake deceived Eve.

41. Why do you persist in using the King James version when there are so many modern ones that are more easily understood and which do not use obsolete words?

There are a number of reasons for retaining the Authorized Version. Many concordances would be useless, there would be difficulty with lexicons and the like for they are mostly founded on the AV. It is a sample of the best English of the past centuries. And no modern version can express the holiness and majesty of God as it does. It presents no difficulties to those who have been brought up in Christian homes where the Bible was read and prayers made. Neither does it present any difficulties to one who knows God. But the Bible will remain a closed book to the ungodly no difference what version it may be in. We are very suspicious of versions, for all too often they reflect some man's private belief which may be partial unbelief. None yet has surpassed the Authorized Version which also has the benefit of putting many words in italics where there were no corresponding Greek or Hebrew word in the original manuscripts. It is also one of the earliest English translations and although not perfect does contain less license to private doctrines and added words.

42. Who should keep the Passover?

All circumcised Israelites. It was to be eaten in the home. There was to be no leaven in the house. No manner of work was to be done on the day it was observed. Do not forget that this is all about the kingdom and not The Church. The children of the household were to ask why it was observed and the master of the house recited the story of the exodus from Egypt. The law never made any provisions for any uncircumcised to observe it. See Ex 12:47-49. It was in force till the end of Acts, where The Church began.

43. Should I put something into the collection plate when 1 go to a church?

Most certainly, yes, unless you are the type of person that would slip under the side of the circus tent to avoid paying admission. If you go for the show, then pay your share. Jonah paid his fare, even when running from the Lord (Jonah 1:3).

44. What is the meaning of Gal 2:20? How can one be dead and yet alive?

Christ is our life, we have no eternal life of ourselves. Christ is our supply. Holding Him we have nourishment ministered. This is the fact concerning ourselves as His own, a fact we are required to acknowledge against the background of our own death. He has accomplished for us our death to the end that He may now abide in us. The one has first to happen before the other can be. This is the meaning of the words: I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live; and yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me (Gal 2:20). But for an acknowledgment that we, as to our human life, are mortal we can never believe that we are accounted to have died with Christ. Those of our fellow-brethren who hold that the soul of man is immortal may use the term that they died with Christ - but they cannot in actuality believe that they did die. They cannot envisage the truth that, as to their human life, they are accounted to have ceased to be.

45. Paul expected to be among the living at the rapture (1Thes 4:15-17; 1Cor 15:51,52). Is this rapture still Paul's hope, even though he died and will be among the dead believers of that time?

The rapture is only for the children of promise, primarily Jews but also Gentiles who became the children of Abraham by faith from Acts 10 to Acts 28:28. It has to do with the kingdom here on the earth. The rapture is just a little trip up into the air (not heaven) to meet the Lord as He comes with clouds of angels who will execute judgment as He sets up His kingdom seated on the throne of David in Jerusalem. Since the husbandman is to be the first partaker of the fruits, then Paul must surely have a part in the administration of the mystery which was entrusted to him to proclaim. Therefore he will have an earlier resurrection than that at the coming of the Lord and will be manifested with Him in the heavenly places.

46. Matthew 8:11 seems to indicate that Gentiles from the East and the West will have a part in the kingdom, but not from the North and the South. Is there any explanation for this?

There is no explanation that we can give at this time except the suggestion that it may be that the Russians and the Egyptians will not have a part in it. That could also include Lebanon and Syria. But this is only a guess. These nations might be all changed around by that time. But it is something to think about. The Word is exact and there is good reason for these words being written. The prophecies will be plain to all when fulfilled.

47. If the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 begins at the dedication of the temple, 1 always thought it had its beginning with the decree of Artaxerxes or Astyages in 454 B.C. Can you explain your position?

Very briefly, you will find 2 distinct prophecies in Daniel chapter 9. The first one is in verse 24 and speaks of the second advent of the Messiah. Note that 70 weeks are determined upon the people and the city. This cannot begin with the decree for the simple reason that the people are not in the city till about 49 years (7 weeks) later. So the 70 weeks determined on the city and the people must begin about the time of the dedication of the temple or 405 B.C. It is not hard then to figure that the coming of the Messiah to set up His kingdom would have been AD. 85. However the course of the city and the people did not run to this end, but the people were set aside at Acts 28:28 and since then have not been a people. The city was destroyed in 70 AD. Now if the people were cut off at the end of Acts, about A.D. 63, then there are about 3 weeks yet to run till the coming of the Messiah. We do not know when this prophecy will be resumed. Now the 7 and 62 weeks after the going forth of the decree brings us to A.D. 29, the date when Messiah was cut off. That has been completed.

48. Does Genesis 6:3 indicate that God will not always strive with men,. but that one can cross a deadline where there will be no more conviction by the Holy Spirit and they are forever lost?

Man, in this verse is Adam in the Hebrew: The verse means that God is getting weary of striving with Adam, for Adam (like others) is erring. See note in Companion Bible. So Adam is given another 120 years to live and he died at the age of 930. So we can take it that Adam was 810 years old when God finally made up His mind not to put up with him.

49. Is there any escape from hell once one is in it? If so, how?

The common notion of hell is far from what the Word says that it is. It is sheol in the Hebrew and occurs 65 times in the OT. It is translated hell 31 times, grave 31 times and pit 3 times. The RV is consistent in that it renders it sheol each time. It could be translated grave all 65 times and not mar the meaning. In the NT hades is used 11 times. It is also used in the LXX to translate sheol. So it is the same thing. It is translated 10 times as hell and once as grave. Gehenna does not enter into this discussion, for although it is translated hell, it is the city dump outside of Jerusalem. Neither does Tartarus enter in either. The grave or hell is a place where people are dead and live not again till resurrection (Rev 20:5). Our Lord was in hell 3 days and 3 nites. He came out by resurrection and was the first fruits of the great harvest that is still to come forth. Death and hell are to be destroyed (Rev 20:13,14). So all go to hell or the grave at death. Those who have everlasting life will escape by resurrection.

50. What is the difference between the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of the grace of God?

The former includes the latter in one sense. The gospel or good news of the kingdom was first proclaimed by John the Baptist, the Lord Himself, then the 12, and finally the 70, this being before the death of Christ. Then the apostles were further instructed as to the kingdom and this was the gospel preached by all up to Acts 28:28. The gospel of the grace of God began in the house of Cornelius, about 9 years after Pentecost. This was the only instance that Peter preached this gospel. None of the other 11 preached it at any time. And about 17 years after Pentecost Paul began to preach the gospel of the grace of God at Antioch to the Gentiles (just as Peter did) and continued it till the end of Acts. But in every instance Paul was careful to preach the gospel of the kingdom to the Jew first, and then turned to the Gentiles and preached to them the gospel of the grace of God, which meant that they could partake of all the spiritual blessings of Israel without keeping the law (being circumcised, keeping feasts, and the rituals). The same salvation (not eternal life) of the kingdom was at that time for both Jew and Gentile, but to the Jew first.

51. What is the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery (Romans 16:25)?

In this context we learn that the mystery that is in view is one that had been hushed since the ages began. So it is not the administration of the mystery which was hid from ages and generations and had its plans made before the ages began. This mystery, that had been hushed had been made known by the prophets as the context tells us, so it is not the mystery of Ephesians and Colossians. Also this mystery in Romans is made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. In the structure outline of Romans this is explained by the same words appearing in 1:1-5. It is the preaching of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, but connected with His being the seed of David. So then this is kingdom preaching and declares Jesus Christ not only the anointed one or Messiah, but truly the Son of God.

52. In what sense, if any, did works ever save?

Basically we have all through the Bible record the revelation of life as the gift of God, received by faith and in no connection whatsoever with works. But on that life we find based at least two salvations or lines of blessing. One is the promise made to Abraham. At least the kingdom aspect of the administration of promise has much to do with works as the sermon on the mount will indicate. Also Mark 16:16 adds that when the kingdom was being preached to Jews only, they must believe and be baptized in order to be saved. From 1Cor 3 we may infer that good works of themselves did not save, but could be burned up and the worker saved as by fire. When works were connected with salvation, they were for the most part specific rather than general. But today we have a salvation revealed in Eph 2:8-10 which is obtained by faith only. This salvation is a creation unto good works, not of works.

53. I am puzzled by Mark 13:32. Does this take away from the truth of the deity of Christ?

This passage says, But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. This has been a favorite verse for those who deny the deity of Christ. But it may be that it does prove His deity. He knows that no man knows the day and the hour. He knows that the angels in heaven do not know the day and the hour. Does not this knowledge indicate deity? And what if He does not choose to know? Deity can forget or remember at will. He can forget our sins. That we cannot do. If the Lord chose not to know the time, then that was His business and we have no right to question Him.

54. Is glory a place?

If at any time it answers the question, Where?, then it is a place. Whenever the question of place comes up with any terms, this is a good question to ask. If it designates where something is to be or to happen, then it is a place. But you will note when you look up the word glory in the concordance that it is not always used the same. It may speak of the glory of God. It may speak of the glory of Christ. And there are other usages. In the mystery of godliness in 1Timothy 3:16 it says that He was received up into glory. This answers the question of Where?, and is definitely a place. You may try other passages with the same method.

55. What is dispensational truth?

It is the body of truth, doctrine and practice, that is for a particular household of God. Some dispensational truth may be common to both dispensations. Some truth may be peculiar to its own particular dispensation. For instance, citizenship in the heavenly places is peculiar to the dispensation of the mystery. On the other hand, a part in the new Jerusalem is peculiar to the dispensation of promise. The word chosen is common to both, but time of choosing makes the distinction. The choice of some is before the overthrow, and the choice of others since the overthrow. This is where the workmanship of right division comes in.

56. What is meant by falling from grace?

You probably refer to Gal 5:4. In the first place this epistle to the Galatians is written to the members of the administration of promise, and especially to the Gentile members who had been grafted into the blessings of Israel and the kingdom. To these Paul had preached the gospel of the grace of God, that they might receive all the benefits of the administration of the promise without being circumcised and keeping the law. But there were Judaizers who were convincing some of these Gentiles that they must be circumcised and keep the law. So Paul says to them, For I testify again to every man (Gentile) that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you (Gentiles) are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. So to fall from grace was to leave the grace principle or gospel and go back to circumcision.

57. Was the crossing of the Red Sea literal, or was it just a figurative story?

If it was just a story, then we fail to see the point. If it was just a story, then how did the few million Hebrew slaves get out of Egypt?

58. What does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Ghost? Acts 1:4,5.

At Pentecost the apostles were baptized with the Holy Ghost in fulfillment of the promise in Luke 24: 49. They received power from on high. This power enabled them to speak in languages and perform many miracles. This was in connection with those who proclaimed the kingdom. It was not in any way connected with The Church. See The Giver and His Gifts by E. W. Bullinger for further light.

59. Can Gentiles partake of the New Covenant?

Jer 31:31 plainly states that the New Covenant is to be made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. This is again quoted in Heb 8:8. This is with Israel, not The Church or the Gentiles. The Gentiles do have a promise (Eph 3:6; 2Tim 1:1; Tit 1:2). But Gentiles have always been strangers from the covenants of promise (Eph 2:12).

60. In Acts 20:27 Paul declares that he has shown the whole counsel of God, yet we are led to believe that the mystery which was later proclaimed had been hid from ages and generations and that Paul did not know it there in Acts 20. How can we reconcile these?

If you will look at Eph 1:9 and 11 you will see two words used which do not mean the same thing. One is counsel, and the other is purpose. Paul did not say that he had proclaimed the whole purpose of God, but God's counsel (in accordance with the purpose then revealed). But when a new purpose or further purpose was made known, then there was a counsel or working out of that purpose as you see in Ephesians one. Be careful with terms.

61. What are the gates of hell in Matthew 16:18?

Since no explanation is given in that place, we must then go back to the OT which the disciples at that time had. In Isaiah 38:10 we read, I shall go to the gates of the grave. Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? (Job 38:17). Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death (Psalms 9:13). Can this be resurrection from the grave? And we read in Psalms 107: 18, And they draw near unto the gates of death. Now going back to the passage in Matthew, we must conclude that the doors of the grave or hell cannot hold His church when He calls. They will come forth from the state of death.

62. If being born again in John 3:3 means resurrection, then what does it mean in 1Peter 1:23?

The same word is not used in these two passages. The latter means begotten (See margin in Companion Bible). So we must conclude that there can be no rebirth or resurrection without a begetting by the Word of God. Try using begotten in John 3:6 and see what the meaning is. Further study is needed in this subject.

63. Is it true that "ALL Paul's early epistles are addressed to Gentiles." References, such as Romans 11:13; 1Cor 12:2; Gal 4:8; and 1Thess 2:14, are given to prove the point. Can you give more light on this?

There is little doubt that Paul's first epistle was Galatians. And it appears that it was written to the Gentile Christians of Galatia. But at the same time it is evident that he wrote Hebrews, and that epistle is not to Gentiles at all! Romans 2 is to the Jewish believers, verse 17 emphasizing it. Chapters 10 and 11 of 1Cor are to those whose fathers crossed the Red Sea. Surely they must have been Jews. The fathers of the Gentiles never crossed the Red Sea. You will note in these chapters the directions for keeping the feast (the Passover) which was never lawful for Gentiles to keep.

64. Must the Roman empire be revived?

For many years we have heard this debated, but really have never yet found a Scripture which would indicate that this must be true. We are open to any proof anyone may offer for this, but we are afraid it is merely a tradition someone started.

65. How can every knee bow confessing Christ Lord, to God's glory, unless reconciled? (Philippians 2: 10,11).

Lest any be misled, we must emphasize the fact that reconciliation is not life nor is it salvation. The definition is given in 2Cor 5:19. It means that a work was accomplished so that the sins of the world are not imputed against it. This is good news for those who do not have life, for it gives them access to God to receive the precious gift of everlasting life. Those that have this life shall live. And in resurrection, they will be given knees which they can bow, and be given tongues with which they can confess. But those who do not have life and will never see life (John 3:36), but remain in the dust of the earth, will never have knees or tongues.

66. What does it mean in Philippians 2:12 where it says we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling?

It is well to consider what salvation is before making any applications. It does not say that we are to work out our everlasting life. To equate salvation and everlasting life will only get us into confusion. And somebody has said that confusion is ignorance. When our Lord said to the woman of Samaria that salvation was of the Jews, He was not talking about everlasting life. By faith the Samaritans or any other people could have life. Peter recognized this fact in Acts 10:43. Israel had a salvation to work out. It was that they were to be a priestly nation and make known to the nations the name of Jehovah. They were promised the blessings of the kingdom. To them pertained the preaching of the kingdom. All this was their salvation and they were expected to work it out. And so when the salvation of God was sent to the Gentiles in Acts 28:28, it does not mean that they are then to obtain everlasting life. Their salvation was the administration of the mystery with all its hopes and blessings. This they were to work out.

67. What is the meaning of 1Timothy 1:8?

This verse states that the law is good if one uses it lawfully. There is law today, but not in the sense of the Mosaic law given at Sinai, although that law did reveal the righteousness of God and man's utter inability to attain unto such a state of holiness. But the law or will of God is given to us in the last seven epistles of Paul in the form of exhortations and the like. This is a good thing for us providing we do not attempt to use it as a means of boasting in the flesh. We can walk worthy of our vocation or calling, but there is nothing to brag about, for such a walk is where Christ lives in and acts thru us.

68. What is the difference between eternal life and everlasting life?

They both translate the same phrase in the Greek. However God alone can have eternal life for He has no beginning or end. His children do have a beginning and are given everlasting life through the works of His Son.

69. Your teaching seems very queer. How can Christ be King of kings on the earth and at the same time be Head of a church which is His body in heaven? This is absurd, is it not?

For finite beings such as you and I, this would be impossible and therefore absurd. But if Christ were deity, God manifest in flesh, then He is the Infinite and could appear in as many different places and forms as He might choose.

70. Was Christ a soul after the resurrection?

Psalms 16:10 says, Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. This is quoted in Acts 2:27 by Peter, and part of it is quoted in Acts 13:35 by Paul. Christ went to hell just as have all others who have lived and died on this earth. But His soul was holy and so did not see corruption. It was raised from the dead. If He was a soul before death, then He was a soul in resurrection.

71. I have heard it said that God is acting in grace today to all the world, and that if He does not act in grace, He does not act at all. Is this according to the Scriptures?

In theory, this is but another version of universal reconciliation or salvation. It just happens that the Redeemer in the Hebrew is also the Avenger. The redemption of Noah and his family brought vengeance on the wicked world of that time. The redemption of Israel from Egypt brought vengeance on Pharaoh and his hosts. The very fact that God loves His people makes Him hate their enemies. We are told that Buddha loves everybody. He sits and does nothing about it. But that is not our God. His grace is for those that will partake of it. His wrath abides on others (John 3:36).

72. I am a little mixed up. It speaks of the inheritance of God in the heavenlies in Ephesians 1:18, and in Colossians 1:12 it says that we are made meet to be partakers of the inheritance in the holiest in light. However Ephesians 5:5 indicates that one may lose this inheritance. How is this?

The Church has an inheritance, even as did Israel. Individuals may lose it, even as many thousands of Israel lost their inheritance.

73. In Psalms 1:5 it says that the ungodly would not stand (arise) in the judgment, and that this meant no resurrection for the unbelievers. Somebody said that this word stand did not mean resurrection. Can you answer this?

A lot of people are quick to set forth their own ideas as gospel truth, but err, not knowing the Scriptures. You will find this word quwm (koom) on page 1101 of the Englishman's Hebrew Concordance. There is a long list of the places where used, but one or two will suffice. See Job 14:12; Psalms 88:10; Isaiah 26:14. You can also check this with Strong's concordance. The word number is 6965. This is what Scripture says.

74. Do you believe in the verbal inspiration of the Bible? If so, then how would you translate sheep and vine and the like for people who know nothing of these things? After all, is not the Bible just the words of men?

The Bible time after time claims to be the Word of God. If it is not, then it is false and should be thrown out altogether. It would even be dangerous if it were just the words of men. But look at Psalms 12: 6, The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. God has spoken in man's language to man, but He does not use those words carelessly as man does. And the fact that some might not understand some of the terms used is no excuse to make any changes in the Word of God. How many understand love? How many comprehend the term righteousness? We who are teachers have to teach what these things are. And so it is up to a man to teach what a sheep or a vine is when speaking to the Eskimos. Some tribes do not know what a home is. It is up to Christians to teach and to show these what a home is. We must not tamper with the Scriptures. But we must remember that All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable...

75. What is the sin mentioned in Hebrews 12:1?

It is the sin of unbelief. That is the root of all other sins. Self-will nourishes it.

76. It seems strange that Rahab the harlot should be so well spoken of in the Bible. Why?

In this day when men think that respectability is Christianity, this does pose a real question. But Rahab was saved by faith and not by any moral qualities she may have had. So we can say that she was a sinner saved by grace. People who do not know the love and power of God cannot understand His works. Our Lord was criticized because He kept company with publicans and sinners. God is able to take the worst sinner living today and make a saint of him. But men with all their do-good programs and reformation cannot do this.

77. Why don't we hear more about Jobs wife?

She was not much good as a wife. When Job was in trouble and grief, she was no comfort. All she had to say was that he should curse God and commit suicide (Job 2:9). God did not see fit even to put her name in Scripture. The same with Lot's wife.

78. Why did God have a program of healing in the apostolic times and not have it today?

During the time covered by Acts, the kingdom was still at hand. If any at that time would have been careful to study Daniel 9, they would have been able to set the date of the Lord's second coming and the setting up of His kingdom. It would have been A.D. 85, just 490 years from the dedication of the temple after the exile (405 B.C.). With that near coming at hand, it would be fitting that those who believed and entered into the kingdom would be alive and ready to meet the King at His coming. So the sick were healed and the dead raised during the time that the kingdom was in view. But when the kingdom was postponed at Acts 28:28, the gifts of the Spirit ceased. The two days of Hosea 6:2 must intervene before Israel will be raised and come into their kingdom. Resurrection and being manifested with Him in the heavenlies is the hope of the members of The Church which is His body today. A resurrection at about the time of the great white throne of judgment is the hope of those who have everlasting life, but no adoption (See Job 14:12 and compare with Rev 20:11). Thus we can see that there is no gifts of healing and the like today.

79. How about the common teaching that the church is Spiritual Israel? Is it true?

I am afraid that we will never be able to find the expression Spiritual Israel in the Bible. It is not there. History tells us that this expression originated with a man by the name of Origines. He was a Greek writer and teacher of the third century. It was a theory that God was forever thru with the Jew and now all the blessings and covenants had been transferred to the church. A few years later the Emperor Constantine saw in this a great chance to improve his position as ruler. This would make a fine basis for a church-state, making war in the name of and with the aid of religion, for ritual, pomp, splendor, and ecclesiastical theatricals. We have on hand today the tragic results of that lie, that theory, which has caused to much bloodshed and misery in centuries past. And if we are not careful, organized religion will again take over and rule the world. Then there will be great tribulation.

80. Is water baptism essential for the remission of sins?

Isaiah had a coal of fire laid upon his mouth, which in touching his lips took away all his iniquity and purged all his sins. Our Lord spoke to many during His earthly ministry, remitting their sins without baptism. The members of The Church of the administration of The Mystery are not under law, and they today have redemption through His blood, and the forgiveness of sins. They have only one baptism and this is explained in Col 2:12,13 as being identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, even to a quickening with Him with the accompaniment of forgiveness of sins. No water baptism is mentioned in connection with The Church. It is a part of the law and the kingdom of Israel. But there are even now those who claim that they are Jews (Rev 2:9; 3:9)

81. It would seem that Romans 2:14 proves that man did not have a fall, but by nature does the things of the law. How do you see it?

The epistle to the Romans has suffered much at the hands of its friends, the commentators and the expositors. It is a case of being very careful to read the address on the envelope, to find out to whom the apostle is speaking. This epistle is written to the church at Rome which was made up of Jewish and Gentile believers. The man spoken to in verse 1 of chapter 2 is seen to be the Jew (see verse 17). When we read Galatians we see that the Gentile believers in the churches were not subject to the law of Israel. This is also brought out in the council at Jerusalem (Acts 15). So here in Romans 2:14 Paul is reminding the Jewish believers that the Gentile believers did by nature (the new nature in the believer) the things contained in the law. This would only be natural, for the law did contain the righteous requirements of God for His people. This does not say that the Gentiles observed the ritual of the law. That was settled in Acts 15:24-29.

82. There is a great deal of mention of the book of life in the Revelation. There seems to be a danger of being blotted out of it. How can one know his name is in this book?

This is another example of carelessly reading the Word. The book of life is mentioned about 7 times in the Revelation. Once it is called the Lamb's book of life (21:27). This might give us a clue. But the best explanation for it is given in Daniel 12:1. The names written in the book are those of Daniel's people, that is, Israel. So we do not look for the names of Gentiles to be written in that particular book. The Revelation is about Israel, their tribulation, and the overcomers. It is possible that there might be a book for the Gentiles, but you will find that elsewhere.

83. Do we today have need of the Advocate mentioned in 1John 2:1?

Under the law, men were judged by the law (Romans 2:12) and those that do not have the law cannot be judged by it. Where there is no law, sin is not imputed and therefore there can be no summons to court or a charge made against the sinner (see 2Cor 5:19 and Romans 5:13). Those under the law prayed that they might be forgiven as they forgave others. But we who are under grace are to forgive others freely because we have been forgiven (Eph 4:32). We have no need of an Advocate today, for we have forgiveness of sins (Eph 1:7 & Col 1:14).

84. What was the spiritual condition of the rich young ruler when he came to the Lord and asked what he should do to inherit eternal life?

This young man who must have been a "somewhat" in the synagogue was already a believer. He recognized the Lord as the Messiah, the King of Israel. His request was what he must do to have a place of importance in the kingdom. The reply of the Lord was very similar to His words in Matt 19:29. It meant the forsaking of everything in the world for His name's sake. The price was too high for this man.

85. Did Paul continue establishing churches or assemblies after Acts 28:28?

There is no record that he did. Neither is there any record that such churches or assemblies were in existence after Acts 28:28.

86. What part, or parts, of the gospel of John are truth for this administration?

In the first place, we do not use the term "this administration." If the administration of The Mystery is meant, then John's gospel is not to or for it. But John's gospel is truth for today. So many are misled by the expression "this administration," thinking it means this age or time in which we live and that it means a way in which God is dealing with mankind today in general. God does have a special way of dealing with the administration of The Mystery, a church already seated in heavenly places. But for the rest of humanity today, John's gospel applies (John 3:16). There is no administration teaching for today in this gospel. That which applies today and which is for Gentiles (the Jews have been set aside, 1:11), is 1:1-18; 3:13-21; and 3:31-36. The reason for the writing of the gospel is given in 20:30,31. There are some short explanations through the book for Gentile readers, and then the last 2 verses of the book are up-to-date.

87. Should those who are Christians gather together at some place for worship today?

It may be that the word worship is somewhat overdone these days. Even in Israel, the temple was the designated place of worship. The Synagogue was not a place of worship, but a place to teach the Scriptures and also as a court where men might be tried under the law and penalties meted out. Paul knew this very well, for he had been beaten in the Synagogues many times. In the epistles written after Acts 28:28 the word worship occurs just once. That is in Ph'p 3:3 where Paul says, For we are the (true) circumcision, which worship God in the spirit. This is an echo of John 4:23 where the Lord said to the woman of Samaria, But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshiper shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. That worship has nothing to do with a place, a priesthood, nor a ritual. It is natural for those who love the Word and the One of whom it speaks to gather together, but we have no such command today. Leaders often wish it and even pretend it so they can get a following and a big collection.

88. Do you believe that there are 2 bodies?

In the administration of The Mystery there is 1 Body (Eph 4:4). In the administration of promise there was 1 body (1Co 12:13). Whether that included all believers I cannot tell. It may have been just the church at Corinth. So there was one body, and there is one body. But they are not the same. The first was of Israel with an earthly hope. There is one now of Gentiles already seated in heavenly places. The first was to minister to the nations of the earth. There is one now making known the manifold wisdom of God to principalities and powers in heavenly places. We are aware that most of Christendom does not know much about right division and the mystery.

89. I am curious about Acts 17:11. What was it that Paul told the Bereans, and what Scriptures might they have looked up to see if it was so?

You have done well to stop and ask such a question. Not many have done that. In the same chapter, in verses 2 and 3, you will find what Paul preached; And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them (the synagogue of the Jews), and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus-whom I preach unto you, is Christ. So it is clear that Paul was preaching and arguing from the Scriptures that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed their Christ and Messiah, the King of Israel. In verse 7 his enemies charge him with saying, that there is another king (than Caesar), one Jesus. The theme of their Scriptures, the OT, is of the coming kingdom and the King. And this is what the Bereans found. Paul was not preaching the administration of The Mystery. Even if he had, they could not have verified his message from the Scriptures they had, for it was a subject that had been hid in God from ages and generations (Eph 3:9; Col 1:26). Be sure to check this.

90. How can we know that the "voice" in Isaiah 40:3 refers to John the Baptist?

The Holy Spirit inspired Matthew to write of John the Baptist, For this is He that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. This is quoted from the reference you gave. Also you will find that a messenger is to be sent to proclaim the coming of the Lord, the God of Israel (Mal 2:16,17; 3:1-4). This is the same Lord and God referred to in your text. Not only does John the Baptist fulfill the place of the messenger, but Jesus of Nazareth is the Lord and the God of Israel whose way is to be made straight. Christ is Jehovah.

91. Could it be that Philippians 2:9-11 refers to the man, Jesus, who is another creature or a god?

In this reference it is plainly stated that the highest name possible is given to Jesus of Nazareth. That name is found in Psalms 7:17, the first of 36 places it occurs in the OT. It is Jehovah-Elyon, or, Jehovah the Most High God. There is no name above this one. If Jesus of Nazareth was not Jehovah, the Most High God, then our Bible is wrong, not inspired, and can not be trusted. We might just as well throw it out and lean on our own understanding. Here is a further quotation from Isaiah 45:23, I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto Me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear. In this same context it is made plain that there is no other Savior. However Satan still is saying, Yea, hath God said! We find our directions made clear in 2 John 9,10, Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ (what the Word testifies of Him) , hath not God ...If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. Just remember, the greatest of sins is unbelief.

92. What is the meaning of Romans 9:6 where it says, " For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel." Does this have to do with the true seed?

The true and the false seed are not in this context. Rather, the downfall of Israel and the blessing of the Gentile believers is the subject of chapters 9-11 here in Romans. Paul is making it plain that the true Israel of God is not all made up of the descendants of Israel, but also includes Gentiles. In his first epistle, Paul said to the Gentile believers, And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise (Gal 3:29). In verse 9 of the same chapter we read, So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. Now keep in mind that this is in the administration of promise, not The Mystery. Israel is still first.

93. Did John the Baptist have a message and a baptism for Gentiles?

There is no record that he did. In fact, there was no ministry to Gentiles in the NT until the day that Peter went to the house of Cornelius in the city of Caesarea (Acts 10 entire).

94. There is much talk these days about Moses being married to a black woman, and also that Philip preached to a colored man of Ethiopia. Do these have any bearing on truth for today?

None that I can think of. Zipporah was the wife of Moses. She was the daughter of a priest in Midian. His name was Reuel, Raguel, or Jethro. The Midianites were children of Abraham by his second wife, Keturah, and so would be the same race and color as Moses. Since Midian was in Arabia, a part of the land of Cush, she would be a Cushite by nationality, but a Midianite by race. So what? The eunuch, to whom Philip spoke, is not. said to be an Ethiopian, but from Ethiopia. He had the Scriptures and had been to Jerusalem to worship. So we must conclude that he was a Jew that was a slave in high position with the queen of Ethiopia. This would correspond with the condition of Daniel in the court of Nebuchanezzar and later in the court of Darius the Mede. I might add that the queen of Sheba was very probably not of Ethiopia, as tradition says, but queen Hatshepsut of Egypt (Sheba meaning south).

95. What is meant by the evil day in Ephesians 6:13?

There is a chance that at some time during the truth of the administration of The Mystery there may come a time of tribulation or trial upon those who dare to speak this truth. The spiritual failure and barrenness we see in Christendom today can well lead to such a condition.

96.  Are we to approach the throne of grace in prayer today as indicated in Hebrews 4:16?

The word throne does not appear in any of the epistles Paul wrote after Acts 28:28. It is not found in the gospel of John which was also written this side of Acts. Throne has to do with a King and a kingdom. There is no place for a throne in The Church. In the plural, it occurs in Col 1:16, but it is concerning thrones, dominions, and the like in heaven and earth, not the throne of God.

97. In Romans 6:14,15 it speaks of not being under the law, but under grace. Was not the Jew still under the law then?

Yes, the Jew was still under the ceremonial law, known as the law. But in the reference you gave, there is no article. Under faith, love, and grace, the Jew was no longer subject to the moral law. The moral law is contained in the last 5 of the 10 commandments. You can readily see that if one loves his neighbor as himself, then this moral law is made void. It is rather a strange thing to say that law is for the lawless. But that is right. The Gentile believers in Rome had the new nature and so did the things of the law, even though they never had it (Romans 2:14). Romans 13:8,10 shows that love is the fulfilling of the law (the moral law).

98. According to Ephesians 3:2 is not this the age or administration of grace?

No. This verse tells us that a special administration of grace was given to Paul that he might preach the gospel of the administration of The Mystery. Just notice how Paul follows this statement up in verses 7 & 8. Compare with Col 1:25 where he speaks of his ministry being an administration of God to him. The next verse speaks of this ministry as The Mystery.

99. When did water baptism cease to be the rule for God's people?

The apostles and Paul baptized with water in the Acts era. Paul makes it known that after Acts 28:28 there is one baptism (Eph 4:5) and in Col 2:12 this baptism is described as being identified with Christ in death, burial and resurrection. So we must conclude that water baptism ceased at the end of Acts.

100. Is it true that two distinct purposes of God are revealed in the Bible?

Yes that is true. (1) There is a distinctive purpose revealed concerning Israel, the kingdom, and the earth program (not connected with powers in the heavens). The kingdom phase culminates in the coming of the King, the rapture of His people, Israel, and the setting up of the kingdom. (2) There is another distinctive purpose revealed after Acts 28:28 which has to do with the Gentiles (nations) and this in connection with heavenly places and heavenly beings. This is The Church. All believers outside these two distinctive purposes from Adam till now will have their part with the dying malefactor in paradise (the new earth). This groups all believers into 3 groups, but with 2 spheres of blessing, the earth and the heavens.

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