Monday, January 22, 2018
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(6) THE TESTIMONY OF PETER TO THE DAYS OF NOAH

After the great gap formed by the loss of Paradise, the record divides into two according as the false or the true seed are spoken of, until we come to the next great crisis, the Deluge. Here history seems to repeat itself. The deep (Heb. tehom) of Genesis 1:2, is not referred to again until we read the record of the flood (Gen. 7:11; Gen. 8:2). The "dry land" (Heb. yabbashah, Gen. 1:9-10), which appeared on the third day from beneath the waters, finds an echo in the "drying up" of the earth after the flood (Heb. yabesh, Gen. 8:7, Gen. 8:14). There are a number of interesting parallel features between Adam and Noah which establish that the relationship is intentional.

For example, both Adam and Noah are commanded to replenish the earth, both have three sons, one of whom becomes involved in a curse and is either "of that wicked one" or the father of Canaan, who in his turn is seen to be of the evil seed. These parallels are so close that most commentators have accepted without question that Peter, in 2 Peter three, refers to Genesis 1:1 and 2, whereas a careful study of his epistles will show that he ALSO had, the days of Noah before his mind. This testimony is important, and the examination of it will necessitate a fairly intensive study, but the subject matter is of the deepest solemnity and fully justifies all the time and space which we can devote to its elucidation.

Just as the Primal Creation is balanced across the gap of the ages, by the new heavens and new earth, and just as Paradise lost is balanced by Paradise restored, so the structure persists and another pair of corresponding members appears.

The days of Noah               a The irruption of the sons of God (Gen. 6:1-4)
    The nations just                       b Preservation in the Ark Noah
    before the call of                         uncontaminated (Gen. 6:9)
    Abraham                                      c Punishment by flood (Gen. 7,8)
                                                            d Spirits in prison (1 Pet. 3:19-22, Jude 1:6)

C  As it was in the                  a Antichrist, and the Son of Perdition (2 Thess. 2)
    days of Noah.                          b Preservation, the lamb's book of life.
    The nations just                          Uncontaminated (Rev. 21)
    before Israel are                            c Punishment by fire (Rev. 14:9, Rev. 14:10)
    saved and blessed                             d Spirits liberated for a season (Rev. 9:14).

Let us now attend to the teaching of Scripture with regard to this great epoch. A very superficial reading of Scripture will convince the student that there are revealed three great creative movements one past, one present and one future.

1. "In the beginning" (Gen. 1:1). Primal Creation.
2. "In six days" (Gen. 1:3 - 2:3). Present Creation.
3. "In the day of God" (2 Pet. 3:12-13). New Heavens and Earth.

The Primal Creation of Gen. 1:1 is separated by the chaos of Gen. 1:2 from the Present Creation while the Present Creation is again separated from the New Heavens and Earth by the dissolution of 2 Peter 3:10, and the following diagram visualizes this great purpose of the ages.

            Gen. 1:3
            to
               Gen. 1:1                                    Rev. 22:21                             1Cor. 15:24-28
____________________                _____________________               __________
"Before the Foundation |              |                                    |               |               
(or overthrow) of the |              |                                    |               |           
world"          |________| <------ Age Times ------> |_________|
  "before Age-Times"       Gen.                                          2 Pet. 3:10            
                                       1:2                                            Rev. 20:14,15          

The "first" heaven and earth of Revelation 21:1 is strictly "the former" of two (see Rev. 21:4 where the same Greek word is translated "former"). This is the sequel to the six days' creation, not to Genesis 1:1. A reference to Isaiah 65:17-25 and to Isa. 66:22-24 will show that in the new heaven and earth (outside the Holy Mountain), death will still be possible. Not until the end of the ages, long past the end of the Revelation will the last enemy be destroyed and God be all in all (1 Cor. 15:24-28).

Peter as a minister of the Circumcision, is particularly concerned with that portion of the purpose of the ages that impinges upon the hope of Israel. There is, however, in the history of Israel much that is typical of vaster things, and we are not surprised, therefore, to discover much that foreshadows the larger issues dealt with by Paul alone. This vast sweep of the ages which we have suggested in the diagram given above, finds an echo in the words of Peter, when he speaks of past, present and future heavens and earth, as they appear in the prophetic view of Israel and its hope.

We may use Peter's language as a guide to the wider purpose of the ages thus:

  • For Genesis 1:1 we may use the words, "the world that then was".

  • For Genesis 1:3 - Revelation 20:13 we may use the words, "the heavens and the earth which are now".

  • For Revelation 21:1 the words, "the new heavens and the new earth".

Peter was "a minister of the circumcision" (Gal. 2:7-9), and wrote his epistles to

". . . the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia" (1 Pet. 1:1).

As 2 Peter three opens with the words, "This second epistle, I now write unto you", it is evident that the chapter before us was equally addressed to the "circumcision". The term diaspora, "scattered" became a name to designate "the twelve tribes scattered abroad" (Jas. 1:1), or the "dispersed among the Gentiles" (John 7:35, R.V. margin). This term had become fixed during the two hundred years before Christ that the Septuagint had been in use, for in such passages as Deuteronomy 30:4, Nehemiah 1:9, Psalms 147:2; diaspora is used of the "outcasts of Israel". As we shall have occasion to compare some of the language of Peter with the Gospel according to Mark, it will be well to make sure that the reader is aware of the close association of these two servants of the Lord.

From Acts 12:12 we learn that Peter was friendly with Mark's mother and in 1 Pet. 5:13 he speaks of "Marcus my son." Jerome speaks of both Paul and Peter with their assistants thus:

"Therefore he (Paul) had Titus for a Secretary, as the blessed Peter had Mark, whose Gospel was composed by him after the dictation of Peter".

To this may be added the testimony of Eusebius:

"After the departure of Peter and Paul, Mark the disciple and secretary (hermeneutes or "interpreter") of Peter, transmitted to us in writing what Peter had preached".

The four Gospels, therefore, stand related to one another as follows:

A Matthew Independent

B Mark Interpreter of Peter

B Luke Fellow worker with Paul

A John Independent.

We are now free to examine 2 Peter three, and we shall remember as we do it, that Peter, the minister of the circumcision, admits in that same chapter that the Apostle Paul has many things to say, which were hard to be understood both by himself and his hearers, and we shall not expect to find the sweep backward beyond Gen. 1:2 in Peter's most far-flung statement, that we find in Paul's great epistles of the Mystery. We must now make a preliminary inquiry into the testimony of 2 Peter 3:1-14 and discover the scope of Peter's Ministry and epistle.

We note that chapters one and two must be considered as introductory, for it is chapter three that opens with the words, "this second epistle, beloved, I now write to you", and the burden of the chapter is the denial by "scoffers" of the possibility of the Lord's return by an appeal to a supposed "Uniformity of Natural Law", and the exposure of the weakness of this objection by the Apostle. An examination of the first chapter will show that this was prominently in the Apostle's mind all the time. 2 Peter 1:16-21 is an anticipation of 2 Peter 3:2-3 and 2 Peter 2:1-22 is an anticipation of 2 Peter 3:3-13 and correspond in the structure which will be given later.

These selfsame scoffers, or their predecessors, had evidently charged the believer who expected the personal return of the Lord, with following "cunningly devised fables" (2 Peter 1:16), and from this the Apostle proceeds to the nature and trustworthiness of prophecy, recalling in passing the conviction he himself had received of its truth when upon the Mount of Transfiguration.

The structure of the passage is as follows:

A 2 Pet. 1:16 What the apostle's witness was NOT "Cunningly devised fables"

B 2 Pet. 1:16-17 What it WAS" Honour and glory"

C 2 Pet. 1:17-18 How it CAME "The voice from heaven"

B 2 Pet. 1:19 What the Prophetic Word IS "A light, till the day dawn"

A 2 Pet. 1:20 What it is NOT "Not of its own unfolding"

C 2 Pet. 1:21 How it CAME "Moved by the Holy Ghost".

In this opening argument we have similar features that are restated or amplified in chapter three.

Chapter One
The Second Coming of Christ.
The charge made "cunningly devised fables".
The testimony of Apostle and Prophet.
The introductory phrase "knowing this first".

Chapter Three
The Second Coming of Christ.
The scoffers' charge "where is the promise of His coming?
"The testimony of the Prophets and Apostles.
The introductory phrase "knowing this first".

To piece together the complete structure in all its details would take us too long, and is not necessary for our present purpose. The following abridged outline will be all that is required to demonstrate the scope of the epistle and particularly the correspondence that exists between 2 Peter 1:16-21 and 2 Peter 3:2-3, and 2 Peter 2:1-22 with 2 Peter 3:3-13. If this be realized, we shall have reached the first step in our inquiry.

We draw special attention to the two words "overthrow" katastrophe and "overflow" katakluzo, and the correspondence established between the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, with the dissolution of the elements.

THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PETER

A 2 Pet. 1:1-4 Opening Benediction.
Grace, peace, through the knowledge of God.
Called to His own glory

B 2 Pet. 1:5-11 Give all diligence-never fall (ptaio)
Give diligence-make sure

C a 2 Pet. 1:12-15 "Stir up", "remembrance"
b 2 Pet. 1:16-21 The Apostles and Prophets
(details given above)
"Knowing this first"
c 2 Pet. 2:1-22 False prophets and False teachers
Reference to fall of angels,the Flood
and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
An overthrow (katastrophe)
Lusts of flesh and uncleanness

C a 2 Pet. 3:1 This second epistle beloved.
I now write unto you: in both which I stir up
your pure minds by way of remembrance
b  2 Pet. 3:2-3 The Prophets and the Apostles"Knowing this first"
c 2 Pet. 3:3-13 Scoffers
Reference to Creation and Flood
Dissolution of elements
Overflow (katakluzo)
Walking after their own lusts

B 2 Pet. 3:14-17 Be diligent-fall (ekpipto) stedfastness

A 2 Pet. 3:18 Closing Benediction.
Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour
To Him be glory.

In the second chapter, which corresponds with the section dealing with the scoffers and their condemnation, Peter speaks of the following recorded interventions of the Lord, showing how untrue the scoffers were when they attempted to rule out the future Divine intervention of the Lord's return by saying, "since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were". Four instances are given by the apostle of judgments that could not be the mere working of natural law.

  • The casting down of the angels that sinned (2 Pet. 2:4).

  • The bringing in a flood in the days of Noah (2 Pet. 2:5).

  • The turning of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemning them by an "overthrow" katastrophe (2 Pet. 2:6.)

  • The rebuking of Balaam by the speaking of a dumb ass (2 Pet. 2:15-16).

From these examples the Apostle draws the conclusion:

"The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished" (2 Pet. 2:9).

We have now advanced a step in our pursuit of the truth. The fact has been established, that there were three Creative Movements recorded in Scripture, and that Peter whose reference to Creation is occupying our attention, was a minister of the circumcision, when he wrote his second epistle. To this we have now added some idea of the general scope of this epistle, and of 2 Peter 3:3-14 in particular. We are, therefore, now ready to give 2 Peter 3:3-14 a fuller and more detailed examination.

Before we can come to any definite conclusion about the intention of the Apostle in 2 Peter 3:3-14, we must arrive at some certain understanding of the terms he uses. There are few students of Scripture who, when they read the words of 2 Peter 3:4, "the BEGINNING of creation", will go back in mind immediately to Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, where the same word arche "beginning" is found either in the Septuagint or in the original Greek N.T. Yet upon examination, such a reference back is proved to be untrue. We have already spoken of Mark the "interpreter" of Peter and the present is an opportunity to test his words. Mark uses the word arche "beginning" four times thus:

A "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God" (Mark 1:1)

B "From the beginning of the creation" (Mark 10:6)

A "The beginning of sorrows" (Mark 13:8)

B "The beginning of the creation which God created" (Mark 13:19)

The two references to creation challenge our attention, and we are sure that the established meaning of these two passages in Mark's Gospel must influence most profoundly our interpretation of the same words in 2 Peter three. Here, therefore, is the second passage in full.

"But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female" (Mark 10:6).

It is not a matter of debate, therefore, that Mark uses the expression, "the beginning of the creation", to refer exclusively to the creation of Genesis 1:3 - 2:3, and so by logical necessity cannot include Genesis 1:1. Let us read the second reference:

"For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be" (Mark 13:19).

All we need to do to show that the same limitation must be observed is to place beside this reference, two parallel passages.

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

"There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time" (Dan. 12:1).

We cannot conceive that any reader with these passages before him, would wish to read into Mark 13:19 a reference back to Genesis 1:1. The words "since there was a nation" being the earliest statement, out of which the others have grown.

We are, therefore, certain that the words quoted by Peter "from the beginning of the creation" are limited to the Adamic earth. The context moreover of any expression has a part to play in deciding its meaning, so we must now observe the way in which it is introduced and with what other terms it is associated.

"Since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation".

It is strange enough to think of linking up the death of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ("the fathers") with the six days of creation; it is unthinkable when we attempt to link such events with the remote period of Gen. 1:1. The argument appears to be that just as the "fathers" died one after the other, and no interference with "nature" has yet broken the hold of death, so, from the beginning of the world all things have continued without a break, and ever will, so rendering either the hope of resurrection, the Second Coming or the Day of Judgment unreasonable.

Peter, however, has already met this argument. Did all things continue as they were, in the days of Noah? Was there no Divine intervention in the days of Sodom? Is there no import in the use of the two distinctive words katastrophe and katakluzo?

Further, we must not forget that the words in question were spoken by the "scoffers". What did these scoffers know about the primal creation? What did they know of the "overthrow of the world"? Not one of them so far as there is any record had ever seen the skeleton of a brontosaurus or a fossilized ichthyosaurus. The science of their day made creation originate from chaos (see Hislop's Two Babylons), and these scoffers most certainly did not know more of ancient history than the inspired Apostle.

In his opening rejoinder the Apostle says, "For this they willingly are ignorant of", a sentence that does not do justice to either the English language or the inspired original. The R.V. reads, "for this they willfully forget" and some even render the passage, "for they are willfully blind to the fact". No person can be charged with "willful forgetfulness" if the matter lies beyond his knowledge. The heathen world was without excuse in their idolatry because of the witness of creation around them, but not even the scoffers could "willfully neglect" the evidences of the primal creation because they were unrevealed and were unattainable by human search at that time. These scoffers, however, could be charged with willful neglect of the Divine record of Genesis which shows how the selfsame water that played so prominent a part in the six days of creation, was actually used to bring about the flood in the days of Noah. This they could have known, and with its neglect they could be charged.

Lanthano, the word translated "be ignorant" in 2 Peter 3:5 A.V. occurs again in verse 8, "be not ignorant of this one thing". This fact must not be "ignored" by ourselves, as it is evident that such a recurrence indicates a structural feature, and is of consequence to true interpretation. The word lanthano seems to demand an English equivalent that lies somewhere between the "ignorance" of the A.V. and the "forgetting" of the R.V., and Moffatt seems to have chosen wisely here, for he renders the word in both passages "ignore". Ignorance of any fact modifies the culpability of a person, forgetfulness while serious, nevertheless modifies the guilt of an act, but to "willfully ignore" leaves no such margin of excuse, and that is the thought here. Without making too great a diversion by dealing with the structure of 2 Peter 3:1-13 as a whole, it will be sufficient for our present purpose to confine ourselves to verses 2 Peter 3:4-9.

A     2 Pet. 3:4            The Promise.     Where is this promised Advent?
                                                            False argument derived from
                                                            misconception as to time

B     2 Pet. 3:5-7  They                  a Heavens of old and Earth
                           willfully ignore       b The Word                            Water
                                                               c The World
                                                                    d Perished
                                                    a Present Heaven and Earth
                                                         b Same Word                         Fire
                                                              c Ungodly Men
                                                                   d Destruction

B    2 Pet. 3:8    Do you                  The argument concerning relative time
                        not ignore

A    2 Pet. 3:9           The Promise         The apparent "slowness" of the Lord
                                                             must not be misconstrued as "slackness".
                                                             The day of the Lord will come.

God does not hold man accountable where knowledge is unattainable. Knowledge concerning things that happened during the Primal Creation of Genesis 1:1 could not be "ignored" by anyone, because no details are given in the Revealed Word. These men, however, could, and evidently did, willfully ignore the testimony of Genesis 1:3 - 8:22, and so were without excuse. The reference to "the world that then was being overflowed with water perished" must either refer to the chaos of Genesis 1:2 and must exclude the flood in the days of Noah, or it must refer to the flood of the days of Noah and exclude Genesis 1:2, it cannot refer primarily to both. We have positive evidence that Peter makes reference to the Deluge of Noah's day as part of his teaching and while this does not prove anything so far as 2 Peter 3:6 is concerned, it is a weight in the scale. We must continue our study of the terms used by Peter.

"The heavens were of old". Do these words refer to the primal creation of Genesis 1:1? or do they refer to the creation of the world for Adam and his race? Ekpalai occurs in but one other passage in the N.T., namely in 2 Peter 2:3.

"Whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not".

There is no need for any argument here. These false prophets must belong to the Adamic creation, and consequently there is added reason to believe that Peter's second use of the term will be but an expansion of the first, and that 2 Peter 3:6 refers back as far as Genesis 1:3 but no farther.

Palai simply means "old", palaios, palaiotes and palaioo also occur and should be examined. We give just two examples.

"But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins (2 Pet. 1:9).

"God Who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past" (Heb. 1:1).

The expression, "the heavens were of old", therefore refers quite legitimately to Genesis 1:6. This "firmament" was temporary and is to pass away, as many passages of Scripture testify. There is no passage, however, that teaches that Heaven Itself, the dwelling place of the Most High, will ever pass away, and this is an added reason for limiting Peter's words to the present creation.

The earth "standing" out of the water, appears to refer to the way in which the present system was brought into being. Sunistemi is translated "consist" in Colossians 1:17, and while it would take a scientist to explain the meaning of 2 Peter 3:5, the reference is so evidently back to Genesis 1:3 onwards that scientific pro of is not necessary to our argument.

The association of the "water" and creation, with the "water" that caused the "overflow" of 2 Peter 3:6, is emphasized when one observes that after the many references to water in Genesis one, no further mention is made until the ominous words of Genesis 6:17 are reached, "I do bring a flood of waters upon the earth".

These things the scoffers "willfully ignored". The future dissolution will involve the heavens as well as the earth (2 Peter 3:10) whereas it was "the world" not the heaven and the earth that "perished" in the days of Noah. The heavens and the earth remained, and so could be called by Peter "the heavens and the earth which are now". In the second chapter of his epistle, Peter refers to the Flood and speaks of "the old world" and "the world of the ungodly" (2 Peter 2:5), similarly in both 2 Peter 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:7 he uses the word "reserved" in reference to judgment.

Again in 2 Peter 3:6 the Greek word katakluzomai is used where the translation reads "being overflowed with water". In 2 Peter 2:5 he uses the word kataklusmos (which becomes in English "cataclysm") "bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly", which makes the parallel between these two chapters even more obvious. The result of our examination leaves us with the conviction that Peter refers to the creation that came into being for the habitation of man, and that we are not justified in using his words to cover the whole of the record of Scripture, except as a type and shadow of the greater event.

 

(7). PARADISE LOST AND RESTORED

If "before the overthrow of the world" and "before the age times" refer to the same datum line, and, if the "overthrow" be Genesis 1:2, then this must have taken place before the ages began, and consequently we have an indication that the ages are coincident with the present temporary creation, which together with its "firmament" will pass away when the purpose of the ages shall be accomplished.

The opening and closing members of the Purpose of the Ages may be set out as follows:

A      The beginning         a   Christ Firstborn of all Creation.
         "Before Age                Image of Invisible God times
           times"                      b  Satan Cherub (Ezek. 28:12-19)
                                               c  The overthrow (Gen. 1:2)

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

A       The End                a  Christ Head Every knee shall bow
          Ages                         b Church In the heavenlies
          Finish                            Satan destroyed
                                               c  Reconciliation achieved.

The space indicated by the * * * is spanned by the ages. The first of the series of fullnesses that fill this gap is, as we have seen, the "six-day creation" of Genesis 1:3 - 2:3.

The opening "generation" is NOT that of Adam, as recorded in Genesis 5:1, but of "the heavens and the earth" which occupies Genesis 2:4 - 4:26. This is followed by twelve generations, which open with "the book of the generations of Adam" (Gen. 5:1), and closes with "the book of the generation of Jesus Christ".

The relationship of these generations may be set out as follows:

A The generations of the heavens and the earth (Gen. 2:4 - 4:26)

A a The BOOK of the generations of Adam (Gen. 5:1, Gen. 6:8) Plural

         b The generations of Noah (Gen. 6:9 - 9:29)

            c The generations of the Sons of Noah (Gen. 10:1 - 11:9)

                 d "The generations of Shem (Gen. 11:10-26) The Seed

            e The generations of Terah (Gen. 11:27 - 25:11) Mesopotamia

                 f The generations of Ishmael (Gen. 25:12-18) Bondwoman

                 f The generations of Isaac (Gen. 25:19 - 35:29) Free woman

           e The generations of Esau (Gen. 36:1-43) Canaan

                d The generations of Jacob (Gen. 37:2 - 50:26) The Seed

          c The generations of Aaron and Moses (Num. 3:1-4)
               b The generations of Pharez (Ruth 4:18-22) The Seed

          a The BOOK of the generation of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:1-17) Singular.

It will be observed that the word "generation" is used in the plural of each except the last. The generations refer to the descendants, as may be seen by an isolated generation like that of Ruth 4:18-22, the generation of Jesus Christ however, refers to His human ancestry not to His descendants, for He had none. In the generations of the heaven and the earth, are recorded the following features: 

 1. The forming of man from the dust, and his becoming a living soul.
 2. The planting of the garden eastward in Eden.
 3. The prohibition concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
 4. The naming of the animals and Adam's conscious loneliness.
 5. The formation of the woman as a help meet for him.
 6. The temptation and the fall, the curse and sorrow.
 7. The promise of the seed of the woman and ultimate victory.
 8. The return of man to the dust from whence he had been taken.
 9. The expulsion from Eden and the placing of the Sword and Cherubim.
10. The two seeds as manifested in Abel and Cain.
11. The appointment of Seth "instead" of Abel.

More complete details could, of course, be included, and the reader must remember that there is no significance in the number that we have indicated. In view of the balancing feature in the book of the Revelation we can write over this period the words "Paradise Lost", without borrowing any ideas from Milton, even as we can write over the closing chapter of the Revelation "Paradise Restored".

Two main themes commence in Genesis three, that continue to the end of time, and which constitute the conflict of the ages. These are (1) the promise of the woman's seed, (2) the continuous enmity between the two seeds until ultimate victory is achieved. (See booklet on "Job".) The loss sustained as a consequence of the fall is symbolized in the expulsion from the garden, with the consequent loss of access to the tree of life, but restoration is pledged by the placing of the Cherubim together with a flaming sword "to keep" the way of the tree of life. In the sequel, when the intervening gap is filled by the fruits of redemption, we are taken by a series of steps back to Eden and its blessedness, as is made manifest by the following extract from the close of Revelation.

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away . . . and he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life . . . and there shall be no more curse . . . that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Rev. 21:4; Rev. 22:1-3, Rev. 22:14).

Here is the complete reversal of the consequence of the fall of man in Eden, and we have surveyed yet another "fulness", the fulness of Redemption that spans the ages and their burden of sin and death. The creation of the universe, being the act of the infinitely wise God, brought into being a definite purpose, and that purpose can be perceived at least in some measure by reading what the Scriptures indicate will be the condition of things at the end. The Tabernacle of God will then be with men and He will dwell with them, God will be all in all. Two things are linked with the Cherubim in the Scriptures, "dwelling" (1 Sam. 4:4), and "speaking" (Num. 7:89).

Where the word is used in the singular, we read, "He rode upon a Cherub and did fly", but this has to do with deliverance from enemies. While we read both in Exodus and Ezekiel of a "Cherub" in the singular, it always has reference to "one" of the Cherubim, but in Ezekiel 28:14 and Ezek. 28:16 "the anointed Cherub" seems to be associated with "the overthrow of the world". The change from the singular to the plural takes place after the fall of man, and the Cherubim with their four faces, the lion, the ox, the man and the eagle, symbolize Adam and the dominion put in subjection under his feet, who in turn is the figure of Him that was to come. While the purpose of God to dwell with His creatures was temporarily checked by the failure of the first creation, it was reintroduced at the creation of man, for we have the homely words of Genesis three, that speaks of the "voice of God" in the "garden at the cool of the day" and the call, "Adam, where art thou?" Once again the fall of the creature hindered the attainment of the Divine purpose, yet Love found a way; the purpose was not abandoned but the whole purpose was placed upon a redemptive basis, consequently the Cherubim are seen to be an integral part of the Mercy Seat. Some idea of the way the purpose is pursued through the ages may be visualized by the following graph:


ORIGINAL PURPOSE         THE "GAP" FILLED         THE GOAL REACHED
   Purpose to                           Cherubim.                 "The Tabernacle of
    dwell.                              Man and his                 God is with men
The Cherub.                         dominion, sin                and He will dwell
"Cover"                             enters and                        with them".
(Ezek. 28:14-16,                 Cherubim now                                          
Exod. 26:14).                        part of the                                            
  Mercy seat  

THE OVERTHROW                              DISSOLUTION
OF THE WORLD                                 OF HEAVEN

From the "Anointed" that failed, on via the cross to the glory of the "Anointed" Who gloriously succeeded, the purpose of love is carried to its goal on the wings of the Cherubim, or rather on the grace that these strange creatures set forth. Thus the outstretched firmament coincides with the outstretched wing of the Cherubim, the whole span of the ages being Under the Redeeming Aegis.

"The term aegis', really a Latin word, means 'a goat skin', and later a shield. . . . This redeeming conception took on a primeval form in the cherubim set up, together with the sword of flame, at the gate of the lost Eden. . . the idea of atonement, therefore is as old as the Bible, nay as redemption itself. . . . This 'day of Atonement' itself was called 'Yom Kippur', i.e. the 'Day of Covering'. . . . Ours is at bottom an evangelical universe, no other form was ever conceived for it in the mind of God". (Under the Redeeming Aegis, by H. C. Mabie, D.D., LL.D.).

We can, therefore, set out the steps of the goal of the ages, thus:

B The Ages           Earth       Remade and blessed
     begin                              (Gen. 1:2-2:4)
                                           Subjected to curse.
  Paradise lost                      Thorns and thistles
                                           (Gen. 3)

                             Man
      For a little lower than
                                           angels (Psa. 8)
                                           The First Adam.
                                           Living Soul.
                                           The image of God
                                            Dominion over the earth

                             Usurper   The Serpent.
                                            The Shining one
                                            Nachash (Gen. 3)
                                            Ye shall not surely die
                                            Ye shall be as God

                             Hope
       The seed of the woman

               * * * * * * * * * * * *

B     The                Earth        Restored and blessed
Consummation                       (Hos. 2:18-23)
   of the ages                          Curse removed
                                             (Rev. 22:3, Isa. 55:13)
Paradise
Restored                Man         Christ, made much
                                             better than angels
                                             (Heb. 1:4)
                                             Last Adam.
                                             Quickening Spirit.
                                             Image

                             Heir
        Lamb is the light,
                                             brightness of glory
                                             Immortality conferred (1 Cor. 15)
                                             Every knee shall bow

                             Hope       Creation's groan hushed
                                            (Rom. 8:21, Rom. 16:20).

 

(8) THE FILLING UP OF THE NATIONS (Gen. 48:19)

The family of Noah after the flood were told to "replenish" the earth, which would have constituted a fulness, had this replenishing been accompanied by grace and righteousness. Alas, by the time we reach the eleventh chapter of Genesis, the evil character of the world was made manifest, and Babel, and the scattering of the people, brought another movement in the purpose of the ages to a close. Babel in Genesis eleven, will yet find its corresponding member when great Babylon comes up for judgment, but the gap formed by the rebellion of Nimrod and the introduction of idolatry which is so closely associated with this mighty hunter before the Lord, was filled by the calling of Abraham and the promises made to him concerning the great nation Israel.

In Genesis 48:19 we read, "his seed shall become a multitude of nations". It so happens that the word "multitude" occurs earlier in this same chapter, namely in verse 4, where we read:

"Behold I will make thee fruitful and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people" (Gen. 48:4).

Two words are found in the Hebrew original which are here translated "multitude" and these must be distinguished.

The word translated "multitude" in verse 4 is the Hebrew word qahal "to call" or "to assemble", but the word translated "multitude" in verse 19 is entirely different, it is the Hebrew word melo "fulness".

Let us bring together three more passages which make the promise that Israel shall be a multitude or company of people or nations.

"And GOD ALMIGHTY bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people" (Gen. 28:3).

"And God said unto him, I am GOD ALMIGHTY; be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee" (Gen. 35:11).

"Behold I will make thee fruitful and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people" (Gen. 48:4).

In these passages "multitude" translates the Hebrew word qahal. When Jacob blessed Joseph's younger son Ephraim, putting his right hand upon his head, instead of upon the head of Manasseh his elder brother, Joseph said:

"Not so, my father," Jacob answered, "I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations" (Gen. 48:19).

Here, as we have already observed, the Hebrew word translated "multitude" is melo, "fulness".

We must, therefore, become acquainted with the usage and meaning of these two words which are translated "multitude" before we can proceed with our study. Qahal, means "to call together", "to assemble", and the noun form is translated "congregation", "assembly" and "company". In seventy passages, the Septuagint renders the Hebrew qahal by ekklesia, and Stephen speaks of "the church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38). In the three passages quoted from Genesis, "multitude" and "company" are represented by "synagogue" in the Septuagint. In Genesis 48:19 melo which is translated "multitude" is rendered in the Septuagint plethos, which in the N. T. is rendered by the A.V. "multitude" thirty times, "company" once and "bundle" once. Unfortunately the English word "multitude" has to stand for two very different conceptions. Plethos, is from the same root as pleroma and retains the idea of fulness or filling, but there is another Greek word translated multitude, namely ochlos which means rather "a crowd" or "a mob", the unruly nature of which is reflected in the verbal forms which mean "to vex" or "to trouble" (Acts 5:16; Acts 15:19; Acts 17:5, Heb. 12:15). While, therefore, we are compelled to use the English word multitude in these passages of Genesis, we must dismiss the thought of a "mob" or of an unruly "crowd", and retain the idea of a properly assembled gathering and a filling.

Returning to the usage of the word qahal, we observe that from Exodus 12:6 where we read "the whole assembly", the word is used of Israel as a nation, but in Genesis, before Israel as a nation existed, it is used prophetically, looking down the ages to the day when the seed of Abraham shall indeed become "a filling of the nations" (Rotherham). The four occurrences of qahal fall into their place in the structure, which can be seen set out in full in The Companion Bible.

The following extract will be sufficient to demonstrate this fitness here.

Gen. 27:42 - 28:5. Departure. Jacob to Padan-aram
"that thou mayest be a multitude of people"

* * * * * * * *
Gen. 35:1-15. Return. Jacob from Padan-aram
"a nation and a company of nations"

Gen. 48:1-20. Blessing of Joseph and his sons
"I will make of thee a multitude of people"
* * * * * * * *
Gen. 49:1-28. Blessing of all his sons
"unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united",
It will be remembered that in the endeavor to obtain the birthright and the Abrahamic blessing, Jacob, at the instigation of his mother who knew that "the elder shall serve the younger" (Gen. 25:23), attempted by fraud to make the prophecy sure, but failed. When Jacob as a consequence was obliged to leave home, the coveted blessing for which both he and his mother had schemed was given to him freely:

"And GOD ALMIGHTY bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; and give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham" (Gen. 28:3-4).

Not only is "the land" a definite feature of this promise, but a peculiar character attaches to it, it is called "the land wherein thou art a stranger". This is repeated in Genesis 37:1 and in Gen. 47:9 Jacob uses the same word where it is translated "pilgrimage", The margin of Genesis 28:4, reads, "the land of thy sojournings". This term is used seven times in the law and is repeated in Hebrews 11:9 and Heb. 11:13. After the formation of Israel and the giving of the law, the nation is not again reminded that they were strangers and sojourners except in one passage, namely in Leviticus 25:23, where the laws governing the sale of land showed that the Lord Himself was the true Owner, Israel only holding the land as it were on a lease. One further note is necessary before we attempt a conclusion, and that concerns the word translated "nation". An attempt has been made, in order that a certain popular theory might be supported, to show that Ephraim was to become "Gentilized". The Hebrew word translated "nations" is goyim, the plural of goi. This word is translated in the A.V. as follows: "Gentile" thirty times, "heathen" 142 times, "nation" 373 times, "people" eleven times. It is easy, when we are reading the passages where "Gentile" and "heathen" occur, to jump to the conclusion that the word means, "all nations of the world, excepting the Jews", but this is an error.

The first six occurrences of goyim occur in Genesis ten, and as Israel was not in existence at the time, it is evident that the word can only mean "nations"; the inclusion of the word "Gentiles" in the A.V. of Genesis 10:5, being an anticipation and having no immediate meaning until placed over against the word "Jew". The R.V. has recognized this, and inserted "nations" instead. In Genesis 12:2 we read the words of the great prophetic promise to Abraham concerning his seed, Israel, "I will make of thee a great nation", while in Genesis 17:4-6 this promise is expanded to include "many nations", returning in Gen. 18:18 once more to the "great nation". So in Genesis 35:11 we read, "a nation and a company of nations", the only distinction between Jew and Gentile being, not in the use of a different word, but in the use of the singular for the Jew, and the plural for the Gentile. So again in Deuteronomy four, we have interchangeably "this great nation" , "what nation is so great", "the heathen" , "a nation from the midst of another nation" and "the nations" , that were to be driven out of Canaan, all being translations of the one Hebrew word. Even in the Greek N.T. when the distinction between Jew and Gentile is acute, we still find ethnos used both of the Gentiles and of Israel (Acts 22:21; Acts 26:4, Acts 26:17; Acts 28:19, Acts 28:28).

While, therefore, goyim means at times Gentile or heathen, it always means "nation" whether the nations outside the covenant, or the great nation of promise. The promise that Israel should be "great" must not be misunderstood. With us, "greatness" is associated with nobility of mind, but originally the word gadol translated "great" means "growth" or "augmentation", So we read of "great lights", "great whales", a "great city" in Genesis. The word, moreover, is used to indicate "the elder" son (Gen. 10:21; Gen. 27:1; Gen. 29:16) who may not necessarily have been "greater".

Israel today are indeed at the present day "minished and brought low through oppression" (Psa. 107:39), but it is an integral part of the promise to Abraham, that Israel should not only be great in spiritual qualities, but great in numbers. The promise reads, "I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered" (Gen. 13:16).

The figure is changed in Genesis 15:5 to the innumerable stars of heaven, with the added words, "so shall thy seed be". Yet once again the figure is changed to "the sand upon the sea shore" (Gen. 22:17).

It is possible that one hundred thousand million stars make one galaxy, and one hundred thousand million galaxies, make one universe. The number of stars in a universe therefore would be ten thousand trillion, or expressed in figures,

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

that is equal to the number of drops of water in all the oceans of the world, or grains of fine sand sufficient to cover the whole of the state of Oregon, to a depth of a foot.

While it is not intended that Israel was ever to reach such astronomical figures, the contemplation of the possible number of the stars, compels us to admit that an extraordinary increase in number constitutes an essential feature of the Divine purpose for this "great nation". According to Deuteronomy 1:10 these promises were on the way to fulfillment even when Israel stood upon the borders of the promised land, and the present drop in their numbers is coincident with their being in disfavor. "If ye walk contrary to Me, I will make you few in number" (Lev. 26:21-22).

When at length the Lord causes the captivity of both Judah and of Israel to return "as at the first", when He performs that good thing which He has promised unto the house of Israel and of Judah, then "as the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David My servant, and the Levites that minister unto Me saith the Lord" (Jer. 33:7, Jer. 33:14, Jer. 33:22).

At the time of the end of this age the world will be so ravaged and desolated by the destructive method of atomic or other super scientific weapons that the prophet Zechariah speaks of "every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem" (Zech. 14:16), words that suggest a terrible depletion in the number of the inhabitants of the earth at that day. In Zechariah 13:8 the prophet's meaning is made very clear, when he says, "and it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein".

Something of what may be expected when atomic warfare breaks out over this devoted earth can be sensed by the words of the Apocalypse:

  • "The third part of trees was burnt up".

  • "The third part of the sea became blood".

  • "The third part of the ships were destroyed".

  • "The third part of men, slain (Rev. 8:7-9; Rev. 9:15).

The day is passed when these catastrophic times could be brushed aside as mere figures of speech, we have lived through days when "a third part of the ships" were well nigh literally destroyed. We have seen that following the desolation of Genesis 1:2 came the creation of man and the command, "replenish the earth". We have seen that the same command was given to Noah after the cataclysm of the flood. This same command will be fulfilled in Israel when they, too, shall "blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit" (Isa. 27:6). Ephraim, as the "firstborn" will indeed be great, and his seed "shall become a FILLING UP of the nations" (Gen. 48:19).

Once again we see the principle of the pleroma at work, with its promise of a better day, when sorrow and sighing shall have fled away, when the true seed shall flourish, and the seed of the serpent be no more.

 


(9) THE FULNESS OF THE GENTILES (Rom. 11:25)

We have seen that the promise to Abraham concerning his seed, has followed the same pattern that has characterized the earlier moves in the outworking of the purpose. Their failure came to a head just before the Babylonian captivity and, with Nebuchadnezzar, "the times of the Gentiles" began.

"In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and beseiged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god" Dan. 1:1-2).

With these words the book of Daniel opens, and it may not be too much to say that they are only paralleled by the words of Acts twenty-eight in their burden of crisis and dispensational change. With such vast issues hanging upon these momentous words, vast because they cover the whole sweep of Gentile dominion, and vaster still because they lead steadily on to that kingdom of Christ which is to last for ever, with such issues and such a burden, no pains should be spared in acquainting ourselves with all that God has written for our learning in relation to this crisis in the history of man. Space will not permit of the full quotation of Jeremiah 25:1-26. We can but point out one or two features that connect this passage with the opening words of Daniel.

The reader will be struck by the fact that whereas Dan. 1:1 speaks of the "third" year of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah 25:1 speaks of the "fourth" year of that same king in connection with the coming of Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem. This apparent discrepancy has not passed unnoticed by the critic, being one of his many "proofs" of the untrustworthiness of the book of Daniel.

The Hebrew word translated "came" in Dan. 1:1 is bo, and it frequently has the sense of "went" or "marched". This, however, has been denied by the gain sayers. Hebrew scholars understand that "the verb bo does not mean to set out but to arrive at", and when men of such standing and authority speak thus, who are we to oppose them? Humility is indeed a grace to seek and preserve, but while Galatians two remains for our encouragement, we may still dare to bring all statements to the touchstone of the Word. So-called "higher criticism" as has been suggested that the Hebrew word bo is used in the sense of "to set out" in each of the five books of Moses, in Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and in six out of the twelve minor prophets!

Let us look at Jonah 1:3 and translate it as some would have it: "And Jonah . . . sent down to Joppa, and he found a ship arriving at Tarshish"! If this should be the sense, then in some miraculous way Jonah would have no sooner set foot on board at Joppa than he would have "arrived" at Tarshish.

Doubtless this would have made the journey far more pleasant than it actually was, but the simple fact is that the Hebrew word bo means that the ship was "going" or "setting out" for Tarshish. The plain fact of Daniel one and Jeremiah twenty-five is that the former writer tells us the year in which Nebuchadnezzar "set out" from Babylon, while the latter tells us when he "arrived". Moreover, Jeremiah tells us what occupied Nebuchadnezzar on his journey from one capital to the other.

"Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaoh-necho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah" (Jer. 46:2).

Instead therefore of discovering a discrepancy in the narrative of Scripture, we have the obvious fact that Nebuchadnezzar took time to accomplish this march from Babylon to Jerusalem, and was obliged to meet and overcome Pharaoh at Carchemish by the Euphrates before he could arrive.

In Jeremiah 25:3 the prophet reminded Israel that since the thirteenth year of Josiah (see Jeremiah 1:1-2), the word of the Lord had come urging them to turn from their evil, and because they had not turned He said:

"Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land. . . and this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years" (Jer. 25:9-11).

What God therefore had threatened, He brought to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, and the historic record of the captivity of Jehoiakim is found in 2 Chronicles thirty-six, the last chapter of the Hebrew Bible!

Yet with all this apparent on the surface of Scripture, and needing no more scholarship than ability to read in one's mother tongue, some have had the audacity to say:

"We know by the book of Jeremiah that no such event (as the siege of Jerusalem, Dan. 1:1) took place in the reign of Jehoiakim".

"We know"! We also know that it is written, "professing themselves to be wise they became fools", and by such statements they demonstrate that they are but "blind leaders of the blind".

Jehoiakim was appointed king of Judah by Pharaoh-nechoh in the place of Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:34). He did evil in the sight of the Lord, and filled Jerusalem with innocent blood. He was succeeded by Jehoiachin. In the reign of the latter, Nebuchadnezzar carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord, whereas Daniel 1:1-2 tells us that at the first he only carried away a part.

Jehoiachin or Jeconiah is deprived of the Jehovah element in his name, and under the name Coniah is utterly rejected by the Lord:

"Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah" (Jer. 22:30).

It is evident that Israel is passing; dominion is leaving them and is being transferred for the time being to the Gentiles. This is emphasized by such statements as Daniel 1:2; "And the Lord gave. . . into his hand", or Jeremiah 25:1: "The fourth year of Jehoiakim . . . that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar". The times of the Gentiles had therefore begun. And so with Zedekiah the glory departs, and Ezekiel twenty-one reveals the condition of things that will obtain "until He come":

"And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more, until He come Whose right it is, and I will give it Him" (Ezek. 21:25-27).

"Until He come"; Gentile dominion obtains on the earth until the coming of the Son of Man. No interim "Kingdom" is to be found here. Daniel's prophecies are occupied with this period of overturning, of the exalting of the base and abasing of the high. "This shall not be the same", saith the Lord, "this shall not be this", as the Hebrew reads, i.e. Nebuchadnezzar's dominion and dynasty would not be a real continuance of the throne of David. It would be in character rather a rule and dominion of wild beasts. The words, "it shall be no more, until He come", leave us in no doubt that the throne thus vacated shall be occupied by none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

The times of the Gentiles are characterized by one great feature, marked by the Lord in Luke 21:24, "and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled". The kingdoms that succeeded Babylon may have been larger or smaller, more powerful or weaker, more autocratic or less so, but the one essential characteristic of Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Turkey and any succeeding mandatory power is the Gentile domination of Jerusalem. That is the great distinguishing feature, and will only be removed when "He comes Whose right it is".

We have, therefore, a period of time which fills the "gap" caused by Israel's failure, which gap is filled by the dynasty started with Nebuchadnezzar and which will persist until, in the Day of the Lord, "the stone cut out without hands" strikes this colossus, and "the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ".

It is characteristic of the times of the Gentiles that this Jerusalem should be "trodden down". Those times will not end until Jerusalem is free from the yoke of Gentile dominion, surveillance or protection. Each succeeding ruler of the Gentiles has dominated Jerusalem-Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, Turkey, the British Mandate, the United Nations, and so on to the last great Dictator and his ten subsequent kings at the time of the end.

When Jerusalem is at length free, the times of the Gentiles will be "fulfilled" (pleroo), and "the fulness (pleroma) of the Gentiles" will have come (Luke 21:24, Rom. 11:25). Immediately following this statement concerning the times of the Gentiles, the epistle to the Romans goes on to say "and so" or "thus" "all Israel shall be saved" (Rom. 11:26). The "gap" in the outworking of the Divine purpose in Israel is stressed in Romans 9 - 11, because of their failure, but a "remnant" shall be saved at the beginning, for had the Lord not left them a "seed" they would have been like Sodom and Gomorrah.

Throughout the period covered by the Acts, "all day long" the Lord stretched out his hands "to a disobedient and gainsaying people" (Rom. 10:21). However low Israel may have fallen during this period, the answer of God to Elijah has a parallel, "I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal" (Rom. 11:4). Yet such is the grace of God, the very diminishing of them led to the enriching of the Gentiles, and leads the Apostle to ask, "how much more their fulness?"

The figure of the olive tree, with its broken branches but emphasizes the "gap" that is in view, and the fulness of the Gentiles occupies the interval occasioned by Israel's blindness (Rom. 11:25). Israel's failure, in the days of Nebuchadnezzar led to the times of the Gentiles, speaking nationally, but Israel's spiritual failure registered in Acts twenty-eight led to the present dispensation of Gentile blessing, the Church which is called by the wondrous title, "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all". This, however, is so great a theme that it must be considered in a separate study.

To be continued.
The Pleroma

Part 3
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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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