Peter At Rome: Or Was He?
Was Peter ever at Rome?
If ye than be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.
The mystery church then has its hope in the heavenly places at the great appearing there. The way there is by resurrection. But not here on earth, but there in the heavenlies. No need for transportation, not even up into the air, as is Israel's hope.
The question of when comes up. We do not know, except that it will be some time before Israel's resurrection and the coming of the Lord to earth. In the past, there have been 3 stages in God's dealing with mankind; nations from Adam to Abraham, then Israel from Abraham to end of Acts, and finally the church from end of Acts till Israel will be ready for their Messiah (2 days, as in Hosea 6:2). This is hinted at in many O.T. prophesies, After those days being used frequently.
The manifestation is also called the epiphany by folks today, from the Greek word epiphaneia. On the other hand, Israel's hope is the presence or the parousia which is usually translated coming. So then the second coming of Christ is the parousia, and His manifestation is to be in glory, the heavenly places. In each case, His own will be in company with Him, partaking of His glory. The difference is important.
The term manifestation indicates that something is hid, and will be brought to light. So it is. Christ is sitting with His Father in the Father's throne. He has been exalted, but not taking over His rights as yet. But when the times come, there will be the manifestation in the heavenlies followed by His descent to earth in the great second coming. This will be the unveiling which is the meaning of The Revelation.
Also in connection with the manifestation is the joining of two families, one in heaven and one in earth, both to be in the heavenly places under one Head as indicated in Ephesians 1:9,10. But Israel, the earth people, are not in this, but keep their home here on the earth.
The group in the heavenly places at the present time is called principalities, powers, mights, and dominions. These are mighty spirit beings once associated with Lucifer on the earth; but did not join him in his rebellion. And so this joint relationship is called the whole family in heaven and earth. See Ephesians 3:15.
In our text, these things are mentioned to encourage real Christian living, keeping our eyes on Christ and His position today. It is to walk worthy of such a calling. It is to be spiritually minded, being meek and showing love to Christ and fellow-men.
If ye then be risen with Christ...set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
There once was a time, when there were a people who had a legitimate right to set their affection on things on the earth. The promise made to Abraham was an earthly one, even including the New Jerusalem which is to be on the earth. It was right for the apostles to set their affection on things on the earth, the millennial kingdom and all the blessings attached thereto. It was right for the apostolic church of the Acts period to set their affection on the coming King and kingdom.
For about the first 9 years of his ministry after his conversion, Paul preached to Jews only. It was not till about AD 46 that Paul and Barnabas turned to the Gentiles. And these Gentile believers were to have a part in the kingdom, not by keeping the law, but a walk by grace. Although Paul still preached to Jews whenever the opportunity came, he preached to Gentiles when the Jews rejected his message. That went on for about another 18 years. But during this period of close to 27 years that Paul preached before Acts 28, he had whereof to boast. He was circumcised, an Israelite, of the tribe of Benjamin, a real genuine Hebrew, a Pharisee, zealous, and as to the law he was blameless. These things pertained to the earth, an earthly calling and hope.
But when Paul ended his kingdom ministry at the end of Acts, he had revealed to him the church gospel, the dispensation of the mystery. No longer did he look for the coming of the King to set up the millennial kingdom. And in the church with its heavenly calling, these things of the earth which had been an advantage to him were worthless. He must put his affection elsewhere.
At one time Paul could boast that he spoke in tongues more than any others. But that passed away. As for other gifts, such as healing, visions, and the like, they too passed away. And instead of looking for a King to sit on the throne of His father David here on earth, Paul looked to be manifested with Christ in the heavenlies. Christ is the Head of all things and especially of the church.
And also the rituals, baptisms, feasts of the Jews (wrongly is the Passover called Lord's Supper), and even some officers in the assemblies are all done away. In the church of the dispensation of the mystery there is nothing for the flesh to desire or to boast about. All is in the realm of the spirit. So the members of the church which is the body of Christ are not to be concerned with what they eat on any special occasions, or what they may drink in any ritualistic act, nor do they keep holidays (religious ones), or looking for the new moon so as to establish the time of these holidays, and they have nothing to do with Sabbaths. All these things have to do with the earth and an earthly calling. If we are seated with Christ far above all, then why should we, as though living in the world, be subject to the earthly ordinances?
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