Three Spheres

Three Spheres Of Blessing

The EarthThe Heavenly CityFar above all

Where we read of "hope" in the New Testament, we often find in the context a reference either to a "promise" or to a "calling." For example, Paul before Agrippa says:

"And now I stand and am judged for The Hope Of The Promise made of God unto our fathers; unto which promise Our Twelve Tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come" (Acts 26:6-7).

Here there is no possibility of making a mistake. Not only is the hope that is in view the fulfillment of a promise, but it is the fulfillment of a specific promise "made of God unto our fathers." Further, there is no ambiguity as to those who entertain this hope; the words "our twelve tribes" are too explicit to permit spiritualizing. For the moment, it is sufficient that the principle should be clear that Hope Looks To The Fulfillment Of A Promise. It is, therefore, necessary to discover what promise has been made to any particular company before we can speak with understanding of their hope. Another prerequisite is knowledge of the "calling" concerned.

"That ye may know what is THE HOPE OF HIS CALLING" (Eph. 1:18).

"Even as ye are called in ONE HOPE OF YOUR CALLING" (Eph. 4:4).

The realization of our hope in the future will be in agreement with our calling now by faith.

"Now faith is the substance of things HOPED for" (Heb. 11:1).

Recent discoveries among the papyri of Egypt have brought to light the fact that the word "substance" was used in New Testament times to signify the "Title Deeds" of a property. Every believer holds the title deeds now, by faith, the earnest and first fruits of the inheritance that will be entered when his hope is realized. As every believer does not necessarily belong to the same calling, and most believers grant a distinction between Kingdom and Church, while some realize the further distinction between Bride and Body, it follows that the character of the calling must be settled before the hope can be defined.

Three Spheres Of Blessing

There are at least three distinct spheres of blessing indicated in the New Testament:

The Earth. - "Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5).

The Heavenly City. - "The city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem . . . and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven" (Heb. 12:22-23).

Far above all. - "He ascended up, far above all heavens" (Eph.4:10). "And made us sit together in heavenly places" (Eph. 2:6).

These three spheres of blessing correspond to three distinct callings:

The Kingdom. - "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth" (Matt. 6:10).

The Bride. - "The Bride, the Lamb's wife . . . the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God" (Rev. 21:9-10).

The Body. - "His body. . . the church: whereof I (Paul) am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you . . . the mystery which hath been hidden from ages and from generations" (Col. 1:24-26).

These three spheres of blessing, each with its special calling, have associated with them three groups of people in the N.T. The first sphere of blessing is exclusive to Israel according to the flesh, the second to believers from among both "Jew and Greek," while in the third sphere, the calling is addressed to "You Gentiles."

Israel according to the flesh. - "My kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises, whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, Who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen" (Rom. 9:3-5).

Abraham's seed (includes believing Gentiles). - "Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?. . . they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. . . . For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek . . . for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:3, Gal. 3:7, Gal. 3:9, Gal. 3:27-29).

If, at the end of Gal. 27:28, we "shut the book," we may "prove" that the blessed unity indicated by the words "neither Jew nor Greek" refers to the "Church which is His Body." If, however, we keep the book open, we see that such is not the sequel but that this new company is "Abraham's seed" and the hope before them, "the promise" made to Abraham. The reader may readily assent to this, but we would urge him to remember that 1 Thessalonians and Galatians were both written before Acts 28:27-28 and, therefore, before the revelation of The Mystery. The hope then of 1 Thessalonians four belongs to the same calling as that of Galatians and cannot constitute The Hope of The Mystery.

The One New Man. - "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew . . . but Christ is all and in all" (Col. 3:11).

"That He might create in Himself of the twain one new man, so making peace" (Eph. 2:15 R.V.).

"That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs" (Eph. 3:6).

Space will not permit extensive proofs of the suggestions made in the foregoing paragraphs or of a detailed exposition of the passages concerned, but we believe that the matter is sufficiently clear for us to go forward with our inquiry. Seeing then that there are Three Spheres of Blessing, with their three associated callings, we should expect to find three phases of The Coming of The Lord. These three phases are presented in the following Scriptures:

Kingdom on earth. - HOPE. Matt. 24-25.

Abraham's seed (heavenly calling). - HOPE. 1 Thess. 4.

Far above all. - HOPE. Col. 3:4.

Let us look at each phase of the Second Advent as presented by these three passages.

The Hope Of The First Sphere
The Sign of the Coming of the Son of Man

The earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ was limited to the people of Israel and had special regard to the promise made to David concerning Israel's King. It also had in view the promise made to Abraham concerning the blessing of all the families of the earth, but did not, at that time, extend to them, being concentrated rather upon Israel from whom, as the appointed channel, the blessing should flow to all nations. We shall now bring Scriptural proof of these statements and then proceed to show that Matthew 24 and 25 speak of the hope of Israel and that this phase of the second advent has nothing to do with the Hope of The "church."

Proof that the earthly ministry was limited in the first instance to Israel.

"Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the CIRCUMCISION for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the FATHERS" (Rom. 15:8).

"Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of ISRAEL" (Matt. 10:5-6).

"I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of ISRAEL" (Matt. 15:24).

Proof that the promise made to David concerning a King was in view.

"Where is He that is born KING of the Jews?. . . in Bethlehem" (Matt. 2:2-5).

"Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy KING cometh unto thee" (Matt. 21:5).

"What think ye of Christ, whose Son is He? They say unto Him, The Son of DAVID" (Matt. 22:42).

"David. . . being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, HE WOULD RAISE UP CHRIST TO SIT ON HIS THRONE; He seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ" (Acts 2:30-31).

Proof that the promise to Abraham concerning Israel as the chosen channel of blessing to the Gentiles was in view.

"Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. UNTO YOU FIRST God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless YOU, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities" (Acts 3:25-26).

The consideration of these Scriptures in their setting provides sufficient proof for the statements made concerning the character of the Saviour's earthly ministry.

We are now in a position to consider Matthew twenty-four and twenty-five, which is a prophecy of the second coming of Christ, and concerns the hope of Israel as distinct from the hope of the church.

The threefold prophecy of the coming of the Lord, as revealed in Matthew 24 was given in answer to the threefold question of the disciples-

"When shall these things be?"

"What shall be the sign of Thy coming?"

"And the end of the world (age)?"

The evidence which follows sufficiently shows that in this passage, the Hope of Israel and not the Hope of "The Church which is His Body" is the subject.

Three proofs that Matthew twenty-four speaks of the Hope of Israel

First, the word translated "end" is sunteleia, a word at that time well known to every Jew, for it was the name of the third great feast, namely "the feast of ingathering, which is at the end of the year" (Exod. 23:16). This is evidence that Israel's hope is in view.

Secondly, we find that this coming of the Lord is to be preceded by "wars and rumors of wars." Because of the fact that there have been, and yet will be, many wars and rumors of wars since the setting aside of Israel, these words, as they stand, cannot be construed as evidence that Israel's hope is in view. If, however, we turn to the O.T. origin of the reference: "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" (Matt. 24:7), we shall see that it comes from Isaiah's prophetic "Burden of Egypt" (Isa. 19:1-2), the passage ending with the words "Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance" (Isa. 19:25). This reference, therefore, when seen in the light of its O.T. setting, gives further evidence for the fact that Israel is in view in Matthew 24.

Thirdly, this coming of the Lord takes place after the prophetic statements of Daniel 9:27 and Dan. 12:11 have been fulfilled.

"When ye, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place . . . then shall be great tribulation . . . IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION of those days . . . shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven . . . and they shall see the Son of man COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN" (Matt. 24:15-30).

These three items provide proof beyond dispute that the second coming of Christ, as here made known, cannot be the hope of the church.

The Hope Of The Second Sphere
The Acts and Epistles of the Period

We must now turn our attention to the evidence of Scripture as to the character of the Hope during the period covered by the Acts of the Apostles. Some commentators on this Book appear to forget that it is the record of the "Acts" of the Apostles and had no existence until those "Acts" were accomplished. If the founding of the church at Corinth chronicled in Acts 18 is an act of the apostle Paul, both Crispus (Acts 18:8) and Sosthenes (Acts 18:17) being mentioned by name, then the Epistle written by the same apostle to the same church, again mentioning Crispus and Sosthenes by name, must be included as the Divine complement of the record of Acts 18. The aspect of the Hope in view in the Acts and in The Epistles written during that period to the churches founded by the Apostles must, of necessity, be the same. Any attempt to make the ministry of Paul during the Acts differ from The Epistles of the same period is false and must be rejected. There can be no doubt that the Hope entertained by the churches during the period covered by the Acts of the Apostles was a phase of the Hope of Israel. This will, we trust, be made clear by the quotations and comments given hereafter.

"When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6).

This question arose after the forty days' instruction given by the risen Christ to His disciples, during which time He not only opened the Scriptures but "their understanding" also (Luke 24:45).

"Repent . . . and He shall send Jesus Christ, Which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. . . . Ye are the children of the prophets. . . . Unto you first. . ." (Acts 3:19-26).

These words of Peter, spoken after Pentecost, cannot be separated from the hope of Israel without violence to the inspired words. It may be that some readers will interpose the thought: "These are from the testimony of Peter; what we want is the testimony of Paul." We, therefore, give two more extracts from the Acts, quoting this time from the ministry of Paul.

"And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come" (Acts 26:6-7).

"Paul called the chief of the Jews together . . . because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain" (Acts 28:17-20).

Not until the Jewish people were set aside in Acts 28:25-29 does Paul become "the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles." Until it was a settled fact that Israel would not repent and that the promise of Acts 3:19-26 would be postponed, the Hope of Israel persisted, and all the churches that had been brought into being up to that time were of necessity associated with that Hope. See the testimony of Romans, which is set out in much fuller detail after the reference to the heavenly calling is completed.

The Heavenly Calling

We have already drawn attention to the intimate association that exists between "hope," "promise," and "calling." We must pause for a moment here to remind the reader that Abraham stands at the head of two companies: an earthly people, the great nation of Israel, and a heavenly people, associated with the heavenly phase of God's promise to Abraham, and made up of the believing remnant of Israel and believing Gentiles. The Apostle in Hebrews and Galatians refers to this heavenly side of the Abrahamic promise:

"He looked for a city. . . . They seek a country. . . . They desire a better country, that is, an heavenly; wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city" (Heb. 11:10, Heb. 11:14, Heb. 11:16).

"If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. . . . Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother' of us all" (Gal. 3:29, (Gal. 4:26).

This heavenly calling of the Abrahamic promise constitutes the Bride of the Lamb, as distinct from the restored Wife, which refers to Israel as a nation. We leave the reader to verify these statements for himself by referring to Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Hosea, where Israel's restoration is spoken of under the figure of the restored Wife, and to the Book of Revelation, where the Heavenly City is described as the Bride. During the time of the Acts of the Apostles, the churches founded by Paul were "Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29). The Apostle speaks of "espousing them to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2).

This heavenly phase of the hope of Israel was the hope of all the churches established during the Acts until Israel was set aside, as recorded in Acts 28.

The Testimony of Romans

The Epistles written by Paul before his imprisonment were Galatians, Hebrews, Romans, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and 1 and 2 Corinthians. We are sure that any well-instructed reader who was asked to choose from this set of Epistles, the one giving the most recent as well as the most fundamental teaching of the apostle for this period, would unhesitatingly choose the Epistle to the Romans. In this Epistle, we have the solid rock foundation of justification by faith, where "no difference" can be tolerated between Jew and Gentile. When, however, we leave the sphere of doctrine (Rom. 1-8) and enter the sphere of dispensational privileges, we discover that differences between Jewish and Gentile believers remain. The Gentile, who was justified by faith, was nevertheless reminded that he was at that time in the position of a wild olive, graft into the true olive tree, from which some of the branches had been broken off through unbelief. The grafting of the Gentile into Israel's olive tree was intended (speaking after the manner of men) to provoke Israel into jealousy. When, in the days to come, these broken branches shall be restored, "All Israel shall be saved."

These statements from Romans 11 are sufficient to prevent us from assuming that, because there is evidently DOCTRINAL equality in the Acts period, there is also DISPENSATIONAL equality. This is not so, for Romans declare that the Jew is still "first," and the middle wall still stands, making membership of The One Body as revealed in Ephesians impossible.

In Romans 15, we have a definite statement concerning the Hope entertained by the church at Rome. Before quoting the passage, Romans 15:12-13, we would advise the reader that the word "trust" in Rom. 15:12 is elpizo, and the word "hope" in Rom. 15:13 elpis. There is also the emphatic article "the" before the word "hope" in Rom. 15:12. Bearing these points in mind, we can now examine The Hope entertained by the church in Rome, as ministered to by Paul before his imprisonment.

"There shall be a Root of Jesse, and He that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in Him shall the Gentiles hope. Now the God of that hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost" (Rom. 15:12-13).

Here we are on firm ground. Paul himself teaches the church to look for The Millennial Kingdom and for The Saviour as the "Root of Jesse," Who shall "reign over the Gentiles." How can this hope be severed from "the hope of Israel"? How can it be associated with the "Mystery," which knows nothing of Abraham or of Israel but goes back before the "foundation of the world" and reaches up to Heavenly Places? In case the reader should be uncertain of Paul's references to The Millennial Kingdom, we quote from Isaiah eleven:

"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse. . . . He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. . . . The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb. . . . And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to It shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious" (Isa. 11:1, Isa. 11:4, Isa. 11:6, Isa. 11:10).

The reader should consult the note on Isaiah 11:4 given in The Companion Bible, where the reading, "He shall smite the oppressor" (ariz) is preferred to the A.V. "He shall smite the earth" (erez). This reading establishes a link with 2 Thessalonians 2:8:

"And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming."

Before referring to 1 Thessalonians 4, which presents the Hope of the church at that time very clearly, we must say something about the strange avoidance of the second Epistle that so many manifest when dealing with this subject.

The Importance of a Second Epistle

If a businessman were to treat his correspondence in the way that some believers treat The Epistles of Paul, the results would be disastrous. A second letter, purporting to rectify a misunderstanding arising out of a previous letter, would, if anything, be more important and more decisive than the first; yet there are those whose system of interpretation demands that they shall claim 1 Thessalonians 4 as the revelation of their hope, who nevertheless either neglect the testimony of 2 Thessalonians or explain it away as of some future mystical company unknown to the Apostle. Let us first verify that these two Epistles form a definite pair, written by the same writer, at the same period, to the same people, about the same subject.

Identity of Address

FIRST EPISTLE "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 1:1).

SECOND EPISTLE "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 1:1).

Identity of Theme

FIRST EPISTLE "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father" (1 Thess. 1:3).

SECOND EPISTLE "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet; because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all towards each other aboundeth; so that we . . . glory . . . in your patience" (2 Thess. 1:3).

FIRST EPISTLE "The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints" (1 Thess. 3:13). (A reference to Deut. 33:2, Psa. 68:17 and Zech. 14:5 will show that the "saints" here are the "holy angels" and not the church).

SECOND EPISTLE "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire" (2 Thess. 1:7-8).

The Special Purpose of Second Thessalonians

The Thessalonian Church had been disturbed by the circulation of a letter purporting to have come from the Apostle and by certain messages given by those who claimed to have "the spirit." These messages distorted the Apostle's teaching concerning the coming of the Lord, as taught in the church while he was with them and mentioned in the fourth chapter of his letter.

"We beseech you, brethren . . . that ye be not soon shaken in mind or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ (or the Lord) is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first" (2 Thess. 2:1-3).

Before the Hope of the church at Thessalonica could be realized, certain important prophecies awaited fulfillment. As we have seen, the Hope during the period of the Acts (and therefore that of 1 Thessalonians 4) was essentially the Hope of Israel. When 1 Thessalonians 4 was written, Israel was still God's people. The Temple still stood, and the possibility (speaking humanly) of Israel's repentance had still to be reckoned with. If the Hope of Israel was about to be fulfilled, then Daniel 9-12 must also be fulfilled, together with many other prophecies of the time of the end. This we have seen to have been the testimony of the Lord Himself in Matthew 24, and so far, Israel had not been set aside (i.e., when the epistles to the Thessalonians were written).

The following predicted events must precede the coming of the Lord as revealed in 1 and 2 Thessalonians:

The apostasy must come first ("falling away," Greek apostasia).

The Man of Sin must be revealed in the Temple (the word "Temple" is the same as in Matthew 23:16).

The coming of this Wicked One will be preceded by a Satanic travesty of Pentecostal gifts. (The same words are used as of Pentecost, with the addition of the word "lying".)

This Wicked One shall be "consumed" and "destroyed" with the brightness of the Lord's coming (see Isaiah 11:4, revised reading).

All this the Apostle had told the Thessalonian church when he was with them before he wrote 1 Thessalonians 4 (see 2 Thess. 2:5).

The Thessalonians had already been taught by the Apostle himself concerning the events of prophecy and would doubtless have read 1 Thessalonians four in harmony with his teaching had they not been deceived by false interpretations. The reference to the Archangel would have taken them back to Daniel 10-12. The Epistle of Jude uses exactly the same word as is used here and tells us that the Archangel's name is Michael (Jude 9). Immediately following the great prophecy of the seventy weeks, with its climax in the "Abomination of desolation," we have the revelation of Daniel ten. There the veil is partially withdrawn, and a glimpse is given of the Satanic forces behind the "powers that be." Michael is said to be "your Prince," and in Daniel 12 we read:

"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation . . . and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake" (Dan. 12:1-2).

Here we have Michael identified with the people of Israel, and when he stands up, the great tribulation and the resurrection take place. This FOLLOWS THE EVENTS OF DANIEL ELEVEN, which are briefly summarized in 2 Thessalonians two. Compare, for example, the following passages:

"He shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods" (Dan. 11:36).

"Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped" (2 Thess. 2:4).

1 and 2 Thessalonians and Revelation 13

If the reader would read consecutively Daniel 9, 10, 11, and 12, 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5, 2 Thessalonians 1 and 3, and Revelation 13, the testimony of the truth itself would be so strong as to need no human advocate. Our space is limited, and we therefore earnestly ask all who value the teaching of the Scriptures regarding "That Blessed Hope" to read and compare these portions most carefully and prayerfully. When this is done, let the question be answered: "What have all these Scriptures to do with The Church of The Dispensation of The Mystery, a Church called into being consequent upon Israel's removal and the suspension of Israel's hope?" The answer can only be that, while the close association of the Hope of the Thessalonians with the Hope of Israel was consistent with the character of the dispensation then in force, the attempt to link the "One Hope of our Calling" with prophetic times is a dispensational anachronism and a failure to distinguish things that differ.

"Till He Come"

The coming of the Lord referred to in 1 Corinthians 11:26 must be the same Hope as was entertained by the Thessalonians and by the church at Rome (Rom. 15:12-13). The Apostle himself summarizes this Hope in Acts 28:20 as the "Hope of Israel." The Corinthian Epistle deals with a variety of subjects and is addressed to different sections of the church. Some called themselves by the name of Paul, others by the name of Cephas. Some were troubled with regard to the question of marriage, and others with regard to moral questions. The section in which the words "till He come" occur is addressed to those whose "fathers" were "baptized unto Moses" (1 Cor. 10:1), whereas the section that immediately follows is addressed to Gentiles (1 Cor. 12:2). Concerning the question of marriage, the Apostle writes:

"I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress. . . . The time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not. . . and they that buy, as though they possessed not" (1 Cor. 7:26-30).

Shall we fall into the error of teaching, as some have taught, that marriage is wrong because of what Paul says in this chapter? If we do, what shall we say of his wonderful words concerning husband and wife in Ephesians 5? Or of his advice that the younger women should not only marry but marry again if left as widows? (1 Tim. 5:9-14). The right interpretation is clearly that Paul's advice in 1 Corinthians 7 was true AT THE TIME because the Second Coming of Christ was expected to take place during the lifetime of some of his hearers. He speaks as he does "because of the present necessity" and because "the time is short." When writing to the Thessalonians, he rightly identifies himself with the imminent Hope of the Lord's Coming by saying: "We which are alive" (1 Thess. 4).

The "present necessity" of 1 Corinthians 7 is no longer applicable on account of the failure of Israel and the suspension of their Hope. So in 1 Corinthians 11, the teaching of the chapter was only true while the Hope of that calling was still imminent. When the people of Israel passed into their present condition of blindness, as they did in Acts 28, their Hope passed with them, not to be revived until the end of the days, when the Apocalypse is fulfilled. Meanwhile, a new dispensation has come in, a dispensation associated with a "Mystery" and unconnected with Israel. In the very nature of things, a change of dispensation means a change of calling. It introduces a new sphere and a fresh set of promises and demands a re-statement of its own peculiar hope.

Hope Of The Third Sphere
The Manifestation in Glory

Before considering the special characteristics of The Hope of The Church of The One Body, it may be of service to set out some of the distinctive features of the Dispensation of The Mystery so that, perceiving the unique character of its calling, we shall be compelled to believe the unique character of its Hope.

Special features of the present dispensation:

First of all, let us observe two features that marked the previous dispensation but are now absent.

The presence and prominence of Israel.

The testimony of the Gospels (Matt. 10:6, Matt. 15:24), the witness of Peter (Acts 3:25-26), and the testimony of Paul (Rom. 1:16, Rom. 3:29, Rom. 9:1-5, Rom. 11:24-25 and Rom. 15:8), all combine to show that the nation of Israel was an important factor in the outworking of the purpose of the ages and that during the period covered by the Gospels and the Acts, no blessing could be enjoyed by a Gentile in the independence of Israel. It is evident that with the setting aside of these favored people, a change in dispensation was necessitated.

The presence and prominence of miraculous gifts.

Throughout the public ministry of the Lord Jesus, and from Pentecost in Acts 2 until the shipwreck on the island of Melita in Acts 28, supernatural signs, wonders, and miracles accompanied and confirmed the preached word. Not only did the Lord Himself and also His apostles work miracles, but during the time of the Acts, ordinary members of the church were in possession of spiritual gifts in such abundance that they had to seek the Apostle's advice as to their regulation in the assembly (1 Cor. 14:26-40). The miracles of Mark 16, Acts 2, and 1 Corinthians 12 to 14 are not the normal experience of the church of today. Their absence, together with the setting aside of the people of Israel, constitute two pieces of negative evidence in favor of a new dispensation. We are not, however, limited to negative evidence. Scripture also provides definite evidence of a positive kind, which we must now consider.

The prison ministry of the Apostle Paul.

When Paul spoke to the elders of the church at Ephesus, he made it quite plain that one ministry was coming to an end and another, closely associated with prison, was about to begin. He reviewed his past services among them and told them, among other things, that they should see his face no more (Acts 20:17-38). Later, before King Agrippa, he reveals the important fact that when he was converted and commissioned by The Lord, in Acts nine, he had been told that at some subsequent time, the Lord would appear to him again and give him a second commission (Acts 26:15-18).

The dispensational boundary of Acts 28.

Right up to the last Chapter of the Acts, Israel, and miraculous gifts continued to occupy their pre-eminent place (Acts 28:1-10, Acts 28:17, Acts 28:20). Upon arrival at Rome, Paul, although desirous of visiting the church (Rom. 1:11-13), sent first for the "chief of the Jews", telling them that "for the hope of Israel" he was bound with a chain. After spending a whole day with these men of Israel, seeking unsuccessfully to persuade them "concerning Jesus" out of the law and the prophets, he pronounces finally their present doom of blindness, adding:

"Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it" (Acts 28:28).

During the two years of imprisonment that followed, the Apostle ministered to all that came to him, teaching those things which "concern the Lord Jesus Christ" with no reference this time either to the law or to the prophets (Acts 28:30-31).

The present dispensation is a new revelation.

The omission of "the law and the prophets" from Acts 28:31, as compared with Acts 28:23, is an important point. Throughout the early ministry of the Apostle, he makes continual and repeated appeals to the O.T. Scriptures. But when one examines the "Prison Epistles," one is struck by the absence of quotation. The reason for this change is that Paul, as the prisoner of Jesus Christ for the Gentiles, received The Mystery "by revelation" (Eph. 3:1-3). This mystery had been hidden for ages and generations until the time came for Paul to be made its minister (Col. 1:24-27). It could not, therefore, be found in the O.T. Scriptures.

Some special features of this new calling.

This Church was chosen "before the foundation of the world" (Eph. 1:4) and "before age-times" (2 Tim. 1:9).

This Church finds its sphere of blessing "in Heavenly P1aces, far above all principality and power. . . seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 1:3, Eph. 1:20-21, Eph. 2:6).

This Church is not an "evolution" but a new "creation," the peculiar advantage of being a Jew, even though a member of The Church, having disappeared with the middle wall of partition (Eph. 2:14-19).

This Church is The One Body of which Christ is The Head, and in which all members are equal (Eph. 1:22-23, Eph. 3:6), a relationship never before known.

The Prison Epistles.

While the very nature of things demands a new dispensation consequent upon Israel's removal, we are not left to mere inference. There is a definite section of the N.T. with special teaching relating to The Church of the present dispensation. This is found in the epistles written by Paul as the prisoner of the Lord for us Gentiles. These epistles are five in number, but we generally refer to the "four Prison Epistles" as that to Philemon is practical and personal and makes no contribution to the new teaching.

The four Prison Epistles are:

A EPHESIANS. The Dispensation of the Mystery. Basic Truth

B PHILIPPIANS. The Prize. Outworking.

A COLOSSIANS. The Dispensation of the Mystery. Basic Truth

B 2 TIMOTHY. The Crown. Outworking.

The reader will find in each of these Epistles evidence that they were written from prison and that they form part of the ministry referred to in Acts 28:31.

The above notes on these seven features are necessarily brief and are not intended to do anything more than provide the merest outline of the subject. Any reader who is not convinced as to the peculiar and unique character of these Prison Epistles and The Dispensation they reveal should give them a personal study, noting all their claims and their distinctive features. This article has not been written to prove to the satisfaction of all that a new dispensation commenced at the time of Acts 28 but has been prepared rather as a help to those who, having realized that a change most certainly did take place in the dispensational dealings of God with men at that time, desire to understand what effect this change had upon The Hope of The Church.

The new phase of Hope necessitates Prayer

While prayer should accompany the Word at all times, there is no need to pray for "revelation" concerning one's hope if it is already revealed. Words can scarcely be clearer than those employed in 1 Thessalonians 4, and if this chapter still represented the hope of the Church of the One Body, there would be no need for the Apostle to speak as he does in Ephesians 1. In Eph 1:17, he prays that the saints might receive "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him . . . that ye may know what is the hope of His calling" (Eph. 1:17-18).

It might be well if the reader pondered the marginal reading of Ephesians 1:17 where, instead of "in the knowledge of Him," we read, "for the acknowledging of Him." This raises a most important point. Many fail to go forward with the truth, not because of an inability to understand the meaning of plain terms, but because of failure to "acknowledge Him." The Apostle pauses in his teaching to tell his hearers that before another step can be taken, acknowledgment of what has already been revealed must be made. To acknowledge The Truth of The Mystery is to put oneself out of favor with denominationalism, and many a child of God who says, "I do not see it," is really making a confession of failure to acknowledge the revelation of Truth connected with the ascended Lord.

This new phase of Hope is associated with a Promise

We have already seen that hope and promise are necessarily linked together. We discovered that the promises that were the basis of expectation during the Acts were the promises "made unto the fathers." Now the fathers had no promises made to them concerning heavenly places "where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God." They knew nothing of a church where Gentile believers would be in perfect equality with Jewish believers. The promises made to the fathers never extended beyond "the Bride" or "the Heavenly Jerusalem," but in Ephesians, we have "The Body" and a sphere "Far Above All."

In Ephesians 1:12, where the A.V. reads "first trusted," the margin reads "Hoped,"; and as we cannot speak of "the blessed trust" or "the trust of the second coming" it is best to keep to the translation, "hope." The actual word used is proelpizo, to "fore-hope." Of this prior Hope, the Holy Spirit is the seal and, as such, is "the Holy Spirit of promise."

What promise is in view? There is but one promise in the Prison Epistles. The Gentiles who formed The Church of the One Body were by nature

"aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise" (Eph. 2:12),

but through grace, they became

"fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel; whereof I (Paul) was made a minister" (Eph. 3:6-7).

This promise takes us back to the period of Ephesians 1:4, "before the foundation of the world":

"According to the promise of life, which is in Christ Jesus . . . according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began" (before age-times) (2 Tim. 1:1, 2 Tim. 1:9).

It is this one unique promise that will be realized when the blessed hope before the church of the One Body is fulfilled. Its realization is described by the Apostle in Colossians three:

"When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Rim in glory" (Col. 3:4).

It is impossible to defer this "appearing" until after the Millennium, for the church is waiting for "Christ their fife" and so awaiting "the promise of life," which is their hope. The word "appearing" might be translated as "manifestation" and will be familiar to most readers in the term "epiphany."

Parousia and Epiphany

Believing as we do that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, we must be careful to distinguish between the different words used by God when speaking of the hope of His people. We observe that the word parousia, usually translated as "coming," is found in such passages as the following:

"What shall be the sign of Thy COMING and of the end of the age?" (Matt. 24:3).

"The COMING of the Lord" (1 Thess. 4:15).

"The COMING of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 2:1).

"They that are Christ's at His COMING" (1 Cor. 15:23).

"The COMING of the Lord draweth nigh" (Jas. 5:8).

"The promise of His COMING" (2 Pet. 3:4).

"Not ashamed before Him at His COMING" (1 John 2:28).

This word is used to describe the Hope of the church during the period when "the hope of Israel" was still in view. Consequently, we find it used in the Gospel of Matthew, by Peter, James, and John, ministers of 'the circumcision', and by Paul in those epistles written before the dispensational change of Acts 28.

A different word is used in the Prison Epistles. There, the word parousia is never used for the Lord's coming or of The Hope of The church, but the word epiphany. In 1 Thessalonians 4, the Lord descends from heaven; in 2 Thessalonians 1, He is to be revealed from heaven. This is very different from being Manifested "in glory," i.e., where Christ now sits "on the right hand of God." While, therefore, the Hope before all other companies of the redeemed is "the Lord's coming," the "prior hope" of The Church of The Mystery is rather "their going" to be "manifested with Him in Glory."

While the epistle to Titus is not a "Prison Epistle," it belongs to the same group as 1 and 2 Timothy. There, too, we read that we should live

"looking for that blessed hope, and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).

The Marriage of the King's Son

We may perhaps illustrate these different aspects of the Second Advent by using the occasion of the marriage of the King of England at Westminster Abbey. The marriage is one, whether witnessed in the Abbey itself, from a grandstand, or from the public footway. So, whatever our calling, The Hope is one in this respect, that it is Christ Himself. Nevertheless, we cannot conceive of anyone denying that to be permitted to be present in the Abbey itself is something different from sitting in a grandstand until the King's son, accompanied by "shout" and "trumpet," descends from the Abbey to be met by the waiting people. These waiting people outside the Abbey form one great company, although differentiated as to point of view. So the early church, together with the Kingdom saints, form one great company, although some, like Abraham, belong to "the heavenly calling" connected with Jerusalem that is above, while others belong to the Kingdom, which is to be "on earth." We can hardly believe that any subject of the King would "prefer" the grandstand or the curb to the closer association of the Abbey itself, and we can hardly believe that any redeemed child of God would "prefer" to wait on earth for the descent of the Lord from heaven if the "Manifestation with Him in Glory" were a possible Hope before him. We cannot, however, force these things upon the heart and conscience. We can only respond to the exhortation to be "ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of The Hope that is in you with meekness and reverence" (1 Pet. 3:15).

Did you know that The Great Mystery or Secret was hidden 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 Mystery Teachings

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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