Sunday, March 21, 2010

Two Dispensations: Kingdom and Grace (Mystery) #2

If you have read the preceding article and have found yourself questioning long held teachings and beliefs and now are asking the question, "If not the Kingdom, what then? The answer to these questions are to be found in the last chapter of the Book of Acts and the seven "Prison Epistles" written by Paul after the end of the Acts period--A.D. 29 to A.D. 64. As a note, Paul wrote seven epistles during the Acts period and then these seven epistles (Prison) after the end of Acts. The letters that Paul wrote during the Acts period as well as his ministry were directed to the Jew, always first and pre-eminent, and then the Gentile. The primary purpose of Gentiles who believed during the Acts period, and it was Cornelius, the first Gentile, who received Jesus as his Saviour, was to provoke Israel unto jealousy, and in such condition, repent as a nation and believe unto Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth as their Messiah. Paul beautifully expounds this principal in Romans. Study both Acts Chapters 10 and 11 and Romans Chapter 9 thru 11 to understand the role of the Gentile during the Acts Period.

So what is this Heavenly Purpose? Where in Scripture do I find this purpose? Well, I have already alerted the reader that this present dispensation will be found in the Prison Epistles of Paul. So the chapters that you just read in Romans certainly had a purpose for Gentiles, yet it is not to be mistaken for the Heavenly Purpose that Paul expounds in the Prison Epistles. This purpose is laid out by Paul in the Third Chapter of Ephesians thusly, (Eph 3:10 KJV) To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

(Eph 3:11 KJV) According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

(Eph 3:12 KJV) In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

So now we have Two Purposes for man that God has chosen to employ. For the nation of Israel, to witness Jesus Christ to the nations, teaching and baptizing. For the Gentile, in a purpose revealed after Acts 28:28 by the Apostle Paul ONLY, that as a member of the Church Which Is His Body, (Eph 1:22-23)one is to witness the manifold wisdom of God to the Principalities and Powers in the Heavenly Places. And what is this "manifold wisdom" that this Church (Eph 1:22-23) is to witness? Since the word translated manifold means "multi-faceted", or as Thayer explains it, "mainfesting itself in a great variety of forms", there is not easily comprehended by man a full and complete understanding of God's Wisdom. Yet we the Church are to be a witness of this Wisdom. How? The answer is only in and through the Lord Jesus Christ! Now, this being said, one of the primary witnesses of wisdom of the Church is in its full title, "the church which is His body, the FULLNESS of Him Who filleth all in all" (Eph 1:22-23). We are the fullness of Him! This begs the question, "how could God take lowly man, even a Gentile, and place him in the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ and "fill" Christ and/or "complete Him"? This is the start of recognizing God's hand in manifesting His Wisdom through the Church. And this wisdom and this particular act is to be displayed to spiritual beings (principalities and powers)in the Heavenly Places, or as literally translated, "the heavens out of the heavens". So gentile believer, as Paul wrote to the Philippians, "think on these things" Phil 4:8.

There have been revealed now in the pages of Holy Scripture Two Purposes of God involving His creature, man. An Earthly Purpose to be executed through Him by the Nation of Israel, members of a Kingdom of Priests. The other is the Heavenly Purpose, a secret purpose until revealed to Paul, to be executed through Him by members of The Church which is His Body, who are neither Jewish or Gentile, but a "New Man", Eph 2:12 thru 2:15.

This Heavenly Purpose is one that God is executing today and much more is to be discovered in asking the "right division" questions: who, what, why, where, when, to whom, and in what context. The author will continue to shed, via exposition of scripture, the Truth of this Mystery/Secret as Paul revealed it to us.

If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact the author via comments.

Blessings in Christ