Advancing the Revelation of Truth
THE DIVINE STRUCTURE OF GOD'S HUMAN FAMILY
The faithful and sanctified ones who are chosen......
1. Prior to the three years ministry of The Lord Jesus Christ.
2. During Christ's Ministry in Israel
3. During the time of the apostles' ministry, Christ working with them.
4. Following the imposition of Judah's Spiritual blindness in 62ad.
4a. Paul's Dilemma concerning his Spiritual position as an Israelite
5. During The present Administration of God's Grace from 69ad
This study is based upon the understanding that the apostle Paul's letters reveal a development of understanding of God's relationship with mankind, particularly those of the nations since Paul's commissions are directed to them. His fourteen letters therefore reveal a progressive change of God's requirements during different administrations.
The Kingdom in Israel is the theme during the foundational ministry of The Lord Jesus Christ from the year 27ad to 30ad. Following this the twelve apostles extended that ministry throughout the know world. Luke recorded the details of this Evangelical outreach...
Paul's first seven letters are written to and relate to the churches which he had established during that time of God's kingdom in Israel. This period began at Pentecost in 30ad and was postponed when God intervened in 62ad [see Acts 28:26].
One and two Thessalonians,
One and two Corinthians,
The second seven letters of the ministry of Paul are also directed to the nations, being written in the following order between 62 and 70ad:
The House of Judah, the Jews, was Spiritually blinded in 62ad. resulting in the message of Salvation being commissioned to the nations, At that time the apostle John wrote his gospel. Historical evidence shows that it was widely distributed so fulfilling the promise found in The Word of God:Ö..'they will definitely hear it' [Acts 28:28].
We turn now to the theme of this article which defines the different groups of Christians who are faithful to God committing their lives to Him during the various times that He has seen it necessary to relate to them through His changing Administrations.
1. Prior to the three years ministry of The Lord Jesus Christ.
God's particular relationship with Israel during all those long years from His choice of Abraham until the time of the commissioning of The Lord Jesus Christ in the synagogue at Nazareth. Concerning that relationship, The Christ told the people about John the Baptiser::
But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. [MAT 11:7]
John the Baptiser proclaimed the kingdom in Israel but was not part of it. Entry into the kingdom began when The Christ began His preaching. God's Administration had changed at this point. When illustrating this change, The Christ said to Martha concerning the dead Lazarus: 'Your brother shall rise again'. Martha's reply indicated her HOPE in the Word of God recorded in Ezekiel 37 when The Whole House of Israel would be resurrected: 'I know that he shall rise again at the resurrection at the last day', This confession conformed to the HOPE of all those Israelites born before their Messiah.
2. During Christ's Ministry in Israel. 27 to 30ad.
The Lord Jesus Christ, having been introduced by His cousin, John the Baptiser, began His ministry in 27ad by revealing His authority, His commission, in the Nazareth synagogue when He quoted from the prophet Isaiah:
∑ The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
∑ because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;
∑ he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted,
∑ to preach deliverance to the captives,
∑ and recovering of sight to the blind,
∑ to set at liberty them that are bruised,
∑ To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
Thus began the 70 weeks, i.e. 490 years of Daniel's prophecy.
The Christ's ministry, as the coming King of Israel, was to introduce the order and arrangement of His Kingdom for that nation during the following seven weeks of years, 49 years. He then chose twelve disciples, who were to be commissioned and trained for the proclamation and discipline of that kingdom.
The HOPE of the disciples of that time, although known to be the resurrection at the last day, was now in the choice of God, even The Lord Jesus Christ.......I am the resurrection and the life.
The disciples all hoped that The King would shortly take his throne and rule Israel, bringing in all the benefits of His preaching. When He was crucified, many of them
fell away believing that they had followed a false Messiah. It was not until the time of His departure into Heaven that His true disciples were able to ask Him: 'Lord will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel'. This had been their Hope during the time of His Ministry. Another 46 years would have passed before this would have been established. [see By Grace No:70. A new translation of Gabriel's statement to Daniel concerning The Seventy Weeks] but because of the introduction of the present secret Administration of Godís Grace [See Ephesians 3:1-3] lasting 1960 years, the 46years is extended to 2006 years.
3. During the time of the ministry recorded in The Acts of The Apostles from 30 to 62ad.
The ones chosen and called out of Christ were recognised in local groupings or bodies. The members of these bodies were endowed with power, giving divine knowledge and health. Because of the diverse languages spoken by the children of Israel in the Diaspora, those scattered around the known world of the time, chosen members of these bodies were given power to communicate in those languages.
Control and order of these bodies was maintained using the choice by lot of firstly Elders and then authorised Helpers. This method of determining God's will and choice was used throughout the tribes of Israel. Its use is illustrated in Acts 1:23-26.
This commissioned ministry amongst the children of Israel spread over the known world. The King and The Kingdom were proclaimed but because of the lethargy of the Israelites in accepting their king, God allowed a very small number of Gentiles to become members of these bodies in order to provoke the Israelites to jealousy.
The HOPE of the members of the bodies of that time was a mystery revealed by Paul when writing to the Thessalonian church.........the meeting of the Sanctified ones with their Lord at His epipaneia and parousia, i.e. His Second Coming.
This we say by The Word f the Lord that we which are alive and remain unto the parousia of The Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep, for The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with The Lord. 1Thessalonians 4:15
The lawless one shall be revealed whom The Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness [epiphaneia - blazing forth] of His coming [parousia]. 2Thessalonians 2:8
Note that the completion of this ministry to the lost sheep of the House of Israel has been postponed for 1960 years because The House of Judah, the Jews, did not whole heartedly accept either their king nor His kingdom [Acts 28:26]
The remaining fourteen years of this ministry, totalling 49years, will be completed when the present Administration of God's Grace ends, see below. As prophesied by Daniel, the rebuilding of Jerusalem will then be commissioned and the pre-millennial kingdom under King David will commence. God will rule the Kingdom from His throne in Heaven [Isaiah 66:1]
4. Following the imposition of Spiritual blindness upon the House of Judah, the Jews in 62ad
In 62ad, due to the Spiritual condition of The House of Judah, the Jews, the Kingdom in Israel was suspended. It could no longer be proclaimed. Following this suspension, many new Christians from the nations were accepting Jesus Christ as their Saviour by reading the newly circulating Good News written by John the apostle. They would have needed help, care and fellowship. Paul, therefore found it necessary to give revised instructions to Timothy and Titus regarding the organisation of these new Christian groups with overseers and helpers. During the previous Kingdom Administration recorded in The Acts of The Apostles, when the gifts of The Holy Spirit were available, this function was performed by drawing lots to ensure that the result was according to The Spirit's choice. [see Acts 1:23-26] each having direct access to their Lord via Jesus Christ, the one mediator.
Paul told Timothy an important fact that even though the church, the called and positioned ones out of Jesus Christ, had elders and deacons., who might help and offer guidance to members of Christís body, it was the responsibility of the one positioned out of Jesus Christ to relate directly to Him through His Spirit.
Paul's second letter to Timothy gives additional instruction for those Christians who had become part of these new churches. This letter is the last one to be written by Paul during his first commission given to him at the time of his meeting with The Christ on the Damascus road. Paul tells Timothy that this commission, i.e. his course [2Tim 4:7 and Acts 20:24] is completed. Paul finds himself in need of greater understanding of God's purposes. He therefore instructed Timothy to return to him before winter bringing copies of the Scriptures and his writing material.
Many in Asia turned away from following Paul at this time because of these changes erroneously believing that they could continue in the previous kingdom Administration. [2Tim 1:15] Later, when writing to the Philippians, Paul describes many of them as follows:
For many walk of whom I have told you often and now tell you even weeping, they are the enemies of the cross of Christ whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. [see By Grace No.29. The meaning of Earth Power]
HOPE...Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.......keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable until the blazing forth of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Timothy 6:14
HOPE Looking for that blessed Hope and the blazing forth in glory of The Great God, even our Saviour, The Lord Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13
HOPE The Lord Jesus Christ shall judge the quick and the dead at His blazing forth and his kingdom. 2Timothy 4:1
HOPE A crown of righteousness shall be given by The Lord Jesus Christ to all those who love His blazing forth. 2Timothy 4:8
Note: The 'blazing forth' is a translation of the Greek word 'epiphaneia'. It means 'a very strong enlightenment'. This manifestation is always associated with the Second Advent of The Lord Jesus Christ.
4a. Paul's Dilemma concerning his Spiritual position as an Israelite
Following the completion of Paul's first commission, when the like minded Timothy had joined him, they together searched The Scriptures to seek to understand what God now required of them. Paul describes his dilemma to the Philippian Christians including their Elders and Deacons, explaining that he was experiencing dramatic changes in relation to his Spiritual authority as an Israelite. Not now having a commission, he describes himself and Timothy as servants only [Phil 1:1].
In this letter to the Philippians, Paul describes several things which he wished to achieve:
∑ The Excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord
∑ That I may win Christ and be found in Him
∑ That I may know Christ and the Power of His resurrection.
∑ That I may know the fellowship of His sufferings
∑ That I may attain unto the Out Resurrection Out from among the dead.
∑ The prize of The High Calling of God in Christ Jesus.
He no longer wished to trust in the flesh which he described as those things which positioned him as an Israelite. In fact he regarded those thing as waste and even worse. From these religious things he wished to cleanse himself and encouraged those who are mature to do likewise, to have the same mind, telling them that they would receive God's help if they were otherwise minded.
HOPE Our behaviour is in heaven from whence also we look for the Saviour, The Lord Jesus Christ who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His body of glory [Phil 3:20-21]
5. During The present Administration of God's Grace which began in 62ad.
In 69ad the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. By this time, Paul, having achieved those important changes listed above, He was informed by a Godly revelation concerning a new secret Administration, that of His Grace.
If you have heard of the Administration of The Grace of God which He gave to me for you. That by revelation He made known unto me the mystery. [Eph 3:2-3]
Because of this, He gave Paul a second commission to
'Preach amongst the nations the untraceable riches of Christ and to enlighten all with the knowledge of the Mystery which from the beginning of the age has been hid in God' [Eph 3:8-9]
All Christians chosen of God have direct access to their Lord via Jesus Christ, the one mediator. Paul had already told Timothy this important fact and even though the church, the called and positioned ones out of Jesus Christ, had elders and deacons, it was the responsibility of the one positioned out of Jesus Christ to relate directly to Him through His Spirit. God now indicates that the groupings with Elders and Deacons are not the order He requires because the individual Christians only are those addressed. [Eph 1:1 and Col 1:2] order by which this was to be accomplished. He now regards the family as the centre of His relationship with all those who love Him. [Eph 5:23 and Col 3:16-20] for their Spiritual growth and teaching.
God would act through the head of every Christian family. In this new Administration there is now only one Body, that of The Christ, not many separate bodies as in the previous Administrations Ďchurchí which is Christís body No longer would Christian groupings, which we call churches, be the centre of God's activity during this new Administration of His Grace.
This most wonderful Administration of God's Grace revealed to Paul in 69/70ad. will last for 1960 years, after which the postponed kingdom in Israel will be reinstated for the remaining 455 years of Gabriel's prophecy, at the conclusion of which The Lord Jesus Christ will return to be personally present at His Second Advent.
The HOPE of all those who are aware of the present Administration of God's Grace lies in The Calling on High to which Paul attained. He expresses it in these words:
That The God of Our Lord Jesus Christ may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know what is the HOPE of His Calling and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one HOPE of your Calling [Eph 1:17-18]........ He raises us together, and He seats us together, among the most elevated in Christ Jesus, [Eph 2:6]
HOPE When Christ who is our Life shall appear then shall we also appear with Him in Glory. [Col 3:4]
HOPE Awake you that sleep and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.[Eph 5:14]
In this way, the present wonderful and unique
Administration of God's Grace will end.
The teaching of all these Scriptures tells those Christians who seek to be mature, to understand the developing doctrine of the mind of our apostle Paul. In his eleventh letter, to the Philippian saints, he describes his need to reach forward to 'gain Christ', [see Eph 1:15-23] to leave behind all his personal religious characteristics which tied him to his position as an Israelite and therefore to God's kingdom in Israel. Seeking to ĎGain Christí is the understanding that ultimately, he is free from all religious doctrine, standing alone as an individual being fully responsible to His Father
Paul tells the Philippians to have the same mind, to attain maturity, even as we should.
Do we grasp the unique fact that our communication is directly connected to our God through The Spirit of The Lord Jesus Christ, without any mediation from other Christians, Bishops, Elders, Pastors, Ministers etc. Is the reader of this article called to such responsibility? Do they recognise the state of mind which is the basis of this calling, where all religious restraints are regarded as rubbish to be discharged?
Paul achieved this unique position, the calling on high and was therefore enabled to receive the revelation of this present Administration of Godís Grace, the order of which he describes in his letters to the saints in Ephesus and Colosse.
The experience of the writer recognises that God cannot exercise this Calling unless the individual Christian seeks to gain only Christ Himself, no longer having a mind relying upon any religious place, authority or works, but Christ only. [see again Philippians chapter 3. emphasised in verse 17]
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