Advancing the Revelation of Truth
What happened at Acts chapter 28 verses 26 to 28 ?
In order to clearly understand the answer to this question, we need to refresh our memories concerning the rebellion of the ten tribes against the other two tribes of Israel. This bit of history is described in the 12th chapter of the first book of Kings. At this point the Whole House of Israel was split into two sets of tribes. The ten tribes under self appointed king Jeroboam the Ephraimite, rebelled against the two tribes under the son of Solomon, king Rehoboam, the Judahite.
These two sets of tribes became known as The House of Ephraim-Israel and the House of Judah-Israel. They are often also referred to as The House of Israel and The House of Judah or The Jews. The latter consisted of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and later a small remnant from the other ten tribes.
Rehoboam, the King of the House of Judah, would have attacked the ten northern tribes of The House of Israel in order to reunite the twelve tribes, but God intervened through the prophet Shemaiah saying:
You shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house: for this thing is from me
Shortly afterwards, the prophet Hosea was instructed by God to announce to the ten tribes of The House of Israel: 'You are Not My People'. Immediately afterwards, just before 600bc, they were taken into captivity by the King of Assyria. Upon release, the bulk of The House of Israel were 'scattered in the world', never to return to their Land until, at a future time, all twelve tribes are reunited. They are to be recognised as The Samaritans and The Prodigal Son of the N.T. parable. Later they are referred to as the 'uncircumcision' in Paul's letter to the 'Ephesians'.
Many years later, about 470bc, the King of Babylon took the House of Judah into captivity. They later returned to their Land to restore The Temple and rebuild Jerusalem. Thus it was that the Jews alone occupied their land when their Messiah was commissioned for His work beginning in 27ad. That work of The King Himself was the introduction of The Kingdom of God in Israel. After His death, His apostles continued that work, The Lord Jesus Christ 'working with them'.
The Book of the Acts of The Apostles records the history of that work, until in 62ad the Apostle Paul, as a prisoner of Roman Empire, called a meeting with the Jews in Rome. That meeting is recorded:
Acts of The Apostles 28:22 to 28
But we [the Jews] desire to hear of thee [the apostle Paul] what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect [The Jews believing that their Messiah is Jesus Christ], we know that everywhere it is spoken against. And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Isaiah the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Nations, and that they will hear it.
These words record the announcement in two parts:
A. That relating to the Jews
B. That relating to the Nations [now including all Jews and Israelites].
A. Up to this time in 62ad there were a number of conditions which related to the Jews only, i.e. the tribes of Israel which made up The House of Judah-Israel: the tribes of Benjamin and Judah and a small number of the tribes of The House of Ephraim-Israel:
They were the children of God, being the two tribes of The House of Judah-Israel.
Their Messiah had appeared and had offered them their prophesied Kingdom, into which they were being pressed. But those Jews who refused their true Messiah continued to worship God in their synagogues.
Their Messiah had died for them as their sacrificial Lamb of God. Those who believed had then received His Sanctifying Spirit. They became positioned out of Him, forming many groups called 'Out Positioned Ones' [Greek: ekklEsia] and become part of His Substance, His Body. All had been equipped with the Gifts of The Spirit according to the Kingdom prophesy of the prophet Joel.
From the birth of Their Messiah, The last days of The days of the years of the life of Jacob/Israel were present. These days are defined in both the Old and New Testaments as The Last Days. They will end when their King and Messiah takes His throne at His 'Second Coming'.
Being God's children they had, and were being overseen by the Prophets and apostles. These were men inspired by God to direct their affairs.
They were living in the time of the first seven weeks, 49 years, of Gabriel's 70weeks prophesy to Daniel. This had begun when Their Messiah had announced His commission, quoting the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue of His home town of Nazareth in the year 27ad.
Although they had their own state, they were subject to the rule of the nations, being occupied by the Empire of Rome who held down their capital, Jerusalem.
Having accepted their Messiah as their king and saviour they were looking forward to the establishment of His Kingdom in Israel when, after many resurrections, King David would again rule in Jerusalem.
At the time of 62ad, they knew that the preparation period of the first 49years of Gabriel's prophesy was nearing its end and that following the fulfilment of Isaiah's prophesy: 'Arise shine for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee', the twelve tribes would be reunited.
All those Israelites who recognised their Messiah knew that this event was very close at hand. Little children, it is the last hour and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last hour:1John 2:18
As we know, these events did not occur at that time because of God's intervention through Paul proclaiming the fulfilment of Isaiah's statement: Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive.....be it known unto you that the message of Salvation is commissioned for the nations.
These remaining events, the completion of Gabriel's first seven weeks by the remaining two weeks, the resurrections and uniting of the twelve tribes of Israel, the establishment of The Kingdom in Israel, will begin to be fulfilled at the conclusion of this present Administration of God's Grace in 2022ad
B. The people of the nations are described as Without God in The World:
God had allowed a few of them to join with the Jews in honouring the Jew's Messiah, in order to provoke the rest of the Jews to jealousy so that they would act in accordance with His need to bring all of them into The Kingdom.
The great majority of the Gentiles remained indifferent to God's needs, worshipping many other gods, according to their race.
They remained under the direct control of the god of this world order, doing his bidding as he pleased.
So, from God's point of view, this was the condition relating to the Jews and the Gentiles in 62ad, when the apostle Paul, being a prisoner of Rome, in Rome, was able to bring to the Jews living there, the Good News of the presence of their Messiah. Those Jews did not heed this Good News because they agreed not among themselves .........and departed, causing Paul to quote the condemnation of Isaiah: Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: Because of this, all the work that God was doing with them was ended, or as we recognise from His Word, postponed. What therefore was the result ?
1. Upon the House of Judah-Israel, the Jews.
There was no suggestion that they would become 'Not My People', as the House of Ephraim-Israel continued to be according to Hosea the prophet. They would continue to worship God in their synagogues with no Spiritual discernment.
No longer were they able to avail themselves of the opportunity to enter The Kingdom of God. The offer was closed, the work was halted, the kingdom is no longer proclaimed, until a future time when membership would again be open and all the prophesies relating to that Kingdom would be fulfilled.
No new Kingdom ekklEsias [churches] could be arranged. The mind of the Jew could no longer understand or perceive such a thing, not being able to receive their Messiah.
This short first period of Daniel's prophesy of the 70 weeks ended at this point in 62ad, having begun in 27ad. Daniel had interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream by telling him that these Last Days would end when The God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed. The Messiah, would eliminate all other kingdoms of the earth and by His personal presence establish His Kingdom. [Daniel 2:44]
They remain God's children, but without the Spiritual guidance of any prophets. However their God given Jubilee periods and Shemittahs remain, even though they are at present unable to discern their timings.
Gabriel's prophetic period of time, 5 weeks of the first 7 weeks of years, was completed when Paul made his pronouncement. It will recommence at a time of God's choosing. It had begun in 27ad and was now terminated in 62ad..... 35years[5 weeks]. In the future, the two remaining weeks[14yrs] will complete the initial seven, [before the 62 + 1 weeks[441yrs] of the rest of the 70 weeks commence] when the resurrected Prince David initiates the restoration of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of The Temple. See here.
Following Paul's pronouncement in 62ad, seven years later, in 69/70ad, the Jews' rebellion against the rule of Rome would bring about the first phase of the destruction of both Jerusalem and its Temple. This would be followed by the dispersion of all the Jews from the land of Palestine.
2. Upon the Nations, the Jews now being regarded by God as one of them.
The postponed ekklEsias were no longer in the power of The Spirit and could not expect to enter the pre-millennial kingdom of God. Their hope lay in the promise of their resurrection prior to the Millennium kingdom.
The great mass of the nations in the known world were now receiving copies of The Good News written by the apostle John. This Gospel was specifically written as a witness to all the nations giving eight signs of the purpose of God's work for all peoples. The purpose of this book is given in chapter 20 verses 30 and 31: Many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples which are not written in this book: but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is The Christ, The Son of God, and that believing you might have life through His name. Thus is fulfilled God's promise: .be it known unto you that the message of Salvation is commissioned for the nations and they will hear it.
This gospel affected many people, causing them to recognise their personal disregard of God and thereby to accept The Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. The 'god of this world order' has no further power over them providing there faith remains sure.
This new situation caused the apostle Paul to write to his friends Timothy and Titus, explaining how they must organise the many new Christians into local groups to ensure that their faith could be built up through fellowship with their Lord and Saviour. The great majority of their members were Gentiles. The two letters, first to Timothy and the other to Titus, form the basis of God's instructions to these ekklEsias, for the many years to come, even as to-day in 2007ad. Their Hope was expressed as follows:
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. [1Timothy 6:11-16]
These instructions should not be confused with the many that were given to the Jewish ekklEsias for another purpose during the time that the Kingdom of God was being built up in Israel. Their Hope will be manifest at the end of the 70weeks of Daniel's prophesy when their Messiah, at His second coming becomes personally present [gk: parousia] after the defeat of the Antichrist.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. [1Thess 3:16]
This Hope of all those many thousands of believing Jews with the few associated Gentiles living in the time of the promised Kingdom in Israel, would now be postponed until that Kingdom would be re-established.
This action of God in 62ad,
postponing the building up of The Jewish Kingdom in Israel
commissioning Salvation for the nations,
changed God's way of dealing with mankind. It was inevitable therefore that a new way or Administration [dispensation] had to be announced.
Later, in the years leading to 69ad
Following these changes, when Paul writes to his Christian friends in the Philippi ekklEsia, he tells them: mark those things which carry through [Phil 1:10...Gk: diapherO], referring to the foundational work of The Lord Jesus Christ, clearly adding that to Paul himself, all that pertained to his place as a Jew and Israelite, he now regarded as loss and rubbish [Philippians 3:7-8 ]. All the practices and Gifts of The Spirit for the building up of the ekklEsias in the Jewish Kingdom, now had no further application, Paul had now come to the end of his first God given commission, his course was completed [2Timothy 4:7]. The Philippians must follow his example in pressing forward toward the mark for the prize of the calling upward of God in Christ Jesus. In his second letter to Timothy, he had told him that his course was finished and that God had offered him an analusis [a departure to be with Christ], but he had decided to remain for their sake.
So these new ekklEsias began to grow with their Hope being identified in the resurrection of Their Lord Jesus Christ
For our way of life 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 glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Philippians 3:20-21.
Paul continued to press forward in having the humility of the mind of Christ [Phil 2: 5-8], putting away and treating as rubbish all that pertained to his place and position as an Israelite, a Benjaminite, an Hebrew, a Pharisee, and that which by zeal, building up the Jewish ekklEsias [Phil 3:4-6].
Until in the following years, 69-70ad
God revealed to him the Mystery of a new and unique Administration, that of His Grace. This He had kept secret, even from the Eons [Col 1: 24-27], the heavenly powers. The following passage from Paul's letter to the 'Ephesians', written at the same time, tells us about this mystery. In the same revelation, he also points out that in his previous letter they would be able to perceive his understanding of the other Mystery, that of The Christ, better known as The Messianic Mystery.
Both these important Mysteries are referred to in the same passage, being dependent upon each other for their understanding. The central part of the passage refers to the Mystery of The Christ and is introduced and concluded by reference to the previously hidden Mystery of God's present Administration of His Grace.
TWO MYSTERIES IN EPHESIANS, chapter 3 vv: 1 to 9
The Mystery of The Administration of The Grace of God, hidden from the Eons, revealed to Paul alone. [Colossians 1:26-27]
The Mystery of The Christ, hidden from the generations of men, revealed to the apostles and prophets. [Romans 16:25] The Messianic Mystery.
The acceptance of these two mysteries, depends upon initiation, that is the understanding of a person, being a Christian, who is believing and trusting in The Lord Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son. Although the Mystery of The Christ, His deity, His Sonship and His Kingship, is accepted by many Christians, The present Mystery of this Administration of God's Grace has not been taught or accepted by the majority, through lethargy, ignorance and indifference, not to mention the reliance upon tradition which causes many Christians to hold down this Truth in unrighteousness.
After Paul had received this revelation of The Administration of God's Grace he was again commissioned with the work of enlightening all, labouring and striving according to the working of Christ which worked in him mightily He prayed desiring that we, the sanctified and faithful in Christ Jesus
might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and Spiritual understanding, that we might walk worthy of The Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might, according to His power in glory, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness......[Colossian letter]
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of our understanding being enlightened; that we may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when He raised him from the dead, and set Him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, ['Ephesian' letter]
There are many who call themselves Christians to-day who do not recognise the Messianic Mystery of Christ's Resurrection and His Deity, although they say they believe and trust in Him.
Again, there are many, many Christians to-day who do not recognise the present Administration of God's Grace. They persist in walking according to the conditions which God laid down for the building up of The Kingdom in Israel. They do not discern the postponement of that Israelitish Kingdom which took place in Rome those many years ago, and persist in the Hope associated with that Kingdom, a 'rapture' based upon the Second Coming of their Lord. Little do they realise that this Hope will only be manifest at the completion of the pre-millennial Kingdom in Israel, which Kingdom was initiated by Christ, and is yet to be re-established. Shortly, when this Administration of God's Grace ends, before the re-introduction of that Kingdom, all those Christians whose Hope has been generated during this present Administration of God's Grace, should recognise that their hope is based upon the manifestation of their Saviour. As Paul, their apostle says: when Christ who is our life shall appear then will they appear with Him in Glory. [Colossians 3:4]
What has happened as a result of Paul's announcement at Acts 28:25
1. The Kingdom of God has ceased to be proclaimed, and is not present to-day.
2. The Jews cannot perceive the Truth of their Scriptures.
3. The prophesies relating to the Jews and their Kingdom, are held in abeyance.
4. The Spiritual gifts of the Kingdom ekklEsias are not available to-day.
5. Salvation is of the Nations, not proclaimed by the Jews.
6. God has revealed the details of this, The present Administration of His Grace.
7. The true tribes of Israel do not occupy their Land.
It is The Deceiver's plan that Christians should accept the setting up of his kingdom, or as it is known: The New World Order. For this to be brought about the antithesis of each one of these truths is being taught in the ekklesias to-day. This is an outcome of The Mystery of Iniquity.
All peoples live to-day in God's Administration which is governed by His Grace alone. No judgement of God befalls them. God favours them all, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. The study of God's Word alone is our source of understanding. The following chart illustrates the important changes that have, and will take place:
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