THE APOSTLE PAUL'S THREE COMMISSIONS.
The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that a commission is a task committed to a person and that the person then becomes a committed or commissioned one, i.e. an apostle, for that is the meaning of the Greek word apostolos. Let us look firstly at the two commissions which initiated God's work recorded in the New Testament.
John the Baptiser's commission:
was written in the prophets: 'Behold I send [apostellO] my messenger before thy face who shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness....Prepare the way of The Lord, make His paths straight [Mark 1:2 from Malachi 3:1]
To herald and proclaim openly the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins' [Luke 3:3]
The Lord Jesus Christ's commission:
And The Christ came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because
he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;
he hath commissioned [apostellO] me to heal the brokenhearted,
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 rolled up the book, and he gave it again to the attendant, 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. [Luke 4:16-21]
The Christ began His ministry in 27ad. It continued in 30ad, after His crucifixion and resurrection, when working with the apostles [Mark 16:20]. This ministry of The Christ was postponed in 62ad when the Jews were Spiritually blinded and will recommence in 2022ad at the end of this secret Administration of God's grace. This ministry will be complete after the first seven weeks of Daniel's prophesy when the Kingdom in Israel is established at the enthronement of King/Prince David in 2036ad. It will have lasted for 49years or one yobel.
Paul's First Commission.
The apostle Paul began his first commission in 35ad, according to the timings determined by Bishop Ussher. The majority of his letters begin by telling the ones to whom he is writing that he, i.e. Paul, is an apostle, meaning that he has a God given task. As long as he is fulfilling a God given task, he remains an apostle. If a task, or course, is completed, he can no longer call himself an apostle.
Paul's Doctor friend, Luke records Paul's meeting with King Agrippa, when he reports the statement which Paul made concerning his first commission:
' I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue,
Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecute. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send [apostellO] thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me'.
This then was Paul's first commission. Paul, when in Miletus, refers to this course when he says good-bye to the Church Elders from Ephesus: 'I do not count my life dear unto myself so that I might finish my course with joy, even the ministry which I have received of The Lord Jesus'.
Later, in about 64-65ad, he refers to the completion of this course when he writes to Timothy: 'I have fought a good fight, I have completed my course'. It should be noted that this course that Paul refers to is not that which completes his life, but that which ends his first commission.
Shortly after writing this letter to Timothy, being free of his first commission, he could say to the Philippian church: I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. Without the burden of this first commission, he was able to press towards the mark for the prize of the on high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul's Second Commission
During Paul's meeting with King Agrippa you will have noticed that he also refers to a second future commission:
I have appeared [OphthEn] unto thee for this purpose,
1. to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen,
2. and of those things in the which I will appear [ophthEsomai] unto thee; [Acts 26:16], delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send [apostellO] thee,
Both these commissions were revealed to Paul at the time of his meeting with The Christ on the road to Damascus in the year 35ad. Both are related to the Godly purposes of the Kingdom in Israel. The work to fulfill this purpose of God was postponed in 62ad at the Spiritual blinding of The House of Judah.
The Christ has yet to appear to Paul concerning this future ministry and witness during the re-establishment of the Kingdom in Israel. This then will be Paul's Second Commission.
It is important to note that both the First and Second Commission involve the appearance of The Lord Jesus Christ, being seen with the eyes, this being the meaning of the Greek verb ophthalmos
Paul's Third Commission.
Paul's third commission concerns this present Administration of God's Grace which began in 69ad. In order to receive this commission Paul had put aside all earthly honour relating to his place as an Israelite, a Jew even a Benjaminite, a Hebrew and a Pharisee. These characteristics related to Paul's authority in the Kingdom in Israel. He therefore reached forward to grasp the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord in order to gain the prize of a new calling, that of the Upward Calling. Having entered this knowledge of the Upward Calling, he tells us about the new commission that God was then able to reveal to him:
Assuming, that you surely hear of the administration of the Grace of God, which is given to me for you, For, by revelation the secret is made known to me, .................[ to me in accord with His powerful operation.]...........to me, less than the least of all saints, was this grace granted:
to herald among the nations the good message of the untraceable wealth of Christ, even to enlighten all as to Godís secret administration, which has been concealed from the eons in God, Who creates all these, that now to the sovereignties and the authorities among the most elevated may be made known, through the outcalled One, the manifold wisdom of God. In accord with the purpose of the eons, which He makes in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through the faith relating to Him. [Ephesians 3:2-12]
This third commission, revealed to Paul in 69ad, was proclaimed by him during the remaining years of his life. It was given to him by revelation [apokalupsis], not by The Christ's appearance [ophthalmos]. The authority for this statement is contained in the first verse of this letter to the Ephesians where Paul introduces himself 'Paul an apostle [apostalos] of Christ Jesus'.
Having attained the mind referred to above, Paul knew that God would grant him an earlier resurrection than that described to both the Thessalonians [ch.4] and the Corinthians [ch.15]. He describes this resurrection as 'an out resurrection, out from amongst the dead'. His raising, i.e. being changed as he anticipates at the time of the parousia [1Thess ch.4], is not included at the time of this resurrection. This is confirmed when he writes to the saints and faithful Christians in Colosse. He tells them ' When The Christ, who is our Life, is manifested, then you also with Him will be manifested in glory. This manifestation of the Life of Christ ends this Administration of God's grace. God's life and the glory associated with it results in all being changed but Paul does not include himself in this.
It is worth noting that the word 'witness' is used by The Christ in relation to both Paul's first and second commissions. Paul died several times during his first commission.....'in deaths oft' [2Cor. 11:23]. Is it therefore possible that Paul will be one of the two witnesses who are to be killed by the beast prior to The Christ's parousia ?
Another article also relates to Paul's Commissions.
Paul given his first commission by The Christ on the road to Damascus: 'He is a chosen vessel unto me to bear my name before the Gentiles, and Kings and the children of Israel, for I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake'. [Acts 9]
|34||1st||Acts chapter 9|
Paul informs King Agrippa concerning his commission: I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness....of those things thou hast seen, delivering thee from the people and from the Gentiles unto whom now I send thee to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance amongst them which are sanctified by faith that is in me'. [Acts 26:15]
|61||Acts chapter 26|
Paul tells King Agrippa that a second commission will be given to him at a future date: '....of those things in the which I will appear unto thee......'. [Acts 26:15]
|61||Acts chapter 26:16|
|4||The House of Judah Spiritually blinded. The Salvation of Israel and the manifest Kingdom of God in Israel deferred. General Salvation offered to all nations through the wide publication of The Gospel of John. [Acts 28:27]||62||Acts chapter 28|
|5||Timothy and Titus instructed concerning the order of the new churches formed from the acceptance of the message contained in The Gospel of John. Paul announces that his first commission has ended.[2Timothy 4:6-8]||65||1Timothy
|6||Because Paul realises that the commission of The Christ had not yet been fulfilled, the establishment of The Kingdom of God in Israel being postponed, he determines to seek an earlier resurrection and a deeper intimacy with The Christ.||67||None||Philippians|
|7||Paul is unexpectedly given a third commission. This commission is not that referred to in item 2 above since it was hidden in God until given to Paul. The Administration of the grace of God which is given me for you, ......to me....is this grace given that I should preach among the Nations the untraceable riches of Christ to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God.......so that now unto the principalities and powers amongst the heavenly ones might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.||69||3rd||Ephesians|
Paul writes to the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus explaining this secret Administration of God's Grace and its relationship to the Messianic Secret. ['Ephesians', Colossians, Philemon], at the time of the first phase of the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple.
Some years later Paul dies in the expectation of a resurrection [Philippians 3:11] which has a greater priority than that which he describes in 2Thessalonians 4. The Administration of God's Grace continues
|69 to 2022|
|10||God intervenes to restore Spiritual sight and understanding to The House of Judah. [Isaiah 35:4-5] Paul is resurrected, together with many others who obeyed his request: 'Let as many as be mature be thus minded in pressing towards the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus'. [Philippians 3:15]||2022||Isaiah chapter 35:4-|
|11||The second phase of the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. God intervenes instructing the House of Judah to 'Rise shine for thy light is come and the glory of The Lord is risen upon thee'.[ Ephesians 5:14] At the same time, the Administration of Grace is terminated when all Christians generated during that time are included in the glorious appearance of The Christ.[ Colossians 3:4].||2029||2nd||Isaiah chapter 60:1
Ephesians chapter 5:14
The commandment goes forth to restore and to build Jerusalem at the 71st Jubilee
|2036||Daniel chapter 9:25|
|13||Paul, as one of the two witnesses is martyred in the streets of Jerusalem.||Revelation chapter 11:3-12|
|14||The parousia of The Lord Jesus Christ.||2477||1Thessalonians chapter 4:16|
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