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Advancing the Revelation of Truth
THE CALLING OF THE MATURE CHRISTIAN
How does God define our maturity ? The apostle John tells us:
He that says ‘I know Him’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the Truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His Word, in him truly the love of God has been matured. By this we know that we are in Him. [1John 2:4]
The writer to the Hebrews refers to ‘maturity’ many times. He describes an important source when he tells us that maturity depends upon the deep study of God’s expression. He says:
Everyone who partakes of milk is unskilled in the Word of Righteousness, for he is an infant. Solid food is for the mature, who on account of habit have their senses exercised for discerning both good and evil
The apostle Paul describes the foundation of maturity in a Christian by this conclusion::
Put on bowels of compassion, kindness, humility meekness, long-suffering, bearing with one another and forgiving each other…..and to all these add love which is the binding of maturity. [Col 3:12]
Paul tells us that these characteristics hold maturity together. By these, maturity has reached its full and intended end.
A few years before however, when writing to the Philippian Christians, Paul reveals that he is endeavouring to be mature when he says:
Not as though I had already attained, either were already mature, but I earnestly endeavour to seize that for which also I am possessed by Christ…...I pursue the goal for the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus…..As many as be mature, be of this mind. [Phil 3:12]
Paul is commissioned by God to be the unique apostle to the Nations, whereby he is authorised to teach and lead us to understand the purposes of God.
What was this ‘earnest endeavour’ to which he refers ?
Does it relate to our maturity and our On High calling ?
The Establishment of The Kingdom of Heaven in Israel
by the work of The Messiah and the Apostles.
Before we can begin reaching forward to resolve this most important relationship of the On-High Calling of God, we must recognise the correct sequence of events upon which it is developed. The doctrine contained in Paul’s letters is progressive. Two Godly events have caused this:
1. The Spiritual blinding of The House of Judah in 62ad
2. The hidden revelation of the present Administration of God’s Grace in 69ad
Messiah was given a commission for the work which His Father required Him to perform. That commission is described by Isaiah [Isaiah 61:1-2] and quoted by Messiah when He, by The Law, returned to His home town of Nazareth at the time of the Jubilee in 27ad.[Luke 4:16-21] when He was 30years old.
This was the beginning of the Seventy Weeks prophecy which the prophet Daniel received from Gabriel the archangel. 490years were determined upon both Daniel’s people and upon Jerusalem in order:
1. To finish the transgression 4. To bring in everlasting righteousness
2. To make an end of sins 5. To seal up the vision and prophecy
3. To make reconciliation for iniquity 6. To anoint the most Holy
Daniel was also told that, in order to perform this, the first seven weeks [49 years] of the seventy weeks of years would precede the command to restore and to build Jerusalem. It is evident that this period of forty-nine years was a preparatory period during which the work of Messiah’s commission would lay the ground for its completion in the following 63 weeks of years [441years]. This fact is established by carefully comparing the six points of Messiah’s commission, given in Isaiah [ch.61 verses 1-2], with the six points relating to Daniel’s revelation, listed above See here.
From the beginning of Messiah’s ministry in 27ad, He worked with the disciples whilst continuing to complete His commission [Mark 16:20] throughout the period of The Acts of The Apostles. At the end, after thirty-five years, in 62ad, the Jews were judged to be unprepared and were therefore deprived of their Spiritual understanding and the expected establishment of their kingdom [Acts 28:26-27]..This is their present condition, but the Scriptures tell us that it is not permanent [Isaiah 35: 4-5]. They will recover their Spiritual understanding at a future time when the remaining 14 years of the first 49 years [seven weeks] will be completed.
49 years [seven weeks]—[62ad—27ad] = 14 years [two weeks].
Here then is the plan of Daniel’s prophecy initiated by the commissioning of The Christ in 27ad [Luke 4:16-21] showing the introduction of the present Administration of God’s Grace, hidden until Paul revealed it in 69ad.. The first seven weeks [49years] have not yet been completed, fourteen years remain before the edict to build Jerusalem can be expressed by God’s appointee, Cyrus. [Isaiah 44:28 to 45:1-3]
During this coming fourteen year period of preparation and restoration there will be many resurrections relating to both the Houses of Judah and that of The House of Israel. These are the ‘two sticks’ of Ezekiel’s prophecy [ch. 37] and this is the time of their unification. The Whole House of Israel..
It has been necessary to describe this procedure in order to show that God’s work with Israel from the time of Christ’s ministry to the establishment of the Kingdom in Israel at the end of the first seven weeks [49 years], has been interrupted by this very long period of time in which we are at present living.
Postponement of The Kingdom of Heaven in Israel and its consequences
During this period of interruption it is evident that God has seen fit to impose upon The House of Judah, the true Jews [Rev.2:9 & 3:9], a probationary period with trials and chastisement. Expressed in His Gematria by the number forty. It is upon the basis of this figure that the duration of the period can be established [See: What Happened at Acts ch.28]
Having postponed His activity with the Jews in 62ad, after seven years God introduced a special Administration by which He is acting in Grace alone towards all mankind. This is described in Paul’s last letters, to both the Ephesians and Colossians. This important fact is considered later. We must first recognise Paul’s different commissions.
The God given Commissions of The Apostle Paul
We come now to take a closer look at the purposes of the apostle Paul’s ministries. These began at the time of his meeting with the Messiah on the road to Damascus .Luke records the commission that God gave him at that time:
He is a chosen vessel unto me to bear my name before the nations, and kings and the children of Israel. [Acts 9:15]
Ananias described Paul’s meeting with the Messiah thus:
Brother Saul, The Lord, even Jesus has appeared unto you in the way…..[Acts 9:17]
Paul describes the occasion when talking to King Agrippa::
At midday in the way I saw O King a light above from heaven the brightness of the sun shining round about me [Acts 26:13]
He informs King Agrippa of his commission and a future one: when he repeats what God said to him: See: The Apostle Paul's Three Commissions. Ihave appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of these things which you have seen and of those things in the which I will appear unto you. [Acts 26:16]
Thus we are told about two commissions, one in the past and one yet to come, both of which are characterised by the appearance of The Christ. The Greek verb is optomai meaning seeing with the wide open eyes..
A. The Hope associated with Paul’s First Commission
Thus, together with all the disciples, he preached Christ and Him crucified revealing to all who believed the Gospel that at The Christ’s Second Advent He will be personally present to assume the Kingship of Israel. This will be the realisation of The Hope of all those Christians out of both Israel and the nations, who believed during the time of the apostles. It includes also all those Christians who identify with the instructions given to Timothy and Titus following the Spiritual blinding of the Jews in 62ad. Their Hope is also based upon this revelation given to Paul:
The Lord Himself shall 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. [1Thess 4:16]
Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed [1Cor 15:51]
These wonderful events at the beginning of the thousand year reign and personal presence of The Christ, fulfils not only the seventy weeks of years of Daniel’s prophecy, but also all those prophetic statements relating to The Last Days. Leading up to these events, Daniel tells us that during this last of the seventy weeks, in the midst of the last week he [i.e. ‘the Prince that shall come’] shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. At that time:
Many shall be purified and made white, and tried, but the wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand: but the wise shall understand……….. Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. [Dan 12:10-12]
B. The Condition which Governed The Jews and the Small Number of Gentiles who were generated by God during the Period of The Acts of The Apostles.
Besides this Hope in the Christ’s Second Advent, what other characteristics defined all those who believed following the initial pouring out of The Spirit of God at the Festival of Pentecost in 30ad ?
1. Salvation could only be found amongst the Jews to whom it was directed. Also to a few Gentiles to provoke the Jews to jealousy. Christ had told the Samaritan woman: ‘Salvation is of The Jews’.
. They cast lots to allow God to determine whom He would choose to teach and serve them, their Elders and Deacons.
3. Each member was empowered by The Holy Spirit with specific and perfect Godly talents for the benefit and building up of each group.
4. Twelve disciples had been chosen for a specific purpose. These disciples were commissioned by God to proclaim in perfect Truth amongst the Jews scattered in the world, that their Messiah had appeared and His Kingdom in Israel had begun. An additional Jew, Paul was later chosen by God to proclaim this Gospel of the Kingdom in Israel to the nations, in order to provoke the Jews to jealousy. These commissioned disciples became apostles.
5. Three of these apostles, James, John and Peter wrote to the scattered Christian Jews encouraging them in the face of their persecution. One apostle, Paul wrote words of guidance and encouragement to the Christian groups of Jews and Gentiles at Thessalonica, Corinth, Rome and in Galatia.
5. All the living Christians at that time were expecting the manifest Godly kingdom in Israel ruled by the resurrected King David prior to the Second Advent. Their question had been : ‘Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel ?’ but Israel would have to wait until the second Advent to cease being a vassal state.
6. The need for apostles and prophets would shortly cease because their purpose during the preparation of The Kingdom in Israel had ended. The apostles continued to provide a pastoral service during the following transition period beginning in 62ad, until the new Administration was revealed in 69ad.
This, in a nutshell, was the condition of all those groups formed from the Houses of Israel and Judah with the small number of gentiles who came to believe the Good News of the Salvation of Jesus Christ prior to 62ad and onwards to 69ad. At that time, Spiritual understanding was taken away from the Jews because they had refused to accept wholeheartedly their Messiah. They continue in Spiritual blindness to-day.
Conclusion At that time, the responsibility for the distribution of The Gospel was transferred to The Nations by the commission of The Word. [Acts 28:28] This action of God resulted in the postponement of the Kingdom in Israel together with those Godly facilities with which it was ordered.
C. The Conditions which governed the Christians who were generated by God after The Acts Period closed in 62ad.
So what were the characteristics of the groups of Christians following 62ad when in God’s eyes, Israel had become just another nation open to the Good News contained in the newly published and circulated John’s Gospel. [Acts 28:28].
The Godly record has provided us with several letters written immediately following this act of God in 62ad. Paul, being the responsible person that he was, saw the immediate need to ensure that the postponement of the kingdom and the loss of all its associated facilities would cause some re-organisation of the existing Christian groups. New instructions would be needed to ensure that any new Christian groups were founded according to the revision of God’s needs.
Three of these letters were written by Paul to Titus and Timothy, and Peter saw fit to write to the scattered Jews following instruction from Paul [2Peter 3:15-16]
From these letters we can note the following changes:
1. The kingdom in Israel is no longer proclaimed. Only discussed and referred to.. All the conditions of Israel relating to this Kingdom do not apply in the Gentile world to which the Good News of our Saviour Jesus Christ is now commissioned.
2. The Jewish ritual of ‘Breaking Bread’ derived from the Israel ritual of Passover, is no longer mandatory. Because the Kingdom condition has been postponed.
3. The Spiritual gifts remained only in those who had previously received them. The following diagram shows the change which was introduced in 62ad at the end of The Acts of the Apostles period. The Kingdom in Israel had been postponed because the heart of this people has become calloused.
4. There is no new distribution amongst new Christians, because ’building up the kingdom’, is not the purpose of this present Administration of God’ Grace.
5. The Christian groups are still to be guided and served by Elders and Deacons.[1Tim ch.3] However they must now be chosen by the Christian groups themselves as Paul has instructed Timothy and Titus.
6. When organising Christian groups to-day, many have wisely accepted these changes, particularly recognising that the Gifts of The Spirit, given to Israel for the purpose of building up The Kingdom in Israel, are no longer available, despite such counterfeit and demonic activities as the : ‘Toronto Blessing’
They look to their personal resurrection and change at the time of The manifestation of The Christ at His Second Advent. This is the Hope revealed to Paul which is quoted on page:7. Many Christians to-day accept the time of The Second Advent as their Hope, to be resurrected and changed This belief is recorded and established in Paul’s letters prior to 62ad, when the distribution of The Spoken Gospel was authorised and limited to the Jews. [Salvation is of The Jews John 4:22] Confirming this, Paul tells Titus
Looking for that blessed Hope and the appearing [epiphaneian] of the glory of The Great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. [Titus 2:13]
When Paul writes to Timothy the first time:
Keep the commandment spotless, irreproachable, until the appearing [epiphaneian] of Our Lord Jesus Christ. [1Tim 6:14]
And again, Paul’s statement to Timothy in his second letter:
The Lord Jesus Christ who will bring to pass, judging living and dead, at His appearing [or blazing forth] [epiphaneian] and His kingdom. [2Tim 4:1]
IMPORTANT NOTE: ‘appearing’ [epiphaneian] is directly associated with the Second Advent:
Then will be revealed the lawless one whom The Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth, and annul by the appearing [epiphaneian] at His personal presence [parousia The Second Advent 2Thess 2:8]
Thus the Hope of all those new groups of Christians generated by God after 62ad remains as that of those Christians who responded to the apostles’ preaching of the gospel of The Kingdom of God in Israel prior to that time. So also is the Hope of Evangelical Christians to-day, 2000 years later. They continue to base their doctrine upon that established by the apostles in their Gospels and epistles written before that year, but modified by Paul, the apostle to the Nations The Kingdom Gospel is now only described, no longer proclaimed, following God’s Spiritual blinding of the Jews in that year, 62ad.
Paul’s recognition of His Need to Attain to The High Calling of Christ Jesus.
In order to understand the mind of Paul, we must place ourselves in his circumstances immediately after God had postponed His introduction of The Kingdom in Israel by Spiritually blinding The House of Judah, the Jews.
What were Paul’s expectations prior to this momentous act of God ? The chart on the previous page shows the timing of God’s plan for all the faithful Jews and Israelites who were generated during the Acts Period. It is based upon Gabriel’s prophecy of the ‘70 weeks of years upon his people and upon his Holy City ‘ [Dan 9:24] It runs from the time of The Messiah’s commissioning in 27ad to His Second Advent in 517ad., a period of 490 years.
Prior to God’s intervention in 62ad, Paul had expected to live during the whole of this period and to eventually greet His Saviour by meeting Him in the air at the time of His second Advent: The quotation is repeated with the emphasis:
Behold I show you a mystery; WE shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet. [1Cor 15:51]
This we say unto you by the Word of The Lord, that WE which are alive and remain unto the coming of The Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep……..WE shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…. . [1Thess 4:15]
Paul recognised that the preparatory work of The Kingdom in Israel, although suspended, was not completed. He knew that at some point in the future it must recommence and being the studious and thoughtful disciple that he was, he needed to study the Scriptures, i.e. the scrolls of the Old Testament. It was for this reason that he asked Timothy to bring the books and parchments, the Scriptures and writing material [2 Tim 4:13]
The first seven weeks of Daniel’s prophecy, 49 years, was to be the time during which The Messiah and His Apostles were preparing The Kingdom in Israel. After 35 years, the work was postponed, a further 14 years were remaining before the going forth of the commandment to build and restore Jerusalem [Daniel 9:]
He had told the Thessalonian Christians that he and they would realise their Hope at the time of the Second Advent, which would occur at the end of the 70 weeks, i.e.490 years, after the remaining sixty-three weeks [448years]. All those gifts of The Spirit of God which would have enabled him and many others to still be alive at the time of The Messiah’s Second Advent were no longer available since their purpose was not any longer applicable. He therefore sought a resurrection of higher priority which would enable him to continue his work during that time when The kingdom in Israel would again be manifested, Paul describes the process by which he could achieve this, in his letter to the Philippians which has been referred to briefly at the beginning of this article.
When He came to apply himself to the resolution of this problem, we should remember that this present Administration of God’s Grace had not begun, because it had not been revealed.. He knew nothing of that revelation until some years later in 69ad, when God enlightened him revealing to him that He would introduce a period of time in which He would Administer by His Grace alone [Eph 3:1-4]..
During this present new Administration, God offers to all the new Hope of a High Calling which He encourages all to receive. Nevertheless, most Christians to-day have not availed themselves of this High Calling. Even though the opportunity is freely available. These are the words of encouragement which Paul expresses when writing to the Philippian Christians, that they should emulate his struggle for this prize.
Brothers, I for one do not consider myself to have appropriated this; my one thought is, by forgetting what lies behind me and straining to what lies before me, to press onto the goal for the prize of God's high call in Christ Jesus. For all those of our number who are mature, this must be the point of view; God will reveal that to any of you who look at things differently. Only, we must let our steps be guided by such truth as we have attained. [Phil 3:13-16]
There is no doubt that Paul did achieve this High Calling. By his encouraging words when writing to the new Christians at Ephesus, and Colosse whose faith he had only heard of.:
I…..cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, The Father of Glory, 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 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 having seated Him at His right hand amongst the most elevated, up over every sovereignty and authority, and Power, and Lordship, even every name that is named, not only in this eon, but also in that to come. [Eph 1:16-21]
Since we are identified [baptised] in Christ, Paul is able to say that God has quickened us together with Christ, and raised us up together, and made us sit together amongst the most elevated. [Eph 2:6]
It is self evident that this understanding has not been received by the great majority of Christians to-day. It is a gift, but a conditional gift requiring the principle state of mind which Paul struggled to achieve. A mind of total humility as he exampled when he described that of The Messiah who completely submitted to His death upon the cross. How does this apply to our minds?
To achieve this God given understanding we must first gain the knowledge upon which it can be given. Knowledge that is found in The God Breathed Word. Gaining knowledge is a building process, brick upon brick. There is no place for the walls unless the foundations are laid. Similarly there is no place for the roof unless the rafters are in place In other words, understanding can only be given by God when the knowledge of ’the form of sound words’ is available to receive it.
D. The Mind of Paul Leading to his High Calling
Paul has recorded his example in order that we should understand those things of personal religious pride which prevent us receiving the Prize of The High Calling.
He encourages his friends in Philippi to have the same mind as himself. In fact his whole letter is coloured by the condition of ‘mind’. This word [phronos] is used more times in this letter than in any other document in the New Testament. The emphasis is upon our personal belief and how we should be applying it.. [See below: The Conditions which Govern Christians]
Because this is so important, Paul therefore describes in detail his struggle to achieve the state of mind which can receive this Prize:
We are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. [Phil 3:3-6]
Paul implores his Jewish and Gentile friends in Philippi to have the same mind.[Phil 2:5, 3:15, 4:9] Paul, being a Jew, could only define the process in the character of his experience. He would not have expected his friends to have the same characteristics. Neither have we.
However, the principle given by his example is clear, Paul sought to be like His Messiah who had no confidence in the flesh. He wished to possess the character of The Christ, who ‘carried’ no religious trappings, simply obeying The Law.
What are those things which give us confidence in the flesh? We do things to serve God, thinking that we might please Him. We worship Him in a way that we hope will please Him. We accumulate ’good works’ to please Him. We aim to hold an ’office’ in order to find favour with Him…….. an Elder, a Minister, a Pastor, a Bishop or even a lowly Deacon, Sides-man or Verger. We trust in the rituals of Baptism and Communion, even Christening and Confirmation. We trust that all the religious things we do will please Him. Is any reader not depending upon these things as favours before God ? I think not. We are all guilty of such deceit of the heart even though God’s word tells us that trusting in this fleshly covering is seen as filthy rags by him. He goes on to say:
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, [Phil 3:7-8]
In mind we must therefore count as rubbish all those religious activities and apparent authorities in order to enter the likeness of The Christ; who, being found in fashion as a man, humbled Himself, and put off all worldly authority becoming obedient unto death……….. [Phil 2:8]
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: [Phil 3:9]
Many Christians would argue that those religious authorities and actions described above are Scripturally legitimate according to the order of the Churches described in most of the New Testament. However, this is not the basis of the present Administration by which The High Calling can be received. The Christian opponents of Paul turned their backs on him because they sort to maintain that which was no longer acceptable to God.[2Tim 1:15].
We must seek to be found in Christ, not offering any righteous place or works of our own, but depending only upon that righteousness provided by God in and through The Lord Jesus Christ.
 That I may know him,  and the power of his resurrection,  and the fellowship of his sufferings,  being made conformable unto his death; [Phil 3:10]
By striving, Paul achieved this mind of humility. God was therefore able to give Paul the revelation, previously hidden in Himself, of His Administration which is based only upon Him showing grace, unmerited favour, to all men, at no time judging them. Paul’s mind would have been enabled to accept this, having been exercised to put aside all of his own religious righteousness. Within such an Administration, God expects us to have the same mind. This state of mind, if exercised, is that which enables us to-day, to receive what Paul tells us he is striving for:
If by any means I might attain unto the out resurrection, out from amongst the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already mature but I follow after, if that I may seize [apprehend]] that for which also I am possessed [apprehended] of Christ Jesus. [Phil 3:11-12][‘to apprehend’ [Strong: 2638: katalambanO ..to take easily, to possess]
These words were written, many years after Paul had told the Thessalonian Christians during the Kingdom Administration: ‘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’
If Paul and his fellow Christians expected to be alive when The Lord returned at His Second Advent, why would he now, some years after, be striving for resurrection and encouraging others to have the same mind ?
The answer is simple. The Kingdom Administration, with all its Gifts of Healing and Life, was temporarily terminated. Without these gifts, Paul realised that he would die naturally long before the Kingdom Administration with these gifts recommenced. He would no longer be alive and remain at the resurrection he had revealed to the Thessalonian Church. Because of this, he sought the prize of an earlier resurrection to be present when the Kingdom Administration recommenced, thereby receiving the new commission [Acts 26:16] to which The Christ had referred at the meeting on the Damascus Road
Paul was being inspired of God to open the way to a New Administration of His Grace based upon a deep and Godly humility and maturity, resulting in a new and earlier resurrection related to The Hope of The Calling on High.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of The high calling of God in Christ Jesus [Phil 3:13-14]
Having described the process of mind by which the High Calling of God could be achieved, Paul goes on to again encourage his friends in Philippi. Even as we should be encouraged:
Let us therefore, as many as be mature, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. [Phil 3:15-17]
The diagram below shows the result of Paul’s striving to achieve The High Calling into which the Christians of to-days’ church are encouraged to enter.
Although many of the Philippians were already mature, Paul recognises that the humility of mind is a major part of Godly maturity. and goes on to warn against those Christians who are enemies of this humility, which humility is typified by the Cross of Christ [Phil 3:18]. Despite the cessation of the Kingdom Administration and its purpose, during which the Spirit’s gifts were available, there are those Christians who, through the lack of maturity and humility, are deceived into seeking their Satanic equivalent, freely offered by demonic activity. [Hebrew 5:12-14] [See by Grace No.3. Spiritual Maturity]
(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that 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.) [Phil 3:18-19]
Paul had striven to adjust his mind to receive this prize of The High Calling. We now recognise that he, having achieved those things of humility and maturity for which he had striven, was then able to receive God’s revelation of this present Administration of His Grace [Eph chap 3] This is clear from the details contained in both his subsequent and last letters to Ephesus and Colosse
E. Paul’s New God-given Commission. (See here)
Paul’s first commission was completed before he wrote to the Philippian Church [Phil 1:1], but later, when writing to the Ephesians and Colossians, he was commissioned Eph., Col. v.1] He had received a revelation from God concerning this present Administration of His Grace: [However, this was not the future
commission which God referred to when talking to Paul on the Damascus Road. Acts 26:16] The details of this new Administration of God’s Grace had been kept secret, being ‘hid in God’ until Paul wrote his last letters. [See By Grace No:27]
Of this grace, I Paul, the bound one of Christ Jesus for you of the nations, Assuming, that you surely hear of the administration of the Grace of God, which is given to me for you, For, by revelation the mystery is made known to me, even as I have written before in brief, [Eph 3:1-3]
Having therefore explained the basis upon which his new commission had been given, Paul then goes on to define it:
I should preach amongst the nations the untraceable riches of Christ even to enlighten all as to the Administration of the Mystery which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God who created all things by Jesus Christ., [Eph 3:8b-9]
Paul then goes on further to explain the remarkable purpose for this commission.
that now unto the Principalities and Powers amongst the heavenlies might be made known through the Outcalled the manifold wisdom of God., according to the eternal purposes which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.…. [Eph 3:-10-11]
This wisdom, having been hidden up to the time of writing, is described by Paul: In Spirit the Nations are to be
[a] joint possessors of a portion, untraceable and unexplainable is the portion of every nation. God is permitting every nation to walk after their own ways.
[b] Joint bodies, a nation is composed of individuals which when organised becomes a body. All nations are bodies; and to-day in God’s sight they are joint-bodies. i.e. bodies on the basis of absolute equality. What He does for one nation He does for all.
[c] Joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus by the Gospel. The nations are partakers together, on the basis of equality. It is no longer ‘to the Jew first’. [Eph 3:6]
Thus, during this time of God’s Grace, the Jews are not specially favoured, neither are they regarded by God as His children. Having received this revelation of a new Administration, Paul describes his prayers for all the members of the Nations who, having become Christians, should seek the intimacy of God’s presence through:.
being filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and Spiritual understanding [Col 1:9]
And that God may give us a
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 is the exceeding greatness of His power…..which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from among the dead and set Him at His own right hand amongst the most elevated. [Eph 1:17-20]
Thus Paul’s new commission concerned a new Administration, that of God’s Grace, with a new Hope. This is related directly to The High Calling.
F. Paul’s new Hope relating to Israel when God re-establishes His Kingdom.
As we have been reminded, Paul’s Hope whilst a commissioned one during the time of the Kingdom in Israel, from 27ad to 62ad and also during the following 7year transition period which ended in 69ad, he had stated in his letter to the Thessalonians:[4:17]
We which are alive and remain unto the coming of The Lord….shall be caught up to meet The Lord in the air, so shall we ever be with The Lord.
The ‘coming’ is of course The Second Advent of Our Saviour which occurs at the end of the re-established Kingdom in Israel when the Millennium begins. So that he would take part in this, he needed to achieve a resurrection of higher priority which he refers to as ‘the out-resurrection out from amongst the dead [Gk. of Philippians 3:11]’. This ‘better’ resurrection is the prize of The High Calling. That Paul achieved this High Calling is clear from his later letter to the ‘Ephesians’ where he encourages them
That God may give unto you a 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 .[Eph 1:17]
Thus, the Ephesian and Colossian Christians were encouraged to understand the High Calling in which their Hope would be realised at the closure of this Administration of God’s Grace, when the Kingdom in Israel recommences. Paul tells us what this Hope is:
When Christ who is our life shall appear, then will you also appear with Him in glory. [Col 3:4]
This being the Hope of all those Christians living to-day, but especially those who understand and are mature in God’s sight. However, it is evident that Paul will not be included amongst them, having not included himself in this statement. He would not be appearing with Christ in Glory at that time, probably having been resurrected earlier during the second Transition when God is reinstating The Whole House of Israel prior to them entering The land. [See here, and here ]
G. The Hope of Those Christians who accept the Invitation of God to receive The High Calling.
We have the right to identify with these Ephesian and Colossian Christians when they are told that we are together in Christ being made to sit together amongst the most elevated [Eph 2:6], Christ already having been set at God’s own right hand amongst the most elevated.
This present Administration of God’s Grace will draw to a close when God reverses the Spiritual restraint upon the tribe of Judah [Isa 35:4-6] and re-establishes the preparation for His Kingdom in Israel. This occupies the remaining 2 weeks of the first 7 weeks of Daniel’s prophecy. [See diagram under the title: The Hope Associated with Paul's First Commission. Shown above]. Paul describes this Hope when he says:
When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall you also appear with Him in Glory. [Col 3:4]
He uses different words when writing to the Ephesians:
Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead and Christ shall give you light. [Eph 5:14] quoted from Isaiah 60:1…..Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
This Life, accompanied by the Glory of Christ even our God will usher in a wonderful period of peace and Spiritual prosperity upon earth
The Condition which governs The Christians who are generated by God
during this present Administration of His Grace.
Had we been Christians living at the time of Paul’s experiences, we would have been expected to listen to and carefully consider what he was teaching. He had recognised and adjusted to the change caused by God’s removal of Spiritual understanding from the Jews, the House of Judah, following which the Gospel of Salvation had been commissioned for all the nations. His desire to gain Christ and experience The Call on High had resulted in God revealing to him the two mysteries detailed in chapter 3 of his letter to the Ephesians.
Having listed previously on pages 7 and 9 the conditions which characterised the Churches in the Acts Period up to 62ad and those that followed after the change at Acts 28:28, we can now list those features of this Administration of God’s Grace.
1. There is but one mediator, the man Christ Jesus. No one exercises Spiritual authority between a Christian and His God in the way of teaching, leading, pasturing, serving, ministering etc., etc. This is illustrated in the diagram below. When introducing this Administration of Grace, Paul did not address 'Bishops and Deacons' because non such were authorised. [Eph 1:1 Col 1-2]
2. In this new Administration the nations are now joint possessors of a portion, joint bodies, joint partakers of the promise in Christ by the gospel. [see p.18] [Eph 3:6]
3. To the sovereignties and the authorities among the most elevated may be made known through the Outcalled, the manifold wisdom of God.
4. The Christians of this Administration are quickened, raised and seated with Christ on God’s right hand. [Eph 2:6] Those of the previous administration are only quickened and raised. [Rom 8:11]
5. God has a particular purpose for those Christians who recognise and abide by this present Administration: To extol the surpassing riches of His grace in the ages to come. [Eph 2:7]
6. We are to deal graciously with one another [Eph 4:32], not according to the order of the Kingdom Kingdom in Israel. [see 1Cor 11:30]
7. No Christian impure in thought and life has an inheritance in the Kingdom of God [Eph 5:5]
8 We are dead to sin [Eph 2:1] When the truth of being dead IN sins is set forth in Scripture, the preposition en is used. (See John 8:21, 24, and 1 Cor. 15:17.) When the truth of being dead TO sins is set forth, the dative case is used. (Note this in Rom. 6:2, 10, 11, and here.). These words describe the present state of a believer in Jesus Christ. We are dead TO our sins.
9. The riches of the glory of the mystery of this Administration of God’s Grace Eph 3: 2] is present among the Nations as opposed to that of the order of The Kingdom in Israel being among the Jews only [Col 1:27]. Only a very small number of Gentiles were allowed to join the Kingdom in Israel. [Rom 11:17]
10. We shall experience the exceeding greatness of God’s power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand amongst the heavenlies, i.e. the most elevated ones..[Eph 1:19-23]
11. The local Church bodies of the Kingdom are now become the one Body of Christ, the very substance of God Himself.
12. The Calling On High of God in Christ Jesus. That calling whose Hope includes being seated together with Christ amongst the heavenlies [i.e 'the most elevated' Eph 2:6]. depends upon the transcendent greatness of His power….in accord with the working of the might of His strength which is wrought in Christ raising Him from among the dead and seating Him at His right hand amongst the most elevated
The Churches of the Acts period enjoyed the God given facilities of The Kingdom in Israel, the great majority of its members being Jews and Israelites. In 62ad this work was postponed, entry into the Kingdom ceased. The Gospel of Salvation [the apostle John’s Gospel] becoming widely available as the basis of a trust in God for all nations. New Churches were formed following the instructions given to Timothy and Titus. The apostle Paul advised the Philippian church ‘mark those things which carry through’ [Gk. Phil 1:10 Gk: diapheronta] from the facilities of the Churches associated with the Kingdom in Israel, into the Church of the Nations. Because many Churches to-day still seek to make available The Spirit’s gifts given only for the building up of the Kingdom Church in Israel [1Cor 14:5,12 and 26], [Nevertheless, their Hope remains in resurrection at the time of The Christ’s Second Advent]. In 69ad God introduced a new Administration, that of His Grace, which, by Paul’s example, described to the Philippian Church, established conditions of freedom from all religious restraints. An Administration of deep and personal responsibility to God based upon His Grace and Spiritual maturity and humility. All Christians are encouraged to accept this High Calling whose Hope is in the manifestation of their Godly Life at the time of the restoration of The Pre-Millennial Kingdom in Israel, 441 years before the Second Advent. [Dan 9:24-27]…Please see here
[See also the leaflets: By Grace No 25 and 70 ]
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