Advancing the Revelation of Truth
The Apostle Paul's dilemma
God's provision for his future responsibility
There follows a short history of the events in the life of the Apostle Paul. Concentration is upon that period following his extraordinary meeting with the chief of the Jews in Rome [Acts 28:17]. At this meeting the opportunity for them to continue to enter into their Godly Kingdom, was terminated until a time of God's pleasure. All aspects of The Kingdom, including the Kingdom churches, which had been generated over the previous thirty five years, could no longer be established under the authority of the Israelitish Kingdom, or the immediate resurrection of their Prince, as King. Their Godly authority as a Nation was ended. The new Administration of God's Grace had begun.
Paul's First Commission
1. Following Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, God gave him his first commission. This took the Good News of the first Advent of The Messiah, the prophesied King of Israel, firstly to the Jews, and when they were not wholehearted in their acknowledgement, to the Nations, far and wide in the known world of that time. At the end of this first commission, Paul records: 'I have finished my course' [Acts 20:24 and 2Tim 4:7], it had lasted from 32ad to about 65ad, some 33 years.
2. Although many of the Jews received this proclamation of Salvation and the establishment of God's Kingdom in Israel, many did not. There were very few Gentiles who even noticed what was going on at the time. This action of God is illustrated by Paul's statement to the Roman church, concerning the Olive Tree representing Israel, saying: 'If a SMALL NUMBER of the branches were broken off, and you being a wild olive tree were grafted in among them'. Thus the great majority of the church members during the time recorded in Acts, were Jews. Most of the Jewish nation rejected their Messiah so God took from them their Spiritual perception [Acts 28:27]. As a Nation, they could no longer act as the source of Salvation to the world ['Salvation is of The Jews'. John 4:22]. This responsibility was given to The Nations, as we now experience, ['The Salvation of God is commissioned to the Nations' Acts 28:28].
The Last Days
3. The record of The Gospels and Acts of The Apostles describes the time when Christ Himself, together with all the Jewish Apostles, were beginning to take the Good News into the World. They recognised that it was the time of the prophecies of The Last Days, the prime concern of which is The Children of Israel and their Kingdom.. Details of this period are scattered throughout the whole of The Bible and refer to the time leading up to the second advent of Their Messiah. The loss of Spiritual perception, brought the events of the Last Days to a halt.[62ad] Subsequently, God revealed to Paul His secret intention of introducing His new Administration blessing all the nations with His Grace.
New instructions and encouragement
4. Following this change, which also affected all the churches of the time, Paul gave new instructions to both Timothy and Titus regarding their order. No longer could members of a church expect God to choose their elders by lot, so guidance was needed to make a sensible assessment of the character of potential members for Eldership. Because of this great change, Timothy, being young at heart, became despondent because the Kingdom was no longer present and its potential would not be fulfilled at that time. He was in need of Paul's mature encouragement, which caused him to write again, telling him to 'stir up the gift which is in you', an indication that the Christians of that time were not deprived of their Gifts, being able to use them until their death. However, as it was almost exclusively Jews who were so endowed, the purpose for these gifts was past, being related only to the building up of The Kingdom of God in Israel.
5. At this time, God offered Paul the opportunity to 'release upwards (analuO) and be with Christ'.[Phil 1:23] It would not have been surprising had Paul accepted this, but he had great concern and love for the Christians at Philippi [Phi 1:24 & 4:1]. He wrote to them saying that he had chosen 'to abide and continue with you all, for your advancement and joy of faith'. It is to our great advantage to-day that he abided with them and was able to take up the following challenges. His first commission having ended, he was at this time, no longer an Apostle [Phil 1:1], but was able to relate and discuss all his thoughts with the 'like minded' Timothy, when referring to 'the books'. He asks Timothy to remember 'Especially the parchments' needed to convey his Spiritual understanding to those he loved [2Tim 4:13] [64/65ad]
The challenge. Part 1
6. Paul was severely challenged to emulate His Saviour by having a mind 'to know Him and the Power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death'. In order to achieve this he recognised that all he held dear, in relation to his Israelitish place and authority, must now be regarded as waste.
7. This trauma of mind was caused by his desire to achieve a very special resurrection. Why did he need this, when he had taught that he did not expect to die?.......'Lo! A mystery I tell you, WE shall not all die'[1Cor. 15:51]. He had expected to live until the Second Advent..... 'Then WE the living who remain.....will be caught away to meet The Lord in the air'[1Thes 4:17] These promises were made to be fulfilled at the end of The Last Days, at the second Advent, but were now postponed following God's removal of Spiritual authority and perception from the Jews in 62ad. [This postponement is recognised by the use of the future tense, when both Peter(2Pet 3:3) and Paul(2Tim 3:1) referred to The Last Days in letters written after 62ad. at the time of the record quoted in Acts 28:27. When referring to these days before this date, letters (James 5:1, Heb 1:1) and the Acts Record (Acts 2:16) use the present tense, thus acknowledging that those days were present at that time.]
8. The fulfilment of the Kingdom of Heaven in Israel, with all its blessings, would not now appear in Paul's lifetime or that of those Christians generated during the first part of The Last Days. He then had to consider himself as one who would be sleeping at The Lord's Second Advent.........'those also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him[1Thes 4:14]. His loving concern for the Christians at Philippi, included his encouragement for them to emulate his motivation to attain the earlier resurrection described as the:
'out resurrection out from among the dead'. [Phil 3:11.] [gk: tEn exanastasin tEn ek nekrOn]
He and they would then be enabled to experience all the Spiritual blessings which were promised in the coming period of The Kingdom of Heaven in Israel, a period which fulfilled the remaining years of The Last Days. He therefore sought to attain this very special resurrection which would bring him back to life at the moment that The Last Days recommenced.
The challenge. Part 2.
9. Paul had also another purpose, expressed in these words: 'if also I may grasp firmly [katalambanO] that for which also I was grasped firmly by Christ Jesus' [Phil 3:12]. This is the prize which he defines as 'the on high calling [anO klEseOs] of God in Christ Jesus' [Phil 3:14]. At that time also, the Philippian Christians were encouraged to attain this 'on high divine selection'.....'as many as therefore are Spiritually mature should be of this mind' [Phil 3:15]. That Paul achieved this prize is clear from his encouraging words to the Christians in 'Ephesus', written around the years 68/69ad.........
'That God may be giving you, in accord with the wealth of His Glory, to be made staunch with power, through His Spirit, in the inner man, should be strong enough to grasp firmly [katalambanO], with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, to know, also, the knowledge surpassing love of The Christ, in order that you may be completed for the entire complement of God. [ch.3 v.17].....'Since therefore you were raised with Christ, the things above (anO) seek, where The Christ sits at the right hand of God; the things above (anO) mind' [Col 3:1]
This superlative condition therefore defines that which he sought as: 'the prize of the on high [anO] divine selection'......
Paul's Second commission
10. Having successfully fulfilled these challenges, Paul received a new commission to 'Evangelise among the Nations the untraceable riches of The Christ, even to enlighten all as to the Administration of The Grace of God, hidden away from The Eons, in God' [Eph 3:9]. Previously, the Colossian Christians, together with those referred to in his letter to the 'Ephesians', had freely entered this new Administration following the wide distribution of The Gospel written by the Apostle John in about 62ad, and described by Paul when he writes
'which ye heard of before in The Word of Truth of the Glad Tidings, which are come to you, even as in all the world, and are bringing forth fruit......the Grace of God in Truth'.
11. We to-day enjoy this new Administration of God's Grace, having a personal responsibility and relationship with God, worshipping in individual freedom from many of the Jewish church characteristics which were given for the building up of the Kingdom of God in Israel: The Gifts of The Spirit, The Lord's Supper, Rules for Head Covering, Apostles and Elders, God's choice by lot. etc.etc. We are told to: 'approve those things which carry through (diapheronta)[Phil.1:10]. This present Administration, which is not concerned with the Kingdom in Israel, is therefore revealed in Paul's last letters to those Christians in Asia whom he had never met [Eph 1:15. Col 1:4]. Paul records that the previous churches in Asia, made up of Christian Jews, chief of which was that at Ephesus, had 'turned away from him' [2Tim 1:15], not willing to recognise the Godly authority by which Paul had announced the Spiritual change upon Israel. They wished to continue with the order which was practised in the various churches during the period of The Acts of The Apostles. They were seeking to manifest counterfeit gifts [ta epigeia], as many do to-day, not willing or able to recognise the change of God's Administration. Paul wept over their condition of mind [Phil 3:18-20].
The Completion of this PRESENT Administration OF GOD'S GRACE
12. Seven years after the change was announced in 62ad, Jerusalem and The Temple were destroyed in 69/70ad. Paul writing to the new Christian Jews, both Hebrew and Greek speaking, scattered in the world, comforts them with these words
'Now in Christ Jesus, you the ones at one time being far off, are become near in the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who makes the both[ near and far] one, and raises the middle wall of the barrier, the enmity in His flesh, annulling the law of the precepts in decrees, that He might be creating the two, in Himself, into one new man, making peace, and might make congruous the both to God, in one body through the cross, killing the enmity in it. And coming He brings the good message of peace, to you the far off, and peace to the near, For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to The Father. Consequently, then you are strangers and foreigners no longer; but you are fellow- citizens of the saints, and of the household of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the capstone being Jesus Christ Himself, in Whom the entire building, being framed together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord: in Whom you also are being built together for God's dwelling place in Spirit.
The Palestinian Jews were also scattered. However, at a time of God's choosing, this condition imposed upon the Nation of the Jews will end and His promises for their future will be fulfilled. The period of The Last Days will recommence. The order of the churches established during The Acts period, and the Spiritual perception of the Jewish Nation will be re-established. and The House of Judah will be told to 'arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee'. At the time this happens, this Administration of God's Grace will end and the Christian hope will be manifest: 'Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in Glory'. 1960 years will have passed during which all people will have benefited from the expression of God's Grace.[62ad to 2022ad]
Paul's THIRD commission
Towards the end of Paul's first commission, when in the presence of Festus and King Agrippa, as a prisoner he was allowed to speak and defend himself. He gives a very clear account of his experiences as a Christian even describing in detail his meeting with The risen Christ upon the road to Damascus. During this defence he revealed to King Agrippa that, at a later date, Christ required him to take up a second commission:
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 persecutest thou 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 persecutest. 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 commission 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. ACT 26:13
The word 'appear' in the Greek means: 'to see with the eyes', as was clearly the experience of Paul upon the Damascus road. There is no Scriptural record of a repeat occurrence of this 'appearance'. We can therefore conclude that after Paul is resurrected, The Christ will again appear unto thee giving him a new commission, his third.
God's authority and Spiritual blessing returns to Israel
13. In what way will this coming change be initiated, again bringing in the Godly responsibility of The House of Judah?
'Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped......'[Isaiah 35:4-5].
This is what God will announce to the Jewish Nation, thus reversing his imposition of Acts 28:27. Is it possible therefore, that the removal of the present restraint upon them will be announced in the same private and quiet way that it was imposed? On the authority of God, an Apostle would call together a group of Jews in the principle city of the world, to inform them that the Spiritual restraint has been lifted, and that they, the House of Judah, having priority, will have regained their Spiritual understanding.
14. Who could perform this act?
Elijah ? The Scriptures have promised that he will return to 'restore all things' in relation to Israel ?
Paul ? He who graciously turned down God's offer to 'release upwards (analuO) and be with Christ' because of the concern he had for his brethren. He who strove for an earlier special resurrection than that which he had come to expect at the second Advent of Jesus Christ ? He who has implied that he will not take part in the manifestation of 'When Christ Who is our Life' is manifested then shall ye also manifest with Him in glory .[Col 3:4].
Whoever is charged with this responsibility will initiate the changes to the World Order which will again bring in God's Kingdom in Israel and its Godly influence upon the whole world. We can expect The Deceiver to attempt to pre-empt this act of God by attempting to bring in his own World Order, the plans for which are now well advanced.
George Morris February 2006
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