REVIEW of the SCRIPTURE RECORD
Part 1 ........ Order of the Apostle Paul's last seven letters.
Part 2 ........ Review of the transitory period following the Apostle Luke's record
of The Acts of The Apostles.
Part 3 .........The Apostle Paul's imprisonments during the transition.
Part 4 ........ Christian Hope today during this Administration of God's Grace.
Part 5 ........ Application of Paul's statement: The Lord Jesus Christ shall
judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom.
Part 6 ........ References to The Last Days as one prophetic period.
Part 7 ........ Summary and correction of Doctrine for this Administration, by
the understanding of the transitory period following the record of
The Acts of The Apostles.
Some ten years ago, during studies and discussions concerning the details of the Pauline letters relating to this Administration of God's Grace, it was recognised that the letter to The Philippians hinted at a time of Transition following the Acts Period, after the Kingdom churches of the Jews had ended and the The Gospel of Salvation was then commissioned for the nations. Historical records of the time, tell us that a multitude of copies The Gospel of John were distributed throughout the know world. The revelation of this present Administration of God's Grace were not made known until the time of the Temple destruction seven years later.
At the close of this present Administration we were drawn to see a need for a period of Transition before the future time when God will again begin to fulfil His prophesies regarding His manifest Kingdom in Israel.
Confirmation of these Transitory periods gave us encouragement when we received a copy of a friend's Chronological Chart. That chart contained many details but it identified the period of 'The Last Days' with the activity of God covering the Kingdom of Heaven in Israel. In particular the chart showed the period of Daniel's 70 weeks of years interrupted by the present Administration of God's Grace. The beginning and end of this present period is determined by Daniel's statement:
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem, even by the messiah the Prince, [seven weeks,] and threescore and two weeks: it shall be built a second time, with plaza and ditch, even in troublous times.
And after threescore and two weeks shall messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Study of the facts contained in the following notes led to
a revision of the order of Paul's letters written after his meeting with the
Jews at Rome. The order is repeated as in Part 1.
Paul the Apostle's Letter to my true son in the faith (Titus) The pivotal letter,
No.4 was written without the Commission of God but non the less under the
Guidance and Pressure of The Holy Spirit. Because of its 'doorway of
understanding', it is probably the most important of all Paul's letters for
those Christians to-day who desire to understand God's plan leading up to this
present Administration of His Grace. The following structure illustrates the main
1:1,2 Epistolery. Salutation. Bishops and Deacons. In this letter Paul
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. Let us therefore, as many as be mature, be thus minded: and if in
anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.' He warns them that
the good work(2Cor 9:8, 1Tim 5:10) God is doing (aorist tense) in them, he will
bring(future tense) to a full end until (gk:
This line diagram shows an element of my friend's chart. It illustrates the Daniel revelation, particularly with regard to the 'stepped periods' at the commencement and conclusion of the present Administration of God's Grace. These are the periods of Transition. It shows the beginning of THE LAST DAYS which were also posponed at 62ad to restart when God's restraint upon His People is lifted.
(2) Paul the Apostle's First Letter to my true son in the faith (Timothy)
(3) Paul the Apostle's Second Letter to my dear son (Timothy)
(4) Paul the Bondman's Letter to the Saints, Overseers and Deacons (Philippians)
(5) Paul the Apostle's Letter to the Saints and Faithful (Colossians)
(6) Paul the Apostle's Letter to Apphia, Archippus, Philemon and the church in your home.
(7) Paul the Apostle's Letter to the Saints and Faithful ('Ephesians')
B 1:3-26 Fellowship in Gospel from First Day.
C 1:27 - 2:5 Conversation here. Stand Fast. Mind of Christ. Now.
D 2:6-11 The Sevenfold Humiliation of Christ. Example.
| E 2:12-18 Exhortation to Work Out.
| F 2:19-23 Example of Timothy. Hope to Send.
| G 2:24 Paul, Promise to Come.
| f 2:25-30 Example of Epaphroditus. Sending.
| e 3:1-3 Exhortation to Beware.
d 3:4-19 The Sevenfold Loss of Paul.
c 3:20 - 4:10 Conversation There. Stand Fast. Body of Glory. Then.
b 4:11-20 Fellowship in beginning of Gospel.
a 4:21-23 Epistolery. Salutation. Caesar's Household.
Study of the facts contained in the following notes led to a revision of the order of Paul's letters written after his meeting with the Jews at Rome. The order is repeated as in Part 1.
Paul the Apostle's Letter to my true son in the faith (Titus)
The pivotal letter, No.4 was written without the Commission of God but non the less under the Guidance and Pressure of The Holy Spirit. Because of its 'doorway of understanding', it is probably the most important of all Paul's letters for those Christians to-day who desire to understand God's plan leading up to this present Administration of His Grace. The following structure illustrates the main sections:
1:1,2 Epistolery. Salutation. Bishops and Deacons.
In this letter Paul says:
' 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. Let us therefore, as many as be mature, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.'
He warns them that the good work(2Cor 9:8, 1Tim 5:10) God is doing (aorist tense) in them, he will bring(future tense) to a full end until (gk:epitelesei achri) The Day of Jesus Christ. When Paul wrote this letter, the completion of the Philippian's good work lay in the future. In his statement he wrote that this good work would again be taken up when The Day of Jesus Christ arrived. This postponement of their good work was being temporally brought to a full end because the offer of the membership of the Kingdom in Israel was halted, when the announcement to the Jews was repeated by God this third time, through Paul at Rome(Acts 28:28).
What was to happen in the mean time? At this point, Paul describes the challenge that lies before him and encourages the Philippians to follow his example (Phil 4:9). In so doing, he is anxious that they also should 'prove the things that differ', in order that they should be without offence until the Day of Jesus Christ. The things that were now different from the Law of The Spirit which they adhered to during the period recorded in Acts and the changes which were taking place because God was about to introduce the present Administration of His Grace.
Earlier in this letter he has referred to the subject of humility, quoting THE example of Christ himself who 'being in the form of God....became obedient unto death'. Obedient to The Word in order to achieve God's purpose. He retained His powers to the end (Luke 22:50-51), but refused to use them in His defence (Mat 26:53-54) so that the purpose of God, through Him, should be fulfilled.
Writing to these Jewish Christians at Philippi causes Paul to list his standing and attainments as a Jew and Israelite which he had enjoyed throughout the previous 28 years. But he wishes to
on account of:
a. trusting in the flesh A. the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord
b. circuncision B. that he may gain Christ
c. of the Race of Israel C. that he may be found in Christ
d. of the Tribe of Benjamen D. having righteousness by faith
e. a Hebrew E. to know Him
f. a Pharasee F. to know the Power of His resurrection
g. building the ekkleskia G. to know the fellowship of His sufferings
h. righteous in the Law H. to be conformed to His death
But in the light of Christ's humility he had begun to recognise the need to regard his Standing as an Israelite as rubbish, in order that by putting on the humility of Christ, he might attain 'The Prize of The Above Calling of God in Christ Jesus'. He was beginning to appreciate that there was something very important to be gained by being personally identified with the mind of Christ. At this stage he had not gained this important 'prize'. He had come to know that his own righteousness, which was of The Law, counted for nothing, he sought the righteousness which is of God, by faith........that righteousness with which we of this Administration are so familiar. Through this 'new mind' He wished to attain unto the Out Resurrection out of The Dead.
thn exanastasin thn ek
the out-resurrection the out of dead
OR: the resurrection OUT from those OUT of the dead.
Many discerning Christians have puzzled about Paul's newly expressed need for a resurrection. They might say, 'Paul was already assured of resurrection from the dead(1Thes 4:16-18), why was he therefore suggesting that this resurrection was no longer adequate? Why did he now need to attain to his resurrection? The answer to these questions lies in the meaning of the Greek term for this resurrection:
The resurrection out of the dead that Paul described in his letter to the Thessalonians(1Thes ch.4) was a 'resurrection out of the dead', i.e. an earlier resurrection than that which Martha had referred to when she stated: ''I know that Lazarus shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day" But The Lord told her: "I am The Resurrection and The Life" meaning that it is within His power to resurrect who He wills, when He wills. The resurrection referred to in Paul's letters to the Thessalonians and Corinthians has a higher priority than that which Martha referred to concerning The Last Day. 'The resurrection OUT from those OUT of the dead' has yet a higher priority.
Paul was already assured of his 'Appointment or Designation On High', so what had prompted him to perceive that there was a 'prize' to be gained, i.e. an earlier resurrection than that of his existing Hope 1Thess 4:16-17 and 1Cor 15:51-57) ? I would suggest the following two possible reasons:
A few years earlier, the Apostle John had been in The
Spirit on The Day of The Lord when he visited the island of Patmos. He recorded
that vision as 'The Revelation of Jesus Christ'. There are many references to
The Christ, particularly the one to His personal presence, or parousia,when He
comes to earth with His Saints (Rev 19:11-14). Prior to this His Saints had been
gathered to Him(Rev 18:4), as Paul had described in his letter to the
Thessalonians(1Thess 4:13-17). He believed that he would be alive when that
gathering took place, as he wrote to the Thessalonians some years before: 'we
the living who remain will be caught up....'. When God closed the opportunity
for Israel's Salvation(Acts 28:28), sending Salvation to the nations, Paul would
have realised that his Hope(1Thes 4:13-17), had been postponed.
When a copy of the Apostle John's recorded vision came to hand, Paul would have studied it carefully to enlarge his understanding of what God had in mind for the future of Israel. He would have seen the record of the 'End' resurrection(Rev 20:11) and the recorded resurrection of his Hope(Rev 18:4). He would have been surprised to find earlier references to the presence in heaven of other faithful Christians about whom he knew nothing !(Rev 4:4). When John was in The Spirit, he was called up to heaven, to the throne of God around whom were 24 Elders who are referred to 12 times(Rev 4:4 to 19:4). They had crowns on their heads. No doubt 12 of the thrones were occupied by the 12 apostles(Luke 22:30). Is Paul to be one of the other 12 ? If so, he would have to seek an earlier resurrection, perhaps the one referred to as an 'EXanastasis'(Phil 3:11).
B. By Paul, God had postponed the work of The Kingdom of God in Israel, at the end of Paul's Course of The Acts Period(2Tim 4:7, Acts 28:28, Phil 1:6). He recognised that the Work would be continued in the remainder of The Last Days (Isa 2:1, Hos 3:5, Mic 4:1. See the chart in Part 6), prior to the Coming of Christ, His parousia (1Thes 4:15, Rev 19:11). He therefore also recognised that in order to enter into this future important continuing work, he must attain to a resurrection prior to that of 1Thes 4:15. The Lord Jesus Christ was Paul's pattern, which he had considered when describing the steps to Christ's final humiliation (Phil 2:8). He had completed his course(2Tim 4:7) and was then therefore without God's commission(Phil 1:1).
Even though The Christ was proclaimed King, at the end of His life in the flesh, He had put aside all earthly authority by emptying Himself and humbling Himself, taking on the likeness of a bondman (Phil 2:7 and 1:1). Paul had realised that putting on that humility of Christ was the way to be identified with Him, knowing the Power of His resurrection, His sufferings and being conformed to His death. As Christ, by His humiliation unto death, had received the 'prize' of being highly exalted and granted a name above every name (Phil 2:9), so Paul, by his humiliation unto a similar death, perceived a 'prize' associated with his Designation On High, of 'arriving at the Out resurrection Out from the dead' (Phil 3:11). When describing this prize, Paul recognised that it was for this purpose that The Christ had laid hold of him(Phil 3:12 and Acts 26:16c).
There may be other reasons which caused Paul to reach out for this earlier resurrection. Maybe both these possible reasons were the cause of his need to put aside the things of Israel in humility to gain this earlier resurrection. Whatever the reason, he knew that this 'prize' was not uniquely his. Through his love for the Philippian ekklesia and of their 'partaking of his grace', he exhorts them to follow his example, to be imitators of him by esteeming as loss all those things pertaining to their place and authority in Israel telling them that God would help them in understanding this task (Phil 3:15).
At the time of writing this letter to the Philippians, Paul was not aware of the details of this present Administration of God's Grace which was hidden in God and which God was about to reveal only to him as he records when writing to the 'Ephesian Christians':
If ye have heard of the Dispensation of the Grace of God which IS GIVEN ME to you-ward: How that by revelation He made known UNTO ME the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words)...........UNTO ME, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the nations the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to enlighten all [as to] what is the Administration of the Mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. (Eph3:2-12, written some time after Paul had written to the Philippian 'church')
Because he recognised this earlier resurrection, whilst writing his letter to the Phillipian ekklesia, Paul would then have been aware of three distinct groups of resurrections:
The out-resurrection out of the dead. ; (Phil 3:11)
The resurrection out of the dead. (1Thes 1:10, 1Cor 15:12 & 20)
The resurrection of [all those remaining] dead. (John 11:24. Rev 20:12)
These three groups correspond to the three set forth in 1Cor 15:23, The second one being identified with Christ Himself(Col 2:12) and revealed only to Paul (Eph ch.3 verses.2,3,8,9):
The First Fruit.
(Christ and those that are Identified with Christ's resurrection. Eph 2:6)
2. Those of Christ at His 'coming'. (Christ's parousia or Personal Presence...1Thes 4:16)
3. Then the End(ones). (At the judgement of The Great White Throne...Rev 20:12)
We can see from this and Paul's other statements recorded in Phil 3:10-14 that this reaching forth was a very personal challenge to attain to this prize. In retrospect we can appreciate the pressure that Paul had placed himself under, to attain to something greater than that which he already had. In fact he could perceive that it required in him a complete change of mind, by applying to himself the Mind of Christ(Phil 2:5). It would mean considerable humiliation and personal hurt(Phil 2:25-27). By this he desired to gain:
the knowledge of the Power of Christ's resurrection and
2. to be conformed (summorfizomenos....verb) to His death.(Phil 3:10)(summorfos...noun in Phil 3:21)
Later it is evident that Paul had gained this knowledge and been conformed to His death, because when he writes to the 'Ephesians' he prays 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 ye may know..........................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
2. set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,(EPH 1:17-)
Later in his letter he tells us with certainty that God:
hath raised us up together, and made us
2. sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:(EPH 2:6)
This is the potential condition of all Christians who have, are and will live in this, The Administration of The Grace of God. What then is the exceeding greatness of his power in raising Christ from the dead ? Let us consider exactly what happened on that momentous occasion as described by the apostle John:
the other disciple......came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple........and he saw, and believed. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping.................she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.............Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: (JOH 20:4)
The condition of the head napkin and the grave clothes, together with the conversation with Mary indicate the three stages of Christ's resurrection:
Stage 1. God gives back to Christ's physical body the spirit life(psuchE.......breath) that He gave up at the cross(1John 3:16). He therefore needed to breath, so one the angels would have removed the napkin from about His head.
Stage 2. God changes Christ's physical body to a new condition. This new condition will no longer support the physical grave clothes in which his previous physical body was wrapped. They drop through his new bodily condition to lie on the stone where His physical body had been lying. After raising Himself up, appropriate clothing would have been supplied by the angels. This clothing would conform to the capabilities of Christ's raised body(John 20:19 & 26).
Stage 3. It is evident that Christ is speaking to Mary as the High Priest fulfilling the Day of Attonement (Leviticus 16:2 and v17-18), having accomplished the sacrifice He was about to present The Sacred Blood in heaven. Being cleansed in His raised body from the previous stage, He should not be made unclean by being touched by others.
At other times there had been many resurrections, performed not only by the Prophets and Christ Himself, but in the opening phases of The Kingdom of God, by the Apostles also. The raising of Lazarus was typical. All these examples of God's act of resurrection were still limited however by their subsequent return to the condition of death. Christ's resurrection was to be the firstfruits of them them that slept, i.e. all living, because His resurrection was unto Life Eternal(dwh). This was the result of the exceeding greatness of His power.
As noted above, this was the promise to all believers in Israel revealed by the Apostle Paul when writing the first time to the Thessalonians(4:14-18). However He could perceive the need to strive for an earlier resurrection unto Life Eternal, because he needed to 'apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus'(Phil 3:12).
Thus it is clear that Paul desired to be fully identified with Christ, even to sharing in Christ's suffering and being conformed to his death(Phil 3:10) in order that he should move forward from his previous relationship with Christ and status as an Israelite, experienced throughout the course of his ministry recorded in the Book of Acts. He desired to be identified with Christ Himself by putting on the humility of Christ to attain this Prize of the High Calling described in the previous paragraphs. We know that this was fulfilled in him by the enlightenment of The Spirit because it is described in his two later letters written to the Colossians and the 'Ephesians'. He therefore succeded in 'reaching forth unto those things which are before'(Phil 3:13).
[We as Christians to-day have free access to this Prize, it is Paul's newly acquired knowledge, understanding and wisdom that he prays that the Colossians and 'Ephesians' should have in this, the Administration of God's Grace.(Col 1:5-6). These two letters to the 'Ephesians' and Colossians, carefully explain the details of the relationship that every Christian has with their Lord Jesus Christ in this Administration. Without Paul's successful 'reaching forth' described in his letter to the Philippians, we would not have received this understanding. In both these letters Paul prays(Col 1:9-12 and Eph 1:15-21) for these new believers(Col 2:1 and Eph 1:15), asking that they should be given 'the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him', 'that they might be filled with the knowledge (epignOsis) of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding'. As we would expect, these requests show Paul's concern for us, we who enjoy the privileges of this unique Administration. That we should seek to approve the things which 'carry through'(Phil 1:10), and the new things revealed in these two letters(Col 1:26-27 Eph 3:9), particularly God's relationship in Spirit with the believer, without any mediator other than The One...The Lord Jesus Christ.]
Paul desired to gain this intimacy with Christ, to know[ginOsis...'an earthly knowledge', as opposed to epignOsis .....a 'heavenly knowledge', God given) Him, that which was not his during his Good Work in the Acts Period, but which became his by the evidence expressed in his two later letters(Eph 3:4, Col 1:10). We can regard this letter to the Philippians as an explanation of his mind whilst he was in this transitory state. We in this Administration cannot follow this path, because we have not been enabled or equipped to fulfil the command of Christ given in Mark 16:15-18, as Paul, all Apostles and Believers had, during that initial stage of The Kingdom of God (that we to-day, call the record of The Acts of The Apostles):
he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that
believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe;
In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They
shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt
them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
We cannot regard those things pertaining to the place and authority of Israel, which include these Spiritual things, as 'refuse' even as Paul did (Phil 3:8), they are not part of our experience, nor can they be, no matter how much any misguided preacher might seek to persuade us otherwise. There is no Godly purpose for these gifts in this Administration of God's Grace because we have the privilege of walking by faith and not by sight (John 20:29, Eph 2:8-9).
The Spiritual Gifts of God described by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians(1Cor ch.12) were active throughout the Acts Period amongst the ekklesias of that time. The conclusion of that period was the pronouncement of Paul upon the Jews at Rome, the third and last time, by the statement of The Holy Spirit through Isaiah(*):
unto this people and say, hearing ye shall hear and not understand and seeing ye
shall see and not
perceive: For 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. (Acts 28:26-27)(*)
This statement(*) left his hearers discussing and disputing amongst themselves. No wonder they were disturbed. That God should apparently abandon them, even the newly believing Christian Jews (Acts 28:24) would find it difficult to understand. God's change of priority was clear, the Salvation bringing message was now 'authorised to the nations', the Jews being only one of them, who could receive this message, even as it is with any nation to-day.
This statement was
made to the unregenerate Jews and placed no criticism upon the work of the
regenerate Jews of the ekklesias. It is well known, but it has been made to say that which cannot be found in these words. Isaiah was a prophet sent to The House of Judah(the 2 tribes...Judah and Benjamin) to encourage and inform that house regarding its state and Godly prospects.(Isa 1:1).
But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God (Hosea 1:7)
After the rebellion of the 10 tribes, led by the House of Ephraim, they became known as The House of Israel(1Kings 12:19, ). For those who have not studied this rebellion, which followed King Solomon's death, this term 'The House of Israel' can be confusing. After the rebellion, the Scripture record states that the two tribes(Judah and Benjamin) known as The House of Judah(or The House of David), became known as The Jews(Mordecai the Jew.....Esth 2:5, first use chronologically). The remaining ten tribes are always referred to as The House of Israel, or as a reminder of their rebellion, The House of Ephraim.
The above statement(*), by Paul quoting Isaiah, was made to the House of Judah because of their luke warm attitude to their God, even though they sought to honour God in The Temple and Jerusalem, but would not accept The Christ or the introduction of His Kingdom. By this pronouncement, three times repeated, they became Spiritually blind and deaf. However, they have always remained God's people(Isa. 59:21, Luke 15:31).
The prophet Hosea however had the unenviable commission from God of condemning the rebellious house, The House of Israel, to be 'not my people'(Hos 1:9-10).
Many have mistakenly applied to The House of Judah(Hos1:7) that which God pronounced over the House of Ephraim/Israel by Hosea: I will no more have mercy upon the House of Israel; but I will utterly take them away(v.6b) Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God(v.9) This rebellious House of Ephraim/Israel is at present scattered and lost in the world. They are not known as Israelites but there will come a time when God will gather and say to them: 'Ye are the Sons of The Living God'.
It shall come to pass, in the place where it was said unto them: 'Ye are not my people', there it shall be said unto them: 'Ye are the sons of the living God'(v.10b).
Following Paul's pronouncement(*), the The House of Judah were striken with Spiritual blindness and deafness. On this very important occasion, the Jews in Rome acted as the representatives of that House. To-day, we cannot tell where this House of the Jews is to be found. What we see and hear about the occupants of Palestine does not represent the Israel of God in any way. But God has said that 'He knows those that are His', so when He again intervenes in the affairs of the world, we can be sure that He will gather together both of these great Houses before He establishes them in The Land(Deu 30:3-10 and Isa 11:11-13 etc..etc).
We should not think it strange that to-day God is silent towards His people, Israel. It happened before from the time of the prophet Malachi(397bc) to the days of the priest Zacharias(7bc). [see also: Sam.3:1]
When God closed the 'door of opportunity' for the Jews to continue to accept His Kingdom, He also determined to 'full end'(Phil 1:6) this Good Work (Acts 5:38, Acts 13:2) 'until the Day of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:6), a Work which was established at Pentecost in 30ad.
The letter to the Philippians was written some months after that meeting with The Jews in Rome(about 63ad), the full end of the 'Good Work' lay in the future for each one of those members of the ekklesias of the Acts Period. How far in the future?
For many years, since the importance of this letter was better understood, it has been assumed that when Paul's pronouncement was made(62ad), all the Spiritual Gifts(1Cor 12) would have ceased. This is not so. The Gifts continued(1Tim 4:14, 2Tim 1:6), as part of the 'Good Work'.
These Gifts continued in use because the individual members of those ekklesias remained so Gifted. God does not take back His Gift...even as men do not. It is unconditional, but if wrongly used is terminated only by sleep(death, Acts 5:1 to 10). If correctly used, natural death would bring a suspension of the Gift, even as it would to the 'Good Work' until resurrection.
Because Paul did not heal Epaphroditus(Phil 2:27) or Trophimus (2Tim 4:20) it has been erroneously concluded that he could not. Christ was Paul's pattern, His humility in achieving His Father's purpose was Paul's desire(Phil 3:9-10). In following that pattern, Paul suffered the loss of all things which were gain to him, those things giving him status as an Israelite. He counted them loss for Christ. It was an act of the mind in refusing to exercise these Spiritual Gifts as well as those things listed in this letter(Phil 3:4-9). His Apostolic Commission recorded in Acts, had been fufilled. This, his Course(2Tim 4:7) was completed.
God sought to achieve a new purpose through Paul(Acts 26:16c). Paul was prompted in the rememberance of God's work in Christ. When Christ's death was inevitable, He refrained from exercising any of His Spiritual Gifts in order that God's Salvation should be assured(Mat 26:53).
Why therefore do we need to take a new look at this starting point of the Salvation of The Nations? The future tense used by Paul in his explanation to the Philippians(1:6) and the permanence of a Gift of God, serve to illustrate again the Transition taking place during this few years. The Temple at Jerusalem was ceasing to be The House of God(Mat 23:38) and would shortly be destroyed(Mat 24:1-2). At the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and The Temple(70ad), the Jews were dispersed and many killed. The synagogues scattered throughout the 'isles' were the only centres of worship for the Jews. It remains so to this day although the dispersion is worldwide and Jerusalem now has its synagogues. Devout Jews to-day await their gathering unto God: 'Next year in Jerusalem'.
As the 'Good Work'
was being wound down so the New Work of God, The Administration of The Grace of
God(Eph 3:2, Col 1:25) was initiated and being proclaimed and built up(Eph
This was a period of Transition. God is not the author of confusion, For those He loves, He warns of His Works and does things in good order. Some suggest that at the point of Paul's pronouncement, without warning, everything instantly change. To my mind, such universal and instant action is not in the character of God. For those churches of the Acts period, following Acts 28:28, God allowed a gradual ending, before revealing to Paul the basis of this present Administration of His Grace(Eph 3:9-11).
It became evident to him that those ekklesias which would be gradually depleted of Spiritually gifted saints, would need instruction, care and encouragement. At the same time new individual Jews and Gentiles were accepting Christ. He therefore wrote instructing both Timothy and Titus in their continuing apostolic work of guiding, setting up and organising new ekklesias with new overseers and servers, both of which are described as a 'good work', thus emphasising that the work of the Acts Period ekklesias was continuing at that time. Some time later, as Paul began to wrestle(Gen 32:24) with his need to understand God's new purpose and after Timothy had joined him, he wrote to the Philippian saints, with the bishops and deacons explaining his thoughts(Phil 1:20-26) and his increasing understanding, encouraging them to have the same mind.
This was so important to Paul, that not only did he ask Epaphroditus to return to them but he wished also to send Timothy in order that he should 'care for your state'. Even so, when he expected through prayer to be released from his arrest, he proposed also to go himself(Phil 2:24).
We can say therefore that this transitory period would have ended with death of the last Saint of the Acts Period and the circulation of the understanding of the Mystery of the Administration of God's Grace.
Because God does
things in good order, informing and caring for those that are His, we can expect
that the coming change, from this Administration of Grace to The Day of Jesus
Christ will also be a period of Transition. We as Christians would expect that
God has told us precisely what we will experience as this change becomes
apparent. This will be the subject of a further study.
Go to part 3.
RETURN TO REVIEW INTRODUCTION