Paul – The Only Apostle God Sent to Us Gentiles
Over the years I have written 20 books in Pdf and Word formats – most of which is in Norwegian. And here is my latest work, now in English. I decided to give it away freely.
It is not really about the person Paul, even if that would have been a great topic.
This little book is about how to rightly divide the Word of Truth and have the Bible made understandable and systematized regarding which doctrine and teachings that belongs to the Church dispensation.
Studying Paul in this regard – as he was the ONLY apostle sent to us Gentiles, will reveal many Biblical truths and thus make us able to distinguish between what God promised the Jews and Israel and what He later promised the Church.
This book will help us understand the fact that the dispensation of the Grace of God did not start with the earthly ministry of our Lord, His crucifixion and resurrection or at Pentecost in Acts 2.
The dispensation with the ‘One New Man’ the Church, also called ‘The Body of Christ’ – emerged out of the fresh new revelation given Paul for us as we find the fall of Israel in 62 AD, as we read Acts 28:25-28. However, Paul of course points back 30 years – to the cross – for we are by faith now baptized into the death of Christ and thus also raised with Him. This baptism takes place as we first come to faith in Christ, and is performed by God and the Holy Ghost.
The epistle to the Ephesians was a result of God first having revealed to Paul His mystery, as described in Eph. 3:1-9 and Col. 1:25, 26 – a secret group of believers chosen in Christ before He created the World – now no longer kept secret.
Peter or any other apostles had no idea of that mystery kept hidden in God. Paul was alone with this knowledge and only he became the messenger through which God arranged and organized the Church dispensation.
C H A P T E R T I T L E S
1. The time with Jesus and His disciples was not for Gentiles
2. Book of Acts is exclusively about the New Covenant to Israel
3. The fall of Israel became the prelude to the dispensation of the church
4. The dispensation of the church came shortly after Israel fell from God
5. The New Covenant aborted when Israel fell, shall be offered to them again
6. Error in the Bible translations results in much misinterpretation
7. The hope of the church is up in heaven with Christ
8. Proper editing of the New Testament
9. Concluding baptism, Holy Communion, the ministerial gifts, the miracle and sign gifts,
and unbiblical ecumenical error
10. A short look at Paul’s life and ministry
11. The church fathers and their heretic Bible interpretations
12. The church dispensation ends when Elijah appears from heaven
THE TIME WITH JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES
WAS NOT FOR GENTILES.
The teachings of Jesus to the Jews who heard Him, and Gentiles who tried to get His attention like the heathen woman, were told the following:
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. Matt. 15:24.
Firmly He told His disciples, when He was about to send them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God for Israel – before His crucifixion:
“…go nowhere among the Gentiles and do not go into any town of the Samaritans…6: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. Matt. 10:5, 6.
To the multitude of both followers as well as opponents He said of Himself:
“And you must not be called masters (rabbis), for you have only one Master, the Christ (Messiah).” Matt. 23:10.
Later in the apostolic history we find Paul supporting this:
“For I tell you that Christ (the Messiah) became a servant and a minister to the circumcised (the Jews, Israel) in order to show God’s truthfulness and honesty by confirming the promises to our fathers.” Rom. 15:8.
The exception Jesus made for the centurion and his sick servant by miraculously healing him has its own simple explanation:
The Roman officer had made for himself a good reputation among the Jews at Capernaum. Putting it simple, he had blessed Abraham’s children and thus fulfilled God’s Word about Him blessing anyone who blessed Abraham. God was obliged to bless this centurion.
Notice that this intelligent and well educated centurion did not come before the Lord himself, but he had some Jewish Elders sent before Him. Why? They testified of the centurion’s humble and faithful behavior among them; he had built them a Synagogue, and thus Jesus knew very well that He would have to meet this Gentile centurion’s needs and bless him by healing his ill servant. Luke 7:2-10.
This particular promise of blessing those who first bless Abraham and his heirs, is out of effect in the dispensation of the Church: Israel has been cut off from God and has no contact with Him whatsoever. God can bless only those who believe on Christ – regardless of Jews or Gentiles (Col. 3:11). Israel today is only considered a nation among other nations, equal to us Gentiles. The wall of partition was taken down when this dispensation was organized by Paul. Eph. 2:14, 15.
Israel is now under the Mosaic national curse found in Deut. 28 – in which the coming horrible ‘Great Tribulation’ is the climax of it. This will occur after God first ends the present dispensation by sending the real Elijah of the Bible to smite them.
The heathen woman in Matt. 15 was accepted – finally – by Jesus for her persistent faith and because she was also used by Jesus as a ‘slap in the face’ towards the Pharisees. They taught the heresy of Gentiles being just common hounds, worthy of no welfare, but to eat the crumbs falling from the mighty table of the Jews. She had no particular blessing of Abraham’s children to show fourth like the centurion. She only had her desperation and faith.
In the four Gospels, Acts and all epistles written in Acts period, Gentiles could only become proselytes whether they were in the Mosaic faith or in the Messianic faith under the apostles. They were always considered secondary.
Jesus, in other words, did not act in His own random empathy or antipathy – whichever kind of mood He was in at the times He met heathens and their needs. He acted always perfectly and righteously as the Word of God – He actually was and still is the Word of God in person!
He came to fulfill the law and the prophets; he came to confirm the promises given to the fathers just like Paul wrote in Rom. 15:8. They had two kinds of promises given them. One was the promise of the land for which they are supposed to become a blessing to the entire world in the millennia, and then they have the promise of the Kingdom itself, a millennial reign with Messiah Jesus on the throne.
These ‘twin promises’ is based upon four covenants or pacts with God Jehova. The promise and pact with Abraham (which was included into the Law, says Paul), then it was the Sinai covenant the Law of Moses with all its ordinances and then the Davidic pact of setting Messiah on David’s throne in Zion. And finally we have the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus for Israel and proselytes. This latter was the ministry of the apostles as we find it in Book of Acts.
This New Covenant was turned down by Israel as we see their fall in Acts 28:25-28, but the covenant shall be once again offered to Israel, and then it is through the Great Tribulation – of which Ezek. 36 is speaking. As we there learn that Israel will finally accept Christ after first having been punished by God for their profaning of the name of Christ through history since their dispersion in 70 AD. (Ref. Ezek. 36:23 in particular).
The words of Jesus in Matt. 15:24 of being sent ONLY to Israel’s house, has its base in Jer. 31:31:
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.”
Jesus prophesied of this covenant to once again be offered and preached to Israel in the Great Tribulation – He knew very well that they would fall as a nation, even after the 30 years of Book of Acts. Matt. 24:14:
“And this good news (Gospel) of THE KINGDOM will be preached throughout the whole land (not World) as a testimony to all the nations (Jews from all the nations, ref. Acts 2:5), and then will come the end (end of tribulation).”
When Jesus stood fourth in 29 AD He came to establish the foundation for this New Covenant prophesied by Jeremiah and later by Ezekiel. Notice that Paul in Hebr. 8:6-10 has Jer. 31 as basis, and not Ezek. 36. This because Jer. 31 was pertaining to the times of Jesus and the apostles, while Ezek.36 is pertaining to and pointing past the destruction in 70 AD – and to the end-time with the Great Tribulation.
In Jer. 31 it is ‘The house of Israel and the house of Judah’ – but in Ezek. 36 it is just said ‘The house of Israel’. Why? Because in the latter we find Israel united again as one nation, and not like it was before in old times when there was the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. See Rev. 7 and 14 as we learn of the new establishing of the tribal system. Israel will be ‘Together again’ collected from the entire world after the tribulation when Jesus sits on His throne.
In the New Covenant to Israel, one of the blessings are that the Holy Spirit is promised to them, which shall work and drive the Jews into keeping the Law of God – it will actually be written into their hearts and minds. This was fulfilled in a limited way at Pentecost in 32 AD, Acts 2 and kept on its effect throughout Acts; resulting that the Messianic believers in those times were capable of fully keeping God’s Law, just as Paul wrote in Rom. 3:31 and 8:4, 27. The Spirit made the believers keep the Law by His supernatural power.
But once we get to Paul in Eph. 2:15 we find that the Law is abolished! There is no Law for us to keep. This is very important to notice! Many Christians are confused to believe that we must have the baptism of the Holy Spirit, because we are not to keep the Law but have the Grace of God. And so we read in Jer. 31 and Ezek. 36 as well as Hebr. 8 and 9 – that the Holy Spirit was given the believers to actually keep the Law in a perfect way.
We, the Church in Christ, Gentiles in majority – have never had the Law…and Eph. 2:12 says straight forward that we were shut out of all things pertaining to Israel’s blessings.
Rom. 2:14, 15 are clear: Gentiles had not the Law; and it also says that we had another law, the law of our conscience in that we were ourselves a law. Thus we had salvation even if we were shut out from all things regarding Israel. We were not lost, but we had a salvation which was not together with Israel. But the few proselytes they were saved together with Israel.
That promise of the Kingdom of God for Israel made up Peter’s as well as the eleven’s entire message in Acts 1-12 chapters. And these twelve ministered inside Israel’s boundaries only. The typical ministry of Peter as one who was called and sent out to preach to the circumcised only, implied firmly that it meant that Peter only ministered inside Israel’s boundaries. Gal. 2:7, 8.
Some says he went to Babylon, some says he went actually all the way to Britain. But no sure Word of God says so. We cannot trust in Catholic rumors and legends. Peter in his first epistle (5:13), greeted from the assembly at Babylon – but this was the nick-name for the Christ-rejecting Jerusalem, the city which had crucified Jesus. A nick-name which Peter had learned from reading Revelation Book (Rev. 17:5 + +).
Peter’s Pentecost speech, and his speech in Acts 3 a few months later, pointed to that promise of the Kingdom of God in Israel; and with Messiah on the throne of David.
“For the promise is to and for you…(Jews)” Acts 2:39.
And we have Paul in Galatia in 43 AD, Acts 13:32:
“So now we are bringing you the good news (the Gospel) that what God promised to our forefathers.”
The first time we find this promise of a kingdom is in Ex. 19:5, 6:
“Now therefore, if you will obey My voice in truth and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own peculiar possession and treasure from among and above all peoples; for all the earth is Mine. 6: And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.”
But as we learn from Hebr. 8, the first covenant was defected and with faults, in that nobody managed to keep it with all its commandments and ordinances. The first covenant was thus given them to be a schoolmaster to point the way to Christ. The Law of Moses was meant to make the sin unbearable to Israel and thus acknowledge their need of a mediator, one who could take their sin upon Himself, Christ, and deliver them.
Knowing this, we also can see that we – the Church dispensation in which Gentile and Jew are sat equally in the faith and no more segregation – are not receivers of the New Covenant, for the Church is a New Creation and not Israel.
After the fall of the nation, its privileges have ceased as well as the New Covenant offered them has been suspended entirely.
The covenants were only offered Israel in their position of having been sat above all nations in supremacy of becoming (in the millennia) royal priests of God. Gentiles in that arrangement can only become proselytes.
Hebr. 9:15 says straight forwardly that only such believers who first had lived under the Law of Moses could lawfully be taken under the New Covenant – which of course excludes any Gentile from that covenant blessing.
“Christ is therefore the Negotiator and Mediator of a new agreement (covenant) so that those who are called (Israel) and offered it may receive the fulfillment of the PROMISED everlasting inheritance (Greek: aion time – the Kingdom) – since a death has taken place which rescues and delivers and redeems them from transgressions committed under the (old) first agreement (Law).”
We Gentiles were neither under the first covenant, the Law, nor the New Covenant. One have to have been under the Law of Moses before one could receive the blessings of the New Covenant, says Scripture!
So already now this early in the book we find that Gentiles as such, were not included in the ministry of Jesus and His apostles in the Gospels. Neither were we in Acts, other than the possibility to become proselytes in a very limited contingent, like displayed in Acts – first Peter and the few gentiles in Acts 10, and later on Paul with his Greek which only could be proselytes in the Messianic assembly if FIRST an unbelieving Jew had been cut off. Rom. 11:11 etc. The two types of proselytism shown in Book of Acts had nothing to do with us Gentiles as free believers at all. Such ones could only be held as secondary to Jews, and had no inheritance with Christ like we have now in the Grace – but their inheritance was the one given with Israel. Big difference.
The whole business with Jesus and His apostles in the Gospels and in the Book of Acts was concerning the promised kingdom of God on earth. This era had nothing to do with our hope of salvation, the heaven up above the heavens.
It was an internal private affair between God and Christ dealing with Israel, and no regular Gentile had any insight or ‘business’ going into that sphere. We were shut out of it – we were on the outside of that ‘Wall of partition’.
BOOK OF ACTS IS EXCLUSIVELY
ABOUT THE NEW COVENANT
It can be seen clearly in everything which Acts testifies of: It was a time when the New Covenant was the doctrinal basis and the Kingdom of God on earth was their hope of salvation. That Kingdom promised will be the realization of the promise given Abraham of the land – remember! But when or where can we ever find any promise given the Church, of any land to inherit?
Heaven as hope – like we learn from Ephesians – was not the hope spoken of during Acts. It was Kingdom only. This fact is indisputable!
Luke, by referring to several of the speeches made in Acts, let us learn what exactly was taught and practiced regarding faith-doctrine and their hope. I already made a few quotes from those speeches, like for instance Acts 2:39 with Peter and Acts 13:32 with Paul – which in both cases we see that they both pointed to the promise of the kingdom. And we know now, that our hope is not the kingdom, but it is heaven where Christ now resides with God. In Greek: Epiouranos.
Acts reveals no free Grace Gospel for us Gentiles whatsoever in which we are placed equally with the Jews regarding spiritual status. No, we are shown as proselytes only. The wall of partition was up during all the timeline of the Gospels and Acts (Matt. 21:33). So that Jews had the greater standing with God, it was ‘Jews first, then Greek’, Rom. 1:16.
We see this also when reading of the Apostolic Conference at Jerusalem in Acts 15. It was a ‘Them’ (the Gentiles) and ‘Us’ (the Jews).
The Jews discussed what to do with us Gentiles! The wall of partition in real practical life.
“Therefore it is my opinion that we (Jews) should not put obstacles in the way of and annoy and disturb those of the Gentiles (proselytes) who turn to God.”Acts 15:19.
Then we were given the food ordinances of Lev. 17 to keep, and the commandment of not committing adultery. Which by the way crashes entirely with what God revealed to Paul later in Eph. 2:15 of the Law abolished, and Col. 2:16 of dismissing the food ordinances as well as Sabbath, New Moon and feast days.
We learn then that Acts-doctrine is not the same as Grace Doctrine revealed through Paul in Ephesians and Colossians. That is because in Acts it was the New Covenant which also had much of the Law in it (!) – While in the epistles written after Acts (after Israel fell from God) we find no Law, no New Covenant, no works for salvation. Only faith alone in Christ to make us righteous from sin (not from the Law) – like Eph. 2:8.
Peter addressed only the national Israel in the speeches referred to, except the one held in Cornelius’ house in Acts 10.
Acts 10:36, 37: “You know the contents of the message HE SENT TO ISRAEL”
Acts 10:42: “And He charged us to preach to THE (JEWISH) PEOPLE.”
Acts 2:14: “You Jews and all you residents of Jerusalem..”
Acts 2:22: “You men of Israel….”
Acts 2:36: “Therefore let the whole HOUSE OF ISRAEL (Jer. 31:31)…”
Acts 3:12: “You men of Israel…”
Acts 11:1: (It is 8-9 years after Pentecost) “Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea HEARD WITH ASTONISHMENT that the Gentiles also had received and accepted the Word of God…”
This implies to us that they had not earlier been under the preaching of the message of the apostles. Which again, refute the bad translation of Matt. 28 and the ‘Great Commission’ – proving to us that ‘All the nations’ was not Peter and the eleven’s mission. They went only to Israel inside its boundaries. ‘All the nations’ were in the sense, ‘Jews from all the nations’ – those seen in Acts 2:5.
Gal. 2:7, 8 is clear on this: “…I (Paul) had been entrusted the Gospel to the uncircumcised as Peter had been entrusted to proclaim the Gospel to the circumcised….”
Peter never went to Gentiles on regular basis. Only Paul got that ministry. So, the ‘Great Commission’ is badly translated indeed.
The apostles at Jerusalem and also those in Judea were shocked and astonished by the event in Cornelius’ house say the Bible. How could they have been shocked by seeing Gentiles receiving the Word of God, if they already knew that they should go to Gentiles in accordance with the so-called ‘Great Commission’? Good point, don’t you think?
Acts opens with Jesus working a 40 days seminar for the disciples right after His resurrection. Acts 1:3 – “…talking to them about the things of the Kingdom of God (on earth, the millennia).”
There can be no doubt that it concerned what the prophets had called the reestablishing of Israel and restoring the throne of David with Messiah on that throne.
Acts 1:6 testifies of this: “…they asked Him: Lord, is this the time (verse 5, the Holy Ghost coming) when you will REESTABLISH THE KINGDOM AND RESTORE IT TO ISRAEL?”
Jesus answered them not to speculate wildly on the time aspect of His coming. But He did not deny the truth within that question from His disciples. In other words, there shall be a reestablishing of Israel and a restoring of the Davidic throne in Zion – as promised by the prophets.
Moving on to 54 AD with Paul in Ephesus in Acts 19:8 we still find, now 22 years later than in Acts 1:3 – THE KINGDOM OF GOD as the message and hope for Israel!
“And he went into the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, persuading and arguing and pleading about the kingdom of God.”
Jumping up to the very last verse in Acts, verse 31 of Acts 28 – it is still the Kingdom of God as message and hope:
“Preaching to them the kingdom of God….”
Let it be noted that just before, Paul had put forth God’s ultimatum for the Jews to accept Christ to have Jesus come from heaven to establish the Kingdom, seen in verses 25-28. A warning of the fact that God would cut them off and no longer keep them as His nation above all other nations on earth. So that what we read in verse 31, is Paul trying to make the most of it, in awaiting the Lord’s decision on when He would cut them off.
And He certainly did cut them off! For we learn in the next Scripture after Acts, the epistle to the Ephesians, that he no longer makes mention of the New Covenant doctrine or the Kingdom as hope of salvation. Paul introduces us to heaven up above the heavens for the first time in Biblical time line.
Acts has nothing of the free Grace Gospel as was revealed to Paul in Ephesians and Colossians. It contains only historical and doctrinal pieces of information and quotes, to let us know how it was with Israel before God cut them off for their persistent denial of Christ.
The same can be said of Book of Acts, as Moses spoke of the Book of the Law:
“Take this Book of the Law and put it by the side of the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God that it may be there FOR A WITNESS AGAINST YOU.” Deut. 31:26.
THE FALL OF ISRAEL BECAME THE
PRELUDE TO THE DISPENSATION
OF THE CHURCH.
For us to be able to fully comprehend how it was that God arranged and organized the new kind of believers in Christ, after the fall of Israel in Acts 28:25-28, we have to turn our attention to Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.
Paul was the ONLY apostle God sent to us Gentiles – in the sense: He was the one who God entrusted with that revelation, and Paul of course made his colleagues Titus, Timothy and many others help him distribute the new Gospel.
And in the times past since Paul ministered, no new generations of ‘Apostles and prophets’ has been sent to the world. Paul was the last and the final one.
Those sects and movements which propagate such beliefs of yet an era with apostles are heretical. God did not educate or call other men for apostolic ministry in the times of the apostles. Their number was frozen – we can count only thirteen apostles totally since Paul was the last of them.
And there exists no Biblical writings telling us of an increasing number of apostles during Acts period. So there you are. The Charismatic nonsense of ‘God sending new apostles and prophets’ in our day, is entirely false and finds no support in the Word of God.
Pentecostal camp hold Acts 2 as the birthday of the Church, as the Holy Ghost came upon the 120 believers gathered in the Upper Room at Pentecost. They also support the view that Israel fell from God as they crucified Christ.
None of those beliefs are true.
Luke 23:34 tells us that Jesus prayed for His executioners that God should forgive them, for they did not know what they were doing. God answered that prayer – and as a result we find that Israel had the Lord’s apostles sent to them, for continuously offering them the Kingdom of God and so giving the nation a good second chance for repentance so Jesus could return from heaven in their life time.
This is what the 30 years of Acts history testifies of.
However, Israel turned the offer down as seen in Acts 28:25-28 – especially verse 27: They would not repent so God could heal the nation.
Those 30 years were prophesied by Jesus twice; in Luke 13 with the parable of the fruitless fig tree (Israel) and in Matt. 22:7 the parable of the Kings Servants.
The fig tree was to be cut down, for the Lord found no fruit on it, and He could not allow this tree (Israel) to take up the soil to no avail. But the gardener pleaded for one more year (this was the 30 years of Acts) to fertilize it and cultivate the soil (the preaching of the apostles) and see if fruit would come. Well it did not, and the tree was cut down by the Roman axe in 70 AD.
Likewise, Matt. 22:7 and the King’s servants, who got themselves persecuted and killed, for which the King got angry and sent His army against these murderers and killed them, and burnt down their city, Jerusalem. This happened in 70 AD.
Had Israel been considered by God to have fallen from Him already at the crucifixion, we would never have read of Israel being given a second chance to receive Christ, as it was with the sending out of the apostles from Pentecost. God would have sent judgment upon them right away.
Israel was God’s elect nation throughout the entire time with the Gospels and the Acts period. And as such, God could not have any parallel assembly to Israel, for Israel had monopoly in the right and true faith. God was ISRAEL’S GOD – and not God of all the other nations. Israel was sat above all the nations.
Twice we find Paul telling us that Israel, in the time line of Acts, was not fallen from God.
The first writing saying so, is 2 Thess. 2:3 regarding his mention of Jesus coming from heaven (Greek: parousia) – he says the following pertaining to an expected fall of Israel:
“Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day (the parousia) will not come except the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness (anti-Christ) is revealed, who is the son of doom.”
Paul knew at the time he wrote this – having also read the Book of Revelation – that Israel would surely fall away from God. But it had not yet happened. Thus he explains to the bewildered Thessalonians that the day of the Lord had not yet come. For the anti-Christ had not yet been ‘revealed’ – this false Messiah had not yet appeared to the Jews, so it was impossible that Jesus had come from heaven.
Before He could come to establish His Kingdom in Israel, two things will have to happen first; Israel had to fall away from God, and then anti-Christ would appear to act as a false Messiah to seduce Israel and destroy them.
The apostasy, the falling away from God, took place in Acts 28:25-28 in that the Jews at Rome would not receive Jesus as Messiah offered to them by Paul.
So Paul had to give them God’s ultimatum and quoted the stern words from Isaiah 6 of their shut eyes and deaf ears and their unbelief.
Now almost 2000 years have passed since the fall of Israel, and the only thing remaining with regards to 2 Thess. 2 is the coming of the false Messiah, anti-Christ. The epistle was written in 55-56 AD says scholars.
But we see his platform being still rigged so he can come with his seduction of the Jews: The Zionist-state of the illicit and Christ-rejecting Israel established in 1948 as we know.
Most denominations have interpreted 2 Thess. 2 as a prediction of a great end-time apostasy in Christendom, which is entirely wrong. Paul spoke of the expected fall of Israel!
The second writing in which Paul tells the believers of Israel as a nation which not yet had fallen from God, is the epistle to the Romans. And most Bible students remember his well-known words from Rom. 11:17 and Gentiles grafted into the Jewish olive tree. Romans was written in 58 AD says a majority of scholars.
In this regard Paul says – in verse 11: “So I ask, have they (Israel) stumbled so as to fall (the entire nation)? By no means! But through their false step and transgression (by individual Jews) salvation has come to the proselytes (Gentiles), so as to arouse Israel and so to make them jealous (unto repentance).”
What he says is, that Israel as a nation had not yet fallen from God, even if individual unbelieving Jews had been cut off by their unbelief, making vacant place for proselytes to take their place. So, Israel was still a nation of God, sat above all other nations in the year of 58 AD, shortly before Paul took off for Rome and the Appeal Court of Nero.
Even as late as in spring 60 AD when Paul met the first time with the leaders of the eleven Synagogues in Rome, we still find Israel as God’s elect nation, and not yet fallen.
“This is the reason therefore why I have begged to see you and to talk with you, since it is because of the Hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” Acts 28:20.
So you see, this expected and long anticipated fall of Israel, because of the Revelation book issued by John in about 45-47 AD (he was released from Patmos when Caligula died in the winter of 41 AD and Claudius became Emperor), did not occur until we come to Paul’s final ‘farewell words’ in Acts 28:25-28….and even two years later we find him at Rome, pounding on the Jewish door awaiting the sad time when God would say ‘stop’!
The abrupt ending of Book of Acts while still most of the apostles were alive, became a signal in itself: Israel is no longer offered the kingdom of God, and the mission has been called off, Israel sat aside (for later on to be scattered) and will have to face the soon coming penalty of being destroyed by (Matt. 22:7) the angry King’s army and have its grand city Jerusalem burnt down!
The words of Ezek. 36:19 were to be fulfilled:
“And I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries (Notice plural, which means that the prophecy was not of Babylon, but the world otherwise); according to their conduct and their (evil) deeds I judged and punished them.”
Words fully in accordance with the warnings of Jesus, Peter, John and Paul.
Israel’s destruction was ‘crowned’ with the fulfillment of the prophesy of Moses in Deut. 28:68 – testified by General Josephus in his story of the Jewish War:
“And the Lord shall bring you into Egypt again with ships by the way of which I said to you, You shall never see it again. And there you shall be sold to your enemies as bondmen and bondwomen, but no man shall buy you.”
This same prophesy was later confirmed by Hosea – see Hos. 8:13. And it happened in 70-71 AD when as a result of this the slave market in Alexandria was collapsing, and the Romans had to turn them loose again. All men from the age of seventeen were sent to Egypt on ships, only a few thousand of them ended in Rome as prisoners of war and to be cast into the Gladiator arenas and a painful death.
THE DISPENSATION OF THE CHURCH CAME
SHORTLY AFTER ISRAEL FELL FROM GOD.
Even if we find the destruction of Israel in 70 AD (in September 10) one must conclude that their actual fall from God happened at the confrontation between God’s apostle Paul and the Jewish leaders in Rome in 62 AD at the latest.
The Word of God allows for a time marginal between the verdict and the execution and realization of the verdict given. Just as we see in the justice systems of the World. Only, in the case of Israel we find no Appeal margin. The verdict had fallen from the Supreme Court of God Almighty!
It was this year that Paul wrote the epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, as a direct result of God’s revelation of the mystery to Paul.
In the Ephesians we find for the first time an entirely new hope of salvation not revealed in earlier times: The Epiouranos salvation, Greek for ‘Heaven above the heavens’.
Even if this kind of salvation has ‘existed’ in God before it was revealed to mankind – it had in times past not been offered to any man. No longer is it the earthly Kingdom of God which is the believer’s great hope – no, it was now an entirely new kind of hope, heaven where Christ resides in glory and power.
“Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come. 22: And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church, 23: Which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all.” Eph. 1:21-23.
“Because of the hope laid up for you in HEAVEN. Of this you heard in the past in the message of the truth of the Gospel, 6: Which has come to you. Indeed, in the whole world (whole Empire, not the globe)is bearing fruit and still is growing, even as it has done among yourselves ever since the day you first heard and came to know and understand the grace of God in truth.” Col. 1:5, 6.
May blessing be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm!” Eph. 1:3.
These are but a few selected quotes and highlights of Paul’s enthusiastic efforts in describing this fantastic new hope of heaven. But one thing is certain: Never has such a high hope and high calling been presented to mankind at any time.
It is this particular ‘Christ image’ we are told to believe and to follow. Paul’s Christ; He Who first called His own people, the Jews, but gave up on them after over 30 years of trying to offer them the Kingdom of God on earth because they first rejected Him. And after that final rejection in Acts 28:25-28 Jesus turned to us Gentiles and offered us, not the Kingdom of God, but heaven up above the heavens, where Christ now sits at the Father’s right hand in His might and power.
The formal explanation of that revelation of a mystery hid in God can be found in Eph. 3:1-9 and Col. 1:25, 26; we are an elect number of individuals as well as a particular group of believers – just as explained in Eph. 1:4:
“Even as He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy”.
Let us read the ‘Arch Explanation’ of the Mystery revealed to Paul for us:
Eph. 3:1-9: “For this reason I, Paul, am the prisoner of Jesus the Christ for the sake and on behalf of you Gentiles – 2: Assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was entrusted to me for your benefit, 3: that the mystery (secret) was made known to me and I was allowed to comprehend it by direct revelation, as I already (see my quotes above) briefly wrote you. 4: When you read this you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ. 5: This mystery WAS NEVER DISCLOSED TO HUMAN BEINGS IN PAST GENERATIONS as it has NOW (62 AD, Paul in Rome) been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6: That the Gentiles are now (unlike before, when they only could be proselytes) to be fellow heirs, members of the same body and joint partakers in the same divine promise in Christ through the glad tidings. 7: Of this (Gospel, not earlier revealed to mankind) I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s free grace which was bestowed on me by the exercise of His power. 8: To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was granted and graciously entrusted: to proclaim to the Gentiles the (Gospel of) unending riches of Christ. 9: Also to enlighten all men and make plain to them what is the plan of the mystery kept hidden through the ages and concealed until now in God Who created all things by Christ Jesus.”
Col. 1:25, 26 is backing up this great new Pauline revelation, given for the new dispensation, the church, the Body of Christ:
“In it (the church dispensation) I became a minister in accordance with the divine stewardship which was entrusted to me for you, to make the Word of God fully known (in other translations: Fulfill, conclude the Word of God). 26: The mystery of which was hidden for ages and generations, but is now revealed to His holy people.”
It is important to note especially the time of the revelation Paul was given for this new grace dispensation: It was ‘NOW’ – that is, this revelation was triggering Paul into writing Ephesians and Colossians, and have the message distributed around in the Empire. The ‘NOW’ in Ephesians and Colossians, was 62 AD – the same year in which we find the fall of Israel.
This secret mystery and revelation was kept hidden in God Himself the entire timeline of Old Testament as well as almost the entire New Testament, until God in 62 AD revealed it to Paul when he sat imprisoned in Rome, as the fall of Israel became a fact. Out of this we find the new dispensation of the church and the free grace salvation with heaven as the new hope, emerged and was preached throughout the Roman Empire.
The church is thus NOT replacing Israel – but rather, we are operating with our kind of Gospel in lack of Israel. Their absence is the reason for our presence.
Israel failed to accept their calling as a nation for God in a millennial Kingdom promised; so God turned then to the whole world and offered us His unmerited grace by faith in Christ. Not for a Kingdom, but for heaven up above!
The church can be found present in the world only as long as Israel is not taken back to God as His elect nation above all other nations.
Almost 2000 years have passed since the church dispensation was organized by Paul. But this is soon to end, as one day God shall call up for Himself Israel by sending Elijah from heaven to first punish and smite them for their long resistance of Christ, and for having profaned His name among the gentile people which they have lived among all these centuries (Ezek. 36).
Notice again that in the era with the four Gospels and the Book of Acts – 29 AD to 62 AD – Jesus described a segregation, a fence, a wall of partition was standing between Gentiles and Jews as in Matt. 23:33 and Mark 12:1.
But once we get to Paul’s new revelation, the dispensation of the church in Eph. 2:14, 15 this very same wall was taken down. Jews and Gentiles are now equal in the faith. Col. 3:11 declares to us in fact that we are all considered as the nations – including Israel. There is no Jews, no Greek, no nothing….
This group of believers which the Law and it’s ordinances was given to, Israel, as soon as they had fallen from God there was no longer any relevance in preaching New Covenant to them. God sat aside the Kingdom offered to them.
This Kingdom of God in Israel shall be offered to them again, but it will be done in the Great Tribulation to come. Matt. 24:14.
Today – as we have still the dispensation of the church, the ‘One New Man’ in Christ, there are no ‘Jews first, then Greek’ – for the Jews lost their elevated status with God in the same instance as they fell from Him in 62 AD in Acts 28:25-28.
THE NEW COVENANT, ABORTED WHEN ISRAEL
FELL, SHALL BE OFFERED TO THEM AGAIN.
God will, as I mentioned above, re-open His offer to the Jews to have the promised Kingdom of God on earth in the end-times. This means of course He will re-open the offer to them of the New Covenant for Jews and proselytes.
To learn of this coming event we have to turn to the prophesies in Ezek. 36 – as well as others.
To start off this period to call up Israel again as His nation segregated and sat above all nations, He shall send Elijah and also Moses – seen as the two witnesses in Rev. 11. Elijah shall appear to Israel in the land before the day of the Lord – that is, before the Great Tribulation. (More of this in this book’s last chapter).
The two will see to it that the tribal system will be set up according to Rev. 7.
Ref. to Mal. 4 and Matt. 17:11 – which in the latter we find that Elijah ‘does come and will get EVERYTHING RESTORED AND READY.” It is also interesting to learn that Malachi 4 mention Moses and the Law in the same breath as Elijah! And Matt. 17 has established precedence for these two prophets to operate together as a team. (See also my article “The End-Time Destruction of Israel and Jerusalem Foretold by Moses” in this website, under ‘Bible Prophesy’).
Compare Matt. 17:11 with Acts 1:6 – the disciples asking Jesus about the restoring and reestablishing of Israel, a question Jesus did not deny the truth of, which means: The Kingdom will be coming one day, and the restoration shall take place.
To be able to get Israel restored before God properly, He sends His two special ‘Generals of War’ Moses together with Elijah to smite and punish and in doing this – enforcing Israel to accept Jesus or else…..
This time it is not the ‘..acceptable year of the Lord’ in Is. 61:2a; this time it is ‘the day of vengeance of our God’, in Is. 61:2b. This is fully in line with Scripture, particularly that of Ezek. 36, which actually speaks of vengeance as the motif for punishing and smiting Israel in the end-times.
In Revelation book, we find these plagues and punishments described mainly in the Seven Sevens: Seven Seals, Seven Trumpets and Seven Bowls, plus the three Birth Pangs, starting in Rev. 6 and on.
These Seven Sevens are fully in line with, and even exceeds Rev. in that Moses said that there would come upon them incredible unimaginable plagues and horrors, of which none was written in the Book of the Law. When reading Rev. 11, we find that the two witnesses were given an extremely high level of war-power – for it says sternly and in a judgmental way:
“These witnesses have POWER TO SHUT UP THE SKY, so that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying (3 ½ year); and they also HAVE POWER TO TURN THE WATERS (in Israel) INTO BLOOD and to smite and scourge THE EARTH (land of Israel only) WITH ALL MANNER OF PLAGUES AS OFTEN AS THEY CHOOSE.” Rev. 11:6.
Moses’ prophesy of plagues, which not even was written in his Book of the Law (see Deut. 28:61 – followed contextually by verse 62 of their reduction to but a small remnant; same as Zech. 13:8 says) are covered by these words from John in Rev. 11:6, as well as the peculiar words in verse 5, of fire consuming the enemies, who attacks the witnesses obviously:
“And if anyone (it implies that there will actually be those who attack them) attempts to injure them, FIRE POURS FROM THEIR MOUTH AND CONSUME THEIR ENEMIES: if anyone should attempt to harm them, thus he is doomed to be slain.”
What Scripture as a whole is saying in these passages, is: Beware Israel! Be sure to repent when Elijah and Moses appear in the land of Zionist-Israel, you ungodly lot, profaners of Christ, for if you do not obey this time, you will be utterly destroyed in the greatest destruction ever to come upon you in all your history!
God sends the two witnesses to start the Great Tribulation, and to ‘administrate’ it during the first half of the seven year period of the tribulation. In Mid-Trib we find the two getting themselves killed by anti-Christ, ref. Rev. 11:7-9.
To be able to grasp the truth of what really is going to take place in the Great Tribulation, and not the least WHY – we have to read Ezek. 36 – for in the chapter we have it all.
Ezek. 36 speak of the revenge coming from Christ because the Jews in their dispersion since 70 AD have used the centuries to profane and scoffing Jesus – which we have overwhelming proof of in their Babylonian Talmud scriptures. The written Pharisaic doctrine, which in the time of Jesus and the apostles only existed as mutual doctrine, came about in 500 AD the scholars says.
Ezekiel had this foreknowledge about the Israeli future and their restoration through the Great Tribulation.
And he also saw how God would establish the New Covenant and give them the Holy Ghost so they would be empowered to keep the Law.
Let’s see what Ezek. 36 says.
And before reading, be aware of Ezekiel’s ministry. He was one of the priests in the tournament-system of the Temple of God. But God had him sent super-naturally over to Babylon to reprove the Jews in their exile. He was sent there in a ‘God’s UFO’ manned by His angels (Ezek. 1).
When the prophet speaks of Israel’s coming tribulation and cleansing, he opens with what happened in 70 AD – and we shall notice that while he was sent but to one particular nation, Babylon, in his ministry, he turns over into plural tense when speaking about the end-time tribulation: Referring to what the Jews had been doing among the nations, and not the nation. Very important! In other words, Ezek. 36 has no connection with the prophesies concerning Babylon late 500 BC.
Esek. 36:19, 22-27:
“And I scattered them among the NATIONS (plural), and they were dispersed through the countries; according to their conduct (see Luke 13 and Matt. 22:7) and their deeds I judged and punished them. 22: Therefore say to the house of Israel (to whom is this command addressed? Answer: The two witnesses in Rev. 11. They shall repeat this prophesy of punishments), thus says the Lord God: I do not do this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which YOU HAVE PROFANED AMONG THE NATIONS TO WHICH YOU WENT. 23: And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name (Christ Jesus!) and separate it for its holy purpose from all that defiles it – My name, which has been profaned among them – and the nations will know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord when I shall be set apart by you and My holiness vindicated in you before their (the Gentile nations) eyes and yours (Israel). 24: For I will take you from among the nations and gather you out of all the countries AND BRING YOU INTO YOUR OWN LAND.(Here we see for the first time how Israel will be lawfully theirs, after first being smitten by the Lord. The gathering spoken of here, is the same as Matt. 24:31and 2 Thess.2:1). 25: Then I will sprinkle clean water upon you (the Word of Christ preached by Christ), and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness; and from all your idols will I cleanse you. 26: (Here comes the New Covenant’s Holy Ghost infilling again) A new heart will I give you and a NEW SPIRIT (Holy Ghost) will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27: And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall heed My ordinances and do them.”
I recommend to you to read for yourself the rest of the chapter.
So, we see here that it is only when Jesus arrives Israel from heaven, that the nation can inherit the land lawfully. Their establishing of a nation in Palestine in 1948 through the UN-mandate was not a move from God, but of Satan. Through that move Satan created his anti-Christ scheme by having an entire nation working against Christ, and opening up for a false messiah-type, the one we find is called Antichrist in the Bible.
When learning from Ezek. 36 that the scattered Jews profaned the name of Jesus Christ from ‘Day One’ (verse 20) – and continuously up through the centuries without pause – then we also learn that the claims set forth by the Christian Zionists are false. They are propagating a Zionist-Israel which is already taken back by God, and their national project since 1948 thus being a result of God’s blessing upon the nation. No, says Ezekiel, the wrath of God has rested upon them all of the time since 70 AD, for they have profaned Jesus’ name continually since then. For which a final judgment is coming upon them in the Great Tribulation. There is not one chance that God in this time span from 70 AD until now, of Israel having been taken back as a nation under God’s blessing.
Christian-Zionism is a move of the devil and of men; it is not of the Lord. It is another matter though, that God foresaw this land-theft and the anti-Christ plans.
But foreseeing is not the same as acknowledging what He foresaw. Understand?
Ezekiel 36:32 gives us a blunt word of the Lords disliking over the entire behavior of Israel in their days of being Christ-rejecters – even if He now sees that they are once again a nation for Him:
“Not for your sake (Israel) do I do this, says the Lord God; let that be known to you. BE ASHAMED AND CONFOUNDED FOR YOUR WICKED WAYS, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL.”
It is as if the Lord says to them: Don’t you ever try doing this again! No more!!
I believe that the same Lord, Christ Jesus, in Whom we believe and love, has great antipathy with Christian-Zionism anywhere. Or how would you have reacted if you found that those who called themselves your friend, and loved you, went about in companionship with those who said they hate you?
Because that is the case with Christian-Zionists: The say they love Jesus, they love Israel and so on. But what they are doing is to support and encourage the Lord’s worst thinkable enemies on earth, those who have been profaning His name all over the world continuously since 70 AD! Those who have a Babylonian Talmud scripture in which Jesus is defamed and profaned as a son of a whore, Miriam (Mary), as she had intercourse with a Roman centurion; and Jesus is said to be suffering the torment of hell boiling in hot excrement.
When a Christian has no proper knowledge in the Word of God rightly divided, he will most often find himself turning the whole Bible upside down.
In the days of the Millennial Kingdom in Israel to come, the wall of partition between Jews and regular Gentiles will be back up again. It will be a ‘Them’ and an ‘Us’, like we see in Zech. 8:23:
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men out of all languages of the nations shall take hold of the robe (a priests robe) of him who is a Jew, saying, Let us go with you for we have heard THAT GOD IS WITH YOU.”
ERROR IN THE BIBLE TRANSLATIONS
RESULTS IN MUCH MISINTERPRETATION.
This topic is much too vast to be fully taught in this little book of mine. It would have to be written volumes to exhort believers in all the errors of our Bible translations. If you feel capable, please go on with such a project!
I shall try to deal with a few of these. Those which I consider important to be able to read and understand the Bible rightly divided.
We must learn also to know that in the post-apostolic time, there existed no group or singular persons that was ‘Anointed of God’ (as it was with Peter and Paul) to write His Word.
The committees has been sat up and governed by regular Christian believers of various degrees of knowledge and education. But that is all. And that is why it is each and every Christian believer’s duty – if he has capacity and knowledge – to speak his mind correcting errors. Our apostle Paul, through the role-model of Titus and Timothy (for our sake) exhorts us to act and preach with corrections, reproving false doctrine, as well as strengthening and consoling the saints of our day.
I will try to deal with the following words from Greek, and the doubtful way these words have been translated.
1. COSMOS, meaning all that is created, the universe, earth, nations and civilizations etc
2. AION, meaning timespan, era, periodical ages – for instance the coming millennial era for Israel
3. ECCLESIA, meaning the called out ones – groups which are gathered for a given cause whether secular or Christian
4. EVANGELION, means a glad tiding or good news, whether secular or Christian.
My experience is of course mostly influenced by the Norwegian translations, but I also have some knowledge in the English ones – perhaps enough to at least deal with these four words in particular.
THE COSMOS WORD.
This often occurs and causes error regarding which area, place, land, or whether global or local, in many Bible verses where for instance the Lord is quoted as He sent His apostles to preach, or when reading prophesy of certain things to happen at a certain land or place, like in the Revelation.
Let us look at Acts 1:8 for a starter:
“….and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.”
This is the favorite verse often added to the Great Commission, Matt. 28:19, 20.
The ends (bounds) of the COSMOS – should in this case read: To the whole land of Israel – to its uttermost boundaries. Everywhere in Israel: Jerusalem first, then all of Judea and don’t forget Samaria…..
If we follow Jesus’ intentions right, in that He first speak of two Roman Provinces, Judea with its city Jerusalem and Samaria, – but do not mention all the other small provinces in the land, which were: Galilee, Decapolis, Idumea, Nabataea, Ituraea, Traconitis and Perea, and probably also Phoenicia where Jesus healed the heathen woman’s daughter (Matt. 15:24) in the village Tyre by the sea. Jesus simply made it shortly and efficient instead of listing up all those small Provinces. He was very aware of that His disciples knew exactly what He meant. But Biblically illiterate Gentile Christians like us have much strife in knowing all this. The disciples knew that the preaching of the Kingdom of God was only for the land of Israel within its natural borders, and not outside in the Gentile nations/Provinces.
The Book of Acts bear testimony to that truth – and Peter when explaining his message to the gentiles in Cornelius’ house said of their mission: ‘He charged us to go preach to the Jewish people…” (Acts 10:42) – and before that, Peter had already told Cornelius’ assembly, ‘You know the contents of the message which He sent to Israel (not outside, to Gentiles)…” (v. 36).
In Hebrew we learn that cosmos has a cousin, Ge – as in geography – meaning soil, land, ground, place, etc. – dependent of the context entirely.
Matthew was written in Hebrew. When reading of Jesus speaking of the waste dung in southern part of Jerusalem, called Gahanna, the Hebrew word Ge was used to tell that this was a ‘place’ on earth, which was in Jerusalem, and the rest of the name ‘Hanna’ was the actual name. We could call it ‘The Hanna Place’ or as in Norwegian Bibles ‘Hinnoms Dal’ which means the valley of Hinnom (or Hanna). This little valley is today named Wadi-er-Rababi, and in Old Testament times the place was used for idolatry and sacrifice rituals to the god Moloch (at the time of Manassas). In the days of Jesus the place was a perpetually burning dung of all kinds of waste, and He used this ill smelling and smoke-filled place to warn the Jews that they would risk being cast down there if the nation did not receive Him as their Messiah. And so it also happened, when Rome massacred Jerusalem in 70 AD and cast a great number of dead bodies on the dung, which burnt. Peter warned of the same massacre in Acts 3:23 – pointing back to Moses in Deut. 18:15-19.
What a blunder it is to just let every common man interpret the passage in Acts 1:8 and Matt. 28:19, 20 – without putting an understandable specific verbal ‘Road Map’ in there, so the poor readers can read –“You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the borders of the land of Israel cosmos.”
Peter did not lie when he spoke to the little flock in Cornelius’ house telling them that the message they had been commissioned to preach, was a message SENT TO ISRAEL, and that they had been commanded to go and preach it TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE IN THE LAND – for Peter had no idea of God allowing them to have fellowship with Gentiles. They were totally shocked and astonished, says Acts 11:1.
Now, dear fellow believers, don’t you rather think that if the translating Boards and Committees were chosen and anointed by God or/and the Holy Ghost, such blunt and obvious faults would never occur? I do. So, obviously those Committees will have to face reproving and exhortation like this, and more. They are believers in Christ like you and I, but that is not the same as having been specially anointed or chosen by God for such a task. No, it is but an ordinary flock of various scholars and ministers and laymen trying to do their best. That is all. It was obviously not enough! We have to shape up things.
For we will have to admit that there is a grave difference between ‘going out into all the world’ – and just ‘going out in all of Israel’, don’t we?
Often it occurs to me that such an entity as these translation committees can be likened with a Clockmaker. They are skilled in the craft of making that complicated clockwork which turns around the arms of the clock disc. And yet – it seems to me that these skilled craftsmen are not able to read the time on the clock disc, which is the whole idea of making a clock in the first place!
Let’s have a look upon how things can go askew when cosmos is translated in error in Revelation, chapter 6:15, 16 –
“Then the kings of the earth and their noblemen and their magnates and their military chiefs and the wealthy and the strong and slave or free hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16: And they called to the mountains and the rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him Who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.”
The kings of the earth?
In this case, luckily so, Scripture explains Scripture…even if it should not have been like that. But as we find Jesus stumbling His painful way up Via Dolorosa for His crucifixion – He answers back to the crowd of weeping women, Luke 23:28, 30 – telling them and proving to you and I that these scared people of Rev. 6 calling to the mountains to fall upon them to hide them, were the future Israelis in the Great Tribulation –
“..daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29: For behold, THE DAYS ARE COMING during which they will say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the breasts that have never nursed! 30: Then they will begin to say to the MOUNTAINS, FALL ON US! AND TO THE HILLS, COVER US!”
Jesus told them: 1. Weep for yourselves. This was the present generation which was destroyed by the war in 70 AD. 2. Weep for your children. These were the descendants of the Jews, which will eventually be punished as God sends the Great Tribulation against Zionist-Israel, and which I quoted from Rev. 6:15, 16 when the horror reaches its climax.
These kings and noblemen in Rev. 6 are the Jewish leaders in the government ruled by Antichrist – and most probably the ‘Kings’ (Governors I believe) are each one leader of a false new tribal-system in Israel, sectioning up the land in small provinces, just like it was after Joshua took Canaan and later on had the tribes owning their piece of land. These end-time ‘Kings’ in Revelation are found in Rev. 17:7 as the ‘Ten horns’ and in verse 12 the angel tells John that these horns are actually men, kings (governors, rulers) together with the beast, Antichrist.
These kings and also their servants (slaves?) and many people in Israel will head for the hills to hide them, and the caves for shelter – for the wrath of the Lamb of God, Christ just before His coming; and He will punish them with fire and judgments of great horror. See 2 Thess. 1:6-10.
It is a grave difference between ‘Kings of the earth’ and the real actual scenery when we learn that these are only rulers in Israel, in the Great Tribulation.
Norway is sectioned into 20 Counties (we call them Fylke). One of the larger counties is the Hedmark Fylke, north of Oslo. That county is slightly bigger than Israel today. The event told of these kings and noblemen trying to find shelter for the fire and judgment coming from Christ in His second advent, is but a local phenomenon compared to the smallness of Israel. And this local occurrence is blown up into gigantic proportions – the entire world, and kings and royalty on the entire globe will head for the hills and desperately seek shelter in caves and in mountains for the Great Tribulation!
Such a way of reading the Bible is totally ‘Bananas’.
It is of utmost importance that we learn to read the Bible in proper contexts and also manage to remove erroneous translations of particular words and expressions, like I have told you here.
And to pursue this topic, cosmos being used to translate as ‘All the world’ – we take a brief look on Rev. 13:3 and 8: (speaking of the Beast, Antichrist)
“…and the whole earth went after the beast in amazement and admiration.”
8: And all the inhabitants of the earth will fall down in adoration and pay him homage….”
It is certainly not the whole population on earth who will follow the beast, Antichrist. It is Israel only, and they shall believe that he is their long awaited Messiah king, prophesied in the Bible.
And I could keep on and on like this showing to you how the Bible is very defected regarding proper translations of many passages. Cosmos in Greek should have been translated ‘the land, Israel’ – and the same is a fact when reading Matt. 5:5 the Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth!”
No they will not! Jesus spoke of the ‘Promised Land’ – Israel – the earlier Canaan given them by the promises all the way back to Abraham in Gen. 12 and 15. Israel was promised to inherit the land, which is the ground Israel now occupies in the Middle-East. And this shall be extended somewhat, according to prophesy.
Every time you read such words and passages, you have to ask yourself, Is it global, national or local/domestic? COSMOS can be all of these – but the context is the key to understanding what the Bible is speaking of.
THE AION WORD (in Hebrew it is Olam).
In that we know that all Gospels and also Acts deals only with the hope of salvation which was the Kingdom of God on earth, the millennial reign of Christ, then we will also be aware of the fact that when Jesus spoke of ‘Eternity’ or ‘Eternal life’ or ‘Everlasting life’ – His speech was the Olam (in the Hebrew Matthew) and Aion in all Greek writings.
In other words, when Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of heaven to come – He only spoke of ‘Aion life’ – that is ‘Life in the Millennial Kingdom lasting for one thousand years’. In Jewish culture and religion there never existed any such ‘Unending time’ as we often mean when we speak of salvation. They taught only of the ages in which God had promised them blessings through the prophets.
Dan. 2:44 is likewise translated in error:
“And in the days of these kings (see Rev. 17:12) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people (than Daniel’s, the Jews); but it shall break and crush and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever.”
No it shall not! It shall stand for the prophesied number of years which is one thousand years – which falls in with the time in which we find God locking up the devil, Satan, in the Abyss jail (Rev.20:1-3). The devil has to be jailed in order to keep the entire earth free of wars and other evils in the days of Christ’s reign as king in Jerusalem.
In this coming kingdom it will be, in the matter of punishment for sin, those who eventually dies at an age of 100 years, die as a young person (Is. 65:20).
Man’s lifetime will be like the tree, says Isaiah 65:22 – thus anticipating a millennia just like many of the early Bible people before the time of the flood.
It is about this type of aion life – the millennial blessings for Israel –that Paul wrote 1 Cor. 15 as well as 1 Thess. 4. God shall resurrect and rapture the Jewish tribulation saints into an Aion life, a life with Christ on earth for one thousand years. Understand?
We do not find any hope of the heaven up there with Christ, before we come to Paul writing the epistle to the Ephesians in 62 AD. Corinthians and Thessalonians were written about 53 AD and 54-55 AD. God had at that time still going His prophetic program for Israel’s salvation in the New Covenant, having the apostles preaching the Kingdom to Israel.
In Eph. 1-3 chapters we are introduced to – not Aion life – but Epiouranos life; a life in ‘Heaven up above the heavens’. Nobody had ever heard of this salvation before Paul was let in on God’s hidden mystery, His well-kept secret of us chosen in Christ before the creation of the world.
After the fall of Israel seen in Acts 28:25-28, God could no longer offer the Jews the New Covenant deal including the promised Messianic kingdom. He sat aside the entire kingdom-program, and instead He chose to reveal His secret to Paul, of a group of believers in Christ chosen to sit with Christ in heaven.
The three first chapters of Ephesians deals with this all-new doctrine of salvation by faith. From that time up to our day, there has been no Kingdom of God on earth offered to anyone, be it Jews or Gentiles. The program was suspended in its entirety. It shall be brought back again (Matt. 24:14).
Only after God revealed His secret to Paul of this new salvation after the fall of Israel in 62 AD, is it right to think of the ‘Eternal life’ in this context as literally so. It is never-ending and has no pause or stop or anything. It is actually without end. But the saints living under the first era of the apostles, had the Kingdom of God on earth offered to them, and that was an era to last for only one thousand years. This is a fact.
THE ECCLESIA WORD.
In both the Norwegian as well as the English translations this Greek word is translated ‘Church’ or ‘Churches’ or ‘Assembly’ – with very few exceptions.
So thus we know that Ecclesia are used both secular as well as in Christian assemblies/churches. Even where it could better have been translated ‘Synagogue’ – many translations are still saying ‘Church’.
The huge multitude gathered as a raging mob in the outdoor theatre in Ephesus (Acts 19) was 20 000 people, and yet the word for this non-Christian assembly of people going against Paul, is Ecclesia.
The assembly at Antioch in Syria is likewise Ecclesia (Acts 13).
I read a remark made by another Bible scholar who said it like this:
“If one used the Greek word ‘Ecclesia’ the way many translators are doing, we could end up as a matter of fact with calling the infamous and feared ‘Die Geheime Staatspolizei’ (Gestapo) of Hitler, for ‘The Church’.”
I have to agree on that. The way many just throws this word around them, is reckless and nonchalant.
Our translators should learn the noble art of directing their translations better; calling an assembly of Jews, like those at Antioch, for ‘Synagogue’ and even the assemblies of Paul and of Peter in the early days could perhaps better be called Synagogues and not Church. Even if there were proselytes present.
Only since the fall of Israel in Acts 28:25-28 in 62 AD, did God drop away the wall of partition between them, and made Jew and Gentile into ‘One New Man’ in the faith. Then they could call such assemblies for Church.
I could – just to be diplomatic – suggest that the Acts-assemblies could be called ‘Messianic Church’ and thus indicate that we read about a Jewish assembly with its proselytes, and not the actual Church like it became since Paul got the new revelation from Christ about the ‘One New Man’ and Jew and Gentile sat on equal level in the faith.
Well, this issue I managed to keep in short. But I think I have made my point.
Ask yourself whenever you read the word ‘Church’ in the New Testament, if this is a Messianic assembly, or a segregated Jewish Synagogue, or the Church of the free grace believers given heaven up above as their hope.
THE EVANGELION WORD
This is most often translated ‘Gospel’ even if it is actually meaning ‘Good news’ or if you wish, ‘Glad Tidings’.
It is used both in secular and in Christian vocabulary.
This word cannot stand alone, but it need to be added the contextual links so that we may clearly understand that we are talking of the Gospel of the Kingdom (as it were in Acts period 32 to 62 AD) or the Grace Gospel (as it became after Paul got revealed to him the mystery, from 62 AD and up to our day).
Here is an example of the word evangelion translated, in same manner, and still – these are two different Gospels:
Acts. 13:32: “So now we are bringing you the Gospel of what God promised to our forefathers.”
Eph. 3:8: “…to proclaim to the Gentiles the Gospel of the unsearchable riches of Christ.”
The one in Acts 13:32 was the New Covenant to Israel and proselytes, the Gospel OF WHAT GOD PROMISED TO OUR FOREFATHERS. What promise? The promise of a Kingdom in which Messiah should reign and the men of Israel should minister as God’s Royal priesthood. See Ex. 19:5, 6.
This was the Kingdom-Gospel and not our Grace Gospel.
But the one in Eph. 3:8 is our Grace Gospel – based on the unsearchable riches of Christ: This Gospel and this salvation cannot be found (searched) in any Scripture, before Paul heralded it by writing Ephesians and Colossians. It had previously been hid in God, not spoken to anyone and had been so from before the creation of the world.
Luckily we find that in these two passages, the translators have done their job, and told us WHAT Gospel it means. We can distinguish between the two –in that one was beforehand promised the forefathers of Israel, and could therefore not be a Gospel connected to what God had kept secret within Himself.
The other, the unsearchable riches of Christ – was a Gospel not earlier revealed to anyone, because it had been and still is, unsearchable what the Scriptures are concerned. Not until Paul was in Rome in 62 AD, was this Gospel revealed for the first time since before the creation of the world.
The latter has a different hope than that given Israel: Heaven above the heavens. While the first had only the hope (for Israel) of a Kingdom of God on earth for one thousand years. Not bad, but it faints compared to the Gospel we have been given, it promises us heaven where Christ now resides with God His Father.
Reading also Eph. 2:12 of the exclusion and shutting-out of us Gentiles from the PROMISE, and from the COVENANTS of Israel, makes it impossible that we ever could be partakers of the promise first given to the forefathers of Israel. The promise and the covenants referred to in Eph. 2:12 are the promise of the millennial kingdom for Israel with their Messiah, and the covenants referred to are of course the Mosaic Law as well as the New Covenant to Israel, the better pact, and only offered to those who first had made transgressions under the Mosaic Law, says Paul in Hebr. 9:15.
The Kingdom-Gospel was based upon the promise: The New Covenant in the blood of Jesus for Israel. This was preached the 30 some years as reported in Acts.
But the Grace-Gospel given Paul for us, had its start from the moment Paul was given the said revelation of the mystery (Eph. 3:1-9; Col. 1:25, 26) – and can be offered to the world only as long as God is not dealing with Israel as a nation for Him. They fell from God in Acts 28:25-28 as I wrote above – and thus He suspended and ended the Kingdom-Gospel and the New Covenant. These things will not be re-introduced to Israel before God has ended the dispensation of the Church. In Matt. 24:14 we find the re-opening of the offer to Israel of the Kingdom and the New Covenant. It will be offered them by the two witnesses in Rev. 11.
So, again – same principle as with the three other Greek words we have looked upon, we have to ask ourselves WHICH GOSPEL, when we read New Testament Scripture.
THE HOPE OF THE CHURCH IS
UP IN HEAVEN WITH CHRIST.
When God had excluded Israel from His covenants as we learn of their fall in Acts 28:25-28, we came to a boundary.
It is all very clear when we compare what doctrine there was preached before the fall of Israel, with that after their fall.
When Israel – like in the time line with Book of Acts – was God’s elect nation above all other nations, and Gentile believers had to become proselytes under the arrangement given Paul for them, many Messianic Churches were established in the Empire. Reading Acts, we learn that there was a particularly great number of proselytes with the Messianic Jews at Corinth, Ephesus, and for not to mention throughout Galatia. Think of the mentioned great number at Ephesus (Acts 19) – plus the flying start granted Paul in Galatia in Acts 13-14. The report of the latter is positive reading:
“And when the (Gentile) proselytes heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the word of God; and as many as were destined to eternal (aion) life believed. 49: And so the Word of the Lord scattered and spread throughout the whole region.” Acts 13:48, 49.
Paul, later writing to the Romans, said of his Churches, in which there was Jews and proselytes together, and called his assemblies ‘the churches of the proselytes (Gentiles)’ – even if they were a mixed flock. This, because the contingent of proselytes grew to certain proportions many places (Rom. 16:4).
The writings to these assemblies by Paul is called for ‘Acts-epistles’ for the simple reason that those epistles were written in the time period that Acts reports from, and thus the epistles were always New Covenant doctrine to Israel and proselytes. All the other writers in the same time period wrote with same contents in them – the New Covenant doctrine to Israel.
The time line was from 43 AD as we read of Paul and Barnabas going to Galatia in Acts 13, up until we find Paul in Rome in 62 AD pounding on the partially closed door of Jewry, Acts 28:31; nineteen years in ministry as a ‘Servant of a New Covenant to Israel’ (2 Cor. 3:6).
In Gal. 6:16 we find Paul calling such believers for ‘Israel of God’.
I can assure you all that the ‘Israel of God’ by no means is the Church of the ‘One New Man’ in Eph. 2:15! I hope you comprehend this properly.
In Matt. 24:30, 31; 1 Thess. 4:14-18 and 1 Cor. 15 it is first pointed out by Jesus, then Paul, how God by the parousia of Christ (His second advent) shall gather all the Messianic believers on earth and rapture them up in clouds into the air – and then He will fly them (the angels are doing this) to Israel together with those He first resurrected – and they will find themselves as members of the established Kingdom of God on earth serving under Christ for one thousand years.
The apostolic assemblies inside Israel (Peter’s domain) and those in the Empire outside of Israel (Paul’s domain) expected to enter the Kingdom on earth as soon as Israel could be considered as fully repented and baptized.
Peter wrote of this hope: “Who are being guarded by God’s power through your faith till you fully inherit that final salvation that is ready to be revealed for you in the last time.” 1 Pet. 1:5.
But all of this was called off because of the severe fall of Israel when Paul sat jailed in Rome. The New Covenant with its hope of the Kingdom on earth for Jews and proselytes was entirely suspended, no question about that!
The existing believers everywhere, whether those under Peter or those under Paul, were automatically taken in under the new revealed dispensation given to Paul for us: They were granted the new hope of the Epiouranos salvation (Heaven up above the heavens).
The epistles to Ephesians and Colossians are re-educational by nature, and Paul relates to what he had taught them when preaching the Kingdom and the New Covenant to them, but now pointing to the ‘Mystery’ revealed, the new dispensation of the Grace of God (Eph. 3:1-9; Col. 1:25, 26).
In Col. 3:1-4 Paul is charging the grace-believers everywhere to set their minds and thoughts on heaven up above, and no longer think of the Kingdom he had preached to them earlier.
“And set your minds and keep them set on what is above, not on the things that are on the earth.” (v. 2).
Compare this with Matt. 5:5 and Jesus promising Israel’s believers to ‘Inherit the land’ – and we will have to admit that these are two different doctrines. Paul’s is for the heaven up above the heavens, but Jesus spoke of the Kingdom in Israel at His second advent.
From the point of the epistle to the Ephesians we no longer find Paul speaking in plural tense when mentioning the Church. It is from then on only in singular, ‘The Body of Christ’, the ‘One New Man’, ‘The Church which is His Body’ and so on; always singular tense. This is how God sees us, the Body of Christ. We are one Church, destined for heaven up above. Even if we can gather in groups and fellowships worldwide, we are still considered being ‘One Body’ (Eph. 4:4).
This can only mean one thing only: God sees us as already gathered with Christ in heaven, once and for all, and all which is left to achieve is to physically experience that which is our position with Christ. It is our hope.
In Col. 3:11 Paul teaches us that Jews and Gentiles is no longer an issue – for in this dispensation all believers are equal and Christ is therefore all in all. Jews in the faith are now only considered as one among all the other nations, and not above other nations. They fell from that position, remember.
Col. 2:19: “…holding fast to the Head (Christ), from Whom the entire BODY, supplied and knit together by means of its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.”
Col. 3:15: “And let the peace from Christ rule in your hearts to which as ONE BODY you were also called. And be thankful.”
Added to these, we receive the arch-typical exhortations in Eph. 5 and Col. 3 to stay away from sinful living and any mischief of this world.
The Church dispensation has a calling which says we were chosen in Christ BEFORE the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4) – and was in God’s mind and thoughts/plans already in existence in the eternal perspective, outside of all forms of time-lines. ‘In Christ’ is an extremely huge factor, which frees us from all things pertaining to earthly/carnal life. We are heaven-bound!
An entirely different matter is the fact that we wake up every morning and find ourselves still on earth, having to go to job and whatever task we have got upon us. Still, we are definitely heaven-bound.
In questions of life and of death, we, the Body of Christ, the ‘One New Man’ has mainly Paul as our teacher. Yes, I know that we can read many universal and inter-dispensational truths in the Bible, but we put a decisive priority on reading Paul’s epistles before anything else. His epistles to us are: Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon (teaching us the mind of Christ).
Only in these three epistles can be found the hope of heaven, however bear in mind that Philemon is an example of how we are supposed to act with other believers, which is with compassion and meekness, as Paul acted in the case of the escaped slave Onesimus. He even took on him the expenses caused by his escape from Philemon. He had brought away stolen goods from his master’s house. And Paul still managed to have Onesimus sent back to Philemon – hoping that he no longer would look upon him as a slave, but rather a dear member of his family, for Christ’s sake. If any epistle in the New Testament was written for us to take to our tears, this is the one. What we see here, is the mind/heart of Christ! Just think of all the bad things which Christ has forgiven us!
PROPER EDITING OF
THE NEW TESTAMENT.
There can be several ways of editing and arranging the contents of N.T. Scriptures.
For the first, we shall remember that the title The New Testament is derived from the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus (Luke 22:20). Given to us Gentiles? No, given to ‘Israel’s House and the house of Judah’, Jer. 31:31; Hebr. 8:6-10. We Gentiles were shut out of the covenants, and the promise (Eph. 2:12).
It is a false doctrine indeed to say that this New Covenant or ‘Testament’ ever was given the Church dispensation.
If we should re-edit N.T. Scripture today, I will suggest that we keep all the epistles/books already there, but extract Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon from it.
These epistles I will recommend under the heading “The Dispensation of the Free Grace of God to Jew and Gentile alike”.
And in the foreword/Introduction I would enlighten the reader by telling of this dispensation and its differences compared to the N.T. Scriptures.
But what would it take to have the committees actually do this editing – and would it demand an outright spiritual earthquake to get their serious attention?
The New Testament title will have to be changed to “The New Testament to Israel” or something like that. The title should at all costs mirror the fact that the New Covenant was ONLY for Israel, and not the Church of the One New Man.
How on God’s green earth has Christendom at large managed silencing to death the writings of E.W. Bullinger, a renowned Oxford scholar and early Acts-28 proponent, or his immediate followers Sir Robert Anderson, Charles Welch, Stuart Allen and many others? What are their arguments for this disrespect of such renowned Bible scholars? Anyone out there who knows the answer to this arrogance?
Even the Old Testament could have been improved in that the title ‘The Old Testament’ really does not begin before we come to Ex.19:2 when God shows Himself to the people, descending on Mt. Horeb in smoke and lightning and thunder with a sound of trumpets. But until one of the committees start to react to such exhortations – we have to make this editing for ourselves in our minds, and read the Bible as if it has been edited this way!
CONCLUDING BAPTISM, HOLY COMMUNION,
THE MINISTERIAL GIFTS, THE MIRACLE
AND SIGN GIFTS AND UNBIBLICAL
We have made some short conclusions already – but in this chapter I intend to through the ‘Highlights’ regarding doctrinal practicing in Christianity in general.
There are different ways of practice among the denominations, but I think it can be useful still to check out the practices known to most of us.
Whenever this word comes up, most Christians think ‘Water baptism’ – which is right. But with the Pentecostals a baptism with or in the Holy Ghost is included. And the role model for such a baptism is found with the 120 believers in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
The Statskirken in Norway, which is the official Lutheran Religion in Norway, believes in and practice baptism of little infants. Just as with the Catholic churches around. There are disputes within Christendom in this regard. So, today we find that there are a number of various baptisms in Christendom.
But Paul made a pretty simple and blunt doctrinal statement on baptism, cutting off all discussion: There is but ONE baptism.
“There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Eph. 4:5.
This statement from Paul in 62 AD, shortly after all preaching of the Kingdom of God on earth to the Jews and proselytes had been called off, totally crashes with the fact that in the years from 29 AD until 62 AD, there was at least four types of baptisms practiced.
The ministry of John the Baptist’s practicing of water baptism to prepare the Jewish people for the earthly ministry of Jesus. Such baptism had its origin from Lev. 16:4 when God ordained Aaron for his High Priest ministry, and if he would not obey this ordinance (entering the Holy Presence of God without baptism), he would have to face a swift death! Aaron’s two sons were a blunt example of such judgment falling, even if it was an incident in which they had carried unholy fire into the Holy Presence of God (Lev. 10:1, 2). John baptized Jews so they could become the royal priesthood prophesied in Ex. 19:5, 6. It was for Jews only! The whole people shall become Christ’s priesthood in the millennial Kingdom.
Then came, from the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, often called ‘The Apostolic Baptism’ – which was practiced throughout Acts.
Then, but closely following water baptism (except for those in Cornelius’ house, Acts 10 and those at Pentecost) there was the baptism with or in the Holy Ghost – which brought about special power upon the apostles and their assemblies. Sign gifts are seen in Acts following this power-experience.
And finally came the ONE baptism which is the baptism that goes for us today, the baptism into the death of Christ, also called ‘The circumcision of Christ, not made with hands’, Col. 2:11.
This baptism was also in effect in Acts period – but they had the two other baptisms as well: The water rite and the Holy Ghost in power for signs.
The baptism into the death and burial of Christ is taught in Col. 2:11, 12 – and verse 12 goes:
“…you were buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him THROUGH FAITH in the working of God (God is the one Who performs this baptism, not man) when He raised Him up from the dead.”
It is important to notice that Col. 2:11, 12 are the one and the same thing: The circumcision of Christ which is not made with hands, is the same as that ONE baptism into the death of Christ – which is ‘the working of God through faith’. In other words Paul says that the ONE baptism of Eph. 4:5 is a baptism that takes place invisibly and only in a spiritual form, in the same instance as a human being comes to faith in Christ the first time.
This fact rules out any other baptisms, whether with water or Holy Ghost.
It is because of this ONE baptism that Paul says in Col. 2:20:
“If then you have died with Christ to material ways of looking at things and have escaped from the world’s crude and elemental notions and teachings of externalism, why do you live as if you still belong to the world?”
Bottom line: In the dispensation of the Church which is His body, the ‘One New Man’ (Eph. 2:15) there are but one baptism, as described to you above according to Paul. And this baptism is done by God once and for all in the same moment as a person believes on Christ.
The memorial rite of Holy Communion is very arch-typical for the New Covenant to Israel, since the Lord at the last supper said He should give His blood as sacrifice for Israel’s sins – and He called it the New Covenant in My blood.
He commanded His believers (Messianic Israel) to keep such a memorial until He came back from heaven, just as Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 11:24 –“..do this to call Me to remembrance.”
This memorial sharing of the symbolic bread and wine – the body and the blood of Jesus given for Israel, was so important with God that if the participants used the Holy Communion to dine and stuffing themselves, they were punished by God’s intervention. He caused sickness and death upon them if they did not repent! 1 Cor. 11:29-34.
Christians reading these passages in 1 Cor. 11 go anxious and fear that they have done something wrong having participated in Holy Communion, since they had gotten sick shortly thereafter. They think that God is now punishing them according to 1 Cor. 11:29-34. But there is no way that God has this ordinance within this dispensation of the free unmerited Grace of God. That ordinance ceased in the same moment as Israel fell from God in Acts 28:25-28 – and God therefore suspended His New Covenant preaching to them.
It is now literally the age of the GRACE of God – which means: God is not in this dispensation making any judgmental punishments of any sort.
God did not send the hurricane Katrina to destroy a sinful New Orleans, or any which disaster you can think of. God is at full rest in regard to any such action.
In the Roman Catholic Church, the Holy Communion has been added an occult factor, like some ‘White Magic’ – in that the priests during the rite says of the bread (medallion) ‘This is the body of Christ’ and of the wine ‘This is the blood of Christ’ – and use the Holy Communion as if it contained magic powers.
But I have personally overheard Pentecostal evangelists say in meetings: “The bread in Holy Communion represent Christ’s body, the body upon which we are healed by His stripes. So when you take the bread, expect God to heal you!” This is just as wrong as the magical rite performed by the Catholic priests!
Bottom line: Holy Communion was a rite only to be kept by Jews and proselytes in the Acts period, when the New Covenant and the Kingdom of God on earth was offered Israel. It all ended when Israel fell from God in 62 AD.
SIGN GIFTS AND MIRACLES
The sign gifts which Paul taught to the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 12 – 14, where given by The Holy Ghost exclusively to the Messianic Church and their proselytes in the time described in the Book of Acts. No more, no less. It was given the ‘Israel of God’ (Gal. 6:16) to be equipped with the power for special signs and healings to convince the unbelieving Jews that the apostles spoke from Him.
Even if we find that these gifts (9 gifts) were evenly spread in the assemblies under the apostles, it is evident in Acts that it was the apostles who mainly had this mandate. The average Christian Jew or proselyte could not cast out demons or raise the dead or perform extraordinary signs.
Check out Acts 2:43; 4:10; 5:12; 5:15-16; 19:11-17; 28:5-9; raising of the dead Eutychus in Acts 20:9-12, or before that, Tabitha raised from the dead by Peter in Acts 9:36-41. The apostles always had a clear lead on things super-natural of which the Book of Acts is very consistent.
Acts mention by name only three men who had the power to cast out demons, they were Peter, Paul and Philip.
Paul defended himself boldly against the attacks coming from false lying ‘apostles’ who hung in the tracks of him and tried to steal glory,
“Indeed, the signs that indicate a genuine apostle were performed among you fully and most patiently in miracles and wonders and mighty works.” 2 Cor. 12:12.
The named signs and miracles belonged to Israel’s Messianic apostles sent to Israel to offer them the Kingdom of God on earth. Not only Peter and Paul, but all of them had this mandate, however it seems to me that Peter and Paul stuck out of the flock as their undisputed leaders.
By no means was it like the impression that the Word-Faith movement and Charismatics are implying, that ‘the whole church is working miracles and healings’.
Signs and wonders and incredible mighty manifestations were nothing new in Israel. Since the time of Moses, miracles seem to be a constant mandate with Israel’s prophets.
Remember the jar in Zarephat, miraculous food supply which was endless during the time of Elijah’s fight against king Ahab of Israel and his wife, Jezebel. And he also raised the dead son of the widow. Elisha was the one who was nearest Jesus in regard to how he worked many miracles. Elisha’s healing of the sick general Na’aman; the curing of the poisoned stewpot, and raising the dead boy of the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4. Israel has had miracles throughout their entire history! But whenever a period of siege and wars because of Israel’s disobedience, miracles could be held back from them.
In Psalm 74:9 we find Asaph lamenting over the lack of Israel’s miracle signs:
“We do not see our signs; there is no longer any prophet, neither does any among us know for how long (how long the siege would last).”
The signs and miracles belonged to Israel, and these followed the prophets in ministry, just like the signs in Acts followed the apostles.
Mark 16:17, 18: “And these attesting signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages; 18: They will pick up serpents; and even if they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will get well.”
These gifts were given because of the unbelieving Israel as a sign to them. To illustrate that truth, Paul used an example by the speaking in tongues:
“It is written in the Law, By men of strange language and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people (Israel), and not even then will they listen to Me, says the Lord.” 1 Cor. 14: 21; Is.28:11, 12.
But as I already have written above repeatedly, all these signs and miracles were called off at the fall of Israel in Acts 28:25-28. It was only in operation during the 30 some years of Acts period to testify to Israel of the truthfulness of God and His apostles to Israel. It belonged only under the New Covenant offered to Israel. And we, the Church and the body of Christ, have no covenant with God. We have free and unmerited grace; which is not a pact, but a gift of salvation by faith! No need of any covenant agreement, (Eph. 2:8).
The sign gifts were never directed at us Gentiles, but only to Israel.
At the fall of Israel, these gifts and signs were no longer called for, because the group of believers which should see these things, was set aside and God revealed a whole new dispensation to Paul, the dispensation of the Grace of God (Eph. 3:1-9).
By two particular occasions in the Bible, we find that we Gentiles actually react notoriously wrong in confrontation with the miracles of God. We go into adoration of the messengers instead of God who worked the said miracles. The first example found is the incident with Paul and Barnabas at Lustra healing the lame man, Acts 14:8-13, and the Zeus priests came out to sacrifice oxen and incense for they thought that Hermes (Greek god) had taken the shape of a human being, Paul, and Zeus was Barnabas. And they had to rip their robes to show the crowd that they were only human beings. All this, in spite of the fact that Paul had preached Jesus to the flock. Mentioning Jesus to such Gentiles (and the Jews there too) had no significant effect, other than they fell on their knees before the messengers in adoration….and forgot about Jesus, thinking they had before them the known idols they had sacrificed animals to all their adult life. Think about it.
The other was the incident at Malta after the shipwrecking. The inhabitants thought that Paul was being punished by the gods, as they saw the snake which had bitten him in the hand. But when they noticed that no harm had come to Paul, they thought perhaps he was one of their gods! This is same hedonistic behavior as with those at Lustra in Galatian province. We Gentiles have a hang to go adore the messengers instead of praising God.
Pentecostals and Charismatics are in particular looking past the fact that God had these miracle-gifts suspended at the fall of Israel in Acts 28:25-28 in 62 AD.
For they believe that such things is given for the church of our day; more so with the Pentecostal camp than seen with the Evangelicals and Lutherans.
Pentecostals has made their own private universe of miracles and signs which are not at all realistic and true.
Bottom line: All sign gifts and miracles as seen in Acts period are entirely suspended and ceased working. Only in the time seen in Acts, when God offered Israel His Kingdom on earth and the New Covenant, such things were operating.
THE MINISTERIAL OFFICES
As we now know regarding baptism, Holy Communion, sign gifts, as well as the ordinance in the Messianic Church of confession of sins, that these things never was intended for the church dispensation – it made a great difference not the least regarding the five-fold offices taught by Paul to the Acts saints.
He taught these offices: Apostles, prophets, evangelists, Bible teachers and pastors/elders (1 Cor. 12:28-31). 1 Tim. 3 is detailed on the pastor’s office, as it was in Acts period of the New Covenant to Israel and proselytes. But in 2 Tim. we find most of this high standard and integrity laid upon an elder/pastor even if we in 2 Tim. have come over into the church dispensation. (1 Tim. Was for the Acts saints only).
The five-fold ministry offices ceased entirely as is operated in the time of New Covenant to Israel.
The office of the apostle and that of the prophet were set aside together with Israel because they fell from God, and there no longer was a demand or task to go to Israel offering the Kingdom anymore.
However, the remaining ones, evangelist, teacher and elders/pastors, are the ones we have in this church dispensation – but notice that these three offices are not of the same power/standards as those during Acts-period. For the simple reason that we no longer have the baptism of the Holy Ghost for a super-powered ministry including signs, wonders and healings. Our ministers are volunteers, taking this upon themselves. No one is elected specially by God, in the same sense we see with the apostles.
In Acts-period, even deacons could perform great miracles, like Stephen did before they stoned him. And evangelists could do the same, even cast out demons, like Philip. And elders/pastors obviously experienced the same power as we learn from Paul’s description and ‘attestation’ given Messianic Churches in Galatia:
“Then does He Who supply you with His marvelous Spirit and works powerfully and miraculously among you….” Gal. 3:5.
All these Holy Ghost miracles and manifestations ceased entirely as we find Israel’s fall in 62 AD as Paul confronted them (Acts 28:25-28).
The Bible says clearly – and that is why I titled this book like I did – that Paul was the only apostle sent to us Gentiles. This is literally so – there has not since the time of Paul been sent any other apostles or any new generation of a perpetual string of apostles and prophets through the history of the church dispensation. To God it was all-sufficient to send us Paul!
So, regarding leadership in the local church, we no longer have any of the ministries/gifts seen in 1 Cor 12-14. They existed only under the New Covenant offer to Israel, brought them by the apostles. Today we only have volunteers acting as teachers/administrators/ministers – in a natural human effort. No special ‘Apostolic Anointing’ like we find in the Messianic church era. Our qualifications, other than faith in Christ, are those which each one of us possesses according to our education/training/experience.
Since I am most often operating as a Bible teacher, through this website, this is the ‘ministry’ which takes up maybe as much as 80% of my time. But not in the same sense as we see with the Acts Church. This dispensation of the free grace of God have nothing comparable to those in the Acts-period.
But at times I have been asked to come have a Bible Seminar. I cannot say that I have been so much of an evangelist or run campaigns like that. But who knows? It may come. I don’t know. But I am very confident with teaching people the Bible rightly divided.
Again I say: None of these three ministries have any such demonstrative super-natural Holy Ghost miracle power as seen in Acts period. I have explained to you why so.
In our dispensation we learn that the Holy Ghost is given us in a manner of being our seal (ticket) to the hope of heaven, and secondly the Holy Ghost is also our security and guarantee of our inheritance in heaven with Christ (Eph. 1:13, 14).
In the times of the New Covenant preaching to Israel, when sign gifts and the five-fold ministries were in operation, Paul exhorted them like this:
“What then brethren? When you meet together, each one has a hymn, a teaching, a disclosure of special knowledge or information, an utterance in a tongue, or an interpretation of it, – let everything be constructive and edifying and for the good of all. 27: If some speak in a tongue, let the number be limited to two or at the most three, and each one taking his turn, and let one interpret.” 1 Cor. 14:26, 27.
But as we come over into the new dispensation, of the ‘One New Man’ – the Church which is His body, things have changed:
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled with the Spirit. 19: Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices and instruments and making melody with all your heart to the Lord. 20: At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. 21: Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Eph. 5:18-21.
In the latter passage of exhortation, Paul has no longer any doctrine for how to operate with sign gifts; simply because in Ephesians we are over into a new dispensation – and no longer in the dispensation of the Law and the New Covenant to Israel. We are into the full unmerited Grace of God by faith alone.
THE HERESY OF ECUMENISM
Ecumenism paralyzes the right Biblical division in doctrinal consistency!
And ecumenism paves the road for heresy of all kinds. I want to include this important exhortation in this book. We are living in times of great religious confusion, and Paul our apostle, never gave in to such powers which would try to make the Gospel and the morals in it to a small and unimportant matter.
The Bible itself shows us that this issue is not to be treated in a nonchalant manner.
From 1977 to late 80’s I worked with the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International of Norway. An evangelization-organization started by a business man in California, Demos Shakarian. His ‘vision’ was to have all Christians regardless of denomination, to stand together and hold meetings in neutral localities such as hotels and restaurants, where Christian business men could give their testimony of Jesus and His salvation. It sounds nice, doesn’t it?
But this work depended upon our willingness to drop several important doctrinal issues, in order to stand together in our shared cause.
I see now that this was all wrong. This was and still is – opposing the Paul’s word of preaching only the grace gospel. We are told to reprove and warn of heresy at all times, by the role-models seen with Titus and Timothy, in spite of the fact that the Pastoral Epistles were written to the Jewish New Covenant believers, and not to us. Such warnings are always inter-dispensational.
It is a more Biblical practice to stand firmly against all kinds of heresy anywhere. Paul spoke of parties among Corinthians, as a positive phenomenon – giving people ability to choose the RIGHT SIDE. This truth is universal and goes for all times and ages.
When I and people like me go warning against heresy, such ecumenical believers will shout back at me: “But we are commanded by Christ to love all Christians! Differences in doctrine must not keep us from loving and keep fellowship with all Christians!”
I cannot find any such doctrine whatsoever in the Bible.
What I do find is Paul’s strict and true words:
Eph. 4:25: “Therefore rejecting ALL FALSITY and being done now with it, let everyone express THE TRUTH with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another.”
Eph. 5:13: “But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear there is light.”
2 Tim. 2:25: “He must CORRECT HIS OPPONENTS with courtesy and gentleness, in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and come to know THE TRUTH .”
2 Tim. 4: 2-4: “Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. And convince them, REBUKING AND CORRECTING, WARNING AND URGING, and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching. 3: For the time is coming when people will not tolerate sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching, they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold. 4: And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.”
Now, tell me, all of you who want so much to love every Christian and keep fellowship with him doctrinally, how on God’s green earth are we going to be faithful to the Bible as we have it from Paul our apostle, and hold the Word of Truth up so people can believe on Jesus Christ?
Ecumenism will not allow you to be faithful to the Word of God; they will rather want to be scratched in their itching ears with false ‘comforting doctrine’ after their liking. Paul said that these negative trends would come over us in the end-times.
I have already several times mentioned the heretic Pentecostal movement, as well as the Word-Faith movement, the Kansas Prophets etc. But I will always keep warning against all such false movements, because we are told to do so by the Word of God. Christian Zionism is also a belief I go against.
He never said He would send His angels to reprove and warn Christianity. This serious task is reserved for us normal believers in Christ.
If we are to really follow the line of duty which Paul has set forth for us, here it is:
Reproving and correcting to make people respect the faith (Eph. 5:13).
A SHORT LOOK AT PAUL’S LIFE AND MINISTRY
“Why are you persecuting Me, Saul?” was the very first words Gamaliel’s disciple, Saul from Tarsus, heard when he was met by Jesus in the powerful vision which fell over him by the Damascus road. And got his sinister errand stopped, as he was on his way to cast into jail the Lord’s disciples at Damascus, in the year of 35-36 AD.
Luke chose to use the Roman pronouncing of his name, which was Paul. Like Paul’s name in original Hebrew was Shaoul, but ended up as Paul – so was Peter’s Simon turned into Cephas (the rock) which in Greek became Petro, or Peter in English.
In this short look upon Paul’s life and ministry as we know from the New Testament, it will not be so many references to Bible verses or passages. You will have to look these up for yourself, thus perhaps refreshing your knowledge in the Scriptures.
This book does not really deal with Paul as a person, but rather as the minister of God as it pleased Him to send him to us Gentiles.
This book is about the Biblical revelation which God gave to us through Paul’s ministry.
Nevertheless I would like us to just refresh our knowledge in this great apostel’s ministry and whereabouts. It could help some of the readers into a wider view of how God let His Gospel reach out to us.
The more formal and doctrinal passages of Paul are already dealt with in the previous chapters. And which has to do with this present dispensation – which by the way – is closing in on its conclusion.
We may have somewhere around slightly over half a century left, if we are considering the ‘Hosea clock’ (Hos. 6:2). This clockwork in the form of Hosea’s prophesy of Israel being revived after two days (two millennia) leaves us with around 2070 AD for the Lord’s second advent, since I consider Israel’s death as a nation, to have occurred when the Romans destroyed them in 70 AD.
(To you who might object to my idea of the ‘Hosea clock’, know this: There is no record in the O.T. Scriptures whether Hosea or others, that the ‘Two days’ was just two calendar days, and not two millennia. If this ‘clock’ was just two ordinary days, then I expect Hosea to tell us about these two days, since he said that God would ‘Revive’ Israel! Understand? In other words, we have no other choice than to understand his prophesy as one talking of Israel dead for two millennia, and then brought back as a nation to Him).
Paul was a student with the Pharisee, Gamaliel, who was the headmaster in the educational system of the Sanhedrin in the time of early Acts. This headmaster is displayed in the Word of God with a positive attestation – he had a good portion of wisdom. He spoke up against the persecution of Peter and the apostles in the early period of Acts. Gamaliel warned the Sanhedrin of the risk of fighting against God. The Bible says that Gamaliel was held in high regard with the Jewish people. Let me quote to you what Gamaliel said:
“But a certain Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, highly esteemed by all the (Jewish) people, standing up, ordered that the apostles be taken outside for a little while. 35: Then he addressed the council, saying, Men of Israel, take care in regard to what you propose to do concerning these men. 36: For before our time there arose Theudas, asserting himself to be a person of importance, with whom a number of men allied themselves, about 400; but he was killed and all who had listened to and adhered to him were scattered and brought to nothing. 37: And after this one rose up Judas the Galilean, during the time of the census, and drew away a popular following after him; he also perished and all his adherents were scattered. 38: Now in the present case let me say to you, stand off from these men and let them alone. For if this doctrine or purpose or undertaking or movement is of human origin, it will fail; 39: But if it is God, you will not be able to stop or overthrow or destroy them; you might even be found fighting against God!” Acts 5:34-39.
They listened to Gamaliel and let the apostles go.
When we thus has this background ‘research’ before we come to the young inexperienced Saul, we notice at once that he was not only young, but he was foolish! He – without knowing it – was a ‘daredevil’ in that he acted against the wisdom and wise judgment shown in his teacher Gamaliel. He acted quite contrary to that which Gamaliel spoke to the Sanhedrin, and raised instead a furious persecution against the Messianic assembly at Jerusalem and Judea, and then turning his anger against those which were in Damascus.
The whole turmoil seemed to have been triggered by the strong ministry of the deacon Stephen, as we learn that he had miracle sign gifts and performed great and astonishing miracles among the people.
And some unbelieving men made a conspiracy to stop Stephen, and they started slandering him with false accusations, that he had spoken against God and Moses. The conspiracy was driven forth mainly by a group from the synagogue of the Freedmen and their sympathizers.
But Stephen threw their accusations (which also was dumb hypocrisy) back into their faces, by giving them a lecture of their own Jewish history starting with Abraham’s calling and ending with their own foolish actions – accusing them of always resisting the Holy Ghost and not obeying the Law of Moses.
Stephen’s rebuking and reproving these evil-minded Jews was of such a character that it was only ‘topped’ by Jesus Himself as we read Matt. 23! Oh, I would really have favored seeing a DVD-recording of this meeting, wouldn’t you also (well, except for the stoning)? Stephen’s speech and powerful defense should be read every Sabbath in every Jewish Synagogue worldwide!
It all ends by Stephen getting stoned to death outside the walls of Jerusalem.
It is here we meet Paul for the first time in Scripture. Notice: He is OUTSIDE the wall, participating in an illegal killing of a man of God. And it was only 3-4 years since the Jews had killed their Messiah Jesus.
But the good Lord revenged this murder as well as the murder of James and other saints in Acts period, by in the year of 70 AD sending ….quote, the King’s armies to kill these murderers and to set fire to their city (Jerusalem), as in the parable of the King’s Servants in Matt. 22:7 etc.
The Bible is not saying that Paul started this turmoil, but it clearly comes to light that he increased it all and turned up the heat substantially – as we read of his furious actions, described by Luke as follows:
“But Saul shamefully treated and laid waste the church continuously; and entering house after house, he dragged out men and women and committed them to prison.”
Paul got the High Priest to hand him letters of authorization to arrest the Jesus-believers that may be found – searching the synagogues at Damascus.
He wanted to take these eventual prisoners back to Jerusalem for conviction and punishment, eventually to their deaths. Remember, Acts report of a Saul who was… drawing his breath hard from threatening and murderous desire against the disciples of the Lord.
But we read: “Now as he travelled on, he came near to Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him, and he fell to the ground. Then he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? And Saul said, Who are You, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting.”
Paul must have been totally knocked out and his head in a ‘dizzy-spell’ – and to top it off, he could no longer see! He must have been stricken with fear and shivering. Would the Lord kill him now, to punish him for persecuting them? Paul must have been frightened to death, so to speak. I am sure. Well, I would have been!
He had to be led by hand into Damascus, and he was blind for three full days.
He refused to drink and eat out of the fear for the Lord. Thereafter we find that the Lord reveals Himself to another disciple, Ananias, asking him to go see Paul who stayed in the house of Judas, and Paul was then in prayer.
A lesson can be learned out of this, spiritually speaking, – for what was Paul doing when he could NOT see (it is not often we think of Paul as one who could not see; on the contrary, we think of him as one who really saw…more than most others!) ? Paul PRAYED. He may even have been praying for hours and hours. Hoping for the Lord to grant him mercy and give him back his eye sight. And the answer to his prayers came swiftly….
“Ananias, ask at the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus called Saul, for behold, he is praying – and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias enter and lays his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”
Then we also get to know how Paul really had scared the wits off those disciples in Damascus as well as in Jerusalem:
“Lord, I have heard many people tell about this man, especially how much evil and what great suffering he has brought on Your saints at Jerusalem.”
The Lord’s answer to Ananias is the first clue given as to what Jesus had chosen Paul to do:
“Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of Mine to bear My name before the Gentiles (proselytes) and kings and the descendants of Israel. For I will make clear to him how much he will be afflicted and must endure and suffer for My name’s sake.”
Then Ananias arrived and laid his hands on Paul giving him his sight back. Luke tells us that Paul was immediately filled with the Holy Ghost, and shortly thereafter was baptized in water, entirely in the New Covenant fashion and fully in line with the Kingdom teaching and practicing of the apostles.
Paul started at once to preach in the synagogues – teaching of Jesus as Israel’s Messiah, and people were astonished by seeing this persecutor now instead preaching the same message which he shortly before stood against!
Many of the disciples – naturally – were still scared of the man – which is understandable, but a little by little their skepticism fainted and he was taken into the warmth, and was acquainted with Peter and the others. On his way into full acceptance, he managed in several occasions to stop the mouths of the various Jewish groups he opposed.
Notice a little detail in this scenario: While Peter in his time was chosen, Jesus chose a common fisherman, one of the ‘Working class’ if I dare say so.
But notice carefully what happened when He elected and called Paul: He chose an educated Pharisee, a man of great knowledge and perhaps just as much personal crave for a career in the upper class spheres in Israel! Okay, I know that you know, that Paul earlier in his teenager years and on, took on his father’s craft of making tents of goat hides. But Paul left that craft obviously, and headed for a full career as a scholar and Pharisee. But later on, he got a renewed use of his old craft, as the believing couple escaping Rome, came to assist him in ministry at Corinth – Aquila and Priscilla.
And – this is why I mentioned Gamaliel so early – no wonder then that Jesus may have felt right to choose a man from Gamaliel’s class. Paul had at least been in relatively good hands, thinking of wisdom and knowledge in general. Isn’t it interesting how things are knit together, even in Scripture? And by the way, where do you think Paul learned his sharp intelligent use of Rhetoric’s?
Yes, you guessed right! It was with Gamaliel and his equally sharp brain and sense of detail with words and how to run disputes and debates. No wonder that Peter had to admit, that in the writings of Paul, there were things which are difficult to understand or comprehend.
It did not take long before Paul now became the persecuted one, as in Damascus, and the disciples had to save him by helping him over the walls so he could flee to Jerusalem, at night.
He was met with great skepticism at his arrival in Jerusalem, but Barnabas took care of him well. And introduced him to the apostles – as he recollected to them what Paul had told him of the event with his conversion and his immediate preaching to the Jews.
Paul’s courage and boldness took on greater proportions as he went on preaching, but to avoid dangerous calamities at Jerusalem they persuaded him into going back home to Tarsus for a while. They probably saved Paul’s life doing this. The Greek Jews planned to kill him.
After this, Luke wrote: “So the church throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was edified and walking in the respect and reverential fear of the Lord and in the consolation and exhortation of the Holy Spirit, continued to increase and was multiplied.”
Then Luke leaves Paul out of it for a while. We do not learn what happened at Tarsus; it probably had no concern for the story of Acts. Even if Luke did not go to Tarsus with Paul, it would have been an easy thing to have Paul telling of his stay there once they were back together again.
We are introduced to Paul again in connection to Barnabas and his ministry in holding ‘revival meetings’ at Antioch, Syria. Luke wrote of this:
“For he was (Barnabas) a good man, full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit. And a large company was added to the Lord. Barnabas went on (from Antioch) to Tarsus to hunt for Saul.”
And so we learn that the two, Barnabas and his fellow co-worker Paul, stayed for one year at Antioch teaching and preaching a large number of people. And Luke makes his well-known remark that it was in Antioch where the disciples first were called Christians, which was taken from the rumors among the people – of them being so Christ-like – they had miracles and signs and this was noticed, thus calling them ‘Like-the-Christ’ who worked His miracles when on earth.
We find the prophet Agabus arriving Antioch and he prophesied of a great famine to come upon the Empire; and it happened as the prophet had said, after Claudius had become Emperor, winter of 41 AD, after Caligula was killed. But Paul and Barnabas were asked to take on the task of sending a relief to the assemblies in Judea, after they collected money for this purpose from the church at Antioch.
Paul was not the sort of ‘puffed-up-apostle’ like those false apostles you find within Charismatic movements today, who can only stand in a pulpit, talking nonsense! No, he and Barnabas was the real thing, God’s personally elected apostles/servants to bring the Kingdom Gospel to Jews and proselytes. And they were only happy to assist in the needs of the poor and afflicted.
From Acts 13 and on, we find that Luke now makes Paul and his co-workers the ‘Stars-of-the-Show’, if you don’t mind me saying so. We never hear anymore of Peter – except for his encounter at Jerusalem Acts 15, for whatever the reason. But I guess the reason was that Peter only had a commission to go within Israel’s land to the Jews, but Paul had a mandate to go to Jews and proselytes abroad; Paul mentioning this in Gal. 2.
Like Peter at Pentecost and on, so it was with Paul as well: Pointing to the PROMISE of the Kingdom of God on earth, a promise which was given their fathers. Paul in Acts 13:32 sounds strikingly similar to Peter at Pentecost, pointing to Israel’s promise and covenant.
But the words of Jesus as He called Paul, of Paul having to take on a lot of suffering and trouble for Jesus’ sake, kicked in already from ‘Day One’ in ministry in Galatia 43 AD, where the Jews went into a rage over Paul’s message of the Kingdom and Jesus as Messiah. The Jews were upset and angry as they observed the huge crowd gathering in the synagogue on the Sabbath.
The report Luke gave regarding this event in Galatian province, is pretty good:
“And when the Gentiles (proselytes) heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the Word of God (to them); and as many as were destined to eternal life (Greek: Aion age, the millennia) believed. And so the Word of the Lord scattered and spread throughout the whole region.”
These things repeated themselves more or less throughout the entire ministry of Paul for the rest of the Book of Acts. Persecution from angry and jealous Jews as the same Jews had to watch Paul getting well along with the converted happy proselytes who participated in the synagogues everywhere Jews had a seat in town. Paul – literally spoken – turned over to where the proselytes (Greek) sat in the rear of the synagogues, and speaking over the heads of the angry Jews, and thus used the proselytes present as a form of crowbar to have the Jews repent to Christ. Only Paul had such a technique in ministry.
To learn more on this important (Gentile) subject, please check out my little book called ‘God, Paul and the Gentiles’ – which is a jewel of a booklet regarding help to distinguish between the different types of Gentiles in N.T. times! It is free to be downloaded.
Following Paul on his several journeys in the Empire, we notice that he went always to the synagogues – and on the Sabbath of course – for Acts was a time when Jews kept Sabbath, for sure. Paul even made two Nazirite-wows like only Jews in the time of the Law as well as in the time of the New Covenant offered to them, could make. In this time of the Book of Acts Paul always went to ‘Jews first, then Greek’. The Jewish nation was still sat above all other nations.
Paul went to all the densely populated places and cities in the Empire where Jews lived and had their synagogues. Like Antioch and Ephesus, the latter which had a population of about 200 000 inhabitants then. Corinth was slightly smaller, but they had a large synagogue there, which you can still see the ruins of today. I was there in 1980 with some friends, and noticed how large that synagogue really was. I also recall that we read the stone-plaque in the middle of the market place, of the Roman inscriptions regarding the Governor (proconsul) Gallio Flores, who was ruling for Rome in 50-52 AD. Luke mentions Gallio trying to stop the rage against the believers at Corinth. But Gallio refused to make any judgment in the case of Paul versus the Jews. He drove them away from his judgment seat (which was at that market place, called a ‘Bema Seat’). It is from that Roman inscription, that we know that Paul must have been there between the years of 50 AD and no later than the year of 52 AD. And his epistles to the Corinthians were written shortly thereafter, probably 53 AD.
In Corinth there was not given us any ‘Miracle report’ – Paul working great miracles like he did when he later arrived at Ephesus. But Paul himself took care of that in his second epistle to them, talking of the signs and wonders and miracles God had worked among them – for those miracles were the very signs of his apostleship, thus warning them against false apostles in the region. Paul stayed close to three years at Corinth, just as he would do later on at Ephesus.
The signs and wonders of the Kingdom preaching to Jews and proselytes, followed him constantly in all the provinces he came; Galatia, Philippi in Macedonia, Corinth in Achaia, Ephesus in Asia, and Thessalonica; and also Malta and finally Rome.
The trouble which should put Paul in chains, started at Jerusalem in 58 AD as he arrived in time to participate in the Feast of the Weeks, Pentecost. He had been warned of this trouble to come, by the Holy Ghost.
He could have been killed by the angry Jewish lynching mob there at the Temple Mount. But the Roman Cohort, present in the city, took him into custody and so his life was spared. From there the journey went to Rome via jailing in Caesarea for finally to stand before the emperor Nero with his Appeal Court. He spent near four years in chains and custody.
Several times over, Paul had heard (and seen) from Christ in visions to strengthen him in his dramatic ministry. In Jerusalem shortly after he was taken into custody, Jesus appeared to Paul saying:
“Take courage, Paul, for as you have borne faithful witness concerning Me at Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”
Notice into all of this please, that Paul was steered via Jerusalem first, in his ministry to witness to Jews and proselytes for the Kingdom of God on earth. This was an example of how God can speak twice to His chosen people, the Jews, to give them a last chance of repentance in a certain matter. This time it was all about the Kingdom for Israel with Jesus on the throne. But we read of the furious mob in the city wanting to kill Paul, like they once had killed Jesus, and shortly thereafter God let Paul be sent on his way to the ultimate ‘Place of no return’ for the Jews to get their Kingdom, which was Rome in which there were eleven synagogues at that time.
At Rome there lived a considerable number of Jews, and they had eleven large synagogues there and their own Sanhedrin council, like they had in Jerusalem. So it seems clear to me that Jesus sent Paul there for a final last talk with Israel on a national level. Rome was the only place not yet charged by Paul to answer before God and make a choice of Yes or No in regard to accepting Christ as Messiah.
Rome became the city in which God bade Israel farewell – as they refused to listen (in full numbers repenting) to Paul’s message the two years he spent there. And so we find the grave fall of Israel!
The well-known words in Acts 28:28 fell as a judgment upon them and the entire Jewry:
“So let it be understood by you then that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen.” (As opposed to Jewry, which would not!)
These last few words of Paul, which also was the last word spoken to Israel from God – have been fulfilled during the centuries past. Some experts are saying that we Christians are almost one billion believers in the world. We Gentiles (but there are also a small contingent of Jews) are considered to be notoriously Christ-accepters, Christ-believers, but unfortunately Jewry are considered the opposite.
In the three so-called freedom-years 63-66 AD, he spent much time together with Titus in ministry, mostly on the island of Crete – preaching to them the fresh new Grace Gospel of Christ like it was revealed to him, explained in Ephesians and Colossians. He called it ‘The Gospel of the Unsearchable Riches of Christ’. A Gospel that cannot be found or researched through O.T. Scripture.
Paul was jailed in 67 AD in a raid headed by Nero’s police guards, blamed for having participated in the arson of Rome 64 AD. He was decapitated in jail right outside the city late spring 67 AD, historians say.
But Paul managed to write the three epistles which deals with our hope of salvation: The hope of epiouranos, the heaven up above the heavens, where Christ now resides with His Father. These are Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. The latter has no faith-doctrine though.
He was the one and only apostle whom God sent out to us Gentiles.
THE CHURCH FATHERS AND THEIR
HERETIC BIBLE INTERPRETATIONS.
(Much of this chapter I am using excerpts and quotes from
Stuart Allen’s excellent booklet “The Early Centuries and the Truth”)
It was the so-called ‘Church fathers’ which handed down to Christianity its inherited and faulty way of interpreting the Bible.
The Bible was not edited like one book, but from 70 AD until 400 AD the different apostolic epistles were interpreted and wrote about of a number of church fathers in the post-apostolic era.
The most well-known names were Clement of Rome 92 AD, Papias 60-150 AD, Ignatius 70-115 AD, Tatian 110-172 AD, Tertullian 160-222 AD, Origen 186-253 AD, and Justinian the Martyr 100-165 AD.
It was early second century that a Bible Canon started to take shape. No such book was needed in the times of the apostles. The apostles taught the Scriptures in a perfect manner. Not before 400 AD could we find the New Testament edited as a collection like the one we have now. In the Eastern Roman Empire this was made ready in 367 AD, like it was proclaimed in the ninth Easter Letter from Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria. In the Western Roman Empire a similar conclusion was made of the New Testament at Carthage in 397 AD.
But from the times with the apostolic church fathers, only one or two Gospels were publicly known, plus Paul’s epistles, however they had doubts about the Epistle to the Hebrews. But the issue here is: Did they understand Paul’s teaching, whose writings are the key to the truths of this dispensation? What took place really, after Paul’s martyrdom?
It seems as if – the ministry of Timothy in spite of it – there are no clear understanding on the church father’s part after Timothy was gone.
The earliest teachings we can find after the apostles and Timothy were gone, are Didache, or as some calls it, ‘Teaching of the Twelve Apostles’, and a scripture called ‘Sheperd of Hermas’.
Didache claims to have been handed down by the twelve apostles named in the Gospels, whereof Paul is not mentioned. The Didache-scripture was discovered in a Greek manuscript in Constantinople (Istanbul now) in 1873, and printed and sold by Bryennius in 1883. A very late discovery and it has its doctrine based upon the Great Commission in Matt. 28. And this scripture became the early doctrinal basis for the church. It is dated early second century.
One can only conclude: Didache is like entering a totally different world than the one revealed to us by Paul. The following quotes will show us how this scripture fails entirely to teach the Grace Gospel of Paul.
“Do not keep stretching out your hands to receive, and drawing them back when it comes to returning. If through your hands you have earned a ransom for your sins, you shall not hesitate to give it.” (4:6, 7).
I shudder when thinking that these words were taught by the early post-apostolic church, which became later on the Roman Catholic Church! Salvation by works?
“See that no one leads you astray from this way of the Teaching, for he teaches you without God. For if you can bear the whole yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect, but if you cannot, do what you can.” (6:2).
“Your fasts must not be on the same days as the hypocrites, for they fast on Monday and Thursday, but you must fast on Wednesday and Friday.” (8:1)
“So you shall take the first-fruits of the produce of the wine-press and the threshing floor and of cattle and sheep, and give the first-fruits to the prophets, for they are your high priests.” (13:3).
The whole Didache is a full-blown heresy and a non-Christian doctrine! It is as far away from Paul’s grace teaching as it can possibly get. Compare this false doctrine with what Paul wrote in Eph. 2:6-8.
If we then go to the first letter of Clement (bishop at Rome 88-97 AD), we can read a few selected quotes. Scholars hold the letter to have been written about 90-95 AD. Clement tried to correct bad attitudes in the church at Corinth.
“Let our children share in Christian instruction, let them learn what power humility has with God, what pure love can do with God, how good and great His fear is, and how it saves those who lives in holiness with pure mind. For He is the searcher of thoughts and desires, His breath is in us and when He pleases, He will take it away. ( 1 Clement 21:8).
“Let us clothe ourselves with harmony, in humility and self-control, keeping ourselves from all gossip and slander, and be justified by deeds, not by words.” (30:3).
Clement could not come farther away from Paul’s Gospel. Getting saved by works….deeds?
Ignatius, bishop at Antioch, lived early in the second century and he was condemned to death and taken to Rome to be thrown to the lions in the Coliseum. Eusebius wrote that he was martyred there in 107-108 AD.
One of his heretical teachings was that he taught of the bishop’s office as the superior of all – and which could not be opposed.
Ignatius wrote letters to Philadelphia, Smyrna, Tralles, Magnesia and Ephesus, and my quotes are from some of those:
“So it is clear we must look upon the bishop as the Lord Himself…” (Eph. 4:1).
“I exhort you, be zealous to do everything in godly harmony, with the bishop presiding in the place of God.” (Eph. 6:1).
“When you subordinate yourselves to the bishop as to Jesus Christ, you appear to me to be living not in the human way, but after the manner of Jesus Christ..”. (Trall. 2:1).
Ignatius should only have known that he, writing such heresy, had planted the first seed upon which and from which the Roman Catholic Church would emerge…with all its political power and intrigues not the least because of the extreme power which was granted the Papal seat. A Papal seat which was …presiding in the place of God.
Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, (69-155 AD) admitted that he had not quite understood Paul, when he wrote to the Philippians half a century after Paul’s death:
“For neither I, nor anyone else like me, can follow the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul, who, when he was among you, face to face with the men of that time, carefully and steadfastly uttered his teaching about truth…” (Phil. 3:2).
Many more examples of the church father’s teachings/heresies and untruths could be quoted, and Stuart Allen has done this in the said booklet. But I shall have to let this be it for now. However, shortly, I will just mention that the Shepherd of Hermas is maybe the worst of them all…in which we can read of nonsense like visits from angels, and that he claimed to be a prophet; his scripture is mainly dealing with an apocalyptic future event, etc. One can only conclude that the entire scripture of this confused person is total heresy.
We find that the church fathers had not at all comprehended any of the essentials in Paul’s Grace Gospel revelation as we find in Ephesians and Colossians.
Their writings are dominated by the influence of the New Covenant offered to Israel and the Kingdom teaching of Peter and the eleven, plus a lot of fantasy and fictional imagination.
No wonder then that today we find the Pope and his organization as one which hold Peter as their first leader – only adding Paul more secondary and not so important. The Popes have always pointed to Peter and that they have been his successors.
Not only the Roman Catholic Church discriminates against Paul, but almost all other church-systems in Christianity do the same error. They have in no manner proved to the world that they have understood Paul’s importance of being the ONE AND ONLY apostle sent to us Gentiles! What a blunder. What a shame.
Many fragments of attitudes, liturgics and general understanding of the four gospels as it is with the Catholics, has survived inside Lutheran churches in spite of the reformation of Luther and Melanchthon.
It seems clear to me that Luther did not understand the revealed Mystery given to Paul for us. When he reformed the Catholic churches in Germany, by pointing to ‘Righteousness by faith’ – he had the epistles to the Romans and the Galatians in mind. In which we only find ‘Righteousness from the Law of Moses’ – and not the righteousness from sin, like we find in Ephesians and Colossians. Luther could not just see that we Gentiles have never been under the Law of Moses. (Rom. 2:14).
Luther, unfortunately, did not comprehend the historical fact that Peter and the eleven, as well as Paul in Acts, worked with and for Israel only. It was all a very private concern and a private setting between God and Israel, from which we Gentiles were shut out. Only proselytes in controlled numbers were allowed in the Messianic Jewish faith!
Let me end this chapter by quoting some of Stuart Allen’s conclusion at the end of his booklet (page 32):
“In summing up the teaching of the Apostolic Fathers, what do we find? One is surprised and even shocked to discover that none of them had a clear conception of the gospel of grace Divinely delivered to the Apostle Paul and ministered by him. Rom. 11:6, never really gripped them: ‘And if by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace…”
THE CHURCH DISPENSATION ENDS
WHEN ELIJAH APPEARS FROM HEAVEN.
When studying Elijah’s ministry as prophet in Israel in ancient times, comparing this with the great task awaiting him in the end-time Israel and the Great Tribulation there, we find many similarities.
As a matter of fact we can find that Elijah, together with Moses (Rev. 11) not only shall be on earth in the Great Tribulation, but the two are the ‘Generals of War’ (as I mentioned in an earlier chapter in my book) sent by God to smite Israel with the Egyptian plagues and horrors once described by Moses in Deut. 28 (curse) – and later detailed in Revelation. Elijah is coming shortly before the day of the Lord, and he shall purge and cleanse Israel through a series of extreme punishments and signs in the company of Moses. Malachi 4 mentions Moses and Elijah in the same breath.
Jesus said in Matt. 17:11: “Elijah does come and will get everything restored and ready (for Jesus’ Second Advent).”
In those three little words restored and ready lays the whole Great Tribulation.
Elijah is not coming to restore the world, but only Israel. And the Great Tribulation is the tool to make them ready for God. We shall have a rather brief look at some of the ‘High Lights’ so to speak. Just a little glimpse of what this will look like in the real world. It is not a full exposition of the topic. Some of this will seem pretty weird and scary to some of you, and to others this will be well-known material. But what do you think your reaction would have been, if you had been present when God let loose His gigantic judgment upon Egypt when Moses told Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go? Right! So here we go….
Some gullible and ignorant believers today think that the Great Tribulation is just appearing/starting out of thin air, by itself or by some mad politicians or despots going about with their mad ideas. But there will be no such thing…the Great Tribulation will be triggered off by the mighty and anointed genuine prophets of God, Elijah and Moses.
The tribulation will start with these witnesses proclaiming the harsh punishments coming upon Israel, and will be referring to Ezek. 36…saying to Israel: (Probably saying this in Knesset) …..
“The Lord Christ Jesus will now vindicate the holiness of His great name and separate it for its holy purpose from all that defiles it – His name, Jesus, which has been profaned among the nations, which you – Israel – have profaned among them – and the nations during the tribulation now coming upon you, will know, understand and realize that He, Christ Jesus, when He shall be set apart by you and His holiness vindicated in you before their eyes and yours.” (v.23).
And one of the first signs of punishment cast upon Israel would immediately be made effective: The two prophets will shut up heaven for rain! (Rev. 11:6). There will be no rain in Israel for the 3 ½ years given them to prophesy punishments, says the Bible.
The 1260 days of the two witnesses, in Rev. 11:3 – makes out the first half of the 7-year tribulation. And when anti-Christ kills the witnesses, the Gentiles will have those days ruling Jerusalem as the final half is clocked off, mentioned as the 42 months. How do we know? By reading Rev. 11:14 where it says, as the prophets are killed – there has only been fulfilled two of the three Birth Pangs by this. And still one Birth Pang remains – in other words: When the 1260 days of these two witnesses ends, it is not the end of the tribulation, but it has come half-way through it. Understand?
The third Birth Pang is heard as we read Rev. 18:16, 19 when God let Babylon the harlot, Jerusalem, have the judgment due, and Jerusalem shall burn for the last time in history! Verse 24 testifies for certain that the Babylon harlot, Jerusalem, also is the great city, in which it was found blood after prophets and the saints and of all who have been killed (for their faith in God) in the land. And right after this Third Birth Pang, we are told in Rev. 19:11 that Jesus is coming in His Second Advent. And I have so proved to you that the 1260 days of the two witnesses are the first half of a 7-year tribulation for Israel.
Rev. 11 telling of the two witnesses is essential to be able to understand the Great Tribulation.
The tribulation will not come just because Revelation says so – but it will physically and spiritually be ‘administered’ by Moses and Elijah, as they are prophesying one punishment following another!
In the same manner as we read of Moses when he confronted Pharaoh again and again, telling him of new and terrible plagues to hit Egypt. And even after their deaths, that which they prophesied will continue to happen, and Israel shall be whipped and scorned for their hatred against Christ – and so ultimately be forced to get on their knees calling up His name for salvation.
These plagues are the signs Jesus warned Israel of in Luke 21:25, 26 – and for which the people in Israel (not in the world elsewhere) shall…I quote:
“..swooning away or expiring with fear and dread and apprehension and expectation of the things that are coming on the nation; for the very powers of the heavens will be shaken and caused to totter.”
Amplified Bible is correctly translated – because people will be fearfully looking for the prophesied plague, and seeks shelter! Now you can better understand how the Great Tribulation will affect the frightened Zionist-Israel in the tribulation. This is for real!
The two prophets will go in details when warning them of God’s next plague to hit on Israel, because the nation will not take heed to their preaching of Jesus as Messiah.
Like Pharaoh of old, when opposing Moses, the Israeli leaders will stand against the two prophets. For which a new round of horrors is cast upon the disobedient nation. If we read Revelation, we will see that after certain terrible plagues, the Jewish people go on blaspheming God! (Rev. 16:9, 11).
Neither of the two will end the tribulation, but it will be Jesus Himself coming down to stop the horrors and establish the millennial Kingdom (Matt. 24:21, 22).
When God starts up or ends something of great importance and significance to Israel, He always reveals His hidden council to His prophets (Am. 3:7).
It pleased God to use His prophet and apostle Paul to proclaim judgment against Israel for their hard resistance to Christ in his time as we see in Acts 28:25-28. It didn’t just happen out of thin air. God had an elected servant telling Israel His decision.
Now that God wants to take up His prophetic program with Israel, soon, He starts the whole series of events by sending His elected servants for this purpose, Moses and Elijah. And God will not do one little thing, unless His prophets FIRST tells the Israeli leadership what is coming upon them, why it is coming, and in same breath – tell them all to repent to Jesus Christ!
I have met Acts-28 believers who are so incredibly ignorant and unaware of the reality of the Great Tribulation in Israel that I am still astonished over such lack of knowledge or interest in the topic.
I have argued and disputed…long term…with Acts-28 believers over Babylon the Great Harlot in Rev. 17-18…but they cannot for their bare lives understand anything of these simple facts.
I am not saying they lack wisdom/intelligence or understanding as such, but many today are very hooked up into their own closed ‘Universe’ and will not allow any outsiders to help them out with a fuller understanding. Some thinks Revelation is talking of an Iraqi ‘Babylon’ – but Rev. 17 and 18 says it is Israel, represented by Jerusalem and its seven hills, who is the Mystery Babylon, and which shall be burnt with fire (just as once happened in 70 AD) and the city is sat in direct connection to merchant marine vessels which brings her the riches of this world (Haifa is port for this) – and we know Babylon-Iraq has no such ports. Jerusalem is several times called ‘The Great City’ – the place in which the blood of God’s servants and Jesus’ witnesses were spilled! It can only apply to Jerusalem folks. It’s that simple. I once checked the distance between Haifa (now a huge container port) and Jerusalem, and if making a straight line, I came close to 150 kilometers. And we know that Jerusalem has an altitude of about 800 meters, which leaves us the possibility to be able to see the smoke from a burning city, even as the sailors will see it like we read in Rev. 18:10, 17-19 – and the reference in verse 17 is to the Mediterranean Ocean, not the Persian Gulf or any other seashores.
It will not be possible to see, from the shores of the Mediterranean, if Bagdad or even a supposed imaginary new ‘Babylon’ city on the dessert plains of Iraq was at fire. Absolutely not! So the scenery displayed to us in Rev. 18, has the geographic stage-setting frozen to what I said of Haifa – where those sailors will stand wailing and lamenting over Jerusalem burning, the Mystery Babylon harlot in the end-times. Rev. 18 definitely tracks the wealth and vast riches pouring into the Babylon harlot, Jerusalem, from an extensive merchant marine as the main freight carriers. And so it shall be…you just wait and see.
And all these horrors seen in the Seven Seals, Seven Trumpets and Seven Bowls (from Rev. 6 and on) plus the three Birth Pangs, are all prophesied forth by the administrative power given the two prophets, Elijah and Moses.
I – sorry to say – often find among Acts-28 camp that the fall of Israel is ‘Painted White’ – thus not actually saying what really took place. Let me explain:
When Israel fell in Acts 28:25-28 for not wanting (ultimately and finally) to repent to Christ, God sent upon them a number of punishments, one worse than the other:
First He let Israel reap what they recently had sowed, they had sowed rebellion, murder, unbelief and so God allowed for them to spend four hard years (66-70 AD) in rebellion and uproar against Roman rule, and Rome answered by sending their tough armies to quench the rebellion.
This was prophesied by Moses as a part of the curse in Deut. 28:48-57 in which we find the Roman army as the ‘Yoke of Iron’ – we recall from Daniel 2:33 and the vision of the king, that the iron-feet of the image pointed to a future kingdom, now known as Rome. This yoke caused great starvation in the sieged Jerusalem, and they cooked their little babies to save themselves from death. Josephus witnesses about this horror in his books of ‘The Jewish War’.
Furthermore, the same Jewish historian witnessed also another fulfillment of prophesy, as he saw thousands and thousands of men from age of 17 being sent by ships to Alexandria, Egypt, to be sold as slaves; and many women as well. But no one would buy, for the market was inflated totally and collapsed! See Deut. 28:68.
Sent back to Egypt as slaves, sounds not to me as merely a ‘setting aside’ like Acts-28 camp often says. No, it was an outright annulling and reversing of the whole nation, back into same hopeless status as when God took them out by Moses and Aaron: Slaves with NO LAND. Also Hosea prophesied of the same in Hos. 8:13.
Israel was not just ‘Sat aside’ – they were totally obliterated into a non-existence as a nation. Returned back to where they came from. It’s a fact.
The fact that their fall from God in 62 AD, followed by their destruction in 70 AD is connected by Paul with the coming of anti-Christ shows us that there has not been any change of status for Israel since that time (2 Thess. 2:3).
It is in the time span between their fall in 62 AD and the coming of anti-Christ in the end-time, where we find the present dispensation of the church, the Body of Christ. We shall be appearing with Christ in heaven right before God sends Elijah and Moses to smite Israel. And already today we have a scene being built, the illegal (from God’s point of view) state of Israel, which will be more than willing to wish welcome this false messiah to come.
Anti-Christ is the outcome, the product of the fall of Israel as a nation and of their rejection of Christ in times past and present. And this evil personality will be the very climax in the Great Tribulation, as he starts executing Jews who will not bow to him as their God.
Christian-Zionists have a much distorted mind concerning Jesus praying for His executioners as He hung on the cross. They teach the world that since Jesus asked God to forgive the Jews, then all Jews are now (automatically) forgiven, and so God has established them therefore in the land.
But they are blind to the fact that the entire Book of Acts, shows us the apostles asking Israel to REPENT so God then, after their repentance, could send back Jesus to bless the nation!
In other words: The prayer of Jesus on the cross, bought the nation 30 years of repentance-time to get right with their God. But it ended with a disaster, God said goodbye, and sent them into destruction because of their Christ rejection.
The attacking Roman armies in 66-70 AD, was a fulfillment of Jesus’ parable of the King’s Servants in Matt. 22:7, as well as it was of His parable of the fruitless fig tree in Luke 13 (I repeat what I said in Chapter 3). In Matt. 22, the Kings army should burn down Jerusalem and kill those murderers who had recently killed the Kings servants, the apostles. And Luke 13, the tree was given ‘One more year’ to try to see if fruit would come. The gardeners were the apostles. But 30 years (the ‘one year’ in the parable) of trying to cultivate the dry soil around that fig tree was in vain. And the Roman axe came and chopped it down in 70 AD. Jesus said of this parable and its tree, Israel: It cannot take up the soil, depleting it. This is the same as saying to Israel: Israel! You cannot stay in the land as long as you will not believe on your Messiah Jesus!
The Roman Empire was not anti-Semitic, they were only one of several world powers through history, which happened to be used by God to punish and keep at bay His disobedient adulterous nation. They had no agenda of killing or exterminating Jews. They took action only after the Jews in 66 AD raised a rebellion against Rome, and their destiny was set: Destruction.
The coming of Elijah – as God also in the same instance will end the dispensation of the church – is an action taken by Christ for the purpose of first punishing them for their profaning of His name among the nations in history since 70 AD; secondly, He will pay them back for all their iniquity and spiritual adultery in history and their murders – since way back to Abel’s death.
Revelation 17-18 speaks of a revenge for the spilled blood of martyrs, the witnesses of Jesus and prophets of God. For which God burns the harlot, by giving such ideas into the ten Kings and anti-Christ (Rev. 17:17, 18).
Third, God will by such action against the Zionist-Israel set awe in all the nations so they will understand that He is real, and all atheism will get a final blow and cease to exist. Ezek. 36:23 once again, ‘…and the nations will know, understand and realize that I (Christ) am the Lord, when I shall be set apart by you and My holiness vindicated in you before their eyes and yours.’
The prime ministers and presidents and royalty around the world will sit shivering in front of the TV-screens, in awe over the Lord Jesus Christ’s judgment upon Israel! Ezekiel prophesied that they will know and understand, that it is an action of the Lord Jesus, by His prophets sent to punish Israel and purge them from sin.
And fourth: The establishing of the millennial Kingdom in Israel with Jesus as ruler in Jerusalem’s new temple (prophesied in Ezek. 46).
When studying Elijah in O.T. Scripture, it is easy to see how his signs and miracle-powers then are in full compliance with what we read in Rev. 11 of the two prophets; fire, no rain, perpetual food supply. And of Moses we learn same thing: The signs displayed before Pharaoh Ramses II, such as hail stones, extreme lightening, water made to blood, Egyptian super-natural darkness etc. are found within the plagues described in the Seven Seals, Seven Trumpets and Seven Bowls. Also plagues/diseases not written in the Book of Law (said Moses) should come to torment Israel in the tribulation. I find that the locust-monsters of Rev. 9:3-11 (from outer space) certainly are one of those kinds of ‘Egyptian diseases’ not written in the Law. But God had it written in the Revelation. These monsters will sting the anti-Christ followers in Israel with an incredibly cruel pain for five months, and people will try to kill themselves, but death shall flee from them.
We may speculate in how the two prophets will enter our world. Could it be that He allows for a magnificent and perhaps shocking entré, by sending them in His UFO – the ‘Chariot of Fire’ like the UFO which beamed up Elijah in ancient times?
Or will it please the Lord just to let them pop up right outside the entrance to Knesset?
Well – speculate – it is alright. But they will come for sure, one way or another. And Israel will experience a retaliation-raid against them for all the evil deeds they ever have committed in history, and particularly the evil way which they have profaned the name of Christ Jesus among us Gentile nations during the centuries past!
Elijah will most probably enter by the same words as he threw at Ahab in 1 Kings 17:1:
“As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before Whom I stand, there shall not be dew or rain these years but according to My word.”
Notice also “before Whom I stand” – which is the same John wrote of the prophets in Rev. 11:4 – ‘Which stand before the Lord of the earth (should read, Land).”
If anyone tries to harm them, fire will fall on their enemies and consume them!
The tribulation is thus proven to be the very climax in what Moses once called the curse in Deut. 28. Israel chose the curse by not choosing Jesus. And so we find that Moses was the first prophet to foretell of a Great Tribulation, and other prophets have followed. Jesus, Peter, John and Paul spoke of the tribulation; coming upon Israel, and not the world. Moses said:
“And you shall be left few in number, whereas you had been as the stars of the heavens for multitude, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.” Deut. 28:62. Also in line with Zech. 13:8.
The world was not charged to ‘Choose Christ’ or else…., but Israel was.
So I sincerely hope this little book has cleared much of the reader’s uncertainty or puzzles, and helped him to the right understanding of the word of Truth.