Jesus on His Way up to Jerusalem and the Cross:
He Knew What Awaited Him!

Jesus on His Way Up to Jerusalem and the Cross:

He Knew What Awaited Him!

By Jan Lilleby

 

I have written some articles lately, which in various ways have been about Jesus and His crucifixion.

This was prophesied by Daniel among others, like I referred to in my article on the Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9 and so forth.

We had a closer look upon what year Jesus died and rose from the dead – which were​​ 28 AD when Passover was the 28th​​ of April, which was same day as the Jewish 14th​​ of Nisan. This fell on a Wednesday, which I proved was the​​ only day of the week possible​​ for the crucifixion to​​ have happened like described to us in the four Gospels. When the women arrived at the grave at early dawn of Sunday morning,​​ the first day of the week.​​ The grave was already empty, so it was probable that He rose from the dead in the evening of Saturday the 1st​​ of May…right before it would turned​​ into Sunday. Every sundown marks the shift for the​​ next day​​ in Jewry, as we know.

When we study this particular story of Jesus, as He set out for Jerusalem, we will be able to learn from Scripture that​​ the whole story – Jesus going up to Jerusalem – was a decisive initiative in which the ‘end station’ was the cross at 14th​​ of Nisan, the Passover. He was the Lamb to be sacrificed for the sin of the world. He knew that after the​​ suffering and death, He would rise from death, and ultimately go back to heaven.

In Mat. 17 and Luke 9 we have the​​ incident on the mountain when Elijah and Moses met with Jesus, and it was witnessed by Peter, James and John. Luke 9:30, 31 says, ​​​​ (Amplified Bible) -

“And behold,​​ two men were conversing with Him – Moses and Elijah. - - Who appeared in splendor and majesty and brightness and were speaking of His exit (from life), which He was about to bring to realization at Jerusalem.”

Because of these two known prophets that came to Jesus from heaven and told Him the details of what would happen, Jesus then knew what would take place.

He started His travel up to Jerusalem, followed by His disciples, plus a group of people which seemed to grow for each day.

In Mat. 20:18, as well as in Luke, Jesus tells His disciples that He should be arrested, flogged and crucified,​​ and after that He would rise from the​​ dead on the third day. But, say​​ the Gospels,​​ they understood none of these things, for it was hidden from them.

On His way, Jesus performed great miracles of healing.

He had laid the route to go through Jericho, and Mat. 20:29-34 say He healed two blind men,

And behold, two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, Lord, have pity and mercy on us, (You) Son of David! - - The crowds reproved them and told them​​ to keep still; but they cried out all the more, Lord, have pity and mercy on us (You) Son of David! - - And Jesus stopped and called them, and asked, What do you want Me to do for you? ​​ - - They answered Him, Lord we want our eyes to be opened! - - And Jesus, in pity, touched their eyes; and instantly they received their sight and followed Him”

Mat. 21 testify​​ that Jesus had divine foreknowledge of certain things. Here it was the known incident with the donkey and her colt (v. 2-3). He had some of His disciples to go and untie them, bringing them to Him.

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Mat. 21:7-11​​ tells of Jesus riding into Jerusalem right before Passover in 28 AD – and thus fulfilling Zec. 9:9​​ which read,

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King comes to you; He is (uncompromisingly) just and having salvation (triumphant and victorious), patient, meek, lowly, and​​ riding on a donkey, upon a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

It is possible that this happened on Sunday 25th​​ of April, which was same as 11th​​ of Nisan that year. Therefore in some nations that day is named Palm Sunday.​​ 

HOWEVER:​​ It may have been on a​​ Monday,​​ one cannot say this for certain!​​ The entire city was on its feet, to see Jesus coming. People took off​​ their coats and laid on the donkey for Him, and upon the road before Him, and cut off branches from palm trees​​ and laid before Him, shouting (and perhaps even singing – from Psalm 118:26)​​ Hosanna, Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna.​​ The precise words that Jesus told them, - that they should not see Him again before they met Him with those words from Psalm 118,​​ which is the Passover Psalm. ​​ So this is the greeting that Israel will meet the Lord with, as He descends​​ from heaven at His Second Advent.

Again, the same kind of divine foreknowledge made Jesus send two of His disciples ahead,​​ to find a​​ suitable large room for the Last Supper, Luke 22:10-14,

“….a man carrying an earthen jug or pitcher of water will meet you; follow him into the house which he enters.

JESUS PROVOKING THE PHARISEES IN THE TEMPLE

 

Mat. 21:12, 13​​ read,

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And Jesus went into the temple and drove out all who bought and sold in the sacred place, and He turned over the four-footed tables of the money changers and the chairs of those who sold doves. - - ​​ He said to them, the Scripture says, My house shall be called a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers.”

One should think that the Pharisees and those merchants there would explode of rage. But no: They were infuriated, yes, but not because the businesses were interrupted – rather it was the fact that Jesus went on doing great miracles and wonders​​ right there in the midst of their own turf, their domain!

Mat. 21:14, 15 read,

“And the blind and the lame came to Him in the porches and courts of the temple, and He cured them. - - But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He did and the boys and the girls and the youths and the maidens crying out in the porches and courts of the temple, Hosanna,​​ to the Son of David! They were indignant.”

The following verses of Mat. 21 shows Jesus in harsh arguments with them, and ending it with His parable of a man who had two sons, and the parable of the man who owned a vineyard. Jesus used the parable to condemn the Pharisees for their unbelief – telling them that the Kingdom of God shall be taken from them.

Verse 46 show us the cowardly Pharisees, afraid to go up against Jesus in public,

“And although they were trying to arrest Him, they​​ feared the throngs because they regarded Him as a prophet.”

THE DAYS LEADING UP TO THE CRUCIFIXION

 

As I wanted to check out certain important facts, such as what days in what year regarding Jesus,​​ I came across a website which I liked –​​ truthsearch.org​​ – which has a solid well informing research on this.​​ When​​ Jesus did what?​​ Where​​ Jesus did what? So I brought some of their research into my article. But not to make the calendar a main issue. I am just using some of this to give a​​ broader picture​​ of things.

Above I already mentioned that Jesus​​ probably​​ (it is not hundred percent sure)​​ rode into Jerusalem under the enthusiastic cheers of the people along the road on Sunday 25th​​ of April, which in Jewry was 11th​​ of Nisan. It was three days before His crucifixion.​​ But we must still keep open to the idea that it​​ might​​ have been a Monday, sorry.​​ This seems to fit in better with the Gospels story of this event.​​ Can it be the early Catholic Church which produced the ‘Palm Sunday’ idea? I am not sure. Perhaps.

The ‘Posse’ had passed through​​ Jericho the day before.

Mat. 21:17 let us learn that Jesus went out to​​ Bethany and lodged there. And the next morning at dawn He left Bethany and went in to Jerusalem again. He had been with Simon and his family, a man Jesus had healed from leprosy earlier. It was during this stay with Simon, that a woman had anointed Jesus,​​ pouring expensive nard​​ perfume​​ oil over Him. Some of the guests were insulted by this, but Jesus defended her saying (Mark 14:3-8),

“…let her alone; why are you troubling her? She has done a good and beautiful thing to Me. - - v.8: She has done what she could; she came beforehand to anoint My body for the burial.”

Mark let us know that the woman used up this oil, at a value of a​​ laboring man’s wages for one year, 300 Denarii. Well, this woman certainly showed that she had understood that Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb of God, she was a firm believer, - as opposed to the disciples, who​​ did not understand​​ this for it was hidden from them.

The next day was Thuesday​​ 27th​​ of April,​​ 13th​​ of Nisan, and that morning it was that He cursed the Figtree which had no fruit on it, and it just withered on the spot!​​ This date is a hundred percent certain for it fits in with​​ all four Gospels when we compare the stories. The Last Supper was held at Thuesday evening.​​ From this day we can follow the​​ chronology​​ of the rest of the Passover story.

Later that day, which was His second visit inside its walls, the Pharisees (chief priest and elders) jumped at Him again, trying to make ridicule and to hopefully​​ hear Him​​ say something they could arrest Him for. This time they wanted to hear Him say​​ with what authority​​ He said and did what He did – and Jesus answered back wisely by a “Hot Potato” issue,​​ John the Baptist: Was John’s baptism from heaven or from men? ​​ They were forced, by their own cowardly manners to say they did not know. If they did not admit John to be a man of God, they knew that​​ the people would come after them in anger and​​ cause them harm. So, Jesus then sent them away with saying:​​ Neither will I tell you by what power of authority I do these things.​​ 

Luke 22 gives us the Last Supper. Jesus established The New Covenant for Israel, - one which Paul explains in Hebrews 8 and 9 chapters.

Heb. 9:15 is clear on the fact that the New Covenant was ONLY FOR ISRAEL. One had to first been under the Old Covenant (The Law of Moses) to be able to come under the new one,

Christ is therefore the Negotiator and Mediator of an entirely new agreement (testament, covenant), so that those who are called and offered it may receive the fulfillment of the promised everlasting inheritance – since a death has taken place which rescues and delivers and redeems them​​ from the transgressions committed under the (old) first agreement.”

This​​ New Covenant​​ sealed with the blood of Jesus, should redeem Israel’s believers from the sins they committed when they had been under the Law, written with its commandments and ordinances.

But we, the Body of Christ, the Church dispensation in the Free Grace Gospel revealed to Paul, we are only obliged to obey and believe on​​ Paul’s faith doctrine, and no Covenant or Law,

Eph. 2:14, 15,

For He is (Himself) our peace (our bond of unity and harmony). He has made us both (Jew and Gentile) one (body), and has broken down (destroyed, abolished) the hostile dividing wall between us. ​​ - ​​ - ​​ By abolishing in His (own crucified) flesh the enmity (caused by) the Law with its decrees and ordinances (which He annulled); that He from the two might create in Himself​​ one new man,​​ so making peace.”

We, the believers in Christ, we are not each one of us individually a ‘New Man’ – no, it is the entire Body of Christ who is that ‘New Man’ Paul wrote of. We are together a new creation. I wanted to play this ‘card’ into this equation of Jesus heading for the cross. Because, Paul​​ started at the cross – by looking back at it as the 30-some years history it was when God in 62 AD revealed this new​​ Grace Gospel to him as he was in Rome (Acts 28:25-31). ​​ But before Paul had this Mystery revealed to him, all things in The New Testament were only about God offering Israel the New Covenant and the coming of Jesus as soon as Israel had repented. But they never did, they fell from God as a nation instead.

We continue​​ in learning of Jesus on His way to the cross…and Mat. 26:20 tells of the Last Supper,

“When it was evening, He was reclining at table with the twelve disciples.”

The verse does not say that the sun had gone down yet, but it was​​ in the evening. So we are on a Thuesday​​ – which at​​ sundown would turn into Wednesday​​ 14th​​ of Nisan, or our​​ 28th​​ of April 28 AD.

That following night – after their meal was laid behind, and Jesus had declared to them His New Covenant in His blood – Jesus​​ deliberately in full openness​​ went out and into the Gethsemane garden so He easily could be arrested by the temple guards, and not in full daylight for everyone to see. He knew the Pharisees were cowards and wanted Him taken in secrecy. They even provided​​ false witnesses​​ so they could execute Him.​​ 

Judas betrayed Him by the sign of a kiss. We know this sad and dark story. Judas regretted this a few days later and committed suicide, after first having thrown the 30 silver coins into the court of the Pharisees.

John 19:14-16 show Jesus in the presence of Pontus Pilate, and the people present in the Gabbatha court,

Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover (14th​​ Nisan) – and it was about the sixth hour (our noon). He said to the Jews, See (here is) your King! - - But they shouted, Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him! Pilate said to them, Crucify your King? The chief priest answered, We have no king but Caesar! ​​ - ​​ - ​​ Then he delivered Him over to them to be crucified.”

​​ NOTICE:​​ Mark 15:42 explains that the 14th​​ of Nisan was Preparation day, since it was followed by a Sabbath (which always was an​​ extra Sabbath​​ each Passover – and that extra Sabbath was on 15th​​ of Nisan, our Thursday, which fell on 29th​​ of April 28 AD.

John 18:40 show us​​ that the multitude had cried out to Pilate to set free the rebel Barabbas. The Romans gave them free a man each Passover as a goodwill gesture to the Jewish people. As he asked them which of the two, Jesus or Barabbas, he should let go, they chose the latter.

John 19 says Jesus was crucified (given​​ over to them​​ for crucifixion) right after the interrogation by Pilate. Mark 15:25 says the​​ third hour​​ of the day (nine​​ o’clock) as when He was crucified.​​ But I personally believe it must have been​​ after noon​​ – as said in John 19. This because Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate to have the body of Jesus, to put Him in his own grave cave near Jerusalem, and that was in​​ the evening. It seems​​ more logical (Mat. 27:57-60).​​ ​​ In Mark 15:44 we can read that Pilate, in the presence of Joseph – and it was already evening – he checked with a centurion on watch​​ whether Jesus really was dead already…in other words, in spite of the late hour Pilate would make sure He was dead, and could be laid in grave!

The day after 14th​​ of Nisan is an extra Sabbath, according to the Law of Moses. It was also the first day of the feast of the Unleavened Bread, it says.

Hereby we have had a look at the time-perspective leading up to the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, and those things which happened on the way to that climax. It seems that Jesus in full and​​ open purpose gave Himself​​ over to be sacrificed to bring salvation to us – lost as we were.

Eph. 2:8, 9,

“For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved, through your faith. And this is not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God. - - Not because of works, lest any man should boast.”

 

 

 

 

 




What Day of the Week Was Jesus
C R U C I F I E D ?

What​​ Day of the Week Was Jesus

C R U C I F I E D ?

By Jan Lilleby

 

As​​ I worked on diverse facts about times and years regarding my article on​​ Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, I happened to read up on Passover and the dramatically​​ days when Jesus was crucified. Studying moon-phases and Jewish holidays can be exciting – and can​​ enlighten your understanding​​ of the reality of the Passover the year that Jesus died and thereafter raised from the dead.

Therefore I shall use this little article to clarify certain Biblical facts in the topic.

 

THE PASSOVER – WHICH IS ALWAYS THE SAME IN JEWRY

 

First we shall have a​​ look upon which year it was when​​ Jesus actually was crucified. Therefore we must​​ notice that it was 14th​​ of Nisan, which always is the Passover – and it is decided by the​​ present Moon-Phases​​ for each year, which day of the week it falls on.​​ All according to the Law of Moses (the Tora).

That is why the Passover can one year fall on March, another year it is April, and yet – another year it is early May. Decided by the position of the Moon.

I have used below a listing of 9 years in row, inside which we are guaranteed to catch the​​ correct year​​ and day for the 14th​​ Nisan on which Jesus died. Those are the years from 26 AD ​​ to ​​ 34 AD.

I am using 1 Nisan and 14 Nisan for each of the nine years​​ to give you a wider sense of understanding dates, and the respective week-day names for each,

 

26 AD ​​ - 1 Nisan is Monday 8th​​ of April. ​​ 14th​​ of Nisan ​​ Sunday 21th of April.

27 AD ​​ - 1 Nisan is Saturday 29th​​ of March. 14th​​ of Nisan Friday 11th​​ of April.

28 AD - 1 Nisan is Thursday 15th​​ of April. 14th​​ of Nisan Wednesday 28th​​ of April.

29 AD – 1​​ Nisan is Tuesday 5th​​ of April. 14th​​ of Nisan​​ Monday 18th​​ of April.

30 AD – 1 Nisan is Saturday 25th​​ of March. 14th​​ of Nisan Friday 7th​​ of April.

31 AD – 1 Nisan is Thursday 12th​​ of April. 14th​​ of Nisan Wednesday 25th​​ of April.

32 AD – 1 Nisan is​​ Tuesday 1 April. 14th​​ of Nisan Monday 14th​​ of April.

33 AD – 1 Nisan is Monday 20th​​ April. 14th​​ of Nisan Sunday 3 May.

34 AD – 1 Nisan is Friday 9th​​ of April. 14th​​ of Nisan Thursday 22 April.

 

THE CRUCIFIXION, THE BURIAL AND THE RESURRECTION

 

Now we will be confronted with an important fact: It is ONLY the week day of WEDNESDAY the 14th​​ of Nisan – the Passover – which could possibly be the day that Jesus was crucified.​​ All four Gospels testify of this.

The four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, clearly states that He laid three days and three nights in the grave, and the women came there on an early Sunday morning (the first day of the week)​​ after the Sabbath, while it dawned of​​ day. Mat. 27:57, 58 gives us Joseph of Arimathea who on Wednesday evening asked for the body of Jesus, before Pilate. He was granted this. Mat. 28:1 gives us the Sunday morning, and the women arriving at an empty grave.

There​​ is​​ no doubt​​ that it was Wednesday the 28th​​ of April 28 AD, the 14th​​ of Nisan.

Wednesday is the only day which fits into the collective history of these Gospels. Mat. 12:40 says​​ three days and three nights.​​ From Wednesday at sundown until Saturday at sundown.​​ After the sun has gone down, the next day has come.​​ NOTICE: When the women came to the grave this was​​ very early at dawn​​ Sunday morning, and it says nothing of Jesus rising at that hour. He could​​ have risen right before 19.00​​ Saturday, or right after it had shifted to Sunday at​​ ​​ sundown​​ – we don’t​​ know​​ – but it is highly probable. The two angels who revealed themselves to the women​​ on​​ Sunday morning, reminded them of what exactly Jesus had told them before he was crucified,

Luke 24:6, 7,

He is not here, but​​ has​​ risen! Remember how He told you while He was still in Galilee ​​ - ​​ - That the Son of Man must be given over into the hands of sinful men (men whose way or nature is to act in opposition to God) and be crucified and​​ on the third day​​ rise (from death).”

They had no clocks at that time in history – and the angels could not therefore say, for instance…Well you see, Jesus​​ rose from the dead around​​ Saturday evening at 19.00​​ – which was the third day​​ still.​​ The sun went down at 19.19.​​ 

It had to be sufficient that the women got to know that the Lord HAD RISEN ALREADY, before they arrived at the grave. He DID NOT RISE at Sunday morning. This is very simple, and also it is true.​​ 

According to​​ charts for Sunrise and Sundown in Jerusalem​​ on the 1st of​​ May​​ (17th​​ Nisan in 28 AD), the sun actually goes​​ down at 19.19.​​ The following Sunday morning it rises at so early as​​ 05.53. The sun is​​ a​​ constant​​ in the time-factor whether rising or going down, any which year we have. Same time as for the 17th​​ of Nisan (1st of May) Year 28 AD – which was Saturday, as for 1st​​ of May this year 2021 – only with a​​ minimal adjustment​​ of a few minutes each leap year (one day extra in February every fourth year).​​ 

The doubts and discussions on what day the crucifixion happened derives from the fact that it was TWO SABBATHS that week. The first was at Thursday 29th​​ of April (15th​​ of Nisan), and the second was the regular Sabbath at Saturday 30th​​ of April (16th​​ of Nisan).

It is Mark 15:42, Luke 23:52-54 and John 19:31 that mention it was Sabbath AFTER the crucifixion. But this was just the extra Sabbath, at 15th​​ of Nisan, which is always the​​ ‘First Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread’. The regular Sabbath is always on Saturday.

In the​​ Greek​​ original text for Matthew 28:1 where we read of the women arriving at the grave, it says correctly​​ plural tense​​ for the Sabbath:​​ Sabbaths.​​ Most translations are​​ just​​ in​​ singular tense, sorry to say. So, Jesus was not crucified on a Friday. It is quite impossible, given the Gospel texts.

That extra Sabbath on the 15th​​ of Nisan, can be found in Lev. 23:4-8 and Num. 28:16-18.

In Luke 23:55, 56 it says that the women went to buy​​ spices and ointments (perfume oil) ​​ BEFORE the Sabbath, while in Mark 16:1 it is written that they bought the goods AFTER the Sabbath. ​​ In other words: They bought the spices and ointments BETWEEN the two Sabbaths – namely Friday 16th​​ of Nisan, or April 30th​​ in our calendar.​​ The shops were closed on these two Sabbaths but was open on that Friday – business-as-usual.

For this to come to pass – the ‘Before’ and the ‘After’​​ constellation – it leaves us only​​ the Wednesday, and​​ that day only, for the crucifixion of Jesus. This really kills the debate that has been going on whether Jesus was crucified on Friday.

 

THE TWO ALTERNATE WEDNESDAYS IN MY LIST ABOVE

You will already have noticed my​​ emphasized​​ line regarding 28 AD and 31 AD calendar years, in which we can find that the 14th​​ of Nisan fell on a Wednesday.

A well-known and famous Christian writer and Bible expositor (and a host of others holding same views) made a real unfortunate blunder, as he held forth the year 32 AD as the year when Jesus was crucified. None of them are foolish or dumb, they are all believers like you and me. But we have often made blunders because we forget (is it a stress-syndrome?) to check – and double check important issues.​​ But no such mistakes have any influence negatively regarding our salvation by faith. Thank God.

If you now do check out the year 32 AD (which that famous Bible expositor must have forgotten) – you will notice that​​ it​​ is​​ completely impossible​​ that Jesus could have died that year. Simply because the 14th​​ of Nisan – the Passover – was that year on Monday the 14th​​ of April! ​​ It is likewise therefore impossible that Jesus could have risen a few hours before Sunday morning, for that Sunday would come​​ six days after He died. But the Gospels say He rose on the third day.​​ 

And, to be open and honest: I did that kind of error ​​ myself, if I go several years back. I once held the view that Jesus died in 32 AD…and thus we count the Book of Acts as a story beginning in that same year and ending in 62 AD when Paul was two years in Rome. A period of 30 years. But in real​​ correct time, it was from 28 AD to 62-63​​ AD – a period of 34-35 years. But that is an entirely different issue. I should have checked the year, and then checked it again, of course, but I did not. But from here on, that is what​​ I will do every time there come up​​ a topic in which correct dates are essential. I promise.

The only alternative year to 28 AD, was 31 AD since the 14th​​ of Nisan was on a Wednesday that year as well. ​​ But​​ here we come to face another time-issue due to the​​ manipulation made by the ancient Catholic Church.​​ 

They​​ managed to alter the Lord’s birthday from September 28th​​ or 29th​​ –​​ to December 24th, -​​ plus they altered the year to be 5-6 years​​ (some believe it was 2 or 3 years only)​​ later than the actual year of birth. ​​ Jesus was​​ born five years earlier, maybe six​​ years. But this means – because of the​​ calendar proven, that He could only have died in 28 AD, because this will fall in with the fact that the Gospels say He was around 30 years when He started ministry, and it lasted for​​ three years. If He died in 31 AD, Jesus would have been 36​​ years of age, and we know it would be wrong.​​ If we go for the 5-year model, He would die at the age of 38 years. So anyway, whether​​ Catholic Church manipulated​​ 3 years, or 2 years, or 5 years, result will still be so wrong that He could not​​ die in Year 31 AD. Using the 2-Year model leaves Jesus at an age at death of 35 years. The Bible says​​ He died at 33 years of age, period.​​ It is irrefutable and non-negotiable.​​ 

It is good to know the​​ real facts​​ in regard to our Bible studies, don’t you agree? Even if it does not really disturb our standing with the Lord,​​ and our salvation by faith alone.

Jesus died as a matter of fact on Wednesday 28th​​ of April 28 AD at an age of almost 33 years. ​​ He ascended to heaven about​​ ten days before​​ Pentecost, which was​​ at​​ Sunday 20th​​ of June 28 AD.​​ (Jesus left for heaven around 8-10 June…)

 

 

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PETER AND PAUL
A Comparison of the Two

By Jan Lilleby

 

Brief Intro

This article is written as​​ a follow-up to the article on ‘The Great Commission’.

I shall try to make diverse direct comparisons between the two great apostles in the New Testament.

In their early days of ministry, Peter and Paul preached the same message, that is, they spoke the​​ Gospel of the Kingdom​​ of God​​ on Earth​​ with Jesus as the coming king to rule from Jerusalem. A kingdom promised by God’s prophets, an earthly hope of salvation for the people of Israel, the Jews.​​ In Christendom we call this for The Millennial Kingdom.​​ Dan. 2:44 are one of the prophesies given.

Peter preached to them​​ within the natural borders​​ of the nation of Israel, while Paul was called to​​ go outside, to the Jews and proselytes (the Greek) in the Provinces of the Empire.

In those times, which we know was reported in many details in the Book of Acts, Israel​​ was seen from God’s side as His own people and nation, and thus also sat above the other nations in the world. (Ref. Ex. 19:5, 6).

After thirty years of ministry, 32 – 62 A.D., reported in Acts – and Peter and Paul having the main roles as apostles, it came to an end with Israel.

In Acts 28:25-31, we see that God abandoned​​ Israel for her serious disbelief and disobedience, using Paul to pronounce the judgment upon them. The leaders of the eleven synagogues in Rome, represented the nation of Israel – as God’s final resort. Acts 28:27 sternly concludes that they would NOT REPENT so God could​​ heal the nation (re-establishing/restoring them, see Acts 1:6). The idea of an earthly kingdom for Israel was​​ temporarily set aside. And just eight years later – in 70 A.D. – Israel was destroyed by the Roman army and the temple burnt and torn completely down.

All Jewish men from the age of 17 (those who had participated in the battles) were sent by slave-ships to Egypt, and tried sold in the market​​ at Alexandria. But no one would buy. Deut. 28:68 was thus fulfilled. It was​​ Josephus​​ who described this in his writings on ‘The Jewish War’. God simply wiped out and cancelled the whole nation of Israel; it no longer existed in the eyes of God. She became​​ ‘Lo Ammi’​​ – as in Hosea, meaning​​ ‘Not ​​ My people’. And Israel still remains that today.

The destruction was also prophesied by Jesus in His parable in Matt. 22:7 of the ‘Kings Servants’ – in which the king (Jesus) got angry and therefore sent His army (Romans) to kill the murderers who had persecuted and killed His servants (Apostles) and set fire to their city (Jerusalem),

In Biblical time-line, it is the epistles to the Ephesians and the Colossians which brings the historical events along, as Acts was abruptly ended by Luke.

By this change of events, going from a historic document straight over into faith-doctrine, actually an entirely new doctrine of faith not seen in earlier Scripture, with the believers​​ hope of salvation​​ now up in heaven with Christ​​ (Greek:​​ Epiuoranos). Using the apostle Paul, God brought on a new dispensation, the one with God’s free Grace by faith alone, and no works. Paul calls this for​​ ‘One New Man’, and the Body of Christ.

We are still, as a collective Christianity, in that dispensation of the free Grace, and in which we find that the Law of Moses with its commandments and ordinances are abolished (Eph. 2:14, 15).

PETER – APOSTLE TO​​ ISRAEL,​​ THE CIRCUMCISED

 

Peter’s life, ministry and speeches as we read Acts and the gospels as well as his two epistles to the Messianic Jewish​​ assemblies​​ in​​ that time, clearly testifies to us that he served the Lord by preaching the​​ Kingdom-gospel​​ to the Jews.

He was present when Jesus told His disciples at the beginning,

“Jesus sent out these twelve, charging them,​​ Go nowhere among the Gentiles​​ and do not go into any of town of the Samaritans.​​ But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” ​​ ​​​​ Mat. 10:5, 6

Later on, Jesus said of Himself,

…I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”​​ Mat. 15:24

Paul, around 58 A.D. as he wrote the epistle to the Romans, taught the very same thing,

“For I tell you that Christ became a servant​​ to the circumcised​​ in order to show God’s truthfulness and honesty by confirming the promise​​ to our fathers…”​​ Rom. 15:8

The so-called ‘Great Commission’ which was given to Peter and the eleven in Mat. 28, is totally in line with this. Peter was sent to the​​ circumcised only.

He never had taken this command from the Lord for an order to go to the entire global world, including us Gentiles!​​ 

These​​ words of Jesus in Mat. 28:19, 20 are translated from the general word in Greek,​​ COSMOS,​​ -​​ go then and make disciples of all the nations –​​ and it is used for many things: The entire creation, the planet earth, the nation, the village, the city….and so on. In Mat. 28 it is evident that​​ cosmos​​ was used to mean the land of Israel.​​ Go out into the entire land of Israel.

The well-known incident in Acts 10 – Peter​​ was​​ called​​ especially​​ by God to visit the Gentile Cornelius, a Centurion, to preach the Kingdom-gospel, was not trend-setting. This was just a One-Off for Peter, and he​​ did not​​ start regularly to go to Gentiles. The icing on the cake: The Lord had to​​ persuade​​ Peter strongly to have him go to the Gentile Cornelius!​​ This can only mean​​ that Mat. 28 and the ‘Great Commission’ were understood by Peter as an order to go to​​ Israel inside her borders only.​​ Thank God that Acts has the function of a check-point, a strong guide-line.

Peter and the eleven continued to go to Jews only for the rest of their ministries, this is for sure. And Gal. 2:7-9 is not misinforming us at all, when Paul wrote that Peter went​​ only to the circumcised, as Paul went to both circumcised and uncircumcised, and to kings (see Acts 9:15). It is obvious, that Peter went to Jews only, for only those were under God’s promise of a Kingdom in Israel with​​ their Messiah Jesus as the ruling King. The world in a global sense, has never been offered a Kingdom (Millennial)​​ on earth; only the Jews.​​ Dan. 2:44

We find Peter’s life/ministry described mainly in Acts 1-12, and a short glimpse of him again in Acts 15 regarding the apostolic conference at Jerusalem agreeing what to teach the proselytes in the matters of Moses and the Law and ordinances. Acts 15:1-21

We notice that Peter is not even mentioned by James, who at that time, was the leader of the assembly​​ at Jerusalem, with whom Paul met and talked with in Acts 21: 18-20. We can find no scripture saying when Peter quit his position in that large assembly, leaving it to James and the Elders. But it is held probable that he was alive still. This was around 58 A.D. – as Paul arrived​​ at​​ Jerusalem.

Jesus told Peter, prophesying that he should be executed when he had gotten old, as in John 21:18, 19,

….but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will put a girdle around you and carry you where you do not wish to go. – He said this to indicate by what kind of death Peter would glorify God. And after this, He said to him, Follow Me!”

There is no doubt that Jesus thus foretold Peter, of how he would be executed by crucifixion, since​​ he would indeed​​ follow Jesus till the end.

This can very well indicate that Peter could have lived longer than Paul, but we cannot know for sure. The fact that Peter was not mentioned by Luke as he wrote Acts –​​ ​​ the meeting in Jerusalem in 58 A.D. – may be an indication of Peter being somewhere else at the time. He might have been around 60 years of age. But that is not an age which deserves to be held as ‘Old’. We should rather think of Peter growing old, like, 80 to 85 years at least.

Peter’s doctrine, told in his own well formulated texts in his two epistles, really mirrors him clearly as an apostle to Israel, the circumcised, and had the hope of salvation focused on the promised millennial Kingdom at the Second Advent. Peter had nothing whatsoever to do regarding the Church, the ‘One new Man’ – the Body of Christ as pictured by Paul in Ephesians and Colossians. This is an undisputable fact as it is proven from the Bible explained to you above.

His words in 1 Pet. 1:3-5 is a perfect example of this,

“Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His boundless mercy we have been born again to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, - into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay, unsullied and unfading, reserved in heaven for you. – Who are being guarded by God’s power through faith in the last time.”

In Peter’s sphere of doctrinal preaching on Israel’s coming Kingdom on earth, at the Second Advent, he characterize the believers to be such ones who had been ‘Born again’ (as with Nicodemus the Pharisee in John 3:3) – and that is in​​ contrast​​ to what Paul wrote of us, the ‘One New Man’, the Body of Christ, - for we are a ‘New Creation’ collectively spoken. To have been born is not the same as having been created!

Furthermore, we are mentioned by Paul as believers​​ who are saved already, here and now. But in Peters doctrinal sphere – the believers were to be looking forward to the salvation, bestowed on them in same instance as Jesus would come down from heaven establishing the millennial Kingdom.​​ Peters words of that salvation​​ reserved in heaven for you…was his way of saying that Jesus still was in heaven, and would come down to bring that salvation (the Kingdom) to them, to the believing Messianic Israel.

Sadly, it is true then that Jesus never came back from heaven to establish that Kingdom, in the life-time of the apostles.​​ 

The reason for that​​ is crystal-clear: Israel fell from her high position with God as a nation of God – sat over all other nations – and the eleven Synagogues at Rome with their leaders were the last resort in regard to have the Lord return. As found in Acts 28:27 – they​​ would not repent, so God could heal (restore the nation) the land.​​ The Second Advent is thus postponed to a future time ahead, and in the meantime Christ has His Church on earth preaching the free Gospel of grace, given Paul alone to administrate in his time, as he wrote in Eph. 3:1-9. This time (almost 2000 years now) with Israel as fallen away and the Church preaching the grace gospel is soon over. I am sure.

In the entire time as we find Israel as fallen, the Church and its Grace Gospel, according to Paul, will be on earth. We are not here in place of Israel, but rather​​ in lack of Israel.

The dispensation of the free grace of God shall be ended/concluded by God sending down to Israel His prophets, Elijah and Moses, to start up and activating the ‘Great Tribulation’. (See my free booklet on this site, called “Moses and Elijah is Coming with the Day of Vengeance”.)

Peter’s gospel doctrine in both his epistles,​​ speak of this earthly Kingdom-salvation for Israel only.​​ You won’t ever find anything with Peter concerning the free Grace Gospel – like revealed to Paul after Israel fell from God in 62 A.D. when Paul confronted the disbelieving leaders there.​​ Had Jesus returned in Peter’s lifetime, he would be​​ one among twelve​​ who would govern the nation together with Jesus, sitting on twelve thrones over the twelve tribes of Israel (Mat. 19:28).

None of the doctrinal things taught by Peter to the Messianic believers in his time, have any validity for the Church, the ‘One New Man’. It only concerned the earthly Kingdom, and not heaven up above!

Our Pastors and evangelists and church-leaders should quickly get learned in these truths – truths that must be held as an ABC-study for the Church, and thus try to leave behind all misunderstandings of doctrine. We MUST hold Peter separated from Paul, especially when we discuss faith-doctrine.

From the time Paul had the ‘Mystery’ in Ephesians and Colossians revealed to him by God and Christ, we learn that it is HEAVEN up above which is our hope of salvation! But in Peter’s time and doctrine, it was the earthly Kingdom for Israel. Don’t tell me that this is not important. It is actually two different doctrines which cannot be united.​​ Therefore: Stop confusing these two hopes! Get things right, by listening to Paul only, for only he is our teacher. The apostle to the Gentiles. Peter and Jesus were teaching the circumcised, Israel only.

Since Jesus did not come back from heaven in the time of the apostles, Peter and all those believers who had been expecting the Kingdom to be established, were automatically transferred in to the Grace-salvation hope, heaven up above. They will inherit together with the Church, the eternal life in heaven, and NOT in the earthly Kingdom to come. Peter and the twelve will not be sitting on thrones like Jesus said in Mat. 19:28 – for He did not return in their lifetime. Those who will be ruling with Christ in the millennial Kingdom, are seen in Rev. 20:4 –​​ raised from the dead, and ruled with Christ for a thousand years.​​ They had died as martyrs, refusing to take the mark of the beast on them, and were killed by Anti-Christ.

The model for Kingdom-believers ‘transfer’ over to the free Grace Gospel, we find clearly as we know that those at Ephesus had come to faith in the days when Paul still only taught the Kingdom-Gospel and the New Covenant to them.

As he then wrote to them his epistle, they find suddenly a doctrine of salvation which is NOT the Kingdom on earth, but the (Greek,​​ Epiouranos) heaven up above the heavcns. And in same epistle they find,​​ shockingly, that Paul declares the Law of Moses for abolished. To a Jew at that time, this must have sounded like a curse-word, a swearing in Church.​​ Eph. 2:14, 15.

I talk a lot of Paul here, because​​ I am comparing the two, as I said in the headline.

If we check out Acts 16​​ where Paul and Silas went back to assemblies Paul had established with his first visits there, they held forth the decision regarding the Gentiles’ relations to the Law of Moses, how to live properly.​​ These rules were agreed upon by Peter, James, Paul and others – that Gentiles need not take​​ circumcision, but they needed​​ to keep the food ordinances in Lev. 17, not eating meat with its blood still in it…Acts 15:20,

“But we should send word to them (the Gentiles) in​​ writing to abstain from and​​ ​​ avoid anything that has been polluted by being offered to idols, and all sexual impurity, and eating meat of animals that have been strangled, and tasting of blood.”​​ (Sexual impurity is mostly dealt with in Lev.18, including incest).

But in Col. 2:16 Paul leaves this​​ food-doctrine, even if it was agreed upon by the leaders such as Peter, James – and even Paul, - and again we must learn to observe that​​ something has happened, which​​ caused​​ Paul to leave that Jewish and Mosaic tradition of certain parts of the ordinances.

Paul had gotten a​​ new revelation​​ from Christ: The Law of Moses is now abolished, with its commandments and ordinances…Eph. 2:14, 15,

“…by abolishing in His flesh the enmity the Law with its decrees and ordinances; that He from the two​​ (Jews and Gentiles)​​ might create in Himself​​ one new man, so making peace.”

That is why Paul now could inform the Colossians, that Lev. 17 – the food ordinances,​​ were cancelled,

“Therefore let no one sit in judgment on you in​​ matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a New Moon or a Sabbath.”

Sorry, Seventh-Day Adventists around the world. Paul called off Sabbaths and every food ordinance you can find in the Tora. It is not me, Jan Lilleby, who says you don’t ever have to keep food-rules and Sabbaths – it was our chief-teacher, the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul and no other. Will you obey God by agreeing with Paul’s faith-doctrine in Ephesians and in Colossians then?

One of the most foolish things you may hear from a ‘Die Hard Adventist’ is: If you don’t keep the Sabbath, you have taken on you the​​ mark of the beast​​ – the anti-Christ logo. ​​ Quite the nonsense and rubbish!

Will we be obedient to God’s apostle for us, we – the Gentiles – or would we make our own fictive ‘gospel’ with all the quirks and clerks that​​ goes with it? Both the Ephesian and the Colossian believers​​ were given the same up-dating of faith-doctrine from Paul; all the​​ important issues​​ regarding the fresh new free Grace Gospel; a concept which had in times past been held secret and hidden in God Himself. Paul was the very first man in history to have the Mystery revealed to him.

The reason for such a great revelation is obvious: The fall of Israel made keeping the Law and the ordinances obsolete and irrelevant.​​ For only Israel had ever been given the Law of Moses, to keep.​​ Never did God at any given time in​​ history demand that the nations, other than Israel, should observe such commandments, originally given to God’s own nation.

I am convinced that the news about this new grace gospel from Paul must have reached Peter, so that he could be informed about this intervention from God. Thus he may very well have read the epistle to the Ephesians, for all what we know.

Bible scholars hold the views, most of them, that Peter’s remarks on Paul’s epistles as writings that may be​​ difficult to understand, points to​​ the​​ fact that Peter may as well have​​ read all​​ of Paul’s letters. But they also hold the view that it is the epistle to the Romans that might be the one stamped as difficult. So, it is very probable that Peter can have read all the other epistles as well – simply​​ because he says so​​ in 2 Pet. 3:15, 15 ​​ “…speaking of this as he does in ALL OF HIS LETTERS…” –​​ the issue here seem to be that the saints must take care, not going astray into sin (see ref. verse 11 especially).​​ I must point out, then, that Peter’s mention of​​ holiness and godly qualities​​ in verse 11, goes very well with Paul’s exhortation in Eph. 5:5. It could also actually be that Peter, saying this,​​ recognized Paul’s new free Gospel of Grace​​ as the faith-doctrine to follow from that point in time. (?)

I mentioned the downfall of Israel above, when Paul was in Rome held in custody 62 A.D. Here I would like to point out for you an important historical fact regarding the Jews, which has not been told in the New Testament, eventually the Book of Acts,

While Paul experienced that the majority of the leadership in the eleven Synagogues in Rome had turned down his preaching of Jesus as their Messiah,​​ something gruesome happened to the assembly at Jerusalem.

Ananias II (he who slapped Paul in the face, Acts 23:2-4) and the priesthood, had the leadership – James and the Elders – arrested and stoned to death!

The reason for this, says Josephus the writer of “The Jewish War”, was that Governor Festus got very sick and went to Rome for cure. That left the Roman office at Jerusalem without Festus’ steady rule and sharp eye to keep order in the city.

A large contingent of the assembly fled up to Pella to escape the persecution.

It is my belief that this evil deed committed by Ananias II and the priesthood, as well as the leadership in Rome and the eleven Synagogues turning Paul’s preaching down,​​ collectively​​ resulted in that Christ – as in Matt. 22:7 – turned angry and sent the Roman army to kill those murderers.​​ I mentioned this prophetic parable early in this article.

How can pastors, evangelists and other ministers and church leaderships use examples from Peter’s life and ministry with the Kingdom-doctrine – for example miracles and signs performed by him as described in Acts 1-12, putting it in​​ their sermons​​ as if any of that should be faith-doctrine for the Church, the ‘One New Man’, when the Bible so clearly picture Peter as an apostle ONLY to the circumcised???

For crying out loud, why are you avoiding Paul and his free Grace Gospel for all nations, and put more weight on Peter’s Kingdom-Gospel which was only for one nation, Israel?

Peter​​ never​​ was an example for the believers in the Church dispensation, in same manner as Paul is. Paul was the ONLY apostle to the Church, in which we find Gentiles in great majority. Jews are of course welcome in the Church as individuals, if they believe on Jesus Christ.​​ 

You see, Peter​​ had NOT been told to go to Gentiles at all. There is found only one small example of that, in Acts 10 – as I thoroughly explained above. He had to be​​ strongly persuaded​​ by God, before he dared to visit Cornelius the Gentile Roman Centurion. Peter was shocked, and so were all his colleagues – that the apostles should even have any contact with Gentiles at all!

Hello! ​​ Is there anyone out there who wakes up from the misunderstanding of Scripture, and manage to correct yourselves accordingly?

 

PAUL – THE APOSTLE TO THE​​ GENTILES

 

Having already mentioned several issues regarding Paul, even as I tried to study Peter’s life and ministry – we find a soft transfer over into Paul’s sphere of ministry and teachings.

In regard to Israel, Jesus had 12 men elected as His disciples – a number which was leaning towards Israel made up of 12 tribes. We notice that the number​​ was frozen,​​ as Judas Iscariot was replaced by Matthias after he had taken his own life.​​ IMAGE:​​ The oldest artwork found ever, picturing Paul, in the ceiling inside a church building.

Mainly these twelve men were​​ men of the people, and not of academia. They were not learned in Tora Scripture. They were plain workers, even fishermen, such as Peter. A rough and tough impulsive type of man, but one that Jesus​​ made a​​ real man​​ out​​ of;​​ a​​ man who gave his life for his Master, and ended his life like​​ his Master, dying on a cross.

Paul, on the contrary, was a Tora educated young Pharisee who had learned the Scriptures from the renowned Gamaliel. He was obviously a very eager and ambitious character, the young Paul (Saul) – thinking that he could serve God by trying to stop the Jesus-believers. We read of him in Acts 7:58 as the one who accepted the stoning of Stephen, by watching over the garments of those who performed the stoning. ​​​​ Acts 8:1 present Paul as a man who​​ supported​​ this act of stoning, - and so we have the worst start and intro of a minister for Christ we possibly could imagine! Actually, reading Acts – we find that Paul scared the leaders in the Jerusalem assembly. And they were scared still, even after Paul had converted to Jesus Christ. They suspected him to be sneaking into the flock to spy out who he might arrest and send to execution.

Paul carried his remorse and regretful mind over his bad actions the rest of his life. As he wrote the epistle to the Ephesians, he called himself,​​ the least of all the saints –​​ as in Eph. 3:8.

I am sure, that Paul thought he was going to die, when he fell blinded to the ground, hearing the voice of the Lord,​​ Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?

Acts 9:16 gives us a merciful Christ, Who​​ did not threaten Paul​​ telling him that from now on he would be suffering hardships and persecution, such as we find when reading Acts. Jesus was merciful to just inform Ananias, the disciple at Damascus, saying of Saul (Paul),

“For I will make clear to him how much he will be afflicted and must endure and suffer for My name’s sake.”

Paul is quoted by Luke often in Acts, so we can learn what Paul was teaching, and what he experienced. I shall not go through all of those details, since that would demand a book,​​ not just an article. And, indeed, I have written a book already – and it is free of charge and in a Word format, called​​ “Paul – the Only Apostle God Sent to us Gentiles”.​​ Send me an email, and I will send the book to you. I really recommend it!

Acts 13:32, 33 and 39​​ is arch-typical on what was Paul’s message to the Jews and proselytes in the Acts period, the years​​ previous​​ to when he had his revelation of the Mystery, the new Grace Gospel,

“So now we are bringing you the good news (Gospel) that what God promised to our forefathers – this He has completely fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus, as it is written in the second psalm, You are My Son; today I have begotten you. ​​ -- ​​ And that through Him everyone who believes is absolved​​ from every charge from which he could not be justified and freed by the Law of Moses and given right standing with God.”

This is for sure NOT our Grace Gospel, like we find in Eph. 1-3. This was God’s New Covenant offer to His own people, a new covenant given Israel’s house – ref. Hebr. 9:15. ​​ Based on the promise of a millennial kingdom which shall be ruled by God’s Messiah, Jesus. And in the whole time-span described in Acts (30 years, ​​ 32 – 62 A.D.) this was the only faith-doctrine presented.

The Grace Gospel as we know it from Paul, did not come before Acts was closed, and we come right over into Ephesians and Colossians.

I said above, that this comparison between the two great apostles is meant as a follow-up to the article-series on ‘The Great Commission’ (4 parts).

Particularly in Part 4 I make clear and pointing to Biblical proofs, not the least Biblical history, which​​ shows that​​ Paul actually had taught the entire Christianity during his later part of ministry, the new free Grace Gospel, same as we today have as faith-doctrinal basis. Again, it is all written down for us in the two epistles mentioned, and the sum of those makes up​​ the real​​ great commission to the church.​​ 

Not only had Paul already taught the entire Christianity, but he had done so long BEFORE ANY OF THE FOUR GOSPELS HAD BEEN ISSUED, as well as the Book of Acts.

Matthew was issued in 80 A.D. – fifty years after Pentecost in Acts 2, and Mark was issued in 82-83. Luke was either issued in 62 A.D. at the earliest, but probably not before 73 A.D. as several scholars believes.​​ John is also under dispute. Some holds to around 98 A.D. for Revelation Book – and think that he lived to be 104 years of age. John’s Gospel was around same time as Revelation, perhaps 2-3 years earlier. Put shortly: Absolutely NONE of the Gospels were issued while Paul established Christianity in the Grace Gospel faith-doctrine!

The apostles never ever had the possibility to read anything from the four gospels, - they did not even exist in their time of ministries.

The Great Commission and other issues, were unknown to all except Peter and the eleven – but still we cannot find one trace in N.T. that Peter refers to that commission. They obviously took this order from Jesus as an order that​​ only the twelve should and could carry out.​​ And thus it was never passed on to other believers as if this should be going into the future generations to come!

Had​​ anyone come up to Paul, after the time (62 A.D.) when he had the revelation of the Mystery explained to him, and the free international Grace Gospel, replacing the previous Kingdom-Gospel to Israel, - and pointed out to​​ him with Matthew and Mark gospels​​ in hand​​ claiming validity of doctrine, validity of having miracles, signs and wonders and so forth, - then Paul would have stopped them in their tracks, telling them that​​ we cannot​​ keep offering a Kingdom to Israel anymore, for she is fallen away from God. The Law of Moses abolished.​​ The ‘Wall of Partition’ between Gentiles and Jews torn down.​​ None of the four gospels have any word of those important facts, simply because those writings are just Jewish history.

If anyone (and those are, unfortunately,​​ many!) tries to​​ ‘read those gospels into’​​ the faith-doctrine of Paul’s Ephesians/Colossians, he is really confused and does not understand the order of Scriptures at all.

The four gospels, Acts and Revelation are historical documents, the latter has history told in advance. All epistles in N.T. except for Ephesians/Colossians​​ (and Philemon, but it has no faith-doctrine)​​ are written to Israel and proselytes, based on New Covenant doctrine. They cannot be applied to the Church in our time. Only Paul’s​​ final two epistles​​ has the free international Grace Gospel doctrine. That was what he spent his final years on earth to teach and spread around.​​ Decades before any of the four Gospels were entering the book market.

Stop using the four gospels as if they are faith-doctrine to the Church. They are not. They are nothing but historical writings, and that’s it. Same thing with Acts. History only, even if we can trace something out of a few references there, such as speeches held by Peter, John, Paul, Stephen,​​ Philip and others.​​ 

We have to keep the​​ faith-doctrine given to us by Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




The Great Commission In Mat. 28
Was Never Spoken to the Church,
But Only to the Messianic
Believers of Israel

The Great Commission in Mat. 28

Was Never Spoken to the Church,

But Only to the Messianic

Believers of Israel.

By Jan Lilleby

 

 

Almost all Christian denominations have made the common mistake, in making​​ the so-called ‘Great Commission’ their basis for preaching the Gospel to the world; Mat. 28:19, 20 is the specific text in which we find that commission.

However – my point here is​​ NOT​​ that we Christians should not go out with the Gospel. Of course we shall share the Gospel with the world and preach to them salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.

The point is that what Jesus commanded His disciples/Apostles to do, was never commanded us, the Church, - but He commanded that to the believing Israel and the Jews – whom at that time – had​​ specific covenants​​ with God and special promises to them, NOT concerning us Gentiles. The Church,​​ as we know it, did not come forth before Paul revealed that ‘Mystery’ which God first revealed to him, 30 years after Jesus spoke​​ what it says in Mat. 28. (Eph. 3:1-9). The Church, the One New Man, was a hidden secret within God Himself, until He chose to reveal it to Paul. That was when Paul sat in custody in Rome awaiting the Appeal Case before Emperor Nero in 62 AD.

Jesus explicitly told His listeners that He was sent ONLY to the lost sheep of the House of Israel (Mat. 15:24). The ‘Great Commission’ must be read in that​​ context, or else we will remain in confusion.​​ 

We must also have in​​ mind the blunt historical fact​​ that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were NOT even written when Peter and the eleven preached to Israel in the early days of their ministry!​​ I shall come back to this near the end of this article. They did not have the written material which we have, not at all.

Christianity in general lack understanding of the fact that God held a separation/segregation between Israel​​ -​​ and the Church, in which we find all nations included and sat on same spiritual level. But Israel,​​ we see in Scripture that she had been separated from​​ out of​​ the nations, and made head of the nations (if they fully obeyed God).​​ In the Church dispensation no one is put on higher level than the other, we are all equal in Christ, He had that ‘Wall of Partition’ torn down as Paul said in Eph. 2:14, 15.

But in Israel in the times of Jesus and the apostles, it was a kind of ‘Church’ if you like, but only in the sense what we find with Israel: He had several covenants with His people, and He had revealed Himself to them many times over. In the time of His apostles He offered Israel a NEW COVENANT, the very same which Jesus established by giving His life for them at the cross, see Heb. 9:15 which gives a concentrated word on that.​​ 

This NEW covenant was only offered to the believing Israel, of which Jesus had elected His apostles to administrate and preach. The covenant was never offered to ‘All the world freely’. Jesus spoke His commission in Mat. 28 and in Mark 16 only to His segregated Israel, and according to the will of God they were supposed to receive their Messiah King, Jesus of Nazareth, in faith and be baptized (Acts 2).

It was in this special context, separated from the nations, that Israel’s Messianic believers heard the ‘Great Commission’ spoken to them by Jesus Christ, quote from Ampld. Bible:

Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the (very) close and consummation of the age.” (Mat. 28:19, 20).

I have mentioned it several times over​​ the years, particularly in my books: The ‘Great Commission’ is lacking much in its translation, giving unwanted​​ room for misunderstanding, - which we really could have avoided had we only had people in the committees who understood this separation between Israel and the nations better.

Below here, I took the liberty of clipping into the article a piece from my book​​ “The Book of Acts – The Story of Israel’s Falling Away From God”. I​​ recommend it to you, and it is free of charge. Choose Pdf or Word file, by emailing me. Here is an excerpt regarding the case of the ‘Great Commission’:

 

THE GREAT COMMISSION IS WRONGLY TRANSLATED

 

“From out of Peter and the events of Cornelius’ house in Acts 10, we know for sure that the translation of Mat. 28 is in failure – leaving the reader in uncertainty over what exactly the passage is all about.

Actually, Peter​​ already at Pentecost​​ Acts 2 spoke straight forward and openly displayed that the event was​​ only for Israel…just check it out:

Peter addressing the audience exclusively by saying​​ ‘People of Israel’​​ in various terms:

Acts 2:14 ​​ ‘You Jews and all you residents of…’

v. 22 ​​ ‘You men of Israel’

v. 36 ​​ ‘..let the whole house of Israel recognize..’

And a few weeks after Pentecost in Acts 3:12 ​​ ‘You men of Israel’

If we then continue with Peter at Cornelius’ house in Acts 10, and the following reactions of the other apostles in Judea and Jerusalem in Acts 11, it confirms again what I have already told you above:

“Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard with astonishment that the Gentiles also had received the Word of God.” ​​ Acts 11:1.

The apostles and the assembly at Jerusalem and those in Judea were shocked that the kingdom-gospel had been received by the Gentiles.

This just keep confirming what I wrote, that Mat. 28 and the Great Commission is translated in error, because it actually says that Jesus bade His apostles to,​​ “..make disciples of​​ all the nations,​​ baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Verse 19.​​ The promise to be with them to the​​ ‘close and consummation of the age’ – verse 20,​​ was not in the meaning of them going out into the entire global world,​​ generation after generation, and Christ being with His servants each and every generation even so today, but rather​​ He had in mind that the apostles were sent to have Israel repent​​ so that He could return from heaven in​​ their life time!​​ Christianity has got it all wrong.​​ 

Which is exactly what we see in Acts of the actions of Peter and the eleven; Peter did NOT misunderstand Jesus, - no, he had understood Him perfectly right. Israel was the people charged by God to repent and believe on Jesus.

Another matter into this issue, is that the​​ multitude of visiting Jews in Jerusalem​​ at the feast days/weeks and thus present at the event in Acts 2 and what took place at the day of Pentecost, came from Provinces and nations outside Israel, and they represented 13 – 14 different languages and dialects,

Acts 2:5-11 says, “Now there were then (at Pentecost) residing in Jerusalem Jews, devout and God-fearing men from every country under heaven (in the Empire, not globally). 6: And when this sound (of a tempest wind) was heard, the multitude came together and they were astonished and bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own particular language/dialect. 7: And they were beside themselves with amazement, saying, Are not all these who are talking Galileans? 8: Then how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own particular dialect to which we were born? 9: Parthians and Medes and Elamites and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and the province of Asia, 10: Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and the transient residents from Rome, both Jews and the proselytes, 11: Cretans and Arabians too – we all hear them speaking in our own native tongues the mighty works of God!”

It is among the majority of Bible scholars held for correct that it were those Jews from Rome, present at Pentecost, who formed the Messianic assembly there, to whom Paul wrote his epistle. Paul had never been there before, neither any of the other apostles. Likewise, there existed assemblies like that one in Rome, elsewhere in the Empire particularly in the western regions.​​ 

We find in Acts 16 that Paul was told by the Holy Spirit to​​ avoid​​ travelling to certain areas. One was the Bithynia region in the North-Eastern part of the Empire (Acts 16:7). But in the eastern regions there was need of God’s apostles to preach the Gospel to them, which was the calling and ministry of Paul. He reached mostly those Jews who had not been present in Jerusalem at Pentecost. At this stage in Bible history, we may very well consider Paul to have been the Lord’s ‘Follow-up’ so that the entire Jewry in the dispersion also could hear the Gospel.​​ 

Just consider this: Why was it that Christ and His Father had decided to send the Holy Spirit upon them in Jerusalem at​​ that particular day? Why not earlier, or later on?​​ 

My answer is: Also the Lord knew of the​​ visiting multitudes by thousands, coming from almost all the regions in the Empire to celebrate the feasts. There Christ could reach​​ ‘All nations’​​ which had Jews among them. And these Jews​​ represented 13-14 languages – thus it was convenient for the Lord to send His super-natural divine gift of speaking in tongues. The Greek texts imply that it could rather and better be translated -​​ ‘from​​ out of​​ the nations’​​ and not ‘make disciples of all nations’ (Matt. 28:19).

It was the event at Pentecost Jesus had in mind, when giving His Great Commission to the twelve. All nations, that are​​ Jews from all nations​​ - would be in Jerusalem at Pentecost. It never was meant that Peter and the others should go to foreign lands at all! It was​​ the other way around; God had​​ them​​ come to the apostles. The result was that 3000 came to faith in Christ at Pentecost. And later on, another 2000 came to faith so that the assembly at Jerusalem had over 5000 members (Acts 4:4). It is also logically and even true, that more Jews came to faith over the years, as Pentecost was celebrated​​ every year….of the 30 years reported in Acts!​​ James, who then (58 AD) was the pastor in Jerusalem, Acts 21:20 seem to confirm this thought, greeting Paul at his arrival there:

“…you see, brother,​​ how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews…”.

Peter and Paul agreed early to go in their own personal calling, which to Peter was to go​​ only​​ to the Jews (circumcised) in Israel – but Paul was to go to the Gentiles, and they were already in the synagogues as proselytes (Gal. 2:7, 8).

Paul did not start his mission according to Matt. 28 and the Great Commission. He was told explicitly, as was Barnabas, by the Holy Spirit in Acts 13:2-4:

“Separate now for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. 3: Then after fasting and praying, they put their hands on them and sent them away. 4: So then, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from that port they sailed away to Cyprus.”

If we take a look at Peter again and the event in Cornelius’ house Acts 10, we can learn more about what shock the brethren suffered, and that the Gentiles receiving God’s Word and having fellowship with Jews was unheard of:

Acts 11:2, 3 – “So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party found fault with him 3: Saying, Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?”

And Peter had to explain thoroughly the event and the reason he had done this.

Why did Peter had to be​​ imposed the strong vision​​ as he stayed with Simon at Joppa? It was repeated three times, since Peter answered back to the Lord refusing. Peter did not want to ‘eat unclean animals for food’ – an imagery the Lord used in this vision for Gentiles. So if it was correct that Gentiles were included already from ‘Day One’ at Pentecost in Acts 2, - like believers read​​ into the Great Commission in Matt. 28 – why did the Lord have to persuade Peter into meeting with Gentiles?

But such was not the case, as I now have proven to you. The concept propagated by the Pentecostal movement of Pentecost in Acts 2 having regular Gentiles included, with speaking in tongues, is entirely false.​​ 

Only Israel was commanded to keep the Pentecostal ‘Feast of The Weeks’ – one among a number of feasts to keep according to Mosaic Law. The fiftieth day after the feast of the ‘Unleavened Bread’, as I already mentioned above. And, as just mentioned above, the feasts were held every year throughout Acts.

We Gentiles were actually​​ shut out of any feasts and ordinances, like Paul wrote in Eph. 2:12. Only as proselytes could we have admission into spiritual and social fellowship with Jews.​​ 

The translation of Matt. 28 and the Great Commission is wrong. It was given only for the Messianic believers under the leadership of the apostles. The mission was to offer the Kingdom of God on earth to Israel, so that by their acceptance Jesus could return from heaven and establish His kingdom. Christ would never ever want to invite the whole wide world into this earthly kingdom, for it was only promised to Israel (Dan. 2:44).

Remember the Lord’s own word of His mission,​​ “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” – Matt. 15:24. ​​ And to his disciples He commanded:​​ “Do not go out on the road to the Gentiles, go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”.

Mark 16:20 gives us a look in the rearview mirror – as the apostles had fulfilled their mission,

“And they went out and preached everywhere (in Israel), while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the attesting signs and miracles that closely accompanied. Amen.”

And all these things we are served in detail in Acts 1-12 chapters. We do not find any ‘World-Wide Mission’ in the Acts regarding Peter and the eleven.

But Paul, as he went out in the Empire to the synagogues and the Jews with their proselytes, he was given by God to perform ‘the signs of an apostle’ (2 Cor. 12:12). He preached the same message as Peter, only​​ outside​​ of the land…and put stronger emphasis on welcoming proselytes in the assemblies (Rom. 11).

 

The logics,​​ in that the commission was given​​ only to the Messianic believers​​ of Israel,​​ lays in the fact​​ that Israel was offered the prophesied and promised​​ Kingdom​​ of God on earth (The Millennial Kingdom) with Jesus as King in Jerusalem at His coming. His coming was​​ offered as imminent​​ in the times of the apostles. So, consequently, Peter and the eleven could NOT go into the entire global world ‘All nations’ – including the Gentiles – and offer them the Kingdom in Israel! God has never promised to give away a millennial kingdom to the entire world.​​ The prophets of God only spoke of it as a kingdom for Israel, and Dan. 2:44 are​​ exemplary in that regard:

And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven​​ set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to​​ another people; but it shall break and crush and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”

This prophesied kingdom in Dan. 2:44 are​​ the same as we in Christianity called​​ “The Millennial Kingdom”. It shall stand for one thousand years. Thus that prophesy does not speak of literary eternal time that never ends, and that fact we have to be very exactly and prudent to keep in mind.​​ 

Rev. 20:4 confirms this, saying among other things,

“…and they lived again (were resurrected) and ruled with Christ​​ a thousand years.”

The martyrs who had been killed by Anti-Christ​​ during the Great Tribulation​​ were resurrected​​ at the Lords coming from heaven.

The main reason for my pointing out these things regarding correct understanding of the Great Commission, of among other issues, is that​​ we should​​ not​​ confuse and mixing together​​ Biblical promises but hold​​ them​​ separate between the Church and Israel. We cannot take over promises originally given the Messianic Jesus-believers in the times of the apostles, and apply these on the Church, the One New Man, which was revealed to Paul thirty years after, and in which the gospel now suddenly included ALL people on earth regardless of Israel.

In the time of the apostles the gospel was preached to Jews and their proselytes, and presented as a national Jewish Gospel, promising a kingdom on earth to Israel at the return of Christ. But since Paul had the ‘Mystery’ in Eph. 1-3 revealed to him, there was no longer any preaching of the millennial kingdom, but only the international Gospel in which the hope of salvation now is​​ heaven up above​​ where Christ is at His​​ Fathers side. (Greek:​​ Epiouranos).

During the preaching of the earthly kingdom gospel to Israel, it​​ was​​ “Jews first, then Greek” (Rom. 1:16). ​​​​ But from the time that Paul came forth with the new free​​ international​​ grace Gospel, it is ALL nations and peoples are made equal in​​ faith in Christ.​​ (Eph. 2:14,​​ 15). This free grace Gospel can be found ONLY in Ephesians and Colossians, no other epistles.​​ Big difference!

 

THE REAL COMMISSION TO THE CHURCH

 

Can we find a so-called​​ ‘Great Commission’​​ to the Church in the New Testament which is valid for us today, since we now know that the one in Mat. 28 and Mark 16​​ only were given to the Jewish Messianic believers in the times of Jesus and the twelve apostles?

Yes, we do find such an order, however not spoken by Jesus directly, but He used His apostle Paul to come forth with this – he was the apostle to the Gentiles. And I shall come back to this shortly.

As long as Israel still remained Gods chosen people on earth, before any other nations, only the words of Jesus in Mat. 28 and Mark 16 were valid and was an order to His apostles to preach the Kingdom-Gospel, promising a Kingdom which Jesus should rule from Jerusalem. Already in Gabriel’s words greeting Virgin Mary, Jesus was declared to​​ become king of​​ Israel, eventually. And the preaching of this Kingdom is found reported in the Book of Acts, a 30 years history of how the apostles went about in their ministry for Jesus. Had Israel repented and believed on Jesus – the whole nation – then He would have come back from heaven in their life time. His coming was regarded as​​ imminent​​ throughout Acts.

I have already mentioned this above, but it needs to be repeated.

Peter was given the mission, together with his fellow apostles – to preach to Israel exclusively, so exclusively that we find only​​ one single​​ exception from this, in Acts 10 and the incident of his calling to go to Cornelius’ house. The believers there became proselytes in the apostolic assembly. It was no free grace Gospel yet, only Kingdom-Gospel.​​ For Peter it​​ was a One-Off. He never went regularly to Gentiles.

Eventually Paul was called by Christ to go​​ outside of Israel, into the Provinces, mainly the Eastern parts of the Empire where the news of Jesus the Messiah had not yet reached. Paul was told to go to Gentiles (proselytes), kings and the children of Israel (Acts 9:15).​​ Peter and Paul agreed to minister differently from one another: Peter preached to the circumcised (Jews), and Paul preached to both circumcised (Jews) AND proselytes/uncircumcised.​​ Gal. 2:7, 8.

As a minor side-remark, my mention of the ‘Great Commission’ in Mat. 28 above as​​ being a​​ bad translation work, is not just taken out of thin air! The​​ committees have had at least​​ two choices​​ for how to translate from Greek/Hebrew. In their choice thereof they went translating so that one could easily misunderstand the words – letting us readers believe that Peter​​ was commanded to go into ALL THE GLOBAL WORLD, and made this inheritable for each following generations in history up until our time. The committees have never, as a whole, understood properly the events in Acts, and that it was ONLY the preaching of the earthly Kingdom to Israel​​ in the 30 years reported there. In all the time of Acts, Israel was still sat above the nations, and there was no room for any new free grace Gospel – such as we now have from Paul. The translators should rather try to check better how it​​ really was with Israel​​ in the times of the apostles!

It had to go wrong, as they lacked knowledge about certain historical facts found inside the Jewish ordinances​​ and traditions, law and commandments.

In original Biblical-Greek language it is so, that the words in Mat. 28:19, 20 to​​ ‘make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them…’​​ can be translated to​​ ‘make disciples from​​ out of​​ all nations..’.​​ Ask any scholar who​​ has a full degree in Biblical-Greek.​​ Thereby we are into a direct understanding of the situation found in Acts 2 and the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem 32 AD. Where Peter and the eleven had before them a multitude of​​ Jewish people from OUT OF all nations, Acts 2:5. Jerusalem was due to Pentecost overpopulated with people from all the Roman Empire, including Jews coming all the way from Rome!

It was this multitude of different Jewish people (13-14 different languages and dialects) the twelve apostles,​​ headed by Peter,​​ whould give the Gospel of the Kingdom on earth and Jesus Messiah as their coming King. And they did. Peter had this in mind, 8 years later preaching in Cornelius’ house, saying,

“You know the contents of the message He​​ sent to Israel,​​ announcing the Gospel of peace​​ by Jesus Christ, Who is Lord of all…” ​​ Acts 10:36.

But after several years, Paul in his ministry to Israel and proselytes, trying to convert the children of Israel in the Diaspora, he finally ends up in Rome in chains and custody, in 60-62 AD. After two years in Rome awaiting the Appeal Court of Nero, and AFTER God gave up Israel and abandoned her as a nation, we find that Paul was given the revelation of the ‘Mystery’ – a free international grace Gospel for ALL peoples, and from that time on the law of Moses has been abolished (Eph. 2:14, 15). All believers now equal in the faith in Christ. No longer ‘Jews first, then Greek’. The Wall of Partition was torn down.

Luke does not explain​​ in any given details when ending his writing of Acts, that,​​ from​​ now on​​ Israel is to be regarded as fallen from God. He just stopped writing his Jewish history book, without saying that from here on Israel is to be regarded as fallen away from God. He preferred to end the book by showing​​ Paul still pounding on the Jewish door in Rome trying to convince them of Jesus as the Messiah.

But Paul, already from his arrival in Rome in 60 AD – quoted Isa. 6 to the leaders (from the eleven synagogues in Rome) – that those who refused to believe Jesus as Israel’s Messiah, they are indeed spiritually​​ blind, deaf and void of understanding. These are words of doom and damnation​​ – found in Acts 28:25-28. Particularly verse 27 is formed as an ultimatum,​​ ..and turn to Me and be converted, that I may heal them.​​ Israel as a nation – God using the leaders in Rome as a last resort – would NOT repent and believe on Jesus Christ, thus the nation at this final call ended up falling from God. Paul’s judgmental word was followed up by the following stern statement, verse 28 -

So let it be understood by you then that the salvation of God​​ HAS BEEN SENT TO THE GENTILES, and they will listen!

As the Book of Acts ends, in Biblical time-line, the epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians takes over, written in 62 AD.

The summary of Paul’s new Gospel doctrine​​ in these two church epistles makes out a so-called ‘Great Commission’ for the Church;​​ an order to go to the world, with the Gospel of the unsearchable riches of Christ. Only, under this new order to mission in the world, it was spoken/written not by Jesus, but by His only apostle to the Gentiles, Paul. His Gospel is to the entire world and there is no earthly Kingdom offered to the believers, but heaven up above (Greek:​​ Epiouranos).​​ 

At this stage in Bible History, notice: No ‘Great Commission’ found in Matthew/Mark had been written, or taught to others. People in Christianity had NO KNOWLEDGE of such a word. But fact is (I shall come back to this at the end of this article) that all the Christians during the late part of Paul’s ministry, had​​ already gotten​​ the doctrine of the INTERNATIONAL free Grace Gospel for​​ the​​ entire​​ world! Paul was the leader for all Christians, for sure. And I can guarantee that Paul NEVER quoted any letters of doctrine written by the others (regarding Kingdom-Doctrine and the New Covenant) to the assemblies in his care. He taught ONLY the new free Grace Gospel, starting in 62 AD by his writing of Ephesians and Colossians.​​ 

Eph. 3:1-9 must be regarded as a​​ news-bulletin​​ propagating/declaring the new free Grace Gospel to all people – and no promises given to Israel are ever mentioned. From here on, Jews and Gentiles are equal in the faith in Jesus Christ,

“For this reason, I, Paul, 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 was made known to me and I was allowed to comprehend it by direct revelation, as I already 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 BEEN REVEALED to His holy apostles​​ and prophets by the Spirit. 6:​​ That the Gentiles are NOW TO BE FELLOW HEIRS, members of the same body and joint partakers in the same divine promise in Christ through the glad tidings (Gospel). 7:​​ Of this 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 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.”

So, we find that the​​ main task for the Church​​ is to enlighten ALL men…by​​ preaching the free Grace Gospel to ALL the world.

Paul expressed the core of this Gospel quite elegantly and concise, Eph. 2:8, 9,

For it is by free grace that you are saved, through faith. And this is not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God. Not because of works, lest any man should boast.

Early in this article I mention that such things as miracles, signs and wonders, like those promised in Mark 16 etc. – have no place in the Church dispensation. Those things were promised only to the Messianic believers during Acts period, as they preached to Israel. Peter and the eleven inside Israel, and Paul and his co-workers, they went​​ outside in the diaspora.

Thinking that Jesus promised us miracles/signs/wonders, has been a​​ collateral damage​​ out of the misunderstanding that the ‘Great Commission’ in Mat. 28 and Mark 16 were spoken to the Church dispensation!

In the real-life ‘Great Commission’ given the Church, through Paul’s ministry, we find no such promises. No signs, no wonders, no miracles. It all ended as Israel fell away from God in Acts 28 – as I just quoted above.

What Peter, James and John taught in the early years was only for Israel and some proselytes – we Gentiles were shut out (Eph. 2:12).

The Church dispensation started in 62 AD as Paul wrote the epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians. It is that simple, and it is that true.

But – I like to make this clear to everyone – Christian believers in the various denominations, like Pentecostals, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans,​​ etc. are of​​ course to be​​ considered as saved persons​​ in Christ. We are all saved by grace alone, no works are claimed (for instance, substantial knowledge in the Bible), we do not have to be ‘experts’ or professors in Theology to be saved. Faith in Christ is enough. But still, I believe (and so did Paul!) that as Christians we should go for Bible knowledge and better understanding of Scripture, not just settle for a minimum,​​ right? We need to get the Bible rightly divided so that we can better know what is written to us, the Church, the Body of Christ.

 

THE LOGISTIC OVERVIEW OF THE GREAT COMMISSION

Sometimes it can be rather difficult to let go of certain issues in the Bible. One of those is the issue of the ‘Great Commission’.

It just occurred to me that it would perhaps be easier to get a grip on it if we could study the logistical side of the topic. You will be surprised how clear things will get, when you get an understanding of the many delicate details that had to come together in order to have things happening like it did.

It will really glue it together and become clear to us, so that we understand how God simply piloted​​ all the events told in the New Testament.

Thus, I have to start this round by asking some leading questions,

1: ​​​​ Why did God make things so, that the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples in the ‘Upper Room’ ​​ in Jerusalem, on​​ that exact particular day​​ of the year (!) when the city was packed with thousands of visiting Jews from most parts of the civilized world?

2: ​​​​ As a counter-weight to that: Why did not God have the Holy Spirit fall upon them,​​ after​​ that the Pentecostal feast was over and everything gotten back to normality with calm order? So that it all could happen in orderly controlled manner?

3: ​​​​ Was it just this singular day of Pentecost, seen in Acts 2 – were there not more such feasts​​ in the following years, according to the Mosaic Law?

More questions could be asked, but this I think will do.

You will recall what I wrote above, of the matter of Biblical-Greek texts, in which we find that the word from Mat. 28 on ..go you therefore out and make disciples of all the nations,​​ rather should have been translated​​ …and make disciples of people​​ from out of​​ all nations.

Let us study this fact in a logistical perspective.

There can be no doubt whatsoever, that Jesus Christ knew - a hundred percent certain​​ – what would take place in that day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Thousands of Jews from around the entire Roman Empire came to Israel and Jerusalem, where they according to Mosaic Law should participate in the feast, the fiftieth day after the days of the Unleavened Bread, the Passover. Pentecost was the ‘end station’ of those feast days.

Jesus was going to give His disciples​​ a marvelous ‘Flying start’ as we say nowadays. Instead of having the disciples chasing around in the Empire, to preach the good news, He made this fabulous move: He made it so that the Jews​​ came to them, Jews from out of ALL the nations. Christianity has​​ always thought it was that the twelve were commanded to go out into​​ the​​ entire​​ global world to preach, but God would​​ only have them to preach to Israel, the Jews.​​ 

And as we study this, the more it seems that the day of​​ Pentecost was MADE for just this occasion.​​ God knew this already as He spoke His ordinances to the Hebrews in the wilderness in the days of Moses.​​ God made a special feast day in which He would be sure that an​​ overwhelming multitude of Jews​​ from all the nations into which they had been scattered, would meet up at that day in Jerusalem.

Thus we can read straight into the fulfillment of it, as in Acts 2:5,

Now there were then residing in Jerusalem Jews, devout and God-fearing men from every country under heaven.

This shoots right into the very nerve of that Greek text translation, having a full hundred percent hit right in the ‘Bullseye’; people from​​ out of​​ the nations.

Fact was that Jesus had His apostles preach to​​ Israel​​ and offering the promised Kingdom of God on earth, the millennial Kingdom. So they could not go into the Gentile nations trying to offer them this Kingdom on earth. It was a Kingdom for the Jews, for Israel. Before God could send down His Messiah Jesus, He had to have ALL of Israel repent and believing on Jesus and taking the water rite (Acts 2:38).

I cannot emphasize enough how important it was to have the disciples present in Jerusalem for the feast to come, and Jesus said to them therefore, Acts 1:4,

….He commanded them NOT TO LEAVE Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised. Of which you have heard Me speak.​​ (See verse 8)

It is also important here, that Jerusalem should be the point of ‘Kick-Off’ for their ministry to Israel, but in verse 8 we find also​​ all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. HOWEVER: To the ends of the earth should have been translated ‘out into the entire land of Israel’. The Greek ‘Cosmos’ is a general​​ word and can mean ‘a place’ or ‘a district’ or a ‘nation, etc. So, knowing that the Kingdom of God on earth was to be inside of Israel, Jesus could not have told them to go out into the entire global world. You understand this now, right?

To remain at a certain city at the exact right time was essential in this case. Jesus therefore insisted strictly the importance of that. They simply HAD TO STAY IN JERUSALEM for things to go the right way concerning the mission to Israel as a nation for God. It was an important logistical detail.

The​​ ‘Great Commission’​​ as​​ in Mat. 28 and Mark 16 was depending on the disciples being present in Jerusalem on THAT particular day. The command was directed to hit that​​ one​​ particular day. But still, we are aware of the continuation of their mission after Pentecost, of which Acts report to us in details. We learn that later on,​​ Christ had Paul called out and sent as an apostle to the Jews in the dispersion outside of Israel – Jews that probably had not been present on Pentecost, mainly those from the eastern parts of the Empire.​​ 

Paul went along with Barnabas on his first journey 11-12 years after Pentecost in Acts 2. See Acts 13:1-4 – and how the Holy Spirit sent them out, and they arrived first at Cyprus.​​ 

Notice:​​ ​​ At this stage in Bible history, there were​​ still no historic writings​​ like the four gospels. Paul did not go out on mission after first having read Mat. 28:19, 20 or Mark 16. He was sent by an order coming from the Holy Spirit! (More of this below, as I end this article).​​ 

This tells us something: The command given to Peter and the eleven was NOT given out for every possible believer to learn or obey. It remained a calling ONLY for the twelve apostles.​​ 

Same with Paul: He did not go about trying to have every possible believer follow the command that came from the Holy Spirit when they were at Antioch.

None of the apostles in the Bible went around quoting the ‘Great Commission’ as if it was to be obeyed by every possible believer!

Then let us see my​​ point 2​​ above,​​ why could not God have the Holy Spirit​​ fall on the disciples in a​​ calmer​​ orderly manner – and not in a crowded chaotic multitude? Why not when​​ things were more normalized?

My answer to that is simple:​​ God​​ did that​​ for them! The Holy Spirit fell upon them, but now it was no huge multitude and the busy overpopulated city at Pentecost. Probably 2 or 3 years had passed, and there was no feast day mentioned in Acts 4:31 – but after that Peter and John had been released from prison their believers gathered for prayer. And with one voice they prayed that God would keep an eye on their persecutors and also to give the flock power to​​ go on with healings, miracles and signs in the name of Jesus. We then read verse 31,

And when they had prayed, the place in which they were assembled was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they continued to speak the Word of God with freedom and boldness and courage.

Already since the first event on Pentecost in Acts 2, Jews from all over the world had been made aware of Jesus Messiah, His death and resurrection, and great healings and signs followed the ministries of the apostles. Three thousand Jews took to the faith and was baptized (the baptisms must have taken days to work out) Acts 2:41.

Not long​​ after this, another multitude of two thousand believers were added and baptized, Acts 4:4. The day of Pentecost was like a spiritual bomb-explosion…the wave hit thousands in just a short time.

So, let us now go to my​​ point 3​​ above: How was it with future Pentecost feast days?

We easily understand that since the believers in Jerusalem assembly counted​​ more than 5000 believers, and probably increasing still​​ (?)​​ - Eventual visitors every Pentecost would​​ be reminded of Jesus Messiah by​​ the preaching of the apostles. Luke who wrote Acts did not report of events at Pentecost every year in Jerusalem – but for a few occasions.​​ 

This brings us to Paul as he was on a boat journey, trying to get to Jerusalem to make the Pentecost feast day, Acts 20:16,

For Paul had determined to sail on past Ephesus, lest he might have to spend time in Asia; for he was hastening on so that he might reach Jerusalem, if at all possible,​​ by the day of Pentecost.

Paul was Jewish, so he would like to keep the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. He skipped Ephesus​​ in favor of Jerusalem in that matter.​​ At this time it was not yet revealed to him that there would soon​​ be​​ a new free Grace Gospel, for all people. He only knew of the present message, which was​​ Jews offered a New Covenant in Christ and the Kingdom of God on earth to be established at Christ’s coming if Israel first repented.​​ It was still ‘Jews first, then Greek’.

Having arrived Jerusalem, we find Paul in company of Jacob and the Elders, and learning the status of the assembly. It was around 58 AD – 25-26 years after Pentecost in Acts 2,​​ -​​ Acts 21:20,

…and they said to Paul, You see, brother, how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews, and all of them are enthusiastic upholders of the Mosaic Law.

There are scholars holding that it might have been somewhere around 40-50 000 believers in Jerusalem and Judea at​​ that time. They had increased to​​ ten times​​ as many as right after Pentecost in Acts 2. But many years had passed, and still they were working to have the entire population repent to Jesus, so He could return from heaven as promised.

So by these three points I made above, regarding a logistic view on things, we learn how God guided and piloted the events so that the message of Jesus Messiah and a soon coming Kingdom in Israel at His coming could be made known to Israel, both those inside Israel’s land and to those outside in the dispersion. Paul became a specialist on those outside, didn’t he?

This all confirms to us, by the collective logistics, that there was no preaching of any ‘Free Grace Gospel’ in an international setting to neither Jews nor Gentiles in this time period. The ‘Great Commission’ had only to do with the prophesies of a coming millennial Kingdom in Israel – and Jesus as King. By the apostles in that time, it was preached only a national Jewish Gospel, that of the Kingdom of God on earth, and it was Jews first, then Gentile.

But God had arranged for them that fabulous ‘Flying start’ as we read in Acts 2.

 

PAUL HAD TAUGHT ALL OF CHRISTIANITY THE

FREE GRACE GOSPEL BEFORE ANY OF

THE FOUR GOSPELS AND ACTS WAS WRITTEN

I thought it could be convenient to round off this article by reminding us of the extremely important ministry of Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.

As you just read, he had already taught the entire Christianity the new free Grace Gospel, the Gospel we still have today​​ and by which we all are saved by​​ faith.

But can you imagine what a solid blunder it is, that most of our pastors and evangelists (worldwide) uses the historical writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, to make spiritual points whenever they preach on salvation and issues of faith doctrine? They don’t seem to recall that those gospels have nothing to do with our Free International Grace Gospel, taught by Paul BEFORE the four writings had ever been issued.​​ I already ‘leaked’ above that I should come to this near the end of this article.

What are they thinking of???

It is high time we get back to Paul, as he was the ONLY apostle and chief teacher to us Gentiles. There is no question about it.

The problem is that most preachers are using the four gospels as if they are faith-doctrine for the Church! ​​ What a blunder. The writings on the life of Jesus on earth and how the Lord worked and elected His disciples, ​​ etc., has got zero to do with anything concerning the Church which is His Body, the One New Man. These gospel texts where NEVER USED OR QUOTED by the first Christians, including the apostles. But all of a sudden…hundreds of years later down history – all preachers keep quoting these texts as if their lives depended upon it!

Paul never quoted any of the four gospels, neither did Peter, or John, or James. Do you get this?

So the grassroots-folks, the man in the street, in the times of the apostles as told in Acts, had no knowledge of any of this. The texts did NOT exist until decades later.

Peter could actually​​ have​​ used an excellent opportunity​​ to remind his listeners of what Jesus said to him and his eleven companions, going into mission, when he spoke to the people gathered in Cornelius’ house, Acts 10:36, 37. He could have quoted from recalling Jesus’ words​​ make disciples of​​ people from out of the nations – Mat. 28:19.​​ But he did not. Instead we find Peter saying,

You know the contents of the message which He sent to Israel, announcing the good news (gospel) of peace by Jesus Christ, Who is Lord of all – The same message which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee after the baptism preached by John.

Peter did not point to any particular text, like for instance the ‘Great Commission’ – with exact word for word quotation. He simply pointed to the fact that the audience had already heard of this gospel message. Yes – I am very aware of that it would not be convenient to quote from Mat. 28:19 had it even existed, because it was this audience who was being the object for mission.

Even if Peter and the eleven had heard the words in Mat. 28:19, 20 spoken directly to them, face-to-face, still he did not quote those words or commandment. It is held for true that the apostles did not write any diaries for themselves, to keep in mind every word that Jesus spoke to them. They had it all in their minds and remembrance. Jesus used forty days to teach them to go with the Kingdom-Gospel to Israel. They were very well drilled in this important task.

Regarding Peter and the eleven, they really went out and made disciples of them. We have read of this above – five thousand​​ disciples​​ already early on. But​​ we can never find anything in the New Testament of the apostles making them​​ heir-disciples. The disciples never could go on and become apostles, so they could keep up the work down through the future generations.

The apostles looked upon themselves as the only ones to fulfill the task laid upon them by the Lord. They were sent to Israel. Peter and the eleven should only preach to the​​ circumcised, but Paul should deal with both circumcised and uncircumcised (Gal. 2).

One day in near future the apostles would have fulfilled their task – I shall come to this shortly.

It is impossible that the ‘Great Commission’ was given so it could be inherited through the generations to come, up until our days and on. This truth we cannot overlook. But Paul’s writings – the epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians – they are given to go to all eventual generations as long as the Church dispensation exists.

The gospel of Matthew is held by most theologians and historians to have been written around 80 AD, and Mark shortly thereafter. Luke and Acts were written around 62 AD at the earliest,​​ but​​ some thinks it was written around 73 AD, after the destruction of Israel.​​ The info is from a Norwegian lexicon called​​ Store Norske Leksikon,​​ and from​​ Zondervan Academic.​​ No gospels were published by names, they were all published anonymously.

As it is totally proven that none of the evangelists, apostles and elders in Christianity up to the destruction of Israel, went around using the same Bible texts as we do, this matter turns very awkward and embarrassing. ​​ It is very clear to us that we cannot go quoting texts like​​ these signs shall follow those who believe:​​ In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in tongues, they will pick up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will get well. Mark 16:17, 18.

It was promises that Jesus only gave to His Jewish Messianic believers as He sent them to preach to Israel. It never had anything to do with us in the Church dispensation.

I am a Norwegian, and regarding the message of Jesus in written texts, the first were found on Iceland in 997 AD. This is the earliest date we have for any mention of Jesus here up in the north, in Scandinavia.

Our Viking King, Olav the Holy (Olav den Hellige) he had people converted by​​ ​​ force, as he had learned from Catholicism​​ – he reigned from​​ 1015 until 1028​​ AD. People were forced to leave the faith in Tor and Odin (Nordic idols) and to take baptism under the threat of the sword. Quite the manner of Gospel preaching, right?

When speaking of mission, how often can you hear pastors or missionaries quote and read Paul’s teaching in Eph. 3:8, 9 to inspire candidates to go out into mission – that is, the​​ real mission​​ given to the Church?

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 unending riches of Christ. 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. ​​ Written 62 AD.

Peter was not sent to enlighten ALL MEN – but only to the​​ circumcised, the Jews inside Israel. But Paul was given the revelation of the free international Grace Gospel for ALL people.​​ 

The Christians in the Roman Empire in Paul’s days were taught by him and his co-workers, and had been learning the Grace Gospel like we find in Ephesians and Colossians epistles. No believers in Paul’s time had ever heard anything of writings like the four gospels,​​ -​​ Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Paul’s fresh Gospel given him by direct revelation from Christ, was already dominant in Christianity from 62 AD and on. Possibly Luke’s gospel came out around 73 AD, but this cannot be made all certain.

It is sad that pastors and evangelists in our time​​ start​​ in the wrong end of things​​ –​​ basing their teaching upon texts that never were used by any of the apostles! Historical gospels,​​ and not even faith-doctrine. We have to come to Paul to get faith-doctrine valid for the Church of our time. The four gospels were written AFTER the train had left the station!

We are wise to remember the dominant apostolic position God had given to Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, 2 Cor. 11:23,

Are they servants of Christ? I am talking as one beside himself, I am more, with far more extensive and abundant labors, with far more imprisonments, beaten with countless stripes, and frequently at the point of death. ​​ Paul listing up​​ ​​ ​​ horrible​​ scenery of suffering he had to endure in ministry for Christ.

I sincerely hope that our pastors and evangelists will alter their faulty use of texts that do not concern the Church. Learn​​ to keep Kingdom-teaching away from your pulpits, and stay​​ only with Paul’s free Grace Gospel​​ whenever using scripture to preach on salvation.

Paul quit entirely​​ offering​​ the Kingdom of God on earth​​ to Israel,​​ in the same instance as God considered Israel as a fallen nation, as we learn from Acts 28:27 – Israel would NOT repent.

Paul went over to preach only the free Grace Gospel, and ended abruptly the Kingdom-teaching – and he wrote his declaration of this in Eph. 3:1-9.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BIBLICAL OVERVIEW
Of God’s Plan for Our
SALVATION