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Lesson 1

God's Word and Dispensationalism

The question I hear most often is, "How do I study my Bible?" The same people will add: "It is just so confusing!" Many people I talk with will tell me that it is contradictory. Hence, dear saints who earnestly believe the Bible to be God's word become frustrated and discouraged because the Bible does not fix their lives. Furthermore, I hear comments like "You can't take the Bible literally, because if you do, it doesn't make sense." The purpose of a book like this is to encourage people to study God's Word for themselves. We can have a Christian life that isn't full of trying to explain away what God is communicating to us. We can have a Christian life where we understand what it is that God wants from us. We can have a Christian life where God's Word is not contradictory, but is easy to understand.

Let's begin with a discussion about the written Word of God. We need to understand some simple facts about the Word of God. Our first fact is that the Bible (the Word of God) is penned by man, but God, is its author.

2 Peter 1:19-21

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: [20] Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. [21] For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Notice how the verse tells me men received their revelation -- "they were moved by the Holy Ghost!" This is inspiration at work.

2 Tim. 3:16

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

All scripture is inspired. The entire book is a book that God the Holy Spirit penned through the use of human authors to whom He chose to give the words. In fact, the Bible is so important to God that He records for us the following verse:

Psalm 138:2

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

It becomes obvious when we read a verse like this, that the Bible is important to God that His inspiration was to "words," not just concepts or ideas.

Matthew 24:35

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

We see that God's word is inspired, not just concepts but every single word. We also need to note that the above verse tells me that I have every word preserved, so that we would always have it! As we shall see, every word of God is preserved in a book. A book we call "the Bible".

Isaiah 30:8

Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:

Psalm 12:6-7

The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. [7] Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

It is also important for us to realize that God has completed the Bible. Therefore, the Bible is the only source of revelation today.

1 Cor. 13:8-13

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. [10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. [11] When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. [12] For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. [13] And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Col. 1:25

Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

Because the Bible is God's Word and is our only source of revelation from God, it is very important that we study it very diligently and properly. Whether or not to use dispensationalism is an important question because it does not affect just one area of doctrine. Rather, it affects our entire approach to God's Word. It determines how we will study. There are some important verses that show us how to study. First, since God is the author of our Bible, He should know how to study it.

2 Tim. 2:15

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

"Rightly" comes from the Greek word "orthos" which means "in a straight manner."

"Divide" comes from the Greek word "orthotomeo" which means to dissect into separate pieces. Hence, to "rightly divide" -- means to cut straight, into separate pieces or parts." We are instructed by God to make straight cut divisions in His Word.

Second, God's Word is revealed progressively. God has given new instructions to various people through the ages. Consider the following:

Acts 26:16

But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;

Ephes. 3:1-5

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to youward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

A dispensation is a way of dealing -- an economy. It is not a period of time. It is a method of God dealing with man. The most common argument against studying your Bible dispensationally, is that God doesn't change. However we shall see that God's changing of "dispensations", or "administrations" in no way affects God's character - which is unchanging.

Malachi 3:6

For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

At this point, a few examples of how God can change the way He deals with man, and yet, not change anything about Himself would be helpful. Let us consider Adam and Eve before the fall:

Genesis 1:28

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

From this verse, we can see that God blessed Adam and Eve. Before man ever sinned, man was in a condition of being blessed by his Creator. But, what do the scriptures later record about Adam and Eve?:

Genesis 3:17-19

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; [18] Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; [19] In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

This text shows us that God cursed Adam and Eve. God did not change. Adam and Eve changed. God would now have to deal differently with Adam and Eve because they (Adam and Eve) had changed. In Genesis 11, we read that God was dealing with all mankind:

Genesis 11:1

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

However, in Genesis 12 we see a change from dealing with all mankind, to dealing with one man, and the one nation that would result from that one man.

Genesis 12:1-3

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: [2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: [3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

What had changed was mankind. At the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), there was a world rebellion against God's authority. His response towards man would now take into account man's change of status with God.

Perhaps at this point, we need to realize that a non-dispensational study creates confusion and a hopeless mess of contradicting statements. Let's consider God's plan of salvation as presented in the Bible. What was the gospel (good news) to Noah?:

Genesis 6:8

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

Genesis 6:18-22

But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. [19] And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. [20] Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. [21] And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. [22] Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

Hebrews 11:7

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

These verses are clear that the gospel (good news) for Noah was to prepare an ark for salvation. Pay very close attention to the bold words in Hebrews 11:7. The ark was for the saving (salvation) of Noah, and his family. It also condemned the rest of the world. This then was the simple gospel to Noah. Is Noah's gospel the same as Jesus Christ's gospel during His earthly ministry to Israel?:

Matthew 19:16-21

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? [17] And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. [18] He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, [19] Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [20] The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? [21] Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Jesus' instructions on how to get salvation was to keep the commandments (the Mosaic law), and to sell all that one had. There is no mention of an ark to the rich man. Just as there is no mention of keeping the Mosaic law, and selling all his possessions to Noah. Are these gospels the same as that of Peter's gospel?

Acts 2:38

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Peter's gospel is to repent, and be water baptized for salvation. Peter is saying something different from Noah, and from Jesus. Consider the following verses:

Acts 13:38-39

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: [39] And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Romans 3:21-28

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; [22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

The question then comes up, "Do we do all these things for salvation?" We cannot because they contradict each other. We see all the Bible is for us, but it not all written directly to us.

Think about it. What gospel message does God want us to preach after we are saved? This is an important question. It is important because the following verses are all Gospel messages, yet, they are all different.

Matthew 4:23

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

Acts 20:24

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Galatians 2:7

But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

In these three verses, we read of the gospel of the kingdom, the gospel of the grace of God, the gospel of the uncircumcision, and the gospel of the circumcision. Maybe, the Bible just has different names for the same thing.

1 Cor. 15:1-4

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; [2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. [3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Luke 9:1-6

Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. [2] And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. [3] And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. [4] And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. [5] And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. [6] And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.

Acts 3:19

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

These verses are very clearly not saying the same things. We have one gospel teaching the finished work at Calvary, another teaching the earthly kingdom and the performance of healing those with illness, and still the other teaches a future forgiveness of sin! Are these all the same message? The answer is, "Of course not!"

Let us consider the question of what our diet should be. Should we eat no meat and be vegetarians?

Genesis 1:29

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

Should we eat all meat?

Genesis 9:2-3

And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. [3] Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

Should we eat only certain meats?

Leviticus 11:2-5

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. [3] Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. [4] Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. [5] And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

As we can see from just these three verses, the Bible can seem to be contradictory! Without division, there is confusion!

Leviticus 18:4-5

Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God. [5] Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord.

Acts 21:20

And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

Romans 6:14

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Col. 2:14-17

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [15] And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. [16] Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: [17] Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Again, we see that without division, there is confusion! Consider the issue of circumcision:

Genesis 17:11-12

And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. [12] And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.

Galatians 5:2

Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

Without division, there is major confusion! In order for us to make 2 Timothy 3:16-17 a reality, we must practice 2 Timothy 2:15. Without right division, God's Word is anything but profitable -- it is antithetical. Hence, dispensational Bible study is the key to understanding God's Word.

 

Lesson 2

Salvation: Israel's and Ours

One of the most important dispensational facts we must realize is that Israel and the Body of Christ view salvation in different ways. By comparing how Israel views their salvation with how we in the Body of Christ view our salvation will clear up a lot of misunderstanding people have about this important doctrine. Let us compare how both view salvation. Israel viewed their spiritual salvation as a future hope.

Ezekiel 36:22-25

Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. [23] And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. [24] For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. [25] Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

Acts 3:19

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Romans 11:26-27

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away

ungodliness from Jacob: [27] For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

An individual Jew viewed his salvation in the context of the salvation of the nation. This is a point that we shall address in some detail in the chapter dealing with confession. For now, these verses show a rudimentary understanding of this principle. However, the Body of Christ views it's spiritual salvation as a present possession.

1 Cor. 1:18

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1 Cor. 15:1-4

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; [2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. [3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Ephes. 1:13-14

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Hence, our spiritual salvation is not a future hope, it is a present reality! Unfortunately, many dear saints fail to see this. That is why they think that they have to wait for the Holy Ghost. They simply do not understand the difference between their salvation and Israel's salvation. The differences between Israel and the Body of Christ don't just end with this one point.

Although Israel's spiritual salvation is a future event, they were at times made possessors of physical salvation.

Exodus 14:13-14

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. [14] The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

2 Chron. 20:17

Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.

Psalm 34:7

The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

Israel's ultimate physical salvation will come in the promised future earthly kingdom. This promise of an earthly kingdom is given to Israel, and not to the Body of Christ.

Ezekiel 36:26-28

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. [27] And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. [28] And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Jeremiah 33:10-16

Thus saith the Lord; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast, [11] The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the Lord. [12] Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down. [13] In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the Lord. [14] Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. [15] In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. [16] In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.

Under the Old Covenant (the Mosaic), obedience brought immediate physical salvation. Under the New Covenant, the physical salvation will be the result of the new heart and empowering of the Holy Spirit.

Although the Body of Christ presently possesses spiritual salvation, our physical salvation is still a future hope.

Romans 8:22-25

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

1 Cor. 15:51-56

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. [55] O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? [56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

Hence, we have hope of physical salvation, but it is not a present possession. Saints who do not understand "right division" wait for God to deliver them out of all their physical distress, and then get discouraged when it does not happen. It is sad to see so many dear people lose heart by clinging to promises that are not theirs. It would be like me receiving your paycheck. I have the promissory note, but I can never cash it, because it is a promissory note to you and not me. We can now safely make the following conclusions:

Israel - Present - physical salvation with obedience

Future - spiritual salvation in the Earthly Kingdom

Body of Christ - Present - spiritual salvation.

Future - physical salvation at the rapture.

One very important foundation truth we must realize is that their is one requirement for receiving salvation which has never changed in any dispensation. The one thing God has always required from man is faith.

Genesis 15:6

And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Romans 1:17

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

All men in all dispensations must approach God in an attitude of faith in order to be accepted by Him. Just as faith is always the basis for acceptance by God, unbelief is always the basis for rejection by God.

John 3:18

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

2 Thes. 2:12

That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Rev. 21:8

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

If a person fails to accept, by faith, what God says (in their dispensational setting), they cannot be saved. Faith is not an act of merit, it is simply a positive response to what God says. Failure to respond, or a negative answer shows no faith. Although faith is an interdispensational issue, the object in which that faith is placed is different in different dispensations. Faith believes the message that God gives for any particular dispensation, regardless of what the message is. Let us look at some examples of this.

1.) Abel:

Hebrews 11:4

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

Therefore, Abel was justified by faith + works (offering a very specific offering). Abel's faith was placed in God's willingness to accept a blood sacrifice of an animal (his work) for sin.

Genesis 4:3-7

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. [4] And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: [5] But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. [6] And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? [7] If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Cain was not accepted because he failed to exercise his faith correctly in his dispensational setting. Cain had faith that God would accept his offering (read very carefully verse 5). The problem with Cain's faith is that it didn't manifest itself with the correct response towards God, and therefore it was rejected by God. How many people today think they are saved because they have faith in God, but they have failed to believe what God has said today for salvation? It is not good enough to believe in God. The Devil believes in God. We must believe what God says to us in our Dispensational setting. Therefore, we see the importance of "rightly dividing the word of truth."

2.) Abraham

Genesis 15:6

And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Here we see that God responds to Abraham's heart. Abraham believed, therefore God reckoned. Even under Israel's legal system, people had to have faith to go with their works, because one without the other was not good enough.

3.) Israel

Psalm 51:18-19

Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. [19] Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

James 2:14

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

James 2:20

But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

James 2:24

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Hence, Israel had to have faith in what God said. The faith would then compel Israel to do the work that was required for them to do to attain salvation. Failure to do the correct work would produce condemnation.

4.) The Body of Christ

Romans 4:4-5

Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

1 Cor. 15:1-4

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; [2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. [3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Today, we in the Body of Christ are saved by simply believing that "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:" We cannot do anything. Hence, unlike some of the examples we looked at, there is no work for us to do. The Romans text shows me that belief is not a work. If I add or subtract anything to this message, I have made it vain, just as Cain made his gospel message vain. People do this all the time. How many people will tell you that you have to baptized, or confess, or ask Jesus into your heart, or believe Jesus is Lord, or make Jesus king of your life, etc. The truth is that none of these things qualify as a saving gospel for you today in this present Dispensation of the Grace of God. They do not qualify because they all require me to do something, and Romans is clear that our gospel has nothing to do with you doing anything. In fact, your doing something makes the gospel a vain gospel.

Faith is a constant, but what faith requires may change. Man must always approach God in faith. However, what that approach of faith requires has changed from one dispensation to another. In order to be accepted by God, we must approach Him in His prescribed way for the dispensation in which we live. Failure to do so can only produce God's condemnation.

We have seen that the Body of Christ has a very unique gospel with very unique requirements. Let us be ever mindful of the Apostle Paul's words:

2 Cor. 11:3-4

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. [4] For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, (Jesus after the flesh, His earthly ministry, 2 Corinthians 5:16) whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, (Acts 2:4, we do not tarry for the Holy Spirit today, we have Him as a present possession until the Day we receive a new and glorified Body Ephesians 1:13-14. If we are waiting or tarrying for a Spirit today it is not the Holy Spirit.) which ye have not received, or another gospel, (Israel's gospel which included some element of the law, see Galatians 2:7 where we see the 12 Apostles had a gospel to Israel, and that Paul had a gospel to the Body of Christ. If we put ourselves back under the 12's authority we are preaching another gospel, and for this dispensation it is not a saving gospel!) which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

In this dispensation of God's grace, God justifies ungodly sinners by His Grace upon the ground of the shed blood of Jesus Christ through the means of faith. This complete salvation is bestowed as a free gift of God apart from works. Salvation is given to those who simply believe the gospel by a free will decision (let me restate that the gospel is 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

 

Lesson 3

When the Wall Came Tumbling Down

 

The key to "Rightly Dividing the Word of truth" is the "Middle Wall of Partition."

Ephes. 2:11-18

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. [18] For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Hence, we see from the above passage, the "midddle wall of partition" is a separation of man by God. It is very important to understand this separation if we are to understand dispensationalism. We cannot "rightly divide" the scriptures if we do not understand the division that God created to separate Israel from the Gentile.

When we read Genesis 11:1-8, and Genesis 12:1-3, we see that God went from dealing with the whole world to dealing with a nation that would result from Abraham. We know this nation as Israel. What the "middle wall of partition" would do is to create a Separation of the Jew in every aspect of life from a Gentile. Israel would be separated from the Gentiles in the land they were to command.

Leviticus 20:22-24

Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out. [23] And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them. [24] But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people.

Deut. 7:1-3

When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; [2] And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: [3] Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

Ezra 9:10-12

And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, [11] Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness. [12] Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.

The nation of Israel was to be separated from every other nation on earth. She was to be their ruler and receive tribute from the Gentiles. A careful reading of Isaiah leaves no doubt about this fact. Consider the following verse:

1 Kings 8:53

For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.

The "middle wall" was prevalent in the Jews religion to separate Israel from the Gentile because of the following facts:

1.) Israel had the law

Romans 3:1-2

What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? [2] Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

2.) Israel has the priesthood

Exodus 19:6

And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Exodus 28:1

And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons.

3.) Israel had the prophets

Jeremiah 35:13-15

Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith the Lord. [14] The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me. [15] I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me.

4.) All other nations had to approach God through Israel, the Kingdom of priests.

Exodus 19:5-6

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Isaiah 60:1-3

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. [2] For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. [3] And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

The Apostle Paul leaves no doubt as to the privileged position of Israel:

Romans 9:4-5

Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; [5] Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

We see that when the "Middle Wall of Partition" is up, all of God's dealings with man are channeled through the nation of Israel.When the wall comes down, God begins to deal with the church of this dispensation, the Body of Christ (reread Ephesians 2:11-18). This is important because salvation would not be through Israel, but it would now be a personal one - to - one relationship between God and man. If any part of the wall is up, then man has to go through God's prescribed instructions, which would put us back under the law, and have us join ourselves with the nation of Israel. Hence, the "middle wall of partition" cannot be up and down, at the same time. If we can determine the point that the "middle wall" comes down we will have "rightly divided the word of truth." Furthermore, we will also determine the point that God is communicating what it is He wants us to be accountable to --- in the Body of Christ. This is important in light of what we saw last chapter.

The question we must now ask is: "When did the "middle wall of partition" come down?" The vast majority of Christendom will say it came down during Jesus' ministry, or Peter's ministry at Pentecost. Are they correct or did it come down at a different point? We shall devote the rest of this chapter to answering this question.

Did God change His dealings with mankind when Jesus came to earth? In order to determine this, we need to see what the scriptures record for us about Jesus' earthly ministry. Jesus was born under the law, and lived under the law and it's authority.

Galatians 4:4-5

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, [5] To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Matthew 5:17

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

The law (Mosaic) was one of the items which separated Israel from the Gentile nations. Hence, the very fact that Jesus walked on this planet does not mean that the "middle wall of partition" came down with His presence. In fact, the above would lead us to believe the opposite. Moreover, it would appear that the wall was still up. We need to investigate further.

Our second point we need to consider is the fact that Jesus ministered to the nation of Israel during His earthly ministry. He refused to minister to the Gentiles unless they would become subservient to Israel.

Matthew 15:24

But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Romans 9:4-5

Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; [5] Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Not only did Jesus refuse to minister to the Gentiles unless they became subservient to Israel, He told His Apostles to do the same thing.

Matthew 10:5-6

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: [6] But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Hence, the Gentiles were blessed by Jesus only when they realized their position of subservience to the nation of Israel.

Matthew 15:23-28

But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. [24] But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. [25] Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. [26] But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. [27] And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. [28] Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Luke 7:1-5

Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. [2] And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. [3] And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. [4] And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: [5] For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.

Surely, Jesus' closing instructions would change all of this. After all, that is our "Great Commission, isn't it?

Matthew 28:16-20

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. [17] And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. [18] And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. [19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

What had Jesus commanded them to do? Jesus taught them to obey and keep the law. Rather than freeing anyone from the law, the Lord Jesus Christ instructs the Apostles to keep the law with His closing instructions. Furthermore, He instructs them to teach the Gentiles how to keep the law. Just what had the Lord commanded them that they were taught to observe?

Matthew 5:19

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The Gentiles can only find salvation through those of Israel that are being sent. This is not salvation apart from Israel, but rather, it is salvation through her. Remember, the Apostles were to sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel (Luke 22:29-30). This is who is being sent in Matthew 28, as it is in all the other accounts of Jesus' closing instructions.

Israel still clearly had a place of privilege before God during Jesus' earthly ministry, and after He had given the Apostles the Great Commission. Hence, it is clear that the "middle wall of partition" is still up during Jesus' ministry.

Did the "middle wall of partition" come down on the Day of Pentecost with Peter in Acts 2? The Day of Pentecost was a Jewish Feast Day (Leviticus 23:15-22). The audience and speaker are all Jewish.

Acts 2:5

And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

Acts 2:14

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

Acts 2:22

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

Peter himself was one of the men sent to Israel. Furthermore, everything that happened at Pentecost was in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy concerning Israel. A careful reading of Joel 2:28-32, compared with Peter's words in Acts 2:15-21 leaves little doubt that these events are in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. These verses are very clear that Peter is referring to the last days of prophecy, not the first days of the church. Hence, the church in Acts 2 had existed before the Day of Pentecost, because it was added to, not "born", "created", or "formed."

Acts 2:41

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

The message in early Acts is targeted specifically to the nation of Israel.

Acts 5:30-32

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. [31] Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. [32] And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

Furthermore, they had no personal possessions in fulfillment of Jesus' commands that He gave to His Apostles in His departing instructions. In the light of His instructions to teach others to obey all things He commanded, consider the following verses.:

Matthew 19:16-21

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? [17] And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. [18] He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, [19] Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [20] The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? [21] Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

It would be beneficial to now look at what the Apostles were doing and teaching at Pentecost and early Acts.

Acts 2:44-45

And all that believed were together, and had all things common; [45] And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

Acts 4:34-37

Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, [35] And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. [36] And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, [37] Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.

If this is how the Body of Christ is to function, then anyone who owns property is acting contrary and against the Lord's closing instructions and the dictates of the Apostles in early Acts. Hence, it is clear that the "middle wall of partition" is still up. Peter's ministry is a ministry to Israel only.

Galatians 2:7

But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

Galatians 2:9

And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

Therefore, the "middle wall of partition" had to come into existence after Peter's ministry. We shall see that the Body of Christ begins with the Apostle Paul, and it is through his ministry that "the middle wall of partition" comes down. It is also very important to note that James, Cephas, and John ended the great commission by limiting themselves to Israel only. Only Paul's ministry will be targeted at Gentiles, and Israel only secondarily. Consider the purpose of Paul's ministry:

Acts 9:15-16

But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: [16] For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

Acts 13:46

Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

Acts 18:5-6

And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. [6] And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

Acts 28:28

Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

Romans 11:13

For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

Paul is not one of the 12, nor is he an extension of the 12. His Apostleship is to a different group of people altogether. He is sent forth to Gentiles, apart from a regenerated Israel. Paul also by divine inspiration says unequivocally that the Body of Christ begins with him, and that he, and no one else is our pattern for salvation.

1 Tim. 1:16

Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

This verse is clear. If we received salvation after Paul, the Apostle Paul is the pattern. Hence, Paul reveals brand new truth that was never before revealed to man.

Galatians 1:11-12

But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. [12] For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Romans 16:25-26

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

Ephes. 3:1-6

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to youward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [6] That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Col. 1:25-27

Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; [26] Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

In order for God to deal with the Body of Christ, the "middle wall of partition" had to be down (Ephesians 2:11-18). Therefore, salvation is no longer through Israel, but is actually apart from Israel.

Galatians 3:26-29

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. [27] For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. [28] There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. [29] And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 6:14-15

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. [15] For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision (Israel) availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision (Gentile), but a new creature (Body of Christ).

Galatians 2:1-3

Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. [2] And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. [3] But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:

We also need to note that salvation during Paul's ministry is apart from the Law -- one of the items which separated Israel from everyone else.

Romans 3:28

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Romans 6:14

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Col. 2:14

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Therefore, Paul is the Apostle to the Gentiles. It is Paul (not Peter, the other 11, or Jesus Christ) who then becomes our pattern to follow. Please note that we follow Christ as Paul followed Christ.

1 Cor. 4:16-17

Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. [17] For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

1 Cor. 11:1

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Philip. 3:17

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

Philip. 4:9

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Romans 11:13

For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

Romans 15:16

That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

God's Word does reveal that in the future the "middle wall of partition" will go back up, and God will once again begin dealing with and through the nation of Israel. The day is coming when Israel replaces the Body of Christ as God's tool of reconciliation, and all of God's promises to Israel will then be fulfilled (read Romans 11:17-32). At this time, all of the unfulfilled Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel's earthly kingdom will be fulfilled (please read the following verses to see this: Revelation 19:11-16; 20:4-6). The event which signals the beginning of God's renewed dealing with Israel alone will begin with the rapture of the Body of Christ.

1 Thes. 4:13-18

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. [14] For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. [15] For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. [16] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [17] Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. [18] Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Col. 3:1-4

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. [2] Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. [3] For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. [4] When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

1 Cor. 15:51-52

Behold, I shew you a mystery; (a mystery, hence part of the information given to the Apostle Paul that was not made known before him) We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Hence, the Body of Christ, is made up of all those who have been saved under God's "mystery" program as revealed to and through the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Colossians 1:18), but does not include those saved under God's "prophetic"program (those who were saved in the prophetic program became members of the nation of Israel). The mission of the church is set forth by the Apostle Paul.

2 Cor. 5:14-21

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: [15] And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. [16] Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. [17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [18] And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The destiny of the church is to appear at the judgment seat of Christ when we shall meet Him in the air (the rapture), and then to reign with Jesus Christ in the heavenlies.

2 Cor. 5:9-11

Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. [10] For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. [11] Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

Ephes. 1:17-23

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: [18] The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, [19] And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, [20] Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, [21] Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: [22] And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, [23] Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

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