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The following is a review study for an upcoming Bible study I shall be doing. The original 13 pages of the detailed study can be found on my September 28 and 30, 2016 entries.

A REVIEW OF THE THREE DISPENSATIONS

By Larry A. Smail

Much time has elapsed since we have studied the first four books of the New Testament through the early chapters of Acts. I believe a review may be needed to remind us of the three dispensations over that forty year time frame of transitions. Remember, dispensations are times of transitional changes. As stated, this time frame covered approximately forty years from Christ’s ministry; the cross; resurrection; the disciples’ Jewish kingdom messages; Paul’s Gentile, believing with faith, message; ending with Israel’s removal from the scene in 70 A.D.

I believe it is sad that these facts of scripture are seldom to, mostly, never heard. The usual attempt has been to try to pick and choose from scripture to fit the pre-conceived years of thought and teachings. Also, most people attempt to place all these dispensations in a blender, but they need to remain separate and understood just where they stand in scripture. This is especially true due to the fact these dispensations are scriptural and provable upon a willingness to see for oneself and throw aside any pre-conceived or denominational teachings.  Once these times are understood the Bible will open up like you never thought possible!

FIRST DISPENSATIONAL TIME

Jesus’ ministry included many, many signs, wonders and miracles. Why did Jesus do these things? He was proving to the Jews just who he was! Jesus was their Promised One; their King and ready to usher in the promised kingdom on earth. This is known as the Kingdom of the Gospel. The only “catch” was the Nation of Israel had to BELIEVE HE WAS THEIR PROMISED ONE! All those parables Christ used to teach were directed to the Jews of Israel to help them grasp their coming kingdom, if they would only believe. This is the NUMBER ONE TIME OF DISPENSATION AND THAT WAS TO BELIEVE WHO JESUS WAS! That takes a faith the Jews didn’t have despite seeing so many miracles!

In Romans 15:8 we can learn why Christ came to Israel. Paul wrote: …Christ became a minister (Servant) to the circumcised (Jews) to show God’s truthfulness, (Faithfulness) in order to confirm (Fulfill) the promises given to the fathers; (Covenant promises of Genesis.) in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. (Grace)   Read again using words in parenthesis.

Remember, in Exodus 19: 5-6 when God told the young nation of Israel if they were obedient to the covenant they would be his own possession (Chosen People) among all people (Gentiles)…and they were to become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation!       WOW!

Despite the miracles, the nation of Israel, the Jewish people, rejected Jesus leading to the cross and his death. They could not accept this man, but anything, other than a man of Nazareth. Israel would not be that kingdom and not be that holy nation of priests and they would not be taking God’s mercy to the Gentiles from the Exodus 19 words of God. However, Israel would be given another chance.

Jesus was hastily entombed to beat the HOLY “ANNUAL” SABBATH of the Feast of Unleavened Bread including Passover. The timing of this was exact since prophetically Christ would be required to be in the grave for three days and three nights. (See Matthew 12: 38-41.) This would prove beyond doubt that he had died! Also, Christ to be the sacrificial Lamb had to be killed during Passover season to become the savior.

On the Sunday morning following the WEEKLY SABBATH the tomb was found to be empty. Christ was resurrected from the dead! Annual Sabbaths can occur any day of the week. (Note the differences in the two Sabbath times. Important!) Weekly Sabbaths begin on Friday evening at sunset and go to Saturday evening.

After his resurrection, Jesus spent forty days on the earth in his glorified body to add more proof as to who he was! During those forty days what did Christ talk about? He talked about the very same thing as he did during his ministry…the KINGDOM! (See Acts 1:3.) Israel was to receive a second chance to believe Jesus was their Promised One! Their KING! Their Messiah! Christ was “setting the stage” again for what was very soon to begin…that second chance for Israel!

The disciples asked Jesus if he was going to restore the kingdom to Israel, now. Christ told them it was not for them to know. However, their success or failure with the Nation of Israel would determine when that kingdom would come to reality. Israel’s first opportunity to be that Exodus 19 nation was over!

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SECOND DISPENSATIONAL TIME

After Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples began the second dispensational time for Israel. Peter, James, John… preached, as did Jesus, the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom to who?…The JEWS. There is no Gentile language here at all!

However, this dispensational time was a little different than what Christ preached. In Acts 2 and 3 Peter preached to whom?  He preached to the NATION OF ISRAEL, the JEWS, after the cross. Notice the Jews had to repent first.  Ask yourself, repent of what? The answer is twofold. The Jews needed to repent of their UNBELIEF AS TO WHO JESUS WAS WHICH LED TO CHRIST’S DEATH ON THE CROSS! And, they, now, needed to BELIEVE CHRIST WAS INDEED THEIR KING AND CLEANSE THEMSELVES AS PER JEWISH LAW VIA BAPTISM!

Notice Peter’s language here; if ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL repented and was baptized Christ would return and bring along the promised kingdom. (This is the Gospel of the Kingdom.) There is still no Gentile language being used here!  Many did as Peter preached, but it must be understood these Jews became part of the ASSEMBLY OF JEWISH BELIEVERS. (The Greek word is ecclesia which means “a called out assembly.”) Most everyone thinks these are Christians, but they were still law-keeping, works required, religious Jews with the only difference being they believed Christ was their Promised One. These Jewish believers attended synagogues and the temple; ate only foods allowed by Jewish law; followed all Jewish feast days; (Annual Sabbath times) Friday at sunset to Saturday at sunset weekly Sabbaths, law-keeping, circumcision, etc. Notice Peter, also, used other words such as: men of Israel and men of Judea to describe the people who he was addressing. Jesus never once told them to do anything other than go to the Jews. (See Matthew 10: 5-7.)

For more proof on this fact study Acts 10 where Peter went to a Gentile against his will because, as he stated; you know it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with a Gentile. Read Acts 11: 19 for more proof.

Also, study Acts 15 and Galatians 2 on the Jerusalem Council. This meeting occurred about twenty years after the cross. The decision was the twelve would 3.

continue with the Jews and Paul would continue with the Gentiles. More understanding is available upon reading the disciples’ epistles and to the people they were directed. They were written to the Jews in dispersion. You seldom hear of these realities on a Sunday. Read and study for yourself.

I realize this is not what the vast majority understand today, but these Jesus-believing Jews were not Christians as we have come to understand Christianity today. Labeling these Jewish believers as Christians causes much confusion in studying the Bible. However, if any Jew repented of their disbelief and was baptized they would still be saved under that dispensation. They were doing what they were supposed to do at that time and that was to have Israel believe Jesus was their Promised One! These Jews did not hear of believing only with faith.

In fact, the Holy Spirit first directed the writer in Acts 11:26 to address these faith-based Gentiles as Christians for the first time under Paul’s preaching. This fact alone must demonstrate the importance of the differences between the law following, but believing, Jews and the faith-based only believing Gentiles. However, under grace there were some Jews who would become Christians through faith and abandoning their religion of law, or Judaism. (This was the entire reasoning behind the Book of Hebrews and that was to convince believing Jews to abandon Law to complete faith only. More details under the third dispensation.)

A major event occurred approximately nine years after the cross. In Acts 7, a Holy Spirit inspired man named Stephen was murdered by the non-believing Jews. Although, they didn’t know it, this murder would lead to the steady decline of Israel into oblivion. This was Israel’s final rejection. Jesus’ disciples continued to preach to the Jews hoping the Nation of Israel would repent and believe who Christ was just as they were supposed to do. The above statement concerning Exodus 19: 5-6 would continue to be on hold. Israel would not become that special nation of priests to take the word to Gentiles. That would have to wait! This will occur during the time of the Second Advent of Christ. The Jews will, again, preach the Gospel of the Kingdom during the final seven years. (This is the time Christ prophesied about during the Oliver Discourse. I believe the144, 000 Jews of Revelation will be the Jews carrying this gospel kingdom to the world.)

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A zealot Jew, named Saul, immediately rose to the forefront at Stephen’s murder. He instituted a great persecution against those Jews who had become believers in Christ as their Messiah. They were known as the WAY!  He hated anything to do with the man, Jesus.  He was a Pharisee, so he donned a lot of power.  He created widespread fear on these Jewish believers. He had them tortured, imprisoned and killed if they refused to renege on their beliefs. Many believers fled to Gentile countries to get away from Jerusalem and Saul! (See Acts 8:1.) Saul, however, headed for Damascus to remove more of these believing Jews.

Saul was immediately converted on the road to Damascus when the Risen Christ made himself known to him. (Acts 9) He was fearful since the very same person he was trying to stamp out of the area was, now confronting Saul, OUCH!

Saul would, shortly, learn what his role was to be in this plan of God. He would be taking the message to Gentiles since the Jews had lost their opportunity to follow through with the Exodus 19: 5-6 words from God. Like I said, Israel was in decline! The Lord was using another Jew to do what the nation of Israel failed to do and that was to take the gospel of grace, or faith only, to the Gentiles.

Prior to Saul having his mission revealed went to the Jews in the Damascus Synagogue and preached what? He told them the exact message of the other disciples at this time and that was that Jesus was their Promised One. Saul would learn more of his message from the Risen Christ. Saul, soon to be Paul, would be the APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES. Paul would be learning the mysteries of God and going to the Gentiles and all mankind with his words.

THIRD AND PRESENT DISPENSATIONAL TIME

In Galatians 1:17, we learned that Paul went to Arabia sometime, soon, after his conversion for three years. Lots of time would be needed to separate Paul from his strong Jewish indoctrination, Law-keeping ways, and being a Pharisee. Christ began teaching him the mysteries of God pertaining to grace! This time in Arabia strongly implies as this time period when the Risen Christ revealed his mission to the Gentiles. As stated, Paul would learn of grace through faith through the Risen Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12.) The Risen Christ taught him of

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the faith through believing, grace doctrine. All through Paul’s writings this doctrine is easily viewed. Watch for the key words and phrases such as: gospel of God; grace; gospel of his Son; gift of his grace; raised from death; faith apart from works; grace of God; abundance of grace; believes… And these are just from the Book of Romans! Look for such key words in all of Paul’s writings!!!

This is, in fact, the THIRD, AND PRESENT, TIME OF DISPENSATION FOR SALVATION THROUGH FAITH ONLY! NO WORKS . Paul, actually, calls this time of dispensation by the name in some translations. (Ephesians 3) In Ephesians 2: 8-9, Paul wrote of GRACE strongly and amplified the words of NO WORKS! PAUL BECOMES THE MINISTER FOR THE GOSPELOF GRACE!

LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE KINGDOM AND GRACE GOSPELS!

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 states very well of THE GOSPEL FOR SALVATION. PAUL WROTE TO BE SAVED ONE IS REQUIRED TO BELIEVE IN FAITH THAT CHRIST DIED, WAS BURIED AND ON THE THIRD DAY ROSE AGAIN.  Notice how under the first and second dispensation the nation of Israel was required to believe. Under grace an individual can be saved. An individual may be saved be he/she either a Jew or Gentile, now.

If you feel you need to work for salvation then the gift of grace isn’t a gift at all. Paul stated in Romans that if you do anything other than believe with faith you are doing actions crucifying Christ again.

Whenever, God deems the time of the Gentiles to be over, the kingdom gospel will return, as stated above, for that kingdom was foretold many times to Israel. This will become reality upon Christ’s return! Those covenant promises are very much still in place with Israel.

 

 

 

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I BELIEVE

I have been working on another CD for quite some time. The Cd is called, “I BELIEVE” and is a selection of gospel songs. Deciding on what songs to do proved to be an interesting process for me. I determine what songs to use when I listen to a series of songs and then play any particular song if it is heard continuously within my thoughts. In other words, when I keep hearing a song in my head I believe that must mean something to me. I then consider that particular song. So the selections I am using comes from a number of styles of music. If the song stays in my head the song went on the list!

As I write this entry I have fourteen songs ranging from complete to varying stages of completion. I need some harmonies to complete along with steel guitar and fiddle work. I may add piano and keyboards on a few. I do all guitar work including bass guitar. My melodious voice did all the lead vocals.

This CD, hopefully, will be completely finished within a couple of months.

Current Songs: You’re Worthy Of My Praise; Climb Higher; I Believe; Bless My Soul (10,000 Reasons); I Have A Maker; Come Morning; Revelation Song; Help Me; I Can’t even walk; Wasted Years; Mercy Walked In;  Ancient Words; When He Was on the Cross; Thanks To Calvary

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THOUGHTS ON THE CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION TIME FRAME

by Larry A. Smail

As early as my late teens, I began to question how anyone may add up the time from a Friday crucifixion and late day burial to a Sunday morning resurrection as three days, and three nights. Of course, I elected to remain quiet on these thoughts for fear of being stupid, and uninformed. After all, the world honors Christ’s death on Good Friday with Easter on Sunday morning. I must not be understanding something!

These thoughts would surface from time to time usually around the Easter season. However, I began studying for answers. One argument I heard was that the Jews counted even a small amount of time on any given day as a “day”. I didn’t buy it! This, to me, sounded like someone trying to make the traditional Easter time frames fit into their traditional beliefs. I needed to study scripture.

Let’s look at some scripture to discuss this most important event for true Christianity.

Matthew 12: 38-40 Some of the scribes, and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher we wish to see a sign from you.” Jesus answered them, “An evil, and adulterous generation seeks a sign; BUT no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days, and three nights in the belly of the fish, so will the Son of Man be three days, and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

There you have Christ’s own words concerning the only sign needed to prove who he was, and is! This language occurs several other places in the Bible. The only sign to be given was to be Jesus in the tomb for three days, and three nights. So, who am I, to say any other words other than Christ’s own words as to the importance of this sign!!!

Why is this sign so important? That time frame would guarantee without question that Jesus was truly dead! Skeptics would jump at a lesser time. They would state Jesus wasn’t actually dead only unconscious, and other fallacies.

WHAT WE KNOW FROM SCRIPTURE

Matthew 27: 45: Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. The sixth hour would be noon, and the ninth hour would be 3:00 in the afternoon. The Jews began a “day” at 6:00 A.M. our time to 6:00 P.M. Night was 6:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M. This is important to remember!)

Matthew 27: 50:  And Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit around the ninth hour. (3:00 P.M. our time)

John 19: 31:  Since it was the day of Preparation of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Passover events the Jews did not wish any of the bodies remaining on the cross over the Sabbath time. Joseph of Arimathea requested of Pilate to remove Jesus’ body before sunset. (This annual Sabbath was a high Sabbath, and can occur any day of the week. IMPORTANT! Preparation of this Sabbath had to occur prior to the evening sunset.)

Matthew 27: 57: When it was evening… Joseph of Arimathea requested permission for Jesus’ body… and placed him in a tomb, and the tomb was sealed. (This would take some time to accomplish to beat the quickly coming High Sabbath beginning at sunset.

John 20: 1: (all 4 gospels) Now on the 1st day of the week…  (Sunday is the 1st day of the week, and we know the women went to the tomb early on the 1st day of the week)

To allow for the 3 days, and 3 nights, as told by Jesus Himself the high Sabbath would need to be on a Thursday of that year.

Jesus, to fulfill His own promise, could have been resurrected anytime after Saturday’s (Weekly Sabbath) sunset. (The weekly Sabbath occurs Friday evening at sunset, and lasts until Saturday at sunset.)

The above mentioned facts are known from scripture, and Jewish culture, and law. The best way to determine that time frame is begin counting back from the early Sunday morning visit to the tomb. The tomb was already empty at that early time of the day.

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CRUCIFIXTION & RESURRECTION

TIMELINE CHART

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WEDNESDAY           THURSDAY              FRIDAY           SATURDAY

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Cross, burial                   DAY 1                       DAY 2                 DAY 3

 

______________________________________________________________________________

NIGHT 1                       NIGHT 2                    NIGHT 3             Resurrection

 

______________________________________________________________________________

Jesus, to fulfill scripture would have been resurrected at sunset after the weekly Sabbath. Burial occurred just prior to sunset on Wednesday evening to beat the Annual High Sabbath. The Passover feast days, along with two Jewish Sabbaths would not allow the women to show up prior to Sunday morning. Jesus became the Passover Lamb at this time. The time frame insured Jesus would be in the tomb for three days, and three nights to fulfill prophecy.

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THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE…THE TRUTH

At most every turn in America these days the “political correct” mentality rules over the thoughts of far too many. Our American culture has declined in liberty and freedoms because of this way of thinking. Self-thinkers are becoming increasingly rare! One basic right of Americans is the Freedom of Speech found in our Bill of Rights. So many people seek anything they can find to announce another’s word or action as offensive. Lawyers are making fortunes with these people. Today, if one says anything at all chances are someone will be offended. Many years ago while still in school I announced the PC culture, that was beginning to really take hold, would cause the decline in American values. I hate it when I am right!

Today, political correctness has evolved for over fifty years and a cry has been shouted around daily. That cry  of the left is “Separation of Church and State!” Usually the additional word of “unconstitutional” is included somewhere in the cry…you know for added emphasis! These words are screamed constantly with anything pertaining to Christ or God in a public place, and I mean anything. The courts have been used as a tool to complete the left’s attacks. And many courts proudly use their personal agendas to accomplish the goals. Astronomical expenses will occur to fight these challenges. Many succumb rather than spend their precious and limited funds to fight the courts. I believe it will be only a matter of time that the attacks will filter into private displays of anything deemed Christ-like. This is the signs of the times we live. Examples are happening almost daily of such attacks. One recent example pertained to a  teacher wearing a cross necklace. Yes, this is how bad the PC world has become. Commonsense is gone!

Christ-based holidays, even the secular ones, have been attacked constantly. One seldom hears the Christmas songs played during the holiday season if a reference to Christ is included in the lyrics. You’ll happily hear Grandma Got Run Over By A reindeer. (Not me, however.)  The Christmas holiday and Easter have become 90% secular in America culture.

The truth of the phrase, “separation of Church and State” has a completely different origin as we would suspect upon listening to the medias and politicians. Those words actually began many years ago as they were shouted by prominent ministers in the 1500 era of England.  The phrase would enter to the land of America during the 1600 time span as Europeans escaping religious persecution traveled from across the sea! The phrase was used by Bible-oriented ministers and colonists. Yes, the phrase was used by leaders of the Christian faith and not the secular world. This is a far cry from what we are all are lead to believe in today’s left-leaning world. Also, few Americans know the facts and believe the left may be correct because our government court system has permeated this falsehood as well. You have heard about if a lie is told enough the lie will become factual. This has all occurred since World War 2.

Thomas Jefferson is usually given credit for the separation of Church and State. He wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 to clarify the issue. The ministers were concerned over potential issues of their freedoms from the state. Today, the words in this letter are used against Jefferson’s real response since he actually used the phrase.. The letter reaffirmed Jefferson’s belief on a “wall of separation of Church and State,” however, he was reaffirming the churches freedoms from any meddling into their beliefs from the state. This letter because of the phrase used has been constantly brought up as Jefferson’s belief that anything of Christ not be used in a public place controlled with taxpayer’s expense, etc.

As stated, the history of the “separation of Church and State” phrase goes back much further. The real reason ministers pushed for separation of Church and State began around 390 A.D. under Roman Emperor Theodosius. This man assumed control of the church and decreed Christianity as the official religion of the empire. This would not be a true Christianity! This decree allowed the State (Government) to have control over what could be preached and what the people had to believe. The people would be required to enforce any mandated, religious doctrines of the State.

Anybody who studied the history of Christianity will see the many atrocities committed by the State rulers using the name of Christ as a catalyst for justification. Many Christians, not adhering to the State’s form of Christianity, were tortured; imprisoned and executed by those leaders of the state-controlled Church. And these acts were done by those professing to be Christians, as well. Of course, these people were not true Christians by any means. True Christianity would never commit to such acts of brutality. However, many of the world believe if anyone professes to be a Christian then they must be one and any such actions are permissible as a Christian. WRONG! One poll I have seen claimed 80% of Americans believe they are Christians. I would like to know the reasons these individuals believe they are Christians. I imagine their reasons are wide and varied and not Bible-based.

True Bible-based ministers, in time, demanded that the State separate themselves from the Church. One man and clergyman named Richard Hooker first used the phrase of separation of Church and State.

King Henry VIII started the Anglican Church upon wanting to get divorced. His new church would allow the divorce as needed. Also, Parliament passed laws as to who could take communion and who could be ministers. This added more control over the Church. Are you seeing the trends?

A Reverend John Greenwood was executed for stating a separation was needed. This man started a congregation attended by many English Pilgrims. Parliament passed a law of anyone denying Queen Elizabeth 1 of church supremacy would be imprisoned without bail. Pilgrims began traveling towards the New World of America to escape such laws being enforced upon their beliefs. The Pilgrims believed the government had no right to plant churches by power and force laws and penalties the State deemed correct.

As previously stated, Theodosius took the Church over in 390 A.D. The centuries following lead to even more rulers of the State mandating all church authorities to follow whatever religious doctrines the State decided as doctrine. These many years had a complete lack of religious tolerance. These were the centuries where all the negative attributes of Christianity occurred. many of which are still used today to combat anything Christ-like. A couple of examples of the past were the Inquisition and the Crusades.

Those calling themselves the Puritans began fleeing soon afterwards. Puritans were having their noses sliced, ears cut off and brands placed on their foreheads for not adhering to State-controlled Churches. Over the next hundred years or so many others left for America. These individuals including Jews, Quakers, Anabaptists, Huguenots and Lutherans were part of this migration from religious persecution. William Penn, who founded Pennsylvania, was a Quaker.

Christ is Matthew 24 prophesied of a great “falling away” prior to his Second Advent. Paul in  2 Thessalonians 2:3 stated of a Apostasy prior to the revealing of the Wicked One during the latter days. Apostasy  means to fall away from sound Christian doctrine.This false Christianity permeated the world for these many years. I believe the apostasy mentioned above has been in effect since the very early years of the church’s establishment.

However, there were bright times in Christianity. Bible-oriented leaders began efforts to reform the terrible abuses of the State-controlled Christianity. These were the cries of true separation from the State. Many of these leaders would face tremendous persecution even death. All through the decades the State has controlled and abused the Church. By the time of the New World colonies early years the idea of “separation of Church and state” was firmly planted within the populace’s thinking. Many had witnessed the abuse of the State-run church. They wished to avoid such control in their new world if possible. This mind-set had become prominent with the colonies independence from England in 1776. Read the Declaration of Independence for yourself and you will notice the issues these Americans had with England at that time. So, it is no wonder the Founding Fathers included the Freedom  Religion in the new Bill of Rights. In fact this right was listed as the First Amendment.

THE FIRST AMENDMENT

“Congress  shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

The idea of “Separation of Church and State” in America changed drastically in 1947.  Many have become completely ignorant of this reality. A supreme court ruling in 1947 used Jefferson’s words of “separation of Church and State” to rule in favor of actually keeping religion from all walks of life concerning public places. HOWEVER, the court did not use the remaining words of Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. They used only the phrase! The new America of shame would be now become the normal way of thinking. Later, in the early sixties an atheist found a sympathetic court to the 1947 ruling and the reading of Bibles in schools became the attack. Now, prayer in school is against policy. If a kid would draw a symbol of religion he/she could be disciplined. This is why having the right judge is so important in America. Remember the original intent of separation was to keep the State from meddling, interfering, and controlling the Church’s beliefs, doctrines and expression. The phrase was never  supposed to be used to remove crosses; Ten Commandment monuments, Bibles from the schools; public prayer for graduation ceremonies, Christmas songs and the like. The “separation of Church and State” was to protect such liberties!  Words were spoken stating, “The separation of Church and State does not mean the exclusions of God, righteousness, morality from the State.”  

Now armed with the above knowledge as presented above read the First Amendment again!

The “separation of the Church and State” was intended by our Founding Fathers to keep government away from governing Christianity and not to be intrusive to Christianity. The Founders knew very well what had happened to the European Churches once the state controlled it all. They wanted their new government to not be as the State had been in Europe for those many, many years. Wow! We have come a long way from the original intent!!!!!

 

 

 

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PAUL’S “GENTILE”  MINISTRY  DISPENSATION 

 

The next and present dispensation of time would be using Saul (Paul) to take a new transition of the Gospel of Grace for salvation to the Gentiles. This is commonly called the Church Age! Paul in, Ephesians 3: 2-6:  wrote these words from the King James Version, …you have heard of the

DISPENSATION of the GRACE OF GOD which is given me to you: How that the revelation he made known to me the mystery…when you read you may understand my knowledge of the mystery of Christ; 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… (KJV) (This was a new revealed dispensation! More on this later.)

 

Also, in Colossians 1: 25, Paul again spoke of dispensation. (KJV) He said, “I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me, to fulfill the word of God; the mystery which has been hid from all ages… but now is made manifest to his SAINTS.” Paul added words of the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles…  Below is the story as to how Paul became a minister to the Gentiles.

 

In Acts 9, Saul, near Damascus, was blinded by Christ in order to see the Light! (No pun intended.) Saul armed with letters from Jerusalem was out to arrest any of those Jews who had believed Jesus was their Messiah. (The Way.) Remember, these Jews had left Jerusalem to escape Saul’s wrath after Stephen’s death. (Acts 8:1, and 9:1-2)

 

Once his blindness was healed Saul went to the Damascus synagogue to preach what?  Paul preached that Jesus was the Promised One as did the disciples. (Acts 9: 19-22) Wait for the next change is to come! At this time, the mystery of Grace hadn’t been revealed to Saul.

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Peter, around this time frame, visited a home of a Gentile, named Cornelius, against his will, and against Jewish law. This is proof Peter was still a law-

keeping Jew at this time. So, we can see Peter, at the time of this event, was still going only to the Jews. In Acts 10: 28, Peter even reminded Cornelius it was unlawful for a Jew to be with a Gentile.

 

However, Peter told the story about Jesus to these Gentiles. These Gentiles believed, and the Holy Spirit was received. In Acts 10: 45, scripture states Peter, and the accompanying Jews, were amazed the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit! Peter then baptized the Gentiles, as per custom. Have you seen the dispensational transition at this time?  Remember, in early Acts the program was that the Jews had to belief Jesus was their Messiah by repenting of their unbelief, and being baptized. These Gentiles received the Holy Spirit through believing only! Baptism came about afterwards only because Peter knew he was to do it with the believing Jews!

 

Peter knew something new and unique was happening, but did not totally grasp it at this time. God had commanded Peter to go to Cornelius to show things were changing as Israel’s rejection continued. God would use this experience of Peter to aid Paul’s Gentile ministry at the Jerusalem Council of around 50 A.D., and twenty years after the cross.

 

Around this same time frame, Saul after being rejected by Jews in

Damascus went to Arabia for three years. (Galatians 1:17) This seems to imply was the time Paul was ministered to by the RISEN CHRIST! (Galatians 1:12) During this time Saul had his zealous Judaism removed, and learned of the Gospel of Grace for salvation, and the MYSTERIES!

(Remember, the apostles spent three years with Christ. I believe, Paul spent

three years with Christ to prepare him with the new dispensation, and to reveal God’s “mysteries”, so often found in his writings. It was time to reveal the secrets of God.) This gospel of salvation and GRACE can be found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4, Romans 10: 9-10, and elsewhere. (Interestingly, the disciples spent three years with Christ, and apparently, Paul spent three years with the Risen Christ. See Galatians 1: 16-18.)

 

Paul went to Gentile communities to preach the importance of BELIEVING IN FAITH. Paul told them of Jesus’ life; ministry; death on the cross; burial, and RESURRECTION after three days, and three nights in the tomb! THIS IS THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION!  or the GOSPEL OF GRACE! He

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explained the importance of believing with complete faith this gospel of grace! A true believing of the gospel, he preached, would promise the Holy Spirit working within oneself!  NO WORKS! No water baptism; no circumcision; no religious rituals or rites; no tithing; no animal sacrificing, no church memberships, and much more! True gospel believers have only liberty and freedom in GRACE! (Also, see Ephesians 2: 8-9 on works.)

 

Whereas, Peter’s ministry required the Nation of Israel to believe who Jesus was, and with Paul’s ministry anyone could find salvation on an individual basis. This would apply to either a Jew, or a Gentile, just through a true believing of the gospel! Did you note the differences? ……………. WOW!!!

 

NOTE: I believe it is important to mention how Paul would usually enter a community and go to the synagogue first to try to convince the Jews of Jesus. He would then go to Gentiles. The vast majority of Jews would not believe.

 

To summarize The Dispensations

 

  1. The Gospel of the Kingdom was preached during Jesus’ ministry. The

Jews, and Israel, had to believe Jesus was their PROMISED ONE!

 

  1. The Gospel of the Kingdom was preached by the disciples after Jesus’ ascension and their gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Jews were required to repent of their unbelief, and crucifying their Promised One. They were to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, and receive the Holy Spirit. (All of the House of Israel needed to adhere to this.)

 

  1. The Gospel of Grace was preached by Paul to, primarily, Gentiles on an individual basis. They were to believe with faith the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the gift of the Holy Spirit. (However, at least, Peter gave Paul’s message credence for the wisdom in Paul’s writings towards the end of Peter’s life. More on this later.)

 

IMPORTANT DETAILS OF  THE  BOOK  OF  JAMES

 

James, wrote the Book of James during this time of transitions. His writings were directed to the Jewish believers of Christ (James 1:1) who had been

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dispersed after Stephen’s murder. Note the language James used: THE TWELVE TRIBES OF THE DISPERSION. These Jews, although believers in Christ, were still law-keeping Jews! This is important to remember! (Don’t try to read anything other than what James wrote. This letter was written to believers of the twelve tribes of Israel still practicing law!)

 

Much of James writings include words of works or law-keeping. For instance, James wrote: Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point becomes guilty of them all! (James 2: 10) At the time of this writing this was the dispensation program in place for the Jews. There are no discrepancies at all!  James was writing in regards to the Gospel of the Kingdom! His attempts were based on having Israel repent, believe who Jesus was, and be baptized. Israel was a law-keeping nation. The Jewish believers of Jesus were law keepers at this time.

 

IMPORTANT DETAILS OF THE JERUSALEM COUNCIL

 

The Jerusalem Council of around 50 A.D. easily shows the middle of the forty year dispensational times between the apostles, and Paul. This event happened about twenty years after the cross. This conference is recorded in Acts 15, and Galatians 2. (Paul’s account is found in the Galatians writing.)

 

Paul met with the disciples, elders, and believing Pharisees, over his gospel message to the Gentiles. The apostles wanted Jewish law preached unto the Gentiles. The meeting was heated at times, until Peter, remembering his experience with Cornelius; (Acts 10) stood to speak. He spoke of the bondage (Law) upon them. The decision, and take note, was

Paul would be entrusted to go to the Gentiles, and the disciples

would still be entrusted to the Jews! (Galatians 2: 7-9) They even shook hands on the decision! One can easily see the disciples, some twenty years after the cross, were still law keeping Jews, too.

 

IMPORTANT DETAILS  OF  THE  TWO  BOOKS  OF  PETER

 

Peter wrote two books of our Bible. They are 1 Peter, and 2 Peter. These

two books were written towards the end of Peter’s life. Also, the writings were completed as Israel, and the Jews, and the Jewish, Jesus believers were witnessing very troubled times. Israel’s destruction would be occurring in a

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few years. Peter thought the tribulation was about to occur.

 

These two books were written to those Jews who had become believers as to who Jesus was, and were exiled. They ran because of their belief after Stephen’s murder. Proof of this fact is found in 1 Peter 1, where Peter stated his letter is to the exiles of the Dispersion. Peter reminded the readers, in

2 Peter 3: 1, the fact of this letter being his second one to those exiled Jewish

believers. Peter’s words are different than his early Acts sermons. Some things to consider: Peter, as his life is winding down, has realized the Nation of Israel was NOT going to believe his ministry, and repent of their unbelief. Troubled times were already happening, and would continue until Rome finally destroyed Israel out of existence as a nation. Peter wrote much on preparing these people for the bad times ahead leading to the coming of Christ. I believe Peter was seeing the current troubles, of this time, as a forerunner to Daniel’s 70th week. Remember, in Acts 3: 19, Peter spoke of the time of refreshing, and Jesus being sent back to earth. Peter is, hoping, he could still witness Christ’s coming. Remember, Jesus told the disciples they would rule over the twelve tribes of Israel at his coming. They would set on the thrones judging Israel! (This is found in Matthew 19: 27-28.)

 

Peter, by this time, is also writing with words of faith, and of believing Paul’s ministry. He stated in 2 Peter 3: 14-18, about Paul writing to these believing Jews with wisdom, as he (Paul) did in all his epistles.  What was Paul’s wisdom?  The message was to believe the gospel, with faith. That gospel is believing the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  (1 Corinthians 15:1-4.) Peter, also, mentioned the fact of Paul’s message being hard to understand. (I believe Peter as a law-keeping Jew, was still was having difficulties in faith alone without works as Paul preached in his dispensation. Could the letter to those exiled Jewish believers be the book of Hebrews written by Paul?) Peter wrote of Grace, and faith in words very similar to Paul’s letters. I can sense the difficulties with Peter’s words at this time. He knew his life was about done, and he didn’t see Israel repent of the unbelief, and believe. Peter was seeing the troubled times all around.

 

Understanding how these dispensations worked in the forty year of transitions will greatly aid to grasping Biblical truths. The separation between the Jewish kingdom dispensations compared to the present-day dispensation of grace is markedly different. God used separation between the Jews, and Gentiles throughout Biblical history. That separation was intended by the Lord.

 

 

 

 

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TIMES OF  DISPENSATIONS  IN THE NEW  TESTAMENT

By Larry A. Smail

Introduction

 

Have you ever really debated, within your thoughts, what the message was during the years of Christ’s earthly ministry; followed by the years after the resurrection in regards to the disciples’ “Jewish” ministry, and later, Paul’s “Gentile” ministry, concluding around Israel’s destruction? This time of dispensations lasted, approximately, forty years. (A dispensation is a change of program; a transition, or going towards, or dispensing, in a new direction.)This time frame is one of important transitions! There are three, distinct, dispensations during those forty years of Biblical transitions.

 

If you have read much of the New Testament books of the Bible you may have formulated a number of questions. You may have even felt there are contradictions within the books of the Bible by the various writers.

 

The usual way of thinking may be to simply ignore anything, but Christ’s words. That thought may seem proper; however, you’ll miss the Risen Christ’s words to Paul! Those words are IMPORTANT! One may, simply, disregard some writings, and avoid other writings that do not fit into a previously conceived belief. This may be a denominational belief that has been placed into your thoughts without question. Some may attempt to work all the New Testament books of the Bible as a puzzle in hope the pieces will fit together in the end. Maybe, others throw all the scripture into a Biblical blender expecting the truths to be poured out! Won’t work!

 

Any perceived contradictions are easily explained. However, grasping that fact may prove to be challenging without prayer, study, and a willingness to grasp a truth when revealed. There are specific reasons why Biblical variances are observed within the New Testament. The primary reasons are the dispensations, or the changes in God’s program to finalize the goal of salvation along with the coming kingdom.

 

First of all, the varied writer’s messages are NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THE SAME! Their ministries were part of the forty years of transitions covering Israel‘s law-keeping time during Jesus’ ministry; followed with the times of many Jews becoming believers of who Jesus was, but continuing as law-keepers, concluding with the faith, and grace only ministry to believing Gentiles. (The latter applies to Jews today, as well. Paul wrote in Romans 10:12, that there is no distinction between the Jew and Greek… This occurs under Paul’s Grace Doctrine coming later. Notice the separations!)

 

Those interested in Bible study need to separate the Jewish culture, and the Gentiles of the times. They need to understand the variances between law-keeping, Jewish, Jesus believers, and faith-based Gentile believers. They need to separate Judaism; Jesus-believing Jews; (The Way) and Christianity!

 

Before we enter into Christ’s earthly ministry we need to visit some Old

Testament realities involving the Hebrews (Jews) early times and their purpose.  We need to understand how, and why, this nation came to be.

 

THE HEBREW’S  EARLY  YEARS

 

God removed Abraham from the pagan, Gentile populace. He initially used Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, (Israel) and Joseph to form a nation of people known as the Hebrews. Joshua 24: 2-3 stated of Israel’s fathers serving other gods. However, these people, the Hebrews, became God’s Chosen People!

 

One, potential, and important, purpose for these chosen people is found in Exodus 19: 5-6. God, through Moses, told these people an important message. These Hebrew people (Jews) if obedient  to God’s covenant were to be a special,  set apart, and unique people, and to become a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS, AND A HOLY NATION…    Ask yourself why God would need a nation of priests?  They were to take God’s salvation to THE GENTILES! Isaiah 49: 6, states…”I will give you (The Jews.) as a light to the nations that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 61: 6 repeats of Israel being a nation of priests, and ministers of God!  In Zechariah 8:23, the prophet wrote: “In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” (These events are futuristic, and none of these have happened, yet! These will be reality at Christ’s return.)

 

In Exodus 20, the Hebrews received the Ten Commandments. Unfortunately, the Jews failed continually! God would still make his move towards the redemption plan in other ways! This must be understood before we move into the words spoken by Christ to the Jews.

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Many, many generations later, Israel was being dominated by the Roman

Empire. Many years of Jewish prophecies concerning Israel‘s King, and

kingdom were falling into place. Israel, however, wasn’t an obedient nation.

 

As promised through these Old Testament prophecies major events were ready to be fulfilled. A man, known as, John the Baptist entered onto Israel’s scene announcing, and preparing Israel that their King was at hand. Of course, with the arrival of their King, the kingdom was just out ahead!

 

Jesus of Nazareth was that Promised Messiah to be their King, and to restore their kingdom glory! However, the nation would need to accept this fact!

Paul wrote in Romans 15: 8-9, that Jesus’ purpose was to be a minister to the Jews in accordance with Old Testament scripture. Here are the verses: For I tell you that Christ became a servant (Minister) to the circumcised (Jews) to show God’s truthfulness, in order that the GENTILES might glorify God for his mercy.” (Read the next few verses adding more detail concerning the Gentile’s hope.) Israel’s second chance to fulfill the Exodus 19 covenant was about to occur.  This, too, must be fully grasped, as well, to understand the dispensational times just ahead.

 

CHRIST’S EARTHLY  MINISTRY  DISPENSATION

 

Jesus’ three year ministry on earth was based on one extremely important message to Israel. The Nation of Israel (Jews) needed to believe Jesus was their Messiah, or Promised One!  THAT WAS IT! If the Nation of Israel would believe Jesus was their Promised One the Kingdom of God would become reality for the nation. Of course, Israel then would become that nation of priests to go to the Gentiles as found in Exodus 19, and Isaiah 61.

 

This Kingdom of God was to be a literal government on earth with Jesus ruling. The Jews would become that nation of priests. This message is known as the Gospel of the Kingdom! OR the good news of the kingdom!

 

Proof of this kingdom being a government of Israel can be read in the words of the prophet Isaiah. In Isaiah 9: 6-7, the prophet wrote: For a child will be born unto us; a son will be given to us. Ask yourself who the “US” is? The “US” here are the Jews, and Israel. Remember, Isaiah was a prophet for Israel!

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Isaiah added the government will be on his shoulders. This kingdom will be a government ruled over by the child given to Israel. Who was, and is, that child? THE LORD JESUS!!!!!

 

Isaiah continued, His name will be WONDERFUL; COUNSELOR;

MIGHTY GOD; ETERNAL FATHER; PRINCE OF PEACE. There will be no end to this governmental kingdom of peace! He will set on David’s throne over this kingdom in Jerusalem!!!!

 

WOW!!!!!

 

What did Jesus preach on earth? Again, his message was to believe who he was! The writers of the first four books of the New Testament wrote of the importance of believing on Christ’s name! Many of those words of believing were spoken by Christ himself. You can see Christ’s words if you have a red-letter edition of the Bible. His parables were everyday stories to relate the kingdom of God to the people.  (Underline the kingdom of heaven, or kingdom of God, and you’ll soon see the importance.)

 

The Nation of Israel was still a law-keeping religion! The only difference, now, is Israel had to believe in Jesus as their Promised One! Did Israel believe?  NO!!!  Precious few believed who Jesus was. The Nation of Israel as a whole failed again! Israel rejected Christ again leading to his crucifixion on the cross.

 

CHRIST’S 40 DAYS  ON  EARTH  AFTER  RESURRECTION

 

Jesus was resurrected after three days, and three nights in the tomb. Jesus spent forty days on earth before his ascension to glory. What did the RISEN CHRIST talk about? Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God! (Acts 1) His message was the same. Believe Jesus was the promised One, and the kingdom of God would become reality!

 

THE DISCIPLES  “JEWISH”  MINISTRY  DISPENSATION

 

Other important verses few have seen are located in Matthew 10: 5-6. Jesus told the disciples to go nowhere among the Gentiles…but go rather to the

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lost sheep of the house of Israel and preach the kingdom of heaven is at

hand…    Read that again! This language fits well with the Romans 15: 8 words of Paul. Remember, Paul wrote: Jesus was to be a minister to the Jews…to confirm the promises given to the fathers. (Also, study Matthew 15:21-28, where Jesus tries to ignore a Gentile woman.)

 

Jesus never altered that command during this time of Israel’s history. Yes, he said in Matthew 28: 19, for his disciples to make disciples of all nations, but

Those words were in regards to the Exodus 19 verses again of Israel going to all Gentile nations. The disciples were to have Israel believe who Jesus was, and then the Jews would cover the earth to the Gentiles. This would be the Great Commission! Proof of this can be found in Acts 10 where Peter argued to not go to the Gentiles. Also, the disciples twenty years after the cross during the Jerusalem Council shook hands on the fact that Paul would continue to the Gentiles, and the disciples would stay with the Jews. (Read Acts 15, and Galatians 2.)These were hints of the, soon, future transitions! Are you seeing this? The disciples did not run out to preach to all nations. They were attempting to have Israel believe! (Jews)Also, read Acts 11: 19…preaching to none, but Jews.

 

The next dispensation is about to occur with the disciples after they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. A different approach is in play towards the Nation of Israel, and the Jewish populace. (Pentecost is a Jewish time celebrating the Feast of First Fruits. See Numbers 28: 26-31.)

 

Peter, now filled with the Holy Spirit began to preach of Jesus’ message; the cross, and the resurrection. Peter’s ministry is preaching to the Jews. The Jews present heard Peter’s words, and became troubled as to what happened with Christ. These Jews requested what they should do now? (Acts 2: 37)

 

Peter addressed his Acts 2, and Acts 3, sermons to Jews. We can know this because he used language mentioning Jews. Peter used wording as, “Men of Judea” (Acts 2:36); “Men of Israel” (Acts 2:22); “All the House of Israel”(Acts 2: 36); and “Men of Israel”. (Acts 3:12)  Other hints can be realized as Peter spoke of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Gentiles could care less of Israel’s fathers! No Gentile language here! Remember, the Jews still were to avoid Gentiles.

 

NOTE: Any mention of a church in your Bible translations relate to these

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Jewish, Jesus believers. The Greek word is ecclesia, which simply means: a called out assembly. This can be a gathering for anything. In early Acts, these individuals are, also, still law-keeping Jews who have accepted, and believed Jesus was the Promised One. The Holy Spirit inspired term of “Christianity” doesn’t appear until Acts 11: 26 with Paul’s preaching to the Gentiles. NOTE: In Acts 19:32, the translators used “assembly” during the riot in Ephesus. The Greek word here is “ecclesia.” Why were the words “ecclesia” translated into two different meanings?

 

Peter told these troubled Jews they needed to repent, and be baptized. (Acts 2: 37-39.) Ask yourself repent of what?  In verse 36 Peter said, “Let ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL know assuredly that God has made him both Lord, and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” These Jews needed to repent of their unbelief which led to the crucifying of their King, Jesus. They then were to be baptized under John the Baptist’s, baptism of

repentance in order to receive the Holy Spirit. They then would be forgiven of their sin of unbelief, and crucifying their Messiah. This was the next time of dispensation. Notice the difference from what Jesus preached while on earth? Do you see the difference?

 

Peter, in Acts 3: 19 mentioned the time of refreshing. This time of refreshing is part of the second coming of Christ. This second coming occurs at the end of Daniel’s 70th week. (Tribulation) The world will return as it was originally created, or refreshed. Peter stated that Christ would be sent back. (Acts 3:20) Peter’s sermon is in regards to the Gospel of the Kingdom. Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God being preached again during the end times to announce the kingdom will be, again, at hand! (Matthew 24:14)

 

Another detail of proof as to who Peter’s message is directed comes from Acts 3: 25. Peter talked of the covenant promise which God made with “your fathers.” This covenant was made with Abraham; Isaac, and Jacob.

These men were considered the Fathers of Israel.

 

Peter, and the disciples, were obeying Christ’s command of going to the Jews, attempting to have Israel believe Jesus was their Messiah. Many Jews believed their words, but the Nation of Israel in its entirety, continued to firmly reject Jesus was their Promised One. Israel’s final rejection was about

to occur.

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The disciple chose some men to help take care of the believers in Jerusalem. (Acts 6:2-4) One of those men was named Stephen.  We know little about this man except from a few powerful descriptions of his faith.  In Acts 6: 5, scripture states he was a man full of faith, and the Holy Spirit. In Acts 6: 8, he was described as being full of grace, and power, able to perform great wonders, and signs. An Acts 7: 35 state Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit. Scripturally speaking this means there was something extraordinary about Stephen. This man was stoned to death because he spoke words against the Jews in power, and of their betrayal of Jesus, the Righteous One!

 

The murder of Stephen would prove to be the final rejection of Jesus by the Nation of Israel in the eyes of God. Israel from this point on is in a state of

decline. Immediately, another Jew is brought into the word! A man named Saul is mentioned. He would become known as Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles! (Acts 8)

 

Scripture states a great persecution occurred concerning those Jesus-believing Jews. The disciples would continue to preach to the Jews despite this persecution. The persecuted Jewish believers left Jerusalem to Gentile countries. (Acts 8:1, and Acts 11:19) As stated, Israel would be in decline from Stephen’s murder. The disciples continued preaching to the Jews. (These are epistles to the Jews.) However, Israel was in a downward spiral towards destruction. Troubles upon them would increase. The Roman Empire would become increasingly belligerent towards Israel. That destruction occurred in 70 A.D.

 

A major transition would soon happen in regards to Israel, and the man named Saul. God would be using, this Jewish man, Saul to become a minister to the Gentiles, and preach the Gospel of Grace. God was side-stepping Israel to get his words to the Gentiles. The Exodus 19: 5-6 verses of Israel going to the Gentiles would be removed out of God’s agenda at this time. At a future time God will return to Israel when this time of the Gentiles is fulfilled.  (In Romans 11: 25, Paul wrote of Israel’s hardening until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled. We are in the time of Gentiles presently.) This will happen at the latter half of the tribulation period or Daniel’s 70th week. (Daniel 9, and 12.) Towards the end of that 70th week, and the time of Jesus’ second coming, God will use the remnant of Israel to, once again, go and take the word to surviving remnants. THIS TIME THE

JEWS WILL BELIEVE WHO JESUS IS! In Zechariah 13: 6, the

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prophet wrote of Jesus’ Second Advent. Jesus will answer the Jews of that

future time when they ask him how he received the wounds. Jesus will answer the wounds came about in the house of my friends. (The House of Israel.) The prophet wrote Israel will ask the Messiah about his wounds from the time of the cross. Again, Jesus, at this second coming, will announce he received the wounds from the hands of his friends. (The Jews.) THIS TIME THE JEWS WILL BELIEVE!

 

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A STUDY OF THE RESURRECTION CHAPTER – 1 CORINTHIANS 15

by Larry A. Smail

PAUL, THE APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES wrote the books of the Bible known as 1st Corinthians, and 2nd Corinthians. These letters were written by Paul to answer questions, and concerns (And to correct issues) from the Corinthian, Gentile Christians. This study will deal with their questions on resurrection, and to reaffirm the Gospel Message as preached by Paul.

Corinth was a seaport, at the time of Paul. The area was known for great commerce. Unfortunately, the seaport was known for extreme immorality, and pagan worship. Paul, after the church’s establishment, moved on to other areas to preach the gospel message. These people of Corinth were having difficulties in adjusting from their recent conversions from their past, pagan lifestyles. They needed help, and wrote to Paul for guidance.

Paul had preached to these Gentiles of the good news, or the gospel of Grace. Some Corinthians became believers of this gospel message which we will see shortly. However, they began to struggle with the truth. Jewish-Jesus believers, yet law-keepers, who often followed Paul, demanded these Gentile believers submit to Mosaic Law. This issue became a problem with Paul, so much, that he ended up confronting the apostles at Jerusalem. (You can read of this confrontation with Peter, James, John and the others in Acts 15, and Galatians 2. This Jerusalem Council occurred around twenty years after the cross, and resurrection of Christ. The apostles were still law-keepers, at this time. Most do not realize that fact!) Also, the Corinthian believers were still struggling over their past ways of life.

The people of Corinth were waiting for the second coming of Christ, as was Paul. Everybody hoped the second advent would be soon. However, during this wait, the people would see divisions erupt within their church. This often happens. Also, doubts were coming to be the norm due to the Jewish believers telling them they must follow Mosaic Law. They were doubting the resurrection of believers. I am sure pagan influences abounded.

Chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians deals with resurrection questions.

1 CORINTHIANS 15, AND THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION

This chapter, immediately, has Paul reminding the Corinthians as to the purpose of the gospel of grace for salvation. This message has the words Paul always preached in his travels. He wrote: I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, and you have received, wherein you stand. In other words, this good news message was heard by these pagan Gentiles, and they believed the gospel message. Paul continued, by which you are SAVED if you keep in memory, unless you believed in vain. This simply states that because these Corinthians heard, and believed, the gospel they were saved. If they didn’t truly believe the gospel message their belief was in vain, and thus they were not saved.(Verses 1-2)

Beginning in verse 3, Paul continued that He had delivered this gospel just as he received the message from the RISEN CHRIST! (Galatians 1:11-12 records this revelation of Paul.) He wrote, I CERTIFY TO THE BELIEVERS THAT THIS GOSPEL I PREACHED DID NOT COME FROM MAN. HE DIDN’T RECEIVE THIS GOSPEL FROM MAN, AND HE WASN’T TAUGHT THIS GOSPEL BY MAN, BUT BY REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST!!!!! ….IMPORTANT WORDS!

Paul stated that he, RECEIVED THAT CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE. (Old Testament Prophecies.) The following words are the Gospel of Grace for Salvation.

THE GOSPEL

CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS, AND WAS BURIED, AND ROSE AGAIN ON THE THIRD DAY ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE!!!

THAT IS IT!!! BELIEVE IT WITH FAITH!!!

One is required to BELIEVE the above mentioned gospel for salvation! Note Paul doesn’t say someone is required to belong to any specific denomination; be baptized in water; tithe; be circumcised; or
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observe special days, avoid certain foods…

TO BE SAVED ONE HAS TO ONLY BELIEVE WITH FAITH!
NO WORKS!

How does one know this is the way to being saved after the cross, and resurrection? See Galatians 1, where Paul rebuked the Gentiles at the Galatia church. Beginning with verse 6, Paul wrote that he was marveled, or astonished, these, once pagan, Gentiles had quickly removed themselves from Christ’s Grace to another gospel! He continued, stating the gospel they were following was actually NOT ANOTHER GOSPEL, BUT A PERVERTED GOSPEL. Again, the Jewish, yet law-keeping, believers of Christ had followed Paul demanding Jewish law had to be adhered to.

Paul wrote, “IF WE, OR AN ANGEL, FROM HEAVEN PREACH ANY OTHER GOSPEL THAN THE GOSPEL WE PREACHED LET THEM BE ACCURSED! WOW! This fact was so important that Paul repeated the words again!…A DOUBLE CURSE!

Paul, from 1 Corinthians 15: 5, added how Christ, in his resurrected body, appeared to Peter, and James, the other disciples, and over 500 individuals at one time. He wrote these words for emphasis as to the number who had witnessed Christ after the resurrection. Paul concluded as to his experience with, also, seeing the RISEN CHRIST!

Paul often wrote of his past life as a zealous Jew with authority to seek after the Jewish believers of Jesus Christ being their Messiah. Remember in Acts 8, Paul gave approval for the stoning of the Holy Spirit inspired Stephen! Paul wrote despite all the evil he committed to those Jewish believers, through GRACE he, too was changed! Anybody on this earth can be saved from any, and all past deeds no matter how terrible.

Paul was disappointed by the actions of these Gentile believers. Paul reminded them that Christ was preached as being RISEN, yet some do not believe in the resurrection of the dead.

If resurrection isn’t possible then Christ did not arise from the tomb, and any faith of Christ’s resurrection is in vain! If Christ did not rise
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from the grave then any faith towards that is worthless, and every person is still in their sins!. Those believers who had passed on in this faith are perished, too!

BUT!

Paul said Christ did rise from death. Christ was the first-fruit to do so. Adam, the first man, failed to believe God, caused the events known as the curse, and death, to befall the world. Adam died. However, the second Adam, Christ allowed redemption for man along with the opportunity to eternal life, or resurrection, at his second coming. At this coming, Christ will usher in the Kingdom of God, and return the world to it’s early beauty. This will be after all enemies, including death are removed. At this time, Christ will be in control over of everything.

Paul goes to another issue at this time. The people in Corinth, were getting baptized on the behalf of others who had already passed away. Why would you do this act if you didn’t believe in resurrection? He added, why do I face potential harm daily. Paul is saying, why would I face everyday peril if I didn’t believe in resurrection? He dies everyday because of his faith, and belief in resurrection.

Paul mentioned fighting the beasts in Ephesus. This would be the beasts of opposition wherever he went. Just imagine the initial visit of Paul to any locale. He would be ridiculed everyday. However, some of the hearers would remain to listen with open minds! Some believed with faith!

Paul says if there is no resurrection do whatever you want while alive. Faith and belief will not matter if there is no resurrection. Go ahead and associate with bad company, and face ruin if you don’t believe in being raised! BUT, if you do believe, come to what is right, and tell others since many have no knowledge of God.

Paul responded to questions from the letter. The letter asked how are the dead raised? What kind of body will those resurrected have? Paul wrote what is sown will not live unless it dies, and what is sown will not resemble what sprouts up. Paul used agricultural wording to help describe the answer.
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In simple terms, one can take a kernel of corn, or flower seed, and plant it. The result will be a stalk of corn, or a beautiful flower, but the result will be different from the dead seed that was sown. He used various kinds of wild-life, and celestial bodies to further demonstrate. The resurrection is the
same.

The body that is entombed, like the seed that is planted, is dead, and will perish. However, the result of a believer’s death will be an imperishable resurrection. The deceased body is corrupt, dishonorable, and weak as in decay. The resurrected body will be raised in glory. There is the physical body, and there is a spiritual body. Paul compared Adam as the natural with Christ as the Spiritual.

Paul wrote that the flesh, and blood, and corrupt body can not enter into the kingdom of God. Paul added of a secret, or mystery to the people. Everyone will not die, but everyone will be changed at a time in the future. Paul hoped this event would happen during his life, as did the other believers. Those believers of the gospel who had already passed away will be raised, or resurrected with a glorious body. He continued, we believers of the gospel who are alive will be changed instantly! WOW!

That dead, and corrupted believer’s body of the grave will put on incorruption, and the living believers of the gospel will be changed to immortality! WOW AGAIN!

When this event happens, “DEATH WILL BE SWALOWED UP IN VICTORY!”

1 Corinthians 15 concludes with the often preached words beginning with verse 55.

“O DEATH WHERE IS YOUR STING. O GRAVE WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY”!

Paul thanked God for this victory. Those believers of the above-mentioned gospel with faith is what promises salvation! Paul told these Gentiles to not be doubtful, but be strong in faith knowing your faith will not be in vain!
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